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FortuneBound Team Talks Economy

fortunebound-team-talks-economyIn the beautiful setting of Downtown Fernandina Beach’s Cafe Karibo, FortuneBound’s team of streetwise experts elaborates and clarifies in this video what really is happening with the economy, in spite of hopeful promises and fabrications from Wall Street and Washington that the worst of this recession is over. A recession is one way for the economy to tell us that we have been wrong in our handling of market forces. It tells us whether we have abused monetary policies, squandered resources, over extended consumerism, bend the realities of budget balancing and so much more. When the economy retracts and the engine(s) starts sputtering we get our sign that belt tightening would be a good measure.

Ask yourself if you have done enough tightening (deflating the bubble that was created) and then wonder if we have really reached the bottom. Sure there are plenty of poor souls in South Florida, Michigan, California and even Las Vegas biting n a bit right now, wondering how to get out of the hole. But one visit to our local Fantastic Fudge Shop will quickly teach you that there is still plenty of discretionary money around. As we have said on many previous occasions, if you’re in the hole, STOP DIGGING! Take a deep breather and jump out of the hole. One way to do that is by embracing the thought of a home based business. FortuneBound is ready to teach and guide you, but only you can take the first step.

Fernandina Beach Middle School Final Concert 2009

final-middle-school-concertFernandina Beach Middle School located on Amelia Island, Florida had their final spring concert at the First Baptist Church sanctuary. This was band director, Mr. Randy Hamm’s, final concert after six years at FBMS. The beginner band, the concert band, the jazz band and the symphonic band wish the Hamm family many years of continued success as they head to Washington DC to take on a new adventure!

Controlling Your Web Site’s Content

control-your-web-site-contentWho controls the content of your website? Recently we posted articles that were about functionality and visual appeal and most importantly the “look-to-book”. (Look to book refers to conversion rates between visitors to your site and physical bookings). Today we are going to kick in an open door especially for independent hoteliers!!! A big mistake is to leave the content to the Web designer.

Before we get into the details about who controls the content of you site (and content is absolutely KING), we still need to kick in the door. No-one knows better the occupancy rates than the hotel owner or manager does. Right? That was one open door.

Now try to follow the logic we are conveying in the recognition that the manager knows his bookings and occupancy. Well, that also means that to do something about slow weeks you must be able to act immediately. That could be by offering a combination special, or a quick getaway special, or an activity combo at a special rate. Another open door, right?

Many hotel websites we have looked at are build based on “brochure” concepts and are as static as a lamp post in downtown London, or impossible to change at a very short notice and even if you have a very attentive web designer, he or she could be too busy, out of town, at a wedding or attending a funeral.

Now you’re stuck. You know you have to tell the “world” you have this great special for next week or even coming weekend and nobody to attend to your site to make the changes. You just lost major money, goodwill, ranking (because content is KING) and all because you could not make the change or upload that special yourself.

Remember, a website is an instantaneous billboard advertising globally, nationally, regionally, and locally with the push of a button. You post an event and use the right keywords, the search engines will get the word out for you.

But you‚Äôre not a web designer, right? Well, you don‚Äôt have to be if your site is build around the functionality of you being able to control the content. If it is build around you then the content is like writing and publishing an article. No more… no less. You should not even have to bother your web designer to do this. No fancy stuff necessary. No flashy screaming announcements, but simple to the point information about your special is all it takes with a link to your booking engine. You got a new chef with credentials, put it on the site. A new front desk person, announce it on the site.

If your website content is not controllable by you, than all you have is a brochure.

Oh and by the way, are you collecting all the e-mails from your visitors and guests? Give them a free drink in exchange for a business card. It’s worth it. And do it upon check in. Who knows you may have a special while they’re staying with you and you can send them an email about it. It is how the world communicates nowadays.

Washington Spending Money Like Drunken Sailors

drunken-sailors
“What’s the difference between Vegas and D.C.?
At least in Vegas, the drunks gamble with their own money!”

Regardless of your politics, as an investor, you have to acknowledge that with both parties spending our money like drunken sailors, the prospects for higher inflation are only a matter of when, not if, they show up in the economic data.

And no matter what the government tells you about the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or similar gauges only going up 4% a year or less, you know that any trip to the gas pump or the grocery store tells you that prices keep steadily inching up.

So, what’s an investor to do?

There’s one way to create a hedge against a higher cost of living, and that’s to consider gold as an inflation beneficiary. I’m not talking about gold stocks but, rather, a more-direct play on the price of gold itself.

Opportunity

For stock-market investors, rather than buying gold coins and bullion — which is not as easy to move in and out of quickly ‚Äì I‚Äôll focus on the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD), an Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF) that trades at approximately one-tenth the price of the current price per troy ounce of gold itself.

The reason not to focus on gold stocks, which are supposed to be a more-leveraged play on the swings in the price of gold is because they are STOCKS!

When money managers started to liquidate their stock holdings last fall, gold stocks fell in tandem with the overall market, with the gold-stock-oriented Market Vectors Gold ETF (GDX) down nearly 30% from September through November 2008 compared to a drop of just under 3% for the GLD.

For the full year of 2008, GLD was actually up around 5% while the major stock market averages dropped more than 30%. The only time GLD lagged in recent memory was during the sharp stock snapback off the March lows and through the April bounce. But in May, GLD regained its leadership. This is just a sign of investors preparing for the coming inflation wave, and you need to know how to cover it, too.

ETF Options: Is Way to Trade Gold Without Paying Large

Instead of buying GLD outright — which, at Friday‚Äôs mid day price of $970, would tie up $9,700 (all examples before commission costs) on each 100 shares — you could instead consider a call option purchase, with one contract controlling the same 100 shares up until a certain (expiration) date.

At the May 28 close, the GLD Jan 88 Calls (which would give you the right to buy GLD up to the third Friday in January 2010 at a fixed “strike price” of $88 per share) were trading at $12.50, or $1,250 to control that same 100-share position in GLD for roughly the next half-year. This means that if you expect GLD can rally above $100 in the next six months, this could be a profitable position. Especially if GLD mounts a 20% rally up to $115 or more, these options would gain over 100%.

This is not necessarily the most-aggressive way to play a GLD move, but it shows you how trading ETF options can meaningfully leverage your investment.

Meanwhile, if your view is way off and GLD drops by a large amount, the ETF option buyer is only on the hook for the amount invested, and no more. With the damage stock investors felt last year, the “stock substitute” strategy of using call options — with the rest of your core portfolio in low-yielding cash alternatives — could turn out to be a far better play even if you didn’t manage your call position and happened to let it expire.

The technical chart of GLD shows how powerfully this ETF can move when it starts to break out. Looking at the weekly chart back to mid-2007, GLD really started to surge when it not only cleared the technical resistance area around $69-$70, but also when it gave an Acceleration Bands buy signal Sept. 29, 2007.

Acceleration Bands serve as a trading envelope that factor in a stock’s typical volatility; they are plotted around a simple moving average as the midpoint, and the upper and lower bands are of equal distance from this midpoint. You can see usually an ETF will trade in between these bands, but when it breaks out for two-straight weeks, a serious acceleration can begin.

Weekly Chart of GLD with 20-Week Acceleration Bands

weekly-gold-chart

Right now, the resistance line is clearly drawn in the $99-$100 zone, but I think it’s only a matter of time before the next big surge for gold. Keep GLD on your radar — especially if the stock market endures another summer or fall correction

You Know You are an Amelia Islander When…

pirates-at-the-drive-thruI have lived here my whole life and a conversation at school made me realize that I am a true Islander and you, too, know you are an Amelia Islander when…

You are not weirded out by the sight of Pirates casually grocery shopping or walking through the drive-thru window at Dairy Queen.

You go to school with someone whose uncle’s girlfriend’s sister saw Ozzy Osborne at the Ritz Carlton.

You have to explain what a Pirate is to the new kid at school.

You realize the island is so small, that when you are asked to bring ice cream to a party, it doesn’t even melt in the Florida heat.

Your school bus ride takes the scenic route everyday, along the ocean.

If you see a Pirate anywhere, your body’s immediate reflex is to cover your ears.

You can walk across the street to the beach and not be stopped by tons of traffic.

…and you really know that you are a true Amelia Islander when you think SearchAmelia is the best information source in town!

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Atlantic Avenue Elementary School is Closing

atlantic-elementaryThe 2008/ 2009 school year for the Atlantic Avenue Elementary public school is being marked as its last. This historic landmark is celebrating its last few days of children gracing its halls and classrooms as teachers and faculty alike prepare to move their classrooms to one of two new homes. Classes will be divided between Southside and Emma Love Hardee elementary schools currently operating as public schools. Portable classrooms have been delivered and are in the process of being fully operational for returning school children in the fall. So, why is the school closing? First it has been reported that hundreds of thousands of tax payer dollars will be saved each school year by doing so. Consolidation even in our schools makes good fiscal sense especially in our current economy. Lastly the buildings are old and very inefficient when it comes to electricity for heating and cooling purposes. I attended this school from 1982 to 85 and even back then the classrooms were hot during the summer, cold during the winter and leaking when it was raining. So what is scheduled for the Atlantic Avenue School? It has been slated to be torn down. Several buildings however will be spared, the newer structure nearest Atlantic Avenue that borders North 13th Street and the old 2 story school house where the school board is currently operating from. It was unclear as to the fate of the gym and cafeteria or any of the out buildings that once held science classes and the ever popular shop class. Lots of memories were made by all who attended this school regardless of the time period attended, Atlantic elementary you will be sadly missed.

Candlelight Concert at Fort Clinch

candle-light-concert
A Candlelight Concert will be held on Monday, June 1, at 8:00 PM at the historic Fort Clinch State Park on Amelia Island, Florida. This Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival event features Elisabeth Remy, harp; Christina Smith, flute; and Alison Buchanan, soprano.

Tickets are only $25.00 to enjoy the music of Berlioz, Donizetti, Mark O’Connor, and Jay Unger.

‘Treasure Island’ – Spend Small, Save Big.

thrift-stores-and-consignmeIn a recent thought I had about the economy and it’s effects on those hardest hit – as well as those who have not yet felt the crunch (yes, there are folks who still have jobs and businesses and make money), I realized that sometimes you have to restate the obvious. If you’re one who has seen your money / earnings dwindle recently, you are forced to cut back your spending yet still function as well as you can. If you are one of the fortunate ones who have maintained your income and lifestyle during these times, congratulations! I don’t want to ring alarm bells, but the possibility exists that you may be next. I hope not. Let’s just say that it couldn’t hurt to start saving a bit more on your regular purchases, just in case.

The one thing that disasters do though is bring people together. Folks helping folks is good to see.  One way to do all 3 things at the same time Рspend small, save big and help others in your community is maybe not as obvious as I thought. Remember when I had that thought about the economy? Way back at the beginning of all this??
The thought was that there are certain shops here that serve all 3 purposes. Those are consignment or Re-Sale Shops. Here’s the thought. A purchase at a consignment shop helps support the store owner – and family – the shop’s employees – and families – and the people who brought in the merchandise to sell – and their families. At the same time, you have quality merchandise and paid a fraction of what it would have cost to buy it new.

Today I talked to the owners of two of those shops.
Have you ever met Kim at ‘Cradle to Crayons’? She’s friendly and helpful and a mom and an all around nice lady. Her shop is in a cozy spot at 432 S. 8th St. in Fernandina Beach.
She specializes in children’s and infant clothing as well as accessories like bassinets, high chairs and toys. She even carries maternity clothes, so you can start shopping there
pre-baby. If you ask her, she’ll also point out some “hidden treasures” that are not used but brand new – obtained through closeout lots, etc. Hey, it costs alot to provide for kids. Why not spend small and save big at Cradle to Crayons?

Have you been in to see Christine at C J ‘s Closet in Amelia Crossing 1699 S. 14th Street?
What a great lady and what a great shop! Her store carries teen through adult clothing and plus sizes, along with a lot of very interesting and unique nautical and beach style decorative items. She’s also a mom and sometimes you can catch her daughter in there helping her.
I saw beautiful evening and casual wear to formal dresses including wedding dresses. Christine also carries wedding dress accessories at a fraction of the cost of a bridal shop – and she does alterations. The woman can sew!! ¬†I even saw a rack of really nice mens wear at tiny prices. C J’s is well worth a visit – if you want to spend small and save big.

Folks, you don’t need me to tell you how to live. I’m just suggesting – why not spend small, save big, and recycle the money right here on ‘Treasure Island’

Fernandina Dave

Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival

chamber-music-openingSearch Amelia was invited to film the opening of the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival. This is the eighth season that started on May 2, with the appropriately themed “Beer and G-Strings I”, performed by violin virtuoso Bobby McDuffie, possibly better known as the world renowned violinist Robert McDuffie, who recently opened the Robert McDuffie School of Strings at Mercer University in Atlanta, Georgia.

While back stage we were surrounded by a number of practice movements of very talented musicians such as Amy Schwartz Moretti, who just became a proud Mom about 7 months ago. We immediately realized, her baby, who was peacefully sleeping in her dad’s arms, is very privileged to grow up surrounded by such beautiful music. The man behind the organization of the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, Christopher Rex, who plays the principal cello the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, did an amazing job putting this year’s festival together.

2009 marks the 200th anniversary of Felix Mendelssohn’s birth and Franz Josef Haydn’s death. This season, a portion of the Festival’s inspiration comes from celebrating these music legends.

Four free concerts have been offered throughout the festival to share this spectacular music with those who might not otherwise attend. The education mission in music presents several concerts by Resident Fellowship Artists, made up of promising students from the nation’s leading conservatories.

Here is Your Sign, Where is Mine?

sa-signWe went downtown to Historic Fernandina Beach this afternoon to film a video for our sister site Fortunebound and patronize some of our advertisers so we could have a little fun and socialize with some of the fine citizens of our lovely little community. After visiting a few fine establishments and chatting with numerous people we had to leave the downtown area to take one of our friends and business partners to meet with his ride home. When we arrived back at our car I realized that one of our Searchamelia.com magnetic signs that was strategically placed on the front door of our car, was missing.

My initial comments can not be printed here, but as we discussed the situation and clearer heads prevailed, we realized that maybe the person or persons who confiscated the sign were just doing it so they could display it prominently on their own vehicle to help us get the word out about the best Web site around about Amelia Island and its surrounding area.

This obviously had to be the case. So after further discussion, and much mathematical and scientific evaluation, we realized that maybe there are more people that would like to help us promote our Web site and put our signs on their vehicles. Of course then we had to have more mathematical and scientific discussion, which even included some physics calculations, search engine searches, and a glass of wine. Then, we decided. Anyone who is so inclined just needs to send me their name, e-mail address and telephone number and we would be more than happy to order a bunch of magnetic signs so that everyone can proudly display them.

In the meantime, I hope who ever it may be that has one of my signs, is displaying it as proudly as we do. But, if you realize that is too big for your vehicle or clashes with the color of you car, just give me a call at the telephone number displayed on the sign and I will help you get it back to its proper place on MY car.

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Family Picnic at the Beach

beach-picnicNow that summer is here and the kids are looking forward to vacation time, you should consider having a family picnic at the beach. I remember my childhood here on the Island, we always did things that included the family, from a backyard cookout to a trip to the beach. Now as a kid I really had it made, my grandparents lived on the beach and I would spend most of the summer there. I always remember the picnics we would have on the beach. They were indeed a treat.

Today I went to the beach and observed many enjoying the ocean but nowhere did I see a picnic going on. I couldn’t help but think what a shame, this is truly something that you can do and your children will always remember the picnic on the beach. A small cooler with the food and drinks and a blanket on the ground, a large umbrella to help shade you and you’ve got it made. For a little different twist try a late afternoon picnic on the beach.
There is something magical about the beach at night time, don’t leave too early enjoy the evening on the beach. People spend many thousands of dollars to travel to far away beaches to do just this, we have it right here in our own backyard, and it’s free.

Next time you are looking for something to do on a summer day, try a picnic on the beach. I will be willing to bet it won’t be your last.

The Week’s End Market

dollar-in-the-toiletCommodities headed for the biggest monthly rally in 34 years, led by energy, as the slumping dollar boosted demand for raw materials as a hedge against inflation. Gold and silver are soaring up 23 & 27% respectively for May and oil‚Äôs rising fast closing at $65.56. In May, the Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of 19 energy, metal and agricultural prices has gained 14 percent, the most since July 1974. The dollar was poised for the biggest monthly drop since August against a basket of six major currencies. The markets are closing the week Friday still whole. Don‚Äôt bank on that lasting too long. There is a ‚ÄúReality Disconnect‚Äù‚ĶU.S. business activity contracted at a faster pace than forecast in May as orders dropped. Unemployment, already at a 25-year high, is forecast to keep climbing and home foreclosures are at a record. Bankruptcy looms at General Motors Corp., the biggest U.S. carmaker. ‚ÄúI don‚Äôt know where all the optimism for the economy is coming from,‚Äù said Gijsbert Groenewegen, a partner at Gold Arrow Capital Management in New York. ‚ÄúWhen you look at housing and autos, all of those things are still weak. There is a disconnection between what the reality for the economy is and what people think.‚Äù Here are the final stats for the week. All of these gains were in the final 20 minute of trading which is BS‚Ķ.The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 96 points, or 01.15 percent, to 8,501.28. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index .SPX gained 16.1 points, or 1.77 percent, to 910.89. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC added 22.54 points, or 01.29 percent, to 1,774.04. Be careful, very careful.

Pushing Delete Does Not Make it Disappear

funnyfaceWhen you post embarrassing or unattractive photos on the Internet, pushing delete does not always make them disappear. When photos are posted to a social networking site like Facebook, they are stored on a content delivery network (CDN). A CDN is a complex system wherein data is copied to multiple intermediate devices, usually to speed up access to files when millions of users are accessing the services simultaneously. The changes are not reflected across the CDN immediately and ghost copies of the files tend to linger for days or weeks.

After posting a picture, note what the URL to the picture is (the actual photo, not the page on which the photo resides), then delete it. Come back in a week and see if the link still works. A company representative of Facebook says the data may hang around until the URL in question is reused.

really-funnyface

If you don’t want the drunken party photos or the pictures of you in that bikini to be seen by the world, don’t upload them to the Internet.

Nassau County Real Estate Movement for the Last Week of May

nassau-county-real-estate-report

Nassau Real Estate movements

Here is the Real Estate report for Nassau County for the last week of May thru 5-28-09.

15 properties are under contract at the following prices.
$219,000; 359,000; 374,100; 295,000; 349,900; 169,000; 119,000;
649,000; 700,000; 250,900; 138,667; 619,000; 259,000; 325,000;
272,000

and 14 properties sold for the following reported figures.
$160,000; 200,000; 268,789; 55,000; 140,000; 150,000; 220,000
239,000; 219,000; 258,000; 70,000; 77,000; 224,000 and 1,300,000