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Scientists discover interesting coral in our deep ocean.

It's 77° Fahrenheit  49% humidity. Clear Skies
Wind out of the East North East at 8mph  
Barometric pressure is 30.01 rising  
Water temp: 79° in Charlotte Amalie  St. Thomas
We had  no 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 with isolated showers in the morning... then mostly sunny in the afternoon. Highs 83. Northeast winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain less than 20 percent.

On this Tuesday March 8th we welcome : Millennium in Frederiksted and Liberty of the Seas to Havensight  Dock and SeaDream 2 St. John

At the top of the news on  Tuesday March 8th  
Mardi Gras today, tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.

The Senators want to name the new library and archive at Tutu Park Mall for former Governor Charles Wesley Turnbull.  The new library is nearing completion and the senators voted to spend $10,000 on a sign to name the facility the Charles Wesley Turnbull Regional Public Library.  The facility will be 38,000 square feet and house a reading room, Children’s room, Caribbean room, young adult area, technical wing for staff to catalog the library’s books and an auditorium for about 100 people. The new computer system will serve all of the territory’s libraries and there are display cases in the lobby with Taino Indian artifacts, jewelry and potter found on the Tutu Park Mall site.

Governor John DeJongh met with Judith Enck of the EPA to discuss cooperative solutions to a wide range of issues affecting the Virgin Islands and the citizens.  – on the agenda, sustainable development, green jobs, the superfund sites, solid waste management and EPA grants to the territory.  Top of the agenda was the HOVENSA consent decree. Judith Enck wants the Virgin Islands to get back to recycling bottles and turn recycling into an economic development opportunity.

Oil goes over $100 a barrel and suddenly WAPA is interested in alternative energy. Remember the last time oil was expensive and WAPA was interested.  Then the price of oil dropped and so did WAPA’s interest in solar and wind power. If we had followed through on solar, wind and trash to energy producers the last time oil was this expensive, we had systems in place by now. Let’s see if the interest is sustained this time.

Probate law in the Virgin Islands is confusing. Cases get caught in court for years and years. Estates remain unsettled.  The only winners are the lawyers who process the cases. Last year the senate passed and the Governor signed a uniform code with major revisions to the code.  That was a 300 page code, few had read it all and it does not come into effect until July of this year.    Yesterday the Senate Rules Committee debated changes to the probate laws, either start over, or amend the existing code or leave it alone. There was no consensus though most favored amending the new code rather than starting over or keeping the old code. One of the big issues is allowing people to draw up handwritten wills with no witnesses – this is an open door to fraud. Gotta close that loophole.

Senate Finance Committee is meeting at 9:30 AM on St. Thomas they will consider a plan to reprogram money from the parking lot fund to help a private developer create a multi-level parking facility at the Fort Christian Parking Lot. They also have a bill to raise the head tax on cruise ship visitors by $3. Later today the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Technology and Agriculture is meeting to consider spending 2 million dollars promoting St. Croix as a tourist destination. They also have a bill to transfer ownership of West Indian Company Limited from the Public Finance Authority to the Port Authority.

Dept. of Labor is taking applications for the summer youth employment program with a special outreach to St. John – Today and Friday at the administrators office.  Application are available on-line at Priority goes to students in the 11th and 12th grades who have no prior work experience.

St. Croix Housing Finance Authority at the Frits Lawaetz complex will be closed today until 1:00 PM.

The St. Thomas Administrator announced that Crystal Gade from the St. Thomas reform Church all the way to the Synagogue will be closed from Midnight Thursday through the End of work on Friday as the Department of Public Works secures the site of a recent fire. Department of Public Works has to stage heavy equipment and bins to remove debris and this will block the roadway. No parking on Crystal gade after Midnight Wednesday.

St. Croix Public Works will close a portion of Queen Mary Highway in Estate Herman Hill from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM from now through Friday. Motorists are urged to avoid the section of the road from Orange Grove Road to the west end of the Christiansted bypass.

Applications for the  St. Croix Educational Complex Mathematics and Science Magnet Program are now available at the registrar’s office.  If you have an 8th grade students from public, private and parochial schools on St. Croix you are invited to apply to participate. Completed packages are due Friday, March 11.  

Researchers from the Center for Marine and Environmental Studies have reported on recent studies from around the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico have revealed the existence and condition of huge tracts of light-dependent coral reefs that form between 100 and 350 feet depth.  These reefs, also known as mesophotic (mizo-fotik) coral ecosystems, are only recently drawing the attention of scientists, conservationists, and governments, although their existence has been well known to fishermen and adventurous divers. Mesophotic coral reefs are some of the least studied and most poorly understood light dependant coral habitats in the world.  They form in deep, dimly lit waters  in the “Twilight Zone”. Drs. Tyler Smith and Richard Nemeth of the CMES, used technical living capabilities, such as closed circuit rebreathers and mixed gases, to explore these hard-to-reach coral reefs that had previously been scarcely described.  What they have discovered are some of the most extensive and best-developed mesophotic reefs in the Caribbean and, possibly, the world.  They are important because they are protected from the worst coral bleaching impacts caused by severe warm water.  Our local mesophotic reefs are important to science because they can be accessed, and we have a well-developed infrastructure for conducting deep ecological and oceanographic studies at Center for Marine and Environmental Studies  For more information please contact Dr. Tyler Smith at 693-1394.

Saturday 25 schools competed in the Poetry Out Loud competition on St. Croix. Ivanna Eudora Kean School is the proud school that brought home first and second Place in the Poetry Out Loud Competition. Shantelle Eddy won first place. This is her second win, Last year she went to Washington DC and placed 4th overall in the national competition.  Second place went to Harry Singh Dean who came from the Dominican Republic and spoke no English when he arrived.  He placed second overall in the territory.  Hearty Congratulations to Shantelle Eddy and Harry Singh Dean and all of the poetry readers at Ivanna Eudora Kean School.

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