TV love from Chesney on ABC

Kennychesney_bigThe Washington Post’s TV Tip for Wednesday night … ‘ Kenny Chesney: Somewhere in the Sun. The briefly married country singer returns to the Caribbean island where he eloped with Renee Zellweger, to show his more relaxed side."  Show Notes.

This show really was "past tense" for Kenny, though.  Just a week or so ago, he released a new album which has nary a mention of the VI’s or St. John, and certainly no promos for the Quiet Mon.  "The Road and the Radio" finds Kenny in a Mexico-state of mind ("Beer in Mexico," "Tequila Loves Me") and at least three songs concentrating on the word "freedom" as in, "no wife."

The TV show will give St John a promotional push (even though the island wasn’t named and his favorite bar, Woody’s, was pictured but unidentified)…  it sounds to me like Kenny has moved on south of the border.

Caribbean cable channel debuts

TempoIt’s possible that St. John’s Inner Visions may someday be featured on a Caribbean cable TV channel which launched this week. MTV-backed Tempo, is available on the local cable system.  Almost 18 other systems throughout the region will also carry the channel which plans concerts, documentaries about musicians, and a one-hour competition featuring 18 disc jockeys from 18 different islands.

"Tempo targets all people with a passion for the Caribbean lifestyle," said a statement from MTV Networks, the channel’s producer. "The channel provides a mix of original and acquired programming that is vibrant, relevant to its audience and true to the spirit of the Caribbean and its culture."

Beach Bar owner says feds had guns drawn

Allan MacPhee said his wake up call that morning was agents from the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives unit barging into his Wharfside Village apartment with guns drawn.  "I’m like ‘Whoa, man, if you’re looking for guns or drugs that’s not my deal,’" he told the Virgin Islands Daily News.

What they were looking for, he believes, was evidence of money laundering.  MacPhee said a couple years ago he bought a truck, and used multiple checks from various accounts to pay for it.  That’s a violation of law.  He told the newspaper,  "I wish I had enough money to launder."  Agents seized the truck, bank, and tax records, his computer and also raided his home in Florida. 

MacPhee told the newspaper, "There were no handcuffs, no arrest and they let me open the restaurant." Now, he’s waiting.

Helicopter led immigration crackdown

Chopper2A crackdown by the Immigration Department apparently was the reason a federal Black Hawk helicopter hovered over Cruz Bay last week.  Coincidentally, it appeared at the same time Island authorities were reportedly executing a warrant for traffic violations.

The helicopter (photographs courtesy of Jeff at Bongo Bongo (http://www.bongobongostjohn.com/) transported nine suspected illegal immigrants to Puerto Rico, according to the Virgin Islands Daily NewsCustoms agents had been scouting out the St. John to St. Thomas ferry and doing identification checks.  Customs said that of the almost 2,000 illegal immigrants taken into custody over the past four years, at least 75% of the arrests have been made on St. John.

Meanwhile, a correspondent at USVI Online (http://www.usvi-on-line.com/usviforum.html) explained the arrest of a St. John man had to do with his failing to pay fines or show up for court on some traffic violations

There has been no further explanation about the "raid" on the Beach Bar. (below)

Real estate update 11/20/05

The Multiple Listing Service added another residential property at mid-week, but by the weekend was back to its almost-historic high of 75 properties, unchanged from last week.   Average listing price: $2.1 million.

Land offerings continue to rise.  The MLS has 189, an increase of 7 lots from last week. Excepting an island listed at $24 million (local real estate agent says it’s 237 acres and a "good value"), the average land asking price is $776,000.  There are also 19 condos offered, with an asking price of $812,000.

CoconutcoastCoconut Coast Studios, a group of studio and multi-bedroom apartments, is listed on the MLS for $3.8 million. This is new to me, although it may have been on the list previously.  The units have been in business a long time and are located on the north shore of the island with spectacular views of St. Thomas in the Contant/Enighed area.

Post Office eyes new site

The U.S. Postal Service said it is in the final stages of negotiating to build a new facility at Guinea Grove, a commercial project being developed near the Westin Resort.  A progress report on the effort to move and expand the island post office was offered at a meeting on island at the Westin, the St. John Source reported.

However, representatives of the V.I. government, attending the meeting, objected to the USPS’ plans.  Keith Richards, capital projects director for the territory, said the government plans to propose that the post office be included in the Vendor’s Plaza project planned across from the current commercial/barge dock.  Richards said the government plans a three-story building; that construction and architectural firms are ready to go, and the Legislature has already appropriated $3.1 million dollars.

Read morePost Office eyes new site

Beach Bar open after raid

Beach_bar It was business as usual Friday after agents of the Internal Revenue Service raided the Beach Bar along the waterfront in Cruz Bay.  Witnesses said at least one helicopter hovered over the bar’s Wharfside Village building, while various agents’ vehicles blocked traffic in apparent efforts to capture suspects who might be fleeing.  The ruckus was so great that one source said construction of the Grande Bay condominiums was halted because trucks and workers couldn’t get to the work site.

Chopper"The matter is under seal and cannot be discussed," a spokesman for the IRS told the St. John Source.  While a spokesman for the Virgin Islands Police Department said authorities had executed a warrant.  Jesse Hill, who works at Low Key Watersports at Wharfside, said he saw about 15 IRS agents on site for several hours, the Source added.

But within an hour or so after the agents left, the Beach Bar reopened serving Greenies, burgers, and more.

New York Times on St. John

Morgan’s Mango, Skinny Legs and Pastory Gardens are three restaurants that got a thumbs up in a recent New York Times article about the island.  Travel writer Bonnie DeSimone  spent some time snorkeling off Gibney beach, Trunk and Hawksnest bays. "Shimmering psychedelic parrot fish, some a foot-and-a-half long, chewed at coral with their beak like mouths," she reported after one foray. "Their female counterparts display a windowpane pattern of brown, white and red that resembles stained glass."

She also spoke with author Gerald Singer about the environment and ecology of the island. Conditions on St. John are still good enough to support a healthy underwater ecosystems, and a picturesque one, he told her.

Read the story: http://travel2.nytimes.com/2005/10/23/travel/23stjohn.html

Real estate update 11/15/05

The Multiple Listing Service has more residential properties for sale than I have ever seen:  75 homes, up 3 from last week.  Prices range from $450,000 to $8.4 million. 

Land offerings are numerous, too.  The MLS has 182, an increase of 12 lots from last week. There are also 19 condos offered, 1 more than last week.

Word from the Marketplace is that the Richard’s restaurant space on the second floor has been leased to a new eatery called Happy Fish.

Patrick’s future debated


A majority of responses to Patrick Joseph being ordered to close his "mobile" food stand business at the Cruz Bay parking lot are supportive of the local entrepreneur.  But a knee-jerk analysis of comments suggests non-residents are more sympathetic than and locals.

"The beauty of St. John is not only in the beaches and pristine water but the local St. John People and culture," said Mike.  "It is unfortunate that the rich are overtaking the island saying it is their paradise.  Leave Patrick alone."

An island business person, Lonnie, complained, however, that she heard "no one shouting to let the St. John Car Rental stay when we had been on Port Authority land for over 24 years and were told to leave."  She continued, "I don’t think this argument should have been over whether he is an eyesore or not.  he does not have a lease and when the PA tells you to leave, you leave."

Should Patrick stay or go?  Comment below.

Read morePatrick’s future debated