Art shows

WhiteheadBajo el Sol Gallery at Mongoose Junction has opened its first exhibition of the year featuring painter Pat Whitehead and ceramic sculptor Mandy Thody.,  Whitehead is a St. John artist whose work features a focus on local landscapes and their varieties of light.  Thody said all of her works "contain something actively alive, usually a person or animals, with the background as a secondary focus."  The gallery is open seven days a week. http://www.bajoelsolgallery.com/artists.html

05imhoffSt. John watercolorist Roy Imhoff is being featured with a collection of new paintings at the Solo Arte Studio Gallery at the Cruz Bay Lumberyard.

Maho Bay Campgrounds series

A schedule of lectures and workshops has been organized by Maho Bay Campgrounds.  Workshops are being offered in Qigong, Tantra, yoga and the natural mysteries of the world.  Tantra Yoga will be the subject Jan. 23 at 7:30pm. "Rediscovering the inherent preciousness and openness of our being" will be the subject of a presentation by Annette Koop on Jan. 30.  The sessions will be held in the St. John School of Arts classroom in the Lumberyard, near Polli’s restaurant.

Real estate: inventory up again

GrossThere’s a new "most expensive" property on island.  It’s a three-year-old, 5-bedroom, 4.5 bath, 6,600-square foot waterfront contemporary mansion at Fish Bay.  Newly offered on the Multiple Listing Service at $9 million. It, and 85 other residences, are on the market, two more than last week – and another record.

Land offerings also continue to rise, with the MLS now showing 202 properties, 5 more than last week.  There was no change in condos (23) or commercial opportunities (12).

Lysistrata reading – a few years later

Deanna Somerville spent the weekend trying to find somebody to lend a big screen TV set for the world premier of a record of a worldwide reading of the ancient Greek anti-war play Lysistrata.  The St. John resident and about 200 people were part of the island’s participation in the effort in March, 2003 at the Fish Trap restaurant. Now a documentary film of the project has been produced.  "We don’t know if we’re in it, Somerville said, so she may well be surprised when "The Lysistrata Project" is shown Monday night at Bellevue Village on Gifft Hill. 

Real estate revaluation begins

If history is a guide, the valuations of St. John villas are about to skyrocket. 

Reassessment of commercial properties on the island was completed last spring, with increases of 250 and 300 percent reported in Cruz Bay. 

The next step in the territory-wide property revaluation will begin in February when data collectors, finished with their work on St. Thomas and St. Croix,  head to St. John to review residential real estate.  They are expected to photograph and measure every property

Police to enforce cell phone ban

Early in February, island police are expected to begin issuing citations to people using handheld cell phones while driving.  Fines of up to $500 are possible under the bill signed into law by the Governor in December, the Virgin Islands Daily News reported.  Drivers are allowed to use hands-free phones, which do not require one’s hand to leave the steering wheel.  The law does not prohibit cell phone use in an emergency situation where drivers call for help.

Concordia expansion OK

Stanley Selengut’s five-year plan to add 15 tents at Estate Concordia Resort have been approved by the St. John Coastal Zone Management committee.  The approval also was given to a 3,760 square foot pavilion for yoga activities and a 7,410 square foot restaurant. 

Selengut told CZM he also wants to make his environmentally-friendly resort more environmentally friendly and plans that five of the new tents will be wheelchair accessible.

Beaches for all seasons

When the day’s most important question is, "Which beach shall we go to today," life ain’t bad, is it?

If you’re looking for solitude, Virgin Voices suggestsit can usually be found at "Francis Bay and Haulover, as well as the more remote Lameshur Bay." If you want to catch a glimpse of someone rich and famous, beaches at the Westin and Caneel promise the best chance.  For spectacular sunsets, check out Frank Bay.  Water sports lovers will want to visit Cinnamon Bay.  Perhaps reflecting St. John’s strengths, the Voice has no recommendation for a St. John beach for "socializing," while the frequently rowdy Magen’s Bay is the pick on St. Thomas.

Long distance power plan

The executive director of the VI Water and Power Authority is backing the idea of sourcing the islands’ power from Florida.  Alberto Bruno-Vega thinks "a pipeline from Florida Power & Light down through the Caribbean to Puerto Rico … (should be) extended a little farther ton the USVI," according to a report at Hardbeatnews.com.   "Being connected to the U.S. power grid could mean cheaper power, less local pollution and fewer outages," Bruno-Vega said.

Read moreLong distance power plan