Two New Support Groups Offered FREE To Local Residents

Are you or someone you know in need of support to be successful in your recovery? Have you or someone you know recently lost a loved one and in need of comfort and support? Not sure where to turn or how to get help?

Beginning January 23, Nassau Alcohol Crime Drug Abatement Coalition (NACDAC) will be offering two new support groups for community members.

“Relapse Prevention” is a FREE support group being offered to individuals in recovery from any type of addiction. The group’s goal is to harbor a safe, confidential environment where one can gain support and skills to be successful in recovery and provide networking opportunities for continued future support.

“Living With Loss” is a FREE support group offered to anyone who has lost a loved one and needs a safe place for comfort and support. The group is designed to assist participants with healing methods, self-awareness exercises and give a sense of connectedness to others.

For more information, please contact Kerrie Albert, NACDAC Director of Prevention Services at (904) 277-3699 or email

2016 Relay For Life at Main Beach March 5th

Relay Poster-800

Click to enlarge poster

In communities throughout Florida people are gathering together to help fight cancer at a unique event called Relay For Life. Relay is the American Cancer Society’s national signature activity that brings together teams of families and friends from local companies, schools, clubs, churches, and other organizations to walk around the track in relay fashion.

All proceeds raised from this event are used for cancer research, education, prevention and patient services. The five-year relative survival probability for all cancers diagnosed between 1999 and 2006 is 68 percent, up from 50 percent in 1975 to 1977. This survival rate can be increased through more research and greater community awareness of health issues. Relay For Life combines a way to share vital cancer education and programs with community members and a way to raise money to fund more cancer research.

The success began in 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt, a Tacoma, Washington surgeon and
American Cancer Society volunteer, ran and walked on a local track for 24 hours, traveling a total of 81 miles and raising $27,000. Since Dr. Klatt’s one-man marathon, thousands of people nationwide have passed the “baton” and raised billions of dollars for Relay For Life’s battle against cancer.


Click to enlarge schedule

“Survivor – Let’s Vote Cancer off the Island” is the message of this year’s Relay For Life Fernandina Beach/Yulee, being held March 5, 2016 at Main Beach Park on Amelia Island. The 12-hour event is free and open to the public.

Opening ceremonies begin at 10:00 a.m. with a welcome from Mayor Johnny Miller, and a message of hope from cancer survivor Judie Mackie. The first lap of Relay For Life celebrates cancer survivors. Anyone who has ever been diagnosed with cancer, whether currently undergoing treatment or in remission for 50 years, is invited to participate. Caregivers, and then participating teams, will be invited to the track.

Members from our community are encouraged to continuously walk the track representing how cancer never takes a break. There will be family games, activities, entertainment, and six live bands will perform throughout the event. Themed laps will occur at the top of each hour, and Relay teams will compete in “Tribal Challenges” to earn immunity and of course, bragging rights.

After dusk, the Luminaria Ceremony remembers all of those who battled cancer. Candles surround the track with bags marked with the names of those still fighting, those who won the battle, and those we have lost. This ceremony of light symbolizes our mothers, our fathers, our sisters, our brothers, our sons, our daughters, our friends and our loved ones. The lights remind us of hope, and our shared vision for a cancer-free future. Fernandina Beach Vice Mayor Robin Lentz, and cancer survivor Patti Jubell, will share their emotional stories, and every Relay participant is encouraged to find a way to fight back against cancer, by raising money, making a healthy lifestyle choice or speaking up for cancer patients through advocacy.

ALL proceeds from the day’s activities, as well as vendor’s booths, will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

For more information about Relay For Life Fernandina Beach/Yulee please contact Alexandra Davis at (904) 391-3643.

For information about Relay For Life or about cancer, call toll-free anytime 1-800-227-
2345 or visit the American Cancer Society Web site at

Shop with Cops 2015

Shop with Cops 2015Fernandina Beach, FL – Santa Claus is always a big hit with the kids during the Shop with Cops program at Wal-Mart. Pictured above, Kassandra Zuniga appeared to like what she was hearing when she visited with Santa in 2013. The Police Department has recently confirmed that Santa plans to be in town for the event again this year.

The Fernandina Beach Police Department began its very successful Shop with Cops program in 2004 and now serves more than 150 local school children each year, providing the opportunity to shop with a police officer at the Amelia Island Wal-Mart store, while insuring that many of our underprivileged kids experience the joy of Christmas.

This unique program provides an opportunity for children in our community to spend some valuable time interacting with our uniformed police officers in a happy and positive environment. This kind of interaction is an important step in teaching some disaffected kids that police officers are guardians of the young and should be trusted in times of difficulty. We believe that this program has been a powerful relationship building success since its inception.

Donations are collected all year long and every penny donated translates directly to Christmas toys and much needed clothing. Our program participants are selected by local school guidance counselors, who make sure that only the truly needy are given the opportunity to participate in this special program, which was suggested by local resident Don Monahan, who continues to act as our volunteer chair. Please call Don directly to invite him to speak to your church congregation or civic group about the Shop with Cops program. He can be reached at (904)277-2091.

Please consider donating to this very worthwhile community program. The program is administered by the Fernandina Beach Police Foundation, which is controlled by a Board of Directors comprised of Amelia Island residents. The Fernandina Beach Police Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all donations to the Shop with Cops program may be tax deductible.

Donations may be sent to: Shop with Cops, Fernandina Beach Police Foundation, 1525 Lime Street, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034.

There is no doubt that this program provides some measure of comfort and hope to many of our young people, as well as their parents and guardians. As we notice each year, many of these needy children put others ahead of themselves, demonstrating great compassion for loved ones and understanding for their own social condition. Many pass by traditional toys and games, opting for essential clothing and household items.

The community support has been inspirational over the past decade, while it is my hope that our wonderful community continues to champion this worthy cause for many years to come. This program clearly benefits our community in ways that are difficult to measure.

Our most recent Shop with Cops videos can be found on the Police Foundation website at

Our next event will be held on Thursday, December 10, 2015 at Wal-Mart.

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How to Help the European Refugee Crisis

How to Help the European Refugee CrisisHelp is needed in the European refugee crisis! To assist the refugees presently pouring into Europe and for people in other areas of present crisis, the Pod Yoga Studio is collaborating with a variety of Amelia Island organizations in the Care Kits Project. “Yogapod” Bins have been placed at these organizations’ locations where people are encouraged to put basic (but very specific) hygiene supplies. The bins will be picked up on Thursday, October 15, 2016. Care Kits of the collected supplies will be assembled on Saturday, October 17 and mailed shortly after.

The organizations participating are: Amelia Styling Salon, Centred on Yoga, Community Yoga, Fernandina Beach Branch Library, Fernandina Beach Middle School (904-491-7938), Fernandina Branch of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Jacksonville (904-235-8133), Go Yoga, the Jewish Community of Amelia Island (904-310-6060), New Vision Congregational Church, Pod Yoga, and Prince of Peace Lutheran Church. Google the websites for these groups or call the numbers listed for information on hours and location.

The specific supplies to be collected are: hand towels, wash cloths, wide-toothed combs, 5-15 oz. shampoo, individually wrapped soap bars, individually wrapped toothbrushes, 2-6 oz. toothpaste tubes, adhesive bandages standard size, one-gallon resealable plastic bags, sandwich-sized resealable plastic bags.

Financial donations (checks written out to Heart to Heart International for tax deduction) are welcome!

For more information, or if interested in assembling the Care Kits and/or donating towards the cost of shipping, contact of the Pod Yoga Studio or leave a message at 904-548-3224.

The assembled care kits will be shipped to Heart to Heart International, a four star Charity Navigator NGO with a global reach of aid (

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Things You Realize When On Vacation


Allow the experience of a lick on your nose to be pure ecstacy

On one of our daily walks through downtown Charleston a couple of weeks ago, we were welcomed by the shaking tail of a full blooded pit bull sitting next to his owner on a sidewalk bench. This brief but wonderful encounter with Maggie made me somehow think back of the days that the sight of a pit bull in public raised urgency awareness levels to full protection mode usually followed by a frantic search for something that could be used as a defensive weapon. And as with so many things in life you realize that people’s actions are a product of their “promoted” perceptions. Rarely to never are these perceptions the result of actual personal experiences, but almost always have a questionable origin of the multi-layered story-telling of someone who knew someone who’s third cousin’s uncle’s niece had been attacked by a vicious dog…and the government should do something about it!

In a crazy throwback in time it reminded me of the first days I spent on this country’s soil in the summer of 1980, when I came to photograph mega cities for a coffee table book called “METROPOLIS” New York finest “caught” me loaded with equipment taking, a nap in Central Park or entering nightmare neighborhoods in Spanish Harlem, Bedford Stuyvesant, Hells Kitchen or Fort Apache. “You won’t come out alive”, they said. “You’re crazy, you’re playing with your life.”
Seeing Maggie on a touristy street in Charleston, wiggling her tail and smiling at us, reminded me of the friendly welcomes I received in those supposed hell holes. It also reminded me of a story I read a while ago and copied to my desktop for later revisits, whenever I need reconfirmation that the human race still contains positive elements beyond the zombie acceptance of sensationalized crap. I’d like to share that story, credited to either Ashley Gulla or Olivia Maximo here:


They said, “he’s strong, about 67 lbs, and he’s a puller but with some training he’ll be great.”  Okay, I thought.  Easy enough.  But what they should have told me was something entirely different.  What they should have told me was this: This is an adventure. Welcome to the best years of your life.

Where misconceptions, stereotypes and judgments are now personal attacks against not only someone you love dearly but you, yourself.  And how you will feel like it is your personal mission to show the world how his “kind” is completely misunderstood.

Then you will read up on all the facts and statistics about Pit Bulls and realize half of what people believe is completely false or terribly misconstrued.  Like pits having lock-jaw?  False.  Pits are born aggressive.  False.  Pits have stronger jaws than Rottweilers.  False.  Pits don’t make good family pets. FALSE.

Also, in the midst of being accepted into his pack, you will learn what loyalty really means.  You will also know what it feels like to be scared half to death every single time your doorbell rings before explaining to your mailman, “he’s nice, I swear!  Sorry…thanks for the– sorry again.”  Then you both will laugh, well, you will and he will look at you proudly, expecting a treat.

You will also walk with a little extra bounce in your step because this powerful, gentle giant stands beside you.  You will feel a kind of pride you’ve yet to experience because you know you’re not only doing your baby justice but you’re part of the millions who are pleading for the rest of the world to give these amazing creatures a chance.

But sadly, your heart will break every time you hear about a Pit Bull who has landed in the hands of a wrong person or found himself in an awful situation. Whether it was dog fighting or an abusive owner or left tied to a park bench with nothing but a blanket.  Your heart will break because you will come to understand the heart of a Pit Bull.  Your heart will break because you will experience the love they, without question, give and with every tear you cry from hearing these awful stories, you will wish you could end it all.

Then you will feel incredibly grateful.  Because this guy is yours and you are his and that’s something that can’t ever be taken away.  Even if you don’t believe in a God above, this bond will feel like it was magically planned many moons ago, where the stars aligned perfectly and placed you two exactly where you needed to be to find one another.  And you will be so blessed.

You will learn the frustration you feel when he is destroying your kid’s toys or eating food he’s not supposed to or barking when you wish he wouldn’t, fades quickly.  That snuggling has now taken on a whole new meaning called: all over you, all the time, no matter what.  And now you make it a point to never appear to do ANYTHING that could look like you’d be hitting him because seeing him duck his head out of fear hurts.  You will also learn when he’s sticking his big head out your car window to expect 1 of 2 responses – a dirty look or a smile and nod.  You learn you’ll smile in both cases.

Nobody tells you your heart will change.  But it does.  You judge less.  You care more.  You learn how to accept life a heck of a lot better than before.  You learn how to forgive and how to let go and how to live in the moment.

They should have told me I was going to learn how to love better.  That loving this Pit Bull was going to change my whole life.  And that he would make us so so happy!
But chances are I wouldn’t have believed them anyhow.  I guess it was something I had to learn on my own.

Vietman Vet Gets Help with Critical Home Repairs

Vietman Vet Gets Help with Critical Home RepairsFernandina Beach, FL – Partners can make a difference. Late last year, Nassau County Council on Aging (NCCOA) received a request from a Fernandina Beach resident for assistance. Mr. Bob Danker, a Vietnam War veteran, served as a member of a River Gun Boat team. Suffering from ill health, Danker needed assistance on a critical home repairs.

Pictured A volunteer helps paint the eaves of a house belonging to a local Vietnam Veteran. A large team of volunteers gathered at the home which was in disrepair, and worked together to bring the structure back up to code.
PHOTO by Frances Bartelt

NCCOA volunteers, supported by Home Depot’s Grant for Home Repairs for Veterans Outreach, completed the critical repair of his home in late 2014. However, there was much still to accomplish since the home had not been maintained for some time. This is where more local partners got involved.

During a recent tour of NCCOA’s Fernandina Beach Senior Center. C. A. McDonald, a Plant Manager at Rayonier Corporation, asked if two groups he is involved with, could help out. Bart Cormier, a COA volunteer suggested the groups volunteer and help complete the remaining work on Danker’s home.

The Alert Cadets, a father/sons organization, and members from the Redeemer Community Church tackled exterior pressure washing, siding replacement, fixing a leaky roof, demolition material removal, and a complete exterior paint job. Along with the Home Depot grant, Regional Community Church also donated some of the materials for this large home repair project.

Group image of Volunteers

Pictured: Bart Cormier, NCCOA volunteer positioned in the lower right, poses with the entire team of volunteers consisting of members of the Alert Cadets, members from the Redeemer Community Church and others who took time to help out an aging local veteran. The materials for this project were paid for by a Home Depot grant, and the members of the Regional Community Church.
Photo by Frances Bartelt

According to volunteer Bart Cormier, Nassau County is full of neighbors looking to lend a hand.

“There’s no doubt that the hearts of many in Nassau County want to express their love of neighbor for those that need a helping hand. In this case, much good was accomplished and strangers are strangers no more,” he explained.

In a few short weeks, the Danker home has been restored to good order. Thanks to the partnership of NCCOA, Home Depot, Alert Cadets and the Regional Community Church, a significant difference was made in the life of one man and his home. The synergy of this partnership multiplied the individual efforts and lessened the burden for each along the way. The success of this type of informal partnership could be contagious and spread. We hope it does.

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Turn Holiday Aches and Pain into Cheer and Good Will

Turn Holiday Aches and Pain into Cheer and Good WillThe fine folks at Nassau Physical Therapy had some great tips in their December newsletter including the following two articles.

The first one is how to relieve holiday aches and pain, and the second is a list of 12 ways to spread holiday cheer and good will.

How to Relieve Holiday Aches and Pain

Piriformis and Hip Stretch – Seated
By: Kaylee Nelson, DPT
• While sitting in a chair, cross your affected leg on top of the other as shown.
• Next, gently lean forward until a stretch is felt along the crossed leg. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times.

This could easily be done while wrapping presents while sitting in a chair. It is good for people with the diagnosis of “Sciatica” or even low back pain as people who experience back pain tend to have pain and tightness with this muscle.

In addition, please remember to stand and wrap presents at counter height and not while sitting on the floor.


12 Days of Holiday Cheer & Good Will

By Domenica Miller

There are many ways you can spread good cheer during the holidays. Here are 12 ideas:

1st Day – Donate toys to children in need.
2nd Day – Visit the sick or elderly.
3rd Day – Donate to animal shelters, pets without homes need love too during Christmas
4th Day – Drop off old clothing, food or blankets to homeless shelters in your area
5th Day – Donate to your favorite charity online.
6th Day – Check out and loan to someone.
7th Day – Bake something and give it to someone in need
8th Day – Call a distant friend or relative that you don’t see often or that you will not see during the holidays.
9th Day – Have a holiday block party with neighbors
10th Day – Perform as many random acts of kindness as you can to strangers.
11th Day – Donate food to a food bank.
12th Day – Send a holiday card to a soldier overseas.

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Celebrity Bag Day at Publix

Celebrity Bag Day at Publix

Celebrity Bag Day at Publix

Relay For Life Fernandina Beach/Yulee team “Paula’s Fighting Pirates” are holding a Celebrity Bag Day fund raiser at Publix on Amelia Island, Saturday, November 22, 2014, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Local celebrities will be bagging your groceries and earning tips for the American Cancer Society.

Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper will be defending his title from competitors such as Fernandina Beach Police Chief James Hurley, Dr. Annette Bell, Dr. Joanna Steele, and YMCA Director Jon Dearolf. Who will earn the most tips?

Put together your shopping list and join the fun as these local celebrities lend a helping hand by “bagging for life”.

Relay For Life Fernandina Beach/Yulee is a 12 hour, community celebration taking place in the spring where teams take turns walking a track, relay style, to raise funds to fight cancer while celebrating survivors and remembering those lost to this horrible disease.

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Have you figured out if you are a positive or negative person? 

Take an Honest look at yourself

Take an Honest look at yourself

You know how you can tell by approximation if you are a positive or negative person?  Just look around at the people associating with you regularly and ask yourself, “Are they positive or negative?” When you finish in their company have you spoken highly in anticipation of things to come, or did you spend your time bashing the government, the economy, your job and your boss, your current or ex and your life in general? What is the conclusion? Come on be honest!
Negativity is not your friend!  Negativity will kill you.  And in some cases, although you are physically walking around and breathing, spiritually you are already dead.  That “Voice of Criticism” is always working on your mind and your feelings, telling you about all the things you can’t do, and insisting that you will never be successful, no matter what you try to do.  And there are so many things in your life that you have never ventured to try because you already were a failure in your mind.  Isn’t it time to make that “Voice of Criticism” shut up, and to start making a mental turn to believing in yourself and the great things you can do if you would only try?

A mind focused on positive experience, filled with hope and excitement and passion can do unlimited things, exciting things that help not only you, but those around you. When you speak, you bring hope and inspiration. When people see you, they gather because they feel that you may help them laugh and forget some of their own troubles for the moment. So ask yourself, is that your experience when you get around people you know? Do people seek out your company and advice? Or when you show up, do you miss the smile that they don’t return? Or do they excuse themselves because they have many things to do, and they just don’t want to sit around and have time to talk?

If a person likes your company, they will find time to be around you, no matter what it is they have to do that day.
Many of us carry in our head nothing but junk, and that junk is by definition negative. No matter what the day has in store for us, it is not going to be good enough to make us happy. Have you had so many negative experiences that you no longer think life is meant for you to be happy? There is no man or woman good enough for us, so we will remain single. There is no job that can make us satisfied, so we just go on in a miserable job making an income. And these are the thoughts that control your daily activities.

So what do you do? You have to change your mind! You have to turn your negative thinking into positive thinking, and start making your life count for the good instead of the bad. How do you do that? Well, the first thing you do is take note of how you are really thinking on a daily basis, and what thoughts you are feeding within your subconscious that you act upon during the rest of the day. When you are driving down the street, turn off the car radio for a while and examine what you are really thinking over the sound of the music. When you are taking your morning shower, how are you preparing yourself to face the day? Are you angry, bitter, or are you excited, anxious to get out there? These are the moments when you take charge of your thoughts and feed yourself new ideas.
If a census of your thoughts tells you that you are talking yourself into a world of bitterness, then start talking to yourself in a more positive way. You might even take a piece of paper and write some necessary positive thoughts to start your day: “I am a good person.” “I am important to the world around me.” “I can make a great contribution today.” “I am going to be happy today.” I am going to make someone else happy.” You be the author, for only you can decide what thoughts will help you.

Be your own psychoanalyst: Do my thoughts make me happy? Do my thoughts satisfy my heart? Do I help other people with my thoughts, or am I too self-bitter that I can’t help anyone else? Be honest. Only you know if you need to change your thoughts. Only you know how really satisfied you are with life. If you are sitting around crying over some bad thing that happened to you years, or even months ago, or if you are angry because someone hurt you three weeks ago, these thoughts are probably not helping you feel good during the day, nor are they empowering you to achieve your goals, whatever they may be. And if you are mad at yourself because you are facing some big failure, its time to forgive yourself and go on with your life. You have as much right to be on this earth as anyone else.
You know what changed those thoughts of negativity?

Forgiveness!  Forgive yourself for making mistakes, forgive your friends and family for what you think they have done wrong, and start loving them.  Positive action brings the most positive results, and it’s easier than you think.
So get rid of the junk. Get that job that will make you happy. Make peace with your children. Communicate with that spouse and stop being angry. Get yourself a present. Go on a trip. And most of all, believe in yourself, and help someone else believe in themselves as well.
After all, what’s the worst that could possibly happen?  You could fail, or turn out to be wrong, but haven’t you been there before?  And just possibly this is the time that it will work!

Isn’t It Time to Make Your Life Work to Your Advantage?

Decide Who You Are and What You Want!

Decide Who You Are and What You Want!

The greatest enemy to living in the moment and making things work for you is the perception of the past and the future, combined with assumptions that form in our mind as factual reality, but 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 there 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 but never does. 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 stack up. There is nothing wrong with playing the lottery, but meanwhile, getting a 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 over. 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 to suddenly be alive again by reliving it, making you and everyone around you miserable again with whatever it was that happened 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 God, 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 grow up and get out of the house? Are you waiting for more money to fall from the sky, or for the moment when you will finally leave some poor memories behind, 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 against the trees. See 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 may need your help or vice versa! 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. Like Nike’s famous slogan Just Do It! Decide what you want to do, what you need to do, and do it, NOW!

Locals go all out for Chef’s Benefit Concert and Auction

thomas tolxdorf benefitA flood of donations for the Chef Thomas Tolxdorf Benefit Concert and Auction has led to the organizers starting out the Benefit held at the Green Turtle Sunday afternoon at 2:30pm.

A flood of auction and raffle items have been donated by local individuals and businesses, so much that raffles and auctions have to be spread throughout the afternoon and early evening in 4 raffle breaks and 2 Live auctions in between the music performances. “It’s amazing,” says TJ Seaton, the auction and raffle coordinator, “how many people have given for this cause. I’m still getting phone calls with donations today (Saturday). The retail value of all donated items has far surpassed $13,000. We’re proud of our community.”

Island Vibe will start off the benefit at 2:30, while throughout the afternoon being joined by Chris Kellam and drummer Neal Gupton of Jacksonville’s famous rock band Blistür, local singer Jennifer Burns and guitarists Joel Venditti and Sheila Johnson and several of the Fernandina Beach Farmer’s Market performers.

Ritz Carlton Amelia Island’s Executive Chef Thomas tragically passed away in a car accident last June and this tribute benefit is a 100% donation geared towards supporting his wife and two young sons in this difficult time.

Below is a yet unfinished list of auction and raffle items donated so far.
The Green Turtle and adjacent Florida House Inn will open the stage area in the back for this event, something that ordinarily opens only during Shrimp Festival Weekend. We are ready for a large audience. Please come and join. Food will be available for free but donations are welcome.

The printed Thomas Tolxdorf T-shirts and Coffee Mugs are donated by P5 Productions and are for sale at respectively $20 and $10 each. Rain checks will be available when we run out. Bring cash, CC, DC or Checks.

AUCTION ITEMS (all bidding starts at the reserve prices)

From $100 Gift Certificates to $2,500 Initiation Fees
• Omni Plantation, Dinner for Two at The Verandah Restaurant
• Omni Plantation, Brunch for Two at Sunrise Cafe Restaurant
• Omni Plantation, Two Night Stay for Two in Deluxe Ocean-View Room
• The Ritz Carlton Amelia Island, One Night Stay for Two
• The Ritz Carlton Amelia Island Spa, Gift Certificate
• Amelia River Golf Club, Foursome of Golf
• Amelia River Golf Club, Waiver of Initiation Fee
• Second Amendment Outfitters Gift Card
• Scott & Sons Jewelers Wristwatch
• Amelia Boat Club & Rentals, 2-hour Boat Rental
• Andrea Wallace of Cormier Salon Gift Certificate
• Paul Laubach, Car Detailing Certificate
• Artist Charlie Weisenborn “COCKTAIL” 12×12 original oil on canvas
• Joe’s 2nd Street Bistro, Gift Card
• One Year Advertising Banner on Search Amelia
• Authentic Piece of the Berlin Wall
• Cooking With Intuition Cookbook and Brewery Tour
• Amelia Oceanfront Bed & Breakfast, Two Night Stay for Two
• Farmer’s Market Basket
• One Year (52 Heads) of Hydroponic Grown Lettuce
• The Ritz Grand Cayman (Two Night Stay for 2) & Six-Course Dinner for 2
• Oyster Roast for 8 People, Hosted by Ange Wallace
• Well Traveled Living, Gas Patio Heater
• Collector’s Box Set of Pink Floyd’s The Wall
• Matted & framed “Doors of Amelia” poster

RAFFLE Items ( 1 for $1 / 6 tickets for $5 / 12 tickets for $10 / 25 tickets for $20 )

From 25.00 Gift Cards to 120.00 Matted Art to a Signed Electric Guitar
• The Surf Restaurant Gift Card
• Red Otter Outfitters Gift Card
• Michele McMurray Peterson, 7 jars of homemade jams, jellies, fruit in sea grass basket
• Speakeasy Vaporium Gift Certificate
• Hot Paws Pet Grooming, Spa & Resort Gift Basket
• The Surf Restaurant Gift Card
• Artistic Flowers Gift Card
• Retail Therapy Gift Certificate
• Mandi Vest of Janet Lynn Salon Gift Certificate
• Artistic Flowers, Designer Snowman
• The Surf Restaurant Gift Card
• Michele McMurray Peterson, 7 jars of homemade jams, jellies, fruit in sea grass basket
• Nate & Sassy’s Gourmet Granola Basket
• Joleen Jensen of Cormier Salon Gift Certificate
• Michele McMurray Peterson, 7 jars of homemade jams, jellies, fruit in sea grass basket
• The Surf Restaurant Gift Card
• Sandra Baker-Hinton of Amelia SanJon Gallery, 16×20 Matted Baby Turtle Picture
• GG’s Bistro, Dinner for Two
• Amelia River Cruises, Two Tickets for your choice of Cruises
• Omni Plantation Oceanside Restaurant, Dinner for Two
• Michele McMurray Peterson, 9 jars of homemade jams, jellies, fruit in sea grass basket
• Victoria Cochrane of Cormier Salon Gift Certificate
• Artistic Flowers Christmas Basket (items can be exchanged at store)
• Micato Safaris Lion Head Cufflinks
• TWO – 13×15 Matted Art Prints by Sidney Carter Creations
• Red Lacquer Washburn Electric Guitar with soft case, Signed by Musicians Playing Today

3rd Annual Trees For Troops

3rd Annual Trees For Troops The 3rd Annual Trees for Troops hopes to provide at least 100 lighted, two-foot Christmas Trees, presents and filled stockings to United States military troops serving in the Middle East.

Hosted by Mothers of America’s Military Fallen, Spc Kelly J. Mixon Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)3 tax expempt not-for-profit organization established in Kelly’s memory. He grew up in Nassau County, Florida and graduated FBHS in 2005. Kelly was killed in action in Afghanistan on December 8, 2010.

Donations ideas include:
LIghted and decorated 2-ft artificial trees (Non breakable ornaments, please.)
Beef jerky
Summer sausage
Tuna packets
Hard Candy
Granola bars
Hot cocoa packets
Boxed cookies
Lip balm
and more…

Trees for Troops will be held at Maxwell Hall, Memorial United Methodist Church on Saturday, November 1, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Located at 601 Centre Street, there will be a “drop off” service available on North Sixth Street.

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What is Avatar ?

HomePageArtA couple of weeks ago I was introduced to a young lady who was looking for a peaceful space to organize an Avatar Course at the Inn. Being that we’re located directly on a stretch of the Amelia Island beach that must be the quietest, yet not too remote, she was wondering if she could rent some rooms for several course days and have participants stay in this relaxed atmosphere. I was not surprised about this request, as we have hosted book author clubs, painters clubs, bicycle clubs and small corporate retreats over the past couple of years, as well as numerous weddings and vow renewals, all staying for the same beach qualities. Since I had only a general perception about what Avatar as a self help course entails, I asked island newcomer Gretchen Clark to explain.

Here is her answer.

Do you have areas of your life that you would like to improve?

The Avatar Materials are an awesome technology that I found out about “accidentally” and then realized: “If the whole world knew THIS, we would have a different world.”

I am Gretchen Clark. I have had over 18 years of personal experience using the Avatar tools to create exactly what I want in my life. Since 2000 I have traveled the country and guided 100’s of others in these powerful simple exercises to empower them in taking responsibility for creating the lives they love. The magic is apparent everywhere in my life. I created a highly successful Salon in Shreveport Louisiana, trained dozens of Stylists, raised my children in our dream home complete with hidden passageways, and hockey rinks. I traveled the world from the Isles of the Caribbean Ocean to the ruins of ancient Egypt, exploring every place I wanted. At age 48, I retired with immense gratitude, so I could be more available to share Avatar with the world. I know that what we need in this world is more happy people following and actualizing their dreams into realities.

The Avatar® Course, created by Harry Palmer in 1987, shows you how your thoughts and beliefs create and attract the experience of life you are living. You learn how to change your beliefs and attract new experiences. The Avatar Course is a set of tools that you can learn in 9 short days that will equip you with the ability to investigate and explore your own consciousness and experience yourself as the creator of that consciousness with the ability to change it.

Along the way, you become happier, smarter, healthier, more compassionate, more tolerant, have greater integrity and gain the power to influence others for the good. It is a win – win for you and the world. You can’t experience it by reading about it, but it is a good place to start…
Check out these books available at, or your favorite book retailer.
“Living Deliberately” and “The Avatar Path, The Way We Came.”, both by Harry Palmer

Call me to try out one of the mini-courses, and start to get a feel for this amazing, awakening work. Then sign up for a course. Avatar is taught in more than 70 countries, and lucky for us “Floridians”, all of the international courses are offered in Orlando. And since I moved to Amelia Island, I also offer Section 1 of the 9-day Avatar course, the 2 day Resurfacing® Workshop in beautiful historic Fernandina Beach.

Come and join the adventure!
NEXT COURSE: Nov 1-9 in Orlando Florida

Call for more information…
Gretchen Clark

Paul Leonard to Give Motivational Talk

Paul Leonard to Give Motivational TalkOn October 26, from 4:00-6:00 pm at the First Presbyterian Church of Fernandina Beach, Paul will give a motivational talk with readings from his new book, When the Spirit Moves, followed by Q&A and light refreshments. The event is also a fund raising effort in which Paul will be donating a portion of the proceeds from each book sold to benefit “The Hope House”, a project of The Salvation Army. The event is free and open to the public.

Also, Paul will have a talk and book signing at The Book Loft from 1:00-4:00 pm on October 25, 2014.

In When the Spirit Moves, a book of poems, essays and vignettes about the yearnings, appreciation, and frustrations ever present in human existence, the author invites readers to move forward into meaningful life by embracing their spiritual gifts. In many of the pieces, When the Spirit Moves is a fresh approach to psalms and parables from the New Testament.

Paul’s book invites us to explore the gamut of human experience, but ends with the comfort of constancy. Tom Ross, President of the University of North Carolina, says of When the Spirit Moves, “Paul Leonard, through his stories and poetry, helps all of us understand ourselves… our doubts, disappointments, joy, perspectives, relationships and values, and shows us how faith, trust, love and commitment can lead us to lead more meaningful lives.”

With an undergraduate degree from Davidson College, a Bachelor of Divinity from University of Chicago, and Masters in Business from Emory University, Paul has held a number of positions throughout his career to foster improvements in housing for those in need. He was elected to the Board of Habitat for Humanity International in October 1995 and served as Chairman of the Board from December, 2001 to December, 2003. Paul also became the Interim CEO of Habitat for Humanity from June, 2004 through October, 2005. Today, he is a member of the US Council for Habitat for Humanity International and currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for Crosland Interests, LLC, a real estate development company in Charlotte and as a director for Crowder Construction, a civil, environmental and industrial construction company in Charlotte, NC.

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Outdoor Lighting Ideas For Your Backyard

Outdoor Lighting Ideas For Your BackyardMaking your backyard space bright and inviting can be achieved by using pole lighting. Once relegated to curbside appeal of the front yard, lighting poles utilized in a back yard can also create magic behind your home as well. With the right type of lighting, you can achieve a dramatic outdoor room that can be enjoyed throughout the year.

Lighting Poles

A lighting pole is a light fixture, usually constructed of weather resistant materials, mostly aluminum or steel and is constructed to resist elements. The pole can either house the wiring and controls that lead to the light fixture that it supports or serve as a base for a self-contained unit such as a solar, candle or other type of self-powered light.

Lighting poles can either attach to an existing structure with mounting brackets or be freestanding. An outdoor lighting pole can make a dramatic statement about your home or business as well as illuminating an area for visibility and safety.

lamp-post-cropWith Outdoor lighting poles and fixtures are becoming less expensive, create a vintage, gaslight look with a post light or hanging lantern that hails back to a bygone era. This French outdoor accent light is both beautiful and functional. Fulham ballasts are used for light fixtures to provide simple and hassle free process.

When decorating an outdoor space, choosing the right type of lighting poles can be important. This Asian or Craftsman style lantern is beautiful in nearly any type of landscaping project and gives off an aura of mystery.

The warm glow evocative of the desert is especially alluring when coupling a Moorish lamp that has been electrified and suspended as part of a lighting pole. The cut-outs in the lamp cast beautiful patterns on walls and around green spaces.

You can construct your own lighting poles and string cafe or even Christmas lighting to light up your patio, deck or garden space by using lighting poles constructed of electrical conduit, conduit pipe straps and end caps. ( You can even use wooden poles to hold the conduit straps and hold your lighting in place. You can anchor these by attaching them to your deck or putting them in the ground or large planter pots.

These are just a few different choices in using lighting poles to give patio entertaining its own special glow.

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