Main Street Program Getting Ready for Take Off

Florida Main Street Designation

Florida Main Street Designation

In a press release update from Community Development Director Adrienne Burke  it is reported that Fernandina Beach’s prestigious designation as a Florida Main Street community is well on its way. Being a Florida Main Street will enable Fernandina Beach to create greater economic stability, revitalization, sustainability, vitality, quality of life and civic pride through the historic downtown, the press release states.

What has happened since the designation?

The official organization, Fernandina Beach Main Street, Inc., has been formed with a Board of Directors and is seeking 501(c)(6) status. Establishing a separate non-profit board is typical of most Main Street communities. There are eleven Board members including: Chair Marisol Triana (Hola Cuban Café), Vice-Chair Adrienne Burke (City of Fernandina Beach), Secretary Regina Duncan (Chamber of Commerce), Treasurer Bobby Ferreira (Century 21), Ashley Phinazee (Colie’s), Steve Colwell (Fantastic Fudge), Arlene Filkoff (Community Redevelopment Area Advisory Board), Susan Mowery (Amelia Island-Fernandina Restoration Foundation), Bob Ramshaw (Hampton Inn), Gil Langley (Amelia Island Convention and Visitors Bureau), and Laura DiBella (Nassau County Economic Development Board). Several members of the Board are also members of the Historic Fernandina Business Association. The initial Board terms are three years.

The first order of action for the Board in addition to establishing Board bylaws and procedures has been to solicit applicants for the position of Main Street Executive Director. Fifty-seven applicants from around the country applied for the position, and a hiring committee of the Board is working on final candidates to bring to the full Board for a decision. It is hoped the Executive Director will be on the ground in October. Citizens State Bank at 715 Centre Street has graciously donated office space to house the director’s office, and has made their conference room available for board and committee meetings.

Additionally, sponsors who have contributed to supporting the Main Street program are being contacted with updates and will be provided necessary organizational information for purposes of making contributions. The Main Street Board is extremely appreciative of sponsor support and community enthusiasm. It is anticipated that sponsors will receive recognition as promotional and outreach materials are created.

The Board is working on a website and creating a mailing list over the next month. Events and updates on the program will be added to the website, in addition to information on Board and committee meetings. Fernandina Beach Main Street already has a presence on social media, including Facebook and Instagram.
Also, part of the Main Street program involves technical assistance from the state. On October 6, the Florida Main Street Coordinator, Ronni Wood, will be visiting Fernandina Beach for the first site visit of the program.
In January, a technical team is planned to visit to assist with framing the program work around the four National Main Street goals:
• promotion,
• design,
• economic restructuring, and
• organization.
This technical work will help establish the priorities for the Fernandina Beach Main Street program.

How can you get involved?

Right now, the Board is issuing a call to action for volunteers who are needed to form committees around the four program goals. The committees are an active part of making the Main Street a success, and should expect to commit at least 8-10 hours a month on the committee. If you have the time and interest, please email Regina Duncan at and indicate which committee you are interested in: promotion, design, economic restructuring, or organization. Information on the four goals can be found at under “4 Point Approach.” Approximately five to seven committee members are needed for each group.

If you don’t have the time to be on a committee, stay tuned for how you may be able to volunteer. Community volunteers will be critical to implementing committee and Board action items and helping ensure Fernandina Beach Main Street is one of the best in the state!

FURTHERMORE mark your calendars to join us on Wednesday, October 7th at 5:30 at Sheffield’s and the Palace Saloon when First Coast Magazine is hosting their first annual Masquerade Soiree, featuring local food, cocktails, live music, and masks galore! Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. A portion of the event proceeds will benefit the Fernandina Beach Main Street program. Purchase tickets at

Lastly, be sure to like us at “Fernandina Beach Main Street” on Facebook, “FernandinaBeachMainStreet” on Instagram, and use #fernandinabeachmainstreet in posts. As a non-profit, donations are welcomed to help support the mission of the program and can be given at: We thank you in advance! To volunteer or sign up for the mailing list, email
For more information on the Florida Main Street program at the Department of State, visit

Fernandina Beach Mainstreet designation is not yet listed on the DOS website, but that seems to be less of an oversight and more of a rapidfire profilation of the local chapter.

Obama Reaction To Paris Terrorists – Terrifying

Paris Protests against Muslim Terrorism

Paris Protests against Muslim Terrorism

By Dave Scott

I’m mystified and frightened by the administration’s reaction to the psychopathic Islamic killers and the President’s and those in his administration’s refusal to call them what they are: psychopathic cold-blooded Islamic murderers, killing on behalf of their religion.
For example, the reaction by President Obama to the slaughter of the 17 journalists, police and others in Paris last week was as weak as his response to the 2009 killings in Fort Hood, Texas by an Islamic American US Army major that he labeled “workplace violence.”
The White House doused its comments in the stench of appeasement and cowardice when spokesman Josh Earnest refused to even call the Paris massacre an act of terrorism, and made sure to add the traditional non-sequitur, which now routinely follows Islamic terrorist attacks,  that “Islam is a religion of peace.” Obama issued his own statement keeping with his prohibition on using the term “Islamic terrorism,” he simply referred to the attack as “terrorism” — a vanilla expression conspicuously devoid of any descriptive term explaining the motivation behind the killings. At least he didn’t label it “workplace violence” but to the uninformed it could just as easily have been an act of eco-terrorism.

And even if Obama did threaten to act would anyone believe him? Remember the “line in the sand” threat to Syrian President Assad? Or his claim that he has decimated al-Qaeda? How about that he will eliminate ISIS? Obama and the apologists in his administration are origami experts, they just keep on folding.
Instead of fighting the Islamic madmen the Obama Administration has declared war on our own CIA and Department of Defense. And at Guantanamo he is releasing these maniacs back onto the battlefield faster than our armed forces could capture them.

The Paris killings are reminiscent of the Muslim reaction over the publishing of a series of cartoons in a Danish newspaper in 2006. In that instance homicidal Islamic madmen caused rioting that resulted in scores killed and many embassies attacked and consulates torched. Any western country would do, since Danish flags for burning appeared to be in short supply and not easily identifiable by the ignorant, enraged Muslim mobs. And the heck with political correctness — Norway, the UK, Germany, who cares, all Europeans look alike anyway.

Back then I saw a newscast with a 12 year-old boy in Islamabad, Pakistan sporting a slogan reading “O Allah give me courage to kill the blasphemer.” Apparently his folks went to a Muslim riot and all he got was a crummy “kill an infidel” T-shirt. And who hasn’t seen the videos of Muslims joyfully dancing and cheering in the streets when they heard the “good news” of the 9/11 attacks and when they hear of Christian and Jewish women and children being massacred anywhere, anytime? Muslim Shia and Sunni sects slaughter each other and Christians by the droves in Iraq; Muslims massacre Christian and Jewish women, children and the elderly throughout the Middle East; They kidnap and slaughter classrooms full of young school children all over North Africa, Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc; Hijack ships in African waters and kill the crews if ransom isn’t paid; Gleefully behead people and videotape the acts; Continually attempt to blow up passenger airlines; Set off bombs in Boston; Hack policemen to death in New York and London; Kill families and fire rockets into cities in Israel, and on and on.

I can only imagine what these Islamic nuts would do if they wised up and got angry about their own government’s and religious leader’s corruption and totalitarian leadership that perpetuate their economic deprivation, inadequate health care, lack of education and mindless propaganda.
These rampaging hordes aptly reflect the Lenin quote “Religion is the opiate of the masses,” and their leaders have administered an overdose. I have yet to read or hear another logical explanation by anyone that otherwise justifies this Muslim mass horror.

The day after the Paris atrocity USA Today published a column by a London-based Muslim cleric, Anjem Choudary, headlined “People know the consequences” asking why France would allow the paper to mock Islam, and further excused the murders as justified under Islamic law and confirming my belief that Islam is anything but a peaceful religion. He stated in the very first paragraph: “Contrary to popular misconception, Islam does not mean peace but rather means submission to the commands of Allah alone. Therefore, Muslims do not believe in the concept of freedom of expression……” Normally I would condemn USA Today for printing such garbage, but by doing so it allowed this nut to verify what many of us already know, and that is that Islam is violent. How would you like to live next door to this fruitcake or any others that think as he does?

At a time when the world is facing a situation as dangerous as the one Nazi Germany and militant Japan posed in the late 1930s and early 1940s we have a President who is probably the least qualified, most inept, naive, and ill-prepared person to ever occupy the White House… a community organizer whose acolytes wind him up, push him on stage then pull the string in his back so he grins and spouts meaningless platitudes. He makes Jimmy Carter look like a fierce warrior. Oh, and just last summer it was announced that a Muslim, Fatima Noor, will be a special assistant in the Office of the Director for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the Department of Homeland Security. Isn’t that comforting.

And as world leaders united in Paris this past Monday for a million man march displaying unity and voicing their opposition to Islamic terror, the US was conspicuously absent — with only its Paris-based ambassador attending. Some 40 world leaders including Israel’s Netanyahu and even the Palestinian Authority’s Abbas marched, but not Obama, Joe Biden or even John Kerry.

Democrats should be ashamed that their current standard bearer has dismissed the words of President John F. Kennedy who declared, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty.”

The western world appears to be waking up and just maybe this hideous act by psychopathic barbarians in Paris rang the alarm, but apparently not one that can be heard by our do-nothing apologist and Community-Organizer-In-Chief who we are stuck with until January 2017, a very long and frightening two years distant.

Dave Scott writes a weekly blog at


Publisher’s Note: Maybe some of our readers disagree with using the Searchamelia platform to express an opinion of such grave  consequence, but with the writer of this opinion, it is our belief that tolerance is a virtue that can only be earned through respect and understanding. Fanatics of all religions (except a small number of Eastern Religions) have historically tried to impose their absurd, maniacal beliefs on the world. They were always met with overwhelming force that would ultimately eliminate the extremist position. But to get there, it requires decisive, independent, smart leadership and not puppets executing agendas of a different interest.

Idiocracy is sneaking its way into the Dictionary

KK Klan at Paris WeddingIdiocracy is the sum of so many things that are wrong with America these days. While dictionaries and thesauruses are still struggling with a clear definition of the term that was magnified by the 2006 movie of the same name, the irony of the satirical flick must have escaped from the feeble minds of the KK Klan (Kanye and Kim Kardashian) and a couple of million Instagrammers, who expressed a liking for their atrocious wedding picture in front of a wall of flowers.

But of course as with everything that borders on insanity, this is not the end of the story, but merely the beginning.
Normally I just ignore anything that involves Paris Hilton’s trash successor Kim Kardashian, because trash is just that to me: something to be discarded as not useful or usable. But since I cannot find anything worth my attention on 600 channels of Prime Time TV this summer, I get bombarded by images of the proof that if you put nipples on 10 pounds of lard, the world stops turning, the newsmedia become mindless entertainment and every talentless hick without anything to show for becomes a celebrity.

Just a shame that this time it involves Annie Leibowitz, the artist celebrity photographer of a generation, with a track record of imagery excellence since before this world turned into an idiocracy.

She ruined KK’s honeymoon, says rapper husband West….because they had to spend four days fixing a hideous floral wall wedding picture instead of enjoying the beaches and high life afforded to them by mindless millions of fans. Kimmie apparently was too exhausted from working on correcting the photo to perform her wifey duties, which in turn pissed the other K off. Turns out that Leibowitz decided in good taste, that even though she accepted the gig to shoot the wedding, she refused to take this particular picture, which apparently was then taken by someone in the wedding party who had no idea about lighting, composition and artistry. Result, the couple spend 4 days trying to make sense of Photoshop to improve the disaster.

Now I’m not really surprised by Mr. West continuing poor attitude but I am shocked that Miss Leibovitz said yes to shooting one of the trashiest couples walking the planet these days. It’s almost as if she was hired to give real world validity to this extravaganza of futility.

I do wonder why these two still exist in the world of media and find it sad that we lose good people in plane crashes or disappearances, quickly forgotten to all but their direct relatives, yet these two morons who should spend four days fixing their IQ’s, continue to exist on magazine covers and homepages.

Of course I’m fighting a lost battle against Idiocracy, as witnessed by 2 million likes and 35,000 comments on another Internet waste called Instagram.

Here are two photographs by Annie Leibowitz, who I consider the best artistry photography alive today. Because of her talent the KK Klan made it to the cover of VOGUE and that saddens me to no end.

Johnny DeppSopranos

Man Charged with Attempted Kidnap and More

Man Charged with Attempted Kidnap and MoreFernandina Beach Press Release – As two juveniles were walking in the 1000 block of Atlantic Avenue, the driver of a vehicle parked on the side of the road instructed them to approach his car. The boys tried to walk past the car, but the driver moved the car to block them. The driver had now donned a pink bandana which covered his face.

The driver also brandished a Tec-9 semi-automatic handgun and ordered the juveniles to get into the car. The vehicle was occupied by a front seat passenger that exited the car, opened a back door, and ordered the boys to get into the back seat of the car. The juveniles refused to get in the car; offering up their cell phones and their money instead. The driver then demanded those items. The juveniles relinquished their property to the driver and the driver then sped away; fleeing the area.

The incident occurred on May 18th and the boys were subsequently able to give police a physical description of both suspects and a partial license plate number of the suspect vehicle. The description given for the driver matched that of an individual recently suspected of stealing a Tec-9 handgun.

Investigative leads identified Eaton as the vehicle driver of the suspect vehicle. Post Miranda, Eaton confessed to robbing the victims at gunpoint using the aforementioned stolen Tec-9. Eaton implicated a friend, Wilbert Morris Jr., as the passenger who helped facilitate the armed robbery. According to Eaton, he and Morris split the money.

Eaton further advised that the pink bandana he wore over his face to conceal his identity and one of the stolen cell phones could be found inside the car. A Search Warrant was obtained for the car and the pink bandana and a cell phone were recovered from the trunk. An arrest warrant will be sought for Wilbert Morris.

Corey Eaton is being held at the Nassau County Jail on more than $225,000.00 bond, on charges that include Attempted Kidnap, Armed Robbery, Grand Theft, and Grand Theft of a Firearm.

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House Burns Down Following Lightning Strike

House on fire after lightning strike in Ocean View Subdivision

It all happened quite fast here in our OceanView Neighborhood off Fletcher Ave. The weather alert flashed across the TV screen as the lightning struck in a deafening thunder and for a moment everything went dark. But not for long as several houses down a roof was almost instantly engulfed in flames, within minutes shooting up 30 – 50 feet.

A rapid response of flashing lights and sirens turned our quiet neighborhood into a frenzy of water hoses while the storm was still raging, lighting up the sky as if the Gods of Thunder wanted to get a closer look at the damage they were doing.

Thirty minutes into the chaos we, TJ and I, took our chances and went over to the scene to literally offer a couple of rooms at the Inn (Amelia Oceanfront) to the poor unlucky residents, when one of Fernandina’s finest told us that the owner of the house lives in Chicago, and was aware of what was going on.  We quickly left the chaos while offering a grateful word to the big chief in the sky. If not for another 200 yards or so…. our house would have been in the direct path of the lightning strike.

I’ll go back in the daylight tomorrow morning and see how bad the damage is.


860 Laguna Dr burnt down as result of lightning strike

860 Laguna Dr burnt down as result of lightning strike

According to the general contractor who had just recently completely renovated and updated the home, the owner Jack (name withheld) lives in Chicago, but was planning to move down to the island in the very near future. Seeing the damage in daylight, the house on 860 Laguna will have to be completely rebuilt and what even puzzles me more is the ‘un-luck of the draw’, seeing how this house gets hit by lightning while so close to so many other homes that went unscathed. Weirdly frightening.

It could have been any of the homes in this picture!

The Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island is looking to hire 30 positions Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island is hiring

Just 2 months to Concours d'Elegance, Ritz-Carlton is hiring.

The Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island is looking to hire some 30 plus staff for various  positions and to accomplish that, the resort is organizing its First Career Fair in four years, showing real signs of an improving market place.

The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island is hosting an on-site Career Fair this coming Saturday, January 7, 2012 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The resort is hiring ladies and gentlemen with a unique ability to provide legendary service in Housekeeping, Stewarding, Culinary, Food & Beverage, Spa, Valet and Recreation. There will be an opportunity to speak to managers about growth opportunities with the industry leader in luxury hotels and resorts.

The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island offers exciting benefits including health, dental, vision, life insurance, paid vacation and holidays, tuition reimbursement and 401K.

To apply early and view open positions, you are invited to complete an online application at

The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island is located at 4750 Amelia Island Parkway, Amelia Island, Florida.  Applicants are advised to enter via the front driveway for parking directions.

K-Mart in Fernandina Beach to close


Sears Closes Fernandina Beach K-Mart

Sears, owner of the K-Mart brand has published the preliminary list of the Sears and K-Mart Stores to be closed nationwide as a result of very poor Holiday Season performance on top of years of bad management and economic distress; unfortunately the Fernandina Beach K-Mart store is part of the downsizing effort, which will leave another large empty space on Sadler Road and another 50 or so people unemployed.

79 Stores in 25 States didn’t make the cut and Florida leads the pack with 11 closings, while Sears Holding announced last Tuesday that it would close up to 120 stores to raise cash after a very disappointing Holiday Season.

Can’t escape the feeling that the axe was already up in the air for these stores before the Holiday Season even had started and poor sales was just an added excuse. At least the company waited until after the Christmas Holiday’s to make the announcements.

For a complete list of closures announced so far go to

Love Your Neighbor Donation Program

Love Your Neighbor Donation ProgramThe City of Fernandina Beach in partnership with The Salvation Army implemented the Love Your Neighbor Donation Program on July 1, 2011. Through your generosity, 18 families have received assistance with their utility bills.

You can sign-up today by visiting our website at to complete the Donation Program Application.

You may elect to donate monthly an amount that will be automatically deducted from your city utility bill, or you can give a one-time gift of any amount.

The City of Fernandina Beach & The Salvation Army would like to say “Thank You” for helping a neighbor in need.

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City’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan Achieves Planning Excellence Award

City's 2030 Comprehensive Plan Achieves Planning Excellence AwardThe City of Fernandina Beach adopted its Evaluation and Appraisal Review (EAR) report in late 2009. Since then, the City’s Planning Department with tremendous support of its Planning Advisory Board (PAB) has been researching and drafting the recommended amendments to the Comprehensive Plan based on its EAR report. In early September, following an extensive public involvement campaign providing nearly five months of an open comment period, the City Commission endorsed the 2030 Comprehensive Plan to be transmitted to the State Land Planning Agency for its required review and comment period.

On November 29, 2011 the City received the State’s Objections, Recommendations, and Comment (ORC) report. The Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) report was extremely favorable offering only two (2) minor objections and praised the City for proposing amendments which were “thoughtfully approached, and exemplify sound planning principles and strategies appropriate for an environmentally sensitive urban coastal community.” In addition to receiving kind remarks from the State Land Planning Agency, the City’s Planning Department and its PAB are being recognized at the regional level. The City’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan will be presented with a 2011 Regional Leadership Award for Excellence in Planning and Growth Management from the Northeast Florida Regional Council.

The City Commission will consider final adoption of the Comprehensive Plan amendments at its regular meeting on Tuesday, December 6th, 2011.

The 2030 Comprehensive Plan (EAR based revisions) focuses on four (4) community identified “major issues” including: Neighborhood Preservation, Sustainability, Wetlands Protection, and Annexation Planning. In order to fully address these “major issues” staff considered revisions within almost every element, which meant some degree of change to roughly 80% of the existing Comprehensive Plan. To undertake such sweeping changes, staff devised a strategy to enhance coordination by separating each element and assigning a key staff person along with one member from the PAB to serve as the “element champion.” This approach empowered planning board members and provided a community resource for the public to more openly discuss any issues or concerns they had with a particular change.

Revisions prepared as part of the EAR process afforded planning staff with an opportunity to create a long-term growth management document which is truly representative of the goals and vision of the City. The document provides a delicate balance to maintain and enhance the City’s existing character and charm with its growth goals. One of the greatest successes from this process was the ability to restructure and relate the Comprehensive Plan in a more meaningful manner to the community it serves by integrating formatting measures and executive summaries that will ultimately make the Plan more user friendly. Staff along with members of the PAB prepared an introductory vision statement for the City’s long term growth to summarize the Plan’s core principles.

Vision Statement:

Fernandina Beach strives to achieve a safe, livable and sustainable community for our present and future citizens by partnering with the community to plan and promote a vibrant and balanced City; by managing the movement of people, goods, and services in an integrated multimodal approach; by maintaining a healthy and diverse economy while improving its social and natural environment; by improving the affordable housing stock and revitalizing older neighborhoods; by encouraging community outreach while promoting excellence in citywide urban design; and by preserving or enhancing its natural, historic, and cultural resources so that they may be enjoyed by future generations.

For more information about the process involved with the EAR based amendments/ 2030 Comprehensive Plan please visit If you have specific questions contact Kelly Gibson, Senior Planner at (904)277-7325 or

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Lessons from the Globalization of Stereotypes

Pu Yi, China's Last Emperor, drove a 1932 Buick Tudor

As a Chinese developer is angered by the Icelandic decision to reject his bid and plan for a resort development on the North Atlantic island, calling the decision a sign of Western Hypocrisy and Prejudice stereotyping against China, western companies and especially car companies are grappling with an alternate universe of brand associations in China.

Of course this is not new here in the States where most brands tend to come fully equipped with stereotypes, all included in the price. Ford Crown Victoria (recently cancelled from production): law enforcement professional. Toyota Prius: upscale yuppie environmentalist. Hummer: gas-guzzling egotist. Mercedes Benz – retired conservative. BMW – spit and vinegar on corporate ladder.

In China, where the market for imported passenger cars dates back only a little over two decades, an entirely alternate set of stereotypes is taking root — and the stakes have never been higher for foreign carmakers. Take, for example, Mercedes-Benz, a brand that in much of the world suggests upscale respectability portrays the domain of the retiree in China . 
The Buick, long associated in the United States with drivers who have a soft spot for the early-bird special at a Smorgasbord, is by contrast one of the hottest luxury cars in China. 

But get this, as the Audi brand is taking over the BMW progressive quality formula in the US, in China the Audi A6 has developed a reputation as the semi-official choice of Chinese bureaucrats. From the country’s southern reaches to its northern capital, the A6’s slick frame and invariably tinted windows exude an aura of state privilege, authority and, to many ordinary citizens, a whiff of corruption. 

“Audi is still the de facto car for government officials,” said Wang Zhi, a Beijing taxi driver who has been plying the capital’s gridlocked streets for 18 years. “It’s always best to yield to an Audi — you never know who you’re messing with, but chances are it’s someone self-important.”

With annual growth hovering above 30 percent in recent years, the Chinese auto market is rapidly surpassing the United States’ as the world’s most lucrative and strategically important. Last year alone, the Chinese bought an estimated 13.8 million passenger vehicles, handily topping the 11.6 million units sold in the United States. Foreign-origin brands, most of which are manufactured in China through joint ventures, accounted for 64 percent of total sales in 2010, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Even if Chinese brand associations can seem remote and perhaps amusing to those outside the country, no one can simply overlook that in 2010, Buick sold over 550,000 cars in China, more than triple its sales in the United States, while Audi sold 227,938 vehicles in China of which almost 50,000 to the government and more than double the number in the United States.

BMW’s image fighting uphill battle

BMW, which only entered the Chinese market in 2003, has found itself in an uphill battle as the brand BMW has acquired a reputation as a vehicle for the arrogant and the rash, making it largely off-limits to wealthy officials who prefer a low-key public image. Part of this stereotype is rooted in a 2003 incident in which a young female driver in the northeastern city of Harbin intentionally ran over and killed an impoverished man who had accidentally dented her BMW X5. Despite the transparent nature of the case — a clear motive and numerous eyewitnesses — the case was settled out of court for $11,000. The incident was seen as driving a wedge between China’s rich and poor, damaging BMW’s nascent image. 

More recently, a driver in a BMW M6 struck and killed a pedestrian during an illegal street race in the city of Nanjing, setting off a public outcry. “If it hadn’t been a BMW, I don’t think it would have been as big of a deal,” said a young man who had taken part in the race and spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was awaiting trial. “Had it been all Toyotas, Mitsubishis or even Audis, I don’t think it would have provoked as dire a reaction.”

China Market revived Buick from the dead

Stereotyping can be a PR nightmare or a godsend  for any company or country trying to globalize its influence. For example General Motors has found the Chinese market to be a life-saving opportunity for the reinvention of the Buick brand. Since 2005, when Bob Lutz, the vice chairman of G.M., famously declared Buick a “damaged brand,” America’s oldest surviving automobile brand has successfully positioned itself in China as a top-tier luxury carmaker. 

Even though largely the result of effective marketing and remodeling, it did help more than just a bit that China’s romance with the Buick also has historical roots. The last Chinese emperor, Pu Yi, was the proud owner of two Buicks, as was the country’s first provisional president, Dr. Sun Yat-sen. The black Buick 8 driven by onetime prime minister, Zhou Enlai, is still displayed at his former residence in Shanghai, now a museum. 

Sina Weibo, the country’s most popular microblogging service, a recent posting summed up the car clichés as “A gathering of Mercedes indicates a get-together for old folks, a group of BMWs means young nouveaux riches are about to run someone over and have a party and several Audis, and you know it’s a government meeting.”
This stereo-typing may be of interest to individual brand perceptions, but it also enforces the cliché in this particular case that German built Cars are Superior.

A Chinaman in Iceland

Millionaire Chinese Developer Huang Nubo should have realized that the rejection of his plan to build a resort on Iceland, is anchored in stereo-typing that can only be overcome by time. He should have partnered with a local ice-lander in this first venture, and learn that investing in a culture and its common ethnic ancestry works much better than assuming that money can buy off a stereo-typical form of national, chauvinistic or protectionist patriotism.

Corporate or global brand stereo-typing can be effectively and rather speedily addressed in these days of massive and interactive communications. Buy the services of a well loved top performer, artist, sportsman or national hero, and execute a believable PR program and stereo-types will change rather quickly. In the 1980s, perception was everything in American stores was Made in Japan and in the 1980s, Japan was seen as evil, as they were buying every Golfcourse in America. Reality is now in 2011 that about 170 courses in the US (out of 14,000 plus course), primarily on the westcoast and Hawaii, are owned by Japanese interests.

National stereo-typing has taken centuries to develop and it will take time and actual political policy adjustments to change. My grandparents called China the Yellow Threat in the early 1960s. There is no doubt in my mind that there are quite a few grandparents today who tell their grand children about the dangers of the Muslim Threat. In my early years I lived and worked with highly stereo-typed cultures: don’t trust a German, count your fingers when you’re dealing with a Jewish partner, you’ll never understand the Chinese Culture, Muslims are out to get you, the French are the best cooks and lovers (hahaha), blondes have more fun, Africans have smaller brains, Latin people are lazy….oh I could continue for another paragraph. And I’ve learned that all of these stereo-types are based on ignorance and stupidity and do a tremendous injustice to mankind.

I am glad to live in a world where ongoing technological and communications improvements allow us to quickly find out when global stereo typing is steering us wrong.
Last week for example I learned that stem cell research has effectively stopped in the USA , leaving notably China as the global frontrunner, for what could well be the only medical solution in a future of immense cost increases of medical and pharmaceutical availability. Stereo-typing should not lead to situations where human health and cures for heart disease, cancers, Aids, Immune deficiencies etc. can come from any corner of the globe.

The Failure of America’s Immigration Policies

Petanque America Open Tournament Amelia Island 2011

Will we see another International Petanque Tournament on Amelia Island?

As more and more affluent and freedom loving American Citizens are seeking ways to leave this country, tired as they are of the Washington policies, there are still foreigners that believe in the American Dream and the potential of Capitalism as a valid economic system. Unfortunately these increasingly few encounter so many absurd attitudes, barricades and problems from INS and Homeland Security, that they either decide to go low profile with a risk of deportation at one point, or just give up over time, especially since going the route of compliance with the rules and regulations has become very costly and too arbitrarily risky.

A very close friend, known to many in our little island community, decided to comply with the rules and regulation in fine detail and apply for a business visa extension but was very rudely shot down by just a random government servant in a suit, who decided he didn’t like the economic impact our friend’s company had accomplished during the time span of his initial visa.
Reasoning and criteria were apparently based on our friend not having enough people employed in the company and that is the problem with policy morons who dictate that economic impact is only based on how many people you support with a weekly paycheck.

Our friend buys and sells a complete line of merchandise that is related to an old French past time sport called Pétanque. Since the sport is just taking hold in the US with a slow but promising growth curve, his sales is just enough to support himself and his family and an occasional part time help, BUT… in order to promote the popularity of the sport in the US, he organizes a regional Spring Tournament and a Fall International Open Tournament with players and their families coming from all over the US and the World. In the short time since our friend established himself and his company on Amelia Island, he has organized 3 Global Tournaments and if we calculate hotel rooms sold and food and beverages served in the local economy, because of his initiative, several million dollars would be his direct minimal economic contribution to the city and the region, never mind that since he brought the tournament to Fernandina Beach, Pétanque players from around the country and the globe have become tourism ambassadors for the island, people have bought properties and relocated businesses.

Now I do not expect a knucklehead in an INS uniform behind a glass window in the US Embassy in Paris to understand that economic impact goes far beyond how many people derive their weekly paycheck from a company, but I seriously question a system that gives this same knucklehead the ultimate power to decide at will who can enter the US and who can not. In addition there is something inherently wrong with a policy that cannot establish that there is an obvious difference between those immigrants who can take care of themselves without depending on the US social systems and those who cannot. Every month our friend pays his landlords for his house and office/warehouse, he pays corporate taxes, sales taxes, he frequents local businesses for all his purchases, which establishes him as a solid contributor, beyond any stupid Washington dictated policies. His three children, some of them born US citizens go to the local high school and are intricate parts of this community as well, and are now waiting for the sword of ignorance to come down on them dictating whether they can finish high school or not.

And the more I think about this incredible injustice and randomness, the angrier I get. I just finished reading New York Times columnist and Three Time Pulitzer Prize Winner Tom Friedman’s book “That Used to Be Us”, in which he champions what America needs to do in order to get back on top of the world it created in the early years of the last century. In a great manner he describes the 4 Mistakes that were key to America’s slippage and the 5 Pillars for Success. One major issue is that the country took a bad immigration policy course after 9/11 and we need to get back to Immigration Policies that encourage the world’s best and brightest to come to America…and stay here.
I came here in 1980 because of what America Used to Be, but honestly, it’s a far cry from that now.

Maybe someone should point Friedman’s book out to some INS functionary in the Paris Embassy in the case of our friend (and so many others who deserve much more respect than they are getting). Our friend has brought much happiness, satisfaction, culture and exposure to our community, far beyond the limitations and shortsightedness of a badly defined economic impact criterion.
Petanque America Open Int'l 2011Petanque America Open Int'l Amelia Island 2011Petanque America Open 2011 Amelia IslandOf course I could have taken the cautious road here at SearchAmelia, because after all in the US we are supposed to fear the government and opinions on immigration issues are sadly divided, but this website is anchored in the positive approach to globalization as the only feasible answer to the future of the world.

So I applaud Tom Friedman who in this latest book explains what’s wrong with America and how to get out of the rut. “We have to learn to think like Immigrants”, he says!!! And as to friends who advised me to be cautious with attacking the powers that be, I nod to Albert Einstein who once said: “The World will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”
Let’s get our friend back and change some immigration mistakes in the process. Let’s welcome those that add a bright light to our lives, the way this country used to do.

Video of Theodore the Tugboat in Fernandina Beach

Theodore Too in Fernandina BeachTheodore Too, the tugboat, lives at Murphy’s Cable Wharf, but she was docked in Fernandina Beach, Florida this morning, after traveling a solid 94 hours.

Theodore Too is on his way to Winterfest Family Day in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Theodore Tugboat’s creator, Andrew Cochran, came up with the idea one afternoon after seeing two tugboats and a container ship positioned so they appeared to be having a conversation. He began telling his son bedtime stories of the tugboats in the harbour.

These bedtime stories soon became a children’s television show on the CBC network. As the show grew in popularity, so did the requests for more Theodore. This lead to the development of a life-sized replica of the friendly tug who spends much of his time touring the Eastern Seaboard visiting friends and fans.

Theodore Too on Amelia IslandTheodore loved to visit his fans but began to long for Halifax and a permanent home. At first it seemed that no one would be able to care for Theodore Too, and he began to worry that he would never have a home.

When Murphy’s Cable Wharf heard about Theodore’s troubles, they stepped in. With the help of their friends and sponsors, they offered him a home and a job with their company. Theodore Too was delighted.

Here is a quick video of his stay on at Amelia Island.


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Colson Hillier Joins Amelia River Golf Club as Director of Marketing

Colson Hillier

Colson Hillier, new director of marketing at Amelia River Golf Club

Is there anyone on Amelia Island who does not know Colson Hillier? If you do not know Colson that you’re obviously not an involved member of this island community and if you’ve never heard of Colson Hillier and his charming wife Pat…well, then I guess you have been hiding somewhere in the dungeons of Fort Clinch for the past 10 years or so.

Ever since we opened the doors of SearchAmelia about three and a half years ago, Colson and our roads have crossed on many occasions, mostly because he was until recently the face of the Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce. Whether it’s the Blues or Jazz Festival, a Chamber event, the Concours d’Elégance or next weekend’s International Pétanque America Tournament (he is a tournament player) in Fernandina Beach, you will find Colson there. If there are volunteers needed for a charity or festival, Colson will be there. He is the epitome of networking for the benefit of all.

It is often said that if you really want something done, you need to find someone who is already busy. And that someone would be Colson. So it came as no surprise to us last week, to learn that  George Sheffield, the new Owner of Amelia River Golf Club recently appointed Colson Hillier as his new Director of Marketing at the Club, responsible for individual and corporate memberships and in charge of working with local businesses and non-profits.

The Amelia River Golf Club, built in 2000, features a Tom Jackson designed golf course and offers a full-service facility with clubhouse, pro shop, practice areas, locker rooms, dining facilities with full bar and is open to the public for lunch.
We are happy to add this exciting venue for golf outings/weddings and meetings to our list of places to frequent, especially now that Colson is a member of the team.

As an introduction special for a limited time only The Amelia River Golf Club has individual & corporate memberships available with no initiation fees.
For more information visit the website or call the pro shop at 904-491-8500. Amelia River Golf Club is located 4477 Buccaneer Trail on Amelia Island.

Recent Water System Enhancements

Recent Water System EnhancementsThe City of Fernandina Beach’s Utility Department has replaced the out of service water mains crossing the CSX railroad at Beech and Alachua Streets. These two crossings consisted of two water mains over 50 years old, one being 8 inch in diameter and the other was a 6 inch diameter main.

In addition, a new 8 inch water main was installed crossing the railroad at Indigo Street. All the new water mains provided system looping which improve fire protection, system reliability and service capacity in the waterfront and downtown areas.

The process of permitting with CSX Rail Road was initiated in August of 2010 with a permit being issued in September of 2011. TB Landmark was the contractor who installed the bores at a cost of $48,109.50. The City Utility Department will be completing all the connections over the next month.

Total cost budgeted for this project was $150,000 which included the Indigo Street water main extension.

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City Commissioner Candidate Questionnaires for 2011

City Commissioner Candidate Questionnaires for 2011The Amelia Island Fernandina Beach Yulee Chamber of Commerce invited all of the candidates for the Fernandina Beach City Commission to complete an Issues Questionnaire.

Charles Corbett

Charles Corbett

The questions focus on current concerns to local business owners.

Susan Steger

Susan Steger

Developed by the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee, the Issues Questionnaire touches on a variety of topics including private sector job creation, how to balance the city budget next year and whether services now provided by Fernandina Beach and Nassau County should be consolidated.

Click on any candidate’s picture to read their answers

John Elwell

John Elwell

The election will be held on Tuesday, November 8, 2011. Polls are open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Early voting will be done by Vote by Mail/Absentee Ballot. Commissioners terms are for three years and they are limited to two consecutive terms.

“The Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce is committed to providing our members non-partisan information about local elections to help our members make informed decisions when they cast their ballots,” said Chamber Government Affairs Committee Chairman Sean McGill.

Sarah Pelican

Sarah Pelican

Group Two Candidates include Charles Corbett and incumbent Susan Steger.

Group Three Candidates include John Elwell, Sarah Pelican and incumbant Eric Childers.

I recommend you take the time to read each of the candidates responses to the questionnaire – and then you must take the time to vote!

Eric Childers

Eric Childers

Our percentage of registered voters that actually participate in our election process is an embarrasment to our community.

To find the location of your voting precinct or to request a Vote by Mail Ballot, go to the Nassau County Supervisor of Elections’ website at or call (904) 491-7500.

If you don’t use your right to vote, you have no right to complain!

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