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Honoring Heroes: Veterans Day Observances Pay Tribute to Rivera, Hendricks, and Powell in the Virgin Islands

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The Veterans Day celebration in the U.S. Virgin Islands, a collaborative effort between the VI Office of Veterans Affairs and American Legion District 10, marked a significant day of remembrance on Saturday. With ceremonies held concurrently on St. Thomas and St. Croix, the islands came together to pay homage to their veterans, ensuring their valor and sacrifices are remembered and honored for future generations.

In Frederiksted, St. Croix, a waterfront ceremony paid tribute to three notable veterans, each a symbol of unwavering commitment to both the nation and the Virgin Islands. Major General (Ret.) Renaldo Rivera of St. Croix, MSG (Ret.) Wilburn E. Hendricks of St. Thomas, and Frank “Jimmy” Powell Jr. of St. John were the esteemed honorees.

Major General Renaldo Rivera, a respected figure in military circles, completed 35 years of service, including his tenure as the 12th Adjutant General of the United States Virgin Islands, starting in March 2007. His educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in Law Enforcement Administration, complemented by extensive military training.

Wilburn Elric Hendricks, hailing from St. Thomas, blended his military career with his musical talents, serving as an Army musician. His dedication extended beyond the military to a 37-year career with the US Postal Service, while also serving in the Virgin Islands National Guard for over 27 years.

Frank “Jimmy” Powell Jr., a veteran of the United States Army, served from 1965 to 1967, including a tour in Vietnam, where he earned several medals. His service continued upon his return, contributing 20 years to the Virgin Islands Police Department.

Patrick D. Farrell, Director of the V.I. Office of Veterans Affairs, shared his lifelong connection to these ceremonies and commended the community for its strong participation. “These parades have been a part of my life since childhood, reflecting our enduring commitment to honoring our veterans,” Farrell noted, expressing his appreciation for the community’s involvement.

Congress Delegate Stacey E. Plaskett highlighted the profound influence of Virgin Islands veterans, recognizing them as integral members and inspirations within the community. “Our veterans, coming from diverse backgrounds, have not only safeguarded our freedoms but have significantly enriched our community. They are the pillars of our society,

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USVI Community Pulse

New Parking Fee at Fort Christianvaern Starting Dec. 11

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Beginning December 11, visitors to Fort Christiansvaern in Christiansted, St. Croix, will need to pay a $10 daily parking fee, as announced by the National Park Service (NPS). This new automated payment system, located at the parking lot’s entrance, will facilitate payments exclusively via debit and credit cards, as cash transactions will not be available.

The NPS has implemented this fee to generate additional revenue, aimed at enhancing the overall experience for visitors. The funds collected will be strategically invested in improving the park’s facilities and infrastructure, contributing to a more enjoyable and well-maintained environment for all guests.

Parking will be available from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. To ensure the safety and proper use of the parking lot, vehicles left after 5:00 p.m. may be towed at the owner’s expense, emphasizing the importance of adhering to the stipulated hours.

The NPS encourages the continued use of the parking lot at the Christiansted Historical site, highlighting its safety and convenience for both town and park visitors. They anticipate positive public cooperation with these changes.

For further inquiries or to address any concerns, individuals can contact Chief Ranger Gabriel Laurencin at [email protected] or call 340-773-1460 for assistance.

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USVI Community Pulse

St. Croix Prepares for Dazzling Christmas Boat Parade with Parking and Traffic Regulations

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The picturesque island of St. Croix is abuzz with excitement as it gears up for the much-anticipated annual Christmas Boat Parade on Saturday, December 9. This festive highlight draws crowds to Christiansted’s scenic boardwalk, prompting the V.I. Police Department to enforce specific parking restrictions and road closures for a seamless event experience.

Key measures implemented by the VIPD in preparation for the parade, a cornerstone of St. Croix’s holiday celebrations, include:

  • A parking ban on Queen Cross Street, from Riddims to the Caravelle Casino, effective 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. (midnight). This measure is essential for vendor setup and smooth parade preparations.
  • King Street will also be subject to a no-parking policy from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. (midnight). This restriction encompasses the stretch from Florence Williams Library to Government House and includes the vicinity from Strand Lane (Purple Papaya) to King Street.

To ensure public safety and efficient traffic management, roadblocks will be in place at the intersection of King Street and King Cross Street (near the Library), commencing at 11:00 a.m. and lasting until midnight. Access during this time will be limited to vendors and officials associated with the Boat Parade Committee.

The Christmas Boat Parade is an iconic tradition in St. Croix, attracting thousands to the Christiansted boardwalk for a magical evening. The event is renowned for its display of intricately decorated boats, illuminating the night with festive lights, culminating in a stunning fireworks show.

The VIPD extends its gratitude to the community for cooperating with these traffic and parking arrangements, emphasizing their commitment to ensuring a safe, enjoyable holiday experience for all attendees.

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USVI Community Pulse

Ford Initiates Major Recall of Over 45,000 Vehicles Due to Door Latch Concerns

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Ford Motor Company has begun issuing notices to owners of select models, specifically the 2015 Fiesta, 2016 Fusion, and the 2016 Lincoln MKZ, regarding a critical safety issue identified in these vehicles.

The company disclosed in mid-November the discovery of a defect in the door latches of certain vehicles. The defect involves a latch component that may break, potentially making the door difficult to secure or, in some cases, allowing it to open unexpectedly during travel.

Notably, some of these vehicles are known to have been sold and registered in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In response, Ford dealerships are conducting thorough inspections of the door latches on affected vehicles, with a directive to replace all four side door latches at no cost to the vehicle owner if they find any issues.

Vehicle owners who prefer immediate action rather than waiting for postal notifications can access further information by reaching out to Ford’s customer service at 1-866-436-7332 or contacting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236.

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