The gymnasium structure which will house classrooms for the upper grades at the St. John School is underway. The $1 million steel building is expected to be complete by March, according to Scott Crawford, co-administrator of the school which resulted from a merger of Pine Peace and the Coral Bay schools. The St. John Source reported the contractor on the project cut the road for the new building last week. The school is beginning fund raising now to pay for the construction, the paper reported. Eventually classrooms will also be built and the gym used for athletics. This school year, lower grades will continue to use the Pine Peace building, and high schoolers will attend classes at the Coral Bay School’s location at the Lumberyard in Cruz Bay.
A meeting between boat owners with moorings in Johnson Bay and the V.I. Planning and Natural Resources Department didn’t change anything this week. The government says the boaters have to go from the Coral Bay harbor. Letters will be sent giving owners, “A reasonable period to come in to compliance,” said the department’s enforcement chief, Lucia Francis, the St. John Source reported. She also chose 15 people attending the meeting to serve on a Coral Harbor boater’s committee, charged with developing a plan for moorings in Coral harbor. Ironically, the paper said, Francis told the committee they could recommend that mooring be allowed in Johnson Bay – from which they’re being evicted! ???
A 40-foot container of cement, plywood and foam insulation turned over Tuesday night, burying a portion of O’Connor’s Texaco Station. The container slid off its truck bed as driver James Jones was trying to turn onto the road leading to the Westin resort, according to a report by the St. John Source. The accident happened at about 7 p.m. and it was not until three hours later that firefighters, St. John Rescue volunteers and police managed to clean up the debris. At least one vehicle, at O’Connor’s, was damaged, but there were no people were injured as the container tipped over.
The chief of resource management at the V.I. National Park said there should be no reason to worry about the cleanliness and safety of the island’s beaches, despite last week’s rain and winds. “We can say without much doubt our waters are just fine,” Rafe Boulon told the Virgin Islands Daily News. He said the National Park Service plans to conduct tests even though, “We don’t really have any reason, other than some sediment getting in, to believe that the water is contaminated.” On St. Croix, it’s a different story as sewer malfunctions caused some contamination. Inspectors for the V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources also planned to conduct tests of beaches on St. Thomas Monday.
Despite the fact the island was kind of shut down from Tuesday on, due to Tropical Storm Jeanne ("The wind and rain machine"), some business did get done.
A 3-bedroom, 3-bath property in Chocolate Hole came off the Multiple Listing Service. The newly-constructed property was listed at $895,00, but if memory services, it’s not a completed project. In other words, a DIYer for $900K.
The biggest news is the listing of Coral Bay’s upscale Voyages de St. Jan. But instead of being offered as a commercial property, the owners are emphasizing the fact there’s a 4-bedroom, 3-bath residence on the floors above the restaurant. The listing asks $2.95 million for the property which an optimist could buy as a home and then hope to lease, or even operate, the restaurant business below. There was one other new listing, too, a 12-year-old 3-bedroom, 2-bath with pool property in Enighed.
Great Cruz Bay’s S. Donald Sussman was among those quoted in a New York Times story about the Virgin Islands’ tax break designed to encourage new businesses to locate in the islands and hire employees. The Times reports federal agents have been questioning workers and neighbors about when the last time the owners were in residence. The newspaper reported the current IRS inquiry into the EDC program has allowed some island residents to “dodge an estimated $400 million in federal income taxes.”
Sussman, a successful hedge fund manager, has 10 people helping him manage money in an office on St. Thomas.
The edge of Tropical Storm Jeanne passed to the south Tuesday night and Wednesday. The government is hoping to have schools reopen Monday. However, at least a few classrooms probably will still be closed while workers shovel mud and debris resulting from the torrents which rained down on the islands at mid-week. Department of Public Works crews have been attending to roads and downed trees.
The Commissioner of Tourism issued a statement saying the islands “remain open for business and continues to welcome visitors.” Cleanup efforts are expected complete by the weekend, said Pamela Richards. All airports, seaports and govern ment offices are open, she said.
The V.I. National Park in St. John has dropped its admission charge at Trunk Bay for Saturday. It’s the Park’s way of observing a nationwide Public Lands Day. “It’s a good time to bring the family and enjoy the snorkel trail,” Beulah Dalmida-Smith, the Park’s spokeswoman, told the St. John Source. While children under 16 are always free at Trunk Bay, adults are charged $4. Dalmida-Smith said the Park has dropped its admission charge to visit the Annaberg Plantation. The money collected did not justify the cost of a fee collector, she said.
A pair of Virgin islands police officers, both of whom live on St. John, have been assigned duty five days a week in Coral Bay. The Department’s director of crime prevention activities, Kenneth Blake, told members of the Coral Bay Community Council that Alvin Wesselhoft of Coral Bay and Lorraine Sprauve of Cruz Bay will be on patrol Tuesday through Saturday from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. They have been assigned the duty for almost two weeks, but “vehicle problems” prevented them from going on patrol, according to the St. John Source. In remarks, Blake blamed some of the recent crime problems on construction workers being paid low wages. He also encouraged Coral Bay businesses to install security cameras.