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Ships may stay longer under new plan and pay a dollar more per passenger.

It's 76° Fahrenheit  64% humidity. Clear Skies
Wind out of the East North East at 10mph (gusting to )
Barometric pressure is 30.03 rising  
Water temp: 79° in Charlotte Amalie  St. Thomas
We had .03 inches of rain in the last 24 hours.
Doppler radar shows: Mostly Clear Skies  The Satellite Photo shows: Clear Skies

The national weather forecast calls for  Sunny... Highs 85. Breezy Northeast winds 20 to 25 mph.

On this Wednesday March 9    we welcome Solstice and Norwegian Pearl to Havensight  Dock
Eurodam and Adventure of the Seas to Austin Monsanto Marine Terminal

At the top of the news on Wednesday March 9
Today is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. 40 days of fasting as we prepare for Easter.

Senators in the Senate Finance Committee liked the idea of building a parking garage on land opposite Franklin Delano Roosevelt Virgin Islands Veterans Park – the idea is to create a three story Parking garage to replace the Zone C command building, the Federal Credit Union and Zoras as well as possibly other buildings with a structure that allows stores and commerce on the ground level and parking above.  The plan does not impact the existing Fort Christian Parking Lot nor would it displace Carnival village or the carnival rides or the existing Parking Lot.

Senate Finance Committee Also heard a plan to increase the head tax on cruise ship visitors by $1 and allow cruise ships to operate their casinos overnight in port.  This is a one-two punch bringing more money to the government treasure and keeping more ships in port for longer hours. Right now the ships can’t operate they money making casinos while the ship is in St. Thomas which makes some leave as early as possible.  Allowing the casinos to remain open means the ships will stay longer and passengers will have more time to shop and take tours. The idea also saves fuel because the ships do not have to travel out to international waters and drive in circles all night when they are going a short way – like to St. Martin or Tortola for their next visit. Our head tax is currently one of the lowest in the region with other ports charging as much as $15 for each passenger – a disincentive to visit that port.

Meanwhile Senate Committee on Economic Development, Technology and Agriculture heard a bill proposed to merge West Indian Company Limited into the Port Authority. Presently West Indian Company Limited is owned by the Public Finance Authority, this plan would move it to the Port Authority and all port activities would fall under one agency, supposed to increase efficiency.  One condition of the bill is that no union labor would be fired. The Port Authority and West Indian Company Limited negotiate separate agreements with the cruise ship lines which has produced tension in the past.  A unified front would save face and ease negotiations and possibly even out the ship arrivals. Not quite sure HOW to do a merger.  WICO is profitable, the Port Authority has financial problems. Oh and WICO staff are not in the GERS – they have a private retirement plan. Ed Thomas asked in a letter whether there really would be any savings. Committee held the bill for more work. That committee did approve a plan to spend 2 million dollars exclusively to promote St. Croix as a tourist destination.

Love it – the crooks get caught in no time.  Police on St. Croix were Johnny on the spot when a resident of Estate Cane Bay saw a strange car in the driveway.  Police responded with an All points Bulleting and stopped the car, took the suspects into custody and recovered the stuff that was stolen. Total time – 15 minutes.

The month of March is the hardest working month- it is already Virgin Islands History month and it is Social Work month, now here comes a proclamation making March US Virgin Islands-Denmark friendship month with the Governor reminding everyone that March 31 is the date the sovereignty of the Danish West Indies transferred to the US Virgin Islands. Time to renew the bond and remember that there are significant cultural ties between Denmark and the Virgin Islands and an agreement to share historic documents related to the colonial period.

The Department of Human Services Office of Childcare and Regulatory Services will host the 2011 Summer Camp Mass Consultation Meetings on Wednesday, March 9th on St. Croix at the District Court in Golden Rock. The meetings will be held from 9:30am -12:30pm.  For more information call Ms. Carrion and Ms. Simon at 773-2323.

Division of Banking and Insurance will administer the insurance license on Thursday March 10 at the Division of Personnel in Orange Grove St. Croix at 10:00 AM registration must be completed by 3:00 PM on Wednesday March 9th. call 773-6459.

The School Lunch Program has National School Breakfast Week all this week. Each participating school will create its own breakfast menu for students, parents and staff in a unique culinary experience to showcase the staff’s skills and creativity. Judges will rate the schools. Early today they had breakfast at Addelita Cancryn Junior High, Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School and Julius Sprauve School on St. John. Tomorrow morning there is a breakfast challenge at Calvary Christian Academy, Charlotte Amalie High School, E. Benjamin Oliver Elementary, Joseph Gomez Elementary and Joseph Sibilly Elementary. Parents are encouraged to join their children for breakfast for a fee of $3.00. Call 774-8070.

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 tonight 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 tonight.

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.

FEMA the Fire Department,  and VITEMA join the National Commission on Children and Disasters with a  public awareness campaign to help keep children and families safer from the threat of home fires. There is a growing risk of death or serious injury in home fires and young children are most vulnerable. Fifty two percent of all child fire deaths involve children under the age of four. "Fires are one of the most common emergencies, but are preventable. FEMA says to follow simple steps to avoid fires, Do fire drills at home. Have a family emergency plan to help save lives and property. Boys are at higher-risk of dying from fires than girls.  And the absence of smoke alarms was a factor in many of the deaths and injuries. Get a smoke alarm and install it. Fire safety awareness must begin at early childhood. It is imperative that all families have an evacuation and fire safety plan, and actually practice utilizing plan. This will ensure that each family member would know what to do and where to meet in case of a fire or other emergencies." Go to You can also join FEMA on Twitter by using the hashtag #kidsfiresafety or follow the agency on Facebook at

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