CARIFEST GETS $5 MILLION IN FINANCING

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Developers of the Carifest cultural entertainment park have received $5 million in equity capital for its $60 million project from a New York-based financing company.
Lion & Lamm Capital, LCC, of New York has committed to a joint venture and underwriting agreement with the locally owned Carifest Corp, which recently signed a new 70-year lease with the West Indian Co. Ltd., for about 9 acres of land south of Havensight Mall.
"Lion & Lamm has agreed to commit $5,000,000 to the Carifest project against an estimated capital budget of $60,000,000. We will underwrite the balance with our other strategic investors," Lion & Lamm Managing Director Jonathan Zich said in a released statement.
"Our decision was based upon the due diligence we conducted on Carifest, a new lease with WICO, a good U.S. economy and real estate capital markets, the strength of the cruise ship industry in St. Thomas and various other basic project fundamentals being in place," Zich said.
Carifest's developers describe the project as a one-of-its-kind Caribbean-themed cultural and entertainment park which will feature amusement rides, historical and educational exhibits, parades and performances.
"Having the first $5 million is a major breakthrough for this project," Carifest President Eric Matthews said Thursday. "The first financing is always the hardest to get and hopefully, now we've created the momentum."
The agreement with Lion & Lamm allows Carifest to begin the design phase of the project, which should attract further financing, Matthews said.
"With the Lion & Lamm agreement in place, we are now gearing up to enter the design phase of the project on July 26th in Orlando, Fla.," the statement said. "The design process will start to define the various attraction elements of the project and where they will be situated on the land site."
Among the attractions planned for the park are the Birth of the Caribbean River Ride, a Caribbean theater, a pirate stunt show, carnival parades of light, daily cultural exchanges at a folklife village and marketplace, a Carnival Arts Heritage Exhibit, a Calypso hall of fame, the Roots of Africa Discovery Center, Shipwrecks of the Caribbean, a West Indies aviary, the Old Sugarmill Rum Factory, and Arawak and Carib villages.
"The Lion & Lamm agreement was presented at the recent Carifest shareholders meeting in St. Thomas and the proposal was well-received by our shareholders," Carifest Chairman Leo Barbel said in the statement.
The Carifest park will be visible to all arriving cruise ship passengers because it will be located just to the east of the WICO docks. Many believe the park will help St. Thomas stand out further among Caribbean tourist destinations.
"A project of this magnitude, when completed, will put the Virgin Islands in the forefront with attractions in the Caribbean," WICO President and CEO Edward Thomas said in June. "There is a growing demand by the traveling public for family-type entertainment and the Carifest project is a major step in that direction."

FRENCH HERITAGE WEEK ENDS WITH A GRAND FINALE

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French Heritage Week ended in grand style Wednesday night with a Bastille Day celebration at Government House.
Four hundred invited guests were treated to music, dance and delightful commentary provided by members of St. Thomas' French Community — with one notable addition coming from the mayor of St. Barthelemy Bruno Magras, who delivered his remarks first in French — then in English.
Gov. Charles W. Turnbull opened the ceremonies saying the "Storming of the Bastille was a defining moment in world history."
"The French community is one of rich culture and traditions," he said. "Long live the people of French descent; long live French heritage in the Virgin Islands."
Anne-Marie Danet and Aimery Caron were honored for their contributions to the French community.
Danet is an historian of note who has chronicled the history of the French emigrants to the Caribbean.
Caron, who is the brother of French film star Leslie Caron, came to St. Thomas in the 1940s. He is a scientist and professor of chemistry and a contributor to the keeping of the history of the French people in the islands.
Highlights of the evening were the dancing of waltzes by four students of French descent and a short piano recital by Jason Quetel.
Sen. Lorraine L. Berry as mistress of ceremonies presented certificates and commendation plaques to students from the French community who had graduated from high school and college this year.
Though the room was packed and hot during the ceremonies most guests — of French descent or not — remained to eat, drink and dance to the music of the Sea Breeze Band.
Editors' note: We are happy to welcome historian and writer Anne-Marie Danet as a new and regular contributor to St. Thomas Source.

RED CROSS DISASTEER SERVICES MASS CARE REGISTRATION

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The Red Cross Disaster Services for Mass Care volunteers will hold registration from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 24, for those volunteers who have worked in Mass Care and for people who want to become a Mass Care volunteer.
Mass Care means feeding groups of people during disasters, working in the shelters and doing bulk distribution of supplies.
To pre-register call 774-0375.

YOUNG DEMOCRATS PPUBLIC RELATIONS COMMITTEE TO MEET

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The Young Democrats of St. Croix's Public Relations Committee will meet at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 20, at Coamche's Restaurant.
Topics for discussion will be upcoming town meetings and voter registration drives.
All committee members and interested persons are urged to attend.
For further information contact Jamil Russell at 719-9241.

THURSDAY'S NEWS BRIEFS

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PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION COMMITTEE MEETING RESET FOR NOON
Permits for the Christiansted Boardwalk and the reconstruction of a dock at the new Divi Carina Bay Resort at Grapetree Bay will be heard at today’s committee meeting in Frederiksted at noon.
The meeting was originally set for 10 a.m., but because of the power problems it has been reset for noon.
Also on the agenda is the issue of St. Croix’s sewage crisis, said committee chairman Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg.
"These sewage spills pose an ongoing threat to public health and the environment," Donastorg said. "It’s high time we made a serious effort to privatize sewage treatment — what we’re doing now is simply not working."
Donastorg said that privatization would enable proper training for local operators and offer accountability when problems arose.
The two permits include the extension of the downtown Christiansted Boardwalk west from King’s Alley toward past the Holger Danske Hotel. The other is for the reconstruction of an existing 984 square foot dock at the renovated hotel on St. Croix’s southeast shore.
WAPA CONTINUING POWER ROTATION
The V.I. Water and Power Authority will continue juggling St. Croix’s power supply Thursday.
The power rotation used on Wednesday will be repeated again, about five days after an electrical supply mishap hit WAPA’s Richmond station. The problems began just after 5 p.m. Sunday when an electrical short developed on high voltage cables at the Richmond substation and tripped the operating generators and desalinization units.
On Monday, WAPA began rotating power between its electrical feeders, causing those whose feeders were out to be powerless for at least two hours.
The revised rotation schedule is: Feeder 2 without service from 7:45 a.m. to 10 a.m.; Feeder 10 out from 10 a.m. to noon; Feeder 9 out from noon to 2 p.m.; Feeders 4 and 6 out from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.; Feeders 2 and 3 out from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Feeder 9 out from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Feeders 1 and 6 out from 8 p.m to 10:30 p.m.
According to WAPA, crews are replacing the high voltage cables and the utility expects to end the feeder rotation by this weekend.
CASINO COMMISSION'S SPECIAL MEETING ON FRIDAY
The V.I. Casino Control Commission will hold a special meeting Friday in order to consider the renewal of the V.I. Hospitality Training School’s license to operate a casino gaming school. The meeting starts at 9:30 a.m.
The meeting is being called because St. Croix’s first casino is slated to open Dec. 1. V.I. law mandates that 80 percent of casino workers must be Virgin Islanders who are trained and licensed to work in the industry. The school’s license expired last week, however, and now must be renewed by the commission.
That must be done on Friday because Commissioner Dennis Brow’s term expires at the end of the day, leaving only two members — and a lack of quorum — on the panel. Brow’s term expired in March, but was extended by Gov. Charles Turnbull for another 120 days. The remaining commissioners are Chairwoman Eileen Petersen and Imelda Dizon.

GLOOMIER FINANCIAL NEWS AHEAD?

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More bleak financial news may be looming on the territory's horizon as Gov. Charles Turnbull is reportedly set to meet today with federal officials in St. Thomas and Friday with the V.I. Legislature.
The meeting with legislators is ostensibly to discuss "the budget" but is likely to focus on stringent — and painful — cuts in government spending.
The 30 days given to the V.I. government to submit its economic recovery plan to Washington also expires later this month. The deadline was announced while Turnbull was in Washington, D.C., at the end of June.
Government House officials, however, did not return phone message left Wednesday asking about the meetings.
A number of senators confirmed Wednesday they have been invited to meet with Turnbull on Friday to discuss the fiscal year 2000 budget; none, however, were aware of the specific content of the meeting.
"All I know is that the invitation highlighted that he wants to meet with us to discuss the budget," Sen. Adlah Donastorg said Wednesday.
Sen. Lorraine Berry said she received a one-sentence memo from Senate President Vargrave Richards notifying her of the meeting.
"I got a memo from the president saying there's a meeting on the budget," Berry said Wednesday. "We'll have to wait until Friday to see what it's about because I don't know anything else."
Sen. Donald "Ducks" Cole also received the memo.
"I got a letter that says the governor wants to meet with the body about the budget," Cole said. "I don't know what the agenda is."
Richards could not be reached for comment because he is off-island.
Though the news may be bad, Turnbull probably won't announce another payless payday; with three paydays falling during July's slow summer season, many feared the government would not be able to pay its employees on payday for a second time this year.
A source close to Government House, however, said confidently this week that the administration will meet payroll. Reportedly, the Turnbull administration has made an agreement to draw down at least a portion of the $35 million that the Legislature authorized it to borrow if the executive branch could not meet payroll.
An article in St. Thomas Source in June reported Turnbull's financial team has discovered that if the government continues business-as-usual, it will have a $954 million spending deficit within 10 years –about 16 times what is now — and the territory's debt would double to $2 billion.
"The government's fiscal position is precarious and requires immediate action," Margaret Guarino, managing director of the Public Finance Division of First Union Capital Markets, one of the government's advisory groups, said then.
"Eliminating these deficits will require tremendous effort and significant changes in the way the government delivers its services," Guarino said. "But with the proper, well-thought-out financial plan, it can be done. New York City did it. Washington did it. Guam did it."
The governor's financial team includes First Union Capital Markets, Core International Inc., the law firms of Winston & Strawn and Harris, Beech & Wilcox, and officials of his administration.
"If we do not demonstrate that we have the will to implement the changes necessary to help ourselves, that is when the feds would step in," Rudolph Krigger, the governor's special assistant for fiscal policy, said in June. "But I believe we do have the will. But we must demonstrate that."
Turnbull's fiscal 2000 budget, submitted in May, proposed $486 million in spending — $50 million more than the current fiscal year — with a 6 percent across-the-board pay cut for government employees. Turnbull later backed off that pay decrease after union officials raised Cain, but that move merely increased an estimated $50 million gap between spending and revenues.
Federal officials reportedly are demanding deeper cuts in spending before they will help the financially strapped territory.
Turnbull has already ordered several cost-cutting measures, including a strict hiring freeze and a 50 percent cut in overtime costs.
Turnbull will reportedly hold a press conference on the results of this week's various meetings on Monday, July 19.

STEPS FOR A HEALTHIER OLDER PET

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Any animal over 8 years of age is considered an older animal, and some extra care from you can help them stay healthy for many more years. As an animal ages their energy requirements, exercise patterns, and veterinary needs change. The following steps will help maintain optimum health.
*Feed a diet specially formulated for senior pets. Older animals require different levels of proteins, fats, and vitamins.
*Take pets to the veterinarian at least once or twice a year, especially if any behavioral changes occur. Vaccines should be administered once a year to help boost the immune system.
*Exercise moderately with walks and/or short periods of play to maintain muscle tone and limit weight gain.
*Check pet's teeth regularly and have them cleaned by a veterinarian and at home. Periodontal disease can result in infection of internal organs.
*Massage and pet your animal thoroughly at least once a week. Check for any lumps, bumps, or lesions. New developments should be checked by a veterinarian.
*Senior pets may require bathing at more frequent intervals and with medicated shampoos and conditioners.
*Maintain a stable routine and environment to minimize stress.
*Spaying or neutering your pet will reduce risk of some cancers, uterine infections, and prostatic disease.
Editor's note: Dr. Laura Palminteri Practices veterinary medicine at Cruz Bay Canines, Cats & Critters on St. John. A 1991 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, she practiced small animal and equine medicine in New York before opening her practice on St. John.

STEPS FOR A HEALTHIER OLDER PET

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Any animal over 8 years of age is considered an older animal, and some extra care from you can help them stay healthy for many more years. As an animal ages their energy requirements, exercise patterns, and veterinary needs change. The following steps will help maintain optimum health.
*Feed a diet specially formulated for senior pets. Older animals require different levels of proteins, fats, and vitamins.
*Take pets to the veterinarian at least once or twice a year, especially if any behavioral changes occur. Vaccines should be administered once a year to help boost the immune system.
*Exercise moderately with walks and/or short periods of play to maintain muscle tone and limit weight gain.
*Check pet's teeth regularly and have them cleaned by a veterinarian and at home. Periodontal disease can result in infection of internal organs.
*Massage and pet your animal thoroughly at least once a week. Check for any lumps, bumps, or lesions. New developments should be checked by a veterinarian.
*Senior pets may require bathing at more frequent intervals and with medicated shampoos and conditioners.
*Maintain a stable routine and environment to minimize stress.
*Spaying or neutering your pet will reduce risk of some cancers, uterine infections, and prostatic disease.
Editor's note: Dr. Laura Palminteri Practices veterinary medicine at Cruz Bay Canines, Cats & Critters on St. John. A 1991 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, she practiced small animal and equine medicine in New York before opening her practice on St. John.

FIRST DAY OF ADMIRAL'S CUP A CONTACT SPORT

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Idler with Peter Holmberg aboard is in the middle of the pack after a wild first day in the green water and grey wind of England. Winds of twenty knots and three classes racing on the same course resulted in many close crossings and several incidents of contact between boats. Contact between the mast of Idler and the mast of a Dutch boat going the opposite direction results in damage but no dismasting.
Idler scores a sixth in the first race and is scored as one of two boats in first for the second race.
Only one day of competition is concluded and the results are tight among all teams, but there are many more days of racing to come.

STEPS FOR A HEALTHIER OLDER PET

0

Any animal over 8 years of age is considered an older animal, and some extra care from you can help them stay healthy for many more years. As an animal ages their energy requirements, exercise patterns, and veterinary needs change. The following steps will help maintain optimum health.
*Feed a diet specially formulated for senior pets. Older animals require different levels of proteins, fats, and vitamins.
*Take pets to the veterinarian at least once or twice a year, especially if any behavioral changes occur. Vaccines should be administered once a year to help boost the immune system.
*Exercise moderately with walks and/or short periods of play to maintain muscle tone and limit weight gain.
*Check pet's teeth regularly and have them cleaned by a veterinarian and at home. Periodontal disease can result in infection of internal organs.
*Massage and pet your animal thoroughly at least once a week. Check for any lumps, bumps, or lesions. New developments should be checked by a veterinarian.
*Senior pets may require bathing at more frequent intervals and with medicated shampoos and conditioners.
*Maintain a stable routine and environment to minimize stress.
*Spaying or neutering your pet will reduce risk of some cancers, uterine infections, and prostatic disease.
Editor's note: Dr. Laura Palminteri Practices veterinary medicine at Cruz Bay Canines, Cats & Critters on St. John. A 1991 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, she practiced small animal and equine medicine in New York before opening her practice on St. John.