Connect with us

USVI Community Pulse

Governor Bryan Participates in Crucial Energy Summit in Hawaii as Local Emergency Continues

Published

on

View of the WAPA Richmond Power Plant. Courtesy of V.I. Consortium

Governor Albert Bryan Jr. is in Hawaii participating in the National Governors Association (NGA) Energy Security, Resilience and Recovery Roundtable, joined by leading emergency management officials from the U.S. Virgin Islands. This participation was confirmed by Richard Motta Jr., the Communications Director of the Government House, during a press briefing in St. Croix.

At the roundtable, Governor Bryan is engaging with issues pivotal to energy security that particularly impact remote regions like the U.S. Virgin Islands. The discussions cover a range of challenges such as natural threats, isolated energy networks, fuel supply disruptions, and governance in utility sectors. The event gathers federal leaders and representatives from Alaska, American Samoa, Guam, Hawaii, Northern Marianas Islands, and Puerto Rico.

This engagement occurs amidst a declared state of emergency in the Virgin Islands due to ongoing complications with the local Water and Power Authority’s generation capabilities. Governor Bryan’s involvement is seen as a crucial step in driving collaborative initiatives to strengthen the territory’s energy resilience.

During Governor Bryan’s time away, Lieutenant Governor Tregenza Roach has assumed the role of acting governor. Governor Bryan is expected to return on May 18.

In other news, Richard Motta Jr. highlighted the upcoming USVI 2024 Wellness Fair, scheduled from June 1-9. This event is a collaborative effort between the VI Department of Health, the Governor’s Office, and the U.S. Department of Defense’s Health and Innovative Readiness Training Program, offering free dental, optometry, and general medical screenings by over 270 health professionals. The fair, set to take place at the St. Croix Educational Complex and Ivanna Eudora Kean High School on St. Thomas, will also feature mental wellness assessments and back-to-school vaccinations available at Maternal and Child Health clinics across the three islands.

Additionally, Motta shared Governor Bryan’s congratulations to the recent graduates of the University of the Virgin Islands. The commencement ceremonies, which took place last Thursday and Friday on St. Thomas and St. Croix, celebrated the new cohort of leaders and innovators poised to contribute to the local and broader community. Governor Bryan expressed his pride in their achievements and looks forward to their future contributions.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

USVI Community Pulse

V.I. Parole Board to Review Cases of Manslaughter, Robbery, and Fraud

Published

on

The V.I. Parole Board has released its schedule for parole hearings in June, inviting testimony from victims, family members, and other interested parties.

To submit testimony, written comments or requests to appear before the Board must be sent by May 30, 2024. Correspondence should be addressed to:

Chairman of the Parole Board
John A. Bell Adult Correctional Facility
Rural Route 1, Box 9909
Kingshill, VI 00850-9715
Phone: (340) 773-6309 ext. 6817
Email: [email protected]

Hearing Schedule

June 3:
Edwin Rivera, convicted of second-degree robbery and currently incarcerated at the Citrus County Detention Facility in Florida, will have his parole application reviewed.

June 5:
Five inmates from the Tallahatchie County Facility in Missouri will be heard:

  • Jahzeel Fenton – First-degree assault (domestic violence)
  • Yamini Potter – Grand larceny, identity theft, wire fraud, and obstruction of justice
  • Jim Wallace – Voluntary manslaughter
  • Elieser Edwards – First-degree robbery
  • Dekumar Rogers – Unauthorized possession of a firearm

June 7:
The board will review the case of Mekel Blash, serving a sentence for second-degree murder, from the Wallens Ridge State Prison, Keen Mountain Correctional Facility, and Red Onion State Prison in Virginia.

June 10:
Applications from inmates at the John A. Bell Correctional Facility will be considered:

  • Francisco Tirado – First-degree unlawful sexual contact
  • Ethelbert Benjamin – First-degree unlawful sexual contact
  • William Wilson – Possession of marijuana with intent to distribute

June 11:
The board will hear applications from inmates of the Alexander A. Farrelly Criminal Justice Complex:

  • Curtis Petersen – Stalking (domestic violence)
  • Edward Paul – Unauthorized possession of a firearm
  • Ray Sanderson – First-degree attempted robbery
  • Shamall Fleming – Second-degree assault (domestic violence)

Public Advisory

The Parole Board reminds the public that parole eligibility is based on the inmate’s sentence and V.I. parole statutes. Inclusion on the eligibility list does not guarantee parole or a scheduled hearing. Parole can only be granted on the recommendation of the Director of the Bureau of Corrections. Additionally, release dates depend on various conditions, including approval by the State Council of Interstate Compact for the Supervision of Adult Offenders.

Continue Reading

USVI Community Pulse

USVI Prosecutors and Public Defenders Now Eligible for Law School Loan Repayment Grants

Published

on

Prosecutors and federal public defenders in the U.S. Virgin Islands now have a chance to ease their law school loan burdens through a new grant program.

The Virgin Islands Law Enforcement Planning Commission (LEPC) has announced the acceptance of applications for the John R. Justice Grant Program. This initiative, established during the Obama administration, provides loan repayment assistance to qualifying prosecutors and public defenders who commit to staying in their positions for at least three years.

This year, the LEPC has secured $51,840 in grant funds for the program. They plan to distribute approximately 10 grants of around $5,000 each, although the final amount could vary based on the number of applicants. “Awards may increase depending on the number of respondents,” the LEPC stated.

The grants are available to full-time federal public defenders and prosecutors. Full-time is defined as working at least 75% of a standard 40-hour work week. The selection process will prioritize applicants who demonstrate the greatest financial need in repaying their student loans.

The application process involves several steps: income verification, school loan verification, and the completion of a John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program Service Agreement. Applicants must also submit additional documents, including education loan records and proof of employment. The LEPC has indicated it will work with the Department of Labor to account for any increases in the cost of living.

Applications must be submitted electronically to the LEPC by 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 30, 2024, at [email protected]. Incomplete applications or those lacking required signatures and documents will not be considered.

For further information or to request an application, interested parties can contact Ms. Carmen Potter, Executive Assistant to the Director, at (340) 774-6400 or via email at [email protected].

Continue Reading

USVI Community Pulse

Christiansted Bypass Renamed to Honor DPW Veteran Aloy “Wenty” Nielsen

Published

on

In a ceremony held during National Public Works Week, the Christiansted Bypass was officially renamed in honor of Aloy “Wenty” Nielsen, a dedicated public servant whose contributions have significantly shaped the infrastructure across the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Nielsen, who has worked with the Department of Public Works (DPW) for over 30 years, was recognized for his extensive impact on public infrastructure projects on all three islands. DPW Commissioner Derek Gabriel highlighted Nielsen’s instrumental role in several key projects, including the development at Point Udall on St. Croix, the roundabout on St. John, and the Long Bay Revitalization on St. Thomas.

“It’s really the volume of work over his lifetime that we’re honoring,” said Jomo McClean, DPW’s Highway Program Manager and master of ceremonies. He emphasized Nielsen’s vision, patience, and leadership, which have been crucial in securing federal funds for large-scale projects like the Christiansted Bypass.

Senate President Novelle Francis praised Nielsen as a “quiet superhero” whose relentless efforts over the decades ensured the completion of the bypass despite numerous delays and setbacks. Lieutenant Governor Tregenza Roach also commended the shift towards honoring living individuals who have significantly contributed to the territory’s development.

Addressing the crowd, Nielsen expressed his humility and joy at the recognition. He reminisced about the bypass project, which originated from a 1972 study, describing it as a testament to persistence and cooperation. Initially met with public skepticism, the project eventually won widespread approval for its positive impact on traffic and quality of life in Christiansted.

Governor Albert Bryan Jr. admitted his early doubts about the project’s feasibility but acknowledged its successful completion as a result of determination and collaborative effort. Nielsen echoed this sentiment, noting the bypass’s role in easing traffic and providing a recreational space for residents.

While celebrating the honor, Nielsen credited the collective dedication of all those involved in making the project a reality. The Aloy “Wenty” Nielsen Bypass, he concluded, symbolizes not only physical connectivity but also the spirit of progress and cooperation within the community.

Continue Reading

Trending