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Legislature has a new paint color

It's 77° Fahrenheit  23.9 Centigrade in Crown Bay St. Thomas,
71% humidity. Clear Skies
Wind out of the North East at 14mph gusting to 28.
Water temp: 79° in Charlotte Amalie  St. Thomas
We had a trace  of rain in the last 24 hours.
Doppler radar shows: Clear Skies
Satellite Photo Shows: No storms on the horizon.

The national weather forecast calls for Mostly cloudy skies with numerous showers in the morning...then scattered showers in the afternoon. Highs around 81. Breezy. Northeast winds 20 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 70 percent. 40% by evening.  High surf advisory in effect through Thursday.

Cruise Ship News
At Havensight  Dock – Poesia, Norwegian Pearl and Solstice
At Austin Monsanto Marine Terminal: we are watching as  Allure of the Seas arrives.

At the top of the news on Wednesday December 29  
The legislature building is getting a make-over.  Major rehabilitation to the roof, removal of old asbestos panels and new roofing, changes to the interior of the senate chamber to add lighting and wooden beams and some of the offices are getting a makeover as well, but the change that is most striking to anyone who knows the building is the new exterior paint color.  Gone is the green that gave the building its worst nickname and instead a “dignified beige with white trim and a darker color on the lower sections of the building.  This is not the first color change to the 137 year old building. It has been a variety of colors including various shades of green, tan and light yellow.  Now the legislature is dignified beige.

Two top government officials are retiring.  Police Commissioner Novelle Francis will retire at the end of this week and so will Robert Mathes of Department of Planning and Natural Resources.   Also leaving are three directors at Department of Planning and Natural Resources, Beulah Dalmaida Smith head of Fish and Wildlife, Marjorie Emanuel of Coastal Zone planning and Maureen Burke-Ventura the director of Permits.  Robert Mathes said that at age 66 it was time to retire. Carmelo Riviera will serve as Acting Commissioner of Department of Planning and Natural Resources until a replacement is appointed. Novelle Francis will stay on as Police Commissioner until a  replacement is appointed. The Governor had words of high praise for both commissioners calling them the backbone of his administration. The Governor said both had served the people with distinction.

Did the snowstorm effect business here?  Hoteliers are reporting that Christmas week was good, but the snowstorm has prevented some people from leaving and prevented new arrivals from getting here.  Bookings are off a smidgen from last year at some hotels while others says they are near capacity and people are enjoying the trips, restaurants and other activities. Car rentals are doing OK, Small properties and guest houses are mostly full for the week. How does January look – kind a slow according to the hoteliers.  Not as many reservations as past years.  With all the snow up north – that may change.

Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year! from the Board of Governors, management, staff and member agencies of the United Way.  This holiday season, while we reflect on living in harmony with our family, friends, and loved ones; let us also focus on how important it is to continue giving and supporting United Way and its member agencies who provide essential and critical services needed by thousands in the community.  We would like to remind individuals and corporations - in order to receive a tax credit for the 2010 tax year and obtain a tax-deductible letter from United Way, you have until December 31, 2010 to make such donation(s). Remember it is extremely important to Give, Advocate, Volunteer, and most importantly, LIVE UNITED!

In Kwanza – today is for Ujamaa that is a Swahili word meaning Cooperative Economics.  

E. Benjamin Oliver School Band Boosters have their annual Community Birthday calendar for sale.  A total of 1000 calendars are available and they will be sold on today and Thursday  at FirstBank waterfront, FirstBank Port of Sale Shopping Center. and FirstBank tutu. $5. For more information call 775-2000.

How much does it cost for the non-essential government employees to take a day off?  The days off for Carnival Food Fair and the Inauguration will cost the territory 1.3 million dollars each day! There are 9,328 employees of the central government. – the Bi-weekly payroll is 18.4 million dollars – so the one day cost is about 1.3 million. That’s not quite right because administrative leave does not apply to “essential” employees or those on rotating shifts or anyone already on leave. We have 22 paid holidays plus two days off for St. Thomas Carnival and two days off for Crucian Christmas Festival. Total cost of all the paid holidays – 28.6 million dollars.

Good News from Coral World – they have been selected as the Most Outstanding Sea Trek Operation in the World for 2010. Coral world has been offering Sea Trekking since 2001 making it one of the first to offer the underwater adventure. Of the 41 sea trekking operations in the world. Now Sub Sea Systems Inc the originators of the Sea Trek system says that our Coral world is the best in the world.

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