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Soualiga Newsday Latest News (2289)

SXM Airport Offers “24 Days of Christmas”

SIMPSON BAY, SXM Airport - The Princess Juliana International Airport, SXM, in connection with its concessionaires is offering what it has dubbed “24 Days of Christmas,” which started on Monday, December 1, 2014, and will continue until Wednesday, December 24, 2014.

The promotion involves free gifts at certain businesses at SXM airport against a minimum purchase, hefty discounts at others, and the opportunity to participate in raffles for tantalizing Christmas gifts at some stores.

“This is our own small way of spreading Christmas cheer to all airport users,” said Kalifa Hickinson, SXM Corporate Communications Specialist. Hickinson said that the airport premises would be appropriately decorated to enhance the season’s mood as has now become customary at SXM, and in addition, there will be an array of Christmas songs playing via the PA system for users’ enjoyment.

The Christmas promotion is available to all those who come to the airport for any reason during the three-week period leading up to Christmas. (SXM Airport)

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2014 Atlantic hurricane season comes to an end. Gonzalo leaves its mark

SINT MAARTEN - The 2014 Atlantic hurricane season officially came to an end on Sunday, November 30, and will be remembered as a relatively quiet season as was predicted according to the U.S. National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that falls under the U.S. Department of Commerce. Still, the season afforded NOAA scientists with opportunities to produce new forecast products, showcase successful modelling advancements, and conduct research to benefit future forecasts.

The 2014 season for country Sint Maarten will be a season to remember for the arrival of Hurricane Gonzalo on October 13.  As the Sint Maarten Office of Disaster Management (ODM) has always promoted every season, it only takes one to make it a bad season for the country, and that was indeed the case for many who suffered.  The country at the end of the season seems to have fully recovered with several boats still along the shore side which is a reminder that Gonzalo once visited.

Eight storm systems formed, six in the Atlantic Ocean and two in the Gulf of Mexico.  Six of the eight turned into hurricanes.  Two of them reached major hurricane status with sustained winds of over 111 miles per hour, namely Hurricane Edouard and Hurricane Gonzalo. 

The NOAA in its seasonal round-up stated the following: “Fortunately, much of the U.S. coastline was spared this year with only one land falling hurricane along the East Coast. Nevertheless, we know that’s not always going to be the case,” said Louis Uccellini, Ph.D., director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “The ‘off season’ between now and the start of next year’s hurricane season is the best time for communities to refine their response plans and for businesses and individuals to make sure they’re prepared for any potential storm.”

The advice of the NOAA for the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season should be heeded.  We are now approaching the holiday season, and everybody’s focus is on the season.  After the New Year rolls in come January 1, 2015, it will mark five months before the start of the Atlantic hurricane season.

How the Atlantic Basin seasonal outlooks from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center verified for the 2014 Atlantic Season:

 

Actual

August Outlook

May Outlook

Named storms (top winds of 39 mph or higher)

8

7-12

8-13

Hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or higher)

6

3-6

3-6

Major hurricanes (Category 3, 4, 5; winds of at least 111 mph)

2

0-2

1-2

“A combination of atmospheric conditions acted to suppress the Atlantic hurricane season, including very strong vertical wind shear, combined with increased atmospheric stability, stronger sinking motion and drier air across the tropical Atlantic,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Also, the West African monsoon was near- to below average, making it more difficult for African easterly waves to develop.”

New & improved products this year

As part of its efforts to provide better products and services, NOAA's National Weather Service introduced many new and experimental products that are already paying off.

The upgrade of the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) model in June with increased vertical resolution and improved physics produced excellent forecasts for Hurricane Arthur’s landfall in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and provided outstanding track forecasts in the Atlantic basin through the season. The model, developed by NOAA researchers, is also providing guidance on tropical cyclones in other basins globally, including the Western Pacific and North Indian Ocean basins, benefiting the Joint Typhoon Warning Center and several international operational forecast agencies. The Global Forecast System (GFS) model has also been a valuable tool over the last couple of hurricane seasons, providing excellent guidance in track forecasts out to 120 hours.

In 2014, NOAA's National Hurricane Center introduced an experimental five-day Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook to accompany its text product for both the Atlantic and eastern North Pacific basins. The new graphics indicate the likelihood of development and the potential formation areas of new tropical cyclones during the next five days. NHC also introduced an experimental Potential Storm Surge Flooding Map for those areas along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the United States at risk of storm surge from an approaching tropical cyclone. First used on July 1 as a strengthening Tropical Storm Arthur targeted the North Carolina coastline, the map highlights those geographical areas where inundation from storm surge could occur and the height above ground that the water could reach. 

Fostering further improvements

While this year’s hurricane season was fairly quiet, NOAA scientists used new tools that have the potential to improve hurricane track and intensity forecasts. Several of these tools resulted from research projects supported by the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, which was passed by Congress in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Among the highlights were both manned and unmanned aircraft missions in Atlantic hurricanes to collect data and evaluate forecast models. NOAA and NASA’s missions involving the Global Hawk, an unmanned aircraft that flies at higher altitudes and for longer periods of time than manned aircraft, allowed scientists to sample weather information off the west coast of Africa where hurricanes form, and also to investigate Hurricane Edouard’s inner core with eight crossings over the hurricane’s eye. NOAA launched a three-year project to assess the impact of data collected by the Global Hawk on forecast models and to design sampling strategies to improve model forecasts of hurricane track and intensity.

While the Global Hawk flew high above hurricanes, NOAA used the much smaller Coyote, an unmanned aircraft system released from NOAA’s hurricane hunter manned aircraft, to collect wind, temperature and other weather data in hurricane force winds during Edouard. The Coyote flew into areas of the storm that would be too dangerous for manned aircraft, sampling weather in and around the eye wall at very low altitudes. In addition, NOAA’s hurricane hunters gathered data in Hurricanes Arthur, Bertha and Cristobal, providing information to improve forecasts and to test, refine and improve forecast models. The missions were directed by research meteorologists from NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division, a part of the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in Miami, and the NOAA Aircraft Operations Center in Tampa.

In addition, increased research and operational computing capacity planned in 2015 will facilitate future model upgrades to the GFS and HWRF to include better model physics and higher resolution predictions. These upgraded models will provide improved guidance to forecasters leading to better hurricane track and intensity predictions. (The majority of the information is provided by the NOAA)

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MP Lake would like to see next Government promote degrees offered by USM

POND ISLAND - As an educator and a Member of Parliament (MP) Hon. Maurice Lake, says one of his priority areas is higher education for the people of Sint Maarten.

“I would like the incoming Government to work on promoting degrees and academics at the University of St. Martin (USM). USM should be the University of higher learning on the island.  The incoming Government has to promote and send more students to USM.  USM must become the training and service center for the country". 

“We have young people who complete high school annually that don't leave the island for tertiary education. Those that don’t get a scholarship or cannot afford to do so enter the labour force if they are able to find a job. There are those that would like to continue with their education on the island by getting an associate’s degree at USM but may not have the financial resources to do so.  "We need to help them.  USM also offers a pre-USM program and also a financial payment plan for tuition fees,” MP Lake said on Sunday.

MP Lake also takes the opportunity to commend the current Minister of Education Hon. Patricia Lourens-Philip.  “I would like to thank the Minister for her support and dedication to help grow USM.  USM has come a long way and have a long way still to go, but, we need to support our home grown University".  As a professor at USM for 21 years, I must say USM has a lot of potential to become the best University in the Caribbean.  USM has good faculty but most of all the asset of the University is their students.”

“USM also has the best alumni foundation in the Caribbean which, today, the majority of graduates hold key positions in every sector on St. Maarten. USM needs to promote the achievements of their Alumni, especially their class of 1991and recognize them during the university’s 25th anniversary celebration, because the student body is where the strength of the institution lies,” MP Hon. Lake said. 

As an MP, Lake says that USM also has a role to play in the community.  “As the saying goes: where there is no vision the people will perish.  I would like to see USM revise their Vision and Mission statement to meet the needs of the current population, the business and hospitality sectors.  Times have changed since the establishment of USM, and the educational institution of higher learning has to also change. 

“USM needs to revise their business plan to make it more realistic with the assistance of Government, the Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA). Government should assist them to improve and revise their educational program where more teachers can be trained and developed on the island and in general more professionals. To date USM has produced some of the best teachers for the island and should continue to do so. Clearly there is a need for specific programs that will meet demands of the labour market. USM should promote internships and COOP positions with the business community. 

“USM should also reconnect with Johnson & Wales University and the University of the West Indies and other accredited universities.  Accreditation should be a priority along with a state of the art library for research and innovations. 

“I am a big supporter of USM, and as an MP will champion the incoming Government to promote USM.  This is the time to move our University forward and change the image within our community.  You can go study anywhere after attending USM. As a non-accredited university, the majority of our credits are accepted by other universities, and the majority of our students excel at any university they go to in the United States including Ivy League universities. We are truly blessed, however it is time to take USM to that next level”, MP Hon. Maurice Lake concluded.

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Law enforcement agencies start joint general controls at four border crossings

PHILIPSBURG - Between midnight on Thursday November 27th and Friday November 28th at 03.00 a.m. a general joint control was held between the Gendarmes and the Justice Department on the Dutch Side consisting of the Immigration, Border Control and Protection Service, the Custom Department, Vrijwilligers Korps Sint Maarten (VKS) and the Police Department.

This control is one of many that will be planned for the future. This general control was geared toward the continuous battle against crime in general on the island, both French and Dutch Side. The main focus of this control is the removal of illegal fire-arms and drugs from the streets.

The “Stop, Drop and Go” Program has come to an end and the focus will now be to search for the illegal weapons and drugs.  The group consisted of 70 persons including 10 Gendarmes. The group was divided into four smaller groups and posted at the four border crossing points namely Low Lands, Belle View, Belvedere and Oyster Bay, where they carried out the intense controls. (Police Force Sint Maarten)

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Ministry TEATT Dept. Heads Attend Workshop on Civil Servants Rights and Obligations

PHILIPSBURG - The Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic & Telecommunication (TEATT) recently held a training by the Personnel & Organization Department for Department and Division Heads within the TEATT Ministry on civil servants rights and obligations, as well as relevant policies and procedures.

For some of the managers the information is new, while others, the information provided an opportunity to be refreshed on the material from the Government’s Employee Handbook. (Dept. of Communication)

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2014 Heritage Photo Exhibition Opens on December 6th at Lagoonies Bistro & Bar

COLE BAY—Residents and tourists alike are invited to celebrate island heritage and the work of photographers of all ages at the 2014 Heritage Photo Exhibition. The gala opening of the Exhibition will be held at 7pm on Saturday, December 6th at Lagoonies Bistro and Bar at Lagoon Marina in Cole Bay.

This event is free and open to the public, and will include large-format displays, voting for the People’s Choice Award, and an official prize ceremony at 9pm. The winning works and other entries will be on display throughout the following week.

The Heritage Photo Contest and Exhibition was developed by Les Fruits de Mer to showcase art created here on St. Martin/St. Maarten, and to engage residents–especially kids–in thinking about their heritage. The Be the Change SXM Foundation provided funding for the contest and exhibition.

The panel of judges faced many difficult decisions when selecting the winners of the 2014 Heritage Photo Contest. With over 75 entries, the competition was fierce, and the works submitted beautifully captured many diverse aspects of the island’s heritage.

The theme of this year's contest, “Vibrant and Vulnerable”, followed an unusual format and was chosen to raise awareness about the island's unique natural, cultural and historic heritage, as well as the threats facing this heritage and the need to preserve it. Each entry included two photos–one representing a “Vibrant” aspect of the island and one representing a “Vulnerable” aspect–and the artist's statement about the photo selections. This format was very open to creative interpretation, and the entries that poured in touch on many different facets of local heritage, from plants, animals and landscape, to history, architecture and culture.

In the end, the first prize in the overall competition went to Alexandre Guerre, and top honors in the youth competition were awarded to Luna Valenti. Their photos, along with many other fantastic entries, will be featured at the upcoming exhibition.

One remaining prize, the $100 People’s Choice Award, will be decided by those who attend the opening of the exhibition. “We’re thrilled to invite everyone to take the opportunity to enjoy the stunning, thought-provoking photos at this exhibition,” says Les Fruits de Mer President Jenn Yerkes, “And, of course, to vote for their favorite!” Voting will be done by ballot between 7pm and 9pm.

For those who cannot attend, or would like a sneak preview of the entries that were submitted, an online gallery of entries can be found at http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/category/vibrant-and-vulnerable/.

About Les Fruits de Mer

Les Fruits de Mer is a non-profit association based in St. Martin whose core mission is to raise awareness about nature, culture, and sport. The organization carries out this mission through publications, an education program, and special public outreach events that entertain, inspire, and inform. The Association is currently accepting new member applications on its website, http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com. 

About Be the Change SXM

Be The Change Foundation, registered in May 2012, is a charity fundraising group that assists St. Maarten non-profit organizations with raising the monies needed for a particular cause while also promoting the mission and objectives of that NGO (non-governmental organization) to encourage volunteerism.

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Collective Prevention Services Appeals for Action to Prevent an Increase in Dengue and Chikungunya Cases due to daily rainfall

GREAT BAY – Section Collective Prevention Services (CPS) within the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour is appealing to the community to step-up mosquito prevention measures in order to prevent an increase in dengue and chikungunya cases due to the daily rainfall that the country has been confronted with.

CPS uses this opportunity to also commend the Dutch Quarter Community Council in conjunction with the organizes of the OASIS project for carrying out a clean-up effort within the district about two weeks ago.

Minister of Public Health Hon. Cornelius de Weever is appealing to social and civic clubs as well as community councils to come together with their members and assist the people in their districts with clean-up campaigns

Every individual, household and business has a responsibility to take action and protect public health and our economy. 

Chikungunya, is a virus similar to dengue, transmitted by the same mosquito that spreads dengue. The symptoms are similar to dengue fever and may include a sudden high fever, headache, rash, nausea and muscle pain.

However, stiffness and severe joint pain, especially in the wrists, knuckles or ankles, are more often associated withchikungunya. The incubation period (time from infection to illness) can be two to 12 days but is usually three to seven days. 

Acute chikungunyafever typically lasts a few days to a few weeks and some infected patients in the Asia region have reported debilitating arthritic pain persisting for weeks or months.

The condition’s outcome is that most patients feel better within a week; some people may develop longer-term joint pain; people at increased risk for severe disease include newborns exposed during delivery, older adults and people with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease. Deaths are rare.

There is no vaccine or medication to preventchikungunyavirus infection or disease, the recommended prevention is to reduce mosquito exposure.

Residents and business leaders play a key role by continually being active in taking measures to mitigate the mosquito population in eliminating mosquito breeding sites. 

Residents and visitors are reminded to protect themselves especially when out during dusk and dawn hours by using mosquito repellent or wear proper clothing (long sleeve shirts/blouses and pants) to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Every household is requested to actively take actions on a daily basis to eliminate mosquitos by checking containers such as buckets and water tanks for larvae and eliminate the breeding source. If there aren’t any containers with water for mosquitoes to lay the larvae there won’t be any adult mosquitoes. 

Dengue Fever andChikungunyaare transmitted by the female vector Aedes Aegypti mosquito. The Aedes Aegypti mosquito lays her eggs in clear (clean) stagnant water. Within eight days the mosquito can complete its life cycle from egg, to larvae to pupae and to adult mosquito.

An increase in the mosquito population puts all residents and businesses at risk. Call for information on the Aedes Aegypti mosquito breeding sites and respective preventive measures at 542-2078 or 542-3003 or visit the Facebook Collective Prevention Services. (Dept. of Communication)

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Walichi Basketball Association and Motorworld & Jeep Presents Ladies Basketball Championship Week 6 Round Up

SUCKER GARDEN - The Walichi Basketball Association (WBA) & Motorworld and Jeep Presents Ladies Basketball Championship games continued last weekend with the first game on Saturday at 6pm between Learning Unlimited VS Lightning who met each other for the first time this season. The Lightning players came out strong in the first quarter and lead 19 to 8.

The Lightning lead 33-22 at the half but the Learning Unlimited fought back in the third to get it to 30-39 but then the Lightning team recovered and lead 52 - 33 after the third and won the game 61-42. The Lightning team was led by 3 players in double digits. Kayla Robinson with 18 points and 8 rbs, Jamaiah Newton-Herbert with 17 points and 13 rebounds and the all-around play of Micaela Galva with 14 points, 11 steals and 8 assists. Learning Unlimited was led by Jakisha Brooks with 22 points, 15 rbs, 4 assists, 4 blocks and Daricia Arrindell with 11 points, 5 assists. Kayla Robinson was named Motorworld Player Of The Game for her outstanding play.

Games continued on Sunday at 3pm as Bush Tea Remedy took on the Thunderz looking for a win the second time around. 
The Thunderz started strong by leading 18 to 3 after the first quarter and never looked back.  They won the game 55-27 and was led by their top scorers Tiana Lionel with 16 points and Ashley Daniel with 11 points. Bush Tea Remedy was led by their top scorers Lilian Henry and Cardillia Nicholas with 8 points apiece. Motorworld Player Of The Game went to Tiana Lionel of Thunderz who had 16 points, 22 rebounds and 4 blocks.

The last game of the weekend was between Lava Girls and Learning Unlimited. The game started off close where Lava girls lead only 13 to 7 after the first quarter and lead 26-18 at the half. The Lava Girls then blew open a close game in the third by outscoring Learning Unlimited 18-9 in the quarter and lead after the third 44-27 and won the game 67-37.

The Learning Unlimited was led by Jakisha Brooks with 13 points followed by Rachael DeGroot with 9 points. Cash 4 Gold Lava Girls had a balanced scoring attack with 3 players in double digits and 6 players scoring more than 6 points each. Selah Fleming lead all Cash 4 Gold Lava Girls scorers with 18 points followed by Claudia Fleming with 15 points and Shama Flurton with 11 points. Motorworld Player Of The Game went to Claudia Fleming with 15 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists.

Games continue this Saturday with Bush Tea Remedy taking on Lightning at 6pm and on Sunday Thunderz taking on Learning Unlimited at 3pm followed by Cash 4 Gold Lava Girls against Lightning.

Standings so far are Cash 4 Gold Lava Girls, 5-0, Thunderz 4-1, Lightning 3-2, Bush Tea Remedy 1-5 and Learning Unlimited 0-6

Game Highlights, pictures, game scores and schedule can be viewed on the Facebook page ‘Ladies Basketball Championship’. Highlights and full games can be seen on the Youtube page www.youtube.com/walichibasketball. (WBA)

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Talent Showdown to feature some of St. Maarten best technical dancers

DAWN BEACH - Whether it’s individually or in a group, Teen Times Interscholastic Talent Showdown 2014 will feature some of St. Maarten’s best technical dancers across a wide spectrum of dance styles.

The event, sponsored by UTS/Chippie, will be held on Saturday, November 29 at the Westin Dawn Beach Resort. It will feature performing arts teams from the high schools competing in song, dance, positive rap, spoken word and drama. The show will also feature a separate Individual Dance category featuring some of the island’s best soloists.

With names like Lian Borsje, Marine Caillet, Deveny Elferink, Zoe van Zadelhoff (in a group) Bianca Dijkhoffz, Gili Arava and others on the lineup, Talent Showdown will have quite a showcase of dance on Saturday.

“Our event has a rich history of dance and supporting dance. It is always the highlight of Talent Showdown. We were proud to have been the first some 12 years ago to elevate our dancers to a national stage in the US when they performed live on BET, covered the costs for others to attend classes at Alvin Ailey and Julliard, and opened savings accounts for other dancers to put the funding towards their dance studies,” organizers from Teen Times said.

“This year we are fortunate to have such a great lineup of dancers be it in individual competition, a guest appearance or group ensembles. If you have never seen any of these dancers on stage or have never seen them in competition, then you should not miss Talent Showdown. Come and support our talented youth.”

Tickets for Talent Showdown 2014 are currently on sale at The Daily Herald only. They are going for US $10 but will increase to US $15 on the day of the show. Organizers stressed that seating is very limited at Westin. Once the tickets are sold out, there will be additional sales added. (Talent Showdown)

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POSTAL SERVICE SINT MAARTEN ANNOUNCES POSTAGE DATES AND CHRISTMAS PARCEL SPECIAL

PHILIPSBURG –Postal Services St. Maarten (PSS N.V.) has started accepting packages and parcels for postage to the Netherlands under its popular Christmas Parcel Specials promotion.

"The two postage dates for the Netherlands will ensure that parcels and packages from St. Maarten will be delivered directly to loved ones in the Netherlands in time for their celebrations at Christmas and the New Year," said PSS N.V.

The postal authority is once again pleased to offer this service to St. Maarten residents who wish to bring a touch of Christmas joy to their loved ones in the Netherlands, saying this service is amongst the most popular of all its delivery services throughout the year.

In fact, parents with students studying in the Netherlands have already been enquiring with the post office about the last dates for postage to the Netherlands to ensure deliveries are made before Christmas and the New Year."Parcels and small packages sent from home are material and emotional bridges with loved ones that we help facilitate at this special time of the year.

It represents a gift from home with all the warmth, peace and joy that Christmas traditionally brings," said PSS N.V.Customers who wish to send packages must do so no later than the following dates ;Saturday, December 6th, 2014, and December 17th, 2014.

All packages and parcels must be delivered to the post office opened, to meet security inspection, after which they can be sealed and packed away for transportation.

The drop-off points for the packages and parcels are the Main Postal Services St. Maarten building in Philipsburg, or the Postal Services St. Maarten branches located at Airport Boulevard #59, Simpson Bay and for the worker at the A.C. Wathey cruise and cargo facilities, Monday to Saturday, during regular business hours.

Information about the Christmas Parcel Specials is available at all PSS locations.

Advertisements and flyers are also being posted in various media and distributed to customers alerting them to the collection and posting dates as well as the rates for postage.

For more information about your post office personnel and the service and products available at the Postal Services St. Maarten, visit or like on www.facebook.com/post.stmaarten or call

+ (1721) 5422289. (Postal Services St. Maarten)

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