Plan for new gas station, quick-stop store

Plans are afoot to build a gas station on Centerline Road.  

Developer Guilderoy Sprauve is asking for a zoning change to allow him to build the station and a convenience store on land which used to be the home of a concrete plant and is now home to Love City Home and Garden Center. 

Sprauve was quoted by the St. John Source saying everything is in place to move ahead with the project. "We have the funding," he said.

There will be an attendant on duty at the station, even  though it will be self service.  You'll also be on your own at the C-store.  Sprauve apparently intends to install vending machines.  He said the store will be "robotic."

Of course a new gas station would be helpful on the island.  E&C Service in Cruz Bay is the only place to gas up now; the Dominio station in Coral Bay is still closed with no word when, or if it will reopen.

  • Read the Source story here

New Yorker criticizes Maho Bay room service

You can't make this stuff up.

A guest at the Maho Bay Camps blasted the eco-resort on Yelp

Vasyl F. of Rego Park, New York said, "This is the worst hotel I've ever stayed in."

The Queens borough resident said the description of Maho he read on Expedia.com did not meet his expectations.

"No ocean view rooms … and no mountain view … they charge even to lock your door … tents are 30 years old and leaking, and cracks in the floors are so wide that cockroaches and lizards are flooding the dwelling. Restaurant is extremely dirty and the food is all from cans and is made in China."

As for being an 'eco-resort," Vasyl said, "They just don't repair the hotel and don't clean the territory, besides all their furniture, tables, plates, glasses and many more things are made of cheap toxic plastic which is definitely not eco-friendly."

In rebuttal, anyone who knows anything about Maho Bay also knows that Vasyl's expectations were way off the mark.  But, he may not be alone, given what The Inquiring Iguana found when he slithered to Expedia's Maho entry.

For starters, Maho describes itself as a three star "Coral Bay hotel with a private beach."  Misleading, some could say. The Expedia description of Maho is also, shall we say, 'generous.'

Maho's 'amenities' are listed (see below), suggesting the rustic resort, with accommodations from $80/night, could compete with villas. (It's the Select Comfort mattress that really caught The Iguana's attention.)

AmenitiesThe Iguana understands how Expedia wants Maho to present itself in the best light.  But, he also wonders how a smart guy from Queens could make the assumption that he was staying a a luxury-like hotel when the Expedia site reservation screen offers "tent cottage."  That's a pretty good clue to what he's going to get.

  • Vasyl F.'s review of Maho Bay on Yelp is here.
  • Maho Bay on Expedia is here.

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

Ferry turnstile move on hold

It worked. 

The St. John Chamber of Commerce's call for people to express opposition to the VI Port Authority's plan to install a turnstile at Red Hook (see below) has met with some success.

"Ken Hobson, Executive Director of VIPA, just called to let (us) know that the VIPA Board has decided to reassess the turnstile situation," said the Chamber's Kate Norfleet and Don Porter in an e-mail.

Hobson explained that  the ferry's ticket salespeople were reluctant to collect a (25 cent) fee for the Port Authority which would be earmarked for maintenance of the Red Hook terminal.  

The PA is going to go back to the ticket sellers to renegotiate with them, to eliminate the confusion of paying a ticket at one desk and then putting a coin in a turnstile for the Port Authority.

"The ticket sellers will most likely have to go before Public Service Commission for this to happen as the ticket price is controlled by PSC review and the perception that the ferry fee has increased illegally is of concern to the sellers," Porter and Norfleet explained.  (And you can bet that some ferry riders would take out their frustration on ticket sellers, occasionally." 

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.