The unthinkable

The Department of Planning and Natural Resources issued a statement saying the water quality at Hart Bay and Chocolate Hole does not meet safety standards.  A report by the St. John Source  quoted commissioner Dean Plaskett’s office saying people should not swim or fish in the bays and parents should keep children away.  The Department said it would monitor the water, but currently there is an "increased health risk to anyone swimming in these areas as a result of an increased concentration of bacteria," the Source said.  The cause of the contamination was not identified.  Water quality testing was initiated after Hurricane Jeanne blew through the territory.  "All persons should be aware that storm water runoff may contain contaminants or pollutants harmful to human health," a DPNR statement said, according to the Virgin Islands Daily News.  A spokesman for the department said it is testing water quality weekly at 43 beaches

Read moreThe unthinkable

Restaurants ready for season

morganlizardFall has arrived and many favorite restaurants have reopened after a summer break. The Fish Trap, La Tapa and Morgan’s Mango are open and serving – Morgan’s celebrated its 12th anniversary over the weekend, according to a column in Virgin Voices.

Coral Bay is expected to get a new restaurant soon. Sweet Plantains, described by Voices as West Indian fusion, is expected to open its doors later this month.

Meanwhile, Voyages de St Jean, also in Coral Bay, has made changes in hopes of boosting its popularity. Instead of fine dining, it’s now being billed as a seaside bistro and wine bar, offering what some might call “classy bar food”, cocktails, and wine. Wednesday is sushi night.

Election Day soon come

Schools will be closed on St. John and across the territory Tuesday as voters go to polling places to elect 15 senators: seven representing St. Thomas-St. John, seven for St. croix, and one At Large. Also up for election are members of the Boards of Education and Election, and the territory’s Delegate to Congress. The weather forecast is for the day to have a high of 85 degrees, with heavy showers and thunderstorms during the afternoon.

Jeanne damage assessed

The Federal Emergency Management Administration estimated the damage from Hurricane Jeanne was about one-third what island authorities initially estimated. FEMA put the total losses to territory roads, power lines and sewers at $2.5 million, according to a report by the Virgin Islands Daily News. The VI government originally put the damage at $6.4 million. The island government also estimated St. John had a little more than $70,000 in damages. The federal government is expected to pay 75 percent of the cost of repairs.

Roughing it in Paradiseland

The New York Times Travel section raves about a few days’ stay at Concordia, despite the compost toilet and hand-held shower fed by a hand pump. “We woke up in heaven,” wrote Janet Piorko. “To our left, waves crashed against a rocky shore; to the right, a placid bay was dotted with sailboats. Driving was an adventure. “Dodging donkeys and goats, as if we were in a theme park – call it Paradiseland,” she added. Read the article here (sub. req.)

What planet is Jane Israel from?

Our report that a consultant’s study found the average hotel-stay visitor to St. John spends $635 a day brought a howl from one reader.

Dear Frank;

On what planet is Jane Israel (the consultant) from? Has she ever stayed, or for that matter paid for, a hotel stay on St John? Has she ever had 3 meals on the island? $ 40.00 for breakfast, $45.00 dollars for lunch, 100.00 for dinner. Forget drinks! St John has 2 of the most expensive hotels in the region! It costs me over $ 7000.00 for a week to stay on the island! Caneel Bay alone does $ 50 million. Do the math. I’m there every year since 1992! I think the fresh air and beautiful scenery has gotten to them. 🙂

Do you have a comment? Click the “Comments” link below.

Real estate market update

For the second time in a month, the asking price of a multi-million dollar home on St. John has been reduced. Originally listed at $3.25 million, a 2-bedroom/2-bath with no pool, 12-year-old Peter Bay property has been cut to $2.975 million, according to the Multiple Listing Service. Otherwise, there was little market action. No homes taken off the MLS, nor any added. The week ended with 43 properties on the market. In other categories, the inventory of land increased by two lots to 138. Condominium offerings were steady at 7, timeshares increased 2 to 83, and commercial/business properties were unchanged at 8.

Domestic Violence demonstration

A small procession of men, women and children walked from Mongoose Junction to the waterfront Friday night as part of St. John’s Take Back the Night Against Domestic Violence observance. Supporters carried candles and wore purple ribbons. Iris Kern, director of The Safety Zone, and the march’s sponsor, told the Virgin Islands Daily News, “It is to honor those who have been killed and to really raise public awareness” to domestic violence.

Sludge shuttle may resume

The contractor on the Enighed Pond marine terminal project is reportedly building a berm, or a dirt, mound, on the landfill at Susannaberg to prevent a repeat of last week’s sludge wash down the Guinea Gut. The Port Authority had begun transferring the debris from dredging the Pond to the landfill when a storm send a large amount of the muck sliding down the hill, according to a report by the St. John Source. The transfers stopped Friday. The Authority’s executive director, Darlan Brin, said building a natural barrier to hold the debris will take a few days, and the dumping could resume this week. Brin said the sludge was tested for environmental and health danger before the transfer began last week. “The material was tested and shows no contaminates,” he said, according to the Source.