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. 🙂

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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.

DPNR treads water on Johnson Bay

Several dozen boat owners who anchor at Johnson Bay in Coral Bay can stay where they are for a while. A telephone conference call this week included boaters and Sen. Rocky Liburd, on St. John, and the Planning and Natural resources Commissioner Dean Plaskett, on St., Thomas. The resulted in the commissioner said he hopes to have a boaters’ committee organized within the week, to study where the Johnson boats could go. He conceded that if there is no place better than Johnson Bay, so be it. “We’ll be the first to admit it,” he said, according to a report of the meeting in the St. John Source. The DPNR told the boat owners last winter that Johnson Bay was not an approved mooring spot and they would have to move.

Taxes, schools topic at forum

It’s campaign time on St. John, too. A Candidates’ Night at the Westin Resort was sponsored by the St. John Community Foundation and was attended by six incumbent Senators and four challengers. They included St. Johnians Sen. Almando Liburd, the incumbent At Large senator, and his opponent, Craig Barshinger.

Interest in St. John’s contribution to funding government operations was evident in a question. Sen. Lorraine Berry remembered several years ago the budget director said that information would be made available, according to a report of the forum by the St. John Source. However, she has recently been told that St. Thomas and St. John are seen as one district, and therefore no breakout of tax revenues and spending will be reported.

Questions were also heard about whether St. John will get a new school to replace Sprauve. Barshinger suggested negotiations should occur between the government and the V.I. National Park for a 100-year lease outside of town, “But we have not negotiated properly with the park,” he said, according to the Source.

Inaugural Marketplace Saturday

Merchants at the Marketplace co-sponsored Saturday of events and activities at the shopping area, Oct. 16. “Added value demonstrations and educational presentations for the entire family,” according to Jennifer Dale, the general manager of the complex. Activities included a domino tournament, face painting for kids, music by the Iguanas and the Love City Pan Dragons, and story time outside the First Floor Bookstore (pictured), led by volunteer Bill Morris. The next event will be December 3rd from 5-9pm, keyed to holiday shopping.