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Are We Paying Enough Attention to Global Weather

Tropical Cyclone threatens disaster for Australia

With death and destruction on the Eastern Seaboard of Australia after weeks of torrential rains and more to come, Queensland Australia is now nervously awaiting  the landfall of what may be the worst cyclone ever to reach its shores, Brazil is counting almost 1,000 Dead and hundreds still missing as a result of monstrous floods and mudslides from Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo, South Africa and neighboring Mozambique have seen floods take thousands of homes and dozens of lives and every country in Southern Africa is on alert for flash flooding as exceptionally heavy rainfall is forecasted until March; heavy monsoons in Sri Lanka, unusually cold in southern and East China, epic rainfall in the Philippines causes death and damage around the island nation; a massive snow and winter storm hitting the Midwest as I’m writing this and major amounts of winter weather, regional flooding and bitter cold around the US, with flood potentials in many areas; a couple of  weeks ago Florida was the only state in the Nation that did not have snow on the ground ( the Hawaiian Islands had snow on top of the volcanos. Heavy snowfall in most of Europe, even in Mediterranean areas, which never happened in the 30 years I lived there.

And in the background I hear the ignorami’s snide remark that there is no global warming, it’s just a left wing tree hugger conspiracy.
Others claim La Niña as the natural culprit, neglecting the fact that it is a word I had never even heard of 20 years ago, other than that it is Spanish for girl.

Those of us who stand up and mention Global Warming are now neatly grouped together, identified, classified and tagged as a group of counter productive, potentially dangerous environmentalist, who want to halt human progress and prosperity.
Well, I take offense to that as I have worked very hard all my live not to be pigeon-holed; I have taken extreme precautions to protect the personal freedom and sanctity of the individual and consider fairness and respect towards my fellow humans an essence for peaceful progressive co-habitation. So if these qualifications make me a leftwing tree hugger, that call is your responsibility.

Learn from The Facts

2010 tied the record for the warmest year since data collection started in 1880. Guess what year it tied with? 2005!
Every year since 2000 has ranked as one of the 15 warmest years on record.
Well call me stupid, but if something walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, swims like a duck and waggles like a duck….it’s most probably… a duck. And the Duck says: Global Warming may very well be a reality. So I pay attention and learn about the seeming Paradox of extreme cold and global warming.

Well here is what happens, global warming melts the arctic ice and rising temperatures produce a shrinking of sea ice in the Arctic. As it heats the region up, it starts pushing its usual cold air southwards, especially during the winter. In the southern hemisphere this happens in a reverse direction, obviously.

These are fact and that is what’s happening. So the next question we ask ourself is: Do we close our eyes and let it happen, because:
a. there is nothing we can do or
b. it’s already too late or
c. I need another 8 cylinder SUV and the dealer has such a great sticker price on it.
No I don’t want to curb my lifestyle and I bet you there are thousands of homeowners in Australia who thought the same…until the floods came.

True, I don’t have one clear cut answer, maybe I did 30 years ago, but nobody listened than and nobody does now, but even though no one has the answer,  I still strongly support the action scenario that was superbly pictured in “The Most Terrifying Video You’ll Ever See”

Really the problem is not global warming, or Climate Change, or even the yah or nay sayers who love to get rich of the controversy; the problem is destabilization of the global climate. May it’s Earth itself and we won’t be able to stop it, but we can do our part to be prepared as best as we can and eliminate humanity as a contributing factor the destabilization.

California Superstorm Predicted

So while a rainstorm capable of flooding a quarter of the houses in the state of California may be ridiculed as ancient history or legend, the U.S. Geological Survey says such a superstorm hitting California is not only plausible, it’s predictable.
As  God warned Noah and Ea to warn Utnapishtim about the upcoming flood, the USGS is warning California officials that the time to plan for the flood is now. Of course California politicians, being in the economic mess the state is in today, shrug and hope that nothing will happen on their watch. A similar scenario is unfolding tonight in Queensland, Australia, already plagued with epic flooding similar to what is described in the California superstorm model in December and January, resulting in three-quarters of that state being declared a disaster zone.

We maybe just a bit too pre-occupied with our lives to pay enough attention to the weather and the world around us or maybe we’re just not ready to accept our new realities.

I wrote this story after I learned over dinner that our friend Dave in Wisconsin had emailed that he has to drive from Milwaukee to Minneapolis on Tuesday in what is possibly (and reportedly) the biggest snow and ice storm of this year’s winter season to hit the Midwest. I hope he’ll balance the importance of the mission of his trip against the potential consequence and realize that a day later does not break the bank. I have always been served well by the question I ask myself: Does it matter 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months, 2 years or 20 years from now. If it matters 2 to 20 years from now, I’ll put the chains on the tires and take my chances. Anything less than that: Fuggetaboutit.

Chief of Police to be Arrested

Chief of Police to be ArrestedMDA is putting the Fernandina Beach Police Chief and many of our community’s up-standing citizens behind bars to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

“Please don’t let them put me behind bars”, Chief Hurley pleaded in an email to his friends.

With so many hoodlums being thrown in the slammer, it will be difficult to decide where to mail my check.

If you want to see these fine folks doing time, the jail will be at the Fernandina Women’s Club located behind the Atlantic Avenue Recreation Center on Amelia Island, on Thursday, February 10th.

Also being thrown in the lock-up to raise money for Jerry’s Kids are:

Sonya Wheeler with Sonya’s Tire and Automotive Center

Lila Keim with Prudential, Chaplain, Williams Realty

Kelley McCrimmon with Elizabeth Point Lodge

and Valerie Shibley of Amelia Liquors.

These and other charitible souls from our community will be calling on us for bail money to help get them out of jail. After a bit of well deserved teasing, go ahead and arm yourself with an ink pen and whip out the check-book – it is for a great cause!

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbpBSY1ADc8

Free Pre-Festival Screening with Stan Cottle

Stan Cottle, Filmmaker

Stan Cottle, Filmmaker

The Amelia Island Film Festival is having a Pre-Festival Screening on Thursday, February 3rd at 5:30 PM at the Golf Club at Amelia Island at Summer Beach at 4700 Amelia Island Parkway. The Heart of the Community: Restoration of the Historic Nassau County Courthouse by filmmaker Stan Cottle, who will be present to discuss his film.

Admission is FREE and open to the public with light hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.

Reservations are requested at (904)335-1110.

Festival organizers are excited about this year’s line-up of quality shorts and features for the 3rd Annual Festival beginning on Thursday, February 24, 2011 in Fernandina Beach.

Included are 2 Academy Award Nominated films: God of Love, a short comedy by Luke Mathney and Waste Land, directed by Lucy Walker.

Also this year to be screened in Jacksonville at WJCT studios on Wednesday, February 16 at 6 PM, and then again during the Festival on February 26 is Freedom Riders produced by Laurens Grant and Stanley Nelson. At both screenings author Ray Arsenault will be present to discuss his experiences about the historical documentary film and the momentous events during the times of major changes in integrating the Deep South.

Attending this year’s Festival events will be actor and producer David Keith to present his latest film Beneath the Blue. Also Aaron Michael Metchik will be in person to introduce his latest film 10 Years Later.

Finally the star of Listen to Your Heart, Kent Moran will be in person on the Closing Screening Sunday, February 27 to present his film to Amelia Island.

For more information please visit www.AmeliaIslandFilmFestival.org or call the AIFF Hotline at (904)335-1110.

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Fernandina Town Hall Meeting

Fernandina Town Hall MeetingThe Fernandina Beach City Commission will be holding a Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, February 3, 2011 at 6:00 PM at the Fernandina Beach Middle School Auditorium located at 315 Citrona Drive.

The City Commission invites you to speak out on the future of Fernandina!

This Town Hall Meeting is sponsored by the Amelia Island-Fernandina Restoration Foundation on behalf of the City of Fernandina Beach and Forward Fernandina, and is the first Town Hall Meeting of many more public events hosted by Forward Fernandina.

Please inform as many people as you can about these Town Hall Meetings as we need your input and opinions as we plan the future of our community.

Behold, just days before the event I received the following agenda:

TOWN HALL MEETING
FEBRUARY 3, 2011
6:00 PM

1. CALL TO ORDER

2. ROLL CALL

3. TOWN HALL MEETING
3.1 The Community is invited to provide comment related to:

· What is your vision for revitalizing downtown, the waterfront, 8th Street and surrounding neighborhoods?

· What do you think the priorities should be to accomplish that vision?

· How do you think these priorities should be funded?

4. CLOSING COMMENTS BY AMELIA ISLAND-FERNANDINA RESTORATION FOUNDATION
5. ADJOURNMENT

For more information, visit www.fbfl.us/F2 or contact the City Clerk’s Office at 277-7305.

February Dining Specials at The Verandah

Verandah at Omni Amelia Island

Verandah at Omni Amelia Island

The Verandah restaurant at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation will be running fabulous dining specials during the month of February including BOGO entrées, BYOW, 50% of appetizer or dessert and wine tastings!

At the Verandah, guests can dine on a menu of fresh seafood, chops or daily specialties while enjoying views of the natural canopy of oaks or the tennis courts of Racquet Park at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation.

Open nightly from 5:30-9:00 p.m.

Verandah Special Features*: Available Monday, January 31 – Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Monday – Buy one entrée, get another entrée of equal or lesser value free.
Tuesday – BYOW-Bring your own wine and we will waive the corkage fee.
Wednesday – 50% off one appetizer or dessert with the purchase of an entrée.
Thursday – Wine Tasting from 5:30pm-6:30pm at the bar with 50% off featured wine.

*Specials may not be combined with any other discount or offer.

Verandah Happy Hour – Beginning Friday, February 25, 2011, the Verandah Restaurant will begin opening at 4:30pm for a happy hour at the bar. Daily from 4:30pm – 6:00pm Happy Hour in the bar will feature a new bar appetizer menu, $5.00 wines by the glass and $4.00 Omni well cocktails.

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Setting the Amelia Concours Auction Stage

Setting the Amelia Concours Auction Stage

Photo Credit: Darin Schnabel ©2010 Courtesy of RM Auctions


– RM returns as the official auction house of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, March 12, 2011
– Single-day sale to offer over 100 quality automobiles spanning a century of automotive history
– RM’s Amelia Island auction features private collection of Jack and Marilyn Tallman

BLENHEIM, Ontario – RM Auctions, the official auction house of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, is set to continue its strong track record in Florida, March 12, when it returns to the prestigious Ritz-Carlton Hotel for its annual Amelia Island sale.

Now in its 13th year, the well-established auction will showcase over 100 quality motor cars, spanning a century of automotive design, from a wonderful series of early Brass Era cars to elegantly styled British and American road and racing cars and European sports cars. Reflecting the international flavor of consignments, notable early entries include: an ultra-rare 1911 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Drive Landaulette; a superbly-restored 1930 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe with Murphy Coachwork (J331); and an elegant 1938 Peugeot 402 Darl’mat Leger “Special Sport” Roadster.

“RM’s Amelia Island sale has earned a reputation over the years as a highlight on the annual collector car calendar,” says Rob Myers, Chairman and Founder, RM Auctions.

“Backed by a strong track record, our 2011 sale is shaping up to be another not-to-be-missed event. With an emphasis on great automotive styling from across the decades, the sale will combine a high-caliber roster of automobiles with the first-class presentation and unparalleled client service for which RM is known.”

For those with a penchant for early automotive design, the 1911 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Open Drive Landaulette, chassis number 1797, leads a string of Brass Era automobiles signed to the sale. A very rare and desirable early Silver Ghost, chassis 1797 was originally a Derby trials car and then used for the London Open Trials. It was later restored by renowned Silver Ghost restorer David Hemmings and shown at Pebble Beach and Meadow Brook, where it won its class at both events. (Estimate: $400,000 – $600,000.)

The Model J Duesenberg has long been regarded as the most outstanding example of design and engineering of the classic era. Introduced in 1929, its announcement halted trading on the New York Stock Exchange. At $8,500 for the chassis alone – a price that approached $20,000 with coachwork – it was by far the most expensive car in America when introduced. The example signed to RM’s Amelia Island sale – a stately 1930 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe with coachwork by Murphy, J331, is an extraordinary example of one of the most desirable Model J’s available, the Murphy Roadster. Superbly restored with its original engine, it carries an auction estimate of $900,000 – $1,100,000.

With its swooping lines and fully-skirted fenders, the 1938 Peugeot Darl’mat Leger “Special Sport” Roadster is another wonderful example of great automotive styling poised for RM’s Amelia Island auction stage in March. Considered one of the most desirable Peugeots produced, it is the result of a collaboration between Emilie Darl’mat, one of the world’s largest Peugeot dealers at the time, designer Georges Paulin and coachbuilder, Marcel Pourtout. One of only 53 roadsters built, and one of the preferred 1938 cars built on the Legere chassis, this striking example has been shown at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance where it was featured as part of a class that was a tribute to Paulin and Pourtout. (Est. $350,000 – $500,000).

1955 Ford "Beatnik" Bubbletop Custom

Photo Courtesy of RM Auctions

In addition to these exciting consignments, RM Auctions will build on its reputation as the specialists for private and estate collections at Amelia Island, presenting the distinguished collection of Jack and Marilyn Tallman. As respected enthusiasts who have been involved in the hobby for many decades, the Tallmans have assembled an outstanding collection of cars, many of which they’ve owned for over 40 years and have enjoyed and driven in countless events and tours, both at home and overseas. In total, 11 automobiles – spanning over 30 years of design – will be offered ‘without reserve’. Highlights include: a 1912 Packard 6-48 Runabout, built new for the Packard President and originally used as a promotional car (Est. $300,000 – $400,000); a 1903 Cadillac Model A Rear-Entrance Tonneau, which comes to market for the first time in 40 years, having completed the London to Brighton run on two separate occasions (Est. $75,000 – $100,000); and a handsome, multiple award-winning 1930 Cadillac V16 Roadster, originally built as a show car (Est. $350,000 – $450,000).

RM’s Amelia Island sale acts as a prelude to the world-renowned Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, returning March 13. Combined, the events make for an ultimate vintage car weekend for automotive enthusiasts.

For further information on RM’s Amelia Island sale and a frequently updated car list, please visit www.rmauctions.com or call RM Auctions at (519) 352-4575. For further information on the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, please visit www.ameliaconcours.org or call (904) 636-0027.

Event Details – RM Amelia Island

Sale date:
March 12, 2011, Auction commences at 11am EST

Preview dates:
March 11, 2011, 9:00am – 6:00pm EST
March 12, 2011, 9:00am – 6:00pm EST

Location:
The Ritz-Carlton, 4750 Amelia Island Parkway, Amelia Island, FL, 32034

Admission:
An official auction catalog is available for $100 US and provides admission for two people to the preview. Bidder registration is $200 US and includes an official auction catalog and admission for two to the preview, reception and auction.

For those unable to attend the event in person, Internet, absentee, telephone and iPhone bidding options are available and the auction will stream live online at www.rmauctions.com to provide real-time coverage of the event.

Brown Bag Lunch Lecture on Timucuans

Brown Bag Lunch Lecture on Timucuans

Amelia Island Museum Lunch Lecture

The Amelia Island Museum of History will be holding a Brown Bag Lunch Lecture, Secrets of the Timucuan, with Dr. Bill Birdsong on Wednesday, February 2, at noon in Baker Hall at the Museum.

This program is free, open to the public and you are welcome to bring a lunch. These seminar type sessions encourage attendees to express their views and provide comments and questions.

The Amelia Island Museum of History is located at 233 South Third Street in Fernandina Beach. For more info visit www.ameliamuseum.org.

Inflation: Our Most Successful Export Product

The Inflation Export and the Currency Crisis Ahead

The question was straight forward and clearly a bit accusatory: “Why do you economists keep insisting that inflation will kill the dollar? I”ve heard that story for several years now, but we still don’t have any inflation to speak of here?”

The question came by email from an irate reader and frankly -while prices for food and energy have been on the rise for everyone who occasionally enters a grocery store, inflation in the United States has remained relatively subdued -, in spite of all the warnings.

To answer a question like that however, requires a sense of the laws of economics; in a way it requires a basic understanding of how the jam covered slice of bread on your breakfast plate came into existence.  What used to be a simple process of growing the grains in the Corn Belt, milling it into flour and sending it to bakeries around the nation, has now become a much more intricate process that involves many more steps, resulting in additional transportation. The same goes for the jam and the butter or margarine.
We used to do all of that and more, right here in this country. Not anymore, at least not the entire process. Believe it or not, the large bread and cereal companies in the US get their “raw” product from all over the world. If Brazil’s grain is cheaper than our farmers can produce, That’s where it’s bought and shipped to the US.
Imagine all the stuff we buy in China and India and Europe and Russia and Mexico and Canada and so on. Not only do we buy on terms, with the US Dollar being the Global Reserve Currency (the measuring stick of value) a simple explanation for the phenomenon of not having seen rampant inflation yet, is that it has been “exported” to China and elsewhere through the U.S. Federal Reserve’s monetary policy. And given the perennial U.S. balance of payments deficit, it’s good to know the country has found something it can successfully export!

Ronald McKinnon, a professor at Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Stanford Institution for Economic Policy Research, wrote in the Wall Street Journal of January 18th:

“The U.S. is a sovereign country that has the right to follow its own monetary policy. By an accident of history, however, since 1945 it is also the center of the world dollar standard—which remains surprisingly robust to the present day. So the choice of monetary policy by the Federal Reserve can strongly affect its neighbors for better or for worse.
Beginning with the Nixon shock in 1971, American policy makers have frequently ignored foreign complaints. But by ignoring inflationary early warning signs on the dollar standard’s periphery, which in turn lead to rising domestic prices and asset bubbles, the Fed has made both the world and American economies much less stable.

So now the signs are on the wall that the world is catching up on our inflation game and in 2011 it may boomerang back to make life on Main Street miserable. Why do I say “MAY”, because in today’s interconnected world politics have entered pure economics with a vengeance and the game changes daily. The Butterfly Effect is in full force. If the 80 million people in Egypt are finally standing up against a 30 year dictatorship, that over time has lost contact with reality, it will have noticeable consequences directly and indirectly. It may ring in another period of heightened stress and escalation of violence in the Middle East or launch the area into a defining slide into modern progress. If it ignites neighbor Saudi Arabia on the other side of the Red Sea, oil prices will skyrocket and any production and distribution process that requires transportation, will inflate far beyond what the federal reserve is doing in its process to destabilize the dollar.
Of course there are precautions we can take to combat higher prices and preserve our wealth, but you need to a. accept the fact that it will happen and b. be in a position to prepare for it.

U.S. monetary policy has involved excessive money creation since 1995, fueling asset bubble after asset bubble. However, it has not produced inflation in the United States because the dollar (still) is the world’s reserve currency, which means that excess dollars flow to countries whose economies are more vulnerable to inflationary pressures.

In the 1990s, the excess dollars flowed to Argentina, whose currency was pegged to the dollar. Many Central American and Caribbean Nations have their currency pegged to the dollar as well. For Argentina, things went dreadfully wrong as the imported inflation wrecked Argentina’s sound fiscal policies of that decade and contributed to a debt-fueled collapse in 2001. When Argentina defaulted on its National Debt, it did so because it felt it was the victim of financial manipulation, much in the same way Credit Card debt in America is viewed in Main Street America these days.
Since 2008, almost the total of our excess dollars have gone to China, India, Brazil and other fast-growing emerging markets. It also has fueled a massive growth in foreign exchange reserves among the world’s central banks. Central bank holdings of forex reserve have grown more than 16% per year since 1998 or doubled almost 3 times in 12 years.
As a result China, India, and Brazil all currently have massive inflation problems.

China, which has increased its inflation by holding down its currency against the dollar, has been very proactive in tackling inflation as of late. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) surprised the markets on Christmas Day and then again in early January by substantially raising its one-year refinancing rate and increasing the benchmark deposit rate.
Its Federal Reserve has increased bank reserve requirements five times in the past year and raised interest rates twice – albeit by a scant 0.25% each time.
China’s official inflation rate currently is 5.1%, up from 1.5% at the beginning of 2010, but its figures are suspect. The PBOC probably will have to raise its benchmark rate several more times from its current level of 5.81% before it’s able to bring inflation under control.

India’s inflation is about 7.5%, but is expected to rise further since food prices are surging at double-digit rates. Prices for onions, for instance, are up 33% from last year. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is again raising interest rates, now at 6.25%. But, as in China, sloppiness in official inflation statistics means Indian interest rates are negative in real terms and the RBI will have to continue raising rates if it wants to control inflation.

Brazilian inflation was 5.91% in December and is rising fast. Newly elected President Dilma Rousseff fired the central bank chief and is trying to bring interest rates down from their current level of 10.75%. Again, inflation seems likely to surge in the near term.

To complete the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) picture, Russian inflation is currently running at 8.8%. That’s down from a year ago, but still much higher than the Russian government would like it to be.
With inflation rising in all four BRIC countries and many other emerging markets, the U.S. holiday from inflation cannot last much longer. The Fed’s second round of quantitative easing (QE2), which included purchases of $600 billion in Treasury bonds before July, and the December package of tax cuts are also fueling inflationary forces.

Furthermore, oil prices before the Egypt unrest, were already touching $100 a barrel  and other commodity prices are strong as well. So however successful the Fed has been in exporting inflation, its success won’t last for much longer. At some point this year, inflation will be re-imported – and probably with a roar rather than a whisper.

When that happens, the Fed will have to raise interest rates to fight rising prices. Of course, the Federal Reserve will almost certainly resist this inevitability, fudging figures and producing spurious arguments to avoid making the right decision. When the Fed does eventually raise rates, it will do so grudgingly – as it did during the period from 2004 to 2007.

That means higher short-term interest rates probably won’t arrive until 2012, and higher long-term rates could potentially be delayed by more quantitative easing. The result will be an unholy mess that takes the form of surging inflation and a second recessionary “dip”.
Since it is impossible to give an exact timing of when this is going to happen, I once again reiterate that gold, silver and other commodities will continue to offer protection against the surge in inflation in 2011, as they have done in the last few years. At some point, though, the market will start to anticipate tighter Fed policy and gold and other commodities prices will collapse.

And that’s why I suggest to start looking at Real Estate again for part of your portfolio. The prices may have another 10% drop in them before reaching bottom, but smart action is to line up cash, bank credit approvals and a potential property list now. Check out on the local market the Palms of Amelia Townhouse complex, which is in bank foreclosure and units are offered between $67,500 and $77,500 for 2 and 3 bedrooms. In the height of the market they sold for $229,000 to $255,000, which calculates to a 70% drop. As the units easily rent at $850 a month or more, this investment would bring instant monthly cash. Contact Lila Keim at 904 753 3944 if you want more information.

The coming inflation will only add to the attraction, as long as you apply for long term loans with fixed rates and no early payment penalties. Understanding inflation is a major wealth producer for the individual, and a major economic stability wrecker for a country. Isn’t that ironic!

Feb 1st Fernandina City Commission Agenda

Feb 1st Fernandina City Commission AgendaHere is the agenda for the February 1, 2011, meeting of the Commissioners in Fernandina Beach, Florida.

The meeting will be held at City Hall on Ash Street, on Amelia Island.

1. CALL TO ORDER
2. ROLL CALL
3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE / INVOCATION – Invocation by Rev. Helton of Amelia Baptist Church

4. CONSENT AGENDA
4.1 FACILITIES USE AGREEMENT – GEORGIA NATIONAL GUARD – RESOLUTION 2011-07 APPROVING A FACILITY USE AGREEMENT WITH THE 117th AIR CONTROL SQUADRON GEORGIA AIR NATIONAL GUARD TO CONDUCT ITS TWO-WEEK ANNUAL FIELD TRAINING IN APRIL, 2011; AUTHORIZING EXECUTION; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Approves the use of Airport property by the Georgia Air National Guard from April 5-15, 2011.

5. REQUESTS FROM THE PUBLIC TO BE HEARD ON ITEMS NOT ON THE AGENDA
5.1 CITY RESIDENTS
5.2 NON-CITY RESIDENTS

6. RESOLUTIONS
6.1 UNDERGROUND UTILITY COMMITTEE – RESOLUTION 2011-08 ACCEPTING THE FINAL REPORT AND PROPOSED WORK PLAN OF THE AD HOC UNDERGROUND UTILITY COMMITTEE; FINDING THAT THE AD HOC UNDERGROUND UTILITY COMMITTEE HAS FULFILLED THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH IT WAS ORIGINALLY ESTABLISHED; OFFERING APPRECIATION TO ALL THE MEMBERS OF THE BOARD FOR THEIR SERVICE TO THE CITY: SUNSETTING AND DE-CONSTITUTING THE AD HOC UNDERGROUND UTILITY COMMITTEE; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Accepts the Final Report and Proposed Plan Revisions as submitted by the Underground Utility Committee and sunsets the Committee.
6.2 WITHHOLDING OF IMPACT FEES – HABITAT FOR HUMANITY – RESOLUTION 2011-09 APPROVING NASSAU HABITAT FOR HUMANITY’S APPLICATION TO WITHHOLD COLLECTION OF CITY IMPACT FEES FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF FOUR (4) AFFORDABLE HOUSING UNITS TO BE LOCATED AT 514 AND 518 S. 13TH TERRACE AND 313 AND 1102 S. 10TH STREET FOR A TOTAL OF $9,761.31; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Approves the Impact Fee Withholding for four (4) Nassau Habitat for Humanity affordable housing units located at 514 and 518 South 13th Terrace and 313 and 1102 South 10th Street.
6.3 AMENDING FUNDING PERCENTAGES REALTED TO THE BGCO CHANGE ORDER AND PASSERO WORK ORDER FOR WORK AT THE AIRPORT – RESOLUTION 2011-10 AMENDING RESOLUTION 2010-158 BY ELIMINATING FDOT FUNDING FROM CHANGE ORDER NO. 1 FROM BGCO, INC. FOR TAXIWAY “B” REHABILITATION AND TAXIWAY “E” CONSTRUCTION AND DRAINAGE IMPROVEMENTS AND THE AMENDMENT TO WORK ORDER NO. 10-29R-1 FROM PASSERO ASSOCIATES FOR ADDITIONAL SERVICES, AT THE FERNANDINA BEACH MUNICIPAL AIRPORT; AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF DOCUMENTS; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Amends Resolution 2010-158 by eliminating the FDOT funding pertaining to Change Order No. 1 with BGCO and to Work Order 10-29R-1 with Passero Associates.
6.4 BUDGET AMENDMENTS – RESOLUTION 2011-11 APPROVING AMENDMENTS TO THE BUDGET FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 2010-2011 BUDGET; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Transfers funds for unbudgeted unemployment costs and legal fees related to the McGill litigation.

7. ORDINANCES – FIRST READING
7.1 CODE AMENDMENT – SPECIAL MAGISTRATE – ORDINANCE 2011-01 AMENDING SECTION 1-12 OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES BY PROVIDING FOR CODE ENFORCEMENT THROUGH CITATIONS AND APPEALS TO A SPECIAL MAGISTRATE; AMENDING SECTION 42-147 BY PROVIDING FOR APPEALS OF NOISE CITATIONS TO A SPECIAL MAGISTRATE; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Amends Section 1-12 and 42-147 of the City Code to provide for Appeals of Citations to a Special Magistrate.
7.2 CODE AMENDMENT – PARKING REGULATIONS AND FINES – ORDINANCE 2011-02 AMENDING THE CITY CODE OF ORDINANCES CHAPTER 78, ARTICLE III, STOPPING, STANDING AND PARKING, DIVISION I GENERALLY, BY AMENDING SECTION 78-77 TO PROHIBIT OVERNIGHT PARKING WITHOUT A PERMIT; AMENDING SECTION 78-91 REGARDING ADMINISTRATIVE FEES (FINES) FOR PARKING VIOLATIONS; AMENDING SECTION 78-92 ISSUANCE AND DISPOSITION OF CITATION; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Amends Chapter 78 to prohibit overnight parking in certain City parking lots, to increase Parking Administrative Fees (Fines) and Appeals to a Special Magistrate.

8. BOARD APPOINTMENTS
8.1 PLANNING ADVISORY BOARD – 1 Appointment.

9. CITY MANAGER REPORTS
10. CITY ATTORNEY REPORTS
11. CITY CLERK REPORTS
12. MAYOR/COMMISSIONER COMMENTS
13. ADJOURNMENT

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Dutch Girl Photo Studio Opens Coming Tuesday

And then there were three...

Belgium born Silvy Tompkins moved to the US a bit over 8 years ago with her husband whom she had met while on military duty in that country. She had studied photography and art the Fine Arts Academy in her country, followed by a 3 year apprentice ship with a Wedding Photographer.

Her American adventure started out in Battle Creek, MI with a portrait studio, but when her husband’s job moved them to Jesup Georgia, the climate and the ocean did the rest. She has been running Photographic Portraits in that town for 4 years and plans to maintain the reputation she already build there, with the help of assistants and the commitment of a 3 hour commute several days a week.

A couple weeks ago we were invited to test drive the new Peruvian cuisine at Picante in the Verizon Stripmall on A1A and while parking the car, we saw a sign on one of the other store fronts that said “Dutch Girl Photography Studio”. Being partial to both ‘Dutch’ and ‘Photography’ as important keywords in my life, I checked out the websites and found that Silvy does exceptional work with babies and children, as well a more racy side line she calls Red Heels Boudoir.

Obviously having started out in Wedding Photography, that line still carries an important stamp on her work both in the studio and on location. People photography in all its aspects seem to be her real interest and she creates environments and circumstances to be naturally dramatic and enhancing. Examples of a variety of special events for children she organizes are Spring Fairies, Mermaid Lagoon, Pretty Princess, whereby she offers a session with hair and make up services as well as a lot of seasonal sessions like Easter, Christmas, Santa etc… events that children truly enjoy. And for women she offers a special feel good service in the Red Heels Boudoir sessions. Go to the website to find out what that entails!
Bookmark the website, as shortly she will have the calendar online with all the upcoming events.

If you want to see more of her work, you’re invited to come to the Grand Opening of the Studio on Tuesday February 1st from 4-7 with light refreshments and drinks and some great door prizes. Think about it! Valentine’s Day is on the door step and a professional photo session would be a great gift.

Spirituality can be breathtaking

The Helix Nebula sometimes called the "Eye of God"

I have been a friend of Alex Green and his weekly Spiritual Wealth email since he published his first one a couple or 3 years ago. As Investment Director for the Oxford Club , I have always been impressed by his spot on analytical mind, so ever since he finally took the nerve and curve to show the world his other side with the Spiritual Wealth newsletter, I have been a loyal follower. Having spent some time in Tibet in my much younger year’s made me move from organized religion, which I consider my outer being to spirituality (my inner being) in my beliefs and when Alex sent this email last night I knew I wanted to share it with you, pictures and all.

This week I also got an email from Rick Traum, who as a retired producer of the Tonight Show, is now searching for metaphysical and spiritual ideas to introduce his wife Nadine Vaughan’s highly spiritual novel: “Native Land, Lost in the Mystery of Time.

He sent me a link to a youTube video that turned out to be an entire series of incredibly beautiful and mystical video introductions to the ancient parts of Mexico. If you have a spare hour, it’ll be much worth your time.

A Spiritual High at 1,400 feet – by Alex Green

Totoco Eco-Lodge in Nicaragua

I’ve just returned from an investment conference at the Four Seasons Resort in Costa Rica, followed by a real-estate expedition to Agora’s beautiful Rancho Santana development on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua.

Our trip took an adventurous turn, however, when a small group of us traveled on to the Totoco Eco-Lodge on Ometepe, an island formed by two volcanoes rising from Lake Nicaragua, the biggest lake in Central America and home to rare freshwater sharks that – I am not making this up – get there by jumping like salmon up the rapids of the San Juan River.

What is an eco-lodge, exactly? It’s not the Waldorf, I can tell you that. The first night I slept under mosquito netting in a bunk bed in an open room (without doors or windows) with a dozen or so other intrepid travelers, many of whom were terrific snorers.

We were smack in the middle of a nature preserve – and Ometepe is home to hundreds of howler monkeys, small primates with an outsized roar that sounds like a cross between an elephant seal and someone getting violently ill.

Howlers get particularly noisy around dawn, which in Nicaragua arrives at an unspeakable hour. Lying in bed listening to them – you have no other choice – you’d swear the forest is full of lions and tigers. It’s not, of course, but the howlers certainly lend a touch of authenticity to the experience.

Our first day there, we noticed that men and women returning from a hike up the nearby Maderas volcano were absolutely encased in mud. “How careless can you get?” we laughed. We had no idea what we were talking about.

Early Sunday morning, five of us – and a local Nicaraguan guide – embarked on the vigorous nine-hour round-trip hike up the volcano, which soars 1,400 feet above sea level. Maderas is dormant. It hasn’t been active since the 13th century. But Concepción, smoldering ominously next door, erupted violently last year.

Our hike was idyllic at first. Crisscrossing the rainforest, we passed coffee, plantain and cacao trees. The bushes were filled with exotic flowers, butterflies, fork-tailed hummingbirds and bright-green parrots. We passed under troops of white-faced and howler monkeys – and marveled at ancient petroglyphs, rock engravings left by indigenous Indians dating to 300 B.C.

A couple miles up, we entered a cloud forest and the dirt path turned into a soggy climb through mud and clay. Often the only way to advance was by grabbing rocks or tree branches and pulling yourself up the trail. We landed on our rear ends more than once, but before long the shrieks and groans turned into peals of laughter. Our clothes and shoes were ruined but we pressed on.

Hikers on their way down rhapsodized about the view from the peak and told us about a beautiful lagoon in the center of the caldera. “Unfortunately, the water is too cold to swim,” they said.

When we got there, of course, we swam anyway.
My friend and colleague Dave Fessler was the first to step in and immediately sank to his knees in muck. Another step forward and he sank to his thigh – and kept going. Before long the other hikers splashed in behind him.

Listening to them shouting and waving, it was depressingly clear that I too was about to experience the frigid water and the most disgusting lake bottom imaginable. (And I grew up in the country, swimming in ponds.)

Relieved to be off the trail, my buddies cavorted about, covering themselves with muck and acting like giddy teenagers. You wouldn’t know it from the photo (below) but this was an alcohol-free afternoon.

Refreshed at last, we toweled off, made short work of a bag of chicken-salad sandwiches and climbed back up to the rim.

Lake Nicaragua between two volcanoes

The view from the peak, across the rainforest, beyond towering Concepción and out to the blue waters of Lake Nicaragua, was simply spectacular.
“Woo-hoo,” yelled one group member, “what a sight!”
“What a day!” shouted another.
“What a life!” added another, summing up what all five of us felt.
Despite our long trek, it was only noon. Dave looked down at his watch. “My brother is in church right now,” he said.
Then shading his eyes and gazing out across the horizon, he added, “And so am I.”

Carpe Diem,
Alex

EABC had its One Year Anniversary Celebration

EABC celebrates One Year Anniversary

Almost next door to where it all started just a short year ago at the Amelia Island Chamber of Commerce, the European American Business Club held its first anniversary celebration last week at the offices of the Compass Group in the Gateway office park.

The turn out of the networking club that was started by Helmuth Albrecht and Tim Burningham was substantial, as the club saw its membership over the year grow from a handful to more than 100 members. This clearly underlines the desire for an exchange platform here in Nassau County as the club entertains thought of expanding into just being international.
Just the other day SearchAmelia was approached by a woman from Finland who had just followed her husband to Amelia Island and was looking to be hooked up in a volunteer position with an organization locally that deals with mentally challenged and handicapped people. She got all available information within an hour!!

During the celebration, which was unusually sober, as the club is known to mingle after the introductions and speeches with light alcoholic beverages and fingerfoods, new ideas were brought to the table for this year’s planned meetings and outings, with a strong accent on information exchange.

The best meetings last year included a Sunset Amelia Rivercruise, a Pétanque Warehouse presentation, a meeting at the Yachtclub at Oyster Bay Harbour, a meeting at the Museum of History, a meeting at WaterWheel Gallery and the impressive BellyDance performance afterwards, and definitely the December meeting with Lila Keim and Team Werling, followed by a Trolley ride to see the Christmas lights around the island.

For the coming year the Club is looking to up the ante with more informative exchanges and networking without losing sight of the social aspect, which all members appreciate.
During the celebration meeting I introduced Jeannie Higginbotham, owner of Lashem-n-Leavem, who just opened a specialty beauty salon at the Palmetto Walk Shopping Village and Specialty Photographer Silvy Tompkins, originally from Belgium, who just weeks earlier arrived on island with her husband, whom she met in Belgium while being in the military.

One of the real joys of being a member of the EABC is the pleasure of interacting with some highly talented people, which is why I suggested for one meeting to have all the visual artists in the Club do a small exhibition of paintings, sculptures, photos, poems and even people art.

Completing the tradition from last year’s launch was a short trip across the parking lot to Barbara Jean’s after hour bar, where we improved on last year performance. If you want to know more about the EABC check out their website www.eabcnetwork.com and if you’re looking to become a member – there is (so far) no membership fee – send us an email and get invited for the next meeting on the second Wednesday of the month (always).

Valentine’s Weekend at Omni Amelia Island

Valentines Day at Omni Amelia Island

Amelia Island Valentine

Amelia Island, FL – The Omni Amelia Island Plantation offers a variety of romantic activities for Valentine’s Day Weekend from a new romance package to a beachside bonfire, a couples’ sunset kayak tour or special Valentine’s dinners at the restaurants.

The Sweet Rendezvous Romance Package is the perfect getaway with luxurious accommodations, sparkling wine, gourmet chocolate truffles, breakfast for two and a late checkout, starting at $307 per night. Cupid (aka an Omni concierge) will also call in advance to customize any additional arrangements to make everything perfect. Plus, couples who get engaged at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation over Valentine’s Day Weekend will receive a complimentary weekend night certificate to use on their honeymoon or other special occasion.

Couples can glide through the marshes at sunset on Sunday, February 13th while naturalists highlight the birds and wildlife as they settle in for the night. The Sunset Kayak tour is available for $100 per couple and reservations can be made by calling 904-261-6161. Each evening February 12th through the 14th, a roaring beachside bonfire and a complimentary glass of Champagne will complete the perfect romantic day, with special desserts available to order.

Kayaking Amelia Island

Kayaking Amelia Island

The Verandah’s five-course prix fixe menu is available February 12th through the 14th and includes Blue Crab Bisque, Verandah Salad, choice of appetizer, seafood or steak entree and dessert. The seven-course prix fixe menu at the Ocean Grill is also available and features an amuse, soup, salad, appetizer, main course and dessert. For restaurant reservations, call 904-321-5050.

For those looking for a romantic evening at home, Marché Burette is offering a dinner-to-go, which includes two Beef Wellingtons with Madeira sauce, roasted vegetables, twice baked potatoes and dessert. Orders must be placed at least 48 hours in advance and may be made by calling 904-491-4834.

The Shops & Spa at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation will also feature Valentine’s Day Weekend specials, including a Cupid Card which can be entered to win a $150 romantic gift basket and other unique offers at Harrison’s Mercantile, Resort to Home, Amelia’s Signature Shop and more. A Gourmet Chocolate Tasting will also be featured in Marché Burette and the Spa at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation is offering a 25% discount on the new I am perfume line. Extended hours for the Just for Kids evening program are being offered February 11th through 14th.

For more information about Valentine’s Day Weekend, guests can visit the website or call 904-261-6161.

As Genghis Kahn turns around in his grave

Gold Rush in Mongolia

As mining is not necessarily on the forefront of our thoughts here in Florida, we generally don’t see too much information about the ‘dirty’ side of industrial production. So when the Mongolian government lobbed a large artillery shell into the center of the international mining camp on last November, the message did little to upset us and was probably not even reported at all by main stream media here. Nevertheless, by announcing that it was suspending close to 1,800 mining licenses nearly half of the country’s total of 4,000 licenses are at stake, including 254 gold mining licenses. And funny enough that got me thinking about the James Bond classic “Goldfinger”.

Mr. Goldfinger in the movie gave the impression that he was going to steal all the gold in Fort Knox, presumably the place where the US Federal Reserve holds its reserves in the precious metal – well at least in 1964 when the movie came out. But Mr. Goldfinger was smarter than that, he was going to contaminate Fort Knox’s reserves for 56 years, which would drive up the price of gold as a result of the law of supply and demand. Obviously he had previously done some heavy investing in gold himself, so he would be the beneficiary of the skyrocketing gold prices. Of course Mr. Bond foiled the attempt, so that President Nixon less than 8 years later took America of the gold standard and introduced the paper standard – or in layman’s terms he said: “This paper represents the US Government and is therefore as good as gold.”

As they say the rest is basically history, so I won’t have to further go into that.
Back to Mongolia, the birth ground of warriors and conquerors, spearheaded by the notorious Genghis Kahn, several centuries ago, now seemingly has turned into a Desert Nation of Green hippies.

At issue is a law passed in July 2009 that prohibits mining in forests and river basins. Although such areas account for less than 10% of a country that is largely desert, many Mongolians consider the ground sacred and are reluctant to dig, fearing it may upset the balance of nature. In October, green groups staged protests in Ulan Bator, demanding that the government resign if it did not crack down on environmental offenders.

Wedged between China and Russia's Siberia lies Mongolia

The Resources and Energy Ministry, which is conducting the review, stated that the names of the affected companies would be released within a few days, but so far that information has not been forthcoming.
No doubt, nerves are starting to fray in some quarters. Mongolia – with its rich deposits of copper, gold, uranium, silver, and oil – has attracted increasing investment interest in recent years. Companies from the world’s largest miners to small Canadian startups have set up shop there. Just last year, after years of negotiations, the government agreed to a multi-billion-dollar deal with Ivanhoe Mines and Rio Tinto to develop one of the planet’s premier copper deposits.

Might even that be in jeopardy? Nobody knows.
What we do know is that we’ve seen this movie before. Mongolia has had an on-again/off-again relationship with the mining business ever since the underground goodies were first discovered. Licenses have been revoked in the past and reinstated, as officials seemingly have struggled to balance development with preservation of the country’s unique culture.

When I grew up in the 60s in Western Europe, I learned that what seems obvious is not always a clear representation of the truth. We saw urban terrorist groups such as the Baader Meinhoff group and Brigati Rossi, being heavily financed by the Soviet Union to create chaos and mayhem far beyond their support in the streets. You start thinking a bit differently after those experiences.
I wonder if Mongolia is not having a couple of aces up their sleeves when it comes to manipulating the gold and copper prices. Just a thought.

Police Captain Jim Coe Retires

Police Captain Jim Coe Retires

Marcia and Jim Coe

Fernandina Beach Police Captain Jim Coe retired after 16 years and was honored at an awards ceremony on January 7, 2011.

Captain Coe was born in Detroit, MI and joined the United States Marine Corp in 1968. He began his career with the Fernandina Beach Police Department in January 1995 as a Patrol Officer and was transferred to the Investigative Unit within the same year, a testament to his ability.

He was promoted to Sergeant just four years later in 1999, and to Lieutenant the same year, a rare accomplishment that again speaks to his exceptional character and desire to succeed. Chief Hurley promoted Coe to Captain in July 2006.

Jim is a graduate of the prestigious FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia and he has a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and is a certified voice stress analyzer.

Coe’s dedication and service to the community include being Fernandina Beach Police Department’s Officer of the Year in 1998. He has been involved in numerous community events and fund-raisers, such as Shop with Cops. He event lent his investigative expertise and literary talents to the Nassau County Writers and Poets Society, consulting and writing a few chapters of their murder mystery novel Murder in Fernandina.

Team SearchAmelia would like to express our very best wishes for you and your future endeavors!

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