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Old 02-18-2014, 05:12 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
24,671 posts, read 60,615,256 times
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The oil refinery closed two years ago and, as I noted, has resulted in a further drop in housing prices and of course has had a general negative impact on the economy but the information on this thread is as relevant now as it was two years ago.

No schools have been closed as far as I'm aware. Good Hope and Country Day merged, something which had been in the works for a long time.
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Old 02-18-2014, 08:04 AM
 
300 posts, read 361,321 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STT Resident View Post
The oil refinery closed two years ago and, as I noted, has resulted in a further drop in housing prices and of course has had a general negative impact on the economy but the information on this thread is as relevant now as it was two years ago.

No schools have been closed as far as I'm aware. Good Hope and Country Day merged, something which had been in the works for a long time.
You are mistaken. The Good Hope-Country Day "Merger" is absolutly a result of Hovensa's closure and the substanial withdraw of finacial support for the islands schools. Niether school could ecnomically sustaian without Hovensa support. Hovensa paid the school tutition for employees dependants. Not only did Hovensa contribution directly fund "refinery kids" but thier dollars also subisdised Fin Aid and other programs with benefited the general community. STX had an array of excellent schools which sent many island kids on to top tier colleges. With those porgams gone a record number of STX families are turning to home schooling. Hovensa also subisdies rents for contractors. Many islanders are seriously effected by the lack of rental income. Hovensa sold fuel at discount to wapa's electrical generation plants, hence an astomonical increase electrical rate. The list goes on. These are tough times for families on STX.

Where realestate markets are rebounding elsewhare, STX's market contiues to spiral down....
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Old 02-18-2014, 08:56 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
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http://stcroixsource.com/content/new...ool-opens-week

The merger appears to be a positive one for those concerned and it remains my understanding from longtime resident friends on STX that a merger was indeed discussed at different times way before the oil refinery closed its doors, as the US recession's impact started to be felt in the territory.

As far as "real estate markets .. rebounding elsewhere" I assume you're referring to recovery stateside which has seen a small upswing. The effect of any economic upswing or downswing on the mainland usually takes a minimum of two years to reach the USVI.

As far as "schools closing" on STX I believe that's incorrect but I'm sure anyone thinking of moving there with children would welcome your input if you have information to the contrary.
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Old 02-18-2014, 09:41 AM
 
300 posts, read 361,321 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STT Resident View Post
http://stcroixsource.com/content/new...ool-opens-week

The merger appears to be a positive one for those concerned and it remains my understanding from longtime resident friends on STX that a merger was indeed discussed at different times way before the oil refinery closed its doors, as the US recession's impact started to be felt in the territory.

As far as "real estate markets .. rebounding elsewhere" I assume you're referring to recovery stateside which has seen a small upswing. The effect of any economic upswing or downswing on the mainland usually takes a minimum of two years to reach the USVI.

As far as "schools closing" on STX I believe that's incorrect but I'm sure anyone thinking of moving there with children would welcome your input if you have information to the contrary.
I wonder where you are getting information from, as it's complete opposit from what I've experienced first hand. Do you know any of these families personally? When was the last time you visited STX and spent time with families of school age children, recent grads? Hovensa's withdrawl of finacial support for STX educational system (not to mention college grants) is far from positive for the families effected. Especially those families with teenagers in high school perparing for college. The only pontenial "positive" outcome is the banding together of resilent home school families and movement towards "charter schools" inside the USVI public system..but that's a long way off. How much time do spend with teenagers on STX? Just this past month I attended stateside event with half dozen USVi college kids. Very interesting hear thier take on the future of therritory and thier post college plans.

With that in mind, these kids are hopeful. They recognize the opportunities which abound, if only the old guard could truly embrace change and get out of the way.... Sustainalbe solutions for energy, techno up-grades for communications, moving away from typical torisum (duty-free shopping and rum drinking) towards eco-friendly active attactions, production of local goods.

Last edited by blu4u; 02-18-2014 at 09:49 AM..
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Old 02-18-2014, 10:13 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
24,671 posts, read 60,615,256 times
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I said the merger of the two schools appears to be positive.
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Old 02-18-2014, 05:47 PM
 
300 posts, read 361,321 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STT Resident View Post
I said the merger of the two schools appears to be positive.
You also wrote that
Quote:
Originally Posted by STT Resident View Post
Nothing has changed much in the last couple of years other than the closing of the Hess refinery which has further depressed housing prices.
Both of these observations are at oods with what I have witnessed first hand. Where are getting yuor information from? When was the last time you visted St Croix? The source article you cited a is PR piece highlighting the "grand opening" of two merged schools. Even this "positive" article speeks to economic difficulites faced by the school. Of cousre the schools admistration is sending a "positive" message to general community and families who remain comitted. But the article fails to mention the hundreds of kids who displaced by the closure of the refierny....

I gave exaple of school closings, vacant stores, glut of available housing, an ecomny which is showing no positive signs (unlike the general USA)... All of which I've seen/experienced first hand...

Day to day life on STX is very different from life on STT. Maybe you could spend a week stx, rent a car, get out and explore the island, as there some very good deals listed on VRBO....
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Old 04-27-2014, 01:54 PM
 
Location: Lebanon, OH
279 posts, read 470,080 times
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So I reviewed this thread. I currently have the opportunity to ask to relocate with my employer to St. Thomas or St. Croix. I have only visited twice both stops on a cruise ship.

I am writing to wanting to get the view of people who have moved there from the mainland. I'm looking for both good and bad. Anything thing that is constructive would be appreciated. Unfortunately, going there for 3 weeks to see if it is for my family and I isn't going to be an option as I have a limited time frame to apply.

We are a family of four. We've called the midwest home as well as the US Mexico Border in South Texas. So we are used to the heat. I'm most concerned about crime levels, schools, and entertaining my family. The other issue is the cost of living.

Thanks for any input you guys have.
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Old 04-27-2014, 04:34 PM
 
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Tough one, bub. VERY high cost of living. Check out the Virgin Islands Daily News online, and find the rents and other ads in the "pennysaver" called the Tradewinds. We loved it for 15 years or so. We went down with our 16 Y.O. son. In retrospect, not a great idea, but he's fine. Remember, everyone is visiting there to party. Then along came grandkids and no WAY was I going to allow them to be raised down there. Everything is corrupt, from the lines at KMart to the Governor's office. Schools, human services, IRB, hospitals - all with some level of corruption. I had to deal with all of it over time. We just didn't put up with the bullcrap, and never had a problem. Attitude, and knowledge of how tings wuk. Chief of Police (now commissioner), a couple of Fibbies and other Feds on Speeddial on the cel phone. Don't rent in the wrong place, don't get the wrong landlord. It's an experience, but if it was just you and your wife, I'd say go for it. Kids from 1st grade through high school? Not unless you have $20K a year per kid to throw. It's a vacation spot. Four major industries: Tourism, Rum, Government Corruption and Cocaine smuggling. Used to be a refinery, but questionable whether that will ever recover it's prior glory. Governor in negs to sell, but compared to China, India refineries, Hess is pretty outdated. Some of the highest paid, least qualified government employees under the U.S. flag as well. A great book for some background is "Rape of the American Virgins" by O'Neill, out of publication, but many lending libraries can find it. It's also available on Amazon. Nothing has changed in 40 years. Same strands of corruption, same families running the show. And it's quite a show at times. Herman Wouk's "Don't Stop the Carnival" gives a little shot of the silliness that is life in the V.I. as well. I can almost identify some of the characters.

Go down by your self and start in first. If you go to STT, drive the North Side (Hull Bay area) for rental signs. They don't want you unless you make the effort to be there. The closer to Hull Bay Hideaway, generally, the better off you are. Dem boys dem watch ovah you. Lower St. Peter, Lerkenlund, etc. The few breakins that occurred over the years were "solved" and "dealt with" without police participation. Just sayin'. I remember a couple of them that turned themselves into the police when the Frenchies figured out who done it. They did the smart thing.

St. Croix, go to the Yacht Club and ask. They won't steer you wrong, great people. The refinery takes up a good chunk of the S. shore. North shore east of Christiansted, I'd say, but I really don't know. Green Cay area maybe. Salt River? Been all over, never had problems, but people do run into trouble fairly frequently, it seems.

Standard procedure is for husband to go down well in advance, get it figured out, rent, island car, logistics, family follows. If wife makes it 3 months, she'll make it 6. If she makes it 6, she might go a year. After that it's 3 years, then 5 and then there's the 7 year itch. Rock fever. You MUST leave there occasionally. We did it with several boats. Friends from Fajardo to Vieques, Culebra to Anegada and beyond to St. Barth's & SXM. Almost 15 years, but when the Grandaughter was almost 3, I kicked the kids out to decent schools and somewhere where human life was appreciated. Again, highest murder rate under the U.S. flag, but we loved it. Probably will never fly in there again, but will undoubtedly drop in after the 1000 mile offshore from Florida.

Last edited by Maineac; 04-27-2014 at 05:04 PM..
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Old 11-17-2014, 11:16 AM
 
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To like-minded, like-hearted souls considering an adventure, here is my personal take in brief. I chose St. Croix to live several years ago, after also visiting St. John several times (weeks at a time), and flying and ferrying "through" St Thomas several times (day at a time).

For me and family, St. Johns was too remote and caters to a richer life style than we lead, although very beautiful and quiet (2/3 national park in perpetuity). St. Thomas (the little we saw of it) was too commercialized for tourism, crowded and noisy, and also more expensive than this US tropical island alternative. St. Croix was much bigger, diverse and more "real."

We found on the West End of St. Croix broad-based friendships through local activities and neighbors among a multi-ethnic community (actually international, to our surprise and delight). Nearby are varied natural open spaces, including uncrowded shaded sandy beaches for walking, swimming, snorkeling, etc. We have a generally affordable living, including a bonus of fresh produce from a pioneering younger set who have been recently building up an organic farming network over rural areas of St. Croix.

Since Hovensa refinery closed, the economy has taken a significant hit and in transition. For perspective, this has happened in the context of many close friends still living in east coast cities experiencing dramatically greater career insecurity since 2008, with some even losing VP level corporate jobs without ever finding comparable employment opportunities during the several years since (suffering the "over 50" bias). We have no regrets. Life is good, and the natural environment is daily tonic especially in winter!
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Old 11-17-2014, 11:25 AM
 
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My recent poem says it better, about the small historic town on the western coast of St. Croix, that we live near.


Frederiksted, St. Croix of the US Virgin Islands / Island Love Song

Frederiksted lies prone,
Face down in the sand like a tired old dog
Stone body scarred by the sea’s stormy beatings,
Cut by the harsh wind whippings of the mighty hurricane

Frederiksted lies prone, quiet, in the warm tropical sun.
Still breathing like the bright iguana after centuries gone by,
The unbroken spirit of an island
A primal town, that opens its blind third eye,
And blinks indifference to time and fate.

Deathless town, outpost town,
Adrift in the endless blue of sea and sky,
Content to be unknown and forgotten.
How wisely you ignore the shipwrecked souls
That wash ashore
Longing for refuge in warm magic jungles
Sensual escape from a colder life gone bad.

Green flash sundown, and night falls.
Frederiksted curls into fetal position.
Along the curves of its dark belly,
Streetlights sputter on.

Under the brilliant starry night,
The Reggae Heartbeat swells to throbbing pulse.
Then the sun-drunk seekers, soaked in rum,
Walking the empty streets and alleys come ,
Following their dreams through hope’s last valleys.

Dear Frederiksted, degenerate old shephard of St. Croix,
Perhaps you herd in vain your island flock of fading souls,
Teaching the way to existential truth:

Forget your name!
freedom from a muddled past...

Leave home!
a life so cold and distant...

Face the emptiness!
you know your truth is lost within...

What is not stripped naked to the bone,
Has no interest to broken stone.

At dawn the sun-tanned Buddha walks the beach,
Leaving no footprints.
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