Clean Eating at the Farmers Market

Clean Eating at the Farmers MarketEating clean means eating good, local, and seasonal foods that nourish a healthy body. We’ve recently seen a variety of food movements including “The Paleo Diet”, “Farm to Table”, and “Field to Fork”, and while they have different details, they all have one common message inviting us to get back to eating foods the way nature intended.

Foods that are environmentally sustainable, natural, and grown in ways that treat animals and workers well, are gaining in popularity as more and more folks are demanding greater transparency from agricultural corporations to learn what we really are putting into our bodies.

We are learning that the soy and corn fields of yesterday introduced a plethora of new foods, boxed products, fast and convenient foods, processed foods, sweetened beverages, and meats infused with growth hormones and antibiotics. This way of feeding the masses became the “norm” and along with it we’ve seen a strong correlation to health problems such as obesity, type II diabetes, and high blood pressure. There have also been scandals such as mad cow disease and E.coli outbreaks that encouraged us to question how our food is being prepared.

Seasonal foods are grown naturally and require less interference. Land and labor are cheaper in foreign countries, making the price of an out of season product attractive, but purchasing off-season foods not only hurt the environment by using more fuel in shipping, but it also hurts the local economy by not purchasing from your neighbors. Farmers markets are a great way to get back to the basics. Local foods, grown in your backyard, your community, your state or your region, leave a smaller footprint on the environment.

The Fernandina Beach Market Place farmers market, open every Saturday on North Seventh Street in historic Fernandina Beach, offers a wide variety of locally grown, or prepared foods. Fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables are readily available, but they may look a little different than their grocery store counterparts. You won’t find the waxed cucumbers or the gassed oranges you may see in the big box stores where produce is mass distributed, and you may even find a bug or two instead of a thin coating of pesticides.

In Florida (and California), we have the majority of the “native-to-the-Americas” fruits and vegetables and our produce vendors have a nice supply of seasonal foods, year-round. Much of the produce is harvested on Fridays, right before the market. Our bakers are baking within hours of the market’s opening. The local shrimp is caught wild, and even the dog treat vendor offers the freshest possible treats for your best friend.

When you come to the farmers market, we invite you to look at the labels and ask open ended questions to learn more about the processes our producers and growers use. Our exhibitors love to talk about their products and they are a wealth of information; you may even learn your next favorite recipe!

We are open from 9:00 to 1:00, rain or shine. For more information, please visit FernandinaBeachMarketPlace.com.

Rotary Sunrise Has Been Very Busy this Summer

Rotary Sunrise Has Been Very Busy this SummerThe Rotary Club of Amelia Island Sunrise recently welcomed four new members.

Pictured (first image) from left to right are Dan and Regan Westra and Dr. Peter Williams along with club president Stan Fishburn. Dan was active in Rotary in North Carolina and Regan is starting a retail business here. Peter is a retired cardiologist.

Carolyn Byrd, who works with Amelia Urgent Care is pictured first, left to right, with Sandy Rogers of the Rotary District, Carolyn Byrd, Vicki Beaudry club membership chair and Stan Fishburn, in the second picture.

Another recent Rotary club of Amelia Island Sunrise activity was when Kim Bynum, with Operation New Uniform, recently gave a presentation on the non-profit organization. The Rotary Club of Amelia Island Sunrise recently welcomed four new members. It was started two years ago in Jacksonville when Justin Justice and several others recognized the need for a program to help military veterans and their families transition to civilian life and work.

Veterans are taught skills to help them grow within an organization. Their training program helps them with resumes, interviewing, job search, networking and related activities in job transitioning, and they literally get a new business suit “uniform” upon graduation. Operation New UniformOperation New Uniform enjoys a job placement success of over 90%. Rotarians found the presentation interesting and informative. Rotary is an international service organization with clubs in over 200 countries. The Amelia Island Sunrise Club meets Fridays at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club at 7:30.

Rotary is an international service organization with over 34,000 clubs world-wide. The Amelia Island Sunrise Club meets Fridays at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club at 7:30.

Learn More About Candidate Jonathan Petree

Learn More About Candidate Jonathan PetreeJonathan Petree, who is running for the Nassau County School Board from District 5, is in a tightly contested race and needs your vote. His election is an open election meaning that all registered Republicans/Democrats/Independents can vote for him.

Jonathan is the owner of Atlantic Warriors, a martial arts company in Jacksonville. Over the years he has come to Amelia Island and given classes to women only for self-defense. He is truly dedicated to doing the best possible job in this position, and with four children will be involved in our school system, for many years to come.

Jonathan, who comes from a family of educators, is a Nassau County native and married to Jessica Petree. He is focused on college readiness, supports vocational education, and believes in parents rights.

Early voting in Nassau County for Florida’s August 30 primary will be 10 am to 6 pm August 19-27. Registered voters may vote at any of four sites: Callahan County Building, 45401 Mickler St.; Hilliard Community Center, 37177 Pecan St.; James S. Page Governmental Complex, 96135 Nassau Place, Yulee; and MLK/Elm Street Recreation Center, 1200 Elm St., Fernandina Beach.

Contributed

2016 Fall Community Yard Sale

There is a “Fall Community Yard Sale” on October 1st, 2016, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Atlantic Recreation Center
Auditorium and in the parking lot.

If you didn’t get to your “spring cleaning” – now is your chance! Clean out those closets, attics and the garage, and put the good stuff up for sale.

Indoor and outdoor booth spaces available for rental:
10 indoor spaces available – $40 each. Includes two 8′ banquet tables and five chairs.
35 outdoor spaces available – $15 each. Tables and chairs not included.

Visit the Atlantic Recreation Center to reserve booth space(s). Set-up will be from 6:00 to 8:00 a.m.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis - Patches of Itchy, Sore SkinYou may have heard of psoriasis, but do you know what it is? Psoriasis is a long-term, or chronic, skin disorder that affects more than 6.7 million U.S. adults. Symptoms can vary, but it’s usually recognized by itchy or sore patches of thick, red skin with silvery scales. There’s currently no cure, but treatment often helps.

Psoriasis occurs when skin cells quickly rise to the surface of the skin and build up into thick patches, or plaques. Ordinarily, skin cells mature as they rise from their origins below the surface of the skin. In psoriasis, these cells pile up before they’ve had a chance to properly mature.

Psoriasis actually begins in the immune system, which normally protects the body against infection and disease. In psoriasis, the immune system becomes misdirected and overactive. This can cause redness and swelling (inflammation) and lead to the rapid buildup of skin cells.

Plaques are most often found on the elbows, knees, or scalp. But they can also affect the face, fingernails, toenails, soft tissues of the genitals, or any skin-covered region.

“Patients can have a lot of symptoms like itching, cracking, and bleeding that can disrupt their sleep and their social relationships,” says Dr. Joel Gelfand, a skin specialist (dermatologist) at the University of Pennsylvania. People with moderate to severe psoriasis may feel self-conscious or have a poor self-image, which can lead to depression or social isolation.

Some people with psoriasis also experience joint inflammation that produces arthritis-like pain. This condition is called psoriatic arthritis. Gelfand and other NIH-supported researchers have found that psoriasis, especially severe psoriasis, is linked to certain other disorders as well, such as heart conditions, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Psoriasis can occur at any age, but it typically first appears in young adulthood. Many people with psoriasis have a family history of the disorder. Researchers have been able to identify certain genes linked to the disease, but they still don’t fully understand the disease process. They do know that it isn’t contagious. You can’t “catch” psoriasis by touching someone who has it.

Psoriasis can be hard to diagnose, because it can look like other skin diseases. Your doctor might need to look at a small skin sample under a microscope. It’s often best to make an appointment with a primary care doctor or a dermatologist to get an accurate diagnosis.

There are many approaches for treating psoriasis. Safe and proven treatment options include creams, light therapy, and medications given as pills or a shot.

“Treatment decisions in psoriasis need to be highly individualized and tailored toward the patient’s clinical condition and underlying health status, as well as their preferences and goals,” Gelfand says. Be sure to ask your doctor about the best treatment options for you.

Psoriasis symptoms may briefly worsen, or flare. These flares can arise when people are stressed or experience a traumatic event like the death of a family member or friend. Smoking, heavy alcohol use, and being overweight can also aggravate psoriasis.

Gelfand and other NIH-funded researchers have been working to develop better therapies. “It’s a great time to be hopeful and optimistic about this disease,” Gelfand says. “Most of the therapies coming out now seem to be well-tolerated and have impressive effectiveness.”

Article by NIH Office of Communications and Public Liaison
Editor: Harrison Wein, Ph.D.
Managing Editor: Vicki Contie
Contributors: Vicki Contie, Alan Defibaugh (illustrations), Claire Donnelly, and Tianna Hicklin.

Farmers Market School Lunches and After School Snacks Ideas

Farmers Market School Lunches and After School Snacks IdeasSchool recently started in Nassau County, and the Fernandina Beach Market Place farmers market has some great ideas for making fresh and tasty lunches and after-school snacks.

Rudy brings amazing fresh baked breads from his family business, Maria’s Bakery. Top your favorite with spicy pimento cheese spread from Lulu’s and a thick slice of tomato from King’s Kountry Produce, or try the salmon spread from Upstream Salmon and a slice of Vidalia onion from Boatright’s Farm for a sandwich loaded with flavor.

Looking for gluten-free? Dee, with Something Good, whips up fresh baked breads, sweet breads, and desserts twice a month to bring to the farmers market that are so good, your kids will never guess they are eating healthy.

Mix up egg salad or shrimp salad with yard eggs from Boatright’s, Natural Springs, and King’s, and dice up some wild caught shrimp from Chesser Seafood and you’ll have a ready-to-go, healthy sandwich spread for those hectic school mornings.

Blue Planet Organic has several nut butters and flat breads to pair up for a truly organic lunch, and her flavored sunflower seeds, and dried fruits make tasty, healthy snacks, too.

Mix and match your own vegetable and dip selections from seasonal veggies of all varieties that are available from our produce vendors and Simply Savory’s variety of dips packets to make your favorite dip flavor, fresh at home.

For another healthy addition to lunch, try the Amish popcorn, now available weekly at the Market Place. And Joy of Garlic now brings amazing, low sodium tortilla chips to pair with their all natural salsas. Their new spicy mango salsa is my favorite!

Another after school snack idea could include crostinis from Bottega by Liz Catering lightly smothered with any of the authentic hummus flavors from Olive My Pickle. Try their Cilantro lemon, jalapeno garlic, and sun-dried tomato. They also offer a black bean hummus, and an original tahini hummus made without chick peas.

Desserts are in abundance at the farmers market, too, with Tucker’s homemade Topsy Toffee, cupcakes and cookies from Nana Teresa’s Bakery, and of course, watermelon, blackberries, peaches, cantaloupes, and other fresh fruits available from the four produce vendors.

August 13th also marks the return of the Fernandina Beach Arts Market. This is a unique offering of about 20 local arts and craft booths manned by talented members of our community. The Arts Market is only open on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month.

Both markets are open from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., rain or shine, and are located on North Seventh Street, between Alachua and Centre, in historic, downtown Fernandina Beach. For more information, please visit FernandinaBeachArtsMarket.com.

Music is provided by the talented Spanish guitarist Dennis Fermin, and your well-behaved, leashed pets are always welcome.

Rotary Amelia Island Sunrise has New Officers

Rotary Amelia Island Sunrise has New OfficersThe Rotary Club of Amelia Island Sunrise recently hosted its annual officer installation. The club looks forward to another year as they continue their projects throughout the community and internationally. The club recognized its outgoing officers and introduced new officers for the coming year. Shown below from left to right are new officers John Kublbock, Larry Ogilvie, Barbi Coyne, Stan Fishburn, Jim Weaver and Mickey Ulmer. Incoming president Stan Fishburn shared his vision for the coming year to continue the club’s many projects and to work closely with other Rotary clubs.

Rotary is an international civic organization with over 1,200,000 members world-wide. The Amelia Island Sunrise club meets Fridays at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club at 7:30.

Waymore Return to Evening of Story and Song August 13th

The Waymores (waymores.net) return to Amelia Island, and if you aren’t leaving town to beat the Florida heat, check them out on Saturday, August 13, 2016, at 7:30 p.m.

Tom Kimmel, Sally Barris, and Don Henry are three of Nashville’s finest singer/songwriters; quite successful as solo artists with more than a dozen albums between them and songs recorded by Linda Rondstadt, Johhny Cash, Ray Charles, Miranda Lambert and many others… who realized that they could make way more music and have way more fun by performing together.

If you haven’t already made your reservations, please email: eveningofstoryandsong@gmail.com.

For a sneak preview, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lZh61Iiqfw to see The Waymores on Nashville Public Radio’s “Live in Studio C.”

Doors will open (along with the wine bar) at 6:45 pm; concert begins at 7:30 pm. A $20 donation at the door (100% goes to the artist) is requested and very much appreciated!

Saturday, August 13th at 7:30 pm
Burns Hall at St. Peter’s Episcopal Parish
(9th & Atlantic in Fernandina Beach)

“An Evening of Story & Song” is made possible thanks to the generous support of First Coast Community Bank and the Community Outreach program at St. Peter’s.

Your Sense of Smell and Your Health

Your Sense of Smell and Your HealthYour sense of smell enriches your experience of the world around you. Different scents can change your mood, transport you back to a distant memory, and may even help you bond with loved ones. Your ability to smell also plays a key role in your health. If your ability to smell declines, it can affect your diet and nutrition, physical well-being, and everyday safety.

Whether coffee brewing, pine trees in a forest, or smoke from a fire, the things we smell are actually tiny molecules released by substances all around us. When we breathe in these molecules, they stimulate specialized sensory cells high inside the nose. Each of these sensory cells has only one type of odor receptor—a structure on the cell that selectively latches onto a specific type of “smelly” molecule. There are more smells in the environment than there are odor receptors. But a given molecule can stimulate a combination of these receptors, creating a unique representation in the brain of a particular smell.

“It’s estimated that the number of odors that people can detect is somewhere between 10,000 and 100 billion, or even more,” says Dr. Gary Beauchamp, a taste and smell researcher at Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. We all have different combinations of odor-detecting cells in our noses, he explains, so people vary greatly in their sensitivity to smells. “In fact, when you or I smell the same physical thing, our perceptions may be very different,” Beauchamp says.

Because smell information is sent to different parts of the brain, odors can influence many aspects of our lives, such as memory, mood, and emotion. For thousands of years, fragrant plants have been used in healing practices across many cultures, including ancient China, India, and Egypt. Aromatherapy, for example, aims to use essential oils from flowers, herbs, or trees to improve physical and emotional well-being.

To date, there’s little scientific evidence supporting aromatherapy’s effectiveness for most health issues. Yet memories of smell can be vivid and long lasting, which may have a positive effect.

“Lavender is a good example, which is touted as a relaxation odor,” Beauchamp says. “But the question is: Is that a relaxation odor because we’ve had past experience with this particular odor where we’ve been relaxed, and so we’ve learned the association?” Scientists continue to examine how different types of aromatherapies might affect our health and well-being.

Smell is also important for your perception of taste. Chewing your food releases aromas that travel from your mouth and throat to the nose. Without smell, we can detect only 5 basic tastes: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami (savory). But our brains incorporate information from both taste and smell receptors to create the perception of many different flavors.

Some people may think they’ve lost their sense of taste if food begins to taste bland or slightly “off.” But in fact, they may have lost their ability to smell.

Many things can cause smell loss. A stuffy nose, or a harmless growth in the nose (called a polyp) can block air and thus odors from reaching the sensory cells. Certain medications, like some antibiotics or blood pressure pills, can alter smell. These effects are usually temporary. Your smell should come back once you’ve recovered or stopped the treatments.

But some things can cause a long-lasting loss of smell. A head injury or virus, for example, can sometimes damage the nerves related to smell. And your ability to smell may naturally fade as you get older.

“A good sized majority of people don’t know they have a problem with their sense of smell,” says Howard Hoffman, a public health expert at NIH. A national health and nutrition survey recently revealed that 12% of adults have a smell dysfunction. The problem increases with age, with 39% of those ages 80 and older showing a deficit.

“Quality of life issues from smell loss affect people differently depending upon their situation,” Hoffman says. “The effects can be enormous.” Food can become less enjoyable. You may lose interest in eating or change your eating habits, consuming a less healthy diet.

People who’ve lost their sense of smell sometimes try to boost flavor by adding more salt or sugar to their foods. But these additions might cause problems for those at risk for certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, kidney disease, or diabetes. Talk with your doctor if you think a smell deficit might be affecting your quality of life.

Smell loss can also put you in harm’s way if you don’t notice a “warning” smell. The recent national health and nutrition survey found that 1 in 10 people couldn’t identify the smell of smoke, and about 15% couldn’t identify the smell of natural gas. “As people get older, those rates go up,” Hoffman says. For those ages 70 and older, 20% couldn’t identify the smell of smoke, and 31% couldn’t recognize gas odor.

“With age, there is a decline in the ability to smell to some extent in the nose, but much more in the brain itself,” says Dr. Davangere Devanand at Columbia University, an expert on neurodegenerative diseases and smell loss. “The main reason appears to be that the functioning of the brain regions involved in smell and memory become impaired as we grow older.”

But problems with your ability to smell may be more than normal aging. They can sometimes be an early sign of serious health conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, or multiple sclerosis. Devanand’s group is currently studying the relationships between smell dysfunction and Alzheimer’s disease.

If your food doesn’t smell or taste the way you think it should, talk to your doctor. Health care providers can give you a “scratch and sniff” smell identification test to help assess the kind of smell disorder you might have. This test alone can’t diagnose more serious health problems, but it can be informative when used alongside other tests.

Smell may be the most mysterious of our 5 senses, Beauchamp says. “We know quite a bit about smell loss and can diagnose this fairly well. But, for the most part, we have no treatments that are reliable and widely accepted” for long-lasting cases of smell loss. Some studies suggest that smell training may help you improve your ability to discriminate and identify odors. It may stimulate growth of new receptors or improve your brain’s ability to interpret low levels of odors, Beauchamp explains. But researchers are still learning how and whether this works.

Like all of your senses, your sense of smell plays an important part in your life. If you think you’re experiencing a loss of taste or smell, see your health care provider. There may be ways to help fix the problem. If not, your doctor can help you learn to cope with the changes in smell and taste.

If you’ve lost your ability to smell, it’s important to find other ways to detect:
-Smoke. Check your smoke detectors once a year to make sure they work.
-Gas leaks. Make sure you have a gas detector in your home.
-Spoiled food. Throw out food that’s been in the refrigerator too long and practice other basic food safety. Learn more at www.foodsafety.gov.
-Household chemicals. Make sure there’s fresh air where you live and work.

Article by NIH Office of Communications and Public Liaison
Editor: Harrison Wein, Ph.D.
Managing Editor: Vicki Contie
Contributors: Vicki Contie, Alan Defibaugh (illustrations), Claire Donnelly, and Tianna Hicklin.

Annual Redfish Spot Fishing Tournament September 19th

Press release by Dickie Anderson – The Amelia Island Guides Association (AIGA) and Amelia Island Marina (formerly Amelia Island Yacht Basin) will co-host the 2nd Annual Redfish Spot Fishing Tournament on September 17, 2016 to benefit the Folds of Honor Foundation.

Folds of Honor, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is committed to the families of the armed services who have been wounded or killed while serving our great nation and to ensure no military family is left behind or forgotten. Since its inception in 2007, Folds of Honor has awarded more than 10,000 scholarships to children of fallen or disabled military men and women in all 50 states. You may make a donation to the Folds of Honor Foundation directly on their web site at www.foldsofhonor.org.

The tournament is open to all anglers fishing from powered boats, sail boats, kayak, canoe, the shore, bridges, piers, etc., with 100% of the entry fees paid out in prize money. The Captains Meeting will be held on Friday, September 16, 2016.

The public is invited to listen to live music and watch the anglers present their fish to spot counting beginning at 2:00 pm.

Additional information can be found on the AIGA website at www.ameliaislandguidesassociation.com. If you would like to donate to the raffle or silent auction or have a booth at the event, please contact Capt. Scott Thompson at 904-430-6014.

The Amelia Island Marina, formerly Amelia Island Yacht Basin, is located at 251 Creekside Drive, at the foot of the Shave Bridge.

Arthritis Mechanisms May Vary by Joint

Press release – Molecular differences between knee and hip joints with rheumatoid arthritis may inform more personal treatment strategies. Sebastian Kaulitzki/Hemera/Thinkstock

Knee and hip joints with rheumatoid arthritis have differing genetic markers linked to inflammation, suggesting that different joints may have varying disease mechanisms. These new findings may lead to more effective, personalized therapies for rheumatoid arthritis.

People with rheumatoid arthritis have swelling and pain in joints throughout the body. These problems arise when the immune system, which protects the body from germs and infections, mistakenly attacks the joints. For unknown reasons, different joints are affected differently in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

An NIH-funded research team previously found that certain cells in joints have unique patterns of chemical tags—called epigenetic markers—that differ between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Such tags can affect when genes turn on or off and can regulate immune function.

In the new study, the scientists examined epigenetic patterns in joint cells from 30 people with rheumatoid arthritis and 16 with osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis cells had differing patterns of epigenetic tags as expected. But unexpectedly, in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, the patterns in knee joint cells differed from cells in hip joints.

The scientists next assessed the affected biological pathways that distinguish different joints. Knee and hip joints with rheumatoid arthritis had differing activated genes and biological pathways. Many of these pathways were related to immune system function.

The team also found that new drugs for treating rheumatoid arthritis may affect some of these pathways. Their findings might offer an opportunity for developing more precise approaches to treating different arthritic joints.

“We showed that the epigenetic marks vary from joint to joint in rheumatoid arthritis,” says study coauthor Dr. Gary S. Firestein of the University of California, San Diego. “This might provide an explanation as to why some joints improve while others do not, even though they are exposed to the same drug.”

Article contributed by NIH Office of Communications and Public Liaison
Editor: Harrison Wein, Ph.D.
Managing Editor: Vicki Contie
Contributors: Vicki Contie, Alan Defibaugh (illustrations), Claire Donnelly, and Tianna Hicklin.

An Earworm is a Song That Gets Stuck in Your Head

Have you ever found yourself with a song “stuck in your head”. No matter what you try, you just can’t seem to shake it! This catchy little ditty is often called an earworm.

Often it is created from a song you just heard. Perhaps you were driving to the grocery store, and once inside, you find yourself pushing the shopping cart to Everybody Have Fun Tonight, by Wang Chung. What can be worse than that? A song you like even less such as the Silver Convention’s West German Euro disco hit with likely the most agonizing lyrics in the history of music… maybe even all time – the song: Fly Robin Fly.

According to folks who research this, nearly 98% of people have had this happen. Popular earworms according to Professor James J. Kellaris, PhD, of the University of Cincinnati, include Chili’s Baby Back Ribs jingle, and the Baha Men song Who Let the Dogs Out. Kelleris said songs with lyrics come in first as being stuck, then commercial jingles, and finally instrumental pieces, or tunes without words.

Here is a top-ten list of earworms from his studies:
1. Other. Everyone has his or her own worst earworm.
2. Chili’s “Baby Back Ribs” jingle.
3. “Who Let the Dogs Out”
4. “We Will Rock You”
5. Kit-Kat candy-bar jingle (“Gimme a Break …”)
6. “Mission Impossible” theme
7. “YMCA”
8. “Whoomp, There It Is”
9. “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”
10. “It’s a Small World After All”

Also, he found, earworms irrated women more significantly than men, and episodes were for frequent and lasted long for musicians and music lovers. (“Slightly neurotic people also seemed to suffer more.”)

I get them all of the time! Let’s go with the reason is because I love music, though some may describe me as slightly neurotic – especially do to my life’s recent events.

While there is no known cure for this burrowing menace, many people try to finish the song in an attempt to get rid of it. My daughter can not remember the lyrics past the part that gets stuck in her head. I simply turn on the radio and find a better song when the earworms irritate me.

Florida Commissioner Adam H. Putnam Issues Mosquito Declaration

Tallahassee, FL – In response to the continental United States’ first locally acquired cases of Zika confirmed, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam issued a statewide mosquito declaration. This mosquito declaration initiates aggressive mosquito control efforts within a minimum 200-yard radius around a locally acquired case patient’s home.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has been testing mosquitoes from around the state at the Bronson Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, and all samples have been negative for the Zika virus to date.

“We will continue to proactively work with federal, state and local officials to protect Floridians and visitors from Zika,” stated Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “Floridians can do their part by draining standing water surrounding their homes, as it can serve as breeding grounds for the mosquitoes that are capable of transmitting the virus.”

While the virus has been widespread in countries in South and Central America and the Caribbean, this declaration is consistent with Florida’s proactive approach in combating Zika.

Florida’s efforts, which are conducted by local mosquito control programs and supported by the expertise provided by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, include: eliminating larval habitats by emptying standing water, treating water-holding containers with long-lasting larvicide, providing outdoor residential and spatial insecticide treatments to reduce adult vectors, and conducting adult mosquito surveillance to evaluate the effectiveness of treatments.

While the Florida Department of Health is the lead agency in this public health crisis, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has been supporting statewide efforts by: providing technical assistance to mosquito control programs, monitoring mosquito control activities across the state, training pest control companies, distributing BG Sentinel traps used for surveillance throughout Florida, and equipping the Bronson Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory with the tools needed to test mosquitoes for the presence of Zika.

On February 2, 2016, the Florida Surgeon General declared a public health emergency in regards to the Zika virus. Floridians can assist in Zika-related response efforts by draining standing water and allowing officials who are conducting mosquito control efforts to access their property.

For more information on the Zika virus, visit the Florida Department of Health’s website at FloridaHealth.gov.

Make a Splash with Artist Jose Garcia

Make a Splash is the newest exhibit at the Plantation Artists’ Guild and Gallery. Amelia Island resident, Jose Garcia, features beautiful art that will be on display from August 6 through September 10, 2016, at the Plantation Artists’ Guild & Gallery.

Garcia began drawing as a young man and soon developed a love of color that he used to paint the birds, fish and animals he saw on his world travels. Comfortable with a variety of media, he favors oil on canvas to paint his abstracts and tries to express emotion with each brush stroke.

The Plantation Artists’ Guild & Gallery is located at 94 Amelia Village Circle at The Omni Shops. Gallery hours are Tuesdays 9-1; Wednesday – Friday, from 11:00 a.m until 5:00 p.m., or by appointment.

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