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Weather in the World : 36 degrees in Philadelphia. Same in NYCa and Boston. 32 in Washington. 25 in Chicago with snow. 28 in Montreal with snow. Paradise Beach Manitoba has 19 and snow. And minus 19 in Iglooluk Canada. 

78 Degrees in Crown Bay St. Thomas.  Under mostly clear skies.
74 %  humidity
Barometric pressure is 30.02 inches
Wind is from East at 8 MPH
Point 01 inches of rain at WSTA in the last 24 hours. 

National Weather Service is saying : Partly cloudy. High 78F. Winds ESE at 10 to 20 mph.

Cruise Ship News :  Norwegian Gem, Explorer of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas Is at Havensight Dock

Headlines : Senators approve an omnibus bill with lots of small stuff. Good News from the delegate for our hospitals – one of our own may go to the winter Olympics and 7 students who make us proud. 

At the top of the news on  !!AIR – January 16 Thursday

Senators approved a bill with a whole lot of unrelated amendments. Some small stuff and some that might matter a lot.  Among the small stuff - repairing an error in the plaque honoring the late Senator Lorraine Berry.  A small amendment on how the lottery pays the horse rescue organizations.  They changed the law regarding how the government contributes to the GERS. The law changed the contribution rate – up 3% but the original law only applied to tier 2 employees. The government has been paying a higher rate for everyone so the law had to change.  Among the provisions that might actually impact your life is an amendment that requires all government offices to have two notaries on duty – so one is always available. Another provision would require every government office to post a sign that details what services are provided by that office and a checklist of the steps necessary to obtain those services.  If the governor approved the law, you might actually see a sign in the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to tell you how to register your car or get a driver’s license. Licensing and Consumer Affairs would have a sign that tells you how to get a license.  Some people know these things but when you're new to it, you have no idea.  This simple provision is buried in the bill and might actually change how we interact with government offices.

Delegate Dr. Donna Christensen says the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid announced that the territories will be eligible to receive two increases in the federal dollars – This will decrease the local share we contribute.  The Virgin Islands will increase the Federal medical assistance from 57.2 percent up to fifty-five percent. The decisions also provide for seventy-eight percent payment for individuals who been added as a result of the Affordable Care Act. 

Yesterday we told you, seaborne airlines removed Austin Nibbs from the Board of Directors.  Today they're confirming their commitment to the Virgin Islands.  Now Ms. Ethel Ritch will take a new position of vice president for the US Virgin Islands. When they move their headquarters to Puerto Rico, Ms. Ritch will oversee operation here. She will be the face of Seaborne.  She's a thirty-seven year resident of St. Croix with thirty-five years of airline experience in out islands. She worked for Antilles airboats, Coral Air, Eastern Metro express, Sunaire air and the VI seaplane shuttle.

British Virgin Islands announced three cases of a mosquito borne virus in Jost Van Dyke.  Most of us can’t pronounce chikungunya PLAY SOUND BYTE. Sounds like Chicken Gun Ya… Should we worry?  Well, yes… like we worry about dengue. It would be hard to tell them apart. Chikungunya has the same symptoms as dengue;  fever, joint pain, headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, and rash. The big difference is that Chikungunya takes 3 to 5 days to develop after the bite. The illness is carried by the same mosquito that brings dengue. So all the same precautions are in effect; keep tires a dry place, put plants in the ground, not in water, empty containers with water, turn them over so they don’t collectwater. cover infant cribs with mosquito netting, and use DEET when outside. Keep from getting bites – that’s how you make good news.

E. Benjamin Oliver School Band Boosters have their monthly meeting this evening at 5:45pm in the Band Room.  All parents and guardians of students enrolled band program are asked to attend. Please be on time.  Big Thank You to everyone who helped with the calendar sale –Sold Out.

State Office of Special Education has a meeting of the Advisory Panel on Special Education today at the Divi Carina Resort on St. Croix.  They are reviewing their annual performance report for the U.S. Department of Education. Community members can make comments between 4 and 5 pm.

Two of our own may be going to the Winter Olympics.  Jasmine Campbell and Veronica Gaspar have racked up enough points in Alpine Downhill skiing to qualify for the Olympics. They might represent the Virgin Islands in Sochi, Russia.  Campbell has the most points. If she goes, she will compete in the giant slalom where skiers go downhill and have to weave in and out between poles on the slope. This will put the spotlight on the Virgin Islands for winter sports – remember the Jamaican Bobsled team…

On Monday, January 20, the gentleman of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity will present the Dr. Martin Luther King Peace March starting at 2:00 PM from Market Square marching to Emancipation Garden.  All schools and civic organizations are invited.  For more information call 776-2345

Monday is the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King day and on Friday the Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas will honor seven accomplished students who represent the ideals of Doctor King.  Friday at 630, each will receive a cash award.  While each student comes from various backgrounds, they all wrote essays as if they were speaking to the King, who would have celebrated his 85th birthday this year.
The seven students are:
Mi-kaela Carty V. I . Montessori School and Peter Gruber International Academy
Mar-quisse Brown of All Saints Cathedral School
Khe-ana Fahie of Ivanna Eudora Kean High School
Rodney Querrard Jr. of Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic School
Ker-yl Liburd of Seventh-day Adventist School
Brianna Hairs-ton of Charlotte Amalie High School
And Julianna de Haas from Antilles School

Thank You

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