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Comments on Chesney

Kenny Chesney’s regret that his fans are "following me in droves" to St. John spurred chatter from readers this week. 

An unsympathetic posting sarcastically paraphrased the superstar, "Oh, boo hoo, I’m so sad that I’ve ruined a good thing."  Another pointed out that Chesney, who owns two houses on the island and is reported considering building a third,"encouraged high-profile pictures of his wedding and the locale … (and is) now lamenting his loss of privacy?" 

There were two comments in support.  One said, "People should just leave him alone.  A person needs time alone to regroup and slow down."  The other said, "Give him some peace and quiet.  Now he has to go into hiding in the place he calls ‘home’."

Gas shortage continues

It’s not so easy to gas up and go on St. John.  At least one of the three island service stations is reported out of gasoline

Domino Oil officials say the company’s fuel barge is not operating because it is waiting for a required inspection by the U.S. Coast Guard.  It could be more than a week before the supply ship is back in business.

E & C Service Gas and Service Station at Pine Peace has been able to find an alternative fuel supplier, according to the Virgin Islands Daily News, and is operating.  The Domino-owned station in Coral Bay is out of gas, as are the company’s St. Thomas locations.

Andrew Rutnik, commissioner of the department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs, called the situation "critical, because it is hurricane season, and people need fuel," according to the Virgin Islands Daily News.  "(Having only) one station on the island (O’Connor’s in Cruz Bay) can create traffic jams."   

Petition against parking garage

A whole lot of opposition is going on when it comes to real estate development lately. 

Now, the St. John Community Foundation is circulating a petition to stop the $3.2 million vendors plaza/parking garage across from the barge dock in Cruz Bay.  While objecting to the project at that location, the petition says its supporters would endorse a similar structure "in a location where the tennis courts are presently located." 

Sen. Craig Barshinger said he is willing to take the petitions to the Governor, saying it would take at least 600 signatures to get attention, with 2,000 certain to get some action.  "Or a lesser number of signatures of people willing to chain themselves to a bulldozer," he added, according to the St. John Source.

Chesney regrets island’s popularity

Kenny Chesney is beginning to sound like everybody else who discovers St. John and wishes everybody else would kind of forget about it. 

"They’re following me in droves," to the island, he told a reporter for Caribbean Travel & Life.  "It’s double edged.  "I want them to buy into the lifestyle, but there used to be a time I could dance on the bar and howl at the moon.  There are too many cameras now." 

When he really wants to relax, Chesney heads for the water and his 60-foot Sea Ray and point to spots like Ivan’s Stress-Free Bar on Jost Van Dyke. "Thank God, I got a boat and there’s a lot of little islands."

Meeting on making island disabled-friendly

Maho Bay Camps’ hosted a panel discussion, July 29, "Building a Destination for All 2005."  The day-long session ncluded comments from design consultants, government officials, and representatives of local hotels on making St. John a prime destination for travelers with disabilities.  Last October, Rhode Island School of Design students made recommendations to improve Estate Concordia’s accessibility.  Modifcations were made at Concordia and a number of challenged people reprted on the the results and effects.

Coral Bay rescue vehicle sought

St. John Rescue is preparing to begin a fund raising effort to finance the purchase of a vehicle for the Coral Bay area, according to a statement by the group’s spokesman, Bob Malacarne.  "Keep your checkbooks handy and your pens warned up," he said.  Coral Bay "desperately" needs a vehicle to transport patients to the Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center, Malacarne explained.  He also issued a plea for drivers to slow down.  "There are too many crazy drivers on our roads.  There will be more fatalities," he warned. 

Post Office shores up steps

Concrete footings and a ramp have been built to improve access to the Post Office’s "annex," a trailer next to its building in Cruz Bay.  Meanwhile the search for a site for a new post office continues.  A suggestion to expand by building a second floor on the existing building was dismissed by a Postal official as impractical.  The government is reportedly hoping a new building will be 6,000 square feet.

By the way, the Post Office reminds that the best way to address something to someone  on St. John is to use this format:

       NAME
       PO BOX #
       St. John VI (ZIP CODE)

       No "Cruz Bay", no USVI, no "Coral Bay."  This is the format the PO’s scanner can understand.

Epiphany plans fund raiser

The Epiphany Theater Co. will stage its annual "fun raiser" August 26, 27 and 28 at the new community center at the just-opened Bellevue Village on Gifft Hill.  Auditions for the show, "Utter Nonsense" were scheduled this week, according to Carole DeSenne.  The show will include four comedies including one showing how a group of monkeys create Shakespeare’s works.      "It’s just fun. It’s good camaraderie and gives you something to do," said DeSenne.

Rendezvous Bay condos cut back

Late word from St. Thomas is that there will be a second public hearing on the request by Atlantic Northstar LLC to build condominiums overlooking Rendezvous and Fish Bays.  A representative of the developer told a Coral Bay Community Council Monday night that the project has been scaled down from 44 to 36 units.

The land is currently zoned to permit about 24 single family homes.  Word of the new hearing came on the heels of a petition drive by neighborhood residents and business owners protesting the project’s likely impact on the environment, runoff into the bays, and residential density.  One source reported 600 anti-signatures were collected while supporters of the developer were said to produce some 300 names.

Atlantic Northstar LLC is based in St Croix, where its interests include the gaming business and slot machines.  The company owns several properties on St. John, including a residence at Peter Bay, the Palm Plaza shopping center near the Westin resort, and a half-acre site on Lavender Hill overlooking Cruz Bay where it is developing 15 condominiums.  The $7 million condo project, to be known as The Lantern, will include a health spa, fitness center, motion studio and below-grade parking, according to a news release from the design company, William M. Karr and Associates.

Ferries checking IDs

In the wake of the terror attack in London, security precautions have been increased to require ferry passengers between St. John and St. Thomas to show identification. 

Both Transportation Services and Varlack Ventures are asking for IDs, the St. John Source reported. Some baggage being carried on the boats is also being screened, it was reported.   Barges between the two islands are not requiring IDs because they carry fewer than 150 passengers.

Mel Vanderpool, identified as the head of the Homeland Security Office in the VIs, said precautions are necessary because it is only a matter of when, not if, a terrorist act occurs.  "We already have terrorists living among us," he said, without offering details, the Source reported.