A pair of new shows

Janet Cook-Rutnik and Cheryl Geller have launched new exhibitions of their work. Cook-Rutnik’s show is at her gallery, Solo Arte, in the Lumberyard. Rutnik

Among the pieces are Eve by Sea (pictured) and a new original print series called Agnes. Rutnik is also showing two painting/installations that were shown at a Caribbean festival in Santo Domingo last year, whose theme was Perception. “The most important challenge to shaping the future is to perceive ourselves not as victims but as victors,” she said.

Geller’s jewelry is on display at Coral Bay’s Syzygy Gallery in the Skinny Legs restaurant and bar complex. It features vintage and hand-made beads.

Goats gotta go

It’s official. Goats are unwelcome in the Virgin Islands National Park, and the Agriculture Department is on track to capture them by using corrals or traps.

The wildest goats will be shot and slaughtered for meat which will be distributed to the local community, according to a report in the St. John Source. The goats are among a number of “introduced species” to the Park which, by nibbling and eating, are threatening rare plants such as the prickly ash, the report continued. The goats are also munching ground cover which has a role in preventing erosion and sediment washing onto the coral reefs.

The only mammals native to St. John are bats, the Park Service said.

Candidates night at the Westin

Candidates for the V.I. Senate have been invited to a forum Wednesday night at the ballroom of the Westin Resort. The event is sponsored by the St. John Community Foundation, the same group which has been meeting for months to propose a charter for some sort of local government on the island. Candidates are invited to make an opening statement, answer 7 to 10 pre-selected questions, and offer a closing. Two St. Johnians are on the ballot, including the incumbent At Large senator Almando Liburd and his challenger Craig Barshinger.

St. John will get its share

The Department of Public Works said St. John will see some major road repair work in the next several months, due partially to damage from the heavy rains of Hurricane Jeanne which passed the island last month.

Money for the work will come from a government bond issue being sold now, with the funds to be made available by the end of November. Proceeds are also earmarked for repair of roads, landfills, and wastewater systems on St. Thomas and St. Croix, the Virgin Islands Daily News reported. “We have left out St. John before but that is not going to happen this time,” said Wayne Callwood, the Public Works commissioner.

EDC changes to cost millions

Gov. Charles Turnbull expects a bill to be signed by President Bush this week will be a near disaster for the islands’ economy.

The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 contains provisions relative to the Economic Development Commission, clarifying the nearly 20-year-old plan. It requires EDC company principals to reside in the islands at least 183 days a year. And the government said that it appears income eligible for exemption from federal taxation will be limited to revenues generated on the islands, according to a report by the St. John Source. Peter Hiebert, Washington counsel for the V.I. government, told the Source, the EDC program was valuable because it “brought increased intellectual capital and increased creativity, as well as financial resources.” Government officials fear changes in the EDC will cause some VI-based companies to close up shop.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue estimated EDC companies contribute $115 million a year to the territory’s coffers.

Rutnik recommends drivers buy regular

Andyrutnik
St. John has three gas stations and Andrew Rutnik, the Licensing and Consumer Affairs Commissioner, suggests perhaps there should be more. He told a news conference more gas stations in the St. Thomas/St. John District might bring down the cost of fuel. He was reporting on his office’s $60,000 study that found Virgin Islanders pay the world’s highest price for a gallon of gas, excluding taxes. “With the presence of Hovensa on the island of St. Croix, and the close proximity of St. Thomas/St. John to this refinery, Virgin Islanders should be benefiting handsomely in lower fuel costs,” he said, according to a report by the St. John Source.

Read moreRutnik recommends drivers buy regular

VITRAN gets money for St. John

Part of a U.S. Transportation Department grant to the Virgin Islands will go for construction of a new maintenance facility for the Virgin Islands Public Transit System on St. John. VITRAN operates a bus route between Cruz Bay and Coral Bay. The Governor’s office announced the federal government allocated a total of $2.4 million, “to assist the (VI) government in the administration, planning and operation of the bus service,” according to the St. John Source.

Gym in Paradise for sale

Gym
Gym in Paradise, on the third floor of the Marketplace is being offered at $300,000 by Holiday Homes, added to the Multiple Listing service in the past week. Meanwhile, the Wicker, Wood & Shells, gift shop at Mongoose Junction I came off the listing.

On the residential side, one home came back on the market, while another property’s price was cut. The returning property is a 3-bedroom, 3-bath property which, from its offering photos, looks to be under construction. Asking price is $895,000. Meanwhile, a newly-completed 3-bedroom, 3.5 bath house with waterfall (!) overlooking Rendezvous Bay was repriced on the MLS at $2,250,000, down almost $350,000.

The overall market’s statistics: 37 residential listings, one more than last week; 123 land lots, unchanged; 9 condos, also unchanged, and 94 timeshares, also steady.

Six beaches get OK

The water quality at half a dozen St. John beaches has been approved safe for swimming in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Jeanne. They are Cruz Bay, Oppenheimer, Francis Bay, Klein Bay, Chocolate Hole and Frank Bay, according to a report by the Virgin Islands Daily News. Four beaches on St. Thomas, however, failed tests by the government: Limetree, Hull Bay, Morningstar and Hart Bay. Tests were conducted due to the heavy rains and wind which., in some cases, stirred up sediment and debris and caused some manholes to overflow.

VIs pitch for business in LA

Gov. Turnbull and other territorial government officials were scheduled to be in Los Angeles late this week to participate in a federally-sponsored conference on business opportunities in the islands. An estimated 700 attendees were expected to participate in the 2nd annual Interior Department conference to interest businesses in locating in U.S. territories. The conference came in the wake of a New York Times article, raising concerns about the future of incentives for economic development in the Virgin Islands.