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stevehbin
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January 4, 2014 6:17 pm  

When my wife and I first started talking about possibly living down there 6 months on 6 months off I told her that I would in no way look at properties on St. Croix. I hear/read that crime is fairly high and the hospital is just awful. She is in the medical field and she would need to be at the hospital often and she was turned off by so many negative comments about it.

However, I've been doing a lot more reading and talking to some people we know (and properties are far cheaper in STX) and it's not looking so bad now. I understand it's isolated and "island fever" can set in, but we are fairly reclusive people and don't mind small places.

Can anyone comment as to what STX life is really like? I have a feeling that the majority of the negative posts stem from people that just had a bad experience and they relate that experience to the entire island. Thoughts?

Thanks,

-Steve


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East Ender
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January 4, 2014 6:49 pm  

" She is in the medical field and she would need to be at the hospital often and she was turned off by so many negative comments about it."

I'm not sure if that means she would be working there or not, but it is pretty typical of people here in the VI to trash the hospitals. No, they are not like many of the state-side hospitals in infrastructure and amenities. BUT there are very good and caring people working in the hospitals who are trying to make a difference.


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stevehbin
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January 4, 2014 7:06 pm  

" She is in the medical field and she would need to be at the hospital often and she was turned off by so many negative comments about it."

I'm not sure if that means she would be working there or not, but it is pretty typical of people here in the VI to trash the hospitals. No, they are not like many of the state-side hospitals in infrastructure and amenities. BUT there are very good and caring people working in the hospitals who are trying to make a difference.

Yes, her best bet would be to work at the hospital or the clinic.

We figured the negativity was due to it being more or less a rural hospital and being understaffed. We understand they don't have the same quality equipment that a $500 million dollar stateside hospital would have. I think what has her concerned is reading about the lack of experienced personnel during emergency situations like a code blue or something.

I guess what I'm wanting to know is if I am correct in trying to justify the negativity about STX by saying, "I'm sure it's just one bad experience someone had and relates it to the whole island." Or even, "I bet most people that talk so badly about the islands (STT, STJ & STX) are the ones who thought they would go down there and drink rum all day and not have to worry about anything else.....like bills and costs of living...and simply couldn't get the 'vacation' state of mind out of their heads." If that makes any sense at all.


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speee1dy
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January 4, 2014 7:10 pm  

the hospital, some people love it others hate it. it is mostly perspective. has your wife actually talked with people that work there. we have had both good and bad experience there.

crime here is really no different than stt.

property is lower here

you should have no problem with island fever as you will only be here 6 months at a time and i am guessing you have the funds to go to the states when ever you want- no need to save the money for it.

cost of living is higher here. did you go check out the prices of some of your favorite things?

and shouldn't you be at the adult parade now?


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stevehbin
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January 4, 2014 7:38 pm  

Haha.

Yeah we would be able to go back and forth to the states. Yeah, she has talked to a few contract nurses that worked on St. Croix they all more or less say that the hospital is what you make it. As far as the cost of living goes, we have done our research. We realize gas is $4+ milk is $7ish etc etc. We eat a lot of fruits and veggies and ideally we would like to get meat from a local butcher and not a supermarket but I can't find too much info on that. I lived in Italy for a short time (about a year and a half) and people say the crime there is bad but I always say, if you go looking for trouble ANYWHERE you will find it so just watch where and what you do. Also, regarding Island Time, I hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate people that live in a hurry, better things come when you wait. My wife and I enjoy life and don't need things at the snap of a finger like most people in the states do.

I should be on a boat fishing with my son right now and not preparing for the 6 to 8 inches of snow on top of the 3 we already have much less the parade 😛

Thank you all for the quick responses.


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JulieKay
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January 4, 2014 7:48 pm  

You can ask 100 STX residents about their experiences and get 100 different opinions. 😉

Most will tell you that STX is a great place with awesome people and they've made some tremendous friends. They all also will have some version of the challenges of living on STX, whether their own or people they know.

I don't think it's a case of "one bad experience" for most folks. Rather it's an accumulation of experiences, both theirs and people they know - and the news too, of course. Remember that both STX and STT are small islands and when something happens, pretty much everyone knows that person or knows someone who knows him/her, etc.

The demographics of crime are driven by a small population - the reason the numbers are so high is because the population is so small. You can find other threads here on this forum on crime on STX - there was one recently, actually, I'm sure you could scroll down a few pages and find it. Some will tell you they never experience crime, others have experienced quite a bit. I never had much personally happen to me other than a minor assault in Kmart, but I have several friends who have been robbed, and that is my primary experience - in my opinion burglaries, muggings, and thefts are high for an island as small as it is. You can get a good idea of current crime stats by visiting the VIPD website and clicking on "press releases" - they list all major crimes there for all three islands.

In regards to the hospital and the medical system, it has its challenges. I am not employed there nor have friends there so I can't comment to that. I have had our personal experiences there, and those of friends, and while yes, there is a tremendous caring staff they are underfunded and unsupported, and there is a significant amount of "corruption." There are occurrences there that will shock you, and then there are occurrences of staff going above and beyond for someone. The Avis ran a long story recently on the challenges and why several doctors have left the island. That said many people are very interested in improving the situation and I hope so.

We moved away from STX the end of November after living there ten years for my husband, three years for me. Our three reasons for leaving were: 1) Inability to purchase private health insurance or have affordable stateside insurance which would cover us in the VI (we are self-employed); 2) Diminishing resources for air transportation for business travel back to the states, i.e. fewer flights at bad times with really effectively only one carrier (American); and 3) Condition of the hospital, doctors leaving the island, concern about our aging and health needs and not being able to tend to them on island, and not wanting to routinely fly to Miami for procedures.

A note on that btw - in the process of our move, I flew back and forth to Miami about 8 times from August to November. EVERY flight was full of people with wheelchairs, canes, needing assistance, etc. - talking to several of them they all said the same thing, they had gone to Miami for surgery or major medical procedures. I had not seen that in the previous three years, at least not to the extent I've seen it lately. Perhaps it's a window in time thing, but it seems to me more people are concerned about the local medical system on island.

Crime was not a factor for why we left, however I will say since moving to an area with extremely low crime it's like a weight has lifted off my shoulders. I really didn't realize how much it was affecting me.

I miss my St Croix friends and knowing everyone everywhere I went, always having a smile and a hug ready, the crazy fun there is to be had, the way people help each other, and the support everyone gives each other. I do not miss the high cost of living, the crime, and the medical situation - at least the way that it was for us. I have every faith though that the future for the USVI can be a bright one, as people work together and the economy rebounds. It may be a very different place in ten years. Either way I will be visiting to see my friends that I miss so much. 🙂

I hope this helps, just my experience and assessment. Others will chime in I know.


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JulieKay
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January 4, 2014 8:03 pm  

We eat a lot of fruits and veggies and ideally we would like to get meat from a local butcher and not a supermarket but I can't find too much info on that.

Annally Farms is a local butcher - they primarily butcher beef brought down from the states, but there is still a limited amount of local senepol beef for sale - not sure how much longer that will last. They also have chickens and seafood and some frozen produce items.

Sejah Farms is a local farm that sells both fruits and vegetables and meats - chickens, turkeys (in season), lamb, rabbits, sometimes pork (generally by request).

There are many fruit and vegetable farms around the island as well as Farmers Markets - search for Ridge to Reef Farm, ARTFarm, GLG Plants and Produce, Sejah Farm for the larger farms - the main Farmers Market is on Saturday in LaReine, and there are stands at Southgate on Wednesdays and Saturdays. There is also a large farm on the South of Centerline close to Frederiksted that I am forgetting the name of, but they have a stand.

Quality Food VI is a bit like a mini-Costco - they sell meats in bulk and often have things you want from the States, as well as a good organic produce selection and often stock local produce.

Local bakeries are good too - Thomas Bakery is one.

It's not too hard to eat local on STX, I almost never shopped in a grocery store - when i did, I went to Food Town. But then we don't eat a lot of packaged foods, and they are the most expensive food items from the states.

There is no local dairy, which makes many people sad - and conditions are such that it's very challenging for a new one to open. Dairy goods are the most disappointing item IMO on island because most are shipped frozen or are "super pasteurized" to survive the trip.

Just be prepared that tomatoes are seasonal over the winter and pretty much impossible to find the rest of the year. 😉


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stt007
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January 4, 2014 8:30 pm  

I owned a house on stt for 10 years and moved to stx 2 years ago after comparing several factors on both islands. A summary of our findings:

-Stt feels like a city while stx is the country
-Stt is hilly and touristy, stx is neither
-Both have similar levels of crime, but if you avoid the wrong places at the wrong times, you're less likely to be impacted. When it gets dark, we are generally home.
-the local agriculture on stx is a big plus. We eat lots of veggies and fruit and local grown stuff is great. This doesn't really exist on stt.
-the racial tension on stt is palpable. Not everywhere and everyone but enough that it makes a strong impression. It does not really exist on stx. There might be pockets, but I have not experienced it on stx like I did on stt.
-housing is a little cheaper on stx, but Wapa is Wapa.
-service employees (stores, government) spend less time talking to their friends and coworkers on stx, than they do you the customer. A point of real irritation to me on stt. Pet peeve.
-weather is the same on both islands and better than where u r now.
- only had one hospital visit on stt and it was fine (dislocated shoulder) but it was same day outpatient, so I'm not really qualified to speak about that.....or schools.
-will add more later if I think of something you might want to know.

We love it on stx. Kids visited over Christmas and had a blast....so much to do.


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JulieKay
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January 4, 2014 8:30 pm  

Oh and last thing, like speee1dy said, property prices are super cheap right now on STX - our house is currently up for sale and compared to what we paid for it and what it appraised recently at, it is a steal! 😀


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CruzanIron
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January 4, 2014 8:36 pm  

"Dairy goods are the most disappointing item IMO on island because most are shipped frozen or are "super pasteurized" to survive the trip.
==================

You have some explaining to do. Milk vendors are not making special runs so that milk can be shipped here.
It is in a refrigerated trailer and takes 3 or 4 days to get here from Florida. I've never seen a container of milk arrive here
with the recording chart showing it went below freezing.


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Tiberius
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January 4, 2014 8:41 pm  

Crime is horrendous on both islands. Violent crime in broad daylight etc. Do your homework!


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rotorhead
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January 4, 2014 9:52 pm  

And the crime comes to you. Thugs break into your home in the middle of the night with guns. More often than people on here like to admit.


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JulieKay
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January 4, 2014 9:57 pm  

"Dairy goods are the most disappointing item IMO on island because most are shipped frozen or are "super pasteurized" to survive the trip.
==================

You have some explaining to do. Milk vendors are not making special runs so that milk can be shipped here.
It is in a refrigerated trailer and takes 3 or 4 days to get here from Florida. I've never seen a container of milk arrive here
with the recording chart showing it went below freezing.

I have no first hand knowledge, it is conjecture on my part - I would swear most all butter and sour cream I've bought at CostULess was previously frozen. Why? Because it was half frozen when I bought it! However I will readily accept it came to the island "fresh" and CostULess froze it in their - ah - "aggressive" freezers.

The super pasteurized milk is just yuck, though.


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CruzanIron
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January 4, 2014 10:02 pm  

How can we tell if it is 'super pasteurized'? Is it on the label?


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Tiberius
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January 4, 2014 10:05 pm  

And the crime comes to you. Thugs break into your home in the middle of the night with guns. More often than people on here like to admit.

Thanks for the backup.


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CruzanIron
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January 4, 2014 10:09 pm  

The US FDA requires that all ultra-pasteurized products be labeled as such (either ultra-pasteurized OR UHT).

------------
Neither the gallon of Farmfield or gallon of American Dairy Fresh milk that I bought locally carry this label.


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stevehbin
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January 4, 2014 10:13 pm  

On all parts to the island(s)? I hear Red Hook & Bolongo Bay are pretty safe, no?


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JulieKay
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January 5, 2014 12:29 am  

How can we tell if it is 'super pasteurized'? Is it on the label?

Yes, it says it on the label. And my mistake, it is "ultra pasteurized."


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JulieKay
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January 5, 2014 12:31 am  

The US FDA requires that all ultra-pasteurized products be labeled as such (either ultra-pasteurized OR UHT).

------------
Neither the gallon of Farmfield or gallon of American Dairy Fresh milk that I bought locally carry this label.

I can't remember the brand, but I can tell you that at least one of the brands CostULess and Schooner Bay (RIP) and Food Town carry are "Ultra Pasteurized."

ETA: Much of the Horizon organic milk is ultra pasteurized.


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JulieKay
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January 5, 2014 12:37 am  

Here in Florida I'm buying local organic milk that is processed by an "HTST" process, or "Hot Temperature, Short Time."

To quote: "This means they eliminate any pathogenic micro-organisms by bringing the milk to a temperature of no more than 165° F — a temperature proven to remove any risk of harmful microbes. But it's not a temperature so high that it renders the milk sterile and possibly reduces any inherent nutritional value. "

And oh yeah, the milk is DELICIOUS. And it is suitable to make our homemade yogurt with. Sorry but on STX that was the one thing food-wise that was saddest for me.


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JulieKay
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January 5, 2014 12:39 am  

And the crime comes to you. Thugs break into your home in the middle of the night with guns. More often than people on here like to admit.

Thanks for the backup.

I thought about quoting Rotorhead too on this. He and his wife are some of the nicest people I've met on island who have suffered this sort of crime.


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STXjill
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January 5, 2014 1:06 am  

Here in Florida I'm buying local organic milk that is processed by an "HTST" process, or "Hot Temperature, Short Time."

To quote: "This means they eliminate any pathogenic micro-organisms by bringing the milk to a temperature of no more than 165° F — a temperature proven to remove any risk of harmful microbes. But it's not a temperature so high that it renders the milk sterile and possibly reduces any inherent nutritional value. "

And oh yeah, the milk is DELICIOUS. And it is suitable to make our homemade yogurt with. Sorry but on STX that was the one thing food-wise that was saddest for me.

Congrats on your enjoyment of Florida, it certainly doesn't compare to STT or STX, and the milk choices we have here on STX are definitely not the same as FL. However, I've been buying milk here and making homemade Greek style yogurt weekly, it's DELICIOUS, and simple to make in the crockpot! Where there's a will, there's a way. It's an island, some adjustments required ... Smile and wink inserted here.


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JulieKay
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January 5, 2014 1:19 am  

Here in Florida I'm buying local organic milk that is processed by an "HTST" process, or "Hot Temperature, Short Time."

To quote: "This means they eliminate any pathogenic micro-organisms by bringing the milk to a temperature of no more than 165° F — a temperature proven to remove any risk of harmful microbes. But it's not a temperature so high that it renders the milk sterile and possibly reduces any inherent nutritional value. "

And oh yeah, the milk is DELICIOUS. And it is suitable to make our homemade yogurt with. Sorry but on STX that was the one thing food-wise that was saddest for me.

Congrats on your enjoyment of Florida, it certainly doesn't compare to STT or STX, and the milk choices we have here on STX are definitely not the same as FL. However, I've been buying milk here and making homemade Greek style yogurt weekly, it's DELICIOUS, and simple to make in the crockpot! Where there's a will, there's a way. It's an island, some adjustments required ... Smile and wink inserted here.

I made yogurt on STX. It does work, it isn't the same - but it is possible, and yes it can be strained to Greek yogurt, no "smile and wink" needed, I learned for years how to "do with" on St. Croix, and was a huge local food advocate.

I ran a local food blog and local food advocacy program on STX while I was there, the local food is great, better than some parts of the states, just the dairy is lacking as it has to all be imported from the States. It is sad that a local dairy pretty much is impossible, which is my main point - an island of the size of STX (and STT) should be able to have a local dairy. It will take tort reform for it to happen though.


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STXjill
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January 5, 2014 2:27 am  

With all due respect,the OP asked about STT or STX, not Florida.I know you lived here previously, and it's great that you're enjoying Florida, but they're asking about STT or STX. We had Island Dairy here for decades and they were forced to close, very sad for our islands, but we find ways to keep going, and make due with what we have. That's part of island life ... some adjustment often required.


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stt007
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January 5, 2014 2:40 am  

Even though the OP asked about stt vs stx, it seems between this thread and a similar one started by Cholla, he has already decided, or leaning early on toward stt. Posters complaining about crime have had personal experiences that would certainly influence their perspective whether they lived here or cities on the mainland. I wonder how demographics compare? We have been burglarized twice (on stt), but never personally confronted. That can certainly affect your perspective. The integrity of the police compared with cities stateside could also be a factor. But I don't have data on any of this stuff in order to take a position.


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