2012 in review


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September

Sept. 4: Lee Frawley becomes the first U.S. Virgin Islands athlete to compete in the Paralympic Games. Frawley competes in the equestrian competitions but does not medal.

Sept. 4: The V.I. Elections System determines that Sen. Alicia Hansen is eligible to run for re-election to the 30th Legislature. The V.I. Action Group had claimed that Hansen ­- who had been on probation until May 2012 following a 2008 conviction on three misdemeanor counts of willful failure to file tax returns - was prohibited from voting until one year after her case was discharged, because her conviction was a crime of moral turpitude.

Sept. 6: The Virgin Islands government sells $146 million of Matching Funds bonds, raising $130 million in working capital to keep the government afloat for the next three years. The 30th Legislature authorized the V.I. Public Finance Authority to borrow $120 in February.

Sept. 8: Sen. Patrick Simeon Sprauve fails to garner enough votes to advance to the General Election for a seat in the 30th Legislature.

Sept. 10: The U.S. Navy Band headquarters in Millington, Tenn., is named for St. Thomas native Alton Adams Sr. Adams was the first black bandmaster in the U.S. Navy and was also the composer of the Virgin Islands March.

Sept. 17: The 30th Legislature passes the peace officer status bill giving federal law enforcement officers limited standing as local peace officers at the discretion of the V.I. Police commissioner.

Sept. 19: Senatorial aspirant George Moore, as well as members of the V.I. Action Group, file a federal lawsuit challenging Sen. Alicia Hansen's eligibility to run for a seat in the 30th Legislature.

Sept. 21: Gov. deJongh nominates attorneys Denise Hinds, Debra Smith-Watlington and Douglas Brady to the V.I. Superior Court.

Sept. 21: Gov. deJongh nominates Gwendolyn Adams Norton to the University of the Virgin Islands Board of Trustees.

Sept. 24: The V.I. Public Services Commission orders the forfeiture of the V.I. SeaTrans' exclusive franchise to operate ferry services between St. Thomas and St. Croix. SeaTrans' only ferry had not made the trip between the two islands since July 4, 2011, when it ran aground on Great St. James Cay as it transported 98 passengers, with four crew, from the St. John Festival.

Sept. 29: V.I. Police Officer Colvin Georges dies 18 weeks after being shot in the neck while on duty on May 26.

October

Oct. 1: The V.I. government's renewed CIGNA health insurance plans takes effect and raises premiums for retirees younger than age 65 by 42 percent and by 64 percent for retirees older than 65.

Oct. 1: The V.I. Public Services Commission approves WAPA's request for a 19 percent increase to the Levelized Energy Adjustment Clause, or LEAC, for electricity and water.

Oct. 2: Radio station WWKS-FM, also known as Kiss 101.3 FM, goes off the air due to the rising cost of electricity from the V.I. Water and Power Authority.

Oct. 3: Distelleria Serralles, Inc., the company that supplied Diageo with rum before the company relocated from Puerto Rico to St. Croix, sues Diageo North America for $5 million in damages, citing a breach of contract.

Oct. 5: Gov. deJongh signs legislation granting peace officer status to federal agents.

Oct. 7: St. Thomas Dairies ceases production and distribution of milk in gallon and half-gallon quantities, citing WAPA's rising cost of electricity.

Oct. 9: The U.S. Postal Service unveils the Virgin Islands flag postage stamp as part of the Flags-of-Our-Nation Series.

Oct. 10: V.I. Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty is selected as chairwoman of the Caribbean Tourism Organizational Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism for a two-year term.

Oct. 11: St. Croix resident Marise James has her picture taken with President Barack Obama in Miami after having won a campaign fundraiser raffle that sought donations from Virgin Islanders for the Obama Victory Fund 2012.

Oct. 12: Government House announces that the territory will incorporate into West Virginia's Medicaid Management Information System in an effort to reduce costs and improve services to the territory's Medicaid recipients.

Oct. 12: The Daily News files a complaint in V.I. Superior Court seeking to force Senate President Ronald Russell and the V.I. Legislature to release travel record documents the newspaper had requested numerous times since December 2011. Russell files a petition asking the court to prevent the release of the records, arguing they are evidence in an Inspector General's audit and therefore protected under the law.

Oct. 13: A Piper Aztec plane returning to St. Thomas from St. Croix crashes at sea, killing its pilot, Kirby Hodge; and two passengers, Rachel Hamilton and attorney Darwin Carr. Valarie Thompson-Jackson, the lone survivor of the crash, is rescued in the water nine hours after the plane went down. The body of Kirby Hodge is not recovered and classified as lost at sea. Hodge, a veteran pilot, had been delivering newspapers for the Daily News for decades.

Oct. 15: Dr. Robert Centeno, chief medical quality officer at Luis Hospital, resigns.

Oct. 25: V.I. Superior Court Presiding Judge Darryl Donohue orders the V.I. Legislature to release the records sought by the Daily News. The Legislature agrees to comply with the order and grants The Daily News access to the public records requested.

Oct. 25: The WAPA Executive Board signs off on documents that give Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr. the permission to proceed with plans to enter into a two-year contract to purchase fuel for the territory from Swiss company Trafigura AG.

Oct. 27: The University of the Virgin Island's board of trustees vote to increase tuition by 5 percent starting in the fall of 2013.

Oct. 28: Ivanna Eudora Kean High School teacher Faye Richardson is named St. Thomas-St. John District 2013 Teacher of the Year.

Oct. 31: The V.I. Supreme Court issues an opinion in favor of The Virgin Islands Daily News investigative report on government corruption and rejects a libel claim by Ethlyn Joseph, who at the time of the March 2004 series had been in charge of restaurant inspections for the V.I. Health Department. The articles cited complaints that Joseph took bribes and engaged in other corrupt activities.

November

Nov. 1: District Judge Curtis Gomez denies senatorial aspirant George Moore and V.I. Action Group's motion for a temporary restraining order to have Sen. Alicia Hansen removed from the ballot for the Nov. 6 General Election.

Nov. 7: Ricardo Richards Elementary School third-grade teacher Harolyn Smith is named St. Croix District 2013 Teacher of the Year.

Nov. 8: Sen. Alvin Williams Jr. is arrested and charged with bribery, mail fraud, and wire fraud. His chief of staff, Kim Blackett, and senior adviser, Garry Sprauve, also are named in the federal indictment.

Nov. 19: Local hotelier Richard Doumeng Sr. dies. Among several business establishments, Doumeng purchased the Bolongo Bay Beach Resort and served as a past president of the St. Thomas-St. John Hotel Association.

Nov. 19: The 29th Legislature confirms Darice Plaskett as V.I. Health Commissioner.

Nov. 19: The 29th Legislature approves the judicial nominations of Douglas Brady as a Superior Court judge on St. Croix; Denise Hinds as a Family Court judge on St. Croix; Debra Smith-Watlington as a Family Court judge on St. Thomas; and Kathleen Mackay as a Superior Court judge for the St. Thomas-St. John District.

Nov. 19: The 29th Legislature approves five-year exclusive franchise agreements to the V.I. Taxi Association at King Airport; St. Croix Taxi Association at Rohlsen Airport; East End Taxi Association at Fredericks Marine Terminal in Red Hook; St. Thomas Taxi Association at Monsanto Marine Terminal in Crown Bay; and ATS Taxi Service at Blyden Marine Terminal on the St. Thomas waterfront.

Nov. 23: The V.I. Port Authority names outgoing Sen. Carlton Dowe as its new executive director, effective January 2013.

Nov. 23: V.I. Police Officer Amalee Lockhart is shot in his left foot while responding to a robbery in progress at Champs Sports store in Sunny Isle Shopping Center. He survives his injury.

Nov. 30: V.I. native Juan Williams begins serving as federal security director of the TSA at Cyril King Airport on St. Thomas.

Nov. 30: Pamela Richards-Samuel, executive director of the 29th Legislature, abruptly resigns and sends a scathing letter to Senate President Ronald Russell, leveling a number of criticisms at the institution.

Nov. 30: Police Officer Theodore Willocks and K-9 Officer Luka are shot and injured when responding to a home invasion that left two suspects dead and a third wounded on St. Croix. He becomes the sixth officer wounded by gunfire in the line of duty in the territory in a six-month span.

December

Dec. 3: Markeymah Cargile, 9, is crowned 2012 St. Croix Christmas Festival Princess. Kayla Nesbit is crowned Duchess of the Christmas Festival.

Dec. 4: The 10 Democrats elected to the 30th Legislature select Sen. Shawn-Michael Malone as Senate President.

Dec. 5: V.I. Delegate to Congress Donna Christensen introduces a bill to give $115 million in federal funds to WAPA to subsidize fuel costs, provide grants to convert generators from burning oil to burning liquid natural glass and provide direct subsidies to consumers through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

Dec. 5: St. Thomas businessman Leroy Marchena dies at age 71.

Dec. 8: St. Croix-based Seaborne Airlines inaugurates daily round trip flights between Puerto Rico and Tortola.

Dec. 9: Cliaunjel Williams is crowned St. Croix Festival Queen 2012-2013.

Dec. 12: The West Indian Co. Ltd. celebrates 100 continuous years of business in the Virgin Islands.

Dec. 13: Legislation authorizing direct review of decisions of the V.I. Supreme Court by the U.S. Supreme Court is passed by the U.S. Senate. The legislation, sponsored by Del. Donna Christensen had already been approved in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Dec. 15: Georgetown Consulting Group, the firm hired by the V.I. Public Services Commission, issues a report challenging WAPA's claims that increases in oil prices are responsible for increases in the LEAC. The experts' report says that the utility's power plants are far less efficient than industry standards and have consistently failed to meet WAPA's own benchmarks for more than three years.

Dec. 16: Lamalia Milligan wins the Junior I division in the Junior Calypsonian Competition. Jahnaya Christopher wins the Intermediate I Division, and Aliyah Hutchinson wins the Intermediate Division. Ken Nya Horsford wins the Pee Wee Division.

Dec. 17: The Enid Baa Library closes to allow staff to begin the move to the Turnbull Regional Library in Tutu on St. Thomas.

Dec. 19: Gladys Abraham Elementary School is placed on lockdown after someone calls and threatens school personnel and two days after the FBI arrested Vendel Alvin Williams for allegedly making a telephone threat to harm the principal of Gladys Abraham Elementary School on Nov. 29.

Dec. 20: Darice Plaskett is sworn in as Health Commissioner, and Reuben Molloy is sworn in as Director of the Bureau of Information Technology.

Dec. 21: Physicians at Luis Hospital cast a vote of no confidence in the hospital's chief executive officer, Jeff Nelson.

Dec. 28: President Barack Obama signs into law a bill authorizing direct review of V.I. Supreme Court decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Daily News is taking a look back at 2012 and some of the top news stories in the territory. Today features September through December. January through April was published in The Daily News on Wednesday, and May through August was published Thursday.

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