THE MARKETPLACE ? Young avid readers filled the second floor of the Marketplace on August 11.
From dinosaurs to princesses, and picture books to biographies, children and their families were enamored by the wide selection of free books that were available.
?Reading is absolutely fundamental for young minds, ? said St. John Rotary Club President Alecia Wells. ?I am very happy with the turnout and that the community took the time out to pick out books.?
The Book Extravaganza was a free book giveaway spearheaded by the St. John Rotary Club with some involvement of the Department of Education.
Wells, along with Rotarian Alice Krall, devotedly managed the event, ensuring that every person who entered was greeted warmly, and that no person left with fewer than ten books.
The event was also held together by the volunteer work of Cristina Kessler, Alethia Sprauve, Susan Knotts, Khaleila Krall, Aariyah Athanase, A?Feyah Smith, and others.
A Wonderful DonationThe tale of this amazing community project begins with a conversation between Mark Van Ness, Julie Edward, and Alice Krall.
?They both had recently moved to the island and we had a chat about some projects they had conducted back in the states? explained Rotarian Alice Krall.
?They conducted a similar event in California and Oregon in 2011 with donations from Bazillion Books for Kids and Better World Books?
The books given out at the Extravaganza were indeed from a company called Better World Books. Better World Books is an online for-profit bookseller that donates copious amounts of books and funds to literacy programs all around the world.
Through the company?s Book For Book initiative, for every book that is purchased from the website, a book is donated to a child in need.
Organizers of the annual Coral Bay Labor Day celebration say they want to build on the success they enjoyed in 2014.
This year?s event plans include a car show, a pie eating contest, a petting zoo and music.
Over the past few years the St. John Festival and Cultural Organization has been getting help from a group of Coral Bay volunteers working with the annual Labor Day Parade. Last year?s parade was the largest in years with 19 entries.
Volunteers have also connected with the local businesses and the Coral Bay Community Council, inviting them to enter parade troupes and celebrate the end of summer.Celebrations are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. with the parade, from the Cocoloba Complex to the Moravian Church Field. Musical entertainment with a live deejay and the Ah We Band starts at 1 p.m.
Festival Committee Chairwoman Leona Smith and parade chairwoman Jackie Clendinen, with the support of CBCC are offering back to school giveaways for families and children. A bounce house and petting zoo will be on the field to delight the kids.
From 3 p.m. through the end of the event, there will be a display of customized cars and motorcycles, a feature that has become a tradition at the Labor Day fete.
Community groups wishing to participate in the parade can contact Jackie Clendinen at 340-514-5355.
James "Jimmy" Malfetti
ST. THOMAS ? Jury selection in the murder trial of a St. Thomas man accused in the fatal stabbing of James Malfetti is scheduled to begin Nov. 17, and the judge has ordered Mekel Blash to submit to DNA testing, according to the attorney for the victim?s family.
Superior Court Judge Kathleen Mackay set the trial date while still considering legal arguments as to whether Blash should be granted pre trial release. Blash is accused of fatally stabbing Malfetti, 41, during a break-in at internet entrepreneur Malfetti?s rented apartment on the south shore of St. John in January 2014.
Blash was arrested by police in March and charged with first degree murder, first and third degree assault, burglary and grand larceny. The defendant is currently being held on $500,000 bail.
Mackay has taken more than six weeks to consider a request by Blash?s lawyer to allow him to live and work outside of the St. Thomas Criminal Justice Complex.
First degree murder is the only charge a defendant can be accused of which allows them to be held in jail until trial. But a judge can also fashion terms for a pre-trial release in some cases where a defendant may be given a measure of freedom.
Conditions for pre-trial release may include imposition of a curfew or house arrest with electronic monitoring.
If convicted of the most serious charge ? first degree murder ? Blash faces life in prison without parole.
CORAL BAY ? The V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources St. John Coastal Zone Management (CZM) committee has agreed to meet with officials of the Moravian Church on September 9 to discuss the issue of the unauthorized and unpermitted floating docks attached to the church?s concrete dock at Parcel No. 10, Estate Emmaus No. 2, Coral Bay Quarter, according to church council officials.
?It is our hope that during our meeting we can achieve an amicable resolution on the matter that is in the best interest of the Church and the St. John Community,? Superintendent Eulencine Christopher of the Moravian Church Virgin Islands Conference said in an August 21 release.
?The floating docks were deployed by some persons in Coral Bay without the Church?s authorization and the Church subsequently received a citation and was instructed to obtain a permit or remove the docks,? Christopher explained.
In response to a request from the Moravian Church V.I. Conference, DPNR Commissioner Designee, Dawn Henry, Esq., agreed to meet and also issued a stay on the citation that required the removal of the unpermitted floating docks, according to Christopher.
?The signs and floating docks will remain while DPNR and the Church seek to resolve the matter,? Supt. Christopher stated in a prepared statement. ?The Church had been advised by DPNR that the permitting process is very involved and among its requirements are an application and approval from the Army Corps of Engineers which takes a minimum of two years to obtain.?
?The Moravian Church is mindful that while there is great appreciation for maritime activities, we must seek a holistic approach in addressing the needs and concerns of the entire community, as well as the boating community,? Christopher added. ?The Moravian Church will comply with the law and all applicable regulations.?
?(The Moravian Church) will continue to be a pillar of strength and hope in the Coral Bay community and is grateful to God for the lands which it graciously shares with others,? concluded Christopher. ?As we work together, the Church, the Community and the Government to resolve this matter, it our hope that in the spirit of cooperation we can do what is most beneficial for all persons.?
ST. THOMAS ? While leading the V.I. Port Authority to unprecedented expansion, VIPA Executive Director and former Senator Carlton Dowe has apparently met his management match in the Cruz Bay Taxi Stand at the Loredon L. Boynes Sr. Ferry Terminal.
VIPA officials will no longer exercise authority over the St. John taxi medallion holders at the waterfront spaces allocated to taxis, Dowe announced unilaterally on August 11. Government oversight of the taxi stand was handed over to the Department of Property and Procurement, according to a VIPA release.
The move ends a two-year period in which the Port Authority arbitrarily had claimed control of the concession operated by the St. John Taxi Association ? and the coveted waterfront parking spaces overlooking Cruz Bay Beach.
The parking spaces belong to the central government, but Dowe said his agency never received a deed for the spaces and was not interested in managing the property or any activity around the property without a deed, according to VIPA public relations officer Monife Braithwaite.
The St. John Bike Rodeo 2015 presented to the children of St. John by the St. John CIT (Community Integration Team) slated for Saturday, August 29, 2015 at the Julius E. Sprauve Elementary School ballfield, has been postponed, due to ground conditions after the passage of TS Erika. An alternate date for the event is under discussion and the public will be advised of the new date and time accordingly.The purpose of the Bike Safety Rodeo is to ensure that children preparing themselves for the new school year on St. John, become aware of their responsibility as owners of bicycles; bicycle operation, bike safety and maintenance.The Virgin Islands Bureau of Motor Vehicles will be in attendance, as they?ll be registering and licensing bicycles for just $15.00. The St. Thomas/St. John Weed and Seed will be there, as they?re supplying Bike Helmets, Bike Safety Tips, Back-To-School Supplies and a special visitation by McGruff ? the Crime Dog! Of course, members of the Virgin Islands P0plice Department - St. John will in tow, as they?ll conduct the Bike Safety Obstacle Course.The St. John CIT has been an active advocate for crime prevention, public safety and efficient government services since 2009 and operates as the official civilian arm of the VIPD. The group meets monthly in the Battery, located in Cruz Bay and is joined by the Darren Foy, Chief of Police ? St. Thomas/St. John along with Arlene Chalwell, Deputy Chief of Police ? St. John.