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We could get the Blue Flag  and this is Catholic Schools Week.
I'll have all the news for you in just a second, First this...  Discount Travel  


It's 78° Fahrenheit  23.9 Centigrade in Crown Bay St. Thomas,
76% humidity. Clear Skies
Wind out of the East North East at 19 mph.
Barometric pressure is 30.06
Water temp: 79° in Charlotte Amalie  St. Thomas
We had Point 02 inches of rain in the last 24 hours.
Doppler radar shows: a few tiny showers in the area.  
Satellite Photo Shows: Clear Skies

The national weather forecast calls clouds in the morning then clearing. Isolated showers. Highs 85 Breezy. Northeast winds 15 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 20 percent.

Cruise Ship News
At Havensight  Dock – Norwegian Epic, Freedom of the Seas Glory
At Austin Monsanto Marine Terminal: Eurodam, Disney Magic

8:00 AM TLC Pets  9:00 AM My Turn Rental
At the top of the news on Wednesday February 2  Groundhog Day

The Governor’s financial team came before the Senate Committee on Finance yesterday and delivered a grim report on the state of the government’s finances.  Dire is their word,  Revenues are down, shortfalls are projected an slow economic recovery is underway and the economic stimulus efforts of a year ago are over.  Nathan Simmonds laid out the complete picture.  Income, expenses and projections.. The harsh reality was spelled out by Simmonds – declines in visitor arrivals, fewer building permits, reductions in tax revenues, businesses shedding jobs and the highest unemployment rate since 2001. All this means the government is expecting a 75 million dollar shortfall this fiscal year.  And with borrowing already maxxed out, there is little room for more borrowing to sustain the present spending.

Add to the woes, the unemployment insurance fund borrowed nearly 18 million from the federal government and we have to pay interest this year.  In Fiscal 2009 Hotel employment was down, convention and business meetings down. Any Good News here?  Yes, demand for travel is going up again this year, air and cruise ship arrivals are rebounding – slowly. Revenues are inching back up again but will not get back to healthy levels until 2013 or 2014. Diageo and the expanded Cruzan rum revenues are expected to start to flow. Land taxes are about to start to flow again.

What is projected is a reduction in funds for government departments – 19 million. A hiring freeze, for a saving of 5 million dollars, three unpaid holidays – save 3 million dollars.  Lay off part time and per diem workers – save 2.4 – two year salary freeze and hold off increases, save 31 million dollars. Increase gross receipts tax- earn 14 million. Also under discussion is stopping tax credits for Economic Development Authority companies. And they are considering a four day 10 hour work week and shutting down government offices one day per week. Senator Shawn Michael Malone suggested that legislators give up their cars and free cell phones. No bills were presented, no votes were taken.

Any advice come from the finance meeting – Now is a good time for entrepreneurs to start new businesses, lay the ground work for growth and prepare for the recovery. We have to grow our economy out of recession.

Union leaders testified – some deny there is any problem at all, saying the numbers are wrong others asked what is the least disruptive way to address the issues.  Are You skeptical about this. You can read the numbers for yourself.  The Books a Nathan Simmonds called them are open to the public go to the Finance Department's website: www.usvifinance.info.

Three members of the Foundation for Environmental Education arrived in the territory last week to evaluate five  beaches that could soon be named Blue Flag locations. Blue Flag is an exclusive eco-label awarded to beaches and marinas worldwide who meet the established criteria of the programme. The effort is being led by the Hotel & Tourism Association. The beaches are Emerald Beach, Magens Bay, Great Bay, Trunk Bay, and Pelican Cove on St. Croix.  The Blue Flag designation is based on compliance with 32 criteria covering the aspects of environmental education and information, water quality, environmental management, and safety and services.
If we get the Blue Flag, it means our beaches and beach facilities are safe and clean, the marine resources are preserved and protected and through signage and educational outreach.  The USVI could be flying the flag as early as December 2011. Check out www.blueflag.org  or call the Hotel & Tourism Association at 774-6835.

Does anyone have a group of visitors in their hotel from Boston. The Boston Globe called the Good News Guy and asked me to help them find a group of Boston visitors in the Virgin Islands.  The Boston Globe wants to do a story on the people from Boston who are vacationing in the Virgin Islands.  If anyone at a hotel has visitors form Boston call the Good News Guy at 774-1340.


Here comes the smoking ban. As of February 10 it will be illegal to smoke inside a business or rest, it is illegal to smoke within 20 feet of a door or window on a public setting. Bars, rest and businesses will all have to enforce a smoking ban. When does it start, February 10.

St. Croix the Queen Mary Highway is undergoing repair in Peter’s rest – the crews will be working until 4:00 PM each day and all traffic on Queen Mary Highway in that are in being rerouted.


Social Security Representative is coming to St. John on Wednesday February 2 at the Dept. of Human Services by the fire station 9:00 AM to 12:45 PM to answer all Social Security  questions.

Cancer Support Virgin Islands has a program on Wednesday on the topic of Personalized Medicine, Where are we headed – views from the lab bench – noon at Charlotte Kimelman Cancer Institute and again at 7:00 PM at the Mark C. Marin Center at Antilles School – Speakers are International Cancer Advocacy Network Board member Scott Kahn and Herbert Irving from Columbia University.

Arts Alive Concert, St. Thomas David Bromberg – Folk/Blues/Rock The Arts Alive Concerts in the Garden unfold  throughout the year at Tillett Gardens.  Performers vary from chamber ensembles
to classical pianists. Typically, a prix fixe  dinner is offered before each concert, and  Tillett Gardens’ artists’ studios are open  during intermissions. Both season and  individual tickets are available
for the 8:00 p.m. performance.  To learn more, call (340) 775-1929  or go to www.tillettfoundation.org.
This is Catholic Schools week and Governor John DeJongh signed a proclamation drawing our attention to the importance of the Catholic schools in the Virgin Islands.  The national theme is “A+ for America Pursuit of High Academic Achievement” We have 4 catholic schools in the Virgin Islands – Saints Peter and Paul School on St. Thomas and St. Mary, St. Patrick and St. Joseph on St. Croix.

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