Caribbean Horse Relief Efforts
See the above link (opens in a new window) for updated information on Caribbean Horse Relief Efforts in the wake of Irma and Maria, as well as Virgin Islanders looking for work in the equine industry in the mainland US.
An Update from Waltah on the US Virgin Islands
I have been asked how we all fared on our beautiful Virgin Islands: St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix. You know we were ravaged by two Category 5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria, in a ten day period. Irma remains the strongest storm in Atlantic history. We did not do well.
Everywhere you look there is widespread devastation and destruction. All of our beautiful trees have been stripped clean of leaves or badly broken or even uprooted completely. Hundreds of homes lost roofs. Many that made it through Hurricane Irma were dealt a final blow with Hurricane Maria. Where Irma had more wind damage, water and flooding were the major problems with Maria.
Power lines and telephone poles lay broken and still present driving hazards. Many roads are one lane where they used to be two lanes. The damage to the electrical infrastructure is going to require a huge influx of Stateside assistance. Many do not expect complete electrical service until after the first of the year. Everywhere is the sound of generators.
Generators, while saving many residents by supplying power for water pumps, refrigeration and some lighting, fuel is in shortage. There still remain lines for gasoline although that has improved. Diesel fuel is in short supply but that, too, is expected to improve.
Our tourist industry which had been thriving has been dealt a terrible blow. A few of our major hotels will not repoen their doors until sometime in 2018. The cruise industry will also take some time to return to normal.
The boating community was also terribly affected. Many gorgeous sail boats that were taken out of the water and placed side by side in the boat yard were toppled like dominoes. Many of the boats that remained in the water were broken and sunk.
While this painting of our island is sad it is not all doom and gloom. So many of us have developed new friends by working together to help put our islands back together. There is a positive spirit of "can do" that is beginning to take hold. A few restaurants are back up and running as well as some of the professional businesses. Many people are doing their best to get back to normal every which way they can. Many people have left island never to return but those that remain love being on the island and will continue to make it the beautiful place that it once was. We appreciate your prayers and thoughts and will continue to update you on our progress.
All the best,
Walter, aka Waltah
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All things Ocala.
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Information and duty-free shopping services for St. Thomas & St. John, US Virgin Islands…
Everything Corgis and More
These little "Fairy steeds" are enchanting and no one can resist their smiling faces. Click here to read the folklore and truths about the Corgi.
Our St. Francis of Assisi pet tags will keep your pet safe and make sure they get home if lost. St. Francis is captured on the front of the medal and can be customized with 2 lines of engraving on the back. The medals are available in 5 beautiful finishes and 2 sizes for every sized companion animal. The medal is sent in a beautiful Saint Francis prayer card with an attachable collar ring.
Only $13.99 and free shipping within the US.Read more about Corgis Order your pet tag
Angels & Pitchforks NEW!
Read our recommendations (or provide yours!) for local Ocala businesses — are they an Angel or a Pitchfork?
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Here's How Ocala
I am taking this opportunity to introduce myself, Carolyn Smith, the owner of ShopTalk. I grew up in St. Thomas, moving here in 1963 with my family that had a retail store on Main Street. I developed an early knack in business and have had several businesses on the island over these many years.
I took a leave of absence from the island for several years moving to the Orlando area where I was involved in real estate and the community by assisting in several large charity fundraising events. The bulk of this went to Florida Hospital and The University of Central Florida. I ended up bringing the same format to Rotary here in St. Thomas raising money for scholarships. I now chair the committee on Scholarships for Rotary Sunrise.
I have been an active member of Rotary for 14 years. I have recently resigned to follow other pursuits. This has led me to revisit a past sport that is near and dear to me, the world of horses. Many horses that have led active lives as thoroughbreds on the race track are left abandoned after they've run their course for their owners. These are beautiful animals looking for a home. I have adopted one such horse, McKelly, who was an incredible athlete and very successful past racing champion. Adopting him gives him a second chance for a nice life after retirement. This is something that anyone with the experience and love of horses can do. Please check with your local race tracks if you are willing and able and can provide a loving home for these incredible animals.
I have recently purchased a horse farm in the city of Ocala in Marion County and moved my horses from St. Thomas to their new home here. I have also moved my mother from Orlando to Ocala. In getting a horse farm together I exhausted my new Ocala acquaintances with all of my questions where to find anything. This inspired me to create a map with locations indicated for horse supplies, automotive supplies, health care providers and good restaurants, including discounts and specials. This map will be a tool for newcomers and locals alike.
This map will include many coupons presenting great deals and opportunities. It will be distributed by a local distributing company.