Thursday October 26th
We haven’t sent a newsletter in a while, due to the continuing communications “void” after the storm – and the need to keep communicating here on St. John using our Coral Bay Community Council voice. We keep expecting cell service and real wifi to be delivered to Coral Bay by AT&T and Broadband VI and by several disaster relief nonprofit organizations working hard on St. John – but they all continue to run into parts issues and operational problems that they did not anticipate – so “waiting” is the key word for our Coral Bay populace. Right now, Text to cell phone numbers, occasional WIFI calling and short emails do get through at the one WIFI point at the Coral Bay Firestation. Don’t expect people to be able to use weblinks, unless they are going all the way to St. Thomas – where smart phones and computers are working pretty well. Cruz Bay is so -so, but intended to improve shortly. Red Hook is pretty good.
You may know more than we do about the overall conditions in the VI, since we cannot routinely see any of the on-line or other news sources.
The Coral Bay Community Council office is in a building that will be getting a donated generator because FEMA will have a Disaster Recovery Center to serve people in the building, CBCC is running a contributed goods distribution center and because CBCC will offer a full access WIFI point for people in Coral Bay – using our computers or your own – as soon as the generator and WIFI capacity reaches us.
Check CBCC’s facebook page for updated info on businesses in operation (as well as business Facebook pages)– a few highlights below:
Mail is starting to flow again, and more businesses are open in Coral Bay. Connections East and Keep Me Posted are open and can only accept stamped mail right now to go out. (probably not outgoing packages yet – due to post office constraints.) Mail and packages are being delivered.
Donated generators are being installed at the two grocery stores – which are still not fully operational. This has been labelled a Priority. The Bloomberg Foundation Team and Kenny Chesney Foundation are taking this responsibility – as well as repairs to some of the business establishments and some people’s homes – according to the recommendations of their hired disaster specialists – how to get St. John running again.
Oasis is serving food from 11-5 daily, Wok on the Beach restaurant (old Voyages building) is serving Breakfast 7-11. Lunch – dinner 11-5. Thirsty Donkey has happy hour 2-5 daily. And Indigo Grill will open shortly.
Vanessa’s Mumbo Jumbo store is reopening so you can buy t-shirts and clothes, etc. Skinny Legs is “working on it.. “
BOATERS: If your boat was beached or sunk in Coral Harbor or elsewhere in Coral Bay – but not Hurricane Hole – please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org which is being monitored by the Coast Guard. You can also call 340-423-6353. A flyer with detailed info can be picked up at the CBCC office and will be sent via email shortly. The Coast Guard needs to know your intentions for the boat – and you don’t have to decide right away – just let them know which boat and how to contact you – to start right now.
If your boat was beached or sunk in Hurricane Hole or elsewhere in National Park, please do the same thing to this corrected email address: Caribbean_recovery@NPS.gov . More detailed info will be emailed shortly for all boaters.
Thank you to everyone who has made donations thus far to the Coral Bay Community Council and to other organizations for “hurricane relief”. And thank you to those who have brought down a suitcase of requested donated goods – like solar and battery lanterns and extension cords and more. And to those people who have reached out to individuals who need help in Coral Bay—and addressed their needs directly. It is all of these gifts that help all of us here continue to strive to work together – in a positive manner — to recover. http://coralbaycommunitycouncil.org/ to donate or learn new things about CBCC.
Cruz Bay “downtown” is supposed to be getting electric power from St. Thomas this week – and it will continue out towards the Myra Keating clinic. So many of the Cruz Bay restaurants and other businesses will be normalizing pretty quickly now.
We are told by WAPA and the Governor that there will be a backbone of electricity in Coral Bay by Christmas and some neighborhoods then or soon after. A number of rental villas are “ready to go” –as soon as power is restored or owners get reliable generator/solar power. Please tell your friends that they will be able to enjoy a St. John Vacation this winter – just wait a little while to book – so you can see what your choices are. Beaches are already open for swimming, and Reef Bay trail is being cleared… more each day… And the views are incredible already!
The toll on the wildlife – particularly birds that eat native berries and fruits – is significant. But it is gratifying to see flowers popping up along the roadside, even flamboyant trees – at this unusual time of the year as their biological clocks say “reproduce…recover… recreate nature’s bounty…and beauty!”
Help restore native vegetation in your home garden – stop by CBCC’s office for a free copy of the book “Landscaping for Erosion Control” or see it on our website here: http://coralbaycommunitycouncil.org/landscaping-sediment-r…/ Many of these recommended plants provide berries and fruits for birds and other creatures.
Generator Use – Please be Very Safe. Do not refuel while the generator is running, or when it is hot. The smartest time is before you use it each time – when you check fuel level and oil. Also please respect others trying to sleep and don’t run your generator all night. Waste oil – you will be changing oil after 5 to 10 hours (very important) – and then at regular intervals – according to your manual. Please read closely so your generator will last! Save the waste oil – do not pour on the ground or put in regular trash. We are arranging for an environmentally safe disposal site with EPA – hopefully in Coral Bay!
For all of you who are off-island now: We are all “camping” in our homes, or partial homes, and it will be like this for several more months. So if you are coming down soon, be prepared for this reality in Coral Bay. Around Christmas time it should start getting better.
Saturday, December 9th was originally going to be the CBCC Bizarre Bazaar date. Instead there will be a scaled down version combined with CBCC’s “Annual Meeting” – which has always been a potluck. Whatever we do –it will be a fun celebration for all of us in Coral Bay. We need some volunteers to help with this– and make it a great day. Stop by the CBCC office and speak to Michelle Bransom of our staff — who has been a champion through this whole recovery operation for Coral Bay at our office.
That’s all for now….
Living strong …
Sharon Coldren and your CBCC board and staff