Ned Gerard with ponytail, below left , aiming at a target downrange during the Men?s Individual 50m Rifle Prone event. Karen Gerard, above left, during the Women?s Individual 10m air pistol event
VERACRUZ, MEXICO ? Ned and Karen Gerard are eyeing targets in shooting for Team V.I. during the 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz, Mexico.
Karen, who is shooting in the 25m sports pistol and 10m air pistol categories, has been representing the Virgin Islands for more than 10 years including these 2014 CAC Games.
?Sports pistol is fun,? said Karen, who prefers the sports pistol of the two events. ?You just get out there and shoot.?
But Gerard knows air pistol is a good foundation for all competitive shooting.
?Air pistol makes everything else I shoot perfect,? Gerard said. ?It?s so precise and so disciplined and has so much focus that it?s actually the basis for everything else that you shoot.?
Gerard started competing after accompanying her husband Ned to an event in Barbados.
?He borrowed guns and threw me into the match,? Karen said. ?I did really well, so then I kind of got sucked into it.?Karen is in so deep now she also shoots for recreation and coaches shooters with higher caliber firearms like 9mm, .40 and .45 caliber guns.
My Fellow Virgin Islanders:Cecile and I hope that you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with friends, family, fellowship, and great food.In our view Thanksgiving is not just one day of the year, in many ways, the Thanksgiving Holiday is the most defining of all United States holidays because it represents our national gratitude for all blessings that have been bestowed upon us, collectively and individually.As citizens of the great United States, we enjoy enormous blessings - religious liberty, free speech, protection under the laws, security, and a myriad of other liberties that we normally take for granted. Let us give thanks for these freedoms and express special gratitude to those men and women who spend their days and weekends protecting the American way of life.This Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend is a time to open our hearts and share whatever we can with family, friends, neighbors, and the community. Let us give thanks for the numerous men and women who reach out to others, not so fortunate, to offer. These generous people make a world of difference to others who are disadvantaged or isolated. Just the simple act of thanking someone for what they have done goes a long way in making others feel appreciated. Simple acts of kindness characterize the Thanksgiving holiday.Cecile and our children hope that you continue to enjoy this Thanksgiving Holiday weekend. We want to express our appreciation for the support and loyalty of the people of the Virgin Islands, especially over the last eight years. We have faced great difficulties and celebrated hard-won triumphs together.May God bless you, your families, and our beloved Virgin Islands!John P. de Jongh, Jr.Governor
Five-year-old Salma Bayatnahis getting treatment for pneumonia in the Miami Children?s Hospital.
CALABASH BOOM ? When Calabash Market?s doors were closed unexpectedly one day last week, customers had no idea why the reliably open mini-mart was shuttered in the middle of the afternoon.
As soon as those customers and others heard why owners Mamoun Bayatnah, known to all as Ali, and his wife Mercedes Zapata, called Maria by many, were forced to close for the afternoon, the community quickly rallied to help.
The market is now open, yet Bayatnah and Zapata are at Miami Children?s Hospital with their five-year-old daughter Salma. The kindergartner was suffering from a severe case of pneumonia last week when one of her lungs stopped working.
After being told there was nothing more that could be done at the R.L. Schneider Hospital on St. Thomas for the child, the family took an air ambulance to Florida on Thursday night, November 20, to admit Salma to Miami Children?s Hospital.
Salma?s condition seemed to be improving in Miami, yet there was no prognosis as of press time. With medical bills beginning to pile up, Leah Randall launched a GoFundMe site to help the Bayatnah and Zapata family.
ST. JOHN ? Dr. Gilbert A. Sprauve, Chairman of the 1733 St. John African Revolution Commemorative Committee, has issued a call for persons interested in attending the annual 1733 St. John African Revolution Commemoration, which is scheduled for Friday, November 28, 2014.
Participants travelling to St. John should board either the 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. ferries from St. Thomas. They will be joined by St. John participants in Frank Powell Park. All participants are asked to assemble on the beach promptly at 9:30 a.m. as the program begins with the traditional conch shell blowing, followed by a Libation and Welcome remarks,? informed Sprauve..
Several Estates will be visited throughout the day including Susannaberg, Adrian, Catherineberg, Annaberg and Fortsberg. The focal point of the day will be the historical perspectives given by presenters on the political and socio-economic climate, and their impact on the enslaved population. Participants also will be treated to a Drumming demonstration.
Dr. David Minner of Gifft Hill School, left, and Jon Mahoney of Iowa State University display the $600 prize won at the St. Thomas-St. John Agriculture and Food Fair on Saturday, Nov. 22. Gifft Hill School was one of four public and private schools awarded by FINTRAC for work promoting youth engagement in farming and horticultural projects.
ST. THOMAS ? A five year old program at the Gifft Hill Schol designed to give students the link between food from the ground and food on the plate received special recognition at the 2014 St. Thomas-St. John Agriculture and Food Fair.
Agriculture Commissioner Louis Petersen presented Dr. Dave Minner from Gifft Hill School a check for $600 for his work with the EARTH program. Gifft Hill School was one of four district schools honored for farming and horticulture programs. EARTH stands for Education And Resiliency Through Horticulture.
The check presentation occurred Nov. 22 on the grounds of Reichhold Center on St. Thomas, on the first day of the two-day event. Dr. Kwame Garcia, state director of the UVI Cooperative Extension Service said he brought some agronomists to Gifft Hill School and to the Ivanna Eudora High School on St. Thomas to observe youth-based programs during July?s convention of the Caribbean Food Crops Society.
?Everybody was so impressed,? Garcia said.
?The program is only five years old and it?s a gardening and kitchen program,? Minner said as he accepted the award. ?But only when we hooked up with the University of the Virgin Islands did we find ourselves.?
As an added benefit the EARTH program has attracted 30 college students to Gifft Hill to share agriculture-based knowledge with the St. John students, Minner said after the presentation. A number of those students, he said, come from UVI.
Three other schools, the Charlotte Amalie High School, Gladys Abraham Elementary School and Ulla Muller Elementary School, received cash awards from FINTRAC, a St. Thomas-based non-profit promoting best farming practices and technology.
U.S.V.I. ? For at least one St. John customer caught up in the latest wave of bankcard fraud to hit the U.S. Virgin Islands, the trail started at a St. Thomas gas station when he used his card for the only time off St. John before unauthorized charges began showing up from merchants around the southeastern U.S.
It continued with his forced return trip by ferry to the Scotiabank branch in Red Hook, St. Thomas, on Friday, November 21, where bank officials assured him he would be reimbursed for the unapproved charges to his card.
?It?s up to almost $2,000 now,? he said of the spate of stateside charges to his card at such retailers as a McDonalds and Kmart in Georgia.
Officials of First Bank and Scotiabank confirmed at week?s end that a massive security breach had forced the two USVI banks to stop or limit the use of customer cards. Banco Popular officials reported no increase in card fraud but said that they were warning customers to monitor their accounts for suspicious activity.
As of Thursday, 1,230 customer accounts had been compromised in the last week, a Scotiabank spokesperson told the V.I. Daily News.
FirstBank officials said they found fraudulent activity in its bank card system a week before Scotiabank reported similar activity.
Questionable Transactions NotedFirstBank officials told the media they noticed questionable transactions two weeks ago and that the initial security breach occurred within the systems of two unidentified U.S. retailers. FirstBank allowed customers to continue to use their cards by using their PIN numbers until they received new cards that have been mailed.