July 2018 Newsletter

Dear Members and Friends,

It has been a trying time for St. Johnians these last 11 months since the devastating storms Irma-Jose-Maria of September, 2017. It’s been difficult for people who stayed during the storm as well as those who were displaced to other places. People are still without basic services; some waiting for their homes to be rebuilt or fixed as materials are in short supply. People who are in the states are hoping things improve enough to come home. But day by day, things are getting better.

The Society has taken a year off to allow board members to work on their personal challenges. No dues have been collected this last year. We are now attempting to address the problems which have impacted the Society since the storms. Please be advised that we will be collecting dues starting in November for the January 2019 year.

Foremost among the challenges is a hurricane-safe, office/storage space where we can relocate all our files, artifacts and archives and set up an office/study center. We are grateful to Margie and Gretchen Labrenz for the use over these many years of their office Cruz Bay Realty for the safe storage of our records and archival materials. We are now looking for a space dedicated to the Society to be utilized until we can build the planned Museum/Archive at Estate Bellevue. Call or email if you have knowledge of a suitable space.

The area up at Estate Bellevue, which will be the area where our Museum and Archive will be built, and the area where the archaeological dig was done on the 18th century enslaved village, needs to be cleared as there was a great deal of destruction of the surrounding foliage and paths. The St. John Community Foundation, the owner of the property, has put in for a grant which may address these problems. Archaeologists Doug and Alan Armstrong were on island last month to evaluate the damage.

We’d like to thank the following people for their donations received since September, 2017:

Community Foundation of the VI – $25,000.00
Magda and Alan Smith – Box of Caribbean books
Diana Langston – forty (40) 1960’s vintage post cards
$250 – Jean & Stephen Cottrell
$1500 – Scott Hammond & Elizabeth Steele
$50.00 from George & Lauren Mercadente
$100.00 – Stacy Walker

We will be pleased to receive more artifacts and books whenever we are able to store donations in a safe space.

The Board has voted to suspend the nomination process for the coming year’s board elections. We hope to have more members volunteer for board positions in the coming year. Diana Hall, our Vice President for the last few years, has resigned the position, and we would like to thank her for her exemplary service during her tenure. The Society would not have been able to accomplish all we have in the last few years without her input, work and advice. Meanwhile, Robin Swank a previous officer, has agreed to be in an advisory position. We are grateful to her for her guidance.

Meanwhile, we will be keeping last year’s board with the addition of Ms. Carla Sewer. We will be accepting nominations from the membership for the positions of Treasurer and Vice-president at our July members’ meeting.

The nominations for 2018-19 season are as follow:

Lonnie Willis – President
Vice President
Larry Wilson – Secretary
Margaret Labrenz – Treasurer- & Resident Agent
Rafe Boulon – Historian
Michael Sheen
Bev Biziewski
Pam Richards
Kathy Hilliard
Weldon Wasson
Carla Sewer

St. John Historical Society

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