Cuba Drilling for Oil 60 Miles from Florida Coastline

The Scarabeo 9 oil rig will be anchored off the north coast of Cuba and operated by Respol, a Spanish firm.

During a short performance presentation at City Hall for the island’s Tourism Development Council last week I learned that the Florida Panhandle had a record number of visitors this year; better than ever before. And that was just one year after the miserable oil leak disaster of 2010 that brought tourism to an abrupt halt. However, the visitor explosion may be entirely attributed to  the fact that culprit BP on a major redemptive guilt trip, gave two times $25 million on marketing the Gulfcoast part of the Sunshine State to the world of vacationers, an amount  almost twice as much as the State of Florida spends on marketing the entire state ($29.4 mill in 2010). Besides the usual reservations I carry about statistics and numbers, especially where it gets into the nitty gritty percentages of bird watchers vs visiting fishing aficionados (both ranked at 8% of the visitors?), the reminder of the oil spill, which gave us on Amelia Island a bumper year in 2010, made me remember a frightening little story I read a week or so ago. One that I think you may want to keep an eye on.

Offshore Oil and the Politics of Cuba

It turns out that one of Spain’s largest oil companies, Repsol, is gearing up to spud a deep, offshore well in Cuban waters, just 60 miles from the Florida Keys. A huge rig is en route to the site from Singapore, and as it draws closer to its destination I expect the zealous opposition from Floridian politicians who rely on the Cuban expatriate vote to put the issue right into the square of our attention.

We will hear the argument that the well should not be allowed to proceed because it violates the embargo and on a deeper level, that any oil found would prop up the Cuban regime. The first claim is incorrect – it does not violate the embargo as there are no American companies involved; but the second claim deserves closer inspection. Indeed, oil experts say Cuba may have as much as 20 billion barrels of oil in its as-yet untapped portion of the Gulf of Mexico, even though the estimate from the US Geological Survey is considerably more modest, pegging potential reserves at 5 billion barrels, which of course could well have been politically orchestrated.

And yes, finding and developing oil resources in Cuban waters would provide a major boost to the country’s struggling economy and would help to reduce its total dependence on oil-rich, leftist ally Venezuela. Castro’s close ally Hugo Chavez currently dispatches 120,000 barrels of oil a day to Cuba on very favorable financing terms. However, the arrangement is heavily dependent on the friendship between octogenarian Castro and cancer-stricken Chavez… hardly a recipe for permanence. Cuba’s oil contracts with Repsol and various other international partners probing its waters call for Cuba to get 60% of the oil, so a few good wells would make a marked difference for the Caribbean nation.

But for Florida, a state that pulls $65 billion of its income from tourism, the more pressing issue is proximity. If this well were to blow – like several and not in the least the Macondo, have done – the two American companies that provide blowout-containment services to deepwater drillers in the Gulf of Mexico would not be allowed to come to its aid. Yes, it is possible to obtain exemptions from the embargo, but spill responses are based on a simple premise: Everything has to be on standby, ready to go.

While US officials say there is a longstanding practice of providing licenses (embargo exemptions) to address environmental challenges in Cuban waters, and Americans have previously provided booms, skimmers, dispersants, pumps, and other equipment to respond to a spill, obtaining exemptions from international embargoes does not fit the ready-to-go picture.
The Repsol well will sit just 60 miles from the Marquesas Keys, an uninhabited group of islands near Key West in an area of strong, 4-6 mile-per-hour currents that come from the Gulf, shoot through the Florida Straits, and then churn northward up the Atlantic Coast. It would take only a few days for an oil spill to reach the Keys. In fact, Repsol’s well will be twice as close to US shores as drillers in American waters are allowed to operate.

Very Close for Comfort??

Any angst over the situation should not be directed toward Repsol, as the Spanish company has done nearly everything it can to placate American concerns. The company has offered US agencies an opportunity to inspect the drilling vessel and its equipment before it enters Cuban waters, and Repsol officials have stated publicly that in carrying out its Cuba work it will adhere to US regulations and the highest industry standards. The only thing Repsol has not done is concede to demands from some US Congresspeople to walk away from the project, which the politicians described in a letter to Repsol as a venture that “endangers the environment and enriches the Cuban tyranny.””

However, Repsol is inclined to be accommodating because it is a publicly traded company. It is the only such company operating in non-American Gulf waters – the others operating or considering operating in Cuba’s Gulf waters are primarily national oil companies. The United States’ sphere of influence over these state-owned, national oil companies is far, far less; in many cases, American desires have no bearing on these entities… and any effort to exert influence over them immediately raises questions of sovereign immunity.
So, while Repsol’s case is at the forefront for the moment, it seems that the US government needs to pay more attention to these national companies and attempt to formulate a way to engage in their exploration process. It’s a complicated, sensitive arena, incorporating issues like transboundary compensation for oil pollution damages, the role of international oil pollution liability conventions, and recovering costs when one country provides most of the spill response and clean-up assets.

But there are quite a few national oil companies interested in Cuba. Repsol is working in a consortium with Norway’s Statoil and a unit of India’s ONGC. The partners plan to drill one or two wells; once they are complete, the rig will pass to Malaysia’s state-owned oil company, Petronas, and then on to another ONGC unit, ONBC Videsh, both of which have also leased offshore Cuban blocks. Brazilian state oil company Petrobras is also developing plans to explore its Cuban blocks.

The Cuban Embargo is no longer in our best interest.

The multinational face of exploration in Cuba’s waters is a good representation of the support Cuba has received from the rest of the world. Indeed, every year for the past 19 years, and soon for an almost-guaranteed twentieth time, the United Nations General Assembly has overwhelmingly adopted a resolution condemning the US embargo. Every year, something like 187 of 189 nations appeal to the United States to end the embargo, with (usually) only Israel voting with the US.
Almost no one else supports the embargo, and it is time to assess whether it is still in the US’s best interests.

The embargo on Cuba represents the most comprehensive set of economic sanctions the US imposes on any nation in the world. The goal has always been to make the Cuban people suffer so much that they would tear down a government that was at one point a Cold-War security threat. The US has: imposed sharp limits on Cuba’s access to American food, medicines, and visitors; banned almost all other business activity; used sanctions to stop third countries from trading with Cuba; blocked Cuba’s access to high-technology goods; and even siphoned off some of its most promising thinkers by giving Cubans incentives to emigrate and persuading its highly trained doctors to defect.

None of this has, of course, caused an uprising, let alone broken the back of the Cuban system. It has been a generation since the Cold War ended, since the Soviet Union fell, and since the US intelligence community concluded that Cuba posed no threat to American security. Why does the embargo still stand? Well, for several reasons, two of the clearest being opposing communism in general and maintaining political support from the large Cuban expat community. However, another reason may be a lack of data. There is no formal mechanism within the US government to monitor the impact of the embargo on economic and social rights in Cuba; nor is there a process to assess the impacts of the embargo on the United States.

Without a way to gather this information, there are tough questions that remained unanswered. Do the sanctions backfire and take away from everyday Cubans the prospect for leading more prosperous and independent lives? Is the embargo damaging US standing in Latin America? Do the sanctions cost the US jobs for workers, markets, profits for businesses, or liberties for American travelers?

These questions have lingered for years, but with Fidel Castro having passed the reins over to his slightly more liberal younger brother Raul, changes are afoot in Cuba that make these questions more pressing. Adding all the new interest in Cuba’s deepwater oil potential to the mix only increases the pressure.

Raul Castro took over the presidency in 2008, and his goal is to have 35% of the economy privatized by 2015. In April the Cuban Communist Party approved 311 decrees designed to meet that goal, though to date only a few have passed into law. Those that have been enacted are mild relative to the bigger picture of creating a private sector. Nevertheless, they represent dramatic change for Cubans, who have not been allowed to buy or sell vehicles or real estate for fifty years. Now they can.

For the first time since the early years of Castro’s 1959 revolution, private individuals in retail services, agriculture, and construction are allowed to hire employees, even though there remains an article in the Cuban Constitution that says one’s property and equipment “cannot be used to obtain earnings from the exploitation of the labor of others.”
Over the next five years the regime intends to lay off up to a million public sector workers – no less than 10% of its workforce. The food rationing system, on which many Cubans rely daily, is also set to be phased out. The goals are clear – to reduce the state payroll, boost productivity (especially in the agricultural sector), and nourish the private sector – even if the timeline and plans for dealing with the fallout are far from clear.

Cuban authorities are careful to depict this restructuring as upgrading the revolution, not forsaking it. As one political analyst said, the Cuban government is trying to “let the economic genie out of the bottle while keeping the political genie in.” It’s a tough act. And the fact is that the regime can no longer afford to finance the socialist ideas upon which it was founded. The question is: Which way will it turn?

If reforms are too limited and private enterprise remains too restricted to flourish, nothing much really changes, aside from a few aspects of the current black market becoming legal. At the other end of the spectrum is rapid and rampant capitalism, with all of the debt and accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few that today are such clear downsides of free-market economies.

The Goldilocks answer is somewhere in between, positioning Cuba as a miniature China with a mixed economy, the state holding tight grip over some sectors but loosening control over others. The state will almost certainly retain its grip over mining, oil, sugar, health care, and tourism, cumulatively a large chunk of the country’s economic strength.
Nevertheless, even this partial transition to capitalism offers some good economic opportunities to the US, if it were to open those avenues. The embargo may be aimed at restricting the Cuban regime so harshly that it fails, but it is also preventing the US from even encouraging, let alone participating in, a more modern Cuba. In terms of the Gulf, the embargo not only restricts US opportunities to provide exploration expertise to a developing nation and to share in the spoils of that work, which could be another, much-needed, convenient source of oil, it is also hamstringing the US’s ability to protect its own waters.

If not Washington, then at least Tallahassee should start reaching out to Havana a bit more, even if it is only to have some form of communication in  place when another Oil Well should start leaking.

November Friends of the Library Book Sale

November Friends of the Library Book SaleFernandina Beach, FL – If you love books, you’ll want to take advantage of the Friends of the Fernandina Beach Library Book Sale at the Peck Center Gym, 516 South 10th Street from November 3-5, 2011.

Choose from a well-organized book display, audio books, CDs, DVDs, children’s books, and more. Most with prices ranging from $.50 to $3.00.

Members of Friends of the Fernandina Beach Library may attend the special members-only preview sale on Thursday, November 3, 5 p.m.–7 p.m. (If you’re not a member yet, apply at the door, $35 for Single membership or $50 for Family, or at the Fernandina Beach Library beforehand.)

The sale opens to the public on Friday, November 4, 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m., and continues on Saturday, November 5, 9:30 a.m.–3 p.m., with fire-sale markdowns early Saturday afternoon. Proceeds from the sale benefit the Fernandina Beach Library, so you’ll be getting great deals and supporting your library.

Friends of the Fernandina Beach Library is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation whose main mission is two-fold, to promote literacy and life-long learning and to advocate and raise funds for the library.

For information on membership or events, send an email to FernandinaLibFriends@gmail.com or visit www.nassaureads.com and click on Friends of the Library.

November Events AIFBY Chamber of Commerce

November Events AIFBY Chamber of CommerceHere is a list of November 2011 events for the Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce:

Island Council
8:30 a.m., Wednesday, November 2
Applebee’s
2006 S. Eighth St., Fernandina Beach

Grow your business by making and strengthening your connections with Amelia Island businesses at the Chamber’s Island Council. This business council meets at 8:30 a.m. the first Wednesday of every month. Admission is free; optional breakfast is available for $8.

Ribbon Cutting Sliders Seaside Grill
5 p.m. Wednesday, November 2
Sliders Seaside Grill
1998 S. Fletcher Ave., Fernandina Beach

Join AIFBY Chamber Ambassadors and Board Members in celebrating Sliders Seaside Grill’s renovations & expansion. Wish owner George Stewart, General Manager David Forbes and the staff well, and enjoy a glass of beer or wine and light refreshments.

Featuring Fernandina Beach’s only oceanfront tiki bar and dining, Sliders Seaside Grill invites you to pull up a chair, relax, and enjoy a unique beachfront dining experience. Sliders’ Tiki Bar boasts views that will take your breath away and often features talented local area musicians. Sliders’ newly renovated second floor offers banquet facilities, bar and oceanfront verandah. And Sliders’ playground and sandbox are a big crowd pleaser for families with little ones, giving mom and dad time to enjoy their meal. For more information about Sliders, call (904) 277-6652.

HR Business Connection Ribbon Cutting
5 p.m. Thursday, November 3
Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce
961687 Gateway Blvd., Suite 101G, Amelia Island

Join AIFBY Ambassadors and Directors in welcoming new business HR Business Connection with a ribbon cutting at the Chamber. Come meet owner Barbi Coyne, enjoy light refreshments and wish her success. As a bonus for local business owners, the ribbon cutting will be followed at 5:30 p.m. by a free QuickBooks presentation. Learn how to start, run and grow your business with QuickBooks and receive a handout filled with useful information.

HR Business Connection provides hands-on classroom instruction and one-on-one training from Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor Barbi Coyne to people interested in learning or further exploring QuickBooks. HR Business Connection also provides QuickBooks consulting, providing overview, process suggestion and maintenance. HR Business Connection is also your source for human resources consulting. If you could benefit from expertise, but don’t have a need to hire someone in-house, a human resources consultant could be the choice for you. Coyne has been a member of the Society for Human Resource Management since 2001. For more information about HR Business Connection, call (904) 849-7826.

Yulee Area Council
8:30 a.m., Tuesday, November 8
Café @ The Hamptons
95742 Amelia Concourse, Yulee

Grow your business by making and strengthening your connections with Yulee businesses at the Yulee Area Council. This business council meets at 8:30 a.m. the second Tuesday of every month. Admission is free; optional breakfast is available.

Colie's Jewelry and AccessoriesRibbon cutting at Colie’s
5 p.m., Tuesday, November 8
Colie’s
1000 S. 14th St., Fernandina Beach (inside Amelia Perfect Tan)

Join AIFBY Chamber Ambassadors and Directors in welcoming new business Colie’s to Fernandina Beach with a ribbon cutting. Meet owner Ashley Phinazee, browse Colie’s jewelry and accessories and enjoy light refreshments.

Colie’s carries fun, unique jewelry and accessories from New York and Los Angeles. It also carries a line of handmade earrings and hair accessories made by Colie herself. Colie’s fashion jewelry is very affordable with prices from $10-$35 and evening jewelry starting at $30 & up. For more information, call Colie’s at (904) 553-7657.

Ribbon cutting Amelia River Golf Club
5:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 16
Amelia River Golf Club
4477 Buccaneer Trail, Fernandina Beach

Join AIFBY Chamber Ambassadors and Directors in celebrating the new ownership of the Amelia River Golf Club with a ribbon cutting. Congratulate owners Barbara, George and Wes Sheffield, meet the staff, see the golf club’s facilities and enjoy light refreshments.

Amelia River Golf Club, a semi-private club, is now locally owned by the Sheffield family and offering memberships for the first time in five years. Amelia River Golf Club offers a 18-hole course designed by Tom Jackson, driving range, chipping green, putting green and PGA golf instruction. Amelia River Golf Club’s restaurant with full bar service and inside seating for 49 is open daily to the public for lunch. For more information about the Amelia River Golf Club, call (904) 491-8500.

Business After Hours
5-7 p.m. Thursday, November 17
Sliders Seaside Grill
1998 S. Fletcher Ave. Fernandina Beach

Network with up to 150 Chamber members at Business After Hours, Nassau County’s biggest networking event, sponsored in November by Sliders Seaside Grill. This will be the Chamber’s final Business After Hours of 2011.

Business After Hours is a great way to meet other local business people and make contacts that will help grow your business. There is always great food, drinks, door prizes and, of course, networking! Admission to Business After Hours is $5 for Chamber members, $25 for nonmembers.

Featuring Fernandina Beach’s only oceanfront tiki bar and dining, Sliders Seaside Grill invites you to pull up a chair, relax, and enjoy a unique beachfront dining experience. Sliders’ Tiki Bar boasts views that will take your breath away and often features talented local area musicians. Sliders’ newly renovated second floor offers banquet facilities, bar and oceanfront verandah. And Sliders’ playground and sandbox are a big crowd pleaser for families with little ones, giving mom and dad time to enjoy their meal. For more information about Sliders, call (904) 277-6652.

Public Officials Reception reservation deadline is 5 p.m. Friday, November 18,

November 18th is the last day to make a reservation to attend the Chamber’s Public Officials Reception on December 2 at White Oak Plantation. RSVP to (904) 261-3248 or info@aifby.com

The Public Officials Reception will be an intimate gathering at the beautiful White Oak Plantation. The reception will help kick-off the holiday season by bringing together local, state and federal officials with Nassau County business and community leaders to network in a relaxed social atmosphere at one of Florida’s most unique venues. Admission is $100 per person November 1 through 18. Admission is $250 per person for non-members. Sponsorships for this event are available.

For more information about any of these events, contact the Chamber at (904) 261-3248 or info@aifby.com.

2012 Amelia Concours d’Elegance Tickets Now Available

2012 Amelia Concours d'Elegance Tickets Now Available

Photo by Peter Harholdt

Tickets are now available on line for the 17th Annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. The three-day Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, March 9-11, 2012 at the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island Resort, Amelia Island, Florida.

The centerpiece, Concours d’Elegance, is scheduled for Sunday March 11, 2012 on the Golf Club of Amelia Island at Summer Beach. The field opens at 9:30 A.M., remaining open until 5:00 P.M.

Discounted advance sale tickets are available now online at www.ameliaconcours.org for $50.00 per adult and $25.00 per youth (ages 12-18).

Tickets at the gate are $60.00 (US) per adult, $25.00 for individual youths 12-18 years of age, and $25.00 for active duty military personnel (with ID) and their accompanying individual immediate family members. All tickets include an official program. Children under 12 years of age are admitted to the Concours field free on Sunday March 11, 2012 with a paying adult.

CLUB AMELIA membership is also available in advance. Club Amelia guests will be hosted for breakfast, lunch, a snack, a three-drink ticket at the Club’s private bar in the CLUB AMELIA PAVILION on the concours field. Also included are an official program, admission to the Concours, one VIP parking pass valid from Thursday through Sunday, an autographed poster of 2012 honoree Vic Elford plus a special gift. Individual membership is $300.00 (US).

Two enthusiast seminars are scheduled for the 17th Annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. The FORD vs. FERRARI seminar will be hosted at 4:00 P.M. in the Talbot Ballroom of the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island on Friday, March 9, 2012. The seminar will feature an all-star panel of engineers, drivers and entrants who waged the titanic sports car battles between Ford and Ferrari at Daytona, Sebring and Le Mans. Admission is limited. Tickets are $25.00 per person, in advance or at the door, while supplies last.

On Saturday March 10, 2012 the Talbot Room at the Ritz Carlton will host THE GREAT ENDURANCE DRIVERS seminar at 10:30 A.M. Honoree Vic Elford and special guest Sam Posey will be joined on the panel by fellow endurance racers Hurley Haywood, Joe Buzetta, Derek Bell, and Brian Redman. Tickets are $25.00 in advance or at the door, while seating is available.

The ROLLS-ROYCE WINEMAKERS DINNER is 6:30 P.M. Thursday March 8, 2012 at the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island in the Talbot Ballroom. Tickets are $250.00 per adult, in advance only. Seating is limited. Business attire appropriate.

The PORSCHE DRIVING EXPERIENCE will commence with a Drivers’ Meeting at the Fernandina Beach Airport at 7:30 A.M. Saturday March 10, 2012. Allow eight hours. Entry fee is $175.00 (US) per car and includes the participation of both the driver and navigator.

VISA and MASTERCARD are accepted online at www.ameliaconcours.org or at the gate.

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I Know Jax Comes to Television

I Know Jax Comes to TelevisionJACKSONVILLE, FL – A new TV show is coming to CW 17 in Jacksonville. “I Know Jax” is a magazine style show about fun things to do in the greater Jacksonville area. The show is produced by Talentino Media and is based on the website with the same name – iknowjax.com.

It’s not common that a website goes to broadcast television, but that’s exactly what “I Know Jax” is doing. It’s common that a TV show creates a website and a Facebook page, but having a website with an existing audience go to broadcast television – that’s a different story.

“We have worked in broadcast television and the web for many years, so going from web to TV is a natural progression for us. This is the way more TV shows will develop given the convergence of internet and TV”, says Executive Producer Joe Talentino. The fast-paced TV show focuses on things to do in Jacksonville, Florida, mixing entertainment, sports, arts & culture, music, road trips and more.

“We just love what we do. We get to meet cool people in the greater Jacksonville area, do fun stuff and we are just having a blast. We already have some great stories lined up for this season”, says Susanne Talentino, producer of “I Know Jax”.

The first episode of “I Know Jax” is premiering on CW 17 on Saturday November 5, 2011, at 11 p.m. “I Know Jax” is a weekly, ongoing tv series scheduled for 52 weeks.

“The station has worked with Talentino Media on prior projects and is confident Joe and his team will produce an entertaining program that supports the station’s commitment to providing quality local programming,” said Marc Hefner, VP and General Manager of WCWJ CW17, Bounce Jacksonville and www.yourjax.com.

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Relay for Life Fundraiser at Bliss Cupcakery

Relay for Life Fundraiser at Bliss Cupcakery

Click to enlarge poster

You can easily help support Relay for Life at Bliss Cupcakery on November 1st. All day long they will be donating a portion of their proceeds, not profits, to Relay.

Help celebrate more birthdays by eating more cupcakes!

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life will be held November 5th at Yulee High School. The relay begins at noon and will continue until 5:00 AM, yes, as in the morning.

The community is invited to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease.

At Relay, teams of people camp out and take turns walking or running around the track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event; because cancer never sleeps.

Bliss Cupcakery is located in the Verizon Shopping Center, on the north side of the road, just west of Amelia Island, Florida.

A Christmas Carol at Elizabeth Pointe Lodge

A Christmas Carol at Elizabeth Pointe LodgeFernandina Beach, FL – During the Victorian era (1837-1901), the English resurrected or began many customs, such as the Viking winter figure the Spirit of Christmas and later called Father Christmas, the ancient pagan use of evergreens for decorations, caroling, and the first-ever Christmas cards. Family and friends gathered at meals and teas as part of the holiday celebrations. These customs have long endured and are still holiday traditions today.

One of the favorite and most influential holiday stories of the Victorian time, and whose popularity has never waned, was Charles Dickens’, A Christmas Carol. Reading from this holiday classic, will be Ron Kurtz who will capture our imaginations and lead us back through time. Kurtz has entertained audiences at local and regional theatres as both a performer and a director, and as a reader at past holiday events. In addition, he is an author of a popular history of Amelia Island and a series of children’s books and sits on the Friends of the Fernandina Beach Library board.

Friends of the Fernandina Beach Library will celebrate the Victorian holidays not once, but twice this season! Join the Friends on Thursday, December 1 at Elizabeth Pointe Lodge, 98 South Fletcher Avenue at noon for a Victorian brunch OR at 3:30 p.m. for an English tea!

Seating is limited at both events.

Tickets for either the brunch or tea cost $30 for Friends members and $35 for non-members, and will be available starting November 1 at the Fernandina Beach Library.

As a guest at each event, you will receive a gift tussy mussy , a cone-shaped holder popular in the Victorian era, filled with favors, and a chance to win a beautiful holiday edition of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. There may even be a visit from Tiny Tim!

Friends of the Fernandina Beach Library is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation whose main mission is two-fold: to promote literacy and life-long learning and to advocate and raise funds for the library.

For information on membership or events, send an email to FernandinaLibFriends@gmail.com or visit www.nassaureads.com and click on Friends of the Library.

Seven billion and growing

Ever growing traffic

We won't stop until we breath eachother's Monoxide

Today on October 31, 2011 the world population will cross over the 7 billion line, duplicating the 12 year cycle of the previous milestone from 5 to 6 billion inhabitants  according to the United Nations’ population division. Technically that means growth is slowing down a tad but experts claim that we are probably looking at 9.5 billion by 2050, and that’s up from 2.5 billion in 1950. 7 Billion people growth in one hundred years time? We either start developing means to sustain this explosion of hungry people, find ways to expand humanity into the universe or be prepared to fight the good fight of resource desperation.

Imagine, the world’s population didn’t reach 1 billion until 1804, and it took 123 years to hit the 2 billion mark in 1927. Then the pace accelerated — 3 billion in 1959, 4 billion in 1974, 5 billion in 1987, 6 billion in 1999, 7 billion in 2011 , 8 billion by 2025 and 10 billion long before the current projection of 2083. Children born today will face a world that has not enough developed resources to sustain that number of people.
And the first huge challenge will be water and as water shortages will be fueling regional destabilization, migration to developed regions of the world will put enormous pressure on other resources such as food and energy.
On the other end of the spectrum is the claim that between 2005 and 2055 agricultural productivity will have to increase by two-thirds to keep pace with rising population and changing diets.

I recently read this sad observation from a woman in one of Africa’s fastest growing countries as she regretfully ponders the future for her large family with 9 children. “I regret to have made all those children,” she says. “If I were to start over, I would only make two or three. Children were a good labor force in the past when there was enough space to cultivate,” she said. “Today I can’t even feed my family properly. My kids just spend days doing nothing.”
After her fourth child, she began to worry how her family could be cared for. “But my husband was against birth control and wanted as many children as possible,” she said. “It was delicate because he could marry another wife.
“My friends advised me to go to a nearby clinic, but I was told I must come with my husband. Now I have laid the issue in the hands of God.”

I wish I had that deep faith. As one who was born in 1950, when there were “only” 2.5 billion of us around, I will probably run out of time before the world’s carrying capacity forces the issue into the foreground of the survival of our species. But for all you young ones out there, you may heed the words of hockey great Wayne Gretzky when he said: “I don’t care where the puck is, I’m going where the puck is going to be.” With cities like Mexico City, Djakarta and Mumbai already now reaching massive populations of 30 to 50 million, no one will realize in time that the puck has left the playing field a long time ago.

As massive populations are going to move back to the countryside it seem inevitable that many national borders across the globe will be re-drawn in the next 25-50 years.

November 1st City Commissioner Agenda

November 1st City Commissioner AgendaNovermber 1st is the regularly scheduled meeting of the Fernandina Beach City Commissioners. The meeting will be held at 6:00 PM at City Hall, on Ash Street, Amelia Island, Florida.

Here is the agenda:

1. CALL TO ORDER
2. ROLL CALL
3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE / Invocation by Pastor Ben Hall of the Journey Church.

4. PROCLAMATIONS/PRESENTATIONS
4.1 PROCLAMATION – RETIRED EDUCATORS’ DAY – Proclamation declaring November 20, 2011, as “Retired Educators’ Day”. Ms. Stephanie Manwell, President of the Nassau County Retired Educators Association, along with a delegation of Retired Educators will be present to accept the Proclamation.
4.2 PROCLAMATION – SERVICE TO VETERANS – Proclamation proclaiming the month of November, 2011, as “Service to Veterans”. Ms. Jane Collins, Regent – Amelia Island Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, will be present to accept the Proclamation.
4.3 PROCLAMATION – VETERANS REMEMBRANCE MONTH – Proclamation celebrating November, 2011, as “Veterans’ Remembrance Month”. Commandant Tech Sergeant Jim Thomas and Former Commandants Lieutenant Hinton Gaines and Lieutenant Al Alaban of the American Legion Post 54 will be present to accept the Proclamation.
4.4 PRESENTATION – ALTERNATIVES FOR DREDGING THE MARINA BASIN – Mr. Robert Semmes with ATM will present a report on the alternatives for dredging the marina basin.

5. CONSENT AGENDA
5.1 APPROVAL OF MINUTES – Special Meeting – September 29, 2011; Regular Meeting – October 4, 2011; Special Meeting – October 18, 2011.
5.2 APPROVAL OF POLL WORKERS – RESOLUTION 2011-158 APPROVING THE POLL WORKERS FOR THE 2011 CITY ELECTIONS; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Authorizes the Poll Workers for the 2011 City Elections, as required by City Code.
5.3 SEWER AND REFUSE EXEMPTION – RESOLUTION 2011-159 APPROVING ONE (1) ADDITIONAL APPLICATION FOR CITY SEWER AND REFUSE EXEMPTION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 2011/2012; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Approves one (1) additional application for Sewer and Refuse Exemption, bringing the total to date to twelve for fiscal year 2011-2012.
5.4 AWARD OF BID # 11-21 – DEEP WELL MOTORS – RESOLUTION 2011-160 AWARDING BID #11-21 FOR THE PURCHASE OF FOUR (4) DEEP WELL MOTORS TO TESLA ELECTRIC ARMATURE & MACHINE, INC.; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Awards Bid # 11-21 to Telsa Electric Armature & Machine, Inc, for the purchase of four (4) deep well motors to replace existing motors.
5.5 AUTHORIZATION OF GRANT APPLICATION – RESOLUTION 2011-161 AUTHORIZING THE SUBMISSION OF (ONE) GRANT APPLICATION TO THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION, CLEAN VESSEL ACT PROGRAM TO PURCHASE AND INSTALL A STATIONARY PUMPOUT WITH SEWER CONNECTION; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Authorizes the submittal of a grants application for the installation of a Stationary Pump-out with sewer connection in the amount of $9,000 and a City commitment of $3,000.

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 AWARD OF BID # 11-01 – MAINTENANCE DREDGING OF THE FERNANDINA HARBOR MARINA – RESOLUTION 2011-162 AWARDING BID #11-01 TO PARS CONSTRUCTION SERVICES, LLC FOR MAINTENANCE DREDGING OF FERNANDINA HARBOR MARINA; AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF DOCUMENTS; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Awards the maintenance dredging of the Fernandina Harbor Marina to Pars Construction Services, LLC in the amount of $379,119.00 and a project contingency of $20,000.
7.2 BUDGET AMENDMENTS – RESOLUTION 2011-163 APPROVING AMENDMENTS TO THE BUDGET FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 2010-2011 BUDGET; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Authorizes eleven (11) budget amendments to ensure expenditures do not exceed budget on a line-by-line basis for fiscal year ended September 30, 2011.
7.3 PURCHASE AND SALE AGREEMENT – AIRPORT PROPERTY – RESOLUTION 2011-157 APPROVING A PURCHASE AND SALE AGREEMENT WITH COMPASS GROUP DEV., INC. FOR THE SALE OF PROPERTY LOCATED AT THE AIRPORT; AUTHORIZING EXECUTION; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Authorizes the sale of approximately 8.3 acres of land at the Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport to Compass Group, Dev., Inc.
7.4 APPROVING THE USE OF DISTRICT 501 IMPACT FEES – RESOLUTION 2011-164 APPROVING THE USE OF DISTRICT 501 TRANSPORTATION IMPACT FEE TRUST FUNDS FOR INTERSECTION IMPROVEMENTS AT SOUTH 14th STREET AND BEECH STREET; AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF DOCUMENTS; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Authorizes the use of District 501 Transportation Impact Fee Trust Funds to intersection improvements at South 14th and Beech Street.
7.5 PROPOSAL ACCEPTANCE – INSITUFORM – RESOLUTION 2011-165 APPROVING A PROPOSAL FROM INSITUFORM TECHNOLOGIES, INC. TO RELINE EXISTING SEWER LINES BY WAY OF A “PIGGYBACK AGREEMENT” TO THE CONTRACT WITH THE CITY OF MELBOURNE, FLORIDA; AUTHORIZING EXECUTION; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Authorizes a piggyback agreement with Insituform to reline existing sewer lines.

8. ORDINANCES – FIRST READING
8.1 PAY AND CLASSIFICATION PLAN – ORDINANCE 2011-25 ESTABLISHING THE CLASSIFICATION PLAN FOR FISCAL YEAR 2011-2012, PURSUANT TO SECTION 120 OF THE CITY CHARTER AND SECTION 62-247 OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Establishes the Classification Plan for Fiscal Year 2011-2012 as required by City Code of Ordinances.

9. ORDINANCES – SECOND READING
9.1 REDUCTION OF CITY COMMISSION SALARY FOR THE 2011-2012 FISCAL YEAR – ORDINANCE 2011-21 AMENDING ORDINANCE 2004-09 BY PROVIDING FOR 20% REDUCED ANNUAL SALARY TO THE CITY COMMISSIONERS FOR FISCAL YEAR 2011-12; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Reduces the City Commission’s salary for the 2011-2012 fiscal year.
9.2 CODE AMENDMENT – REPEALING CITY ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS, AND POLICIES REGULATING FIREARMS – ORDINANCE 2011-22 AMENDING THE CODE OF ORDINANCES BY AMENDING SECTION 30-106 REGARDING FIREARMS IN THE CEMETERY; REPEALING SECTION 58-2 REGARDING DISCHARGING FIREARMS IN THE CITY; REPEALING SECTION 58-3 REGARDING DISCHARGING AIR GUNS AND AIR RIFLES IN THE CITY; REPEALING ALL OTHER CITY ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND POLICIES REGULATING FIREARMS IN CONFLICT WITH STATE LAW; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; REPEALING ALL ORDINANCES IN CONFLICT HEREWITH; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Repeals several sections of the City Code regulating firearms.

10. BOARD APPOINTMENTS
10.1 CODE ENFORCEMENT AND APPEALS BOARD – 1 Appointment.

11. DISCUSSION – DIRECTION – ACTION ITEMS
11.1 JAKE BRAKING (SEMI-TRUCKS)
11.2 REQUEST BY THE NASSAU COUNTY TO FORM A COMMITTEE TO EXPLORE CONSOLIDATED SERVICES

12. CITY MANAGER REPORTS
13. CITY ATTORNEY REPORTS
14. CITY CLERK REPORTS
15. MAYOR/COMMISSIONER COMMENTS
16. ADJOURNMENT

Managing Your Time

Managing Your TimeTime management is the foundation of organization and planning is your best organizational tool. Many people spend their days in a frenzy of activity, but achieve very little because they are not concentrating on the right things. Stuff bounces around in our heads causing stress and anxiety. We’re too neurotic to stop thinking about it and we certainly don’t have time to actually do everything in one day. This results in running from one “fire” to another hoping that we haven’t forgotten anything.

Our primary resource is time. In fact, time is all that anyone has that is of intrinsic value. Even something as valuable as good health is of no use without time.

At the beginning of the week, making a “to do” list gives you direction, and at the beginning of each day, it gives you a plan. Your weekly planning session should begin with gathering papers, going through your in-box, and checking the calendar. Using a planner that includes a daily “to do” or task list is an excellent tool. There are even free online applications such as the one at www.toodledo.com.

It is important to be flexible with your plan, as even the best laid plans can get waylaid. Missions and goals give long-term perspective and short-term motivation. Setting goals also builds self-confidence. By setting sharp, clearly defined goals, you have a measure and can take pride in achieving those goals.

The first steps to organizing your time might be emptying your planner of clutter and junk, and combining your personal and business calendars to make a master list of all the things you need to do.

The “to do” lists should be prioritized and should include al the tasks that you need to carry out. The most important tasks go at the top of the list, and the least important at the bottom. This is often the beginning of being truly organized. If all the tasks you need to complete are in one place, you are less likely to miss anything.

The “to do” list process allows you to look at the time you have available and plan how you will use it to achieve the goals you have identified. Review each task and decide up front how long it should take and work to that deadline. Leave enough time for things you absolutely must do and preserve some contingency time to handle the unexpected. When you are confronted with occasions when your plans for the day are suddenly interrupted, don’t hit the panic button. Check your list, re-evaluate, and adjust your strategy.

Begin with the worst item on your list. Wasting time stems from delaying work that is unpleasant by finding distractions that are less important or unproductive. Procrastinators work as many hours as everyone else, they just tend to work on the wrong tasks. Schedule your most challenging tasks for the times of day when your energy is highest.

Organization is a systematic application of common sense strategies, yet most people need practice to perfect the required discipline. It requires little effort and it promotes time management by identifying wasted time and focusing on your prioritized activities. Organization gives people direction and enables them to take control of their time.

Time is all you really have, so managing that time is the most important decision you can make.

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Ride for Fitness 2011 Video

Ride for Fitness 2011 VideoRide for Fitness was held on October 22, 2011, and began at CLUB 14 FITNESS on scenic Amelia Island, Florida. Cyclists had their choice of distance after an amazing ride through Fort Clinch State Park. Rest stops with refreshments, SAG support and well appointed locker rooms and shower facilities were made available to all participants.

This annual ride benefits LIFT Florida, an organization dedicated to the development of student athletes. Their ongoing mission is to provide deserving youths access to professional athletic instruction, equipment, facilities and organized competition.

LIFT Florida provides, through fund raising, donations, and events such as Ride for Fitness, assistance with equipment purchase, weightlifting club membership, club uniforms, weightlifting shoes and supplies (chalk, tape, ice packs, scissors, etc.) as well as assistance with weightlifting team travel expenses.

Approximately 60 riders participated in this year’s event!

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dT9_-dmVBWk

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Everyday Surfaces that will give you a Cold

The filthiest germ attack of them all.

Just coming out of a nasty 10 day cold that probably could have been prevented with extreme precautions, I just read this story about how absolutely impossible it is to avoid a common cold in today’s society. Trying to limit touching surfaces that have been infected is obviously the key to avoid a cold, but how diligently can you be without turning rude or obnoxious after a while?

Watching commercials in which young parents feverishly chlorox the surfaces frequented by their offspring gets old quickly. Sleeping in the guest bedroom or not hugging your significant sick one gets old too. Yet, I tried it this time when a cold entered the house. Well it didn’t work. I just entered the sick bay a couple of days later. Unless you move out of the house at the first sign of a potential germ infection, it will get you. Guaranteed.

Some “experts” say that drinking excessive amounts of water will prevent catching a cold. With 10 half liter bottles a day (1-1/3 gallon) I almost drowned my brain, but it didn’t stop the cold. Frankly after years of battling one or two colds a year, I have now come to accept that a cold is just part of my annual immune rebuild system. Yet every time I spent anther coughing, sniffling, sore throat, dry mouth, sinus headache, stuffy nose, teary eyed, cold chill feverish night, I am obsessed to find a way to prevent the common cold.

Over the years I already have given special consideration to counter tops, refrigerator handles, door handles, faucet handles, toilet handles, microwave handles, silverware, glass ware, computer keyboards, telephone units, remote controls, and just thinking about it, there is no way to avoid transfer of germs, not even if you would spend the day disinfecting the ground you’re walking on.

Easiest places to catch the cold germ

If there is any future in trying to avoid catching a cold, it has to come from personal protection methods. Latex gloves or throw away woolen gloves like my friend Joe Bonamassa wears when he does a meet and greet with his fans after a show, could be a temporary solution and potentially items that I may add to my efforts especially after learning (duh???) that grabbing the handle of a gas pump is the number one transmitter of germs in the country, closely followed by public mailboxes, escalator rails and ATM buttons. Back to gas station attendants?
But then what about escalator rails and especially ATM buttons or payment key-pads or other filth-laden spots such as parking meters and kiosks, crosswalk buttons and buttons on vending machines in shopping malls.

It’s a well-known fact that nobody ever cleans the things that we’re going to touch on a daily basis. Grocery stores and Supermarkets already know this for a long time and have boxes of cleaning tissues available to wipe off the cart handles. But that’s only part of the problem when you realize that once you get to the check out and swipe your card, your fingers are touching a key pad that hasn’t been cleaned in years! I once made a remark to an immigration officer at the airport who had a sign next to his window that informed us of the penalty for coughing in his face. When I asked him how many times a day  the finger print machine was disinfected to avoid passing germs on to incoming travelers, he was ready to send me back to the country I came from.
Germs from people’s hands can transfer seven times before leaving the skin and washing your hands constantly is a pain in the neck, besides almost impossibly inconvenient and guaranteed to miss that one occasion that will infect you.

Until someone comes up with a skin friendly disinfectant spray that will kill germs on contact and we only need to re-apply once or twice a day, we are exposed to the common cold in a somewhat random manner and until then, it’s good to have a load of Vitamin C, homemade chicken soup, throat lozengers, water and the family’s favorite pharmacy collection at your finger tips.

Discover the World Travel Show on Nov. 4

The Travel Agency Amelia Island Luxury Travel ShowNext week Friday on November 4 between 4-7pm, Amelia Island’s Travel Agency is organizing the 3rd edition of their now annual “Come Discover the World Luxury Travel Show” at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island.
We went last year (see video) and not only had a blast during the well attended event, we also learned a lot of interesting new program offered by this most exciting industries of all.

Since the Travel Agency opened its doors in 1974,  Ange and Jim Wallace and their staff over the years made it a point to personally experience the destinations and programs they sell, and in the process of this learning, they built a huge global network of travel supply partners and friends, whom they refer to as the partners on the ground. One of the big advantages of this approach, may usually only show at the “worst” of times, but is nevertheless very reassuring. Having partners on the ground means that the Travel Agency can advise and alert their customers immediately, when something – anything- disturbing or endangering happens such as nature acting up (Japan) or a popular uprising (Egypt), with ready to implement options and arrangements.

The annual show here on Amelia Island gives the Agency’s clientele a chance to meet with a selection of those partners as some 25 of the most outstanding, industry defining travel companies in the world are going to be presenting at this Travel Show at the Ritz Carlton.  The Travel Industry has substantially expanded in recent decades to include programs that offer learning or improving a skill, experience life altering (changing) expeditions, contribute to sustainability of cultures, get fit and active, do a humanitarian tour or lend a hand to a local cause while doing something exotic. The women at the Travel Agency have been frontrunners in this trend of uniquely sustainable travel, which is reflected in the partners they have invited for this year’s Travel Show entitled : Come Test Drive the World.

A selection of high quality cruise expedition lines, Tour Companies and Specialty Resorts have been invited to present the latest and newest of their offerings to the Amelia Island Travel Aficionado. For an in-depth description on what is offered, go to the Agency’s website and learn about the participating companies and the attractive door prizes, raffles and show discounts and than pencil Friday Nov. 4 in your planner for a trip to the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island.

Make sure to attend the show between 4 and 7pm and line your pocket with a $10 bill, as admission requires a “mandatory” donation to the Nassau County Boys and Girls Club, a charity close to both departing resort general manager Kate Monahan as well as the Travel Agency.

The leisure and travel industry today is a front runner in guiding our travel footprints to be sustainable, educational and the necessity to give back. Virtuoso affiliated The Travel Agency, has impressed me from the first time we crossed as a very conscientious, dedicated, informed and gifted group of travel advisors, with knowledge and a network that goes far beyond the Internet options.
Go to their Facebook page and register

Understanding Your Employee Stock Options

Not only employee-owned companies work with stock options

Do you have stock options from your employer? Make sure you know the rules before exercising them, or you may be in for some unpleasant surprises.
Even though the boom days of the 1990s have passed, employee stock option programs continue to be popular with both public and private companies.  As long as they take steps to learn the basic rules, employees stand to profit handsomely from these valuable benefits.
In the dot-com “go-go” days of the 1990s and early 2000s, many companies frequently used employee stock option plans as a way to reward and retain valued staff.  Everyone from top level executives to temporary administrative help participated in some companies. Although the modern Great Recession has produced fewer “company stock millionaires” these days, stock option programs are still popular with public and private companies.

What Is a Stock Option?

If your company benefits package includes stock options, you’ve been given the right to purchase shares of your company’s stock at a specific price and under certain conditions set by company management.
Vested options allow you to purchase a specific number of shares only after you’ve satisfied a time-in-service commitment for your employer.
If your options are performance-based, these will vest once you or your company meet specified goals.
If you have immediate options, you can purchase your allotted shares whenever you like.

The two most common types of employee stock option plans are incentive stock option (ISO) and nonqualified stock option (NSO) plans. Typically, ISOs are reserved for key executives, while staff on lower rungs of the corporate ladder may be issued NSOs. The primary difference between the two option types is how they are treated for tax purposes.

An ISO may be taxed as a long-term capital gain, assuming the employee holds the stock for at least two years from the option grant date and one more year from the exercise date. They are also taxed only when the stock is sold, effectively creating a  tax-deferred investment plan. However, ISOs may trigger alternative minimum tax (AMT) liability. Be sure to discuss this with your tax advisor to see exactly how your taxes may be affected.
NSOs are not quite as attractive, since they are taxed as both income and capital gains.  Income tax is owed once the options are exercised (when you purchase the stock). This is an important consideration to anyone who is thinking of exercising options. If you don’t have enough cash available, you may need to sell some of the shares you’ve just purchased in order to pay the tax bill.

Exercising Options

Stock options often have an exercise period of 10 years.  This means you have 10 years from the time your company grants you the options to actually purchase the stock. You are not obligated to buy any shares, particularly if your company’s stock price is trading below the option exercise price. If you choose not to purchase the stock during the exercise period, your options will expire worthless.

Some companies may offer the flexibility to exchange option grants if the market price of their stock has dropped significantly. For example, if your stock options have an exercise price of $50 a share and your company stock has been trading at only $40 a share for a long time, the company may exchange your $50 strike price options for a new set of options with a lower strike price.

If you are participating in an employee stock option plan, consult with a financial and/or tax professional who can help you decide when to exercise your shares and how to deal with the tax consequences.

2011 Georgia Florida Football Classic

2011 Georgia Florida Football ClassicGeorgia Bulldog and Florida Gator fans are showing their colors all around Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island. From flags on cars to banners hanging from balconies, signage and school spirit can be found everywhere.

Florida is the home team, which rotates each year as does the name of the game with the home team being the first name in the title, however for a Georgia fan like me, it is always The Georgia/Florida game.

This classic rivalry, which has been held in Jacksonville every year since 1933, except for 1994 and 1995, when the contest was held at the respective schools’ campus stadiums due to the reconstruction of the current Jacksonville Jaguars stadium, is always a great time here on Amelia Island and the surrounding areas, and everyone seems to be predicting a close game; one Amelia Island could use. Fernandina Beach becomes a sea of red and black and when the Bulldogs win those tourists will stay in town through Sunday. If they lose, they tuck their bulldog tails and head back home.

The Bulldogs lead the overall series with a 47–40–2 overall record by its reckoning, and 46–40–2 by Florida’s count. Florida has compiled an 18–3 record in the series since 1990 (Georgia winning in 1997, 2004 and 2007), following a 15–5 streak by Georgia in the 1970s and 1980s. Granted, I went to Georgia during that time frame so it is hard for me to deal with the past 20 years!

This year my beloved Bulldogs (right now) are 2.5 point underdogs, but in this game you never know what will happen.

Prior to the game there will be lots of great things to do so if you are a fan of either team you need to indulge yourself in all that Amelia Island has to offer!

    -Second Amendment Outfitters lets you shoot a gun at your rival’s target and enter for a chance to win a gun.
    -Amelia Liquors will have the Jose Cuervo Girls at their South Store to take your picture in front of your favorite teams logos and colors. You can also create a label to put on a bottle of Cuervo tequila to show your team spirit to all your friends, and they will be available for personal photos as well. This all takes place from 4 till 6 on Friday. Their North Store also has a wine tasting and more, so get out and enjoy our paradise.

Friday night the island is buzzing with colorful fans, but come Saturday morning they start heading to Jacksonville to tailgate at the World’s Largest Cocktail Party, leaving the island all but deserted.

I will be staying at home this year to watch this most important game in the sanctity of my own man-cave so I can scream and imbibe in a few adult beverages with family and a few friends. When I was in College I witnessed this game in person many times so I feel I deserve to do it my way now!

Many locals throw parties, the grills are fired up and near kick-off time there is a noticeable reduction in traffic and especially male shoppers out and about.

My early prediction: Georgia 30, Florida 24 in a squeaker.

Go Dawgs! Sic Em Woof Woof Woof!!!

Happy Halloween!!!

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