Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park development director Heather Rusham is setting her sights high for this yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s online auction, and if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got a rental villa, or charter boat or anything else to donate to the auction, she wants to hear from you.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Last year, we raised $15,000 and weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re shooting for $25,000 this year,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Heather. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t too late for folks to make a donation of product services, room nights or anything else, and we can add new items at any time.Ã¢â‚¬Â
There is already a pretty nice list of items on the auction board, which goes live at 10 a.m. Eastern time today and will run through Dec. 5. There are hotel and villa stays in the VI and BVI, boat trips, art work and jewelry – and the money raised will help fund about $600,000 in Friends projects in the coming year.
If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got something cool youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d like to have considered to donate, e-mail Heather. If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re starting your holiday shopping, or looking for a weekend getaway, starting bidding here!
The Virgin Islands’ ban on smoking in public places went into effect this month, but it won’t be enforced until February.
Department of Health Commissioner Julia Sheen says the Department is granting all businesses a three month extension to comply with the new law, and will not start issuing citations until after February 10.
The law bans smoking in most public places, including enclosed bars and restaurants, public transportation stations and platforms (ferry docks) and any waiting lines. You can still smoke on the beach, but it presumably bans smoking at places like the concession stand at Trunk Bay, since there is a waiting line there.
The law targets businesses, not individuals, but that’s not to say an overzealous cop won’t bust your chops for smoking where you’re not supposed to. And where you’re not supposed to smoke remains a bit vague!
COREÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Caribbean Lionfish Response Program will be conducting a systematic sweep at Lameshur Bay this weekend. Karl Pytlik is also leading orientation sessions at the St. John School for the Arts this Thursday at 6 p.m., and will also offer diver training courses.
These are the kinds of efforts it will take to keep the Lionfish at bay, he says.
Even casual snorkelers can help out, without putting themselves in danger. Find out how, in Lionfish, Part Two, below.
Meet Karl Pytlik, with the Caribbean Oceanic Restoration and Education foundation, or CORE. Karl is also dive coordinator on St. John for CORE’s Caribbean Lionfish Response Program, and when he’s not helping pluck Lionfish out of the sea, you can find him at the Friends of the Virgin Islands gift shop at Mongoose Junction.
Karl also has a couple of living Lionfish on display at the store.
The invasion of these fish is a genuine threat to the Virgin Islands eco-system, and, if not dealt with, the entire economy of the islands.
Tomorrow, we’ll let Karl tell you how he thinks the battle against the Lionfish can be won. Today, he explains why these highly poisonous fish are such a big concern. Watch the video, below.
More than 40 people enjoyed some excellent food and fine wine at Asolare earlier this month, as part of the restaurantÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Whiskers & Wine sit down dinner/fundraiser for the St. John Animal Care Center.
Co-chefs Jonathan Balak and Thom Ghinazzi, who joined Asolare last December, treated diners to a leisurely 5-course meal paired with wines, and the ACC collected $4,500 from the generous crowd.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“At last monthÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s flea market fundraiser for the shelter, everybody worked their tails off all day long in the sun,Ã¢â‚¬Â says the ACCÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Diana Ripley. Ã¢â‚¬Å“This was a very relaxing, very classy fundraiser for us. Quite different!Ã¢â‚¬Â
The National Weather ServiceÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s latest High Surf Advisory for the Virgin Islands is in effect through at least Monday morning, and the Virgin Islands Territorial Management Agency is advising boaters and beach goers to avoid coastal waters for now.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Northerly swells that began Friday morning are generating breaking waves of up to 15 feet,Ã¢â‚¬Â it says, but things may calm down later in the week.
The final tally on Woody’s block party to raise funds for the fight against breast cancer came in at a grand total of $23,000. Incredible.
Three breast cancer organizations will share the funds, with the biggest slice going to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, which, after being blown away with its donation, has named Woody’s the official sponsor of the first annual St. John Relay for Life February 19.
“My brother Chad and I knew we wanted to give back in some way this year and could have chosen any cause we wanted,” Todd Beaty tells us. “To be honest, after 14 years of having an all female bar staff, we decided this was a good cause for us.”
Woody’s has between now and February to figure out how to step up to the plate as sponsor and will have a team or two in the relay. While Todd says another block party is not likely soon – they want to keep their events fresh and unique – he says he was amazed at how this one came off, especially for low season, and especially with all the local support.
“I recognized 90 percent of the faces that night, and there were over 800 of them. I was thrilled with the local support.”
Among that local support, Cafe Roma, which sold slices of pizza and Castaways, which set up a bar…both of which donated half their proceeds to the cause.