Hassel Island

Fort Willoughby Hassel Island
Fort Willoughby Window – Hassel Island

Before 1860, Hassel Island was not an island at all. It was a peninsula connected to Frenchtown by a low-lying spit of land. Its strategic location at the southwest entrance to the Charlotte Amalie Harbor, led both the Danes and the British (during the British occupation of the Danish West Indies in the early 19th century) to construct fortifications to defend the harbor.

In the middle of the century, a steam powered marine railway began operation on the peninsula and in 1860, the Danish Government had the connecting isthmus excavated and dredged creating a channel between Charlotte Amalie Harbor and Crown Bay, changing Hassel from a peninsula to an island. The newly-created channel was dubbed Haulover Cut because fishermen used to haul their small vessels over the isthmus rather then have to row or sail around the peninsula.

In the 1930s and 40s, the Paiewonsky family acquired most of the island from the Department of the Interior.

In 1977, the Paiewonskys gave Fort Willoughby to the people of the Virgin Islands and later sold their other holdings on Hassel Island to the National Park.

From “St. Thomas USVI” by Gerald Singer

Read more about Hassel Island

St. John and Virgin Islands News

Carnival Cultural and Food Fair a Day of Joy
By Molly Morris — May 1, 2014

Under a perfect cloudless sky, Emancipation Garden was alive with the energy and camaraderie of the annual Carnival Committee Cultural and Food Fair on Wednesday.

This year the fair was called “Charles and Joe’s Flamboyant Garden,” honoring brother farmers Charles and Joseph Leonard, and the joy was contagious and abundant.

Charles Leonard, proprietor of Best Fresh Farm, has earned more awards than he can remember for the bounty he produces each year on his two acres, most recently at the Bordeaux Farmers Rastafari Agricultural and Cultural Food Fair in January…. read more

Sea coral protein may protect against HIV
Published April 30, 2014
FoxNews.com

A newly discovered protein found in sea coral may help prevent HIV infection, Medical News Today reported.

Discovered in feathery corals collected off the north coast of Australia, these proteins are called cnidarins and are able to block HIV without leading to resistance to other HIV drugs. This ability makes cnidarins ideal for inclusion in anti-HIV microbicides, such as gels and lubricants.

Theoretically, women would be able to use these anti-HIV gels and lubricants as protection, without having to rely on a condom.

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) tested the protein on various lab strains of HIV and found them to be remarkably potent. The proteins appeared to bind to the virus and prevent it from penetrating the T cells in the immune system— the first step in the virus’ transmission.

Co-investigator Dr. Koreen Ramessar, an NCI research fellow, said this is “completely different from what we’ve seen with other proteins, so we think the cnidarin proteins have a unique mechanism of action.”

The research was presented at the Experimental Biology 2014 meeting on April 29. The scientists hope to produce the proteins in larger quantities in order to test them more thoroughly.

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