ST. JOHN – Dr. Gilbert A. Sprauve, Chairman of the 1733 St. John African Revolution Commemorative Committee, has issued a call for persons interested in attending the annual 1733 St. John African Revolution Commemoration, which is scheduled for Friday, November 28, 2014.
Participants travelling to St. John should board either the 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. ferries from St. Thomas. They will be joined by St. John participants in Frank Powell Park. All participants are asked to assemble on the beach promptly at 9:30 a.m. as the program begins with the traditional conch shell blowing, followed by a Libation and Welcome remarks,” informed Sprauve..
Several Estates will be visited throughout the day including Susannaberg, Adrian, Catherineberg, Annaberg and Fortsberg. The focal point of the day will be the historical perspectives given by presenters on the political and socio-economic climate, and their impact on the enslaved population. Participants also will be treated to a Drumming demonstration.
Dr. David Minner of Gifft Hill School, left, and Jon Mahoney of Iowa State University display the $600 prize won at the St. Thomas-St. John Agriculture and Food Fair on Saturday, Nov. 22. Gifft Hill School was one of four public and private schools awarded by FINTRAC for work promoting youth engagement in farming and horticultural projects.
ST. THOMAS — A five year old program at the Gifft Hill Schol designed to give students the link between food from the ground and food on the plate received special recognition at the 2014 St. Thomas-St. John Agriculture and Food Fair.
Agriculture Commissioner Louis Petersen presented Dr. Dave Minner from Gifft Hill School a check for $600 for his work with the EARTH program. Gifft Hill School was one of four district schools honored for farming and horticulture programs. EARTH stands for Education And Resiliency Through Horticulture.
The check presentation occurred Nov. 22 on the grounds of Reichhold Center on St. Thomas, on the first day of the two-day event. Dr. Kwame Garcia, state director of the UVI Cooperative Extension Service said he brought some agronomists to Gifft Hill School and to the Ivanna Eudora High School on St. Thomas to observe youth-based programs during July’s convention of the Caribbean Food Crops Society.
“Everybody was so impressed,” Garcia said.
“The program is only five years old and it’s a gardening and kitchen program,” Minner said as he accepted the award. “But only when we hooked up with the University of the Virgin Islands did we find ourselves.”
As an added benefit the EARTH program has attracted 30 college students to Gifft Hill to share agriculture-based knowledge with the St. John students, Minner said after the presentation. A number of those students, he said, come from UVI.
Three other schools, the Charlotte Amalie High School, Gladys Abraham Elementary School and Ulla Muller Elementary School, received cash awards from FINTRAC, a St. Thomas-based non-profit promoting best farming practices and technology.
U.S.V.I. — For at least one St. John customer caught up in the latest wave of bankcard fraud to hit the U.S. Virgin Islands, the trail started at a St. Thomas gas station when he used his card for the only time off St. John before unauthorized charges began showing up from merchants around the southeastern U.S.
It continued with his forced return trip by ferry to the Scotiabank branch in Red Hook, St. Thomas, on Friday, November 21, where bank officials assured him he would be reimbursed for the unapproved charges to his card.
“It’s up to almost $2,000 now,” he said of the spate of stateside charges to his card at such retailers as a McDonalds and Kmart in Georgia.
Officials of First Bank and Scotiabank confirmed at week’s end that a massive security breach had forced the two USVI banks to stop or limit the use of customer cards. Banco Popular officials reported no increase in card fraud but said that they were warning customers to monitor their accounts for suspicious activity.
As of Thursday, 1,230 customer accounts had been compromised in the last week, a Scotiabank spokesperson told the V.I. Daily News.
FirstBank officials said they found fraudulent activity in its bank card system a week before Scotiabank reported similar activity.
Questionable Transactions Noted FirstBank officials told the media they noticed questionable transactions two weeks ago and that the initial security breach occurred within the systems of two unidentified U.S. retailers. FirstBank allowed customers to continue to use their cards by using their PIN numbers until they received new cards that have been mailed.
Firstbank will move to the Marketplace, according to sources.
CRUZ BAY — There is little information available, but the landmark FirstBank building in downtown Cruz Bay is apparently going to be the hub of the thriving St. John nightlife scene as the possible site of a new boutique hotel, restaurant and bar.
The new enterprise may join neighboring restaurants the Across the Street bar located between the bank building and the Julius E. Sprauve School and the iconic Woody’s Seafood Saloon across the street and La Tapa fine dining in creating a hub of restaurants in the center of town which will soon include The Longboard restaurant under construction in the former Joe’s Diner location.
FirstBank will be moving to the former Scotiabank location at The Martketplace commercial complex in Enighed, according to St. John Tradewinds sources.
The Tennessee insurance company owner found dead in his isolated rental home on East End Point on St. John was the subject of legal action surrounding as much as $80 million in losses on multi-million dollar insurance investment schemes, according to his hometown newspaper the Murfreesboro Post in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
The Nashville-area business executive and U.S. Virgin Islands Economic Development Commission (EDC) beneficiary worked on the telephone from the deck of the small house cantilevered off the side of East End Point overlooking Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.
Netherland is listed as an insurance agent with Lifecorp Holdings in Murfreesboro and also is named as owner of Lilac Capital on West End Avenue in Nashville on InsuranceBroker-Agent.com, and as treasurer of Sea Mist Usvi Inc., which filed as a foreign for-profit corporation in Florida in January 2013, according to corporationwiki.com as reported by the Murfreesboro Post.
In July 2012, Netherland was sued in Illinois along with Rutherford County financier Ira Brody, Matthew Ross and Fifth Third Bank by Nina Investments, which claimed it got taken for more than $80 million it invested with the brokers in 2005 and 2006, according to a Chicago Sun Times report.
A lawsuit filed by Nina said it was to get large returns on its investment through insurance-backed securities and a premium finance product known as “Ultra,” the article reports. The lawsuit states that the investment company’s money went instead toward debt piled up by Netherland, Brody and Ross while they lived “lavish lifestyles,” according to the Chicago Sun Times article.
Nina initially invested $6.5 million and then added $75 million to buy “Ultra” from Netherland’s and Brody’s investment firm Concord with the promise it could make anywhere from $30 million to $90 million in fees and commissions in just three years, the article reports.
West Palm Beach, Fla., – Sea Tow Services International Inc., the nation’s leading on-water assistance provider, honored Sea Tow Virgin Islands owner and Captain Alan Wentworth For Efforts Above and Beyond the call of duty at the Sea Tow Awards Banquet on November 18, 2014. The event was a highlight of the organization’s 2014 Annual Meeting, which brought Sea Tow operators from across the country to West Palm Beach, Fla., on November 17-19.
The award For Efforts Above and Beyond is presented to members of the Sea Tow network whom, while on or off-duty during the past year, participated in an operational event/incident, including a rescue or community program that brings great credit to the Sea Tow franchise and network.
Captain Peter Martin, chief of the U.S. Coast Guard Office of Search and Rescue (SAR), joined Sea Tow Founder & CEO Captain Joe Frohnhoefer and Chief Operating Officer Captain Joseph Frohnhoefer III in presenting the awards to Captain Wentworth.
Captain Alan Wentworth was cited For Efforts Above and Beyond for his performance of duties during twoseparate distress incidents in 2014. In the first incident, which took place in the early morning hours of January 1, 2014, the pleasure boat Diversity, carrying eight passengers, hit rocks off Water Point, St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. Captain Wentworth was able to put his rigid hull inflatable boat up against the Diversity so the injured passengers could be placed on backboards and then transferred, via the Sea Tow boat, to boats operated by St. Thomas Rescue and the U.S. Coast Guard, which came alongside. Wentworth’s seamanship and versatile boat handling were key to the success of this mission.