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From left, USVI Housing Finance Authority Chief Operating Officer Darin Richardson, Executive Director Daryl Griffith, and Chief Financial Officer Valdez Shelford testify before the Senate Finance Committee. (Photo by Barry Leerdam, USVI Legislature)

USVI Has Housing Crisis, HFA Head Tells Senators

Lawmakers and administration officials agreed that housing in the U.S. Virgin Islands is in crisis, while talking Tuesday during the Senate's Committee on Finance hearing on the the proposed fiscal year 2020 budget for the Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority.
George Dudley testifies before the Senate Finance Committee. (Barry Leerdam, USVI Legislature)

Bill Seeks to Expand Hotel Development Act

A bill to amend the USVI's Hotel Development Act, allowing hotels that suffered storm damage to use the financial tools to help finance their recovery, was unanimously approved by the Senate Finance Committee.
Environmental Program Manager Benjamin Keularts with DPNR discusses leaching fields and distances at which septic tanks need to be away from water sources. (Source photo by Bethaney Lee)

Septic Systems Raise Environmental Concerns on Islands

More than half of septic systems in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have substantial problems and are significant sources of nonpoint pollutants, according to Carlos Velazquez a wastewater technician for RCAP Solutions in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
A panel of government agency representatives testify on their departments' hurricane preparedness plans. (Photo by Barry Leerdam, USVI Legislature)

Senators “Frustrated” with State of Hurricane Preparedness

Already into the 2019 hurricane season, which started June 1, several senators said they were “frustrated” and “disappointed” about the lack of preparedness of V.I. government entities should another natural disaster strike.
Westin St. John is scheduled to reopen in January, but as a full timeshare, not a part-resort–part time share as it had been.

Westin Asks to Cut Back Staff Requirement

The Westin St. John Hotel Company has had compliance issues keeping a mandatory 250 employees and Tuesday asked to modify its application with the Virgin Islands Economic Development Commission to employ a minimum of 150 full-time employees, 100 fewer employees than the original application arrangement.
Sen. Allison Degazon (D-STT) at Tuesday's Finance Committee hearing. (Photo by Barry Leerdam, V.I. Legislature)

Frett-Gregory Disputes Blyden’s Account of Legislature Reorganization

Sen. Donna Frett-Gregory said Senate Majority Leader Marvin Blyden was disingenuous about why the legislative majority saw fit to rearrange Senate positions and Blyden responded he was up front and the melee is unnecessary.
Albert Bryan

Gov. Bryan: One-Time Medicaid Windfall Should Not Go to Raises

Gov. Albert Bryan urged the Legislature in a statement Thursday not to spend any of a one-time $39 million Medicaid reimbursement windfall on recurring expenses like pay raises but instead use it for the hospitals' utility bills.
View of Carambola Resort with Hamms Bluff in the background. (Susan Ellis photo)

New Owners to Take Over Carambola Resort by End of Month

A thorn in the side of the Government Employees Retirement System may be removed by the end of the month, if the sale of Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort and Spa goes through.

Young Syrian Refugee Returns to St. Thomas to Face Trial

The 18-year-old Syrian refugee who turned himself into a St. Thomas police station in March returned Monday to the island, where he is expected to face trial on charges of illegal entry into the United States.

Judge Calls WAPA Emissions Progress ‘Remarkable’

The V.I. Water and Power Authority continues to be in compliance with emissions consent decrees, earning praise from U.S. District Judge Curtis Gomez during a quarterly court review Monday. WAPA will only need to have annual reviews going forward, according to a statement from the authority.

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