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Rotary Sunrise closes Rotary has Heart initiative off with Dinner event for Foster Home Kids

CAY HILL - Rotary Sunrise closed off its “Rotary has Heart” initiative by hosting a 3-course dinner event for children from a foster home on Sint Maarten. This event was a collaboration with the National Institute for Professional Advancement, NIPA. The purpose of the event was to offer the children a real life experience dining in a fancy restaurant, served a 3-course meal with aperitif, main course and desert. The aim of this project was twofold: 1) to have the members actively involved throughout the entire process from purchasing of the groceries until the preparation and serving of the meal and cleaning up after; and 2) to do the project in a joint venture with NIPA. 

The purpose for collaborating with NIPA was to promote the educational opportunities they offer to the youth of Sint Maarten to learn a vocation in their home country. The project also offered NIPA an opportunity to teach students service to the community by volunteering in the event.

With the unwavering support from Ms Renata de Weever, Hospitality Coordinator at NIPA, a menu was put together to suit the taste of the children, groceries were purchased and on the day of the event, NIPA opened their fully equipped professional kitchen to volunteering Rotarians to cook. Students from NIPA volunteered their time to assist in the coaching of the Rotarians for the preparation of the recipes.

The funds for the event came from fundraising through selling of Rotary has Heart aprons; all volunteers were asked to put on their apron for the event.

The event also had an educational aspect; before serving the children their meal, Ms Renata de Weever, gave the children instructions on table etiquette for professionals. They learned about how to set the table and how to use spoon, fork and knife during a dinner. Each of the children received a handout with these instructions to take home for future reference.

Twenty children in total ranging in age from 1 – 18 years old came to the dinner accompanied by three caretakers. The dinner was a delicious fun experience for the children that ended with spontaneous karaoke singing from the NIPA students and the children from the home.

During the closing remarks, President Virginia Asin expounded on the potential power of youth for the future of Sint Maarten fitting into the Rotary International’s year theme “Light Up Rotary”, which was derived by a Chinese proverb “it is better to light a single candle than curse the darkness”. She encouraged everyone to be a source of light in the world.

President Asin was very ecstatic about the final activity in the series of events from Rotary Sunrise “Rotary has Heart” initiative and expressed her gratitude and appreciation to NIPA for giving the club to make use of their facilities and students for this project.

The club meets at Philipburg Jubilee Library Conference Room every Tuesday mornings at 7:00am for fellowship and breakfast.  For more information on the club visit us at sxmsunrise.org or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., we are also on Facebook: Rotary Club of Saint Martin Sunrise

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Police request help in solving possible shooting incident of a 51-year old man

MARIGOT/COLE BAY - On Wednesday April 8th, 2015, at approximately 10.30 p.m. Detectives from the St. Maarten Police Force visited the L.C. Fleming Medical Center in Marigot, to gather information involving a 51-year old man who reported himself to the hospital with gunshot wounds.

The investigation carried out by the Gendarmes indicated that the shooting possibly occurred on the Dutch side of the island at which time the Detectives from the Dutch side also got involved in the investigation.

It is still unclear where the incident actually happened. The Forensic and the Detective Department of the St. Maarten Police Force started their investigation in the vicinity of Port de Plaisance, based on the information they have gathered. The French Forensic Department is also conducting their investigation on the French side of the island.

Both the victim and a 43-year old female witness will be interrogated by the Detective Department of the St. Maarten Police Force. The police are still looking for other witnesses who might have heard or seen anything in relation to this possible shooting. The incident probably took place between Well Road in Cole Bay and Port de Plaisance on April 8th, 2015 just before 10.30 p.m.

If anyone has any information regarding this incident, please come forward and report this to the Detective Department of the St. Maarten Police Force. You can also call our (anonymous) tip line on #9300. (Police Force Sint Maarten)

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911 Dispatch workers attend “Customer Service” workshop

PHILIPSBURG - As part of the ongoing training for the personnel that will be working in the Joint Emergency Central Dispatch, a workshop in “Customer Service” was held on Saturday April 10th and provided and given by NAGICO N.V.

This workshop was held in the Philipsburg Police Head Quarters and presented by Lisa Brown and Terrance Dublin. The workshop entailed many subjects and mainly how to deal the communities, which are the customers, with the highest level of professionalism. 

All participants actively took part in the workshop and gathered and shared as much information possible.

In addition and in order to make the communication between the community and the 911 Emergency Dispatch as pleasant and effective as possible the following tips are provided to the community when and if an emergency call is placed:

When to call 911:

An emergency is a situation that requires immediate assistance from the police, fire department or ambulance. This emergency can include:

-          A fire

-          A crime, especially in progress

-          A car crash, especially if some one is injured

-          A medical emergency, such as someone is unconscious, gasping for air on not breathing, or any other symptoms that require immediate medical attention.

IMPORTANT: If you are not sure whether the situation is a true emergency, it is recommended to still call 911 and let the dispatch staff member determine whether you need emergency help.

When you call 911, be prepared to answer the call-taker’s questions, which may include:

-          The location of the emergency, including the street address.

-          The phone number you are calling from.

-          The nature of the emergency.

-          Details about the emergency, such as physical description of a person who may have committed a crime, a description of any fire that may be burning, or a description of injuries or symptoms being experienced by a person.

Remember, the call-taker’s questions are important to get the right kind of help to you quickly. Be prepared to follow all instructions the call-takers gives you. Follow the step by step approach provided.

DO NOT hang up the phone until the call-taker instructs you to. If you dial 911 by mistake when no emergency exists, do no hang up. Instead simply explain the call-taker what happened. (Police Force Sint Maarten)

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Academy students encouraged to Keep it Clean and Keep it Blue

ST. PETERS - St Maarten Tourist Bureau’s representative, Lisa Noel, made a presentation about Tourism to the St. Maarten Academy 4th formers recently.

This is in keeping with the Bureau’s objective to create greater awareness about the industry and its importance to the economy and the people of this country.

The students were presented with “Keep it Clean, Keep it Blue” T-shirts, which encourages them to protect and preserve our natural environment. (St. Maarten Tourist Bureau)

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The Digikidz Medialab re-opens at the library

PHILIPSBURG—The Philipsburg Jubilee Library will be re-opening the Digikidz Medialab this week. The Media lab was launched in 2014 and since then has hosted courses on a variety of topics in the area of multimedia.

Children and adults alike can come to the Medialab to learn about how to use computers and harness their creativity.

The courses that will be taught in the upcoming months are a basic course on the workings of the computer, a course for beginners on Facebook, programming basics, and many more.

The Medialab sessions are open to people of all ages and will be held twice a month on Friday afternoons in the library from 2:00 pm until 5:00 pm. The courses are free for children and teachers.

Persons age 18 and over pay a contribution of $ 5 at the start of the workshop. For more information about the courses and to enroll in any of the classes, visit the medialab website on www.medialabsintmaarten.com or call the library at 542 2970.

The Medialab project is an initiative from Foundation Kultuurkameleon and is a part of the larger Digikidz project of the Foresee Foundation. Digikidz was made possible through funding from the Windsong Foundation and the Kultura fund. 

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Two arrested for the possession of 51 marijuana plastic bags and a stolen car

PHILIPSBURG - On Monday, April 6th at approximately 02.00 p.m., a police patrol saw a white Suzuki vehicle with license plate P-3977 parked suspiciously in front of a home on the in the area of Fort Willem.

The officers saw two persons sitting in the car but could not identify them because the windows of the vehicle were tinted very dark. The officers approached the vehicle and asked both occupants to identify themselves and also to handover the documents for the vehicle but they could not comply.

As the investigation continued the officers noticed that the door jammed for the passenger side door had been forced and the housing of the steering wheel was destroyed, raising the suspicion of the officers that the vehicle in question might be stolen.

Both suspects were immediately arrested on the spot and when the officers searched the suspects a total of 51 small plastic bags, each containing an amount of marijuana, were found on the passenger.

The vehicle and marijuana were confiscated. The suspects were taken to the Philipsburg Police Station where they remain in custody pending further investigation.  (Police Force Sint Maarten)   

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Carnival Village springs to life as booth holders start to move in

POND ISLAND - The activity inside of Carnival Village increased over the Easter weekend as booth holders started to move into the Village in preparation for the official opening of Carnival on April 16.

The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) will also be relocating its operations to the Village this week. The foundation will, as usual, operate out of the conference room that overlooks the Village. It will be housed here until the close of Carnival on May 4.

Pick-up trucks loaded with material for the various booths started rolling into the Village on Easter Monday. Booth holders and their helpers immediately got busy setting up their kitchens, painting, setting up music and other equipment. The iconic image of barbeque grills will start popping up later this week.

The various corporate sponsors of the SCDF will also begin branding the Village this week which adds to the overall festive look. All preparation must be in place two days prior to the opening of Carnival when the first safety, fire and health inspections are scheduled to take place. Random inspections continue throughout the Carnival season.

“If you are not directly involved in Carnival you might not know that moving into Carnival Village is really an exciting time. It’s like moving into your home for the first time. Everyone is happy and eager. So eager in fact, that some booth holders stay late at night with friends, having a great time in anticipation of the season,” President of the SCDF Mike Granger said.

“The Village is our home for the next month. It is the heart and soul of Carnival, the epicenter of everything that is Carnival. So to say we’re very excited to be in here is always an understatement. We are getting ready to celebrate life,” he added.  (SCDF)

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World Health Day 2015: From farm to plate, make food safe

INTERNATIONAL - New data on the harm caused by foodborne illnesses underscore the global threats posed by unsafe foods, and the need for coordinated, cross-border action across the entire food supply chain, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which next week is dedicating its annual World Health Day to the issue of food safety.

World Health Day will be celebrated on 7 April, with WHO highlighting the challenges and opportunities associated with food safety under the slogan “From farm to plate, make food safe.”

“Food production has been industrialized and its trade and distribution have been globalized,” says WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan. “These changes introduce multiple new opportunities for food to become contaminated with harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemicals.”

Dr Chan adds: “A local food safety problem can rapidly become an international emergency. Investigation of an outbreak of foodborne disease is vastly more complicated when a single plate or package of food contains ingredients from multiple countries.”

Unsafe food can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances, and cause more than 200 diseases - ranging from diarrhoea to cancers. Examples of unsafe food include undercooked foods of animal origin, fruits and vegetables contaminated with faeces, and shellfish containing marine biotoxins.

Today, WHO is issuing the first findings from what is a broader ongoing analysis of the global burden of foodborne diseases. The full results of this research, being undertaken by WHO’s Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group (FERG), are expected to be released in October 2015.

Some important results are related to enteric infections caused by viruses, bacteria and protozoa that enter the body by ingestion of contaminated food. The initial FERG figures, from 2010, show that:

  • there were an estimated 582 million cases of 22 different foodborne enteric diseases and 351 000 associated deaths; the enteric disease agents responsible for most deaths were Salmonella Typhi (52 000 deaths), enteropathogenic E. coli (37 000) and norovirus (35 000); the African region recorded the highest disease burden for enteric foodborne disease, followed by South-East Asia;

Unsafe food also poses major economic risks, especially in a globalized world. Germany’s 2011 E.coli outbreak reportedly caused US$ 1.3 billion in losses for farmers and industries and US$ 236 million in emergency aid payments to 22 European Union Member States.

Efforts to prevent such emergencies can be strengthened, however, through development of robust food safety systems that drive collective government and public action to safeguard against chemical or microbial contamination of food.

Global and national level measures can be taken, including using international platforms, like the joint WHO-FAO International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN), to ensure effective and rapid communication during food safety emergencies.

At the consumer end of the food supply chain, the public plays important roles in promoting food safety, from practising safe food hygiene and learning how to take care when cooking specific foods that may be hazardous (like raw chicken), to reading the labels when buying and preparing food. The WHO Five Keys to Safer Food explain the basic principles that each individual should know all over the world to prevent foodborne diseases.

“It often takes a crisis for the collective consciousness on food safety to be stirred and any serious response to be taken,” says Dr Kazuaki Miyagishima, Director of WHO’s Department of Food Safety and Zoonoses. “The impacts on public health and economies can be great.

A sustainable response, therefore, is needed that ensures standards, checks and networks are in place to protect against food safety risks.”

WHO is working to ensure access to adequate, safe, nutritious food for everyone.

The Organization supports countries to prevent, detect and respond to foodborne disease outbreaks—in line with the Codex Alimentarius, a collection of international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice covering all the main foods.

Food safety is a cross-cutting issue and shared responsibility that requires participation of non-public health sectors (i.e. agriculture, trade and commerce, environment, tourism) and support of major international and regional agencies and organizations active in the fields of food, emergency aid, and education.

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’Maho Beach Closes’ an April Fool’s Joke Causes Concern among Travelers

MAHO REEF – It is tradition for newspapers in the Dutch Kingdom of which St. Maarten is a part to run an April’s Fool Joke with the trappings of a real article on April 1. This is what happened today, Wednesday, when St. Maarten’s leading newspaper The Daily Herald ran a front page article entitled “Maho Beach closes for work on airport.”

“The article has caused quite some concern, but we assure everyone it is an April’s Fool joke. Sonesta Maho Beach Resort and Casino is open and continues to be and the famous beach bordering it is still there and will remain open for beach goers and thrill seekers,” says The Maho Group.

By the newspaper stating “Maho Beach” will close, many people automatically thought about Sonesta Maho as the resort is popularly called “Maho Beach” by tour operators, guests and resort staff. 

“Sonesta Maho has been referred to as ‘Maho Beach’ for many years as a shortened version of its name. Automatically, people who saw the article online thought the resort was closing. While, we are happy our shortened name is so well known, we are not happy some of our clients and regular and new visitors were upset by the April Fool’s prank,” says the resort.

The newspaper cleverly gave away the hook of the story when it named the project as the "Much anticipated Phase 3 Project Extension to Runway 10,” calling it “Alpha-Foxtrot-Oscar-Oscar-Lima.” The name spells out “A FOOL” in the phonetic alphabet.

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Les Fruits de Mer Launches New Logo with Flag Promotion

GRAND CASE, St. Martin—Three new colors are brightening skies—and flagpoles—all over the island for the launch of the new logo of the Les Fruits de Mer association. The updated icon is being celebrated with an exciting large-scale publicity campaign: flags showcasing the redesigned logo are flying all over St. Martin and even around the world.

The non-profit association Les Fruits de Mer, dedicated to wildlife and heritage education, spent the last few months developing the new look. Countless creative designs were considered before the team decided on the new logo, chosen for its visual appeal, originality and symbolic meaning. The logo features a unique “trilogy” of equal-sized color blocks: red representing the red hat worn by Commandant Jacques-Yves Cousteau, white symbolizing the blank page upon which the future is written, and blue for the boundless depths of the sea, the cradle of all life.

“Creating the final design, I felt an electricity coursing through me,” explained designer Stephen Winkel. “The logo was so unique, but also so simple, as if a mystical force had revealed to me a design that had existed since the dawn of time, waiting to be discovered.”

Rather than simply unveil the new logo online, the association decided to promote the launch with flags featuring the novel design. “We felt the flag concept was a great way to introduce the new logo, but we had no idea how popular it would be,” said association President Jenn Yerkes. “It seems like overnight the Les Fruits de Mer flag is everywhere, from businesses and schools to public buildings. You really can’t miss it!”

With the success of the new logo, Les Fruits de Mer is considering updating other aspects of the association. According to co-founder Mark Yokoyama, “We may rework the official motto of the association to focus more on our core values of freedom, equal rights and the spirit of brotherhood.”

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 and corporate benefactor member applications on its website, http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com. The association recently updated its logo.

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