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Acappella Doo Wop Concert Featuring Blend

Acappella Doo Wop Concert Featuring BlendThere will be a Doo-Wop concert featuring the acappella group Blend to get your New Year celebrations off to an early start.

Two performances will be held on Monday, December 30, 2013, at Fernandina Little Theatre, at 4:00 and 8:00 PM.

This Illinois-based, acappella Doo-Wop group brings back hits from the 50s and 60s with a twist of fun.

Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Advance tickets can be purchased at The UPS Store in the Fernandina Beach Publix shopping center.

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Farmers Market Says Goodbye to 2013

Farmers Market Says Goodbye to 2013As the year comes to an end, it is time to reflect on the positive lessons we’ve learned and look forward to a brand new beginning. For many, this means making resolutions to eat healthier and lose weight, and there is no better place to get started than at your local farmers’ market.

The Fernandina Beach Market Place, located on N. 7th Street, in historic Fernandina, is open every Saturday from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. This is a family and pet friendly environment where friends and neighbors catch up on light gossip and share news about their families while shopping in the fresh air among a variety of natural, organic and homemade products.

We don’t have antiques, imported T-shirts or used toys for sale, just good old fashioned family-favorite recipes handmade by members of our community like cupcakes, cookies, jams, jellies, pickles, and ethnic specialties. Some sell organic soaps, and others bring healthy plants to sell, and we have real farmers trying to make an honest living by growing their own seasonal produce like lettuce, kale, squash, winter tomatoes, cabbage and more.

Our featured non-profit booth will be The Women’s Center of Jacksonville, who also serves Nassau County residents. The Rape Recovery Team responds quickly and compassionately to survivors of sexual violence, 24/7, at (904) 721-7273. They serve ALL victims of sexual violence through advocacy, support and education, women and men, ages 12 and older, regardless of abilities, sexual orientation or gender identity.

This end of the year market we will be celebrating the talents of our local musicians, so bring your instrument and a chair, and sit in for a spell; you’re sure to enjoy the Fernandina fanfare during our Community Jam Session, which is quickly becoming one of our most requested entertainment!

Whether you are entertaining out of town relatives, or spending a quiet holiday alone this year, we invite you to join us downtown as we say, “Goodbye” to 2013; many of our neighbors say the atmosphere of the farmers’ market reminds them “why” they chose to move here in the first place!

For more information, please find us on facebook, visit our website at FernandinaBeachMarketPlace.com or call (904) 557-8229.

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Reindeer Monologues is a Dark Christmas Comedy

Reindeer Monologues is a Dark Christmas ComedyLooking for a way to entertain your adult company this holiday season? Check out The Eight: Reindeer Monologues, a dark, dark Christmas comedy.

The performances take place December 27th & 28th at 10:00pm.

Written by Jeff Goode, this is a story of scandal erupting at the North Pole when one of Santa’s eight tiny reindeer accuses him of sexual harassment.

As mass media descends upon the event, the other members of the sleigh team demand to share their perspectives, and a horrific tale of corruption and perversion emerges, which seems to implicate everyone from the littlest elf to the tainted Saint himself.

With each deer’s confession, the truth behind the shocking allegations becomes clearer and clearer – and murkier and murkier.

(Not suitable for children)

The Cast
Dasher- Jeff Goldberg
Dancer – Jennifer McCarthy
Prancer- Don Harley
Vixen – Rachel Tyler
Comet – Linzy Kennedy
Cupid- Jason Uhlig
Donner – Sue Weiner
Blitzen – Jan Cote Merow

Will Friffith will be performing his stand-up comedy routine as the opening act to Amelia Musical’s Playhouse production of The Eight: Reindeer Monologues.

This is an OPEN HOUSE event so you can see the progress of the Playhouse (no tickets required).

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Les DeMerle Jazz Quartet Booked Again on Celebrity

The Dynamic Les DeMerle Jazz Quartet featuring vocalist Bonnie Eisele, have been booked once again with Celebrity Cruises.

You know their talent will have toes tapping, bodies swaying and guests singing along to the sounds of original arrangements of jazz classics, standards, Latin, Blues, show tunes and more played with passion and expertise aboard two amazing Celebrity vessels on several awe inspiring itineraries.

Are you looking to do something different this winter? Why not consider the warm hospitality of Celebrity cruises and join them aboard the gorgeous Celebrity Solstice and/or Eclipse?

On each cruise, as part of the Celebrity Life Activities® Series, Les will offer his fun and informative Big Band Talk/DVD Presentation highlighting his work of 12 years with the great Harry James Orchestra and his performances accompanying Frank Sinatra and other jazz luminaries.

sydney-melbourneThe quartet will also invite the Celebrity Orchestra horn section to join them for an evening of Big Band music with special Les DeMerle Band arrangements of big band classics including some given to Les by the great Harry James, himself.

November 4, 2013 through February 21, 2014

The Dynamic Les DeMerle Jazz Quartet Featuring Bonnie Eisele has once again joined the amazing Celebrity Solstice.

They are entertaining aboard nine 12-18 night cruises with their swingin’ sounds on an adventurous itinerary in Australia exploring up to 6 Aussie ports with overnights in vibrant Sydney and visiting or cruising through as many as 12 destinations in beautiful, neighboring New Zealand.

many-portsMay 10, 2014 Through September 4, 2014

Joining the beautiful Celebrity Eclipse the Quartet will spend another summer in Europe sailing in the Mediterranean, Scandinavia, Baltic, Iceland, Russia and the Norwegian Fjords on nine 8 -14 night cruises.

They will depart out of Southampton, England, and explore romantic ports in Spain, France, Italy, Gibraltar, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Norway while enjoying one overnight in Reykjavik, Iceland and two overnights in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Come for the Jazz, for the fun, the sun, the sights and the adventure!

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Registration Open for 10th Annual Katie Ride for Life

Registration Open for 10th Annual Katie Ride for LifeRegistration is now open for the 10th Annual Katie Ride. The ride is April 12, 2014, but discounted fees will apply until January 13th, and this is a great last minute stocking stuffer!

Presented by Mayo Clinic, the 10th Annual Katie Ride is April 12th and we’re hoping you’ll participate!

This year’s ride will again cater to cyclists of all abilities and includes 18, 36 and 62 mile rides plus the ever popular 100 mile Century Ride which begins on Amelia Island, Florida winds through historic Amelia Island Plantation, Big and Little Talbot Islands, Ft. Caroline, and the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve.

A total of nine islands!

For recreational riders and families we offer an off-road, heavily forested tour and a Fun Ride of various lengths on the tree canopied roads of Ft. Clinch State Park. The 5K and 10K Katie Walks include routes through Ft. Clinch and the island’s stunning Main Beach.

Known for its 13 miles of pristine beaches and historic and charming downtown with boutiques, antique stores, restaurants and cafes, Amelia Island has made Conde Nast Traveler’s “Top 10 Islands in North America” list for the 7th straight year and recently was included on Coastal Living’s list of “Top 10 Best Little Beach Towns”.

Your support increases the organizations ability to spread their mission aboutt organ donor education and to increase the number of registered organ donors and eliminate the wait for individuals who are in need of a transplant.

In 2004 the Katie Caples Foundation partnered with LifeQuest Organ Recovery Services to implement an organ donor educational program. LifeQuest is the area’s organ procurement organization serving 36 counties in northern Florida and utilizes the nationally acclaimed Decision:Donation program developed by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services to educate high school students on the impact of organ donor registration.

This program has reached more than 90,000 students since 2005. And in the last year alone, Katie Caples Foundation educators have reached more than 18,000 potential donor registrants.

With over 120,000 people in need of a lifesaving organ transplant they have set some ambitious educational goals for the coming year!

People are Waiting. Life is Waiting.

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Last Chance Farmers Market Before Christmas

Last Chance Farmers Market Before ChristmasIf you need to pick up some fresh baked cookies for Santa Claus before he comes down your chimney next week, this will be your last chance to visit the farmers market in downtown Fernandina Beach, Florida, before Christmas! Join us on N. 7th Street and fill your bags with purple eggplants, crispy cabbages, seasonal squash, savory onions, winter tomatoes and more.

Let me tell you a bit about just a few of our vendors:

JD Beef offers all natural farm fresh Angus beef. Their beef is all natural from free range cows. There are no steroids, no hormones and no antibiotics.

Great Harvest Bread Company is a local bakery offering fresh breads with five simple ingredients: flour, water, fresh yeast, salt and something sweet – usually a local honey.

Bacons Select Produce brings hydroponically grown lettuce with the roots still attached. This means you are getting fresh lettuce that will last longer in your refrigerator.

Amelia Pasta brings homemade pastas in some pretty creative flavors. My favorite is the sweet potato, but others enjoy Orange Szechuan, Wild Mushroom and even gluten free pastas.

My Personal Chef is bring customer favorites for the holidays including Meatloaf, Authentic Italian Meatballs, Baked Eggplant Parmesan, Shrimp Kabobs and more. With time consuming holiday meals coming out of your own kitchen, why not take a night off and enjoy a delicious entree from their’s.

Shepperd’s pepper jelly give away ends this Saturday. Simply put your name and phone number in the basket, and if you win, you receive a decorative basket with your choice of three jars of pepper jelly.

Oh, I could go on and on about our nearly 40 fabulous vendors and the natural and organic products they bring week after week to offer our community the finest gifts from the Earth, but this newspaper only permits me to so much space.

Please join us this, and every Saturday, from 9:00 to 1:00 PM for the friendliest farmers’ market in Florida, the Fernandina Beach Market Place. For more information please visit FernandinaBeachMarketPlace.com, find us on facebook or call (904) 557-8229.

Merry Christmas!

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Pianist Francesco Attesti to Perform Locally

Pianist Francesco Attesti to Perform LocallyThe Rotary Club of Fernandina Beach is pleased to announce it will bring Italian classical concert Pianist Francesco Attesti to Amelia Island for a performance at 7 p.m. on Saturday, January 11 at St. Peters Episcopal Church in downtown Fernandina Beach.

Attesti, an internationally renowned performer, is considered one of the finest interpreters of both the Romantic and early Twentieth Century composers. Attesti’s repertoire includes such masters as Chopin, Bach, Mozart and Liszt as well as the music of Gershwin. Attesti performed in Fernandina last year to an enthusiastic crowd, and is pleased to return for another performance.

The event is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Fernandina Beach and VyStar Credit Union. All proceeds from the concert will go toward the Nassau Humane Society’s Capital Campaign to build a new animal shelter. To learn more about the Capital Campaign, visit www.nassauhumanesociety.com.

“We are honored to work with the Rotary Club of Fernandina Beach to such a bring prestigious performer as Francesco Attesti to our community in support of our important work to build a new shelter,” said Nassau Humane Society Executive Director Brandy Carvalho.

“The Rotary Club of Fernandina Beach is excited to welcome Francesco back to St. Peter’s for this benefit concert,” said Rotary Club of Fernandina Beach President Shannon Brown. “We are also very pleased to partner with the Nassau Humane Society to benefit their capital campaign. We feel that the way we treat and house our homeless animals is a direct reflection of the community to our neighbors, visitors and the world and are pleased to support their efforts. Our family has been lucky enough to benefit from the Humane Society’s services when we adopted our dog, Emma Lou, two years ago and we are also personally committed to giving back so other pets can find a forever home.”

The artist has been playing piano since the age of six and performed his first concert at 11. At 16, he was invited to attend the Masterclass at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria and later won numerous national and international piano competitions, including the Ibla Grand Prize International, F.I.D.A.P.A. Competition and the Rovere d’Oro.

In 2008, Attesti, in collaboration with the Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra of Prague, performed the Italian premiere of Chiavi in Mano by Pulitzer Prize winning composer Yehudi Wyner. He performs regularly in prestigious concert halls including the Philharmonia Hall of St. Petersburg, Russia, the Tchaikovsky Conservatory of Moscow, Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi in Milan, Italy, and at universities in the U.S. such as Columbia University in New York and the University of Denver. In addition, Attesti has recorded several CDs with various classical music labels such as Agora, and Max Research. His most recent recording was Feeling Chopin with the Drycastle label.

Tickets for the event are $50.00 per person and will be on sale in advance at Vystar Credit Union, Nassau Humane Society Second Chance and the NHS Dog Park.

For more information about the concert or to reserve tickets, visit www.nassauhumanesociety.com call Brandy Carvalho at (904) 491-1511.

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Handling Household Burns

Handling Household BurnsDo you know how to handle household burns? Accidental burns can happen just about anywhere in your home, and they’re not always caused by fire. You might get burned by spilling coffee in your lap, touching a hot iron, or misusing certain cleaning products.

Burns are skin or tissue damage, usually caused by heat. Burns can be caused by hot objects or liquid, fire, friction, the sun, electricity, or certain chemicals.

Each year, about a half-million people nationwide seek medical attention for burns. Household burns lead to nearly 7 of 10 admissions to burn centers. The good news is that the number of deaths from severe burns has dropped by more than half over the past 4 decades, in large part because of treatments developed through NIH-funded research.

The severity of a burn depends on the area it covers and how deep the damage goes. First-degree burns affect only the thin top layer of skin. Second-degree burns include the thick lower layer of skin. A third-degree burn is the most serious; it penetrates the entire thickness of the skin, permanently destroying it and the tissue that’s underneath.

You can care for most minor burns at home. If the burn is red and painful with mild swelling or little blistering, then it’s a first-degree or minor second-degree burn.

See a doctor if the burn is dark red and looks glossy with a lot of blistering. These are signs of a deep second-degree burn. Get immediate treatment if the burned skin is dry and leathery, perhaps with white, brown, or black patches. These are signs of third-degree burn.

Burns can become infected with bacteria or other germs if protective layers of skin are lost. Burns can also lead to painful inflammation, as your immune system shifts into gear.

“The immune system response is intended to limit the area of injury and to remove any bacteria,” says Dr. Ronald G. Tompkins, chief of the burn unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. “But sometimes this immune reaction can lead to further harm to the area damaged by the heat.” Proper burn care can help avoid additional damage.

Emergency treatment for third-degree and some second-degree burns may include a blood transfusion and/or extra fluids to help maintain blood pressure. Grafting—placing healthy skin on top of the burn wound—might help promote new skin growth.

Severe burns can lead to widespread inflammation, organ failure, and shock. This sometimes-deadly response can arise a week or two after the initial burn. But doctors can’t tell beforehand which patients might develop this extreme reaction. Tompkins and other NIH-funded scientists are looking for ways to predict and prevent shock and organ failure after burns or trauma.

You can take steps to avoid household burns. Never leave cooking food unattended on the stove. Set your water heater’s thermostat to 120 °F or lower to prevent scalding burns. And install smoke alarms on every floor of your home. Keep yourself and your family safe from unexpected burn injuries.

First Aid for minor burns:
-Immerse in fresh, cool water
-Apply cool compresses for 10-15 minutes.
-Dry the area with a clean cloth.
-Cover with sterile gauze or a non-adhesive bandage.
-Don’t apply ointments or butter; these may cause infection.
-Don’t break blisters.
-Over-the-counter pain medications may help reduce inflammation and pain.

Call emergency services (911) if:
-burns cover a large area of the body.
-burns affect the entire thickness of skin.
-the victim is an infant or elderly.
-the burn was caused by electricity, which can lead to “invisible” burns.

This article was written by the NIH News in Health.

Managing Editor: Harrison Wein, Ph.D.
Editor: Vicki Contie
Contributors: Vicki Contie, Alan Defibaugh (illustrations), Dana Steinberg, Carol Torgan, and Katherine Wendelsdorf.

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Baptist Medical Seeks Annexation into Fernandina

Baptist-Medical-Center-NassauFernandina Beach, FL – The City of Fernandina Beach is pleased to announce that Baptist Medical Center Nassau will be seeking annexation into the corporate limits of the City. On December 11, 2013, the Baptist Nassau Board of Directors voted unanimously to support the annexation of the entire hospital campus. The decision to annex recognizes the City’s capability and commitment to provide needed municipal services to support the hospital as it continues to grow.

It is an exciting time for Baptist Nassau as it continues to expand its facilities and healthcare options. Construction is underway for an $8 million three-story medical office building adjacent to the hospital and the expansion of its emergency room is now underway, as are other improvements to the medical center. The City and Baptist Nassau are enthusiastic about the future and look forward to working together to serve the needs of the community.

According to City Manager Joe Gerrity, “Both Baptist Nassau and the City provide essential services for city residents. This change will increase our ability to respond to community needs and further enhance our respective missions.”

For more information, please contact the City of Fernandina Beach City Manager’s Office at 904-310-3100, or email Marshall McCrary at dmccrary@fbfl.org. For information on Baptist Nassau, please visit www.baptistnassau.com.

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Why Everybody loves Christmas!!

the library christmas tree

This Library Christmas Tree Should Take me through a year of Reading

It is said that Everybody loves Christmas. Some of that comes from the surprise of the presents we get. Some of it comes from the togetherness with family and friends and some of it comes from the cozy atmosphere created in TV commercials and store windows.  But most of all it comes from a special spirit that envelopes us and makes Christmas so much as cherish all the presents and surprises, or so one would hope.

We all love presence, yet we don’t always like what is happening to us in the present. In the here and now. That may be a mistake. Your present time, your presence, is a gift to enjoy and make it last for the time that it is given. We should all be grateful that we are alive and given the opportunity to make the world a better place, Leave a lasting positive mark. So far this year no one went further with the spirit of surprising, than the good folks at WestJet Airlines as you can see in this video.

The greatest enemy to living in the moment and making things work for you are the memories of the past and the lingering hopes for the future, and things that happen in our mind that never actually occur. So many of us are bogged down by the bad things that have happened to us, and our mind set is that we remain a victim to those things that happened. You are only a victim as long as you allow yourself to be, or even worse, as long as you make yourself one.

There are people who revel in being a victim, because that’s all they’ve ever known, they are comfortable in their habits, and they have committed their lives to staying in misery as long as they live. Don’t be one of those people. Don’t be stuck milling over a painful world that you went through, and therefore have no future. And the other great enemy of your happiness is what can happen in the future. Some people live their lives dreaming of what might be that never comes. There are people who are living for the day they win that lottery, and every night they sit in front of the TV with great anticipation hoping that their numbers will come in, while their bills continue to mount. There is nothing wrong with playing the lottery, but meanwhile, getting a good job that will pay your bills is far more pragmatic.

Living must be an active process, and if you don’t keep up with it, it will take you down. Living is growing, changing, circulating your vitals and finding new worlds while you change the old ones. Living is actively getting off your butt and into the mess, learning, moving, becoming a force in yourself instead of being taken over by it.  Sit in that miserable job for years and accept that comfortable paycheck and one day you realize that life has passed you by. Stay in that miserable marriage without doing something about it and one day you realize that life is passing you by. Time waits for no man, and as time goes by, you suddenly see that you have wasted what could have been active choices and abundant living. You are only given your life once, and that’s why today is called “the present.” Take your present, unwrap it and enjoy it.

There is only one way to overcome the inheritance of a bad past or the hopeless end of a future that never comes, and that is to live in the “Now”, to enjoy the present in all its glory. In fact, it is only by living in the present that you have any power to make your life and the lives of those around you better. If you live in the past, you live in a world that no longer exists, except that you are giving the past power that it never had over you. By reliving it, it makes you and everyone around you miserable again with whatever it was that happened then, that makes you so unhappy. And if you live in the future, you definitely live in a world that doesn’t exist, and who knows what is going to happen then, although you can be pretty certain that it will not be what you think.

Living in the present gives you power to do something about your life and the lives of others around you. You can activate choice, and you can do it immediately. You can chose to motivate yourself, to move out into that cruel world and make it better. If you need to get a better job, now is the time. If you need to love your kids, now is the time. If you need to get a better understanding of life, now is the time. If you need to make amends with some of your friends, now is the time. If you need to enjoy their company, now is the time. If that car needs fixing, now is the time. If you need a better place to live, now is the time. If you need to get out of that unhappy relationship, now is the time. You are not going to live forever. In fact, the only thing you know for sure is that you are living right now. So start living!

What are you waiting for? To win the lottery? Are you waiting for your children to get better? Are you waiting for more money to fall from out of the sky, or for the moment when you will finally forget some poor memories, or for Prince Charming to come along on his horse and scoop you up and take you to his castle? Well, it’s not going to happen until you make it happen.

So make it happen! Stop whatever it is you’re doing for a moment and listen to the wind in the trees. Watch how they sway, how they enjoy the breeze, how they take in every moment without worry and enjoy their existence. Look at the clouds and see their glory: They revel in their existence. Listen to the people around you that are within earshot: Those are the people you need to interact with right now, those are the people who need your help or maybe just attention! Help them. Stop thinking about how you were such a victim in the past. Get into the present and grab your time. Don’t worry about what problems you might face in the future. Instead, take the Power of Now and influence that future to be in your favor by the choices you make today, right now. The greatest power of the present is its ability to influence the future by the choices you make today. So get into the present and decide what you want to do, what you need to do, and do it, NOW

Health Insurance Marketplace News

Health Insurance Marketplace NewsHere is a recent release from the government regarding health insurance news including Medicaid, CHIP and tax credits.

Six out of ten uninsured African Americans may be eligible for Medicaid, CHIP or tax credits in the Health Insurance Marketplace

95 percent of uninsured African Americans might qualify for lower costs on coverage if all states expanded Medicaid

According to a new report released by the Department of Health and Human Services, six out of ten (4.2 million) uninsured African Americans who may be eligible for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace might qualify for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or tax credits to help with the cost of premiums. If ALL states took advantage of new opportunities to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, 95 percent of uninsured African Americans who may be eligible for the Marketplace might qualify for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or tax credits to help with the cost of premiums.

“The health care law is working to address long standing disparities in health care coverage and improve the health of the African American community,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. “Through the Health Insurance Marketplace, 6.8 million uninsured African Americans have new options for affordable health coverage that covers a range of benefits, including important preventive services with no out-of-pocket costs.”

The report also details uninsurance rates by state and provides several examples of what premiums might look like for African Americans living in major metropolitan areas. One fifth of uninsured African American citizens and permanent residents live the greater Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and Detroit metropolitan areas. A 27-year-old in Atlanta with an income of $25,000 can pay as little as $105 a month for a bronze plan after applying the tax credit, while a family of four with an income of $50,000 could pay $148 a month for a bronze plan after applying the tax credit.

Nationwide, about 2 million uninsured African Americans may be eligible for coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

States have new opportunities to expand Medicaid coverage to include Americans with family incomes at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level (generally $31,322 for a family of four in 2013). This expansion includes adults without dependent children living at home, who have not previously been eligible in most states.

An additional 2.2 million eligible uninsured African American adults with family incomes below 100 percent of the federal poverty level live in states that are not expanding Medicaid. The number of uninsured African Americans who may be eligible for access to health coverage at a lower cost would increase from 60 to 95 percent if all states adopted the Medicaid expansion.

To read the report, visit: http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2013/UninsuredAfricanAmericans/ib_UninsuredAfricanAmericans.cfm

To learn more about the Health Insurance Marketplace, including to shop and enroll in coverage online, visit HealthCare.gov. You can also enroll by phone by calling our call center 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1 855-889-4325) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week where help is available in 150 languages, or you can find in-person help from certified assisters in your area by visiting localhelp.healthcare.gov/.

You can sign up for a health insurance plan through the Marketplace between now and the end of March 2014.

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An Enchanting Adventure in Costa Rica

The Shores in Costa RICA for Rocky and Geovanna's Wedding (on the right)

My good friends Nancy and Michael Shores of Amelia Massages Associates went to Costa Rica to witness their son Rocky (it counts for some considerable sense of humor to call your son Rocky when his last name is Shores) wedding to Costa Rican native Geovanna. I now that Nancy sent me the following story to post on her website together with about 2 dozen pictures, but after reading it, I wanted to share it also with our readers. I hope you enjoy.

Here I am, at 0630, on the balcony deck of our suite, De la Luna, nestled among the plant and animal life of Villa Tortuga in the beautiful sector of Guiones in Nosara, Costa Rica. I was awakened by the sounds of the landscape caretaker gently raking the leaves from our poolside tropical paradise. Melodic birds now welcome me and I hear monkeys in the distant surrounding jungle. Otherwise, I am alone with my thoughts and senses of this endearing place.

“No shirt, no shoes…..Nosara,” the get-away experience of a lifetime when you comprehend that true value often means less is more, when your surroundings are primarily in the form of pure natural habitat, when the locals happily “make do” with what they have at hand, and recycle EVERYTHING. I have graciously embraced their example.

Our son and his new wife-and a wonderful, lovely, gracious new daughter for us, wisely chose this soul-soothing place in her birth country to become as one spirit, husband and wife, on December 7, 2013, at La Luna, with a Sunset Barefoot Wedding on the beach, surrounded by family and friends. I am not biased when I share with you that every couple desiring to tie the knot should consider a heart and soul celebration like this one! Rose petals gently hugging the sand guided the bride to her groom, waiting for his lady. The sun would set soon, as if on cue just for this one moment in time, with the ocean as the canvass and the ebb and flow of the waves, the music of the night. Poems they had written to each other over the past few years were recited by their lifelong friends. Beautifully written self-authored vows were exchanged while the emotions of family and friends peaked as the sights and sounds of the couple’s officially pronounced love evolved before us. I envision that they will renew their vows here so that we may come back someday, with no excuses born through thoughts of why we could not return.

Although we are challenged with a slight language barrier, we have been embraced by the local people and made to feel comfortable in an environment that encourages us to learn the language and more about the Central American culture. The people are proud, happy, accepting, friendly, and helpful. We feel welcomed.


I am addicted to this wonderful dance on my taste bud palette! The locals tell me that there are varying recipes of this unique and delectable dish, so I have requested it either as an appetizer “shot” or an entree at every meal except breakfast. Every version has been tasty, but the best dance by far was prepared in the suite kitchen of Casa Tortuga, just a Costa Rican coconut throw from my balcony, by a friend of the bride’s family. Aha! She is from Peru, where the dish originated. I have been to Ceviche heaven. The preparation of firm white fish such as Tilapia, marinated overnight in lime juice, garlic, red onion, and fresh cilantro, will be high on my “to do” list when I return to Amelia Island, Florida, my homeland paradise. Perhaps “Ceviche Amelia” will become a new menu selection that even the island’s namesake, Amelia, the daughter of King George II, surely could not have resisted!

But after the first 2 days of enjoying consistently happy bellies, we realized that there were non-edible adventures yet to be discovered. The beach. Surfers from all over the world and all walks of life know and love this place of perfect waves, continually welling, rising, and flowing ashore, then dissipating into the wide sand berth. It is a beautiful scene, a picture framed by mountains that lazily rise above Passion flowers, Hibiscus trees, sand, driftwood, and coconut remnants: an open invitation to a special place unspoiled by corporate landmarks, private estates, vending machines, strewn trash, and vehicles. A sanctuary, comforting, like the sight of a hungry baby bird upon the return of its mother to the nest.

The mountains. The song lyrics, “over the river and through the woods” came to my mind as four of us traveled single file on ATV’s. We all gave close attention to the terrain-and our guide-wIth ONE OF US  EXHIBITING WHITE KNUCKLE SYNDROME part of the way. But once I remembered to BREATHE, I convinced myself that this excursion was not a parachute jump after all. I could do this! At the beginning of our journey we traversed modestly paved roads, some laced with fallen coconuts, and slowly migrated to unpaved, rough, rocky roads, narrow dirt trails and NARROW HANGING BRIDGES met by shallow rock-filled streams that gently flowed intermittently between pastureland and jungle. Costa Rican “stop signs” in this mountain range existed in the form of domestic dogs, free range herds of cattle, sheep, chickens, ducks, horses, and cowboys on horses. After 2 hours of exploration and many memorable moment notches in our belts, we were delighted to see below us a breathtaking view of the entire region of Nosara.

The Wedding, Teak Wood, Gilded Iguanas, Black Monkeys, Red Squirrels, Humming Birds, Butterflies, Tica Massage, Surf Boards, Turbo Golf Carts, Imperial Beer, Patron Tequila, Guacamole, Lizano Salsa, Los Cabecares Sikewa Coffee, Ceviche! and the SWPMCN (Special Wedding Party Macaw Communication Network) are the things that will forevermore bring to mind fond memories of being here…this majestic place. Costa Rica!


Remembering the Clothesline

Remembering the ClotheslineI found myself using an outdoor clothesline this past year and realized many youngsters had never seen one before.

When my mother sent me the following email, I thought it would be fun to share for a leisure Sunday read. The original author is unknown.

Remembering Mom’s Clothesline
1. You had to hang the socks by the toes… NOT the top.

2. You hung pants by the BOTTOM/cuffs… NOT the waistbands.

3. You had to WASH the clothesline(s) before hanging any clothes – walk the entire length of each line with a damp cloth around the lines.

4. You had to hang the clothes in a certain order, and always hang “whites” with “whites,” and hang them first.

5. You NEVER hung a shirt by the shoulders – always by the tail! What would the neighbors think?

6. Wash day on a Monday! NEVER hang clothes on the weekend, or on Sunday, for Heaven’s sake!

7. Hang the sheets and towels on the OUTSIDE lines so you could hide your “unmentionables” in the middle.

8. It didn’t matter if it was sub-zero weather… clothes would “freeze-dry.”

9. ALWAYS gather the clothes pins when taking down dry clothes! Pins left on the lines were “tacky”!

10. If you were efficient, you would line the clothes up so that each item did not need two clothes pins, but shared one of the clothes pins with the next washed item.

11. Clothes off of the line before dinner time, neatly folded in the clothes basket, and ready to be ironed.

IRONED? Well, that’s a whole OTHER subject!

And now a POEM…

A clothesline was a news forecast, to neighbors passing by,
There were no secrets you could keep, when clothes were hung to dry.
It also was a friendly link, for neighbors always knew
If company had stopped on by, to spend a night or two.

For then you’d see the “fancy sheets”, and towels upon the line;
You’d see the “company table cloths”, with intricate designs.
The line announced a baby’s birth, from folks who lived inside,
As brand new infant clothes and diapers were hung, so carefully with pride!

The ages of the children could, so readily be known
By watching how the sizes changed, you’d know how much they’d grown!
It also told when illness struck, as extra sheets were hung;
Then nightclothes, and a bathrobe too, haphazardly were strung.

It also said, “On vacation now”, when lines hung limp and bare.
It told, “We’re back!” when full lines sagged, with not an inch to spare!
New folks in town were scorned upon, if wash was dingy and gray,
As neighbors carefully raised their brows, and looked the other way.

But clotheslines now are of the past, for dryers make work much less.
Now what goes on inside a home, is anybody’s guess!
I really miss that way of life, it was a friendly sign
When neighbors knew each other best… by what hung on the line.

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Local Author Coming to Hometown Holiday

Local Author Coming to Hometown HolidayLocal author, Mary Ann Bator-Gray, author of Jaden and the Weejum and The Lost Best Friend, delightful books for animal lovers, both young and young at heart, has expanded her offerings to include unique gift items for pet owners.

These handmade treasures include lovely, fabric, plastic bag holders (a needed item for pooper-scoopers) that feature a cute a cat or a dog, and plush but durable pet pillows.

She will be at the farmer’s market in downtown Fernandina Beach on Saturday with books and crafts. You can find her again on Sunday, December 15 at the corner of Lime and 14th Streets where the Hometown Holiday shopping event continues.

mary-ann-bator-gray-bags-cropAs usual, a portion of the proceeds from her sales will be donated to charities that benefit Nassau County animals and their owners.

Mary Ann lives on Amelia Island with her wonderful husband and three mischievous cats.

Among the many activities she enjoys when she isn’t writing, are brisk walks on the beach, dining out with friends, and volunteering at Cats Angels, Inc.

She writes her award winning adult e-books using her pen name, Kate Alister. Ethereal Desire and its just released sequel, Ethereal Longing (a tender Christmas story), are available at www.ellorascave.com/ethereal-desire (or /ethereal-longing).

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A Hundred Years of Cruising

The Titanic being chased by the Allure of the Seas

Like Jonah and the Whale the Allure is ready to swallow the Titanic

Cruising became quite popular around the turn of the 19th century, even though it had been a favorite for nobility and royalty since the 1830s, when nobles, authorities, and royal princes from all over Europe sailed in just over three months the Mediterranean islands, coastlines and famous cities on a ship called the Francisco I, which flew the flag of the Kingdoms of Sicily and Naples. Most ships that operated passenger transportation in those days were called ocean liners. Constructed as ocean liners, they did not meet the requirements of the pleasure-seeking market and offered few amenities aboard.

The first cruise ship built exclusively for the purpose of vacationing on a ship was the Prinzessin Victoria Louise in Hamburg Germany, even though she did quite a few Atlantic immigration crossings in the short 6 years of her existence. In the early days of huge immigration to the US, many shipping companies build transatlantic ocean liners as was the luxurious ‘Titanic’.

The following comparison shows that numbers between the Titanic, the largest ocean liner in 1912 and The Allue of the Seas’, the largest cruise ship in the world today are in most areas such as length, height and speed not that dramatically different. What makes the huge difference however is the width, creating a 5 to 1 gross tonnage difference, which is why on the picture it looks like the Titanic is going to be swallowed by the Allure.

Here are some more numbers and a picture show off the enormous amount of food is prepared in 18 kitchens on the allure.

The Titanic, the world’s largest cruiseship in 1912 had the following specs:

Tonnage:     46,328 GRT
Displacement:     52,310 tons
Length:     882 ft 6 in (269.0 m)
Beam:             92 ft 0 in (28.0 m)
Height:     175 ft (53.3 m) (keel to top of funnels)
Draught:     34 ft 7 in (10.5 m)
Depth:             64 ft 6 in (19.7 m)
Decks:             9 (A–G)
Installed power: 24 double-ended and 5 single-ended boilers feeding two reciprocating steam engines for the wing propellers and a low-pressure turbine for the center propeller;[1] output: 46,000 HP
Propulsion:     Two 3-blade wing propellers and one 4-blade centre propeller
Speed:     Cruising: 21 kn (39 km/h; 24 mph). Max: 24 kn (44 km/h; 28 mph)
Capacity:     Passengers: 2,435, crew: 892. Total: 3,327

In comparison to the latest ‘floating city’, the Allure of the Seas, the differences seem substantial except when you compare
specific statistics such as speed, overall length, height.
This baby holds 6,318 guests & boasts 2,384 crew.
The Allure of the Seas is the largest passenger ship ever constructed and the 
Statistics are simply mind-boggling:

* 225,282 GRT (gross register tonnage)

* 1,187 feet (362 meters) long

* 215 feet (66 meters) wide

* 213 feet (65 meters) high from the water line

* 30 feet (9.1 meters) draft

* 22 knots cruising speed

* 16 passenger decks, 24 passenger elevators

* 4 bow thrusters with 7,500 horse power each

* 5,400 guests (double occupancy), 6,318 guests total, 2,384 crew (from appx. 80 countries)

* 2,706 staterooms

Cooking 3 x a day for 6,318 guests and 2,384 crew in 18 kitchens. Mindblowing!!