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Weather in the World : sixty-one degrees in Philadelphia with rain, sixty-two in Washington.  They have rain also.  Chicago is twenty-five degrees and snow.  Thirty degrees in Toronto with snow, Fourteen in Denver with clouds, Minneapolis as one degree in light snow and Paradise Beach Manitoba a brisk -24 degrees with fog

79  Degrees in Crown Bay St. Thomas.  Under cloudy skies
77 % humidity
Barometric pressure is 30.04 inches
Wind is from East at 17 MPG gusting to 25
Point 04 inches of rain in the last 24 hours. 

National Weather Service : Thunderstorms likely. High 77F. Winds ENE at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of rain 90%.   An upper level low approaching from the northeast will destabilize the atmosphere across the Virgin Islands keeping the potential for showers high today and Tuesday. Breezy conditions will prevail today but winds are expected to decrease tomorrow as a surface trough approaches from the east.  Mariners can expect seas to eight feet and winds to 22 knots A Small Craft Advisories remain in effect for local waters.

Cruise Ship News : We have Celebrity Equinox, Carnival Valor, Adventure of the Seas at Havensight Dock and her at Austin Monsanto Marine Terminal we have Azamara Quest and St. Croix has the Jewel coming into Frederiksted.

Headlines: US Senate Committee approved an Omnibus Territories bill with our CFO provisions involved, Unemployment benefits are set to end this week, we have a Cruzian Carnival Queen and our Virtue of the week is Joyfulness.

At the top of the news on  !!AIR – December 23 Monday
We have a queen in the Cruzan Christmas Carnival. The Miss St. Croix competition was Sunday – there were three contestants, Shakira Ritter a junior at UVI majoring in criminal justice, Sharifa Browne , a freshman at Barry University , studying social work, and Askia LeBron who is a graduate of Pace University in environmental studies.  Each had her own cheering section with T-shirts and signs showing the girls faces.  Second runner up was Shakira Ritter, and Askia Lebron is our Cruzan Carnival Queen.  She won a $5000 in cash and a $5000 scholarship among other gifts.

News from Washington where the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved an Omnibus Territories Act of 2013.  Delegate Dr.  Donna Christensen is a co-sponsor. Our Governor opposed plans for CFO, so the committee made big changes.  No local CFO.  Instead Congress says the Comptroller General of the United States will examine the ways the territories estimate revenue and expenditures.  The Comptroller General will make recommendations to help the improve financial projections.  Dr Christensen originally proposed a referendum on the CFO, instead, Congress wants federal examinations and recommendations without any power to change our local budget.  The omnibus bill also increases the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to one million dollars a year instead of a percent of the national total.  The bill includes a provision to change way the local government matches federal funds.  Right now, if a federal grant is under $200,000, we can have the local match waived.  The new provision would raise that to a half-million dollars.  The federal committee removed a section of the bill that would establish Castle Nugent national historic site, and they removed plans to designate St. Croix as a national heritage area.  The bill now goes to the full U.S. Senate and later will go to the House of Representatives.

Department of Labor says the Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program payments will come to an end on December 28 -not just locally but nationally.   Emergency Unemployment Compensation is a temporary federal program that provides additional unemployment benefits to claimants who qualify.  No new Emergency Unemployment Compensation claims can be filed and payments will end for all claimants who are currently enrolled in Emergency Unemployment Compensation after December 28. 

Hearty Congratulations to the winners in the Claude O. Markoe School spelling bee. Sixth grade speller Khaien Donawa outlasted 19 other competitors and prevailed after more than 10 rounds of stiff competition to prove he is the school’s best speller. Second place finisher fifth grader Yazirah Encarnacion wasn’t an easy walk over.  She quickly spelled words like “expunge,” “insinuate,” “lambasted” before succumbing. 

Education Commissioner and Acting Assistant Commissioner and the entire Department of Education Leadership Team, wish our parents and students a safe and happy holiday season and encourage all to keep up with reading and other learning activities during the upcoming two-week break.  Studies have continually shown that most students risk losing valuable reading skills during extended breaks, but those that continue to read and engage in other forms of learning actually see a boost in their reading and vocabulary levels. It is also important for parents to be involved, and provide fun, enjoyable activities that reinforce the benefits of reading for pleasure. Keep reading over Christmas break.

The St. Thomas regatta in March will no longer be called the Rolex Regatta.  Rolex decided to focus all of their marketing on regional events, and ours is international.  But the Regatta will continue, the Department of tourism has stepped in to provide a hundred and eighty thousand dollars that it takes to run the Regatta.  More than one thousand sailors attend every yea r plus their families and friends.  That many people bring in about 4 1/2 million dollars.  So tourism will be the sponsor 

Let us clarify the scheduled for this week and next. Governor John DeJongh signed a proclamation issuing administrative leave to government employees
•       On Tuesday December 24 he issued administrative leave from 1 pm - 5 pm territory-wide
•       Wednesday December 25, is a Legal Holiday, so is Thursday December 26. Boxing Day
•       Tuesday December 31, 2013 there is administrative leave from 1 pm - 5 pm on all islands.
•       Wednesday January 1, 2014 is a Legal Holiday
•       Thursday January 2 St Croix has Administrative leave all day
•       Friday January 3 the gov has issues Administrative leave 8 am – 5 pm- - territory-wide
•       Monday January 6, is a  Legal Holiday

The Virgin Islands Fire Service would like to wish everyone a safe, healthy and happy holiday season and remind everyone about the importance of safety at Christmas time. Christmas trees should be kept away from heat sources such as candles and electric heaters.  Never leave your home or go to bed without unplugging your Christmas trees.  Candles are not to be left unattended and must be extinguished properly. Remember in case of a fire, GET OUT and STAY OUT.  Never go back into a burning building. God’s blessings upon you. May He keep you safe all year round. 

Rarely do we tell you to listen to the OTHER radio station.  Today at NOON on Radio One AM 1000 on the Out 2 Lunch Radio show the guests are VI radio legends: Addie Ottley & Leo Moron – Radio One at noon.

Our virtue of the week  is Joyfulness.  Joyfulness is an inner sense of peace and happiness. You appreciate the gifts each day brings.  Without joyfulness, when the fun stops, our happiness stops.  Joy can carry us through the hard times even when we are feeling sad.  Joy gives us wings.

You are practicing joyfulness when you…
*   Look inside for happiness
*   Enjoy whatever you are doing
*   Feel good about doing what is right
*   Find creative ways to enjoy your time
*   Have a good sense of humor
*   Feel an inner peace even when things are tough

Say this Affirmation:  I am thankful for the joy I feel inside.  I enjoy my work and my play. I appreciate the gifts this day holds for me.

Thank You

Virgin Islands for making WSTA Lucky 13 Radio @ #1 - The People Station. WSTA is provideing music, talk and news radio for the people of the virgin islands, the caribbean via a live worldwide broadcast. Thank you for tuning in.

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