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Home of the Johnny Carson Show Sending Linemen To Assist Virgin Islands With Final Stages of Electrical Restoration

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LOS ANGELES — Burbank Water and Power will be sending several of its employees and some equipment to the territory to help St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix recover from the powerful hurricanes that battered them in September.

The Burbank City Council voted unanimously during a meeting on Jan. 9 to allow City Manager Ron Davis to enter into a mutual-assistance agreement with the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA), which would send seven utility employees and necessary equipment to the islands for about two months to help numerous people who have been without power for several months, said Jorge Somoano, general manager of Burbank Water and Power.

The project entails helping WAPA with the final stages of its restoration efforts, which are about 90 percent complete, Somoano said.

Somoano told council members that it is not the first time the city utility has helped an outside agency during its time of need. In 2012, several Burbank Water and Power employees were sent to New York City to assist the Long Island Power Authority in its efforts to restore power to the city after Hurricane Sandy.

The utility general manager said the mutual aid was provided to the Long Island Power Authority via a nationwide agreement, called the American Public Power Assn. Mutual Aid Agreement, which is recognized and accepted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Cesar Ancheta, the local utility’s assistant general manager of electrical distribution, said Burbank Water and Power will most likely be the only utilities agency in the state helping the Caribbean islands during the final stages of restoration efforts.

He added that the city will be fully reimbursed for its time and effort to help the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority.

The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson was recorded in Burbank, California from May 1973 until May 1992.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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