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WTJX NEWSFEED: December 4, 2023

Lockhart Elementary School

On today's WTJX NewsFeed, VIPD is investigating what they say appears to be a justifiable homicide which led to the death of 21-year-old Kjani Skeet. Terrell Alexandre, Deputy Supervisor of Elections, says candidates for the 6th Constitutional Convention will be on the November 2024 ballot. Cannabis Advisory Board Member, Positive Nelson, says that final rules have been implemented and distributed to the public, but clarifying language is still needed from the Legislature. Guidelines can be found here: https://ocr.vi.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/VICUA-Rules-PUBLIC.pdf Listen to these stories and more.

TRANSCRIPT

Welcome to the WTJX news feed in today's top stories. An act of alleged self-defense led to the death of one man on St. Croix The election system of the Virgin Islands says candidates for the sixth Constitutional Convention of the Virgin Islands will be on the November 2024 ballots. Cannabis Advisory Board member positive. Nelson says the final rules have been implemented, but clarifying language is still needed by the legislature.

These stories and more on today's News Feed from the Virgin Islands Public Broadcasting System Studios on Saint Thomas. This is the WTJX News Feed with Marcellina Ventura-Douglas, welcome to the WTJX News Feed, bringing you the latest news and updates throughout our community. A saint point man was shot and killed in what the Virgin Islands Police Department described as a justifiable homicide late Friday evening.

Commander for the Criminal Investigation Bureau, Lieutenant Naomi Joseph has the details. On December 1st, 2023, at about 1023. We were notified first by ShotSpotter shots of the shot and shrubbery from the area and then relayed over the radio that we had a shooting victim. I was transported in a private vehicle. And then later on, when officers arrived at the scene, we were notified that individuals were seeking help in a neighbor's property and that individual had been transported to the hospital by ambulance.

Our investigation revealed that the deceased had been identified by the captain as he had a child with a female in the location and went to see his sister. What over? He got into an argument with the child's mother. Then she flew while she was sitting in the car speaking to if he is a friend to somebody else. And when the young man said yes, she got even more enraged and opened the door and saw the vehicle that the young mother sitting in and immediately attacked him with a knife, stabbing him multiple times in the torso and back and to his face, the blast was actually through his eyes.

And at that point, the young man has a license firearm, used it and discharged several shots striking Mr. Saint, who was rushed into emergency surgery. The injuries so far investigation as short as nothing more than this appears to be a justifiable homicide. Earlier today, the Virgin Islands Police Department received a report of a potential threat at the Lockhart K through eight School on Saint Thomas.

A caller called the 911 emergency call center with information about a student allegedly carrying a loaded weapon on the school campus. In response, the Department of Education was immediately informed, prompting the school to initiate a comprehensive lockdown procedure. While the Virgin Islands Police Department conducted a thorough sweep of the campus. Subsequent to the Vicpd Safety Inspection, school authorities received the all clear signal confirming the absence of any threat on the campus.

The school resume normal school operations with assurance that all students, faculty and staff were secure. Senior Citizens Superior Court Judge René GUMBS Cardy denied a motion filed by the 34th Legislature for an immediate stay of proceedings and one questioning her authority to preside over the lawsuit filed against them by former Senator Stephen Payne. Judge Gumbs Cardy responded with a two page order threatening sanctions if the defendants questioned her authority again.

The legislature's motions questioned the judge's authority, stating that her term was apparently expired. Superior Court judges are appointed for six years and may continue in office for another 180 days after their term expires. Unless a successor is appointed sooner. The motion alleges that in the judge's case, she was confirmed by the legislature on June 3rd, 2016, and her term expired on June 3rd, 2022, before Payne was expelled by the Senate on July 28, 2022, and before he filed his suit.

Judge Gumbs Carty successor, Judge Carol Thomas Jacobs, was confirmed on April 14th, more than six months past the expiration of the judge's initial term, which under the 180 day extension ended on November 30th, 2022. In her response to the motions, Judge Gumbs Khadi wrote that the defendant is hereby placed on notice that any further attempt to violate Virgin Islands rule of civil procedure with frivolous motions to harass, delay, distract from the nature of proceedings, or result in a show causing hearing and appropriate sanctions.

The legislature's motions came just one week after Judge Gumbs Khadi set a March 14th bench trial date in the case. The act to establish the sixth Constitutional Convention of the Virgin Islands was signed into law by Governor Albert Bryant earlier this year in January. The convention will be responsible for either adopting a new constitution using the fifth constitutional draft or adopting the almost seven decade old revised Organic Act as part of the territory's constitution.

 

Deputy Supervisor of Election Terrell Alexandre says candidates wanting to seek election for the sixth Constitutional Convention will be on the ballot in November 2024. The official 600 rhetorical Tender would be published on Tuesday, December 12th. Beginning tomorrow we start to publish the 2024 election calendar or any difference between the two calendars, a calendar for District 22 sets, a match, or just strictly applying to dates that apply to the Constitutional Convention in front of the same filing deadlines.

The filing deadline, the first date to pick up a nomination petition will be printed. The first date you can file. It would be May 14, 2024. And lastly, file it would be May 21st, 2024, at 6 p.m. The makeup of the ballot will include 15 candidates, seven from Saint Croix, seven from Saint Thomas, and one from Saint John.

But there still needs some clarifying language from the legislature currently to enact 1881 state that there will be no more than five candidates and a reference to a large candidate within 87, 34 and 35th Legislature removed the delegate by still referencing a lower part. So they need to clarify that that language would have to be in a district level seven.

Or if you want to do, the Saint John would be the at position. So that's the information we were waiting for. Delegates to Congress Stacey Plaskett shared that the Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded the Virgin Islands Department of Education a grant totaling just over $140 million for the Claudio Marco Elementary School on Saint Croix and a grant in the amount of just over $300 million for the Adelita Crime Junior High School on Saint Thomas.

The funding will be used to demolish and replace both schools that were extensively damaged as a direct result of Hurricane Maria. The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority announced the resignation of its chief financial officer, Jacob Lewis. The authority said Lewis will be leaving to pursue a new professional opportunity and will continue his duties until the end of the year to facilitate a smooth transition.

The current director of accounting and controller, Miss Lorraine Kelly, will step into the role of interim CFO. The authority shared that Miss Kelly brings over 30 years of experience in finance and accounting management, including previous roles as CFO at ASH Incorporation and a partner at Tatum LLC. At today's Government House Press briefing, La Paz, Director of Water Distribution for the St. Croix District.

Don Gregoire, says the authority is still working on continued testing in regards to the information from EPA. We're still waiting on their final reports on the sequential testing. Hopefully we should be receiving that in a few days and we are continually working with DPNR for continued testing. Hopefully we can finalize a plan by the end of this week for additional testing.

A reminder to eligible customers that from today until Thursday, December 7th, those customers who are unable to collect water vouchers from the Virgin Islands, Water and Power Authority can do so this week. The authority has extended business hours until 6 p.m. at the Sunny Isles Business Office. Visit Clean Water Usvi AECOM for eligibility or to pre-register. Also by TMR director Darryl Johnson says that additional FEMA staff have arrived in the Territory to assess response efforts to the same great potable water distribution system.

The FEMA I met team is on the ground here. We met with them last week. Additionally, today we had four planters arrive in the island. Two are being dedicated by team up with IMET team and two being dedicated to WAPA. So there's resources to go forward along with EPA and well, CDC and HHS. The Office of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles on synchrony will be closed until further notice due to a waterline breakage that is hampering the flow of business.

Customers are encouraged to renew their registrations online and schedule appointments online by visiting the BMV website at BMV. Dot VII dot gov. You are listening to the WTJX News Feed. Questions have been raised about the implementation of rules and regulations by the Cannabis Advisory Board. Board member positive. Nelson says final rules have been implemented and released to the public for circulation, but there still needs clarifying language by the legislature.

The issue is there's some legislative action that needs to take place because in the rewrite of the law, there were some oversights, and the one that stands out in my head quickly is is one where only medicinal patients can go into restricted areas. That was relative to the previous law. That was a medicinal cannabis patient act. But since they change that and upgraded that law and the revision to include adult use.

Apparently they did not take that section of the law. So in order for the rules to be totally applicable, there needs to be amendments to the law so that the rules and the law are in alignment. So the final rules are out. Drew had sent, although for circulation, the proposed rules from the from the board are being held for circulation.

We've gotten public input who we expect to start giving out some type of practitioners and qualified patients licenses in the early part of next year, perhaps in the end of January or early February. Commenting on the increase of seeming impatience voiced by members of the community, Mr. Nelson says that rules and procedures need to properly be in place so that the Territory does not experience disruption by the Federal Government.

People are growing impatient because, as you know, they are. Many people have been waiting for this. There have been many advocates, myself included, who want to see adult use, adult recreational use and allowance for individuals to access growth and dispensaries of cannabis. So people have been very impatient. But the truth of the matter is, I know all of that is what's an example to all places that there is a process does take place.

There are some things that have to be put in place prior to the rollout of this law. And remember, we are still, even though here are the territory and here in the various states, there are some 34 states that have legalization that they still have to do it in a very disciplined way. So that they do not offend.

The federal government still had this as an illegal commodity. And what the federal government does allow, however, it does tolerate is that it is has labeling. So long as you have proper controls in place, the federal government will not come in and pretty much disrupt other states or territories programs. But we have to abide by certain guidelines that they do have on, say, Thomas Okoye Smith and Zachary Francis were sentenced by Chief District Judge Robert Malloy to 20 months incarceration on their convictions of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.

According to court documents. On January 11th of this year, Customs and Border Protection officers observed Francis, a former Cape Air employee on airport surveillance camera entering the men's bathroom in the departure terminal. Officers approached Francis, who admitted that he was paid $2,000 to deliver two bricks of cocaine to Smith in the restroom. Officers later established a passenger screening station at the Spirit Airlines departure gate at the Cyril King Airport.

As officers approached Smith, he ran onto the active runway in attempts to escape, but was immediately apprehended. Smith was found in possession of a red backpack containing the two bricks of cocaine. This week, the Department of Health is hosting its second annual HIV Equity Summit. Director of the Communicable Disease Division, Jason Henry, says the summit is not only about sharing information, but teaching health care providers how to interact with patients who are HIV positive.

We are excited. Our HIV Equity summit is the second summit in the Territory last year with the secretary this year. Is this in Thomas at the West in December seven and eight. And we have a lot of great panel speakers to speak about one experience living with HIV experience and claim that we have health care professionals from the mainland, which is a key training center out of New York and CDC that we are providing training for health care providers, helping providers to how to interact with their patients, probably interact with their non-native clients.

And talking about sex and health care providers. We are offering free education credit, so it's a great opportunity to come to information. Also, get your education credits. On December 14, the Virgin Islands Energy Office is hosting its second annual Holiday solar light event and Easy Ride along. And Expo director Karl Fleming said the event is aimed at promoting sustainable transportation and advancing the adoption of renewable energy and electric vehicles within our community.

Last year we utilized one of our federally funded solar trailers to put out a, you know, a really nice holiday lighting of an inflatable display in front of our office where we also had a number of our electric vehicles there on display as well. This year, for the second iteration of to extend not just the school, but also to kind of the reach of the event.

And so we've moved it from our office parking area to the leather back brewing company where we can utilize a much larger field to not just showcase a renewably powered holiday light display, but also allow for electric vehicle ride along. So extending beyond just the walk through and kind of showing the vehicle, we actually want people to get more of a tangible experience of what a driving experience is like in an electric vehicle.

And we not only have our light duty passenger vehicles are going to be able to leave and Tesla model Y's and threes. But we also have one of the recent additions to the Dubai fleet and a fully electric Ford Transit van. So these are the ten person taxi bags that are common across the Virgin Islands. And we have a fully electrified version of that that we're also going to have and allow for the community to come out and ride along and actually get the driving experience of traffic electrification and movement that the energy office has been instrumental behind driving here in the Territory.

At today's press briefing, Government House Director of Communications Richard Motor shared the details of the Governor's children's Christmas parties being held across the territory. The festivities schedule are as follows. Saint John Friday, December 15th, at the Franklin April Senior Park from 4 to 6 p.m. on Saint Croix. The parties will be held on Saturday, December 16th at Government House in Christian Stead from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saint Thomas on Monday, December 18th at Haven's site mall from 6 to 9 p.m..

There will be gifts and giveaways. Various toys and giveaways will be available for children ages newborn to 12 years old. These gifts are on a first come, first served basis while supplies last. Children must be present at the event to receive a gift or a giveaway. The Governor's Children's Christmas Party is a cherished tradition to spread cheer and warmth during the holiday season.

You are listening to the WTJX News Feed. Registration is now open for the secret career and technical education centers. Post-Secondary education courses for the Spring 20/24 semester. Registration dates are December 4th through the 21st, with late registration from January 8th through the eighth of 2024. There is a $250 registration fee and classes begin January 16th, 2024 and end on May 24th.

Courses offered at the Career and Technical Education Center include the Child Development, Associate credentials, commercial banking, Cake decorating, Cosmetology, Microsoft 365 Fundamentals phlebotomy, licensed practical nurse, clothing, Construction and HVAC are level one. Contact the Sea Tech Office at 3407782216 To inquire about the cost for tuition for individual courses. The Saint Corey Public School District shared the end of semester dates for all public schools in the district.

December 20th will serve as a makeup day for loss instructional time as well as report card distributions. Final exams for grades nine through 12 will be administered December 13 through the 14th, and final exams for grades seven through eight will be administered December 14th through the 15th. In more community updates. Jamal Neilson Media Relations coordinator for the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, tells us about the open dates for the Saint Croix Archery Field Division.

I was pleased to announce the schedule for the Saint Croix Archery Field on Saturdays and Sundays and state Lagrange Archery will be available to the public from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Sundays are for beginners, Saturdays, social goals and skill levels and those who have their own personal equipment to the Saturdays and Sundays at the Isaac Gatewood, James Park and Archery Field in SD Lagrange.

All of the interested groups, clubs, schools and teams can contact Dr. William Coles at the Division of Fish and Wildlife at 773 1082 ext. 277. There is no fee associated, so we encourage all to come on out and enjoy archery in Frederick State. The Clifton Hill Connector Road on Saint Croix will be closed December six through the eighth.

The Department of Public Works is scheduled to begin paving from the Clifton Hill intersection to 600 feet south of the Lorraine intersection as we continue in the news feed. We turn now to our regional report. Yesterday, Venezuelans approved a referendum called by the government of President Nicolas Maduro to claim sovereignty over an oil and mineral rich area of neighboring Guyana, it argues was stolen when the border was drawn more than a century ago.

In reporting from the AP News. The National Electoral Council claimed to have counted more than 10.5 million votes, even though few voters could be seen at the polling sites throughout the voting period for the five question referendum. The council, however, did not explain whether the number of votes was equivalent to each voter or if it was the sum of each individual answer.

The International Court of Justice on Friday ordered Venezuela not to take any action that would alter Guyana's control over a squabble. But the judges did not specifically ban officials from carrying out Sunday's five day question referendum. Guyana had asked the court to order Venezuela to halt parts of the vote. It remains unclear how President Maduro will enforce the results of the vote.

But Guyana considers the referendum a step toward annexation, and the vote has its residents on edge. After the vote, Guyana's president, Muhammad Irfan Ali, told the citizens of Guyana his government is working continuously to ensure the country's borders and said people have nothing to fear. Over the next number of hours, days and months ahead, he called for Venezuela to allow the rule of law to work and to determine the outcome of this controversy.

In our final update on the News Feed, Virgin Islanders can anticipate much needed breeze and clear skies. Meteorologist Eric Weglarzs has the Territory's weather forecast. Here's the latest look at the short term forecast for the Virgin Islands and meteorologist derek. Why it's mostly sunny area wide. This afternoon. There's the chance for a scattered shower near sunset at st croix.

Temperatures there will reach the middle eighties winds from the east southeast of 15 to 20, with gusts as high as 25 at St Thomas and St John. Similar story as showers possible at sunset. Temperatures will holds in the middle eighties once in the southeast at 22 to 25 miles per hour. Tonight features lingering clouds and scattered showers to mostly clear skies overnight.

Area wide temperatures will fall back into the upper seventies to near 80 at st croix, once in the east at 15 to 20, gusts as high as 25 at St Thomas and St John. Lows will also fall back into the upper seventies once a bit stronger from the east at 20 to 25 miles per hour. Tuesday features a mainly sunny day area wide.

At St Croix, temperatures will reach the middle eighties with once in the east at 15 to 20 and at St Thomas and St John. Any lingering showers overnight will give way to bright sunshine. Temperatures also reached the middle ages once from the east at 15 to 20, gusts a bit stronger in the upper twenties to near 30. That's the latest look at your short term forecast.

I'm meteorologist Eric Weglarz. We are at the end of today's WTJX news feed i Marcellina Ventura-Douglas joined me every weekday at 5 p.m.. If you haven't already, be sure to download the app. And if you missed a part of our news, you can listen to it on demand wherever you get your podcasts.

Marcellina Ventura-Douglas is the Radio News Reporter for WTJX-FM, 93.1. Born and raised on St. Croix, Ventura-Douglas graduated from the University of the Virgin Islands, where she received her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. While at UVI, she worked in the office of Senator Shawn-Michael Malone before beginning her career in radio. Ventura-Douglas fell in love with radio growing up, when she and her father would spend every morning and afternoon listening to local radio news legend, Alvin G. After leaving Senator Malone's office, she became the program director of Vivid Streaming. She then joined WTJX-TV, Channel 12 as a producer. Soon after, she was tapped to switch to WTJX-FM to present an evening news. She is passionate about bringing radio news to the Virgin Islands community through the WTJX NewsFeed, airing every weekday at 5:00pm on 93.1 FM and available online, on demand.
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