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Meet Ziggy, the Island’s Most Famous Pig

Meet Ziggy, the Island's Most Famous Pig 1

Ziggy, St. John's famous pig

For those of you who follow News of St. John on Facebook, you may have read last Friday how we were pretty excited about receiving our 2,703rd “like.” To be honest, we’re excited about each and every like we receive, but this one was different. Why you ask? Because we were “liked” by the island’s most famous pig.

Meet Ziggy.

Ziggy Hartness has lived on St. John for the past three years. His “mother” Kristin Hartness decided a few years back that she wanted a pig as a pet, so she went online and found a breeder in Orange Park, Florida. Little Ziggy was only four pounds when Kristin picked him up from the St. Thomas airport. The breeder told her that Ziggy was a “mini teacup” pig and that he would weigh no more than 25 pounds.

Ziggy Hartness as a piglet
Ziggy Hartness as a piglet

Hmmm … I think they were wrong.

Ziggy High Tide

“It’s just more to love,” Kristin said with her cute North Carolina accent.

Over the last three years, Ziggy – all 220 pounds of him – has become a local island celebrity. He lives over near Gallows Point with his parents – Kristin Hartness and Jay Yontz – and is a frequent visitor along Cruz Bay beach. You may have seen him pop into the Beach Bar from time to time or perhaps at Deli Grotto where he is treated to a grilled cheese sandwich every weekend. You may have even seen him on Facebook. Ziggy’s a pretty popular pig with more than 1,600 “friends.”

So what’s it like to be the mother of a 220-pound pig?

“He’s perfect,” Kristin said. “He really is. He understands sentences. It’s like talking to a kid. He’s my beautiful, adorable precious little pumpkin.”

And just like many children, Ziggy has been known to thrown a temper tantrum here and there.

“Everyone on the beach can hear him when that happens,” Kristin said. “He’s very emotional.”

Fortunately for Kristin and Jay, Ziggy is house trained. He is very clean and eats two meals a day. His favorites are fish salads with all the toppings, lasagne and fruits and vegetables.

He has a great personality, according to Kristin, and loves all of the attention he gets from locals and tourists.

“He loves people,” she said. “And they just love him. They absolutely love him. They want to get their picture taken with him. Mostly everybody just goes crazy over him.”

So the next time you’re out and about near Cruz Bay beach, give a look around and you might just see Ziggy,  the island’s most famous pig.

New Addition at the Post Office?

A storage container showed up at the post office the other day. Check it out:

post office addition

post office addition 2

We weren’t really sure what was going on until Sunday. That’s when we saw this. Now that’s a lot of packages. No wonder they have trouble finding stuff (Ps: I wonder who got the new shoes…)

post office addition 3

Beer Pong Anyone?

recovery partyI don’t know about all of you, but we here at News of St. John love a good game of beer pong, so that makes us even more excited to share this news with all of you.

Ok, as you know, the 18th annual 8 Tuff Miles race is only 25 days away. (If you haven’t signed up already, you should do so immediately, We’ve got all the details on registration here.) For all of you who will be on the island that weekend, there’s a great event happening the day after the race and you should all attend.

On Sunday, February 23, the St. John Cancer Fund is holding a “recovery” party over at Oppenheimer. The event is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s free to attend and everyone is welcome.

It’s going to be a great event, but what makes this event a bit cooler among others (in our opinion of course) is that fact that they plan to hold a beer pong tournament. How cool is that?!

Not sure what beer pong is? Check out this quick video below:

Looks fun, right?

DJ Adonis will be on hand to entertain the crowd and an island-style BBQ will be served. Shuttle buses will be available for $5. Parking will not be available at Oppenheimer.

All proceeds will benefit the St. John Cancer Fund, so please go clear off your dining room table and start practicing. It’s for a good cause. 🙂

Be As You Are: A Family, Fan Video

The Nosek family recently spent 11 days on the island. It was their first visit, and like many, they were immediately hooked. What makes this family stand out is that their 12-year-old daughter made a pretty cool vacation video along to Kenny Chesney’s “Be As You Are.” We don’t have the rights to the song, so we’re not too sure how long it’ll be up. So watch it as soon as you can. She did a great job.

This is Why We Love St. John

This is Why We Love St. John 2

The next time someone asks you why you love the island so much, show them this video. It’s an oldie, but goodie.

(Adjust your screen for HD if possible. Video looks better on larger screens.)

(Credit: Jacob and Katie Schwartz)

Inn at Tamarind Court Lists For Sale

Inn at Tamarind Court Lists For Sale 3

for sale sign

Someone’s dream of running a quaint hotel in an idyllic island setting may be one step closer to reality now that a popular Cruz Bay inn is on the market.

The Inn at Tamarind Court listed Thursday for $1,250,000. The 20-room inn is a reasonably priced vacation option that blends island charm with the convenience of being located in Cruz Bay. According to the listing, the Inn’s current owners have decided to retire after successfully running the business for years.

The Inn’s current lease expires in 2017. There is a 20-year lease option per its MLS listing.

In addition to the Inn, there is also a restaurant on site that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here are some pics:

inn at tamarind courtyard

inn at tamarind court bedroom

Tamarind court map location

Click here to visit The Inn at Tamarind Court’s website.

Rhumb Lines Owners Opening Bistro at Old Donkey Diner Space

Rhumb Lines Owners Opening Bistro at Old Donkey Diner Space 4

Donkey Diner Rhumb Lines Connection

Now this is exciting news…

We confirmed late last night that two of the owners of Rhumb Lines, Scott and Hillary, have officially taken over the old Donkey Diner space in Coral Bay. They plan to open a high-end bistro with an anticipated opening date of mid-March. According to Rhumb Lines management, the new restaurant will be a side project for the couple who will operate it alongside friends who recently moved to the island from the States.

Details are still being hammered out and a menu has not been set. What we do know is that the food will not be similar to that of Rhumb Lines.

Work is currently underway at the new restaurant, and from what we’ve been told, it sounds like the new space is going to be great. It will have the same homey feel as Rhumb Lines, and we expect the ambience to be amazing as well.

I don’t know about all of you, but this sounds fantastic to me.

Scratching My Head…

Scratching My Head... 5

Over the past 24 hours, I read two things that made me scratch my head. I’m curious what you all think.

1. I was perusing the New York Daily News’ Page Six section last night – a section dedicated to Manhattan gossip and goings ons – when I came across this:

Tony Ingrao Architectual Digest

According to Architectual Digest, the AD100 list is “an arbiter of excellence. This exclusive list recognizes establishment icons and enterprising trailblazers whose work is as inspiring as it is influential. These are the men and women who are shaping the way we live—one building, one house, one room at a time.”

What??!!!

For those of you not familiar with Tony Ingrao or his architectural work, he’s been accused of building on and altering National Park land throughout the construction of a new home in Denis Bay. This construction also created a landslide that damages adjoining neighbor’s property.

Click here to read our past coverage on Tony Ingrao.

2. I also read in the Virgin Islands Daily News that several Public Works and VITRAN employees, including Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls, recently traveled to Kansas to meet with a contractor regarding the construction of 12 new buses that will operate on St. John and St. Thomas. According to the article, the buses will arrive in the Territory by June.

Where do I start with this one…

We have two brand spanking new passenger ferries just sitting over in St. Thomas. (See today’s earlier story for more info on this.) How about we figure out what’s going on with these ferries before hopping on a plane to acquire new buses … just saying.

Click here to read the full story in the Virgin Islands Daily News.

Missing: New Passenger Ferries (Well, sort of)

Missing: New Passenger Ferries (Well, sort of) 6

ferries

Anyone have any clue what’s going on with the new ferries? We don’t, and no one seems to want to talk.

To recap, the governor announced way back in April 2012 that a contract had been signed to build two brand new passenger ferries. The new ferries would shuttle passengers between Cruz Bay and Red Hook. We were all pretty excited at the time because, really, who doesn’t like new things, although the more than $7 million price tag made many of us wonder about potential fare increases.

We soon learned that federal money had been secured to pay for the ferries. (Here’s the breakdown, according to the Government House Blog: $3 million would come from the Obama Administration economic stimulus or ARRA funds, approximately $2.7 million would come from Ferryboat Discretionary funding the territory has accumulated through the years and approximately $2.1 million allocated from DPW’s regular lines of funding from the Federal Highway Administration would be used.) Ok, that sounded good to us.

Almost one year to the day later, the Government House Blog published a snapshot of one of the new ferries in process. It looked pretty fancy and our excitement grew.

Six months later, we received word that two 85-foot catamarans were ready for sea trials in Louisiana where they were built. Again, the Government House Blog put out a story promoting the positive news.

About two weeks later, they arrived. We here at News of St. John caught our first glimpse of “Cruz Bay 1” when VIVA! Vacations posted a pic over on their Facebook page. We immediately shared it with all of you, and again, we were all excited. The only thing that had to happen at that point was a relatively quick and easy Coast Guard inspection and they’d be placed in operation. We thought at the time that it would happen by the end of November, December at the latest.

No such luck.

The ferries are currently docked over in St. Thomas. To our knowledge, they’ve barely moved since arriving in the Territory. So whats the holdup? I wish we had some answers for you, but we don’t. The whole thing’s rather peculiar if you ask us.

Rumors have been swirling around the island regarding the status of the ferries. Some people have said they were designed (by no fault of the shipbuilder) without adequate luggage space. Others have said that Varlack Ventures and Transportation Services do not want to operate the government-run ferries. (They currently own and operate the passenger ferries. The government will own these new ferries and will lease them to the operators.) Either way, something’s up in our opinion.

We chatted about a week back with Lieutenant Commander Bryson Spangler of the Coast Guard and he provided some insight. According to him, the ferries had yet to be inspected. He also said at the time that the ferries hadn’t been transferred to the new operators. When that occurred, the vessels would be inspected, he said. He then casually mentioned that the holdup was due to Public Works.

Interesting.

We then moseyed on over to Varlack Ventures, but they weren’t talking.

So we tried contacting Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls. (Disclaimer: Mr. Smalls has never responded to us. Not once. Clearly he doens’t realize how cool all of you are.) Not surprisingly, he didn’t return the numerous messages we left for him.

We then reached out to the governor. Sure they’d want to talk right? Well as of late Tuesday, we hadn’t heard back from them either.

One positive thing did pop up Tuesday. We learned that Commissioner Smalls chatted with the folks over at the Tradewinds. In an interview last week, Smalls said that there was “no major holdup” and that the delays were due to “technical issues” and “red tape.”

I wonder if “technical issues” is code for not enough luggage space and “red tape” is code for two ferry operators not wanting to be involved with these strings-attached vessels? Either way, they’re docked over in St. Thomas and it doesn’t seem like they’re going anywhere fast.

This calls for a News of St. John contest: The first person to send us a picture of a ferry boat in operation between Red Hook and Cruz Bay will get a new, super fancy News of St. John shotglass and a few classic News of St. John drink koozies. Send us your pics to [email protected]

In the meantime, we’d love to know your opinions on the holdup. Please leave them in the comments section or over on our Facebook page.