St. John Trails: Hike With the Super

Hike With the Super
The Friends of the Virgin islands National Park sponsored a “Hike with the Super” yesterday. Park superintendent, Brion FitzGerald led the hike beginning at Annaberg, following the Leinster Bay Trail to the beach at Waterlemon Bay. Here the group was led through the ruins of the old Leinster Bay Plantation and the Leinster Bay Valley and then on to the Johnny Horn Trail with stops at the guardhouse and the James Murphy Estate House.

Virgin Islands National Park Superintendent Brion FitzGerald
Superintendent Brion FitzGerald

St. John Beaches: Waterlemon Beach
Beach at Waterlemon Bay

Leinster Bay ruins cattle dip
Cattle Dip at Leinster Bay Ruins

leinster bay valley
Leinster Bay Valley dry salt pond

Birds at Leinster Salt Pond

Johnny Horn Trail guard house
Guardhouse on Johnny Horn Trail

murphy entrance
Entrance to James Murphy Estate House

leinster bay
View of Leinster Bay from the estate house

sir francis drake channel
Sir Francis Drake Channel

St. John Virgin Islands News

U.S. senator asks FBI to look into lack of progress in St. John murder investigation
By JENNY KANE (Daily News Staff)

ST. THOMAS – The family of a New Jersey man stabbed on St. John last month said they are upset by the V.I. Police Department’s lack of communication about the unsolved murder, and they have turned to a U.S. senator for assistance.

In response to the family’s complaints, Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., sent a letter critical of the V.I. Police Department to the director of the FBI requesting the agency’s assistance in the case.

James Malfetti III, 41, was found dead in his Chocolate Hole apartment Jan. 19, according to police reports.

Police initially classified the incident as a suspicious death, then two days later reclassified it as a murder after further inspecting the body and saying Malfetti suffered several puncture wounds to the neck….

…The victim’s parents, who live in New Jersey, call the police on St. Thomas – specifically Detective Diana Martinez, leader of the investigation into their son’s death – every day, Rosemary Malfetti said. Martinez has only responded to their calls once or twice, they said.

“If you decide to take what the family says, then that’s up to you. I beg to differ with what they are saying,” Martinez said Tuesday evening when reached by phone.

Martinez declined to answer how often she has been speaking with the Malfetti family, deferring all further questions to V.I. Police Commissioner Rodney Querrard Sr.

Querrard could not be reached Tuesday….

…”The rudeness, and the dryness. It’s really hurtful to the parents of a son that’s just been murdered, their only son,” Jim Malfetti said.

In their frustration, the Malfettis turned to Menendez, who wrote a letter to FBI Director James Comey, pleading that the FBI take over what Menendez called a botched local investigation….

…In the letter to the FBI, Menendez wrote:

“In investigating the murder, Jim’s parents state that the police discarded forensic evidence, failed to collect potentially crucial evidence, incorrectly stated the date of death on the death certificate, misstated facts to the parents, and failed to check for fingerprints.

“My constituents also repeatedly called the local police for updates into the investigation, but were rebuffed and told that if they continue to call their case will be moved to the ‘bottom of the pile,'” the letter said. “Even after over two weeks, the police have told the parents that they have not begun to trace the stolen cell phone.”… read entire article

US Virgin Islands defends handling of New Jersey man’s killing
Wednesday February 12, 2014, 6:57 PM
Associated Press

KINGSTON, Jamaica  — Police in the U.S. Virgin Islands on Wednesday defended their handling of an unsolved slaying of a New Jersey native who was fatally stabbed more than three weeks ago during an apparent burglary….

…Malfetti’s parents have enlisted the help of New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, telling him that the U.S. Virgin Islands police force have handled the murder investigation amateurishly from the start, failing to collect evidence and even discarding valuable forensic clues. Police initially labelled the case as a suspicious death, but a couple of days later reclassified it as a homicide. There have been no arrests.

Virgin Islands Police Commissioner Rodney Querrard insisted in a Wednesday statement that police have “taken all necessary steps since the day the victim was found” to process evidence and follow leads.

“This case is an active investigation and we will continue the process of investigating the unfortunate death of James Malfetti until we can file a criminal complaint,” Querrard said.

His statement comes two days after Menendez, a Democrat, wrote a letter to FBI Director James Comey requesting assistance from the agency, saying that “the family deserves a competent investigation.” Menendez said the grieving parents had experienced a “hostile and uninterested law enforcement response.””’

Querrard’s statement said he expressed his condolences to the family, but Malfetti’s parents said they hadn’t heard a word from him. They said police even failed to notify them when their son’s body was found….

…Querrard said local FBI agents are assisting with the probe but did not disclose more details. He said police would update Malfetti’s parents and “address their issues to the best of our ability without compromising the case.”

Virgin Puree Launches Fruit Export Program
By Susan Ellis — February 12, 2014

Dale Browne, of Sejah Farm, Agriculture Commissioner Louis Petersen and Anthony Weeks of St. Croix Economic Development Initiative introduce Virgin Puree at a press conference Wednesday.

Virgin Puree, a program to harvest, preserve and sell locally grown fruit – including produce collected from residents’ backyards – was introduced by the stakeholders at a press conference Wednesday at Sejah Farm.

Sponsors envision Virgin Puree will add millions of dollars to the local economy and provide a local food source at the same time. Fruit grown and sold by farmers and residents to Virgin Puree will be preserved as juice, dried or frozen. The goal of the program is to sell fruit products locally and to supermarkets and restaurants on the mainland.

“Everybody has a fruit tree in the yard,” said Dale Browne, owner of Sejah Farm. “Most of it goes to waste,” he said, adding that Virgin Puree will try to find the “hidden orchards.”

The Virgin Puree program will begin this weekend at Agrifest 2014.

Volunteers located near the Sejah Farm booth and produce stand will collect surveys from residents to determine the number of backyard fruit trees and the community’s interest in the agriculture industry.

The next step, according to Anthony Weeks, director of the St. Croix Economic Development Initiative, is research and development to determine the best products. The next step will be having focus groups test the products. Participants suggested mangos should be tested first, he said.

The end result will be pureed, frozen or dried products in local stores.

St. John USVI Live Music Schedule

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

Barefoot Cowboy Lounge

7:00 – 9:00

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

High Tide
Island Girl
Happy Hour 4:00 – 7:00

Inn at Tamarind Court
Brother Nature

Island Blues
Gann – Solo guitar
7:00 – 10:00

Morgan’s Mango
James Anderson
6:30 – 9:30

Ocean Grill
Chris Carsel
6:30 – 9:30

Skinny Legs
Lauren Jones
6:00 – 9:00

James Milne
5:00 – 8:00

St. John Virgin Islands Weather

Isolated showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 77. East wind 17 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

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