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Lots of Senate Action

26 degrees with light snow in Denver Colorado. 25 degrees in Montreal with snow. 18 degrees in St. Thomas North Dakota.

It's 78° Fahrenheit  75% humidity. Mostly Clear Skies
Wind out of the East North East at 11 mph  
Barometric pressure is 29.98 and rising  
Water temp: 78° in Charlotte Amalie  St. Thomas
We had  .00 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  Variably cloudy this morning then becoming partly cloudy. Isolated showers. Highs 84. East winds 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 20 percent.

On this Thursday March 24 we welcome to Cruise Ship News
Grand Princess - - to Havensight  Dock
Ruby Princess - - to Austin Monsanto Marine Terminal

At the top of the news on Thursday March 24
The full Senate met yesterday and passed a number of bills. They approved Alicia Barnes to head the Department of Planning and Natural Resources. and they approved Elton Lewis to head VITEMA. The senators approved 11 bills before them  and a resolution asking the US Congress to rebate the excise tax on gasoline to the Virgin Islands treasury. The tax at 18 cents per gallon would be used to help fund the electrical grid system between the  Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.  They approved plans to name the new library in Tutu as the Charles Wesley Turnbull Regional Public Library System, and to award Turnbull the Medal of Honor. They approved the plan to get a private contractor to build a parking garage near Fort Christian and they approved plans for a half million dollars for the High School summer employment program.  They approved plans to have the Department of Education use e-books in the schools.  Also approved in the senate session, an increase in the cruise ship head tax by $1 and allow the ships to keep casinos open if they stay past 5 PM. , an appropriation of two million dollars to promote St. Croix.

Senators also approved two Coastal Zone Management Commission permits – one to allow Marriott's Frenchman's Reef to rebuild their dock and install a new seawater intake pipe and the second to allow Ace Sea Chest to remove their storage containers and renovate their building moving the entrance to the street side.

They approved a bill to name the road from Mandela Circle to Donkey hill as the Elmo roebuck Sr. Drive, The approved a resolution to name the road from Frenchtown to Kronprindsens gade as “Justino Colon Way” and they approved a resolution to honor Ian Barrows – a tenth grader at Antilles School for his sail boat racing that has won international acclaim including the gold medal at the Singapore Youth Olympics. The legislative session will continue today with consideration of a bill to reduce paid holidays and tax increases and a provision that will allow the government to reduce wages. .

Governor John DeJongh says the Virgin Islands got a new million dollar grant from the Dept. of Health and Human Services in Washington DC – to explore how the Virgin Islands will participate in the American Health benefit exchange under Obama care.

Public Services Commission approved plans tor WAPA to increase the Levelized Energy Adjustment Clause due to the increase in fuel oil that powers our electrical generators.  With Oil at around $115 per barrel the Levelized Energy Adjustment Clause will jump from .239 to .317 which means an average electrical bill will go up by about $40 per month. Here’s irony. If the Alpine energy deal had been done, that plant would be nearing completion right now and bringing savings on the cost of fuel. They are still fiddling around with plans for a trash to energy plant on St. Croix – but that is nowhere near started.

Port Authority decided not to evict residents from Bournefield. The told the Port Authority staff to develop a new policy for the residents in Bournefield, They want staff to formulate a more nuanced policy to address relocating residents of the damaged, flood-prone but inexpensive housing. The board wants operational and maintenance procedures for the units. They will close units by attrition. The board also acted to hire an administrative assistant, voted to change rates at Crown Bay facility and to open the Parking Lot for paid overnight parking. And they approved improvements to the Enighted Pond Parking Lot and to the runway at Cyril E. King Airport.

Teachers don’t like the government’s austerity plans that include wage freezes.   A Group of 50 teachers held a protest on St. Croix yesterday protesting that their right of collective bargaining is being thwarted. They are also protesting plans to remove Transfer Day, Holy Thursday and Boxing Day as paid holidays and Sunday as an official holiday.

Good News from the Schooner Roseway.  Last evening they held an open house, right after a day of taking students from Saints Peter and Paul School on a sailing adventure. The students got lessons in ecology, navigation and learn some seamanship skills.

The Tsunami warning system worked – sort of – yesterday’s test showed where the system was not working and what we need to do to improve the operations of the system. St. Thomas gets a signal from St. Croix and that signal was interrupted by the cruise ships that stand in the way of the signal’s path.  Now we know and that is why we perform the test.

WAPA will be installing a new 6 inch water line today and tomorrow in Contant Knolls to the Old Mill.  One lane will be open during construction.

The Enterprise Zone Commission is hosting a series of estate planning seminars today on St. Thomas at Windward Passage Hotel also at 6:00 PM.

St. Croix Board of Elections is holding a Town Hall Meetings this evening at the UVI Great Hall also at 6:00 PM. The topic is the election process and the doors are open to the public to ask questions and get answers. Last night the Board heard from 8 residents all of whom asked tht the paper ballot become an option for peole who do not trust the electronic voting machines.

American Red Cross is having a “Fill the Boot” campaign on Friday with the help of the VI Fire Service  on St. Thomas and St. Croix – there will be firemen’s boots where you can make a contribution to American Red Cross at Sunny Isles Shopping Center, Five Corners, and Mars Hill. On St. Thomas at vendor’s Plaza and at Four Winds Plaza.

This month is Social Work Month and the National Association of Social Workers will host full day workshops on Veterans issues benefits and services today and tomorrow on St. Thomas.

Good News from the UVI St. Croix Campus as they hold a ceremony today at 11:00 AM to rename the St. Croix Campus in honor of the late Albert Sheen Esq.  And UVI has a student health and safety day all day today. Blood Pressure Screening, Blood sugar screening, Blood cholesterol, HIV testing, Sleep study information and lots of health workshops.  10:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the UVI St. Croix Campus and again tomorrow.

We all need to help our own Sondria Pemberton.  She has a film in a competition and we all need to vote for her film. Go to this web site: 4gcompetitiveedge.com/legacy and vote for the tropical day movie.  Our Sondria has 256 votes and the leader has 500 votes.  If we all go and vote for our own, she will win and that’s good news.

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