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Created on Friday, 11 April 2014 05:46
Written by Jaime Elliott
Officials hope to raise $50,000 this month to get started on renovations to the basketball court in Coral Bay, above.
With an initial $5,000 donation already secured, Rotary Club of St. John members are hoping renovations to the dilapidated Coral Bay basketball court move more quickly than the eight years it took get an agreement to allow work on the land.
Rotary Club member and Coral Bay Community Council President Sharon Coldren helped to hammer out an agreement between the Moravian Church Virgin Islands Conference, which owns the property, T-Rex St. John LLC, which has a long-term lease for the property, and Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation which will oversee the project.
The agreement is the culmination of years of work, dating back to 2005 when it was agreed that funds from that year’s Coral Bay Yacht Club Flotilla fundraiser would be used to refurbish the court, Coldren explained.
“CBCC has been working on this since 2005 when we had agreed to spend that year’s flotilla money to fix up the basketball court for the children of the school,” said Coldren. “We were literally at the point of executing the contract with the resurfacer when I got a phone call from T-Rex’s attorney telling us we couldn’t do it.”
Read more: With First Donation Secured, St. John Rotary Club Hopes To Move Quickly on Coral Bay Basketball...
Created on Thursday, 10 April 2014 08:57
Written by Jaime Elliott
Three parking spaces were recently restricted for use by “Licensed Villa Companies” only at the Cruz Bay waterfront, above.
Since taking over management of the Cruz Bay waterfront in December 2013, V.I. Port Authority officials made little change until last week when officials restricted use of three of the seven parking spots available to the public.
Most of the parking spaces at the Cruz Bay waterfront are open only to taxi drivers, leaving seven parking spots at the north end of the beach open to the public.
During the weekend of March 29 and 30, VIPA installed two signs reading “Loading and Unloading Only By Licensed Villa Company” and marking off three of those seven spaces.
VIPA officials made no public announcement about the change of policy and got no public feedback about the new parking restrictions. At least several residents who frequent the waterfront area on a daily basis were not pleased with VIPA’s new signs.
“I drop my kids off on the 7 a.m. ferry and I can’t use this parking space,” said one mother who was unhappy with VIPA’s recent changes to the Cruz Bay waterfront. “There are no villa people here at 7 a.m. picking up guests but I still can’t use those spaces. Who is in charge down here anyway?”
Read more: VIPA Restricts Three Parking Spaces on Waterfront To Villa Companies
Created on Thursday, 10 April 2014 08:28
Written by Tom Oat
Rosemary and James Malfetti Jr., had sent out a simple message on March 31 in advertisements announcing an additional contribution to the family’s offer of a reward for information on the murder of their son, James Malfetti III, in his St. John apartment on January 18, 2014:
“We were just notified by Crime Stoppers that they can’t handle rewards over $2,500 and their rewards are only for arrest, not arrest and conviction,” Rosemary Malfetti wrote St. John Tradewinds. “Crime Stoppers has asked us to withdraw their name and phone number from the ad.”
Rosemary and her husband, James Malfetti Jr., had sent out a simple message March 31 in advertisements announcing an additional contribution to the family’s offer of a reward for information on the murder of their son, James Malfetti III, in his St. John apartment on January 18.
“We have received a $5,000 donation from a resident of St John who wishes to remain anonymous,” Rosemary and James Malfetti Jr. posted on the internet. “The initial $25,000 reward is from the family of Jimmy Malfetti, our ‘justiceforjimmyteam.’ The total reward now stands at $30,000. Please help us with this message.”
The Malfetti family is now offering its $30,000 reward without the involvement of the national Crime Stoppers program.
Objection to Size, Terms of Reward
The conflict over the reward seemed to arise after the lawyer for the Malfetti family, Nancy Lucianna of Fort Lee, NJ, contacted Atty. Alan B. Brown, the Civilian Coordinator for Crime Stoppers USVI, to inquire about updating the Crime Stoppers announcement of their standard $2,500 reward for information on the Malfetti murder to include the family’s $30,000 privately-funded award.
“Please be advised that I represent the family of Jim Malfetti, the young man who was murdered in St. John earlier this year,” Atty. Lucianna wrote Atty. Brown on Monday, March 31. “In reference to same, I am writing with regards to the recent $30,000.00 reward that was raised by the family for any information leading to the arrest and conviction.”
Read more: Malfetti Family Hopes $30,000 Reward Will Bring Information on Son’s Murder
Created on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 12:49
Written by Tom Oat
Taxi drivers meet with Lt. Gov. Francis, above, at the St. John Legislative Annex in Cruz Bay on Thursday evening, April 3.
Lt. Gov. Gregory Francis listened carefully to the concerns of more than two dozen St. John taxi drivers at a meeting and promised action on retaining the iconic St. John safari taxis, like the ones pictured above on the Cruz Bay waterfront.
In his first meeting on St. John as a 2014 candidate for Governor, Lt. Governor Gregory Francis did not shy away from the thorniest political issue in a meeting with members of one of the strongest voting groups in the territory – the island’s taxi drivers.
In an impromptu meeting at the V.I. Legislature in Cruz Bay on Thursday night, April 3, Lt. Gov. Francis listened to the concerns of more than two dozen taxi medallion holders and drivers about the impact of a rule promulgated in 2009 by the V.I. Taxi Commission which seeks to force medallion holders to replace the islands’ iconic safari-style, open-air taxis with enclosed vans.
Francis promised action on the major issues raised by the St. John taxi drivers who said V.I. Taxi Commission regulations are unfairly restricting their business and threatening the island’s tourism industry by eliminating the safari-style open taxis preferred by visitors.
Read more: Lt. Gov. Francis Promises Taxi Drivers Action on Rules Threatening Safaris
Created on Tuesday, 08 April 2014 10:29
Written by Press Release
For nearly a year and a half, the principals of the Summer’s End Group have proactively sought input for their efforts into the possibility of bringing a marina to St. John. This has been accomplished through participation in the planning of the Coral Bay Community Council’s Phase ll of the Coral Bay Watershed Management Plan, the Marine Uses Planning Group of the CBWMP, the Citizen’s Advisory Committee for VI Waste Management Authority, Island Green Builder’s Green Thursdays and other events, St. John Recyclers, St. John Community Foundation and the American Institute of Architecture’s Sustainable Development Assessment Team’s plan report for Coral Bay, to name just a few.
In a continued, long term planning effort to insure that the core values of sustainable development which are environmental, social and economic are honored in all of their efforts, the Summer’s End Group has formed a Marine Uses Advisory Panel.
The purpose of this board is to insure, that through a diverse group of intelligent, caring individuals all concerns and considerations for ongoing and future activities and actions regarding a marina for St. John and the management and protection of St. John’s coastal waters are given maximum consideration.
Read more: Summer's End Group Forms Marine Uses Advisory Panel
Created on Monday, 07 April 2014 05:28
Written by Judi Shimel
Born as a warehouse for a small sugar plantation, circa 1723, this building is getting new life as part of a single-family home renovation at Maho Bay. A descendant of the family that purchased the 18th century Vessup Estate plantation is now converting it into a dwelling. Because of its historic value, the V.I. State Historic Preservation Office has asked that certain architectural features be preserved.
The original shutters still hang from the windows of an 18th century warehouse that sat largely undisturbed in a shaded corner of Maho Bay Beach for decades. Although it is not a registered historic site, documents kept by the National Park Service say this plantation era warehouse played a significant role in the Fortsberg Slave Uprising.
Motorists travelling along Route 20 past Maho Bay Beach have noticed it for years, at the end of the straightaway; a small stone building, shaded by trees, shuttered windows and doors.
Recent activity in the area of that building has brought new interest to beach-goers, passersby and the Virgin Islands State Historic Preservation Office.
Renovations on the 18th century warehouse dating from the Danish plantation era began in February in the area, which was acquired through a deal with Trust for Public Land.
As the required Coastal Zone Management permitting process took shape, more information surfaced about the once innocuous structure and the role it played in Virgin Islands history.
The factory is now being incorporated into the construction of a single family private house, with work taking place under the eye of VISHPO.
The old stone warehouse was a strategic location for rebel slaves who captured St. John from Danish planters during the 1733 Forstberg Slave Revolt, according to documents kept by the Virgin Islands National Park.
During that slave revolt, the island was held for six months until it was re-taken by French and British military.
Read more: Historic Warehouse Gets New Life at Maho Bay