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AIFBY Chamber Activities for July 2013

AIFBY Chamber Activities for July 2013Amelia Island, FL – Here is what is coming up in July at the Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce:

Island Council
8:30 a.m., Wednesday, July 3
The Mustard Seed Cafe, 833 TJ Courson Road, Fernandina Beach

Grow your business by making and strengthening your connections with Amelia Island-based businesses at the Island Council, which meets at 8:30 a.m. the first Wednesday of the month.

Admission is free for AIFBY Chamber members; $25 for non-members. Optional breakfast available. Prospective Chamber members should contact Wendi Groden-Thomas at (904) 261-3248 ext. 107 for information about attending.

HR Council
Noon-1:30 p.m. Monday, July 8
The Surf Restaurant & Bar,
3199 S. Fletcher Ave., Fernandina Beach, FL 32034

Are you responsible for interviewing prospective employees, hiring and firing, payroll, benefits, family leave, workers comp and more? Then, the Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce has got a business council for you!

The new HR Council is designed to keep our Chamber members who handle human resources abreast of best practices, the latest requirements and newest trends in this ever-changing field. The first HR Council meeting on Monday, July 8, will be an organizational meeting, giving you the opportunity to help set the direction for the HR Council.

Admission including lunch is $20 for Chamber members, $30 for non-members. Prospective Chamber members should contact Wendi Groden-Thomas at (904) 261-3248 ext. 107 for information about attending.

Registration and payment will be online. To register, go to the HR Council event listing at our website – islandchamber.com – and click on the RSVP link. Cancellations must be made 48 hours in advance or all charges will apply.

If you are unable to attend this first meeting, but would like to be added to the HR Council email list, please contact the Chamber at (904) 261-3248 or info@aifby.com.

Yulee Area Council
8:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 9
Chick-fil-A, 464004 State Road 200, Yulee

The Yulee Area Council meets at 8:30 a.m. the second Tuesday of each month to network and discuss issues of interest to the Yulee business community.

Admission is free for AIFBY Chamber members; $25 for non-members. Optional breakfast is available. Prospective Chamber members should contact Wendi Groden-Thomas at (904) 261-3248 ext. 107 for information about attending.

Amelia Island Yacht BasinBusiness After Hours
5-7 p.m., Thursday, July 18
Amelia Island Yacht Basin, 251 Creekside Dr., Fernandina Beach

Network with up to 150 Chamber members at Business After Hours, Nassau County’s biggest monthly business gathering, sponsored in July by Suntex Boat Club & Watersport Rentals and the Amelia Island Yacht Club.

Suntex Boat Club and Watersport Rentals is your source for outdoor recreation where they provide the boats, you provide the fun! Boat Club membership offers a hassle-free, convenient boating alternative that provides you a variety of boats, gear and accessories as well as freedom from the concerns that come with owning and maintaining a boat. Watersport Rentals provides daily boat and waverunner rentals to the public.

Amelia Island Yacht Basin is a full-service marina in a first-class resort island setting on one of the East Coast’s most-refined and relaxing resort islands. While your craft is pampered by our experienced service staff, you will be free to enjoy the many luxuries of our truly unique surroundings. For an intimate getaway or a special event, our island offers a memorable setting for any occasion, in any season.

There will be great food and drinks, door prizes and, of course, a chance to meet other local business people and make contacts that can help generate contacts for your business.

Admission to Business After Hours is $5 for AIFBY Chamber members, $25 for nonmembers. Cash or check only at the door. Prospective Chamber members should contact Wendi Groden-Thomas at (904) 261-3248 ext. 107 for information about attending.

Ribbon cutting
5 p.m. Thursday, July 25
En Vogue Couture, 8 N. Second St., Fernandina Beach

Join the Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce as we celebrate En Vogue Couture’s new location in downtown Fernandina Beach.

Enjoy light refreshments while viewing a fashion show of some of owner-designer Patricia Morrow-Hufenbecher’s beautiful gowns.

Special order or custom design your own gown! En Vogue Couture can bring your vision to life with the help of accomplished fashion designer Patricia Morrow-Hufenbecher. En Vogue Couture Design Studio showcases an elegant collection of bridal and special occasion apparel, fine accessories and a unique line of cosmetics. Specializing in plus sizes and fine alterations.

For more information about En Vogue Couture, visit www.envoguecouture.com.

Mobile Marketing
8 a.m. Friday, July 26
AIFBY Chamber of Commerce, 961687 Gateway Blvd., Suite 101G, Amelia Island

The Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce’s “Build a Better Business” education series continues with “Mobile Marketing” presented by Caroline Blochlinger of CB Advertising Services, Inc.

According to the Wall Street Journal, there are an estimated 130 million smartphones in use in the United States. Get ideas from a marketing expert Blochlinger for reaching potential customers through these incredibly popular and heavily used devices.

Admission is free for AIFBY Chamber members; $25 for non-members. Space is limited to 25 and reservations are required. Register online by going to the Mobile Marketing event listing at our website – islandchamber.com – and click on the RSVP link.

Quarterly Luncheon
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday, July 30
Fernandina Beach Golf Club, 2800 Bill Melton Road, Fernandina Beach

Join us for the AIFBY Chamber Quarterly Luncheon with A. Hugh Greene, president and chief executive officer of Baptist Health, speaking on the new federal healthcare law and its impacts.

The luncheon is sponsored by e-Zassi, Fernandina Chiropractic Center, the Nassau Humane Society and VITAS Innovative Hospice Care.

Baptist Health is a comprehensive community-based health system is comprised of five hospitals, including Baptist Medical Center Nassau. Greene holds a master’s degree in health administration from the Medical College of Virginia and a master’s degree of divinity from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He is a magna cum laude graduate of Wake Forest University where he was Phi Beta Kappa.

Luncheon menu includes BLT turkey wrap, chicken and tuna salads, homemade seasoned chips and baker’s choice dessert.

Admission is $20 for Chamber members, $30 for non-members. Prospective Chamber members should contact Wendi Groden-Thomas at (904) 261-3248 ext.107 for information about attending.

Registration and payment may now be done online. To register, go to the Quarterly Luncheon event listing at our website, islandchamber.com, and click on the RSVP link. Cancellations must be made 48 hours in advance or all charges will apply.

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

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July 2, 2013 Fernandina Commissioner Meeting Agenda

July 2, 2013 Fernandina Commissioner Meeting AgendaThe Fernandina Beach City Commissioners have a regularly scheduled meeting for July 2, 2013, at 6:00 PM, in City Hall, on Ash Street on Amelia Island.

Here is the agenda:

1. CALL TO ORDER
2. ROLL CALL
3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE and Invocation by Reverend Ed Coop, Sr. of Joy Ministries Church.

4. PRESENTATION
4.1. PRESENTATION – AIRPORT ARTICLE
DeborahAnn Cavalcante of Diversified Aviation Consulting will present a copy of the recent article regarding the Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport on www.aviationpros.com.

5. CONSENT AGENDA
5.1. DISPOSAL OF SURPLUS PROPERTY
RESOLUTION 2013-90 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.
5.2. CITY CLERK JOB DESCRIPTION
RESOLUTION 2013-91 APPROVING AN UPDATED JOB DESCRIPTION FOR THE POSITION OF THE CITY CLERK; PROVIDING FOR REPEAL OF ANY PREVIOUS JOB DESCRIPTIONS IN CONFLICT HEREWITH; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Approves the updated City Clerk job description.

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

7. RESOLUTION
7.1. BUDGET AMENDMENT – FIRE DEPARTMENT
RESOLUTION 2013-92 APPROVING THE INCREASED SCOPE OF WORK BY WITT/O’BRIEN’S AND A BUDGET TRANSFER OF $15,000 FROM THE FIRE EQUIPMENT AND NON CAPITAL EQUIPMENT ACCOUNTS TO THE FIRE CONTRACTUAL ACCOUNT FOR A DEBRIS MANAGEMENT PLAN; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Approves the increased scope of work – for Witt/O’Brien’s to prepare a Debris Management Plan as well as a budget transfer of $15,000.

8. ORDINANCES – FIRST READING
8.1. CODE AMENDMENT – ANNUAL ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING DATE
ORDINANCE 2013-16 AMENDING SECTION 34-10 TO MAKE THE DATE OF THE ANNUAL COMMISSION ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING MORE FLEXIBLE; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Amends Section 34-10 of the Code of Ordinances pertaining to the annual organizational meeting date.

8.2. CODE AMENDMENT – BOARD VACANCIES
ORDINANCE 2013-17 AMENDING THE CODE OF ORDINANCES BY CREATING SECTION 2-122, APPOINTMENT, TERM OF OFFICE, GENERAL MEMBERSHIP AND FILLING BOARD VACANCIES; REPEALING ALL OTHER CITY ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Amends Section 2-122 of the Code of Ordinances pertaining to board vacancies.

9. ORDINANCES – SECOND READING
9.1. CODE AMENDMENT – ANIMAL CONTROL
ORDINANCE 2013-11 AMENDING CHAPTER 18, ARTICLE I, IN GENERAL, OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES; AMENDING SECTION 18-4 BY PROVIDING THAT THE ANIMAL OWNER SHALL NOT ALLOW AN ANIMAL TO MAKE SOUNDS FOR MORE THAN 30 CONTINUOUS MINUTES; PROVIDING THAT IT IS UNLAWFUL TO ALLOW AN ANIMAL TO BE CONFINED IN AN UNATTENDED VEHICLE WITHOUT SUFFICIENT VENTILATION OR OTHERWISE IN CONDITIONS THAT MAY BE REASONABLY DETRIMENTAL TO ANIMAL’S HEALTH; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Approves amending a portion of the City Code pertaining to the standards of care and control for animals based upon a request by the Nassau Humane Society.

10. DISCUSSION – DIRECTION – ACTION ITEMS
10.1. ETHICS CODE
This item is placed on the agenda at the request of Commissioner Filkoff.

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

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Facing pain head on

Spiritual Desperation comes from pain in my heart

Spiritual Desperation comes from pain in my heart

Are you devastated by a broken relationship? Do you sometimes wish to be a hermit, away from human judgements?  Are you hurting from a broken heart?

Some of us deal better with life’s desperations than others. There are parts of life that we cannot avoid, and some people seem more susceptible to these than others. There are certainly some people who laugh more, cry more, and inevitably, hurt more. Often a hurt relationship cannot be healed. It is in times like those that I encourage you to learn to get rid of the emotional garbage and move on. Now I know, as well as anyone that this is easier said than done, and therefore I want to make a few suggestions as to ways of doing just that.

Dealing with a bruised relationship usually hurts, and sometimes it’s the deepest hurt of all. There are many times when someone has sat across my desk and cried or placed their troubles into my ear over the phone, and I wished I could just reach into their lives in some way and pull the pain out of their heart. But solving a problem just doesn’t work that way, and it’s probably a good thing that it doesn’t. There are often reason for the pain. There are things to learn that through the struggle make us stronger, wiser than we may want to be, and able to face newer situations in maybe a brighter light, if we pay attention to the lessons learned from the pain. How many times I have been told that the person talking to me would do anything to get rid of the hurt; and yet it is the hurt that teaches us the foolishness of our own ways, and helps to make us wiser to the choices of our own future.

I know this from first-hand experience. In notable times of my success in both business and ministry, there were times when I made very foolish mistakes. And what I didn’t realize at the time was the more notoriety I enjoyed through business success, the harder was the fall when I made a mistake. And the more people that know about your mistake, the more people take your mistakes out of proportion and context and make up stories of things that never happened, because the human ego says: The bigger his mistake, the smaller my mistakes.

I have learned this the hard way, and not just once, in dealing with deacons in a church as a pastor, with customers during formal business operations, in personal relationships, and even family conflicts.

At one time I was bearing the shame of public ridicule for a mistake I made when I was pastoring a small church, and was well known in the community. I was driving home from teaching a class, when I suddenly heard on the radio my name mentioned, and learned that I had become the topic of a local talk show, with my mistakes being accentuated at my expense. And the things I heard said about me I could not believe, because my mistake had been blown out of proportion. So shocked was I at the lies coming at me over the radio waves that I pulled the car off the road and to sit and listen to this discussion about me, but without me. Of course this discussion hurt me, especially the lies which I had no defense again. Truth was mixed with lies, but no one in that radio station knew how wrong I had been, more than myself.

Of course I weighed my options. I could call the station and scream for equal time; I could sue them in court; I could give up and cry the rest of my life. But instead  I determined then and there to make right the problems I was responsible for creating, and then to take the hurt I was experiencing and turn it into a lesson.

For the rest of my life since I have been grateful to that radio station and the experience of that talk show shock for making me stronger, for choosing compassion to help me in making the right choices, and for being able to share the experience with others in the hope that both my disappointments and better choices would make them stronger as they go through life. I would make things right, accept the consequence, and move on to better things. I even turned off the radio before the discussion was over. Let them talk; I had things to accomplish.

Now maybe your hurt is more or less dramatic, and maybe you are not in the public limelight like I was then. But you do have your own audience, in your family, your friends, and your business associates. And no matter what your public status, I’m sure your hurt is as great as mine was, when you are treated falsely, your motives are questioned and your decisions are faulted.

Now please read this very carefully: I am grateful for every ounce of pain I felt during that time of personal rebuilding, because I would not be the person I am today were it not for the pain I felt during that time of trial, and I would not have my history be any different. I was out there trying. Yes, I had made mistakes, but I was on the battlefield, and I have never retreated except to reload. Life is a battle, and there will be scars, but the last thing you and I need to do is resign from the battlefield. The pain you experience from your hurt relationship is a gift! It is trying to teach you something, and this is the time to learn its lesson, whatever it is.

Sometimes the lesson is not clear for years, but when you can finally analyze its benefits without the initial emotion, you will see the lesson clearly. And you are the better for it, if you are paying attention with your heart.

You don’t want the pain to leave too soon: It is slowly trying to teach you things about yourself and the people around you. Those things that hurt you, those things that offend you the most, are the things that teach you who you are and where you need to change and grow. Your hurt will awaken in you a desire and need to change, and give you the motivation to act towards life in ways that you would never sensitize yourself if it were not for the hurt. I have seen people who in their success have never experienced any hurt or problem yet, and those people can be both cocky and unreachable. You don’t want to be one of those people.

The person who has hurt you has actually done you a favor by demonstrating what problems you need to resolve, and you have the opportunity to grow with the punches you are receiving. The more battles you win, the closer you are to the championship that you so desperately seek. The more uncomfortable the situation, the greater need to understand what forces you need to collect and what personal changes you need to make to overcome the conflict. Without the hurt, you wouldn’t care, and there are plenty of people that don’t care. You know some of them, and you usually don’t want to be around those people, nor do you want to become one of them. And if you are one of them, then it is really time to change. Your bitterness will kill you and rob you of the joy of life.

Your hurt, your conflict, your problem and the pain of its resolution, is a gift. It is said in sacred literature,

He who learns from his mistakes is the better for it, and so are those that come in his presence; He who does not learn from his mistakes is forced to repeat it. There is only one failure in life, and that is to give up.

I have been told by some that they cannot see the problem, like not seeing the forest for the trees. Facing the conflict, even if you don’t understand it, will shine light on the darkness and bring you closer to a solution. The greatest problem facing many is that they refuse to even face the conflict, and would rather ignore it out of existence, until one day it explodes in their face when they least expect it.

Face the problem and generate the light.

And the most difficult part of this situation is to face the problem with the same intention that we receive some light to the problem, for it comes to us with compassion. Your close relationship said something that hurt you? Your friend ignoring you? Someone blaming you for something you didn’t do, or meant or said, or for that matter, something you did do? Then face that person with compassion, and be gentle on both yourself and your counterpart in the conflict, while trying to resolve the problem.

Bitter? Angry? You can still face the problem and seek light for both you and your conflict. When you bypass any of the bitterness and/or anger you will find that you really want resolution to the conflict, and you would prefer that both you and your companion are at peace.

Have you given yourself an opportunity to have peace in your heart over the problem you have encountered in the relationship? Have you given your partner or friend the same opportunity to resolve the problem? How often I have encountered someone in a broken marriage or disrupted relationship to make clear they are unapproachable, that their acquaintance will never have an opportunity to resolve the issue because they will not be available, by either phone or in physical or mental presence. If this is your choice, there is no hope for peace. Life just doesn’t work that way. “I don’t want to talk about it,” never solves anything.

Many spiritual and physical Principles that run the universe are mostly unchangeable, as they create the order necessary to live. But Human Life is changeable, and we humans need to accept the opportunities to grow with changes. Never be unchangeable in anything: Learn and adjust your points of view for better ones, in both your beliefs and relationships.

And if the one with whom you need to resolve the conflict is unavailable to you, you need to move on, knowing that you have done the best you can, and nothing else is required until a new door is opened and made available to you to walk through Only you can rest with your own heart and its intent.

Be open and compassionate to what the present has to offer, bury your mistakes in the past, and be willing to bring to a broken relationship your compassion and forgiveness. You just may repair the break, and hearts may be healed.

Tips for Vegetarians

Tips for VegetariansVegetarian diets are fads for some, but true lifestyles for others. A vegetarian diet can meet all or your nutritional needs if you eat the right amount of food, in the right variety, for your calorie requirements.

Protein is important to your growth and maintenance, but you can get enough in your diet when you put a little thought into meal planning.
-Find proteins that are low in fat like beans, instead of eating high-fat cheese for example, to replace meat.
-Soy milk is a tasty replacement for dairy milk, with fewer calories, less fat and necessary calcium.
-Add vegetarian meat substitutes to soups and stews to boost protein like soybeans or tofu.

If you are new to a vegetarian diet, you may prefer look alike foods:
Soy burgers look like hamburgers
Crumbles look like ground beef
Soy sausage patties or links imitate popular breakfast meats

Other sources for protein include nuts, peas, and soy products (tofu, tempeh, veggie burgers).

With a few subtle changes you can change your favorite foods into a tasty vegetarian delight. Pasta dishes, pizza, lasagna, stir fry, lo mein, kabobs, burritos and tacos are all delicious when made without meats.

Many restaurants offer special modifications to their menus to fit the popular vegetarian diets.

Tips for Following a Vegetarian Diet

The MyPlate Ten Tips Nutrition Education Series provides consumers with the following easy-to-follow tips.

1. Think about protein
Your protein needs can easily be met by eating a variety of plant foods. Sources of protein for vegetarians include beans and peas, nuts, and soy products (such as tofu, tempeh). Lacto-ovo vegetarians also get protein from eggs and dairy foods.

2. Bone up on sources of calcium
Calcium is used for building bones and teeth. Some vegetarians consume dairy products, which are excellent sources of calcium. Other sources of calcium for vegetarians include calcium-fortified soymilk (soy beverage), tofu made with calcium sulfate, calcium-fortified breakfast cereals and orange juice, and some dark-green leafy vegetables (collard, turnip, and mustard greens; and bok choy).

3. Make simple changes
Many popular main dishes are or can be vegetarian such as pasta primavera, pasta with marinara or pesto sauce, veggie pizza, vegetable lasagna, tofu-vegetable stir-fry, and bean burritos.

4. Enjoy a cookout
For barbecues, try veggie or soy burgers, soy hot dogs, marinated tofu or tempeh, and fruit kabobs. Grilled veggies are great, too!

5. Include beans and peas
Because of their high nutrient content, consuming beans and peas is recommended for everyone, vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. Enjoy some vegetarian chili, three bean salad, or split pea soup. Make a hummus filled pita sandwich.

6. Try different veggie versions
A variety of vegetarian products look—and may taste—like their non-vegetarian counterparts but are usually lower in saturated fat and contain no cholesterol. For breakfast, try soy-based sausage patties or links. For dinner, rather than hamburgers, try bean burgers or falafel (chickpea patties).

7. Make some small changes at restaurants
Most restaurants can make vegetarian modifications to menu items by substituting meatless sauces or nonmeat items, such as tofu and beans for meat, and adding vegetables or pasta in place of meat. Ask about available vegetarian options.

8. Nuts make great snacks
Choose unsalted nuts as a snack and use them in salads or main dishes. Add almonds, walnuts, or pecans instead of cheese or meat to a green salad.

9. Get your vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is naturally found only in animal products. Vegetarians should choose fortified foods such as cereals or soy products, or take a vitamin B12 supplement if they do not consume any animal products. Check the Nutrition Facts label for vitamin B12 in fortified products.

10. Find a vegetarian pattern for you
Go to www.dietaryguidelines.gov and check appendices 8 and 9 of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 for vegetarian adaptations of the USDA food patterns at 12 calorie levels.

For a comprehensive list of vegetarian resources visit: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/downloads/VegetarianNutritionResourceList.pdf

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Man Charged with Attempted Kidnap and More

Man Charged with Attempted Kidnap and MoreFernandina Beach Press Release – As two juveniles were walking in the 1000 block of Atlantic Avenue, the driver of a vehicle parked on the side of the road instructed them to approach his car. The boys tried to walk past the car, but the driver moved the car to block them. The driver had now donned a pink bandana which covered his face.

The driver also brandished a Tec-9 semi-automatic handgun and ordered the juveniles to get into the car. The vehicle was occupied by a front seat passenger that exited the car, opened a back door, and ordered the boys to get into the back seat of the car. The juveniles refused to get in the car; offering up their cell phones and their money instead. The driver then demanded those items. The juveniles relinquished their property to the driver and the driver then sped away; fleeing the area.

The incident occurred on May 18th and the boys were subsequently able to give police a physical description of both suspects and a partial license plate number of the suspect vehicle. The description given for the driver matched that of an individual recently suspected of stealing a Tec-9 handgun.

Investigative leads identified Eaton as the vehicle driver of the suspect vehicle. Post Miranda, Eaton confessed to robbing the victims at gunpoint using the aforementioned stolen Tec-9. Eaton implicated a friend, Wilbert Morris Jr., as the passenger who helped facilitate the armed robbery. According to Eaton, he and Morris split the money.

Eaton further advised that the pink bandana he wore over his face to conceal his identity and one of the stolen cell phones could be found inside the car. A Search Warrant was obtained for the car and the pink bandana and a cell phone were recovered from the trunk. An arrest warrant will be sought for Wilbert Morris.

Corey Eaton is being held at the Nassau County Jail on more than $225,000.00 bond, on charges that include Attempted Kidnap, Armed Robbery, Grand Theft, and Grand Theft of a Firearm.

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How To Whip Whooping Cough, Preventing Pertussis

How To Whip Whooping Cough, Preventing PertussisArticle by NIH News in Health. Managing Editor Harrison Wein, Ph.D.; Editor Vicki Contie; Contributors: Vicki Contie, Alan Defibaugh (illustrations) and Dana Steinberg.

Many people think of whooping cough as a childhood disease. But it can strike people of any age. Whooping cough—also known as pertussis—causes uncontrollable coughing that makes it hard to catch your breath. The disease can be deadly, especially in newborns.

Vaccines have helped keep pertussis in check. Beginning in the 1940s, widespread vaccination led to a nationwide drop in the number of pertussis cases—from about 200,000 a year to a record low of about 1,000 in 1976. Recently, though, pertussis has been making a comeback. Last year, the number of U.S. cases topped more than 41,000—the highest number in 50 years.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial infection that affects the lungs and airways. The bacteria spread through the air, from one person to another, when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Early signs of pertussis can be hard to spot. Symptoms usually begin quietly about a week after infection, with sniffles and sneezes that you might mistake for allergies or a mild cold. Treatment with antibiotics in this early phase can help reduce symptoms and keep the disease from spreading to others.

The next phase of pertussis begins about 10 days after infection. “The major symptom is persistent, violent coughing. You might cough so hard that you throw up or struggle to breathe,” says Dr. Xin-Xing Gu, an infectious disease expert at NIH. “With babies, you might hear a sharp inward breath and a whooping sound that’s very unique.” But not everyone who’s infected makes the whooping sound that gives the disease its name.

The coughing phase can last for 10 weeks or more. The disease is most contagious during the early cold-like symptoms and for at least 2 weeks after the coughing phase begins.

Whooping cough is most harmful to young children. “Infants are at greatest risk, especially when they’re under 3 months of age—too young to be protected by the vaccine,” says Dr. Kathryn Edwards, a pediatrician and vaccine researcher at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “Coughing spells can interrupt breathing, and little babies may turn blue. They can die from not getting their next breath.”

Vaccines are the best way to prevent pertussis. The original vaccine was made of whole, inactivated pertussis bacteria. These whole-cell vaccines greatly reduced deaths and infections but had many side effects.

More than 3 decades ago, NIH-funded researchers, including Edwards, tested “acellular” pertussis vaccines in early clinical trials. These new vaccines are made from only parts of the bacteria, and they have fewer side effects than the original vaccine. Since 1997, all pertussis vaccines in the U.S. have been acellular.

Children in the U.S. typically get a series of 5 pertussis shots between 2 months and 6 years of age as part of their routine care. The acellular pertussis vaccine, combined with the diphtheria and tetanus vaccine, is called DTaP. A single booster shot, called Tdap, is given to pre-teens (ages 11 or 12) to increase protection.

To prevent disease in newborns before they can be vaccinated, the CDC now recommends that expectant mothers get the Tdap vaccine during the second half of each pregnancy. “Any adults who will be around infants—parents, grandparents and childcare providers—should also get the booster,” says Edwards.

Talk to your doctor to make sure your vaccinations are up to date. Protect yourself and those around you from pertussis.

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What Fathers Need to Know About Synthetic Drugs

What Fathers Need to Know About Synthetic DrugsAs fathers becoming increasingly involved in raising children, it is important to recognize the dangers of drugs that are popular among teenagers and young adults. Among the substances that are gaining headlines are synthetic drugs. Before you talk to your pre-teen, teenager or young adult, you should learn about the basics of the substances.

Basics of Synthetic Drugs
A synthetic drug is a man-made substance that was created to have a similar impact on the body as well-known substances. The effects from the drugs are meant to mimic marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamines. Due to the chemicals that lace the drugs and the lack of clear guidelines to create the substances, it is particularly dangerous to substance abusers. In most cases, the drugs are put into two main categories: cannabinoids and cathinones. The cannabinoids are often called spice or K2 and contain THC, the common compound found in marijuana. Cathinones are also called bath salts and usually mimic the effects of cocaine or methamphetamine based drugs. The rise of synthetic drug abuse and the shockingly high rates of calls to the poison control centers around the country have led to a federal ban of common chemicals that are found in the synthetic drugs.

Dangers of the Drugs
The primary concern related to synthetic drugs that every parent should consider is the danger involved in taking the substances. Synthetic drugs are among the most dangerous substances that your teen or young adult can abuse. A major reason for the danger is the chemicals involved in the development of the drugs. Synthetic drugs are made with a higher level of chemicals than the natural forms of the substance. In the case of cannabinoids, for example, the drug can contain as much as 200 times the amount of THC than marijuana. Although the level of chemicals in the drug is a dangerous aspect of taking the substance, the limited details of the ingredients also play a role in the danger. Substance abusers never know what they are taking, the chemicals in the mixture or the potential problems with interactions.

Signs of Synthetic Drug Abuse
If you are worried about your teen or an adult child using synthetic drugs, then the signs and symptoms of abuse can help you recognize warning signs. Although some warning signs will develop over time, symptoms of an overdose or a negative reaction to the substance require immediate medical attention.

The mild signs of synthetic drug use include:
• Mood swings or anger
• Sweating
• Slurred speech or an inability to speak
• General restlessness

If you notice that the mild signs are present, then you might need to confront your teen about the problem.

Serious signs of synthetic drug abuse or a negative reaction to the substance after trying it once include:
• Seizures or severe shakes throughout the body
• Visual, auditory or tactile hallucinations
• Delusions
• Attempts at suicide
• Paranoia or signs of paranoid thought processes
• Extreme aggression or attempts to hurt others
• Heart attacks
• Strokes
• Death

When you notice signs of an overdose or you see changes to behavior, take your teen or adult child to the hospital. Immediate medical attention is necessary to control the physical symptoms of an overdose.

Seeking Help
Preventing synthetic drug abuse is only one side of the situation. Although you will want to talk to your teen about the dangers of drugs, it may be necessary to seek help if your teen begins using or abusing synthetic substances.

Rehab programs are available to work through the underlying causes of substance abuse and provide the right treatment approach for the drugs. In the case of synthetic drugs, the best treatment solutions will often include holistic healing, medical evaluations and personalized programs that focus on your teen’s specific healthcare and mental health needs.

Above all; Stay Involved
Staying involved in your child’s life requires an understanding of the dangers that your teen might face in the future. By recognizing the dangers of synthetic drugs, you can discuss the topic and answer questions before your teen has the opportunity to give into peer pressure or curiosity.

About the author:
Desmond White is a writer that specializes in addiction treatment and his true passion is helping people find treatment for addiction. He is currently promoting Best Drug Rehabilitation, click here to learn more about their facility and holistic treatment programs.

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Tripadvisor’s Certificate of Excellence and The Empty Restaurant

Amelia Oceanfront B&B gets Tripadvisor Excellence Award

Following story about Tripadvisor and the Empty Restaurant is largely concocted, or rather re-situated in a psychological scenario that explains much of why certain establishments, whether restaurants, bars or hotels and B&B’s, are successful and others not so. The majority of the following story I wrote 6-1/2 years ago while residing in French St.Martin’s Orient Bay Village. There was a plaza (square) in the village with a dozen or so shops, a couple of pétanque courts and four restaurants. The reason why the story came back to me and thank goodness was still digitally hiding in the dusty pockets of one of my hard drives, was a big envelope I got in the mail from Tripadvisor yesterday. In it was a letter from the travel review giant’s CEO, congratulating us with our nomination as 2013 Winner of the Certificate of Excellence, made out to Amelia Oceanfront Bed and Breakfast.

My wife TJ and I took over operations of the Amelia Oceanfront B&B in December 2011, amidst mostly crucifying guest reviews. Having been in marketing and advertising for most of my adult life, l became an instant follower of Robert Cialdini, when he published ‘Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion’ in December 2006. Tracking the 6 principles of influence, Cialdini introduced Social Proof as a major influencer, especially powerful with the advancement of the Internet.

Here is the story as I observed it shortly after reading his book.

Entering the Orient Bay village square for the first time, we saw that we had the choice of four restaurants: one that was very busy, two that were moderately busy, and one that had just one couple sitting at a table in the back.

Which do you think we picked? Before I answer that, I share with you our thought process: We couldn’t bring ourselves to consider the nearly empty restaurant. If it were any good, more than two people would have been eating there. So we scratched that one. Then there were the two that were half-filled. One had plastic chairs and tables. That one was out. The other one was cute and lively – a definite contender.

So the choice was between that one and the crowded restaurant.

They both had attractive table settings. They had similar menus and pricing. There was no significant difference between the two, except that one was crowded and the other wasn’t. A quick glance on the published menu at the entrance told us that both had Escargots in the same price range. As our minds crunched the available information we figured in the less-crowded restaurant, the waiters would be less rushed, the kitchen less pressured and we figured we would probably get better service. But we also calculated that the crowded restaurant must have been crowded for a reason. A….there was now only one table left!! Without any more hesitation we grabbed it and felt lucky to be there.

How did we come to that decision?

You may say we made a logical decision, but I don’t think that’s what we did. Our logic, such as it was, was more a rationalization of deep-seated impulses. Neurobiologists claim that such impulses were implanted in the human brain millions of years ago and still pretty much define our actions and are therefor predictable. If you are in a business that directly deals with people, you must become an expert at understanding those impulses. Because when it comes to decision making, they are just as important, if not more important, as logic.

Cialdini showed how successful marketers play on these impulses to persuade prospects to buy.

Our final restaurant choice may have involved some rational thought, but that rational thought supported what we knew, and deep down inside, we already wanted to do. Our decision was based on a combination of “urgency” and conforming to “social proof.” And that’s what important in today’s marketing, advertising and sales: it needs to include adequate urgency and social proof.

When Searchamelia’s hosting company says that we have over 2 million page views a month, based on bandwidth use and geographic demographics – that’s social proof much in the same way when McDonald’s claims to feed 55 million people around the world every day.

Urgency you’ve seen during one-day sales or when a supermarket offers a specially priced item “as long as supplies last.”Urgency comes in two forms; artificially created by the sales and marketing people or real of perceived “scarcity”.

Many have written about these concepts before and yet in certain industries, they seem inadequately presented or entirely absent. And with the Tripadvisor envelope that arrived in the mail yesterday, I sadly realized that I sometimes (maybe even too often) neglect them myself when I write or create content to attract guests or customers for my clients. I am guessing that maybe you, too, may give social proof, urgency and scarcity scant attention.

So when we walked into the Orient Bay Village Square, we had only one piece of prior knowledge about those four restaurants: somewhere on the internet someone had given one of them top rating. And so that was the one we meant to go to.

But guess what?

That was the restaurant that was nearly empty. Seeing the empty tables – while surrounded by three restaurants that were doing good business — prompted us to instantly doubt the validity of the review.The review had said the food was excellent with pricing to match the value. So why didn’t they have more customers – more people like us who were willing to pay a little more for good food and ambiance. Since the restaurant was empty, but for two people at a back table, we became scared to try it. As our brain quickly processed several scenarios, such as perhaps the management had changed since the review was written or someone had died of fish poisoning recently. Who knew?

We had limited, though reliable evidence (the review) that the restaurant had pleased someone, but we ignored this social proof because our instincts made us fearful. Had we seen 20 or 30 positive reviews, we probably would have neglected the emptiness and marched right in. The effect of social proof – in this case, the negative social proof of it being nearly empty, made us shy away.

On social proof, Cialdini observed that:
“One principle of social proof to determine what is correct, is to find out what other people think is correct. That principle applies especially to the way we decide what constitutes correct behavior. We view behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it. Whether the question is what to do with an empty popcorn box in a movie theater or how to eat chicken or a pork chop at a dinner party, the actions of those around us will be important in guiding our personal action.”

How strong this phenomenon apparently is, can be underscored by a psychological study in which children with an extreme fear of dogs were cured of their phobia by watching a video of other children playing happily with dogs for just four days and just 20 minutes each day, Two out of three of the fearful children were not only able to interact comfortably with dogs after this experiment, and what’s more, the results didn’t dissipate over time.

I witness the power of social proof in action every day when guests check into our B&B and their first question is based on Tripadvisor reviews mentioning our excellent breakfast reputation. What’s personally even more intriguing is every guest’s assumption that being a good breakfast cook qualifies me to recommend which restaurants they should patronage during their stay. It’s a deducted dimension of social proof to have the trust of a potential stranger in guiding them to a restaurant, purely on what previous guests write about our breakfast and their experience with the B&B.  Almost as frightening as social proof inherent in canned laughter on TV sitcoms.

Back to our St. Martin restaurant experience…

So we had eliminated the one restaurant that initially had us sold to the Village Square, since the visibly empty restaurant did not corroborate the intitial social proof. Now there were three left to choose from. We quickly eliminated one because of the plastic chairs and tables. This, too, I would argue, was a decision based on emotional, not rational intelligence. But, considering the location and competition, it’s been our experience that a restaurateur who thinks a plastic chair and table is adequate is most likely to be one who thinks mediocre food is adequate.

So now we were down to two: one half-filled and the other almost full to capacity. Now urgency became the qualifier, because really both remaining options could have had great food. Given enough time, we could have asked people dining there what they thought of it or studied the posted menus more in-depth – thus gathering social proof ourselves, but the restaurant that was nearly full was filling up fast and had only one open table left. There were at least a half dozen other couples milling around the square and if we took too long to make our decision, the option of choosing the busiest one, would not have been ours. So we opted for that and took the one remaining table.

What then, was the final reason behind our ultimate choice?

Scarcity. It was “scarcity” – one of the factors that creates a feeling of urgency. The fact that there was only one table left, made us worry that we would miss out. So we yielded not to logic but to an instinct we had that scarcity equals value.

On this Cialdini wrote:

“The idea of potential loss plays a larger role in human decision making. In fact, people seem to be more motivated by the thought of losing something than by the thought of gaining something of equal value. For instance, homeowners told how much money they could lose from inadequate insulation are more likely to insulate their homes than those told how much money they could save. Collectors of everything from baseball cards to antiques are keenly aware of the influence of the scarcity principle in determining the worth of an item. As a rule, if it is rare or becoming rare, it is more valuable.”

Scarcity, even promoted scarcity, creates a mental value. We had one guest posting a review on Tripadvisor, who expressed the fear that with so many positive reviews, we would be constantly sold out or we would raise rates beyond her affordability level. Scarcity does that.

So after ordering our meal, we asked our waitress why our first-choice restaurant was (now) completely empty and they were so busy. We expected to have our suspicions confirmed – that since that glowing review was published, something had changed. But no, that is not what she told us. She taught us a lesson in human behavior as she said, “I don’t know. But that’s the way it goes here. One night we are very busy and the next night it is someplace else.”
“What do you think accounts for it?” I asked. “The one that gets the earliest customers usually is the one that fills up,” she said.

So there it was. Our first choice probably had the best food, but it was now empty because everybody but one couple had come to the same conclusion we had. Like us, they probably made a decision based first on a lack of social proof and second on a feeling of urgency created by scarcity.

If I were the proprietor of any of those four competing restaurants I’d make sure that my place was always full by doing three things.

• First I would rope off all of the back tables and leave them unset.
• Then I’d let my regular customers know that if they came early in the evening, they could eat for half price, get a free glass of wine or champagne or appetizer
• And then, as the tables started to fill up, I’d gradually open up more by moving back the rope.
By taking advantage of the principles of social proof and scarcity, I would ensure that my restaurant would attract a continuous stream of customers.

And over all as a tourism destination, we must, of course, make sure that every promise and claim we make is backed up with factual proof. And most importantly we must provide social proof including peer endorsements and testimonials from satisfied customers and guests. In the Hospitality Industry worldwide TripAdvisor has undoubtedly taken the lead in ‘social proofing’, with the only drawback that it is hard to keep up to date with exact and up-to-date correct information. A lot of groundwork here is done by local review engines such as AmeliaBites.com (restaurants, bars, coffee shops etc.) or Industry sites such as BedandBreakfast.com

Last but not least never forget to include urgency in your message. Urgency can be created in many ways in an ad – but the strongest way is based on scarcity. You must let the prospect know that if he/she wants the product you are offering at the price you are offering, he or she must act now.

So there you have it: two extremely important advertising principles – social proof and urgency based on scarcity. Make yourself a promise that you will pay them heed. I am making that promise to myself as I proudly look at our 2013 Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence.

Summer is in Season at the Fernandina Farmers’ Market

Summer is in Season at the Fernandina Farmers' MarketSummer is the season to cookout with family and friends while trying new recipes using the flavors a seasonal harvest brings. Corn on the cob, a variety of beans and peas, watermelons, canteloupes and a plethora of berries are just a few summer favorites you will find at the Fernandina Beach Market Place farmers’ market on N. 7th Street, on Amelia Island.

June 29th includes beautiful bouquets of summer’s mixed flowers, giant sunflowers and delicious cherry tomatoes from Cabbage Creek Farms, located in Nassau County.

Also, “Dips2go is coming home!” Owners Sherry and Mitch have been selling their locally made, all natural dips, rubs and spice mixes at this location for six years. Three years ago Dips2go introduced nine varieties of all natural rubs that quickly became wildly popular and a staple at the farmers market in Fernandina. Last year Dips2go opened a storefront, River City Gourmet, at the Jacksonville Landing and has expanded their terrific product line. They now offer five flavors of infused olive oils (garlic, basil, lemon, rosemary, blood orange and Greek olive oil), a 12 year aged balsamic vinegar, salts of the world, tomato couscous, wild rice mix, and flavored pankos. They plan to bring a fabulous selection of dips, oils, balsamic vinegar, sea salts of the world, rubs to the market on a weekly basis.

Bring your family, friends, neighbors and well behaved, leashed pets on Saturday from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, in historic, downtown Fernandina Beach, Florida. Music will be provided by up and coming folk band, “Lumberjack Party.”

This friendly farmers’ market is open each and every Saturday, rain or shine, near Jack and Diane’s, on Amelia Island. For more information visit FernandinaBeachMarketPlace.com, find us on facebook or call (904) 557-8229.

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Property Appraiser to Host Town Hall Meetings

Property Appraiser to Host Town Hall MeetingsNassau County, FL – Nassau County Property Appraiser Mike Hickox will host town hall meetings to discuss 2013 property values and answer any questions concerning property assessments and exemptions.

This will be an opportunity for property owners to learn more about the valuation process, receive updates about the office, and ask any questions to help them better understand their assessments prior to receiving their notice of proposed taxes.

New 2013 values will be posted on the Property Appraiser’s website by July 15th.

Callahan Town Hall Meeting
Callahan County Building, 45401 Mickler Street, Callahan, FL
July 23, 2013
5:30pm – 7:00pm

Yulee Town Hall Meeting
James S. Page Governmental Complex, 96135 Nassau Place, Yulee, FL
Commission Chambers
July 30, 2013
5:30pm-7:00pm

For more information regarding the town hall meetings, contact Justin Taylor at 904-491-7304.

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Five Dollar Jewelry Sale Returns June 28th

Five Dollar Jewelry Sale Returns June 28thIt is time for the famous, semi-annual, $5.00 jewelry Baptist Medical Center Auxiliary fundraiser!

This Friday, June 28, 2013, from 7:00 AM TO 5:00 PM is your opportunity to help support two local scholarships, purchase needed equipment and supplies for the hospital, sponsor the Children’s Tour for all second graders on the island, and provide the services to the medical center that benefit patients and visitors.

This is also a chance to stock up on gift items for birthdays and even the holidays!

You will find lots of fun jewelry as well as leather goods, pashminas, purses and more!

I have become a regular shopping fan of this event, and as a member of the Fernandina Pirates Club, I can even find jewelry and sashes for my costumes there, too!

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Cuban Cuisine in Fernandina Beach

Cuban Cuisine in Fernandina BeachFernandina Beach, FL – Hola! Cuban Café offering authentic Cuban cuisine has expanded their seating to include outdoor patio seating, too.

Now open at 117 Centre Street, behind the Palace Saloon in Fernandina Beach, Florida, Hola! Cuban Café is excited to increase their current ten seats to to 35 seats. The outdoor area seats 25 diners, which includes tables with umbrellas. “We are so fortunate to have such nice weather in our area,” said owner, Chris Garcia. “Our local customers, as well as tourists, can stop in for authentic Cuban sandwiches and coffee while enjoying the outdoor seating. It’s a great opportunity for which we are very excited.”

Their Cuban food is made with succulent slow roasted meats that are cooked in-house, Cuban style. They offer an array of authentic Cuban sandwiches and pastries for your dining pleasure. They also brew robust Cuban coffee!

Owners Chris Garcia and Marisol Triana are both born and raised in Miami, Florida to exiled Cuban parents. Brought up in rich Cuban traditions, it is no surprise that Hola Cuban Café is known for its authentic Cuban cuisine and coffee. Hola pays homage to their families and the great island of Cuba all the while introducing others to traditional Cuban Cuisine.

Hola Cuban Cafe is open Sunday thru Thursday from 10:30am to 4:00pm; and on Fridays and Saturdays from 10:30am to 1:00am. Delivery within historic, downtown Fernandina id available. Please call (904) 321-0163 for more information.

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Summer Brings Lightning Dangers

Summer Brings Lightning DangersLightning Safety Week is June 23-29, 2013

Summer is upon us and along with the heat, humidity and afternoon thunderstorms we have here in Florida, this is also the season for lightning!

People can be struck by lightning all year long, but the National Weather Service tells us that summer is the peak season for injuries and death caused by lightning.

Here are some general tips to help keep you safer from lightning, both indoors and out.

Indoor Safety Tips
Stay off corded phones, computers, and other electrical equipment.
Avoid plumbing. This is not the time to take a shower.
Stay away from sinks, bathtubs, washing machines and faucets.
Stay away from porches, windows, and doors.
Never lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls.

Outdoor Safety Tips
No outdoor area is safe when you hear thunder.
If you hear thunder, find a safe indoor shelter (a substantial building or enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with the windows up).
Come down from elevated areas.
Never lie flat on the ground.
Never shelter under an isolated tree.
Never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter.
Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes, and other bodies of water.
Stay away from objects that conduct electricity, such as wire fences.

Here are some lightning safety facts vs. truths

Myth: Lightning never strikes the same place twice.
Fact: Lightning often strikes the same place repeatedly, especially if it’s a tall, pointy, isolated object. The Empire State Building is hit nearly 100 times a year.

Myth: If it’s not raining or there aren’t clouds overhead, you’re safe from lightning.
Fact: Lightning often strikes more than three miles from the center of the thunderstorm, far outside the rain or thunderstorm cloud. “Bolts from the blue” can strike 10-15 miles from the thunderstorm.

Myth: Rubber tires on a car protect you from lightning by insulating you from the ground.
Fact: Most cars are safe from lightning, but it is the metal roof and metal sides that protect you, NOT the rubber tires. Remember, convertibles, motorcycles, bicycles, open-shelled outdoor recreational vehicles and cars with fiberglass shells offer no protection from lightning. When lightning strikes a vehicle, it goes through the metal frame into the ground. Don’t lean on doors during a thunderstorm.

Myth: A lightning victim is electrified. If you touch them, you’ll be electrocuted.
Fact: The human body does not store electricity. It is perfectly safe to touch a lightning victim to give them first aid. This is the most chilling of lightning Myths. Imagine if someone died because people were afraid to give CPR!

Myth: If outside in a thunderstorm, you should seek shelter under a tree to stay dry.
Fact: Being underneath a tree is the second leading cause of lightning casualties. Better to get wet than fried!

Myth: If you are in a house, you are 100% safe from lightning.
Fact: A house is a safe place to be during a thunderstorm as long as you avoid anything that conducts electricity. This means staying off corded phones, electrical appliances, wires, TV cables, computers, plumbing, metal doors and windows. Windows are hazardous for two reasons: wind generated during a thunderstorm can blow objects into the window, breaking it and causing glass to shatter and second, in older homes, in rare instances, lightning can come in cracks in the sides of windows.

Myth: If thunderstorms threaten while you are outside playing a game, it is okay to finish it before seeking shelter.
Fact: Many lightning casualties occur because people do not seek shelter soon enough. No game is worth death or life-long injuries. Seek proper shelter immediately if you hear thunder. Adults are responsible for the safety of children.

Myth: Structures with metal, or metal on the body (jewelry, cell phones, Mp3 players, watches, etc), attract lightning.
Fact: Height, pointy shape, and isolation are the dominant factors controlling where a lightning bolt will strike. The presence of metal makes absolutely no difference on where lightning strikes. Mountains are made of stone but get struck by lightning many times a year. When lightning threatens, take proper protective action immediately by seeking a safe shelter and don’t waste time removing metal. While metal does not attract lightning, it does conduct it so stay away from metal fences, railing, bleachers, etc.

Myth: If trapped outside and lightning is about to strike, I should lie flat on the ground.
Fact: Lying flat increases your chance of being affected by potentially deadly ground current. If you are caught outside in a thunderstorm, you keep moving toward a safe shelter.

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How to Make Symbols with Your Keyboard

How to Make Symbols with Your Keyboard

Click to enlarge

I saw this on facebook posted by a friend of mine. how to make symbols with your keyboard is something I “look up” each time I need to insert a symbol into a body of text. Even using the “insert” option is a pain in the rear-end.

Well, for no other reason than, “Because I can,” I thought it would be super convenient to post the following user tips on SearchAmelia. Now whenever I, or YOU, need to insert a symbol using our keyboard, this cheat sheet will be easy to find.

All you do is hold down the “Alt” key while typing the numeric code. I tried it on facebook this morning and it works just fine!

I hope you find this as useful as I already have.

Alt + 0153… ™ this makes the trademark symbol
Alt + 0169… © this makes the copyright symbol
Alt + 0174… ® this makes the registered trademark symbol
Alt + 0176 … ° this makes the degree symbol
Alt + 0177 … ± this makes the plus or minus sign
Alt + 0182 … ¶ this makes the paragraph mark
Alt + 0190 … ¾ this makes the fraction, three-fourths
Alt + 0215 … × this makes the multi­plication sign
Alt + 0162…¢ this makes the cent sign
Alt + 0161… ¡ this makes the upside down exclamation point
Alt + 0191… ¿ this makes the upside down question mark
Alt + 1… ☺ this makes the smiley face
Alt + 2 … ☻ this makes the black smiley face
Alt + 15… ☼ this makes the sun
Alt + 12… ♀ this makes the female sign
Alt + 11… ♂ this makes the male sign
Alt + 6… ♠ this makes the Spade
Alt + 5… ♣ this makes the Club
Alt + 3… ♥ this makes the Heart
Alt + 4… ♦ this makes the Diamond
Alt + 13… ♪ this makes the eighth note
Alt + 14… ♫ this makes the beamed eighth note
Alt + 8721… ∑ this makes the summation (auto sum)
Alt + 251… √ this makes the square root check mark
Alt + 8236… ∞ this makes the infinity
Alt + 24… ↑ this makes the up arrow
Alt + 25… ↓ this makes the down arrow
Alt + 26… → this makes the right arrow
Alt + 27… ← this makes the lieft arrow
Alt + 18… ↕ this makes the up/down arrow
Alt + 29… ↔ this makes the left right arrow

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The Roller Coaster Effect

The Wall Street Roller Coaster is at it again

The Wall Street Roller Coaster is at it again

The impact of a roller coaster period in the markets  is, on the long run at least, usually negligible; but on the short term it can be exhilaratingly devastating…to some. There are two kinds of investors in this world.  One type pays close attention to the daily (and sometimes hourly) flood of information, looking for a reason (any reason) to jump in or out of the markets.  The other kind of investor is in for the long haul, and recognizes that the markets are going to experience dips and turns.  If these people are particularly wise, they know that the dips and turns are the best friend of the steady, long-term investor, because as you put money into the markets, as you rebalance your portfolio, you gain a little extra return from the occasional opportunities to buy at bargain prices.

Last week, the investment markets made an unusually sharp turn on the roller coaster, and showed us once again the sometimes-comical fallacy of quick trading.  See if you can follow the logic of the events that led to last week’s selloff.  Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke and the Federal Open Market Committee issued a statement saying that the U.S. economy is improving faster than the Fed’s economists expected.  Therefore (the statement went on to say) if there was continued improvement, the Fed would scale back its QE3 program of buying Treasury and mortgage-backed securities on the open market, and ease back on stimulating the economy and keeping interest rates low.

Everybody knows that the Fed will eventually have to phase out its QE3 market interventions, and that this would be based on the strength of the economy, so this announcement should not have stunned the investing public.  Nothing in the statement suggested that the Fed had any immediate plans to stop buying altogether; only ease it back as it became less necessary.  The statement said that this hypothetical easing might possibly take place as early as this Fall, and only if the unemployment rate falls faster than expected.  At the same time, the Fed’s economists issued an economic forecast that was more optimistic than the previous one.

The result?  There was panic in the streets–or, at least, on Wall Street, where this bullish economic report seems to have caused the S&P 500 to lose 1.4% of its value on Thursday and another 2.5% on Friday.

In addition–and here’s where it gets a little weird–stocks also fell sharply in Shanghai and across Europe, and oil futures fell dramatically.  How, exactly, are these investments impacted by QE3?

The only explanation for last week’s panic selloff is that thousands of media junkie investors must have listened to “we plan to ease back on QE3 when we believe the economy is back on its feet again,” and heard: “the Fed is about to end its QE3 stimulus!”

It’s possible that the investors who sold everything they owned on Thursday and Friday will pile back in this week, but it’s just as likely that the panic will feed on itself for a while until sanity is restored.  If stocks were valued daily based on pure logic, on the real underlying value of the enterprises they represent, then the trajectory of the markets would be a long smooth upward slope for decades, as businesses, in aggregate, expanded, moved into new markets, and slowly, over time, boosted sales and profits.  The rollercoaster effect that we actually experience is created by the emotions of the market participants, who value their stocks at one price on Wednesday, and very different prices on Thursday and Friday.

The long-term investor has to ask: did any individual company in my investment portfolio become suddenly less valuable in two days?  Did ALL of their enterprise values in aggregate become less valuable within 48 hours–and at the same time, did Chinese and European stocks and oil also suddenly become less valuable?  Phrased this way, the only possible answer is: no.  And if that’s your answer, then you have to assume that eventually, people will be willing to pay the real underlying value of the stocks in the market, and the last couple of days will be just one more exciting example of meaningless white noise.