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Author: Sarah McMichael

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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US Virgin Islands Legislature acts on hurricane debris management, aid funding

Among several complex issues related to infrastructure damage in the United States Virgin Islands,  the question of what to do with massive amounts of debris leftover from the devastation of hurricanes Maria and Irma has become a controversial topic. The accumulation of garbage and approximately 700,000 cubic yards of vegetative debris was a problem that needed to be addressed quickly, as the federal government will only cover the full cost of burning until March 20, 2018. On December 14, Governor Kenneth Mapp informed Senate President Myron Jackson that he had vetoed a bill that would have banned the government...

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After Maria, the US Virgin Islands are Running out of Money

Puerto Rico is not the only US territory currently involved in a debt crisis. The United States Virgin Islands have had a financial crisis of their own, and the economic future of the US Virgin Islands is in serious jeopardy. The Islands have been steadily accumulating debt, and by 2017, the US Virgin Islands had accumulated so much debt that the bond market had refused to lend them any more money. The governor was in the process of negotiating with the bond market again when Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the islands in September–storms that not only damaged much...

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US Virgin Islands on track to restore power

After Hurricane Irma destroyed much of St. Thomas and St. John on September 6, 2017, Hurricane Maria pummeled through St. Croix less than 2 weeks later, leaving all of the US Virgin Islands residents in serious disarray. It has been more that 2 months since much of the infrastructure was destroyed on the islands, but restoration of the electrical systems there is moving forward steadily. The Virgin Islands’ Water and Power Authority (WAPA) has released their most current update on the status of the restoration process, and as of November 22, 2017, the outlook is somewhat more promising. The...

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