Solar-assisted air conditioning

October 11th, 2012

Jeff “Solar Jeff” Smith has been one of the pioneers of small scale solar projects on St. John, and his latest effort is solar-assisted air conditioning.

It is not solar “powered” air conditioning, but rather a system by which solar thermal energy helps the air conditioning unit operate more efficiently. And after two experimental installations – one residential and one commercial – Jeff’s convinced it’s worth the money.

So Jeff is now the official VI dealer for Sedna Aire products.

“Partially at my own cost, I undertook two apples-to-apples model systems, removing conventional systems and replacing them with Sedna Aire VI solar-assisted systems to verify the savings claims of the company,” says Jeff. “In the case of the residential system (a customer he says likes his thermostat set on “stun”) the WAPA savings exceeded the claims, and in the case of Sam & Jack’s, the equipment significantly lowered the temperature of what is basically a working kitchen for the same monthly WAPA cost.”

Jeff says the cost of the equipment is about 15 to 20 percent more but he says he’s confident it will cut AC costs in half.

“My typical summer bill was $1,500 to $2,200,” says homeowner Jerry O’Connell. “My first two WAPA bills since installation for August and September have been $1,100 and $880.”

Here’s Jeff’s Sedna Aire dealer Website. And here’s a video that sort of explains it.







Trunk Palm: Going, going…

October 10th, 2012

The leaning palm tree at Trunk Bay is one of the most photographed palms on St. John.  Here’s how we used it for the cover of Carefree Getaways’ DVD in 2005.

On-StJohn.com reader Quenton Lowe sent us several pictures of the palm throughout the years, including his most recent, with wife posing, in 2009.

Quenton wanted to know if the palm was still there.

The answer is yes, but barely. Here it is last week. It’s best days are behind it. Hope you’ve got an old picture. You won’t get another chance.







New chef, menu items at Sam & Jack’s

October 9th, 2012

Meet Drew Clifford, the new man in charge of the kitchen at Sam & Jack’s Deli, and he’s got some new things in mind.

Drew, who moved to St. John from Nantucket in 2006, spent the last six years at ZoZo’s before moving to Sam & Jack’s recently.

“I’m a comfort food guy at heart, like pot pies and mac & cheese, but I want to introduce healthier versions of comfort food and a lot more healthy options in general,” says Drew.  “I’m also working on some Vegan things. There’s growing demand for Vegan and vegetarian dishes, especially from the locals.”

Drew also makes a mean cheesecake.

Sam & Jack’s is thinking about trying informal cooking classes again, and if you’re on island for Thanksgiving, they’ll be making full turkey feasts to go. Just pre-order at least a week before Thanksgiving Day.







And Ziggy weighs…

October 8th, 2012

Ziggy the pig’s official weight is 160 pounds.

This is not the winner. Joe Morris, presenting an award for the wost guess of 90 pounds, appropriately enough, a ham.

The winning poker hand was a full house.  Sunday’s event raised an estimated $6,000 for the new St. John Cancer Fund.







Buster in a tub

October 7th, 2012

Remember Buster, the one-eyed rooster at the Tourist Trap?

Look what came in the mail. Buster’s own inflatable rubber duck splash pool.

“I believe this is the greatest photo I’ve taken in my entire life,” says Cheryl Geller.

We believe Cheryl, who traded in a life on New York’s Madison Avenue for St. John years ago, must be about the happiest person in the world if a picture of a one eyed rooster in an inflatable rubber duck splash pool overlooking the Caribbean Sea is what she considers the  highlight of her career.

It is a great picture. It is definitely St. John.







Ziggy’s weight: Your guess

October 6th, 2012

You are collectively entering the Guess Ziggy’s Weight contest Sunday.

We’ve calculated our readers’ guess as follows:

60 guesses were posted. We eliminated the highest and the lowest guesses (800 pounds and 98 pounds) and averaged the rest.

Your guess is 209.3 pounds.

That’s the number we’ll enter for Sunday’s contest, as part of the Dinghy Poker Cancer Fund fundraiser at High Tide.







Cancer Fund fundraiser: Dinghy Poker Sunday

October 5th, 2012

The St. John Cancer Fund’s first official fundraiser is this Sunday, and it will get you in a boat and out on the water.

Joe and Kim Morris (here with her dog Indy) at Noah’s Little Arks are staging the First Annual Dinghy Poker Run.

Here’s how it works.

Anybody with a boat 22-foot or smaller can register for $25. Four “dealer boats” will be moored around the island. You stop at each boat and get one card, and then return to Cruz Bay where you get your fifth and final card at High Tide. Spectators can also buy in.

“Joe has wanted to do this for a long time, and this is the right cause,” says Kim.  “It’s not a race. It should just be a day of fun.”

High Tide will also have a DJ and t-shirts. Registration starts at 9 a.m.







Green Island Breeze gets new Cruz Bay home

October 4th, 2012

Green Island Breeze is getting some serious street presence with a new store that opens in the old Larry’s Landing space October 1.

Retired Minnesota school teacher Wally Hobot closed his store above St. John Market a few months ago and hopes for more traffic at his new location.

Green Island Breeze carries higher-end apparel, much of it environmentally friendly, thus the Green in Green Island Breeze.

“A lot of our clothing is made with things like organic cotton, bamboo or hemp,” says Wally.

His retail neighbor is also a relative newcomer to the neighborhood, Sharky, at 420 to Center.

“We’re thinking about doing some promotions together,” says Wally.







The weighing of Ziggy

October 3rd, 2012

This little piggy is not going to market. Ziggy’s Tuesday started very early with his trip to Canines Cats and Critters for his official weigh-in for Sunday’s Cancer Fund fundraiser.

Ziggy was carefully loaded into the SUV for the long ride up Centerline road for his weigh-in.

It’s no easy task to get a hog this size in and out of an SUV, but with the help of friends, Ziggy is offloaded.

And, like a reluctant Kirstie Alley on Weight Watchers weigh-in day, Ziggy gingerly steps on the scale.

All that work left Ziggy absolutely exhausted.

But there was nothing as good as a free hamburger to perk this pig back up!

We’ll average your numbers and enter that as On-StJohn.com’s guess. Haven’t guessed his weight yet?  One last chance, here.







Fresh menu, fresh paint at Ocean Grill

October 2nd, 2012

Patty Tacquard and head chef Ribelto de Leon are putting the final touches on Ocean Grill’s new menu ahead of this week’s reopening, and workers are wrapping up annual renovations.

Ocean Grill never lets its menu go stale, and Patty says this season is no different.

“We’re going to be making our own sausages for new dishes like Gumbo and we’re doing in-house smoking for things like smoked salmon over arugula,” says Patty. “We’re adding new Vegan entrees like a carrot soufflé. And we’re adding new things to our dessert menu too, although we’ll always have Key Lime Pie and cheesecake. We’d have an uproar from some of our customers if we didn’t.”

The upstairs private dining room also has a new look, including paintings done by Patty herself.”







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