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October 30, 2003

Teens on the Green Tournament Returns to St. Croix

UNITED STATES VIRGIN ISLANDS, October 30, 2003 - St. Croix will welcome top junior golfers from around the world for the final tournament of the United States Virgin Islands Teens on the Green World Championship Final Series this fall. Once again, young golfers from 26 countries and 44 U.S. states will tee off at Carambola Golf Course, November 6-9, for exciting rounds of competition at one of the most beautiful 18-hole golf courses in the Caribbean.

Representatives of the Caribbean region made quite a showing in the competition last year. John Streibich, a native of St. Thomas, captured the Teens on the Green (TOG) 2002 world championship title, earning him a ranking as one of the top 50 youth golfers in the United States. Prior to this win, he had never before been ranked. Since then, John has matriculated at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio and was named the Atlantic Conference "Rookie of the Week" along with other freshmen for his performance in the season opener at the Mid-Pines Intercollegiate Golf Tournament. John led his team in the tournament and has set a new school record for scoring.

Other Caribbean youth also were thrust into the spotlight during last year's tournament finale on St. Croix. Kamisha Anthony from Antigua ushered in a stellar performance on St. Croix, which earned her a full scholarship to Bethune Cookman College, where she starts in January 2004. Kamisha continues to excel in both the classroom and on the golf course. She recently won the St. Thomas Open in the women's division in a sudden death playoff. Kamisha is considered one of the best women golfers in the Caribbean at 17 years old.

"The U.S. Virgin Islands is proud to be an official sponsor of Teens on the Green program and the host destination of the final tournament series," Commissioner of Tourism Pamela C. Richards said. "We are always looking for ways to encourage our youth to excel, and it is a privilege to contribute to their achievements both on and off the golf course. We are delighted to have them here in the U.S. Virgin Islands to play on our beautiful greens."

Junior golfers ages 13-18 will tee off on 54 holes, while younger golfers, ages 12 and under, will play on 36 holes. The final championship series on St. Croix will be televised internationally, as well as on national cable networks and locally throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. A new addition to this year's tournament festivities will be the inaugural Parade of Flags. Each participating youth golfer will display his respective country's flag in a display of pride and patriotism. This will be a beautiful exhibition of diversity and cultural heritage.

Teens on the Green takes pride in promoting academic achievement and excellence in the game of golf. TOG is the first "ranked" televised junior golf event and series in the history of the sport. These official ranking points are essential for junior golfers to attract the attention of collegiate golf coaches. The seven-tournament TOG series is ranked by the "Junior Golf Scoreboard," NMJGSF "Golf Week," and Titleist and sanctioned by the Amateur Athletic Union.

The Teens on the Green World Championship Final Series provides a unique opportunity for young minority golfers ages 10 to 17 (up to a senior in high school) to receive quality lessons and playing time at upscale resorts and golf courses. Participating junior players are among the best in the world representing the most gifted golfers from the Caribbean, the U.S., Latin America, Japan, Korea, Europe, Africa, Australia and other parts of the world. To qualify for the program, each member must have a handicap of 12 or lower and a C+ or better academic average. Teens on the Green is securing sponsors for youngsters throughout the Caribbean to attend major U.S. colleges with scholarships worth up to $50,000 per year for four years.

For more information about Teens on the Green, call (954) 499-9022, or go online to www.teensonthegreen.com. For additional information about St. Croix, St. John and St Thomas, call (800) 372-USVI (8784), visit www.usvitourism.vi or contact the nearest USVI Department of Tourism regional office in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Washington, D.C. or Toronto.

Posted by afinta at 09:56 PM | Comments (4)

Ronnie's Rantings: Driving in Paradise

Hopefully this will be the start of something new Anthony has asked me to do!! I will call it Ronnie's Rantings. Sounds good to me!

This past week there was a letter in one of the local papers complaining of driving habits here. The answer came shortly after from a writer in St. John, telling them to deal with it, that's what adds to the make up of this paradise. The writer went on to tell them, 'where else will someone stop to let you into traffic or toot to you saying thanks when you let them into traffic. Sure people stop to chat, but it's what makes it quaint.'

So, I have said that to get to my rant. Sure I think it's quaint to do the little things we do, that we have been doing for the past decades, BUT, these things did not include: running red lights, running stop signs, blocking intersections, tailgaiting, parking illegally all the time, making up your own road rules, NO, they did not, these are the ugly things we need to get under control.

Police actually watch people make moving violations and do nothing about it, BUT, don't have your car registered and on the first day of the following month they are out there looking for you! Not even a moving violation. Go figure.

A former cop today told me, after I said to him that another had told me that most of them are just working for the check every two weeks, he said "they won't ticket anyone because they don't want to have to go to court!' So, should we be stuck with this? Hope not. I guess it's time we start screaming at the Commisioner, police chief, Governor, Senator , Administrator, whomever.
I am going to start tomorrow! I am going to call the Administrator and give him a piece of my mind about a &*%$#5@ six wheel huge dump truck parked in front of my property, that the police don't seem to want to do something about. I will give him a piece of my mind and then some!

What do you think about all this?

Posted by Ronnie at 09:32 PM | Comments (20)

Open Thread

This is an open thread for discussion of news and events for the next few days, or to leave an opinion - let's hear something! We have a rainy day here in the USVI (we need it - we just bought water on Tuesday) and I am busy working on adding our travel engine to other islands.

Posted by afinta at 02:30 PM | Comments (2)

October 28, 2003

What is a Cat Cracker?

I didn't know - but then I saw this headline "St. Croix cat cracker cut to 100,000 bpd on glitch-Hess" and had to read the story.

Posted by afinta at 02:04 PM | Comments (7)

Flavors of St. John

For those of you in St. John on the evening of November 8. Rotary Club of St. John is holding it's annual event. There will be about 20 restaurants represented, where they show off their specialties. You eat from everyone if you like or just your favorites! The Westin and Caneel are also represented. You should see their spreads!
All are welcome. Tickets are on sale. If on island at the time, contact me at 777.2277 to arrange for tickets. You should also be able to get them at Kaleidescope in Market Place and Connections I believe, if all else fails.
The price is $75.00 per person and it is held at The Westin's Palm Terrace Pavilion. There will be music by Mark Wallace and Company. The dress is Island Casual. No need for jackets unless you care to. There is a silent auction where you can pick up all kinds of deals for things on and about St. John.Yours truly should be the emcee. No speeches though.
This is our largest fundraiser that we put on. This time it is for our Centennial Project, celebrating Rotary's 100th Anniversary in 2005. Our project is to restore a kiddie park in Coral Bay.
There will be a free ferry leaving Red Hook dock at 6:30 and goes directly to the Westin, returns at 11:30 for those of you in St. Thomas.

Posted by Ronnie at 10:41 AM | Comments (1)

October 27, 2003

26th Annual Caribbean Tourism Conference Deemed a Success

UNITED STATES VIRGIN ISLANDS, October 27, 2003 - Commissioner of Tourism Pamela C. Richards is pleased to announce that the 26th Annual Caribbean Tourism Conference (CTC-26) held on St. Thomas, October 16 - 18, was successful for St. Croix, St. John, St. Thomas and the entire Caribbean tourism industry.

The United States Virgin Islands hosted CTC-26 at the Marriott Frenchman's Reef Resort on St. Thomas. With the theme of "Recovery & Growth in a Fiercely Competitive Market," the conference brought together more than 700 influential travel industry leaders, including members of the international media, travel agents and the Caribbean's leading tourism officials, to discuss relevant issues that affect the current state of the travel industry.

"Everyone in attendance sincerely enjoyed the hospitality, beauty and ease of travel that our islands offer visitors," Commissioner Richards said. "I extend my deepest thanks to everyone who helped to make this conference such a success. The meetings were thought-provoking and productive."

Conference meetings for Directors of Tourism began on October 13, and continued throughout the conference. A special media day was held on October 15, to allow representatives from each participating nation to discuss newsworthy events and promotions with the international media in attendance. The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism hosted a private media luncheon at Government House on St. Thomas that same day. The Honorable Governor Charles W. Turnbull and Commissioner Richards spoke of the unique history and cultural heritage of the USVI and announced the territory's upcoming winter promotion.

The official opening ceremony for all conference delegates was held at the University of the Virgin Islands Sports & Fitness Center on October 16, and featured University of the West Indies' Professor Rex Nettleford as the keynote speaker, as well as an unforgettable cultural performance by the Caribbean Dance Company and top Quelbe music performers. In addition to notable discussions and stimulating lectures, a few highlights of the three-day program included: a welcome reception at the West Indies Company Limited dock, complete with a mini Carnival parade; the selection and reading of Condé Nast's winning "My Caribbean Essay"; the "Great Caribbean" travel game breakfast; a keynote address from Dr. The Honorable Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister of St. Vincent & the Grenadines; and the Travel & Leisure youth congress. The conference concluded with a splendid "Star Spangled Gala," hosted by the USVI Department of Tourism, on October 18, which bid a patriotic farewell to all delegates.

Prior to the conference, interested travel media enjoyed a three-night tour of St. Croix and St. John. A total of 15 media representatives participated in the pre-tour and enjoyed the sights and sounds of St. Thomas' sister islands. A similar familiarization tour of St. Croix and St. John was offered to travel agents following the conference. Twenty-two delegates participated in the offer.

Posted by Anthony at 12:32 PM

St. Croix Not Only Distinguished Beaches, Also Distinguished Gentleman

Crucian Bestowed Knighthood by Queen of Denmark

UNITED STATES VIRGIN ISLANDS, October 27, 2003 - Commissioner of Tourism Pamela C. Richards is pleased to announce that Queen Margrethe II of Denmark has bestowed the honor of knighthood upon Leif Clemens Pedersen under the provisions of the Order of Dannebrog. Once an order designated only to high dignitaries and those of nobility, knighthood now is granted to anyone the King or Queen of Denmark decides has truly displayed civil and military merit.

While living on St. Croix, Pedersen has served as the president for St. Croix Friends of Denmark, promoting the island internationally to Danish tourists, journalists and Danish government officials. Even with his busy schedule, he still finds time to referee soccer for the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) on Saturdays.

When off island, Leif Clemens Pedersen also is a Danish-American facilitator for Danish contacts and promotions in the United States. He started the Scandinavian Soccer Sports Club, "The Vikings," in Brooklyn, New York. For several years he was chairman of the Danish American Coordinating Council in Greater New York, board member of the Danish Home for the Aged and co-founder of DANCE, a cultural exchange program for the performing arts.
Born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1938, Pedersen moved to New York to assist the president of a major Danish civil engineering and construction company. This opportunity led him to a 20-year tenure with an Argentine-Italian conglomeration of companies. He assisted in the pipeline, refinery and steel mill constructions in Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. After his early retirement in 1993, he and his wife, Elisabeth, moved to St. Croix to their current home, which they have owned since 1980.

On October 18, 2003, Pedersen and his wife of 41 years, Elisabeth, were featured in a three-hour prime time television program shown on Danish national television. The program highlighted Danes thriving with the local people of beautiful St. Croix. On November 21, 2003, Danish radio will feature a program entitled "Red Grout and Blood Lines." During this program, Mr. Pedersen will advocate for reparations for descendants of enslaved Africans during Danish rule of St. Croix. Pedersen strongly believes that the Danes should build industries on the island to create jobs while boosting the economy of the island.

"Mr. Pedersen's continuous efforts to maintain relationships with Denmark, St. Croix and the Unites States have made Crucians proud, both at home and abroad," Commissioner of Tourism Pamela C. Richards said. "The United States Virgin Islands is proud of his dedicated service and many accomplishments for his unrelenting love, service and activism for St. Croix."

Posted by Anthony at 12:31 PM

USVI's Canfield Places Eighth In First Junior Gold Cup

A young friend of our's just returned to St. Thomas from Bermuda and the inaugural Renaissance Reinsurance Junior Gold Cup. You can read about his success at caribbeanracing.com

Posted by Anthony at 12:14 PM

October 25, 2003

Pastory Gardens To Open Soon?

Rumor has it that Pastory Gardens on St. John has received their CO finally. I have been very excited to take my kids to the mini-golf course, which looks outstanding. If anyone has any other news let us know.

Posted by Anthony at 12:39 PM | Comments (4)

October 24, 2003

Time Change This Weekend

The clocks roll back this weekend in the US. Just a reminder for those who do business in the states not to call your clients in California at 4:00 AM (yes - I did call a villa owner in San Francisco once at five in the morning...).

Posted by Anthony at 11:08 AM

Open Thread

An "Open Thread" is where you get to decide what to discuss. Have a question, want to make a point, found some relevant news on the Web? Let us know!

Posted by Anthony at 12:44 AM | Comments (11)

Fewer Cruise Ships This Year

The Atlanta Journal Constitution has picked up this AP story (widely reported) about fewer cruise ships to the territory this year. Cruise ship arrivals are down almost 20% percent in the last 11 months.
My question is - why? Conventional wisdom (and industry talk) seemed to be that cruise arrivals would be going up post 9/11. Can this downturn all be due to the lack of ships to St. Croix? The official story on Carnival's pull out of St. Croix was over the safety of their pasengers while on land, but there has been a lot of rumblings that the real reason was a power struggle when the VI Port Authority took over the Crown Bay development. I don't have any hard facts on this topic but would love to hear from any of you that do.

Posted by Anthony at 12:32 AM | Comments (1)

WELCOME!

Welcome to the Coconut Telegraph - a new place to discuss the US Virgin Islands. We hope to bring you timely news, interesting stories, opinions and commentary about the USVI, and encourage your participation in the discussion. All articles or entries will have a link at the end which allows you, the user, to comment and discuss the topic that was written about. We are planning to point out important headlines, have links and comments about USVI news stories found on the Web, and offer some original writing as well.
So welcome! We look forward to your participation and some lively discussion.

Posted by Anthony at 12:16 AM | Comments (3)