19 September 2012
First the weather:
86 degrees in Crown Bay St. Thomas
73 % humidity.
29.94 Barometric Pressure – rising
Mostly East Wind at 16 MPH. Under Partly Cloudy Skies.
Point 04 inches of rain in our rain gauge in the last 24 hours. Point 36 so far this month and 24.52” this year.
National Weather Service says: Partly cloudy with 40% chance of thunderstorms and rain showers. Winds from the NNW at 10 to 15 mph.
Invest 92L – the tropical wave is gone, but residual moisture left behind the wave will be enough to fuel the development of one or two scattered showers.
Cruise Ship News – Allure of the Seas at Austin Monsanto Marine Terminal:
At the top of the news on Wednesday September 19
Full Senate met yesterday. They approved a executive branch budget of 605.5 million dollars.. That is more than the Governor’s budget request of 592 million. They added separate budget bills of 67.6 million for a total budget of 673 million dollars for the General fund. Senators also wrote amendments adding $1.6 million in new spending - $650,000 for a Customs clearing house in Red Hook and $250,000 for the Office of Banking and Insurance. They transferred 14 million from the St John and St Croix capital improvement funds for WAPA even though those funds are already tapped. They said they cut their own budget by 2 million dollars but the Daily News says there are earmarks in the miscellaneous section of the budget taking their own budget over 20 million dollars. What earmarks? 800 thousand for employee separations, 200 thousand for contributions to the GERS, a million in paying back unemployment insurance forlegislature employees, 300 thousand to restore the 8% pay cuts to senators. Are they really getting their pay cuts back while the rest of government workers are not… Who wrote this budget? Oh, they did!
They took other action, changing the name of the Department of Housing, Parks and Recreation to the Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation; authorizing WTJX Public Television to expand into other media clearing the way for a new NPR radio station under WTJX. They approved a plan to transfer oversight of the Medical Assistance Program to the Department of Human Services; and approved a lease between DPNR and WAPA for a reverse osmosis facility on an 8 acre in Estate Penitentiary St. Croix.
Senators approved the bill to raise the unemployment insurance tax on businesses. Every business will pay an additional $25 per employee and senators raised the insurance rate from 1 to 2% of wages. They passed a bill to require medical service providers to wear a badge identifying what kind of medical license they possess. And medical licenses must be on display in medical offices. – This mirrors federal legislation.
Federal investigators disqualified 15 retail stores from ever being part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps. There were 114 retailers in the food stamp program. Scratch 15 for misuse of the program. The 15 abused food stamps, trading stamps for cash or selling products that aren’t part of the food stamp program. The program is large – a quarter of Virgin Islands residents participate in the food stamps program consuming $52 million dollars worth of food in this year. Who is out?
On St. Thomas - Broadway Food Mart in Fort Myler, Dana Market in Mariendahl; Fruit Plusin Four Winds Plaza; Gabby #2 on Commandant Gade;Hana Mini Mart on General Gade; In and Out Mini Martin Fryenhoj; Max Mart in Nisky Center; and Yanes Supermarket on Kronprindsens Gade.
On Frederiksted St. Croix - Carlton Goods Shop, Choice MiniMart, and Headline Market. Super Dollar in Christiansted; both Superior Service Stations, in Estate Mt Pleasant; and Estate Glynn; and a store called Covert Grocery – great name for an underhanded market.
Governor deJongh thanked the Legislature’s for passing the bill to give federal law enforcement agents standing as local peace officers while on assignment in the Virgin Islands. He said “My administration has long lobbied for passage of peace officer status legislation. This is a necessary tool to stop the smuggling of illegal weapons into the territory and stop people who do violence to our citizens.
The Federal Inspector General’s office had budget cuts. They are closing their offices in the Virgin Islands. They will continue to conduct audits of government spending – but from now on, they will work from mainland using traveling staff, No more federal audit office in Virgin Islands.
The Board of Elections counted the last ballots in the primary election --- Yesterday Justin Harrigan was in seventh place – 4 votes ahead of Jean Forde in the Democratic Party contest for the seven places on the November ballot. After the walk in ballots, absentee ballots and all the rest were counted, Harrigan’s lead increased to 7 votes ahead of Forde. The November ballot is now determined – the seven Democratic Party candidates will be: Clifford Graham, Shawn Michael Malone, Myron Jackson, Clarence Payne, Janette Millen Young, Donald Cole and Justin Harrigan.
As the UVI "50 for 50" Class Challenge comes to a close on September 30, all UVI students, graduates and folks who took classes at UVI are reminded to participate in Annual Giving. UVI wants to be the first Historically Black College and University to attain an 50% alumni participation rate in Annual Giving. The class with the highest participation rate and greatest contribution will be publically recognized. If you have contributed this year, thank you for your participation. For more information contact Keith James at 877-241-6687 or
The Enterprise Zone Commission will host an estate planning conference this evening at Windward Passage Hotel on St. Thomas from 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Residents of Savanne, Downstreet, Garden Street and Upstreet on St. Thomas, and other interested persons, are invited to attend to gain knowledge and understanding about estate planning; learn about basic estate planning options, including whether you should you prepare a will or a trust; and learn about the probate process in the Virgin Islands. The attendees will also learn why estate planning is important.
This evening at 7 PM sevenminusseven presents The Hunter about and independent and lonely hunter Martin David who is hired by the powerful biotech company Red Leaf to hunt down the last Tasmanian tiger. He poses as a researcher from a university and lodges in the house of Lucy Armstrong – discovers her husband has been missing and befriends her children, Martin spends his days chasing the Tiger but becomes close to the Armstrong family. But the company wants the tiger dead. no matter the costs. The film is tonight, it’s free at Sevenminusseven gallery in Subbase next to Pueblo.
The Bureau of Economic Research encouraged Virgin Islands business owners to participate in an upcoming census of the territory’s economic activity. The US Department of Commerce conducts a comprehensive business survey every five years get a detailed picture of our economy and current business environment. This year is particularly important in the aftermath of the HOVENSA closure. The results of the business survey will help government leaders rebuild a strong economy in the Virgin Islands