May 16, 2007
Eleventh Annual Ruby Rutnik Tournament Raises Nearly $30,000 for Scholarship Fund
From the St. John Tradewinds:
"Clear skies and an enthusiastic crowd welcomed the 11th annual Ruby Rutnik Memorial Softball Tournament on Friday, May 4, through Sunday, May 6, at the Winston Wells ball field in Cruz Bay.
The Central High Lady Caribs walked away with the title after beating the St. Thomas All Stars 16-10 at the Sunday championship game.
Nearly $30,000 was raised for the Ruby Rutnik Scholarship Fund, which awards scholarships to four Virgin Islands students each year."
July 29, 2005
St. Croix: Neighbors Say Mosquito-Infested Tires Not Removed
From the Source - not a good story - our friends just got back from a visit to St. Croix, and one of their daughters got dengue:
July 28, 2005 - Neighbors say the mosquito-infested tires found in the yard of an abandoned home in the Williams Delight community have not been removed, just moved inside the empty home.
Virgin Islands Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control officials found more than 50 illegally dumped tires during an entomology training and surveillance check Tuesday in the Williams Delight community. Mosquitoes, which can carry the dengue fever that has been infecting people in the area, were breeding in the tires. According to a press release issued by Darlene Carty, Department of Health commissioner, the DOH officers notified the V.I. Housing Authority, which is the responsible agency for the community, and gave them two hours to "dispose of the tires."
July 28, 2005
Couple of rumors floating around. One is that the old Renaissance property (or Grand Beach, etc.) has been sold or is going to be sold. The other was that Sapphire Beach was closing - this one seems totally unfounded - maybe it has to do with the construction project they have been trying to get off the ground for years. I don't see how they could "close" though because a lot of those units (as far as I know) are individually owned. Anyway I will check these out in the next couple of days and let you know what I hear.
May 10, 2005
This really bums me out...
This is from the Source this morning:
Gun Violence Interrupts Sunday at the Beach
by Shaun A. Pennington
May 9, 2005 – Sunday at Magens Bay is a time that friends and family relax, party, play, frolic in the water and eat. Never before has it been a time when they had to dodge bullets. Not until this week.
At about 3 p.m. Sunday the sharp clap of gun shots interrupted the sound of laughter, music and pounding surf at the beach that "National Geographic" once dubbed one of the 10 most beautiful in the world.
May 02, 2005
Belize Government ordered to return ownership of telecoms operator
I bet there are a few Virgin Islanders who would disagree with that...
April 21, 2005
Gas Prices Said to be Bleeding the Territory
From the Source:
April 20, 2005 – Licensing and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Andrew Rutnik Wednesday placed the blame of rising fuel prices on the shoulders of Hovensa and gasoline wholesalers in the territory. During a hearing of the Senate Government Operations and Consumer Protection hearing, Rutnik said gasoline prices in the territory were too high, especially since the Virgin Islands is home to one of the largest refineries in the Western Hemisphere. "The cost of living is going through the roof," Committee Chairman Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg said. "People in this community are on fixed incomes and they cannot deal with the rising cost of gas and the average cost of living in the Virgin Islands."
Posted by afinta at 11:24 AM
January 12, 2005
19 historic buildings slated for preservation work
By TANYA MANNES Wednesday, January 12th 2005
Nineteen of the territory's historic public structures, including the Market Square Bungalow on St. Thomas, will be renovated, repaired or restored with money from the Public Finance Authority's 2003 Gross Receipts Revenue Bonds.
The $270 million bond issue in December 2003 included $15 million for historical restoration.
The authority's governing board approved on Tuesday a list of the projects on all three islands for which that money will be used.
"This is significant for a number of reasons," said Gov. Charles Turnbull, chairman of the PFA governing board. "First, the buildings are a part of our identity: our historical and architectural heritage."
Click here to read the rest.
Posted by afinta at 03:35 PM
December 13, 2004
Sad news -
10,000 V.I. children live in poverty, report shows
By AYESHA MORRIS
Saturday, December 11th 2004
ST. THOMAS - While child poverty has slightly dropped in the Virgin Islands, almost 10,000 local children, or 30.6 percent, remain impoverished - almost double the national average.
Those figures were at the core of the Kids Count report released Friday by the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands. The report tracks the well-being of children in the territory.
Kids Count is part of a national campaign funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to trace 13 indicators of children's well-being - from the percentage of children living in poverty to the high school dropout rate, birth rate and violent crime arrest rate among teens.
Posted by afinta at 01:09 AM
October 04, 2004
Goats Expelled From Virgin Islands Park
Somehow the AP picked up this story about goats on St. John - pretty funny to find this on a website from Tuscaloosa!
By MAT PROBASCO
Associated Press Writer
October 04, 2004
Chewing exotic flowers and common weeds, the indiscriminate eating habits of free-roaming goats have earned them expulsion from a U.S. Virgin Islands national park, officials said Monday.
Goats, left behind by early European explorers for food on future journeys to the Caribbean, tear through the Virgin Islands National Park's 737 known species of plants - some of which are facing extinction, said Rafe Boulon, the park's resource management chief.
About 200 goats wander the 7,150-acre national park in St. John - a forest island where native species account for 85 percent of plant life - sometimes leaving behind swaths of bare ground from their voracious grazing, Boulon said.
September 16, 2004
Jeanne got worse...
Tropical Storm/Hurricane Jeanne was no big deal for awhile, but then on Wednesday night it started to rain very heavily... and it still is! Here is a photo from yesterday afternoon taken by Ronnie of the Crystal Palace:
Posted by afinta at 04:12 PM
July 29, 2004
Lowenstein buys 17 acres on East End Developer, V.I. government await appraisals in fight over ownership
From the daily news:
"ST. THOMAS - Developer Alfredo Lowenstein has purchased 17 acres of East End land near Vessup Beach and Muller Bay for $3 million.
But Lowenstein's plans to build homes and condominiums on the land may not become reality. The V.I. government has earmarked $3 million to buy the land by eminent domain.
"Now we'll have to wait to see what happens with the government," Lowenstein said Tuesday."
What do you think of this whole story? I have a comment up on VirginIslandsMLS.com - feel free to add to the discussion.
Posted by afinta at 01:35 AM
May 05, 2004
Vessup Bay Clean Up Planned
The Red hook Alliance and the North side Civic Organization would like to invite the entire community and other organizations to help us clean up Vessup bay and the surrounding areas on Saturday, May 15 at 8:30 am. Please bring the appropriate clothing, gloves and meet us at Kean high school under the shed. Bags and water will be provided. We will end our clean up at Vessup so please bring your bathing suit. Please contact Andrea King at 626- 7294 or e-mail at email@example.com or Jason Budsan at 775- 6048 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by afinta at 11:53 AM
April 23, 2004
We're getting some new buses!
Here is some news that should make Caribbean author Harry Pariser happy:
V.I. sets sights on 10 new buses after $1.4 million federal payout
By TANYA MANNES
Thursday, April 22nd 2004
The V.I. Public Works Department is in negotiations to purchase 10 buses to replace much of its aging VITRAN fleet after receiving a delayed payment of more than $1.4 million from the federal government.
Combined with $1 million in reprogrammed federal highway funding, the money will be used for improvements in public transportation throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands, Public Works Commissioner Wayne Callwood announced Wednesday.
Posted by afinta at 11:17 AM
April 14, 2004
Taste of St. Croix
A little late but wanted to mention that through a certain friend I was invited to be a judge at this year's Taste of St. Croix at the Divi last week. Overall a well put together and well attended event, I hope it was a success as a fund raiser. We had a great time with our contingent from St. Thomas and St. John including chefs from The Stone Terrace, Chateau Bordeaux and other local restaurant owners and food and wine folks. Met a lot of people, managed to embarrass myself in front of the Lieutenant Governor, and saw some fool jump in the Divi pool naked in front of 800 people. It seems everyone made it to the casino after but I am not a gambler so I mostly watched the action and hopefully spread some good luck around while waiting at the bar for hours on end for a beer.
April 07, 2004
More on Antilles
Tanya Mannes has written a way too flattering account of what happened with Art Scott at Antilles. I guess you have to be tactful at times, but the article is really a bunch of mush. This isn't a personal attack on Tanya - I just wish some of the people she interviewed would have let fly a bit more.
The only positive quote she got was from Art's assistant headmaster Chris Teare - from what I am told someone who Art created a job for. There are no dollar figures attached to what Antilles is paying the people he fired, or for how much he is going to receive from his contract. I only heard negative comments on Art's tenure here, from a lot of long time residents. It seems like it was a failure. Why can't that be said?
February 09, 2004
I heard things...
So it sounds like Caneel Bay has been sold. The new owners remain a mysterious investment group, and there are rumors of new rooms planned. I really don't know much, but if any of you have heard feel free to let us know (for all I know this may be old news, I don't get out much).
The Queen Mary II is in and seems to be shuttling people back and forth from her tenders today. I had read about the maiden voyage that they were not working correctly but I saw them both close up today while on the waterfront and have been watching with binoculars from up at home too. The ship today for some reason does look HUGE - it didn't seem so impressive the first time, maybe it was the angle.
December 30, 2003
Fast Ferry, Seaborne to offer package deal
From the Daily News:
Monday, December 29th 2003
ST. CROIX - Seaborne Airlines and V.I. Fast Ferry have teamed up to offer discounted round-trip excursions between St. Croix and St. Thomas.
Under the "Super Sea and Sky package," customers will be able to take a Seaborne flight from St. Thomas to St. Croix and return to St. Thomas via the Fast Ferry.
The package is expected to maximize "stay time" at the destinations, according to Omer ErSelcuk, chief marketing officer at Seaborne Airlines.
For example, he said, if a customer wants to spend two full days on St. Thomas, the customer can fly Seaborne and be on St. Thomas by 8 a.m. on Saturday and stay until 8 p.m. Sunday by taking the V.I. Fast Ferry back home.
"People will be able to stay later on either island by flying with us and coming back with the ferry, because we don't fly at night," ErSelcuk said.
Peak travel will cost $90 roundtrip, $80 during off-peak hours from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and all day weekends, he said.
ErSelcuk said that his company and V.I. Fast Ferry are still competitors but decided to enter into a "pro-rate agreement" to stimulate the inter-island market travel by offering prospective consumers savings, flexibility and choice.
The Super Sea and Sky will offer savings of combined one-way rates from Seaborne and the Fast Ferry. Customers can book tickets by calling either Seaborne or V.I. Fast Ferry.
Seaborne employs over 130 residents and carries about 175,000 passengers a year, ErSelcuk said.
V.I. Fast Ferry, now entering its fourth year of operations in the Virgin Islands, is a subsidiary of Boston Harbor Cruises, the second-largest private passenger cruise service in the United States, according to Kevin Matthews, marketing director. V.I. Fast Ferry operates the 600 passenger Salacia from November to May and employs roughly 15 residents.
December 09, 2003
HOME Depot to open first store in US Virgin Islands
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands - December 9 - Home Depot will open the doors to its first store in the U.S. Virgin Islands on Dec. 11. The 97,000-square-foot store will feature Home Depot’s latest floor plan, newly redesigned departments, a special home decor section and a garden center, as well as products that cater to the tastes of customers in the Virgin Islands, the company said.
"Like a store in Key West or Puerto Rico, the product mix will be different than what you find in the typical Home Depot store," Home Depot spokesman John Simley told HCN.
Similarly to U.S. and Canadian stores, the St. Thomas store will also offer "how-to" clinics, including "Do it Herself" workshops, specifically for female shoppers. Area contractors and neighboring residents who received direct-mail invitations will get a sneak preview of the store on Dec. 10.
The world’s largest home channel retailer decided the Virgin Islands was ripe for a Home Depot location given the demand here. "We had a lot of people that were shopping at stores in Florida and Puerto Rico and then transporting the products back to the Virgin Islands," Simley said. "There is a tremendous amount of new sales we can pick up by being in this market."
Among Home Depot’s 1,654 stores, the retailer operates eight stores in Puerto Rico.
December 02, 2003
"Rumble in Paradise"
ESPN2 Boxing Event To Broadcast Live From St. Thomas
"Rumble in Paradise" Brings Six-Fight Card to 90 Million Viewers
UNITED STATES VIRGIN ISLANDS, December 2, 2003 - Commissioner of Tourism Pamela C. Richards is pleased to announce that the first major boxing event to be held in the U.S. Virgin Islands will take place on Friday, December 5, at the University of the Virgin Islands Sports & Fitness Center on St. Thomas. The government of United States Virgin Islands, in association with Sugar Ray Leonard Boxing and Sterling Promotions, will bring "Rumble in Paradise," a six-fight card event to St. Thomas, which will be nationally televised to more than 90 million viewers on the ESPN2 cable network beginning at 9 p.m. EST.
"The U.S. Virgin Islands is proud to host this simulcast television sports event," Richards said. "We are committed to bringing high-caliber events to the territory that showcase our islands and provide quality entertainment and sporting events for our residents and visitors to enjoy."
As a part of ESPN2's Friday Night Fight Series, the "Rumble in Paradise" event will feature two main boxing matches, as well as four other fights. Headlining the event will be a Title Fight for the WBO's NABO Lightweight Title featuring Courtney Burton (19-1) of Benton Harbor, MI versus Francisco Lorenzo (19-2) of San Cristobal, DR. The co-main event features a match up of top Welterweight's featuring Carlos "El Indio" Quintana (14-0) of Puerto Rico versus David Estrada (15-1) of Chicago, IL. Six-time world-championship boxer and former Olympic Gold Medallist, Sugar Ray Leonard will be available for autographs and photos with fans in attendance at this spectacular event.
Tickets are currently available online at www.sterlingboxing.com. Tickets may be purchased locally at the following locations in the U.S. Virgin Islands: Modern Music (Havensight), Sports-O-Rama (Lower Main Street), Champs (Tutu Mall), Petite Pump Room (next to Seaborne Airlines), Sunrise Pharmacy (Red Hook), Nisky Pharmacy (Nisky Center), Forever Flowers (Frenchtown), Family Billiards Center (Sub Base), St. John Drug Center and St. John Car Rental. Tickets are available for $75, $50 and $25.
For more information about "Rumble in Paradise," call Sterling Promotions at (702) 471-9027, or Sugar Ray Leonard Boxing at (310) 471-3100. Additional information is available online at www.sterlingboxing.com and www.srlboxing.com. For more information about the United States Virgin Islands, 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 10:43 PM
We have been really busy here and not had a lot of time to gather news. We are working on some back end issues and also some new content areas for USVI-On-Line and Caribbean-On-Line, as well as some new ideas for sites that are not Caribbean related. In the news - the weather is beautiful, the Berry brohters fund raiser seemed to go well, the Yacht Haven project has the green light... and that is all I have heard lately! Feel free to talk about what you want on this thread.
November 08, 2003
Ronnie's Rantings: TAXIS!!!
As five ships were in the harbor Thursday, and with the traffic I went through driving around. I will be ranting about taxis! Yup! Everyone’s favorite subject around here!
Let me start with the airport. What a freaking mess. You get your luggage and then, as you get ready to leave for your destination, you are grunted at by the dispatcher as to where you are going. Now, you have to get into a van with maybe 12 other people, and wait for it to fill up, then head in your direction, just that, in your direction. If there are 3 hotels to be going to, and you are the last one, you get a quick hotel tour. Just what you need after traveling all day! My rant here is to why do they have to have those big unsafe vans? Do you know the rental companies no longer rent them because they have been found to be unsafe by the NTSB? And for years we have been told that the safaris aren’t safe either!
We need regular cabs, not vans or safaris. No reason why you shouldn’t be able to hop in the first cab and go and not pay any extra money. Now if these guys want to have the big cabs and take more people, then they should charge less for that service! In Puerto Rico they have them and call them Publicos. In Trinidad, they are called route taxis. Also in Puerto Rico, they are so tourist conscience, that they have fixed rates to the popular areas, so neither taxi nor visitor get the short end of the stick. The dispatcher writes down the fare on a ticket and hands it to you when you are waiting in line. It tells you how much you will be paying. You hand it to the driver when you get into the cab and that’s it!
Now, if the Senators had any balls, they would change our taxi laws. Taxis have a lot of clout because during the days of the machine in the 60s, they were the ones hired to take voters to the polls to vote. They were the last person that a voter had to talk to sway them in the direction of the machine. In return, they give them anything they want. This has to stop! Most importantly, they need to realize that most voters now get themselves to the polls, and most of the taxi drivers can’t even vote, as they are not citizens!
Main Street would be so much better as a walking street. Lots would be accomplished here. First, the taxis won’t be driving down the street at 3 miles and hour asking you if you want to go back to the ship. If I were a downtown storeowner, it wouldn’t happen. At 9:30 in the morning, they are asking if you want to go back to the ship! What nonsense! There were a few days last season when there were 8 ships in that they closed Main Street to traffic. Guess what? There were no traffic jams on the waterfront, traffic flowed smoothly! This time it’s up to the administration to call the shots, hopefully they will this season!
We have way too many taxis. Something like 1400! I was in Las Vegas once and had the same cab twice in two days caught in a different location. I thought is ironic and when I told the cabbie, he said not. He told me that there were only 250 taxis in the entire city of Las Vegas (that was 1987, I understand they have 350 now) and it is easy to get the same one twice as they run 24/7! And we have 1400!!!And they are still adding 5 a year to veterans!
Not even going to get into their stopping wherever they want, they not picking up locals, the safaris deciding to be dollar rides when they want to, unless tourists are in town, their parking in regular parking spaces, but you can’t park in theirs! I can go on and on, but will stop for now.
What do you think?
November 07, 2003
Bella Blu open in Frenchtown
Longtime St. Thomas restaurant owner Alexander Treml has re-opened his former "Alexanders" spot in Frechtown as "Bella Blu" (I hope that spelling is correct).
The popular dining spot has undergone a complete renovation and has an upscale, chic mood. The room has been redone in blues and silvers, the bar is all new with glass shelves and chrome glass holders, and the music sets an international groove in the background.
Of course there is a whole new menu to go with it. We were there recently for lunch and had a great time trying some of the new dishes. I do need to get a menu to do proper justice to the food but standout plates we tasted were black olive pesto gnocchi, grilled lamb ke-babs and the lentil cakes. The food is meant to be shared and there are a lot of appetizer size items, as well as a few larger plates, soups, and daily specials. I can't wait to go back for dinner.
We do have a friend who spends a lot of time there and maybe he can add some more suggestions as to what to eat there.
So what's new?
Was off island a few days this week and came back to the news that the Renaissance has been sold. We have a lot of friends over there - I wish them all well and hope they don't all lose their jobs.
This Saturday night is the Flavors Of St. John at the Westin and we are looking forward to that. What else is going on? We have been very busy with work and would like to hear any news any of you have.
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
October 28, 2003
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.
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