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henley cay
Henley CayHenley Cay was once known as Women’s Cay because during the slave revolt of 1733, surviving white women and children were placed there to await rescue and transportation to St. Thomas. The surviving white men made Durloe’s plantation at Caneel Bay their stronghold, which they succeeded in defending against the rebels.

In the 1940s and 1950s, Henley, Ramgoat and Rata Cays (The Durloe Cays) were owned by Roger Humphrey, the Marine commandant of the Virgin Islands during World War II. He built the concrete storehouse whose ruins are presently found on Henley Cay. In 1947 Humprey’s son, a navy pilot, flew his aircraft over Henley Cay. He apparently was executing some air acrobatics, which he miscalculated, flew too low, crashed into the cay and died. This was the first time a plane had crashed anywhere near St. John. The wreckage of the plane can still be seen on top of the island.

After his son’s death Humphrey lost interest in further development of Henley and rarely returned there. In 1948, he rented Henley Cay to Robert and Nancy Gibney, the parents of the present owners of Gibney Beach, who lived there for about a year before building their permanent home at Hawksnest.

St. John and Virgin Islands News

Advocates Voice Benefits of Marijuana Law Forum
By Carol Buchanan — April 18, 2014

If the 200 people at the University of the Virgin Islands Great Hall could have held a binding official vote Wednesday night, marijuana in all its forms would be legal.

Sen. Terrence “Positive” Nelson, along with Gustav James and Tafari Tzaddi, hosted what was called an “intellectual discussion on marijuana reform” for the Virgin Islands.

Although words of caution about how legalizations should come about, especially about how legalization would affect children, the overwhelming feeling of the panel and the audience appeared to be that the prohibition of marijuana use was not working.

When panelist Ras Bobby, an herbalist, said, “Fireburn on prohibition,” his words were greeted with cheers from the audience…. read more

Roberto Tapia, Angelo Hill Sentenced for Drug Conspiracy
By James Gardner — April 18, 2014

Former Department of Planning and Natural Resources Chief Environmental Enforcement Officer Roberto Tapia was sentenced in District Court on Thursday to 70 months in prison for drug trafficking. Former Police Sgt. Angelo Hill, a codefendent in the case, was sentenced to 21 months in prison…. read more

St. John Live Music Schedule

Aqua Bistro
Steven Sloan
5:30 – 8:30
340-776-5336

Beach Bar
Brother Nature
9:00
340-777-4220

Castaway’s
Mikey P
9:00
Dance Party
11:00
340-777-3316

Barefoot Cowboy Lounge
T-Bird
7:00 – 9:00
340-201-1236

Cinnamon Bay
Eddie Bruce – Drumming
6:30 -8:30
340-776-6330

High Tide
Mikey P
5:00 – 8:00
340-714-6169

Island Blues
Brother Nature
8:00
340-776-6800

Morgan’s Mango
Lauren
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-8141

Ocean Grill
Rascio on Steel Pan
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-3304

Rhumb Lines
Erin Hart
7:00 – 10:00
340-776-0303

Shipwreck Landing
Tropical Sounds
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-5640

Skinny Legs
Chris Carsel
6:00
340-779-4982

Spyglass
James Milne
5:00 – 8:00
340-776-1100

Virgin Fire
Aussie Guitars
The David T Carter Duo
6:00 – 9:00
340-779-4982

See Weekly Schedule

St. John Weather

Scattered showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 78. East wind 22 to 24 mph, with gusts as high as 34 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK FOR THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS AND THE ADJACENT COASTAL WATERS.

DAY ONE…TODAY AND TONIGHT: BREEZY TO LOCALLY WINDY CONDITIONS WILL CONTINUE TO PRODUCE SEAS OF 6 TO 8 FEET ACROSS MOST OF THE WATERS. THIS WILL RESULT IN CHOPPY AND HAZARDOUS MARINE CONDITIONS TODAY. IN ADDITION…WINDS PERPENDICULAR TO THE COAST WILL INCREASE THE RISK OF RIP CURRENTS.

DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN…SATURDAY THROUGH THURSDAY: CHOPPY AND HAZARDOUS MARINE CONDITIONS WILL CONTINUE THROUGH THE END OF THE WEEK. LOCALLY STRONG WINDS WILL BE CAPABLE OF PRODUCING RIP CURRENTS ESPECIALLY ALONG THE WINDWARD COASTS.

 

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bird in mango tree

St. John News

Guy Benjamin School is Hot Topic at Coral Bay Town Meeting
By Lynda Lohr — April 17, 2014

Parents Anna Adams and Cassandra Long both want their children to go to Guy Benjamin School.

The fate of Guy Benjamin School in Coral Bay dominated the discussion at a town meeting held Wednesday at the school. Community members said that, after they saw their kindergarteners and first-graders shifted from Guy Benjamin to Julius E. Sprauve School in Cruz Bay at the start of the school year, they were worried that the Education Department would close the school….

… While Guy Benjamin was the most discussed topic at the meeting, several people asked about where things stand with the long-awaited combined elementary and high school slated to be built at Catherineberg. The local government needs to come up with a way to exchange land with the federal government because the land intended for the school sits within V.I. National Park boundaries.

“They say they are working on it,” Cole said.

Most St. John public high school students attend Ivanna Eudora Kean High School on St. Thomas, taking the ferry across Pillsbury Sound to school.

Retired educator Yvonne Wells said that Kean High has lots of violence. “Because they are from St. John, they decide they are going to pop them,” Wells referring to the attacks on St. John boys by St. Thomas students.

She said because of the problems at Kean High, St. John is “losing its young black men.”

Those at the meeting also had other concerns.

Several people said that because the VITRAN bus doesn’t run on weekends and holiday people are losing job opportunities because in a tourism-based economy people often work on weekends.

And at issue for several residents was the lack of representation when it comes to elected officials. St. John residents as well as those on St. Thomas vote for seven senators. Voters across the territory select the at-large senator, who must live on St. John but represents people on all three main islands as well as Water Island and the few who live on various cays…. read more

Craig’s List scam reported

The Porter County Sheriff’s Police has taken the report of a Westchester Township resident who lost more than $1,000 in another Craig’s List rental scam.

According to police, on Monday the resident advised that her husband wired $1,130 to a “Jason Ahn” to secure the rental for a week of an apartment on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands posted on Craig’s List.

The resident, however, had “a funny feeling that she was being scammed because the e-mails being sent did not seem to add up,” police said. After further research, she found the apartment in question listed on another site and subsequently determined that it was not Mr. Ahn’s to rent.

The PCSP referred the resident to the Federal Trade Commission and the Indiana Attorney General’s Office.

St. John Live Music Schedule

Banana Deck
Steel Pan by Lemuel Samuels
7:00 – 9:00
340-693-5055

Barefoot Cowboy Lounge
Ike
6:30 -9:30
340-201-1236

Beach Bar
John Gazi
9:00
340-777-4220

Concordia
Wayne Clendenin and Pamela Love
4:30 – 6:30
340-693-5855

High Tide
Erin Hart
5:00 – 8:00
340-714-6169

Inn at Tamarind Court
Brother Nature
6:30 – 9:30
340-776-6378

Island Blues
Gann – Solo guitar
7:00 – 10:00
340-776-6800

Miss Lucy’s
Rich & Greg
6:00 – 9:00
340-693-5244

Morgan’s Mango
James Anderson
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-8141

Ocean Grill
Chris Carsel
6:00 – 9:00
340-693-3304

Pickles
T-Bird
6:00 – 8:00
340-776-6908

Skinny Legs
Lauren Jones
6:00 – 9:00
340-779-4982

Spyglass
James Milne
5:00 – 8:00
340-776-1100

See Weekly Schedule

St. John Weather

Scattered showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 76. East wind 16 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK FOR THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS AND THE ADJACENT COASTAL WATERS

SUSTAINED WINDS UP TO 21 KNOTS WITH HIGHER GUSTS ARE EXPECTED OVER THE WATERS. THIS WILL RESULT IN SEAS BUILDING 6 TO 8 FEET WITH SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY CONDITIONS FOR ALL WATERS. THESE WINDS MAY GENERATE RIP CURRENTS ESPECIALLY IN THE NORTH AND EAST FACING BEACHES. .DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN…FRIDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY WINDS ARE EXPECTED TO STRENGTHEN THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING WITH SUSTAINED WINDS OF 21 KNOTS EXPECTED OVER ALL OF THE COASTAL WATERS. THIS WILL RESULT IN SEAS BUILDING 6 TO 8 FEET WITH SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY CONDITIONS FOR ALL WATERS. THESE WINDS MAY GENERATE RIP CURRENTS ESPECIALLY IN THE NORTH AND EAST FACING BEACHES.

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blue bell tunicates

Blue Bell Tunicates – photographed on the Trunk Bay Underwater Trail

tunicates and coralThese pretty blue creatures are blue bell tunicates. Like most of the creatures on the reef they are animals. They are found on the reef attached at one end to a substrate like corals, sea fans or rocks. On the other end they have a pair of openings or siphons. One takes in water, which is passed through the animal where oxygen and nutrients are extracted, the remainder being discahrged through the other siphon. They can quickly close off their siphons if they feel threatened.

St. John Events

St. John School of the Arts

Sis Frank Concert Series
A Night of Music, Dance & Drama
7:30 p.m.
Tickets $30.00

Performances by Eddie Bruce, Luba Dolgopolsky, Alesia Georgiou, Drapes Jensen, Shikima Jones, Jeune Provost, Abigail Rene, Kim Sammartano, Kazumi Schaub, Mike Sorzano, Kim Wild, Jude Woodcock and Special Guests!

Visit www.stjohnschoolofthearts.org for more information or call 340-779-4322

St. John Live Music Schedule

Barefoot Cowboy Lounge
Erin Hart
6:30 – 9:30
340-201-1236

Castaway’s
Karaoke Night
9:00
340-777-3316

High Tide
Chris Carsel
6:00 9:00
340-714-6169

Inn at Tamarind Court
Steel Pan
6:30
340-776-6378

Island Blues
Karaoke
8:00
340-776-6800

La Tapa
Sambacombo
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-7755

Morgan’s Mango
Greg Kinslow
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-8141

Ocean Grill
Lauren Jones
6:00 – 9:00
340-693-3304

See Weekly Schedule

St. John and Virgin Islands News

International News 2 charged with migrant smuggling in Virgin Islands April 14, 2014 22:29 GMT KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Two Haitian nationals have been arrested in the U.S. Virgin Islands after being indicted on charges of conspiracy to smuggle migrants into the U.S. The U.S. Justice Department alleged Monday that the two suspects conspired with others to smuggle mostly Haitian migrants to the U.S. island of St. John in 2010. The attempt ended tragically when a boat carrying 33 migrants smashed into a reef while trying to evade authorities. At least four children and four adults died. Most of the passengers on the vessel were Haitians seeking a better life. The two Haitian men were allegedly waiting for the boat in St. John and communicating with their co-conspirators by phone. U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe says a grand jury returned a 10-count indictment against the men Friday….Read More

St. John Weather

Isolated showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 78. East wind 13 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

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ParrotfishParrotfish have a series of individual teeth that fuse together to form what looks like a parrot’s beak, hence the name, parrotfish. They use their teeth to scrape the rocks and coral, digesting the algae and excreting the excess, which makes up much of the fine coral sand we find on St. John’s beaches. As the teeth wear away from such rough treatment they are replaced with more material keeping them sharp and strong.

The parrotfish in the photo is a supermale, which is a male that began life as a female.

St. John Live Music Schedule

Aqua Bistro
Matt Mitruk
5:30 – 8:30
340-776 5336

Beach Bar
John Sutton
9:00
340-777-4220

Concordia
Open Mic with Johnny B & Lauren
3:30 – 5:30
340-693-5855

Cruz Bay Landing
Chris Carsel
5:00 – 8:00
340-776-6908

Ocean Grill
Rascio on Steel Pan
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-3304

Shipwreck Landing
Hot Club of Coral Bay
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-5640

Virgin Fire
Instrumental Jazz
Rich Greengold & Greg Jones
6:00 – 9:00
340-779-4982

See Weekly Schedule

St. John Weather

Isolated showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 75. East wind 9 to 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

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Adult Parrotfish

Parrotfish are still plentiful on the reefs around St. John and that’s a good thing. These brightly colored fish are easy to identify because their teeth are tightly packed together and are on the outside of their jawbone giving them a parrot-like beak. It is this feature which enables the parrotfish to scrape algae off the of coral and rocks found on the reef. This process called bioeriosion has important benefits for the coral reef environment.

First, coral needs to have a clean place to grow. Rocks covered by algae would not be suitable for the beginning of new coral structures. Second, coral covered by algae could not survive and third, the scraped off algae passes through the parrotfishes’ digestive system and is excreted as sand, which comprises a good deal of the sand found on St. John beaches. One parrotfish can produce as much as 200 pounds of sand in a year.

Parrotfish in bagBefore parrotfish go to sleep, they secrete a mucus cocoon around themselves within which they spend the night.

St. John and Virgin Islands News

Below Average Hurricane Season Predicted
By Lynda Lohr — April 11, 2014

There was good news Thursday from the Colorado State University hurricane prediction team. Researcher Phil Klotzbach said he thinks the upcoming season will see a below average number of storms.

“The tropical Atlantic has anomalously cooled over the past several months, and the chances of a moderate to strong El Niño event this summer and fall appear to be quite high,” Klotzbach said in a press release issued Thursday. “Historical data indicate fewer storms form in these conditions.”

The team expects nine named storms during the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 and Nov. 30. Of those nine storms, researchers expect three to become hurricanes and one to reach major hurricane strength with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater…. read more

St. John Live Music Schedule

Friday 4/11

Aqua Bistro
Steven Sloan
5:30 – 8:30
340-776-5336

Beach Bar
John Sutton
9:00
340-777-4220

Castaway’s
Mikey P
9:00
Dance Party
11:00
340-777-3316

Barefoot Cowboy Lounge
T-Bird
7:00 – 9:00
340-201-1236

Cinnamon Bay
Eddie Bruce
6:30 -8:30 – Drumming
340-776-6330

High Tide
Mikey P
5:00 – 8:00
340-714-6169

Island Blues
Brother Nature
8:00
340-776-6800

Morgan’s Mango
Lauren
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-8141

Ocean Grill
Rascio on Steel Pan
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-3304

Rhumb Lines
Erin Hart
7:00 – 10:00
340-776-0303

Shipwreck Landing
Tropical Sounds
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-5640

Skinny Legs
Chris Carsel
6:00
340-779-4982

Spyglass
James Milne
5:00 – 8:00
340-776-1100

Virgin Fire
Aussie Guitars
The David T Carter Duo
6:00 – 9:00
340-779-4982

See Weekly Schedule

St. John Events

St. John Singers

St. John Concert
Emmaus Moravian Church in Coral Bay
Friday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m.

St. John Weather

Isolated showers. Sunny, with a high near 76. East wind around 17 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

 

 

 

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st john marine life: flamingo tongue

Flamingo Tongue Snail, (Cyphoma gibbosum)

I noticed this brightly colored creature attached to a sea fan while snorkeling at Hawksnest Bay. It’s a type of sea snail that feeds on sea fans and other gorgonia (so called soft corals) by scraping the polyps of the coral an activity not usually fatal to the host, which can regenerate lost polyps.

The colorful pattern on the outside of the shell are not an actual part of the shell but are a type of living tissue which covers the shell.

The bright and interesting patterns have resulted in a significant decline in their presence on popular snorkeling reefs, as snorkelers are prone to collect them, only to find later the patterns to disappear leaving a plain cream-colored shell.

St. John, Virgin Islands & Caribbean News

Puerto Rico probes darkening of Vieques bio bay
By Associated Press,

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Authorities in Puerto Rico announced Wednesday they are investigating why a glowing bay that attracts thousands of tourists a year has grown dark in recent weeks.

The popular Mosquito Bay on the island of Vieques is considered one of Puerto Rico’s top attractions, and government officials say they are worried about the bay’s loss of bioluminescence….read more

Press Release Island Green Living Association

IGLA Launches Fundraising Campaign: Preserve St. John

The Island Green Living Association is proud to announce the launch of a major fundraising campaign in support of its mission to address environmental issues island-wide. The non-profit recently appointed Margaret Fitzsimons as Director of Sustainable Development to help with this effort.

Together with the board of directors and Executive Director Barry Devine, IGLA intends to undertake key initiatives that will more aggressively target issues of recycling, resource conservation, responsible building and living, and preservation of St. John’s natural environment

Collectively, the island’s residents, businesses, and more than 1 million visitors per year are utilizing St. John’s natural resources at a rate that poses a growing threat of degradation to the island. St. John faces unique economic, cultural, and environmental problems associated with its geography and tourism base; namely, tons of waste with little recycling, high energy and food costs, increasing pollution, decreasing land mass, and endangered wildlife. These are all key issues targeted in IGLA’s fundraising campaign, PRESERVE ST. JOHN.

As a non-profit organization, IGLA’s funding comes from members and generous donors. To date, public support has enabled IGLA to help St. John in many ways, and now more than ever, the non-profit needs financial support to reach higher and fund critical initiatives including island resource recovery, glass and aluminum can recycling, composting, green villa and green business membership programs, and green living education.

Contact Fitzsimons today at margaret@m-fitzsimons.com to be a part of PRESERVE ST. JOHN, and share IGLA’s mission with friends, family, neighbors, and visitors. With help from the public, IGLA can enable St. John to move toward a sustainable future and preserve the island for the continued enjoyment of all.

St. John Live Music Schedule

Banana Deck
Steel Pan by Lemuel Samuels
7:00 – 9:00
340-693-5055

Barefoot Cowboy Lounge
Ike
6:30 -9:30
340-201-1236

Concordia
Wayne Clendenin and Pamela Love
4:30 – 6:30

340-693-5855High Tide
Erin Hart
5:00 – 8:00
340-714-6169

Inn at Tamarind Court
Brother Nature
6:30 – 9:30
340-776-6378

Island Blues
Gann – Solo guitar
7:00 – 10:00
340-776-6800

Miss Lucy’s
Rich & Greg
6:00 – 9:00
340-693-5244

Morgan’s Mango
James Anderson
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-8141

Ocean Grill
Chris Carsel
6:00 – 9:00
340-693-3304

Pickles
T-Bird
6:00 – 8:00
340-776-6908

Skinny Legs
Lauren Jones
6:00 – 9:00
340-779-4982

Spyglass
James Milne
5:00 – 8:00
340-776-1100

See Weekly Schedule

St. John Weather

Isolated showers. Sunny, with a high near 78. East wind around 14 mph. Chance of precipitation is 10%.

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egg fruit

Egg Fruit

St. John Live Music Schedule

Wednesday 4/9

Barefoot Cowboy Lounge
Ike
6:30 -9:30
340-201-1236

Castaway’s
Karaoke Night
9:00
340-777-3316

Coconut Coast
St. John Flutes
5:30 -7:00
340-776-6944

Cruz Bay Landing
T-Bird
5:00 – 8:00
340-776-6908

High Tide
Lemuel Callwood Steel Pan
4:00 – 6:00
340-714-6169

Inn at Tamarind Court
John Sutton
6:30
340-776-6378

Ocean Grill
David Laabs
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-3304

Pickles
Michael Beason Open Mic
6:00 – 9:00
340-776-6908

Rhumb Lines
Shane Meade & the Sound
7:00 – 10:00
340-776-0303

Shipwreck
Chris Carsel
7:00 – 10:00
340-693-5640

Virgin Fire
Gypsy Jazz
Hot Club of Coral Bay
6:00 -9:00
340-779-4982

See Weekly Schedule

St. John and Virgin Islands News

lionfish

Lionfish

Study Focuses on Lionfish Suppression Strategies
By Bill Kossler — April 9, 2014

Preliminary results of a new study at Buck Island suggest a tightly focused lionfish removal program may be able to preserve local fisheries from this voracious, exotic Asian predator that has spread explosively throughout the region….

…While lionfish have been in Florida for two decades, it was not until 2004 that one was spotted in the reefs of the Bahamas, said Lad Akins, director of operations for REEF. Now the invasive species is found from the coast of North Carolina to the cost of Paraguay and throughout the Caribbean. It has been found in all types of environments, from coastal mangroves to 1,000 feet deep. And in areas like the Bahamas where lionfish have spread unchecked, “you see up to a 95 percent reduction in fish biomass… read more

V.I. Police remain tight-lipped about years-old suspicious death on St. John
By JENNY KANE (Daily News Staff)
Published: April 8, 2014

ST. THOMAS – V.I. law enforcement officials are not releasing details about the death of a woman whose funeral service was held Monday, though she went missing more than two years ago.

However, the V.I. Attorney General’s Office said Monday that foul play was suspected in the death of 21-year-old Seara James.

James went missing Oct. 13, 2011, and slightly less than a year later, her skeletal remains were discovered in Estate Adrian on St. John, V.I. Police reported at the time…. read more

St. John Weather

Isolated showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 78. East southeast wind 15 to 18 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

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mango flower

Mango Flower

St. John Live Music Schedule

Saturday 4/5

Aqua Bistro
Lauren Jones
3:30 – 6:30
776-5336

Beach Bar
Hudson & the Hoodoo Cats
9:00
340-777-4220

Castaway’s
Brother Nature
340-777-3316

High Tide
Jason Laurence Jones
5:00 – 8:00
340-714-6169

Ocean Grill
T-Bird
6:00 – 9:00
340-693-3304

Rhumb Lines
Lauren
7:00 – 10:00
340-776-0303

Shipwreck Landing
Tom Mason & the Blues Buccaneers
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-5640

Skinny Legs
Hot Club of Coral Bay
6:00
340-779-4982

See Weekly Schedule

St. John Events

Saturday Cinema

Virgin Fire
American Hustle
9 pm $10

St. John and Virgin Islands News

Senate Looks at Net Metering Changes
By Bill Kossler — April 5, 2014

Household-sized solar power producers will still be able to sell excess power to the Water and Power Authority at retail price through net metering, but larger producers will receive a smaller “Feed In Tariff” payment reflecting WAPA’s costs, if a bill approved in committee Friday becomes law.

When net metering was set up in 2007, it allowed a one-to-one exchange rate for electricity between the utility and net-metering customers. That means that when the solar panels on a customer’s roof put 1kWh of electricity onto the grid, that customer receives a credit allowing them to take 1kWh of electricity back from WAPA’s power plants at night when their panels are ineffective for no charge.

WAPA Executive Director Hugo Hodge told the Energy and Environmental Protection Committee that, because WAPA has to maintain the grid and this does not take into account WAPA’s avoided cost, this means other ratepayers subsidize net metering ratepayers to a certain extent.

To illustrate this principle by taking it to its logical extreme and considering a hypothetical case where every household had solar panels and generated enough power on average during the day to pay for their night time consumption. In this extreme hypothetical case, WAPA would receive no ratepayer revenue at all, but WAPA would still have to pay for fuel to produce power at night and would still have to employ crews to maintain the grid, despite no revenue. At low levels of net metering, the subsidy effect is small but as full-retail price net metering increases as a proportion of power generation, the cost to WAPA also increases until a tipping point is reached.

WAPA’s “avoided cost” is a calculation of the difference between full retail rate of net metering and the rate at which WAPA does not lose money, forcing it to pass that cost onto its paying customers…. read more

St. John Weather

Scattered showers and thunderstorms, mainly before noon. Cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high near 76. East wind around 23 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

 

 

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The Last Trail Bandit Guide

Interview with Bob Garrison, the Trail Bandit:

What was the philosophy of making a St. John map in the first place?
The only recent maps of St. John were the USGS topo maps which were not updated very often and did not show any hiking trails, the National Geographic map which showed few trails and was inaccurate in places and the map passed out by the NPS which was a poor excuse for a hiking map but did show some trails. After I had visited St. John a few times I realized that there was far more out there than shown on these maps. I decided that I could learn a little about map making and do a better job. My map had to be accurate, give more information and stand up better than the others I had seen.

How the maps were created?
I bought a GPS receiver and hiked the trails and drove the roads to record GPS tracks for all. I discovered the wonderful map of St. John that was published by P.L. Oxholm in 1800. His map showed roads and trails that I did not know about. Using his map and aerial photographs I was able to locate most of the roads he showed and many are still in good shape even after over 200 years. Those old engineers knew how to build a road that would last. I purchased a set of negatives that the USGS topo maps were printed from and used them to get the elevation contours, shoreline, and stream bed locations. I added the trail and road locations that I had recorded and made my first map. I now know that my first way of doing things was not the easiest way to do this.

What is the history of the various map editions
My first map was printed in 2004. I used the USGS data for the roads as they were shown on the 1983 revision of their map. I also did as the USGS had done and only showed the part of St. John that is west of Hurricane Hole. It also showed only the main trails that were on the NPS map. The size of the map was 12″ x 14″ and folded up to fit in your pocket. One problem with the NPS map was that it turned to mush if it got wet. I used a water proof paper. This was a vast improvement over the NPS product.

In 2006 I reprinted the first map, adding a few more trails and updating the roads from aerial photos. I had this map printed in a larger format of 17″ X 21″. I also learned about doing maps in vector format as opposed to treating a map like a photograph. This simplified the layout process and made a better quality product.

In 2008 I designed a map that was acceptable to the NPS so that it would be allowed to be sold in the Visitor’s center. The company thet runs the visitor’s center, Eastern National, ordered 5,000 of these maps and I oversaw the printing. These maps were for sale until 2013 when Rafe Boulon and others had them pulled from the store because the map showed things that didn’t want the public to know about. To the best information I can get, they only sold about half of the maps and I guess the rest were thrown away. This map showed the whole island and was printed in a 14″ X 24″ size. The NPS redid this map to remove a number of trails that they objected to and started selling them in the visitor’s center in early 2014. Sadly, they used cheap paper that won’t last long in the rain. Sometimes it rains on St. John. At least there is a decent map available in the Visitor’s Center.

In the 2010 edition of my map I showed the whole island and included many of the hidden old roads that are out there as dashed red lines. The roads were updated by walking on the new roads with my GPS and also from aerial photos. This edition was printed in a 16″ X 26″ size.

What’s new, what’s changed in the Last Trail Bandit Map
In March of 2014 I had “The Last Trail Bandit Guide to the Hiking Trails of St. John, VI” printed. There are more of the “hidden” trails shown and 33 of them are numbered and short descriptions are printed on the back of the map. GPS tracks are available for these trails and can be downloaded from www.trailbandit.org for free. If you enjoy exploring, these 33 trails will give you a good start. There are many more things to find out there. This last map is printed in a 20″ X 34″ format. The larger format was chosen because the dashed red line trails showed up better and my eyes are not as good as they used to be so bigger helped.

When will it be available?
The 2014 map is available now and I will be shipping them starting in mid April.

How can they be ordered?
Send a note to; Bob Garrison, P.O. Box 394, Henniker, NH 03242. The price of the map is $3.00 each, Post Paid. I accept cash or checks. Don’t forget to include the mailing address for where you want the map sent. If you are leaving for St. John in a week and want a map asap, send an e-mail to rgarrison@mcttelecom.com and I will send the map and trust you for the $3.00. Again, be sure to tell me where to send the map. Those who want to buy the maps in quantity for resale, etc. can contact me for pricing.

Why is it called the last Trail Bandit Map?
There is not much more I can do on St. John and I have grown tired of the fight. The Park is being run by “Protection Rangers”, also known as Cops or Goons with Guns. They do very little to help a tourist get to know the park or give information. They ARE IN CHARGE and their ticket pad is never far from their hand. Ever since Superintendent Mark Hardgrove retired, they have been deleting hiking trails from the park by enforced neglect. It is sad to watch and I choose not to watch. Remember, the National Parks belong to the people. The Parks are to be maintained so that people can come visit them and enjoy the experience. The Park Service is supposed to maintain the place and preserve the old buildings, roads, trails, etc. for the enjoyment of future generations. If you look around Virgin Islands National Park you can judge how good a job they are doing. It is not supposed to be a retirement home for Superintendents.

Are you sure? One never knows…
I am pretty sure this is the last edition. I will have all the files necessary to print the map posted on my web site soon. Eventually, I hope some other Bandit will take over the job.

Trail Bandit Map

St. John Live Music Schedule

Aqua Bistro
Steven Sloan
5:30 – 8:30
340-776-5336

Castaway’s
Mikey P
9:00
Dance Party
11:00
340-777-3316

Barefoot Cowboy Lounge
T-Bird
7:00 – 9:00
340-201-1236

Cinnamon Bay
Eddie Bruce
6:30 -8:30 – Drumming
340-776-6330

High Tide
Mikey P
5:00 – 8:00
340-714-6169

Island Blues
Brother Nature
8:00
340-776-6800

Morgan’s Mango
Lauren
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-8141

Ocean Grill
Rascio on Steel Pan
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-3304

Rhumb Lines
Erin Hart
7:00 – 10:00
340-776-0303

Shipwreck Landing
Tropical Sounds
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-5640

Skinny Legs
Chris Carsel
6:00 – 9:00
340-779-4982

Spyglass
James Milne
6:00 – 9:00
340-776-1100

Virgin Fire
Aussie Guitars
The David T Carter Duo
6:00 – 9:00
340-779-4982

See Weekly Schedule

St. John Weather

Scattered showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 76. East wind 16 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

 

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frangipani caterpillar

Frangipani Caterpillar

There is a large native frangipani tree growing just off of the deck of my house. Its been there a long time. A piece of rusty barbed wire is embedded in the bark of the tree trunk, which means it was here and large enough to support a barbed wire fence back when Chocolate Hole was dedicated to the raising of livestock. There’s also a concrete animal watering trough nearby. So we’re talking about a tree that’s been there for at least 60 years.

I’ve been living in this house for about 15 years and I’ve only seen this tree with full grown leaves about a dozen times and only twice have I seen it produce flowers. This is because as soon as the leaves even begin to grow, frangipani caterpillars appear and devour the new leaves in a matter of days.

In theory, the caterpillar is supposed to wait until the leaves are full grown and the tree flowers. At that point they eat the leaves and fertilize the tree with the after products of the digestion.

I understand this relationship and how both the tree and the caterpillars can survive. What I don’t understand is how this particular tree has survived so long with hardly ever being able to produce leaves, which I imagine would be essential for photosynthesis and the production of food and energy for the tree.

Next time around I think I’ll pick the caterpillars off the tree and see what happens.

St. John Live Music Schedule

Banana Deck
Steel Pan by Lemuel Samuels
6:00 – 9:00
693-5055

Concordia
Wayne Clendenin and Pamela Love
4 :30 – 6:30
693-5855

High Tide
Island Girl
Happy Hour 4:00 – 7:00
714-6169

Inn at Tamarind Court
Brother Nature
6:30
776-6378

Island Blues
Gann – Solo guitar
7:00 – 10:00
776-6800

Morgan’s Mango
James Anderson
6:30 – 9:30
693-8141

Ocean Grill
Chris Carsel
6:30 – 9:30
693-3304

Skinny Legs
Lauren Jones
6:00 – 9:00
779-4982

Spyglass
James Milne
5:00 – 8:00
776-1100

See Weekly Schedule

St. John MorningSt. John Weather

Scattered showers, with thunderstorms also possible after noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 75. East wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

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Brought to you by Gerald Singer, St. John US Virgin Islands (USVI)