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Nathan Simmonds, director of finance administration at the Public Finance Authority, testifies before the Senate Finance Committee Monday. (Photo by the V.I. Legislature)

PFA Looking into Reprogramming Unspent Capital Projects Funds

The Public Finance Authority is exploring ways to address roughly $115 million in unexpended capital projects funding, a chronic problem among local agencies. Reprogramming them for other purposes is not off the table, Nathan Simmonds, the director of finance administration at the Public Finance Authority, told lawmakers Monday.
Behind the childcare facility a playground is near completion, needing only grass and foliage to be added. (Source photo by Bethaney Lee)

UVI Opens Childcare Center

The University of the Virgin Island’s unveiled its new childcare center, which planners hope will aid students who need help obtaining care for their little ones while attending classes. UVI President David Hall said the center was a culmination of 10 years of efforts.
Lieutenant Governor Tregenza Roach explained how residents can recover claims owed by Real Legacy Assurance Company.

USVI to Pay Debts of Insolvent Real Legacy Insurance

Lt. Gov. Tregenza Roach has ordered the V.I. Insurance Guaranty Association to pay outstanding claims for Real Legacy claims, including replacement cost holdback claims.
U.S. Virgin Islands Assistant Commissioner of Tourism Elizabeth Hansen Watley with journalist and filmmaker Peter Bailey in Charleston, South Carolina for presentation of Bailey's documentary, "The Unbreakable Virgin Islanders." (Photo by Department of Tourism)

USVI Promoting Carnival and Festivals

The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism has launched a summer campaign to market the islands' carnival and festivals. Following passage of Legislative Act 8153, Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte now has the department promoting and managing festival tourism with a busy summer schedule.
Newly crowned 2019 Junior Miss St. John Festival Tamyra Bartlette and 2019 Miss St. John Festival Queen Lenisha Richards.

Lenisha Richards Crowned STJ Festival Queen

Lenisha Richards, 18, was crowned the 2019 Miss St. John Festival Queen. Tamyra Bartlette, 13, was crowned Junior Miss St. John Festival and, as the only contenders for their titles, Lemuel Liburd III and Elizabeth Farrell were crowned the 2019 St. John Festival Prince and Princess.

Rules Committee Tables Medicaid Windfall Bill

Senators in the Rules and Judiciary Committee Friday tabled a bill outlining how to spend a $39.5 million from Medicaid. The bill was introduced last month and voted out of the Finance Committee, then special ordered to the Committee of the Whole and from there bounced back to Rules.
Bruce Flamon, an independent taxi driver, said he thinks mandating credit card payment availability on taxis as government over reach. (Photo by Barry Leerdam for the V.I. Legislature)

Senate Panel OKs Cab Credit Card Bill Over Driver Opposition

Sen. Janelle Sarauw, chair of the Committee on Rules and Judiciary, said she knew a bill requiring taxi drivers to implement an electronic monetary payment system would be contentious.
The lift station generator awaits repair so that it can pump sewage that's fouling the neighborhood.

Overflowing Sewage Plagues Pond Mouth Area of Cruz Bay

At 4 a.m. Thursday morning Sylvia Kudirka, a resident of Pond Mouth in Cruz Bay, was jolted awake by an all-too-familiar noxious odor – the stench of raw sewage. As she has done many times in the past several months, Kudirka went outside to confirm that the source of the smell was a nearby manhole, one of four, which was overflowing with sewage.
DLCA Nominee Richard Evangelista takes the oath before testifying at Thursday’s Senate Rules Committee hearing. (Photo by Barry Leerdam for the V.I. Legislature)

DLCA Nominee Vows Ramped-Up Consumer Protection, Faster Licensing

Richard Evangelista, Gov. Albert Bryan’s nominee to lead the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs, told lawmakers Thursday his appointment signaled a new day for businesses and consumers, pledging a strengthened consumer protection division, a more efficient license application process and year-round compliance monitoring.
Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital in March 2018. (Bill Kossler photo)

JFL Reopening Could Be Delayed Until May 2020

Dyma B. Williams, acting chief executive officer of the Governor Juan F. Luis Hospital, and her staff told Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. and members of his executive team Wednesday that the projected opening date of the modular replacement for the hurricane-damaged hospital may have to be pushed back to May 2020. Work on the physical structure of the modular hospital to take the place of the facility is progressing, according to a news release from the hospital. But the scheduled opening may be delayed due to the prior hospital administration’s failure to procure the furnishings, fixtures and medical equipment, according to the current hospital administration. The current administration of the hospital has been working since late 2018 to secure those needs JFL has requested Bryan’s assistance in utilizing the territory’s resources to expedite this process. Bryan expressed his support for the hospital's request, the news release said. "We have to move to secure the best healthcare access we can as quickly as we can," Bryan said. "We recognize the importance and value of supporting access to healthcare for all Virgin Islanders. We support ...  Williams in stabilizing the infrastructure of the hospital and completing these projects as soon as possible." Bryan also said his administration is lobbying to address the 100 percent Medicaid funding for the territory, which expires in September. Members of his administration were in Washington D.C. Thursday testifying before Congress for the Medicaid funding. Due to the delays in getting the modular hospital online, JFL staff has executed temporary repairs on the existing hospital to enhance the quality of the patient and employee experience. With the support of the Bryan Administration, JFL intends to utilize Public Finance Authority funds allocated by the Legislature for capital improvements to complete repairs. These include temporary repair or replacement of air handlers damaged in the storm and repairs to the air handler room and the electrical motor control room, which were deferred initially in anticipation of the demolition of the hospital. “The continued collaboration and support of the administration is essential to the success of the hospital during this extended recovery period," Williams said. "We are working diligently to ensure that our current facility meets the healthcare needs of our community, until we transfer to the temporary modular hospital.”

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