The birthday of Rev. Martin Luther King was celebrated island-wide Monday with singing, speeches, and a buffet lunch in Cruz Bay Park. The day began with a program in Coral Bay at the Guy Benjamin School, according to the St. John Source. A motorcade then brought celebrants to Cruz Bay where singing and speeches were followed by lunch.
Lorelei Monsanto was one of those who addressed the gathering. "Growth is happening, if we like it or not," she said, and encouraged businesses to hire locals. Sen. Craig Barshinger described the growth as "almost dizzy." Ninth graders from the Sprauve School remembered Dr. King’s hopes and said, in unison, "We must continue to dream."
Park Supt. Art Frederick conceded there are rough spots in the relationship between the Park and the community. "We have a lot of conflict," he said. He also announced that the son of one of Dr. King’s closest aides, the Rev. Ralph Abernathy III, will be on island next month to help celebrate the annual Folklife Festival. It’s scheduled for Feb. 22-24.
Kenny Chesney has a new album set for release Jan. 25 and it is laden with references to St. John. Some folks wish the singer, who has a home at Peter Bay, would stop drawing attention to the island, and that visitors would stop asking where they can find him. The singer has been known to mix libations at Morgan’s Mango and the Beach Bar while he’s on island.
"When I went down to the islands, I didn’t know what I was going to find," he says on his Web site. "I think the pace and the people have allowed me to just quietly get in touch with who I really am and the things that matter to me."
The new tracks include plenty of references to St. John, plus TWO versions of "Old Blue Chair," the song which refers, reportedly, to a chair Chesney found on the beach below his house – and in which he sits, contemplates, and writes. Some of the lyrics: ""He’s an island boy, living a stone’s throw from St. Croix, he’s finally found his piece of serenity" and "Oh I wish I was there at night, on Jost Van Dyke , sippin’ on some Foxy’s firewater rum"
You can hear clips of the new album AND see videos of Kenny with his shirt off, here
The owner of a construction company expects the island construction boom to last as long as 15 years. David Holzman told the St. John Source "hundreds if not thousands" of houses will be built and, "That’s a lot of noise for a long time."
Much of the work will occur where there is the least development, the East End and Coral Bay, where Privateer Bay and Dreekets Bay projects are underway. A new development at Point Rendezvous is also planned. Holzman said there are about 200 houses now being built on the island. Construction traffic is so heavy, again in the Coral Bay area where there is little infrastructure, damage to roads has become common. Concrete spills on the roadways are part of the causes of problems. The crush of work also is felt in Cruz Bay, especially at the end of the day. Workers crowd the ferries to St Thomas and construction vehicles can be backed up waiting to use the barge services.
The accident which killed a seven year old Sprauve School pupil last month has prompted action by St. John Rotary’s members. Some of are working create a school safety patrol program which would involve students in assuring their safety while crossing streets. John Fuller, a former president of the local Rotary, disclosed talk about the safety patrol project at a meeting last week which was addressed by a coordinator from Rotary Foundation. John Smarge told the meeting it’s his job to help members get funds and support from the Foundation for local projects, the St. John Source reported.
V.I. Delegate to Congress Donna Christensen will keynote this year’s annual meeting of the Friends of Virgin Islands National Park. Annual reports will also be offered by Park Supt. Art Frederick and Friends’ president Joe Kessler.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. at its usual place, T’ree Lizards Restaurant at Cinnamon Bay Campground. On the agenda also is the nomination to the Friends board of directors of St. John residents Earl Thomas and Elsa Angel. They have been actively involved with the Friends’ Advisory Council.
For the next week or so, the V.I. Public Works Department is focused on getting rid of abandoned vehicles and discarded appliances on St. John. Commissioner Wayne Callwood said residents can prepare items for disposal by separating metal debris, and wood and plastic items. The collecting began in Coral Bay and targets different neighborhoods daily.