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Family Only Visitors Permitted at Nassau Baptist Hospital

Nassau Baptist Hospital

Nassau Baptist Hospital

Patients at Nassau Baptist Hospital cannot have visitors that are non-family members due to the risk of the H1N1 virus. Further, only two family members can be in a patient’s room at a time.

According to the Florida Department of Health website, Duval and Baker counties were experiencing “widespread” outbreaks as of the week ending Sept. 19, while Nassau County reported cases are ‚Äúlocalized.‚Äù Most of the cases of swine flu on the First Coast have been mild.

The swine flu vaccine will not be available for at least another week, and even then it will only be offered to those most at risk of contracting the virus such as healthcare workers and pregnant women. To help with prevention, many businesses and medical centers are increasing efforts to stop the spread of the virus. Some companies, such as the one where I work, have placed hand sanitizer dispensers on every floor, in the cafeteria, and in every break room. Hospitals and doctor’s offices are requesting that sick patients wear a mask.

It is important to continue following these everyday actions to prevent contracting swine or seasonal flu:
1. When you cough or sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue. Discard the tissue after use.
2. Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, alcohol based hand sanitizer is also effective.
3. Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. If you do, see #2.
4. If someone you know is sick, avoid close contact.
5. If you become sick with a flu-like illness, the CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. Keep away from others as much as possible to prevent spreading the illness.

Amelia Residents in Action for the Symphony

Michael Andrew to perform in Jacksonville

Michael Andrew to perform in Jacksonville

The Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra presents Fly Me to the Moon. ARIAS, Amelia Residents In Action for the Symphony is arranging a trip including dinner and transportation to attend this Pops Concert on Friday night, October 2nd.

Concert tickets will be available at the dinner served at the Ocean Club on Amelia Island Plantation at 5:15. Dinner is $35.00 per person, transportation is about $30.00 and concert tickets range from $35.00 to $56.00, making this an evening to remember for as little as $100.00. Call Julie at (904) 321-5099 for more detailed information and to reserve your spot!

This event gives music lovers a worry free evening of dinner and entertainment in a package that includes transportation (for dinner guests only) in the style of famous crooners such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Nat King Cole, performed by Michael Andrew. Enjoy favorites like Fly Me To the Moon, “MoonRiver,” “Unforgettable” and many more.

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Loraine King Offers House Portraits

Amelia Island Artist, Loraine King

Amelia Island Artist, Loraine King

Until recently if you ever wanted the services of a house portrait artist, you’d be hard pressed to find one. Until now that is. There’s one right here on Amelia Island – Loraine King. Loraine paints “house portraits” in her home studio and works in watercolor, acyrlic and pen and ink. The house portrait you commission can be one of your house as it is today, or you can have her do a period scene. A period scene is a house portrait that looks like it did at some time in its history. You provide her with a picture of your house and between her personal observations and the information you provide her, she paints it! According to what you want, she can even paint various generations in one painting and include period items, such as a horse-drawn carriage to show the time period of the painting. She said she’s painted ice-skating, someone feeding a deer, a family making a snowman and even someone chopping wood for a fireplace. So pull out all your old family photos to include in your own individual house portrait!

Loraine does much more than just her house portrait paintings. She founded the Amelia Island Plantation Artists’ Guild and Gallery located at the Spa and Shops that opened just under a year ago. The gallery has 43 members and includes a rainbow of work from artists who do everything from watercolor to tapestry. Each member volunteers to work one day a month at the shop so if you stop in any day, you’re surely to meet one of them. They do commission work and schedule art classes from the wide array of talent, and have an upcoming “Small Works” show premiering November 8, 2009. They are open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 – 4 pm.

Art by Loraine King

Art by Loraine King

Loraine is a native of New Jersey, and now a permanent resident of Amelia Island. She received her BA degree in Art Education from William Paterson University and became Art Director for the Shenendehowa Central School District in the state of New York. In Ohio she founded The Dublin Area Art League. She has spent over 40 years as a working artist, maintaining an active studio in her home. Her style is not limited to expressions in the primitive genre, but renderings in representational realism, impressionism and abstracts can be found in her landscapes, seascapes, florals, house portraits and family renderings.

While living in New York her portrayals of early New England scenes were recognized by The Schenectady Museum of Art. While living in Ohio, King’s works were featured in an article published by “Early American Life” magazine. Her paintings have been sold through the gift shop of The American Folk Art Museum in NYC. Her award winning works are found in collections throughout the USA and as far away as Japan, England, France and Canada.

Loraine can be reached at (904) 491-3737.

Suzanne Batchelor is a writer, designer and artist on Amelia Island. She can be reached at www.ameliaislandartist.com.

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Sounds on Centre in Fernandina Beach

Les DeMerle's Jazz Fest Begins at Sounds on Centre

Les DeMerle's Jazz Fest Begins at Sounds on Centre

Sounds on Centre will be held from 6:00 to 9:00 PM on Friday October 2nd in downtown Fernandina Beach. This is the last event for the season and will feature Amelia Island Jazz Festival’s Les DeMerle All-Stars six-piece band including Bonnie Eisele, performing New Orleans style Second Line Jazz with TGIF, a seven-piece Dixieland Band appearing as special guests.

This is a free, family event with dancing in the streets that will get you in the mood for the Les DeMerle Amelia Island Jazz Festival which kicks off at Sounds on Centre. Bring your lawn chairs and dancing shoes and plan on having a fabulous time in this extended, three hour special that promises to entertain!

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High School Football Line Up

Nassau County High School Football

Nassau County High School Football

Friday night football is back and here is this week’s line up for our local high schools in Nassau County, Florida.

-Fernandina Beach High School plays Bolles at home on October 2, 2009 at 7:30 PM.
-Hilliard Middle-Senior High School is playing Hamilton County, in Hamilton County on Friday at 7:00 PM.
-West Nassau is playing University Christian in this away game at 7:30 PM.
-Yulee High School does not play again until October 9th, and that game will be against West Nassau in Yulee.

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From the Horse’s Mouth

No More Travel Brochures

No More Travel Brochures

Our marketing department at Pirate Communications has been saying and writing it for a long time and now the warning comes from the Horse’s mouth: Travel Agencies do no want travel brochures anymore.

With the growing importance of the internet and its unlimited ways to supply information into the smallest and finest and quickest detail, Travel Agencies and wholesalers are starting to cancel brochure deliveries to their business locations.

Under the heading: “In the Internet Age, are brochures irrelevant” I got the following email story from Travel Weekly this morning:

“When Avril Betts of Action Travel in Vancouver took over the agency this year, one of the first things she did was throw away a Dumpster’s worth of old travel brochures.

Very recently, a brochure delivery weighing in at 100 pounds was delivered to her office, without request. ‚Ä®The problem, Betts said, is her clients don’t want them. ‚Ä®‚Ä®”As we use fewer and fewer brochures these days, most end up in recycling,” she said. “It is such a waste of the suppliers’ money and an environmental nightmare.” ‚Ä®‚Ä®Betts said that in her first month at Action Travel, she gave out only three brochures.

“When I started, we didn’t even have a website,” said Betts, a 30-year industry veteran who also owns an online agency. “But the way of doing business has changed … All suppliers are online. All itineraries are online. ‚Ä®Nine times out of 10 we do a little research and print the itineraries they are interested in,” she said of her clients. “They don’t want a brochure anymore.”

Travel suppliers have long used brochures — glossy and high-quality, but also very expensive to produce — to entice people to their products. But Betts’ experience begs the question: In the age of the Internet, are brochures irrelevant?

“I try hard to give them away, and they still end up in the dumpster,” Betts said. “In these economic times it doesn’t make sense.”

Betts decided to cancel brochure delivery and has been calling and emailing suppliers to tell them so. ‚Ä®”I don’t want them delivering brochures for me to just put them in the recycling bin,” she said.

Having been in travel marketing for the better part of 35 years (publisher’s note), we have designed, photographed and printed thousands of hotel/resort, attraction and destination brochures. More than a decade ago however we shifted to the opportunities of the internet.

In comparison, a good dynamic Web site will cost anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000 (without monthly optimization cost), depending on functionality, inter-activity, reservation capabilities and payment solutions. And that is less than 10,000 glossy 3-panel color brochures on a good paper stock. And we’re not even talking about the additional cost of shipping and mailing, nor the environmental impact.

In a time that manufacturers don’t even print manuals anymore, but just load them onto their Internet web presence, tourism destinations should focus their marketing and advertising budgets on great Web sites and uploadable video.

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The Other Side of the Coin that once was the American Dream

The Hard Truth of the Matter

The Hard Truth of the Matter

Homeownership as the important contribution to the American dream has always been favorable to far more people than buyers alone. Let me explain that statement. All the way up and down the line of state, county and city employees and government, the American dream has always meant another thing besides homeownership: federal funding.

And as long as property values kept rising, it meant more and more funding‚ nicer facilities, better libraries, more police and fire rescue funding, better roads. In addition many of these improvements were part of a long year planning. But then…disaster hit and property values started declining as the initial result of a continuing crisis with mortgage payments leading to decreased local revenues from real estate and other areas.

Now before I continue to point at where we are in this spiral down development I need to clarify something first. Increasingly readers comment that we should look at things a bit more optimistic; that this is just another hurdle on the road of a young nation and that we will overcome. And you know what…I believe they’re right. We will overcome…but only if we realize and accept now the severity of what went wrong and the ongoing domino effects that we are facing daily. Sticking our collective heads in the sand and waiting for the world to turn back into a credit driven rose garden is not going to do the trick. And I’m saying that because I’m getting exhausted from trying to explain that the bottom will not be reached until the economy has performed due diligence, which is to say, has wiped out all the excess that was created during 25 years of living on credit.

So here is what will happen next:

State and local governments everywhere are now desperately strapped for cash. Logically municipalities with the worst drops in housing prices are strained the most. Maybe not yet here on Amelia Island as much as for example Ft. Meyers, but the effects are starting to show. Just think about the ongoing struggle in the area of law enforcement we are witnessing right here in Nassau County.

The next drop is going to be the commercial real estate market, because as people get evicted or leave their “underwater” home, more commercial properties in the neighborhood stripmalls will start closing, while many newly constructed ones will stay empty.

But wait, according to the latest economic data, housing markets are stabilizing (what they mean to get across is that our world is collapsing at a lower rate than several months ago). Prices have stopped falling, is the rally cry of the Spin Doctors or are even back on the rise in some places, even though nobody points to where exactly and more importantly why. They also claim that “smart” money is going in, scooping up cash-flow positive rental properties. Hold on, wait a minute here! Smart money? Seems more like idiot money if you realize that by far, most of the housing sales activity is on the low end of the market… and initiated by first time homebuyers. McMansions are not getting any breaks and those are the ones that used to fill the coffers of local and state governments.

Call it deflation or market forces but in states where the population is in decline‚ like California and Florida‚ replacement value of real estate will ultimately and inevitably fall. It’s the law of gravity in economics. And we all know that gravity sucks. Less demand, more supply, prices drop. No matter what incentives are being offered in the low end of the market. That means we could see a long-term, structural shift in the housing markets in those states. After all, fewer homes will be needed for smaller future populations. No other way to say it, but this means the folks buying in these days with their first-time home buyer credit ($8,000) or low down payment FHA loans (3.5%) are just the latest round of suckers in a Ponzi scheme to again help fund state and local government.

I’m neither political, a fan of financial science fiction nor a pessimist. I’m an economist who doesn’t believe in rose colored glasses. We are collectively not going to escape financial pain. Period. Governments will face “mandatory” shrinkage on virtual all levels. Public projects will be halted, postponed or scrapped and companies and contractors will face the hardship of unexpected drops in revenues and profits.

And way down on that ladder are the “helpless” non-profits and charities who are now becoming double punch victims of an economy that is much more depressed than the government seems to want to admit. Economic pain is still in our future, which does not mean that on a different level of prosperity we should not start building a better economy. All it takes is the willpower to do so.

Johan Ramakers PhD. Econ

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Four Economic Indicators to Watch

Economic Indicators to know

Economic Indicators to know

When it comes to figuring out the bigger-picture, longer-term moves for whole investment classes, there’s nothing better than watching a few key economic indicators. There are four indicators that are the most important and that you should pay attention to. We tend to get a little detached from the ‚Äúreal‚Äù world here on our Amelia Island paradise. These inputs might help you with what‚Äôs up‚Ķ‚Ķ


U.S. Employment Numbers from The Bureau of Labor Statistics

While weekly unemployment claims are somewhat important to the markets, the major employment dipstick is what we get from the Bureau of Labor Statistics every month. In the “Current Employment Statistics” report we hear what 150,000 businesses and government agencies are doing with worker levels, hours, and earnings. In the separate monthly household survey, which is officially called “The National Employment Situation,” we get the actual unemployment rate. It’s expressed as a percentage of the overall labor force … and it’s the number most of us are familiar with hearing.

According to the August measures, the national unemployment rate rose to 9.7 percent, the highest level since June of 1983, while employers cut 216,000 jobs. Pay close attention to these releases going forward. By knowing whether there were more or less jobs in the economy in the previous month, you can then adjust your expectations for other data accordingly.


Gross Domestic Product:The Economic Fruits of Our Labor

This quarterly number measures our country’s economic output from all manufacturing and services. It is reported as an annual number in “real” terms, meaning that it is adjusted for inflation. Much ado is made about the GDP releases, because they are used as the basis for the textbook definition of a recession (two consecutive quarterly contractions).

However, one of the things that many investors fail to realize is that each GDP release is eventually subjected to two subsequent revisions. That means the original number reported is not the only one to watch. GDP is still what most people mean when they refer to economic growth, and its effect on investor sentiment is huge.

What the Federal Reserve Does (and Says) At Its Open Market Committee Meetings

This group of government bankers gets together about eight times a year to talk about the current state of the economy as well as its future prospects. Meetings are on Tuesdays, and sometimes into Wednesdays. The Fed issues a statement at the conclusion of every meeting and the market dissects every single word of it. This is also when interest rate actions are most likely announced. Obviously, those have a huge market impact. Much of what’s happening in each individual Federal Reserve district is contained in the Fed’s so-called “Beige Book,” which is released on a lag. Likewise, each meeting’s minutes are disseminated to the public later. If you want to know how localized economies are holding up, the Beige Book is very helpful. And the FOMC minutes (Federal Open Market Committee) are a great way to sense what the Fed’s next move might be.

As it stands right now, the Fed is unlikely to make a major interest rate move anytime soon. In fact, at their meeting last week, they had the following to say: “The Committee will maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and continues to anticipate that economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for an extended period.”

Of course, you cannot always take what the Fed says at face value, but sometimes it actually means what it says.

Watch the Inflation Rate Via the CPI and PPI!

The Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is released every month, is still important to the markets, because it’s a reliable benchmark for inflation, no matter how much it’s understating things. And the Producer Price Index (PPI) is also significant because it measures what businesses are paying for things. As such, it is a good front-runner to the CPI. Like the CPI, it’s based on a basket of goods, and is reported in a “headline” version as well as a “core” version. The latter excludes food and energy prices.

Both PPI and CPI are expressed as percentage increases or decreases, both against the previous month as well as against the same month a year earlier. It’s worth noting that ‚Äî after showing some outright price declines in many categories during the height of the credit crunch ‚Äî these two inflation gauges have been showing renewed increases. For example, in the latest batch of data released on September 15, PPI advanced 1.7 percent and CPI gained 0.4 percent.

A Couple of Important Points about These Four Items

First, they’re released by the government and therefore not necessarily perfect measures.¬† You cannot just accept the government’s measures of other items, either. Many reports suffer from flawed assumptions. However, with a grain of salt, these numbers can at least help you form a baseline opinion of what’s happening out there.

Second, some of these items are lagging indicators. GDP and unemployment tell us what has BEEN happening … not what is about to happen or even what is happening now. But when we’re trying to contextualize our long-term investment decisions, they’re still extremely useful. And when you use them to frame other short-term indicators and data items, you’ll be better able to draw reasonable conclusions.

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Camp Fire Stories

Camp fire Stories

Camp fire Stories

“As I awoke this evening with the smell of wood smoke clinging, like a gentle cobweb hanging upon a painted teepee”

I am one of those lucky individuals who chose an Internet lifestyle working from home. I call it lucky because it allows me on occasion to let me mind drift off in the distance, whether in the past or to the future. It allows my conscious and sub conscious mind to merge without having a boss breathing over my shoulder or a co-worker wondering if I’m contributing my fair share to the company’s bottom line.

Today I had several of those moments and when my mind returned to the everyday realties, the opening line of this story, borrowed from Elton John’s 1970 master piece ballad “Indian Sunset”, kept playing in my head. I kept thinking about how generations ago people passed on stories, wisdom, morals and advice to their children and grand children around the camp fires on the beaches and prairies of this country.

Since reading Jamie D’s story on why Amelia Island is an attractive place for people to retire, I have been occupied with the thought that if “retired” people are re-entering the workplace while unemployment is already reaching devastating levels, people coming out of college or high school will face an even more uphill battle trying to secure jobs and build a life.

So I came up with just a micro solution for a handful of previously retired people who are looking at re-entering the workplace. Don’t do it. If it is social contact you’re looking for as well as a feeling of satisfactory accomplishment, the following might be an idea for you to participate in.

I have always valued, even as a boy scout back in the old country, the nightly stories around the campfire. Especially stories by and of people who had survived challenging situations through skill, understanding or luck. I always figured, they’re still alive and telling their story, so they must have done something right!

Most of my language skills were initiated and developed around camp fires on the beaches of Italy, Spain, Greece, Holland and even on cold nights in the Sahara Desert.

So here is my wacky thought:
Why not organize at least one evening every month with camp fire stories on the beach of Amelia Island and have older people tell their life stories and important wisdom and pass on experiences like tribal elders did in Indian tribes and gypsy elders do to their children in their travels around the globe. Many older people with great stories would like to write a book, which they will never do, and this would allow them to pass on some of the vast knowledge and wisdom they possess to children and young adults, who have no clue about life before cellphones, computers and video games.

Just a thought that came when my mind wandered off.

Let me know if there are some brave souls out there who would like to see an idea like this come to fruition. I’ll be happy to put some energy in it. I might even bring my guitar and play folk songs of long ago.
Write me at Publisher@SearchAmelia.com

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Fernandina Robbery Suspect Found in Kentucky

Fernandina Beach Police

Fernandina Beach Police

The Fernandina Beach Police Department has announced that an active arrest warrant has been obtained for Christon L. Crabtree in connection with the armed robbery that occurred on September 18, 2009 at the Advance America Cash Advance store on South 8th Street. The local charges carry a $250,000 bond, however, Crabtree is currently being held without bond in Kentucky on unrelated charges by the United States Marshal’s Service.

On September 18th the Fernandina Beach Police Department received a report of a bomb threat at Fernandina Beach High School and minutes later responded to an armed robbery incident at Advance America Cash Advance located at 1714 South 8th Street.

Christon L. Crabtree

Christon L. Crabtree

On September 24th detectives received a tip that led investigators to the identity of the suspect, Christon Crabtree, and confirmed that he had left the area and was enroute to Fort Knox, Kentucky. Once on his trail detectives learned that the FBI had recently arrested Crabtree on September 21st for trespassing on a military base and inter-state stalking.

Fernandina Beach Detectives continue to work with the FBI in an attempt to connect the armed robbery with the bomb threat in Fernandina Beach, as well as determining the relationship between these crimes and the bizarre events at Fort Knox.

Contact Information:
Det. Freddie Peake, Fernandina Beach Police Department, 904-277-7342 X245
Captain David Bishop, Fernandina Beach Police Department, 904-277-7342 x233

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Teamwork Prevents Burnout

Teamwork prevents Burnout

Teamwork prevents Burnout

Especially in small communities like Fernandina Beach, there are many small businesses that cannot sustain themselves beyond the key person’s burnout. I’ve watched many people develop a business idea, put it in a plan, use hard earned and borrowed money, endure the hell and hassle of preparing to open their new venture and¬†enjoying the lime light of the ribbon cutting.¬† Finally their doors are open for business and there is no where to go from here but up.¬† Ahh, life is good.

Many of these businesses fail within the first eighteen to twenty four months.  The owner is totally wiped out, financially, physically and in spirit.  What happened?  The business had a great business plan, research showed that the product or service was needed in the area.  Customers were happy and kept coming back for more.  New customers were coming in.  So what happened? Why did the business fail?  Was it because of the business, or management structure?

In most cases it is due to management.

It reminds me of the story as told in the book “E-Myth” about the lady who enjoyed baking pies.¬† She had great pies and all her friends told her she would do well if she opened a bakery and started selling her pies, she agreed and started the process of opening her own business.¬† Now of course she had to bake the pies, that was the basic foundation of her business, her pies.¬† She started each day at three in the morning mixing and baking.¬† At nine she had her pies displayed and she opened for business.¬† During the day she cleaned the kitchen and handled the front.¬† At the end of the day she found herself at the store buying product for the next mornings bake.¬† Are you getting the picture here?¬† She felt she had to do it all.¬† Of course no one can hold up under such mental and physical pressure, she soon burned out as did her business.

How could she have saved her business?

By having a team come on board and spreading the different responsibilities.  In her case she absolutely needed to be the one baking pies at three in the morning.  She should have had someone to run the front and clean the kitchen.  Her production day should have ended around ten every morning.  Later that day she could have come back in to check on things and manage the fruits of that business day.  Someone could have picked up supplies needed for the next day or she should have made arrangements for them to be delivered.  Just a little team work, even with part timers involved, would have been all that was needed to save this business and turn it into a pleasure for the owner. After all, her business plan should have shown enough margin to allow for the team expenditure.

The story here is no matter how important you think you are to a business, you can’t do it all.¬† It’s impossible to try to do everything, mentally and physically you can’t keep up.¬† Always ask yourself this one question, “If I died today what would happen to this business tomorrow?”¬† Chances are it would continue on, but guess what, without you!¬† Oh sure there would be those who would need to learn a few things but it would continue.¬†

So just how important are you to your business? How do we overcome this notion that only “I” can do this or that?¬† You have to develop a team.¬† Meet with your team regularly, iron out the problems that the different layers of business presents.¬† Learn to depend on your team leaders and respect their opinions.¬† Problems are going to pop up, when they do, ask your team member to offer a solution to the problem.¬† Let the entire team digest the solution and discuss it.¬† At the end of the day you are going to be much better off by becoming a member of the team rather then trying to be the team.

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Tattoo You

The SS Fantome Tattooed on Casey's Back

The SS Fantome Tattooed on Casey’s Back

No I’m not talking about the 1981 Rolling Stones Album I still have in my collection. I’m talking about the way people Tattoo You into the corner of their, often ignorant, set of morals and beliefs. Here on Amelia Island we have at least a handful of Tattoo parlors and considering the healthy amount of Pirates the town features, they must be doing okay.

The thought of ever getting a tattoo was completely alien to me until about 5 years ago. Coming from a Dutch middle-class catholic academia background, tattoos were taboos. My parents’ stance on Tattoos was that a human skin is not supposed to be a canvas so why for heaven’s sake would you want to paint it with needles and ink. Little did I know that this somewhat shortsighted position was the inevitable result of a strict Christian upbringing. But as a consequence for most of my adult life, tattoos were at best a peripheral observation. My sailor buddies had tattoos, some people in the gym carried tattoos in usually hidden spots and frankly I cannot remember ever dating someone with a tattoo, in spite of having played in rock bands and being heavily involved in the music scene where tattoos are more common than groupies. Then 5 years ago for the first time in my life, I truly committed to a relationship and to confirm that, both she and I got tattooed ring fingers with each other’s name. Our only ones to date.

But as times changed I found myself surrounded by friends with at least one or two tattoos and I became intrigued by the history surrounding body art.
And frankly some body art is simply awesome and more importantly for many people it enforces meaningful parts of their heritage. Last week, when reliving my story on the fate of SS Fantome, the once flagship of Captain Burke’s Windjammer cruises, I was shocked into the discovery that my friend Captain Casey Plantefaber had passed away. The last thing I’d heard from him after the bankruptcy of the Windjammer operation was, that he was down in Panama trying to work something out for “his” Polly, the ship he captained for so many years. It also reminded me of the lesser known story, that caused him to have the SS Fantome tattooed over the entire surface of his back. Casey was supposed to have captained the Fantome on her last doomed voyage into hurricane Mitch back in 1998 off Honduras. A last second change of plan kept him out of harm’s way, but he honored ship, skipper Guyan March and crew with an enormous colorful tattoo on his back.

I had always quietly assumed that body art was regarded as pagan behavior and therefore unanimously discouraged of even forbidden by Christian Religions.
So in recent years, since I have departed from my ignorance about tattoos and the people that proudly wear them, I have also learned that this assumption was pretty much head-on, because it turns out that the art of body tattoos had been widely spread across the continents before the Christian churches started sending out their missionaries.
I have since made it my aim to study tattoos and find an understanding for the person wearing it. I have learned and read a lot about body art and because of it, have become a better person.

Historic Perspective

Before the religious relationship was created between tattoos and pagan beliefs, body art was a worldwide practice. The oldest proof of this statement dates back to the discovery of the 5000 year old bronzeman Otzi the Ice Man in the Austrian/Italian Dolomite Mountains in 1991. The perfectly preserved body revealed 57 tattoos! From the Mountains of Western and Southern Siberia to New Zealand and from the American Indians to the “Horos” in Japan, the art of tattooing was used for status, recognition, magic, religion, social and cultural belonging and also markings of punishment. The Horos (tattoo artists in Japan are widely considered the undisputed masters of body art) and typically their use of colors, perspective, and imaginative designs gave the practice a whole new angle. The classic Japanese tattoo, is not surprisingly a full body suit.

And that now makes it so liberating. Tattoos were never and are no longer exclusively for criminals, outlaws, sailors, circus performers/gypsies and gangs, a belief that had been pushed upon us in Western Christian and Muslim circles since Missionaries and Preachers took the high road. Case in point may be the story of devout Catholic French naval surgeon Maurice Berchon who in 1861 published a personal observation disguised as a study on the medical complications of tattooing. Result, the navy and army banned tattooing within their ranks.

The origin of the word Tattoo stems from Polynesia and unlike contemporary tattoo art, which is often an individualized statement of modernity, traditional tattoo in Polynesia not only enhanced the beauty of the human body, but marked social status, conveyed symbolic hidden meanings, and proclaimed its maker’s artistic ability. The Polynesian term, tatu/tatau, is the origin of the English word tattoo. It was carried to its Polynesian high points in the Marquesas Islands, where high-status men were completely tattooed, and among the New Zealand Maori, although considerable portions of the body were also tattooed in Samoa, Tahiti, Hawai`i, Easter Island, and elsewhere.

The Caribbean Piracy period claims the origin of many tattoos I have seen here on Amelia Island, with the expression “A Pirate’s Life for Me” being the main contender for the popularity top spot. My wife’s 22 year old son has a proud Native American Heritage. He has about 8 tattoos now, I think, that all celebrate this heritage. He got his first tattoo 5 years ago (I gave it to him as a birthday present 4 months before his 18th Birthday). It was right around that time that I started to understand that having a tattoo is more often than not a deep expression of individual belief.
Concentration camp survivors proudly wear their tattooed numerals in a strong belief that the Holocaust should never happen again.

Captain Casey Plantefaber often mentioned that he should have perished that fateful day aboard the Fantome in Hurricane Mitch. Now, eleven years later the Fantome went down a second time; this time as a piece of art on a fine sailor and wonderfully compassionate human being.

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Mariachi Band at Peppers on Select Thursday Nights

Mariachi Jaliciense from Tallahassee, Florida

Mariachi Jaliciense from Tallahassee, Florida

Peppers Mexican Grill and Cantina, located on Sadler Road, offers live family entertainment on select Thursday nights. They provide their diners with the fabulous experience of a FREE Mariachi Band. Every other Thursday, enjoy South of the Border sounds while dining on delectable dishes such as fajitas, burritos and vegetarian favorites.

Mariachi Jaliciense from Tallahassee, Florida, includes four wonderful musicians with fabulous voices, grand costumes and gorgeous smiles. Join them every other Thursday beginning on October 1, 2009.

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Amelia Island Memories of the 1950s

Scooter

Scooter

Growing up in the 50’s here on Amelia Island was indeed a treat. We didn’t realize it at the time but now that we are all older, we now know how very special it was for that privilege. The largest employers on the Island were of course the two paper mills, shrimping and boat building. Tourism had not really hit the scene as a major employer. Most of our tourist would be families coming from Georgia to the Island to spend a week or so at the beach. I remember the boys would look forward to all the pretty Georgia girls and of course the girls would look forward to all the handsome Georgia boys. After the summer vacations were over, things would return to normal.

I remember owning a 1946 Cushman Motor scooter. My neighbor Walter owned one also and together we would work on those old war horses and ride together. They were basic, simple machines that were bullet proof. No frills like head and brake lights or horns, just basic riding machines that would get you from point A to point B, most of the time. My scooter had a formula that you had to follow in order to crank it. First I had to spray a shot of starting fluid in the throat of the carburetor then kick it over and on or about the fifth try it would start. After the initial start up in the morning there were usually no more issues during the day.

Cushman Scooter

Cushman Scooter

I did graduate to a more modern scooter in 1962. I bought a 1958 Cushman Eagle. It was orange and man was I sitting on top of the world. I now had things like a headlight, tail and brake lights, a tag light and yes, a horn. You could always tell a Cushman Eagle was coming down the road just by the sound of those great pipes, low and throaty sound. The Eagle also had a two speed transmission with the gear shift on the side of the gas tank with the clutch on the left side of the floor board that you depressed with your foot in order to change gears. I sold the Eagle to purchase a BSA 650, a real motorcycle. I kept this bike until April of 1964 when I left home for the US Army. I will always remember the Cushmans; those were some great riding days.

I was talking with a friend a few months ago and found out there are Cushman clubs around the country that have annual meetings with many old scooters on display. I plan on attending one of these meets. I catch myself looking at old pictures of Cushmans on line. It was companies such as Cushman who helped make up the fabric of American industry. This was rock solid equipment that would last forever. What’s happened to the industries we once enjoyed? Most are out of business are either foreign companies have replaced them.

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The Deadly Risk Our Government is Taking

Risky Business

Risky Business

Citizens of Amelia Island the U.S. dollar is not going to die. But our government is taking a deadly risk with our money and our destiny as a nation.

Every time we run budget deficits, we must go, hat in hand, asking for money from central banks and investors in Asia, Europe, and even Latin America. Every time we run a trade deficit, spending more on imports than we earn on exports, we run back for still more money from Asians, Europeans, and Latin Americans. And now, after thousands of such trips and billions of such transactions, the U.S. now has a total of $7.9 trillion in liabilities to foreigners.

Why It’s Now Far More Difficult to Postpone the Day of Reckoning

Until recently, we were able to continually postpone our day of reckoning as a nation. The U.S. dollar was king, the only reserve currency. And the U.S. financial market was the only game in town big enough to satisfy the needs of overseas investors. So they had to keep most of their money in dollars, whether they liked it or not. They had no choice.

Whenever they lost faith in other countries — Argentina, South Africa, Thailand, or even a country like Great Britain — they could pull out along with hoards of others, sending those financial markets into a tailspin. But when the United States made similar mistakes, it got away with it.

So we happily ran huge deficits, borrowed to the hilt, and continued to party as if nothing were wrong. And that’s why overseas investors continued to pour more and more money into America.

In the 1980s, it was primarily cash-rich Japanese who led the way, investing billions in U.S. stocks and bonds, helping to lift the Dow and Treasuries out of their worst slumps of the postwar era. In the 1990s, it was mostly Germans who played that role, helping to drive the big tech boom. And in the 21st century, China has become the big provider of new funds to the U.S.

But now Citizens, all of this is changing and we’re nearing the end of the line:

Foreign central banks have sought — and begun to find — viable alternatives to the U.S. dollar as a reserve currency. China and others have pushed progressively harder to replace the dollar with a basket of currencies. The United Nations has proposed a similar scheme, creating a new monetary system. The IMF now has SDR’s (that’s a big problem).

And this past week even Japan, America’s staunchest and richest financial ally, is beginning to abandon its long support for the U.S. dollar.

But U.S. authorities remain conspicuously complacent. Despite rhetoric supporting the greenback, both the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve have actively pursued policies that merely sink the U.S. dollar further ‚Äî a national debt that will grow by $9 trillion by 2019 … and massive money printing to finance it. Clearly, our government can think of no better response to the new pressures than to flood the world with still cheaper dollars.

Right now your first urgent step must be to defend yourself from this madness with the soundest moneys in the world that ultimately can not be printed until your savings are worthless, gold and silver. Yes, it’s that simple. Buy some gold and silver every time you are thinking of putting your hard earned dollars in savings. You’ll be joyous that you did.

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