Save Patrick’s

OK, I slept on it last night.  I think Patrick should be allowed to stay in the Cruz Bay parking lot, where he’s been almost 30 years.

Patrick is a part of St. John.  Who has not told friends about this mobile van which never moves.  Which soaks up valuable parking spaces.  Which attracts people all hours of the afternoon and night, some of them even drinking beer (!).  Find me a tourist who hasn’t taken a picture of Patrick’s. Sure, some people might say it’s an eye sore.  But it’s the island’s eye sore.

You might say the same thing about the guy who wanders around town with a Heineken, while behind his back people say he owns lots of commercial land downtown. Or the guys slapping dominoes loudly and often violently on the bandstand.  Or people spilling out of Woody’s onto the road.

Nope, none of this is neat and clean and tidy – like the people who have built McMansions might like to see.  Such sights might not be what their visiting guests would find "acceptable." Boo hoo.  They don;t like it, they can go to Miami Beach, with 24/7 a.c. and its oh-so-sanitary surroundings

Get over it. It’s St. John. 

What do you think?  Add your comment below.

Bussing the boar

DrbfrbboarWe’re back.

Lovely early-fall days in Italy … fantastic food in mysterious Venice (read the book: The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt), days and nights with friends outside of Florence (a good time even though the Europcar’s transmission died and the tow truck left us God-knows-where) … followed by six days in Rome (like vacationing in Times Square).

Found Trevi Fountain every night!

Lots of work-arounds, lots of memories, plenty of good times.  The good time pictured above, bussing a stuffed, wild boar, was in San Gimignano

Now, back to work.

Real estate update

The Multiple Listing Service has more residential properties for sale than I have ever seen:  72 homes, with prices ranging from $450,000 to $8.4 million. 

By my calculation, the average house offered on St. John is priced at $2.26 million.  Total asking value of the MLS residences … $162.7 million!

Land offerings are numerous, too.  The MLS has 170. There are also 18 condos.  The developer who bought Oscar’s Convenience store, near Fred’s in downtown Cruz Bay, is asking about $450,000 for office condos being built.

Taxi prices rise

A 20 percent increase in taxi fares is now in effect.  The Commissioner of Licensing and Consumer Affairs, Andy Rutnik, pointed out this is the first rate increase for the island’s drivers in almost six years.  The $9 trip from Red Hook to the Airport will now cost $11.

Visitors will note that the one-way cost of the Red Hook ferry increased $1 in August, and that luggage carried on the ferry now costs $2 a bag.  This makes the island more expensive for everyone, especially families.

Rutnik said there is now a provision for hotels to negotiate group discounts for their guests.  It will be interesting to see if the island’s villa rental companies can take advantage of this option.

Forecaster explains calm hurricane season

The island has been pelted, deluged, soaked and waterlogged for the past week by fast moving thunder storms and torrential rains.  The National Weather Service issued flood watches almost daily. 

The good news, however, is … (well, i dare not say it.)  But, with just a few weeks to go until the end of the h******** season, storm guru William Gray is not issuing an "all clear."  The Colorado State University forecaster expects there to be three named storms and three hurricanes this month, nearly double the long-term average,. according to a report by the St. John Source

Why has it been so quiet on the VI side of the Atlantic?  He said African dust blew across the ocean in August and September and that helped prevent storms because it dried out the mid-level atmosphere.  He told the Source, he the United States is in a new, multi-decadal era for increased storm activity. "We expect this active tropical cyclone era to likely span the next two or three decades," one of his team members added.

Cruz Bay parking lot in doubt?

A $2 million appropriation for a parking facility for Cruz Bay was dropped from a spending bill before the VI Senate.  The legislation was initiated by Gov. Charles Turnbull after he discovered $60 million in unexpected revenues. 

Published reports hinted that Senators would have the option to identify $2 million in spending.  However, when the bill came up for a vote, Sen. Craig Barshinger’s project, and at least that of other Senator, was not in the bill.  It is not clear whether Barshinger’s appropriation request was meant to help fund the plan to build a parking garage and vendor’s plaza across from the barge dock, or whether it was another facility.

Sen. Lorraine Berry said she regretted giving up "her" $2 million but said pay raises for government employees and buying gasoline for government vehicles "are important things."  The plan passed easily, as all Senators present – except for Barshinger – voted in favor.