A look back at 2013 in the V.I.


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January

Jan. 1: Senyra Stapleton of St. Croix is the first baby born in the territory.

Jan. 4: Cedric "King Spade" Brooks is crowned Crucian Christmas Festival Calypso Monarch.

Jan. 9: The University of the Virgin Islands launches its own radio station, WUVI, 1090 AM.

Jan. 11: The Luis Hospital board votes to implement immediate pay increases for registered nurses in an attempt to attract and retain more staff nurses.

Jan. 11: The St. Croix Board of Elections names Adelbert Bryan as its new chairman.

Jan. 12: Christiansted bypass opens to vehicular traffic.

Jan. 14: Members of the 30th Legislature are sworn in.

Jan. 16: The expanded Bordeaux Farmers Market is rededicated.

Jan. 17: Former V.I. Senator Alvin Williams Jr. pleads guilty in federal court to one count of racketeering for taking bribes.

Jan. 17: Travel + Leisure magazine's "Best Beaches" survey ranks three Virgin Islands beaches among the world's best. Highlighted are Turtle Beach on St. Croix, Magens Bay on St. Thomas, and Trunk Bay on St. John.

Jan. 18: Virgin Marleys community market for local vendors and artists in Long Bay shuts down.

Jan. 22: Gov. John deJongh Jr. appoints retired St. Thomas-St. John Police Chief Rodney Querrard as acting assistant police commissioner and acting police commissioner to replace outgoing Commissioner Henry White Jr.

Jan. 22: The V.I. State Nurses Association, which represents staff registered nurses at the territory's hospitals and the V.I. Health Department, files unfair labor practice charges against the V.I. government and the Office of Collective Bargaining. At issue is a negotiated agreement that has not been executed because all the parties have not signed off on it.

Jan. 24: Christiansted bypass is dedicated.

Jan. 24: Authorities investigate a "highly suspicious" fire at the V.I. Housing Authority Central Office on St. Croix. The fire damaged files and office equipment.

Jan. 24: Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Affairs Anthony Babuta resigns amid allegations of financial misconduct.

Jan. 25: Luis Hospital Chief Executive Officer Jeff Nelson resigns after being told that the hospital has failed to achieve substantial compliance with improvements demanded by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services by Feb. 13.

Jan. 26: The Luis Hospital Board appoints Dr. Kendall Griffith as interim chief executive officer.

Jan. 29: The V.I. Water and Power Authority refutes a December 2012 report by Georgetown Consulting Group for the Public Services Commission, characterizing it a "grossly misleading, incorrect, and counterproductive."

Jan. 30: The National Park Service on St. John bans smoking on all 10 of the beaches in Virgin Islands National Park. The ban prohibits smoking within 50 feet of the water and within 50 feet of all restrooms, dining tables and Park Service buildings.

February

Feb. 1: Iver Stridiron becomes executive director of the 30th Legislature.

Feb. 2: St. Croix educator and school namesake Evelyn Williams dies at age 98.

Feb. 6: St. Croix Board of Elections members vote to lock out V.I. Elections Supervisor John Abramson Jr. and restrict his access to the Election System's vehicle, office, documents or staff while he spends four months on medical leave before retiring on May 31.

Feb. 6: Wyndham Worldwide Corporation announces that the former Renaissance Brand Beach Resort on St. Thomas will partner with Jimmy Buffet to convert the 34-acre property to Margaritaville Vacation Club timeshare resort.

Feb. 6: Freshman senators Judi Buckley and Clarence Payne are named as the 30th Legislature's ex-officio members of the Public Services Commission.

Feb. 11: Kathleen Makay and Debra Smith-Watlington are sworn in as judges of the V.I. Superior Court. Smith Watlington takes over the St. Thomas-St. John Family Court division.

Feb. 12: The American Red Cross recognizes St. Croix resident Hyacinth Charles for her 40 years of volunteer service with the organization.

Feb. 12: The Public Services Commission sides with the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority against the PSC's own consultant and vacates portions of an order it voted on in December 2012 to increase the LEAC. The PSC, however, keeps the LEAC increase intact.

Feb. 13: V.I. Superior Court Judges Denise Hinds Roach and Douglas Brady are sworn in on St. Croix.

Feb. 13: Archaeologists monitoring V.I. Public Works Department's Market Square construction project in downtown Charlotte Amalie discover a site containing artifacts from a settlement dating back an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 years.

Feb. 13: The St. Thomas Coastal Zone management Committee votes to approve Coral World's dolphin exhibit in Water Bay.

Feb. 13: The Luis Hospital Board votes to implement a 12.5 percent rate increase for outpatient procedures.

Feb. 15: Police Commissioner Henry White resigns, citing a conflict with his management style and the political structure of management within the V.I. government.

Feb. 15: Roshni Lalwani of All Saints School wins the St. Thomas-St. John District Spelling Bee competition. Aaron Harris of St. Patrick's School wins the St. Croix District Spelling Bee.

Feb. 15: The V.I. National Guard opens its National Readiness Training Institute on St. Croix.

Feb. 16: The Virgin Islands Joint Board of Elections selects Alicia Wells as its chairman.

Feb. 16: Aberra Bulbulla is named Agrifest's 2013 Crop Farmer of the Year. Pedro Gonzalez is named Livestock Farmer of the Year.

Feb. 18: St. Thomas native Bernard Wheatley is selected as the new Schneider Regional Medical Center CEO.

Feb. 19: Government House issues a press release saying that HOVENSA has agreed to put the refinery up for sale.

Feb. 21: Antilles School wins the 2013 St. Thomas-St. John MathCounts competition.

Feb. 21: Elena Christian Jr. High School wins the 2013 St. Croix MathCounts competition.

Feb. 25: St. Thomas native Hannah Davis is featured in the 2013 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

Feb. 26: An electrical fire damages one classroom at the St. Croix Alternative Education Program.

March

March 1: In an effort to help close the $50 million shortfall for Fiscal Year 2013, Gov. deJongh authorizes a more restrictive hiring freeze and a 5 percent budget cut for all central government agencies.

March 1: Citing high electricity costs, St. Thomas Dairies ceases operations. The establishment had operated in the territory since the 1960s.

March 4: Her Majesty's Credit Union founder Stan McDuffie faces fraud, conspiracy, embezzlement and racketeering charges in connection with a V.I. Justice Department probe, launched following the Daily News' investigation into the credit union.

March 8: The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirms two local court rulings and found that the Virgin Islands Daily News did not make defamatory statements against former V.I. Superior Court Judge Leon Kendall.

March 7: Senior District Court Judge Raymond Finch dismisses a lawsuit in which five candidates who ran unsuccessfully were seeking to throw out the territory's 2012 General Election results.

March 12: 12-year-old Manav Thadani of Antilles School wins the 2013 Territorial Spelling Bee.

March 14: St. Thomas-St. John Deputy Elections Supervisor Mabel Maduro resigns.

March 15: The Joint Board of Elections appoints Sharon Benjmain as acting St. Thomas-St. John Deputy Supervisor of Elections.

March 15: Antilles School team wins the territorial MathCounts competition.

March 15: The V.I. Supreme Court affirms a Sept. 2012 Superior Court ruling that the retrial of Schneider Regional Medical Center executives Rodney Miller Sr., Amos Carty Jr., and Peter Najawics can proceed.

March 17: Former Gov. John D. Merwin, the first native Virgin Islander to be appointed governor in the territory, dies at age 91.

March 18: St. Croix Deputy Elections Supervisor James Weber III resigns.

March 18: Daily News reporter Joy Blackburn is named a finalist for the Scripps Howard Foundation's National Journalism Award in Community Journalism for her 2012 investigative project "Our Money, Their Failures."

March 25: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency files a complaint in District Court on St. Croix, accusing WAPA of violating several sections of the Clean Air Act and associated regulations at their Estate Richmond plant. They seek fines in the millions from the authority.

March 25: The St. Croix Board of Elections votes to appoint Caroline Adams Fawkes to the temporary position of Deputy Supervisor of the Elections System in St. Croix.

March 26: TripAdvisor.com, the world's largest travel website, ranks St. John as number 2 in a list of the top islands in the world.

March 30: Stephen O'Reilly, son of Sen. Nereida Rivera-O'Reilly, is arrested in the stabbing death of Brent James in Snellville, Georgia.

March 31: LaZonique Phillip is crowned 2013 Carnival Princess.

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