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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

St. Croix Central High School Shifts to Online Learning Due to Severe Weather

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Following unexpected heavy rainfall that led to the premature closure of its campus on Monday, St. Croix Central High School has promptly adapted by moving to virtual learning for Tuesday, as announced by the V.I. Department of Education.

The decision came after students were released from school earlier than scheduled, a move necessitated by the rain’s significant impact on the infrastructure and daily operations of the school. This proactive transition to digital classrooms ensures that education remains uninterrupted, allowing students to connect with their educators via Teams during their usual school hours. Coursework and assignments will be managed and submitted using Teams alongside Schoology, ensuring a seamless continuation of the academic program.

The Department of Education is actively addressing the situation by conducting thorough cleaning and evaluations to make certain the school environment is secure and conducive for the return of its students and faculty. The goal is to welcome back the school community for in-person learning by Wednesday.

It’s important to note that this weather-induced adjustment is isolated to Central High School, with all other institutions within the district operating as per their standard schedule, unaffected by the recent climatic challenges.

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Unlocking $75 Million for Business Resilience: A Call to Action

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The Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority (VIHFA) has unveiled an extraordinary opportunity for local enterprises with the launch of its Commercial Hardening and Financing, alongside the Small Business Mitigation programs. These initiatives, bolstered by a generous $75 million from the Community Development Block Grant-Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) Action Plan, are specifically designed to fortify businesses against the adverse effects of natural and human-made disasters.

A sum of $40 million is earmarked for the Commercial Hardening and Financing Program, with an additional $35 million allocated for Small Business Mitigation efforts. These funds aim to minimize operational interruptions and enhance resilience among the business community in the face of unforeseen challenges.

Dayna Clendinen, the Interim Executive Director and Chief Disaster Recovery Officer at VIHFA, strongly advocates for prospective applicants to partake in the forthcoming workshops. These sessions are crucial, offering vital technical support and guidance throughout the application journey.

The schedule for these informative workshops is as follows:

  • St. Thomas: Monday, March 4, at 6 p.m., located at the UVI Innovation Center in the SBDC Training Room.
  • St. John: Tuesday, March 5, at 6 p.m., hosted at the Julius E. Sprauve School Cafeteria.
  • St. Croix: Friday, March 8, at 6 p.m., taking place at the Sunny Isle Shopping Center in the Elections Office.

In addition to in-person gatherings, VIHFA will host two online townhall meetings for broader accessibility. These virtual engagements are slated for Wednesday, February 28, and Wednesday, March 6, both commencing at 6:00 p.m. AST. Pre-registration for these events is mandatory, with details available through VIHFA’s provided links.

For those ready to seize this opportunity, applications for the CDBG-MIT Economic Resilience and Revitalization Program are accessible online. Whitney George, the Management Assistant, is available for inquiries or assistance regarding paper applications or the application process at (340) 772-4432 Ext:3248, or through email at [email protected] or [email protected].

The application deadline is set for April 5, 2024, at 11:59 PM. This timeline offers businesses a substantial window to apply for this pivotal funding, a step forward in ensuring their growth and sustainability amidst challenges.

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UVI Gears Up to Host David Roberts for Prestigious 13D Business Leadership Lecture

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The University of the Virgin Islands is setting the stage for the much-anticipated 2nd Annual 13D Business Leadership Lecture, which will be held at the UVI 13D Research and Strategy Innovation Center. The event, taking place on Monday, March 11, at 6 p.m., will spotlight David Roberts, a distinguished figure in the realms of singularity and innovation.

Renowned for his expertise in disruptive technology and exponential leadership, Roberts brings a wealth of knowledge from his tenure as a faculty member at Singularity University. His dedication to harnessing technological advancements for global betterment has made him a pivotal figure in shaping future leaders and innovators.

Dr. Pamela Moolenaar-Wirsiy, the Dean of Innovation and Student Success and Vice President of Institutional Advancement at UVI, shared her excitement for the lecture. “Hosting the second annual 13D Business Leadership Lecture underscores our commitment to fostering an environment of groundbreaking ideas and innovation,” she stated. The event is designed to spark revolutionary thinking and aligns perfectly with the visionary objectives of the 13D Innovation Center.

With a rich background that includes leadership roles in Singularity University’s Graduate Studies Program and an academic foundation from Harvard Business School and M.I.T., Roberts is uniquely positioned to guide discussions on artificial intelligence, bio-computer engineering, and the future of technology. His ventures have attracted significant investment from industry giants, including Kleiner Perkins and Vinod Khosla, highlighting his impact on the entrepreneurial landscape.

The lecture is open to the entire community, inviting local leaders, business professionals, and students to engage in a dialogue that promises to reshape perspectives and inspire innovative solutions for the challenges of tomorrow.

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