Working Out for a Cause…

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As you might imagine, we got a ton of emails here at News of St. John. A frequent topic includes on-island exercise options and gym facilities. Today we want to tell you about a cool new Zumba class that’s happening during the month of August and will benefit island charities.

Brittany MacNealy has been on island four the past four-and-a-half years. She recently became a certified Zumba instructor and now offers Zumba classes at the St. John School of the Arts several times a week.

Having worked for nonprofits back in the States and recognizing the difficulties that go along with raising funds, Brittany decided to do something about it. So every Saturday during the month of August, Brittany will donate 100 percent of the proceeds from her Saturday morning Zumba Basic class to a St. John nonprofit. How exciting is that?!

Here are the nonprofits that will benefit:

  • August 9th: St John Cancer Fund
  • August 16th: Animal Care Center of St John
  • August 23rd St John School of the Arts
  • August 30th Gifft Hill School

Each class will be held at 9 a.m. at the St. John School of the Arts. Classes last one hour.

Not familiar with Zumba? Zumba is an upbeat workout that combines fun music with easy to follow choreography. Click here to learn more.

Brittany is licensed to teach Zumba, Zumba Toning, Aqua Zumba and Zumba in the Circuit. For more information on Brittany and her Zumba classes, please visit bmacnealy.zumba.com

St. Johnopoly Launches New Website!

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So we are super excited to share with all of you a few updates on St. Johnopoly. First and foremost, we have an awesome new website that just launched today. Please check it out at www.StJohnopoly.com

The website has several images of the game to give all of you a better idea of just how cool this is going to be! We have pictures of the game board squares, the money, the tokens and more.

We also have a page dedicated to the four charities that will receive a portion of the sales from St. Johnopoly. We’re happy to announced that we gave out our first two donations last weekend to Team River Runner and Friends Helping Friends.

We also have a page dedicated to our sponsors, so you can see exactly which businesses (and one super famous animal) are involved with the game.

We’ve also moved all of our online sales over to the site. As we’ve mentioned a time or two, there is a limited number of games available so please preorder yours today. Games are being pre-sold for $45 plus shipping. We are still anticipating our ship date to be late August. We’ll keep you posted if anything changes.

In the meantime, please head on over to StJohnopoly.com and check it out! You can also click here to do so.

Wagapalooza Date Announced!

Image credit: Bob Schlesinger of Tropical Focus Photography
Image credit: Bob Schlesinger of Tropical Focus Photography

We’re happy to announce that a date has been set for one of St. John’s best events – Wagapalooza.

Wagapalooza, the Animal Care Center’s annual untypical dog show, will be held on Saturday, May 10 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Winston Wells Ball Field in Cruz Bay. This very cool event is a fundraiser for the ACC, an organization near and dear to our hearts here at News of St. John. 

As in past years, classes to be judged include Best Old Timer, Costume Class, Best Adult Handler, Best Junior Handler, Best Trick, Best Look Alike (to owner), Best Friend, Babe Award, as well as Waga King and Queen.

Fabulous food will be provided by Kati Steinborn of Weddings by Katilady. Beverages will be served by Joe Palminteri. The event will also have music and a bounce house to keep the kids busy.

As always, all proceeds from the event go directly to the ACC. Monies raised are used to keep the shelter open, medicate the cats and dogs, fund travel to send the animals to their “forever homes” and to purchase food for the ACC’s feeding stations which are located throughout the island and help St. John’s homeless kittens and cats.

Admission is free. Registration for class entrants will be held at 4:15 p.m. (Class entry fees to be announced.) Dogs not participating in show categories who are simply attending to visit can participate in the free Parade of Paws with a $5 donation to the ACC.

For additional information and to become a sponsor, please call Lucy Banks at (340) 693-7448.

Click here to visit the ACC’s website. 

Cafe Bordeaux back in business

Bordeaux Chateau Bordeaux has been reopened.  Once again, it is possible to have a meal and look down on Coral Bay and across the Sir Francis Drake Channel, one of the loveliest views on the island.

Lorelei Monsanto, the daughter of the woman who launched the restaurant 30 years ago, is overseeing the venture.  She's also reported to be the landlord.  For many years, Bordeaux was managed by the same people who operated high end restaurants in Cruz Bay including Paradiso and Asolare.  But times got tough, the economy got soft, and Bordeaux closed.

Monsanto's reopened the spot for lunch and has plans to add dinner service.  But food isn't the only reason to make the drive to Bordeaux.  She told the St John Sun Times, "Enjoy the moon as it's rising, the shimmering lights in the distance – it makes you feel like you're on a tropical island, naturally."

Perhaps it's best that food isn't the only draw.  One lone review, via TripAdvisor, was quite negative. "The view remains exceptional but the food is now by many accounts INEDIBLE." wrote EvergreenOhio. "Prices are inflated and there is no wine list."

How much could you grab at Starfish?

Bob As part of the celebration to mark completion of the renovation at StarfishMarket, the store offered one lucky winner the chance for a one-minute long Supermarket Spree.  Take what you can get, no cost. Bob Schlesinger, one of the island's fine photographers, was the lucky guy.

As luck would have, Bob's wife, Karin, is also pretty handy with a camera.  She works with Bob in their business, Tropical Focus

She clicked away as Bob eagerly filled the basket.  There appeared to be no focus on grabbing the high-value items, but rather the necessities.  Looks like there's a ham or a turkey, bread, some hamburger, apples, etc.  But, according to Karin, the most prized acquisition was some of his favorite java, Dunkin' Donuts.

Tap Room adds pizza, expands draft offerings

HolidayCard Things just keep hopping for St. John Brewers

Kevin Chipman and 'Cheech' Vyas have just expanded their Tap Room business located on the second floor at Mongoose Junction.  They now offer 16 beers on draft. Several are their own brews, including the newest beer, launched last month, Island Hoppin' India Pale Ale.  But wait, there's more.  There's food now, too.  They've added a kitchen so they now offer 'pub' good including pizzas and beer pretzels.

The brew boys told the Virgin islands Daily News theirs is the largest selection of beers on draft in the Caribbean.  In the article published Thursday, Chipman and Vyas tell the story of how they arrived on island in 2001, thinking they'd only stay for a while.  Then they got thirsty researched how to brew beer, and the rest is history.

First Look: New restaurant in Cruz Bay

Stoneterrace There's new life in an old restaurant in Cruz Bay.  The beautiful Stone Terrace space has been transformed into Cactus on the Blue, a Mexican restaurant with lots of energy, taste, and color. 

Nile and Courtney Wright leased the space after it had been dark for at least a year.  Before that, it had been for sale for months.  Stone Terrace, a high-end restaurant, was a victim of a softening economy and a trend that is seeing villa renters stay at home as they refuse to fight for downtown parking and save money.

While the Wrights are out in the front of the house, Nile certainly knows his way around a kitchen. According to a story in the St. John Sun Times, he earned his whisks the old fashioned way.  At home, in his family's restaurant, Jacala, the oldest eatery in San Antonio.

There's a Texas connection between the Wrights and their own chef, Gabriel Orozco.  His experience includes work as chef at the Balcony at Wharfside and his most recent position, sous chef at a steak house in San Antonio.

The Sun Times says Cactus on the Blue doesn't aspire to be the cheapest place in town or the most expensive. "A happy medium" is the target, Wright told the newspaper.  That means large portions at reasonable prices.

According to powerboat charter Capt. Josh of Lion in da Sun "reasonable prices" means low.  He posted a review of his visit to the restaurant on Trip Advisor and said the food
was wonderful.  His friends' dinner was also great, "and the portions
were enormous."  He said the appetizer sampler had four types of salsa and the chips were cut and baked at the restaurant. He wrote. "And here is the kicker $5!!!! Enough said, get it – get two."

The Wrights are not only starting a business, they're also starting a life together.  They're newlyweds of about eight months.  And so far, things seem to be going well.Their restaurant just got a telephone line this week, and any local can tell you how tough that can be to do.  The number is 340-693-8515.

CZM blocks Pond Bay permit transfer

The bank that helped finance construction of the Pond Bay Club at Chocolate Hole was rebuffed by the Coastal Zone Management agency in its effort to assume the permit for the resort.  The St. John Source reported CZM unanimously rejected the application by WestLB AG.

According to CZM, only the developer can request a transfer.  And Bob Emmett's First American Development, which has been trying to build Pond Bay for more than a decade is having none of that idea. FirstAmerican owes millions to the bank and to many local contractors, too.

Emmet said the project is about 65 percent complete, the Source reported.

StJohnJulie posted at Virgin-islands-On-Line that, "The only people working at Pond Bay right now are security guards. The people of Pond Bay are still confident that they will get the funds they need to complete the project, but I am not as sure it will happen the way they want it to."  She explained she also has a personal interest in the Club.""I also don't want this project to sit uncompleted… My husband is one of the subcontractors who works on the project so I should know w, 

More video tours by Chase and Maria

Three Kings at Coconut Coast

Katha_and_richNancy Ruffer, international flautist, will be accompanying the St John Flutes, Rich Greengold and Katha Riccardi.  There will also be a guest appearance by Michael Banzhaf at Elaine Estern's Coconut Coast Studios in Frank Bay Wednesday January 6th from 5:30 to 7pm.

This is the second time the quartet has performed together at Coconut Cost Studios, and possibly the only time this season.

Ruffer is a world-renowned flautist residing in Britain and will be visiting with her family in the Virgin Islands.

The quartet will be playing at the Sunset cocktail party hosted weekly by Estern. Enjoy live music as the sun dips below the sky. If you missed their performance last year, you won’t want to miss it again!