St. John Source https://stjohnsource.com independent and trusted since 1999 Thu, 08 Dec 2022 18:39:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 BD-23-800-8002-132 https://stjohnsource.com/2022/12/08/bd-23-800-8002-132/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=bd-23-800-8002-132 https://stjohnsource.com/2022/12/08/bd-23-800-8002-132/#respond Thu, 08 Dec 2022 18:04:16 +0000 https://stjohnsource.com/?p=357123

DEPARTMENT OF PROPERTY AND PROCUREMENT
Government of the Virgin Islands

Pursuant to Title 31, Chapter 23, Section 236 of the Virgin Islands Code, request bids for the following:

  • BD-23-800-8002-132 – Qualified contractors to furnish all labor, tools, equipment, and supplies necessary for the Gallows Bay Recreational Repairs, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

Bids will be received by the Department of Property and Procurement, Division of Procurement, via the GVIBUY eProcurement system, accessed through the following link: https://gvibuy.buyspeed.com/bso/.

Pre-Bid Meeting will take place on Monday, December 12, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. Atlantic Standard Time, via Microsoft Teams.

Site Visit will take place on Monday, December 12, 2022, at 11:30 a.m. Atlantic Standard Time Gallows Bay Recreational Repairs, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Request for Information: Last day for request for written clarification will be Friday, December 16, 2022, at 12:00 noon Atlantic Standard Time.

Bids will be accepted no later than Monday, January 9, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. Atlantic Standard Time.

Prospective bidders must be registered with GVIBUY to gain access to GVI solicitations. For more information, please contact us at (340)774-0828 or via email at gvibuy@dpp.vi.gov.

Anthony D. Thomas
Commissioner

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A Relatively Rare December Tropical System May Develop in the Atlantic This Week https://stjohnsource.com/2022/12/08/a-relatively-rare-december-tropical-system-may-develop-in-the-atlantic-this-week/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=a-relatively-rare-december-tropical-system-may-develop-in-the-atlantic-this-week https://stjohnsource.com/2022/12/08/a-relatively-rare-december-tropical-system-may-develop-in-the-atlantic-this-week/#respond Thu, 08 Dec 2022 14:58:56 +0000 https://stjohnsource.com/2022/12/08/a-relatively-rare-december-tropical-system-may-develop-in-the-atlantic-this-week/ The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is monitoring a strong weather system that has a chance of developing into a relatively rare December tropical or subtropical storm. The system has been designated as “Invest 99L,” and it is currently located in the central Atlantic.]]>
Satellite imagery of the Atlantic on Wednesday. The National Hurricane Center is monitoring a strong weather system for potential development. (Photo from NHC official website.)

The National Hurricane Center is monitoring a strong weather system that has a chance of developing into a relatively rare December tropical or subtropical storm. The system has been designated as “Invest 99L” and is currently located in the central Atlantic. (An “invest” is a weather system under investigation for possible strengthening and development.)

Dr. Jake Carstens, a postdoctoral scholar at Pennsylvania State University in the Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences, spoke to the Source about this storm and what it may mean about the possibility of additional storms this year.

Carstens has had extensive experience studying cyclones in his career.

“I’ve mostly worked in a research role, studying topics like hurricane formation and structure, as well as how clouds and thunderstorms organize in the tropics,” said Carstens. “I’ve used all kinds of simulations and observations to address these questions, including high-resolution simulations of imaginary tropical atmospheres, climate models, and instruments released from Hurricane Hunter planes.”

Off-Season Cyclones

“It’s been a while since we’ve had a storm in December, but it’s not as uncommon as you may think. Despite the ‛official’ Atlantic Hurricane Season running from June 1 to November 30, we’ve had eight December storms this century,” Carstens added.

“They’re often relatively weak and short-lived, as they don’t have the same type of favorable environment you would see in August or September. But given the right combination of ingredients, storms are technically possible year-round. Recently, most of the offseason activity has been focused on May, but in 2016, a Category 1 hurricane formed in January,” Carstens continued.

Fortunately, Carstens notes that while it is relatively rare for a cyclone to form this time of year, it does not mean that there will be an increased chance for other hurricanes this year.

“If the system in the Atlantic does become a subtropical or tropical storm, there’s no indication out there for any other off-season storms. Despite the water being warm enough to realistically support storms in some parts of the basin (like the Caribbean), strong winds aloft almost always prevent storms from organizing well enough to form a large circulation. This system happens to be a case where an existing non-tropical low-pressure system is in an environment that may briefly support the development of tropical characteristics,” Carstens said.

Tropical vs. Subtropical Storms

Carstens explains that if the storm intensifies, it could be designated as either a subtropical storm or a tropical storm. “Purely tropical storms draw their fuel from oceanic heat, while purely extratropical cyclones draw theirs from large-scale contrasts in temperature, says Carstens. “Subtropical storms are essentially somewhere in the middle. In general, their strongest winds are a bit farther away from their centers of circulation compared to tropical storms, and their structure tends to be more asymmetric. If this system is designated as a subtropical storm, it would get the next name — Owen.” (Owen would be the 15th named storm of the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season.)

Residents and visitors in the USVI are encouraged to stay updated on weather systems on the V.I. Source Weather page and sign up for alerts from the National Weather Service and the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency.

Update on Thursday at 1:45 p.m. AST:

This weather system is forecasted to pass near the west of the Azores Islands later this week. The situation continues to change throughout the day, and the chance for the storm to acquire tropical or subtropical characteristics decreases as it moves into cooler water temperatures. Further updates will be available on the Source Weather Page.

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STJ Coastal Zone Management Schedules Decision Meeting, Public Hearing for Dec. 20 https://stjohnsource.com/2022/12/08/stj-coastal-zone-management-schedules-decision-meeting-public-hearing-for-dec-20/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=stj-coastal-zone-management-schedules-decision-meeting-public-hearing-for-dec-20 https://stjohnsource.com/2022/12/08/stj-coastal-zone-management-schedules-decision-meeting-public-hearing-for-dec-20/#respond Thu, 08 Dec 2022 11:23:02 +0000 https://stjohnsource.com/?p=357084 DPNR Commissioner Jean-Pierre L. Oriol informs the public that the following St. John Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Committee meeting is scheduled for Dec. 20 via the video conferencing platform Zoom.]]>
Members of the Coastal Zone Management committee listen to public comments. (Screenshot from Zoom meeting)

Commissioner Jean-Pierre L. Oriol of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources informs the public that the following St. John Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Committee meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 20. In an effort to help to reduce the global spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), this meeting will be held via the video conferencing platform Zoom.

The agenda:

Decision Meeting (public testimony will not be heard):

Major CZM Permit Application No. CZJ-01-22(L), Lynthia & Alton Phillip requested to construct a three-story multi-family dwelling. The first two stories were permitted previously under Minor CZM Permit No. CZJ-01-21L. The project is located at Parcel 1K Estate Contant, St. John, Virgin Islands.

Major CZM Permit Application No. CZJ-04-21(L), the Diocese of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands Inc. proposes to construct a church, community center, Catholic Charities Building, single-family dwelling, parking, cistern, accessory road, wastewater treatment plant, required utilities and services. The project is located at Parcel 6R-2C Estate Carolina, St. John, Virgin Islands.

The following information should be used to participate in the meeting:

URL: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81892267949?pwd=NUJycVhCUGwxWHlxeHFEQzJBZ21XZz09

Meeting ID: 818 9226 7949

Passcode: 471448

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Thursday Will Be Mostly Sunny With Scattered Showers – MARINE ALERTS EXTENDED – https://stjohnsource.com/2022/12/08/saharan-dust-to-bring-increasingly-hazy-conditions/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=saharan-dust-to-bring-increasingly-hazy-conditions https://stjohnsource.com/2022/12/08/saharan-dust-to-bring-increasingly-hazy-conditions/#respond Thu, 08 Dec 2022 11:10:52 +0000 https://stjohnsource.com/?p=310550 Updated 12/08/22 at 7:10 a.m. AST

NEW: A weekly weather video update on the VI Source YouTube page is available.

! SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT 

Northeasterly swells will continue to impact the area throughout the week and into next week, and marine weather alerts have been extended.

“Breaking waves up to 15 feet will cause dangerous rip currents, beach erosion, and local coastal flooding conditions across the islands` northern and eastern sections. High Surf Advisories are in effect as well as statements for a high rip current risk,” an update on Thursday from the NWS explained.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in San Juan, PR, has issued a “High Rip Current Risk” for the U.S. Virgin Islands and areas of northern Puerto Rico. The alert will be in effect through at least 6:00 p.m. AST on Sunday.

Additionally, a “Small Craft Advisory” will be in effect for portions of the local waters around the USVI and Puerto Rico until 2:00 p.m. AST next Monday. 

A “High Surf Advisory” is also in effect for northern Puerto Rico and the USVI until at least 6:00 a.m. AST on Sunday.

THURSDAY’S FORECAST

Thursday will be mostly sunny with scattered showers, primarily before 3:00 p.m. The high temperature will be approximately 83°F, with winds out of the north at about 13 to 17 mph, gusting up to 22 mph. The chance of rain today is 40%.

Thursday night will be mostly cloudy with scattered showers, primarily after 3:00 a.m. The low temperature will be approximately 73°F, with winds out of the north at about 15 to 17 mph, gusting up to 22 mph. The chance of rain tonight is 50%.

MARINE FORECAST

MARINE WEATHER ALERTS EXTENDED

Northeasterly swells will continue to impact our area through early next week. 

On Thursday and Thursday night, winds will predominantly be out of the north at 10 to 15 knots.

During the daytime, seas will be 6 to 8 feet, with occasional 10-foot seas, with a swell period of 11 seconds. At nighttime, seas will be 8 to 10 feet, with occasional 13 foot seas, and a swell period of 12 seconds. 

The water temperature is approximately 81°F.

HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS

Rip Currents: There is a chance for powerful rip currents across the islands, and a “High Rip Current Risk” will be in effect through at least 6:00 p.m. AST on Sunday. Swimmers and surfers should take extra precautions (and if caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until you are outside of the pull of the current). Learn more about rip current safety here.

Marine Conditions: A “Small Craft Advisory” will be in effect for portions of the local waters around the USVI and Puerto Rico until at least 2:00 p.m. AST on Monday. 

A “High Surf Advisory” is also in effect for northern Puerto Rico and the USVI until at least 6:00 a.m. AST on Sunday.

IN THE TROPICS

Tropical Activity: Tropical cyclones are not expected to impact the USVI within the next five days.

Tropical Details: The National Hurricane Center is monitoring a system designated “Invest 99L/Tropical Disturbance #1” in the Central Atlantic. The system has a 30% chance of experiencing development over the next 2 days, and a tropical or sub-tropical storm may form, and potentially impact the Azores islands and Eastern Europe. This system will not affect the USVI in terms of wind or rain. However, marine conditions will continue to be hazardous due to the large amounts of energy generated by this storm.

We will continue to remain in a “La Niña” weather pattern, and with this weather pattern, there is a slightly increased chance for cyclone development, even outside of hurricane season.

A 2022 Hurricane Season update/review article is available here.

OBSERVATIONS
Sunrise: 6:41 a.m.
Sunset: 5:44 p.m.

Ocean water temperature: 80-82°F
UV index today: Moderate-High 6/10

Wednesday’s high temperature: 83°F
Wednesday’s low temperature: 76°F

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CHTA Confirms New Vice Presidents for 2022-2024 https://stjohnsource.com/2022/12/08/chta-confirms-new-vice-presidents-for-2022-2024/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=chta-confirms-new-vice-presidents-for-2022-2024 https://stjohnsource.com/2022/12/08/chta-confirms-new-vice-presidents-for-2022-2024/#respond Thu, 08 Dec 2022 10:26:39 +0000 https://stjohnsource.com/2022/12/08/chta-confirms-new-vice-presidents-for-2022-2024/ “It is the intention of the CHTA executives in 2023 to forge new partnerships towards tackling the climate crisis, leveraging technology and shepherding more Caribbean entrepreneurs along the path towards sustainable wealth creation across the region.”]]>
Nicola Madden-Greig, CHTA president (Submitted photo)

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is heading into the 2022-2024 biennium with a new slate of vice presidents in support of current President Nicola Madden-Greig of the Courtleigh Hospitality Group in Jamaica.

At the organization’s annual general meeting last month, St. Lucian hotelier Sanovnik Destang, the executive director of Bay Gardens Resorts Group, was confirmed as the new first vice president. The award-winning Destang is a chartered accountant, a chartered financial analyst and a former president of the Saint Lucia Hospitality and Tourism Association.

Gregor Nassief, the newly confirmed second vice president. He is chairman & CEO of GEMS Holdings Limited, which owns the popular Secret Bay and Fort Young Hotel in Dominica. Nassief previously served as deputy chairman of Discover Dominica Authority and president of the Dominica Hotel & Tourism Association.

The new 3rd vice president is Federico Moreno-Nickerson, vice president of Development for AMResorts/Apple Leisure Group. Originally from Mexico, Moreno-Nickerson has served on CHTA’s Executive Committee since 2017. His vast experience of over 30 years in the hospitality industry includes being a founding member of the World Heritage Alliance between Expedia Inc. and the United Nations Foundation.

Paola Rainieri de Diaz has been named CHTA’s 4th vice president. She is the past president of the Hotel and Tourism Association of the Dominican Republic (ASONAHORES) and a chief marketing officer for Grupo Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.

Bill Clegg, a long-time supporter of CHTA, will continue to serve as 5th vice president. As regional director of Franchise Development at Best Western Hotels & Resorts, he is responsible for the mid-Atlantic and Caribbean regions. Prior to that, he served for more than two decades in various executive leadership roles with Choice Hotels.

Jim Hepple, the proprietor of Tourism Analytics, whose tourism experience spans the length and breadth of the Caribbean, remains treasurer of CHTA. A former president and CEO of the Aruba Hotel and Tourism Association, the Aruba-based Hepple has served numerous tourism agencies in the region at the highest executive level.

“I look forward to working closely with these incredible leaders,” said Madden-Greig, who explained that they represent a group with the right combination of “expertise, experience and energy” to take the regional association forward over the next two years.

Madden-Greig, who has served the association with distinction over the past year – including leading CHTA’s production of the 40th Caribbean Travel Marketplace in San Juan, Puerto Rico, as well as mounting the first annual Caribbean Travel Forum – said emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic there is greater recognition of the need to embrace continuous learning, collaboration and innovation to take Caribbean tourism to the next level.

“It is the intention of the CHTA executives in 2023 to forge new partnerships towards tackling the climate crisis, leveraging technology and shepherding more Caribbean entrepreneurs along the path towards sustainable wealth creation across the region,” Madden-Greig said.

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Artistic Duo Create, Collaborate and Build Community https://stjohnsource.com/2022/12/08/artistic-duo-create-collaborate-and-build-community/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=artistic-duo-create-collaborate-and-build-community https://stjohnsource.com/2022/12/08/artistic-duo-create-collaborate-and-build-community/#respond Thu, 08 Dec 2022 04:02:24 +0000 https://stjohnsource.com/?p=356994 Amy Gibbs is a classically trained artist and the owner of the Art Explorium at Tillett Gardens. Megan Lyn is entirely self-taught and the creative force behind numerous murals around the island. Together, they are working to bring art alive on St. Thomas.]]>
A mural by Megan Lyn encompasses the two concrete walls that surround the home of Rita Greaux and Paul Berry at the foot of Barrett Hill in Hull Bay. The work was commissioned as a tribute to both sides of the family, reflecting the fishing and the farming that was, and remains, the backbone of the community. (Source photo by Sian Cobb)
A mural by Megan Lyn encompasses the two concrete walls surrounding the home of Rita Greaux and Paul Berry at the foot of Barrett Hill Road in Hull Bay. The work was commissioned as a tribute to both sides of the family, reflecting the fishing and farming that was and remains, the backbone of the community. (Source photo by Sian Cobb)

Megan Lyn was seven years old and living in New Jersey when she knew she wanted to be an artist on St. Thomas, a place she often visited since she was a baby, and then each summer after her grandparents moved to the island when she was 10.

“I loved it down here. I was always so fascinated with the culture. It was so different. Every year coming down here, it felt like I was in the doldrums, and then when I hit the airport, touched down, I was in this explosive, vibrant land. … It was always so magical down here. I never wanted to live anywhere else other than St. Thomas. I’ve always loved it,” Lyn said during a recent interview.

“In fact, my seven-year-old self wrote it down — I have it at home, like a ‘What do you want to do in 20 years?’ — and I said, ‘Be an artist living on St. Thomas,’” she said.

Lyn still has that scrap of paper, recently incorporating it into a mixed-media self-portrait, aptly titled “Self,” that examines her journey from a somewhat troubled teen to where she is now, happily ensconced in the vibrant St. Thomas art scene.

One of her most recent and notable creations is a strikingly beautiful mural encompassing the two concrete walls surrounding the home of Rita Greaux and Paul Berry at the foot of Barrett Hill Road in Hull Bay. The work was commissioned as a tribute to both sides of the family, reflecting the fishing and farming that was and remains, the backbone of the community.

“Their whole idea was they wanted to represent both sides of their French lineage. Her parents’ side was more into fishing, and his parents’ side was more into agriculture,” said Lyn. So the left wall features a sunset over the ocean — the mother sitting on a wooden porch overlooking the water while the father casts his line from a boat — and the right side, a pastoral scene with a pink framed cottage, the mother on the porch, the father in the field, surrounded by the mountains, palm trees, fruit trees, mangos scattered on the ground, and even herbs growing in pots.

A mural by Megan Lyn encompasses the two concrete walls that surround the home of Rita Greaux and Paul Berry at the foot of Barrett Hill Road in Hull Bay. The work was commissioned as a tribute to both sides of the family, reflecting the fishing and the farming that was, and remains, the backbone of the community. (Source photo by Sian Cobb)
A mural by Megan Lyn encompasses the two concrete walls surrounding the home of Rita Greaux and Paul Berry at the foot of Barrett Hill Road in Hull Bay. The work was commissioned as a tribute to both sides of the family, reflecting the fishing and farming that was and remains, the backbone of the community. (Source photo by Sian Cobb)

Working on such a large canvas — the walls are 60 feet long and 30 feet wide — and concrete at that, on the sliver’s edge of a winding road, balanced precariously on a tall ladder, in often blazing sun, is no easy feat, and Lyn said she battled sunburn, headaches, and two torrential downpours that at one point erased a layer of the sunset she had just completed. All told, the effort took about two months.

Amy Gibbs and Megan Lyn, at work at the Art Explorium in Tillett Gardens on St. Thomas. (Photo from Facebook)
Amy Gibbs and Megan Lyn, preparing for a class at the Art Explorium in Tillett Gardens on St. Thomas. (Photo from Facebook)

While commissioned as a family and cultural tribute, the mural is also “an amazing gift to the community,” there for anyone passing by to see and enjoy, said artist Amy Gibbs, the founder and owner of Art Explorium in Tillett Gardens on St. Thomas where Lyn assists with the weekly (and wildly popular) Wednesday Art Uncorked community art classes as well as myriad other creative outlets and educational opportunities the space offers.

“What I see happen here on Wednesdays, it just gives me so much. You see all these amazing connections being made because it’s for everybody. All races, all ages — a senator comes in and he’s sitting next to someone who works at the beach. It’s really a mix. You never know who is going to come. Every class has its own energy,” said Gibbs, who also devotes a lot of time to teaching children, some of them now teenagers that she’s helping to prepare portfolios as they head off to college.

“We try to show pictures online to show that it’s made for everybody,” Gibbs said of the Art Uncorked sessions. “The whole idea is that art is therapeutic, the process is therapeutic, and step outside of your everyday life, step outside of your stress, your worry, your fear, and give yourself a break for a couple of hours.”

She starts with a demonstration, puts on music, and offers wine for those who want. Trying to help 25 people, many of them inexperienced, create art all at the same time is tricky, and Gibbs is grateful for the trust she can place in Lyn. “That’s very valuable,” she said.

“It’s a beautiful place,” said Lyn. “These are lessons that people — children and adult — can take with them all their lives. Every time I come to work at Art Uncorked I learn lessons that I take and I apply. Connecting through art.”

Kindred Spirits and Collaborators

Gibbs received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Atlanta College of Art in 1993 before embarking to live in Prague, Czech Republic, where she exhibited in numerous shows, including the prestigious “American Artists Living in Prague” at the U.S. Embassy and at Ars Electronica, a world-renowned festival of art, technology, and science in Linz, Austria, while also teaching children art and English.

In 1997, Gibbs landed on St. Thomas and has never looked back, raising her two children, now 19 and 15, on the island and opening Art Explorium in 2013, providing the classes for kids, including art therapy for troubled children through a Rotary project, as well as evening classes and workshops for adults.

Lyn, on the other hand, is entirely self-taught. When she wants to learn about something, she researches and studies it, and sometimes subscribes to online courses, such as a recent virtual class on the technicalities of surfboard markers. (She customized the boards of celebrated St. Thomas surfer and musician Jon Gazi.) Her work can be seen at the Root 42 Bar and Grill at Flamboyan on the Bay.

“Self-taught is great, but I wish I went to art school so bad. I don’t know if I would have loved it the same, having gone to school and just the hard-core structure of it. I had to find art on my own. I found, really, art through sobriety. I’m 11 years clean off my drug of choice. I moved down here and got clean. It gives me the same high that I did have back then,” said Lyn.

“I’ll literally sit in front of a canvas for hours. I have to remind myself that I need to, like, go pee, or take a sip of water, or sit up straight because my back is going to kill me. It’s that involvement with what I am creating that I just am obsessed with now,” she said.

Gibbs can relate. Despite differences in how they arrived at their craft, the two are kindred spirits who share a love of art exploration, collaboration, and community.

“That’s the beauty of it. The beauty of just getting lost in that creative process. … I solve a lot of things in my life while I’m creating. It relaxes the mind,” and gives thoughts and ideas a chance to percolate, said Gibbs. “It’s so easy to lose track of time. … How many things can you do that you completely lose track of time and space?” Swimming possibly, though it has physical limitations, whereas art does not, she said.

An Immersive Exhibit, V.I.-Style

Their latest endeavor, their biggest collaboration yet, will be an immersive exhibit at the sevenminusseven gallery on St. Thomas, ala the hugely popular Vincent van Gogh show that has been touring since 2017, amassing some 5 million visits worldwide, or the Sensorio fields of light installation in California that Gibbs visited over the summer.

“It’s our first real full collaboration,” said Gibbs, and will feature an underwater theme, with jellyfish and sea creatures made from recycled materials, with fiber optic lights. All the structures for the exhibit will be made from recycled materials, such as wine bottles, wire, and other discarded ephemera.

As they dial in the details, Gibbs and Lyn will put the call out to restaurants and others in the community so they can have a drop-off at the gallery and keep objects they could use out of the landfill. They’ll also be seeking volunteers to help with the project when the time comes. “We can make those wine bottles into art. Everything will be lit up. We want to engage — we want to do taste, smell, all the senses,” said Gibbs.

“So you are fully immersed. That’s the whole point of an immersive exhibit — you are pulled from reality with all of your senses by your senses,” said Lyn.

“I did a lot of installation work when I was in art school, and I really miss doing that kind of work. Where the entire space becomes the piece. We’re excited,” said Gibbs.

“Artists that come together, they build kingdoms. One artist can do something very cool but a bunch of artists together can make something that is legendary,” said Lyn. “That is what Tillett Gardens was, still is. Collaboration.”

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VIPD Make Swift Arrest; Spicy Grill Restaurant Robbery Suspect Caught https://stjohnsource.com/2022/12/07/vipd-make-swift-arrest-spicy-grill-restaurant-robbery-suspect-caught/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=vipd-make-swift-arrest-spicy-grill-restaurant-robbery-suspect-caught https://stjohnsource.com/2022/12/07/vipd-make-swift-arrest-spicy-grill-restaurant-robbery-suspect-caught/#respond Thu, 08 Dec 2022 03:58:58 +0000 https://stjohnsource.com/2022/12/07/vipd-make-swift-arrest-spicy-grill-restaurant-robbery-suspect-caught/ A suspect in a St. Croix robbery case was arrested on Wednesday, the V.I. Police Department reported.]]>

A suspect in a St. Croix robbery case was arrested on Wednesday, the V.I. Police Department reported.

The 911 Emergency Call Center dispatched officers to Spicy Grill Restaurant in Estate Golden Grove for an alleged robbery by a heavy-set Black male who had entered the business, at which point he was recognized as the same suspect from a previous robbery at the same location on Nov. 18, according to the police report.

Officers were advised of the suspect’s path of flight, where he was spotted and he surrendered to police and was taken into custody, the report stated.

The suspect, later identified as 21-year-old Akemoi Simmonds, was arrested and charged with robbery-third. Simmonds was unable to post the $25,000 bail, and he was remanded to the John Bell Correctional Facility pending his advice of rights hearing on Friday, police said.

Simmonds is a UVI student and is currently on conditional release from two previous robberies in 2020, in which his accomplice fired shots at a pursuing police officer.

These incidents are currently under investigation. If you have any information, please call the CIB tip line at (340) 778-4850 or (340) 712-6072, Crime Stoppers V.I. at 1(800) 222-TIPS or 911.

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Community First Project Seeks Entries for Logo Contest https://stjohnsource.com/2022/12/07/community-first-project-is-seeking-entries-for-logo-contest/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=community-first-project-is-seeking-entries-for-logo-contest https://stjohnsource.com/2022/12/07/community-first-project-is-seeking-entries-for-logo-contest/#respond Thu, 08 Dec 2022 03:46:53 +0000 https://stjohnsource.com/?p=357053 Community First, a project of Liberty Place, Inc., is seeking logo entries that represent the charge of ending homelessness in the Virgin Islands. Entries must be submitted to a staff or board member of Liberty Place by January 16, 2023.]]>
Community First site development plan for 2021-2025. (Courtesy of Community First, project of Liberty Place, Inc.)

Community First, a project of Liberty Place, Inc., is seeking logo entries that represent the charge of ending homelessness in the Virgin Islands. Entries must be submitted to a staff or board member of Liberty Place by January 16, 2023.  One or more submissions are acceptable, and there is no fee to enter the contest.

“Submissions should embody the concept of ‘Home,’ ‘Community,’ and ‘Support Services,’” Community First Director of Programs Scott Hensley said. Design logos should also represent the rich diversity of Caribbean culture, he added. “Our belief is that housing alone will not end homelessness, but rather the building of community, and raising hope is required to make a lasting impact on the lives of our most vulnerable and marginalized neighbors,” Hensley said.

Contest rules and regulations have been submitted to St. Croix public and private schools. Entries from the community are also solicited. The winning entries of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes will be selected by a panel of Liberty Place Board members, Inc. and residents of Community First.

Email Scott Hensley at Prevention03@hotmail.com or call 340-201-0360 for more information.

Community First is a grassroots, community-based organization that provides housing and supportive services for individuals experiencing homelessness. Accessible, barrier-free services are provided to empower people experiencing homelessness, hunger, and poverty, as Community First advocates for solutions to these problems.

Community First serves people from every background and is intentionally inclusive. The organization serves victims of human trafficking, members of the LGBTQ community, veterans, domestic violence survivors, individuals living with a severe mental illness or with two or more disabling conditions, and those who have just fallen on hard times.

According to the brochure, Liberty Place (a US 501(c)(3) and Virgin Islands nonprofit in good standing) is committed to supporting human rights by providing safe and diverse spaces to live, learn, work and engage in community. Its wrap-around homeless services are delivered in collaboration with many businesses, nonprofit and local and federal governmental partners. Liberty Place welcomes individual donors and volunteers to partner with.

Liberty Place, Inc. was founded in 2011 following the brutal murder of a Crucian transgender youth. Three Crucian LGBTQ persons who had spent time on the U.S. mainland incorporated Liberty Place and persisted in influencing a greater tolerance in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Liberty Place created ‘Safe Zone’ diversity training in local high schools and at the University of the Virgin Islands; it hosted the U.S. Department of Justice and assisted the Department of Justice in training the V.I. police department about monitoring and documenting hate crimes. The organization advocates for marriage equality and organized the first and several subsequent St. Croix Pride celebrations.

Hensley encourages members of the community to contribute to the strength of our community by serving as a volunteer with a special skill to share; delivering a training program focused on finances, job search, health, exercise, or other life skills; creating “welcome home” kits for new residents at its emergency shelter and housing programs; participate in food, special event, and holiday programming; join the “Moving Solutions” team that assists residents as they transition into their “forever” home.

Community First is located on the former Villa Morales Restaurant site, where the organization is developing a kitchen garden for kitchen-to-table meals to supplement support from many community chefs providing hot meals each day. Community First wants to move medical and behavioral visits to their safe, on-site space and expand their job-and life-skills training and enrichment programs.

Emergency & supportive services for St. Croix’s formerly homeless include emergency overnight shelter, laundry and shower facilities, permanent supportive housing, food security program, linkage to care and care management services, day shelter services, transportation, medication management, community outreach and advocacy services, and building capacity and increasing access to resources.

Supporters

Capital Improvements:

St. Croix Foundation for Community Development

Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands

Individual and Corporate gifts

Program/Operation:

Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands

Individual and Corporate gifts

For more information:

Scott Hensley: prevention03@hotmail.com or 340-201-0360

Liberty Place: libertyplacestx@gmail.com or shelter phone: 340-719-4357

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Female Assaulted and Cell Phone Damaged During Domestic Violence Incident on St. Thomas https://stjohnsource.com/2022/12/07/female-assaulted-and-phone-damaged-during-domestic-violence-incident/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=female-assaulted-and-phone-damaged-during-domestic-violence-incident https://stjohnsource.com/2022/12/07/female-assaulted-and-phone-damaged-during-domestic-violence-incident/#respond Thu, 08 Dec 2022 02:58:15 +0000 https://stjohnsource.com/2022/12/07/female-assaulted-and-phone-damaged-during-domestic-violence-incident/ A man on St. Thomas turned himself into the police on Wednesday facing assault and domestic violence charges, the V.I. Police Department reported. ]]>

A man on St. Thomas turned himself into the police on Wednesday facing assault and domestic violence charges, the V.I. Police Department reported.

Adam Reeve, 41, was arrested on Wednesday after turning himself in on charges of assault, domestic violence, destruction of property and disturbance of the peace, according to the police report.

Reeve’s girlfriend reported that he assaulted her and damaged her cell phone on Sunday at their residence, the report stated.

Reeve was turned over to the Bureau of Corrections pending his advice of rights hearing, the police said.

Anyone having information about this crime can notify the Domestic Violence Bureau at
(340) 774-2211 ext. 5534.

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R.E.A.L. Cruzan Cats Plans a Cat Sanctuary https://stjohnsource.com/2022/12/07/rescue-plans-a-cat-sanctuary/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rescue-plans-a-cat-sanctuary https://stjohnsource.com/2022/12/07/rescue-plans-a-cat-sanctuary/#respond Thu, 08 Dec 2022 02:16:08 +0000 https://stjohnsource.com/2022/12/07/rescue-plans-a-cat-sanctuary/ Since 2016, R.E.A.L. (Rescue Educate Adopt Love) Cruzan Cats has been rescuing and finding homes for feline cats and kittens, one at a time. This year, they launched a spay/neuter clinic and are in the process of creating a sanctuary east of Gallows Bay on St. Croix for homeless felines.]]>
Volunteers for R.E.A.L. Cruzan Cats after the first spay/neuter clinic. Top row left to right: Christine Southworth, Nancy Dash, Dori Puracchio, Rasa Glengary, Heather Drake; bottom row left to right Lea Knapik, Pam Moody, Asha Colianni, Sue Brown, Dee Ullrich, Dr. Michelle Mehalick. This is about a third of the volunteers. (Photo courtesy of R.E.A.L. Cruzan Cats)

Since 2016, R.E.A.L. (Rescue Educate Adopt Love) Cruzan Cats has been rescuing and finding homes for cats and kittens, one at a time. This year, they launched a spay/neuter clinic and are in the process of creating a sanctuary east of Gallows Bay on St. Croix for homeless felines.

Christine Southworth founded and registered R.E.A.L. Cruzan Cats as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and started enlisting others who, like herself, would transport a cat or kitten to the mainland. Since then, more than 850 animals have been placed in homes, some on St. Croix, but most stateside.

Plans show prospective cat sanctuary on St. Croix. (Photo courtesy of R.E.A.L. Cruzan Cats)

“There were other dog organizations. The shelter was over capacity, and I just decided to incorporate,” she said.

This year, five acres of land near the Lagoon were donated to R.E.A.L. Cruzan Cats, with the organization paying the legal fees. They need to raise around $15,000 to build a cat sanctuary.

Drawings are being finalized, and then they’ll work to procure permits. After that, the hard work of cleaning the property, clearing the land, and building fences begins. They will replant the area with native species, Southworth said. The end result will be a cat-restraining fence and medical infrastructure.

A kitten is prepped, given oxygen and ready for surgery. (Source photo by Susan Ellis)

Since the V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources plans to reintroduce the endangered St. Croix ground lizard to the area, R.E.A.L. Cats want to complete their project as soon as possible.

According to Lana Lee, vice president of R.E.A.L. Cruzan Cats, they plan to relocate 80-100 feral cats from the adjacent property at Altoona Lagoon to the sanctuary so that the ground lizards can live and prosper. The cats are a menace to sea birds at the Lagoon and are in danger of being killed by motorists and others.

“You want them feral and not coming up to people. That puts them in danger,” Southworth said.

The cat fence will be topped with flags and banners to keep birds away, and the bottom of the sanctuary will be lined with flashing to keep the lizards out. The fence will curl at the top to keep the cats in.

“We love cats, but we love wildlife too. That’s why we are supporting the ecosystem of the island,” Southworth said.

Currently, there is a $15,000 matching grant R.E.A.L. Cats hope to fund by the end of the year — so far, they have raised $5,000. They also have applied for a $25,000 grant to help build the sanctuary. Several companies have offered to donate materials, and donations are accepted from the public.

In addition to working on the sanctuary, the rescue has started a spay/neuter clinic, using donations for cats and some dogs from other organizations, Lee said.

“This year, we started clipping and returning cats (to where they were found). It is proven to be the only way to get the feral cat population under control,” Southworth said.

The program is called trap-neuter-vaccinate-return. Southworth explained that if cats are simply removed, others will move in, but if they are neutered and returned to where they were living, the population will remain stable.

“Almost every feral cat is taken care of by someone,” she added.

One family Lee knows feeds 40 cats, and another cares for 25. The residents have helped set traps provided by R.E.A.L. Cruzan Cats, and many of those animals have been spayed and neutered at this point, Lee added.

During a recent clinic, 21 kittens and eight puppies were operated on by Dr. Michelle Mehalick, surrounded by technicians and volunteers who prepared the animals before and post-surgery. The veterinarian told the Source they try to hold one or two clinics a month, and there are usually twice as many kittens as on that day.

Mehalick has purchased a school bus and will raise funds to turn it into a mobile clinic since no clinics are available to spay/neuter/vaccinate feral cats.

“I’ve learned that time and transportation are huge barriers faced by the community to care for cats,” she said. “The vast majority of pet owners on St. Croix want these services, but it’s a choice between taking kids to school, getting to work and pets. Time is so valuable. You need to make sacrifices.”

Lee said that the organization absorbs the clinic’s costs, but they hope to be able to charge in the future for the services. Generally, it costs $25 to neuter a male cat and $50 to spay a female. Dogs are around $50 to $100.

Dr. Michelle Mehalick and Lana Lee place kittens on a heating pad after spay/neuter surgery. They are monitored to see when they start to wake up. (Source photo by Susan Ellis)

The organization has learned there are other costs besides paying medical staff and buying supplies to perform the surgeries. They also provide some medications because many homeless cats have ticks and kittens are prone to eye infections.

Cruzan Cats will host fundraising events in the next two months to reach its goal.

A holiday cookie sale is scheduled for Dec. 15 at the former Blue Mutt, now Remax, and on Jan. 28, they will host “Whiskers, Whiskey and Wine.” That event will be held at Club Comanche in Christiansted. Southwell said there will be high-end whiskeys to sample and wine from an Italian winemaker with her own cat sanctuary.

The website realcruzancats.org has more information about programs and how to help. Donations can be made through Donorbox and also be sent to REAL Cruzan Cats, c/o Sotheby’s, 2101 Company St., Suite #2, Christiansted, VI 00820-5086.

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