An Update on the Caretaker Position at Viers

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Last week, we told you how VIERS was looking for an onsite caretaker for the month of September. We learned today that the position has been filled.

We knew this post would pique the interest of a lot of people, but even we were taken about by its reach. Since we posted the story last Tuesday, the Facebook post has reached more than 73,000 people. It was liked 493 times, shared 522 times and received 172 comments. And during that time, our website has had just under 70,000 page views … in less than a week! Unbelievable.

It just shows how many people love St. John. A big thank you to all of you.

Baked In the Sun Closes

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Well folks, it appears that one of our favorite breakfast spots has closed its doors for good.

We heard rumblings last week that Baked in the Sun – the popular breakfast and lunch spot located just past the roundabout in Cruz Bay – was serving its last customer Saturday afternoon due to financial issues. We had hope, however, when we were told one of its employees was asked to come to work Monday morning. But alas, the store is currently being cleared out :(

We will keep you posted on what’s happening with this spot. In the meantime, have a great Monday everyone!

STJ Cancer Fund Celebrates 5th Year

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Today we’d like to take a moment to congratulate the St. John Cancer Fund on its fifth anniversary, which happened on Saturday, July 15th. For the past five years, this organization has provided invaluable services and funds to the residents of St. John. A huge thank you for that.

Formed in July 2012, the St. John Cancer Fund’s mission is to provide support, both financial and personal, for St. Johnians battling cancer. The St. John Cancer Fund aims to supplement all of the existing support avenues available to St. John residents. The fund doesn’t restrict how the funds are utilized by the patient, but rather serves as a support in their journey.

The Fund was formed by a group of St. John residents who wanted complete financial transparency of monies raised as well as clarity of financial assistance to patients. The primary distribution of funds raised by St. John and used for St. Johnians. Seventy-five percent of our residents are small business owners or independent contractors. Most do not have access to corporate or government-offered insurance coverage, and individual health insurance policies are expensive and restrictive (as we discussed in this story back in May). The St. John Cancer Fund aims to invest in the health of the community by assisting with both palliative care and preventive screenings.

The St. John Cancer Fund is the beneficiary of multiple events over the course of the year. Its flagship fundraising event is Light Up The Night, an 18 hour walk at Winston Wells ball field during which participating teams raise money for the Fund.

Many teams also choose to hold fundraising events at other times of the year – these include:

  • Woody’s Block Party – The annual Block Party spearheaded by Woody’s Seafood Saloon is a mainstay of the Fund’s fundraising efforts. Live music, lots of food and drink, and a fun community atmosphere make this a perennially popular event! This year’s event is scheduled for Oct. 6th, 2017.
  • The ‘Stache Bash – The ‘Stache Bash was a new addition in 2016, but we all look forward to Drink bringing it back again this year! Celebrating “Movember” with a facial hair fashion show was fun for everyone and raised $5000 in its first year. Amazing.
  • The Coral Bay Open is another popular annual fundraiser. Clever and creative hole arrangements mean this is always a challenging, fun day.

The St. John Cancer Fund is run by a board of local volunteers, many of whom have been involved since the very beginning. The board consists of Mary Bartolucci, Cynthia Smith, Adonis Morton, Tim Hanley, Clarence Stephenson, and Hank Slodden. Pam Gaffin is the Fund’s accountant, and Crissy Cook is the co-chair for Light Up The Night 2018.

Here are a few of the board members thoughts…

I am amazed at the amount of support and growth this fund has seen over the years. The people, the driving force, behind the St. John Cancer Fund, are the ones who saw a need in the community of St John and thankfully found a way to assist with that need. With that said, the people that make up Love City, whether it be natural born residents, permanent transplants, snow birds, seasonal workers, or tourists & vistors… these are truly the people who continuously support this cause, and always go above and beyond (financially) to make sure those in need are taken care of. Thank you to everyone involved for their hard work, and here’s to many more years of fundraising for a cause that truly touches each and every one of us.”
 – Tim Hanley

My thoughts on St John Cancer Fund… giving back, caring, St John love, an investment that always pays great, qualitative dividends, a daily recalibration allowing me to realize how blessed & lucky I am to be healthy… a responsibility to serve, a duty that my mother would expect from me. St John Cancer Fund’s team and a cast of characters that all have large hearts and helping hands. From the first meeting, held five years ago, to the present, compassion and desire has been unwavering and always brings tears to my eyes! Playing well with others, and caring for others… so important, because cancer robs the young and the old alike of their dreams.” – Hank Slodden

I joined the Fund shortly after the first Light Up The Night event. It’s been truly a blessing to be part of this amazing group of angels. I am proud to be a part of this team. I have seen the positive impact that this Fund has had within our community. As the Fund continues to grow I pray for all the members, supporters, and beneficiaries.” – Clarence Stephenson

And for some staff members over at The Beach Bar, their connection is personal.

When (Mikey) got sick, we thought, we’ve always done this, but now it’s so personal, let’s kick it up – that year we did the t-shirts and really did it for Mikey.  We raised around $8K and that really blew our minds, I think our original target was $2… every year after we just kind of go bigger. 

It was important to us, just making sure that Mikey’s legacy didn’t die, that his name didn’t go away, and to make sure that other people’s experience with cancer was eased. It’s a financially devastating disease, and our experience was shaped by watching Mikey go through it and knowing that you can’t do much about it, but doing what you can anyway, 

We’ve since had other staff members deal with their own struggles with cancer, and its been great to have the Fund help them out and get them what they need. Seeing the effects of the Fund, knowing people personally who’ve had their lives changed, whether it’s a small or large financial need, that’s been so important. And it’s nice to know that with each payout, everyone contributes, every donor has a little part of that.”  -Adam Dow

To learn more about the St. John Cancer Fund, please visit its website at www.stjohncancerfund.org

BVI Customs Fees Set to Increase August 1st

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I’m starting to feel that the British Virgin Islands simply does not want our business. Beginning August 1st, the fees paid to enter the BVI via boat are set to rise yet again.

This time, it’s the cruising permits fee. The fee for foreign-based charter companies – all of us here in the USVI – will now be required to pay $16 per person for a cruising permit, up from $4. This means that the charter boats who normally charge $45 for customs, will likely increase that to $57 a person. That’s a ton of money especially when traveling with a family or group. And no fault of the charter boats, of course.

What exactly are we paying when we pay the customs fee? We have to pay the cruising permit, a port fee, a commercial license fee, a passenger tax, plus a park fee when applicable. (Boat captains, please chime in if I’m missing anything here.)

So what exactly should you do? I say stick to USVI waters. There is plenty to do here. In fact, my friends and I have been having just as much fun in US waters lately than we have over in the BVI (although we do miss seeing our friends over at the Soggy Dollar Bar).

Like to snorkel? Check out Christmas Cove, Lovango, Buck Island or Hurricane Hole. Visit Maho Bay or Mermaid’s Chair over on the North Side of St. John.

Looking to do a little barhopping? Visit Angel’s Rest in season. You can also visit Water Island and the ABI bar over on St. Thomas year round. You can grab lunch at one of those spots too, or over at Pizza Pi, the floating pizza boat.

Heck, you can simply enjoy the sights of St. John by water. If you haven’t circumnavigated the island by boat, I highly suggest doing so.

We’ve also heard rumblings that the fees to enter the Baths on Virgin Gorda are increasing as well. If anyone has more info on that, please let us know.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Check Out Our Island Videos

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Hello everyone and happy Friday! Need a St. John fix? Then check out our Island Videos page. We have several videos we made throughout the years, so go ahead and check them out. It will make your Friday that much better … we promise!

You can see them at www.newsofstjohn.com/island-videos

It’s Going to Be Christmas in July!

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Temperatures might be rising outside, but we’re expecting a snow storm at DR!NK next Friday!

Don’t miss DRINK’s annual Christmas in July party, which happens on July 21st at 9 p.m. Cool down with drink specials on Smirnoff Vodka cocktails all night, and get loose with DJ Top Notch. There’ll be a $5 cover charge and all of that money will be donated to CSM Robert Gallagher Memorial/Team River Runner. The organization helps bring wounded veterans to St. John for a week of rest, relaxation and paddling.

Santa Claus will also be coming to town so let’s get this North Pole a Shakin’!