DeJongh, Rockefeller partner for St. John school

Sen. Jay Rockefeller has lent his personal support to efforts to secure land on St. John for construction of a new school. The West. Va. Senator, whose family donated the land that became the VI National Park, said he and Gov. John deJongh cooperated in a land swap involving the historic St. Croix home of Alexander Hamilton for National Park land on St. John. 

The St. John Source reported that Rockefeller was motivated to get involved when he learned St. John children had to take the ferry to St. Thomas to attend high school. (Do you think this was news to him?)

A new school is not a done deal yet.  The land still needs to be evaluated, plans drawn and … wait for it! … money found.

About two weeks ago, the Governor spelled out his idea in a statement.  Read it here: http://www.governordejongh.com/news/archive/2008/05/052308-3.htm

Hotel group fights for liquor boxes

Rum
The next time you bring back a box of duty-free liquor or rum from the islands, it may not be much of a bargain. 

Indications are that American Airlines, and perhaps others, will consider that box a second piece of luggage, and fair game for the new $25/per bag charge being levied by air carriers. 

Beverly Nicholson Doty, the VI Tourism Commissioner, told the St. John Source, the department is asking airlines for help, but so far there’s no offer of a waiver.  She added her energies now will have to be focused on generating increased travel to the Territory, to make up for gross receipts taxes that will be lost through lower liquor sales. 

A vice president of A.H. Riise, the islands’ largest duty-free retailer, told the Source AA’s baggage fees make for what he called a ‘challenging retail environment."  Read the Source’s story here: http://www.onepaper.com/stjohnvi/?v=d&i=&s=News:Local&p=1212898195

An e-mail worse than spam

Sked_change_bluLast week, I urged you to book airline tickets for fall 2008 and 2009.  I figured the American Airlines announcement of layoffs and service reductions can only mean trouble for VI-bound visitors.  The number of AA flights to Puerto Rico is being cut in half, and there are undoubtedly cutbacks coming for St. Thomas service.Aa_2

That e-mail header above is proof the VI’s will be hurt. 

Following my own advice, I booked for next February, last week.  Within 10 days, I got the e-mail saying my return trip would now get me home two hours later than originally planned.  The connection also will not be through San Juan, but rather Miami.

Frankly, I expect more schedule changes before we take off in seven months.

Bring an offer for Cruz Bay business

BringinBringin’ the Fun, the cute, 14-month old Internet cafe and espresso bar in Cruz Bay, is for sale.  Asking price is $75,000 for the shop which also does breakfasts, sells some gift items, and gets a commission when booking day sails and island tours. 

Here’s our earlier story about the place: http://barnako.typepad.com/news_of_st_john_usvi/2007/05/closest_thing_t.html

She and her handyman/builder/carpenter partner, Rance, took esentially “dead space” above the American Paradise Real Estate office, painted, installed counters, tables and chairs, installed a waterfall and created a pleasant place to while away an hour sipping and surfing.

“The spot could continue with coffee and internet (if computers were added), possibly yoga, exercise, a juice bar, or could be office space, possibly for a villa rental company, retail shop, health and beauty spa, anything except a bar or restaurant,” Nydick added. (The landlord, the Banana Deck restaurant, says competition would be a no-no.)

“We’ll consider all offers!!,” she added.  “I love running my own business, but want some freedom to travel a little more and enjoy beautiful St. John.”

Esquire names Skinny’s a Best Bar

Logo_hp_topRaise a toast to Skinny Legs!  The Coral Bay institution has been named one of the best bars in America, by Esquire magazine.

"Skinny Legs is one of those rare points on the face of this dirty globe from which all good feelings emanate," says the magazine’s review.  "Travelers wash up at Skinny’s for the harmonic convergence and stay for the rum punch and a cheeseburger grilled behind the bar in the open for all the world to smell."Btn_bestbarsnav_2

The magazine tells the story that, "Dedicated bartenders and best friends Moe Chabuz and Doug Sica (from Lawrence, Massachusetts, and Red Bank, New Jersey) found a little spot by the water on the Coral Bay side of the island and started Skinny Legs in 1991, because the world just needed the place, Moe says. He and Doug put their last dime into it, and ‘we did everything wrong,’ but it’s become the center of the Coral Bay community, and one of those joints you just never want to leave. So don’t."

Here’s a link to Esquire: http://www.esquire.com/bestbars/bb-SkinnyLegs