April 30, 2009 — The final search for the St. Croix woman missing in a Sunday boating accident was called off Tuesday by the St. Croix Police.
The U.S. Coast Guard had suspended its search for Yolanda Ruiz, 45, Monday evening, but rescuers from the police and the Department of Planning and Natural Resources continued another day. The DPNR team located the sunken 26-foot boat in 20 feet of water Monday.
On Sunday the boat carrying three men and one female began taking on water at about 2:30 p.m. and capsized about 1,000 feet off St. Croixs south shore, near Ruth Island. The three males swam to shore, contacted police and the search began for the missing Ruiz.
According to police, the woman was not wearing a life vest. She was last seen swimming toward shore.
Blue Lightening Strike Force Marine Unit and other police units searching on the sea and K-9 officers searching along the shore failed to locate the missing woman. The U.S. Coast Guard assistance to the search included utilizing a helicopter and another vessel. More than 600 square miles of sea was searched.
St. Croix Deputy Chief Christopher Howell said the missing females family was grateful for the assistance of the police department and all those who assisted in the search. Howell also thanked the officers for their diligent efforts to locate the missing person.
I know those officers would still be out there looking if we had not called off the search, Howell said. Their performance was over and above the call of duty.
April 30, 2009 — Gov. John deJongh Jr. Thursday signed into law a bill raising the maximum interest rate on bonds issued by the Virgin Islands government to finance building Diageo's planned Captain Morgan distillery on St. Croix.
The change on interest rates was "necessitated by the realities of the financial markets during this continuing economic downturn and ensures our access to an investor base," deJongh said in a Government House statement Thursday.
The interest-rate measure was tacked on as an amendment to a supplementary appropriation to pay Winston Todman Construction for work it has already done for the Department of Human Services. DeJongh also vetoed a bill that would have given the Legislature more control over the appropriation and use of federal economic stimulus funds. (See "Senate Approves Bills, Nominations.")
In issuing the veto, deJongh argued the Legislature already has access to all the information it requested, saying it is available online from the Office of Economic Recovery. Most of the money is for existing programs and so doesnt need approval from the Legislature, and what money does need approval will go through the normal legislative approval process, according to deJongh.
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