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Author: Sarah McMichael

US Virgin Islands set to rebuild power grid

When Hurricane Irma hit the US Virgin Islands in September, 2018, not only were thousands of homes destroyed, but 90% of St. Thomas’ power lines and 80% of its transformers were destroyed, thus affecting St. John residents as they are fed by St. Thomas’ power plant. The main issue concerning the power lines is that they were above ground, and when the storm’s 150-mph winds sheared the tops of every tree 10 feet off the ground, the lines went down as well. After Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the islands, approximately 55,000 customers of The Virgin Islands Water and...

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USVI Office of Management and Budget attempts to deny funding to nonprofits

The US Virgin Islands are still in the process of rebuilding infrastructure following hurricanes Maria and Irma, and this process is extremely difficult from a financial standpoint as the USVI government was already cash-strapped and involved in a major budget crisis before the storms even hit. Regardless of the monetary costs that arise after natural disasters, the human costs go beyond just fixing and constructing new bridges and roads, as rebuilding communities and relationships are paramount to the territory’s survival and recovery. Much of the immediate and long term human needs felt by families and individuals are tackled by...

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US Virgin Islands residents fight to receive homeowners insurance payments

Citizens of the United States Virgin Islands are now facing new challenges related to the two devastating hurricanes that rocked the territory in September 2017. As residents are attempting to repair and rebuild their homes, many of which suffered severe damage as a result of the storms, they are now caught up in a battle with insurance companies, banks, and lenders that are accused of denying a significant amount of homeowners insurance claims. On February 3, Senator Alicia Hansen of St. Croix, and attorney Lee Rohn announced that they would be collaborating to work on a class action lawsuit...

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US Virgin Islands schools struggling to return to normalcy

Since Hurricanes Maria and Irma hit the US Virgin Islands in September of 2017, legislators and educators on the islands have been struggling with several issues related to the functionality of the islands’ school systems. On January 17, The USVI Legislature’s Committee on Education, Youth, and  Recreation met at the Capitol Building to discuss the status of the Virgin Islands Department of Education (VIDOE). After Federal agencies such as the US Army Corps of Engineers conducted assessments of all schools, it was determined that roughly 2.9 million square feet of the public instructional education system incurred unrepairable damage, and...

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The US Virgin Islands become new front on federal war against marijuana

On January 4, 2017, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the appointment of Gretchen C.F. Shappert as Interim United States Attorney to the US Virgin Islands. As a United States Attorney and as an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA), Ms. Shappert has prosecuted criminal defendants including outlaw motorcycle gangs and violent drug organizations, while also exacting a particular emphasis on the arduous prosecution of drug offenders. Shappert’s expertise may prove to be an asset to the people of the US Virgin Islands, as according to a statistics report released by the FBI on September 26, 2016, the US Virgin...

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