FISHERY MANAGEMENT HEARING SET

0

A public hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4 at the V.I. Fish and Game Club in Red Hook regarding Draft Management Plan for overfished Atlantic swordfish, sharks and tunas.
The draft plan, developed by the National Oceanic and Atomospheric Administration, seeks ways to manage and rebuild stocks of these migratory species.
The draft is being reviewed across the United States in public hearings in order to gather input from recreational sport, and commercial fisherman.
All interested parties are urged to attend.

BRRRRR, IT'S WINTER IN ST. THOMAS

0

What's up with the weather?
Everybody is talking about how cold it is.
Everybody, that is, but the weather service.
According to Henry Laskosky, lead forecaster for the National Weather Service in Puerto Rico, a combination of cloud cover and wind is driving down the temperature in St. Thomas.
Laskosky said if it weren't for the cloud cover, temperatures Monday would have reached a high of 78 to 80 degrees.
But according to officials at the FAA tower at Cyril E. King Airport, the temperatures did reach a high of 77 degrees, which is average for this time of year.
That’s not what local residents are experiencing though, including some who maintain the daytime temperatures Monday were in the low '70s.
“I don’t remember it being this cold in a very long time — maybe not ever,” said Bill Jowers, general manager of Magens Bay.
“I have to go out tomorrow and buy jackets for the lifeguards and all the people who are taking a CPR course at the beach,” Jowers said.
Jowers, who was born here, said he got up early in the morning — 3 or 4 a.m. — and the thermometers at his house registered 70 degrees.
“What nobody is taking into account is the wind-chill factor,” Jowers said.
The wind was gusting at 39 mph at 7:30 p.m. Monday.
Jose Penn, chief financial officer of Penn's Corp. in St. John, said he, too, doesn’t remember it ever being this cold.
“When I heard about the hail in St. John back a few months ago, I didn’t believe it,” Penn said. “I believe it now.”
Mary Davis, former industrial arts teacher at Addelita Cancryn Junior High School, said, “When I first came here in the early 70s it was kind of like this. I was even thinking of getting an electric blanket back then.”
Then it got “hot, hot, hot,” according to Davis’s recollection.
“But now it seems like it did when I was first here. I was freezing last night.”
Freezing seems a strong word for the normally balmy tropics, but it is a
word heard more and more as the wind, cloud cover and rain make for what “feels”like unusually cold temperatures in the tropical Virgin Islands.
And what is the wind chill?
Using a wind chill factor formula from www.weatherimages.org, given a temperature of 77 degrees Fahrenheit and a wind velocity of 25 mph, it “feels” like it is 64 degrees Fahrenheit -— a bit chilly for a locale with
few fireplaces.

KEY WEST IS SITE OF THIS YEAR'S BACCHANAL

0

There's great St. Thomian excitement brewing in Key West, Fla., right now as plans take shape for the fourth annual St. Thomas Bacchanal to be held there this year.
This year's event is being organized by Jane Hoffman Walker, daughter of the late Judge Louis Hoffman and sister of local attorney Paul. It will be held the weekend of April 30 to May 2.
All current and ex-pat St. Thomas residents are invited.
The first Bacchanal was initiated by ex-pat Anne Lawrence Wray in Fort Lauderdale, and it's been growing faster than ketch n' keep ever since.
Key West, which is a bit like a stateside St. Thomas, give or take a little, should prove a welcoming site for the festivities, which start with a sunset cocktail party Friday and dinner and dancing at Kelly's Caribbean Bar and Brewery on Saturday. Kelly's is in the old Pan Am building and is owned by Kelly McGillis.
The event, which Jane said should draw about 400 people this year, is proving a winner with such personalities as Olivia Stanford, Dorothy Vialet and Ray and Judy Stull.
Ray will always be remembered for the infamous waterfront saloon Trader Dan's,
certainly one of St. Thomas's more colorful watering holes until its demise in the early '70s.
Also expecting to attend this year are Wendy
and Bob Noble. Bob owned radio station WVWI and is a member in good standing of the Water Island Garden Club.
Others expected at this year's event are Joycelyn Hillaire, Jo and Len Stein of WSTA radio and Jack Chapman and Jo Tatum of All Island Air, to name a few.
"It's really a unique opportunity to renew old acquaintances and fun memories of times past," Jane said.
To sign up or to get more information, including hotel arrangements, contact Jane Walker Hoffman at 809 Third St., Key West, Fl. 33040, or call at 305-296-0510. You can also reach her e-mail at jwalk10@juno.com.

COAST GUARD CUTTER ARRIVING THURSDAY

0

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Dependable will visit St. Thomas from 9 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 4, through 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 6.
It will be at the north side dock at Crown Bay.
The 210-foot vessel has 10 officers and 58 ennlisted men under the command of M.S. Black.

SIMMONDS GETS OFFICIAL NOD FOR EDUCATION

0

Gov. Charles W. Turnbull sent Dr. Ruby Simmonds' nomination to be education commissioner to the Senate on Monday, the same day Simmonds started in the post.
Turnbull had made the announcement Saturday at a meeting of the V.I. Democratic Party. He said he has chosen people for most Cabinet positions but won't make formal announcements until the individuals have accepted their appointments.
The only Cabinet positions that remain undecided are the Public Works and Police departments, Turnbull told the Independent.
Earlier in the week Turnbull formally nominated three Cabinet members: Iver Stridiron to be attorney general, Dr. Wilbur Callender to be health commissioner and Ira Hobson to head housing, parks and recreation.
Simmonds is a former senator and former assistant education commissioner. She left her post as head of the University of the Virgin Islands humanities division to take the Cabinet post.
A native of St. Thomas, Simmonds holds a doctor of arts degree in the humanities with a concentration in English. She has 30 years of experience in teaching, public administration and community service.

ROAD WORK BEGINS IN ESTATE PEARL

0

Road work was set to begin Monday to improve drainage, build culverts and resurface the road between Crown Mountain Road and Black Point Hill in Estate Pearl.
Also effective Monday, motorists will no longer be able to make a right turn into the second access road to Kmart in Tutu Park Mall by McDonald’s between 3 and 7 p.m.
Tyrone Martin of the Public Works Department said the Estate Pearl work should wind up by May.
Martin said the work will not cause any inconvenience to residents or travelers, but he asked that residents remove any vehicles, construction materials and debris from the side of the roadway.
He also asked drivers to exercise caution in that area.
Signs noting the change in Estate Tutu are to go up today at the intersection without traffic lights, referred to as the second access to Kmart, Martin said.
“We’ve noticed a lot of congestion in that area despite the traffic signals at the first access,” Martin said.
The no-right-turn regulation will be
monitored for three weeks to see if it remedies traffic jams in the area.
Martin also said the road work begun last month on Route 382 in New Tutu has been completed.
Work at Raphune Hill should be finished by Valentine’s Day -— “a well-deserved sweetheart gift” to islanders, he said.

CLINTON BUDGET INCREASES V.I. RUM TAX

0

President Bill Clinton has included in his year 2000 budget a proposal to return to
the Virgin Islands the entire $13.50-per-gallon federal tax levied on Virgin
Islands rum.
This is an increase of $3 over the present $10.50 per gallon returned to the V.I. government. The rate had been $11.30 until this year but it dropped to $10.50 last fall when Congress refused to leave it at $11.30 or increase it to the full $13.50 as territorial officials had hoped.
Experts estimate the difference could mean an extra $12 million into the coffers of the financially strained territory.
After attending the official White House announcement, Delegate to Congress Donna
Christian-Christensen said, “I am pleased the president has again proposed this increase to assist the territory’s economic recovery. While we were unable to accomplish this increase by the end of the 105th Congress, I believe the inclusion in this year’s budget will provide the needed push to
obtain congressional approval when it is considered later this year.”
In addition to the rum-tax increase, the president's budget contains $1 million to assist in protecting threatened coral reef ecosystems. Christensen said.
“These funds will allow us to prevent the destruction of our coral reefs which are
so important to maintaining a quality tourism program,” the delegate said.

LOVE VINE OR HELL WEED? PROBABLY THE LATTER

0

Here in the Virgin Islands, a pale yellow or orange-yellow vine can be seen clinging to roadside bushes and trees. Locals call it "Love Vine," because of its ability to strangle the life out of its host. Having had much luck in the love department myself, I like to refer to it as "Hell Weed."
If this vine decides to take up residence in your yard, getting rid of it can be "Hell on Earth." While we like to think of all living things as God's creatures, I can only imagine the mood He was in when this plant was created.
Dodder vine starts its life as a green, thin-leafed plant, wholly self-sufficient with a rope-like stem. As it crawls along, it seeks a host plant or tree on which to climb and becomes a true parasite, giving up its green leaves and chlorophyll (mushrooms are the only other plant form not to produce chlorophyll), and receives its entire sustenance at the expense of the host it has attached itself to, eventually killing the host.
As it grows it produces small flowers with clusters of seeds. When the host shrub is disturbed, the seeds fall to the ground and germinate, beginning the life cycle of yet another dodder plant. The seeds also become airborne by way of wind and birds.
Now, how to get rid of this plant?
I do not know of a foolproof method, although through experimentation, several local nurserymen have come up with some basic measures.
First, prune back the afflicted plant, but it is very important not to scatter the seed. Carefully place branches in a plastic bag, picking up any pieces dropped, tie carefully and remove immediately from your yard.
Be sure to carefully remove the stems that have penetrated the bark. Also, study the ground for any new green plants that have germinated and remove them by their root. I have also found that a strong solution of nitrogen will cause the plant to "explode" by forcing it to produce chlorophyll.
Either a strong solution of fertilizer or Round-Up in a spray bottle with a small nozzle will allow application to small areas. If the solution happens to land on leaves, they will burn and drop off, but should not harm the roots of an afflicted shrub.
The dodder vine has proliferated throughout the local area due mostly to hurricanes that have spread seeds with high winds.
Try your best to identify dodder in adjacent vacant lots and along roadsides bordering your property and eliminate as outlined. It takes constant vigilance to identify new vines and remove as soon as possible to prevent injury to your trees and shrubs.
Perhaps "Love Vine" is an apt description, considering the amount of work and patience involved.
Editor's note: Kathie McCarthy is a local entrepreneur often called "Anti-Martha" by her friends. She owned Key Islander Nursery with her partner Jay Adair and supplied all the bougainvillea for a number of the large hotels in St. Thomas. She is also known as the "Bougi Lady."

EX-GOV. SCHNEIDER RE-OPENS MEDICAL OFFICE

0

Former Gov. Roy L. Schneider returns to his role as Dr. Roy L. Schneider on Monday with the re-opening of his medical office at the V.I. Medical Foundation in Estate Thomas.
Schneider, a cancer specialist, will also see patients in St. Croix at an office in Sunny Isle on Fridays, according to an ad in Saturday's Daily News.
Interestingly, Schneider apparently will see patients simultaneously on both islands, since the ad gives his office hours in St. Thomas as 1 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and in St. Croix from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Fridays.
"This is bona fide proof that he really is God," a former member of Schneider's Cabinet said, asking not to be identified.
Schneider lost his bid for re-election in November to Gov. Charles W. Turnbull. Previous media reports had indicated he would return to his private medical practice in St. Thomas.

CHARTER YACHT BURNS, SINKS IN HARBOR

0

Charter yacht "Serene," an Irwin Custom 75, became enveloped in flames in the early hours of Saturday morning. By daylight all that remained above water was a charred mast and a still-smoldering piling.
Although dockside reports had captain and crew asleep when the fire started, there were no major injuries as they escaped.
The fire blazed with such intensity that motor yacht, "Back Soon," in the Safe Haven Marina slip alongside "Serene," quickly fired up her engines and left.
Boaters in the St. Thomas harbor were awakened by several explosions, which they attributed to propane fuel tanks aboard the burning vessel. Dockside witnesses said Capt. Chris Hubbard was reduced to throwing buckets of water on the raging fire in a futile attempt to stop the blaze.
On Saturday afternoon a fellow charter captain donned dive tanks to try to retrieve a few personal effects from forward sections still recognizable as a boat. When he was finished there were only a few small stacks of soggy debris on the dock. This was all that remained from a graceful 75-foot sailing yacht, an active business, and the captain's and crew's personal effects.
The captain said he was "not in the mood to talk" with the press.