July 4th celebration begins

Seven steel orchestras rocked downtown Cruz Bay as a month of July 4th events began on island.  Steel pan players greeted arriving ferry passengers as well as locals who filled Cruz Bay Park for Pan-o-Rama 2005.

The event also offered locals and visitors the first chance to see the contestants vying for this year’s July 4h pageant titles of Miss St. John, St. John Junior Miss, and St. John Princess.  During breaks in the music, the contestants were introduced to the crowd.

Upcoming events:

June 17  Senior Variety Show at Winston Wells Ball Field
June18   Festival Bike race, National Park
                Festival Music Mix, Winston Wells Ball Field
June 19  Prince and Princess Selection, Winston Wells Ball Field

Governor OKs fuel efficient vehicle

It took a new law for Doug White, an architect and environmentally conscious citizen, to register his Low Speed Vehicle (LSV).  It is a four-wheel electric car which produces no emissions and is half the size of a regular car.  "I think this is great," White said after receiving his registration. Governor Charles Turnbull made registration legal when he approved a change in V.I. code to allow licensing of electric or solar vehicles which can travel at 20 miles an hour.  White had been trying to register his vehicle for five years.  Finally, after petitions from St. Johnians, a bill was introduced in the Senate to authorize LSVs.

Taxi costs going up

The island’s taxis were expected to be given approval to impose a $1 a person surcharge because of rising gasoline prices.  Andy Rutnik, commissioner of the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs, approved an increase of as much as $2.  It will be in force for three months, and then subject to review by the Department.

Hurricane Hole refuge registration

The National Park Service is accepting reservations for protection in Hurricane Hole during storms on a first-come-first-serve basis this weekend. Vessel owners must fill out forms for the free refuge permits at the Park’s maintenance facility, which is located just past Mongoose Junction on the North Shore Road. There is a storm chain at Hurricane Hole which can accommodate up to 60-foot boats. Hurricane season began Wednesday, June 1.

Maho-to-Hawksnest swim events attract 125

Powerswim2005Virgin Islands national team swimmers were the top three finishers in last weekend’s Beach to Beach Power Swim sponsored by the Friends of the Virgin islands National Park. Kieran Locke, 21, of St. Croix completed the 3 1/2 mile course from Maho Bay to Hawksnest along the north shore beaches in 1:11:42, well below last year’s winning time of 1:21:15. Other national team swimmers placing second and third were Josh Laban and Morgan Locke, both of St. Croix.  (Click onthe photo to see a larger picture.)

The Long Course-female race was won by Kathleen Laseter of St. John with a time of 1:44:15. The awards ceremony and barbecue at Oppenheimer Beach was hosted by Skinny Legs’ restaurant and owner Mo Chabuz. Funds raised by the event will help support the Park Service’s Learn to Swim program and the REEF Fish Count.

TV time for St. John

TwosomeLooks like the island is going to see some video crews this summer and get some more national exposure in November.  Thanks to Kenny Chesney.  Again. Billboard Magazine reports the entertainer of the year will appear in his first network special on ABC-TV the day before Thanksgiving, Nov. 23.  The one-hour "Kenny Chesney: Somewhere in the Sun" will include tracks from his concerts as we;; as "moments shot both on the road and at his home in the Caribbean."  Several unnamed celebrity friends, and even Mrs. C., are expected to make cameos in the show.

Chesney dinner puts restaurant on the map

The restaurant where Renee and Kenny had a wedding-eve dinner for friends and family has become a hot spot.  Smack in the heart of Cruz Bay, across from Joe’s and next to the Post Office, the relatively new Rhumb Lines has been mentioned in Star and People magazines, according to the Virgin Islands Daily News.  Thai fusion was the theme of the dinner and included pupu platters and samosas.  Jerome O’Connell, who owns Rhumb Lines, told the paper many customers have asked him about the event, and he is happy to tell them. Play your cards right, and he’ll even point out the table the happy couple shared.

It’s turtle time!

It’s turtle nesting season on the island.  Rafe Boulon, chief of resource management for the V.I. National Park, advises that if you see turtles nesting or hatching, leave them alone and turn off all distracting lights.  Most of the nesting activity occurs after dusk.  Also, don’t disturb the beach because the nests are not deep in the sand. 

Beach-to-Beach Power Swim set

Map05Memorial Day Weekend activities on island will include the Fiends of the V.I. National Park’s second annual Beach-to-Beach Power Swim.  (Click on the map graphic to see the courses.)

For serious swimmers as well as recreational swimmers, Friends president Joe Kessler said the event  "contributes to St. John’s growing reputation as a hotbed for challenging sporting events, drawing in athletes from off island to compete and fuel St. John’s economy."

Swimmers hit the water at 8:00 a.m. on race day at Maho Bay Beach, Sunday, May 29.  The finish line for the short race is at Cinnamon Bay, which is also the location of the first transition point for the relay teams. Another great location to view the race will be at Trunk Bay Beach, which is the location of the second relay transition point and the finish line for the new intermediate course.  Through swimmers will pass close to Cinnamon and Trunk beaches so these will be great spots to view the action in the water and cheer on the swimmers.  The long race and relay will finish at Hawksnest Bay Beach.  More information.

This year, the awards ceremony will be held as part of a beach party hosted by the Friends at Oppenheimer Beach beginning at 11:00 a.m. until about 3:00 p.m.  There will be hamburgers, hot dogs and cold drinks for sale, and live music by Mark Wallace and company.

Rotary paints crosswalks

If the Public Works Department won’t do it, Rotary St. John will, and did.  Members Doug White, Catherine Fahy and Bill Willigerod were up early one Sunday morning this month to paint crosswalks to alert motorists when people are crossing the street.  They started with the faded crosswalk where a seven-year-old boy was killed in an truck accident.  Plans include also painting crosswalks near the Sprauve School and others in town.