Spring flower show set

Workshops on how to care for orchids and controlling pests in the garden will be  highlight of the first annual St. John Flower and Garden Show, Saturday, April 16th at the Marketplace.  Along with the classes and exhibits, at least half a dozen florists and landscapers will be "showing and selling," including St. John’s Alfredo’s Nursery, Coral Bay Garden Center, and Today’s Flowers.  They will be displaying varieties of plants, herbs, palms, bougainvilleas, ferns, cactus, vegetables and fruit trees. Three St. Thomas-based plant businesses will also exhibit, and a botanical group form St. Croix is planning to attend, according to Jennifer Dale, general manager of the shopping center.  "I can’t believe the excitement that has been generated by putting up just one banner," she said.

St. John Blues Festival

BluesfestThe 3rd annual St. John Blues Festival showcasing women blues artists continues through Easter Sunday,  Organized by St. John’s Steve Simon, Coral Bay saw the kickoff of the five day events with an opening party at Island Blues, followed Thursday night by a party at Mongoose Junction.  Weekend events include a blues parties at Shipwreck Landing and Skinny Legs in Coral Bay.  The big Festival concert is set for Saturday night at the ball field in Coral Bay.  Performers include Shemekia Copeland, Renee Austin and the Nectar Blues Band.  Sponsors include Theodore Tunick & Co., Coors Light and Jolly Dog Trading Co.

“It is an honor to welcome all these renowned Blues artists to the United States Virgin Islands for this internationally acclaimed event,” said Tourism Commissioner Pamela Richards said. “It is wonderful that each year The St. John Blues Festival has helped to support the quality of life in our islands by providing scholarships for our children as well as this year providing support for woman in need through St. John’s Safety Zone.”

No drinking on Good Friday in the VIs

"On Good Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Virgin Islands is supposed to be dry," said police department spokesman Thomas Hannah.  "For seven hours, we want everyone to refrain from drinking alcohol," he said,  the Virgin islands Daily News reported. 

Good Friday is the only day alcohol sales are restricted by the V.I. Code, whether it’s in restaurants, bars, or across the store counter.  Hannah said the territory’s law has no authority over individuals drinking.

The Easter holiday extends through Monday on the island.  All local government agencies and schools will be closed, as will be the telephone and cable company offices.  Most retailers will be open during the weekend and Monday.

St. Johnian to World Series of Poker

Pokerplayer_1Andre Castonguay of St. John has won a seat at this years; World series of Poker tournament. Playing in a competition at St. Croix’s Divi Carina Bay Casino, he came out on top against 100 players, to win a ticket to the Las Vegas contest. Some of the contestants had traveled from Massachusetts for a shot at winning a seat which, usually, would cost $10,000 to get. Castonguay also won $1,000 in cash. The casino will hold another satellite the first weekend in April.

Gas prices going up

Gasoline prices have jumped as much as 40 cents a gallon this week on St. Thomas, after the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs lifted its lid on how much profit stations could make  Regular gas at O’Connor’s in Cruz Bay was going for $2.40 a gallon, with premium at $2.44.  At E&C in Estate Enighed, prices were $2.209 for regular and $2.25 for premium, the St. John Source reported.  The cap on profits was canceled last week after a District Court judge considered a challenge by Texaco and Esso Virgin Islands Inc. to the order which said profits at the pump could go no higher than 30 cents a gallon at wholesale and 35 cents at retail, the report added.

Reefs good, fish gone

EarleSylvia Earle, an oceanographer and "explorer in residence" at the National Geographic Society, dove off Lameshur Bay recently and surfaced with a good news/bad news report. 

The reefs look OK, but, "Nobody’s home.  I didn’t even seen a barracuda," she said, according to a report in the St. John Source

Earle was on island on  behalf of the Ocean Conservancy’s publication of "The State of the Coral Reefs in the U.S. Virgin Islands."  When she dove off St. John nearly 35 years ago, Earle said she saw seven species of grouper.  "Today, I saw none of those big guys."  The staghorn and elkhorn coral are also gone, but she said the brain coral is alright.  This time she saw three lobsters; in 1970 she would expect to see 20.

The problems are not only St. John’s,  she explained.  Around the world, 90 percent of the "big fish" have disappeared.  She urged protection for spawning areas and a reduction in the number of fish allowed to be caught.  Now that people are paying attention, she said, "Weve got a chance."