Charitable Tax Tips From the IRS for 2012

Charitable Tax Tips From the IRS for 2012This is a popular time of the year to make a donation to your favorite charity and the IRS has some 2012 tax tips for your charitable donations:

“As 2012 comes to a close, individuals and businesses need to remember some key tax provisions for making contributions to charity. The IRS offers these reminders for year-end giving:

    -To deduct monetary donations you must have a bank record or written document from the charity stating the name of the charity, the contribution amount and the date.
    -Contributions are deductible in the year made, even if the credit card bill isn’t paid or the check isn’t cashed until 2013.
    -Only donations made to qualified organizations are tax deductible. Make sure the organization you want to donate to is qualified before making any contribution.
    -Individuals must itemize their deductions on Form 1040 Schedule A or use a short form (Form 1040A and 1040EZ) to claim the standard deduction.

Find more year-end giving tips from the IRS HERE.

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January 2, 2013 Fernandina Commissioner Agenda

January 2, 2013 Fernandina Commissioner AgendaHere is the agenda for the meeting of the Fernandina Beach City Commission scheduled for 6:00 PM on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at City Hall, on Ash Street in historic downtown.

1. CALL TO ORDER

2. ROLL CALL

3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE/INVOCATION
Invocation by Reverend Ed Coop of Joy Ministries Church

4. PRESENTATION/PROCLAMATIONS

4.1. PROCLAMATION – RETIREMENT OF RICHARD “KENNY” HARRIS
– Proclamation recognizing Richard “Kenny” Harris upon his retirement after thirty-one (31) years of dedicated service to the City.

4.2. PROCLAMATION/PLAQUE PRESENTATION – RETIREMENT OF CITY CLERK MARY L. MERCER
– Proclamation and plaque recognizing City Clerk Mary L. Mercer upon her retirement after seventeen (17) years and two (2) months of dedicated service to the City.

5. CONSENT AGENDA

5.1. PROCLAMATION – HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARENESS
– Proclamation declaring the month of January, 2013, as “Human Trafficking Awareness Month.” This Proclamation was requested by the Governor’s Office of Adoption and Child Protection and will be mailed to them.

6. REQUESTS FROM THE PUBLIC TO BE HEARD ON ITEMS NOT ON THE AGENDA

7. RESOLUTIONS

7.1. FISCAL YEAR 2012/2013 VEHICLE PURCHASES – POLICE DEPARTMENT & WATER DEPARTMENT – RESOLUTION 2013-01
APPROVING THE PURCHASE OF SEVEN (7) VEHICLES FOR THE CITY FLEET; AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF DOCUMENTS; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Approves the purchase of seven (7) vehicles for the City fleet for a total cost of $184,161.00. Six (6) vehicles will be for the City Police Department and one (1) vehicle will be for the City Water Department.

7.2. PURCHASE AND SALE AGREEMENT APPROVAL – FIRST COAST MOVING AND STORAGE COMPANY – RESOLUTION 2013-02
APPROVING A PURCHASE AND SALE AGREEMENT WITH FIRST COAST MOVING AND STORAGE COMPANY FOR THE SALE OF PROPERTY LOCATED AT THE AIRPORT; APPROVING A LETTER OF RELEASE FROM THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION (FAA); AUTHORIZING EXECUTION; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Approves the Purchase and Sale Agreement with First Coast Moving and Storage Company for Airport property in the amount of $100,000.00 and the Letter of Release from the FAA.

7.3. LEGAL COUNSEL AUTHORIZATION – BRYANT, MILLER & OLIVE – RESOLUTION 2013-03
AUTHORIZING QUALIFIED OUTSIDE LEGAL COUNSEL TO ASSIST THE CITY WITH EVALUATION AND POTENTIAL REFORMATION OF THE PENSION PLANS; AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF ENGAGEMENT LETTER; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Authorizes the City Attorney and City Manager to utilize the services of David C. Miller, Esquire, and the law firm of Bryant, Miller & Olive, P.A. in an amount not to exceed $20,000.00.

7.4. CHANGE ORDER AUTHORIZATION AND BUDGET AMENDMENT APPROVAL – DOWNTOWN COMFORT STATION – RESOLUTION 2013-04
APPROVING CHANGE ORDER #1 FROM E. B. MORRIS GENERAL CONTRACTORS, INC. FOR EXPANSION / REHABILITATION OF THE DOWNTOWN COMFORT STATION PROJECT; AND APPROVING A BUDGET AMENDMENT TO TRANSFER $5,500 FROM THE ANIMAL RESCUE CENTER ACCOUNT TO THE DOWNTOWN COMFORT STATION ACCOUNT IN THE CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT FUND; AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF DOCUMENTS; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Authorizes Change Order #1 increasing the E.B. Morris General Contractors, Inc.’s contract amount to $145,837.00 and approves the budget amendment transferring $5,500.00 from the Capital Improvement Fund’s Animal Rescue Center account to the Downtown Comfort Station account.

8. ORDINANCES – SECOND READING
8.1. LAND DEVELOPMENT CODE AMENDMENTS – ORDINANCE 2012-29
AMENDING THE LAND DEVELOPMENT CODE, REVISING CHAPTER 4 TO INCLUDE CONTEXT SENSITIVE SETBACK DETERMINATIONS, AND REVISING CHAPTER 7 PARKING STANDARDS AND PARKING LOT DESIGN; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Approves and adopts modifications to Chapters 4 and 7 of the Land Development Code.

8.2. FRANCHISE AGREEMENT – AMELIA ISLAND TRANSPORTATION AND TROLLEYS, LLC – ORDINANCE 2012-30
AMENDING ORDINANCE 2010-21 BY AUTHORIZING THE TRANSFER OF THE NON-EXCLUSIVE FRANCHISE AGREEMENT WITH AMELIA ISLAND TROLLEYS AND TRANSPORTATION, LLC AND GRANTING THE FRANCHISE TO AMELIA ISLAND TRANSPORTATION AND TROLLEYS, LLC FOR THE OPERATION OF A TROLLEY SERVICE; PROVIDING FOR EXECUTION; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Approves the amendments to the Non-Exclusive Franchise Agreement with Amelia Island Transportation and Trolleys, LLC for the operation of a trolley service.

9. BOARD APPOINTMENTS
9.1. COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY (CRA) ADVISORY BOARD
1 appointment.
9.2. ARTS AND CULTURE NASSAU
3 appointments

10. DISCUSSION – DIRECTION – ACTION ITEMS
10.1. PUBLIC RECORDS & SUNSHINE LAW OVERVIEW
This item is placed on the agenda at the request of City Attorney Tammi E. Bach.

11. CITY MANAGER REPORTS
12. CITY ATTORNEY REPORTS
13. CITY CLERK REPORTS
14. MAYOR/COMMISSIONER COMMENTS
15. ADJOURNMENT
16. NON-CITY RESIDENTS
17. BOARD APPOINTMENTS

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Are You Ready for the New Year

Prepare for the Fork in  the Road Decisions

Do you know which decision to make when the time arrives

Besides joy and anticipation, for some people the Holidays and their festivities have also a way of bringing on a sense of failure, of incompleteness, of reminders of mistaken choices in our memories, creating an unexpected depression.  But a little careful planning can eliminate that unexpected depression.

If you’re one of those people who feel like you just aren’t making any progress in your personal or professional life?  Hurt? Frustrated? Mad at life, and the people you encounter, and can’t figure out why? Are you struggling with problems from which you cannot seem to free yourself? One of the greatest problems we face today is the ability to make clear decisions. And unclear decisions can literally drive you bananas. But if you take time to do a little clear thinking while you pay attention to your past mistakes, you may be able to change your life and head it towards a path of success.  Here are some suggestions:

If you cannot make a successful decision, then every aspect of your behavior is affected. Emotionally, you are hurting inside and not at all aware of how to stop that inner storm. On the outside you attempt to seem like everything is ok, and you are stable and calm, making your inner storm even greater, because you are living your own personal lie. Let me make an attempt to help you out if you’re caught in this storm. Perhaps some of the following suggestions will bring you enough calm to get back on the path of making successful decisions that can turn your life around.

Are you aware of who you are and where you are going? Millions of people have no idea who they are or why they are here and kind of wander in mental oblivion, making wrong decisions and watching our world crumble before our eyes, and not even knowing why. If you need statistics, all you have to do is examine the number of divorces in your county (approximately 2 out of 3 marriages end in divorce these days), number of murders in the past six months, assaults by juvenile delinquents who are being brought up by confused parents who have no idea how to raise their children, theft and robberies, war, and I could go on and on, and so could you. And of course, the results reveal that all of this roots in unsuccessful decision making. A simple examination of who you are and why you are making wrong decisions could turn this troubling trend around in no time, and sometimes the solution is no further than a simple change of your mind.

Understanding your Goals

Before you even begin to wrestle with the process of making successful decisions, you need to understand your goals. What do you want to accomplish? Where are you trying to go? It is your goal that will determine your behavior, and if your goal is wrong, you may need to change your goal? If your goal is to become rich by robbing a bank, you will spend a lot of time at that bank studying the flow of activity so you know how to rob it when there is most money available with the least amount of risk. In no way should you consider this as a goal, because it will ultimately lead to being caught and imprisoned.

If your desire is to get a college degree, you will spend a lot of time at the college getting the credits that make it possible to get your degree. If your goal is to get a significant other, you will spend time getting to know the person in which you find an interest. Whatever your goal, determines your behavior.  And if you haven’t taken the time to understand your own goals, you are like a ship without a sail on that vast sea, battered by the wind.

You must match your goals to the decisions you are making, determining first if your goal is worthwhile, and secondly how to decide to negotiate problems that need decisions because of the activity that is bringing you to your goals and your swaying emotions.  Only then are you ready to deal with the problem by going through the decision process.

Rather then being prepared, many people rely on impulse or intuition to make their decisions, which ultimately causes unwanted experiences such as divorce, or delinquency, or war. If we walk before we run, if we slow ourselves down to determine the good and bad of what we are about to do, and why we are about to do it, then we can greatly improve our activity and the quality of our life. Once you become an Expert decision maker, you can go through the process quickly and solve many problems. The following point clarify the Decision-making Process.

1. DEFINE YOUR DECISION CLEARLY!

What do you want to do, and what are your potential problems? Why is there a decision necessary, and what methods are you going to use to get there? Do you want a significant other? Do you want more romance? Do you want a close friendship, or more social life? Are you unhappy with your job? Would a raise solve that problem, and if you determine that such is the case, what are you doing to make certain you deserve a raise? Are you using your talents optimally, and if not why not? Where is your passion? Where are you unhappy and why do you need to make a decision in the first place? These basic questions are all decisions that must be made in the midst of problems that you face, and if you are not asking these questions, you are riding blind on your impulse alone, and even though that may work sometimes, it will more often make you confused and frustrated. There are many ways to define a problem that you probably have not ventured, and the more specific you become about the problem, the more accurate you will be in making a proper decision to eliminate the problem.

2. CONSIDER EVERY ROUTE YOU MAY HAVE TO GO TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM.

Experience has probably already told you that there is always more than one way to solve a problem, but not all of these routes are right or healthy. If you are poor, there are many ways that you can try to get rich, but some of the decisions people make to become prosperous are neither healthy nor morally right. And one of the greatest ways to help you make a decision is to study your own passions and desires, and to understand where your talents want or need to take you. If you follow your passion, you will be doing what you want, and what your own life is saying to your psyche. College Students that come to me wanting to know what College Major they should study to get a degree always hear me ask the most important question: “What do your talents tell you about yourself?” If you are poor in math, you shouldn’t be an accountant. If you have an excellent singing voice, and you enjoy singing, you should consider making a living with your musical talent, and so on.

3. GATHER THE INFORMATION NEEDED AND EVALUATE ITS BENEFITS!

Are you making a proper choice that will guide your life because you are educated in your possible solutions, or are you just taking a guess and a gamble and seeing what happens? If I ask you, “What are your talents?” do you have an educated answer? If there is a career that you want to pursue, do you know what education is required for that particular career? If as a parent you are having trouble raising your child, have you ever gone to a seminar on Parent-training skills? Are you aware of the education available to help you become a better parent? These solutions need to be researched. If your not doing your homework, you’re going to fail the test of life.  We all need special help, but it is up to us to find it.

And just because you have done the research, you still have to supply the input as to what is better or worse for the decision-making process. You must honestly ask questions objectively and see where your research takes you. Maybe you have a talent for math, but you still hate the idea of being an accountant. You have to pay attention to yourself and the advantages as well as the disadvantage to make your decisions properly.

4. MAKE YOUR BETTER CHOICE!

There comes a time when the research and questioning stops, when you have to get off the fence and make a move. Let’s suppose that you want to make a decision on what kind of career to pursue. These four questions should be answered in your heart and mind, and then a choice needs to be made:

a) Can this career choice give me financial security?

b) Will this career give me personal fulfillment?

c) Is this career utilizing my special talent?

d) Does this career meet most of my personal and family needs?

If the answer is yes to these questions, you may be on the path to finding a worthwhile career. You can also ask these questions concerning your search for a significant other, by changing certain key words. You can also change the keywords t about raising your child. See the difference between “going with your gut” and making an educated decision?  So what if you make a mistake? We all make mistakes.  You’ll live through it, and you’ll learn.  C.S. Lewis believed that God would keep putting the same decisions before us mistake-wise until we learned, and then we would go to the next level, whatever that is.

5. MONITOR YOU RESULTS AT ALL TIMES AND BE WILLING TO CHANGE YOUR SOLUTION IF IT ISN’T WORKING!

Sometimes a “best choice” is temporary, depending on changing circumstances, and that means that the choice will only work for a period of time or even on a certain area. There are very few permanent decisions when it comes to living. In fact, believing that a decision is permanent for the long run is usually fatal. Getting married and assuming marriage is going to be permanent no matter what, is almost always fatal. We can lose it if we don’t make the decision to refresh our marriage every day. Every new day on our job needs to be refreshing, and any relationship without fresh decisions is almost always doomed.

There are short term goals and long term goals, and we must identify which is which, and how each applies to our situation, or situations, as the case may be. Each plan, each decision, is simply a starting point for living right, for making proper decisions, for making your life what you want it to be.

Be creative: Search your options and make a decision. Change them as they need to be refreshed, and learn to live happy and in the wisdom of making right and proper decisions.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Easy Eggplant Parmasian Recipe

Easy Eggplant ParmasianWorking at the farmers’ market in historic, downtown Fernandina Beach I find myself trying new recipes all of the time. I have made Chicken Parmasian several times over the years, but I couldn’t recall making it with eggplant… so of course, I had to try it.

… and it was awesome!!!

Here is the recipe I started with:

Ingredients

Olive oil, for baking sheets
2 large eggs
3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
3/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese, plus 2 tablespoons for topping
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
coarse salt
pepper
2 large eggplants, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds (2 1/2 pounds total)
6 cups chunky tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

breading-parmasian

But because I am a fan of working smarter, not harder, here are the ingredients I used:

Olive oil, for baking sheets
2 large eggs
3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
3/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese, plus 2 tablespoons for topping
2 large eggplants, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds (2 1/2 pounds total)
2 Large jars of store-bought chunky spaghetti sauce
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

layered-parmasian

*************************************************

Directions

-Preheat oven to 375°F
-Brush 2 baking sheets with oil; set aside.
-In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and 2 tablespoons water.
-In another bowl, combine breadcrumbs, 3/4 cup Parmesan, oregano, and basil; season with salt and pepper.
-Dip eggplant slices in egg mixture, letting excess drip off, then dredge in breadcrumb mixture, coating well; place on baking sheets.
-Bake until golden brown on bottom, 20 to 25 minutes.
-Turn slices; continue baking until browned on other side, 20 to 25 minutes more.
-Remove from oven; raise oven heat to 400°F.
-Spread 2 cups sauce in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
-Arrange half the eggplant in dish; cover with 2 cups sauce, then 1/2 cup mozzarella.

finished-eggplant-parmasian

-Repeat with remaining eggplant, sauce, and mozzarella; sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan.
-Bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted, 15 to 20 minutes.
-Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

You could easily double the recipe and feed a small Army, or put one in the freezer for another day. Either way, this Eggplant Parmesian was a wonderful meal served up with a tossed salad loaded with fresh finds from the farmers’ market in Fernandina Beach.

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New Year’s Eve Party with Frankie and Friends

New Year's Eve Party with Frankie and FriendsDecember 31, 2012 is bringing tons of New Year’s Eve parties to Amelia Island, but here is information about one classy event that is actually affordable, too.

Frankie and Friends will be at the Golf Club of Amelia Island (in front of the Ritz), with Ross Brown as the Emcee. This event requires semiformal attire and your $65.00 ticket price per person includes a full dinner buffet.

There will be a cash bar, and the band will be playing dance songs from the 60s to date, including some jazz, too. Why be in a crowded bar listening to a DJ when you can be on an elegant terrace and listen to live musicians?

The party tickets are selling fast so swing by Red Bones Dog Bakery on 8th Street and get your tickets TODAY!

(This is also a food drive for the humane society so please bring dog or cat food.)

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Gator Bowl Parade on WJXT TV 4

Gator Bowl Parade on WJXT TV 4The New Year’s Eve TAXSLAYER.COM Gator Bowl Parade will be televised on WJXT TV 4, from Jacksonville, Florida, beginning at 3:00 PM Monday afternoon.

Featured in the parade, of 44 committee selected entries, is the Miss Shrimp Festival scholarship winner Alyssa Whitfield. Alyssa is majoring in marketing at the University of Florida and is joining the Fernandina Pirates Club aboard their ship, Amelia’s Revenge.

Also appearing in the parade from Amelia Island is the Jacksonville Zumba Instructors Network entry organized by Fernandina Beach High School senior, and Zumba Fitness instructor at CLUB 14 FITNESS, our own Ally at the Desk.

The parade route returns to pass near the Jacksonville Landings this year and will run from the shipyards along E. Bay Street to end at S. Pearl Street. Bleacher seating is available for $10.00, and is located just west of the Landings.

For nearly 70 years the Gator Bowl Association, a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization, has offered the best in college athletics and related activities in order to maximize positive impact on the area’s economy, national image and community pride.

The Gator Bowl game is the 6th oldest college bowl game and the first ever to be televised nationally coast-to-coast. Our own Amelia Island Tourist Development Council is a proud partner of this exciting event!

Mississippi State and Northwestern will face off in the Gator Bowl played at Everbank Field in Jacksonville, Tuesday, January 1, 2013. The game will kickoff at 12:00 noon and will be televised nationally on ESPN2.

The Gator Bowl will pair the fifth selection after the BCS from the Southeastern Conference and the third selection after the BCS from the Big Ten Conference.

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Job Opportunities at the Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island

Amelia Island's Ritz Carlton organizes Job Fair on Jan 5th

Will you be one of the 70 or so new employees?

In order to fill some 70 vacancies in the New Year, the Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island is hosting an on-site Job Fair on Saturday, January 5, 2012 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The resort is looking to hire 70 Ladies and Gentlemen with a unique ability to provide legendary service in Housekeeping, Stewarding, Culinary, Food & Beverage, Spa, Valet Parking and Recreation. Full time and seasonal positions are available.

Coming to the Fair will give you the opportunity to speak to managers about growth opportunities at our island’s AAA Five Diamond luxury resort, one of about 80 resorts around the globe.

The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island offers exciting benefits including health, dental, vision, life insurance, paid vacation and holidays, tuition reimbursement and 401K.  To apply early and view open positions, complete an online application at www.ritzcarlton.com/careers.

The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island is located at 4750 Amelia Island Parkway, Amelia Island, Florida. Parking is available in the Employee Visitor Parking Lot located at the South end of hotel. For additional information, please call (904) 277-1100.

Holiday Sadness

This is creepy

This is how creepy it can get. No, it doesn't stop with ugly sweaters!

Christmas 2012 came and went. Soon the store windows will be dressed up with Valentine’s Day decorations, while many of us still wonder what that dressed up tree is doing in our living room. Christmas doesn’t always bring about good feelings. For so many people, this time of year doesn’t necessarily offer joy. There can be many reasons for the sadness of the season. For some, it could be that they lost a loved one around this time of year. For another, it could be that they grew up in a home with an aggressive alcoholic parent and the holidays bring back memories of hard times. For still others, it could be that they have ideals & expectations based on how it used to be, or what they see portrayed on TV.

My mother grew up with a large extended family that lived within a few miles of each other. Being that they were Italian, they got together regularly for large meals, totties, music, dancing, laughter and lots of loud talking. On the holidays, at least 30 came together to celebrate and the partying would go on till the wee hours of the night. Fast forward the clock 30 years… most of the family members have passed away or moved away, including my mother who lives 1000 miles away from her hometown. Christmas has never felt the same to her. Like most people, her mind carries images and stories of a ‘perfect’ holiday. These images and stories are created by a combination of our actual personal experiences and those created for our viewing on commercials, TV shows and movies.

We are like little holiday robots which have been programmed as to what makes for the ‘right kind of holiday.’ We are happy if our holiday experiences are in line with our mental holiday story, but we tend to be sad if our holidays turn out different than we expected or fantasized.

Welcome to the E.H.R.C… Emotional Holiday Roller Coaster!

As long as we unwittingly continue to follow these holiday scenarios scripted in our minds, we will be miserable through the holiday season, each and every year.

Isn’t it time to enjoy the season, no matter how different your experiences are compared to the past or to what you see on TV? As our families evolve, our holidays evolve as well. No given year will be identical to any other year, and there is no possible way of mimicking your childhood years in the present. Make a decision to accept the ever evolving circumstances of your family, step into the flow of change rather than resisting it.

And, as far as those commercials, TV shows and movies are concerned, it’s time to be one step ahead of them. Realize that millions of dollars have gone into marketing a product, and their entire strategy is to make money off your mental holiday story. Producers bank on the assumption that you, like a majority of other viewers, wish to be having the ‘right kind of holiday.’ If they create the perfect holiday scene, trigger you to have warm fuzzy feelings, and then throw in the use of their product… PRESTO, they have succeeded in leading you to believe their product will increase the likelihood of you experiencing the ‘right kind of holiday.’

Don’t fall for it! Step out of your life and your mind long enough to see things from a broader perspective… see how much your family has evolved… find joy in the changes. Then, take realistic bits and pieces from commercials, TV shows, and movies… decide which elements you like and can personally implement in your holiday season… then, have the courage and strength to implement them. By letting go of and accepting the changes in your family, and by getting clear and implementing some realistic holiday elements….you are on the path to finding the perfect balance that will bring joy instead of sadness to your holiday.

Learn more about mental trainer, hypnotist and inspirational speaker Dawn Grant

American Idol Winner Ruben Studdard Coming to Amelia Island

American Idol Winner Ruben Studdard Coming to Amelia IslandThe 6th Annual Boys and Girls Club Benefit will be held on February 9, 2013 at The Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island, Florida, and American Idol Winner Ruben Studdard will be there.

Ruben Studdard blends old school Baby Boomer rhythm and blues with Generation Y’s hip hop to deliver a unique blend. His musical stylings has resulted in a string of gold and platinum albums and nominations for both the American Music and Grammy Awards.

This gala evening begins at 6:00 PM and includes a seated dinner, silent auction, cocktails and one spectacular performance by Ruben Stoddard. The benefit supports the operation of the two Boys and Girl Clubs in Nassau County.

Tickets are $150 per person and may be obtained by calling (904) 261-8666 or at bgcnassau.org.

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Santa Claus Caught at Border with Five ID’s

Santa caught on a Harley

Santa and Helper Take Off for Canada and Beyond

Santa was held up at the Canadian-US border last night and may not have been able to complete his rounds this year, it appears.

At around 5am this morning, Santa and a helper were trying to cross the Windsor tunnel border crossing in Detroit for a couple of last minute deliveries, as they were stopped by Homeland Security. Border patrol agents took both men in for questioning on the purpose of their visit, when they found five passports on the holy man: Santa Claus, St.Nicholas, Father Christmas, Samichlaus, SinterKlaas, and that all while his Birth Certificate clearly stated Kris Kringle!

Confusion and irritation tripled when agents also found several IDs on his helper, such as Schmutzli and Black Peter (Zwarte Piet). After more than an hour of interrogations both men were released with a warning to bring only “Made in America” presents next year.

Santa Claus explained while mounting his new Harley Davidson that he’s getting tired of the whole personalized delivery service concept.

“Look” he said, ” you try breaking into millions of homes and shuffling around all these households, most of which feature guns, riffles and assault weapons. While coming in on a sleigh from the North Pole we are facing different jet streams than ever before. If you want to know about Global Warming effects, ask Rudolph or any of the reindeer. They’ll give you a hunch or two about landing on surfaces where there once was snow and now only hard concrete. Then there is also the issue of product origin, the pressure to use recyclable packaging and the pressure to reduce my carbon hoofprints. And now the border crossing issues.

I secretly started experimenting with online recently and I’m planning to go forward with ElfBay as an online trading portal and outsource deliveries to Reindeer Express. It’s just too difficult to continue the old way,” Santa said in a departing remark, as he and his helper took off for Canada and points north.

The First Official Christmas

The Story of Christmas

Why can't everyday be like Christmas?

Christmas as a celebration of gifts and pagentry became official as early as 96 AD. But it wasn’t until the fifth century that December 25th was declared the official day for the Christmas Celebration, and it wasn’t until another 40 years had passed that the custom was actually adopted in history as a Christian Holiday and the celebration of Christ’s birth.

Many cultures had historically celebrated the  a similar intent of the Holiday at different times, from April – May to December, but most cultures around the world celebrated it in January.

December 25th was actually a renowned pagan Holiday that was so well celebrated by so many, that it became the most convenient day to create and combine the various festivities of Christmas.

As history has taught us in modern times, Jesus himself was born either in July, June, May or April, but the date is uncertain. One remarkable Christmas observation stands out, since December 25th became the official date for the Christmas Celebration and the remembrance of the birth of Christ, not a single major battle in any war has been fought on December 25th. Many major wars were fought relentlessly right up to Christmas Eve, when a cease fire would stop all fighting, until continued on the 26th.
This Advent For Peace has been observed by most cultures on this one special day ever since it was officially proclaimed.
“Though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born, If He’s not born in thee, thy soul is still forlorn.”
Merry Christmas and Peace on Earth

Jackyl and Blistur Concert in Jacksonville

Jackyl and Blistur Concert in JacksonvilleJackyl and BLISTUR will be playing together, in concert, in Jacksonville, Florida on January 26, 2013. That’s right, BLISTUR and Jackyl can be seen performing in one great show at The Roc Bar in Jacksonville, Florida.

This is your opportunity to be one of the first to receive BLISTUR’s newest CD, for FREE!

Buy your concert ticket for only $15.00, either online at BLISTUR.com or at a live show, before December 31, 2012, and receive a voucher for Blistur’s newest release, Fear Itself! The band is anticipating the first run of CDs will be ready for a special, sneak preview release at the show with Jackyl on January 26, 2013.

Multi-platinum selling Jackyl features Jesse James Dupree who also stars in the hit show, Full Throttle Saloon on TruTV. You may recognize radio favorites such as Down On Me, When Will it Rain, and The Lumberjack where Dupree pulls off an entertaining performance playing the chain-saw.

blistur-2012Formed in November 2005, BLISTUR rapidly established themselves as one of the most in demand bands in North Florida, South Georgia and beyond. Performing over 220 shows per year, Blistur has developed a very large fan base in the process. This full-time rockin’ trio frequently opens or headlines concerts and events throughout the Southeast, including Planetfest 9, The Florida Theatre, the Jacksonville Landings and the Amelia Island Blues Festival.

Purchase your tickets for only $15.00 and receive a voucher that you may use to cash in on your FREE CD when it becomes available. Although the official release is scheduled for late February 2013, the band is hopeful to have these available at this show!

BLISTUR and Jackyl makes a great stocking stuffer! (Hint, hint, wink, wink from this author!) Place your order NOW – this offer ends at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
(Your ticket(s) and voucher(s) will be mailed to you promptly upon receipt of payment.)

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1st Annual LIFT Florida Weightlifting Camp

1st Annual LIFT Florida Weightlifting CampWelcome the 1st Annual LIFT Florida Weightlifting Camp to Amelia Island. This 3-day camp is designed specifically to train athletes within the Sport of Weightlifting.

These competitive athletes will learn from an amazing panel of industry leaders and international coaches.

According to Coach Doug Lane, of Sandbox Athletics, “We have a simple goal for this camp: Lift heavier weights in 2013!”

Competition between people to see who can lift the most weight has been documented by ancient civilizations earliest recordings in Egypt, China and ancient Greece, and today, the race to olympic weighlifting gold requires discipline in explosive strength.

Coaching this Weightlifting Camp are Doug Lane, Dr. Kyle Pierce, Harvey Newton, Roger Nielsen and Kerri Goodrich.

Hosting the event is Doug Lane, owner of Cross Fit Amelia Island and Sandbox Athletics. Doug got his Bachelor’s of Science in Kinesiology from the University of Northern Colorado. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), USAW Certified Level 1 Club Coach, USAW Certified Sports Performance Coach, Cross Fit Level 2 Coach, and USA Track & Field Certified Level 1 Coach.

Lane also created LIFT Florida, a non-profit organization designed to improve the fitness picture for youth in the Sunshine State with the goal of supporting, encouraging and promoting the sport of Olympic Weightlifting.

Dr. Kyle Pierce is the director of the USA Weightlifting Development Center, located at LSUS and serves as an associate professor of Kinesiology and Health Science. In 2006, Pierce was named as the recipient of the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Doc Counsilman Science Award for 2005. The Counsilman Award honors coaches who conduct and use research along with developing innovative training methods.

Pierce, a native of Hollywood, Florida, is widely published and sought after internationally to make presentations on sports science. Kyle coaches Kendrick Farris, a Shreveport native who placed 8th in the 85 kg weight class at the 2008 Olympics for the United States. He was named the USOC Weightlifting Coach of the Year in 2006, 2007, and 2010 and will coach the Women’s National Team in the Pan-Am games this fall.

In 1981, Harvey Newton, was selected as the first official national weightlifting coach, stationed at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. He was chosen to also serve as USA Weightlifting’s executive director and thrived on 60-hour work weeks, literally running across the grass field between his executive office in the National Sports Building and Building #23, a cold, dumpy, poor excuse for a training hall, for thrice-daily team workouts.

From 1981 to 1992 Harvey Newton was the USA Cycling’s strength and conditioning advisor, conducting winter training camps for national teams each year. He also assisted the national coaching staff with the development of numerous coaches’ educational materials, and in 1984 he was an Olympic Coach.

In 1992 the federation sought Coach Newton’s assistance in creating the Strength Training for Cyclists videotape series (now DVD).

By 1994 Newton had joined the National Strength and Conditioning Association as the Editor-in-Chief of Strength & Conditioning Journal and the Director of Program Development. In 1995 he donned a third hat, that of the Executive Director.

Harvey Newton has authored or co-authored, with the late Edmond Burke, PhD, numerous articles and books related to strength training for cyclists. Over the past 15 years, Harvey has presented dozens of national and regional programs, including the 2004 and 2006 USA Cycling Summits. Coach Newton is the instructor for Performance Cycling Conditioning (www.PerformanceCondition.com) workshops around the country and serves as the strength and conditioning advisor for Cadence Cycling and Multisport Centers.

Author of the popular Human Kinetics book/DVD, Explosive Lifting for Sports (over 20,000 sold), Harvey remains active as a rider, coach, and clinician through his business, Newton Sports (www.Newton-Sports.com), which is located in Ormond Beach, Florida.

A USA Cycling Level 2 Coach, Harvey is also a senior international weightlifting coach and a certified strength and conditioning specialist. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Psychology) from the University of Central Florida and a Master of Arts (Sociology, coaches’ education emphasis) from the University of Colorado.

Coach Roger Nielsen‘s experience speaks for itself:

FBI Special Agent (retired) – Physical Fitness Coordinator, Firearms Instructor, Tactical Instructor, Defensive Tactics Instructor;

Certifications/Personal Achievements:
Head Coach, 1992 and 2000, USA Olympic Weightlifting Team;
Head Coach, USA World Championship Team 1989 – 1991;
National Junior Weightlifting Coach 2001 – Present;
Head Coach, USA Junior World Championship Team 2002 – 2003;
Assistant Coach, USA World Championship Team 2003;
Personal Coach of team members for Olympic Games, World Championships, Pan-American Games, and Junior World Championships;
Personal Coach of Numerous National and Junior National Champions;
Senior International Coach – USA Weightlifting’s highest level of coaching achievement;
Presenter/Speaker at Strength and Conditioning and USA Weightlifting seminars nation-wide;
Contributing Author – USA Weightlifting Coaching Education Series

Founder and Director of Performance Initiatives, Kerri Goodrich is a graduate of Leadership Savannah, the 2007 AWWIN Working Woman of the Year, and has provided leadership and fitness training for many organizations including the YMCA and the Frank Callen Girls and Boys Club.

Kerri has served as USAW Team Leader for the 2010 Pan American 17U Championships and 2010 Youth World Championships, and 2012 Head Men’s Youth World Team Coach. Kerri is a USAW Senior Coach, Crossfit L-1 and Kids Fit certified, and Kerry was also a member of the U.S. Women’s Weightlifting National team.

It is exciting to learn we will have such distinguished talent, sharing their athletic expertise, in Fernandina Beach. The camp is being held December 26, 27, and 28, 2012.

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Snowman Shenanigans

Snowman ShenanigansI am not kidding when I say that I received all of the holiday jokes I posted this week from last year, including this one about Snowmen. Friends and neighbors were on a roll last year and I was organized enough to share them with you in 2012.

Here is another funny for you to enjoy. And for a change, this one is friendly for all ages…

The original author is unknown.

Q. What do snowmen wear on their heads?
A. Ice caps.

Q. What do you get if you cross a snowman and a shark?
A. Frost bite.

Q. Where do snowmen go to dance?
A. The snow ball.

Q. What do you call an unreliable snowman?
A. A snow flake.

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Christmas Day Gathering with AA

Christmas Day Gathering with AAThe 9th Annual Amelia Room Christmas Day gathering will be held, well, on Christmas Day, with a FBGAA meeting at 11:00 AM. Dinner will follow at 12:45 PM.

There is no charge!

Children and family are invited as well as other local A.A. group members.

There will be music in the afternoon and time for fellowship. Covered dishes and desserts are always a welcomed addition to the fun.

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