DPW Suspends VITRAN Service on Memorial Day. Service on St. Croix to Run on Holiday Schedule.

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The Department of Public Works will suspend VITRAN fixed route services on Monday, May 30, in the St. Thomas/St. John District in observance of Memorial Day.

However, fixed route services will operate on a holiday schedule from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on St. Croix to allow riders to attend the Agriculture Fair being held throughout the holiday weekend.

ADA Paratransit services will operate on a holiday schedule as well, from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. territory-wide.

Follow DPW on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. People can also log on to www.dpw.vi.gov  and www.vitranvi.com to stay abreast of all things V.I. Public Works.

DPW Gives Updates on Construction at Black Point Hill, Coral Bay Road and Fish Bay Road.

Coral Bay Road (Route 107), St. John. (Submitted (photo)

Summary: The Department of Public Works (DPW) is updating the community on several emergency relief road projects in the St. Thomas/St. John District. The total cost of these emergency relief (ER) Projects is $23,543,882.76

Black Point Hill (Route 30), St. Thomas

Key Facts: The Department of Public Works (DPW) informs the community that the Black Point Hill ER Project is comprised of seven different locations along the hillside. DPW’s contractor has completed over 50% of repair work to the first site and is currently mobilized at the second location. Repairs on this project entail the installation of a gabion wall, retaining wall, shoulder improvements, guardrails and rehabilitation of the roadway.

Coral Bay Road (Route 107), St. John

Key Facts: Work on the Coral Bay Road Emergency Relief Project has reached the 40% completion mark. Motorists can expect work to continue for the next several weeks. Repairs on this project entail the installation of a retaining wall, improvements, guardrails and rehabilitation of the roadway.

Fish Bay Road (Route 1041), St. John

Key Facts: The Department of Public Works (DPW) informs the community on the completion of roadwork on Fish Bay Road (Route 1041). The emergency repairs included the installation of a retaining wall, drainage improvements, guardrails and rehabilitation of the roadway.

DPW appreciates the community’s patience as they work to improve road conditions throughout the territory. Follow DPW on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. You can also log on to dpw.vi.gov and www.vitranvi.com to stay abreast of all things V.I. Public Works.

Lorna Donovan-Lewis Dies in the British Virgin Islands

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Lorna Donovan-Lewis

Viola (mother), Leonice (sister) and Llewellyn (brother) regret to inform the community of the passing of their daughter and sister, Lorna Donovan-Lewis, who passed away on the eve of May 9 at the D. Orlando Smith Hospital, Roadtown, Tortola, BVI.

Additionally, she leaves to mourn her passing her adopted daughter, Ieshia Kura Henry-Robinson; son-in-law, Stanton Michael Robinson; grandbaby, Makayla LaToya Robinson; uncles: Dennis Donovan Sr. and Elvitte Donovan (New York); and numerous cousins in the BVI, the USVI and the United States.

A member of the CAHS Class of 1971, she has many friends and acquaintances.

The viewing for Lorna Donovan-Lewis will take place from 9-10 a.m., Thursday, June 2, at the City Seventh-day Adventist Church, 55 Dronningen Gade, next to the L&C Milliner’s Department Store. The service will immediately follow. The family kindly requests shades of pink be worn.

Funeral Arrangements by The Turnbull Funeral Home.

Cheryl Anita Harley Dies at 73

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Cheryl Anita Harley

Cheryl Anita Harley of Kingshill, St. Croix, V.I., died on Monday, May 1. She was 73 years old.

She was preceded in death by her mother, Iris Wells Harley; and father, Frederick Lambert Harley.

She is survived by her son, Corbin Jerome Webster; sister, Mary L. Harley; adopted sister, Angelita “Nitty” Gautier; brothers: Raymond A. Harley and John A. Harley sisters-in-law: Barbara Harley and Lorna Prosper Harley; nieces: Nicole L. George, Cheré Harley, Gabrielle Harley and Tai Moneé Harley; nephews: Jacques Harley and Raymond Harley Jr.; great-nephews: Malik O. Harris and Christian Fletcher; and godchildren: Kishma Pickering and Milton Payne II,

She is also survived by cousins: Lawrence Benjamin, Liston and Ackie Harley, Aubrey Harley, Roselin Thompson, Laurel Harley, Lucinda “Tiny” Todman,  Lorraine Harley Schuster, Lauris Harley Lawrence, Holman Harley Jr., Laverne Harley Matthias, Julien Harley, Hilda Harley, Daphne Harley, Lawrence Benjamin Jr., Sean Benjamin, Anthony and Cathy Harley, René Harley Mosley, Lorena Harley, Ewart “Boo” Harley Jr., Vivian Harley Furet, Julice Harley Holder, Jaurel Harley, Ali Harley, Yvette Gumbs, William Wade Sr., William “Junie” Wade Jr., Kenneth and Aileen Marsh, Travis Harley, Trevor Harley, Dwayne “Fruddy” Harley, Micah Harley, Honoré Kirkland-Smith, Aaron Hodge, Doug and Don Marsh, Ruby Amey, Eldra Drew and Dolores Nibbs.

Other surviving cousins include: Rita Wheatley, Edris Callwood, Jacqueline Callwood, Charlene Bastian Chinnery, Doreen Lewis, Carol Smith Powell, Carla Todman, Raphael Edwards, Gerry Simon, Rudy Harley, Antonio Steele, Yvonne Wells, Warren Wells Jr., Margaret Wells, Dionne Wells Hedrington, Maurice Wells, Alecia Wells, DeJongh Wells, Clarence Stephenson, Cassandra Foy, Maria Wesselhoft; special friends, Everilda Hodge, Paulinda Noel Moore, Milagros “Millie” Cruz, Victorino “Junie” Cruz, Gordon Finch, Alicia “Aggie” Wallace, Beatrice Pemberton,  Monica Emanuel, Ellerton M., the Gallows Bay family, and the Harrigan family from Contant; as well as other families: Harley, Wells, Sewer, Sprauve, Dalmida, Matthias, Meyers, Wesselhoft, Marsh, Battiste, Hydnman and Bastian.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, June 24, at The Way of Cross Baptist Church in Catherine’s Rest, St Croix. Tributes can be sent to cherylharleytributes22@gmail.com no later than June 3.  Colorful attire or madras may be worn at the memorial service.

Cremation arrangements are entrusted to Schuster’s Crematorium LLC.

Sculptor Mike Walsh displays “Pieces” at sevenminusseven

Tonight, the sevenminusseven art gallery’s first curated exhibit in nearly two years, showcasing the talents of metal sculptor Mike Walsh in a new show called “Pieces,” comes to a close. The exhibit features several steel and aluminum works made within the last 20 years of Walsh’s career.

Clay Jones, the owner of sevenminusseven gallery, is excited to show Walsh’s work: “I wanted to have a strong opening after our closure during Covid, and Walsh is the real deal.” said Jones.

Steel sculpture piece in Mike Walsh’s gallery. (Photo by Mike Walsh)

Mike Walsh moved to St Croix in 1976 after earning a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts from Creighton University and working in the art communities of New York and Connecticut. He opened a metal fabrication business a few years later, Walsh Metal Works, and would eventually expand this into a viewing space for his bigger projects in an adjoining gallery: Studio Walsh. His work has been viewed in various art spaces in the United States, the Caribbean, and England.

The works currently on display in “Pieces” are a mix of artfully expert curves and jagged abstract shapes with precision corners, a testament to Walsh’s experience as a metal craftsman. Mike Walsh welcomes all types to view his work. “You don’t have to be an artist to appreciate art,” he says. “I want my work to be accessible to people with an eye for artistic merit AND for technical craftsmanship.”

Mike Walsh’s show “Pieces” comes to a close tonight and runs from 6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. at sevenminusseven gallery in Subbase. Light bites and complimentary drinks will be offered.

Brief interviews of the artist and descriptions of his process may be found sevenminusseven’s Facebook page or on Instagram.

Antilles School’s Gabrielle Baa is Territorial Doodle for Google Winner

Gabrielle Baa of Antilles School won the annual Google for Doodle competition. (Submitted photo)

Flying in from San Francisco, Google Diversity Specialist Laurie Bennett helped surprise Antilles School sixth-grader Gabrielle Baa with some exciting news: out of thousands of entries, Gabrielle’s was recently selected as the territorial winner of the annual Google for Doodle competition.

The news was announced during a special Middle and Upper School assembly held on campus Thursday, with Gabrielle’s classmates, teachers, and family present.

According to a release from Antilles School, Gabrielle is among the 54 state and territory winners whose Doodles will soon be going live on the search engine’s main page and entered into the final phase of the competition, for a chance to win a $30,000 scholarship. Details on how to vote will soon be released, Bennett said.

Asked about her Doodle, which reflected this year’s theme of “self-care,” Gabrielle said she incorporated some of her favorite activities, such as drawing and dancing, along with some of the things she hopes to do in the future, such as visit Paris. Bennett also recognized Antilles’ Middle and Upper School art teacher Diane Holmberg with an Arts Education Appreciation Award from the company.

“On behalf of the Antilles School community, I proudly congratulate Gabby on this exciting honor. Seeing her face light up and hearing the thunderous applause from her peers following the announcement – it was truly a fantastic moment to witness, and we’re grateful for programs like Doodle for Google, which allows students to showcase their creativity,” said Antilles’ Head of School Shannon Harris. “We also deeply appreciate art educators like Diane Holmberg, who continue to inspire our students to explore these platforms for expression.”

While the contest has been ongoing for 14 years, submissions from the territory were not always eligible. Hoping to change the requirements, former Antilles history teacher Andrea Gilbert, in 2019, had her seventh graders create entries for the competition celebrating V.I.-Puerto Rico Friendship Day, which were sent to Google along with a letter from the class asking that students from the territory be allowed to participate.

Seeing one of the Doodle entries profiled online, Antilles alumna Sara Smollett ’98 shared the story with her colleagues at Google, and a few months later, the company announced the inclusion of the USVI in the contest. In 2020, Ajay Mirpuri ’26 was announced as Doodle for Google’s first territorial winner.

Gabrielle Baa won The winning Doodle for Google entry from Antilles School. (Submitted photo)

 

Viya Celebrates 50th Agrifest; Offices Close to Commemorate Memorial Day

Viya wants the community to come and celebrate the 50th Annual Agriculture and Food Fair on St. Croix, which is being held on Memorial Day weekend. It is a proud and original sponsor of this premier cultural event.

The Viya team will be on hand at the Rudolph Schulterbrandt Agriculture Grounds in its centrally located pop-up-store to share information about Viya’s exciting mobile summer promo with a special Agrifest offer, a demonstration of Viya’s full suite of services and premium giveaways; it will also provide entertaining games for all attendees. Viya’s iconic location and Agrifest grounds will be powered by the fastest network in the V.I.

Viya offices on St. Croix will be closed on Saturday, May 28, and customers are encouraged to visit its pop-up location at Agrifest.

Viya also joins the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands in remembering and honoring members of the United States Armed Forces who fell in service to their country.

In commemoration of Memorial Day, the bank will be closed on Monday, May 30. All customers are encouraged to conduct transactions at their convenience, using Viya’s online Customer Care and payment portal: www.viya.vi or calling 774-2PAY (2729), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

All Viya offices will resume normal business hours on Tuesday, May 31.

Division of Environmental Protection Submits Air Quality Report for Comment

V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources

The Department of Planning and Natural Resources, Division of Environmental Protection, pursuant to 40 C.F.R. Part 58.20(d), submits the “Annual Review of the Air Quality Surveillance System.”  The comment period will end 30 days after the notice is posted. Please address comments to:

Austin F. Callwood, Director

Department of Planning and Natural Resources

Division of Environmental Protection

45 Mars Hill, Frederiksted, St. Croix, VI 00840

Or email: austin.callwood@vi.gov or howard.brown@dpnr.vi.gov

The review may be seen at any DPNR district offices at: 45 Mars Hill, Frederiksted, St. Croix, or 4607 Tutu Park Mall, St. Thomas or https://dpnr.vi.gov/environmental-protection/air-pollution-control-program/

For more information contact Howard Brown at 773-1082.

USVI Showcases Industry-Specific Successes for National Economic Development Week

The Virgin Islands Economic Development Commission is part of the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority

In observance of National Economic Development Week, May 9 – 13, the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority (VIEDA) released a virtual panel discussion featuring local industry leaders. The 40-minute presentation titled “Leveraging Public / Private Partnerships to Invigorate USVI Business Investment” details how economic development programs and incentives enabled growth in four vital business sectors of the U.S. Virgin Islands economy.

A frank conversation — between tourism, manufacturing, technology and energy and small business sectors — delved into issues businesses face. Representing the various business segments were panelists Zakaria Jehangir, president of St. Croix Renaissance Park; Rich Difede, owner of Gold Coast Yachts; Lisa Hamilton, president of VI Hotel & Tourism Association; and Akeel St. Jean Esq., president of the St. Croix Chamber of Commerce. The panel was moderated by VIEDA’s CEO Wayne L. Biggs Jr.

Each discussed how VIEDA programs and incentives have proven beneficial to their industry as well as contributed to the development and growth of existing and new businesses in the territory. For instance, tourism-focused incentive programs have resulted in the rebuilding of two large-scale hurricane ravaged resorts on St. Thomas.

Further, it is anticipated that VIEDA’s trade zone program coupled with a world-class container port on St. Croix would increase the manufacturing and assembly of products with a “Made in the USA” designation. The USVI tax incentives were also credited with making investment in the territory financially attractive.

Though government automation was applauded for speeding the licensing approval and renewal process, the panel offered insights on areas for business future development. These include reviewing the excise tax system, energizing workforce development to expand career opportunities for the local population and embracing alternative energy by extending renewable tax credits and energy sharing initiatives for businesses and residences.

CEO Wayne Biggs Jr. initiated the video project to highlight successes and identify areas where public-private partnerships can continue to positively affect business growth in the USVI.

“The VIEDA is dedicated to attracting and supporting businesses for long-term success with the overall health of the community at the forefront. Our goal is to provide a pro-business public/private sector partnership to accelerate economic growth and development. With our resilient and hardened infrastructure, the USVI presents a rare opportunity for innovative business investment,” said Biggs.

The video is available for viewing at https://youtu.be/et5UX7WxXFk. For more information, email info@usvieda.org.

Economic Development Week was created in 2016 by the International Economic Development Council — the largest international professional trade association for economic developers — to increase awareness for local programs that create jobs, advance career development opportunities, and improve the quality of life in communities everywhere.

For a full recap of the virtual events released, visit VIEDA’s Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and/or Twitter pages, or go to the VIEDA’s website at https://www.usvieda.org/economic-development-week-2022.

*UPDATE: Legislature Calls on Payne to Resign as Sexual Misconduct Allegations Mount*

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Sen. Steven Payne during a February legislative hearing. (Legislature photo)

Fourteen senators met Thursday in an emergency meeting convened by Senate President Donna Frett-Gregory to discuss allegations brought against Sen. Steven Payne. Afterwards, the Legislature sent Payne a letter urging him to resign.

“As you know, this is the third published allegation of inappropriate conduct made against you by a female,” the letter says. “The allegations made public today do not reflect well on you as a Senator and the Legislature as an institution. Consequently, we strongly urge you to immediately resign as Senator at Large to protect the integrity of the institution in which you serve, the constituents to who you represent, and to handle the extremely serious allegations published against you today.”

Asked what would happen if he does not resign, Frett-Gregory said, “We hope that he recognizes the gravity of the situation and resigns, however after discussing this with my colleagues, we are prepared to do what is necessary.”

The Democratic Party of the Virgin Islands previously urged Payne to resign or be removed by the Legislature based on earlier sexual misconduct allegations.

Under V.I. law, it appears the Democratic Party of the Virgin Islands will play the largest role in picking a temporary successor, should Payne resign or be removed.

The relevant passage reads: “When the vacancy occurs within one year prior to the general election, the President of the Legislature, upon the written recommendation of the territorial committee of the political party of which the previous office holder was a candidate, shall appoint the person so recommended; Provided, however, that if the previous office holder was not a candidate of a political party as defined by law, the Legislature by a two-thirds majority of its members shall elect a person from said district, or at large, as the case may be, to fill the vacancy.” Payne is a Democrat.

Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. issued a statement Thursday calling on Attorney General Denise George to open an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse made against Payne by a young woman who said that Payne sexually assaulted her when she was a minor.

The Legislature began its own investigation in April concerning allegations by a member of Payne’s staff.

“The allegations against Senator Payne revealed recently in the media are serious and disturbing. Although the law presumes his innocence until proven otherwise, the nature of the accusation warrants immediate action,” Bryan said in a release on Thursday from Government House.

“This isn’t the first time allegations of inappropriate sexual contact have been made against individuals in positions of authority. I have asked the Attorney General to ensure these matters are properly investigated and trust that justice will be swift. I want to encourage anyone who has been a victim of any type of improper sexual behavior, harassment, or abuse by an authority figure to come forward,” Bryan said.