Blood Letting Celebration

Pirate Club Blood DriveThe Fernandina Pirates Club will be holding a blood letting this Saturday, October 16th, at the Chili’s in Yulee from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM. This brood of scoundrels hosts blood drives for the Georgia Florida Blood Alliance that are wildly popular. Come on out and give a pint, or members of the Fernandina Pirates might just spill one for ye!

The following pirate tale should put you in the mood:

Author Unknown
There’s an old sea story about a Pirate Captain who reprimanded his first mate because his men smelled bad; worse than what was considered usual for the scallawags.

The old Captain suggested the swabbies should change their underwear occasionally.

The first mate responded, “Aye, aye sir, I’ll see to it immediately!” He headed straight for the sailors berth deck and announced, “Your Captain thinks you scurvey dogs are smelling bad and wants you to change your underwear.” He continued, “One Eyed Jack, you change with Mr. Bootleg, Stumpy, you change with the Quartermaster, and Brown, you change with the ship’s doctor.”

September Award Winners for Amelia Toastmasters

Talk of Amelia ToastmastersFernandina Beach, FL – The Talk of Amelia Toastmasters Club announced its award-winning presenters for the month of September. Martha Meece of First Coast Community Bank was the club’s best speaker, Bethany Kessel of EverBank was the best table topics speaker and Ben Stephens of First Coast Community Bank was the best evaluator.

The club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first and fourth Monday of the month. Membership is open to the public and guests are welcome to visit at no cost. Meetings are held at the Fernandina Beach Police Department Community Room, 1525 Lime St., Fernandina Beach, FL 32034.

For more information, call (904) 277-4599 or visit

The Beach was Empty this Morning

Southern Tailgate Cook Off on Main Beach, Amelia Island

Yesterday morning, Labor Day, there were at least 500 people walking the beach at 7am, with a good amount of vehicles parked near Sliders in the distance.
This morning? I met a total of 3 women and 2 guys jogging in my 45 minute walk and one lonely vehicle, probably left there from a party last night.

The Summer Tourist season 2010 is drawing to a close and we can only hope that businesses on the island that depend on visitors did well enough to sustain themselves until the next season comes along, or at least until some of the exposure that Amelia Island has been getting lately can be exchanged into a longer season with yet  more quality visits.
In recent time the island has become a staple of recommendation in Condé Nast Traveler, received accolades in the September issue of Coastal Living, got a great write-up earlier this year in the New York Times and is a feature destination in October’s Marine Life Magazine, besides numerous mentions and  industry awards.

With a little help from our friends

A famous hurricane expression amplifies that “there is no storm that blows evil for everyone”.  Amelia Island has been ready for the “big” exposure for years, yet it took this year’s unfortunate oil leak disaster in the Gulf in early spring, to give us that a special push to awareness. Many vacations planned for the Louisiana Wetlands, Mississippi’s Biloxi and Gulfport beaches and the Florida Panhandle were redirected in favor of the Florida Atlantic coast and Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach got its fair share of that traffic.
The advantage of the island as a vacation destination is that it does not need any preparation. No matter how when or what, all the ingredients for a fabulous vacation are always in place, aided by the fact that the weather is usually magnificent. The beaches are long, wide and clean, the resort hotels, B & B’s and Inns offer a product and price range for everyone and Historic Fernandina Beach is a great location when the beach and sun have taken their “toll”.

This year we also noticed that initiative from various charities, companies and individuals expanded the entertainment offerings.
We enjoyed the usual first Friday in the month Sounds on Centre in town, which now between June and Sept. was followed by Sunsplash on the Beach at Seaside Park. Organized by Pipeline Surfshop and Jeff Barksdale’s Big O Events productions, Sunsplash brought everything for a day on the beach: kids activities, surfing, volleyball, fashion and bikini shows and lots of good music.
There was another remarkable first this summer when the Convention and Visitor Bureau attracted the Southern Tailgate BBQ Cook Off for two days of food and fun on Main Beach which attracted thousands of visitors over the last weekend in August.
Actually there were so many events prepared and held this summer, that a short break would seem like a welcome reprieve for many of the organizers.

But that’s not how it works on this island.
Now the “niche” organizations are getting ready to push their events, fundraisers and festivities, from the world famous Ritz Carlton organizing “The Flavor of Salt Tour” which highlights the Cuisine and Wines of the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal and the Balearic Islands) on its Sept. 16 rendition, to Tennis at the Amelia Island Plantation. In October we welcome the Amelia Cruizers and their signature 8-Flags Car Show in Downtown on October 16, followed by The Rotary Club of Amelia-Sunrise new initiative called Ameia Challenge on October 23 and a week later the island will be busting with Florida-Georgia Football “fanatics”.

On November 12 we will see the start of the 2nd Pétanque America International Open Tournament with once again players from around the globe checking in, while at the same time Amelia Island Plantation will be the host spot for a 9 day USTA $10,000 Futures Tennis Tournament.

Just check out the calendars on SearchAmelia and we will try to keep you updated on major and minor events that will keep attracting visitors to our beautiful island, whether for a day, a weekend or longer.

The Amelia Challenge

The Amelia Challenge

The Amelia Challenge

A signature fund-raising event for the Rotary Club of Amelia Island – Sunrise, held on October 23, 2010. Amelia Challenge – Fun for the entire family!

AC2010 – a unique challenge that combines sportive and intellectual challenges

Fernandina Beach, FL – What is AC-2010? The Amelia Challenge is presented by Baptist Medical Center Nassau, and is a signature Fund-Raising Event of the Rotary Club of Amelia Island – Sunrise. AC2010 is a unique challenge that combines sports and intellectual challenges, with other activities for the family including a jump house for the kids and food by Sony’s BBQ available on-site.

Beginning at 9am on October 23, 2010 at the Atlantic Recreation Center in Fernandina Beach, Florida, bicycle races, walk/run races and mental challenges will test up to 50 teams of four, in unique ways: combining a total of 4 races and 4 exciting challenges. The grand final challenge will require each team to complete the Official Amelia Island Challenge Puzzle. The team that completes the puzzle first will be named the AC2010 CHALLENGE CHAMPION.

Becoming a supporter of this event is attractive to both local and regional businesses. Marketing, which includes a printed and web based campaign,, will ensure broad exposure. Being associated with Rotary conveys that the business shares in our key mission: to serve their communities and those in need throughout the world.

Teams will be formed from businesses, non-profits or among families and friends. As a participant in competition, each team will be able to designate $100 of their entry fee to one of the charities named on the application. Non-profits as well as other Rotary clubs can form teams and compete knowing that a portion of their entry fee will go to a charity of their choice.

To learn more about AC2010, become a sponsor, or register a team, go to the website It is all about Teamwork and we hope to see you and your families on October 23.

The Rotary Club of Amelia Island Sunrise meets every Friday from 7:30 am to 8:30 am at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club. For more information, contact President Art Shuster or visit the club’s website:

Voluntourism Combines Your Vacation with Service to Humanity

Voluntourism Combines Your Vacation with Service to Humanity

Combine Your Vacation with Service to Humanity

Voluntourism is a way to combine your vacation with service to humanity and this is one of the ways the travel industry is growing. Imagine the possiblity of exploring new lands and cultures to satisfy your passion for travel, while interacting with your destination by planting trees in a blighted area, visit patients in a children’s hospital or helping scientists with research.

Several cruise lines offer excursions that allow passengers to participate in service projects. Celebrity, Holland America and Royal Caribbean all offer voluntourism excursions in places like Alaska, Mexico, South America and Africa.

Most voluntourism shore excursions carry a fee, like other excursions.

Interested in staying closer to home? Check out the Take Pride in America program. You can find a calendar of upcoming events on the website and find an event to volunteer for in your backyard or across the United States. Combine an event that fits your family’s personality with your next domestic vacation and you have just created a personalized voluntourism vacation of your own.

Cynde Covington Appointed New Rotary District Governor

Cynde Covington Appointed New Rotary District Governor

Cynde Covington Appointed New Rotary District Governor

JACKSONVILLE, FL – Cynde Covington, a charter member and past President of the Rotary Club of Southpoint, Jacksonville, was chosen as District Governor 2010-2011, a volunteer position representing Rotary International.

The main objective of Rotary International is service in the community and throughout the world. As volunteers, Rotarians build goodwill and peace, provide humanitarian service and encourage high ethical standard in all vocations. There are some 1.2 million Rotarians in more than 32,000 clubs in 200 countries.

Cynde is one of 531 Rotarians worldwide serving as a District Governor this Rotary year (July 2010 to June 2011). Cynde will be responsible for organizing new Rotary clubs and strengthening existing ones. As Governor, she will oversee the 62 clubs in the northeast Florida area representing District 6970.

Cynde is married to Barry Covington (Past President of the Rotary Club of South Jacksonville). Both are active in their church, their community, and Rotary. They traveled to India as part of a Polio National Immunization Day team and will be leading a team in 2011. In addition to Rotary, Cynde served on the Institutional Review Board for Shands Jacksonville Medical Center and is a graduate of the Leadership Jacksonville Class of 2001. Cynde brings a wealth of experience and compassion in her new role as District Governor.

Area Rotary clubs are involved in many local and international service activities that provide clean water, basic education and literacy, disease prevention and treatment, maternal and child health care, economic and community development, peace and conflict resolution, youth exchange and development programs, ambassadorial scholarships, and disaster relief, to name just a few. To learn more, please visit or

If you have news or information about our community that you would like to share, please send it to us by clicking here.

Houma Day 2: Working on a Triple Wide

What More Could We Ever Want ?

Another good day in the trenches, while the sun demanded a lot of our sweat and we happily drove back to camp.
Even with the oil spill this close, it’s virtually in our backyard, our projects are still concerned with fixing homes that were totaled by Katrina almost five years ago.

Our PDA works in conjunction with the United Methodist disaster response (UMdr), which is now focusing on the parishes around new Orleans. So far, more than 71,000 volunteers worked at 12,000 project sites and logged in working hours representing more than $50 million (based on 20 usd per hour).

Today we met Alice, the daughter-in-law of the owner of the house I am assigned to. Her husband Albert came by in the afternoon and thanked us for our help. His mom of 92 is currently living with Albert and Alice and they are all looking forward to moving in to her home this coming July.

By the way: the home is based on a structure of three mobile homes and the floodwater line after Katrina had gone through, was above the window sill of the picture.
Albert, Magdalina’s son, is a truck driver and in talking with him he showed much concern about the 6 month drilling moratorium as a result of the oil spill. He drives goods to the loading docks of the supply ships going to the riggs and does not know how his future is going to look like. It’s literally the choice between a rock and a hard plate.

The work today was a continuation of mudding, sanding and wiring and we were very confident that we would be able to spray the walls in the afternoon…….but then Jim, the manager of the UMdr came by for a little insection, made a walk through and told us we had some more work to do today, before we can spray. A small disappointment that quickly disappeared after he showed us what to do and gave us many helpful hints.
So I guess with fixing a house it is like with religion – sometimes you are not ready yet and need some guidance to get there.
This evening Gene and his kitchen crew are preparing Gene’s famous creole sauce and it is remarkable how important the sharing of food becomes in this routine. After dinner clean up and some time for reflection. Early to bed. Will meet with Magdalina the owner of the house we work on tomorrow. Looking forward to another fulfilled day.

Helmut Albrecht.

Sunrise Rotary Awards

Sunrise Rotary Awards

Sunrise Rotary Awards

By: Katey Breen

Twenty two members of the Rotary Club of Amelia Island Sunrise attended their recent Annual District Awards Luncheon and it was obvious the District Awards Committee is impressed with the work they do in their club.

Amelia Island Sunrise received six awards (far more than any other club in the district).

(1). A Premier Club Award (of the 62 clubs in the district, 22 received this designation)

In the small club category:

Rotary Sunrise Awards

Rotary Sunrise Awards

(2.) Best Membership Growth
(3.) Best International Service Project (for the Nicaragua Project)
(4.) Best Local Service Project (for our work with the Boys and Girls Club)
(5.) Best Service Above Self Project (for the Nicaragua Project)

And last, but far from least,

(6.) Best Club!!!

Congratulations and thank you, thank you, thank you for all you do!

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EABC Cruised to Cumberland

Tim addresses the front of the boat, while the partyers in the back are tasting wine and snacks

The European American Business Club had a sunset cruise outing Wednesday night leaving on Amelia River Cruises from the Downtown Marina to the marshes around Cumberland Island. Some 40 plus members of the club were in animated conversations, aided by a healthy mixture of European and American wines and snacks, on a beautiful spring evening.

With the proper warnings from Captain/Owner Kevin McCarty that he loves to talk, the trip over to Cumberland was an hour of some of the finest lessons in mind and fact altering history I have ever witnessed. From others and intimated stories I had already learned that Kevin has a way with stories that puts you back into the scenery of those days long gone.
The original town of Fernandina, the fact that the floorplan of old town was not big enough for the plan to turn Amelia Island into the Manhattan of the South and therefore the whole town was moved at one point in time; the fact that for many years the deep waters of Cumberland Sound and the Amelia River were anchorage for hundreds of trading vessels, smugglers, marauders and pirates, as the closest port to America. I looked over the vast waters and the lighthouses and my mind wandered 200 years back

If you ever want to get a true sense of how life was in those days, Captain Kevin can take you there.
Even the stories about the Carnegies and their 54 room mansion Dungeness on Cumberland Island, the story of the wild horses that are still roaming the island, John Kennedy Jr. wedding chapel and the life and death of Nathaniel Green, are fascinating and once and for all establishing the this little piece of the world once not too long ago was a major center of world history.

Once we turned our back to Cumberland and the surrounding marshes though, the conversation in certain groups turned to what many Europeans consider a major event every 4 years: The World Cup Soccer .

The mix of this club membership is pronounced enough to warrant some nationalistic emotions between Brits, Germans, Dutch, Belgian/French, Italian and some Spanish blood going around and soon discussions and conversations centered around the event and the next meeting, usually scheduled for the second Wednesday of the month. Well it turns out that the second Wednesday in June falls on the 9th, two days before the World Cup kicks off in South Africa and the July meeting is scheduled for July 14th, 3 days after the finals. Brilliant planning I overheard someone saying.

I have not been much into soccer since the Dutch lost in the finals in Munich Germany in 1974, when they had the best team in the world, but with typical Dutch arrogance thought they had it bagged after scoring 1-0 in the first minute of the game. They lost that year 2-1 to Germany. I was in the Munich stadium, postponing my vacation and paying DM500 for a ticket. They stopped playing soccer after that first minute penalty goal. They made it again into the finals four years later but lost to Argentina in Buenos Aires after extra time. I had already crossed the Atlantic by then.

From the conversations going around I learned the following opinions about the upcoming world cup:
The teams who will probably win it : Brazil, Argentina, Italy ( they are champions and on their style, the toughest nut to crack), Germany, Spain, with Spain as most people’s favorite because they play the soccer that can charm the pants of a cold blooded NFL player. Brazil is the other main contender (as always) even though they play soccer these days as a battle ship; it produces results but little excitement.

Also the ones who might win it without shocking the world too much : England, France, Holland, Portugal. Consensus is that any of these countries would take a semifinal as a fair result. Not the same weight of expectation.

For the rest of the Europeans, South American and all African teams, as well as Mexico, USA and Australia probably would be ecstatic with a semifinal in a way the other 9 would not be. 32 Teams are playing in 8 rounds. Since 1930 Brazil has won the cup 5 times, Italy 4 times and Germany 3 times.

We will know who won 2010 by the time our July meeting comes around, but since that meeting falls on Bastille Day, July 14, the French National Holiday, I think the meeting should be on the Pétanque Courts at the marina, where every nation in the European American Business Club will have an opportunity to defend its own colors and drink Ricard on honor of the French. We’ll have enough time to teach our American Friends the “Marseillaise”.  Should be fun.

Here are the words of the first verse:

Allons enfants de la patrie,
Le jour de gloire est arrivé !
Contre nous de la tyrannie
L’étendard sanglant est levé ! (bis)
Entendez-vous dans les campagnes,
Mugir ces féroces soldats ?
Ils viennent jusque dans nos bras
Égorger nos fils, nos compagnes !

Aux armes, citoyens !
Formez vos bataillons !
Marchons ! Marchons !
Qu’un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons !

Rotary Gives Helping Hand to Micah’s Place

Rotary Amelia Island Work crew helps Micah's Place

The Rotary Club of Amelia Island Sunrise sponsored a clean-up day at the Micah’s Place domestic violence shelter in Nassau County, and a furniture pick-up service for their Purple Dove Resale Center last Saturday, April 10th.

Rotarians that participated in this event included: Chip Townsend, Deb Cottle, Katey Breen, Helmut & Peggy Albrecht, Sandy Price, Lila Keim, Jeff Timian, Jim Mayo, Connor Cottle (Rotary Interact Club) and Brian Flick who generously picked up donated items to be sold at the Purple Dove Resale Center.

Sunrise Rotarians planted flowers, spread mulch, and cleaned playground equipment to help give the residents of the shelter a positive uplift in their environment, and a clean place for their kids to play.

Micah’s Place is the only certified domestic violence center in Nassau County operating a 24 hr shelter and crisis hotline.

The Sunrise Rotary Club meets every Friday morning from 7:30AM to 8:30AM, at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club.
For more information about Rotary meetings or events, please contact president, Chip Townsend , at 904-277-4400 @ FCCBank.

Rehabilitating Pete

A deteriorating landmark in historic Fernandina Beach, one who stood proudly as a symbol of community fellowship at the old Welcome Center at the waterfront, was recently hijacked by the Fernandina Pirates Club who coordinated the restoration and unveiling of the wooden sculpture of a pirate.

A community-wide contest to name the statue was won by the students of Emma Love Hardee and Peg Leg first took his place on October 14, 1978. Originally carved from a single ten foot piece of live oak by artist Wayne Ervin, it took the cooperative spirit of an additional two dozen volunteers and contributors to bring the historic landmark to life. Pete, as Peg Leg became fondly known, is reported to be the single most photographed icon in Fernandina Beach. When Eric Childers was the president of the Fernandina Pirates Club, he approached his crew about the project to restore their comrade and was met with an overwhelming commitment to accept the responsibility to patch up the acclaimed pirate.

Since 1973, the pirates have been responsive to the tangible needs of our community such as promoting the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, local charity events and are the sole sponsor of a scholarship contest provided each year to Nassau County High School Seniors. Though mostly thought of as fun-seekers who only hand out beads at local parades, these Pirates do a whole lot more!

But, when the club took a closer look at Peg Leg, they realized he had lost over half of his original weight and in fact, he was in worse shape than anyone had imagined. “This is going to take more than a face-lift and a paint job,” members teased. His fragile core was hollow in many places from insect damage, his rotting wood was crumbling apart and a bird had even built a nest in his weathered head. With the welding skills of Container Corporation and the professionals with the City’s Street Division, Peg Leg was transported into the care of the Pirate Club’s membership to undergo several weeks of intense rehabilitation and therapy.

On November 10, 2007, the Fernandina Pirates Club proudly unveiled Peg Leg Pete, refurbished and restored. The Sign Shoppe provided a new dedication plaque and Rafloski Photography documented the exciting event. On December 4, 2007, the City Commission of Fernandina Beach presented a formal Proclamation to the Fernandina Pirates Club in appreciation of “their efforts in restoring the City’s beloved Pirate, Peg Leg Pete, which has been a landmark in our downtown for over 30 years.”

The Pirates would like to formally thank all of those who felt connected to “rehabilitating Pete.”

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