AC fixed, for now, at Luis Hospital

ST. CROIX - A Luis Hospital official told board members Wednesday that repairs to a malfunctioning air-conditioning system were completed on Wednesday, finally fixing problems that had kept parts of the hospital's first floor sweltering off and on for more than three weeks.

Ken Okolo, Luis Hospital chief operating officer, said that additional parts had been installed on Wednesday to provide air conditioning throughout the hospital. The areas directly affected by the broken unit had been on the first floor.

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Medicare running out for Sea View residents

ST. THOMAS - The countdown has begun for Sea View Nursing Home on St. Thomas, which has fewer than 30 days of Medicare payments remaining to cover the patients at the facility.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services - CMS - informed Sea View owners in May that its provider agreement in the Medicare program would be terminated June 30 and that payments for services would not be approved for any patients admitted after June 30.

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Same-sex marriages still awaiting OK in V.I.

ST. THOMAS - Government House said Wednesday that attorneys are working to sculpt the governor's executive order to address marriage equality in the territory.

Gov. Kenneth Mapp announced his intention to issue an executive order addressing the new reality of marriage equality during a press conference on Tuesday.

He said he will direct the recognition of same-sex marriages, the issuance of marriage licenses, and the performance of civil weddings, as well as the right to benefits and legal recognition that comes with marriage.

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Fuel tanks ordered off Gallows Bay dock

Responding to public concerns and with the safety of residents in mind, the V.I. Port Authority will stop fuel tanks from being delivered at the Gallows Bay Marine Terminal beginning Aug. 1.

Port Authority Executive Director Carlton Dowe said his agency recognizes the logistics involved for businesses in the fuel industry, so the Port Authority has insitituted a 30-day grace period for shippers to make the adjustment.

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Water playground reopens at Lindbergh Bay Park

The V.I. Port Authority has finished repairs to the Lindbergh Bay Park water playground.

The Lindbergh Bay Park, located on St. Thomas adjacent to King Airport, is owned and maintained by the Port Authority.

The water playground features a series of colorful water systems with a safe, padded surface.

The water playground area is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays for a fee of $1 for children and $2 for adults not accompanying a child.

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Once qualified, V.I. track stars denied by Pan Am Games

Five U.S. Virgin Islands track and field athletes all set to represent the territory this month in the Pan Am Games — along with nine from the British Virgin Islands — could be left home as the games open next week in Toronto.
New qualifying standards issued Friday by Pan Am organizers have left most of the V.I. track and field qualifiers on the sidelines.
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Landfill fire flares again

A hot spot flared up at the Anguilla Landfill on St. Croix on Monday afternoon, a day after firefighters spent 10 hours fighting two fires in the transfer station at the dump.

The hot spots flared up on Monday about 4:30 p.m. and again later during the night, according to the V.I. Waste Management Authority.

The V.I. Fire Service was called and responded both times, working with the landfill contractor, who excavated the area while it was doused heavily with water until the site was extinguished at 3:30 a.m. Tuesday.

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Governor: Gay marriage a go

ST. THOMAS - Responding to last week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declared freedom to marry a fundamental right, Gov. Kenneth Mapp said Tuesday that the court "has, for all intents and purposes, nullified Virgin Islands law, which requires that marriage in the Virgin Islands can only be recognized if it is marriage between a man and a woman."

Mapp said he will issue an executive order directing the recognition of same-sex marriages, the issuance of marriage licenses and the performance of civil weddings, as well as the benefits and legal recognition that comes with marriage.

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Mapp outlines Big Apple plans for V.I. police

ST. THOMAS - Gov. Kenneth Mapp said V.I. Police officers will begin training with the New York Police Department as part of what he characterized as an alliance between the two law enforcement agencies.

Mapp said he, V.I. Police Commissioner Delroy Richards Sr., and acting Attorney General James Carroll III met with New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton last week.

"We are going to be setting up several things in the immediate future" that focus on providing training for V.I. police officers in New York, the governor said.

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Mapp: There was never a villa lease

ST. THOMAS - During his speech Tuesday, Gov. Kenneth Mapp, for the first time since questions arose, provided a timeline about the lease for the villa on the East End of St. Thomas.

Until Tuesday's press conference, Mapp had maintained that he was not involved in the process or negotiations for the lease for Villa Fratelli Cresta. The governor had not disputed the public perception that the villa was renting for $12,500 per month, although new information in a two resolutions approved by the West Indian Co. Ltd. board and released in the last few weeks said the villa actually was costing $14,500 per month.

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Crime Stoppers pulling plug for six months

ST. CROIX - Crime Stoppers USVI is suspending operations for six months, then plans to reassess the situation and decide whether to restart or shut down for good.

At a press conference Tuesday, officials from the non-profit organization - which gives the public a channel to provide anonymous tips to police - cited "declining interactions with law enforcement"; a lack of feedback from police; and police not investigating tips as factors in their decision to suspend operations.

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Government to step in as Sea View loses certification

ST. THOMAS - The Sea View Nursing Home was set to lose its Medicare certification at midnight Tuesday, and Gov. Kenneth Mapp said "we are prepared to enter the courts of the territory to seek an injunction which allows the government to go into Sea View to take control and care of these individuals."

The governor also said the V.I. government will work to gain some access to provisional federal funding to care for the facility's 31 patients.

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Mapp banking on boost in federal funding

ST. THOMAS - Gov. Kenneth Mapp took the podium at Government House on St. Thomas on Tuesday to report on his trip to Washington, D.C., and New York City last week, and to address a variety of issues from around the territory.

Mapp said discussions at the Department of the Interior centered on access to a share of a $7 million fund to develop vulnerability assessments of changes that will occur because of rising oceans and warmer temperatures resulting from climate change.

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St. John poisoning incident has left family severely disabled, says Mapp

ST. THOMAS - During his press conference Tuesday, Gov. Kenneth Mapp gave a grim update of the status of the Delaware family who were poisoned by pesticide while they vacationed at a rental villa on St. John.

"Unfortunately, I have to give some bad news. The family that were the victims of the poisoning at Sirenusa is not doing well," he said.

"The poison used by Terminix is a toxin to the neuro systems, and it has affected this family horribly."

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Extradition delayed again in condo slaying case

ST. THOMAS - Mikhail Young, the man accused of murdering his parents in a timeshare unit at Crystal Cove Beach Resort on St. Thomas in May, had another hearing Tuesday in Massachusetts.

A Framingham District Court judge has set another hearing in the matter for next month.

Young, 24, is being held in Middlesex County, Mass., as being a fugitive from justice from the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Both Gov. Kenneth Mapp and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker have signed an extradition agreement to send Young back to the territory to face charges in connection with the murder of Kenneth Young, 73, and Jane Young, 66, whose bodies were found April 30 in one of the condo units at Crystal Cove at Sapphire Bay.

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Race track gunmen get cash, get away

Police on St. Croix are looking for three to four gunmen who robbed the racino at Randall "Doc" James Racetrack late Sunday night and escaped with an undisclosed amount of money.

It is the second time in a year the racino has been robbed at gunpoint.

As the robbers fled in what police said is a stolen vehicle, one of the track security guards fired shots at the vehicle, striking it at least once, according to V.I. Police Commissioner Delroy Richards Sr.

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Senate legal counsel employee faces battery charge, possible V.I. Bar probe

ST. THOMAS - A woman who claimed to be an attorney while working in the Legislature legal counsel office was arrested for assault June 16 at a St. Croix school, according to police records.

Paulette Frazier-Alexis, 48, of Enfield Green, St. Croix, was charged with simple assault and battery-domestic violence after being arrested by a school security officer at John H. Woodson Junior High School.

The arrest report says the "subject was arrested for assaulting another female in the presence of a police officer."

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Ailing generator back online after blackouts

ST. THOMAS - When its "workhorse" generator had trouble starting up after being taken offline to repair a fuel leak, the V.I. Water and Power Authority resorted to rotating service for some areas of St. Thomas on Monday.

During routine maintenance, workers found a fuel leak in Unit 23, a 39-megawatt generator, according to a statement issued Monday by WAPA.

When the leak was repaired, Unit 23's control systems issued a number of alarms when workers tried to start the generator back up on Monday.

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Senate president: Villa Mapp hearing remains July 9

ST. THOMAS - The Senate President's office said Monday there will be no further delays for the full Senate hearing concerning Gov. Kenneth Mapp's housing arrangements.

Senate President Neville James issued a statement saying there had been confusion about whether the hearing will again be delayed. Sydney Paul, a communications specialist for James' office, said Monday: "The meeting will not be postponed."

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Driving The Daily News For 50 years and counting, Lucas Reid has made sure the newspaper gets where it needs to be

ST. THOMAS - Fifty years ago this month Lucas Reid took a job down on Back Street in Charlotte Amalie.

He was hired by The Daily News to help get the paper out into the hands of the readers, delivering copies to homes and businesses around town and hauling copies to the airport for the flight to St. Croix.

More the 18,000 days later, Reid, who turns 71 in November, is still on the job, doing the same work every workday.

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Water Island waste pickup resumes

V.I. Waste Management cited "mechanical challenges" as the reason it did not make its collection on Friday of the waste bins on Water Island.

The agency's Solid Waste Division has scheduled collection for Water Island today, and A-9 Trucking Enterprises will provide assistance.

For information, contact the Communications Management Division at 715-9110 or 690-4218, email communications @viwma.org

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Stench expected on East End

Following repairs to the Vessup Wastewater Treatment Plant's aeration system on St. Thomas, the Waste Management Authority is warning residents on the East End of St. Thomas that there may be a stench for the next few days.

Crews finished repairs to the aeration system at 1 p.m. and the plant is back online.

The re-commissioning of the aeration system produces foul odors as the plant resumes normal operation, and the odors may persist for a couple days, according to a statement the Waste Management Authority issued Monday.

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Commandant Gade to lose waste carts

The V.I. Waste Management Authority will permanently remove the solid waste collection carts on Commandant Gade, St. Thomas, on Saturday.

Residents living on Commandant Gade now will have to use the carts available on Garden Street.

The regular servicing of the carts on Commandant Gade has been challenging because of the narrow roadway and daily obstruction caused by parked vehicles, according to a statement Monday by the Waste Management Authority. This made it difficult for the agency's collection trucks to traverse the area and access the carts on a daily basis, according to the statement.

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Landfill fire doused after 10 hours

The V.I. Fire Service was monitoring the Anguilla Landfill on Monday, following a fire at the dump during the weekend that took almost half a day to extinguish.

As a result, the landfill was closed Monday, and it is expected to resume normal operating hours today.

At about 3:51 p.m. Sunday the Grove Place Fire Station received an emergency call regarding a fire at the Anguilla Landfill, and firefighters found smoke emitting from the north western bay door of the Transfer Station.

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Diving into a dark past

ST. CROIX - The waters off St. Croix hold secrets - some of them from a dark past.

A group of marine archeologists and others have now begun work to unravel some of those mysteries and shed some new light on that history, as the Slave Wrecks Project started hunting the waters of Buck Island Reef National Monument, seeking historical items and the wrecks of at least two slave ships that foundered there hundreds of years ago.

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Public records request violations piling up

ST. THOMAS - More than 20 government agencies have failed to respond to public records requests seeking copies of reports prepared by the John deJongh Jr. administration as the reins of government were handed over to the Mapp administration.

Likewise, the West Indian Co. Ltd. and the Department of Property and Procurement are defying requests for copies of records regarding housing for Gov. Kenneth Mapp and efforts to make taxpayers pay for housing the lieutenant governor on St. Thomas.

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Plaskett gains support on Hill for centennial stamp, commission

ST. THOMAS - More than 70 members of Congress have signed on to support a bill to create a Congressional Commission and postal stamp commemorating the 2017 centennial anniversary of the transfer of the Virgin Islands from Denmark to the United States.

V.I. Delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett introduced the Centennial Commission Act earlier this month alongside a resolution to create a postal stamp commemorating the 1917 event. So far, 74 members of Congress from both sides of the aisle are in support of the legislation.

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Court officials: Woman serving Legislature is not licensed here

ST. THOMAS - An employee of the Legislature's legal counsel's office claims to be an attorney but is not, according to the Virgin Islands Bar Association.

The legal department at the St. Croix Legislative office acknowledges Paulette Frazier-Alexis as an attorney, and Frazier-Alexis herself identified herself as an attorney in a phone call Friday. However, Elsie-Mae King, director of bar admissions at the Supreme Court, said Friday that Frazier-Alexis is not authorized to practice law.

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Judge: V.I. will follow gay marriage law C

ST. THOMAS - The territory must now follow federal law regarding same-sex marriage, while not abandoning its culture and customs, and there can be no debate over the primacy of the federal ruling, local officials said Friday, as news about the Supreme Court's decision made its way around the Virgin Islands.

The 5-4 ruling on same-sex marriage says that "the right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person."

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Junior Achievers realize dream of publishing company

Many dream of creating their own businesses, but few have an opportunity to do so.

But a group of Junior Achievement participants on St. Thomas is trying to realize that free enterprise dream with their publishing company, Bookery.

Junior Achievement - the largest international youth entrepreneurship company of its kind - has been in existence in the territory for almost 15 years and nationally it will be 100 years old in 2017.

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Gays, supporters celebrate a 'historic day'

ST. THOMAS - A mix of people headed out Friday on St. Thomas to celebrate the landmark Supreme Court ruling on marriage. They were happy and they knew it; full of cheer, bursting with joy, and proud of their country.

As word of the high court's decision spread, calls and invites flew back and forth. The plan jelled for them to converge at Grande Cru Restaurant and Wine Bar at Yacht Haven Grande.

Soon after five, the party was on, with gay and straight residents celebrating together, sharing hugs and telling stories.

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Monday

The Culture, Historic Preservation, Youth and Recreation Committee will meet at 9 a.m. in the Lawaetz Conference Room on St. Croix to consider a bill naming the baseball field at D.C. Canegata Ballpark "The Valmy Thomas Baseball Field"; and a bill to petition the governor to join the Legislature in developing a program to focus on the contributions of people of African descent in the Caribbean; and to get updates on plans for the 2017 Centennial; the state of Government Houses and their furnishings; and the Crucian Christmas Festival.

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Charlotte Kimelman

It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of Charlotte Kimelman, a great philanthropist and long time resident of St. Thomas who died on Saturday, June 20, 2015, in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The Charlotte Kimelman Cancer Center bears her name and she and her previously deceased husband, Henry, founded the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands to name just a few of their major contributions to our community.

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Alvin Alberic Callwood

With deep regret, the family announces the death of Alvin Alberic Callwood, who passed away June 21, 2015.

The viewing is Monday from 9 to 11 a.m., with the service from 11 to noon. The body is being cremated.

Services provided by J. Foster Phillips Funeral Home Inc. at 179 - 24 Linden Boulevard, Jamaica, N.Y.

He is survived by his wife, Printella Marshall- Callwood; sons, Troy & Kevonne Callwood; daughters, Amy & Chanelle Callwood; stepdaughter, Jaquan; brothers, Kenrick (Ken) & Elvis Callwood; sisters, Janice Callwood-Donovan, Lorna, Cynthia, Livia & Candia Callwood; uncles, Kenneth Callwood & Sanford Donovan; four grandchildren; brothers-in-law, Dennis Donovan Sr., Alfred Jackson, Larry Marshall; sister-in-law, Easter Robertson; special friends, Michael (Big Mike) and Tony; many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews, other relatives and friends.

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Lindbergh Bay Park water playground repaired

The V.I. Port Authority has finished repairs to the Lindbergh Bay Park water playground.

The Lindbergh Bay Park, located on St. Thomas adjacent to King Airport, is owned and maintained by the Port Authority. The water playground features a series of colorful water systems with a safe, padded surface.

The water playground area is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays for a fee of $1 for children and $2 for adults not accompanying a child. The general park area is open from sunrise to sunset and is free of charge, but the shed and gazebo can be reserved for $75 each.

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1 beach on St. Thomas, 1 on St. Croix found unsafe

The Department of Planning and Natural Resources' weekly water quality analysis has found Princess (Condo Row) beach on St. Croix and Bluebeard's beach on St. Thomas unsafe for swimming or fishing.

DPNR performed water quality analysis at 35 designated beaches throughout the territory during the week of June 8 to 12. For information, call the Divi

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ST. THOMAS - A St. Thomas man made his initial appearance in federal court Friday on charges that he was illegally in possession of body armor.

Fabian Towers, 50, appeared before District Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller on a two-count indictment charging his with possession of body armor by a violent felon.

Towers was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending a detention hearing scheduled for July 1.

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'Glitch' delays $17.5M in government pay

ST. THOMAS - Virgin Islands government employees found their bank accounts deficient Thursday morning as a regularly scheduled payroll deposit was delayed because of technical issues involving the transfer of territorial funds.

"We had a glitch with the direct deposit file," said Finance Commissioner designee Valdamier Collens. "The file had an error in it. It needed to be corrected."

Collens said payroll deposits for all government employees in all three branches were delayed as his staff worked out the problem with the agency's software contractor.

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Coral Bay polling place might close over logistics

ST. THOMAS - The St. Thomas-St. John District Board of Elections is considering shutting the Coral Bay polling place for Election Day use because of delays in getting voting results back in a timely manner.

Board Chairman Arturo Watlington Jr. told board members that he wants them to consider keeping the Coral Bay site open for early voting but eliminating "day of" voting.

He recounted logistical problems in transmitting data from the polling site to the Board of Elections office, and election results have had to be delivered by boat, delaying the final count of the last General Election.

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Living large in the Big Apple

Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park

Rooms from $515 per night to the grand Ritz-Carlton suite, which goes for $7,500 per night.

Amenities: terrycloth robe; slippers; in-room telescope; 400-thread count bed sheets; free breakfast.

Room service: a pint of Haagen-Dazs ice cream - $24; pizza - $25; steak - $36; beer $8 per bottle (no Coors Light).

Manhattan at Times Square, 7th Avenue

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The Mapp of luxury

ST. THOMAS - If Gov. Kenneth Mapp gets hungry in the middle of the night he can call room service for some $24 Haagen-Dazs ice cream.

That's the cost of one pint of the top-brand dessert from room service at The Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park, where Mapp and some of his traveling companions from his administration were staying while in New York City this week.

Mapp, Chief of Staff Randy Knight and others were booked into one of Global Traveler Magazine's 'Top 10 Hotels' in the United States while they were in the Big Apple to talk with city officials about mentoring and education opportunities for Virgin Island police officers.

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Frederick G. Watts

Fred Watts passed away calmly and peacefully at the hospital of the University of Pennsylvania on Wednesday, June 17, 2015, surrounded by family, love, and music.

He was born in Barberton, Ohio, on Aug. 7, 1938, the son of George and Vivian Watts, and he grew up in Alliance, Ohio. He graduated from Case Institute of Technology and Rutgers University School of Law. After law school, he joined the U.S. Navy as a JAG officer, rising to the level of Lieutenant JG. Relocating to Washington, D.C., he served in the office of Attorney General Ramsey Clark and the U.S. Attorney General's Office in D.C.

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Theresa Mohammed

We announce the passing of Theresa Mohammed, who died on June 6, 2015, at the age of 68 in Atlanta. .

She is survived by her children, Meriam Francis, Amelia Mohammed, Terena Mohammed, Brenda, Steven, Melvin Nibbs, Angela Nibbs, Selma Nibbs-Bayton, Dora Nibbs-Cameron, and Irene Mohammed; siblings, Iona Woodstock Valez, Gladys Woodstock, Josephine Woodstock Smith, Inez Woodstock, and Avernelle Woodstock; sons-in-law, Oshlyn Francis and Mark Bayton; grandson-in-law, Jason Johnson; grandchildren, Oshlyanna Francis, Ahmani K. Mohammed, Jahquan and Javon Baker, Saintdaire Francis and Shervin Callwood, Jamilia L. Gonzales, Lavidah Lavinier, Jahlina L. Buohl, Lakendra D and Kendrick D. Burgess, Neal E. Cameron, Jr., Kyle and Alisha Cameron, Jahniqua, Jahmesha, Jahira and Jahmorie Williams, Shantel Eloi, Shokoy Pain, Naquan Hodge and Justice Tims; great-grandchildren, K'nayo, K'nali, Kemar & Kemorie Williams, Haven Callwood, Malachi Francis, Nikai Callwood, Shokoy Pain, Naquan Hodge, Justice Tims, Jaylianna Ramos Gonzalez, Shedrick L. Johnson, Salathiel L. Johnson, Tafari Reid; nieces & nephews, Marshall Nibbs, Arianna Wattley, Cliford Boyes, Leonid Stay, Christopher Woodstock, Tanya Foy, Laura Blyden, Brian Stay, Walid D. Smith, Muquatel M. Smith, Josette N. Moore, Ray Delez, Elvis Delez, Joyelle Delez; great-nieces & nephews, Devant D. Angelo Blyden, Mikaili Laig Blyden, Kimal Leandro Richardson, Izyan Muguanya Dakerai Doby Stay, Dawit Nakonnen Doby Stay, Conley Moore, Kadera Moore, Samera Moore, Nakiya Moore, Wakeel Moore, Nazim Moore; and many other relatives and friends too numerous to mention.

(read more)

Charlotte Kimelman

It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of Charlotte Kimelman, a great philanthropist and long time resident of St. Thomas who died on Saturday, June 20, 2015, in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The Charlotte Kimelman Cancer Center bears her name and she and her previously deceased husband, Henry, founded the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands to name just a few of their major contributions to our community.

(read more)

Questions abound at Gallows Bay meeting

There was standing room only in the Marine Terminal building at Gallows Bay on St. Croix, as residents came out Thursday evening to voice their opinions about the Gallows Bay port projects.

Officials from the V.I. Port Authority and the consulting firm - CDR Maguire - that the agency has hired for the project to adapt Gallows Bay as a port for small cruise ships addressed about 65 residents.

Major concerns of the residents centered on safety issues, and participants questioned whether the plan to allow small cruise ships to dock near fuel transport containers would create a liability.

(read more)

Ronald H. Tonkin

Ronald H. Tonkin, a native of Somerville, N.J., passed away in Houston, Texas, on May 1, 2015.

He was the son of Leonard and Sylvia Tonkin (deceased).

He was a graduate of Somerville High School (N.J.), graduated from American University, Washington College of Law and Georgetown University Graduate Law Center, all in Washington, D.C. He practiced law through his private practice and government service. He also served as attorney general for the U.S. Virgin Islands and special deputy Assistant Atty. General of the United States.

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Police on St. Croix have identified the victim of a drive-by shooting Wednesday evening on Queen Mary Highway near Estates Diamond and St. Georges.

Officers responding to a call of shots fired at 6:42 p.m. found the body of Dave Edwards Jr., of Estate Whim.

Upon arriving at the scene, officers found a white Honda Civic that had hit a tree and came to a halt west of Bellows International with the driver unresponsive and a bullet hole in the passenger side window.

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Man gets 60 years in Kmart shootings

ST. THOMAS - District Judge Curtis Gomez on Wednesday sentenced a St. Thomas man to more than 60 years in prison for shooting two security guards during an armed robbery at the Kmart in Lockhart Gardens in 2013.

Richard Antonio Hodge Jr., 30, of St. Thomas was sentenced for Hobbs Act robbery; discharge of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence; and related offenses. The Hobbs Act count is a federal charge that pertains to interfering with commerce.

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V.I. police are investigating Estate Diamond homicide

Police on St. Croix were investigating a murder that happened about 6:40 p.m. Wednesday night in Estate Diamond.

V.I. Police spokesman Kevin Jackson had no information about the shooting, but witnesses said it was a drive-by that took place near Tony's Wrecking by Estate St. George's.

An entry in the police blotter - a log of calls to 911 emergency dispatchers - indicates a report of a murder was called in at 6:42 p.m.

(read more)

Education Commissioner to reach out to Charlotte Amalie High School PTSA

ST. THOMAS - The Charlotte Amalie High School PTSA organized a march Wednesday afternoon to protest the transfer of principal Stefan Jurgen to CAHS' rival, Ivanna Eudora Kean High School, for the upcoming school year.

Several dozen people marched from the high school around downtown Charlotte Amalie - chanting "CAHS needs Jurgen" and "We need support, not punishment" - to the Education Department then on to the Board of Education building, where Jurgen happened to be for a student disciplinary hearing.

(read more)


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