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August 2nd Fernandina Commissioner Meeting

August 2nd Fernandina Commissioner MeetingHere is the agenda for the August 2nd meeting of the Fernandina Beach City Commission. The meeting will begin at 6:00 pm at City Hall on Ash Street in historic Fernandina Beach, Florida.

AGENDA

1. CALL TO ORDER
2. ROLL CALL
3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE/Invocation by Bruce Malcolm, American Legion Chaplain, Post 54.
4. PROCLAMATIONS/PRESENTATION
4.1 PROCLAMATION – RECOGNITION OF THE OCEAN RESCUE DIVISION AND THE FERNANDINA BEACH FIRE RESCUE DEPARTMENT – Proclamation recognizing the Ocean Rescue Division and the Fernandina Beach Fire Rescue Department personnel in working together on a recent medical emergency and transport.
4.2 PROCLAMATION – INTERNATIONAL HOMELESS ANIMALS’ DAY AND HOMELESS ANIMALS’ MONTH – Proclaims August 20, 2011, as “International Homeless Animals Day” and the month of August, 2011, as “Homeless Animals’ Month”. Ms. Beth Hackney, President of Cat’s Angels, Inc., SPCA, will be present to accept the Proclamation.
4.3 RESOLUTION – HONORING WILLIAM CONGER – RESOLUTION 2011-98 EXPRESSING ITS GRATITUDE FOR OUTSTANDING SERVICES RENDERED BY MR. WILLIAM CONGER, AS A MEMBER OF THE PLANNING ADVISORY BOARD AND THE LOCAL PLANNING AGENCY FOR THE CITY OF FERNANDINA BEACH, FLORIDA.
Synopsis: Honors Mr. William (Bill) Conger for 15 years of dedicated service as a member of the PAB.
4.4 RESOLUTION – HONORING TROY PITTS – RESOLUTION 2011-99 EXPRESSING ITS GRATITUDE FOR OUTSTANDING SERVICES RENDERED BY MR. TROY PITTS, AS A MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE FIRE AND POLICE PENSION PLAN FOR OUR POLICE OFFICERS AND FIRE FIGHTERS OF THE CITY OF FERNANDINA BEACH, FLORIDA.
Synopsis: Honors Mr. Troy Pitts for 22 years of dedicated service on the Board of Trustees of the Fire and Police Pension Plan.

5. CONSENT AGENDA
5.1 APPROVAL OF MINUTES – Work Session – July 19, 2011; Regular Meeting – July 19, 2011.
5.2 APPROVING TASK ORDER 1 – OLSEN ASSOCIATES – RESOLUTION 2011-100 APPROVING TASK ORDER #2011-01 WITH OLSEN ASSOCIATES, INC. FOR THE NASSAU COUNTY SHORE PROTECTION PROJECT – PHYSICAL MONITORING PLAN – 2011; AUTHORIZING EXECUTION; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Approves Task Order 2011-01 in the amount of $99,230 with Olsen Associates, Inc.
5.3 AWARD OF BID #11-17 – ASPHALT PAVING SYSTEMS, INC. – RESOLUTION 2011-101 AWARDING BID #11-17 FOR MINOR STREET RESURFACING TO ASPHALT PAVING SYSTEMS, INC. FOR THE 2010/2011 FISCAL YEAR; AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF DOCUMENTS; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Awards Bid #11-17 for resurfacing of various City streets to Asphalt Paving Systems, Inc. in the amount of $55,946.25.
5.4 AWARD OF ANNUAL BIDS #11-07, #11-08, AND #11-10 – RESOLUTION 2011-102 AWARDING ANNUAL BID #11-07 FOR COLD MIX, #11-08 FOR #57 STONE AGGREGATE, AND #11-10 FOR LIMEROCK FOR THE 2011/2012 FISCAL YEAR; AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF DOCUMENTS; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Awards Bid #11-07 to MTS-Myers Tractor Service, #11-08 to Pritchett Trucking, Inc., and #11-10 to Liberty Trucking.
5.5 AMENDING THE MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR THE AIRPORT – RESOLUTION 2011-103 AMENDING THE AIRPORT MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR COMMERCIAL AERONAUTICAL ACTIVITIES ON FERNANDINA BEACH MUNICIPAL AIRPORT; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Approves amending the Airport Minimum Standards for Commercial Aeronautical Activities at the City’s Airport.
5.6 AMENDING ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING DESIGN STANDARDS – AIRPORT – RESOLUTION 2011-104 AMENDING THE ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING DESIGN STANDARDS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT ON FERNANDINA BEACH MUNICIPAL AIRPORT; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Approves amending the Architecture and Building Design Standards for development on the City’s Airport.
5.7 AUTHORIZING GRANT APPLICATION – COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT – RESOLUTION 2011-105 AUTHORIZING THE SUBMISSION OF ONE (1) SMALL CITIES COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT – HOUSING CATEGORY APPLICATION TO THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY AFFAIRS (DCA) FOR THE PURPOSE OF REHABBING OR DEMOLISHING AND REPLACING A MINIMUM OF TEN HOMES OWNED BY AND SERVING AS A PRIMARY RESIDENCE OF PERSONS WITH VERY LOW-, LOW-, AND MODERATE-INCOMES AS DEFINED BY DCA; COMMITTING TO THE CITY’S CONTRIBUTION; AUTHORIZING EXECUTION; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Authorizes the submission of a grant application to DCA in the amount of $700,000 for a Rehab/Demolish/Relocate Program for a minimum of ten (10) houses owned by low-income persons and used as their primary residence.
5.8 ADOPTING A HOUSING ASSISTANCE PLAN – RESOLUTION 2011-106 ADOPTING A HOUSING ASSISTANCE PLAN (HAP); AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Adopts a Housing Assistance Plan for the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant Housing Program.
5.9 BUDGET AMENDMENT – MARINA DEPARTMENT – RESOLUTION 2011-107 APPROVING AN AMENDMENT TO THE 2010/2011 FISCAL YEAR BUDGET FOR UNBUDGETED UNEMPLOYMENT COSTS IN THE MARINA FUND; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Approves a budget amendment in the amount of $1,926 for 2nd Quarter Unemployment costs.

6. REQUESTS FROM THE PUBLIC TO BE HEARD ON ITEMS NOT ON THE AGENDA
6.1 CITY RESIDENTS
6.2 NON-CITY RESIDENTS

7. RESOLUTIONS
7.1 TENTATIVE MILLAGE RATE FOR FY 2011/2012 – RESOLUTION 2011-108 SETTING A TENTATIVE MILLAGE RATE FOR OPERATING EXPENSES FOR THE CITY FOR FISCAL YEAR 2011-2012; SETTING THE TENTATIVE MILLAGE RATE FOR VOTER APPROVED DEBT SERVICE; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Establishes the Tentative Operating and Voter Approved Debt Millage Rates for FY 11/12.
7.2 AUTHORIZING GRANT AGREEMENT – FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION – RESOLUTION 2011-109 AUTHORIZING A GRANT AGREEMENT (FINANCIAL PROJECT #42992819412) BETWEEN THE CITY AND THE STATE OF FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (FDOT) FOR RUNWAYS 8/26 AND 4/22 SHOULDER REHABILITATION AT FERNANDINA BEACH MUNICIPAL AIRPORT, AUTHORIZING EXECUTION; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Authorizes a Grant Agreement with Florida Department of Transportation for Runway 8/26 and Runway 4/22 Shoulder Rehabilitation at the City’s Airport.
7.3 ASSIGNMENT OF LEASE – AMELIA RIVER GOLF COURSE – RESOLUTION 2011-110 APPROVING THE ASSIGNMENT AND ASSUMPTION OF LEASE BY AND BETWEEN THE SUMMERTON INN, INC., AS ASSIGNOR, AND AMELIA RIVER GOLF, LLC, AS ASSIGNEE, FOR REAL PROPERTY ABUTTING THE CITY AIRPORT AND KNOWN AS AMELIA RIVER GOLF CLUB; AND PROVIDING FOR EXECUTION BY THE CITY OF RELEVANT DOCUMENTS AS LANDLORD; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Approves the assignment and assumption of the lease by and between the Summerton Inn, Inc. and Amelia River Golf, LLC.

8. ORDINANCES – FIRST READING
8.1 AMENDING ORDINANCE 2011-11 – POLICE AND FIRE EMPLOYEES PENSION PLAN AMENDMENTS – ORDINANCE 2011-17 AMENDING ORDINANCE 2011-11 AND CHAPTER 62, PERSONNEL, ARTICLE IV, FIREFIGHTERS AND POLICE OFFICERS PENSION PLAN, OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF FERNANDINA BEACH; AMENDING SECTION 62-114, FINANCES AND FUND MANAGEMENT; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY OF PROVISIONS; REPEALING ALL ORDINANCES IN CONFLICT HEREWITH AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Approves an amendment to Chapter 62 of the City’s Code regarding Finances and Fund Management allowing the fund managers to invest in a broader variety of securities, investment vehicles or property upon approval by the pension board.

9. ORDINANCES – SECOND READING
9.1 CODE AMENDMENT – RV AND TRAILER PARKING – ORDINANCE 2011-15 AMENDING ORDINANCE 2011-02 AND AMENDING THE CITY CODE OF ORDINANCES CHAPTER 78, ARTICLE III, STOPPING, STANDING AND PARKING, DIVISION I GENERALLY, BY AMENDING SECTION 78-84 TO PROHIBIT OVERNIGHT PARKING OF RECREATIONAL VEHICLES AND TRAILERS; AMENDING SECTION 78-91 REGARDING ADMINISTRATIVE FEES (FINES) FOR PARKING VIOLATIONS; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Amends the City Code regarding the parking of recreational vehicles and unregistered vehicles.

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

Rotary Programs and Funding

Sharon StanleyAmelia Island, FL – The Rotary Club of Amelia Island Sunrise welcomed Sharon Stanley, Board member and Foundation chairperson for the club, as their Friday morning speaker to talk about the benefits of contributing to The Rotary Foundation.

The mission of The Rotary Foundation is to enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty. Contributions to the Rotary Foundation support both local and global projects identified by Rotarians around the world.

There are thousands of charitable organizations working throughout the world that make a positive impact on those in need. But, The Rotary Foundation is the only charitable organization funded by contributions from Rotarians, for programs and projects identified by Rotarians, and administered by Rotarians at the project site.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded a grant to the The Rotary Foundation of $355 million dollars to help eradicate polio. As of June 2010, Rotary has committed more than $900 million to global polio eradication.

The Rotary Club of Amelia Island Sunrise meets every Friday at 7:30am at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club. For more information about the club or to attend a morning breakfast meeting, please contact president, Katey Breen, at kateybreen@comcast.net or go to www.ameliaislandrotary.com.

Havoc on the Hill

Like Gunslingers watching each other nervously

It is a remark I encounter in increasing numbers and in various disguises.  There is Havoc on the Hill. Many early boomers seem to have lost faith in their country and wonder why and where it went wrong. Last night a friend said: “In many civilized countries in the world, government fears the power of its people; here in the US it’s the other way around.” Another friend said: ” In all the 61 years of my life I never questioned this country’s politicians, but now I do”!

The answer of what is going wrong can be found in an old communist joke that goes like this:

Stalin decides to go out one day and see what it’s really like for the workers, so he puts on a disguise and sneaks out of the Kremlin. After a while he wanders into a cinema. When the film has finished, the Soviet anthem plays and a huge picture of Stalin appears on the screen. Everyone stands up and begins singing, except Stalin, who smugly remains seated.
 After a minute or so a man behind him leans forwards and whispers in his ear: “Listen, Comrade, we all feel exactly the same way you do, but trust me, it’s a lot safer if you just stand up”.

In recent decades Americans have become complacent rather than engaged. Their attitudes reflect the Roman Empire’s citizenry in its years prior to the demise. The Emperors provided food and games to the people, in return for them to stay quiet and at peace. And then one day it was too late and the “Barbarians had already entered the Gates” and the empire imploded.

The latest Washington charades about debt ceilings, deficits and debts, and the way both sides of the fence “defend” their opinions resembles a bunch of gunfighters facing off in a dusty street, hands poised over their six-shooters, eyes nervously shifting – to the eurozone, to the housing markets, to the situation in Japan, to the U.S. government spending, to the crumbling balance sheets of the banks, to the Fed, to China. Everyone is anxiously watching, waiting for someone else to start making the first move. The standoff can’t last – and when the bullets start flying, there will be few places to hide. Make sure you find one because else old Communist Russian humor may just be part of your future. Here are some other old Russian Jokes, you imagine could never happen here in the good ol’ USA. Think again.

• Three workers find themselves locked up, and they ask each other what they’re in for. The first man says, “I was always ten minutes late to work, so I was accused of sabotage.”
The second man says, “I was always ten minutes early to work, so I was accused of espionage.”
The third man says, “I always got to work on time, so I was accused of having a Swiss watch.”

• Q: Why does the KGB operate in groups of three?
A. One can read, one can write, and one keeps an eye on the two intellectuals.

• A man saves up his rubles and is finally able to buy a car in Soviet Russia. After he pays his money, he is told he will have his car in three years.
”Three years!” Then he asks, “What month?”
”August.”
”August? What day in August?” he asks.
”The second of August,” is the reply.
”Morning or afternoon?”
”Afternoon. Why do you need to know?”
”The plumber is coming in the morning.”

• A KGB officer is walking in the park and he sees and old Jewish man reading a book.
The KGB says, “What are you reading, old man?”
The old man says, “I am trying to teach myself Hebrew.”
KGB says, “Why are you trying to learn Hebrew? It takes years to get a visa for Israel. You would die before the paperwork got done.”
”I am learning Hebrew so that when I die and go to heaven I will be able to speak to Abraham and Moses. Hebrew is the language they speak in heaven,” the old man replies. “But what if when you die you go to hell?” asks KGB.
And the old man replies, “Russian I already know.”

I found this funny website called Havoc on the Hill. It puts a brilliantly funny yet serious face on the trouble we’re in. Enjoy

Sunday’s Reflection on Life

Peter Blake I Love YouThis came to me from my cousin who lives on the Western Coast of Florida. Apparently, she is reading SearchAmelia and thought this would make for a great piece of Sunday leisure reading; I thought so, too.

I believe this is a variation of the poem written by Rose Milligan of Lancaster, Lancashire, England.

Remember, a layer of dust protects the Wood beneath it. A house becomes a home when you can write ‘I love you’ on the furniture.

I used to spend at least eight hours every weekend making sure things were just perfect, in case someone came over. Finally I realized one day that no-one came over; they were all out living life and having fun! NOW, when people visit, I don’t have to explain the condition of my home. They are more interested in hearing about the things I’ve been doing while I was away living life and having fun. If you haven’t figured this out yet, please heed this advice.

Life is short. Enjoy it! Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better to paint a picture or write a letter, bake cookies or a cake and lick the spoon or plant a seed, ponder the difference between want and need?

Dust if you must, but house cleaning can wait. We have beer to drink, rivers to swim and mountains to climb, music to hear and books to read, friends to cherish and life to lead.

Enjoy the world that is out there with the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair, a flutter of snow, a shower of rain. This day will not come around, again.

Bear in mind, old age will come and it’s not kind. So dust if you must, but when you go, and go you must, you, yourself will make more dust!

One Year Ago Today

Requiem for Thom Ramakers

This morning it was exactly one year ago that I received that dreadful phone call telling me that my brother, friend and partner in SearchAmelia, had suddenly passed away. It goes beyond saying that I (we) still miss him like yesterday.

Already a full year…365 days…8760 hours and I realize more each passing day that time is just a manmade comparison instrument, that most of the time we are abusing as a measure of quality instead of the quantity that it is. For a long time now I am measuring my life in days, rather than weeks, months or years. Not only does it help me focus better on the value of a day, it also has taught me that life has 3 distinct phases;
• from 0 to 10,000 days (27 years) the formative, creative balls to the wall years. I seriously think that many members of the rapidly expanding 27 Club quite consciously called it quits before 10,000 days of their lives had passed; sometimes because they had decided to get life on track (Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse), but just didn’t make it back and other times because they had lost their way (Kurt Cobain, Brian Jones) completely.

• Between 10 and 20,000 days you’re not supposed to pass away unless the unexpected comes along in the form of accidents or health issues and when you’re entering your 20,000 days plus, you usually know and your eventual passing becomes a friend or foe. But you know that your life has a profile.

• Beyond 30,000 days (and nights) being alive has become a huge gift.

Thom made it to 18864 days, way too young to go, but his maker called him and he went, just like we all will sooner or later. He left big footprints as witnessed by the hundreds of messages of grief and concern and gratitude we received over the year.
Judie and I had serious doubts picking up the technical end of SearchAmelia, without Thom’s guidance and uncanny genius in everything technology. But we did, more as a testimony to the vehicle he left behind for us to go forward from and grow.
We both agree that we have learned more about the techno end of website building and maintainance then we ever wanted, but every time we climb another techno mountain, a proud email goes out when we find the solution. I’m not sure if it was our need to show Thom that we could do it, or our inbred tenacity that forbids failure, but either way it is part of Thom’s Legacy.

We are throwing a memorial party tonight with a group of close friends who knew Thom intimately and we will drink his favorite beverage, Mount Gay Rum with whatever fruit juice you got or else Coke. We will shed a tear and paint a smile on, because we still miss him. We will remember and talk about the many facets of his life.
And yes…at the end of the day we will reflect on the frightening realization how fast a year goes by. When the invitations went out for the party, everyone’s reaction was the same: my God is it already a year ago???

Yes, it’s a year later and I haven’t even changed the registration name on top of his Mac computer, still proudly displaying the name Thom. I don’t think I will ever change it. Not only because it works as a daily reminder, but also because over that year, I found so much more in his computer about his thoughts, his plans, his ideas and his passions, that it helped me carving out a future on the internet; a future in which his invaluable contributions will stay alive.

Thom, I hope you’re walking the fields of gold.

Social Outposts and RSS Feeds

Real Simple Syndication keeps track of time and interest

Social Outposts such as Facebook and Twitter fulfill an important function for those coming rather late to the Internet. The reason Outposts are popular is because they’re easy. Easy to setup because they don’t require any specialized skills, easy to make look nice since you’re coloring within the lines. We all remember the days when Facebook started its relentless march passing teenage sweetheart MySpace with an adjusted platform. I remember telling clients in 2006/2007 to open accounts on Facebook and they all came back to me with the remark that it was too difficult.
Facebook made it simpler and since then acquired almost 600 million users. Social Media Sites, also called Outposts, are valuable and exciting networks. The social web as a whole continues to expand daily in a similar manner as the Universe keeps expanding as I indicated in yesterday’s blog post.

I see the Internet as a 3 lane highway. The high speed passing lane is occupied by professional people like us, who spend most of their waking hours studying, developing and testing internet strategies, creating new venues constantly. There are relatively few people in that lane and movements go fast with mobile being the latest addition. The middle lane is reserved for those who have committed to a web blog or site to brand themselves. They go a bit slower, but still much faster than the slow lane which is massively occupied by the Social Outposts (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.). Because of the sheer volume of traffic in this lane, they are  the ones that are presently catching the spotlight, but the real internet value centers around the middle lane, the one that uses the medium to profile themselves without the limitations of the Social Media designs.

The reason why I’m bringing this up is because stream-based platforms are essentially “a problem in search of a solution”. Everyone within them (just look at Facebook and Twitter) wants something to point at. Something unique, useful, interesting or creative that exists outside the stream. The stream’s purpose isn’t to talk about itself, but rather to find things to talk about, comment on, amplify and share. But here is the warning: many businesses that today feel that a Social Media presence is enough, are missing the boat.

Every Company is a Media Company

Understanding and accepting the notion that every company is a media company, the opportunity that is staring us in the face for the longterm, points at the need to have or start a blog. That is true branding. Appealing to and creating networks of like-minded individuals and groups
Even as social outposts grow in popularity, the ease of spreading new, original and relevant content and ideas just continues to increase. In fact, as the average user decides to forgo a self-hosted platform in favor of yielding their presence to the stream, the opportunity for the company or individual who is above average able and willing to vest the effort to build a real web community – is mind altering. And honestly, that can only be done through time and money investment in appealing, well maintained individual web logs (sites).

A stream based platform, however popular, simply doesn’t foster the same type of community as one that is platform agnostic. To use social networks you don’t own, without having your own self-hosted destination that is updated with frequency and priority, is to act tactically – not strategically. You’re not building any longterm momentum this way.
In addition, social platforms are exclusionary by nature. Not everyone uses every platform and that’s something a lot of people seem to miss. For example by choosing Facebook as your only platform, is a bit like building a brand through the “old-school” mass marketing approach. You spend a lot of time (and possibly money) to reach a market that is unspecified. If you seek to penetrate an entire category and not simply a single network, then becoming a publisher is the answer – the only answer.

Other benefits having a self-hosted blog has over any network you don’t own/self-host:

• Your own domain with clean URLs is still the most accessible, find-able and share-able asset on the web. You do however need to apply Google Places, Maps and Mobile to your profile.
• Blog content can be shared across the web, in any way a user prefers.
• Media have become very comfortable directly reacting and linking to blog content, far more than any micro-content like a Tweet (ephemeral) or a Facebook status update (tough to link to).
• Self-installed analytics packages like Google Analytics or Omniture offer far more detailed and meaningful reports than any data from social sites and provide the full picture – all the way to conversion.
• Once sustainable traffic is build, you can point the firehose of traffic at any outpost you have a page on and grow it. For example SearchAmelia has a 43% traffic build through Facebook and 19% through Twitter.
• Three words: search engine traffic.
• A truly creative, personalized design that is as you define it, not constrained by someone else’s rules.
• On blogs, archives are valuable and continue to be re-shared and used to thread the past with the future. In stream-based platforms like Facebook, today’s updates are lost to eternity by the time tomorrow comes around or in search terms, page 2 might as well be page 90. At SearchAmelia we are sometime amazed getting comments on stories that were posted one or two years ago!
• You can run calls to action next to your content and get to an outcome (leads generated, talent solicited, ads clicked – up to you!).
• Traffic is distributed with a self-hosted blog: if one source dies up, there are many more.

You can build opt in at the source, bypassing the noise of the real-time web and distribute content directly to high value (but unloved) email and RSS readers. This is essential if you want to capture your markets within the time constraints that everyone has these days. An RSS (Real Simple Syndication) feed allows your followers to pull valuable information from your site, rather than you trying to push it upon them. It also supports the two way communication module that is called Web 3.0 Here is a short video in plain English on how to set this up.

Of course the early adopters of the Bell Curve will continue to voice the message that “blogs are dead”. Interestingly enough however, you’ll notice the most popular place they do this is on …you guessed it, other blogs. It’s essentially an absurd conversation. My advise is to ignore this and instead focus on reality: that the single best place to build a voice for you or your brand and dominate your category remains blogging.

Remember, you are not just another web user. As someone reading this post: whether a marketer, an artist or an entrepreneur, you’re hardly average. Rather you’re looking for the most potent approach to share ideas. I know it requires work, but to think doing so does not, is naive.
The waves of change on the web don’t knock over the past, unless your equity is tied up in a single network. A distributed presence not only provides accessibility, it provides security.

It’s still a great time to start a blog, but every day you wait is another day you fall behind savvy competitors who haven’t been taken in by the hype of Social Outposts.

Sheryl Crow Auctions her Mercedes for Charity

Sheryl Crow Auctions her Mercedes for Charity

Sheryl Crow Auctions her Mercedes for Charity

Sheryl Crow Shines Her Light on Rebuilding Joplin, Missouri Schools Post-Tornado via Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach Auctions Next Month Grammy Award-Winning Artist Sheryl Crow will Auction her 1959 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster in Pebble Beach to Benefit the Community Foundation of the Ozarks’ Joplin Schools Recovery Fund.

Santa Monica, CAGooding & Company, the world’s leading auction house for collectors of rare and exceptional cars, is honored to announce that Sheryl Crow will auction her personal 1959 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster in Pebble Beach this August to benefit the community of Joplin, following a devastating tornado that swept through this southwest Missouri city earlier this summer. An exciting opportunity for both car collectors and Sheryl Crow fans, the artist’s classic Mercedes-Benz will be presented for sale without reserve at Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach Auction on Sunday, August 21, immediately following the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Proceeds from the sale of the car will benefit the Joplin Schools Recovery Fund, created by the nationally-recognized Community Foundation of the Ozarks and its Joplin-based affiliate, the Community Foundation of Southwest Missouri, Inc. The Foundation has established a number of charitable funds dedicated to ensuring a long-term recovery for the resilient community, including its severely damaged schools.

“After the tornado in Joplin I was moved to help rebuild a city so close to where I grew up in Missouri,” says Sheryl Crow. “My hope is that the auction of my 1959 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster will bring in funds to help rebuild the schools in the area.”

“This is a very heartfelt donation to auction an item that has such special meaning to Sheryl and her family,” CFO President Brian Fogle said. “We very much appreciate how committed she is to her Missouri roots.”

“We’re honored that Sheryl approached us with this opportunity to auction her
Mercedes-Benz to benefit the people of Joplin, Missouri,” says President and founder David Gooding. “Over the years, we’ve sold more than $25 million in collector cars for charity at our Pebble Beach Auctions, which has generated a considerable amount of money for various causes and foundations. We’re delighted to be providing the same platform to Sheryl Crow and hope the excitement of her car generates a sizeable donation for this worthy cause.”

An iconic, grand-touring convertible, the stylish 190 SL being offered is white with a white hard top, optional black soft top and sport whitewall tires. Following a comprehensive restoration completed in 2005, the car now has fresh brakes, suspension, a reconditioned Becker Mexico radio with speaker and a new interior of black leather upholstery. Originally acquired by Sheryl Crow in 2005, the 190 SL has since become the artist’s and her family’s personal favorite. The 1959 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL has an estimate of $50,000 – $80,000.

Sheryl Crow

Sheryl Crow

About Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow is an accomplished singer, songwriter, activist, environmentalist, and breast cancer survivor. The nine-time Grammy winner has released seven studio albums, two compilations, and a live album, selling over 35 million albums worldwide. She has performed with the Rolling Stones and has sung duets with Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, Sting, and countless others. Her latest album, 100 Miles from Memphis, was released July 2010 and in early 2011 Crow, along with Chef Chuck White, released “If It Makes You Healthy,” a cookbook inspired by the seasons featuring vitamin-rich recipes. Crow is touring the states with Kid Rock this summer. Crow is a passionate supporter of a variety of environmental and health-related charities, including The NRDC, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and The World Food Program. Last year saw the opening of the Sheryl Crow Imaging Center in the Pink Lotus Breast Center in Los Angeles.

About Community Foundation of the Ozarks
Since the May 22 tornado, the Community Foundation of the Ozarks and Joplin-based affiliate, the Community Foundation of Southwest Missouri, Inc., have established a number of funds to assist with Joplin’s tornado recovery. The CFO’s philosophy is based on decision making at the local level, where leaders are best positioned to understand the needs of the community. The largest of the CFO’s 43 affiliate foundations, the Community Foundation of Southwest Missouri, Inc., has served Barton, Jasper, Newton and McDonald counties since 1999. The CFO maintains one of its two regional offices in Joplin with a staff associate working directly with the Community Foundation of Southwest Missouri, Inc. In recognition of the enormity of this disaster, the CFO and CFSWMO have pledged to direct 100 percent of the recovery funds raised into Joplin’s community redevelopment efforts, waiving the normal administrative fee. With assets of $180 million and nearly 2,000 funds supporting varied donor interests, 43 affiliates, about 400 non-profit agencies and more than 100 schools and educational foundations, the Community Foundation of the Ozarks has an established record of building stronger communities since 1973.

Disney Theme Parks Have Mastered Crowd Control

Disney Theme Parks Have Mastered Crowd ControlOur recent trip to Disney World’s Magic Kindom has proved to me once again, that they are masters when it comes to controlling large crowds.

Your are herded like cattle into the parking lot, moved onto shuttles, monorails and boats and then you are fed into a series of more lines. Lines to the rides and attractions as well as lines at food counters and souvenier shops.

No longer do your favorite Disney characters stroll the park hugging children and waiting on photo opportunites. No, now they even have winding lines to see your favorited costumed critters. You stand in line to meet a princess, shake hands with Buzz Lightyear or hug Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, too!

With all of that said, they do such a good job of crowd control, it is hard to be offended. With the tens of thousands of people that safely pass through the parks each day; they are masters!

Signs are posted on all of the rides telling you how long you should expect your wait to be. The good news is, when we were visiting the lines were about ten minutes shorter than predicted. This makes for a pleasant surprise.

If you don’t like lines, you can now get a Fast Pass and avoid the lines. The Fast Pass is free and it is fairly simple to use. You go to your favorite ride, but it has a standby time of 60 minutes. Instead you get a Fast Pass ticket and are told to come back at a designated time, for example between 2:00 and 3:00 PM. You go back at 2:15 and skip the one hour wait! There are limits on how often you can receive a pass. It may be a little frustrating when you have been waiting in line for 30 minutes and a group of seven come strolling in and are permitted to board the ride before you, but the system is available to everyone; so get your own Fast Pass next time!

The Museum of Me Experience

Find yourself in the Museum

In recent weeks I have been working on developing, redesigning and updating a substantial number of websites. Many of our clients understand the power of a good internet presence, would love to learn more about social media strategies and how to manage their time inside of the essentials…and some just want to have a business card or flyer on the world wide web, where they can send potential business interests to for reference.

Although I prefer not to stand on a soapbox to stress the importance of staying up with the progress of technology and the vigilance needed to protect your privacy, it is very clear that most people don’t know about nor understand the current advancements of technology.

Many have embraced Facebook as their virtual friendship base online, not knowing that behind the “monster”, a universe of other social media are entering the scene. Just when most people are slowly starting to adopt Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as the triumvirate of social regimen, others niche sites such as Posterous, Tumblr, Foursquare, Qik etc. are crawling out of the bushes.

To give you a quick overview on relevancy of social media sites ( I admit that there is some subjectivity involved in this) here is what’s showing on today’s Social Media Monitors:

What Happened to…?

Bebo: Launched in January 2005, Bebo was particularly popular outside of America and appealed to a younger audience. The social network hoped to distinguish itself from rival social networks through its development of original content. AOL acquired Bebo in March 2008 for $850 million, but sold it for less than $10 million just two years later. Since their purchase, Criterion Capital Partners has revamped and re-launched Bebo with new features.

Flickr: The popular photo and video sharing site launched out of Vancouver in 2004. Acquired by Yahoo! just one year later, Flickr grew into an online home for more than 51 million users and 5 billion images. But as Facebook and mobile photo services like Twitpic and Yfrog add options to the photo-sharing market, Flickr has seen a decline in their audience over the past two years. The site is far from dead, however, as accounts like The Official White House Photostream continue to drive traffic to Flickr.
In some ways, it’s returned to the purest version of itself – that is, a hub for photography enthusiasts. It never became the corporate marketing “outpost” some originally imagined.

StumbleUpon: The StumbleUpon toolbar is an in-browser “engine” that helps users discover new Websites and rate them based on their preferences. The service was founded in 2001 and grew to more than 2 million users before being sold to eBay in 2007. The founders have since reacquired the company and increased the service’s user base to nearly 13 million.
StumbleUpon has surged ahead of Facebook to account for 43% of all social media site referral traffic. The community remains prominent in the field of social bookmarking (along with sites like Reddit and Digg).

Digg: Digg is the original social news Website. It allows users to submit and “vote up” stories that interest them. A darling of the early Web 2.0 community, Digg repeatedly decided against selling, preferring to remain independent. Though it raised additional funding and released numerous new features, Digg has hemorrhaged users and talent, including founder and Silicon Valley superstar Kevin Rose, who left in March 2011. As services like Twitter help users consume news more efficiently, this downward trend is likely to continue.

Delicious: Delicious, a social bookmarking Website, was founded in 2003 and acquired by Yahoo! just two years later. Its easy interface and cloud-based approach to bookmarking made it one of the most popular online services of its time. After considerable drama surrounding its fate, Delicious was recently purchased and will become part of AVOS, an Internet venture started by YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen. It’s unclear what will become of Delicious, though it has a sizable community pulling for it.

The Future is licking its chops

While all the social sites mentioned above have merits, most of them will perish or conform in the near future to the growing transparency in user appreciation.
Facebook is obviously big enough these days to stay on the forefront for quite a while longer. One fascinating application of all the information gathered in your personal Facebook account can be experienced on an Intel powered website called Museum of Me. Try it, you’ll be amazed (or disgusted) about the power of exposure. I tested it on myself and was quite pleased and intrigued. When you open the website, be sure to be logged into your Facebook account or else you will be prompted. After that the magic unfolds.

Video is growing by leaps and bounds, especially Live Video
Ustream, Livestream, Justin.tv, Qik, Vimeo and the slow rollout of youTube Live all point  towards the future of video on the internet. Some people may think it’s invasive, but I can see Jeannie at Lashem-n-Leavem or Vickie at Tangles Hair Salon, setting up a live camera on Justin.tv and show a customer’s circle of friends exactly what is going on. Honestly I have seen more boring shows on TV then watching my wife getting her hair done.

Then there are business enterprise social communication tools like Yammer and Chatter which apparently greatly increases corporate productivity, considering that more than 80% of Fortune 500 companies were using Yammer by the end of 2010.

Other high rolling social media sites are Social Question and Answer portals such as Quora and Focus. People have questions, and Quora and Focus are two of the top sites for both individuals and businesses to get answers. LinkedIn Answers and Facebook Questions are also part of this booming sector.

Obviously social gaming is huge…but since I do not engage in that sector, I can only give you the names of some of the top players such as the new Empire Avenue: a stock market simulation social game network. If that sounds like a mouthful, here’s a simpler explanation: It’s an online community where members buy (using faux currency, called “Eaves”) and sell virtual stock in real people and companies. The game makes use of all of the tried-and-true forms of social currency – badges, status tiers, shout-outs – to create a “sticky” community. It has been described as “FarmVille for professionals.”
Speaking of Zynga’s Farmville: it is said that one of the reasons Google+ was a brainchild partially based on the fact that many Facebook users consider game invites annoying (I am one of them; don’t invite me to games…please). Whether that differentiator is sufficient for Google+ to lure people away from the familiar blue halls of Facebook is, of course, anyone’s guess. Google however seems serious this time.

And the latest group of Social Media that are making it big are the deal-of-the-day Websites like Groupon and Living Social which feature discounted gift certificates usable at local or national companies. Groupon is the market leader in this popular economy driven sector, whereas LivingSocial offers more deals focused on travel and hospitality. Also LivingSocial’s daily deal “experiences” can be shared with friends for additional benefits.

Tomorrow I’ll highlight why blogposts (outposts) and content websites are continuing to grow exponentially and how you can organize yourself inside of the massive amount of information through a directional RSS Feed.

North Florida Transportation Planning Organization

North Florida Transportation Planning OrganizationHere is some information for The North Florida Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) is the independent regional transportation planning agency for Duval and most of Clay, Nassau and St. Johns counties.

Federal Statutes require urbanized areas with 50,000 or more people to have a Metropolitan Planning Organization. The TPO Board is comprised of elected officials and transportation agency representatives.

Public meeting notice is given that the North Florida TPO will hold the following public meetings in the month of August 2011:

    Wednesday, August 3 at 10 a.m. is the Technical Coordinating Committee

    Wednesday, August 3 at 6 p.m. is the Citizens Advisory Committee

    Thursday, August 4 at 9 a.m.is the Duval County Transportation Disadvantaged Coordinating Board

    Thursday, August 11 at 9 a.m. is the North Florida TPO Finance Committee

    Thursday, August 11 at 10 a.m. is the North Florida TPO Board meeting

    Wednesday, August 24 at 8:30 a.m. is the Transportation Appeals Meeting

    Friday, August 26 at 10 a.m. is the North Florida Clean Cities Coalition

All meetings will be held at the North Florida TPO office, 1022 Prudential Drive, Jacksonville, unless otherwise noted. Meeting agendas are available on the TPO website: www.northfloridatpo.com.

For more information, call Marci Larson or Ginny Montgomery at (904) 306-7500 or email mlarson@northfloridatpo.com or gkmontgomery@northfloridatpo.com.

Public participation is solicited without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability or family status. Persons who require special accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act or persons who require translation services (free of charge) should contact the persons listed at least seven days prior to the meeting.

Summer Concert Series at St. Peters

Summer Concert Series at St. PetersMouth of Amelia invites you to St. Peters Community Concert Series’ Summer Concert featuring Susan T. McDuffie (organ, piano) and Margery McDuffie Whatley on the piano.

WHEN: Sunday, July 31, 2011 at 7:00 PM

WHERE: St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, located at the corner of 8th and Atlantic, in Fernandina Beach.

WHAT: The dazzling duo of piano and organ will be presented by the Mother/Daughter team of Susan T. McDuffie and Margery McDuffie Whatley. This varied program will include a range of favorites including duets and solo pieces by Bach, Mozart, Brahms, Lecuona, Widor, Porter, and Gershwin.

WHO: Susan McDuffie, of Macon, Georgia, is a gifted pianist and organist. She is the former organist-director of music ministries at First Presbyterian Church and Vineville Presbyterian Church in Macon. She frequently performs as organ and piano soloist and collaborates as assisting artist with vocalists and instrumentalists. Mrs. McDuffie has served as guest keyboardist with the Macon Symphony Orchestra and was the former accompanist for the Macon Civic Chorale and the Choral Society of Middle Georgia. She crosses many musical avenues performing in a wide range of genres ranging from classical to jazz to pop. Her son, Robert McDuffie, is an Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival favorite solo violinist!

Susan’s daughter, Margery McDuffie Whatley has performed across the United States as a piano soloist and as a chamber musician. Joining her brother, Robert, internationally acclaimed violinist, she performed in Rome, Italy at the Rome Chamber Music Festival. Prior to moving to Montana, she was a tenured Associate Professor of Music at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. There she also served as the Chair of the Department of Music and received the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award. Possessing a strong interest in making classical music accessible to people of all ages and listening experiences, Mrs. Whatley has presented a series of outreach programs throughout cities in Georgia, California, Iowa and Illinois. Her three CDs, Piano Reflections-Encore Favorites, Margery McDuffie Whatley plays Bach, Haydn, Brahms and Ravel, and From Mozart to Gershwin have received rave reviews from Fanfare Magazine.

COST: Tickets do not need to be purchased in advance as a free will offering will be taken at the door.

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Test Drive First Federal’s GenGold for Free

Test Drive First Federal's GenGold for FreeFirst Federal Bank has teamed up with GenGold offering savings on schools supplies, dining, clothing, roadside assistance and more!

Plenty of banks are offering free checking, including First Federal Bank of Florida, but now First Federal wants you to test drive their new program for free for two months! That is eight weeks, or 60 days to take advantage of this new program and tell First Federal if the savings are worth it. If you don’t save, you don’t have to participate. If you love it, it is only $8.00 per month for a personal account. If you have a business account, you and your employees only pay $4.00 per month. Remember, you pay nothing for the first two months while you Shop and Save!

I’m often skeptical about offers that sound too good to be true, but with last minute vacations, school clothing and school supply shopping, upcoming birthdays and my own 21st wedding anniversary approaching in the next eight weeks, I’m going to give it a try… for FREE!

Locally, we can save on dinner with Dining Dough and save up to 87% on local restaurants such as 29 South, Joe’s Bistro and Island Bar-B-Q, as well as many national chains. I will use one for my anniversary and give one to my mother as part of her birthday gift!

Before school starts, the kids are catching as many movies as they can at the local CarMike Cinemas. When I purchase the tickets through GenGold I will only pay $5.75 per ticket!

Other local businesses include 20% off at JoS. A. Bank, gift card savings at our Sears Hometown Store and Staples, just to name a few. You can even save money on Jacksonville Airport parking fees!

With two separate out-of-state travel plans, should I need to access cash on either of my trips, all ATM fees will be waived. I will be driving, so the Roadside Assistance is a must. My trip to Atlanta may include Six Flags Over Georgia. Their published ticket prices are $52.99 per adult, but with GenGold, I will only be paying $30.00 each. That is a substantial discount!

But don’t take my word for it. Stop by either First Federal in Fernandina Beach or in Yulee and find out how you can start saving right away!

Remember, it is FREE to try for the first two months! So go ahead, book a cruise, rent a car, enjoy fine dining or go shopping… shop local and save big! How much will you save?

For more information call Mike in Fernandina Beach at (904) 321-1221, or Mary in Yulee at (904) 321-1228.

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It is Time for Pancakes for a Good Cause

It is Time for Pancakes for a Good CauseSaturday, July 30th from 8:00 to 10:00 AM brings Pancakes for a Good Cause to Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar on Sadler Road in Fernandina Beach, Florida.

This fun, family event, brings friends and neighbors together for a morning of fun and pancake goodness for only $8.00 per person. All funds raised will be used to benefit local charities.

Don’t worry about getting your tickets ahead of time, this is a walk-up event and everyone is invited!

Applebee’s is located at the corner of 8th Street and Sadler Road on Amelia Island.

A Contribution to Obamas Debt Dilemma

The risky course of the Greenback

Most Americans don’t really believe the U.S. dollar will collapse if August 2nd comes along without an agreement in lifting the debt ceiling. And they’re probably right. It may however happen later down the road.

Officially the debt ceiling was reached in early May of this year and since then the government has been funding itself from government employee pensionfunds. Don’t believe me…than Google it. Kicking the can down the road is the only thing that is happening these days, both here and in Europe, in the hope that something magical will happen.

From knowledgeable investors and even bankers who study the markets, to those seemingly too busy to worry about such things, most dismiss the idea of the dollar actually going down or the Euro going bust.

History however carries big warnings for us: No fiat currency has lasted forever. Eventually, they all fail.
Okay there is that word again that most people have no clue about what it means. They probably wonder what the Italian carmaker FIAT who owns Chrysler Motors these days, has to do with the potential demise of the US dollar. Well nothing really. The acronym for the car manufacturer comes from Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino (English: Italian Automobile Factory of Turin) and the meaning of the word FIAT in relationship to currency derives from Latin as in “let it be done”. Fiat money or currency is money that is established by government decree… IT’S THE LAW. Fiat money has value only because the government says so. The Chinese introduced fiat money in the 11th century and it has been used and abused by governments all over the globe ever since. How easy if you can simply issue a Law that says “it is what it is, because I say so”.

The US was a late Bloomer to Fiat Money

The US didn’t jump on the fiat currency bandwagon until 40 years ago when the Nixon Administration faced rapid inflation as a result of the costs of the Vietnam War and increased domestic spending and unilaterally cancelled the direct convertibility of the United States dollar to gold and imposed a 90-day wage and price freeze and a 10 percent import surcharge. This happened on August 15, 1971 – history repeats itself?? – Ninety days later the wage and price freezes were cancelled and the import surcharge dropped, but the gold standard for the US dollar was never reinstated, giving the government the right to print as much or as little money as it deems appropriate. Of course there are powerful advantages to such an unconstrained system. Above all, the Fed is free to respond to actual or threatened recessions by pumping in money. The stock market crash of 1987—which started out every bit as frightening as that of 1929—did not cause a slump in the real economy because of that ability, but…while a freely floating national money has advantages, it also has risks. And after the 2008 crash and subsequent financial stimuli, those risks are now getting real.

And don’t say it can’t happen here. Numerous currencies throughout history have gone bust. Some got there quickly, while others took a century or more. Regardless of how long it took, though, the seductive temptations allowed under a fiat monetary system eventually caught up with these governments, and their currencies went poof!

Don’t assume that this happened only to third world countries. You’d be wrong. There was no discrimination as to the size or perceived stability of a nation’s economy; if the leaders abused their currency, the country paid the price.

Brasil: Today one of the strongest economies on earth

Here is sampling of recent history.

• France – 5 livres, 1793
• Germany – 1 billion mark, 1923
• Greece – 25,000 drachmas, 1943
• Hungary – 10 million pengo, 1945
• Central Bank of China – 10,000 CGU, 1947
• Chile – 10,000 pesos, 1975
• Bolivia – 5 million pesos bolivianos, 1985
• Argentina – 10,000 pesos argentinos, 1985
• Peru – 100,000 intis, 1989
• Nicaragua – 10 million córdobas, 1990
• Russia – 10,000 rubles, 1992
• Zaire – 5 million zaires, 1992
• Yugoslavia – 10 billion dinar, 1993
• Brazil – 500 cruzeiros reais, 1993
• Bosnia – 100 million dinar, 1993
• Georgia – 1 million laris, 1994
• Ukraine – 10,000 karbovantsiv, 1995
• Angola – 500,000 kwanzas reajustados, 1995
• Belarus – 100,000 rubles, 1996

Turkey: A booming economy today

• Turkey – 5 million lira, 1997
• Romania – 50,000 lei, 2001
• Venezuela – 10,000 bolívares, 2002
• Zimbabwe – 100 trillion dollars, 2006

Debts and Deficits

So, will a similar fate befall the U.S. dollar? The common denominator that led to the downfall of each currency above was the two big Ds: Debts and Deficits.

With that in mind, consider the following:

• Morgan Stanley reported in 2009 that there’s “no historical precedent” for an economy that exceeds a 250% debt-to-GDP ratio without experiencing some sort of financial crisis or monster inflation. Our total debt now exceeds GDP by roughly 400%.

• Historic rule of thumb is that once a country’s interest payments on debt exceed 30% of tax revenue, the currency is “done for.” On our current path, the projection is that we’ll hit that figure by October 2011.

• Hyperinflation is caused by government budget deficits, there is no debate about that statement in expert circles. This year’s U.S. budget deficit will end up being $1.5 trillion, an amount never before seen in history.

• Since the Federal Reserve’s creation in 1913, the dollar has lost 95% of its purchasing power. Our government leaders clearly don’t know how – or don’t wish – to keep the currency strong. Watching Obama and Boehner exchange partisan blows on issues they clearly have no educated connection to, should worry anyone out there enough to take precautions. Washington’s acrimonious political fight over what is normally a procedural legislative vote on the debt may very well cause the US dollar to lose its top-notch AAA credit rating from at least one major rating agency, a Reuters poll confirmed. Yet in another story today analysts adhering to a different set of standards contradict these observations.
Whether the dollar goes to zero or merely becomes a second-class currency in the global arena, the possibility of the greenback being added to the above list grows every day. And this will lead to serious and painful consequences in our standard of living. Americans dismisses this message from history as a recent Gallup poll indicates.

A Screenshot from a Recent Gallup Poll

Actually in order to make my point that Americans do not really believe that anything is going to happen to the dollar’s reserve currency status, I’d like to leave you with the results of a very recent Gallup Poll , as it forces respondents to honestly identify the prime problem in the country. Notice how many economic boogiemen are way down the list. For example, fuel and oil prices are the top problem for only 3% of those asked. Every time oil prices go up, the media makes one think the world is on the edge of economic oblivion. When listing all the problems facing the economy, it doesn’t stack up against something like high unemployment.

We need to pay closer attention to reality

Notice the position of another favorite: education. How many times have you heard that we need education to create the jobs of tomorrow? But it’s not high on the list. Another one is immigration, but – as should be pretty clear to everyone – we’re not in the current mess because some illegals are doing cheap construction work. This week’s market announcements confirm that home prices are still deflating, real GDP is sub performing, consumer confidence is still a recessionary levels and manufacturing is once again stalling.

It’s time to call your representatives and tell them what side is up before we go the direction of Zimbabwe.

Insanity at the door

Sign up for 2nd Annual Amelia Challenge Now

Sign up for 2nd Annual Amelia Challenge NowAmelia Island, FL – The Rotary Club of Amelia Island Sunrise will hold its second annual Amelia Challenge fundraising family event on Saturday, November 12th, 2011 at the Fernandina Beach High School.

The unique event combines sportive and intellectual challenges to support local charities. Biking, running, walking, and brain teasing challenges will be included in the line-up of activities that start at 9:00am, November 12th, 2011.

Teams of four can register on-line at www.ameliachallenge.com, or by contacting Mark Dennis at 904-583-1887. Silver and Gold sponsorships are available to help support the event and promote their businesses before, during and after the Amelia Challenge.

The Rotary Club of Amelia Island Sunrise meets every Friday at 7:30am at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club. For more information about the club or attending a meeting please contact president Katey Breen at kateybreen@comcast.net, or go to www.ameliaislandrotary.com.

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