No new ferries, but we’re getting new buses??

Vitran Buses
Image credit: St. John Tradewinds News

Sometimes I am simply at a loss for words… This is one of those times.

As you all know, our favorite Public Works Commissioner, Mr. Darryl Smalls, promised back on January 29 that our new $8 million ferries would begin transporting passengers within 30 days. That was 127 days ago, but who’s counting. Oh wait, I totally am.

So I have to admit, I was stunned when I read yesterday on the Tradewind‘s Facebook page that our beloved Darryl Smalls was in the States inspecting new buses. New buses?? (Actually I wasn’t stunned. I was simply disgusted.) Here’s what the Tradewinds posted:

Newly constructed heavy duty VITRAN buses were subject to final inspection last week before shipment to the territory. The buses should arrive in the Virgin Islands within the next 30-45 days.

Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls spent several days on the mainland last week conducting final inspections of ten new heavy duty VITRAN buses that are headed to the territory in the next month and a half. The buses, which totaled $4.7 million, were paid for by Federal Highway Administration funds. St. Thomas and St. Croix will each see four new buses added to the VI transit system while two buses will run the route on St. John.

This week, Smalls is at another bus facility conducting similar inspections of twelve medium duty buses that will soon be added to the VI bus routes in both island districts. The smaller buses, which totaled $2 million, were Federal Transit Administration funding.

Here’s an idea – let’s finish one project before moving on the next. New ferries? Centerline Road? Just a thought…

So ok, maybe the territory does need new buses. But how are these new, “heavy duty” buses going to traverse our narrow and windy island roads? And more importantly, how are they going to maneuver alongside the partially closed, partially crumbling section of Centerline Road out near Coral Bay? You know the one the “fedral” one that needed “emergency” repairs like four years ago?? The one where work is barely happening…

I say we all place bets on when these new buses will begin running. My guess is January 2015. Leave your guess on the comments section or over on our Facebook page.

Want to know the history of the botched Centerline Road project? Click here to see its full history on LifeonOurRock.com. Click here if you’d like to know all about the new ferry debacle.

Saharan Dust Moves into Territory

Saharan Dust

If you’ve been on island within the last few days or so, you may have noticed a haze throughout the territory. Yup, you guessed it – the Saharan Dust has arrived.

For those of you not familiar with Saharan Dust, it happens nearly every spring/summer. It starts over in the North African desert when an increase of warm air causes sand particles to rise above the desert. Those particles are then transported over the Atlantic Ocean and across the Caribbean.

When the dust arrives in the territory, the islands’ typical bright blue skies are replaced by a haze. It looks like clouds, but in actuality, it’s dust. Visibility is reduced, and the air quality becomes poor. According to the National Weather Service, it looks like the dust is going to get a bit worse in the next week before getting better.

Here are a few pics we took the other day that show a dusty haze in the sky:

Trunk Bay Dust

Saharan Dust

cds saharan dustWant to know the status of the Saharan Dust? Click here to view current satellite conditions.

A Whimsical Side of St. John

explore dream discover

Like many people, Ali Norton always wanted to live a free and independent lifestyle. After a little soul searching, she found herself settled on our beloved island of St. John where, for the past 10 years, she’s created whimsical art that is sure to make you smile.

Ali focuses on creating artwork that brings the vivid colors and tranquility of paradise into the homes of her both travelers and locals alike. They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Well, anyone who loves St. John will certainly see its beauty, and Ali hopes that through her art people can keep a piece of this beauty with them always.

See for yourself:

Ali Norton 2

Ali Norton Main

Ali sells her paintings and mixed media pieces at Hibiscus Jazz, a quaint little boutique tucked next to Chateau Bordeaux on Centerline Road. In addition to her paintings and mixed media items – many of which she creates right on site – the boutique also sells other artist’s works and touristy items. Nearly all of the items sold at the boutique are made in the USA, Ali said.

Ali Norton 3

Ali Norton 1

The next time you’re on Centerline Road, make it a point to stop by Ali’s shop and say hello. Be sure to bring home one of her amazing items. We did!

Ali is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can also find her on the web at www.AliNortonArt.com