St. John School on Gifft Hill graduates 8

The first graduating class of the St. John School on Gifft Hill is college-bound.  Each of the eight students will continue their studies on the mainland at schools including Emerson College in Boston, the University of North Carolina, and Randolph Macon Women’s College in Lynchburg, Va., the St. John Source reported .  Australia is also on the list, where Tom Kasetner will study at Bond University.  "He’s a surfer and wanted to go somewhere that had good surf," said school co-administrator Scott Crawford.  He added that each of the grads is receiving some financial aid for the college studies.  Crawford said each of the students participated in many extra-curricular activities and had jobs. 

Jurors chosen off the street

About a dozen people, walking around town and minding their own business, found themselves  in Superior Court marshals’ custody last week, summoned to jury duty. 

Superior Court Judge Brenda Hollar told the St. John Source the action was legal, "Occasionally it happens," she explained.  A St. Thomas attorney called the roundup "kidnapping … that will taint the jury pool" when they are called for cases the following week. 

One construction worker said he was waiting outside Woody’s Seafood Saloon in Cruz Bay when a marshal asked to see his driver’s license and said, "You’ve been summoned to jury duty.  Get in the van."

Island marketer wins award

The owner of St. John’s Kate N Design has won recognition for a brochure she designed for the Westin resort and Villas.  The marketing piece was in the shape of a waiter bottle and has a map on it to show guests where they can safely run, Kate Norfleet told the St. John Source. Norfleet won a Silver citation for the brochure in judging by the American Advertising Federation’s regional competition.  Norfleet, a member of the Advertising Club of the Virgin Islands, was one of four of the club’s members to win honors in the contest.  The other three are on St. Thomas.

Grande Bay rezoning request protested

The developers of the Grande Bay Resort condominium project heard angry reactions this week to their plans for their Cruz Bay development.

Bay Isles Associates requested a zoning change for two small land parcels which are part of the venture. The plan is to open a 10-12 table restaurant and a retail shop. But area residents who attended a Planning and Natural Resources zoning hearing objected.

Parking was the main issue, according to a report of the meeting by the St. John Source. Residents also complained about the condo project in general, anticipating noise, traffic congestion, and blocked views of the bay.

St. John architect Rob Crane said Grand Bay’s authorization was possible only through "a loophole" in Coastal Zone Management Rules. He complained development is stressing the island’s infrastructure, saying developers are "making money and we’re paying for it."

The reason for the zoning request change, from waterfront-pleasure to residential-medium density, was not clear, even to Grande Bay’s representatives. Kelly Frye, a partner, told the Source it was necessary to have the entire land area under the same zoning category.

Weddings a winner for Westin

The manager of the Westin Resort and Villas says the past season was one of the best ever, and summer doesn’t look too bad, either.  Matt Balcik told the St. John Source, "The summer looks like 85 to 90 percent occupancy."  Even September, he added, is 60 to 65 percent booked.  Balcik said St. John has become a ‘hot’ location, and the growing wedding business helps, too.  He estimated the resort hosts as many as 70 nuptials a month.

Property managers at villas also said the season was good.,  Robin Clair said the winter season at the four-unit Estate Zootenvaal was "non-stop.  It was beautiful, wonderful."  And Lauren Morrissette said her 10-room Estate Lindholm bed and breakfast is booked solid through July 4.

Chesney has building plans

Mrs. Inquiring Iguana, watching TV, before she left on a 10-day-trip to Ireland,  reported … "On NBC’s TODAY show, Matt Lauer said "Apparently they got married on a hill where Kenny wants to build another house.  Then they went to the house he already has.  A small party of about 35."  Mrs. I.I. added, "There was no ‘s’ in St John … NBC got it right!"