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DAY 2: LOCAL NEWS RELATED TO TERRORIST ATTACKS

Sept. 12, 2001 – On Day 2, here are reports concerning local activities and operations relating to the terrorist attacks on the U.S. mainland Tuesday. This posting is being updated throughout the day as additional information is received.
Notices may be e-mailed to source@viaccess.net. They may be faxed to 777-8136 or to (509) 267-3448.
Still no word on resumption of flights
As of Wednesday evening, no date had been announced for the nation's airports to resume operations.
Shortly before 5 p.m., Norman Mineta, U.S. Transportation secretary, said at a nationally broadcast press conference that he had authorized all airplanes that had been diverted to non-intended airports for emergency landings Tuesday to reboard their passengers from those flights and transport them to their intended destinations.
There had been speculation that the national ban on civilian flights would be lifted at noon Wednesday, or by the end of the day. However, Mineta said no decision had been reached on when regular flights would resume. He noted that when the ban is lifted, it will be with new, tougher security procedures in place.
In the Virgin Islands, the ban imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration applies to inter-island flights, including those by seaplane, as well as flights from outside the territory.
Banks to maintain emergency 3-day clearing
The executive committee of the Virgin Islands Bankers Association decided Wednesday afternoon to continue a minimum three-day emergency clearing period for checks. The association decided Tuesday afternoon to institute the waiting period in response to the terrorist attacks on the United States.
"This emergency clearing procedure, which is authorized by the Federal Reserve System, has been necessitated by the continued closure of our local airports by the Federal Aviation Administration," Cassam Pancham, president of the association, said.
Pancham, Chase Bank general manager for Eastern Caribbean operations, added, "The Virgin Islands clearinghouse is on St. Thomas, and many of our local banks must send their checks from St. Croix or through Puerto Rico. These banks will not be able to present payments as usual at the Virgin Islands clearinghouse"
Pancham notified Lt. Gov. Luz A. James, II, who chairs the Virgin Islands Banking Board, Tuesday afternoon of the association's decision to invoke the emergency procedure. "We regret any inconvenience that this emergency procedure may cause our customers and ask for their understanding," Pancham said.
A release issued by the association Wednesday evening stated that the executive committee will meet again Friday morning "to reassess the state of readiness with regard to the Virgin Islands clearinghouse." Pancham said he hoped "it will be business as usual for all our customers by the first of next week."
The association member banks are Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, Bank of Nova Scotia, Bank of St. Croix, Chase Manhattan Bank, Citibank, First Bank Virgin Islands, and Virgin Islands Community Bank.
Ground breaking for fishermen's facility postponed
The ground-breaking ceremony that had been scheduled for Friday for the Mid-Island fishermen's facility on St. Croix has been postponed. A new date will be announced later.
The decision was made in compliance with the governor's announcement Tuesday evening that all public receptions at either Government House have been put on hold, Agriculture Commissioner Henry Schuster said in a release Wednesday.
He said the planned facility will provide a preferable alternative for fishermen to selling their catches on the roadsides of St. Croix. It will provide refrigeration and storage and "will coincide with the Farmers Market at Estate La Reine and provide an enhanced shopping experience" for consumers, he said.
Hearing on V.I. Hotel conversion rescheduled
The previousy postponed Labor and Veterans Affairs Committee hearing originally scheduled for Wednesday at the Legislature Building on St. Thomas has been rescheduled for Sept. 19. The hearing, set for 6 p.m., is to share information on plans to turn the former Virgin Isles Hotel into a veterans' multipurpose center.
The hearing was postponed because off-island developers and investment bankers scheduled to testify were unable to travel to the territory due to the shut-down of commercial flights nationwide Tuesday. The committee chair, Sen. Norma Pickard-Samuel, encouraged "veterans, their spouses and all other interested persons" to attend the session.
Economic Development Authority forums rescheduled
Forums scheduled by the Economic Development Authority for Wednesday at the Palms Court Harborview Hotel on St. Thomas and for Thursday at Gertrude's Restaurant on St. Croix have been rescheduled.
The new dates are Tuesday, Sept. 18, at Palms Court Harborview and Wednesday, Sept. 19, at Gertrude's. Both events are to begin at 5:30 p.m.
The forums are intended "to increase public awareness of the benefit of this program to the territory and to receive input on how to improve" it, a release stated. Topics to be addressed include the authority's policies and initiatives, programs in place to assist small businesses in the territory, and what the EDA has been doing since it succeeded the old Industrial Development Commission in March.
The authority "is the catalyst for economic development in the territory," Planning and Natural Resources Commissioner Dean Plaskett, who chairs the EDA board of directors, said. "It is essential that we meet the needs of our people."
Further information may be obtained by calling Mary Ottley at 714-1700.
Nisky Moravian to hold prayer vigil
Nisky Moravian Church on St. Thomas invites the public to a prayer vigil that will be begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the church on Julian Jackson Boulevard west of the Crown Mountain Road intersection. The gathering "is to pray for our nation and the families and friends who have lost loved ones," a release stated.
It was announced on Tuesday that an ecumenical service of mourning would be held Wednesday at 5:15 p.m at the St. Thomas Reformed Church in downtown Charlotte Amalie.

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