Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Island Gossip

USA: California Party Island Struggles to Recover from Scandal

A beacon to 20-somethings in surrounding San Joaquin County, a small island resort dished out Mai-Tais and summer fun with abandon. After a series of problems, the resort was closed – but is fighting to reopen.

(Image Courtesy of the Delta National Park Organization)

It seems like a given that on an island dedicated to parties, booze and blackouts, trouble is waiting to happen. For Lost Isle, a casual adults-only resort on an island in the Northern California Delta, that trouble came in 2008, in the form of a double stabbing (leading to one death) and a subsequent crack-down by state regulators.  The resort was unceremoniously shut down pending police investigations, and demands for some hefty upgrades to its aging infrastructure and lax security.

(Mai Tai image from Wikipedia)

Lost Isle first opened in 1946, and quickly became a hot destination for water sports enthusiasts across San Joaquin County, receiving up to 8,000 visitors a weekend from neighbouring towns like Stockton and Modesto. Found amid the intricate river networks of the Delta on a corner of Acker’s Island, waving palm trees greeted visitors as they landed ashore, where they could enjoy live music, beach volleyball, and a few cocktails. In a region filled with universities and students in search of fun, it was a match made in heaven. In 1996, the island resort was purchased by David Wheeler, Jr., a Californian accountant who, according to media reports, invested millions of dollars in Lost Isle. After the 2008 incident, and orders for upgrades to the island’s original 1940’s buildings, he lost numerous permits, and was forced to shut down.

After predicting a 2011 reopen, delays with constructing new docks have led to Wheeler pushing it off to April of 2012, when he and his wife hope that their palm tree-lined isle will again be the party venue of choice for the area’s flocks of young university students. The island will feature a completely new restaurant and bar, as well as docks and bathrooms. And, upon order from government authorities, the resort will implement a high-tech driver’s license scanner to help track trouble makers, fence off an unguarded entrance, and employ private security guards.  With any luck, Lost Isle will be back to serving up Mai-Tais as soon as warm weather returns next year, and this paradise will be lost no longer.

Read the original article in the Mercury News:   Link

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