01 March 2013
First the weather:
78 degrees in Crown Bay St. Thomas
29.95 30.01 Barometric Pressure – rising
Wind from East at 5 mph – Under Partly Cloudy Skies
No rain in the last 24 hours.
National Weather Service says: Clear with rain showers. High of 79F. Winds from the ESE at 5 to 10 mph. A fair and stable weather pattern will continue to prevail across the region until at least Sunday. Light isolated showers are possible mainly across the waters during the overnight hours. Early next week a wetter and more unstable weather pattern is forecast to impact the Virgin Islands as a cold front moves across the territory from the northwest.
Cruise Ship News Summit at Havensight Dock
At the top of the news on Friday March 1
The federal sequester begins today. The federal government did not solve its budget problem so an automatic reduction of $85 billion dollars will be set aside, or "sequestered." It’s it's a government way of saying cut. The governor asked the Bureau of Economic Research to figure out how much this will cost the territory. Bureau Director Wharton Berger said yesterday that the territory may lose more than $10 million in federal funding this fiscal year. It could be more than over $13 million from the territory's federal funding of about $162 million. Cuts will be across the board, affecting both domestic and defense spending. This will create a chaotic situation here were some programs are heavily federal funded and others are not. Federal grant funding to the Department of Education will drop by $2.6 million. Department of Human Services will lose $1.7 million. Head Start loses $700,000. Public Works $1.6 million. Staffing at the airports will be first to be reduced.
Meanwhile Port Authority Director Carlton Dowe announces that work has begun on the Cyril E. King Airport Taxiway “A” Rehabilitation Project. This project will complete the necessary pavement repairs to the entire Taxiway A East and include a small portion of Taxiway A West at the hold position to Runway 10. The cost of this project is $8.9 million dollars which is being funded via an Airport Improvement Projects grant from the Federal Aviation Administration. The contractor is Better Roads Asphalt Corporation of St.Thomas. and will take approximately 390 days to complete. Most of the work will be done at night.
Bad news - Trans-Caribbean Dairy Corp., known as St. Thomas Dairies, will cease operations effective today. Why? The cost of electricity. 28 employees will be terminated. The effect can be devastating. The Good News – the Department of Labor Rapid Response Team was is on site today tho help ease the impact of layoffs and to assure that workers are offered a full range of benefits and services. Labor staff to provide targeted services to the employees, and facilitate connections with other service providers and workforce partners.
Good News from the VINGN – their fiber optic trenching project is more than half complete. On schedule. Good News on the Digital Literacy Training Program. It is free to the public, accessible on-line at www.vingn.com from home, office or the Public Computer Centers. 395 people have signed up. 132 residents have successfully completed the Digital Literacy Course.
Public Services Commission completed their hearings on St. Thomas last evening… At issue is the so called “Tourist Rate” for ferry transportation. Rates for seniors, children and most adults would not change but a new category of rates for tourists would increase. According to the consultant to the Public Services Commission, the ferry companies are hovering at the break even point and just need a small change to be profitable. No action was taken.
Every year, the flu arrives with fevers, aches, chills, and extreme fatigue. Influenza affects all people especially children, who are first to come down with illness and bring it home to their families. The Department of Health has a new influenza campaign called “On the Road to the Community.” They are coming out to teach everyone including the children flu prevention, symptoms, and treatment. The Department of Health are going to Head Start centers to teach employees and children about coughing and sneezing and hand washing techniques. Health staff will be in the community through noon today educating the public on flu prevention.
Sixteen of our Firefighters have been engaged 4-months of intensive training with the Department of Heath Emergency Medical Technician Training Division. And today at Magen’s Bay Beach the Fire service and EMS will test the students’ skills in patient and victim care in water bound emergency scenarios. They are training to be certified and licensed as an Emergency Medical Technician.
The Division of Real Property will issue the 2011 real property tax bills to property owners of record as of January 1, 2012. The Division will again offer early payment discounts for property tax payers who pay their bills before the April 8, 2013 due date. A 5% discount will be applied to bills paid by March 25th.
Veterans on St Croix - Maria Rodriguez is in St Croix today from the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Division of the U.S. Veterans Administration - veterans who need assistance with benefits." Today at the Community Base Clinic in the Village Mall St Croix.
The Folklife Festival continues Friday at Annaberg Plantation from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Saturday morning the ladies of the Church of God of Prophecy will be in Savan providing clothing and other family needs to the needy – That’s Saturday morning in the Parking Lot next to Best Laundry in Savan.
Coming Up Sunday Pearls in Paradise will host an indoor Family Fun Day on Sunday, March 3, from noon to 6:00 PM at the UVI Sports and Fitness Center. They have an indoor playground area, live on-stage performances, princess makeovers, face painting, thinking tables, coloring stations, inflatable bouncers, modern games, old-fashioned games, professional portraits, and the grand finale “Stop the Bullying Campaign and Pledge.” Meet Dora the Explorer, Diego, Shrek, Princess Fiona, Tigress, Master Shifu, from Kung Fu Panda. Tickets are only one dollar. A portion benefits Boys & Girls Clubs. For further information call 473-2338. Sunday Noon to 6:00 PM at the Sports and Fitness center.
Today is “Read Across America Day,” and our top government officials are reading to kids in school. Education Commissioner Dr. LaVerne Terry, District Superintendents Jeanette Smith-Barry and Gary Molloy, are joining Gov. John deJongh Jr. and First Lady Cecile deJongh in observing “Read Across America Day,” This is a national literacy celebration on the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss.