Six beaches get OK

The water quality at half a dozen St. John beaches has been approved safe for swimming in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Jeanne. They are Cruz Bay, Oppenheimer, Francis Bay, Klein Bay, Chocolate Hole and Frank Bay, according to a report by the Virgin Islands Daily News. Four beaches on St. Thomas, however, failed tests by the government: Limetree, Hull Bay, Morningstar and Hart Bay. Tests were conducted due to the heavy rains and wind which., in some cases, stirred up sediment and debris and caused some manholes to overflow.

VIs pitch for business in LA

Gov. Turnbull and other territorial government officials were scheduled to be in Los Angeles late this week to participate in a federally-sponsored conference on business opportunities in the islands. An estimated 700 attendees were expected to participate in the 2nd annual Interior Department conference to interest businesses in locating in U.S. territories. The conference came in the wake of a New York Times article, raising concerns about the future of incentives for economic development in the Virgin Islands.

House OKs VI CFO

Despite angry opposition from Gov. Charles Turnbull, the U.S. House of Representatives this week endorsed a proposal from the V.I. Delegate to appoint a chief financial officer to oversee the territory’s spending. Del. Donna Christensen introduced the bill as a way to address the islands’ $1 billion debt. The Gov. and other government officials testified in Washington at a hearing on the bill this summer, arguing they were capable of managing the island’s finances. The bill was passed by the House on a voice vote, and still needs approval by the Senate and the President. It provides for the Governor to appoint the CFO, with approval from the legislature.

Construction begins for St. John School

The gymnasium structure which will house classrooms for the upper grades at the St. John School is underway. The $1 million steel building is expected to be complete by March, according to Scott Crawford, co-administrator of the school which resulted from a merger of Pine Peace and the Coral Bay schools. The St. John Source reported the contractor on the project cut the road for the new building last week. The school is beginning fund raising now to pay for the construction, the paper reported. Eventually classrooms will also be built and the gym used for athletics. This school year, lower grades will continue to use the Pine Peace building, and high schoolers will attend classes at the Coral Bay School’s location at the Lumberyard in Cruz Bay.

Johnson Bay boaters await formal notice

A meeting between boat owners with moorings in Johnson Bay and the V.I. Planning and Natural Resources Department didn’t change anything this week. The government says the boaters have to go from the Coral Bay harbor. Letters will be sent giving owners, “A reasonable period to come in to compliance,” said the department’s enforcement chief, Lucia Francis, the St. John Source reported. She also chose 15 people attending the meeting to serve on a Coral Harbor boater’s committee, charged with developing a plan for moorings in Coral harbor. Ironically, the paper said, Francis told the committee they could recommend that mooring be allowed in Johnson Bay – from which they’re being evicted! ???

Truck accident halts traffic for hours

A 40-foot container of cement, plywood and foam insulation turned over Tuesday night, burying a portion of O’Connor’s Texaco Station. The container slid off its truck bed as driver James Jones was trying to turn onto the road leading to the Westin resort, according to a report by the St. John Source. The accident happened at about 7 p.m. and it was not until three hours later that firefighters, St. John Rescue volunteers and police managed to clean up the debris. At least one vehicle, at O’Connor’s, was damaged, but there were no people were injured as the container tipped over.