St. John students and Rotary will team up to repaint the helipad at Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center.
As the start of hurricane season approaches, a group of St. John youth are doing their part to make sure Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center is ready for anything.
Students from Gifft Hill School, Guy Benjamin School and the Julius E. Sprauve School are part of the St. John Rotary Interact Club. Club President Joan Birmingham says the groups have been looking for a community service project they could join forces around.
?They?ve all been doing projects in their area of the community and they wanted to paint the clinic. The clinic doesn?t need painting inside or out but they needed painting on the helipad,? said Birmingham.
The MKSCHC helipad was first created around the time of Hurricane Marilyn, when badly injured residents were carried off island for medical treatment. Over the years, the markings that define the helipad, along with a large ?H? in the center, have faded.
That would make it difficult for a helicopter pilot to safely land in the event of an emergency, added Birmingham. When students execute their painting project, they will be provided with a design that will instruct them where to paint and how large an area to cover.
The John?s Folly Learning Institute is celebrating its 18th anniversary and founder Alvis Christian Sr. is looking to expand the institute?s after school programs for children on the isolated southeast end of St. John.
The refurbished building on the bluff overlooking John?s Folly Bay will mark its anniversary on Saturday, April 19, at noon with special quest speaker Donna M. Christensen, USVI Delegate to Congress.
A special guest at the anniversary celebration will be Paul Montiero, former Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.
After several years housing the fledgling St. John Montessori School, the John?s Folly Learning Institute is concentrating on filling the gap in after school programs for the growing number of children living in one of the most isolated areas of the island.
With the threatened closure of the Guy Benjamin School in Coral Bay, Christian sees an even more important role for JFLI to provide educational opportunities for students in the Coral Bay, Calabash Boom and John?s Folly neighborhoods.
One of the unmarked burials within the Cruz Bay free-colored cemetery in 2013. Photo by David Knight Sr.
Tucked away in a corner of Cruz Bay between establishments reflecting modern life in this little island town is the final resting place of six free-colored Danish West Indians who died in the 19th century. Although the cemetery is incredibly significant for myriad reasons, it had been all but forgotten until last month, when the Virgin Islands government joined forces with the St. John Historical Society to lead restoration efforts at this important site.
St. Thomas-St. John Historic Preservation Committee Commissioner David W. Knight Sr. is leading the initiative, which began March 19 with a clearing of the site, adjacent to Roger Harland?s commercial building and behind the Banana Deck restaurant.
?The site?s been totally desecrated,? said Knight. ?The two markers that remain in the cemetery, which both date from the 1800s, are broken. Someone recently smashed one of the memorial plaques and attempted to access the burial.?
The HPC will bring together the State Historic Preservation Office, the SJHS, and any other concerned citizens or groups to help with the restoration, which will take an estimated three to six months and cost approximately $24,000.
Two of the island?s three car ferries were in operation last weekend. The third, ?Roanoake? was out of service and appeared to be undergoing sandblasting and repainting while docked with its ramp in the mangroves on the south side of the Enighed Pond port.
With a callaloo of conflicting stories ? and a few schedule lapses ? regular customers of the three inter-island barge companies servicing the St. John-St. Thomas route have been expressing concern about the reliability of the inter-island barge service.
On Tuesday afternoon, April 8, a St. John rescue official called St. John Tradewinds from the Mister B barge operated by Boyson Inc. at about 2:30 p.m. to ask if the newspaper knew why the vessel had been waiting outside the Enighed Pond commercial port for almost one-half hour after arriving from Red Hook while waiting for room at the port?s bulkhead.
A regularly-scheduled commercial barge was off-loading at one of the three interior barge ramp spaces and only one space was available for the three vehicle barges regularly operating between St. John and St. Thomas to load and unload, according to an official of one of the barge companies.
?They were waiting for the dock to clear,? Cheryl Boynes Jackson of Boyson Inc. said of the Mr. B?s delayed arrival.
Repair Work Crowds Car Ferry Ramps
Crowded conditions in the port include a number of large vessels which have been undergoing extensive long-term repairs in violation of the V.I. government?s federal permit for construction of the port which prohibits major repair work on vessels.
The remains of Seara Samantha James, the young St. John woman whose October 2011 death at age 21 was the result of ?suspected foul play,? were buried on Monday, April 7, with little attention or further information from V.I. law enforcement officials.
While the unsolved murder of a stateside man in a St. John rental apartment in January has put the island in the national spotlight, the family of Samantha Seara James was left with few answers about her 2011 death despite new questions raised by V.I. law enforcement officials.
?There was suspected foul play,? V.I. Attorney General Vincent Frazer told the media on the day James was buried at the Cruz Bay Cemetery following a belated memorial service at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church in Cruz Bay that had been announced on Friday, April 4.
Atty. Gen. Frazer did not return telephone calls from St. John Tradewinds for comment on what evidence indicated to authorities that James? death resulted from foul play or a criminal act. The cause of James? death has not been released.
The case is being handled by the Criminal Division of the office of the V.I. Attorney General.
VIPD officials were waiting for the Office of the Attorney General to release its opinion on the case before moving forward, Police Commissioner Rodney Querrard told the media on Monday, April 7, without any further information.
There appears to be room for another vessel at the Loredon L. Boynes Ferry Dock in Cruz Bay, but is there room for two more? The V.I. Department of Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls has not been able to get the two franchised ferry operators to take possession of the new government-owned ferries which have been docked on St. Thomas since last fall.
Only one of the island?s two franchised passenger ferry companies showed up for V.I. Public Works Department-requested U.S. Coast Guard final inspection, safety drills and certification of the two new government-owned ferries on April 11 ? and that crew didn?t try to pass a safety inspection.
?They didn?t necessarily fail the inspection,? said Lt. Cmdr. Bryson Spangler of the USCG St. Thomas. ?They were just not ready.?
?They were working on the boat a little bit and they didn?t have time to practice; it can be rescheduled,? explained Lt. Cmdr. Spangler, who said the safety inspection is not time-consuming.
?They (the Transportation Services crew) admitted they weren?t ready for the drills,? Lt. Cmdr. Spangler told Tradewinds.
?They will reschedule,? the USCG official said. ?We are ready whenever they are.?
?We also found they didn?t have a few of the necessary documents,? the USCG officer added.
?Everything was in order but they were missing a couple of pieces of paper.?