What’s up on the St. John waterfront?

Stj-town-meetingIt looks like the arrival of the St. John Planner has come at just the right time as talk gets serious about how to develop the waterfront in Cruz Bay.

A Town Meeting is planned at the Westin for Monday night.

 There will be a presentation of the Cruz Bay Creek design plans by VI Port Authority and architect Robert De Jongh.  Also to be heard will be presentations of alternative plans by other individuals and groups, plus discussions about Enighed Pond development and parking.

A flier says the meeting's objective is to get "public input on what works for our waterfront."

Coral Bay drivers: out of luck and gas

The Domino service
station in Coral Bay is still closed and likely to stay that way. 

'business issue' is the reason the fuel tanks are dry, according to the
Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs, the St. John Source

The Source also quoted the Island Administrator, Leona
, saying, "It looks like they have … financial problems.  I know
they got rid of all their employees in St. John."

service stations on St. Thomas are also shut down.

This leaves
Cruz bay's E&C Service as the only gas station on the island.  A
gallon of regular is priced around $3.33.

Vic’s back to work

The M/V Capt. Vic is back in business ferrying trucks and cars from Red Hook to St. John.  The round trip price is now $45.

An official of Love City Car Ferries Inc. said Vic was "completely refurbished" in Alabama. Llewellyn Sewer said, "It's like new," also cleaner and faster and now offering "guaranteed on-time departures."  The St. John Source has more.

Outlook for hurricanes this season worsens

The nation's foremost hurricane forecasters believes there is a two-out-of-three chance that a big storm will track in to the Caribbean this year.  In their latest storm outlook forecast, William Gray and Phil Klotzbach say, "We foresee a very active hurricane season in 2010."

Back in December, the Colorado State University forecasters said six to eight hurricanes could be expected.  In their June 2 outlook, that number has risen to 10, with the number of 'major hurricanes' rising from three to five.

The possibility for at least one major storm, category 3-4-5) tracking into the Caribbean stands at 65%, compared to an average of 42% during the last century.  The area included ranges from Trinidad to the south, the Virgin Islands to the north. Martinique on the east to Cuba on the west.  That's a big area.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Wagapalooza pictures, puppies and people

Waga_1 A barking good time was had at the Winston Wells ball field Saturday night at the Animal Care Center's annual Wagapalooza.

The island-wide 'talent' and 'dress up' show for cats and dogs brought out hundreds of people and their pets.

Bob Schlesinger of Tropical Focus Photography was on hand for the fun. See more of Bob's work at http://www.stjohnweddingphotographer.com/.

A fan of big dogs, the Inquiring Iguana was taken with the big fellow on the pretty girl's lap.  Scheslinger reports the dog is 'Hoss,' competing in the Best Lap Dog competition.
Waga_3 Bobi Stallbaumer's
big boy held the title in the 2008 and 2009 shows, but lost this weekend to this fella.

There's a photo album with lots of Schlesinger's Wagapalzooa pictures here.

How the ‘Housewives’ found St. John

DinnerSt. John's Ingrid Ott-Zucker is the person who got Bravo TV's Real Housewives of New York" show to the island. 

The Virgin Islands Daily News reports that the island resident and media producer, approached the Bravo people, found locations for them to film, and pitched them to do the show in the VIs.

The second of the two St. John segments is set to air tonight, Thursday.  The Daily News says the island is featured as well as the villa where the girls enjoyed their "vacay."  The episodes were produced in late-November last year.

  • Ott-Zucker's Facebook page is here.
  • Ott-Zucker's company Web site: Ottworks
  • The Daily News story is here.
  • Video preview of tonight's episode is here.

VI Smoke-Free Act signed

Governor John deJongh Jr. signed the Virgin islands Smoke-Free Act this week but sent it back to the Senate for some tweaking.  He said some of the definitions in the law need fine tuning to be more specific.  Specifically there are exceptions for some 'private clubs' and 'enclosed areas' which should be clarified.

"Under the new law smoking would be completely prohibited from restaurants and bars as well as public venues including parks, beaches, playgrounds, retail stores and public transportation waiting areas," according to an analysis by the AARP. (Read its statement here)

The Virgin Islands Daily News said the Governor thought that making a violation of the smoking ban a misdemeanor 'criminalizes smokers.'  He urged the Senate to soften the penalty.

Read the Daily News' report of the No Smoking bill signing here

‘No Smoking’ coming to St. John

NosmokeThe Governor is expected to sign a bill prohibiting smoking in bars, restaurants, picnic areas and Virgin Islands beaches which are public parks. 

Health concerns about the effect of second hand smoke are behind the legislation which is heartily endorsed by St. John's At Large Senator Craig Barshinger.

During a hearing on the Virgin Islands Smoke-Free Act, the Senate's Heath Committee heard testimony that while smokers nationwide account for 20 percent of the population, but in the VI's the number is six percent.

"Smokers think differently from nonsmokers," Barshinger said during the hearing, the Virgin Islands Daily News reported.  "They think they're doing just something like listening to an iPod … but actually they're polluting the air."

During the hearing, the question of enforcement came up.  One thought is to have the Health Department handle it while it was also suggested that business owners could be the 'smoke police' and caution their customers to snuff it. 

So, Deputy Health Commissioner Lynette George, predictably suggested that the Department could hire enforcement officers.  Like a dog reacts to the word 'squirrel', the government’s ears perk up at the mere whisper of the word 'jobs.'

The St. John Tradewinds reported several island restaurant owners endorsed the Smoke-Free bill, not worrying it would hurt business.  But, obviously, the idea of them being smoke monitors has its own conflicts.

Governor critical of St. John Senator

Gov. John deJongh singled out Craig Barshinger, the VI Senate's At Large Senator, for his failure to support the Governor's bill to allow the Territory to borrow as much as $250 million.

After a narrow vote to approving the borrowing, the Governor made a statement saying "The names of those who cast no votes should also be remembered.  (They) should be called upon to say what they would vote for, because from them we received no proposals, no suggestions and no offered amendments.

Earlier, the Governor had characterized opponents of the new loan saying, "A 'no' vote is nothing less than a vote to send our government workers home, curtail government services and close facilities."

The loan will be used to fund the government's operations for the balance of the fiscal year with … no layoffs, no cutbacks, no reduction in paid government holidays, and so on.

Roundabout is looking good!


This what the new traffic roundabout in Cruz Bay looks like.

Nice pictures contributed by Anthony Finta of Virgin Islands On-Line.

The bottom line, the surprising! bottom line, is that the job's going to be done when promised, even ahead of schedule.  St. Thomas-based Island Roads Corporation has overseen the two-year long project.

No local will be surprised to hear that one of the holdups now is Innovative Communications, the telephone company. 

On an island where it's taken a year or more to get residential phone service, Island Roads is waiting for the utility to extend its wires and cables though underground piping.  When that happens, then the contractor can put do a final paving of the roundabout.