US Airways adds non-stop from Boston


US Airways
is now taking reservations for a Saturday-only non-stop flight from
Boston to St. Thomas.  One-way fare was priced online at $369 for the
3-hour 50-minute flight the new route.  With a non-stop return, the
round trip ticket is $668 including taxes and fees.

The release from the Virgin Islands Department of Tourism
about the new service is fascinating.

  • Tourism is ‘dedicating’ (giving?) $25,000 to help the airline’s marketing of the new service.
  • DOT
    has ‘earmarked’ $1 million for TV ads from now ‘til December ‘with US
    as the call to action.” This means Tourism’s doing TV
    to promote the Territory and tagging each spot with a pitch for US Airways.
  • Tourism will sponsor a reception for travel agents and media in Boston in
    December to promote the service, ‘followed by a familiarization visit
    (!!) for a group of key US Airways travel agent suppliers and top-tier
    in early January 2010.”  No cost estimate was provided.

Lights! Action! St. John!

Heron A trio of classic yachts from St. John will co-star with Johnny Depp in “The Rum Diary,” a film to be released in 2010.  It is based on a Hunter S. Thompson autobiography, chronicling the years he worked for a sports newspaper in San Juan.

Producers of the film decided they needed some iconic, beautiful Caribbean boats for scenes in the film. They found several on St. John, and sailed to Puerto Rico where filming was done.

Two of the ships, Patient Lady of East End, and Robin Clair Pitts’ Liberty were primarily used in background shots, according to a story about the production published in the St. John Sun Times

But Twig Bower’s Heron got some personal time with Depp, the actor.  “We hung out with him a little bit,” Bower told the newspaper.  The job was supposed to be done in six days, but it turned into a 3 1/2-week project.

Bower s also a shipwright and built the boat; launched it in 2003.  Summers, he and his wife do day sails out of Rockport, Maine, and during they offer charters from Maho Bay.

Clothing by Chesney

Kennyhat The most popular country singer in the US …  who is also a part time resident of St. John … is moving beyond music to ready-made wear.

Kenny Chesney will launch his new clothing line Aug. 31 at the MAGIC Marketplace apparel show in Las Vegas, a three-day fashion industry trade show. He will kick off his latest venture with an invitation-only concert Sept. 1 at Hard Rock Hotel, according to CNS.

The line of clothing for men and women is branded Blue Chair Bay, a reference to one of Chesney’s songs about a chair on the beach near his house at Peter Bay.

Speaking to People magazine, Chesney said his pieces are designed to feel like “that favorite T-shirt that you’ve washed a lot, that is kind of sun bleached … your favorite khakis, and your shirt you’ve had forever.” The line also includes cowboy hats and tennis caps, produced by Dorfman-Pacific.

So far, no St. John store has been mentioned as carrying the Chesney Line.  At least one store that will carry it, Levy’s in Nashville, sells top brands like Hugo Boss, Armani, and Hickey Freeman.

Good news of St. John

Rotary St. John’s Rotary Club meets every Friday at the Westin Resort

I’ve been a guest a few times and it’s a great group, maybe 15-20 people each meeting. The membership includes a lot of business owners who give freely of their time and resources to make things better.

At a recent meeting, Rotary members talked about some of their activities. 

Bob Schlesinger, a terrific photographer – and Club Secretary – summarized the meeting in the groups; weekly newsletter (which he produces).

The first topic was a recent St. John Youth Committee rally in which scholarship information was made available so seniors can start planning on applying.

Bill Willigerod updated the group on Rotary scholarship winner, Claudia.  Her almost perfect GPA and major in psychology were pretty impressive.

Sharon Coldren reported Sputniks in Coral Bay will be starting a Learn At Lunch program.

Miles Stair and Geri Kotas explained the Reading in the Library program that Rotary volunteers at, Thursdays from 9-11 a.m.

Dave Carlson explained a challenge presented by St. Ursula's Church food program for the elderly.  He persuaded Starfish Market to donate the store’s refrigerators that are being replaced as part of the store’s renovation.

Stoplights!!!!!!! on St. John

Light It’s happened. 

The island which prided itself on NOT having a stoplight,now has several thanks to construction of the Roundabout where South Shore and Centerline roads meet downtown.

Kayre Carney at Islandia Real Estate posted this photo of the construction site.

Roundabout “We saw the installation of temporary traffic lights,” she said. "No one paid a bit of attention to (them).” 

And despite the lights, well, don’t say technology reduces labor costs. Carney says, “Now have traffic directors with whistles."

Ana fizzles, Bill misses

Bill It’s been a case of hurry up and wait for the past five days.  Last Friday, islanders began making serious preparations, anticipating Tropical Storm Ana might turn into something nasty. 

Doug Benton, owner of Crabby’s Water Sports in Coral Bay, said in an online post, “The sounds of power drills and saws could be heard in the distance yesterday.  Screens are coming down, items are being secured.”  He also said folks were “making plans for our pets — trying to figure out the best way to keep them safe and comfortable while being cooped up during these events.”

But Ana ran out of gas and passed about 6 miles southwest of St. Croix, bringing some mild rain and wind to St. John.

Then attention turned to Tropical Storm Bill. It quickly grew into a Hurricane and is now classified as a Category 2 with winds of 110 miles an hour. And while it looked for a while that Bill might be a problem, by Monday it’s projected track was north and east of St. John.  Folks sighed a bit, but Ana’s wake up call was enough to motivate people to begin nailing things down, stocking up on water and beer, and remembering they live in the middle of the ocean.

StormCarib.com said Bill will likely pass 360 miles northeast of St Thomas by 6 p.m. Thursday. “Tropical storm force winds extend currently out 150 miles and even if they extend 200 miles on Thursday, the only effects felt in the Northern Antilles, other than a huge sigh of relief, will be swells. Hopefully, that will continue and it will miss the Virgin islands.”

BillDeb and Jay at Live de Life said, “We'll probably still get some rain and wind, but it shouldn't be anything major. We'll still be keeping an eye on all the weather forecasts to see if they are right and we're keeping the storm shutters up, just in case.”

Meanwhile, Marty Beechler at Islandia Real Estate showed that entrepreneurs just want to have fun.  On the blog, he wrote, that Bill’s turn to the north is a good thing, “ I am relieved that we will be spared the wrath of Hurricane Bill but now what am I going to do with all these tee shirts?!”

Funny stuff in the paper

The latest and greatest isue of the St. John Sun Times includes an incident log for St. John Rescue, the island’s fine all-volunteer emergency medical services group.  Two of the calls in June strike me as funny.

"June 19 to North Shore Road for a motor vehicle crash.  Patient refused treatment and police took into custody." (Maybe the patient could have avoided 'custody' by going to the Clinic.)

"June 24 to Mail Center for a superficial wound from a letter opener.  Administered first aid."

Ana has arrived

Bill 1:40 p.m. Monday Update:  The ferries are running normally, and the St. Thomas airport is open.  No plans to close, according to the Port Authority.

8 a.m. Monday:

So far, not awful. “Just rain and gusts of wind,” according to the Live de Life blog. “A little snotty out here this morning but it could be worse. The winds are 20+ sustained and a few gusts above that. Lots of rain, but the main track of Ana went way south so that's a good thing.”

The Islandia blog linked to Intellicast for hurricane information.  It’s quite good.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Bill has grown it winds to 75 miles an hour and has become Hurricane Bill.  The latest forecast track shows it passing to the east and north of the Virgin IslandsBermuda appears to be the target.

Ana may miss

Ana Update: Good news

Late Sunday, the National Hurricane Center downgraded Ana to a tropical Depression – and the forecast track now looks to take it south of St. John.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Bill – a more serious storm – is now looking like it will pass north.

Stay tuned.