Live Blues Protected by Smith and Wilson

Live Blues Protected by Smith and WilsonWillie “Big Eyes” Smith died on the very same day he was scheduled to perform at the inaugural Amelia Island Blues Festival, which will be held September 14th, 15th and 16th, 2012 right here in Fernandina Beach, Florida.

Roger “Hurricane” Wilson, who honored us last year with his presence at the Amelia Island Blues Festival took it upon himself not to forget Willie “Big Eyes” and his blues legacy and started a commemorative CD project. This project seems like a great way to invest in a truly legendary bluesman, with a special connection to Amelia Island. Please think about a contribution, large or small, to this very cool project.

Roger is already well on his way to producing this CD, to help preserve the legacy of this dynamic blues Grammy Winner. They only need about $5,000 to complete the project.

Roger “Hurricane” Wilson, who will not only perform at this year’s Blues Festival in September, but also will be the MC, is leading an effort through a great website called Kickstarter.com, trying to raise $6,000 in 45 days to pay for the production of this acoustic project by July 21, 2012. Anything you can donate, no matter how large or small is appreciated. There are six levels of thank you gifts that are a small token of great appreciation for donations.

This project’s title is “Live Blues Protected By Smith & Wilson“, featuring longtime Muddy Waters band member and 2010 Grammy winner, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith. As we mentioned before, sadly, Willie passed away several months after winning his award on the day he was looking at playing for us on Amelia Island. Instead his son took on the mammoth emotional task to sit in and still treat us to his father’s legendary blues.

The CD was recorded on one of the four duo tours Willie and Hurricane did between 2008 and late 2010. This show took place in a sold out theater in Harrisburg, PA., and it captured the magic and intimacy that acoustic Blues music offers. Willie was performing harmonica and vocals, and Hurricane was just enjoying being there playing guitar and singing with him.

To get the full story and see the donor gift levels, please visit the fundraising site at:
www.kickstarter.com/projects/789339864/live-blues-protected-by-smith-and-wilson?ref=email

The funding request here is to get this project produced and distributed in order to keep alive the memory of the late Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, a true Blues Legend. Your financial help in this endeavor will help in getting this done. Your donations will go toward mastering, manufacturing, artwork, advertising, and radio promotion.We would love to have your financial support, which will include the incentives listed herein, provided we reach our goal of $6000.00, If the goal is not met, your money will be returned. We hope you will join us to pay tribute to a great Bluesman, the late Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, and to keep his legacy and the Blues alive.

This is not just another CD, but an actual piece of Blues music history, tied closely to Amelia Island.

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Fernandina Beach July 3, 2012 Commissioner Meeting Agenda

Fernandina Beach July 3, 2012 Commissioner Meeting AgendaFernandina Beach Commissioners will gather on July 3, 2012 for their regularly scheduled meeting of solving our local issues.

Here is the agenda:

1. CALL TO ORDER
2. ROLL CALL
3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE with the invocation by Pastor Carlos Serrano of The Promiseland

4. PROCLAMATIONS
1. PROCLAMATION – FIREFIGHTER APPRECIATION WEEK
Proclaims the week of July 22 – 27, 2012 as “Fernandina Beach Local #2836 Fire Fighter Appreciation Week.” Meredith Picray, MDA Coordinator, Jason Higginbotham, Interim Fire Chief, Daniel Hulett, Firefighter/Paramedic and the IAFF Local 2836 Secretary/Treasurer of the Firefighter’s Union will be present to accept the Proclamation.

5. CONSENT AGENDA
1. AUTHORIZING GRANT SUBMITTAL
RESOLUTION 2012-100 AUTHORIZING THE SUBMITTAL OF ONE (1) U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, FEMA, ASSISTANCE TO FIREFIGHTERS GRANT TO PURCHASE BOTH A FIRE SUPPRESSION PUMPER AND A RESCUE UNIT; AUTHORIZING EXECUTION; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Authorizes applying for US Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, grant to purchase a pumper and a rescue unit. The City is required to match 5% ($40,000) of the total cost ($800,000).

2. URGING TOBACCO RETAILERS TO ADOPT A VOLUNTARY RETAIL POLICY
RESOLUTION 2012-101 URGING TOBACCO RETAILERS TO ADOPT A VOLUNTARY RETAIL POLICY PROHIBITING AND/OR RESTRICTING THE SALE & MARKETING OF CANDY FLAVORED TOBACCO IN THE CITY OF FERNANDINA BEACH; PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Urging tobacco retailers to adopt a policy prohibiting and/or restricting the sale and marketing of candy flavored tobacco within the limits of the City of Fernandina Beach.

3. APPROVAL OF PURCHASE – AUDIO VISUAL EQUIPMENT
RESOLUTION 2012-102 APPROVING THE SOLE SOURCE PURCHASE, INSTALLATION, AND SERVICE OF AUDIO VISUAL EQUIPMENT FROM SECURITY 101 FOR THE POLICE DEPARTMENT; AUTHORIZING EXECUTION; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Approves the purchase of investigative audio visual equipment for the Police Department using the Justice Assistance Grant monies in the amount of $47,912.13.

4. DISPOSAL OF SURPLUS PROPERTY
RESOLUTION 2012-103 DECLARING CERTAIN TITLED CITY PROPERTY SURPLUS; AUTHORIZING THE CITY MANAGER TO DISPOSE OF SAID PROPERTY IN A MANNER CONSISTENT WITH THE CITY’S POLICIES AND PROCEDURES; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Declares certain property as surplus, and authorizes the disposal of such.
(A 2004 Ford F-150, 4WD Pick-up)

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

7. ORDINANCES – FIRST READING
1. CODE AMENDMENT – NOTICE OF CANDIDACY
ORDINANCE 2012-13 AMENDING CHAPTER 34 OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES BY AMENDING SECTION 34-2, NOTICE OF CANDIDACY; REPEALING SECTION 34-7 REGARDING ABSENTEE BALLOTS; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Approves a Code Amendment in Section 34-2 and 34-7 setting the qualifying dates of City Commission candidacy by Resolution, and repealing the section referring to Absentee Ballots.

8. ORDINANCES – SECOND READING
1. AGREEMENT APPROVAL – ADVANCED DISPOSAL SERVICES STATELINE, LLC.
ORDINANCE 2012-12 AMENDING ORDINANCE 2008-14 PROVIDING AN EXCLUSIVE 6-YEAR FRANCHISE TO ADVANCED DISPOSAL SERVICES STATELINE, LLC, A DELAWARE LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY, FOR THE COLLECTION AND DISPOSAL OF ALL RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL TRASH, GARBAGE, AND OTHER REFUSE, AND PROVIDING FOR THE COLLECTION OF RESIDENTIAL RECYCLABLE MATERIALS AND YARD WASTE WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS; FURTHER PROVIDING FOR DEFINITIONS; GRANT OF FRANCHISE; LIMITS OF FRANCHISE; TERM OF FRANCHISE; FRANCHISE CONSIDERATION; ASSIGNMENT; BANKRUPTCY OR INSOLVENCY; DEFAULT; RATE CHANGES; RIGHTS OF FIRST REFUSAL; RESTORATION; COMPLIANCE WITH LAWS; LIABILITY INSURANCE, HOLD HARMLESS, WORKERS COMPENSATION; PERFORMANCE BOND; RIGHT TO REQUIRE PERFORMANCE; DISPUTE RESOLUTION; OPERATIONS DURING DISPUTE; STANDARD OF PERFORMANCE; CURBSIDE RECYCLABLE MATERIALS COLLECTION AND DISPOSAL; RECYCLING PROGRAM; COLLECTION SERVICES AND OPERATIONS; OFFICE AND COLLECTION HOURS; DISPOSAL; ROUTES AND SCHEDULES; GRANTEE PERSONNEL; SPILLAGE AND LITTER; STORMS AND OTHER EMERGENCIES; NONDISCRIMINATION PROVISION; RATES AND CHARGES; BILLING FOR SERVICES; ACCOUNTING, RIGHT TO AUDIT; COMPLAINTS; CHARGES FOR FAILURE OF PERFORMANCE; MISCELLANEOUS SECTION; REPEAL OF SECTIONS IN CONFLICT; SEVERABILITY; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Approving a Franchise Agreement with Advanced Disposal Services Stateline, LLC for a period of six (6) years.

9. BOARD APPOINTMENTS
1. ARTS AND CULTURE
3 appointments

2. AUDIT COMMITTEE
5 appointments

10. DISCUSSION – DIRECTION – ACTION ITEMS
1. FLORIDA LEAGUE OF CITIES 86TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE

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

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The Best Way to Deal With House Rodents

The Best Way to Deal With House RodentsOne of the most common pests that enter a home uninvited is the house mouse called the Mus musculus. These mice can cause quite a disturbance in the home and can be quite a nuisance. If there is anyone in the house that is afraid of mice, it can turn into a catastrophe! In these cases you’ll need to call a pest management company to get rid of these animals quickly, not only for your peace of mind but for your family’s safety as well.

Mice can get into your food and can contaminate it with their droppings. This can be the cause of food poisoning and mice can also spread nasty diseases. At the first sign of a mouse in the house, it’s time to act.

Mice can also chew on electrical cords and leave wires openly exposed. This is a serious situation if you have young children in the home or even adults that don’t notice that the wires have been gnawed on. If you have noticed any rodents in your home, it’s a good idea to check all of the wires leading to electrical outlets to make sure that they haven’t been damaged at all.

Make sure that your food is stored properly at the first sign of mouse droppings. Keeping things in hard plastic containers will stop mice from eating any foodstuff. Make sure that there are no crumbs left behind on your tabletop or counters. Basically, you don’t want to give a mouse any reason to enter your kitchen.

There aren’t too many mice that enter homes through the front or back door. They usually find an entrance point that can be difficult to find. Sometimes there is an extremely small entranceway into the home and you’ll need the help of a pest management company in order to find it. These businesses know the common points of entry for house mice and can give you guidance and help tracking it down. Openings for vents, air conditioner outlets, and pipes may need to have some type of netting or mesh added to them to help keep the mice out.

When dealing with house mice it’s always best to call in a professional company to make sure that both the mice that are in the house are dealt with as well as the entrance points. It really doesn’t make sense to get rid of a couple of mice that are running around your home when two more can enter the next night. A permanent solution needs to be found so that you don’t have this pest problem to deal with any longer.

Joel Mayer is a freelancer who writes about pest control on behalf of Advanced Pest Management.

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How Not to Pack a Pest When Traveling

How Not to Pack a Pest When TravelingWashington DC – Whether you’re studying abroad in Europe, traveling on business in Asia, or taking that dream vacation to Hawaii, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is urging summer travelers to join us in the fight against invasive pests by not packing a pest.

While agricultural products make tempting souvenirs, invasive pests can hitchhike on fruits, vegetables, meats, processed foods, plants, and handicraft items. If these invasive pests were to become established in the United States, they could devastate urban and rural landscapes and cost billions of dollars in lost revenue and eradication efforts. As a result, APHIS restricts or prohibits the entry of certain agricultural products from foreign countries and from Hawaii and U.S. territories.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers or agriculture specialists with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will inspect your baggage when you first arrive in the United States to ensure that the agricultural items you are carrying are allowable under APHIS regulations. Be sure to declare all agricultural items to CBP officers or CBP agriculture specialists at the first port of entry. Failure to declare food products can result in fines and penalties.

The following food items are generally allowed entry, but should still be declared and presented to a CBP agriculture specialist or CBP officer for inspection:

-Condiments such as oil, vinegar, mustard, catsup, pickles, syrup, honey without honey combs, jelly, and jam
-Foodstuffs such as bakery items, candy, and chocolate
-Hard cured cheeses without meat, such as parmesan or cheddar
-Canned goods and goods in vacuum packed jars (other than those containing meat or poultry products, and those containing certain dairy products) for personal use
-Fish or fish products for personal use
-Powdered drinks sealed in original containers with ingredients listed in English.
-Dry mixes containing dairy and egg ingredients (such as baking mixes, cocoa mixes, drink mixes, instant cake mixes, instant pudding mixes, liquid drink mixes containing reconstituted dry milk or dry milk products, potato flakes, and infant formula) that are commercially labeled, presented in final finished packaging, and require no further manipulation of the product are generally allowed.

You may also be allowed to bring back certain fresh fruits and vegetables, animal products and by-products, plants and plant parts for planting, cut flowers, firewood, or miscellaneous agricultural products, depending on the item and its country of origin. APHIS encourages travelers to be aware of restrictions pertaining to agricultural products before leaving the United States and to use these as guidelines when purchasing souvenirs. For comprehensive information on importing agricultural items for personal use, visit APHIS’ Agricultural Information for International Travelers Web page at www.aphis.usda.gov/travel.

With Agriculture Secretary Vilsack’s leadership, APHIS works tirelessly to create and sustain opportunities for America’s farmers, ranchers and producers. Each day, APHIS promotes U.S. agricultural health, regulates genetically engineered organisms, administers the Animal Welfare Act, and carries out wildlife damage management activities, all to safeguard the nation’s $157 billion agriculture, fishing and forestry industries. In the event that a pest or disease of concern is detected, APHIS implements emergency protocols and partners with affected states and other countries to quickly manage or eradicate the outbreak. To promote the health of U.S. agriculture in the international trade arena, APHIS develops and advances science-based standards with trading partners to ensure America’s agricultural exports, valued at more than $137 billion annually, are protected from unjustified restrictions.

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Fernandina Beach Sharpens the Budget Pencil

Fernandina Beach Sharpens the Budget PencilFernandinaObserver.com is featuring Sharpening the Pencil: Fernandina Beach Begins FY 2012-13 Budget Formulation, by Suanne Thamm.

“The Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) met in a 2-hour working session on Tuesday, June 26, 2012 to receive a progress report on the city’s work to date on fashioning a budget for the new fiscal year, which begins October 1.”

You can read the full article HERE.

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Germany has only Machiavellian Options for Europe

Germany's Machiavellian Options

Germany has no good choices in the ongoing European Debt Crisis. The logical choice, however, is to agree to grant a banking charter that allows printing of more Euros versus the much more ominous option of accepting joint liability for its weaker, less disciplined partner nations.  If peripheral Europe keeps its word and becomes thrifty, the common currency will be saved by printing more Euros to buy time for the Eurozone. In that event, the increase in the money supply can slowly be reversed. If, however, as is much more likely, the Emergency Funds are used to monetize irresponsible spending, Germany, and to a lesser degree the Netherlands and Finland, will have a less onerous way out.

And even though Angela Merkel does not believe in printing money to allow nations with loose financial policies to continue living beyond their means, I believe that German policy makers will eventually realize that their long term interest lies in allowing euros to be printed. And whenever that realization comes, sooner rather than later, Germany and the other northern euro nations will have no choice but to do something. If they don’t do something, the euro will end abruptly in a chaotic manner. That will plunge Germany, Netherlands and Finland into disarray with their neighbors.

This analysis sounds Machiavellian, and it is. If Germany does what I think it will eventually do, the foolishness of long-term oriented bond buyers will lead them, like lambs to the slaughter, into European sovereign debt. Bond buyers, having their investments temporarily juiced by newly printed euros, will eventually lose everything if they don’t get rid of the bonds in time. That is not much different than what is going to happen to buyers of Treasuries in America.

Obviously, no politician is going to admit that this type of planning can or will happen. But, every policy maker in Europe, Germany, and even America has been concentrating on survival by forcefully kicking the can of worms farther down the road. The practical short- to medium-term effect of massive back-door monetization of European debt will be appreciation of precious metals and stock investments. European bonds are likely to appreciate dramatically in the short to medium run. American treasuries are likely to collapse as safe-haven demand is pulled out from under them.
Capital now hiding in the U.S. will flow back to Europe. That will deprive the U.S. economy of capital, spurring Fed Chief Bernanke into another disastrous attempt to print new capital.

Being quite familiar with the German philosophy of life, it is of course possible that German policy makers will do the “righteous” thing, by continuing to refuse to allow the printing of money, and stay the present course. But recent experience with American policy-makers, and politicians of all stripes on both sides of the Atlantic, is that they won’t. They will compromise in an effort to avoid chaos. If they do stand on ceremony, “safe haven” non-euro currencies and bonds, like the Swiss franc, Japanese yen, and U.S. dollar, are going to appreciate somewhat more in the short term. One big problem however is that Japan and the U.S. are not really safe havens. Their debt problems actually exceed those of Europe and are only perceived less because of intrigue and press ignorance. Even Switzerland is not completely safe. Its small central bank has been massively intervening in the currency markets, and will take a huge hit on hundreds of billions of soon-to-be deeply depreciated euros. Obviously the franc is going to suffer from that.

So here again the 3 options Germany faces:

A) taking joint liability for the debts of the less disciplined countries,

B) allowing the printing of new Euros or

C) Doing nothing and facing the status quo until it all falls apart.

Accepting Joint Liability while the less disciplined countries will only pay lip service to austerity and re-structuring, will lead to a chaotic end of the Euro experiment and the ensuing obligations will drag down the German economy for decades to come.
Printing more Euros will reveal the real issue of monetary debasement, which is intrinsically wrong and will invite severe reactions from other global players such as China, who as Europe’s biggest trading partner holds loads of trade obligations in Euros and Dollars.

Those are the only two ways to keep the euro going for a few more years. Joint liability or money printing. In the absence of one or the other, the weak nations are going to break off, and the euro is going to die in an uncontrolled death.
Assuming that nothing is done, and the euro does collapse, stock indexes, like the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 will dramatically fall, as European banks sell off everything they own. The CAC, DAX and FTSE are likely to fall even more. In that scenario, the only good longer-term investment will be precious metals, especially gold, as people lose faith in all fiat currencies.

The cards are on the table

The outcome of the game cannot be changed, only the timing. And that’s what a lot of people including the media don’t understand. Inevitable is not synonymous with imminent!!! Inevitable does not mean today or tomorrow, but keep in mind that there is a huge difference between a year early versus a day late, when the proverbial dodo hits the fan.

Kid’s Construct Exhibit Opening at Amelia Museum

Kid's Construct Exhibit Opening at Amelia MuseumAmelia Island, FL – The Amelia Island Museum of History welcomes you to the opening of its Kids Construct Exhibit on June 29th, at 6:00 pm. Kids Construct is an interactive learning experience which encourages children to explore local architecture and preservation.

The exhibit will feature a series of activities which allow children to take a hands-on approach to learning about historic local buildings, city planning, and the necessity of preserving our local landmarks. The stations will be both fun, and educational, and will make learning about the physical foundations of our community enjoyable for the whole family. It is never too early for the architects, builders, and city-planners of our future to start honing their craft.

Our special guest speaker will be City Planner Adrienne Burke, and following the presentation we will be unveiling the new exhibit with a reception.

Admission is free for children and museum members, with a suggested donation of $5 for adult non-members. For more information contact Gray at 261-7278 ext 102

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What’s Wrong with T.S. Debby?

Debby, an enigma of a tropical system

By now we all wish that Debby would look for love somewhere else. I know she likes North Florida and we all have been wishing for something like Debby to hang around for a bit and give us some draught relief. But enough is enough. Leaks, floods and incessant rain.

Now what I don’t get about this lady is the strange wind behavior. I have been through 7 major and 3 minor storms over the past 25 years and they can be erratic, but Debby is downright strange. Case in point. For the past couple of days we have been kept up at night because of the wind crashing into the southside angles and windows. That is normal because a tropical storm is supposed to push winds clockwise. So with the convection center of Debby in the north east Gulf the winds should hit us from the south or south east.

But while I’m writing this, the rain is pelting my office window, which is the northside of the house. The palm trees in the yard are bending to the south and south east, which tells me that the wind now comes from the north and northwest and the “eye” of the storm should have passed us.

Not so, says the Weather channel and even the National Hurricane Center in its latest advisory at 5pm, placing the eye of the storm (well Debby is holding Tropical Storm status by her manicured fingernails at 35 knots sustained winds) just about between Cedar Key and Appalachicola on the Gulf Coast and is not projected to make landfall until midnight local time tonight at coordinates 29.5 N and 83.6W

WELL, why then do we experience gusting winds from the north and northwest here on Amelia Island?

All at once this afternoon clouds over the ocean were coming ashore from the east which could only mean that Debby’s convection center had moved to the South or there was another system at play. After examining various internet sites with numerous experts exploiting the excitement of the moment, I came to the conclusion, as I do often these days, that only human intelligence gathered on ground level, rather than from various satellites and other sophisticated toys, can direct correct answers and my  explanation is that Debby has officially lost the battle against strong westerly vertical wind shear and should be out of here no later than tomorrow night or Thursday morning.

Still…

Federal Reserve Continues to Twist (in the wind?)

The Federal Reserve's Twisted Dollar policies

The Federal Reserve's Twisted Dollar policies

Opting to maintain the status quo, the Federal Reserve elected to continue Operation Twist for another six months. However, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke did indicate he will “carefully consider” other measures. One wonders what else ol’ Ben could possibly have in his toolkit at this point. The Fed’s latest action is largely symbolic and indicates only that they are engaged and willing to do something rather than sit idly by and be perceived as doing nothing. Any substantial benefits to the economy from this latest move, however, are foggy at best.

After adding $400 billion over nine months, the Fed will add another $267 billion in long term Treasuries to its portfolio, selling an equal amount of short-term notes to finance the transaction.  Anyone can see this does nothing to pump new money into the economy.  It simply shuffles funds from one place on the balance sheet to another, which conjures up visions of deck chairs and a certain infamous “unsinkable” ocean liner.

With $1.5 billion in excess bank reserves sitting at the Fed earning 0.25%, any further bond buys would be like throwing buckets of water on our already rain saturated Florida lawns (thank you, TS Debby).  Any newly minted cash from this operation simply drains right back to the Fed.
Even if the Federal Reserve is able to “twist” the long end of the bond market yield curve, will it really boost the economy, given the already record low interest rates?  On the other hand, anyone in the market for a home mortgage and who can pass muster with the latest stringent credit hurdles is looking at a fabulous buying opportunity with mortgage rates continuing to hover at all time lows.

Some Better News

Investment strategist Louis Navellier reminds us that all is not as gloomy as it may appear. In spite of disappointing economic data, a grouchy fed chairman, European debt woes, and a recent credit downgrade among financial stocks, there was one piece of uplifting economic news last Thursday.
The Conference Board announced that the index of Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) rose 0.3% in May.  This was significantly better than economists’ earlier expectations of a 0.1% rise following April’s 0.1% decline. Perhaps the best news is fully 7 out of 10 leading economic indicators actually rose in May, led by an increase in building permits.
The bottom line is this:  There is little doubt that continuous economic anxiety is depressing most investors. Perhaps a robust second quarter earnings announcement season will be the welcome rising tide that begins to lift the overall market and investor sentiments along with it.

A Peek at the Coming Week

U. S. data
• Look for latest reports this week regarding new-home sales, durable goods orders, pending home sales, consumer confidence, and consumer spending.
• The housing market is in a gradual uptrend, but don’t expect much in the way of consumer confidence here.
• Jobless claims are holding below 390,000 which is relatively good news. Any sustained movement above 400,000 would be very bad.

Keep an eye on crude oil prices.

• Crude prices recently dipped below $80 per barrel.
• Is too much crude being pumped from Saudi Arabia? Insufficient global demand? Does this signal an ominous turn for the global economy?  Keep a wary eye on further drops in the price of oil.

Do Local Government Structures Have a Future?

fireworks on amelia river

About much more than Independence Day Fireworks

With an action agenda that goes far beyond the effective time available these days to write essays of disputable importance, I realized over the weekend that I had promised one of the commenters on a previous story (achoubeach), to give my opinion on the essence of city Government. Of course the question in particular demands giving a position with regard to our own Fernandina Beach city commissioners and their effectiveness versus the cost of their “services”. But that isolated approach would not be fair as they operate their commission on a template that was developed in and for an era that no longer exists, and beyond that fact, they also propagate certain political beliefs in line with their respective party alliances.

Case in point is the recent decision to abandon the budget appropriation for 4th of July Fireworks in favor of private enterprise picking up the tab. I think that was a wise but somewhat shortsighted or at least too premature decision, since the private initiators now have to pay city workers to oversee the execution of the fireworks. Maybe next year that can be delegated to private initiative as well.

In any case this following essay is largely based on the memories of a very old person who knew a very old person when she was young, which person grew up in the early stages of the Industrial Revolution. Remember: The Industrial Revolution started roughly 8 to 9 generations ago, the same time frame it took for political societies to develop from Kingdoms to Nation States.

In order to understand why we are where we are today, I have to take you back into the history of political organization but with sincere apologies for the fact that I can only address this in the most rudimentary manner, in this essay. Yet, even if history is not your favorite subject matter, understanding the past is important for learning how we got where we are today; even more so if we enroll in an effort to sketch a framework for where the future will take us.

The History of Government Organization

Largely the human race has so far experienced 3 main stages of governance organization to wit Tribes, Kingdoms and Nation States. Yes old Greece had city states and there were several other minor aberrations but history has projected a clear observation that the means of production in a society determine to a very large degree how a society is structured and organized. Based solely on that observation, only two really important things have happened in 200,000 years: the Agricultural Revolution and the Industrial Revolution. Everything else is truly just a footnote. (Oh please save me your emails!)

And how is it all related?
Before anything else, man is a social animal and his loyalty to the tribe or clan came natural and logical; for social, political, security and economical reasons. After all, everyone in the tribe was genetically related, and the group was essential for mutual survival in the wilderness. In some areas of the world, structures like these still linger on or are culturally, religiously and socially promoted to varying degrees; mountain tribes in Afghanistan come to mind as an example of forceful adherence. Yet even here on a small barrier island, part of the old tribal network still operates to the detriment of everything else. But with the new times, the tribe is being infiltrated with “infidels” who sometimes have a different view based on different experiences and educations, but are also driven by a need that comes from having objectively and willfully made a residential selection, based on lifestyle recognition.

Back in prehistoric times, the largest political/economic group was the tribe and it was natural for an individual to be loyal to the tribe. It made good sense. It also made the tribe the total sum of people that counted in a person’s life – versus “others” from alien tribes, who were in competition for scarce resources, and usually did not hesitate to kill you for a bigger piece of the pie. 
Tribes tended to be natural meritocracies, with the smartest and the strongest members naturally or by conquest assuming leadership. If you want to see how that works, watch an episode of the popular TV series “Survivor” or the funny “Love in the Wild” with Jenny McCarthy.

But meritocracies are also natural democracies, small enough that everyone can (or should) have a say on important issues. Tribes are small enough that everybody knows everyone else, and knows what their weak and strong points are. Everyone falls into a niche of marginal advantage, doing what they do best, simply because that’s necessary to survive. Bad “apples” are ostracized or fail to wake up some morning as a victim of economical necessity. Tribes are socially constraining but, considering the many faults of human nature, a natural and useful form of organization in a society with primitive technology. I put the emphasis here on primitive technology.

The End of the Ice Age Changed Things

As people built their pool of capital and technology over many generations, however, populations grew. At the end of the last Ice Age, around 12,000 years ago, all over the world, there was a population explosion. People started living in settlement (towns) and relying on agriculture and cattle raising as opposed to hunting and gathering. And as larger groups of people living together formed hierarchies,  sooner than later a king of some description became the one on top of the heap.

 Those who adapted to the new agricultural technology and the new political structure accumulated the excess resources necessary for waging extended warfare against tribes still living at a subsistence level.

And over time the more evolved societies obtained the numbers and the weapons to completely triumph over the laggards. If you wanted to stay tribal, you’d better live in the middle of nowhere, someplace devoid of the resources others might want. Otherwise it was a sure thing that a nearby kingdom would try to enslave you and steal your property. This went on for the better part of 13,600 years until technology showed its possibilities.

The Industrial Revolution and the End of Kingdoms

From around 12,000 B.C. to roughly the mid-1600s, the world’s cultures were organized under strong men, ranging from petty lords to kings, pharaohs, or emperors. Examples: Attila, Alexander the “Great”, Nero, Julius Cesar, Nebukadnesar, Charlemagne and many others that came and went.

Even though I grew up in one of the last remaining Kingdoms in the world, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, I still find it odd how much the human animal seems to like the idea of a monarchy. It’s mythologized, especially in a medieval context, as a system with noble kings, fair princesses, and brave knights riding out of castles through hills and valleys to right injustices and spread cheer to the less fortunate. If you read Will Cuppy’s “The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody” and especially the part that tells the story of how Katherina the Great came to her end, you will learn that reality differs quite a bit from the myth that we have been fed as history.

The king or monarch was rarely more than a successful thug, an Al Capone or Carlos Esteban in a small pond, or perhaps a little Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Papa Doc Duvalier, Shah, Mao , Kim and so on…. And the princess was a smelly hag in a chastity belt, the knight a hired killer, and the shining castle on the hill the headquarters of a concentration camp, with plenty of dungeons for the politically incorrect and a large cemetery in the back.

With kingdoms however, loyalties weren’t so much to the “country” – a nebulous and arbitrary concept at best ­- but to the ruler. You were the subject of a king, first and foremost. Your linguistic, ethnic, religious, and other affiliations were secondary. It’s strange how, when people think of the kingdom period of history, they project only in terms of what the ruling classes did and had. Even though, if you were born then, the chances were 98% you’d be a simple peasant who owned nothing, knew nothing beyond what his betters told him, and sent most of his surplus production to his rulers.

But, over time, a gradual accumulation of capital and knowledge made the step to the Industrial Revolution possible.

When machines took over from muscle, the amount of wealth took a huge leap forward. The average man still might not have had much, but the possibility to do something other than beat the earth with a stick for his whole life opened up, largely as a result of the Renaissance. There was a dream to pursue for those who wanted.
And the game changed radically with the American and French Revolutions.

A growing number of people no longer felt they were owned by some ruler; instead they now gave their loyalty to a new institution, the nation-state. Some innate atavism, probably dating back to before humans branched from the chimpanzees about 3 million years ago, seems to dictate us human’s to give our loyalty to something bigger than ourself. And that has delivered us to today’s prevailing norm, the nation-state, a group of people who tend to share language, religion, and ethnicity.

The idea of the nation-state is especially effective when it’s organized as a “democracy,” where the average person is given the illusion he has some measure of control over where the monster is headed. 
But in comparison with times before, by the end of the 18th century, the Industrial Revolution had provided the common man with a level of personal freedom, a measure of capital and progressing technology, and quality of life that started to improve at a rapidly accelerating pace.

It took Two Life Altering Inventions to make this happen

On the intellectual level it was the invention of the printing press; and on the physical level, the widespread use of gunpowder. The printing press destroyed the monopoly the elites had on knowledge; the average man could now see that they were no smarter or “better” than he was. If he was going to fight them (conflict is, after all, what politics is all about), it didn’t have to be just because he was told to, but because he was motivated by an idea. And now, with gunpowder, he was on an equal footing with the ruler’s knights and professional soldiers. 
And today we are courting another change, at least as important as the ones that took place around 12,000 years ago and several hundred years ago. But before that change is “allowed” to make an entrance, there will be chaos, as the old power refuses to relinquish its stranglehold, even though they had time since the 1960s to adjust and get with the program of “The Times They Are a-Changing”.
And even though things are starting to look truly grim for the individual, with collapsing economic structures and increasingly virulent governments, I suspect help is on the way from historical evolution. Just as the agricultural revolution put an end to tribalism and the industrial revolution killed the kingdom, I think we’re heading for another multipronged revolution that’s going to make the nation-state an anachronism. No it won’t happen next month, or next year.

But I’m truly convinced that the pattern will start becoming clear within the lifetime of many of us.
By the end of this century, I suspect the U.S. and mostly all other nation-states will have, for all practical purposes, ceased to exist as one of the worst human mistakes in history.

The Problem with the State – and Your Nation-State

Regardless whether you are sympathetic to that sentiment or not, you probably think the concept is too far out. People believe the state is necessary and – generally – good, because people have a need to be loyal. More importantly even, they never even question whether the institution is permanent or just has an intermediary purpose. 
My view is that the institution of the state itself is a bad thing. It’s not even a question of getting the right people into the government; the institution itself is hopelessly flawed and necessarily corrupts the people that compose it, as well as the people it rules.

This statement invariably shocks those people who believe that government is both a necessary and permanent part of the cosmic. 
But the essential problem is that government is based on coercion, and it is, at least in my opinion, less than recommended to base a social structure on institutionalized coercion, performed by individuals whose intentions are focused on short term gain.

I’m not going to go into the details here of long term thinking versus crisis management, since I’m getting tired of linking to the same clock and compass story again and again, yet I would like to urge you to read the Morris and Linda Tannehills’ superb The Market for Liberty, published in 1970!!! You actually may learn what freedom really means.

One of the huge changes brought by the printing press and now advanced exponentially by the Internet is that people are able to readily pursue different interests and adopt diverse points of view. As a result, people living in even the same communities have less and less in common.  In the years ahead we will witness that living within the same political borders is no longer enough to make people countrymen.

If you’re honest, you may find you have very little in common with most of your countrymen besides superficialities and trivialities, heavily promoted by politicians, media and clergy men. Before I challenge you to explore this statement a bit further I would like to quote a line from the Market of Liberty that reads: ” Improvements in man’s condition has never come as the result of blind hope, pious prayers or random chance, they are the product of knowledge and thought.”

That’s a big change from pre-agricultural times when members of the same tribe had quite a bit – almost everything – in common. But this has been increasingly diluted in the times of the kingdom and the nation-state. 

Let’s dive into this a bit more.
What do you honestly have in common with your fellow countrymen? A form of lifestyle, maybe a common language, possibly some shared experiences, sports highlights and religious myths, and….. a common ruler. In reality, very little of any real meaning or importance. More and more actually, your countrymen are more likely to be an active danger to you than the citizens of a presumed “enemy” country, often promoted by press and politicians. Ask any criminologist and he/she’ll tell you that a vast majority of crimes in this country are committed by people you know.

If you earn a good living, certainly if you own a business and have assets, your fellow Americans are the ones who usually present the clear and present danger. The average American (about 50% of them now) pays no income tax. Even if they’re not actually a direct or indirect employee of the government, they are net recipients of its largesse, taken from your wealth, through a large variety welfare programs.

Maybe I was lucky to have been born into a family that cherished the experience of outside influences. As a consequence, I’ve found over the years that I have much more in common with people of my own social or economic station or occupation, whether they live in Europe, America, Australia, Africa or Asia, than with a union worker in Detroit or a non descriptor resident of the LA barrios. And that’s nothing more than just an honest observation. Several months ago I had a couple of guests from New Orleans stay at the Inn and felt an instant connection. In as little as 3 days we became friends, a word I don’t easily abuse. When TS Beryl hit a couple of weeks ago, Brian who had witnessed Katrina in its full ornate, was ready to jump on a plane and come help cleaning up, until I clarified that we had minimal damage. That’s friendship born out of common experiences, respect and comfort with eachother. And that’s what’s actually important in relationships: shared values, principles, interests, and philosophy.

Geographical proximity, and a common nationality, is meaningless – no more than an accident of birth. I have much more loyalty to a friend in St.Maarten – although we’re different colors, have different cultures, different native languages, and different life experiences – than I do to people I went to school with in Holland or Americans who live down the highway in the trailer park or suburgatory. I see the world the same way my New Orleans friend does; he’s an asset to my life, while I’m potentially at odds with many of my “fellow Americans” because many seem an active and growing liability.  

Some might read this and find a disturbing lack of loyalty to the state. It sounds seditious or maybe some will consider these words an act of treason. But the fact is that loyalty to a state, just because you happen to have been born in is simply stupid.

As a 32 year import to this Nation I have extensively studied the US Constitution to find only two federal crimes specified in it: counterfeiting and treason. The Constitution was written to guide a tender Nation onto the first wobbly steps of nativity. Two crimes! That’s a far cry from today’s world, where almost every real and imagined crime has been federalized, in itself underscoring that the whole document has become a meaningless dead letter, little more than a historical artifact. Even so, that also confirms that the Constitution was quite imperfect, even in its original form. Counterfeiting is simple fraud. Why should it be singled out especially as a crime? (Okay, that opens up a whole new can of worms… but not one I’ll go into here.) Treason is usually defined as an attempt to overthrow a government or withdraw loyalty from a sovereign. A rather odd proviso to have when the framers of the Constitution had done just that only a few years before, one would think. 

Thomas Paine had it right when he said: “My country is wherever liberty lives.” 
But where does liberty live today? To be honest, it no longer has a home. It’s become a true refugee since America, which was an excellent idea that grew roots in a country of that name, degenerated into the United States. Which is just another unfortunate nation-state.

Governing on the Local Scene

Irrespective of good intentions from anyone seeking public office, the available political structure invites and seduces democratic thinking to be abused. Joseph Schumpeter, who was both a sociologist and an economist, had a clear measure of human nature. In every democracy, votes are exchanged for favors, he claimed. As the democracy matures, and as the prize of political office becomes ever more seductive, the promises become ever more extravagant. By this process the democratic bribe must, according to Schumpeter, result in government that becomes increasingly socialist. If practical proof of Schumpeter’s thesis is required, it is to be found in the inexorable rise of socialism and communism in especially Europe, Canada, Australia and for now to a lesser degree in the United States.

Some see the Nation State give way for a tested political structure called Phyles http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phyle with the explanation that the state is doomed because its ability to extort support from its subjects is rapidly disappearing in the face of new technologies. I do not subscribe wholeheartedly to this utopian version of political reconstruction. But I do subscribe to the notion that over time  race, religion, culture, and mother language will be seen as unimportant to most of the human race, definitely when compared to values and character. A Phyles organization of governing allows for different values to live next door to each other without being torpedoed by an almighty Nation State dictating federal law.

The City of San Franciso in many aspects has challenged Federal Law in the past and other communities will follow. Analytically it sheds a different light on Mitt Romney’s run for the Presidency if you realize that he comes from a Phyle like organization – the Mormon Church – which just as the Catholic Church exercises considerable governance over their members –including the regulation of very private behaviors –and they run social services such as schools and welfare systems. It’d be a relatively small step for them to start exercising sovereignty in a world that permitted it. So will it be for example for the Mennonites, the Amish, all the way to Service Clubs.  The important thing about Phyles is that they don’t have to control any particular territory the way states do.

Take for example abortion, which has been a 45 year hot issue in US politics. A Phyle system could allow both pros and cons to co-exist in different phyles. The human race will always have contention in diverse beliefs, yet the essence for its survival demands the will to find common ground. It’s like being a member of the Lions Club, Optimists, Kiwanis, or the Rotary; if you don’t adhere to their values, they’ll kick you out. You don’t want that to happen, because there are many benefits to being a member. In years past there were many more fraternal organizations than there are now, and they were much more important to their societies and quite more powerful. But many of their functions have been usurped by the state and they’ve lost ground – a trend that I think will soon be reversed to support different forms of local government.

So whatever interim system comes next, the Internet is still connecting people along lines of their choosing, rather than by accident of birth, and without regard for national boundaries – or even language barriers. Websites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn etc. are basically giant engines for creating phyles, and that is what I think our social organization is evolving toward.
Virtual communities are forming, solidifying, and becoming more important to many of their members than nationality, race, or even religion. The future is taking shape right on our screens.

In my opinion local governance is developing along the same lines as eCommerce.
The power of the Internet, especially in Western nations where access is provided on a pretty level playing field, is to give an equally loud bullhorn to every member of the community. If a site like the Drudge Report, Newsmax or even the Huffington Post can become highly regarded news sites, there is no other barrier to their traffic far outstripping the Washington Post or LA Times.  If Netflix can provide better video streaming than its competitors, there are no regional oligopoly grants from the government to prevent it from having a national reach.

This transition of power to the endpoints of the network enables anyone to become both producer and consumer of digital goods. We were witness of that power in recent weeks when the Fernandina Beach City Government announced the end of the 4th of July City financed Fireworks. The citizens cried DISGRACE, formed a collective and got monies in excess donated by stake holders in the Phyle. Isn’t it ironic that by making that decision, the City Commission gave a substantial push towards the realization that they may be dispensable in the foreseeable future.

I know I will get a ton of reactions to my viewpoint so I want to state clearly that I’m not proposing anything at all – I’m just saying that today’s industrial-era governments on all levels are in the process of collapse because the new technologies are rapidly limiting its power to extort support from its subject citizens. And a structure like phyles in different forms are quite possibly going to replace them. People like order and some type of structure– it makes life easier. But the change from one type of structure to another is never easy. This one, I suspect, is going to be a very difficult transition, and probably quite violent.

Elections results in Egypt yesterday are a reminder that large-scale social change is never easy, and may turn very ugly one day soon. In addition I see the world’s ongoing economic crisis as a big push in this direction. And that is why I chose to live here on a beautiful unassuming island, that as far as I’m concerned has a Phyle like atmosphere that suits me well.
And maybe the good news is that as societies become voluntary associations, they will have to compete for members, rather than exert control over citizen-subject-serfs. A market for governance services will improve those services and make them much more user-friendly and price competitive.

July 4, 2012 Will See Fireworks in Fernandina Beach

July 4, 2012 Will See Fireworks in Fernandina BeachFernandina Beach, FL – Fireworks will again light the sky over downtown Fernandina Beach this Fourth of July.

The Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce and the Historic Fernandina Business Association announced today that an initiative to privately raise $13,830 to pay for the annual fireworks display over the Amelia River reached its goal in less than two weeks.

“I am so proud of our community,” said AIFBY Chamber President Regina Duncan. “It’s just incredible that these kinds of funds were raised in such a short period of time. It’s proof that the businesses and residents of Fernandina can accomplish anything they set their minds to.”

The fireworks display will take place at dusk, approximately 9:30 p.m., on Wednesday, July 4th at the Fernandina Harbor Marina.

The AIFBY Chamber and the HFBA partnered to raise the funds after the Fernandina Beach City Commission recently reiterated last year’s decision not to fund the July 4th fireworks display because of budgetary concerns.

“Fernandina has a long tradition of celebrating the Fourth of July with fireworks over the Amelia River,” said HFBA President Tom Hughes of Magna’s – A Full Body Salon. “For both economic and patriotic reasons, the Chamber and the downtown businesses felt it was important to keep the tradition going.”

Duncan said donations started coming into the Chamber, which created the AIFBY Chamber Fireworks Fund, almost immediately after the fundraising effort was announced on June 8.

The $13,830 – which will pay for the fireworks display and overtime costs of city personnel to supervise it – needed to be raised by today, June 22, in order to have enough time to finalize arrangements with the city and the fireworks company.

In addition to individual donations from businesses and individuals, several local businesses stepped up to conduct their own fundraising efforts, Hughes said.

The Palace Saloon sponsored a fundraiser on June 14, and P5 Productions designed and donated a “Rock the 4th” T-shirt with proceeds going to the fireworks fund.

By the time a fundraiser at The Crab Trap restaurant wrapped up on Wednesday, June 20, more than $15,000 had been donated.

“I have never been so proud to be a part of such a community,” Hughes said. “We thank everyone who contributed to this effort.”

All funds over the needed $13,830 will be placed in escrow and the two business organizations will be meeting to discuss the future of the Fourth of July fireworks, Duncan said.

As for this year, Duncan said the Fourth of July fireworks will have new meaning for many in the city. “The fireworks will not only celebrate the birth of our country, but also the generosity and spirit of our community,” she said.

Mission Statement
The Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce is a membership-based association of Nassau County businesses, professional leaders and individuals working together to provide leadership which will aggressively promote and defend responsible economic growth, employment opportunities, government and excellence in education and quality of life.

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COA’s Golf Tournament Scores a Hole-in-One

COA’s Golf Tournament Scores a Hole-in-OneThe Council on Aging of Nassau’s “Score One for the COA” Charity Golf Tournament, held this past Friday, June 15th at the Omni Resort and Plantation was a huge success. Despite it being rescheduled due to Tropical Storm Beryl’s untimely appearance on Memorial Day, the players, sponsors and volunteers enjoyed a full day of golf, contests, lunch, and camaraderie while raising funds for their favorite 501(3)(c) charity.

With the tournament moved from Memorial Day to the day after Flag Day, the patriotic theme remained intact, as the Field of Honor signs and their accompanying American flags waved in the breeze near the clubhouse and the 1st tee box. This display stood as a reminder to all of the precious freedoms that Americans share while memorializing some of brave patriots who have made the ultimate sacrifice defending our way of life.

www.coanassau.comAccording to Tom Moss, the Executive Director of COA, the players appreciated the patriotic display. “Before the tournament, we had a vocalist sing our national anthem; our veterans, living and deceased, were blessed during the invocation and everyone recited the pledge of allegiance. It was a great way to begin our tournament.”

Nearly four dozen golfers headed out at 10 a.m. sharp after the club professional, Broc Nell, gave the field some last minute rule changes which resulted in a smooth flow of play around the course. Among the fun surprises was an opportunity to win a 2012 Buick Verano, by sinking a hole-in-one on the 15th hole. Many golfers came close, but the Buick returned to Ron Anderson Buick GMC in Yulee at the end of the day. Another vendor, Dixon Golf, offered golf balls made from recycled materials, via The Dixon Challenge contest.

“We drove up from Jacksonville to take part in this fun event. We got to play a challenging oceanfront course and help support a very important organization that provides much needed services to the Nassau County community,” said Jeff Legeer, one of the golfers.

Winning golfers were awarded free rounds of golf at other local golf courses and dozens of additional prizes were won during the raffle drawing held at the end of the tournament. Some lucky golfers took home multiple prizes.

“What makes a golf tournament viable and entertaining is the support of the community,” added Joe Murphy, COA Board member and Golf Committee Chairman.

The funds raised during the tournament, will be used to support the five outreach programs currently offered by the COA: Two Senior Centers, In-home Services, Transportation Services, Meals on Wheels, and Adult Day Healthcare. The COA has been serving the needs of senior citizens in Nassau County for more than 35 years and is partially funded by local and federal grants and donations from local individuals and businesses. For more information on how to donate to the COA, please visit their website: www.coanassau.com

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City Evaluates 8th Street for Redevelopment Strategies

City Evaluates 8th Street for Redevelopment StrategiesFernandina Beach, FL – The City of Fernandina Beach Planning Department will begin a survey of South 8th Street businesses as one part of their research to discover the most effective redevelopment strategies for the 8th street corridor. The stretch of South 8th Street between Lime and Dade has seen numerous businesses come-and-go over the years due to a variety of reasons. The goal of this initial survey is to determine how the city can better facilitate growing businesses and attract more visitors to the 8th Street corridor.

The first step in the process will be to contact businesses and listen to owners’ concerns about the area, to find out why they chose 8th Street, and to discover what the city can do to help their business. Using this information, the city will develop recommended strategies for enhancing the economic viability of the 8th Street corridor. Next steps will include outreach to the adjoining residential neighborhoods and may include a survey or town hall meeting.

If you have any questions about the South 8th Street survey or are an 8th Street business owner or property owner wanting to be involved, please contact Kelly with the City of Fernandina Beach Community Development Department at 904-277-7325.

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The Florida Code YOU Need to Know

The Florida Code YOU Need to KnowHere is a fun piece my mother sent me. I have lived in Florida a very long time, and I have plenty of family that was born and raised here. So much of the following is absolutely true.

While the original author is unknown, I’m sure you will enjoy this:

When giving directions in Florida, you must always start with the words, “take I-75, take I-4 or take I-95…”

If you’re a snowbird or a non-working retiree, you absolutely cannot drive between the hours of 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM, and 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM, this is considered to be RUSH HOUR and you are not in any rush. NO EXCEPTIONS!

Freeways can only go north and south, not east and west.

Tolls are a fact of life, the state has to make money, so deal with it!

I-275 ( Tampa area) will always be under construction, that’s the law and there is nothing anyone can do about it, period!

A1A and ALT A1A are the same road.

Traffic lights are not timed and never will be.

We measure the distance we travel in time – not miles.

If you travel more than 5-10 miles on any road in any part of Florida without seeing an orange barricade, you’re lost!

If you miss your exit on I-75, I-4 or I-275, its perfectly acceptable to back up!

Every street in Florida has both a name and a number (i.e. Adamo = Rt. 60) just for the heck of it and also for the pleasure we get from reaction of visitors when we give them directions.

Once the light turns green, only 3 cars can go through the intersection eight more go through on yellow, and 4 more on red.

Know the difference between SunPass, Sun Fest, Sun-Sentinel and Sun Trust.

Flip flops, tank tops and baggy shorts are also known as business casual.

Your blinker means nothing.

It is perfectly acceptable to brag about the size of your generator.

We have alligators here in Florida and they WILL bite you. Don’t be stupid and try to feed or pet one.

When a hurricane is headed our way, even though you have advanced warning and you are told to be prepared, you’re not a true Floridian unless you wait until the absolute last minute to go to Home Depot to pick up plywood or to Publix to stock up water, ice, and potato chips.

You know how to spell Okeechobee. There is an Okeechobee Lake , Town, County, Blvd, Street, and Avenue.

A true Floridian does NOT own a boat. They make friends with someone who already owns one. That way you don’t have to deal with any of the headaches.

You weren’t born here. If you were, you’re angry that everyone else has moved here.

There’s always a Walgreens across the street from a CVS on almost every corner, with more being built every day.

When picking up a woman on South Beach, always check for an Adams apple.

It’s normal to sweat when you are putting up your holiday decorations.

There is a city called The Villages where 77,000 old people live that all drive golf carts and dance in the streets.

Jupiter is a city, not a planet.

Seniors have to do their errands during the weekdays, not weeknights or weekends, that’s for the working folks.

You can’t say, This is how we did it up north.” If you think that way, then go back up north. Just remember, I-95 and I-75 run both ways.

No matter what they decide in Tallahassee you will never, ever be able to figure out your property taxes.

Learn how to dress in layers. It will be 95 degrees outside. But inside any restaurant or business it’s 65 degrees.

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Summer Weather Challenges and Dangers

Summer Weather Challenges and DangersSummertime can bring a range of weather challenges and potential dangers. Some of these threats can occur with little warning, so do what you can to prepare by assembling an emergency kit and forming a plan of action.

Find out what you should do if faced with the following weather dangers courtesy of www.ready.gov:

Lightning: In the U.S., lightning kills more people each year than tornadoes and hurricanes. If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance and should seek shelter in an enclosed building or vehicle. While indoors, don’t use a corded phone, a computer or other electrical appliances; and avoid contact with plumbing (don’t shower, wash hands, do laundry, etc.). Learn more about lightning safety and get tips on what to do if you’re outdoors during a thunderstorm.

Floods: If you have time, move essential items to an upper floor. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water. Do not walk through moving water that is six inches or higher. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground. Learn more about what to do before, during, and after a flood.

Hurricanes: If you can’t evacuate, get inside and secure external and internal doors. Stay away from windows and doors and take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level. Learn more about what to do before, during, and after a hurricane.

Tornadoes: Storm cellars and basements are the safest locations, but if they aren’t available, go to an interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level. Stay away from windows, doors, outside walls, and corners. If you are in a trailer or mobile home, go to a sturdy, nearby building. Learn more about what to do before, during, and after a tornado.

Extreme Heat: Stay indoors as much as possible. Consider spending the hottest part of the day in an air-conditioned public building, such as a library or shopping mall. Never leave children or pets alone in vehicles. Learn more about what to do in extreme heat.

Wildfires: If your home is threatened by a wildfire, you must evacuate. If you have time, bring an emergency kit that includes copies of important documents. Learn more about what to do before, during, and after a wildfire.

Earthquakes: If you are indoors, stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls and get under a sturdy table or desk. If you are outside, keep away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires. If you’re in a moving vehicle, safely stop the vehicle in an open area and stay inside. Learn more about what to do before, during, and after an earthquake.

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