a poem


the air is different now
even at six am the back hoes clatter on the hillsides
chunking away at the earth with voracious steel jaws
as if they want to devour everything in sight
even at nine pm the cement trucks roll in the dark
pouring, pouring, pouring
filling up the soft green spaces with their concrete cargo
the night breezes at catherinberg are hollow now
as if the soul of the place has been choked
by the constant belching of suv’s

beneath the feet of strangers

the air is different now
i feel its hollow spaces everywhere


  Bev Melius
                Excerpted from the St. John Sun Times

Who is the condo developer?

The Washington Post reported that a St. Croix-based company, trading as Atlantic Northstar LLC, spent heavily, and unsuccessfully, to persuade the  District of Columbia’s city council to approve slot machine gambling in the nation’s capitol.  That is the same name of the company which is asking for permission to develop condos overlooking Rendezvous Bay.

Thye newspaper said "Atlantic Northstar … pumped nearly $300,000" into a political action committee to win approval for slots. "Atlantic Northstar directly paid dozens of D.C. residents hundreds of dollars for circulating petitions in December. The firm also delegated administrative tasks for the PAC to a variety of Scott employees in the Virgin Islands, among them Hoolae Paoa, a Hawaiian man who has a 21-year criminal history, including convictions for assault and felony theft," the Post reported ((http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A11195-2005Feb9?language=printer). 

There is, however, no confirmation the Rendezvous Bay-related Atlantic Northstar LLC  is the same as the St. Croix firm cited by the Post.

Student to map island’s cemeteries

Helen Blouet will spend her summer on St. John looking for grave sites, headstones, and cemeteries. The doctoral anthropology student at Syracuse Universitywill be undertaking research which is mostly underwritten by the Park, said Ken Wild, the Park’s archeologist in residence.  Eventually, she expects to take her work will take her to St. Thomas and St. Croix, the St. John Source reported.  So far, she has found three burial sites at Salt Pond, including coral headstones.  "The terrain was difficult (on St. John) so it was very practical to have your own cemetery on your own property," she said.  And since land changes hands often, it’s likely some cemeteries have members of several families, the Source article said.  Blouet will use global positioning system technology to map locations of her findings.

What’s bugging St. John?

WildlifeGail Karlsson, a St. John-based consultant for the United Nations, has authored a book about the island’s wildlife.  Available on Amazon.com, "The Wild Life in an Island House" examines the critters of the island, according to an article by the St. John Source.  Her book features bugs, scorpions, mosquitoes, and how the food chain works and the role of insects in it.  One example explains why, for instance a strong thunderstorm often precedes a rain of termites.

VI chefs among best in Caribbean

The USVI Culinary Team placed second in the Taste of the Caribbean competition in Miami, sponsored by the Caribbean Hotel association.  Among the team members was Douglas Simmonds, a chef specializing in ice carving and garde manger at The Westin Resort St. John.  The team won the silver award for a menu including braised tri tip beef with gingered pineapple pork sausage.  Ric Ade, executive chef at St. Thomas’ Bolongo Bay Beach resort, led the group. 

The USVI team also earned the award for the most innovative offering, according to the Virgin Islands Daily News.  The dish was St. Thomain Shrimp Trio, included Angostura bitters-marinated and grilled shrimp, roasted corn salsa, spiced shrimp johnny cake, avocado shrimp seviche and aioli made with  bitters, the newspaper reported.

Gold medals in the competition went to St. Martin and Puerto Rico. 

Red Hook parking lot closes

The V.I. Port Authority has closed the parking lot at the Red Hook barge and ferry dock.  The move is part of the development of a new $9.3 million Marine Terminal at the location.  Space is needed for construction equipment and supply storage, so the lot has been put off limits for parking.  Temporary lots have been set up at the relatively nearby Kean  High School and the National Park Service facility.  Shuttle service between the temporary lot and the Red Hook terminal will be $1 each way.