Senate Approves Nominees, Resolutions

The V.I. Legislature approved a slew of nominees and honored several native sons and daughters with resolutions during session Monday.

The Senate approved the re-nominations of V.I. Water and Power Authority Board Chairman Gerald Groner, Vice Chairwoman Juanita Young and Secretary Noel Loftus. Groner has served on the board since 2008, and Loftus and Young since 2007.

Groner is an attorney who has lived and practiced law on St. Croix for more than 30 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Antioch College and a law degree from Northeastern University School of Law.

He has served on Our Town Frederiksted, the V.I. Bar Association, Good Hope Country Day School, the Frederiksted Health Clinic, V.I. Legal Services Corporation, the V.I. Legal Assistance Foundation and the Trust for Virgin Islands Lands.

Young, a St. Thomas resident, has a bachelor’s degree in applied science and bioengineering from Hampshire College/University of Pennsylvania. She has been an accounting manager at Trust Asset Management LLP since 2006 and chief operations officer at Globalvest Management before that.

Loftus received a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Northern Illinois University. He is majority owner of Floor Specialists and Tropical Plumbing Supply. He also has a stake in One Stop Plumbing on St. Thomas. He said neither business bids on government or WAPA contracts.

The Senate also approved Colette Woodson Burgess to the Historic Preservation Commission. Burgess was born and raised in Christiansted and graduated from St. Croix Central High School. She attended Southampton College of Long Island and taught at CHS for a time before going to work for American Airlines on St. Croix, for 27 years as a gate and weight and balances agent.

The Senate also approved:

– Dr. Kenneth Fox to the Board of Podiatry Examiners for the District of St. Thomas/St. John. Fox has served on the board for many years and has been re-nominated for another term. He graduated the Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine in 1965. He came to the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1975 on vacation and learned from the commissioner of health at the time that there was no podiatrist and those needing podiatric care had to travel to Puerto Rico. He moved here and set up practice in 1976.

– Ian Douglas to the Pharmacy Board for the District of St. Thomas/St. John. Douglas is a graduate of Howard University, with experience in hospital and community pharmacies. He was recently certified as an Expert in HIV by the Academy of HIV medicine and is the only pharmacist in the region with that certification licensed to practice in the territory.

– Andrew Rutnik to the Public Services Commission, representing St. Thomas/St. John. Rutnik, a St. John resident, has lived in the territory for 45 years. He was commissioner of the Division of Licensing and Consumer Affairs from 1998 through 2006. He is owner of Virgin Green on St. John. He is a real estate broker.

– Robert DeBonis to the Board of Chiropractic Examiners, representing the St. Thomas/St. John District. DeBonis received a chiropractic degree from New York Chiropractic College in 1978 and received a bachelor’s degree from Queens College CUNY in 1973. He has been a chiropractor for 35 years and has had a practice in the territory since 2007.

The Senate also approved a resolution honoring and commending Elizabeth “Betty” Lynch for her service and contributions to the V.I. community, and another resolution naming the northwestern end of Veterans Drive the William Henry Hastie Park. Born in Tennessee, Hastie was appointed the first African American governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1946.

Also approved was a measure naming a planned sports complex on St. Croix at Mars Hill the "Horace Clarke Sports Complex" in honor of Clarke, a St. Croix native and former New York Yankee.

One resolution names the prison at Golden Grove after former Sen. John Bell, who directed the prison at one time. Another resolution named the tennis courts in Cruz Bay, St. John, after tennis pro and St. John native George Lewis.

The Senate also passed a bill from Senate President Shawn-Michael Malone naming the access road to the St. Thomas airport after former U.S. ambassador and St. Thomas native Terence Todman, as well as appropriating $100,000 from the General Fund this fiscal year for a distinguished professorship at the University of the Virgin Islands in his name. The V.I. government generally and the General Fund specifically are still facing an unaddressed multi-million shortfall as the fiscal year nears its end, calling into question the reality of that appropriation.

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