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It's 76° Fahrenheit  59% humidity. partly cloudy skies
Wind out of the East North East at 10 mph  
Barometric pressure is 30.01
Water temp: 79° in Charlotte Amalie  St. Thomas
We had  -  - rain in the last 24 hours.
Doppler radar shows: Mostly Clear Skies  The Satellite Photo shows: Clear Skies

The national weather forecast calls for Partly cloudy. Isolated showers until late afternoon. Highs 83. Northeast winds around 15 mph. Chance of rain less than 20 percent.

On this Thursday February 23    we welcome :
Ruby Princess to Havensight  Dock
Grand  Princess - - to Austin Monsanto Marine Terminal

At the top of the news on Thursday February 23

Great news from the Bureau of Economic Research – tourist arrivals were up in November of 2010.  St. Thomas had a 10% increase. St. Croix had a 3.7% increase. Hotels on St. Thomas were less full in November but St. Croix hotels had more visitors.  Overall revenues were up in November. Cruise ship arrivals were up a whopping 25% compared to November of 2009 - - 40,000 more visitors than a year before. Looking at the first 11 months of 2010 we had 2.2 million visitors - that is 14% more than 2009. Hotel occupancy in the first 11 months of 2010 were significantly improved over 2009.  Looks like 2010 will come out as a great year – certainly better than 2009.

Senate Committee of the Whole met yesterday and made decision to support a planned division in Smith Bay. The land owners have 45 acres of undeveloped land and the Senators heard that 10 acres would be for residential use and the balance of the 45 acres would be reserved for agriculture. The 10 acres would be divided into 29 building lots for affordable housing. . There were two other applications faced heavy opposition from neighbors, one faced a petition with 79 signatures of people opposed to the plans. The senators also heard from a land owner in Estate St. Peter who wants to divide his land for his children and another family in Bonne resolution who want to divide their parcel into two for their children. Neither faced opposition. No votes were taken, no action.

Delegate Dr. Donna Christensen went to Puerto Rico on Wednesday to meet with the fishermen at the Caribbean Fisheries Management Council at a workshop on Data Collection. Data has been the bone of contention in setting fishing catch limits.  The idea is to improve the collection of data about the fish being caught.  The delegate thinks our data could be better and better data would mean better decisions about the management of the fishing community and the fish.

Speaking of Data, the Representatives of the US Census met with Senate Vice-President Louis P. Hill regarding the use of Virgin Islands Government data in the US Census programs.  They say our census data is outdated or non-existent. The US Census wants our data to be included in all the national statistics. Hill says government decisions that are data driven are informed, focused and factual. The Census staff want data on government revenues, expenditures, debt issuance, cash assets, securities, retirement and employment.

Schneider Hospital Board of Directors heard about a return visit from the federal centers for Medicaid and medicare in March to see if the Schneider Hospital Dialysis unit has implemented all the changes that were called for by the feds.  The board also heard that the finances are tight with a half million dollar shortfall in the present budget and a cash flow problem.

The elderly and disabled are urged to get energy efficient appliances through a special program from the Virgin Islands Energy Office that helps them get energy star appliances – some will even qualify for free appliances.  The Virgin Islands Energy Office has a list of eligibility requirements and the weatherization program will even come to your home, and install energy saving devices and even haul away our old energy hog appliances. Call for more information – 713-8346.

Virgin Islands Lottery is closed on all islands today as the lottery staff go to an all day workshop – they will resume normal hours on Friday

Senate Rules and Judiciary Committee is meeting at 10:00 AM on St. Croix to take up two nominations – Alicia Barnes to head Department of Planning and Natural Resources and Mr Elton Lewis to head VITEMA.

We have a burn ban in effect on St. Thomas and now St. Croix VI Fire Service is also issuing a burn ban.  From today forward all burning permits are revoked.  Residents are reminded that dry conditions are dangerous, wildfires are a possibility, people living in areas that are prone to wildfires are urged to  cut back overgrown vegetation to a distance of 40 feet away from structures.

Department of Planning and Natural Resources is holding a workshop on Disaster recovery for Archives and libraries on today from  9:00 AM to 4:30 PM at UVI on St. Thomas and on Saturday February 26 at the Curriculum Center in St. Croix.  For more information call 774-2362. Free of charge and lunch will be provided.

Delegate Dr. Donna Christensen says the Congressional Black Caucus summer internship program is a 9 week program for college students to learn about leadership and the legislative process in Washington.  There is  stipend and a chance to live and work in Washington during the summer. The deadline to apply  is Friday  – Call 202-263-2800 or contact the delegate’s office.

Finally here is a chance to make some good news for a person many residents know and love.  You know Mrs James, Mrs Florinda James as the person who greets you at the door of Ace Sea Chest and she checks your receipt as you leave the store.  Mrs James is over age 80 and recently she fell and had an injury that has kept her from work.  She is recovering and you can help her along. Send cards and greetings to Mrs James as she recuperates . Here’s the address c/o Sea Chest 3806 Crown Bay St. Thomas.  Send good wishes for a healthy recovery to Mrs James and make some Good News for her.

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