Go on vacation, bring home a new skill

Most people know Maho Bay Campground as a laid-back, environment-friendly, low-stress place to relax. It's not so well known as an art school.  Yet, that's what it is, too, especially this year with a re-energized curriculum.

StokingkilnWeekly classes are designed for island visitors, generally two hours long.  They includes Kids and Family Potter's Wheel, Kids or Adults Clay Bells and Whistles, and mask making.  Each promises to get you out the door with something you've created.

There are extended classes, also.  Each meets for several weeks, three hours at a time.  They include Relief and 3-D Sculpture, Glazed Earthenware, and Off the Wheel Techniques

There are also glass blowing classes, with an emphasis on art you can make from recycled materials.

Early in May, Maho featured Steven Branfman as the Clay artist-in-residence. 

Blues Festival 2011!

Calendar
2011_StJohnBluesFestival This announcement from Steve Simon:

"Frank, the 9th Annual Johnnie Walker St. John Blues Festival will be held from Wednesday, March 16th through Sunday, March 20th."

Planning to attend? Stay at our Blue Tang villa.  BlueTang.vi.

FRIDAY, MARCH 18th, 2011
Time:
8:00PM
Starring:
Albert Cummings, Candye Kane,
and Grady Champion

SATURDAY, MARCH 19th, 2011
Time:
8:00PM
Starring:
Curtis Salgado, Reba Russell,
and Moreland & Arbuckle

More info at http://stevesimonpresents.com/stj_blues_festival.html

St. John: Hurricane update 10:00 a.m. EDT

Spicecam1

Earl slowed its forward motion overnight, delaying the arrival of its fury about 12 hours.  Now the National Hurricane Center says the center of the storm will pass northeast of St. John at about 6 p.m.

CaribStorm.com's "How Close" tool says the outer edge will be 70 miles away.  The storm's force is diminished from what it could have been. Earl is expected to be a Category 2 (96-110 mph) when it blows by.

Power's off in Cruz Bay.  The St. John Spicecam quit transmitting at about 7 a.m.  This is the last picture.  Notice it's blurry. The camera was getting blown around.  A surprising number of sailboats are still moored in the harbor.  How many will be damaged and end up in the Beach Bar, literally? (http://www.stjohnspice.com/stjohnspicecam.htm)

Fish Bay's Karen Radtke Facebooks: "What is it that dog's sense? Cagney is super hyper this morning." Karen's in training for the Susan G Komen 3Day for the Cure walk in Tampa Oct 29-31st.

Walter Hinds apparently hosted an all night hurricane preparedness party at his restaurant in Cruz Bay.  Martinis and more.  He posted, "It's 6:10 am and I am sitting on the deck of Hinds with some friends and I am holding a beverage (a martini). OK, now it is 7am & there is an hurricane in effect and the school bell across the street just rang…..PRICELESS."

CaribStorm's Dave posted this at dawn. "I have to go to work as one of our clients (a business owner) decided he wanted his hurricane shutters this morning. Nothing like waiting till the last minute and putting others at risk."

Gonna be a close call from Tropical Storm Earl


Earl From the National Weather Service, via WeatherUnderground.com.

  • "Earl has become better organized this morning … All of the intensity guidance shows additional intensification during the next few days.

  • "On the forecast track … the center of Earl could approach the northern Leeward Islands on Sunday night.

  • "Earl could become a hurricane by tonight or Sunday. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 85 miles…140 km mainly to the north of the center."

StormCarib.com's "How Close Will it Come" tool now shows Earl's winds within 175 miles of St. John.

A dog rescued by the Animal Care Center

OrieAn e-mail from Jim Biron accompanied this picture.

"Arlene is one of the 'old timers' on the island and is a masseuse.  Orie was her dog.

"He was always with her and became her close shadow when Arlene's husband Doug passed away with cancer. Orie was everywhere with Arlene. I know she rescued him as a dumpster dog and I also know that he was one of the nicest dogs on the island. His tail always wagged and just loved to be petted. Orie died a while back and I know Arlene misses him a lot."

Earl’s storm path slips closer to St. John

"From weeks of relative and unusual quiet to uh oh!!!!" So writes Dave at StormCarbib.com

He is keeping a close eye on Tropical Storm, soon to be Hurricane, EarlTracking map from WeatherUnderground.com

 The site has an interesting tool to let you see how close a storm will come to wherever you are.  As of Friday morning, the prediction was that Earl will pass 260 miles northeast of the island early Tuesday morning.

"At this point, all bets are off until it organizes better," cautions Dave. "The quicker it organizes, the quicker it should curve. 500 miles isn't much room for error so don't take that for granted." Dave continues, "Behind … Earl is several more waves on the African continent and it looks like the train is ready to run at full speed for a while."

The tracking map on the right is via WeatherUnderground.com. It updates the map for Earl daily at 5am, 11am, and 5 pm.

Storm watch


Esarlk
The National Weather Service says we'll have a hurricane northeast of the territory by Monday morning. 

Let's hope Tropical Storm Earl stays on that projected track.

The NWS says 'stuff can happen.'

"If the circulation center does reform farther south…the forecast track will have to be adjusted south…or to the left of this advisory package."

No matter what, could be some rough weather and sea conditions early next week.

Four minutes of St. John

BoatOne of our readers, Mark Kichler, spent some time on the island at the end of July. 

He took lots of pictures and built a nice slide show using the Animoto service.

It lets you produce professional-looking presentations/.slideshows/animations easily on both your desktop or iPhone.

He sent along a link to his video.  Click to relax.

Thanks, Mark.

St. John animal shelter on life support

Pups

Thanks to generous readers of NewsofStJohn.com, and others, the Animal Care Center will not close next week.

Alarms were sounded late last week by ACC board members that the "no kill" shelter would have to close at the end of August because it was broke. The volunteer organization was in dire shape, financially overwhelmed by the expenses of operating, caring for, and housing about 60 dogs, puppies, kittens and cats.

Despite what seem to be fund raisers held quarterly, all of which were described as "successful" a day later, the $13,000 monthly operating budget was not being met.  "Fund raising is not enough.  Know any grant writers who could help us," said the ACC's Jennifer Dale.

You can help now by making a donation through PayPal here.

Skinny_dogsMany readers of this Web site responded to our story published Friday. John Fuller, the ACC's Treasurer, said nearly 100 people contributed $5 to $1,000, totaling nearly $7.400. "We're not out of the woods yet," he said.  One source said the ACC now has enough money to operate to the middle of October, when another fund raiser is planned.

Read moreSt. John animal shelter on life support

Have what it takes to move to St. John?

Several times a month, I get e-mails from people asking advice about moving to the island.  Do you know of any jobs?  How about renting an apartment?  Is the cost of living high? Often, the writers have vacationed on the island more than once and have decided they'd like to make St. John their permanent address.

Schlesingers One couple who have made the switch, successfully, is Bob and Karin Schlesinger.  He's a photographer, specializing in portraits and weddings; she's his right hand gal. 

At first their's was a 10-year-plan to make the move from New England.  Then it became five years, then three, then … they were gone.

"All that planning wasn't necessary," they said. "You can just do it."

The Schlesingers' story has just been featured by Islands magazine as part of a Best Islands to Live On section. It ranks the Virgin islands 5th best.  Each island is highlighted in a story about some new residents who made a move.

Read moreHave what it takes to move to St. John?