The Inquiring Iguana’s latest headlines

  • The nice volunteers at Trunk Bay who sell US postage stamps to the international cruise ship visitors charge 23 cents. They pay 30 cents for them on island. 
  • Home building overruns … one house is $5 million over budget.
  • O’Connor’s gas station will move to a location on the access road beside the Enighed Pond commercial port.
  • There will be another speed bump installed along Great Cruz Bay Road, to try and slow down the construction vehicles.
  • The cement is wet on Marina Drive in Fish Bay.  Construction of at least two new pavement sections underway Tuesday, road’s been widened so it looks like there are several more being done this time.

St. John music fest: Buffett, Chesney, Clapton?

WestinphillipPhillip Morris is here, Jimmy Buffett soon come (?)

The Phillip Morris Executive Forum opened tonight at the Westin Resort at Great Cruz Bay amid reports that Jimmy Buffet would perform in concert during the meetings. The same source posted on USVI-On-Line.com, "Another certain star that lives in St. John is arriving a day or two ahead of the show. Wonder is, will he sing with him?"

Kenny Chesney, too?

More news … the Blue Guitar, Eric Clapton’s yacht, is reported anchored in the Charlotte Amalie harbor on St. Thomas.

The concert could be titled, "Three guitars, no waiting."

The opening Phillip Morris event, dinner on the beach at the Palm Terrace restaurant, is underway as I write this. It features music by a Cubano-jazz group. (Lots of conga drumming. And yelling.) Now they’re playing "Besame Mucho."  Soft dinner music.  I like that.

The beach is bathed in red lighting, underneath a nearly full moon (three days past). Clearly pleasure precedes business at this conference.

Buffett played here last year for the PM group. The island was in a tizzy, with folks trying any number of ways to get access. Word is he played under an outdoor tent on the beach, within earshot of the Great Cruz Bay "gold coast" neighborhood. Check back for frequent updates.

Tuff people, teriffic event

The ninth annual 8 Tuff Miles, run across the spine of St. John Saturday, drew a record 617 registrants.  Race organizer Peter Alter told several hundred people at the afternoon’s awards ceremony, there were as many men runners as there were women (243 each), and more women walkers (68) than men walkers (35).  (That means 571 completed the course.)

Tuffmilesawards_2 <<<< Folks checking out finishers’ times.

The race was won for the second year by a Caneel Bay Resort employee, Jeremy Zuber, 24.  His time for the 8.3 mile course was 50 minutes and 2 seconds.  Cheryl Jamerino, 30, of St. Thomas led the women, with a first place time of 1 hour 3 minutes 51 seconds.  She’s a nurse at the Roy L. Schneider Hospital.

Here is some audio from the awards ceremony. 

  • Peter Alter awarding the annual prize for "Best Watering Station" and St. Thomas disc jockey Buzz reviewing the number of entrants.  Right click to download
  • Music prior to the ceremony at the children’s playground across from Mongoose Junction. Right click to download
  • (If you like the audio, send me an e-mail for encouragement: frank@newsofstjohn.com.)

By the way, Peter Alter’s campaign to encourage runners on St. John has paid off again.  He reported that half a dozen runners from St. John have qualified to participate in the 26-mile Boston Marathon, April 18.(Comparably, a city the size of Washington, DC would send nearly a thousand.)

Summer start for Cruz Bay garage

More construction will begin in the heart of Cruz Bay this summer, according to Keith Richards, the person in charge of capital projects for the government,  he told a town meeting this week groundbreaking for a two story garage, across from the barge dock, will start in a few months.  At a community meeting at the Boulon Center, he explained the garage will hold 82 cars and include retail space for a many as 10 merchants, St. John Source reported.  Funding for the $3 million project will come from the territory’s St. John Capital Improvement Fund and government bonds.

In other matters, one resident complained that plans for a planned 45-minute limit on parking across from the Post Office is not long enough. Mary Blazine said it takes at least two hours to run errands and have lunch, the Source reported.  But island administrator Julien Harley said that if the limit was two hours, people would just stay for four.

Ferries want a fare hike

FerriesThe St. Thomas-St. John ferry companies want to raise the price of tickets. Citing rising fuel costs, Claudette Feron, legal counsel to Transportation Services told the monthly board meeting of the Public Services Commission, "The ferry company is bleeding badly due to lost revenue, and something needs to be done," the Virgin Islands Daily News reported.  Feron adding that while Varlack Ventures, the other company with an exclusive franchise to provide ferry servcice between the two islands, was not at the meeting, it will join in a formal application for a rate increase.

"Paying $3 to ride the ferry is unbelievable today," Feron told the PSC. "It is probably one of the lowest fares in the nation."  She said it has not changed in 15 months, despite higher fuel costs and Homeland Security-related expenses.

Kerrick Augustus, manager of Transportation Services, said the number of passengers has increased 40 percent in the past two years.  More boats, costing millions of dollars, are needed. The rise can be attributed to more vacationers on St. John, more day trippers from St. Thomas and, the factor which is leading to very crowded boats in mornings and afternoon, construction workers.

The Inquiring Iguana’s reaction?  Hmmm, let’s see.  40 percent more riders.  Same number of boats.  Same number of employees.  And they’re losing money?  Must be some kind of special island economics.

Music in the park

Koko and the Sunshine Band played old-time calypso "scratch" music in Great Cruz Bay Park at Wednesday as part of the week’sKokoband_3 St. John Arts Festival, featuring musical and arts events on island to celebrate the historic African culture of St. John. Right click with your mouse to download a minuite of the music.

Tuesday, Inner Visions amped up their reggae tunes, creating a thunderous sound in the local plaza, making it difficult to have a conversation with anyone anywhere around the ferry dock.

Later today, Elaine Estern is opening her Coconut Coast Studios at Frank Bay to a "Meet the Artist" event.  Meanwhile, at the Annaberg ruins, boat makers from the British Virgin Islands are telling stories and teaching old techniques.