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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, July 23, 2024


May 24, 2002 – While a bill to honor St. Croix resident Jessica Tutein Moolenaar got the most air time during Thursday's morning Senate session, a name change for the St. Croix Education Complex may have the most far-reaching implications. All 14 senators on the floor, with not much discussion, agreed to rename the complex Beryl Adams Francis High School.
Both the high school and the vocational school will carry the name of Francis, who was a St. Croix educator.
Except for a diatribe by Sen. Adelbert Bryan about what he termed the damage done by the Peace Corps program in other locations, there was no mention of the fact that a St. Thomas senator prompted protests last week for her proposal to rename Peace Corps Elementary School after long-time educator Lucille Roberts. After parents, teachers and other protested that Roberts had no affiliation with the school, Sen. Norma Pickard-Samuel announced on Tuesday that she was withdrawing her bill "for now" at the request of Roberts' family.
By Thursday's Senate action, Moolenaar, often called "the mayor of Gallows Bay," will now have a street in that Christiansted area named in her honor. Moolenaar, now ailing with cancer, lived all her life in the Gallows Bay neighborhood. She has long been outspoken in her views. "There's no in-between in how you feel about her," Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg said.
Other senators expressed the same views, with Senate President Almando "Rocky" Liburd noting that there wasn't a politician in the territory who doesn't know Moolenaar. She was best known for taking to the radio airwaves with her strong opinions on just about everything. However, as senators pointed out, she also stood for fairness.
All 13 senators on the floor approved the Moolenaar honor bill. The senators spent the morning mainly approving honor bills. They voted to honor Postmaster Louis A. Jackson for his contributions to the Virgin Islands in the field of martial arts; to establish a scholarship to honor nurse Winifred Garfield and include funding for the scholarship in the 2003 budget; to name the so-called Old Hospital Building in the Frederiksted Health Clinic complex after Laurence A. Bastian Sr.; to name the Charlotte Amalie High School hotel training facility in honor of long-time instructor Ecedro A. Wesselhoft; and to name the St. Thomas Post Exchange in honor of U.S. Army Sgt. Maudlin White, who died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack while on duty at the Pentagon.
All 12 senators on the floor also approved a petition to President Bush and Congress to increase the Medicaid cap now in place in the Virgin Islands. It's now an average of $436 per person, compared with $3,862 per capita on the mainland. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen, states that the territory now collects $6 million a year in Medicaid funds, but if it received funding on a par with states it would get $66 million. Hansen said the issue has been repeatedly before Congress, but because there has been no push from the Virgin Islands, nothing has changed.
Sen. Emmett Hansen II said there is inequity in the fact that the territory could send one of its own off to die in the Pentagon attack, but is not federally funded for Medicaid at the same rate as the states. Pickard-Samuel urged Virgin Islanders living on the mainland to push their congressional representatives to increase the territory's Medicaid funding. "We have to become very vocal," she said.

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