First City Commission Meeting of 2012

First City Commission Meeting of 2012Here is the Agenda for the first meeting of the Fernandina Beach City Commissioners for 2012. The meeting will be held on January 3, 2012, at 6:00 PM, in City Hall on Ash Street, Amelia Island, Florida.

1. CALL TO ORDER
2. ROLL CALL
3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE and Invocation by Rev. Brett Opalinski of Memorial United Methodist Church.
4. PROCLAMATIONS/PRESENTATION
4.1 PROCLAMATION – RECOGNITION OF PLANNING ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS AND PLANNING STAFF – Proclamation recognizing members of the Planning Advisory Board and Planning Staff members for their contributions in the City’s Comprehensive Plan Update being selected as the recipient of the 2011 Regional Leadership Award for Excellence in Planning and Growth Management.

5. CONSENT AGENDA
5.1 FACILITIES USE AGREEMENT – CANADIAN FORCES – RESOLUTION 2012-01 APPROVING A FACILITY USE AGREEMENT WITH THE 42 RADAR SQUADRON TO CONDUCT RADAR FIELD TRAINING AT THE FERNANDINA MUNICIPAL AIRPORT; AUTHORIZING EXECUTION; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE. Synopsis: Approves the use of Airport Property on February 3-27, 2012, by the 42 Radar Squadron.

5.2 FACILITIES USE AGREEMENT – DRIVING DYNAMICS – RESOLUTION 2012-02 APPROVING A FACILITY USE AGREEMENT WITH DRIVING DYNAMICS, INC., TO USE AIRPORT PROPERTY TO CONDUCT CORPORATE DRIVER TRAINING; AUTHORIZING EXECUTION; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE. Synopsis: Approves the use of Airport Property on February 9-10, 2012, by Driving Dynamics.

5.3 SUPPLEMENTAL JOINT PROJECT AGREEMENT – FDOT – RESOLUTION 2012-03 APPROVING A SUPPLEMENTAL JOINT PROJECT AGREEMENT (FINANCIAL PROJECT #42992819412) BETWEEN THE CITY AND FDOT FOR ADDITIONAL WORK INCLUDING ELECTRICAL UPGRADES TO RUNWAYS 8/26 AND 4/22 SHOULDER REHABILITATION AT FERNANDINA BEACH MUNICIPAL AIRPORT, AUTHORIZING EXECUTION; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE. Synopsis: Authorizes a Supplemental Joint Project Agreement with FDOT for Runway 8/26 and Runway 4/22 Shoulder Rehabilitations and Electrical Upgrades at the Airport.

5.4 AUTHORIZING MAYOR TO SIGN DOCUMENTS FOR SALE OF AIRPORT PROPERTY TO FPU – RESOLUTION 2012-04 AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR TO EXECUTE A WARRANTY DEED AND CLOSING DOCUMENTS FOR THE SALE OF PROPERTY LOCATED AT THE AIRPORT TO FLORIDA PUBLIC UTILITIES COMPANY; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE. Synopsis: Approves the Assignment of the Purchase and Sale Agreement to FPU and authorizes the Mayor to execute the Warranty Deed, Owner-Seller Affidavit, and other closing documents.

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 AGREEMENT APPROVAL – FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION – RESOLUTION 2012-05 APPROVING THE TEMPORARY USE AGREEMENT FROM THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION FOR THE USE OF THE SUBMERGED LANDS AT THE FERNANDINA HARBOR MARINA WHILE THE BUTLER ACT CLAIMS ARE FINALIZED; AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF DOCUMENTS; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE. Synopsis: Approves a Temporary Use Agreement with FDEP for City use of Submerged Lands at the Marina until Butler Act Claims are finalized.

7.2 PURCHASE APPROVAL – FLEET – RESOLUTION 2012-06 APPROVING THE PURCHASE OF ONE (1) CATERPILLAR 303.5cDR EXCAVATOR FOR THE CITY FLEET; AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF DOCUMENTS; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE. Synopsis: Approves the purchase of one (1) Caterpillar Excavator in the amount of $39,974 under Florida Sheriff’s Contract Vehicle Bid Award #111-19-0907.

8. ORDINANCES – SECOND READING
8.1 APPROVING A NATURAL GAS FRANCHISE AGREEMENT WITH FLORIDA PUBLIC UTILITIES – ORDINANCE 2011-26 GRANTING TO FLORIDA PUBLIC UTILITIES COMPANY, ITS SUCCESSORS AND ASSIGNS, A NON-EXCLUSIVE FRANCHISE FOR A PERIOD OF 30 YEARS TO CONSTRUCT, OPERATE, MAINTAIN, OWN AND TRANSPORT IN THE CITY OF FERNANDINA BEACH, FLORIDA, WORKS FOR THE MANUFACTURE, TRANSMISSION, DISTRIBUTION, TRANSPORTATION, AND SALE OF GAS, INCLUDING NATURAL, MANUFACTURED OR MIXED GAS; PROVIDING FOR SERVICE STANDARDS; RESERVING THE RIGHT TO PURCHASE UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS; PROVIDING A RIGHT OF FIRST REFUSAL TO PURCHASE ASSETS TO THE CITY; PROVIDING FOR PERFORMANCE AND RATE STANDARDS; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; REPEALING ALL ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS IN CONFLICT HEREWITH; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE. Synopsis: Approves a Natural Gas Franchise Agreement with Florida Public Utilities for thirty (30) years.

8.2 INCREASING ELECTRIC FRANCHISE FEES – ORDINANCE 2011-27 AMENDING ORDINANCE 2006-48, ORDINANCE 2003-5, ORDINANCE 96-9 AND SECTION 9 OF ORDINANCE 96-4 TO RAISE THE ELECTRIC FRANCHISE FEE TO BE PAID TO THE CITY FROM 4.5 PERCENT TO 5.05 PERCENT; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE. Synopsis: Amending Ordinance 2006-48 by increasing Electric Franchise Fees from 4.5% to 5.05%.

8.3 CHANGE IN LAND USE – CITY OF FERNANDINA BEACH – ORDINANCE 2011-28 AMENDING THE FUTURE LAND USE MAP FROM RECREATION (REC) TO INDUSTRIAL (IND), FOR A PORTION OF ONE PARCEL TOTALING 0.95 ACRES OF LAND IDENTIFIED AS PARCEL ID NUMBER 06-2N-28-0000-0001-007L; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE. Synopsis: Approves the change in land use from Recreation (REC) to Industrial (IND).

8.4 CHANGE IN ZONING – CITY OF FERNANDINA BEACH – ORDINANCE 2011-29 CHANGING THE ZONING MAP FROM RECREATION (REC) TO INDUSTRIAL (I-1), FOR A PORTION OF ONE PARCEL TOTALING 0.95 ACRES OF LAND IDENTIFIED AS PARCEL ID NUMBER 06-2N-28-0000-0001-007L; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE. Synopsis: Approves the change in zoning from Recreation (REC) to Industrial (IND).

8.5 LAND DEVELOPMENT CODE AMENDMENT – ORDINANCE 2011-30 AMENDING THE LAND DEVELOPMENT CODE, CHAPTER 10, SECTION 10.02.03 PROCEDURES for variances and Section 10.03.02 Procedure; AND CHAPTER 11, Section 11.01.03 Requirements for All Applications, Section 11.02.00 Notice Requirements, Section 11.03.03 procedures for action by the planning advisory board, section 11.03.09 specific procedures for issuance of a certificate of appropriateness by the hdc; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE. Synopsis: Amends the Land Development Code pertaining to Application Procedures and Notice Requirements.

9. BOARD APPOINTMENTS
9.1 ARTS AND CULTURE NASSAU – 1 Appointment.
9.2 GOLF COURSE ADVISORY BOARD – 2 Appointments.
9.3 PARKS & RECREATION ADVISORY COMMITTEE – 5 Appointments.

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

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!




SearchAmelia on TwitterYou can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

Good Luck for the New Year

Good Luck for the New YearCan you believe that 2012 is upon us already? 2011 was a difficult and trying year for many people and we could all use some good luck. New Year’s Eve is a time for partying and celebrating, but New Year’s Day brings the promise of a better, more prosperous year. Many cultures believe that eating specific foods on the first day of the new year brings luck, wealth and prosperity. It’s a tradition that’s worth upholding even if you’re not a believer in luck.

Here is a list of so-called “lucky foods.” What’s the harm in at least trying?

Black-Eyed Peas
Here in the South it is well known that it is traditional to eat foods with black-eyed peas. They are meant to symbolize money and wealth. Hoppin’ John is one of the most famous dishes to eat during New Year’s festivities. When paired with pork or ham, it’s even more appropriate for the holiday.

Greens
Greens, unsurprisingly, also symbolize money. Europeans eat dishes with cabbage or sauerkraut. In the South, people eat kale or collards, oftentimes stewed together with ham hocks. Eat your greens for a wealthy, and healthy, new year!

Lentils
Because of their coin-like appearance, lentils have long been believed to be a food symbolizing wealth and prosperity for the new year. All over Europe and even South America, people eat lentil soup or lentils with sausages on New Year’s Day.

Pork
Because a pig digs forward with its snout, it symbolizes forward progress. Eat pork or ham for prosperity, but stay away from eating chicken, because it scratches backward, and lobster, which scuttles backward. Pork on New Year’s Day is especially popular in Europe and the United States.

Fish
Fish is an obvious choice for celebrating the new year, because fish also symbolizes forward progress and wealth (fish scales represent coins). In Italy, dishes of cod and salt cod (baccala) are traditionally prepared. Scandinavians and eastern Europeans often enjoy herring for the new year.

Grapes
In Spain it’s a tradition to eat 12 grapes at midnight, with each grape representing the months in the old year. One grape might be sweet and another grape may be sour, representing good and bad months that have passed. The custom is also popular in Portugal and South America.

Cake
Round and ring-shaped cakes and baked goods are traditional to have for the new year. Fritters and doughnuts are especially popular in Italy and Eastern Europe. In Greece they make an almond cake called vasilopita, in which a coin is hidden. Whoever finds the coin is guaranteed good luck in the new year. Other cultures also hide trinkets in their New Year’s baked goods.

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!




SearchAmelia on TwitterYou can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

People Are Awesome

searchamelia.com Build your own road through life

Build Your Own Road through Life

We’re at the end of another year, a year in which for the first time in my life I was in a delivery room and saw a child being born, a grandchild baby boy. He’s nine months old today and rapidly going through the initial stages of discovery of early life. Curiosity is still limited by movement, but soon he will be walking around and touching, inspecting and operating toys, gadgets, tools and appliances the world had not even thought about when I was his age. And that made me realize that by the time he is my age, the clock will have moved forward to 2070 and the world will be pretty much unrecognizable from today.

And as I’m trying to envision a glimpse of what it may look like, I have the urge to take him aside for a moment, away from his young and entirely unwritten road to the future and share with him some of my observations over a life time, in which mankind was introduced to more “high speed progress” than the human brain can handle. Just in one century we were introduced to individual motorized transportation, rapid-fire communications across the globe and into the universe, nuclear power, jet propulsion travel around the world and into space,  and scientific and medical advances that propelled mankind’s average age from 59 to 80 years and the world population from 2.5 billion to 7 billion.

By the time his young life is going to be my age, there will be more than 10 billion people on earth and the only way they will be able to co-habitate peacefully is through shared prosperity and educated respect for races and individuals. That is the daunting task  for today’s profiling generations, finding a way to share and co-habitate peacefully or face the very real prospect of extinction.

I want to share with him that life does not provide Multiple Choice options when it comes to answering its truly important questions. I would  also like to share with him that life is not linear, no matter how much society wants you to think that. Life’s not something that can be planned for on a step by step basis, in spite of educational, religious, political and corporate systems that seem to be anchored in the presumption that you can. I would tell him to carve out his own road to learning about life, because powers that have appointed themselves to be in charge of society, are too busy politicking rather than adjusting, adapting and finetuning the systems to the rapidly changing times.

I hope he will learn early on in life to accept and explore the entire world as his playground and I would tell him to not be bound to location or country, because others will try to anchor him with advice that is packaged in love and caring. I hope he will find the wisdom to know who and when to delete out of his life without remorse or apology and be guided by his dreams. I would tell him to diversify his interests and assets and never to get caught in one place with a rock against his back.

I would tell him that my parents and grandparents had studied for only one job their entire life, but that my generation and his parents stood at the beginning of multiple careers, often crossing opposite sites of the spectrum.  I would tell him to load up on talents and passions and to never give up on his dreams.
I would share with him that many people initially set out to pave their roads with good intentions, but that life is so full of unexpected encounters and curves out to compromise your beliefs, that only intellectual flexibility helps when you find yourself picking up the pieces of your life on different platforms.
I would impress on him to learn languages, appreciate cultures and build lifelong networks through the adoption of mentors; people that will guide you and teach by honest experiences gathered in a rapidly changing world.

The world is going through a rough patch, mostly as the result of designed ignorance, a misguided sense of entitlement that creates dependency and excessive greed.  The scenarios for my grandson largely depend on him building a healthy, inquisitive relationship with education that allows him to be flexible and prepared when life starts throwing curve balls his way.
I would encourage him to have faith in humanity finding the answers to today’s frictions. I have faith that the face of politics, democracy and civilization will change for the better, because of the amazing power of instant communication and interaction that has conquered the globe in the past 20 years.
I would encourage my grandson to watch youTube channels like the one called “People Are Awesome”
or TED TALKS .

And then I would repeat to him what I said before: Be decent but have the wisdom to recognize when people are projecting their fears onto your life’s decisions and have the courage to stand up for what you believe in and always face the consequences of your actions.

For us adults a new year does not start with a blank page anymore. Much of the writing on January 1, 2012 is the result of a lifetime of acting and collecting. My grandson’s young life however is as yet uncharted territory. I will encourage him to firmly grab the edges of his road and pull it to wherever he wants it to be and check with him when the year 2070 comes along.

2011 – The Year that Refused to do what we Expected

2011 Never Let us Catch Up from the Chaos

2011 was a year of turmoil on all levels, mostly without any explanation. It felt like we raced from one chaotic crisis to the next, without time to grasp, contemplate, digest or consider. It also felt like there were no other options then rolling with the punches and not look back and most certainly to stop expecting rational behavior, whether it concerned nature or humans. I often felt like the ground gave out beneath our feet intellectually as well as physically.

The year started out with birds dropping dead out of the sky by the thousands and fish washing up by the tens of thousands here in the States. No answers yet, other than it happened before in 1961, leading Hitchcock to make his “The Birds” thriller. Doomsday supporters are sending out grave warnings.

An earthquake driven tsunami in Japan demolished not only the coast of that country but also the long term plans of most industrial countries for generating sustainable, safe nuclear power in the future.

Here at home the omens were also way over-the-top of comprehension: One day an earthquake cracks the facade of the National Cathedral in Washington and the next day Hurricane Irene threatens to rip parts of the Cathedral down. Even New York City gets a serious warning from Irene.

The North African Mediterranean part of the Arab world, without any warning from Middle East experts, without much of a reason at all besides being tired of dictators and their whims, decided that the tyranny under which it had been living for generations had to end. Not slowly and controlled but here and now. Immediately. And when the system collapsed, there was no holding back. What happened on the political level on the African side of the Mediterranean, happened on the economic level on the European side. Greece, Italy, Spain all became part of the PIGS acronym, threatening to take the world economy down. 2012 will probably carry the answer on that development

The situation in America has been equally fraught with turmoil and impending chaos: Washington’s decades of political decline, with its vicious partisanship, gridlock, and the most shortsighted thinking imaginable, finally has begun to have consequences beyond the rigging of short term bandaids.

In August, Standard & Poor’s, an agency that once upon a time gave AAA ratings to CDO’s backed by subprime mortgages, decided that the United States government might run into a problem paying off its debt in the future; yes imagine America might not be able to pay off its debt to China. Even five years ago, your imagination would have been either ignored or you committed!
Besides these grand geopolitical shifts, many small everyday assumptions, it turned out, could no longer be taken for granted.

Canadians rioted in Vancouver. The Pope in the Vatican tweeted. Ron Paul achieved  household word status after 25 years of marginal presence.
Osama bin Laden’s provoked death had no impact whatsoever and just proved once again that no one is irreplaceable and that everyone has a secret stash of adult entertainment. Unfortunately it took us 10 years and a couple of billion dollars to unearth this little jewel.

Italian’s ousted prime minister billionaire Berlusconi bragged about bedding 8 young babes while in his seventies and the demise of of his womanizing friend Ghaddafi to the south uncovered how an abortion room next to his quarters at the University of Tripoli redefined the word creepy.

Other old man in Washington, rather than balancing a budget as told by the constitution, thought it necessary to debate raising the debt ceiling of the world’s largest economy instead, so that we all can borrow more and kick more cans down the road of our children’s future. Crisis? What crisis? While true blood Americans are wallowing in the belief that –“They’re not going to … Nah, they wouldn’t imperil the prosperity of the world just to score some cheap points, would they?”–  we’re approaching the cliff at 200 miles an hour Speedy Gonzales style and no brakes.

Even most of the tear jerking scandals this year had a disturbing flavor to them. Schwarzenegger, Sheen, Kardashian — their lusts are different from “heros” of the past. They’re somehow nastier, less considerate and infinitely more disturbing.  Austrian Arnie just grabbed the maid and procreated and Sheen has been allowed to channel his barbarism into a somewhat workable version of how to fall apart while riding high.  As someone much smarter than I phrased: “Sheen represents a new and diminished ideal for a world of accepted disorder in which we’re now all surfing the tsunami like those idiots on surfboards in hurricane waves, discovering one after another that invincibility is a overrated emotion. As for Kardashian, can we just forget that name?

Having said all that, I think that on the base level, the most encouraging aspect of this year of chaos is that the human race didn’t come off all that badly among all the unprecedented chaos and human tragedy. During and after the disasters themselves, selfishness momentarily evaporated. After the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, hundreds of elderly Japanese engineers volunteered to clean up the mess, so that the cancers that would inevitably result from exposure to nuclear waste wouldn’t kill younger people. The tornado that swept through Joplin, Missouri, in May left in its wake stories of heroism and selfless generosity. The same during Irene, the same during the earthquake.

Our best stuff seems to come out during the worst situations. This fact did not escape me, being a survivor of 5 major hurricanes. Humanity, like marriage, works best in a crisis when all bets are off and government meddling is minimal.

And that is the key word, “Government meddling“, because with the Occupy Wall Street movement came an understanding of American Politics to me I never understood or witnessed before. The vagueness of the protesters message didn’t stop left-wing polls from violent head-nodding, nor did it stop right-wing polls from disagreeing angrily. There were no demands, but yet there were.  The truth is that American politics took another step closer to just being a call-and-response of angry grunts.

So, when just recently CERN scientists in Switzerland announced that they believe they may have discovered a particle that travels faster than the speed of light, I instantly knew that this news could not have come at a more perfect moment. For centuries we’ve been hanging our entire conception of physics on the speed of light theory.  Yet if it is true, and who am I to question this, then this discovery teaches us that we truly haven’t understood anything about anything so far.

And that my dear friends is probably the motto that best describes the year 2011. I mean, what’s next? I’m ready for 2012. Lock, stock and with the barrels aimed. See you on the other side of midnight.

Tow to Go Protect Roadways for New Year’s Weekend

Tow to Go Protect Roadways for New Year's WeekendTampa, FL – AAA and Budweiser will help protect roadways during the New Year’s weekend with the Tow to Go program. Tow to Go has safely removed more than 16,000 drunk drivers off roadways since the program began in 1998. Anyone, AAA member or not, can call for a Tow to Go ride, now through Monday, January 2, 2012.

Tow to Go provides a confidential ride and tow home from any bar or restaurant FREE of charge to anyone who may have had too much to drink by calling 1-800-AAA-HELP (4357). Services are offered throughout Florida, Georgia, and West and Middle Tennessee. Tow to Go is a FREE public service offered by AAA and Budweiser that is funded through donations to the Auto Club South Traffic Safety Foundation. The program is designed to be used as a last resort and is offered based on availability of AAA Service Technicians and tow trucks during times of high call volume.

“The busiest weekend of the year for the Tow to Go program is New Year’s as you can imagine, since so many folks are out celebrating the holiday,” said Joanna Newton, AAA Tow to Go spokesperson, The Auto Club Group. “We are pleased we can offer this program again this time of year thanks to the generous support of our partner Budweiser and the hard work of our AAA Service Technicians who are going to spend New Year’s Eve away from their own families so they can help get as many intoxicated drivers off our roadways as possible.”

“The Tow to Go program is a simple and effective way to promote the use of designated drivers and help prevent drunk driving,” said Kathy Casso, vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility for Anheuser-Busch. “We are proud to join forces with AAA and their team of emergency roadside service drivers. These are our roadways and we all have a responsibility to keep them safe so please plan for a safe celebration, before you go out, by being or choosing a designated driver.”

If you are hosting a holiday party, the following tips will help you and your guests enjoy the festivities responsibly:

    -Plan ahead to accommodate guests: Encourage your guests to designate a driver before the party, whether it’s a taxi or a ride from a friend.
    -If they don’t have a ride and had too much to drink, call them a taxi or ask them to spend the night.
    -Offer something for everyone: Whether it’s soda, tea or water, offer your guests non-alcohol options.
    -Provide food throughout the night, so no one is drinking on an empty stomach.
    -Serve one drink at a time: Refreshing unfinished glasses may feel like you’re being an attentive host, but people can easily lose track of how much alcohol they’ve consumed.

    The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to approximately 8.5 million members across 11 states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois, Minnesota and Tennessee; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with nearly 53 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.

    Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!




    SearchAmelia on TwitterYou can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

Grand Opening of Second Chance

Grand Opening of Second ChanceThe Grand Opening of Second Chance, a new shop featuring gently used items, will be Monday January 2, 2012 at 10:00 AM. The store is located at 312 South 8th Street in Fernandina Beach (next to Half Time Sports Bar).

Nassau Humane Society is accepting donations of clothing, household items, furniture, books, etc. (please no computers or TVs). Phone Penny Landregan at (904)277-1152 or (904)537-6564 for information or donation drop off locations.

All proceeds will benefit homeless animals at the Nassau Humane Society shelter on Airport Road, and these animals are waiting for their second chance at a better life.

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!




SearchAmelia on TwitterYou can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

K-Mart in Fernandina Beach to close

Big-K-closes-in-Fernandina-Beach

Sears Closes Fernandina Beach K-Mart

Sears, owner of the K-Mart brand has published the preliminary list of the Sears and K-Mart Stores to be closed nationwide as a result of very poor Holiday Season performance on top of years of bad management and economic distress; unfortunately the Fernandina Beach K-Mart store is part of the downsizing effort, which will leave another large empty space on Sadler Road and another 50 or so people unemployed.

79 Stores in 25 States didn’t make the cut and Florida leads the pack with 11 closings, while Sears Holding announced last Tuesday that it would close up to 120 stores to raise cash after a very disappointing Holiday Season.

Can’t escape the feeling that the axe was already up in the air for these stores before the Holiday Season even had started and poor sales was just an added excuse. At least the company waited until after the Christmas Holiday’s to make the announcements.

For a complete list of closures announced so far go to http://www.searsmedia.com/tools/122711_close.pdf

Cruiselines Are Taylor Cutting their Programs

searchamelia.com introduces Good Moon Farm in Tortola BVI

The Biodynamic Good Moon Farm on Tortola BVI

In an effort to attract an ever wider circle of customers with special interests, the cruise lines are starting to do some weird stuff these days.
Of course we have known specialty cruises for many years now. We did some fun radio station stuff in the early MTV days with Captain Burke (RIP) and his unfortunately defunct Windjammer Cruises in the 80s and since then we have seen romance/match cruises, blues cruises, learn to play an instrument cruises or how tot take great pictures cruises among many others, but Carnival’s initiative to host the First Horror Convention at Sea, gives it a new stretch, yet does not tickle my senses. The cruise is called “The Tides of Torture” and will feature stars from more than a half dozen “slasher” movies that include “Friday the 13th” and “Zombie’s Halloween.”

The four-night scare fest kicks off in Tampa on the 2,052-passenger Carnival Paradise and organizer Dark Star Fantasy Cruises says it’ll include entertainment by national acts, movie screenings, a “scream queen” contest and a “Dance of the Dead.”

Cruise and Cook Trips

Personally I’m much more interest in another trend that is being embraced in the cruise industry: food. Cruise ships have always carried the reputation of being a 24 hour a day food fest free for all, albeit not always on the level of fine dining. However latest studies have revealed that cruise consumers now rank fine dining as the number one benefit of a cruise vacation. A 2011 survey revealed that 3 out of 4 cruise consumers are looking for new and different dining experiences onboard ships.

And for those trendsetters I think we have found a once in a lifetime opportunity to join Amelia Island’s the Travel Agency on their Cruise and Cook Tour with Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island’s executive chef Thomas Tolxdorf on Oceania’s new ship the MS Marina on January 23 out of Miami. Chef Toxldorf, a known promoter of healthy cuisine directly from the farm to the table, will share techniques, choices and exclusive Caribbean excursions with the group on the islands of Tortola and Puerto Rico.
In addition to the EXCLUSIVE shore excursions, participants are receiving two complimentary PRIVATE cooking classes onboard the ship.

Culinary Shore Excursions

Here is a passage out of one of the Chef Thomas guided tour descriptions in the British Virgin Island of Tortola, where you will be taken by safari bus to the biodynamic Good Moon Farm, where plants are cultivated with the lunar calendar and fertilized with compost.

You will enjoy the scenic drive up over the high ridge to the north shore, and along the winding back roads to this secluded farm. Amidst these stunning views you will be made welcome with refreshing tea on the farm house veranda.  Feel free to start asking questions to the knowledgeable farmers, Aragorn and Drake.

– Now that you are settled in, you will be escorted around this beautiful farm where you will learn about the different local fruits and vegetables and be given the opportunity to fill a locally woven basket with sumptuous produce to bring to the cook out on the beach later.  Enjoy the experience of harvesting your own food, smelling the freshly plucked leaves and snacking on guava berries and fig bananas.

With baskets on laps you will take off on the second leg of your tour. En route along the ridge road you can catch views of Guana, Necker and Mosquito Islands, homes to the rich and famous, as well as Virgin Gorda, home of the famous Baths.  Take in the views and chew on a stick of sugar cane until arriving at Trellis Bay.

The “Yabba Pot” in which we will cook up your freshly cut vegetables will already be heated before your arrival. These clay pots produce a great heat in which vegetables are flavored with coconut oil and scotch bonnet peppers.  Rastas produce fantastic broths in these when preparing their ITAL food and today we will be enjoying a classic Caribbean dish of Pepper Pot with local seasonings and fresh vegetables.

At this time of year we can harvest bok choi, arugula, spinach, beets, cabbage, Tanya greens and casava.  Accompanying your meal we have rice and peas and cassava bread.  For meat lovers we have local goat curry, souse and seasoned fish.

Some time will be given to enjoy a tall glass of local ginger beer along with a stroll along the crescent beach and amongst the excellent works in Aragorns’ art studio.  This trip is also a feast for the eyes.  Slowly wind you way back to the ship on your safari bus, we hope with the tastes of Tortola still lingering on your palate.

There is still time to book for this exquisite experience, just call Angela at the Travel Agency (904) 491 – 0520 and she will take care of it for you.

Rotary Club of Amelia Island Sunrise Goes Caroling

Rotary Club of Amelia Island Sunrise Goes CarolingArticle and images provided by Caroline Blochlinger of CB Advertising Services, Inc. (aka Studio CB Photography).

Amelia Island, FL – A group from the Rotary Club of Amelia Island Sunrise gathered at the Harbor Front to board the Amelia Island Trolley to spread some Holiday Cheers throughout town.

The plastic curtains were opened so everyone could hear the group. Even though they may have been a bit off key at times they passed many smiling faces on Centre Street. The carolers were especially delighted to be able to bring some additional cheers from the trolley to the kids and grownups at the “Shop with Cops” event in front of Wal-Mart.

Then on to the first stop at Savannah Grand where they performed and encouraged everyone to join in singing holiday songs. The next stop was the dining room at Osprey Village. Here the carolers surprised the dinner guests with their cheers. Christal Fish, the president elect of the Club, organized the event and passed out song books to everyone. Dave Dully was in charge of the technical production.

The carolers left many smiling and happy faces which made this worthwhile. Everyone had so much fun that they are already talking about repeating this event next year.

The Rotary Club of Amelia Island Sunrise meets every Friday from 7:30 am to 8:30 am at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club. Everyone is invited. For more information, contact President Katey Breen by visiting the club’s website: www.AmeliaIslandRotary.com.

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!




SearchAmelia on TwitterYou can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

Does It Pay to Pay Off Your Mortgage?

searchamelia.com financial advice

There are scenarios when paying off loans is not smart

Reducing debt is generally a good thing, or so we are told. However, paying off your mortgage as you grow older may not always be in your best interest.  I know this may come across like financial blasphemy, but read on.

The freedom from monthly mortgage payments and full ownership of your home is certainly an appealing prospect.  It becomes even more attractive for those who depend primarily on Social Security or a fixed pension for their income. Although my financial advice-giving colleagues Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey preach debt freedom from the mountaintops, does it always make financial sense?  Let’s play devil’s advocate for just a moment.

Factors to Consider

To properly answer this question, we need to consider two factors: opportunity cost and flexibility. The opportunity cost is what else you could be doing with the money you use to pay off your mortgage. If, for example, you’re looking to pay off a $100,000 mortgage, you should first consider where you could invest that money instead — and what rate of return you could get. In general, if the rate you could earn is higher than your mortgage rate, you may be better off keeping the mortgage.

For example, if you have a conventional 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a 4.5% annual percentage rate (APR), but you could earn 5% on a fixed-rate bond or tax-deferred fixed annuity, you might be better off investing the money in the bond or the annuity.  Then again, you might not be better off. It depends on several other factors.

This general rule applies even after we consider the potential tax bite.  If you itemize tax deductions, the interest portion of your mortgage payment is tax deductible, which reduces the effective interest rate on the mortgage and adds incentive to investing your money elsewhere. However, income derived from any alternative investment (outside a Roth IRA) is ultimately taxable, thus reducing its effective yield.  Therefore, your alternative investment strategy may turn out to be a wash in the long run. If you are paying significant commissions on the investment, the strategy becomes even less attractive.

However, it does retain some merit from a legacy-building perspective.
The other factor to consider is flexibility. Money tied up in real estate is not liquid, and much less so these days. If you want to tap into that money, you will either need to take out a mortgage or sell the property. Money held in a traded investment, however, is much more liquid. In the case of stocks or mutual funds, you can convert it to cash within days. Even most annuities have a surrender-free withdrawal option. And, should you need to draw down this money to pay for living expenses, it’s fairly easy to do so if it’s held in liquid investments.

Is Refinancing a Better Option?

Given today’s historically low mortgage rates, you might want to consider refinancing rather than paying down the principal, especially if you currently have a mortgage with an APR of 6% or higher. If you are thinking of refinancing, be sure to compare rates and estimated closing costs. Also, keep in mind that although current bond yields may be low, long-term returns on more stable investments such as long-term U.S. government bonds have averaged 10.1% for the 30 years ended December 31, 2010.1
So if you’re thinking of paying off your mortgage early, make sure you first check out the alternatives and consider what kind of cash cushion you may need in the years ahead.

1Source: Barclays Long-Term Government Bond Index. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.

Sean Costello was on his way to become a Blues Great

Blues Great Sean Costello Posthumous Album

Sean Costello was this amazing musical powerhouse

My friend Michael Rotschild dropped by several weeks ago with a compilation CD of an artist that once was one of his most promising prodigies; Sean Costello. Sadly he never made the real break through: Costello died of a drug overdose in April of 2008, just a day short of his 29th birthday.

That death, like so many others, cut short yet another brilliant musical career and a chance for many of us blues fans to see this wonderful talent alive on stage. I would have loved to see this guy headline our Blues Festival rather than listen to a wonderful but bittersweet rendition of “Can I Change my Mind” or the intergalactical guitar work on Johnny Guitar Watson’s “Motor Head Baby”. As it is, I bow my head for a talent of giant proportion, who’s life was cut short by a moment of desperation once beautifully phrased by Don McClean in his masterpiece Vincent (van Gogh’s Starry Night) that said: ‘But Vincent, this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.’ Listening to Sean Costello I have the distinct feeling that these words were also meant for him.

Of course I had heard Michael talk about Sean Costello previously, but since I was only familiar with a guy named Elvis Costello, I never really had paid any attention to this young blues rocker. I knew he backed Susan Tedeschi on some of her work, but the moment I put on his posthumous Live CD that changed instantly, almost like the epiphany I had when I heard Hendrix play “Hey Joe” in 1968 or so. Nothing short of a lightning strike. In any case I have been listening and watching Sean Costello on probably every video I could find on youTube and have become a great admirer of his very distinctive style of playing his Gibson guitar and a voice that could gravel, growl and turn cotton field clear bluesy from one moment to the next.

Just sorry that I never heard of this magnificent talent until he already had departed this earth in a bi-polar momentary lapse of reason.

Sean Costello at Tipitinas in New Orleans

I asked Michael about that and as he shrugged he almost apologetically informed me that at the time of his death Sean was under contract with another recording company; as if wishing he could have prevented the unpreventable if Costello had stayed with Landslide. But Michael knows as well as I do (we’ve both been around the block a couple of times) that talents like Cobain, Winehouse, Hendrix, Janis, Lowell George, Costello and a couple of handful more burn so intense that only straight jackets and 24 hour attention can postpone the otherwise inevitable.
You can recognize it in Costello’s voice and guitar playing. When you remove the barriers, they simply don’t recognize nor care for abandonment or boundaries as they go for broke, they don’t care about structures and rhymes, they are just amazing instruments of the soul, ready to cut you up and deliver the blues message straight into your soul. And then it turns on them instead.

At His Best – Live, a special album of live performances features 16 tracks of all previously unreleased live material recorded in the US and Europe between 2000-2007. It is the long overdue first ever completely live album of Sean Costello performances, including 11 songs not on any prior Costello release. The album is produced by Fernandina Beach resident Michael Rothschild, owner of Landslide Records and was mastered by acclaimed producer/engineer Rodney Mills (Gregg Allman, Atlanta Rhythm Section).

On At His Best – Live, Costello demonstrates without a doubt why he was tagged as a blues artist of immense talent and potential at the age of 16, and how he continued to deliver on that promise up until his tragic death in April, 2008.

I thank Michael for At His Best – Live, because blues fans like me who never got to see Costello perform will hear what all the excitement was about; and for those fortunate enough to have experienced a Sean Costello show in-person, this CD will bring back vivid memories of the energy force that drew audiences from all over the world to this incredibly talented musician.

For more information go to:  http://www.landsliderecords.com or to purchase click Here

Sean Costello: At His Best – Live – Track Listing
1.    Introduction
2.    San-Ho-Zay
3.    Blue Shadows
4.    T-Bone Boogie
5.    All Your Love
6.    I Get A Feeling
7.    Check It Out
8.    Can I Change My Mind
9.    You’re Killing My Love
10.    Reconsider Baby
11.    Doing My Own Thing
12.    The Hucklebuck
13.    Motor Head Baby
14.    Hold On This Time
15.    The Battle Is Over But The War Goes On
16.     Peace Of Mind
17.     Lucille

Mom’s Split Pea Soup Recipe

Mom's Split Pea Soup Recipe

Image found at arrowheadmills.com

First let me say my mom is not a great cook. Don’t worry, I am not hurting her feelings; she knows this. Most of my friends talk about the wonderful cooks their moms are, but not mine. As a matter of fact I often mention her lack of kitchen skills in many of my articles. However, she does have a handful or so of really good recipes and her Split Pea Soup is one of them.

If you are looking for something to do with that leftover ham bone from Christmas dinner, this may be the recipe for you:

Ingredients:
1 pound green split peas
1 meaty ham bone
1 1/2 cups sliced onion
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. dried marjoram, crushed
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots

Directions:
Rinse peas; combine with 2 quarts water, ham bone, onion, salt, pepper and marjoram.
Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer.
Simmer (don’t boil) for about 1 1/2 hours.
Stir occasionally.
Remove bone, cut off meat and dice.
Return meat to soup, and add celery and carrots.
Cook slowly, uncovered, for another 30-40 minutes.

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!




SearchAmelia on TwitterYou can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

Tips for a Healthy PregnancyContributed by: Aimee Sparker

Every woman wants a healthy baby; however, birth defects can occur very early in pregnancy, or sometimes before a woman even knows she is pregnant. Few of them are natural, and some occur due to carelessness or lack of knowledge.

Not all birth defects are preventable; however, a woman can have a healthy baby by following these useful tips during pregnancy:

1. Avoid toxic substances like cleaning solvents, insecticides, paint fumes, lead, and mercury.

2. Go to your doctor for regular checkups as scheduled.

3. Avoid smoking as cigarette smoke might kill your baby; women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have a miscarriage or many types of birth defects. It can also cause sudden death of baby.

4. Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water, fruit juice, or milk every day. These fluids help in increasing your blood volume.

5. Healthy and balanced diet is essential for you and your unborn baby to get the nutrients you both need. Your meals should include all of the five basic food groups; grain products, vegetables, fruits, milk, meat, and protein foods. Low fats and high fiber foods are best for a healthy diet.

6. Take folic acid as it provides essential nutrients that reduce the risk of birth defects of the brain and spine of the baby.

7. Hand washing is important especially after handling raw meat or using the bathroom. This prevents the spread of bacteria and virus that cause infection.

8. Take iron as prescribed by your doctor, it reduces the risk of anemia later in pregnancy.

9. Let your physician know if you experience any kind of pain, uterine contractions, leaking of amniotic fluid, strong cramps, vaginal bleeding, shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, trouble walking, or if your baby has decreased activity.

10. Avoid taking drugs like alcohol and caffeine during pregnancy as it can cause fetal alcohol syndrome, a disorder characterized by growth retardation, facial abnormalities, and central nervous system dysfunction. Make less your use of tea, coffee, and chocolate.

11. Take great care if you have diabetes, epilepsy, or high blood pressure. Ask your doctor about the medications to keep them under control.

12. Avoid over the counter cough and cold medicines as these contain alcohol and other ingredients that must be avoided during pregnancy.

13. Physical activity during pregnancy benefits both you and your baby and increases the chances of an early recovery after delivery. You can practice yoga, walking, cycling, and swimming, but consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.

14. Avoid rodents in your home as they can cause severe abnormalities or loss of the pregnancy if pregnant women are infected with the virus that they carry.

15. Vaccinations are important for pregnant women. Take guidelines from your doctor for the use of vaccines during pregnancy.

16. Avoid X rays as it can harm your baby.

17. Be sure to get plenty of rest. Try to rest on your left side as often as possible, as it helps reduce swelling and provides the best circulation to your baby.

Talk to your doctor on all issues regarding your pregnancy as every pregnancy is different and requires different handling.

Author Bio
Aimee Sparker has a professional background of writing on critical health issues. She works for NSI (Nationwide Synergy Inc). They deal in hormone replacement therapy, HGH and Low Testosterone Treatments to bring hormonal balance among hormone deficient patients. NSI aims at making, both men and women “Young for longer years” with healthy mind and body.

Follow Aimee at https://twitter.com/aimeesparker

Young Republicans Host Campaign Kick Off on January 15th

Young Republicans Host Campaign Kick Off on January 15thFernandina Beach, FL – The Nassau County Young Republicans will host a Campaign Kick-Off Event from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 15, 2012, at Gourmet Gourmet (located at 1408 Lewis Street, Fernandina Beach).

This event is to jump start the critical 2012 campaign season and is open to the public. Candidates for local offices, as well as representatives for the Presidential candidates have been invited to attend. This will be an opportunity for the candidates to share their message, answer questions and meet and greet with the residents of Nassau County.

The cost of the event is $15 per person, which includes light hors d’oeuvres and two drink tickets. To RSVP for this event, please contact Justin Taylor (Chair) at jmtaylor082@yahoo.com or 904-226-6207 or Cari Cahill (Vice-Chair) at carifcahill@bellsouth.net or 904-234-7893. For more information on the Nassau Young Republicans, please visit their website at www.nassauyr.com.

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!




SearchAmelia on TwitterYou can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

Before You Throw Your Christmas Tree to The Curb

searchamelia.com christmas tree recycling tips

Do something creative with your Christmas Tree

Even though 2011 Christmas has not even unwrapped all its presents yet, Sustainable Fernandina also wants you to be aware that Christmas trees are now being collected curbside with yard waste…but why have a Christmas tree end up in the dump when there are so many other worthwhile recycling programs available. Here are some of many other ideas for recycling Christmas Trees!

The City of San Diego Environmental Services Department will be hosting the 38th Annual Christmas Tree Recycling Program starting today December 26, 2011 through January 23, 2012. This year’s program will provide 16 drop-off locations available to residents only.

Do you know that The citizens of Tomahawk, Wisconsin, may not see exactly where their recycled Christmas Trees go, but chances are they use some of  the products made possible by them. Each year, Packaging Corporation of America (they have also a plant in North Jacksonville!), hires a contractor to grind up the Christmas Trees dropped off at a yard waste site. Once this is completed, the materials are loaded up and taken straight to the company’s environmentally friendly mill. They use it as a boiler fuel to power their pulp and paper mill plant.

It is of course quite well known that the trunk and branches of Christmas trees can be used as mulch for gardens, parks or in animal stalls.

Trees can also be recycled to make bird feeders, adding color and excitement to the winter garden. Use orange slices, suet, and seed to attract the birds.

Sunk into ponds, trees make excellent refuge and feeding areas for fish. In New Hampshire, the Fish and Game Department operates a state fisheries habitat restoration program, using recycled Christmas Trees to make fish-friendly habitats. The project, which is paid for with the money collected from fishing licenses, drops the recycled trees into lakes, creating “habitat improvement structures” where fish can hide and find food. During an experiment in a Massachusetts lake, state biologists saw a fivefold increase in the number of fish caught around sunken Christmas trees compared to other places in the lake.

In Louisiana a project restores marshlands and in Gulf Shores Alabama there is a Christmas Tree project that helps dune restoration even though that is strongly discouraged here by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Home projects with Christmas trees include mixing needles from your tree with cinnamon sticks, cloves, dried orange peel, add a few drops of a matching oil, and cover for a week to let the scents blend. Place this great seasonal potpourri in small bowls around your home for a comforting, natural holiday-inspired scent.

And the remaining log of the Christmas tree can be cut into 2 inches thick discs which can be used to edge for example a flowerbed or your walkways.

Here are some more website ideas
http://pickyourownchristmastree.org/disposing.php
http://www.christmastree.org/recycle.cfm

1 2 3 6