Tibbar Energy wants 60 percent of the groundwater available on St. Croix for 'renewable power' project

ST. CROIX - A company's plan to take a significant portion of St. Croix's available groundwater, tapping into it using 22 wells to be drilled in different spots around the island, has sparked some public debate.

Tibbar Energy - a company that plans to grow Giant King Grass and other varieties of grass around the island, harvest it, truck it to a planned biogas facility near the airport and convert it to energy to sell to WAPA - has applied for a groundwater appropriation of approximately 520,000 gallons per day, amounting to 60 percent of the estimated available groundwater on the island.

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Security breach forces local banks to issue new cards for many customers

ST. THOMAS - A massive security breach has forced local banks to stop the use of thousands of their customers' cards within the territory.

FirstBank, Scotiabank and Banco Popular have had to reach out to their clientele in the last week because of an external security breach that has enabled an outside source to access the card numbers of certain customers.

It is unclear where the security breach occurred, and how many numbers have been illegally accessed.

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Nurse charged with stealing narcotics from Schneider

St. Thomas - A Schneider Hospital nurse has admitted to stealing more than $7,000 worth of painkillers from the hospital to "feed her addiction," according to police.

Police arrested Kelli Marie Skaggs, 29, of Estate Welgunst, Thursday evening after the Drug Enforcement Administration teamed with the hospital's security staff to conduct covert surveillance of Skaggs' activity at the hospital.

Skaggs, who appeared in court Friday morning for her advice-of-rights hearing, is charged with grand larceny. Her bail was set at $10,000.

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Retired cop pleads guilty to DUI, fleeing scene of accident

ST. THOMAS - A retired V.I. Police officer who last year was accused of trying to shoot his ex-girlfriend pleaded guilty Friday to driving under the influence and fleeing the scene of an accident.

Dennis Vanterpool, 52, of Smith Bay, was arrested the evening of Aug. 26 and charged with driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident and negligent driving, according to police records.

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ST. CROIX - Police are investigating the armed robbery and shooting of a man late Wednesday night in the Mutual Homes housing community.

V.I. Police spokeswoman Melody Rames said Friday that police are investigating the incident that occurred just before 10 p.m. in which a 62-year-old man was robbed.

The man told police that he got out of his vehicle in the apartment complex and walked to the stairs of his building when another man approached him and demanded money, Rames said.

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The Finance Committee will meet at 9 a.m. in Ottley Legislative Hall on St. Thomas to consider a bill to provide a contribution from the partial settlement of the South Shore NRD litigation settlement to the Fiscal Year 2015 General Fund; and a number of lease agreements between the Property and Procurement Department and various other parties.


No meetings.

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St. Croix food drive today to benefit military families

ST. CROIX - In observance of Military Family Month and showing compassion for those in need before the Thanksgiving holiday, the 4-H Ambassadors and the Teen Advisory Board of the V.I. National Guard are hosting the "Race For Cans Food Drive" today to assist less fortunate families.

Master Sgt. Karen Williams, V.I. National Guard spokeswoman, said the month is marked by military personnel to recognize and honor families of service members from all branches for their contributions and sacrifices.

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VIPA removes derelict plane from King Airport

ST. THOMAS - The V.I. Port Authority is completing the removal of a damaged aircraft involved in a 2011 accident at King Airport on St. Thomas.

On Friday, a Port Authority contractor, Patrick Charles Enterprises, began the 10-day process of dismantling and disposing of Convair N8277Q, also known as the bread plane.

After the plane is disassembled, the metal will be taken to the Bovoni Landfill for disposal, according to a statement issued Friday by the Port Authority.

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WAPA OKs $63M hike in propane conversion price tag

ST. THOMAS - The price tag for the V.I. Water and Power Authority propane conversion project has increased by about $63 million, nearly double the initial contract, though the major increase in the cost will not disrupt the intended savings for utility customers, according to WAPA officials.

"We're nonprofit. Anything we get, we pass on to the ratepayer," WAPA Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr. told The Daily News on Thursday. The contract initially capped the infrastructure cost at $87 million, which was expected to include the construction of storage terminal facilities at the St. Thomas and St. Croix power plants and the upgrade of eight turbines to burn liquefied petroleum gas - better known as propane.

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CMS accepts Luis' systems improvement plan

ST. CROIX - Federal regulators have signed-off on a document Luis Hospital officials submitted on Wednesday night that lays out the hospital's responsibilities as Luis staff work to correct deficiencies and meet basic standards for quality of care.

The eight-page systems improvement agreement staves off the threatened decertification of the hospital by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for nine months, giving the hospital that time to implement changes to fix myriad problems that CMS inspectors uncovered during a survey this summer.

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Marshals, VIPD arrest sex offender from Okla. on St. Thomas

ST. THOMAS - After hiding out on St. Thomas for several weeks, a convicted sex offender from Oklahoma was picked up by authorities.

U.S. Marshals and the V.I. Police Department worked together to find Darrell Dewayne Perry, who initially was wanted after he failed to register as a sex offender in both Cherokee County and Muskogee County in Oklahoma, according to the Chelsea Police Department.

Authorities arrested Perry, 54, who is from Tahlequah, Okla., at 3 p.m. Monday on a warrant.

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Police ID St. John murder victim

ST. THOMAS - V.I. Police have identified the homicide victim found Tuesday morning on St. John as 60-year-old Edward H. Netherland.

Police said Thursday that, based on the autopsy report, the cause of death was blunt force trauma.

An employee of Netherland, an insurance broker based out of Tennessee, found him unresponsive in his east end home at about 9:15 a.m. Tuesday, according to police spokeswoman Melody Rames.

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St. Croix fundraiser benefits child with rare birth defect

ST. CROIX - Many children wish for dolls and trips and cute little puppies, but at 2 years old, all Synaii Thomas wishes for is to be able to close her eyes when she wants to go to sleep.

Synaii was born with a cleft lip that extended over her face, which coupled with her severely everted eyelids and bulging eyes, prevents her from closing her eyes.

She suffers from a rare congenital birth defect where her eyelids stay flipped up and open permanently.

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GERS board hikes contribution rates for employees, employers by 3 percent

ST. THOMAS - Government Employees' Retirement System board members, tired of waiting for legislative action on a number of proposed reforms to the territory's ailing pension system, took matters into their own hands Thursday and voted to increase employer and employee contribution rates.

The increase in contribution rates will begin Jan. 1.

For Tier I employees, the rate will increase by 1 percent per year for the next three years, resulting in a 3 percent increase at the end of the time period. The current contribution rate is 8 percent.

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V.I. Tourism partners with Delta Airlines to provide new weekly direct flight from Atlanta to St. Croix

ST. THOMAS - To lure a new direct flight from Atlanta to St. Croix, the V.I. government has entered into a special agreement with Delta Airlines to put up cash if the flight loses money over a six-month period.

"It's a $1.3 million revenue guarantee, and Delta is a partner in the risk with us," Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty said.

At its meeting Wednesday, the V.I. Public Finance Authority passed a resolution to back a $730,000 letter of credit - using money from Tourism's promotions fund.

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PFA approves additional $300K in debt coverage for med school

ST. THOMAS - At its meeting Wednesday, the V.I. Public Finance Authority authorized an additional $300,000 commitment to cover debt service for the territory's first medical school, although the authorization to move ahead with the funding still will need to come from the V.I. Legislature.

The Legislature previously has approved $700,000 per year to cover debt service - repay the loans needed - for the first phase of the University of the Virgin Islands School of Medicine.

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2011 - Several Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services surveys of Luis Hospital turn up major deficiencies and noncompliance with Medicare Conditions for Participation.

Oct. 10, 2011 - Luis Hospital CEO Jeff Nelson says that the hospital has proposed entering a "Systems Improvement Agreement" with CMS, an agreement that the hospital will make improvements to address the deficiencies that have been noted in the CMS surveys.

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Luis improvement agreement due to CMS today

ST. CROIX - Today is the deadline for Luis Hospital officials to send federal regulators a document stating what they agree to do during the next nine months to correct deficiencies and bring the hospital up to acceptable standards.

The hospital's certification with the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is on the line.

If the hospital misses today's deadline, CMS has said it will decertify the hospital, after postponing an Oct. 9 decertification date to give hospital officials time to develop the systems improvement agreement that is due today.

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Jury finds 'Lolo' Willis guilty of bribery, extortion

ST. THOMAS - After seven long hours of jury deliberation, Louis "Lolo" Willis, former executive director of the V.I. Legislature, heard the word he was least hoping to hear: Guilty.

A federal jury found Willis, 55, guilty of two of the three counts of federal programs bribery along with two of the three counts of extortion under the color of official right.

Willis is expected to return to court for sentencing Feb. 13. Each count of federal programs bribery is punishable by up to 10 years, and each count of extortion under the color of official right is punishable by up to 20 years.

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Neville James will lead majority as Senate president

The 31st Legislature is shaping up.

Of the 15 members of the incoming 31st Legislature, 11 have organized into a majority and have chosen Sen. Neville James, who will be the ranking Democrat, as Senate president.

James, who will be starting his fifth term as a senator when the new Legislature takes office Jan. 12, said the majority formed along party lines.

"We have a majority of senators from each district in the majority, all Democrats" James said. "We believe that is a solid mandate, when 73 percent of the body are of the same political affiliation."

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St. John man faces rape, weapons, larceny charges

ST. THOMAS - Authorities have sealed documents detailing rape charges against a St. John man.

V.I. Police arrested Nathaniel "Natty" Richardson, 31, of Upper John Dunkoe, St. John, about 3 p.m. Tuesday and charged him with first-degree aggravated rape; first-degree rape; first-degree unlawful sexual contact; use of a dangerous weapon during a crime; and grand larceny.

His bail was set at $75,000.

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Trial begins for man charged in daytime murder at BMV

ST. THOMAS - V.I. Police officer Kisha Monsanto recalled the date, a little more than one year ago, when she discovered the body of a young man who had been shot to death behind the Motor Vehicles Bureau in Sub Base on St. Thomas.

Monsanto had been at the V.I. Police Department's motor pool when she heard what she described as a "bang, bang, bang, bang," coming from the back of the bureau, near the inspection lane office, she testified in V.I. Superior Court on Wednesday.

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2014 gubernatorial runoff*

Kenneth Mapp 15,268 63.89%

Donna Christensen 8,573 35.87%

Write-in 58 0.24%

* V.I. Elections System report run at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday with 33 of 37 precincts reported. The printed results are the most up-to-date vote count available from the Elections System.

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Elections begins counting absentee ballots from gubernatorial runoff in both districts

The Elections boards in each district on Wednesday began counting the absentee ballots from Tuesday's runoff election.

Despite the fact that the number of outstanding ballots could not possibly make up the difference Donna Christensen would need to overcome governor-elect Kenneth Mapp, the boards must count every vote before certifying the election.

By law, the boards have until Nov. 28 to receive and count absentee ballots.

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Crown Bay dredging project still stalled

ST. THOMAS - With the high season upon the territory, the necessary dredging to allow bigger cruise ships into Crown Bay remains stalled and awaiting federal permits.

The original project was split into two phases. The first phase, dredging Crown Bay Marina, has been completed and the work is being reviewed by Port Authority staff.

The second phase, dredging the East Gregorie Channel that leads to the Monsanto Marine Terminal, cannot begin until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit has been approved.

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Port Authority awards $6M contract for Rohlsen Airport solar energy system

ST. THOMAS - During its regular meeting on Wednesday, the V.I. Port Authority board went into executive session and awarded a contract to Veriown Energy Inc. for a 1.62 megawatt photovoltaic system at Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix.

While some details will still be negotiated, the project is expected save about $6.2 million over the life of the 20-year contract, according to Port Authority officials.

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Precincts counted (of 37) 33 89.19%

Registered voters - total 51,326

Ballots cast - total 23,966

Ballots cast - blank 67 0.28%

Voter turnout - total 46.69%

Voter turnout - blank 0.13

* V.I. Elections System report run at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday with 33 of 37 precincts reported. The printed results are the most complete vote count available to The Daily News at press time.

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Sun shines on voters in gubernatorial runoff

Not only was the weather favorable for Tuesday's runoff gubernatorial election, but so, too, was the voting process.

Polling judges said they were glad to see what they believed to be a relatively high turnout, perhaps a higher turnout than was seen in the most recent runoff election in 2006 - when John deJongh Jr. and Gregory Francis won against Kenneth Mapp and Almando Liburd.

"I know some people who did not vote in the General Election, but they did come out to vote in the runoff," said Sezlee Callwood, a poll judge at Joseph Gomez Elementary School on St. Thomas.

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2014 gubernatorial runoff*

Kenneth Mapp 15,268 63.89%

Donna Christensen 8,573 35.87%

Write-in 58 0.24%

* V.I. Elections System report run at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday with 33 of 37 precincts reported. The printed results are the most complete vote count available to The Daily News at press time.

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Kenneth Mapp is V.I.'s new governor

In a landslide victory, the territory's voters have chosen their next governor and lieutenant governor: Kenneth Mapp and Osbert Potter.

The team won about 64 percent of the vote in Tuesday's runoff election against Donna Christensen and her running mate, Basil Ottley Jr.

Before all the precincts had been counted, it was clear the margin was just too wide for Christensen to make up.

She conceded the race about 9 p.m. Tuesday at her headquarters on St. Thomas, before leaving for St. Croix to be with her supporters.

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Prosecution wraps up, defense begins on Day 2 of 'Lolo' Willis trial

ST. THOMAS - Some of the answers given by several witnesses during the second day of Louis "Lolo" Willis' trial seemed to surprise the prosecution and defense attorneys Tuesday in federal court.

District Judge Curtis Gomez stopped one witness, Clifford Charleswell, during Charleswell's testimony and reminded him that if his testimony was to "run afoul" from the truth, there could be severe consequences.

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Employee finds man dead in his home on St. John

ST. THOMAS - A 55-year-old St. John man was found murdered in his home Tuesday morning, according to V.I. Police.

Police have not specified the nature of the homicide, nor have they released the victim's identity, pending notification of the victim's next of kin.

An employee of the man called 911 at about 9:15 a.m. Tuesday after the employee found the man unresponsive inside his home on the east end of the island, according to police.

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Authorities search for missing St. Croix teen

The V.I. Human Services Department and the V.I. Police Department on St. Croix are looking for a 17-year-old boy who went missing from the V.I. Behavioral Services Boys Group Home.

Manuel Davis was reported missing to police on Monday after staff at the group home learned he left through a window on Sunday evening or early Monday morning.

Davis last was seen wearing a black vest with black jersey pants. He is Hispanic, 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weighs 182 pounds with a light brown complexion with dark brown eyes and black hair.

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Voters experience few problems at polls for runoff election

By all accounts, the runoff election came off much smoother than the General Election two weeks ago, and while there were bumpy starts at several polling sites, things worked themselves out quickly and the runoff overall was a success, Elections officials said Tuesday night.

Election Supervisor Caroline Fawkes said she was in constant contact with judges at the polls, and there were no mechanical issues regarding the voting machines at any of the sites, she said.

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Trial begins for 'Lolo' Willis on extortion, bribery charges

ST. THOMAS - The contractors accused of paying bribes to former V.I. Legislature Executive Director Louis "Lolo" Willis were named Monday in Willis' first day of trial in federal court.

The court proceedings Monday also raised the issue of a secret list of high-level officials - who were not named - and "under the table" payments made by sitting senators, none of whom were named with the exception of Carlton Dowe, the current executive director of the V.I. Port Authority.

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UVI applies for medical school accreditation

ST. THOMAS - The University of the Virgin Islands medical school is on track after the board approved the application to the accrediting agency on Monday.

To start the accreditation process, a package of materials and agreements must be sent to the Liaison Committee for Medical Education by Dec. 1.

The U.S. Education Department recognizes the organization as the accreditation authority for medical education programs, according to UVI.

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St. Croix man awaits extradition to Va. in connection with murder

ST. CROIX - A Frederiksted man remains jailed awaiting extradition to Virginia, where is wanted in connection with a murder there earlier this month.

Jimmar Payne, 21, of White Lady was picked up on a warrant from Richmond, Va., as a fugitive from justice after he was identified as one of three men involved in the shooting death of a woman inside a Clarion Hotel room in that city. The warrant from Virginia charges Payne with first-degree murder.

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Customs officers at King Airport ID, flag woman wanted in Texas

ST. THOMAS - During screenings at King Airport on St. Thomas, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers identified a woman with an outstanding arrest warrant for failure to appear involving narcotics possession charges in Johnson County, Texas.

Lynn Willocks, 28, from Kempner, Texas, was identified after she presented herself for inspection at King Airport, before boarding an American Airlines flight to Dallas-Ft. Worth.

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Man hurt in Mon Bijou shooting

ST. CROIX - Police are investigating a shooting incident that occurred near the Mon Bijou intersection Saturday evening.

V.I. Police spokeswoman Melody Rames said emergency dispatchers received a call from residents in the area about 6:50 p.m. Officers responding did not encounter a gunshot victim in the area, but a call from Luis Hospital later alerted them to a gunshot victim who had shown up there.

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VIPD investigating Christiansted murder

ST. CROIX - Police are investigating the murder of a man in Christiansted early Monday morning.

V.I. Police spokeswoman Melody Rames said major crime detectives are investigating the homicide that occurred about 4:30 a.m. on Company Street.

Detectives said the victim is a 54-year-old Hispanic man, but police have not yet released his identity, pending notification of his next of kin.

However, the Donna Christensen-Basil Ottley Jr. campaign issued a statement Monday expressing condolences to the family of a campaign worker, who they identified as Javier DeJesus, who they said was killed in an act of violence early Monday morning.

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St. Croix candidate charged with assault after woman reported he broke her jaw

ST. CROIX - Former senatorial candidate Eugene LaCorbiniere was arrested Saturday after a woman reported that he assaulted her and broke her jaw.

LaCorbiniere appeared before Magistrate Miguel Camacho on Monday morning to be advised of his rights on a single charge of third-degree assault.

According to the probable cause fact sheet filed by police, a woman reported that she and LaCorbiniere were arguing when he punched her in her back then punched her in the mouth, causing her to fall to the ground.

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St. Croix native Kendall Petersen Sr. dies

ST. CROIX - The territory lost one of its native sons on Sunday when Kendall Petersen Sr. - also known as "Seigo" - died after a long illness.

His cousin, Emile Henderson III, described Petersen as someone who dearly loved the Virgin Islands.

"Seigo was the epitome of what you would consider a son of the soil and a true Virgin Islander," Henderson said. "He exhibited true strength and pride to be a Virgin Islander that many are lacking today."

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Today, voters will have one more chance to choose the next governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Voters return to the polls to vote in a runoff election between Kenneth Mapp and his running mate, Osbert Potter, and Donna Christensen and her running mate, Basil Ottley Jr.

The two teams were the top two vote-getters from the Nov. 4 General Election; however, neither ticket received the 50 percent plus one vote needed to win outright.

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Ricardo Richards Elementary hoists Blue Ribbon School flag

ST. CROIX - Schools across the territory will celebrate American Education Week this week along with thousands of others across the nation.

American Education Week celebrates national public education and recognizes each individual - from parent advisors to teachers and principals - who work hard to bring children quality educational opportunities.

Students and faculty at Ricardo Richards Elementary School took part in an assembly on Monday celebrating their recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School. Richards and Pearl Larsen schools both were cited in September as outstanding schools in the nation.

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How to ensure your vote is scanned

To ensure your vote is counted and scanned properly in the DS200 voting machine, fill in the bubble next to the candidate's name with the pen provided by poll workers.

Do not circle the candidate's name or mark your choice with an "X," a check mark or any other notation.

Chose only one candidate, as selecting more than one will cause the ballot to be spoiled.

On the ballot, Kenneth Mapp is number

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Who can vote in today's runoff

Anyone who was properly registered to vote prior to the Nov. 4 General Election can vote in today's gubernatorial runoff.

It does not matter whether a person voted in the General Election as long as they were registered prior to Nov. 4.

A voter is removed from the registration rolls only if they miss two elections in a row.

Anyone who registered to vote after the Nov. 4 election is not eligible t

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Where to vote

The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters in line when the polls close still will be allowed to vote.

St. Croix

- Florence Williams Public Library

- Elena Christian Junior High School

- Juanita Gardine Elementary School

- Alfredo Andrews Elementary School

- Pearle B. Larsen Elementary School

- John F. Kennedy Project Center

- Lew Muckle Elementary School

- St. Croix Educational Complex (including Charles H. Emanuel Elementary School precinct)

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What's closed for the runoff election

- The V.I. Superior and V.I. Supreme Courts are closed. The District Court is open.

- The V.I. government is closed.

- The V.I. Water and Power Authority is closed.

- All public schools are closed.

- The University of the Virgin Islands is open.

- Innovative business offices are open.

- The Daily News business offices are open and the paper will be distributed on its normal schedule.

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Counting comes to an end in time for runoff

With the certification of the 2014 General Election accomplished in both districts on Saturday, the V.I. Elections System received the final numbers in each of last week's races, which will require a runoff election in the gubernatorial race that has been scheduled for Tuesday.

Voters across the territory went to the polls Nov. 4 and cast votes for senators, delegate to Congress and members of their district boards of elections, and they also were tasked with selecting from among five candidate teams who they wanted as the next governor and lieutenant governor of the territory.

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Who can vote in Tuesday's runoff

Anyone who was properly registered to vote prior to the Nov. 4 General Election can vote in Tuesday's gubernatorial runoff.

It does not matter whether a person voted in the General Election as long as they were registered prior to Nov. 4.

A voter is removed from the registration rolls only if they miss two elections in a row.

Anyone who registered to vote after the Nov. 4 election is not eligible

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