Thursday, October 27, 2011

Emerald Hills, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

High on Emerald Hills on the East end of St. Thomas is this beautifully decorated two bedroom, one bath, 1100 sq. ft. apartment with gorgeous views of the Caribbean and down island. It rents for only $1600 per month under an annual lease. The apartment  gets lots of cool breezes because it is at the crest of the hill. The unit is wired for DSL, cable and phone service, the bedrooms are equipped with window air conditioners. These utilities, plus your electric are the responsibility of the tenant. This is the rare rental that will considered pets individually.  The owner occupies the top two floors. There is off street parking for one vehicle.

If you are going to relocate to St. Thomas, Van Blake-Coleman Realty can help you with all of your real estate needs, whether you are looking to purchase a home or condo or you just want to try island living, with a long term rental please call us at 340 344 2959.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Virgin Islands Territorial Association of Realtors Annual Meeting

On 10/22/11 the Virgin Islands Territorial Association of Realtors (VITAR) had our annual meeting aboard the Discovery, a glass bottom boat, as we sailed around  St. John and some of the smaller islands in the Territory. It bought together members of the St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John boards, and Gov. John deJongh.

Regional Vice President Cynthia Shelton swore in our VITAR officers for 2012. I will move from the President of the local board of St. Thomas to the President-elect of VITAR in 2012.

Governor deJongh spoke on how the financial turmoil is effecting the region and the importance of  promoting small businesses in the territory. In addition, his goals include keeping the police department properly staffed; making education a priority, not cutting back any further on teachers but moving them to the schools that most need them; and promoting the availability of good health care in the territory.

While Stephanie Hodge of Blue Sky Real Estate on St. Croix has completed her legislative interview and was officially appointed to the Real Estate Commission,  the challenge of appointing a fully functioning  Real Estate Commission continues. The commission will need to address the lack of a licensing testing center in the territory. The governor committed to a goal of having the latter issue addressed by January of 2012.

President B.J. Harris was officially awarded Realtor of the Year, Among her many accomplishments this year are obtaining the Ira Gribins grant for the territory. This is a revolving, low interest fund to assist first time home buyers with closing costs. Two,  buyers on St. John were the first to use this fund. Classes were made available to members on all three islands on agency issues and social media with more scheduled later this year and early next year. The idea for this wonderful meeting was also BJ's brain child.

The event was catered by Passion Fruit Chef. They served a selection of fruits, brie, wraps, pasta salad and wonderful cookies, accompanied by lemon grass iced tea, fruit punch.

Sponsors for the meeting included Theodor Tunick Insurance, Pyles Publishing,  and ProSolar Investments. Thank you!

Most people are not familiar with how much Realtors work. It is normally very long days and pretty much seven days a week.  I don't know many places that host their annual meetings aboard glass bottom boats in the Caribbean, it helps to ease the stress some. The perfect place to reflect on the year so far and anticipate the next. A perfect combination of business and pleasure.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Wild Life on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

If you have read some of my previous blogs, you know I like to spend the weekend mornings at Magen's Bay Beach. I enjoy walking on the beach and in the water, snorkeling, having breakfast at the restaurant and hanging out with my friends.

Besides the broad array of sea life, birds and Farrel cats there are an abundance of mongoose at Magen's Bay. Today, as I approached the entrance, a mother and her two babies crossed the road in front of me. As I searched for a parking spot I saw a small female cross the path and I thought she was alone, then I noticed her larger male companion was waiting for me to get out of his way.

They are fairly shy animals. The don't linger when they encounter people. I have seen them play hide and seek in the root system of trees at Magen's Bay. They move quite quickly and I understand if cornered can be quite feisty. You will see the mongoose throughout the island, but they are often a blur and you're not quite sure if you saw something or not.

The mongoose is not native to the Virgin Islands, they were bought in to control pests, rats, that were introduced to the island through the shipping industry. In 1872, a Jamaican sugar planter, Mr. W. B. Espeut, imported small Indian mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus) and released them on his plantation. The rat populations were reduced, so other farmers bought them from Mr. Espeut to release them into other areas, including Puerto Rico (1877), Barbados (1878) and Cuba (1886).  The mongoose in the West Indies has helped to exterminate or endanger more species of mammals, birds and reptiles in a limited area than any other animal deliberately introduced by man anywhere in the world.

While they are an interesting little animals, they are a serious lesson in "misuse" of biological pest control.