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October 2013 Chamber of Commerce Events

October 2013 Chamber of Commerce EventsAMELIA ISLAND, FL – Here is what’s coming up in October at the Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce:

Island Council
8:30 a.m., Wednesday, October 2
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.

Speaker in October will be Fernandina Beach Mayor Sarah Pelican.

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.

Yulee Area Council
8:30 a.m. Tuesday, October 8
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.

Speaker in October is Ron Heymann of Davis Capital Management.

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.

Ground Breaking
9 a.m. Tuesday, October 8
Pirate Playground – Atlantic Avenue Recreation Center: 2500 Atlantic Ave., Fernandina Beach

The Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors and Directors conduct a ground-breaking for the 8 Flags Playscapes Pirate Playground located behind the Atlantic Avenue Recreation Center in Fernandina Beach.

Come join the Chamber as we help 8 Flags Playscapes celebrate this milestone in the creation of an accessible playground in our community.

8 Flags Playscapes, Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the healthy physical, mental and social growth of children. Its mission is to create and maintain a community accessible playground that integrates exercise, art, nature, music, imagination and local history for children of all abilities. Its capital campaign is called 200 Pirate Dreams. Individuals, businesses or groups can commit to a $1,000 Dream and earn a pennant on the flagpole displayed in front of the Atlantic Avenue Recreation Center. The nonprofit is planning on completing the playground by May 2014.

For more information, visit www.8flagsplayscapes.org.

YBiz
8-9 am Friday, October 11
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.

Topic in October is “Unplugged,” a chance to meet informally with local elected or appointed officials. Guests will be Fernandina Beach City Commissioner Pat Gass and Nassau County Commissioner Barry Holloway.

This will be the final YBiz meeting of the year.

Seating is limited, so an online reservationonline registration is required. 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.

HR Council
Noon-1:30 p.m. Monday, October 14
The Surf Restaurant & Bar: 3199 S. Fletcher Ave., Fernandina Beach

The Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce’s 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 October is “Effective Interviewing.” Do you keep making hiring mistakes? Are you spending time and money training someone only to find they’re not a good fit for your company? Learn tips and techniques for conducting effective interviews that will find the person who’s right for the job and your business culture. And we’ll review what you legally can and cannot ask a job applicant.

This will be the final meeting of the HR Council in 2013.

Online reservations and payment required. Admission, including lunch, is $20 for Chamber members, $30 for non-members through Friday, October 4; $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.

Make Your Membership Work For You
8:30 a.m. Tuesday, October 15
Sonny’s Real Pit Bar-B-Q: 2742 S. Eighth St. Fernandina Beach

Find out how to get the most out of your Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce membership at the Make Your Membership Work For You breakfast.

Get an overview of your benefits and enjoy speed networking during this fun and informative breakfast. Make Your Membership Work for You is an ideal introduction to the Chamber for new members and great way for existing members to get up-to-date.

This will be the last Make Your Membership Work For You breakfast of the year.

Admission is free for AIFBY Chamber members. Online reservations are required. 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, October 17
Quality Health of Fernandina Beach (Lime Street across from the hospital and next to the police station.)

Connect with up to 150 Chamber members at Business After Hours, Nassau County’s biggest monthly business gathering, sponsored in October by Quality Health of Fernandina Beach and Angel Watch Home Care.

Business After Hours is a great way to wind-up your business day by connecting with other local business people and making contacts that will help you get referrals. There is always great food, drinks and door prizes.

Quality Health of Fernandina Beach is a long-term care facility where peace of mind for residents and their families is the priority. Quality Health has been an important part of Amelia Island since 1984 as the only skilled nursing facility on the island. Quality Health strives to provide comprehensive care to meet the needs of our growing community.

Angel Watch is a full-service home health care agency. We provide both medical and non-medical home care services. Angel Watch is Medicare certified and Joint Commission accredited. Medical services include skilled nursing, rehabilitation therapies, home health aide and medical social worker services. Non-medical services include homemaker and companion service. Angel Watch is locally owned and operated and has been serving our community since 2003.

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.

Ribbon Cutting
5 p.m. Friday, October 18
Colie’s: 4 N. Second St., Fernandina Beach

Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors and Directors celebrate Colie’s move to downtown Fernandina Beach with a ribbon cutting.

Come join us in wishing owner Ashley Phinazee continued success in her new location.

Colie’s has recently expanded into selling women’s boutique-style clothing in addition to fun jewelry and accessories for everyone. We have unique and on-trend styles at amazingly affordable prices. Colie’s also specializes in Game Day dresses and jewelry during football season. Buy Colie’s fashion and sparkles at its new boutique in historic downtown Fernandina Beach next to Kayak Amelia or online at www.shopcolies.com.

Health Care Council
8 a.m. Tuesday, October 29
Advance Rehabilitation: 463688 State Road 200, Suite 9, Yulee

The Chamber’s Health Care Council is designed to raise awareness of health care services in Nassau County and develop professional contacts among local health-related organizations and professionals.

October’s meeting is hosted by Advance Rehabilitation, a locally owned physical therapy practice providing high quality rehabilitation services.

This will be final meeting of the Health Care Council in 2013.

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

Quarterly Luncheon
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday, October 29
Fernandina Beach Golf Club: 2800 Bill Melton Road, Fernandina Beach

Mike Bell, director of External Affairs for Rayonier, will be the speaker as the AIFBY Chamber 2013 Quarterly Luncheon series concludes.

Bell will give an overview of the East Nassau Community Planning Area and its potential impact on the business community.

The East Nassau Community Planning Area is a state-approved Sector Plan that includes approximately 22,000 acres in eastern Nassau County. Most of the property lies between Interstate 95 and Chester Road on the north side of SR200/A1A. The entire property is owned by TerraPointe LLC, a division of Rayonier. In May 2011, it was created and adopted into the County’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan with a multi-use land designation. A Sector Plan offers a unique opportunity to master plan for long-term future growth.

Online registration and payment required. Luncheon admission is $20 for AIFBY Chamber members, $30 for non-members, through Friday, October 25; $5 additional afterwards. Cancellations must be made 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.

Register at www.islandchamber.com/events.aspx.

Government Affairs Committee
8:30 a.m. Wednesday, October 30
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.

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October 1, 2013 City Commissioner Agenda

October 1, 2013 City Commissioner AgendaHere is the agenda for the Fernandina Beach City Commissioners. This regularly scheduled meeting will be October 1, 2013, at 6:00 PM.

The meetings are held in City Hall Commission Chambers located at 204 Ash Street in historic, downtown Fernandina Beach, Florida.

1. CALL TO ORDER
2. ROLL CALL
3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE and Invocation by Pastor Jimmy Campbell of the Church of God.

4. PROCLAMATIONS / LETTER OF COMMENDATION
4.1. PROCLAMATION – THE LES DEMERLE AMELIA ISLAND JAZZ FESTIVAL
Proclamation proclaiming October 6-13, 2013, as “The Les DeMerle Amelia Island Jazz Festival.” Mr. Les DeMerle, Ms. Bonnie Eisele, and Ms. Suzanne McLeod will be present to accept the Proclamation.

4.2. PROCLAMATION – NATIONAL LONG-TERM RESIDENTS’ RIGHTS MONTH
Proclamation proclaiming October 2013 as “National Long-Term Care Residents’ Rights Month.” Mr. Russell Jahn, Florida’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman, will be present to accept the Proclamation.

4.3. PROCLAMATION – RECOGNITION OF JOE BLANCHARD & JUDITH LANE
Proclamation recognizing Joe Blanchard’s and Judith Lan’s volunteer efforts and expressing appreciation on behalf of the City for all of their work. Ms. Lane will be present to accept the Proclamation and Mike Gagnon will accept the Proclamation on behalf of his father, Joe Blanchard.

4.4. PROCLAMATION – RECOGNITION OF LEN KREGER
Proclamation recognizing Len Kreger’s volunteer efforts and expressing appreciation on behalf of the City for all of his work. Mr. Kreger will be present to accept the Proclamation.

4.5. LETTER OF COMMENDATION – POLICE CAPTAIN JIM NORMAN
The City Manager will present a “Letter of Commendation” to Police Captain Jim Norman for his outstanding efforts in the selection, implementation, etc. of the City’s new phone system. Captain Norman will be present to accept the Letter of Commendation.

5. CONSENT AGENDA
5.1. MUTUAL AID AGREEMENT – CITY OF JACKSONVILLE FIRE DEPARTMENT
RESOLUTION 2013-131 AUTHORIZING AN INTERLOCAL AGREEMENT FOR MUTUAL AID WITH THE CITY OF JACKSONVILLE FIRE RESCUE DEPARTMENT; AUTHORIZING EXECUTION; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Approves the Interlocal Agreement for Mutual Aid between the City of Fernandina Beach Fire Rescue Department and the City of Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department.

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

7. RESOLUTIONS
7.1. PIGGYBACK AGREEMENT – INSITUFORM
RESOLUTION 2013-132 APPROVING A PROPOSAL FROM INSITUFORM TECHNOLOGIES, INC. FOR THE REHABILITATION OF STORM AND SANITARY SEWER LINES BY WAY OF A “PIGGYBACK AGREEMENT” TO THE CONTRACT WITH THE CITY OF MELBOURNE, FLORIDA; AUTHORIZING EXECUTION; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Approves the proposal from Insituform Technologies, Inc. to perform storm and sanitary sewer pipe rehab services for an amount not to exceed $67,673.23 as a piggyback agreement with the City of Melbourne, Florida.

7.2. AGREEMENT APPROVAL – JACOBS SCHOLZ & ASSOCIATES, LLC
RESOLUTION 2013-133 APPROVING A LOBBYING SERVICES AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CITY AND JACOBS SCHOLZ & ASSOCIATES, LLC FOR STATE AND FEDERAL LOBBYING SERVICES FOR FY 2013/2014; AUTHORIZING EXECUTION; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Approves an Agreement with Jacobs Scholz & Associates, LLC for FY 2013/2014 in an amount not-to-exceed $67,500.

7.3. BUDGET AMENDMENTS – BEACH RENOURISHMENT / GARAGE
RESOLUTION 2013-134 APPROVING AMENDMENTS TO THE BUDGET FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 2012-2013; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Approves budget amendments for expenses incurred in FY 2012/2013.

7.4. BUDGET AMENDMENTS – BEACH MONITORING / LIBRARY EXPANSION/REMODEL
RESOLUTION 2013-135 APPROVING AMENDMENTS TO THE BUDGET FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 2013-2014; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Approves budget amendments for unanticipated items in FY 2013/2014.

7.5. AGREEMENT AUTHORIZATION – SYNOVUS BANK / FIRST COAST COMMUNITY BANK
RESOLUTION 2013-136 AUTHORIZING THE CITY MANAGER, CONTROLLER AND ACCOUNTING SUPERVISOR TO SIGN AND EXECUTE SYNOVUS/FIRST COAST COMMUNITY BANK DOCUMENTS ON BEHALF OF THE CITY OF FERNANDINA BEACH; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Authorizes the City Manager to execute the Treasury Management Services Agreement with First Coast Community Bank.

7.6. APPROVAL OF OUTSIDE LEGAL COUNSEL
RESOLUTION 2013-137 AUTHORIZING THE CITY ATTORNEY TO ENGAGE QUALIFIED OUTSIDE LEGAL COUNSEL IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $20,000 IN FISCAL YEAR 2013-2014 FOR LABOR ISSUES, CONFLICTS, CODE BOARD AND GENERAL ADVICE ON COMPLEX LEGAL MATTERS; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Authorizes the City Attorney to engage outside legal counsel in an amount not to exceed $20,000.00 in FY 13/14.

7.7. LABOR AGREEMENT – COASTAL FLORIDA POLICE BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION
RESOLUTION 2013-138 AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF THE LABOR AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CITY OF FERNANDINA BEACH AND THE COASTAL FLORIDA POLICE BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION (CFPBA); AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Approves the 3-year labor agreement with the Coastal Florida Police Benevolent Association.

7.8. EXTENSION OF WATER/SEWER SERVICES & VOLUNTARY ANNEXATION AGREEMENT – PARCELS BETWEEN SEMINOLE AVENUE AND S. 14TH STREET
RESOLUTION 2013-139 APPROVING THE EXTENSION OF WATER AND SANITARY SEWER SERVICES OUTSIDE THE CORPORATE LIMITS; ACCEPTING THE VOLUNTARY ANNEXATION AGREEMENT FOR THREE (3) PARCELS TOTALING 36.74 ACRES LOCATED BETWEEN SEMINOLE AVENUE AND S. 14TH STREET; PROVIDING FOR EXECUTION; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Authorizes the extension of water and sewer services and execution of the voluntary annexation agreement for 3 parcels between Seminole Avenue and S. 14th Street.

8. ORDINANCES – FIRST READING
8.1. FUTURE LAND USE MAP AMENDMENT – 629 S. 8TH STREET
ORDINANCE 2013-27 CHANGING THE CITY’S FUTURE LAND USE MAP TO ASSIGN A CITY FUTURE LAND USE MAP CATEGORY OF GENERAL COMMERCIAL (GC), FOR ONE (1) PARCEL TOTALING 1.6 ACRES OF LAND LOCATED AT 629 S. 8TH STREET; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Assigns a Future Land Use Map Designation of General Commercial (GC) to 1.6 acres located at 629 S. 8th St.

8.2. Quasi-Judicial ZONING CHANGE – 629 S. 8TH STREET
ORDINANCE 2013-28 CHANGING THE CITY’S ZONING MAP TO ASSIGN A ZONING CATEGORY OF GENERAL COMMERCIAL (C-2), FOR ONE (1) PARCEL TOTALING 1.6 ACRES OF LAND LOCATED AT 629 S. 8TH STREET; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Changes the Zoning Map to General Commercial (C-2) for 1.6 Acres located at 629 S. 8th Street.

8.3. Quasi-Judicial ZONING CHANGE – 416 FIR STREET
ORDINANCE 2013-29 CHANGING THE CITY’S ZONING MAP TO ASSIGN A ZONING CATEGORY OF MEDIUM DENSITY RESIDENTIAL (R-2), FOR ONE (1) PARCEL TOTALING 5,000 SQUARE FEET OF LAND LOCATED AT 416 FIR STREET; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Changes the Zoning Map to Medium Density Residential (R-2) for 5,000 square feet of land located at 416 Fir Street.

8.4. VOLUNTARY ANNEXATION – 2851 BAILEY ROAD
ORDINANCE 2013-30 ANNEXING TWO (2) PARCELS TOTALING 22.10 ACRES OF LAND LOCATED AT 2851 BAILEY ROAD, AND; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Annexes 22.10 acres located at 2851 Bailey Road.

8.5. FUTURE LAND USE MAP AMENDMENT – 2851 BAILEY ROAD
ORDINANCE 2013-31 CHANGING THE NASSAU COUNTY FUTURE LAND USE MAP TO ASSIGN A CITY FUTURE LAND USE MAP CATEGORY OF MEDIUM DENSITY RESIDENTIAL (MDR), FOR TWO (2) PARCELS TOTALING 22.10 ACRES OF LAND LOCATED AT 2851 BAILEY ROAD; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Assigns a Future Land Use Map Designation of Medium Density Residential (MDR) to 22.10 Acres located at 2851 Bailey Road.

8.6. Quasi-Judicial ZONING CHANGE – 2851 BAILEY ROAD
ORDINANCE 2013-32 CHANGING THE NASSAU COUNTY ZONING MAP TO ASSIGN A CITY ZONING CATEGORY OF LOW-MEDIUM DENSITY RESIDENTIAL (RLM), FOR TWO (2) PARCELS TOTALING 22.10 ACRES OF LAND LOCATED AT 2851 BAILEY ROAD; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Assigns a Zoning Category of RLM (Low-Medium Density Residential) to 22.10 Acres located at 2851 Bailey Road.

9. ORDINANCES – SECOND READING
9.1. PERSONNEL POLICY MANUAL UPDATE
ORDINANCE 2013-08 RESTATING AND AMENDING THE CITY’S PERSONNEL POLICY MANUAL; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; REPEALING ALL ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND POLICIES IN CONFLICT HEREWITH; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Amends and restates the Personnel Policy Manual to provide the organization with a more comprehensive and up-to-date policy.

9.2. FEE SCHEDULE
ORDINANCE 2013-23 ESTABLISHING AND AMENDING FEES FOR THE CITY CLERK’S OFFICE, CITY GOLF COURSE, CITY MARINA, CITY AIRPORT, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, PARKS AND RECREATION, CEMETERY, FIRE DEPARTMENT, SANITATION, WATER AND WASTEWATER DEPARTMENTS, POLICE DEPARTMENT AND IMPACT FEES; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Synopsis: Approves the amended Master Fee Schedule consisting of the City Clerk’s Office, Fernandina Beach Golf Club, City Marina, City Airport, Community Development, Parks and Recreation, Cemetery, Fire Department, Sanitation, Water and Wastewater Departments, Police and Impact Fees, for Fiscal Year 2013-2014.

10. BOARD APPOINTMENTS
10.1. AIRPORT ADVISORY COMMISSION
1 appointment

10.2. PLANNING ADVISORY BOARD
2 appointments.

10.3. ARTS AND CULTURE NASSAU
1 appointment.

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

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Shopping Fun at Fifi’s Girls Night Out

Shopping Fun at Fifi's Girls Night OutAmelia Island, FL – Ladies are invited to join Natalie Blackwell (Silpada Jewelry), Lisa Buben (Lia Sophia), Danna Garrigues (Mary Kay), and Melissa Koterba (The Pampered Chef) on Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 6:00 pm at Fifi’s (1853 S. 8th Street) for the final 2013 Empowering Women Girl’s Night Out with a fun vendor shopping event.

Treats will be served and the event is free, but an RSVP is requested no later than Tuesday, October 1, 2013 by calling (904) 277-4430.

Fifi’s Fine Resale Apparel is a nationally recognized resale store that offers quality merchandise at great prices with exceptional service. Fifi’s Fine Resale is celebrating being a part of this community for 20 years, and supports several non-profit organizations including: Gerri’s Corner, Hope House/Salvation Army, Women of Power’s Cedar Haven Transitional Home for Homeless Women, Micah’s Place/Purple Dove, and Barnabas’ New to You. In addition, we are members of the Amelia Island Chamber of Commerce, Women in Nassau helping Women in Need (WIN WIN), and the National Association of Resale Professionals(NARTS).

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Prepare for a Three Day Belgian Invasion

160 Classic Cars waiting to go onboard

Waiting in Antwerp Harbor to get shipped to New York

Owners of Classic Cars all over the world are part of a special breed. They have “secret” signs when they meet each other on the road. They have ‘sinister’ distribution networks for long expired parts and they like to socialize a lot. In any country of the world were classic cars are appreciated this is pretty much standard behavior. And this is also the case in Belgium, a monarchy that operates inside of the European Union and even though for more than one hundred years, the Flemish north and the Walloon South have supposedly been hating each others guts on political levels, you start a Classic Car Club and members on both sides of the language barrier are friends and hoist a glass of beer or wine to each others health.

A very entrepreneurial club founded 10 years ago, named itself Touramical (Friendly Tour) put their classic jewels on the road in annual vacation like rally trips and travel as a group around Europe to have fun. Bulgaria, Barcelona, Biaritz, Greece in 2014, one or two adventure trips a year with great memories and special relationships.

In 2011 they went to Morocco and drove in caravan style from Fes to Marrakech and on to Casablanca. Earlier this year they did Zaragoza, Madrid, Zaragoza in Spain and because this year is the  Club’s 10 Year Anniversary, they decided on a USA trip north-south on the Eastern Seaboard. For the occasion the Club has renamed itself into Touramerical, which will start its road trip descent with 160 beautifully kept Classic Cars from New York on October 8 and ending in Miami 8 days later. Just imagine the logistic of shipping 160 classic cars RoRo from the port in Antwerp to Port Elizabeth Newark/New Jersey, including spare parts and manuals and back up vehicles…for the fun of it!!!!! The importation and insurance paperwork alone involved would make any normal thinking person run for the hills, but not these Belgians. They have set their mind on doing something real special for their 10 year celebration and a road trip on the Eastern Seaboard is the answer. There is one more novelty on this trip: it’s the first one for both men and women. Until now it was a “men only event”.

Amelia Island Stop

So what makes this rally interesting for our island?? Well, there is this Belgian guy, Philippe Boets, who came to our island almost four and a half years ago and introduced us to the French ball game of Pétanque. He set up office in June and already in November of that first year in 2009 he managed to organize a Open Tournament with players flying in from around the world. Now 4 years later that tournament is already a staple in our November activities. But Philippe Boets does much more than only promoting the game of Pétanque in America. He loves music, plays bass in the local band “Island Vibe”, ……and is always on the look-out for special promotions.

A couple of years ago he managed to divert the Millenium Carillion on a tour up north from Naples, to take a detour and treat us to a Bell Concert on the Riverfront. And now this year he managed to convince the Touramerical organization to detour and make a stop on Centre Street in Downtown Fernandina Beach on three consecutive days- October 13,14 and 15- and enjoy our shores and hospitality for a couple of hours, before moseying down to Daytona Beach.

You can read everything Touramerical on their website and Like them on Facebook and make a note in your agenda to come see these beautiful classic vehicles as they wind down on their adventure rally from New York to Miami.

Sunday Funday Musings and Videos

ETV Sold for asking price of $100,000 this week

My attention this week on several occasions was caught by vehicles that are much more than just a means of transportation.

I think it started out when I saw the ETV on eBay, built by a guy in Sebastian Florida. The Extra Terrestrial Vehicle at first sight looked a bit impractical, but after some research it turned out that everything functioned in line with DOT requirements. Asking price was $100,000 and it sold to a private bidder. When I learned that “Mike”, the guy who built this beauty, has already built some 60 cars in the past 20 years, I thought how much fun that is and lucrative to boot. Here is a math assumption. 60 cars at an average sales price of $25,000 is $1.5 million or $75,000 per year. No doubt he has a well researched and profitable way of getting his materials, so he clears a nice income this way. And then I remembered a Picture powerpoint a good friend of mine sent me depicting mobiles from long forgotten times, built by individuals with the same passion as Mike, as they move the world forward with their creativity and perseverance. Here is a look back at Vehicle Ideas from the early 20th century

FIAT 500

During the Blues Festival we had a car display from FIAT in Jacksonville, exposing those wonderfully popular FIAT 500s to a growing group of admirers. When I saw it first the first time on American roads I had to laugh out loud. The FIAT 500 reminds me of the many vacations we took in Italy in the late 50s and early 60s and every time the door of a 500 opened there were 6 or 7 people falling out of the car. The FIAT 500 I remember was an Italian family car to run around town or go to the beach with. When I read American reviews that dislike the power train of 101 horse power, or the knee space in the back seats, or being sensitive to crosswinds on the highways when 18 wheelers pass them, I can only shake my head in disbelief.

Fiat 500 in the 1950s

No nostalgia can change the fact that The FIAT 500 was meant for the 1950s in Southern Europe, for start-up families of 2 parents and 2 kids pretty much like this picture here. I remember in 1965, after a month long vacation in Torre del Lago Puccini my oldest brother and I pledged to go back the next year and hang out with our summer girl friends. We would buy a FIAT 500, the cheapest car we could afford and come back down. The price of a standard FIAT was Hfl 1,500, about $800. Of course we never made it, but I still remember my two girlfriends names: Donatella Gatteschi and Elizabetta Harangoni from the city of Lucca. That is 49 years ago. That next year I played in a band and played gigs around Europe. Never got to buy or drive one. Who knows….!

Garage Doors

And of course from vehicles it is a short jump to garages. A German company called “Style your Garage” has put an end to ugly and boring garage doors. They make very realistic printed-on 3D motifs that will make your neighbours and people passing by stare of amazement. They have a variety of prints, ranging from family oriented to not so family oriented. Check out their website for many fun prints. How about an Angry Pumpkin for Halloween? Fort Knox Gold Reserves a wine cellar or a parked Jet. It’s a novelty that fits perfectly in our time of personal expression. Smart. Here are some more ideas.Garagedeuren

———————————–Funnies

An engineer dies and reports to the Pearly Gates.

Saint Peter checks his dossier and, not seeing the man’s name there, accidentally sends him to Hell.
It doesn’t take long before the engineer becomes rather dissatisfied with the level of comfort in Hell.
He soon begins to design and build improvements. Shortly thereafter, Hell has air conditioning, flush toilets and escalators. Needless to say, the engineer is a pretty popular guy.

One day, God calls Satan and says: “So, how are things in Hell?”

Satan replies: “Hey, things are going great. We’ve got air conditioning, flush toilets, and escalators. And there’s no telling what this engineer is going to come up with next.”

“What!” God exclaims: “You’ve got an engineer? That’s a mistake – he should never have been sent to Hell. Send him to me.”

“Not a chance,” Satan replies: “I like having an engineer on the staff, and I’m keeping him!”

God insists: “Send him back or I’ll sue.”

Satan laughs uproariously and answers: “Yeah, right. And where are you going to get a lawyer?

Golf Story

A couple of old guys were golfing when one mentioned that he was going to go to Dr. Steinberg for a new set of dentures in the morning.His elderly buddy remarked that he, too, had gone to the very same dentist two years before.

“Is that so?” asked the first guy. “Did he do a good job?”
The second oldster replied, “Well, I was on the golf course yesterday when a guy on the next fairway hooked a shot. The ball must have been going at least 180 mph when it slammed me right in the groin.”
The first old guy was confused and asked, “What the hell does that have to do with your dentures?”
“It was the first time in two years my teeth didn’t hurt.”

Misheard Song Lyrics

And with the following video I’m going to finish up for this Sunday and play some guitar for the afternoon. As a teenager growing up in Holland I played and sang in several bands. I often misheard song lyrics. Technology wasn’t like today with the Internet where you can look up song lyrics. We had to sit with the record player needle on the vinyl record (yes this was even before reel-to reel or cassette tape and 8track was still a future dream) and listen to a line, write it down and find the groove again for the next line, inevitable scratching the vinyl. One of the first songs I figured out that way was the Rolling Stones version of “It’s all over now”. The official opening line is “Well baby used to stay out all night long”. My opening line was “My baby used to stake out all night long”. It took a couple of years before I realized that it didn’t make sense.
Here is a part of brilliant British comedian Peter Kay’s’ Tour That Didn’t Tour‘ about misheard lyrics. Hilarious.

No Way Gamblers Can Walk Away from A Winning Table

Party Like it's 1999; just keep an eye on the exit doors!

Remember Prince’s hit song ‘1999’, which opens with a slowed-down voice, reassuring the listener “Don’t worry, I won’t hurt you. I only want you to have some fun,” and then invites everyone to party with complete abandon, because it’s 1999…and 2000 may never come. Well it’s a lot like that in the stock market these days.

To use another metaphor we are quite familiar with here in Florida. When a hurricane threatens an area, it’s always amazing to see how many people decide to leave last minute, causing traffic jams and inevitably delaying their flight to safety. And that’s also the case in stock market investing because when the Feds and the media create euphoria, investors move in herds and if danger is on the end of the move, panic will follow because so many inside of the herd don’t see the end of the cliff until it’s too late. Having said that, let me explain what happened last week and why I think we’re entering the endgame of the economic crisis that started in 2007.

Feds Rang the Bell for the Last Round

Last week the Feds moved away from an earlier announcement that stimulus in the form of QE Infinitely would slowly come to an end (they called it tapering down), as the US economy showed signs of strengthening… in their spin doctored opinion. After all, since 2009 Bernanke’s crew added $3 trillion in cash and a smidgen over $23 trillion in credit guarantees to restart the economy after it crashed in the fall of 2008. That’s $26 trillion or 26 with twelve zeros and let’s face it, that money had to have gone somewhere in the last 5 years. Well we all know it didn’t show up in the trailer parks of America, nor did it show up on Main Street. Hourly wages are not higher, middle class household incomes have fallen back to 1984 levels and once again, no-one is saving. So where did it go? Well stocks went back up from around 6,000 during the depth of the financial crisis to 15,258 this Friday afternoon at the closing or 2-1/2 times what it was 5 years ago. Hmmm that’s what I’d call sky-rocketing. And guess what…over that same time period there is a near-perfect correlation between a higher S&P 500 and the expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet. Coincidence? Don’t think so.

So when the financial stocks in the StockMarket instantly lost momentum (some called it nose diving) almost immediately after the Tapering announcement, Bernanke’s wise men and women, decided they’d made a mistake to be so open about it and went into damage control mode to rectify that statement after the weekend and reassure the market’s stakeholders, that they would stimulate with QE Infinite until the economic numbers become satisfactory for economic growth.  And of course with a little sputtering the market stabilized nicely during the week.

Now since investors, at least some of them, are not completely given to rational idiocy, some looked up long enough to realize that the real economic output and unemployment figures indicated, that just maybe the economy was not really picking up steam. After all it’s pretty safe to say and widely accepted that unemployment numbers are so politically massaged that these days a father of 4 with a 10 hour per week job is now counted as fully employed in the numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This has created a certain reluctance to get back into stocks, so time for some extra political reassurance in the form of the election of Bernanke’s successor as Chairman of the Federal Reserve in January. More on that below as it shows the incestuous relationship between Washington and Wall Street.
So what are the consequences we’re looking at as a result of the announcement that the Feds will continue to pour $85 billion in cash and/or guarantees into the economy every month?
No don’t worry, no sermon here. I have given up on talking hyper inflation in our future or protection in the form of precious metals. If you haven’t seen that picture yet, you haven’t been to a grocery store in the last 12 months or read about how Chinese Women are buying up the world’s gold reserves, while the prices dip.

Enlarge Click

No, what we’re really looking at is that Wall Street is following the road where politics went over a decade ago. To explain: At one point in our democratic history, politics was a tug of war to keep the balance of various lifestyles in check with humanitarian progress principles. Every political denomination would get some of their wishes fulfilled over time. Excessive swings to one side were unacceptable as a norm , so new leadership usually corrected excess often quietly, without too much fanfare. Those were the decades that this country was widely admired and respected in the world for its ability to create prosperity, liberty, progress and some semblance of justice.

However, since the Bush the Younger era of “if you’re not with us than you’re against us‘ – a stance effectively adopted by Obama’s Demopublicans as well, things have changed dramatically. Politics now operate openly without any consideration for the well-being of the constituents. Take the current Stand-off between the White House and The Republicans on as a blatant example of this.

Wall Street, never having displayed too much consideration for Main Street America or the middle class is now doing the same in disregarding us and without any consideration for economic principles. Well, maybe I should put a bit more nuance into that statement. Wall Street and Washington now openly profess their incestuous relationship based on greed and gluttony, and I hate to say: Get away with it! One Dictionary.com definition of an Incestuous Relationship reads: “being so close or intimate as to prevent proper functioning”, in essence an incestuous relationship between ‘organized crime’ and government.

Why this comparison?

Is there anybody out there who has followed the fiscal policy dealmaking recently in who’s going to follow up Ben Bernanke as the chairman of the Federal Reserve. If so then you would have noticed how frontrunner candidate Larry Summers threw in the towel this week in favor of current Vice Chairwoman of the Feds, Janet Yellen. Besides the fact that this was an obvious smokescreen orchestrated by Wall Street, I’m not going to bore you with all the pros and cons, or even why I didn’t consider Summers a stellar candidate either, but if you’re interested in the markets or have a need to protect your nest eggs, you may want to Google the names and learn a bit more about what they stand for.

For starters, on Wall Street Yellen is considered a “dove”, who’s fiscal policies will strongly focus on stimulating employment, no matter the continual erosion of the Dollar. In other words she will pretty much guarantee a continuation of Bernanke’s ‘stimulus until the bitter end‘ plan.

Car Salesmen or Economic Indicators?

No surprise therefore that under these conditions many investors smell a bull market so alienated from real life economic values, that it will blow-off its top at some point, but without having a clue when exactly that will occur. Betting on a bullish run is betting that:

1. there really is no significant economic recovery,
2. consequently the Feds will keep stimulating at the rate of $1 trillion or more a year, money that is produced out of thin air
3. All this cash becoming available will go to speculation (as it has in the past 5 years) and
4. the ultimate summit of speculation is the Stock Market.

So, the bullish bet is now expected to get larger than life. It becomes a huge gamble and gamblers need to know when to get in the car and get out of Dodge, before they’re overrun by the ensuing panic. Compare it to Russian Roulette or imagine yourself on the wrong end of Dirty Harry’s .44 Magnum when he queries: “Do you feel Lucky? Well do ya punk?”

To phrase it in my own beach bum lingo: “Are you on crash alert or is the wind blowing through your hair so fierce that it impairs your hearing and causes a blurred vision?”

With the Feds unfolding a new safety net under the market, you may want to party like it’s ‘1999′, but remember that when the lights go out (and they will) everyone will be rushing for the exit doors where body piles of early victims will make it impossible for you to get out.

In closing consider this: The more the Federal Reserve intervenes, the more dependent the economy becomes, and the harder it gets to exit. The Feds say they will head for the door when the numbers improve… but that has now been revealed as unrealistic, because as soon as they make a move to the exit, the numbers will collapse.

And that’s pure human behavior, just ask croupiers and dealers in Las Vegas. Gamblers do not walk away from a winning table. They stay at the table… and go right to the end… from the blow-off to the blow-up.

Here I am, I’m 50 Years Old

Here I am, I'm 50 Years OldThis has been a reflective year for me. Our youngest has moved into a college dorm. We are empty nesters, and I am celebrating my 50th birthday September 28th.

The day before my birthday I was sitting in the Publix parking lot with our dog while my husband went in to find something quick for lunch. It’s not really a search for something quick; it has become a Friday lunch routine and I knew just what he’d return with to eat.

As I mindlessly watched the lot’s traffic flow, cars pulling into empty spaces and then pulling out, I heard a horn and looked up to see an elderly couple park into the spot facing me. I watched as they appeared to move in slow motion, turning off the car, opening the car door, getting out of the car, getting a box out of the back seat of the car, closing the car door, and then locking the Mercedes station wagon’s doors. They had an automated appearance and barely spoke to one another. He was nicely dressed and she carried a Vera Bradley purse on her arm, the same green pattern my daughter once carried. Crossing to the sidewalk for an obvious trip to the UPS Store, she waited patiently on the other side, as he shuffled so slowly across the road to catch up with her.

I turned my neck to see if my husband was returning yet, he was not.

Looking around the parking lot I witnessed a young woman drop her purchases onto the asphalt while a young man passed. As I sat in my car, I could tell he pretended not to see her, never looking up from his cell phone. Society is always evolving and just a few years ago, there’d have been no phone in his hand, no place for him to hide. No, just a few years ago he’d have helped her pick up the items sprawled, smiled and continued on his journey into the grocery store. I quietly chuckled to myself, understanding perhaps what my elders had already learned.

I glanced again towards the entrance for my husband, he still had not exited the store. Then I noticed the same elderly couple who obviously finished mailing their box and were moving slowly towards Publix. The woman once again was a few steps ahead of her mate.

I noticed nearly everyone going in and out of the store was older than me and it reminded me of something I had once read; I don’t know who the original author is:

And Then it is Winter

You know… time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years. It seems just yesterday that I was young, just married and embarking on my new life with my mate. Yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went. I know that I lived them all. I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams.

But, here it is… the winter of my life and it catches me by surprise. How did I get here so fast? Where did the years go and where did my youth go? I remember well seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that winter was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like.

But, here it is… my friends are retired and getting grey… they move slower and I see an older person now. Some are in better and some worse shape than me but, I see the great change. Not like the ones that I remember who were young and vibrant… but, like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we’d be. Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target for the day! And taking a nap is not a treat anymore… it’s mandatory! Cause if I don’t on my own free will… I just fall asleep where I sit!

And so… now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did! But, at least I know, that though the winter has come, and I’m not sure how long it will last… this I know, that when it’s over on this earth… it’s over. A new adventure will begin!

Yes, I have regrets. There are things I wish I hadn’t done… things I should have done, but indeed, there are many things I’m happy to have done. It’s all in a lifetime.

So, if you’re not in your winter yet… let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think. So, what ever you would like to accomplish in your life please do it quickly! Don’t put things off too long! Life goes by quickly. So, do what you can today, as you can never be sure whether this is your winter or not! You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life… so, live for today and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember and hope that they appreciate and love you for all the things that you have done for them in all the years past!

“Life” is a gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after. Make it a fantastic one.

I glance around another time for my husband and here come the elderly couple, living in their winter season, returning to their car. I giggle aloud knowing that even with their slow movement, they have still completed their errands faster than my husband.

Once again I am reminded that I’m about to turn 50. I am reminded of hope and the dreams we made for “once the kids are out of the house”. I think of things I still want to do and am thankful I am still physically able to do them.

While my grandson may think 50 is old, “I am not old,” 50 is the Indian Summer of life!

My husband returns to the car and I ask him, “What took you so long?”

He answers, “The store was full of old people.”

Affordable Care Act has Lower than Expected Premiums

Affordable Care Act has Lower than Expected PremiumsSignificant choice and lower than expected premiums available in the new Health Insurance Marketplace

Washington DC – A new report released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finds that in state after state, consumers will see increased competition in the Health Insurance Marketplace, leading to new and affordable choices for consumers. According to the report, consumers will be able to choose from an average of 53 health plans in the Marketplace, and the vast majority of consumers will have a choice of at least two different health insurance companies – usually more. Premiums nationwide will also be around 16 percent lower than originally expected – with about 95 percent of eligible uninsured live in states with lower than expected premiums – before taking into account financial assistance.

“We are excited to see that rates in the Marketplace are even lower than originally projected,” said Secretary Sebelius. “In the past, consumers were too often denied or priced-out of quality health insurance options, but thanks to the Affordable Care Act consumers will be able to choose from a number of new coverage options at a price that is affordable.”

In less than a week, the new Marketplace will be open for business where millions of Americans can shop for and purchase health insurance coverage in one place. Consumers will be able to find out whether they qualify for premium assistance and compare plans side-by-side based on pricing, quality and benefits. No one can be denied coverage because of a preexisting condition. October 1 marks the beginning of a six-month long open enrollment period that runs through March 2014. Coverage begins as early as January 1, or in about 100 days.

This report finds that individuals in the 36 states where HHS will fully or partly run the Marketplace will have an average of 53 qualified health plan choices. Plans in the Marketplace will be categorized as either “gold,” “silver,” or “bronze,” depending on the share of costs covered. Young adults will also have the option of purchasing a “catastrophic” plan, increasing their number of choices to 57 on average. About 95 percent of consumers will have a choice of two or more health insurance issuers, often many more. About 1 in 4 of these insurance companies is offering health plans in the individual market for the first time in 2014, a sign of healthy competition.

The report also gives an overview of pricing and the number of coverage options across the nation. It finds that the average premium nationally for the second lowest cost silver plan will be $328 before tax credits, or 16 percent below projections based off of Congressional Budget Office estimates. About 95 percent of uninsured people eligible for the Marketplace live in a state where their average premium is lower than projections. And states with the lowest premiums have more than twice the number of insurance companies offering plans than states with the highest premiums.

Premium and plan options are broken down by state where information is available. For example, the report shows that a 27-year old living in Dallas who makes $25,000 per year will pay $74 per month for the lowest cost bronze plan and $139 per month for the lowest cost silver plan, taking into account tax credits. And he or she will be able to choose from among 43 qualified health plans. For a family of four in Dallas with an income of $50,000 per year, the lowest bronze plan would cost only $26 per month, taking into account tax credits. The majority (around 6 out of 10) of the people uninsured today will be able to find coverage for $100 or less per month in the Marketplace, taking into account premium tax credits and Medicaid coverage.

Consumers can get help finding Marketplace coverage through a number of different resources. They can get more information through HealthCare.gov, or cuidadodesalud.gov. Consumers can participate in online web chats or call 1-800-318-2596 toll free (TTY: 1-855-889-4325) to speak with trained customer service representatives, with translation services available in 150 languages.

Community health centers, Navigators and other assisters are available in local communities to provide in-person help with coverage choices. Local libraries will help consumers learn about their options and hundreds of Champions for Coverage, which are public and private organizations all across the country, are helping people learn about their options and enroll in affordable coverage.

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Soldiers’ Angel on Watch, Chapter 21

Soldiers' Angel on Watch, Chapter 21Soldiers’ Angel on Watch: Memoirs and Travel of a Country Parson Into War Zones, was written by Mike Dykes an ordained minister and veteran pastor of 43 years. Mike has been with the Armed Forces in the Morale Wellness and Recreation Department in Iraq and Afghanistan to become that Angel on Watch for the soldiers.

Here is Chapter 21:

My Education in Gratefulness

The old saying, “You don’t miss the water until the well runs dry,” just became a reality here on our base. I awoke to a dry well, literally. We depend on outside sources for our water supply because we are a small encampment. When the source in interrupted, as in the case right now, you realize how vulnerable we are over here, and are at the mercy of our host country.

I took a ‘soldier bath’ before reporting for duty which was a bottled water bath, and was thankful to have a bottle of water to do so. I’m sure something will be done to correct the escalating problem ASAP, but in the mean time, we will just have to endure the smell.

Even in a war zone one can get spoiled, and another old saying comes to mind, “It could always be worse.”

What I’m trying to say to all you back home is, “Go about today with a grateful heart, and take a little inventory of what you have as opposed to what you don’t.” For so long I tried to appreciate life and all the liberties I had before coming abroad and seeing how most of the world lives, oppressed and in poverty. America truly has been heaven on earth, and I just did not know it fully, until being deployed overseas these last few years.

I took for granted the soldiers who paid the ultimate price in the two world wars and conflicts every since. Freedom is not cheap. However, being here with these brave men and women has made me acutely aware of how precious our liberties really are. Do you want to know the real facts and the bottom line? America is still the greatest nation on earth.

Don’t let current conditions, or the threat of our demise cause you to lose faith in our God. We are still far better off than most of the rest of humanity. Do yourself a favor and let today be the beginning of the rest of your life to appreciate family, church and liberty while you can. Because, trust me, you can wake up like me, to a dry well.

This is your paster friend and soldiers’ angel on watch.
God bless you and God bless America. Bro. Mike

Soldiers’ Angel on Watch is available in soft or hard copy for only $25.16 and FREE shipping within the continental United States. Please email publisher@searchamelia.com for more information.

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Ben Franklin Gets a Long-awaited Facelift

The Benjy, Hundy, C-Note, Big One may finally get its long promised update on October 8, if the Federal Bureau of Engraving and Printing gets its act together and stops blundering the $100 bill into another taxpayer debacle.

The new $100 bill was supposed to go into circulation on February 2011 and now 32 months later, another snag in the form of a printing error called “mashing” has send the initial batch of 30 million bills to the bonfire.

Remember Kindergarten when you were “forced” to paint within the lines of an object with water colors and too large of a paintbrush? Well that is what happens when “mashing” occurs, too much paint on the paper and lines become blurry instead of crisp where different colors meet. Kind of the Mistake 101 for a schooled printer.

In any case, $3 billion dollars in $100 bills went to the fire pit and the bill goes to the taxpayer. To add insult to injury, it turns out that another $30 billion in paper (300 million $100 bills) is awaiting examination and the Feds are adamant that they will not accept any hundred dollar notes from the Washington DC plant (the culprit) until further notice as the October 8 deadline rapidly approaches.

The financial ramification in terms of pure cost to the taxpayer is a bit hard to come by since both the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department have little incentive to calculate this, but as an economist I have a keen interest in understanding that it is not really the direct cost of paper and printing that determines the cost of a $100 note, it is exponentially more effected by the cost of government incompetence as taxpayers pay for everything from inspecting, correcting, producing, transporting and securing/incinerating all the botched notes as well as the new notes to replace them, plus….the additional hours spent making up for mistakes by employees of the Bureau for Engraving and Printing. This of course is on top of the proud admittance by the Feds that more than a decade of research went into the new design!!!

Why does it take so long to correct things on Government levels?

We all have heard about the atrocities in filing at the Veteran’s Bureau and the enormous delays of Social Security claims, so much that Law Offices have made it a profit center. We know that any statistic coming out of the Bureau of Labor Statistics is massaged into a politician’s wet dream and we should know by now that Richard Nixon’s decision to take the US dollar off the gold standard in 1971 was going to make our currency value dependent on how much trust we “the People” have in government’s competence and honesty to serve and guide us in our pursuit for Life, Liberty and Happiness. Two things stand in the way of governments performing in the interest of the people: the power of institutionalized incompetence and the ingrained disrespect for opposing political views.

As I said, the new $100 bill, reportedly the most widely circulated note in the US currency system (inflation anyone?), was supposed to go into circulation on February 10 of 2011. A printing snafu that put a blank spot on the note prevented that and delayed introduction by apparently no less than 32 months. Then in October of 2012 thieves stole what was termed “a large amount” of newly designed $100 bills somewhere between Philadelphia and a Federal Reserve facility in New Jersey. Apparently these notes were printed correctly, but were not intended to go into circulation until October 8 this year.

Since no clarity was ever provided on the exact amount that was stolen- the FBI called it substantial-  and I can’t find any mention of catching the thieves or recovering the bills since, here is an assumption: In the bigger scheme of things the theft was indeed substantial but not big enough to trigger the need for a design correction. And some people are going to be very rich come October 8, which can easily be waved off as trickle up economics or unaccounted as “foreign aid”. I think it was Egypt desperately looking for $30 billion in aid from Russian President Putin earlier in April this year. Imagine the traitors, after all the billions we have given to support them over the years!

Lest we prefer to ignore current circumstances with our heads in the sand, we know that we have landed in a global scenario where everything Wall Street/Washington has become “way too big to fail.” The stake holders in the triad of power, politics and  pecuniary interests see no difference in Bernanke guaranteeing monthly treasury incentives of up to $85 billion in “QE infinity” to prop up a failing economy or organized theft of currency shipments to stake a ruling claim in another nation. Iran-Contra is just one historic example and a rather innocent one in the stakes currently facing the world.

But Anyway….with a nod to the Blues Traveler concert at TCP Sawgrass Friday evening, if you are interested in the looks and development of the new $100 note, there is an entire website devoted to it.

Beach Talk on Amelia Island

This young Eagle Came to Visit us the Other Day

When renewing our business license for the Inn, the pamphlet below came from the city of Fernandina Beach with the request to post it in all rooms of our Inn. As a reminder I’d like to share the content with you as I walk a stretch of the beach early every morning and notice how much debris and structures are carelessly left behind. This pamphlet focuses on the health and well-being of the endangered turtle population, but includes of course the entire beach eco-environment. Having literally lived on the beach for the past two years I am equally appalled and surprised about what people leave on the beach. I’m not talking about your every day beer can or empty wine bottle. I’m talking about people who have adopted such a spoiled lifestyle that they simply leave pop-up tents, canapes, bicycles, beach chairs, garbage bags, shoes, fishing gear and other debris such as body lotions, left over food. After a day in the sun they don’t feel like cleaning up after themselves and simply leave.

In a nauseating way it sometimes reminds me of that WallStreet yup years ago when I lived in New York, who emptied all his pocket change into a garbage can, and as the coins clanged into the metal can, he grimaced at a homeless guy sitting ten feet away on the sidewalk.

I have no idea why some people leave perfectly good chairs and tents on the beach but it is disturbing. Also disturbing is that beach goers dig holes in the sand (I mean deep holes) and don’t smooth the surface out when they leave. I cannot count the times that guests bruise knees and ankles when taking an evening walk on the beach.

In any case I liked the pamphlet attached and would like to share its contents with you. Still one question left however after reading this: state law requires the lights to be dimmed for turtle season until November 30, but the pamphlet says October 31. Which law prevails?

Autumn Springs Fall Produce at the Farmers Market

Autumn Springs Fall Produce at the Farmers MarketAutumn is a welcome relief from the summer heat at the Fernandina Beach Market Place farmers market on Amelia Island, Florida. As the weather changes, so does the local produce. Fall and winter bring back some of our favorite vegetables including beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chinese cabbage, collards, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustards, onions, parsley, peas, potatoes, radish, spinach, turnips and a few strawberry varieties according to the University of Florida IFAS (Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences) Extension.

Visiting your local farmers market you can expect to find these and many other delicious treats including prepared, frozen dinners made by My Personal Chef, and season packets in a wide variety of flavors from Dips2Go.

ARS Cake Creations bring a wonderful selection of homemade jams created to confuse your taste buds with both sweet and hot flavors combined in a single jar. Trying their samples is a “Must Do” on Saturday mornings.

Rudy, of Maria’s Bakery, is a staple on N. 7th Street and has a huge local following here in Fernandina Beach. Freshly baked breads include an assortment of pita breads, calzones, cookies, focaccia topped with jalapenos or black olives, and so much more.

Micah’s Place, Nassau County’s domestic abuse shelter, will be joining us at the Market Place to kick off October which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and just across Centre Street, the Seventh Street Gallery will be open during our market hours with a show featuring a delightful “Who’s Who” of local artists.

The downtown Fernandina Beach Market Place farmers’ market is open on Saturdays, year ’round, rain or shine, from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. For more information please visit www.FernandinaBeachMarketPlace.com, find them on facebook or call (904) 557-8229.

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2013 Local Authors Market Place

2013 Local Authors Market PlaceIt is time for the 3rd Anniversary of the Local Authors Market Place. This FREE event is fun for the entire family!

Dozens of authors will be at the festival including two featured authors. Wendy Wax who wrote While we were Watching Downton Abbey, and Ken Burger, Salkehatchie Soup.

The Local Authors Market Place will be held on Saturday, September 28th at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

One Hour Workshops:

    Getting Started (10:15 am) – Presented by Cara Curtin Local Author and News Paper Columnist will cover on how to begin writing your book.
    Publish Your Book (11:30 am)- “High Pitched Hum” Publisher & Author Bill Reynolds will be available to give pointers and answer any questions about publishing your book.
    Historical Novels with a Twist (12:45) – Presented by Pamela Bauer Mueller Author of “Splendid Isolation” will cover how to write and research a historical Novels with a twist.
    Writing Books for Fun, Fame and Fortune (2:00 pm) – Presented by Rik Feeney Author of “Writing Books for Fun, Fame and Fortune” will cover how to write and teach how to reach all three.
    Ten Mistakes (3:15 pm) – Editing workshop by Emily Carmain of Noteworthy Editing will cover the aspects of editing and the TEN most common mistakes.

…and for the kids, Darrell House will be performing two shows at 11:30 and 2:30, where he will be telling his stories and singing songs to the kids.

Sonny’s Real Pit Bar-B-Q is the food vendor and will be serving sandwiches, salads and a variety of refreshments. Proceeds support The Family Resource Center of Nassau County.

On Sunday, September 29th, there will be an author luncheon at Joe’s 2nd Street Bistro. Seating is limited and tickets are available at Books Plus on Centre Street.

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Let Baby Set the Delivery Date

Let Baby Set the Delivery DateWe tend to think of pregnancy as lasting for 9 months. But ideally it should last for nearly 10 months. Research shows that babies are born healthier if they have at least 39 weeks to grow in the womb.

In recent years, there’s been a trend toward earlier deliveries, as more women are choosing the date they’ll give birth. This is known as an elective delivery. Studies suggest that the number of elective deliveries rose dramatically from 1990 to the mid-2000s.

If there’s a particular medical reason to deliver early, then it’s best not to wait, says Dr. Catherine Spong, a pregnancy expert at NIH. “But if the mother and baby are healthy, there’s no benefit to delivering the baby early,” she says. In fact, delivering early can create lasting health problems. Even women of advanced maternal age, older than 35, should wait until at least 39 weeks unless there are medical reasons to deliver early.

“We’ve gotten to the point where people feel they can choose the timing of their delivery,” says Spong. “But in reality, that baby, in the last 4 weeks of pregnancy, is doing a huge amount of developing.”

Those last few weeks can make a big difference. At 39 to 40 weeks of pregnancy, a baby’s brain weighs one-third more than it does at 35 weeks. The lungs and liver also continue to develop up to 39 weeks. And those last few weeks allow time for layers of fat to grow under the baby’s skin, which helps keep the infant warm after birth.

Studies have found a greater risk of serious medical complications—such as dangerous bloodstream infections and breathing and feeding problems—in babies born before 39 weeks of gestation. “While there are risks to every pregnancy, the risks to the baby are higher if all organs are not completely developed,” Spong says.

One NIH-funded study looked at more than 13,000 women who gave birth by elective cesarean delivery (C-section) at 37 weeks or later. The babies delivered at 37 weeks were twice as likely as those born at 39 weeks to have complications—such as difficulty breathing, heart problems and seizures—that usually require time in a neonatal intensive care unit.

Moms who choose to give birth early may also face their own health challenges. They have a greater chance of postpartum (after childbirth) depression; stronger, more frequent contractions during labor; and an increased chance of needing a C-section. Women who have a C-section have a greater risk of infection and a longer recovery time than women who’ve had a vaginal birth.

“Know the true due date of pregnancy and get prenatal care early,” Spong advises.

A woman’s body will go into labor when the baby is ready to enter the world, she says. “By letting that baby get born at term, you’re improving the lifelong health of that baby.”

Article contributers: New in Health NIH; Managing Editor: Harrison Wein, Ph.D.; Editor: Vicki Contie; Contributors: Vicki Contie, Alan Defibaugh (illustrations) and Dana Steinberg.

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Value Adjustment Board Receiving Reduced Number of Petitions

Value Adjustment Board Receiving Reduced Number of PetitionsNassau County, FL – According to the Nassau County Property Appraiser’s Office, there has been a significant reduction in petition filings with the Value Adjustment Board (VAB) for 2013, thanks in part to greater communication between the appraiser’s office and property owners.

If property owners do not agree with their classification, exemption, or property value, they have the right to file a petition with the Value Adjustment Board within 25 days from the time the notice of proposed property taxes were mailed. The filing deadline this year was September 10th.

Property Appraiser Mike Hickox explains that he and his staff met with many property owners to help them better understand their value. “Many of them just wanted to know how we determined the value,” said Hickox. “Even after the deadline, we would still like property owners to call if they have questions concerning their value or exemption.”

“The petition process is a good way for us to measure our performance,” said Chief Deputy Kevin Lilly. “A greater number of petitions obviously means we are missing the mark somewhere. We are continuously working to be equitable around the county.”

This year, about 145 VAB petitions were filed with the Nassau County Clerk’s office, a sizable difference compared to the 425 petitions filed last year.

Hickox says he is pleased with the decreased number of petitions filed and commended his staff for working so hard. Hickox continued, “We will always have tax reps filing on properties before they review their clients value.”

The next step will be the exchanging of evidence and hearings with the Special Magistrate, who will then make recommendations to the Nassau County Value Adjustment Board.

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