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Official Inflation Rates Keep Falling: How Long Can it Last?

When the metal in a coin values higher than the purchasing power

Economists and market watchers have been warning investors about the prospect of increased inflation since the housing bubble burst in 2007. But the inflation rate keeps going lower, not higher.
As of April 30, 2013, the Official Consumer Price Index (CPI) as published by the government stood at a paltry 1.1%, under the Federal Reserve’s target of 2% annually.

Why is low inflation troubling?

For a number of reasons:
•    When companies don’t have any leeway to raise prices, they’re more apt to cut costs, which could mean a cutback in hiring.
•    When inflation is low, it doesn’t offer a large buffer against deflation if an economic shock occurs. Deflation — when prices fall — often freezes up spending. Why would you buy an item now if you expect it to be cheaper in a few months?
And it’s not just the United States that is dealing with lower inflation — or even deflation — rates. Many of the world’s top industrialized nations are in the same boat.

Inflation Rates Around the World (as of April 30, 2013)

China    2.40%
France    1.00%
Germany    1.15%
Italy    1.10%
Japan    0.90%
South Korea    1.20%
Spain    1.40%
United Kingdom    2.80%
United States    1.10%

Stay Diversified

For investors, whether inflation continues to remain low or starts to rise, a well-rounded portfolio may be your best weapon. The key is to consider your time frame, your anticipated income needs, and how much volatility you are willing to accept, and then construct a portfolio with the mix of investments with which you are comfortable.
•    CDs and Other Cash Instruments — The Fed is still keeping a tight lid on interest rates, forcing investors who hope to keep pace with inflation by investing in cash instruments face a harsh reality. Average rates on a 1-year CD are hovering around 0.25%, while a 5-year CD is yielding an average of 0.78% nationwide, according to Bankrate.com. Money market accounts are averaging a microscopic 0.11%.3
•    Bonds — Historically, investors have turned to shorter-term corporate and high-yield bonds for protection in rising-rate environments.4 There are two types of bonds that receive a lot of investor interest when inflation starts to rise: Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) and I Savings Bonds. Both TIPS and I bonds are types of fixed-interest rate bonds whose value rises as inflation rates rise.
•    Domestic Stocks — Although past performance is no guarantee of future returns, historically, stocks have provided the best potential for long-term returns that exceed inflation.5 An analysis of holding periods between 1926 and December 31, 2012, found that the annualized return for a portfolio composed exclusively of stocks in the S&P 500® index was 9.90% — well above the average inflation rate of 2.98% for the same period. The results are almost as good over the short term as well. For the 10 years ended December 31, 2012, the S&P 500 returned an average of 7.10%, compared with an average inflation rate of 2.41%.6
•    International Stocks — During the same 10-year span that ended December 31, 2012, the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) EAFE, which is composed of established economies such as Germany and Japan, outpaced the S&P 500 with an average return of 8.70%. The MSCI Emerging Markets index — which tracks developing world economies such as Brazil and China, and is even more risky than MSCI EAFE — was even more stellar, returning an average of 16.89%.8

Remember, diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Consult a financial professional to discuss your specific needs and options.

Do You Have Tickets for Micah’s Place Diamond 10-Year Celebration?

Do You Have Tickets for Micah's Place Diamond 10-Year Celebration?Do you have your tickets for the Diamond 10-Year celebration to benefit Micah’s Place Domestic Violence Center?

Micah’s Place is celebrating with a “Roaring 20’s themed event.” Ten years of operating as Nassau County’s certified Domestic Violence Shelter calls for a spectacular event!

Attending will be Celebrity Guest Speaker Victor Rivas Rivers, a veteran film star, former NFL Miami Dolphins player, a childhood survivor of domestic violence, and best-selling author of A Private Family Matter. Rivers seeks to raise awareness and activism of related forms of abuse, along with ways that individuals and communities can do more to end violence. A masterful storyteller whose topics are as diverse as his background, Victor Rivas Rivers is deeply passionate about combating stereotypes and cultural prejudice. He shares his strategies for challenging these stereotypes with corporate and college audiences alike.

A VIP meet and greet with Victor Rivas Rivers will be 5:00 pm, a cocktail reception will be 6:00 pm, and dinner will be 7:00 pm.

The event will be held at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation on Saturday, November 9, 2013. There will also be unique silent auction items to help raise funds for Micah’s Place’s programs and services.

If you are interested in participating in this 10-year anniversary celebration, please contact Kelly Monti, Project Coordinator, via email at projectcoordinator@micahsplace.org or call 904-491-6364, ext. 102.

Various levels of sponsorship opportunities are available and donations for our silent auction are welcomed.

Tickets will be $125.00 per person and will go on sale in early September, so more information will be coming soon!

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September 2013 Events with the Chamber of Commerce

September 2013 Events with the Chamber of CommerceAmelia Island, FL – Here is what is coming up in September at the Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce:

Island Council
8:30 a.m., Wednesday, September 4
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. A representative from the Fernandina Observer will give an update on local business news at the September meeting.

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.

HR Council
Noon-1:30 p.m. Monday, September 9
The Surf Restaurant & Bar, 3199 S. Fletcher Ave., Fernandina Beach

The Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce’s new HR Council is designed to keep Chamber members who handle human resources abreast of best practices, the latest requirements and newest trends in this ever-changing field.

Topic in September is “Conflict Resolution in the Workplace” with Alan E. Boyer of Boyer & Associates. Boyer will look at where conflicts develop in the workplace and give an overview of techniques for resolving them.

Online registration and payment required. Admission, including lunch, is $20 for Chamber members, $30 for non-members through Friday, September 6; $5 additional afterwards. Cancellations must be received 48 hours in advance or all charges will apply. Prospective Chamber members should contact Wendi Groden-Thomas at (904) 261-3248 ext. 107 for information about attending.

Yulee Area Council
8:30 a.m. Tuesday, September 10
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.

YBiz
8-9 am Friday, September 13
AIFBY Chamber, 961687 Gateway Blvd Suite 101G, Amelia Island

Young Business Leaders of Nassau offers professional development and community engagement for entrepreneurs and professionals under 40.

Focus in September will be “Know the CEO” with Brandon Stallings, president of Jacksonville-based SmartBox an advanced, cashless vending system that provides healthier food and beverage alternatives.

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

Business After Hours
5-7 p.m., Thursday, September 19
Omni Amelia Island Plantation, 39 Beach Lagoon Road, Amelia Island

Network with up to 150 Chamber members at Business After Hours, Nassau County’s biggest monthly business gathering, sponsored in September by the Omni Amelia Island Plantation.

Business After Hours is a great way to meet other local business people and make contacts that will help you get referrals. There is always great food, drinks and door prizes.

The $85 million Re-Imagination of Omni Amelia Island Plantation was unveiled in March, beginning another chapter in the resort’s storied history. The resort now has 404 oceanfront guest rooms and suites with patios and balconies overlooking the Atlantic Ocean as well as 80,000 square feet of versatile indoor/outdoor meeting space.

This BAH will feature outstanding food from the Omni as well as an opportunity to tour the new amenities. In addition, the Omni will offer a special room rate to Chamber members attending Business After Hours who would like to stay at the resort following the event.

Admission to Business After Hours is $5 for 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.

Government Affairs Committee
8:30 a.m. Wednesday, September 25
AIFBY Chamber of Commerce, 961687 Gateway Blvd., Suite 101G, Amelia Island

The Government Affairs Committee works to increase awareness of regulatory and legislative issues affecting AIFBY Chamber members by encouraging input and participation in local committees and boards.

The GAC meets the last Wednesday of the month to discuss issues and to recommend formal policy stances for adoption by the Chamber’s Board of Directors.

For more information, contact Chamber President Regina Duncan at (904) 261-3248.

Healthcare Reform & Your Business Insurance
8 a.m. Friday, September 27
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 “Healthcare Reform & Your Business” with Buster Lancaster of Strategic Employee Benefit Services.

Next year will be a year of change in the area of health insurance, both for individuals as well as business owners. How prepared are you for these changes? What you don’t know will hurt you and your employees. Lancaster will cover as much as time will allow about the Affordable Care Act.

Admission is free for AIFBY Chamber members; $25 for non-members. Space is limited to 25 and online reservations are required.

To register CLICK HERE.

Mission Statement

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

Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce
961687 Gateway Blvd Suite 101G Amelia Island FL 32034
(904) 261.3248
(904) 261-6997 fax
www.islandchamber.com
www.yuleechamber.com

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Become a Take Stock in Children Mentor

Become a Take Stock in Children MentorLearn how you can become a Take Stock in Children mentor, and help change a life over lunch!

Nassau County, FL – Take Stock in Children is looking for female volunteers especially in the Yulee area to serve as mentors for deserving children in grades 7-12. Mentors serve as adult friends providing guidance and support during weekly meetings with their students at school. The meetings last about an hour and are sometimes held during lunch. The meetings also serve as reminders to the students of their commitment of good grades, attendance and behavior as Take Stock participants. Their reward for fulfilling that commitment is a college tuition scholarship upon graduation.

Mentors are asked to complete an application, are interviewed and receive training. A Take Stock mentor training will be held on Monday, September 9 from 3:30 pm – 6:30 pm at FSCJ Betty P. Cook Nassau Center, 76346 William Burgess Blvd in Yulee.

Take Stock in Children has provided college scholarships to more than 185 Nassau students over the last 15 years. Another 150 Take Stock scholars are in Nassau County’s four middle and high schools.

For more information, visit the Mentor Page on their website, or contact Jody Mackle at 548-4464 or jmackle@fscj.edu.

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Robbery at Subway Restaurant

Robbery at Subway RestaurantOn August 28th at approximately 8:30 PM the Subway Restaurant located at 1722 South 8th Street was robbed by lone gunman.

The subject entered the business, pointed a gun at the clerk and demanded money. The clerk immediately complied and the suspect fled the business on foot.

The suspect is described as a thin black male approximately 5’09” to 5’11” wearing a white cloth over his face, a dark ball cap, black and white tennis shoes, a large grey sweat shirt, and dark “Dickies” style work pants.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact Detective Tina Smith at 310-3216.

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What You Would Cut in County Budget Shortfall?

What You Would Cut in County Budget Shortfall? The AIFBY Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee is inviting Nassau County residents and business owners to take a survey about the projected Nassau County budget shortfall for FY 2013-14.

This survey presents a variety of proposals to close a projected $11.7 million budget shortfall in Nassau County’s FY 2013-14 budget and asks respondents which proposals they would select to close the funding gap.

Overall responses will be shared with elected county representatives. All respondents will remain confidential. While not by any means a scientific poll, the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee feels this is a useful tool, particularly for those who cannot attend the budget deliberations, to share their thoughts.

CLICK NOW to participate:

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Month Long Operation Lead to Two Arrests

Month Long Operation Lead to Two ArrestsFernandina Beach, FL – On August 26, 2013 a month long narcotics operation by the Fernandina Beach Police Department resulted in the arrest of two men at 311 South 11th St.

Lavarnia Mitchell, 57 years of age was arrested at his residence following the execution of a state search warrant for the distribution of cocaine. Mitchell was charged with Owning/renting/leasing a property that knowingly distributes narcotics.

Jovan S. Mitchell, 32 years of age, was arrested near the above residence after he fled from approaching officers. Jovan Mitchell threw a cigarette box over a fence that contained cocaine and marijuana. A search of Jovan Mitchell’s bedroom revealed additional quantities of cocaine, marijuana, beakers, and additional paraphernalia that is consistent with the distribution of narcotics. Jovan Mitchell is charged with resisting arrest without violence, possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, VOP warrants out of Leon County, Florida for burglary, possession of narcotics, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Jovan Mitchell is also charged with two additional counts of distributing cocaine, which stem from the current investigation.

The Mitchells are currently in the Nassau County Detention Facility.

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2013 Labor Day Weekend’s Fernandina Farmers Market

2013 Labor Day Weekend's Fernandina Farmers MarketLabor Day Weekend brings lots of visitors, family and friends to Amelia Island to conclude their summer vacations and what better place to take them than the downtown, historic Fernandina Beach Market Place farmers’ market?

Fresh breads, natural soaps, organic dog treats, home canned pickles and spicy jams, fresh pasta, delicious olive tapinades, frozen prepared dinners, farmstead cheeses, seasonal produce, beef jerky, tropical smoothies, beef, pork, cup cakes, desserts and so much more can all be found on N. 7th Street each Saturday morning on Amelia Island from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, rain or shine!

Karen Miller is back from her summer off with her delicious pies. The family size pie has over two quarts of filling and she now offers a smaller pie made just for you, it is up to you whether to share it or not. Also, for their second appearance at the Fernandina Beach Market Place we are welcoming back Moore Pigs, an all natural pig farm located in Madison, Florida. They bring to the market their all natural pork from HERITAGE BRED pigs. At Moore Pigs, their goal is to produce the highest quality pork by raising happy pigs on pasture, free of both steroids and antibiotics.

Saxophone Player Gabriel Arnold

Music on August 31, 2013, will be provided by talented Saxophone Player Gabriel Arnold and Senior Vs Crime is our featured non-profit booth. I wrote a story about this group three years ago on SearchAmelia when they were looking for active volunteers. Senior Vs Crime is a project of the Florida Attorney General and this group’s goal is to set “right” any “wrongs” made to our aging population. Stop by their booth and learn more this Saturday at the farmers’ market.

For more information visit FernandinaBeachMarketPlace.com, or call (904) 557-8229.

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Fifi’s Fine Resale makes the Morning News

Fifi's Fine Resale makes the Morning NewsFifi’s Fine Resale of Amelia Island was featured on WJXT, Channel 4’s Back to School special.

In case you missed it, like I did, here is a link to the segment, showing this years trends in metallic, mixing denim and animal styles, which featured some local faces as models that you just might recognize!

View Back to School Styles by clicking HERE.

Owner Jessica Miller loves sharing designer brand names at affordable, discounted prices in her local consignment store. Back to School shopping can get very expensive. Fifi’s carries top quality ladies clothing, jewelry, purses, shoes and back packs, too.

Fifi’s is located on 8th Street in Fernandina Beach. Call (904) 277-4430 for more information.

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Success Comes with Perseverance and Skill

Success comes as you unveil your masterpiece

Success comes as you unveil your masterpiece

For success to happen it takes more than only perseverance and skill, you also need to have clarity, balance and energy.  This is what I often discuss with my competition athlete clients, such as clay shooting champion Wendell Cherry, paddle board champion Sean Poynter or any of my pro golf clientele. And this does not only apply to sports, it is equally evident in life in general.

In this article, I’d like to go a step further and describe the role of perseverance in achieving greater success as it helps your ability to achieve peak performance in life, and whatever aspect of life you choose to put your attention to.

To help illustrate the value of perseverance in achieving greater success, I would like to share the following quote from 19th century’s social reformer Jacob Riis with you.  It states:  “When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two and I know it was not that blow that did it-but all that had gone before.”

I chose this quote because so many times we focus so hard on our outcomes…looking at the end goal or destination, that we overlook all of the successes we have along the way.  We can become so goal oriented and focused on what the goal is, what life will look like when we get there, how we can visualize our life, revving ourselves up mentally and emotionally in order to get to that point where we are ready…to feel like we are focused, we know what we want and we are going to stop at nothing until we get it!!

The problem with that is, since we are so focused on achieving our long-range goals, we often end up missing out on opportunities right in front of us.  We end up not seeing the smaller successes and their opportunities, because our vision is so set on where we want to end up, that we do not see what is right here in front of us.  We then tend to get frustrated or not see progress, as it usually takes time to achieve success.  Or, we only look for progress that looks the way we want it to; meaning, we define and visualize sub-goals in order to reach the larger ones and if they don’t look the way we want, we don’t see our progress!

Riis’s quote really addresses perseverance as a way to achieve peak performance.  Being steady or persistent; having a course of action or a purpose and in spite of all kinds of obstacles, challenges, discouragements or difficulties, you stay steady on pace…committed to the journey you are on.  In theology, I like how they bring in grace as a part of this.  The ability to be in a state of grace from beginning to end; being able to put your mind to something and have goals, desires and wonderful ideas for your life, but to come back and take action and commit yourself to the process with a state of grace…not with frustration, discouragement or set definitions of exactly how success should look.

It is when your ego get involved that you say:  “this is exactly when this should happen and if it doesn’t happen like this, at this time, or look like this, then I am going to get frustrated and discouraged and think that things are not going the way they should.” If you do that, you might feel like you are not making any progress and you may want to give up on your goals altogether.  Instead, with grace, you are capable of realizing that you are making progress, and progress is success.

Of course, you will see a lot less progress if you sit in your recliner watching TV all day.  You can have all the goals you want, visualize things and have all these ideas of how you would like outcomes to be; but if you just sit like that all day with very little action on your part to participate in the creation of what you want, then you won’t see progress to keep you energized in pursuing your goals.

Putting that aside, let’s say you are taking action, making phone calls and stepping out, filling out applications and going on interviews, having regular get-togethers or events that are part of your business plan.  Then it is just like that stone cutter hammering away at his rock.  It may be the 101st blow when you finally see all of your hard work coming together…all of what you have been focused and working on, resulting in some great achievement.  The point is that success does not come by thinking about achieving it alone. You must take consistent action if you are going to succeed.

So as you work towards your goal, keep in mind that you cannot chisel out a beautiful sculpture with just one whack of your hammer.  You also cannot chisel it out by hacking away at it and being crazy with your hammer.  You have to do a little at a time; have a vision, have a goal and come back to take the steps and see the progress of each success along the way.  So in that, you will be able to slowly, gradually, with perseverance, diligence, and focus, make the kind of progress to have a really beautiful outcome – achieve peak performance.

It is the Journey towards the destination

Now think about being that stone cutter, and maybe how you just want to get the job done…you really want the outcome and are focused solely on that as a measure of your success.  You want it to come out and you get frustrated as you chip it wrong, or something doesn’t work out the way you want, or it is taking too long.  Obviously, stone cutters know better than that.  But here you are in life, doing that with your own dreams, goals and desires.  People do that every single day.  Every day, they get frustrated when things don’t go the way they hoped or it looks like their hard work is not paying off.  When outcomes are not exactly as people want them to be, they do not see success in what they have accomplished.  They fail to realize that peak life performance does not just come from reaching a goal…it is the journey and all the work they put into reaching that goal that creates success.

Rather than being gentle on ourselves or realizing success comes with one hit of that hammer at a time; and sometimes one hit could change the whole plan because what we thought was going to be the shoulder, might have to be something else if we whacked a little too hard and a bigger chunk came off then we wanted.   So now we have to recreate our plans and vision, but that’s okay.  It doesn’t mean we have to destroy the whole piece.  It means recreating our vision.  We don’t have to get upset about that.

There are always obstacles along the way to achieving greater success.  You will face challenges, but it does not have to mean the end of your goal or dream, or that everything is over.  It could mean that you will evolve, accept and mold yourself with life and circumstances and still have your goals, dreams and desires, but be in reality at the same time.  You could redefine success as you hit each obstacle and figure out how to persevere in spite of it.  Perseverance is so important to achieving peak performance.

Success is a matter of not giving up.

That is persevering; of knowing that each little step along the way is building to the end result, and it’s with each success that your goal is achieved.  Then when you reach one goal, you can decide what else you want to pursue after that – you never really reach ‘the end’.   You want to pat yourself on the back, give yourself credit for what you have done, and see the progress you have made already.  Know that success does not have to look exactly how you think it should look, and that’s okay as long as you are taking action.

How do you really achieve peak performance?

As long as you have really good clarity, put energy forth into your goals and desires (that you are clear on), and take action to move forward in spite of obstacles that arise along the way, you will achieve successes that propel you toward your best possible performance.  You will start to see the evolution of the beautiful desires you are creating, the beautiful sculpture of your dreams, if you keep taking one step, one hit of that hammer, without giving up as challenges present themselves.  Your successes come as you work around those challenges.

But have that clarity and vision first, like that sculpture for the stone cutter; and find the right level of emotional balance, so you avoid an emotional roller coaster if things don’t happen like you thought they should, or in the time you envisioned them to happen.  Have balance and take breaks from your work to rejuvenate your batteries and have energy.  Take care of yourself and other areas of your life so you don’t feel guilty, like you might be neglecting yourself or others.  You want to have really good energy when it is time to focus on achieving greater success with your goals, and you need to maintain balance in order to do that.

As you are striving to be successful and reach your goals, be totally in the process and enjoy the moments, knowing that every step creates your peak performance and leads to the greater picture of success in your life.  Never become discouraged or think your steps are small or insignificant, as you work towards greater success.  Remember what Jacob Riis said: “When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it-but all that had gone before.”

What peacefulness and grace that brings, to help you enjoy the journey.  Have your destination in mind and just enjoy the journey.  Steady persistence, perseverance in your course of action and purpose, your state of mind…especially in spite of obstacles, difficulties or anything that would be challenging or discouraging…that is what creates peak life performance and will bring you the greatest success.  If you cannot enjoy the journey, what’s the point?

I hope this helps to get you into a healthy state of mind and being, where you can really enjoy your life to the fullest on your road to achieving greater success.  If you need any help with this or other similar topics, please contact me.  If you strive for goals in line with your clarity of purpose, life balance and personal energy, you can have greater success and achieve peak performance in your life – so long as you persevere.
Thanks for reading, and have an amazing day!

A Long-Awaited European Recovery?

Is Euro enjoying an economic recovery

Is Euro enjoying an economic recovery?

You may be enjoying this long respite from reading about the European debt problems, which just a year ago still scared many observers into thinking that the world was on the edge of a deep economic malaise.  The last time Europe made headlines, Greece was going bankrupt, France had its pristine AAA credit rating downgraded, Spain was wrestling with unemployment north of 20%, Italy was insolvent and everybody south of Germany was mired deep in economic recession.

So where are we now?  The Financial Times of London recently took a hard look at the current situation in Europe, and found that the reports of Europe’s demise may have been exaggerated.  In fact, it says that when the Eurozone’s gross domestic product data are released in the coming week, we will see positive figures after 18 months of gloomy negative growth rates.

Among the hopeful signs: manufacturers in the 17 countries that use the euro currency have reported their biggest increase in output since 2011, and Greece, the epicenter of the original crisis, has qualified for its next batch of rescue loans totaling 5.8 billion euros as it sells off (or privatizes) government-owned corporations to pay its debtors.  Spain’s unemployment rate has recently fallen for the first time in two years and even troubled Portugal, where political opposition to austerity threatened its ability to receive a global bailout, now seems to be back on the tracks of economic reform.  Perhaps the best news is that France’s finance minister recently announced the end of recession in the Eurozone’s second-largest economy, with second quarter 2013 growth of 0.2%.

Of course, there are still problems that could derail this still-fragile recovery.  Perhaps the biggest is the continent’s banking industry, where banks are still avoiding having to fess up to their losses on sovereign debt, still cleaning up their balance sheets and are slow to make much-needed loans to regional businesses.  Greece and Spain are still burdened with 27% jobless rates, and Italy is still mired in recession after a 2.4% GDP decline in 2012.

Those of us who have read more about the Greek economy can finally dare hope that the break from scary headlines continues.  Interestingly, most of the reports that talk about rays of hope in Europe also mention, in passing, that the U.S. economy has been the sole engine of growth in an otherwise troubled global economy.  That, in itself, is something to cheer about.

Boat Club and Rentals Launched at Amelia Island Yacht Basin

Boat Club and Rentals Launched at Amelia Island Yacht BasinSuntex Ventures announces merger with Big D Boat Club & Watersports. Suntex Boat Club will initially be launching boat clubs and rentals at Glade Marina in Acworth, GA, and at Amelia Island Yacht Basin in Fernandina Beach, FL.

We Provide the Boats, You Provide the Fun!

Dallas, TX – Suntex Ventures, the Dallas-based owner and operator of marina properties, announced today that it has merged with Big D Boat Club & Watersports. The new operation will be called Suntex Boat Club & Watersports. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Big D Boat Club & Watersports, founded in 2009, has operated boat clubs and boat rentals in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex on Lake Ray Hubbard, Eagle Mountain Lake and Lake Lewisville. It is a rental boat club membership business with a vision of introducing people to the boating lifestyle in a more cost effective way. Memberships provide access to the boat club’s fleet of pontoons, ski and fishing boats, deck boats, wakeboard boats and jet skis. The memberships also include all the gear and accessories. When members arrive at the marina, their reserved boat is clean, full of fuel, staged with the requested water toys and life jackets, and ready for a day on the water.

“This merger and partnership made sense for Big D Boat Club to grow into markets we desire,” explained Monty Kitchen, founder of Big D Boat Club/Director of Suntex Boat Club & Watersports. “Suntex is very customer- driven in how it operates and that was extremely important to me. We had no desire to grow without a partner that sees business the same way we do, customer service is number one. Unlike other franchise-type marina boat clubs across the country, we will be the first to bring customers in as renters or club members, and then maintain that relationship for life.”

Suntex Marinas and now Suntex Boat Club are subsidiaries of Suntex Ventures, a real estate company investing exclusively in niche mixed-use marinas and their related operating platforms. They have acquired, developed, and operated over 30 full-service marinas in the United States, the Caribbean, and Mexico for nearly 20 years. Over the course of these years, Suntex has developed a solid reputation by being dedicated to their customers, clients, guests, communities, employees, and investors. “We are thrilled that the Big D Boat Club is now a part of the Suntex family,” stated Joe Vrankin, Partner & Chief Operating Officer of Suntex Ventures. “Monty Kitchen has built a first-class business and by combining his club with the Suntex group we have the opportunity to gain the synergies from our marinas. We believe this will result in an even higher level of guest service combined with a high-quality, consistent line of boats in the club at every location. Our plan is to grow the boat club to two additional Suntex marina locations this season and eventually open a Suntex boat club at all of the marinas in the Suntex family.”

Suntex Boat Club will initially be launching boat clubs and rentals at Glade Marina in Acworth, GA, and at Amelia Island Yacht Basin in Fernandina Beach, FL. Vrankin said, “The merger of Suntex and Big D Boat Club, LLC is a big step in revolutionizing the marina industry. We truly want to become the first marina organization that offers everything under one roof for its customers… boat storage, service, boat rentals, and boat club, along with various other convenient amenities for our boaters. Suntex can provide options for every level boater.”

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Changes to City of Fernandina Beach Phone Numbers

Changes to City of Fernandina Beach Phone NumbersThe City of Fernandina Beach, Florida has implemented a new phone system, including new phone numbers.

The following is a list of main Departmental numbers and the City’s new main number:

City of Fernandina Beach Main Number: 904-277-7300
Airport: 904-310-3435
City Manager’s Office: 904-310-3100
City Clerk’s Office: 904-310-3115
Community Development: 904-310-3135
Finance: 904-310-3325
Fire/Rescue: 904-277-7331 (remains the same)
Golf Course: 904-310-3175
Human Resources: 904-310-3125
Legal: 904-310-3275
Maintenance/Facilities: 904-310-3310
Marina: 904-310-3300
Parks and Recreation: 904-310-3350
Police: 904-277-7342 (remains the same)
Utility Billing: 904-310-3400
Utilities: 904-310-3420

If callers to City offices use the old numbers (other than Police and Fire/Rescue), they will hear a message giving the new number, but their calls will not be forwarded.

All City Departments are always reachable through the Voice Response Unit at 904-277-7300, the City’s main number.

These numbers will also be available at the front desk of every Department and in City informational kiosks.

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Getting Too Hot Can Be Dangerous

Getting Too Hot Can Be DangerousUsed with permission, written by the staff of NIH News in Health.

Many people love the warm summer months. But hot and humid days can sometimes be dangerous. It’s not good for the body to be too hot for too long. Too much heat can damage your brain and other organs. It’s important to keep your cool when the days are hot.

Your body has its own natural cooling system. Sweating is key to cooling when hot weather or exercise causes your body temperature to climb. When sweat dries, it carries heat away from your body’s surface and lowers your temperature. When sweating isn’t enough to help you cool down, you’re at risk for a heat-related illness called hyperthermia.

Hyperthermia can happen to anyone. Older people, infants and young children, and people who are ill, obese or on certain medications are especially at risk. These people may be more sensitive to the effects of extreme heat and less likely to sense or respond to changes in temperature.

“High temperatures can cause various organs within the body not to function optimally,” says Dr. Marie Bernard, deputy director of NIH’s National Institute on Aging. Excess body heat can stress the heart and harm the brain. It might even lead to a coma.

Hyperthermia can cause several heat-related illnesses, ranging from mild to serious. These include heat cramps, heat edema, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat cramps are the painful tightening of muscles in your stomach, arms or legs. If you have heat cramps, find a way to cool your body and be sure to drink plenty of fluids. Heat edema is a swelling in your ankles and feet when you get hot. Elevating your legs should help. If that doesn’t work fairly quickly, check with a health professional.

Heat exhaustion is a warning that your body can no longer keep itself cool. You might feel dizzy, thirsty, weak, uncoordinated and nauseated. Your skin might feel cold and clammy, and you may have a rapid pulse. If this happens, drink plenty of fluids and rest in a cool place. If you’re not careful, heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke.

Heat stroke is a life-threatening form of hyperthermia that occurs when your body temperature reaches 104° Fahrenheit or more. Heat stroke can lead to confusion, fainting, staggering, strange behavior or dry, flushed skin. Heat stroke is a medical emergency.

“If you and a loved one are at a picnic, for example, and it’s very hot and humid that day, and they start complaining of being dizzy or seem disoriented, you need to be very concerned,” says Bernard. “You need to get them into a cool place, put cool compresses on their neck and wrists, and call 911.”

Air conditioning is the best way to protect against hyperthermia. If you don’t have air conditioning, go to places that are cool on hot and humid days. Try community centers, shopping malls, movie theaters, libraries or the homes of friends and family.

Heat-related illness is preventable. Still, hundreds of deaths from extreme heat events occur in the United States each year. It’s important to be aware of who’s at greatest risk so you can take steps to help beat the heat.

Keeping Cool

    -Get out of the sun and into a cool place.
    -Drink plenty of liquids, especially water.
    -Avoid drinks that contain alcohol.
    -Limit use of the oven if you don’t have air conditioning.
    -Dress for the weather.
    -Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
    -Shower, bathe or sponge off with cool water.
    -Cover windows with shades, blinds or curtains during the hottest part of the day.
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Six Tips on How to Manage an Inheritance Well

Six Tips to Manage an Inheritance

A sizeable inheritance can represent a life-changing opportunity. Here are six tips to help you prudently manage your windfall.

Tip 1: Consult With a Financial Professional and Tax Professional
Depending on the type of inheritance (e.g., investments, life insurance, retirement account), you could be dealing with substantial federal and/or state inheritance taxes. Working with a financial advisor and/or a tax professional could help you plan the sale of any assets and deal with the tax implications. For example:

•    If your inheritance was from your spouse, there may be no taxes due.
•    Life insurance proceeds are usually tax free.
•    Non-retirement assets are taxed when sold, and those assets typically receive a “step up” in cost basis. That means that any capital gains tax you owe will be based on the asset’s fair market value at the date of death of the benefactor.

If you inherit an annuity or traditional workplace retirement account or IRA, you will have to pay taxes on the distributions. Be very careful when taking your distributions. For example, if you cash out your uncle’s IRA and roll the money over into your own IRA, the entire amount of the rollover will be subject to ordinary income taxes.

Note too that there are considerations for spouses rolling over their deceased spouse’s retirement account.

Tip 2: Park the Cash
Before you make any plans or major purchases, stop. Deposit the inheritance or investments in a bank or brokerage account. If you are married, you need to determine whether to put the account solely in your name or jointly with your spouse. Note that inheritances are considered separate property, in case of divorce. However, once they are commingled in a joint account, those assets lose that protection.

Tip 3: Cut Down/Eliminate Your Debt
Your inheritance may allow you the ability to pay off your debt, including your mortgage. But first consider paying off those loans with higher interest rates, such as credit cards, personal loans, and car loans. Then consider paying off your mortgage. Also fund an emergency account with at least six months’ worth of living expenses.

Tip 4: Think About Your Other Goals
Identifying your financial goals can help you determine what types of investments to make or other types of accounts to open. These goals could include:
•    Contributing to charity
•    Setting up a trust or foundation
•    Paying for a family member’s education
•    Helping out loved ones
•    Adding to your retirement savings

Tip 5: Review Your Insurance and Estate Planning Needs
If you’ve inherited a significant sum, it may be wise to increase the liability limits on your homeowners and automotive policies. If you inherited jewelry, artwork, or real estate, you may need to increase your property and casualty coverage. Consider an umbrella policy. Does the inheritance inflate the size of your estate so that it will be subject to estate taxes? Are you thinking about setting up a trust to provide for family or charity?

Tip 6: Do Something Nice for Yourself
Set aside a small percentage — no more than 5% to 10% — of your inheritance for “splurges.” Take a trip. Buy a new car. Just be sure to keep it small. After all, inheritances don’t grow on trees.

This communication is not intended to be tax advice and should not be treated as such. Each individual’s tax situation is different. You should contact your tax professional to discuss your personal situation.