Thanksgiving Weekend in Historic Fernandina Beach

Christmas in Fernandina Beach

Christmas in Fernandina Beach

Thanksgiving weekend on Amelia Island brought many to downtown historic Fernandina Beach. From the Pajama Party Black Friday experience to the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus and the official lighting of the Christmas tree on Saturday… good will and fellowship kicked off this traditional family Christmas Season with a joyous Thanksgiving weekend in Northeast Florida, 2009.

While many of the merchants I spoke with felt the Pajama Party always gets off to a late start, they were quick to blame the smaller than normal crowds on the cooler weather and the early morning discounted sales only available at the big box merchandisers. Interestingly, no one mentioned the current state of our economy. Our downtown area offers treasures you won’t find in other places, but how does that compete with $220.00 off of a flat screen television on Black Friday?

A couple of merchants even changed the hours of the Pajama Party sales to 1:00 PM instead of 11:00 AM to take advantage of the later crowds.

When I arrived at 10:00 AM on Friday morning, I parked in the lot near the library and it was practically empty. My daughter needed a ride to an art class so when I returned around noon, I easily parked on Second Street between the Hampton Inn and Suites and Centre Street.

When I left around 1:30 PM, getting out of downtown was practically a nightmare because of the volume of traffic heading to the waterfront. I was happy to see so many funneling to historic Fernandina Beach, but a bit surprised because the Pajama Party was advertised from 8:00 to 11:00 AM.

On Saturday, I dropped off some girls who were performing with the Amelia Arts Academy, before Santa’s arrival, at about 12:30. When I hung a right on Second Street at the Palace, I parked easily in the first parking space beyond the handicapped spot, before Philly Boyz and Pablos.

After shooting some video of Santa and Mrs. Claus, I headed to the studio to get some editing done, knowing I would return in advance of the tree lighting ceremony Saturday evening. Believe it or not, I parked in the exact same place on Second as I had earlier in the day. I have lived in Fernandina Beach nearly 20 years, and have never been able to pull off that kind of parking on a normal weekend. I was astonished at the absence of people! We should make an effort to shop locally and I was blown away by the empty parking spaces available on Centre Street for such an exciting event.

Several people I know from civic organizations throughout Amelia Island told me that this was their first year attending the downtown Pajama Party, and I’ll confess, this was my first time dressing in my PJs for the event as well.

While you may have missed the PJ Party, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available on Saturday afternoons through Christmas at the train depot at the foot of Centre Street. It is worth your time to take a look at the wares your friends and neighbors are selling in these fantastic stores downtown. While you are there, grab a bite to eat and remind your friends that this is a great time of the year to shop locally!

Merry Christmas!

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Little Bob’s Ultimate Entrepreneurial Nightmare

Little Bob's Lemonade Stand

Little Bob's Lemonade Stand

Have you noticed lately how many more little concession stands are sprouting up along A1A and on Heckscher Drive into Jacksonville. Also on 14th Street right here in Fernandina Beach I see vegetable and seafood stands gaining permanence and on my favorite Saturday morning trek around the local garage and yard sales I notice more and more lemonade stands and coffee desks as a side business. Of course I cannot claim with any accuracy or surveyed rationality that this is where all the recently unemployed are finding means to sustain themselves somehow, but that street side vending is a profession on the rise, is undeniable.

Not having a clue how the licensing process for this type of entrepreneurship works these days I envisioned following scenario for Little Bob’s Ultimate Nightmare and a glimpse of our pending future:

Little Bob asked his dad one morning if he could set up a lemonade stand on the grass near the roadside when the family was holding its weekly yard sale. Bob intended to help out the family and do his share since dad had lost his job at the car dealership when Chrysler pulled the plug on them. Having just turned nine, Bob felt he was old enough to contribute in a more effective way to the family’s household budget than just doing dishes and take out the garbage.

Dad, seeing the gleam and excitement in his son’s eyes of course gave him his blessing and asked Bob what he would need to get started on his venture.

Bob’s dad always supported his son in his endeavors and as he went to Home Depot with the list of things Bob had written down, he proudly thought, my boy has a great entrepreneurial spirit, fondly remembering the times he made some extra money on a paper route, a teenage job now almost extinct.

Back home with the items from the shopping list, he build the stand from some leftover wood in the backyard, cut the plywood in half, painted both boards and when he was finished little Bob quickly made two signs up that said ‚ÄúBob‚Äôs Refreshing Lemon-aid, 15 cents a cup‚Äù and set it aside in the garage so it could dry overnight. They all went to bed early knowing that 6 a.m. would come around and they’d have to set up the weekend’s yard sale on Saturday morning, which always turned the usually quiet street into an extremely busy thoroughfare on the weekend.

When he woke up at 6 a.m. he quickly dressed and started to make the lemonade. “It’s my secret formula Dad!” while chopping up the lemons to toss in the pitchers. As the tangy-sweet mixture aged in the refrigerator, he helped his mom setting out the garage sale items while dad placed the sign and stand with chairs. The other sign was quickly nailed to the old tree at the beginning of the street.  With an old cigar box he had gotten from his grandfather, some change out of his piggy bank, several dozen plastic cups and two pitchers of lemonade, Bob was ready to start serving thirsty customers.

Just as he sat down, his best friend Karl rolled up on his bike and shrieked ‚ÄúWow man, I wish I had thought of that! Can I help you? Can I? Can I?‚Äù Bob smiled from ear to ear and said ‚ÄúSure, what can you do to help?‚Äù Karl got all excited and said ‚ÄúI’ll be your barker. I‚Äôll ride up and down the street steering customers your way!‚Äù Bob smiled and said ‚ÄúFabulous! I‚Äôll give you a nickel for each customer that said you sent them to me!‚Äù

By 10 a.m.¬† they had sold 70 cups of Bob‚Äôs Lemonade at 15 cents each and they could not believe how busy they were! ‚ÄúMom, mom” Bob said excitedly, “Look we have ten dollars and fifty cents! We‚Äôre getting rich!‚Äù Karl rode off smiling from the good news to get more customers. He had made $1.75 so far. But when Karl returned with the next customer though, Little Bob’s ultimate nightmare began.

The Nightmare Begins

Karl was so excited. He started to yell at Bob “Look who I got! Look who I got!” and Bob replied innocently “Good work Karl, I’ll give Mr. policeman a discount!” Officer Damone however was a tough, by the book officer and he had no smile when he got in front of the table.
“Hello Bob, I’m Officer Damone from Code Compliance and I would like to see your business license and tax permit?” Bob was puzzled and looked back at his mom helping some yard sale customers, who then replied “Why would we need that sir, it’s a little boy’s lemonade stand?” The officer shook his head and opened up his ticket book and started walking around the stand and the yard mumbling and writing….
– NO BUSINESS PERMIT ON DISPLAY $25
– NO TAX CERTIFICATE ON DISPLAY $25
– NO FOOD SERVICES PERMIT ON DISPLAY $25
– NO SHELTER OR RESTROOM FACILITIES FOR CUSTOMERS $50

Annoyed, he tore the ticket out and handed it to little Bob and said gruffly “You and your mom have 30 days to pay or appear in court” and then he walked away. Bob looked at the ticket and his eyes welled up as his mom started to say something using words that Bob had only vaguely heard Grandpa use when the Jaguars had lost yet another football game. Mom yelled on top of her voice “PHIL, I NEED TO SEE YOU NOW!”

Bob, not overly disturbed by this government intervention, looked at his friend Karl and said “We now have to make over $100 just to break even! You had best get busy!”  Karl was not gone five minutes when another officer returned, this time a Nassau County Sheriff’s deputy and he had his ticket book out also. “MOM!” Bob yelled all upset. His mom came rushing out and yelled at the deputy.
“Now what the hell do you want?”
The Deputy, being very professional, pointed to Karl on his bike. “Is this your kid?” Even though Bob’s mom shook her head no, the officer started writing and mumbling.
– UNAUTHORIZED SOLICITATION FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES $125
– VIOLATION OF CHILD LABOR MINIMUM AGE REQUIREMENTS $500
– UNLICENSED OPERATION OF A VEHICLE FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES $500
– DESTRUCTION OF PUBLIC PROPERTY $500… as he pointed at the tree in the beginning of the street where the sign was hammered into.

With that the officer handed the ticket to Bob‚Äôs mom as he said, ‚ÄúMake sure his mom¬†or dad gets this. There is a number to call to set up the court date should they elect to show up in person and challenge the fines.”

As Bob gets real upset now and his mom is screaming something about the officer‚Äôs mother, another man walks up in a plain suit. He flashes a badge with lightening fast efficiency and has a ticket book of his own whipped out. ‚ÄúWho the hell are you?‚Äù, was Mom’s reaction.

‚ÄúState Department of Health and Food Safety Inspection maa‚Äôm‚Äù the man said and started writing and mumbling…
– FAILURE TO WEAR HAIR NET $10
– FAILURE TO WEAR PROTECTIVE GLOVES $10
– FAILURE TO PROVIDE PROPER SANITATION FOR DISPOSAL OF CUPS $25
– FAILURE TO HAVE PROPER RECYCLING PLAN ON DISPLAY $25
– FAILURE TO DISPLAY NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION $25
– FAILURE TO USE RODENT AND PEST REPELLENT $100
– FAILURE TO MAINTAIN PROPER TEMPERATURE FOR FOODSTUFFS $100
– FAILURE TO DISPLAY FOOD INSPECTION PERMIT $100
– FAILURE TO PROVIDE CUSTOMER RESTROOM FACILITIES FOR MALES $100
– FAILURE TO PROVIDE CUSTOMER RESTROOM FACILITIES FOR FEMALES $100
РFAILURE TO PROVIDE FOOD SAFETY & TESTING  INFORMATION FOR THE PUBLIC $100
– FAILURE TO POST SANITATION CERTIFICATE IN PROMINENT PUBLIC LOCATION $15
– FAILURE TO USE NON-TOXIC FOOD GRADE PAINT & WOOD IN MATERIAL CONSTRUCTION $250

The sounds of the tickets being torn from the books kept getting louder as were the tears and cries of the young entrepreneur and his parents. The profanities from his father are getting louder, as he chases his bawling son into the house. His tears were sad in a pathetic sort of way as during the fit he cries out “I just wanted to earn enough money to help you and mom out”. Phil hugs his son while his wife is on the phone with the family attorney for advice. Suddenly and without warning a huge racket sounds from the front of their yard at the street. There are suddenly two groups of protesters and that really was the last straw. Bob’s dad grabs a baseball bat and runs out the door only to drop it when the Deputy threatens to taser him. “Sir, they have a permit for this boycott of your son’s business.”

One group was circling at the end of the driveway. It was a group of various racial, cultural and social minorities holding signs protesting Bob’s unfair hiring practices and treatment of minorities. Beside them circling the mailbox and trampling on the lawn and flowers Bob’s mom worked so hard to plant were ten SEIU members banging on aluminum garbage can lids and screaming that his dad was using illegal child labor and should have hired union members. It was too much for Bob’s dad and he grabbed the bat, consequently got tasered and went down for the count.

Bob walks out to the curb holding his mom’s hand tightly to try to confront all of these people and end this nonsense once and for all. The SEIU local head walked up to the two of them and said to his mom “Are you the enslaver?”
Bob swallows and looks up at him and says “Leave my Mom alone! I started this business without anyone’s help! I wanted to earn some extra money since my dad was laid off. LEAVE US ALONE, PLEASE, LEAVE US ALONE!”
The union guy retorts quickly “No problem kid, give me $20 and we’re gone.” Bob runs inside, opens the little cigar box where he kept his sales and hands it over to the thug. The SEIU protesters leave and so do the other freaks, who had trampled their yard and left his dad in a slow daze after the officer who tased him walked away saying “My bad, I thought you were a threat to my union friends.”

And then the sirens are blaring in the distance ….

“Now what?” mom frowns. Minutes later the sirens stop at their front yard when a man in a suit walks up to little Bob and identifies his presence with the I.R.S. Enforcement Division badge and hands a pile of papers to his mom. “What is this for?” her mom asked puzzled.
“Lady, your son set up a corporation without filing the proper documents for incorporation or income tax collection purposes. In fact, we show no record of any earnings since he was born so we’re going to audit your taxes as to ensure you have not been hiding his income all of his life.” Exasperated and groggy his dad scrambles up again and grabs the baseball bat, only to get tasered this time by the I.R.S. officer who muttered “Damn that was fun. I’ve always wanted to do that” as he walks back to his car.

I guess you already have figured out the moral of this story?

Most Governments big and small are using every law on the books to impede the ability of anyone and everyone to start a business and make a profit. Without entrepreneurs and private enterprise leading the way, a “recovery” in our economy is impossible as governments do not create demand, they only tax it, defer it or suppress it.

Happy Ending

Fortunately, this story does have a happy ending (at least for little Bob and his family) as the Fed chairman Ben Bernanke got wind of Bob’s predicament, called up his famous helicopter and dropped bags of freshly printed $100 bills on Bob’s front yard because he stated in a press release that Bob’s qualifications for running a business surpassed that of many others already receiving government largesse and because Timothy Geithner thought it would be neat to have an entrepreneur at the scheduled press conference of the same height as he is.

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Camping: Know How To Before You Go

Camping is a way of life

Camping is a way of life

Have you ever¬†day dreamed about going camping?¬† You know… like the¬†people in an L.L Bean catalog.¬† Sitting there in your flannel shirt with the duckbilled waterproof boots, holding a steaming hot cup of coffee while staring at an open fire with your chocolate lab contently looking on.¬† I‚Äôm willing to bet we‚Äôve all¬†had these ‘romantic’ visions, perhaps¬†some of us more than others.¬† I know for me and my wife, we talk about this recreation all the time, but have yet to act upon it for several reasons, such as time and funds.¬† It does have¬†a certain attraction¬†to it, don‚Äôt you think?

Just you¬†and nature, maybe with a rifle in hand, eating and sleeping in the great outdoors, no cell phones or traffic, no boss or deadlines, what could possible be better?¬†¬†Before we get too far in our dreams,¬†let’s include the wife and kids, since they look so happy in all the ads; and besides it‚Äôs a great way to bond and spend some real quality time together, right?¬† Well, it sounds and looks¬†good, and from the comfort of air-conditioning and your¬†Lazy Boy recliner it may even feel good, but in reality there¬†is much¬†to consider before you make firm plans in doing this yourself.

Camping has been a favorite pastime for many families for years, and it has recently gained huge momentum with individuals looking to escape the everyday grind by retreating to the woods and mother nature. This is all good and well, but know before you go familiarize yourself with what to expect and what you’re getting yourself and family into. 

One of the first decisions is where are you going and for how long.  This will dictate what you need to pack and in what quantities.  An example would be an overnight trip to a state park vs a week long adventure to the Florida Keys.  What necessities will you need on a daily basis and what are you willing to do without?  Are you a tent person or someone who needs more, like the comfort of an RV?  There are huge differences in amenities and the natural feeling of being in the safety of your own home.  Tents are very basic and for the most part have only changed a little since their inception.  They lie flat on the ground (once erected) separating you from the full elements with a thin piece of canvas or rubber/plastic flooring and a zipper.  They usually offer little in the way of insulation and they are relatively inexpensive and easy to set up and break down. There is a trend however that offers tents with a lot of creature comforts including rugs in the floors.

RV‚Äôs come in a multitude of sizes and configurations ranging from models that are¬†towed behind an automobile, to full fledged diesel powered jobs equipped with washers and dryers and flat screen TV’s.¬† Price ranges¬†from low to ‘OMG ‘! for¬†each of these different models and as usual, the bigger and nicer you get, the more costly they become.¬† Next where do you plan on camping?¬† Like it or not, there aren‚Äôt camping facilities on every corner and most of the better known ones stay pretty full year round.¬†

Give this some real thought before you make hard and fast plans as you may find out that there’s no place to go when you and your family are ready.  Incidentally, setting up in the parking lot of an all-night Wal-Mart is no different than waiting for stores to open the day after Thanksgiving, and in no way insinuates living in the wild.

Items like camping equipment, cooking arrangements, coolers, ice, food, toilet provisions and more are often overlooked until they become crucial and no convenient place to pick them up.  Other huge stress factors that are often lost in the excitement are simple things like an iPod/laptop hook up to the internet or simply a portable battery powered radio.  Unless you are looking into the higher end RV’s, some of these options are just not available.  Make a list and check it no less then six times, especially if you are planning on taking your family with you.  I suggest you rent before you buy (if ever) and give this form of recreation a try.

Most RV dealers have rental options available making your decision that much easier. If you don‚Äôt like the one you rented you get to give it back and try another one.¬† For those who are going with the tent approach, good low cost models are available at any major retailer.¬† So what if you buy a tent and then decide¬†it’s not for you, can you return it? Well that is going to be up to the retailer.¬† Otherwise, SearchAmelia.com’s FREE classified listings, eBay or Craigslist are good alternatives to sell your camping gear. Just remember one thing, regardless of what direction you take your camping adventures, if you go out to eat while actively involved in ‚Äúoutdoor living,‚Äù or go home to use the bathroom, it really doesn‚Äôt count and your chances of making it onto the cover of Land‚Äôs End will be non-existent.

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Orange Oil Replaces Basic Petroleum Oil in Tires

Tires with Orange Peel Oil

Tires with Orange Peel Oil

The next time you buy tires for your car or truck you may have the option of purchasing a tire that is made with a large amount of orange oil instead of regular petroleum rubber.¬† I know what you’re thinking right now, excuse me but I don’t think I want changes made to the rubber I ride on. Well listen up, this may not be a bad idea, as a matter of fact it seems to have a lot of merit. After all we grow a lot of oranges in Florida.

The Yokohama Tire Co. which is a subsidiary of Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. has developed a new process that uses oil that is derived from orange peels instead of the usual petroleum oil. The claim is it does not compromise performance or safety at all. It claims to help consumers save money at the gas pump by reducing rolling resistance by up to twenty percent.

The tire is make from vulcanized rubber as usual, but the difference is the new tire has eighty percent of it’s petroleum replaced with oil from orange peel. The company acquires orange peels from a neighboring orange juice factory. So is this tire safe? Can we depend on it on the open road in freezing conditions and temperatures over one hundred? It seems the new tire has been used exclusively at the Porsche GT3 Cup race, the “Patron GT3 Challenge” in both short and twenty four hour races. And if you’re like me, I do respect and trust those boys from Germany to know what they’re doing with cars.

This may add a new twist to the citrus industry. What was once just thrown away or turned into cattle feed, like at Tropicana’s plant in Bradenton, now may become in economic demand. I guess there is nothing like waking up to a glass of OJ and four tires. See ya on the road.

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Father Daughter Cinderella Ball at the Ritz Carlton

Father Daughter Ball

Father Daughter Ball

Get your tickets now for the father Daughter Ball, hosted by Faith Christian Academy. The event will be held on February 6, 2010 and tickets to this event make a wonderful Christmas present.

Held at the Ritz Carlton’s Grand Ballroom, this year’s theme is Cinderella. From 7 to 10:00 PM the girls of all ages are the belle of the ball with their father as their Prince Charming. Tickets are only $85.00 for father and daughter, and additional daughters are $40.00. There will be gift bags, a memory book, hors d’oeuvres, live music featuring Les DeMerle and a professional photographer. Fathers and daughters of all ages are welcome and seating is limited so get your tickets today!

For tickets visit Faith Christian Academy, 96282 Brady Point Road just off Amelia Island. Call (904) 321-2137 for more information.

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Protecting People, Pipes, Pets and Plants on Amelia Island

Keeping an eye on the thermometer

Keeping an eye on the thermometer

2009 was a very warm year here on Amelia Island with temperatures rushing into the 90‚Äôs early in the year and refusing to go away when old man fall entered the picture.¬† Like the preceding ten months our Halloween and most of November kept us all in shorts with the A/C’s still pumping.¬† As early as last week we experienced temperatures in the high 80‚Äôs and with the humidity it felt more like the low 90‚Äôs, making us believe the cooler temperatures would never make it.¬† Well this has all changed this past week with more seasonably expected weather and temperatures.¬†¬†Much like many season changes in the past it has crept up on us and now has the appearance its here to stay a while.

For the past few days our nights have been as low as 42 here on the island with day time temps still reaching the low 60’s.  It’s not officially the winter season yet but it is surely on the way.  This is a perfect time to remember the really important stuff that requires action before we get to the really cold stuff that’s just on the horizon.  The items I’m speaking of are pets, people and plants or also known as the three P’s (actually there are four).  Most of us have animals, and some may live outdoors year round.  If this is the case at your home consider the following; first make sure outside pets have a place to get out of the elements such as a shed, dog house or garage. Make sure they have some protection to lie on protecting them from a cold floor; a blanket would do fine.  On the really cold nights a drop cord with a flood light or 100 watt bulb placed near their sleeping quarters will provide more than enough heat to keep them comfortable.

Regarding your outdoor plants several things can be done here.  If your plants are all in pots that are mobile gather them up and place them inside during the anticipated freezes or days of extra cold weather.  This can be done by simply getting them in a garage (with our without the dog present), a spare bedroom or even under a carport as long as they are covered with blankets and kept close together.  For the larger “in-ground” plants drape them with sheets to help reduce frost and keep in as much heat as possible. your drapery should reach the earth and be held down with bricks, sticks or rocks. The warmth of the earth will keep the plants warm enough during these times.  Also, try not to use a plastic, if you must, make sure it is removed before the warmth of the sun cooks your precious foliage. One more point I should mention, do not run your sprinklers on nights of freezing temperatures, this will surely result in dead plants and a mess to clean up after the freeze is over.

Next are people, especially the elderly. Keep an eye on your relatives and neighbors and make sure they have heat in their homes. Many lives are lost in the winter months due to faulty or misused space heaters.

Pipes are not generally a problem on Amelia Island, but inland any pipes that are exposed to the open elements could be at risk on a night below freezing.  This includes water, sprinkler or A/C drain pipes that need additional protection to keep from freezing.  Rubber/Styrofoam insulation can be purchased at any home improvement store and can be cut to fit your needs.  Black electrical tape or small wire ties work best when securing them to the pipe and best of all this insulation can be left on year after year minimizing your efforts during the next cold weather season.  Take time now to get your game plan in order while its still comfortable outdoors, it will make the first cold snap easier and less stressful on you and your family.

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Surprise those you love with a homemade gift this year

Home Made Gifts are truly appreciated

Home Made Gifts are truly appreciated

I’ve been watching all the hype around Christmas and how people are scrambling to figure out how they are going to afford to buy for everyone on their list.¬† I think there are other alternatives to “buying” that gift.¬† How about taking a few minutes to examine what talents you have and how you could turn those talents into gifts?¬† Something you make yourself has much more meaning than store bought.

If you are good at baking, how about homemade cookies, or small rum or pound cakes.  If you like to work with wood, maybe a small wood working project such as a small jewelry box or shelve unit to hang on the wall.  I knew a guy who was great when it came to detailing automobiles, so he would give a detailing job for Christmas.

You know, there is no law that says we must go into the unsurmountable depths of debt in order to make it through Christmas.¬† Simple things will have such an impact to those who are receiving them.¬† I know that in our household my wife and daughter always make their famous check mix.¬† Folks this is absolutely the best in the world.¬† After toasting all the mix they pour on their special sauce.¬† It is full of garlic, you will be safe from vampires until next Christmas, I promise.¬† They have been doing this for years, and now they are asked three months before the holidays about the famous mix.¬† We save jars all through the year in order to fill them with the mix, red ribbon tied and we’re good to go.

Think about those hidden talents, they make wonderful gifts and will set you apart from the “norm.”

More ideas like these you can find in our Special Holiday Book “Celebrate the Holidays with Frugal Flair.” Guaranteed that all the stories, recipes, songs and tips and ideas will make you come out ahead when January comes around and you will have celebrated a lifelong memory.

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New Inventions Offered Through Infomercials

Infomercials As Seen on TV

Infomercials As Seen on TV

Infomercials; every time you turn the TV on you have a 70% chance of having the pleasure of sitting through another infomercial.¬† The programs that¬†are advertising new inventions, everything involving how to lose weight programs, cooking utensils that perform miracles, exercise machines that are so easy to use and claim huge improvements that even a child could use them, and much more.¬† I have little knowledge on most of these ‚Äúnew to the market‚Äù gadgets, but I¬†have to assume that some just simply don‚Äôt live up to their claims.¬† Maybe it‚Äôs due to the fact they are only offered during the holiday season or deep in the night, or perhaps it‚Äôs the manufacturer’s choice of when to offer them to consumers. Whatever the case they are short lived with no chance of obtaining them after their promotions are finished.

So what is it with these items?  Are they really as good as they are claimed to be?  Can they really do all these great things better than anything else on the market, and if so why are they offered only once?  Perhaps they are in limited production, or maybe they are offered in different regions at different times of the year whatever the case, their availability is much different than a product offered at a major retailer.

My next questions is, who buys this stuff?  Do these people really exist and if so do they ever admit what they’ve purchased?  Well I’m still looking for proof; just some sign that someone has taken that leap of faith trusting an infomercial and purchased one of these fabulous items.  In the meantime, I,  like most everyone else will continue to watch these promotions mesmerized by their claims and thrilled with their payment plans and maybe, just maybe I’ll be the next customer trying one of these space age gadgets myself.

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Winter Tennis Challenge Ladder

Winter Tennis Challenge Ladder

Winter Tennis Challenge Ladder

The Fall Challenge Ladder was hotly contested with players from Callahan to Fernandina playing for the title of Fall Ladder Champion. Congratulations to Conner Stevenson for winning the title, and Paul Drayton, Ed Spiezo, Mark Olbina and Rod Nichols for finishing in the top 5.

Registration for the new Winter Challenge Ladder is now open to all local tennis players and runs from December 12th, 2009 through February 28th, 2010. Match times and locations are agreed upon by the players, so you can decide where and when to play that suits you. Fall ladder players will be seeded according to their ranking on the Fall Ladder. The Winter Challenge Ladder is for all tennis players with NTRP levels from 3.5 to 4.5. Each match is the best of three sets. Players can follow their points and make challenges online at GetCourtside.com. The ladder fee is $21 per player for unlimited matches. It’s a great way to meet new players and play when it suits you.

To register for the Winter Challenge Ladder, visit www.getcourtside.com and sign up for a free players account. Add “North Nassau Tennis” as your club (you can do this when you sign up, or afterward in your profile), and click on the Winter Challenge Ladder to register. For more details e-mail paul@zentennislessons.com or call 373-TENN (8366). The ZenTennisLessons.com program now features year round ladders and live ball cardio clinics that have provided playing opportunities for players of all ages and abilities in the Fernandina Beach and Yulee area.

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World AIDS Day Banquet

World AIDS Day Banquet

World AIDS Day Banquet

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church on the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Eighth Street is the site for the World AIDS Day Banquet on December 1, in Fernandina Beach. The donation is $35.00 and the guest speaker is Beverly Denson-Legree, MSN, BSN, AA, RNC.

This year’s theme is “Universal Access and Human Rights: Care and Support Access for All.” This opportunity will address HIV/AIDS disparities, stigma and blame and spark dialog about stopping the spread among all populations.

For more information contact Betty Drummond-Wilson at (904) 261-5100 or Jeannett Wilson-Baker at (904) 556-3363.

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Women in Nassau Helping Women in Need

Women in Nassau Helping Women in Need

Women in Nassau Helping Women in Need

WIN WIN, Women in Nassau helping Women in Need, has dedicated their resources to Gerri’s Corner, a non-profit center for Nassau County women with cancer, the only center of its kind in Florida. Gerri’s Corner assists women and their families to better deal with the changes they will go through as they fight cancer.

WIN WIN is raising money for Gerri’s Corner with a grand prize drawing celebration with four prize packages valued at $495 to $1,930 being raffled. Tickets are $7.00 each or $30.00 for five. Donations are tax-deductible and go directly to Gerri‚Äôs Corner.

The celebration starts at 5:00 PM on December 1, at Divine Finds and Herons Swim & Sport in the Palmetto Walk shopping center. Beginning at 5:30, a winner will be drawn every 30 minutes. To see the prize details and/or purchase tickets, visit Fifi’s Fine Resale on South Eighth Street in Fernandina Beach, Centre Street Treasures in the historic district or Divine Finds on the South end of Amelia Island.

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Work Session and City of Fernandina Commissioner Meeting

Fernandina Commissioners

Fernandina Commissioners


Agenda
CITY OF FERNANDINA BEACH CITY COMMISSION WORK SESSION
DECEMBER 1, 2009, 5:00 PM, CITY COMMISSION CHAMBERS

1. CALL TO ORDER
2. ROLL CALL
3. DISCUSSION
3.1 Hometown Democracy Proposal.
3.2 Brief Update from the Public, Educational, and Government (PEG) Committee.
4. ADJOURNMENT

AGENDA
FERNANDINA BEACH CITY COMMISSION REGULAR MEETING
DECEMBER 1, 2009, 6:00 P.M.

1. CALL TO ORDER

2. ROLL CALL

3 PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE / INVOCATION
Invocation by John Coverdell w/Prospect Baptist Church.

4. PROCLAMATIONS/PRESENTATION

4.1 PROCLAMATION – VFW POST 54 – Recognizes the dedication of VFW Post 54. Commander Tom Gora will be present to accept the Proclamation.

4.2 PRESENTATION – FLORIDA STATE COLLEGE OF JACKSONVILLE UPDATE РDr. Stephen Wallace, President of the Florida State College of Jacksonville, will give a brief update on Florida State College.

5. CONSENT AGENDA

5.1 APPROVAL OF MINUTES – Regular Meeting – October 6, 2009; Work Session – November 3, 2009; Regular Meeting – November 3, 2009.

5.2 SEWER AND REFUSE EXEMPTION – RESOLUTION 2009-176 APPROVING ONE (1) ADDITIONAL APPLICATION FOR CITY SEWER AND REFUSE EXEMPTION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 2009/2010; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE. Synopsis: Approves one (1) additional application for exemption of City Sewer and refuse costs.

5.3 AUTHORIZATION TO DEFEND РSPELL – RESOLUTION 2009-177 AUTHORIZING THE CITY ATTORNEY TO DEFEND THE CITY IN CERTAIN LITIGATION; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE. Synopsis: Authorizes defense in Case No. 09-CA-1039, Rosa Lee Spell v. City of Fernandina Beach, et al.

5.4 AUTHORIZATION TO DEFEND – BORNS, ET AL. – RESOLUTION 2009-178 AUTHORIZING THE CITY ATTORNEY TO DEFEND THE CITY IN CERTAIN LITIGATION; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE. Synopsis: Authorizes defense in Case No. 09-CA-1488, Patricia Borns, et al. v. City of Fernandina Beach Historic District Council.
5.5 AUTHORIZATION TO DEFEND – CHAMBERS, ET AL. – RESOLUTION 2009-179 AUTHORIZING THE CITY ATTORNEY TO DEFEND THE CITY IN CERTAIN LITIGATION; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE. Synopsis: Authorizes defense in Case No.:3-09-CV-104J 20HTS, Bradley Chambers, et al. v. City of Fernandina Beach.

6. REQUESTS FROM THE PUBLIC TO BE HEARD ON ITEMS NOT ON THE AGENDA

6.1 CITY RESIDENTS

6.2 NON-CITY RESIDENTS

7. RESOLUTIONS

7.1 ADOPTION OF THE EVALUATION AND APPRAISAL REPORT РRESOLUTION 2009-180 ADOPTING THE EVALUATION AND APPRAISAL REPORT FOR THE FERNANDINA BEACH COMPREHENSIVE PLAN; STATING THE INTENT OF THE CITY COMMISSION TO AMEND THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN BASED UPON RECOMMENDATIONS CONTAINED IN THE REPORT; AND APPROVING THE TRANSMITTAL OF THE REPORT TO THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY AFFAIRS IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 163.3191, FLORIDA STATUTES. Synopsis: Adopts the proposed Evaluation and Appraisal Report for the City’s Comprehensive Plan and approves the transmittal to DCA.

8. ORDINANCES – SECOND READING

8.1 CODE AMENDMENT РCEMETERY PERPETUAL CARE – ORDINANCE 2009-22 AMENDING CHAPTER 30, ARTICLE II, DIVISION 2 PERPETUAL CARE BY AMENDING SECTION 30-56 PERPETUAL CARE TRUST FUND; AMENDING SECTION 30-57 PERPETUAL CARE SERVICE; FEES; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE. Synopsis: Amends the City’s Code regarding the Cemetery’s Perpetual Care Trust Fund.

9. BOARD APPOINTMENT

9.1 HOUSING AUTHORITY – 1 Appointment.

9.2 WATERFRONT FLORIDA PARTNERSHIP – 4 Appointments.

10. DISCUSSION – DIRECTION – ACTION ITEMS

10.1 HISTORIC PRESERVATION TAX EXEMPTION PURSUANT TO §196.1997, FLORIDA STATUTES.

11. CITY MANAGER REPORTS

12. CITY ATTORNEY REPORTS

13. CITY CLERK REPORTS

14. MAYOR/COMMISSIONER COMMENTS

15. ADJOURNMENT

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Black Friday in Fernandina Beach Needs More

Black Friday Insanity?

Black Friday Insanity?

Early reports on Black Friday sales indicate that most people are buying practical items, rather than typical gift giving. TV’s, GPS systems and deeply discounted kitchenware or clothing seem to have gotten a lift over last year. But if Black Friday anywhere else in specialty and gift stores across the nation was similar to the amount of people I saw early Friday morning on Centre Street in Fernandina Beach, than the name Black Friday has just turned into an ominous sign. Was the name originally synonymous to retailers getting on the positive side of the balance sheet for the year, with this biggest shopping day of the year, it just might have changed its meaning to black is dreadful, awful, devastating.

Even with the annual Pajama Party tradition here on Amelia Island, there were very few people venturing out in the streets when the sun said good morning to the coldest temperature so far this season. The Pajama tradition was looked upon as strange by many and it took until around noon time before downtown became busy and the event was from 8:00 to 11:00 AM. Being local, we were mostly asked where people could get a quick (inexpensive) lunch. Food is always in demand obviously and that’s where most of the money was spent in our observation.

As for premature Black Friday optimism in general, there is no doubt that kitchen ware that usually sells for $100 offered at $19.99 will find takers, or a GPS that sells for $299 and was now offered at $79 in the big chain retail stores will have people lined up. It does not mean however that people will come out early on Black Friday for a 20% discount in Downtown Fernandina Beach. A phenomenon such as Black Friday will do very little for Centre Street retailers unless maybe they expanded into a street market with many other attractions.

A noted trend this year across the nation was that people paid with cash and debit cards, indicating that they are not willing to go deeply into debt anymore. But also pointing at the fact that it may be hard to keep customers coming to stores between now and Christmas Eve.

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The Power of a Pretty Smile on an Attractive Face

Salahi's Shaking Hands with the President

Salahi's Shaking Hands with the President

The biggest danger to any security is the power of a pretty smile. Put a pretty smile together with an attractive face, an air of belonging and a good portion of acting talent and most security people forget procedures. The Salahi couple that crashed Obama’s first state dinner must have plenty of these attributes. Looking at pictures from the event and especially the one where Michaele Salahi shakes a smiling¬† president’s hand makes me wonder if the Secret Service has intentionally opened some loopholes in the peripheral security circles that are supposed to prevent this.

Claims from the secret service that the president was never in danger are beyond ludricrous, even as an excuse. Magnetometers don’t have the ability to detect liquids. The handshake alone could have been terminal as many insiders know, not to mention the possibility of self sacrifice by the perpetrators.
The Salahi couple must be exceptional performers if they crashed this event without invitation and without any other innocent motivation than to prove that it can be done.

A lifetime ago I learned that pretty faces and pretty smiles are the first essentials to break through a security line up. The German Baader Meinhoff terror organization as well as the Brigati Rossi in Italy were infamous for using that technique to gain access. Another successful technique to gain access was to use the pretense of writing a book or producing a documentary. And combining the two was an invincible technique.

Secret Service Concerned and Embarrassed

Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan stated in a release that the agency that protects the president is “deeply concerned and embarrassed” that procedures were not followed. Than Mr. Sullivan states that: “The preliminary findings of our internal investigation have determined that established protocols were not followed at an initial checkpoint, verifying that two individuals were on the guest list,” Sullivan said. “Although these individuals went through magnetometers and other levels of screening, they should have been prohibited from entering the event entirely. That failing is ours.¬† As our investigation continues, appropriate measures have been taken to ensure this is not repeated,” Sullivan said in a written statement.

I guess that means that the officers at the “initial checkpoint” are fired, which of course does not solve anything except an increase in unemployment. And what’s more, White House state dinners in the near future are going to be increasingly annoying for invited guests, something like airport security.
Questionable procedure here is obviously that the first line of security, the “initial checkpoint” had the unspoken authority to clear attendees to the event. That is were the looks and performing talent of the Salahi couple got them into the door. That’s where their obvious self assurance and “looking the part” got them in. Any other checkpoint after that was just a welcoming formality.
Secret Service spokesman Jim Mackin said officers at the checkpoint had a clipboard with names of the invited guests. Even though the Salahi’s names weren’t on it, they were allowed to proceed. The officers should have called someone on the White House staff or Secret Service personnel before allowing them past the checkpoint, Mackin said.

Clipboards with Invited Guest Names?

Should have, could have, would have; the book taught me a long time ago to look beyond a pretty face and a pretty smile. What’s even more disturbing to me is that the Secret Service in this age of technology is still using a Clip board to verify validity of an invitation. How about access to an instant picture of the invited guest to make sure they are who they claim they are? Maybe some instant background information popping up on a computer screen that would easily identify validity of the invitation.

The ‘glitch’ that happened here, smells like more than not following protocol or a bout of laziness inside of the Secret Service.

Washington socialites and Winemakers
Washington socialites and Winemakers

So maybe instead of ordering a review of Secret Service practices, the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Edolphus Towns, should widen the net a little and include “insider facilitation”.

As for the Salahi’s, Virginia winemakers and DC socialites, and their potential prosecution for allegedly knowingly and willfully falsifying statements on matters within the federal government’s jurisdiction, if it was an innocent prank to prove that it could be done, my kudos for proving once again that incompetence reins in the matter of protecting the nation and its leaders and people; a thought that is disconcerting, in spite of all the security organizations’ claims to the contrary.

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The Truth About Inflation in a Nutshell

Burning to the ground

Burning to the ground

Have you ever seen those street hustlers and their shell games?¬† Most of the time it is difficult for you to win.¬† Every now and then you will see someone win and that is nothing more than encouragement for you to throw your money in and give it a shot.¬† This is about what we’re seeing right now when it comes to inflation.¬† Not long ago there was a headline from Bloomberg News internet site that pretty much summed it up, “U.S Inflation to Approach Zimbabwe Level.”¬† Now what was so very interesting was that while Bloomberg was running that story the evening news had a much different story.¬† All was rosy and the economy was looking up, we were in a recovery.¬† Which shell is the truth under?

This Bloomberg quote was by Marc Faber.¬† He was interviewed by Bloomberg television in Hong Kong and said, “I am 100 percent sure that the US will go into hyperinflation.¬† The problem with government debt growing so much is that when the time will come and Fed should increase interest rates, they will be reluctant to do so and so inflation will start to accelerate.”¬† This is almost a guarantee you and I will have front row seats for this next wave of economic¬†destruction.

Just to give you an overall idea of inflation let’s look at the country of Zimbabwe.¬† In the summer of 2008 the inflation rate reached 231 million percent.¬† If we were to look at the US we would find that in 1979 our inflation rate reached a high of 13.5 percent.¬† That was a 500 percent increase above the seventy year average of 2.5 percent.¬† If you were working trying to pay bills and raise a family then you know how very difficult that 13.5 percent inflation rate was.¬† For almost one hundred years our wealth has been silently stolen from us, little by little.

You see in 1910 there was a very secret meeting going on just to our north in Georgia on Jekyll Island.  This meeting was between very powerful bankers, they were there to create a monster, one that would control all of us Рthe Federal Reserve.  After the monster was created, Congress was then pushed to grow it larger and larger, and they have.  In 1913 the Federal Reserve was founded and has been growing ever since.  Did you know that the Fed is a non-Constitutional cartel made up of private bankers and they have control over the US monetary system?

Have you ever wondered why things cost so much more now then they did when our parents were coming up?  In 1933 the CPI (Consumer Price Index) was a mere 12.8.  What does that actually mean to you and I?  It simply means that this is what a basket of common goods cost at that time.  In 2008 the same CPI was 225.  To frame this so we each can understand it better these numbers mean that in 1933 that basket of goods cost under $13 dollars and in 2008 that same basket of goods increased to $225.  That is a direct result of our deflated dollar.  Should we be blaming the powers to be at the Fed for this inflation?  They believe it is a good thing because for one thing it makes the national debt more manageable because it can be repaid with cheaper dollars.

Zimbabwe's Inflation

Zimbabwe's Inflation

Another reason is that if they have a population of personally indebted voters, it now gives the government the opportunity to set up special interest rates and policies that will help these debt laden voters Рwho will in turn vote them back in office, why?  They helped fix my problem, or at least that is the way it appears.  Under what shell is the truth?  Many programs that voters demand will be paid for by politicians with these cheaper dollars instead of raising taxes, almost like every day is Christmas.

We should be looking at countries like Zimbabwe that got into deep trouble last year by printing money to pay down its debt.¬† Other countries have tried to do the same with equal or more devastating results.¬† In the early 1920’s Germany was hit with hyperinflation that caused a 30,000 percent inflation and actually collapsed them and caused Hitler to rise up.

Understanding this is confusing at best.¬† Most Americans don’t understand and many have never had any of it explained to them.¬† The one thing they do know and understand is, their government will take good care of them.¬† I think we each need to understand what is really happening in our country.¬† Money doesn’t grow on trees and real money does not come off the printing presses with nothing to back it up.¬† We need to wake up and demand that our government stops printing and spending. If they don’t, it may take a car full of money just to buy a loaf of bread.¬† Which shell is the truth under now?

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