Fernandina Beach Wins the Great Places in Florida People’s Choice Award

Fernandina Beach Wins the Great Places in Florida People's Choice AwardRepresentatives of the Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association traveled to Fernandina Beach today to announce the Great Places in Florida People’s Choice Award, granted to Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach. The Great Places Award celebrates communities that have a true sense of place, cultural and historic interest, and strong community involvement. Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach received the most votes out of the finalists.

From the Florida APA website, “Great Places in Florida is an awards program created to highlight Florida’s Great Places and the communities and people that have created them. Florida is full of amazing places that keep our communities thriving and make this state a wonderful place to live. Great Places stand out with their exceptional character and lasting value. They are memorable, perhaps even famous, but each deeply cared for and valued. Citizens, planners, business leaders and elected officials work hard to create, sustain and improve the places that we love and enjoy in our cities.”

The Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) named four finalists in the People’s Choice Awards category of the Great Places in Florida contest. Fernandina Beach was among the final four, which also included Lakeland, Lake Worth, and the Gaines Street District in Tallahassee. The City thanks the Amelia Island Tourist Development Council for submitting the nomination, and all who voted to help Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach win the award.

For more information, visit http://www.floridaplanning.org/great-places/.

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SearchAmelia Has Posted 10,000 Blogs

SearchAmelia Has Posted 10,000 BlogsSearchAmelia has just posted their 10,000th blog! That is indeed a lot of writing, researching, soul sharing, laughter and sometimes tears.

We began in the spring of 2008 by building a website and publishing local articles. Stories about history, news or events that we feel are relevant to those living in or visiting, Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, Yulee and most of Nassau County, were considered ideal content. Since 2008 we have posted something damn near every-single-day!!!

Our website strives to be a familiar place, both interesting and informative, for folks to go to learn about the things and the people our wonderful community offers.

SearchAmelia has introduced us to new friends, opened our eyes to new ideas, and opened our hearts to those in need. We have tried to focus on the good news in Fernandina, but still we share some of the bad that occasionally shows up in our “in-boxes”.

Our articles are often press releases submitted by your neighbors telling of new business offerings, non-profit events, and local news stories. Often we write from our heart. My Personal Experience with Hospice let me share a very private moment with “you” – our readers, subscribers and viewers. “You” were there when we lost our partner and Han’s brother, Thom. “You” were with me when my daughter and her young son’s community of Henryville, Indiana was all but destroyed during a tornado outbreak in March of 2012.

We have shared anniversaries, childbirths and weddings.

We ARE your neighbors; we live here, we work here and we hope you consider us your friends.

Our articles 2012 Doomsday The End is Near, Haiti One Year after the Earthquake, ‎and How to Keep Flies Out of Your House or Patio have been read tens of thousands of times. We’ve had an enchanting variety of guest writers submit their pieces, too.

We don’t charge for subscriptions, we don’t charge for your local news or a link back to your businesses, and we don’t post affiliate advertising. The ads we do have are partners with SearchAmelia, strengthening the “shop local” mantra.

I’m proud to say our calendar is one of the most comprehensive ones in town and we welcome your submissions. It’s simple, just CLICK HERE. (By the way, our calendar entries are not included in the 10,000.)

You may not think 10,000 stories is much to brag about, but we sure do! Here are the numbers:

We’be been blogging for nearly six years and five months. Call it 334 weeks if you’d like, but no matter how you do the math we have published, on average, just over four articles – every single day – for the past 2,343 days (give or take a day or two).

…and so, I raise my glass to my partner, Han, “Here’s to 10,000 more! Cheers!”

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Avoid Contracting Diseases While Traveling

travel-health1Local Wallace Pierson Travel professionals not only send clients to all parts of  the world on a daily basis, but  between themselves they travel quite frequently to the outskirts of our planet. For example founder/co-owner Ange Wallace just returned from India and is leaving this week for Churchill, Manitoba and the Polar Bears;  Lynann Mullis just returned from Scotland,  Dawn Dixon just left for Ireland,  co-owner Angela Wallace Pierson leaves shortly for Italy and Tracy Lynch leaves for a cruise aboard Oceania when Angela returns.

With the worldwide Ebola scare, but also just the flu season starting here are some practical tips from Ange Wallace you may want to take to heart when traveling.

Staying tuned to all things regarding Ebola – by Ange Wallace

Much like the SARS situation a few years back, precautions have to be taken.  Each traveler will have to weigh the information available and measure that against their own comfort level and the strength of their desire or necessity to travel.  We believe our role as travel professionals today is first and foremost to educate and advise savvy travelers and this includes the challenges (there will always be some) as well as the joys of traveling.  I will list out some of the websites we have been watching.  While the news is covering this over every inch of information and misinformation available, facts are not always easy to isolate from the emotions that are in play.

Much like the aftermath of 911, it will take us a little time to assimilate this new risk into the list of risks we live with daily.  Ebola is much harder to contract than the flu and we have assimilated that risk pretty well.  We must learn and practice the reasonable precautions necessary to avoid being exposed wherever we are.  We must support the continued effort to find both cures and vaccines to effectively deal with this new health threat.

In our office, which is like family, we have always shared the tricks we learn on the road to stay healthy while traveling.  There is really nothing new but let me share a few:
1)      Before long flights and rigorous trips, we take either Airborne or Emergen-C (or alternate between the two)for a couple of days before and occasionally while traveling and, definitely, immediately if we feel “something coming on” just to strengthen our immune system.  There are other such products available, these are just the ones we tend to use.
2)       During the flight, we have a little bottle of Eucalyptus Oil we carry in a freezer Ziploc with a cotton ball.  We dampen the cotton ball in the bag and sniff several times during the flight, or on the cruise, to kill off virus/bacteria trying to enter the upper respiratory tract.  (The little Listerine wafers are also good for this but mostly just in the throat.)
3)      We use Clorox (or any brand) sanitizing wipes on all the surfaces we are likely to touch on the plane (arm rests, tray tables, seat belt buckles etc) and use hand sanitizer (We prefer the wipes to the gels but either will work.)   Don’t wait for the cruise line or resort to provide hand sanitizer opportunities, though many do.  We have to take responsibility for ourselves!
4)      Wipe down items like the remote control in your hotel room and the phone, door knobs etc.  Wipe down your luggage, pocketbook, etc frequently or spray with Lysol. Seems like overkill, but my daughter traveling with babies and toddlers taught me this and they never get sick traveling!
5)      Learn to refrain from touching, handshaking, hugging, etc new friends or helpful people along your route.  It is better for them too. A great smile and gentle explanation if necessary make good substitutes.
6)      Eyes, ears and nose wide open when entering public restrooms.  If you perceive anyone is having or has had physical problems back out and report it to the nearest airport worker or airline attendant etc.  It is like reporting unattended baggage now.
7)      When at meetings or industry events don’t leave your glass and assume you will find the right one on returning.  Avoid dips, nuts or loose items in bowls even with a spoon-someone else might not use it.
Overall, just be awake and aware, use common sense, and don’t wait for someone else to take care of you.  That is our own very important responsibility, each and every one of us!

These are just some of the things we are thinking and doing.  We would love to hear from you if you have some more great tips to share with fellow travelers because SARS, Ebola, Flu- there will always be something out there to raise our concern and require our attention!!

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your travels or any other travel related issue, we would love to hear from you!

PS We all travel with Travelex trip insurance, at very least getting their “0” band option.  Angela and I also have a membership with Medjet Assist.  Both companies will be available to answer your questions at our Test Drive The World Luxury Travel Show, Sat., Nov 8, from 1:00 to 4:00pm.  RSVP by emailing ange@wallacepierson.com or call 904 261-5914.  There is a $15 per person admission, which in its entirety is a donation to The Boys and Girls Cluster of Nassau County Foundation, a 501c3 organization.

Links 

– Ebola & West Africa: The Facts

– Travel Notices & Additional Info Related to Travel from the CDC

– 
Latest Ebola Report from the CDC

What You Need to Know about Ebola from the CDC

– 
The White House Blog

Amelia Island Voted Among Top 10 Islands

Amelia Island Voted Among Top 10 IslandsAmelia Island Voted Among Top 10 Islands in U.S. in USA TODAY’s Readers’ Choice Awards.

Amelia Island, FL – Northeast Florida’’s Amelia Island has been voted the #5 island in the United States in the 2014 USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards, finishing in the company of other popular island destinations such as Kauai, Mackinac Island and Puerto Rico.

A total of 20 travel award nominees were chosen by a panel of relevant experts, including travel editors and contributors from USA TODAY, 10Best.com and other Gannett properties. All voting was digital and the 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Award contest was accessible on the 10Best.com website.

“”It’’s always an honor to be ranked among the top destinations in the U.S., especially when it’s based on reader votes”,” said Gil Langley, President of the Amelia Island Convention and Visitors Bureau. ““We’re proud to finish so well among such great company.””

Northeast Florida’’s coastal treasure, Amelia Island is a barrier island rich in colorful history and breath-taking natural beauty. Amelia Island offers long, beautiful beaches, abundant wildlife, and pristine waters. Upscale resorts with world-class spas, championship golf and exclusive dining blend effortlessly with a captivating collection of bed and breakfast inns and historic districts. The island is home to Fernandina Beach, once a vibrant Victorian seaport village, and now a charming downtown district of eclectic shops, attractions and eateries. Forget the everyday getaway; Come make memories on Amelia Island.

For visitor information and online planning, visit www.ameliaisland.com.

About 10Best.com
10Best.com provides users with original, unbiased, and experiential travel content of top attractions, things to see and do, and restaurants for top destinations in the U.S. and around the world. The core of the site’s uniqueness is its team of local travel experts: a well-traveled and well-educated group who are not only experts in their fields, and their cities, but discriminating in their tastes. These local experts live in the city they write about so the content is constantly updated. In 2012, 10Best.com averaged more than 700,000 monthly unique visitors generating approximately 28 million page views. It was acquired by USA TODAY in January of 2013.

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Golf Tournament Includes Field of Honor

Golf Tournament Includes Field of HonorThe Council on Aging of Nassau’s Memorial Day Golf Tournament will feature a “Field of Honor” with special signs dedicated to your patriotic friends and family members, alive or deceased, who have served in the Armed Forces.

These signs will be on display at COA for the month leading up to Memorial Day, and displayed prominently at their golf tournament.

Your $100.00 Donation will add your sign to their “Field of Honor”, give them a call at 904.261.0701 x117 for more details. You can honor OUR Heroes by supporting YOUR Council on Aging.

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Eiffel Tower has Elevator Problem

One elevator at Eiffel Tower severly damaged, searchamelia.com

One elevator at Eiffel Tower severly damaged and out of order

The following message came courtesy of Amelia Island’s Travel Agency and underscores perfectly one of the true reasons why Travel Advisors add substantial value to our travel experience. When I received the message, there was no mention of this major inconvenience to be found anywhere on the Internet, yet the travel advisor could message their clients who had plans to go up the Eiffel Tower to make different plans.

It’s a little like intelligence gathering. Nothing beats eyes and ears on the ground! And in our case of particular news, because Ally at the Desk is leaving for Paris in a couple of weeks.

Only one elevator working at the Eiffel tower

Bonjour,
I received this email from our office in France.
I wish you a good afternoon. Florent

On Friday of last week, one of their lifts (elevator) broke down…the problem is a lot more serious than expected and the lift will be undergoing maintenance until May 1st.
So for the rest of March & ALL of April the tower will be working with 1 lift only.
This is even more of an issue as they have already sold thousands of tickets based on the availability of the 2 elevators…

This means:

    – No more pre-booked tickets available
    – No Behind the Scenes Tours either as they do not have access to any tickets either

The clients who already have prepaid tickets can use them BUT there will be up to 2 hours wait to actually get to the lift.
So basically it is going to be a horrendous nightmare even for those with tickets.

The following message is currently on the monument’s website:

A technical incident leads us to operate currently with one single lift.
Therefore, the access waiting time to the monument is likely to be over 2 hours.
We are sorry for the inconvenience.

$23 million sold at 2012 Concours d’Elégance

searchamelia.com Concours d'Elegance Amelia Island 2012

A snapshot of history surrounded by beauty

This was the second year in a row that in the final end I didn’t make it to the Concours d’Elégance. Too much to do on the home front that made both my wife and I collapse when the moment came to say OK let’s drive down, park the car half a mile away, fight the sell out crowd and see some of the most awesome automobiles ever put together by mankind.

But we are happy to report that Judie and Lawrence and Ally at the Desk did some beautiful and funny coverage work as did our micro photography expert Helmut Albrecht – once again with a feature from sunrise to sunset of an event that attracted record numbers once again this year.

Concours d’Elégance 2012 Main Event

Concours d’Elégance 2012 Prepping and Auctions

The Concours showcased 300 cars and motorcycles, including a dozen 1960s Ferrari GTOs estimated to be worth about $90 million together.

In the end, the 14th annual RM Auctions sale generated more than $23 million in sales Saturday   (an 87% sell through) and the massive climate-controlled tent on the Ritz Carlton’s beachfront actually withstood the up-to 35 mile wind gusts that ripped through the island that day.

Top Producer at 2012 RM Auction on Amelia Island

and the Winner is......

The top seller was this stunning one-off 1929 Cord L-29 Hayes Coupe, its shapely blue low-slung design by Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky, build for a reported $20,000 during the start of the 1929 depression, fetching $2.42 million.

Down the road at the Gooding & Co. auction at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation, taking advantage of the attraction the Concours d’Elégance has become over the years, a 1973 Porsche 917/ 30 Can-Am Spyder race car sold for a record $4.4 million.

Top Ten RM Auction Results

1. 1929 Cord L-29 Special Coupe – $2,420,000
2. 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Coupe Speciale – $1,430,000
3. 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Vantage Convertible – $1,210,000
4. 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spyder – $1,210,000
5. 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 Berlinetta – $1,100,000
6. 1930 Bugatti Type 46 Superprofile Coupe – $1,017,500
7. 1960 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster – $990,000
7. 1937 Squire 1½-Liter Drophead Coupe – $990,000
9. The Lalique Mascot Collection of Ele Chesney – $805,000
10. 1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Berline – $803,000

Record Auction at Annual Boys and Girls Club Dinner

Commissioner Tim Poynter in conversation with Amelia Islander Mag Pubisher Phil Kelly

Commissioner Tim Poynter in conversation with Amelia Islander Mag Pubisher Phil Kelly

An amazing 510 tickets were sold for the Annual Boys and Girls Club Dinner at the Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island last night, filling up the ballroom to capacity and resulting in $10,000 more collected from the silent auctions than last year, when the plans were unveiled for the new Fernandina Beach home for the Club on Lime Street.
More good news came with the announcement that of the $1.8 million needed for the construction and outfitting, $1.728 had been collected leaving only a $72,000 gap.
The new facility, which started construction last month is scheduled to be finished by September and last night’s grand stand support will have without any doubt collected the financial balance needed.

The dinner, orchestrated, designed and supervised by Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island’s Executive Chef Thomas Tolxdorf, was superb, and a tribute to his Farm to Table philosophy. The Romaine Lettuce Salad was easily the best tasting Romaine I’ve ever had and could have turned me into a vegan if not for the main course of Roasted Breast of Chicken and Garlic Shrimp. At the risk of sounding a bit blasé I have to admit that as a aficionado of Key Lime Pie, the Key Lime Tart served for dessert tasted so fresh that Key West’s own “Blonde Giraffe” brand pales by comparison.

Bonnie St.John, feature speaker at 2012 Boys and Gilrls Club dinner

Bonnie St.John, feature speaker at 2012 Boys and Girls Club dinner

After Club President Bill Gower made announcements of gratitude and recognition, especially highlighting the wonderful efforts from Mrs. Ann Moser on behalf of the Club, it was the turn of honor guest motivational speaker Bonnie St.John, who treated the audience to a wonderful story of her life, from poverty and physical and racial challenges in San Diego to becoming a Special Ski Olympics Silver Medal Winner, who had found strength for her journey through life from her mother, her ski instructor and the magnificent support she received from the Boys and Girls Club when she needed it the most.
Heart warming and inspiring with a message of perseverance and the motivational recognition that Gold Medals go to those people who get up faster than anyone else after being knocked down.

With deep gratitude to our host Ange Wallace of the Travel Agency, a lifelong supporter of the Boys and Girls Club, we felt once again the humbling joy of being part of this wonderful, giving  community.

Seven Simple Tips to Improve Your Website’s SEO

Google Keyword Tool; searchamelia.com

Understanding what people search for most is the trick to keyword selection

It seems that Search engine optimization is on many business people’s mind, yet most business owners with websites do not have a clue and mistake it for a social media presence. They think a Like or Business page on Facebook is SEO or at least part of it. It has absolutely nothing to do with Searchengine optimization. In this new and exciting cyber world, if you know what you’re doing, SEO can change the way you do business. If you don’t, however, what you don’t know could hurt you, or worse, put you out of business.

By now, most people realize that the Internet is a very important part of business, any business. If your customers move on the Internet, you need to be there. Period. An Internet presence is vital if you want to make it in today’s world, and consequently search engine optimization is something that just about everyone with a website needs to know something about. If you run a business, it’s important that you understand how your website or blog is to be optimized.

Search engine optimization isn’t just about adding keywords to your website content and blog posts; there’s quite a bit more to it, in fact. If you really want to be successful and reach the front page of the search rankings for your essential keywords and phrases, there are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Research is Key

Most business owners are aware that they need to have keywords, but they don’t know just how to find the best ones. Since the entire SEO campaign depends on selecting the right keywords, this is a very important step and one that cannot be taken lightly. Don’t just guess at your keywords, take the time to research them thoroughly.
You can use the Google Keyword Tool to help find good keywords with plenty of searches. Simply type your keyword into the search box and let Google give you suggestions. You want something that will bring in plenty of searches each month. Try using several keywords with lower searches if you can’t find one with less competition. Then click to Google and search for the keyword phrase with quotation marks on either end to see just how many other websites are optimized for the exact same phrase. You want lots of searches and very few competitors.

2. Less is More

At first glance, it might seem like the more often you use the keywords in your content, the better. However, thanks to scammers who used a technique called “keyword stuffing,” that’s not a good idea. You can actually end up penalized for using too many keywords in one piece of content.
The key here is to be natural. Don’t stuff the page full of specific words; instead let the information flow freely and insert the keyword phrases wherever they actually fit. This will result in much better content that search engines will love.

3. Label Your Photos

Photos really add a lot to a blog post, but they can’t help your SEO unless you make full use of titles and ALT tags. Using your keywords in these areas will give your page a nice boost. It doesn’t hurt to name your photo something SEO friendly either. Instead of labeling it DSC234.jpg, go with something like Florida-beaches.jpg.

4. Drop the Flash and Java

Flash might make for a funky website, but it is useless when it comes to search engines. HTML is far cleaner and readable for search engines, so the worst thing you can do is have a Javascript or Flash intro page to your site. Google and the other search engine spiders won’t be able to register the site easily nor read the content embedded in the fancy Flash.

5. Add Regular Content

This is one area that is more important now than every before. Good content has always done well with the search engines, but since Google changed the rules in early 2011, it’s even more important. Regularly updated pages with quality content are treated very well by the search engines, so it makes sense that blogs, rather than fixed sites with static content, are doing very well these days.
While your content should contain keywords, keep in mind that the most important thing is to offer quality information. It should be written more for human eyes than for search engine spiders.

6. Try Deep Linking

Getting links from other websites is vital in boosting search engine rankings, but what many people don’t know is that deep linking is also very important. Deep linking means linking to other pages within the same website. For example, Searchamelia is a site on news and entertainment info and an article like this one links naturally to a story I did on choosing the right keywords back in June of 2011.
This type of linking should be done on a regular basis and goes hand in hand with providing regular content. Whenever you write a blog post, check back to see if there’s anything relevant to link it to.

7. Too Many Backlinks is a Bad Thing

If you’re online, you’ve heard of back-linking. This is the practice of getting links from other websites. When you use the right anchor text, this can be very helpful in boosting your search engine rankings. However, it is not something you want to overdo.
Getting regular links from various locations looks a lot more natural than one article directory linking fifty times to the same page. Try to spread your back-links out, a handful here, a few there, and keep them trickling in at a steady rate to ensure the best results. If you have 10,000 links come in one day and then nothing for the next four months, the search engines will know something is up and will rank you accordingly.

There is a lot more to SEO, but the foregoing will for now get you ahead of your competition. SEO is a combination of common sense along with some careful tricks. As long as you are putting out excellent content on a regular basis with keywords naturally mixed in, you can expect to see an improvement in your rankings. If you want to know more about correct SEO, you may want to join us for one of our monthly free Social Gatherings. The next one is scheduled for March 21 at the Amelia Oceanfront Bed and Breakfast.

Six Degrees of Free Rice

searchamelia.com: 6 degrees of free rice

Play a game and feed the hungry

The United Nations World Food Programme came up with a creative way to fight hunger and A Fun Way to Teach children (and immigrants) vocabulary. Every homeschooling parent in the United States should use the 6th Degrees of Free Rice game between February 6 and 11th to teach their children the meaning of words  while feeding hungry children.

The concept is quite simple. Go to the Free Rice website and think of 6 of your closest friends. The proven theory is that you are connected to 6 people who are connected to 6 people, who in turn are connected to 6 people… up to 6 times and realize that you are connected in this manner to every person on earth.

There are only 6 degrees of separation.

Freerice is an online trivia game where each correct answer earns 10 grains of rice for the world’s hungriest – it’s an addictive online game with a real-world impact. Those grains of rice will go to a hungry child who is only six degrees away from you and me.
Between February 6 and 12 Free Rice wants you to invite 6 people in your circle to play “6 Degrees of Free Rice.”

The idea is simple. When you sign up, you commit to recruiting six people, then your friends will recruit another six, and so on… our online movement to fight hunger could exponentially explode! And many more people will discover Freerice.

The WFP feeds 90 million people every year

searchamelia.com: world hunger map

The World Food Progamme is impressive in its logistics and results. From Africa and Asia to Latin America and the Near East, there are some 925 million people in the world, who do not get enough food to lead a normal, active life. And even after 50 years of being on the frontline of the fight against hunger and thousands of political pledges, the WFP can “only” get to about 90 million or about 10% of them. Yet we are all just 6 people removed from being connected to all of them.

And even though it is truly impressive what is being done every year, the World Food Program needs our help. No..it’s not knocking on your door for money pledges. It’s inviting you to join in a fun and educational game called Six Degrees of Free Rice.

In just about 10 minutes I collected 5,000 grains of rice for a hungry person. We need you to help get your friends, family and community involved too. Are you up to the challenge? If you are, just click here to participate.
I hope you do.

Here is another link you may want to hit to learn how important the WFP’s work is.

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Buy This! Sell That!

searchamelia.com: financial market updates

I've looked at the markets from both sides now.

At its most basic level, a trade takes place when a buyer is willing to buy at a certain price and a seller is willing to sell at that price. Both parties could be smart, experienced, and looking at the same data, yet somehow one party thinks it’s a good price to buy and the other thinks it’s a good price to sell.

Last week, several news items represented good examples of how investors could look at the same data and draw different conclusions.
Consider these:
1. Gross domestic product rose at a 2.8 percent pace in the October through December period.
Bullish investors say that’s up from 1.8 percent the previous quarter and the fastest pace in a year and a half.
Bearish investors say it’s less than the 3.0 percent growth expected by economists and most of the growth was due to inventory accumulation.
Source: MarketWatch
2. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its forecast for global economic growth in 2012 and 2013.
Bullish investors say fears are overblown as private-sector economic activity in the 17-nation euro zone showed small, but unexpected, growth in January and durable-goods orders were up a strong 3.0 percent in December in the U.S. – the third straight increase.
Bearish investors say just heed the IMF’s warning, “Global growth prospects dimmed and risks sharply escalated during the fourth quarter of 2011, as the euro-area crisis entered a perilous new phase.”
Source: MarketWatch
3. Spanish and Italian bond yields dropped dramatically lately.
Bullish investors say the drop in yields and the strong demand in January’s bond auctions suggest the euro zone crisis is easing.
Bearish investors say the Portuguese bond market is now imploding, the Greek restructuring could fall apart, and the European Central Bank’s December offer of unlimited three-year loans to banks has simply delayed the inevitable day of reckoning.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
It’s differences of opinion like this that make markets. Thanks to the free market, there always seems to be a buyer for every seller – at the right price.
Like Joni Mitchell who sang, “I’ve looked at life from both sides now”, it pays to look at the markets from both the bullish and bearish sides and, ultimately, make decisions which you think will best position you to meet your long-term goals and objectives, yet still allow you to sleep well at night.

Bonnie St. John to speak at BGCNC’s 5th Annual Benefit

Bonnie St.John Speaks at Boys and Girls Club Annual Benefit

Bonnie St.John Speaks at Boys and Girls Club Annual Benefit

Well known author and inspirational speaker Bonnie St. John will speak at this year’s Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County’s 5th Annual Benefit to be held at The Ritz–Carlton, Amelia Island on February 24 at 6:00 PM.
NBC Nightly News called her “one of the five most inspiring women in America.
Bonnie is a nationally-recognized author, inspirational speaker, executive coach, former athlete, mother and TV personality.

In addition to the outstanding keynote speaker, the gala event will feature an enticing silent auction held during a cocktail hour preceding the banquet dinner. Auction items range from a fishing trip in Alaska to resort and hide-away visits to works of art. When coupled with attendance at the gala, the auction provides a major share of support for operation of the two local Boys & Girls Clubs. Success of the gala is ensured by the generosity and help of The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island management and staff.

Bonnie St. John, born in San Diego, grew up on a low-income, crime-ridden environment near Los Angeles and lost a leg at age five to a medical disorder. Yet Bonnie graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, earned her Masters degree in Economics at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. She has served as Director of the White House National Economic Council in the Clinton Administration. In 1984, she competed in the Paralympics in Austria and was the first African-American to win medals in downhill ski racing: one silver and two bronze medals.
Her quote on her Paralympics experience has resounded widely across the Nation and the Worlds: “I was ahead in the slalom. But in the second run, everyone fell at a dangerous spot. I was beaten by a woman who got up faster than I did. I learned that when people fall down, winners get up, and gold-medal winners get up faster,” a quote that was even featured on a Starbucks beverage mug.

Bonnie is the author of four books: ‘Succeeding Sane’, ‘Getting Ahead at Work’, ‘Money: Fall Down? Get Up!’ and ‘How Strong Women Pray‘. During the celebration of Black History Month in 2007, she was honored by President George W. Bush who said: “Bonnie is the kind of person you really want to be around, and the kind of person that shows individual courage matters in life.”

Bonnie with Bill Clinton

Bonnie Today

Bonnie with George Bush

As a child, Bonnie found an important source of support back home in what was the Girls Club. Consequently she was eager to come to Amelia Island and give her support to Boys & Girls Clubs here. Bonnie’s life is an example  of the success that can derive from achieving the goals of Boys & Girls Clubs: to inspire and enable all young people, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.

Another quote from Bonnie St. John illustrates why her words at the Benefit will be so meaningful: “I have faced so many difficult life situations myself – healing from sexual abuse, and family dysfunction, having my leg amputated as a child, facing race and gender discrimination, learning to be a mom, home-schooling and more.” She believes: “Everyone has the God-given capacity to live joyfully – it doesn’t depend on your circumstances. But it does require that you make the choice to identify your joys in life and take action to reach them.”

Bonnie’s experience of bouncing back from adversity has taught her that there is no “magic bullet” that solves all problems with the snap of a finger. No one diet works for all body types. No one type of emotional support or healing works for all personality types. Bonnie has discovered that the secret to her resilience and personal growth is building a patchwork quilt of solutions just for her: various exercise programs, support of friends, spending time in nature, seeking expert knowledge, reading books, and of course, always relying on prayer for guidance. Bonnie doesn’t say that what works for her will solve everyone’s problems. But her goal is to always present a myriad of choices to help make the decisions easier and the ultimate path to joy clearer for a variety of people.

Go to www.bgcnassau.org or phone (904) 261-8666 to get information on purchasing a ticket to hear Bonnie’s message and attend this exceptional Benefit event. Truly a rare opportunity to not only learn from a master in overcoming adversity, but also learning at the same time why Boys and Girls Club need your enduring support.

Why Majority of Americans does not want Ron Paul

Searchamelia.com: Why Ron Paul is America's conscious

Ron Paul is the American Conscious No One wants to look at

A short while ago I was having lunch at the Amelia River Golf Grill with my dear good friend Shaun, who is a true blooded conservative, but one with a very educated and informed reasoning. Just as many Americans, he seems irritated and annoyed by the lack of political options, yet refuses to accept a political veteran like Ron Paul as an electable entity.

Of course Paul is not your typical run of the mill candidate. He is the only one of the candidates who truly understands economics, the value of smaller government, the values that made this country great, the wider implications of replacing the constitution with the phobophobia of the U.S. Patriot Act. And most importantly in today’s political environment Ron Paul has never in a long career flip flopped on his core values and opinions, just to fit the moment.

As an economist I do understand that Americans fear to embrace his desire to return the US dollar to the gold standard, which Nixon abandoned in 1971, a fact that over the past 40 years singlehandedly facilitated and fueled the enormous debt driven growth of our economy.
Most Americans hope and believe that collectively we can still kick the can of economic demise down the road for another couple of decades and if not, that our military will be powerful enough to acquire what we need.

To sum up Ron Paul’s positions is quite simple:
– anti tax and in favor of smaller government
– less government meddling in lives and businesses
– wants to get rid of Federal Reserve and go back on the gold standard, a philosophical  issue that very few Americans and more importantly media pundits understand, it is the only long term solution to a healthy economy
– against war and un-provoked meddling in world affairs
– as an obstetrician he is mostly pro-life and a strong believer in personal responsibility and has a lifelong track record of delivering babies and helping people without money to pay for it
– he is truly a free market proponent who doesn’t believe in too big to fail companies or any kind of subsidies to them. Paul knows what a business is, and does not sugarcoat their objectives. He wants business to prove their existential rights and merits in the market place where the consumer decides.
– He wants media to be educated in the topics, responsible and accountable …and that of course may very well be his downfall, especially since it might explain why Americans don’t see Ron Paul as a viable entity.
The Media make the King and have so since Kennedy won the 1960 TV debates against Nixon. That’s how America is coin operated these days.

So why not Ron Paul ?

I can’t say it doesn’t baffle me, that voters claim they won’t vote for him because  “He wants to bring the troops back home!” The polled biggest reason why Voters turn away from Ron Paul is when they hear he’s anti-interventionism and that he thinks the way not to get into so many wars is to not have troops stationed in so many different nations. He wants to shrink the military by giving the Pentagon a rational mission. He wants it to focus on defending the U.S. and not worry about our ability to “project our power” around the globe.

US_military_bases_in_the_world

Countries in the world with US Military Basis

Countries where US contributes to NATO partnership

Say again America, what’s your reason for not voting for Ron Paul?

Do me a favor and name one thing we’ve actually gained from the ability to “project power.” Oh I’m sure you can, even if the reasons are regional and petty, like for example the economic impact of the military here in the Greater Jacksonville Area. Balance whatever you consider the value of that impact against what we’ve paid for it in terms of both human life and its huge role in bankrupting our government over the last 70 years.
Once you’ve done that, you may want to circumvent the media’s opinion and give another thought to Ron Paul. You may still not vote for him, but at least you haven’t fallen for the oldest trick in the political book, which is to leave you full of fear that your ultimate vote may not match your expectation down the road.  A lot of 2008 voters must be wondering right about now, where their vote got them.

In any case I suggested to my friend at lunch that the United States has grown far beyond the capabilities and talents of one person to comprehend or manage in a single pyramid structure. I suggested that Mitt Romney, the squeaky clean, good looking, religious business man candidate and surefire future winner of the Republican primaries, even if for no other reason than lack of other options, should already now team up with Ron Paul as his vice president with the contractual understanding that Paul runs the economy in all its aspects and Romney deals with the rest. Beauty and the Brain what a concept.

Yet I’m going to leave you with another brain teaser. The anti Romney votes in the Republican Party are currently split between the remaining hopefuls.  After Perry, Gingrich, Santorum and Huntsman get out of the race, Paul will probably take their anti Romney votes, because the people in New Hampshire got it clearly when asked to name the candidate with the most moral character. 40 percent chose Paul – more than Perry, Santorum and Gingrich combined.  Interesting.

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NCEDB Reports on 4th Quarter Accomplishments

searchamelia.com ENCPA is cornerstone of NCEDB 5 year development plan

East Nassau Community Planning Area discussing mixed use development

Starting out the New Year on another positive note is also the Nassau County Economic Development Board with its 2011 Fourth quarter Newsletter “the Director”. The 6 page Pdf attached is written and published by NCEDB staff, and gives us a glimpse of what NCEDB has been “up to” over the past three months as well as covers topics of regional and local interest.

The recent news headline for example that Brazilian Airplane manufacturer Embraer is planning to build the Super Tucano light attack aircraft for the US Department of the Defense in Jacksonville, sheds light on why on several occasions in the past 18 months Brazil was on the economic development menu for the Greater Jacksonville area. Relationships develop over time as parties match their needs. Once all parties have reached a workable comfort level with each other, major progress is usually achieved. That’s why organizations like the NCEDB are absolutely instrumental in long term economic planning and employment opportunities.

The Nassau County Economic Development Board has been a member of the JaxUSA Partnership (formerly Cornerstone) that has been instrumental in attracting many foreign manufacturing and service organizations in recent years. The Newsletter outlines a variety of important initiatives Executive Director Steve Riecks and his staff develop and guide to fruition.

In this issue the interested reader will find topics and accomplishments such as the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Renovation and Expansion project that is supposed to result in adding 160 new jobs, as well as various educational initiatives in the county including the ENCPA Employment Center and the economic Growth future for City of Fernandina Beach.

The NCEDB hopes you find the newsletter informative and interesting, and  always welcome feedback via comments on their website.

Download NCEDB Newsletter  The Director 12.2011 – Volume 3.4

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

searchamelia.com 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 www.ritzcarlton.com/careers.

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.

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