Island CommUNITY Updates: November 1st

The view from Peace Hill - Oct. 31, 2017
The view from Peace Hill – Oct. 31, 2017

This update is brought to St. Johnians by Love City Strong (LCS), The St. John Community Foundation, Coral Bay Community Council, St. John Rescue, Virgin Islands Relief Fund, Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), Kenny Chesney’s Love for Love City, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and Help.NGO’s DIRT.

Curfew has been lifted territory-wide!

+Disaster Recovery Centers are open! The DRCs are one-stop shops for Disaster Survivor Assistance registration with FEMA, the SBA Program, and Operation Blue Roof. The DRC in Cruz Bay is at the Legislative Annex building and the Coral Bay DRC is in the Community Council building, both are open 8a-5p Mon.-Fri.

+The LCS Donation Station is open! Stop by the shop next to Dog House Pub in Cruz Bay 9a-12p Mon.-Fri. for retail therapy! Free clothing and shoes are available to all. Donated items may be dropped off 12p-2p. LCS asks potential Stateside donors to please hold on to their contributions for now. Fortunately, an abundance of clothes for all ages and sizes is in storage, and more time is needed to sort the existing donations.

+The Animal Care Center has a limited amount of dog and cat food available for free! First come, first served. Stop in to learn more.

+Love City Pan Dragons has free classes for all! Ages 8–Adult and all experience levels are welcome 2:45p-5p on Fridays and/or 12p-3p on Saturdays between Human Services and the Sports and Rec Building across from the Fire Station in Cruz Bay.

+Car barge service currently runs daily, with a variable number of trips. Check in at the barge for the schedule as it is subject to change daily. The passenger ferry service to Red Hook is leaving Cruz Bay every hour on the hour beginning 6a and ending 5p. The return ferry leaves Red Hook at 6:30a, 7:30a, 8a, and every hour on the hour thereafter with the last departure at 5:30p.

+A FREE east-west shuttle is in service. Two safari taxis run concurrently from the Cruz Bay passenger ferry dock and the Coral Bay Fire Station.

The shuttle schedule is: 7:30a, 8a, 9a, 10a, 3p, 4p, 5p, and 5:30p. The first and last shuttle trips will be traveling from/to Calabash Boom in Coral Bay.

+The USVI Department of Labor is open 9:30a-1:30p Mon/Wed/Fri at the Legislature Annex building. All unemployment questions should be directed to the Department of Labor. To receive service, bring your ID and Social Security Card. Check claim status by phone at (340) 713-3410.

+The clinic at MKS has moved to the DeCastro Building in Cruz Bay. Clinical services, support, and supplies are being offered from the DeCastro clinic (where you get your health card) and at the Fire Station in Coral Bay. Immunizations will be available 10a-2p on Thursday, November 2 at the DeCastro clinic.

+Help is a phone call away!

The Disaster Distress Helpline is available at 1-800-985-5990 for immediate crisis counseling.

Free disaster-related legal service is available! Call the US Virgin Islands Disaster Legal Hotline at 800-310-7029

+Businesses are open with more every day! Chelsea Drug, the health clinic at the Marketplace, St. John Physical Therapy, Canines Cats and Critters, The ACC, St. John Insurance, Tunick Insurance, St. John Properties, Connections, Cruz Bay Post Office, Postnet, Big Planet, St. John Hardware, Paradise Lumber, First Bank, Scotia Bank ATM in Cruz Bay, Merchant Bank, St. John Ice, Starfish Market, Dolphin Market, St. John Market, Pine Peace Market, E&C Service Station, Race Track Station, Caravan Auto, St. John Auto Repair, Moses Laundry, Steve Simonson Photo, Bamboula, Cruz Salon, Papaya Café, Sun Dog Cafe, Chester’s Getaway, Hercules, Sam and Jack’s Deli, the  Lime Inn, Uncle Joe’s BBQ, Dog House Pub, Cruz Bay Landing, 420 to Center, Extra Virgin, Rhumb Lines, Banana Deck, Fish Trap, Wok on the Beach, Indigo Grill, Oasis, Calabash Market, Thirsty Donkey, and Love City Market in Coral Bay are operational.

+Connections has started an in-office version of the St. John Revolving Fund, providing interest-free loans for St. Johnians. Donations are tax-deductible and donors may identify an individual or group they would like to help. Cash and personal checks are accepted.

+WiFi hotspots in town are near Ronnie’s Pizza, Connections, between the BMV building and the tennis court, and on the 3rd floor of the Marketplace.To prevent slow WiFi speed, please disable automatic app updates.

Look for VINGN-FreePublic or DIRT-FreePublic. No passwords are needed.

+The Sprauve School is open! Classes are in session for grades K-5 8a-11a, and 11:30a-4p for grades 6-8. A celebration for all students on island is planned for November 3at the Sprauve ballfield and Mongoose Junction will hold its annual trick-or-treat for Halloween TODAY, October 31, at 3p.

+Gifft Hill School is in session from 10a-2p Mon.-Fri. Registration for students is open to all! Anyone can come with their child to register for classes from 8:30a-9:30a. Fees are deferred until further notice. Volunteers are needed for student translators, carpooling, and cleaning.

+St. John School of the Arts is open! They are offering free on-site and after-school programs. Contact Jenna Fox at [email protected] or 340-228-2511 for details.

+Please report debris on our roads to the Department of Public Works or the National Park Service ASAP. DPW is now removing storm debris from public roads. Move all storm-related debris within 10 feet of the roadside and sort by debris type. Appliances, electronics, vegetation, and roofing/construction materials must all be separated. Do not obstruct the roads with debris.

+All Caribbean parks remain closed by the National Park Service (NPS) until further notice to ease the strain on beach, trail and road cleanup by minimizing foot traffic.

Swim at your own risk! The Surfrider Foundation and Love City Strong (LCS), after independently testing beach water quality at 14 beaches, found unsafe levels of E. Coli at a number of St. John beaches. From these shoreline water tests, high risk and potentially dangerous levels of E. Coli were present at Maho Bay Beach (at the pavilion side), Cruz Bay and Great Cruz Bay. Jumbie Beach and Maho Bay Beach (at the parking lot side) present a medium risk level. Detailed results can be seen at https://goo.gl/SKK9ey. Other hazards at St. John beaches include debris from boats, buildings, and trees. LCS will continue water quality testing and NPS/DPNR will make official statements regarding water safety.

NPS is enforcing beach rules; dogs must be leashed, and glass bottles are prohibited within National Park beaches.

+Attention, property owners! If you own a multi-family dwelling that needs repairs and are willing to lease to eligible FEMA hurricane survivors, then you may be interested in the Multi-Family Lease and Repair Program (MLRP), which provides funds to make rental units habitable again and helps displaced residents at the same time. Contact [email protected].

+Attention, boat owners! Dec. 1 is the deadline to notify the Coast Guard of vessel salvage/removal intentions. Call the Vessel Owner Notification Hotline at (340) 423-6353 or email [email protected]. Provide registration, owner information, vessel location, date of removal, salvage contractor, & DPNR/Coast Guard decal target number (for marked vessels). DPNR is working with FEMA to provide assistance for those needing help with vessel removal.

+The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continues sign-ups for FREE tarp/roofing installation until Friday, Nov. 3. Residents may sign up at the Legislative Annex building in Cruz Bay or the DRC at the Community Council in Coral Bay. Bring a photo ID, a property tax bill, and, if possible, a photo of the damaged roof. Visit www.sad.usace.army.mil/Blueroof or call 888-ROOF-BLU.

+Apply for FEMA assistance NOW! You may head to www.disasterassistance.gov, call 800-621-FEMA or sign up 8a-5p at the DRC at the Legislative Annex building in Cruz Bay or the DRC at the Community Council in Coral Bay. Be alert for false rumors, identity theft, and scams, including impersonation of FEMA or USACE personnel.

Visit FEMA’s Hurricane Rumor Control page at https://www.fema.gov/disaster/updates/hurricane-maria-rumor-control. Visit FEMA’s Facebook page, FEMA U.S. Virgin Islands, to learn about programs offered.

+For those abroad wanting to help, monetary donations are encouraged over other offers of assistance. Recommended charitable organizations to donate to are: The St. John Community Foundation (SJCF), St. John Rescue, Love City Strong, Coral Bay Community Council, The Animal Care Center, Virgin Islands Relief Fund, and Love for Love City. SJCF has an online registry for future volunteer opportunities that will be available once needs are assessed and additional persons on island are sustainable. Please visit https://voad.communityos.org/volunteer-registration-usvi-irma.

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