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Jacksonville Chamber Webinar

Jacksonville Chamber Webinar

Jacksonville Chamber Webinar

Local Business Broker to Advise Business Owners at Jacksonville Chamber Webinar

Business owners to receive guidance on adding value to their companies

JACKSONVILLE, FL – Join the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce for a webinar on May 12, 2010 to learn useful tips for business owners on increasing the total enterprise value of their company. The Big Picture: Company Value Drivers features local merger and acquisition professional, Tom Calhoun.

Beginning at 10 a.m., the one-hour webinar identifies the major factors business owners need to focus on in order to experience continued growth and prepare for a possible future sale. The webinar will include ample time for Q&A. Participants may submit confidential questions in advance by email to tom@calhoungroupllc.com.

The webinar is designed to accomplish one of the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce’s 2010 priorities to help second-stage companies move beyond the startup phase. A second stage company is defined loosely as a company with revenues to the company above $800,000 and ten or more employees. Owners of all companies should benefit from the webinar especially those whose total enterprise value falls between $300,000 and $75,000,000.

Tom Calhoun, president of Calhoun Group, LLC, has professional experience in the transfer of business ownership to instruct attendees how to increase revenue and encourage business growth.

The webinar is free with registration to chamber members. Non-members can register to attend the event for $25. Visit Opportunity Jacksonville for more information and to register online or call Meisha Joyce at the Chamber (904) 366-6695.

About Tom Calhoun
Tom Calhoun is president of Calhoun Group, LLC, a merger and acquisitions company that works primarily with Florida business sellers and interested buyers from across the nation and overseas. A fully licensed broker, with a back ground in commercial real estate and capital markets, Tom Calhoun is an expert in the sales process and guiding business owners to add value to the net worth of a company and preparing them for continued growth or a future sale. Calhoun and his wife have been Jacksonville residents for 19 years and remain active in the community.

BP Oil Spill

BP Oil Spill

BP Oil Spill

The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is about to wreck havoc along the same shores that were devastated by Hurricane Katrina just a few years ago.

The President has ordered Janet Napolitano to use all available resources from Homeland Security to investigate the explosion that caused the spill and to oversee British Petroleum’s progress on the clean up efforts. This is a substantial release of hazardous materials and will require ongoing cooperation between many, many agencies. Controlled burns have begun to burn off some of the oil before it hits the shores. Dispersment agents to break up the oil slick have also been used. Booming efforts using 220,000 feet of materials to help block the spill from Louisianna, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida’s coastlines have already been deployed. Napolitano is urging BP to “engage in the strongest possible steps” to protect our shoreline, wildlife and land.

This region of the United States will be changed in unimaginable ways, as an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil per day is expected to continue spilling into the Gulf for at least the next three months! We will be following this story for a long time.

The economic impact could be catostrophic with the loss of the shrimping and commercial fishing industries, including oyster harvesting. The blackening of tourist beaches and the stench of dead fish and other wildlife will ruin tourism. Fishing and tourism is what this coastline counts on for its economic survival, pray for a miracle!

Sea Turtle Season Starts

Loggerhead Hatchlings, Turtle Nesting Season Starts

Tomorrow the nesting season for sea turtles starts, an event that may not be of great interest to many other regions on the planet, but here in North Florida, it is special. Especially the Loggerhead species finds its greatest nesting concentration anywhere right on our coastlines. While in the Atlantic Ocean, the greatest concentration is along the southeastern coast of North America and in the Gulf of Mexico, Florida is the most popular nesting site for loggerheads with over 67,000 nests per year.

Other sea turtle species like the huge Green Sea Turtle and the smaller Hawksbill have minority nesting representation in Florida as they prefer tropical sand, but its slightly smaller cousin Leatherback has a major North Florida Atlantic nesting ground as well. Recent estimates for the Leatherback nestings are far less than for the loggerhead however. From 26,000 to 43,000 females nest annually globally, which is a dramatic decline from the 115,000 estimated in 1980. These declining numbers have energized efforts to rebuild the species, which currently is considered critically endangered.

Interesting is also the number of variables that play a role in the sea turtle’s survival. It turns out for example that the temperature of the sand where the female lays her eggs is instrumental in whether the eggs turn male or female.
And that may cause a problem this year considering our long, unusually hard winter, because typically the loggerhead’s gender is dictated by incubation temperatures that generally range from 26–32 °C (79–90 °F). Cooler temperatures produce males; warmer ones, females. Since the species is endangered and the female mates with as much as 6 to 10 different males at any given time, she is the dominant contributor to the species survival.

The life of a loggerhead is one of patience and long term planning.

They do not mature sexually until around age 35, but once they make it that far, they often live past 50 at an average weight between 170 and 350lbs.

Now for all you visitors and locals who still do not know anything about the turtles nesting habits, here is an outline:

A magnificent species

• Mommy Loggerhead or Green Turtle will initially nest and return once or twice to lay eggs at intervals of 12-17 days during nesting season, on or near the beach where she hatched. She lays anywhere from 90 to 110 ping-pong ball sized eggs that are somewhat leathery and soft;

• Each beach endeavor takes about 2 hours as she carefully spots the nesting area on such considerations as fitness, temperature, emergence ratio, beach pollution and vulnerability to predators. Also light disturbance is a factor as momma will sometimes refuse to lay eggs when there is light around, which is called a false crawl;

• After incubating for about 44-55 days (loggerheads) beneath the sand, hatchlings break their soft shells and dig their way to the surface and make their way to the sea. It’s a great sight as they scramble towards the waterline. This usually occurs at night when there are fewer predators to catch them. Hatchlings are drawn toward the reflection of the moon and stars off the water surface, however, artificial lighting can lead hatchlings astray, which is why we have an ordinance that forbids spotlights on homes facing the water.

• These poor hatchlings can lose up to twenty percent of their body mass due to evaporative water loss on the journey to the difficult journey from nest to ocean.Hatchlings initially use the undertow to push them five to ten yards away from the shore. Once in the ocean, hatchling loggerheads swim for about 20 hours, bringing them far offshore. Loggerhead turtles have an iron compound, magnetite, that is attracted to the earth’s north pole. This magnetite gives them a sense of direction. Many hatchlings use Sargassum in the open ocean as protection until they are about 18 inches big. When they reach juvenile they migrate to nearshore waters.

In recent years a growing number of people that care have managed to collect data on the loggerhead’s regional behavior through the introduction of battery powered satellite transmitters that are sealed to the turtle’s shell.
This way it was recently discovered that juveniles love a feeding ground right here off Jacksonville and in the Cape Canaveral area and come from far to feast on crabs, whelks and other crustaceans.
It also helps establishing a behavior that can prevent human dangers.

Of course it is not cheap to outfit a sea turtle with a satellite transmission unit, about $5,000 each, and so far in this area there are only some 15 turtles outfitted, yet the knowledge gained is worth the investment.

Most of Florida’s coastal counties have ordinances restricting light from homes and other man-made sources that might disorient turtles trying to march back to the sea. In Duval County those ordinances are limited to Jacksonville Beach and Atlantic Beach, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, in Nassau county it is in full effect and most of our island population is quite vigilant about them.

Nesting season ends sometime in mid August, with the majority of hatchlings in June and July.

Time Did Not Change, People Did

As the world turns...

If you’re my age you must have on occasion wondered what happened to the younger generation today compared to the generation we grew up in?  I was watching some teenagers the other day and I really took note of how they dressed, the jeans that were down around their hips, the tattoos that were on their arms, necks, chest, legs and a few with “art” on their face.  The music, at least that’s what they call the non articulate rhythms that would scare wild animals away, was loud and they were actually speaking a language I only knew a little of. I know, this is the new age and this is what they do to express themselves, just as we did things in the fifties and sixties to express ourselves.

Another thought came to me however, the realization of drugs and how they are playing a part in the lives of many of our young people today.  So where did we go wrong or did we go wrong, or is this just a normal progression-regression we are going through?

When I was growing up my parents drugged me and thought nothing of it. I was drugged to church, drugged to family reunions and funerals, drugged to the library and forced by any means deemed appropriate to do my share of household chores.  Work was not a debatable topic, it was mandatory and you did it. Period. The alternative would be unbearable.

Everyone had a job and we took pride in what we did.  Our clothes where always presentable because Mom would not have you leaving the house otherwise.  Someone with wrinkled or dirty clothes on was an reflection on Mom and she would never stand for that.  We all sat down at the dinner table each evening to eat and talk, no TV or radio on. Mom and Dad asked you how things were going, what you were doing, they also wanted to know about the friends you were keeping.  Our parents knew what we were doing.

Today it seems the family is no longer together to sit and enjoy a home cooked meal. It is too easy to simply drive thru and pick something up. Pot roast on sunday has turned into KFC buckets. I think that the problem is today’s parents treat children like equals, adults if you will. Many parents have forgotten that children like pets need strong, committed guidance and direction and when that lacks, they’ll adopt their own rules, based on TV, friends, environment.

It seems that young people today have not learned that they may need to work to earn money one day and that is much more difficult then having someone just give it to you.  Many will have a rough time making it in the real world when one day they find themselves thrown in it.  I don’t mean that all of our young people today lack work ethics and sense of responsibility, but many do.  I for one like to think about my youth, the hard work I had to do and how it pleased me to make my parents proud of me.  I hope future generations will retain some of the qualities we grew up with, for all of our sakes.

Dillan Howell Surprises XChange (VID)

Dillan Howell Surprises XChange

Dillan Howell Surprises XChange

There was a surprise artist at The Journey Church’s youth program, X-Change, on Wednesday night and from the young girl’s squealing and screeching heard in a room full of teenagers when the singer took the stage, there was no doubt that Dillan Howell of the band, Hello Forever, had returned to Fernandina Beach, Florida.

Ally at the Desk had the opportunity to chat with Dillan when he arrived on Amelia Island before the rest of Hello Forever.

Dillan Howell and Ally at the Desk

Dillan Howell and Ally at the Desk

The entire band is performing on Sunday during regularly scheduled services, at The Journey Church, but Howell stepped up to front the X-Change Youth Band with a song by Christian Rockers, Hillsong United, Break Free and to say the crowd was thrilled would be an understatement.

Take a look at this short video as Ally discusses the surprise visit, and asks if Dillan will dress up like a pirate for Shrimp Festival. Have you been waiting for them to get into the studio and record some music? Dillan tells you the plans for Hello Forever’s upcoming EP and full-length CD and lets you know the best way to stay in touch with the band. And of course, his performance of Break Free is on the video, too.

Check back soon for the upcoming interview of the entire band, Hello Forever, and possibly a sneak peek of their newest music!

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhVwLLkvjYc

(Even though this was filmed from the back of a room full of crazed teenagers, no videographers were hurt in the filming of this performance!)

Amelia Island Shrimp Festival Memories

Can we expand more?

The Shrimp Festival is now officially underway here on Amelia Island.  I rode in the parade yesterday with the Search Amelia family and really had a great time.  I couldn’t help but think back to the earlier years and the Shrimp Fest weekend.  How it all got started with just a handful of families who just wanted to get together, catch up on news and either brag or cry about business.  Then came the shrimp boat races, which started to attract a greater flux of visitors from greater distance away and it has grown more and more every year since then.

I noticed as we were waiting our turn to pull out into the parade route as float 71, that the beginning part of parade had already lapped the entire route. They say there were more entries this year than ever before, and estimated around 2.5 hours long. Now that’s a big parade in any small town book. Of course we cannot count the Carnival Parade that will stop traffic on the island of St.Maarten for a good 6 hours.

But there is a lesson somewhere in here, that sounds like carrying capacity. Even though we thought it was an extremely smooth procession of vehicles, groups and floats, there has to be a cut off on the number of participants or the logistics will have to change into a longer course and an earlier start.

And since I was surrounded by photographers and video operators, I couldn’t help but hear that they would love to see the entire parade reversed one year (coming down on Centre and going back up on Ash for the sole reason of sunlight.

As I watched the people along the parade route I couldn’t help but think, where do all these people come from on a Thursday afternoon?  I saw many faces that I knew but many more that I didn’t.  Our Island community has grown.  I remember when we didn’t have 3500 people on the whole Island and there are some who would like to see that again.

I remember those days and how we didn’t have the amenities and services we do today.  How the air quality was not so great and it seems we had a constant odor in the air.  Our river was polluted and a mining company was on the verge of strip mining the south end of Amelia Island. How we had to drive a substantial distance for most services normal on the main land.

We are much better off today and I, as a true native of this Island, welcome all the faces I saw yesterday and I hope to get to meet each and every one of you in the near future.  It is because of our planned growth that we are a shining jewel on Florida’s east coast.

Welcome to all, now let’s eat some shrimp.

Helmuts Tale of the Parade

Shrimp Cocktail Anyone?

After filming the Pirates Parade for a couple of years in a row, we decided that is was time to “study” the crowds that line the streets during this annual prelude to the Shrimp Festival, and so we took a float in the parade this year. Well float may not be the right description as the thought was a bit last minute and preparations suffered from lack of time, BUT….it was so much fun that we’re already talking about next year and design ideas are popping up in our heads.

What did work out well was the fact that we took many hundreds of pictures and shot an hour of video of a very appreciative crowd.

Our friend and master photographer Helmut Albrecht was also present and sent us a link to share with our readership of fabulous close ups (his specialty) that tell the entire story and more.

So while the Mac (computer) behind my back is rendering the video footage to be published later today I’m happy to give you Helmut’s first impression of another weather blessed pirate parade.

There are pirates and then there are pirates!

Privately I wonder if Sandy Price and her great crew of Volunteers have a special relation ship with the Weather Gods, since every Shrimp Festival I personally have attended, offered marvelous weather, with great sunsets and if we can believe the forecast, we will be blessed again this year.

Shrimp festival Pirate Parade Pictorial

Isle of 8 Flags Annual Shrimp Festival Pirate's Parade 2010

Click the Images to enlarge (slide-show)

The Isle of eight flags annual shrimp festival kicked off with the traditional Pirate’s Parade on Thursday evening with a record number of floats.

Here are the pictures of the spectators and participants. You can watch them in slide-show format. Click on the first image and select in the bottom right corner “start slideshow” or thumb through the images by using the arrow keys or select any thumbnail to see the individual pictures enlarged.

Feel free to download those image(s) that have a special meaning to you.

We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did last night.

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This Annual parade is the start of the Shrimp Festival and this year there were over 100 floats in the parade. We hope you enjoyed it as much as the SearchAmelia Crew did. The video of the parade should be forthcoming momentarily.

Les DeMerle Trio at Pablos

Les DeMerle Trio at Pablos

Les DeMerle Trio at Pablos

Shrimp Festival weekend brings the Dynamic Les DeMerle Trio featuring Bonnie Eisele at Pablo’s Mexican Restaurant on the Patio Saturday, May 1 from 5 to 8 pm! Admission is free.

Delight in Pablo’s Mexican cuisine and beverages, enjoy the swinging sounds and learn more about the exciting 2010 Amelia Island Jazz Festival. This is a great opportunity to see these dynamic musicians in an intimate setting, just in time to relax after the booths of the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival close on Saturday evening.

Pablo’s Mexican Restaurant is located at 12 N. 2nd Street in historic downtown Fernandina Beach, Florida. Call (904) 261-0049 for more information.

Pilate Turned and Washed his Hands

Financial Reform on the Hill

Even though I do accept that there is a common responsibility that we all carry in the financial mess that we landed in in 2008, I still would like to see the truly responsible perpetrators being held liable.

“Whoever commits a fraud is guilty not only of the particular injury to him who he deceives, but of the diminution of that confidence which constitutes not only the ease, but the very existence of a society.” Samuel Johnson

Alan Greenspan didn’t believe that. In his orthodoxy he swore that the markets are self correcting….eventually. Financial reform was unnecessary in his world.
“There wasn’t a need for a law against fraud because if a floor broker was committing fraud, the customer would figure it out and stop doing business with him,” were Greenspan’s literal words.

And frankly this frightening quote is an entire lesson in psychology itself.
What it shows for example is that intelligence in itself can be so dogmatic that even someone like Greenspan can be blinded by this ideology, a literal religion of orthodox thought, that the market is infallible.

That someone with his resume can be so idiotically blinded, should give us all reason for introspection – what “truisms and motivations” underlie our own beliefs? Moreover it should make clear, whether markets, religion, philosophy, physics, ideology, science, experts or whatever, that the so called “unbiased” analysis we see spread all over the news daily, are rarely that…unbiased. It is time for us to start accepting that ultimately whatever is produced by humans should be viewed with the skepticism that it is not entirely “science”, but reflects the humanity that created it, with all the flaws that it implies.

Some of this mentality surfaces quite easily, such as the fact that everything quoted in the media, is yesterday’s news seen through an underwater periscope that is handcuffed by its lobbyists (advertisers). Most media are just mouth pieces of increasing ignorance these days.
As the hearings and scandals progress, and the revelations and charges start to cut closer to the heart of the credit swindles, inevitably there will be a movement to say, “We are all equally responsible. It was all a big misunderstanding so let’s move on. Justice cannot be done, unless we all are prepared to lose.”

People like Larry Summers, Alan Greenspan, Bernanke, Dion, Pandit, Paulson,  Blankfein and others will all join a big Pilate Conference where they will all be baptized in unison and wash their hands in innocence.
There will be long accountings of how the problems arose, and how changes in the banking laws, broker deregulation, and the erosion of elite privileges compelled the Wall Street banks to take more and greater risks, to violate unspoken understandings about customer relationships, to take great risks, to bend the laws, to use money and influence to suborn perjury and the breaking of oaths, and to generally undermine the fabric of government and society. There will be books written and study courses initiated like with JFK’s assassination. Hollywood may take a shot at it, if they would understand the topic.  60s Rock band the Rolling Stones sang about the procedure quite sarcastically in their hitsong Sympathy for the DevilI shouted out who killed the Kennedys, and after all it was you and me.

There will be long analyses that suggest that trust has been lost, the trust that binds the social and financial interactions of people. And there will be an effort to regain that trust, to promise change and reform, and of course, justice.
As for justice they will say, but aren’t we all responsible? Didn’t we all believe the promise that ‘greed is good?’

And I loudly protest and say No.

The majority of people are hard working, honest in their dealings, more concerned with raising families than ruling others, if anything distracted by their day to day problems. Long suffering, patient to a fault, too willing to give the Wall Street bankers the benefit of the doubt for the very reason of their own good natures. They could not imagine themselves doing the things of which these men stand accused, so they cannot believe that other American would so willingly lie and deceive, cheat and steal, attack the very heart, premise and promise of the nation, while wrapping themselves in a flag of hypocrisy, for a few more dollars that they can hardly need or even personally spend. And why? Because it feeds their sickened hearts, their pathological egos, and the need to make others suffer loss for their own gains. It makes them feel superior, godlike if you will.

So when the fresh public relations spin and propaganda from Wall Street starts in a week or so, seeking to confuse the issues even more and distort the true nature of the fraud, we all need to recall who profited and who lost; who was caught with their hands deep in the pockets of the many, and even now stand arrogantly unrepentant with the ongoing misery of others to their account. And who stood idly by while charged by sworn oaths with protecting the innocent, the unsuspecting many, from the predatory, lawless few.  That we should not forget, lest we accept that the same will happen again and again.

“When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” Edmund Burke

Before there can be any sustained long term recovery there has to be a correction.

The “too big to fail” banks must be restrained, the financial system reformed, the economy brought back into balance, and justice needs to be done before a next wave of tens of millions of Americans will take the law into their own hands and stop paying for mortgages on their homes and cars or repaying credit cards, because millions have been cheated out of decency and the American Dream.
If we don’t seek justice we will accept that the truth has forever left.

I have heard time and again that maybe I should just let it ride, but when you reach a certain stage in life, you should remember Admiral Farragut when he said in Mobile Bay in 1864: “Damn the torpedoes – full speed ahead.” It’s just not worth the damage to my ego to be intimidated by these bastards.

Shrimp Ice Cream Contest

Shrimp Ice Cream

Shrimp Ice Cream (Photo by: Fotobank.com)

If you haven’t already heard, there will be an ice cream eating contest at the Shrimp Festival, shrimp flavored ice cream! The Ice Cream Eating Contest is on Sunday at 2:00 PM on the Pirate Stage located at the waterfront in historic Fernandina Beach.

In 2004, our local Cold Stone Creamery wanted to contribute to the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival so they thought it would be fun to create shrimp flavored ice cream. They asked Ray Karam, the tastemaster for Cold Stone and an exclusive Amelia Island Shrimp Flavored ice cream was created. They are not allowed to give away the recipe, but the ice cream does contain real shrimp and the local store next to Applebees sells out of it every single Shrimp Festival, the only time they are permitted to offer this unique flavor to their customers.

So how do you make a Cold Stone Creation from shrimp ice cream? Most people mix pineapple and cococut with it. Shrimp does not really have much of a taste, it is what you season the shrimp with that gives it flavor. The typical comment from a first time taster is, “Wow, that’s actually pretty good!”

If you are brave enough to try shrimp flavored ice cream, the store will sell it during the weekend and the Fraternal Order of Police will be selling Cold Stone ice cream in their booth at the festival.

If you want to enter the contest, there are three categories:
Adult (17 and up)
Teen (11 to 16 years)
Youth (10 and under)

Everyone signs up at the Shrimp Festival and ten names per category will be drawn. The first person to eat the entire contents will win First Prize, FREE ice cream for a year and a Cold Stone T-Shirt. Adults and teens will have to put back a quart of ice cream with only two small sample spoons to use. The Youth contestants will be challenged with eating a pint of ice cream. This is all done on the Pirate stage, so Pirates and members of the audience will be watching!

You may want to know the best way to relieve an ice cream headache before you sign up and the experts at Cold Stone Creamery tell me, “Brain Freeze? Just inhale warm air!” Which shouldn’t be a problem with the warm temperatures expected this weekend.

This is the third year Cold Stone will be hosting the contest. Be sure to wave at their Dune Buggy in the Pirate Parade Thursday evening! It’s a great day for ice cream!

Fannie and Freddie are up to Something

Fannie and evil twin Freddie are up to something

Remember when we talked some 18 months ago about how established credit ratings would have to come up with a new model for the future? Well it seems to sink in that with so many good credit worthy people falling into foreclosure, repossessions and bankruptcies, the credit model going forward will have to be revamped, if we are to have large item sales based on lending in the future.

I read an article just today that gives a new twist to Fannie Mae backed mortgages which I think is just the beginning of new models to come.  Fannie is offering to anyone who is willing to give up their home to a “deed in lieu of foreclosure” or short sale, an opportunity to qualify for a new mortgage in just two years.

Our current real estate situation is about the same, I don’t see much movement in a positive direction here in Florida, even though there are those who say they see a turn around. I guess it is all about what rose colored glasses you are wearing at the moment and depending on where you are located.  There are more and more foreclosures hitting the market each and every week and there are now more than 6 million Americans who are not paying their mortgages anymore.

Once again I want to remind you that with every foreclosure and short sale you see in your community you are loosing value in your own home.  If you are not under water now and have a traditional mortgage, chances are you will be under water soon.

So is Fannie and Freddie encouraging people to walk away from their mortgages, or for once are they seeing the writing on the wall and see a form of barter as a potential to revalue real estate?

Let the Party Begin

The 47th Annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival

It’s Thursday and we are in full motion to get ready for the party tonight when the Pirate Parade kicks off this year’s Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival. And guess what? We’re going to be in that parade with Float 71.

And since the Parade has the theme of “Name that Tune” this year, we changed the lyrics of a tune you all know for the occasion and published it here, so now you guys can sing it with us as our float passes you on the Streets.
Catch you tonight at 6pm sharp.

Also check us out every day for pictures from Master Micro Photographer Helmut Albrecht, who will post daily detail photographs of this year’s Festival on Search Amelia.

Let the Party begin…

THE SHRIMP FEST BLUES

WE ALL CAME TO THIS PIRATES NEST TO HIDE OUT
WE TRIED TO KEEP OUR PROFILE TO THE GROUND
BUT THEN IT TURNED ALL CRAZY ON THIS ISLAND
AND NOW WE CAN’T SEEM TO DRINK IT OF OUR MINDS

IT’S THE A-A-A-A-A-A-NNUAL SHRIMP MADNESS
GIVE US, GIVE US, GIVE US THE SHRIMP FEST BLUES

WE LANDED ON THE BEACHES OF THIS ISLAND
SEARCHING FOR A PLACE TO PLANT OUR FLAG
WE SAW SOME LADIES ALL DRESSED UP AS WENCHES
THEY BURNED OUR FLAG AND SAID EIGHT’S MORE THAN ENOUGH

IT’S THE ANNUAL SHRIMP MADNESS
GIVE US, GIVE US, GIVE US THE SHRIMP FEST BLUES

WE STROLLED ON TO THE STREETS OF FERNANDINA
IN SEARCH OF THE SALOON WE HEARD ABOUT
BUT THE SWEETIES WERE SO CHARMING WITH THEIR POSES
WE NEVER MADE IT DOWNTOWN TO THE BAR

IT’S THE ANNUAL SHRIMP MADNESS
GIVE US, GIVE US, GIVE US THE SHRIMP FEST BLUES

Have fun, stay safe and don’t drive under the influence.

God Told Me What to Paint

God Told Me What to Paint

God Told Me What to Paint

It is exciting to talk to artists about how they get inspiration. In a recent conversation with local artist Theresa Daily, I was mesmerized by her explanation of how she came to paint acrylics and how a desire to quit smoking transformed itself into a “Beach Series.” It started just two years ago, in 2008 after years of working in watercolors that she decided she would replace a bad habit (smoking) with a good one: the Beach!

Theresa says she is not a “gym rat” and since she enjoys nature, she took the beach starting her days out with long walks at low tide. Her doctor advised her that was the best time to walk because the soft sand wasn’t good for her back. She enjoyed her walks so much that after a while, she couldn’t wait to see when low tides would arrive at a civil hour, given that they sometimes came at 5:00 AM. Low tide was also a good time for treasure hunting.

Her treks began with attempts at self-reflection, prayer, and deep breathing. It brought her great relaxation and she used the time to ask God for guidance and wisdom. “Show me a treasure – show me something to paint – sand crabs or shells. Whatever you want. That’s what I’ll paint.” He answered her one day, a moment in time she will never forget. She was walking down the beach and sensed rain. She turned around and there stood an awe-inspired view of a storm brewing over the sea and sand. She snapped a picture of it and headed back to her studio to begin her task. The result was a beautiful painting of a storm that signified a death of an old habit, replaced with a bright new one that is now her “Beach Series,” a collection of paintings that communicate Theresa’s journey of self-discovery into the land of acrylics.

Friday Night Walk

Friday Night Walk

What amazed me about Theresa’s storm painting entitled, “Friday Night Walk” is the story behind the woman who purchased it. That person had been going through a tough time and the painting spoke to her. So much so that she had to have it. It was like Theresa had a purpose to paint that painting. She got a message and delivered it. She did her job.

Theresa says she never had a journey on the beach where she didn’t receive feelings of inspiration that touched her heart. That one summer, she ended up with over a hundred sand dollars and claims, “They weren’t all perfect – but that didn’t matter… they are all God’s things.” How wonderful and sage is that advice?

She also adds that she doesn’t think her journey will end. Many more things are emanating from her walks. She is adding more color and shape each day. She’s traveled from muted and neutral colors to more vibrancy and depth as seen in her abstracts and small works as well.

Delicate Balance

Delicate Balance

During this weekend’s Shrimp Festival, she is also premiering her largest beach series painting (36″ x 48″) and says on her Facebook page, “To all my Florida/Georgia fans, don’t forget, my booth is at the foot of the Blue Door Artists’ stairs, in front of the coffee shop… #210. Don’t forget to stop & say hi! And of course take home a painting if something strikes your fancy!!!”

About Theresa
Theresa began her art career as the owner of an art supply store on Amelia Island. Drawing had always been a part of her life. She started then with watercolor as her medium of choice until recent years – she began painting acrylics on paper and canvas. While she is largely self-taught, she studied with prominent artists Karen McFadyen and Patricia Lusk. She is an exhibiting member of the Island Art Association of Fernandina Beach. Her award winning work can be found in private and public collections. Feel free to visit Theresa in her open studio at the Blue Door Artists to see her paint and view her work at 205 1/2 Centre Street. Also visit her website at www.theresadaily.com. She can be reached at (904) 556-778

Suzanne is a writer and artist on Amelia Island. See her work at www.ameliaislandartist.com and www.maddogsandalleycats.com.

Hayfever and Allergies


Explosive amount of pollen in the air

Pollen covering cars in massive layers

Authors: Tommlyee and The Pharmacist Dick Luttekes

The exceptional amount of pollen

The last couple of weeks has seen record amounts of pollen and yesterday at a lovely wine party at our friend Caroline, we tried a Jordan 1978 that went through Hurricane Andrew, the topic of a correlation between pollen, flowers and excessive fruits in hurricane heightened seasons came into the discussion.

Boy that’s a lot of topics to cover in one time so I’m just going to limit myself with pollen and allergies however I should mention that the 1978 Jordan was very unfortunately over the top and its robust Rubie red character had turned into a cross between an aged Madeira and a Sherry but the Jordan’s excellence was undoubtedly still present.

So back to the excessive pollen we’ve seen in the last weeks even to such an extent that cars turning their natural colors into a yellowish brownish appearance, almost like the Jordan. This excess is playing a tough number on people with allergies and it looks like the season has only just started and the complications will only grow tougher.

Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is the most common chronic disease, affecting up to 30 percent of the population. It is the most common reason for chronic sinus and nose problems. Allergic rhinitis is defined as inflammation and irritation of the nasal passages due to seasonal and year-round allergens.

An allergy is an abnormal reaction by a person’s immune system against a normally harmless substance. During an allergic process, the substance responsible for causing the allergy (like cat dander or pollen) binds to allergic antibodies present on allergic cells in a person’s body, including mast cells and basophils. These cells then release chemicals such as histamine and leukotrienes, resulting in allergic symptoms.

When histamine is released by allergic cells in the nose and eyes, the result is sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes/nose/throat, nasal congestion and post-nasal drip. These are the symptoms of hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis.

Antihistamines are medications that block a receptor for histamine, thereby stopping the symptoms that histamine causes. Antihistamines are the most commonly used medications to treat allergic rhinitis

Causes of hay fever

Those at risk for the development of allergic rhinitis include people with a family history of allergy, a mother who smoked during pregnancy, and living a modernized lifestyle (urban setting, higher socioeconomic status, small family size). The presence of pets, especially multiple dogs, in the home at the time of birth appears to protect against the development of allergic diseases such as hay fever.

The above phenomenon is explained by the “hygiene hypothesis,” which suggests that since we live in a cleaner environment, our immune systems do not need to fight as many infections as in the past. We don’t grow up on farms around animals, we don’t play in the dirt, we receive vaccines to protect against infections, and we receive antibiotics when we do have infections. As a result, the immune system is less stimulated from an infection-fighting mode, and switches to allergy mode.

Allergic rhinitis also influences other diseases. Uncontrolled hay fever symptoms can lead to sinus infections, ear infections and worsening of asthma. And people with allergic rhinitis are more prone to illnesses, since the inflammation in the nose makes them more susceptible to the virus that causes the common cold.

Oral anti-histamines

The first generation anti-histamines, which includes Benadryl®, are generally considered too sedating for routine use. These medications have been shown to affect work performance and alter a person’s ability to operate an automobile.

Newer, second-generation anti-histamines have now become first-line therapy for people with allergic rhinitis. These medications include cetirizine (Zyrtec®), fexofenadine (Allegra®), and loratadine (Claritin®). Newer formulations derived from these are ie Xyzall (levocetirizine) and Aerius (desloratadin).

These medications have the advantage of once daily dosaging, start working within a few hours, and therefore can be given on as “as needed” basis. The medications are particularly good at treating sneezing, runny nose, and itching of the nose as a result of allergic rhinitis. Side effects are rare, and include a low-rate of sedation or sleepiness, but much less than the first-generation anti-histamines.

Topical nasal steroids

This class of allergy medications is probably the most effective at treating nasal allergies. There are numerous topical nasal steroids on the market with little difference, and are all available by prescription.

This group of medications includes fluticasone (Flixonase®), mometasone (Nasonex®), budesonide (Rhinocort Aqua®), triamcinolone (Nasacort AQ®) and beclomethasone (Beconase AQ®).

Nasal steroids are excellent at controlling allergic rhinitis symptoms. However, the sprays need to be used daily for best effect and therefore don’t work well as needed. Side effects are mild and limited to nasal irritation and nose bleeds. The use of these nasal sprays should be stopped if irritation or bleeding persists or become severe.

Other nasal sprays

There are two other nasal sprays available, a nasal anti-histamine and a nasal anti-cholinergic. The anti-histamines, levocabastine (Livocab®) or azelastine, are effective at treating allergic and non-allergic rhinitis. It treats all nasal symptoms similar to nasal steroids, and should be used routinely for best effect. Side effects are generally mild and include local nasal irritation.

Nasal ipratropium (Atrovent nasal®) works to dry up nasal secretions, and is indicated at treating allergic rhinitis, non-allergic rhinitis and symptoms of the common cold. It works great at treating a “drippy nose”, but will not treat nasal itching or nasal congestion symptoms. Side effects are mild and typically include local nasal irritation and dryness.

Over-the-counter nasal sprays

This group includes cromolyn nasal spray and topical decongestants such as oxymetazoline (Afrin®) and xylomethazolin (Otrivin®). Cromolyn works by preventing allergic rhinitis symptoms only if used before exposure to allergic triggers. This medication therefore does not work on an as-needed basis.

Topical decongestants are helpful in treating nasal congestion. These medications should be used for limited periods of 5-7 days every 2-4 weeks; otherwise there can be a rebound/worsening of nasal congestion called rhinitis medicamentosa.

The side effects of the above are both generally mild and include local nasal irritation and bleeding, but topical decongestants should be used with caution in patients with heart or blood pressure problems.

Oral decongestants

Oral decongestants, with or without oral anti-histamines, are useful medications in the treatment of nasal congestion in people with allergic rhinitis. This class of medications includes pseudoephrine (Sudafed®), phenylephrine, and numerous combination products. Decongestant/anti-histamine combination products (such as Allegra-D®, Clarinase®) are indicated for treating allergic rhinitis in people 12 years of age and older.

This class of medication works well for occasional and as-needed use, but side effects with long-term use can include insomnia, headaches, elevated blood pressure, rapid heart rate and nervousness.

Leukotriene blockers

Montelukast (Singulair®), was originally developed for asthma approximately 10 years ago, and is now approved for the treatment of allergic rhinitis as well. Studies show that this medication is not as good at treating allergies as the oral anti-histamines, but may be better at treating nasal congestion. In addition, the combination of montelukast and an oral anti-histamine may be better at treating allergies than either medication alone.

Montelukast may be of particular benefit for people with mild asthma and allergic rhinitis, since it is indicated for both medical conditions. The medication must be taken daily for best effects, and usually takes a few days before it starts working.

What are allergy shots?

When medications fail to adequately control allergy symptoms and avoidance of the trigger is not easy or possible, an allergist may recommend immunotherapy or “allergy shots”. This treatment consists of a series of injections containing small amounts of the substances to which a person is allergic. After a course of allergy shots, 80 to 90 percent of patients have less allergy symptoms, and in many cases their allergies have completely resolved. Allergy shots can be given for allergic rhino-conjunctivitis (nose and eyes), allergic asthma and insect sting allergies.

Unlike allergy medicines, which act only to “cover up” allergic symptoms or prevent them temporarily, allergy shots fix the underlying problem of allergies. This occurs because the body treats the injection much like a vaccine, resulting in the production of infection-fighting antibodies against the pollen, dust, mold or pet dander. The body then stops producing as much allergic antibodies against the triggers, and therefore won’t have as much, or any, allergic response when exposed to the allergens. These changes can last for many years even after stopping allergy shots.

The method of immunotherapy consists of starting at a small dose that will not cause an allergic reaction, with slowly advancing the dosage until the person becomes tolerant to large amounts of the extract. These injections are initially given once to twice a week until a maintenance, or constant dose, is achieved. This usually takes approximately 3 to 6 months. Once the maintenance dosage is reached, the allergic symptoms are largely resolved in most patients. Thereafter, the injections are given every two to four weeks. Therapy is continued for 3 to 5 years total after which the patient continues to get benefit for another 5 to 10 years or longer medication free.

SLIT

Sublingual immunotherapy, or SLIT, is a form of immunotherapy that involves putting drops of allergen extracts under the tongue. Many people refer to this process as “allergy drops,” and it is an alternative treatment for allergy shots.

SLIT is usually delivered one of two ways: drops (or tablets) of allergen extract are placed under the tongue, then either swallowed or spat out. Most studies have looked at swallowing the extract, which seems to work better. Immunotherapy by the oral route (swallowed and not kept under the tongue for any period of time), causes too many gastrointestinal side effects (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), and therefore is not used. Generally, SLIT is administered daily, or multiple times per week, over a period of years.

SLIT appears to be effective in the treatment of allergic rhinitis, most studies on SLIT do show benefit in the treatment of allergic disease, the results are somewhat inconsistent, with up to one-third of studies showing no benefit over placebo treatment.  Slit drops are in Europe available against  different allergens via Alk-Abello on doctors orders.

Other good news: When you get older the response of the immunesystem can soften and you “grow” out of your allergy. The opposite is also possible, you can suddenly get allergic for that soap you always like to use.