CAROLINA ? Department of Public Works employees cleared the uphill shoulder of Centerline Road at one of the first sites repaired, above, in the ongoing work on the island?s main artery Route 10 ? hopefully in preparation for paving. After rebuilding several sections of the highway in Upper Carolina, the Island Roads crew has moved to work on another section of a collapsing shoulder in Lower Carolina, below.
Friends of Virgin Islands National Park is unveiling a new villa partner program that will benefit island villa owners, villa managers and Virgin Islands National Park. ?Villas for the Park? now gives St. John visitors a way to support the park at no cost when they stay at vacation rentals found on the Friends website. The vacation stay generates a donation by Villa Partners that translates to accomplish protection and preservation for our park.
When visitors are looking for a vacation rental, they simply use the portal to many villas and vacation rentals to choose from at www.friendsvinp.org/villas. Once the guest completes their stay, the Villa Partner makes a donation to Friends that directly benefits our park, which keeps visitors coming to our island. Villa Partners are listed on the Villas for the Park page in order of donation levels: 15, 10 and 5 percent, so that visitors can choose a villa based on level of park support, as well.
The program was conceived by Friends development director, Karen Vahling, who wanted to create a fresh fundraising approach to support Friend?s 23 programs and projects in the park.
Supporters of Friends Helping Friends make their way into the Inn At Tamarind Court on Saturday. The group has worked for the past several months to help St. John residents meet the expense of sudden illness and other misfortunes.
Enighed ? The Inn at Tamarind Court took on a festive look for the last weekend in July, playing host to events on Saturday and Sunday.
The first event of the weekend was a benefit for three St. John locals by the group Friends Helping Friends. Organizer Lori Krandal said she and her daughter had been putting benefits like this together for three years.
Red and white pennants trimmed the covered patio and the band, Brother Nature, struck up some tunes. A table shaded by a green umbrella invited people coming through the door to enter a raffle drawing. Krandal?s husband got down to business with a spatula behind the grill.
Up the steps, near the tamarind tree, teams of bean bag tossers tried to put the bag in the ?cornhole? target as a father with two little girls ushered them towards the bean bag game.
CRUZ BAY ? Work on the refurbishment of the Cruz Bay Apartments is ?on schedule? and a spokesperson for the new owners, Caneel Bay Resort owners CBI, said the renovations will be completed sometime in August. ?We hope to have our first tenants in there at the beginning of September,? the CBI spokesperson told St. John Tradewinds.
St. John resident Liz Lowe interacts with an island iguana at her home in Hart Bay during the filming of ?It Ain?t Easy Being Green,? left. News Photo by Bill Stelzer
A Green Iguana - Photo Ziggy Livnat
Island Wide ? After two years, more than six trips to St. John and a new law that threw a wrench in the story line, Dr. Crystal Fortwangler and team are close to wrapping the film, ?It Ain?t Easy Being Green.?
Fortwangler, an Assistant Professor of Sustainabilty and Environmental Anthropology at Chatham University?s Falk School of Sustainabilty in Pittsburgh, is a long-time visitor to St. John who has previously studied the island?s donkey and cattle history.
She is also co-owner, along with filmmaker Ziggy Livant, of Wider Angle Productions, which promotes sustainability and ethical animal-human relationships through films that entertain and educate.
For this project, Fortwangler is training her insightful eye on the growing iguana population on St. John and the vast difference of opinions on the animals.
?I?ve always been interested in animals here and I had been talking about doing something like this for a while,? said Fortwangler. ?The iguanas provide an interesting human-animal dynamic from both an academic and film perspective. This is especially the case because there is such a wide spectrum of feelings about them.?
About 70 small flag markers were installed at the Bellevue site to create a grid of the site to record archaeological findings.
BELLEVUE ? With conducive weather and mostly expected results, anthropology graduate student Alan Armstrong wrapped up the first phase of discovery at the historic Bellevue Estate property on Gift Hill Road near Bellevue Village.
The land is owned by St. John Community Foundation and under a long-term lease to St. John Historical Society, which plans to construct a cultural and historic center with climate-controlled archive and exhibit areas and meeting spaces at the site.
Before SJHS can get moving past the planning phase of the project, however, Northwestern University Ph.D. candidate Armstrong has been hired to take a closer look at what?s on, and in, the ground at the site.
Armstrong arrived on St. John July 14 to begin the first dig at the Bellevue Estate property, the former site of a Dutch cotton plantation dating to around 1720.
While the site had already been surveyed, Armstrong began his work by mapping out the main ruins and clearing the property before creating a grid of the site. He installed about 70 small flag markers each spaced five meters apart.
Armstrong then dug a small area near each flag marker, called a shovel test, to see what and how many artifacts were found on different parts of the property. Last week, he wrapped up that first phase of the project, which is expected to take about four years to complete.
?The first phase is done now,? said Armstrong. ?We found lots of artifacts all dating to the time period we had thought. There were lots of ceramic shards dating to the 18th century, which is what we were expecting.?