National Public Lands Day

National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance the public lands Americans enjoy. Help keep the park clean by coming out and volunteering your time. Registration for the clean up will be at pavilion one on Little Talbot Island. No reservations are necessary. Please let the ranger station know you are there for the clean up.

National Public Lands Day will be on Saturday, September 25, 2010, from 9am – 12pm at Little Talbot Island State Park, 12157 Hecksher Drive. For more information call (904) 251-2320.

Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions with Energy Star Appliances

Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions with Energy Star Appliances

Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions with Energy Star

Energy Star is a joint project run by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It has been identifying products since 1992 that are designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Energy Star labels can be found on products in over 60 categories including computers, heating, cooling, lighting, televisions and major home appliances.

Okay, so it’s designed to help save the planet. Still not convinced Energy Star is beneficial to you? How would you like to save money? That’s right, Energy Star can help save you money! The average single family home has an annual energy bill of $2,200.00. Energy Star can help households save about one third of that money. That equals about $726.00 a year in savings just for switching to Energy Star rated products.

Want the proof? In 2009, reports showed that Energy Star saved Americans almost $17 billion in utility bills while avoiding greenhouse gas emissions that are equivalent to what 30 million cars would produce.

Not concerned about your utilities? How about taxes? Energy Star can help save you even more money through special tax credits and state rebates. In 2010, buying heating and cooling products that are energy star rated will provide you a 30% tax credit for the cost of that item. In most states around the country there is also an Energy Star Rebate program that can give you $50-$100 back when you purchase Energy Star rated appliances.

Now that you are ready to save the world and your wallet, where should you go to buy Energy Star products? Most places sell Energy Star rated products, but did you know that your Hometown Sears Store carries one of the largest amounts of Energy Star? Sears has over 1,000 Energy Star related appliances for you to choose from! Visit your local Sears today to find the one that fits you the best!

Want more information? Visit or

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

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The Green Diet Shopping List

It's a lifestyle to save the planet

The first thing that attracted me when I received an enquiry out of Australia, if we would be interested in publishing some environmentally friendly articles on SearchAmelia, was the fact that they did suggest a Green Hamburger as part of a balanced meal. I have always been a follower of Jimmy Buffett’s cheeseburger in Paradise philosophy, all the way down to the Heinz 57. I also received an enquiry from Paris France for stories about Old Book restorations. It’s interesting and strangely liberating to discover that our Amelia Island news site is catching attention from all over the world, so I emailed the guys in Asutralia back: Why not? Go ahead, send us some stuff, knowing very well that there had to be a commercial hook. And there is! They sell environmentally friendly shopping bags.

I’m all for that, especially since I started doing grocery shopping fresh and daily with my backpack on the bicycle a couple of months ago. No more plastic, no more paper.

So here is the story (and the offer):

The Green diet- help your digestion, feel better, save the world

Good food can do things which nothing else can, and do them brilliantly. The Green diet is all about food value, and it’s a true breakthrough in common sense dieting.
The human body requires:
•    Proteins
•    Vitamins
•    Minerals
•    Green vegetable materials
•    Carbohydrates

The problem is that a lack of these vital requirements comes standard with our modern diet. Processed food often loses nutrients through water leaching and overzealous use of additives and other materials which replace food with basically useless non-food.
Raw food, by contrast, is all food. This is the essence of a Green diet.

Case study: The Green hamburger

Nobody has ever pretended that a hamburger was the way to perfect health. The problem for most people is that they love hamburgers. Ironically, if you have a hamburger with a lot of fresh greenery, whole grain bread, and the food isn’t over-processed, you’re getting some of what you need.
A Green hamburger, in contrast, is a real meal. The list of nutrients is extremely long, but check out the basics, related to essential requirements:
•    Proteins- Lean meat provides essential amino acids (Fat doesn’t provide anything but problems)
•    Vitamins- B vitamins, Vitamin E, Vitamin C from vegetables, beta carotene if beetroot or carrot are added, Vitamin A from some vegetables
•    Minerals- Zinc, copper, iron, phosphorous, calcium, and other trace elements from meat, vegetables and breads
•    Green vegetable materials- Chlorophyll, nitrogen, trace elements
•    Carbohydrates- Breads have various forms of carbohydrates,  low GI breads are best by far.

And to top it off: All this comes with almost no cholesterol, too.

Here is a sample shopping list for no more than $20 that you can fit nicely into a handy  green shopping bag.

•    Fresh parsley: This can turn any meal into a joy, and it’s got the dark green vegetable materials required for a good diet.
•    Carrots: Beta carotene by the ton, fibre, and will go with any meal.
•    Cheese: Matured cheese is much better and food values are higher.
•    Sprouts: Bean sprouts have built in minerals and tastes fantastic with all dishes
•    Corn: High value energy food, with trace elements.
•    Potatoes: Steamed in their jackets, they’re like a whole extra meal, and it’s all good.
•    Multigrain bread: The fancy brands are just that. As long as it’s whole grain, you’re getting excellent dietary value, all the time.
•    Olive oil: The Mediterranean’s secret oil, absolutely trustworthy for cooking, with its own valuable nutrients.
•    Meat: Lean, and remove every trace of fat you can see. (Note: More isn’t better with meat. A smaller portion is generally better in terms of digestion.)
•    Soy: Most people prefer brands, but look for good value as well.
•    Fruit: Go nuts on the fruits. They’ve all got high food value, and they also provide fresh, absolutely pure water.
•    Salt: Salt isn’t the enemy. Too much sodium, however, is too much. Stick to sea salt and avoid the high sodium foods.

Well it seems like a good start to me on a way to a healthier lifestyle. I’m off the computer on my way to a happy hour with two pescatarians and one vegetarian. Should be interesting.

Occasionally Wash your Reusable Grocery Bag

Different strokes for different folks or just good practice?

One way to show how life has changed is the evolution of the reusable shopping bag. While growing up a boyscout in Europe in the late 1950s, I often did a quick run to the grocery store for my mom, when she was in the middle of cooking and ran out of something. (To be honest, with five sons it was sometimes hard to keep track of the various food inventories.)

One thing I would never forget while running out the door and that was to grab the grocery bag that was hanging on a hook next to the door. If I forgot, I would have to face the uncomfortable task of having to carry 4 or 5 items in my hands on the way back. Grocery stores had no plastic or paper. On the occasion that I forgot, the friendly owner would give me a box to put stuff in.

Until today, there are very few stores where you get plastic or paper, yet some of them allow you to buy some, and the money collected offsets the carbon footprint.

Here in the States, the movement of buying a grocery bag to replace plastic or paper is quite recent and it is therefore no surprise that the American Chemistry Council funded a study that will strike fear in the hearts and minds of young mothers and concerned ignorami.

Researchers from the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University tested 84 reusable shopping bags. Yes 84, don’t ask me why not 100 or 500. It is probably a recessionary thing. YET, what they did find were huge amounts of bacteria in all but one of them.

These findings shouldn’t be a surprise since the researchers also found that 97 percent of reusable bag users never bother to wash the things.
And yes, the one bag free of bacteria coincides with the 3% of grocery bags that get washed on occasion.
The study found coliform bacteria in half the bags, and the potentially deadly E. coli in 12 percent (10 bags) of them.

Since the study was funded by the American Chemistry Council and there is no source that reveals who initiated the study, I am not willing to completely discount ulterior motives. After all they want you to stick to plastic. But on the other hand I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that people never wash their 100 percent recycled shopping bags.
Some just joined the highly fashionable movement and rather buy a reusable grocery bag every week, while committed greenies on the other end of the spectrum are a bit reluctant to dispense laundry soap into the waste waters to wash these bags.

Most people however just don’t think about it, until they have been made aware so often that it becomes an automatic habit.
And that won’t happen until grocery and convenience stores completely stop using paper or plastic, which is as likely going to happen as Detroit quitting to build SUV’s.

These days I frequent the grocery store almost daily on my cycle trip back from the gym at Club 14. I carry a back pack, which comfortably fits my daily 5 or 6 items of need. I buy less and less items that are packed in plastic and the bag boy or girl at Food Lion knows already not to put the stuff in plastic. The items goes straight into my back pack, which gets washed every other week. It’s a routine, just like brushing your teeth. Once you do it for a while, it becomes automatic.

But guess what…it feels pretty good.

Nassau Sierra Joins Oil Drilling Protest

Nassau Sierra Joins Oil Drilling Protest

Nassau Sierra Joins Oil Drilling Protest

On June 26, the international demonstration against offshore oil drilling, “Hands Across the Sand,” will be sponsored here by the Nassau Sierra Club. Participants will meet at Main Beach (Atlantic and Fletcher) at 11:30 a.m. and at 12 noon join hands in a line across the beach, a metaphorical and actual line in the sand.

“Hands Across the Sand” is a movement of people from all walks of life and political affiliations. This movement is about protection of our oceans, marine wildlife, marshes, fishing industry and coastal economies. It is designed to share knowledge, energies and passion for protecting all of the above from the devastating effects of oil drilling.

The Movement Started in Florida on Feb. 13 with a statewide gathering against oil drilling. Thousands of Floridians representing 60 communities (including Fernandina Beach, Yulee and Callahan) and more than 90 beaches joined hands to protest the efforts by the Florida Legislature and the U.S. Congress to lift the ban on oil drilling in the near and off shores of Florida. Florida’s Hands Across The Sand event was the largest gathering in the history of Florida united against oil drilling.

Offshore Oil Drilling Changes Lifestyles

Offshore Oil Drilling Changes Lifestyles

It has since morphed into an international event with peaceful gatherings of people around the globe planned for the fourth Saturday in June. Please join us in making a statement against the Gulf oil spill and the potential of offshore oil drilling off the coast of Amelia Island.

For further information about Hands Across the Sand, go to their website.

Nassau Sierra will also be holding a small memorial to the 11 people killed on the BP drilling rig. A moment of silence punctuated by the tolling of a ship’s bell 11 times.

Oil Spill Booms Made of Hair

Oil Spill Booms Made of Hair

Oil Spill Booms Made of Hair

Booms are being made of hair, fur, fleece and feathers for use in the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Matter Of Trust, established in 1998, is an ecological public charity. They concentrate on manmade surplus, natural surplus and eco-education. Their website describes their mission as to “link ideas, spark action and materialize sustainable systems. We like to mimick how Mother Nature integrates enduring cycles and provides access to necessities in abundance. We concentrate on manmade surplus, natural surplus and eco-educational programs. The results are worthwhile, common sensical and often enchanting.”

People around the world want to help clean up the Gulf:

“So much fiber (hair, fur, fleece & feathers) has been generously donated from every city in North America and beyond to our 19 warehouses that we can now make over 25 miles of boom! We have asked all of our participants to keep fibers ready to ship on hand and to wait for us to make room. We are working through the tens of thousands of boxes we have. The generosity of the over 45,000 businesses and thousands of individuals is really tremendous! Now it’s time to get all the booms made and start soaking up the oil!”

Alpaca Hair Stocking Stuffers

Alpaca Hair Stocking Stuffers

Even Alpaca Breeders are getting involved!

“The Alpaca Breeders of America have found another great use for their fiber in a rapidly growing textile industry. High grade fiber which is used for felted mats and landscape products are being diverted to the Gulf Oil Spill crisis. Shearing season is in full force and both llama and alpaca breeders are answering the call.” Larry Vallozzi, President Alpaca Fiber Cooperative of North America, Inc.

Expert comments

Riki Ott, PhD, Marine Toxicologist, Author and Exxon Valdez Oil Spill expert – “The oil industry’s approach is to use oil based synthetic products to respond to oil spills. After use, this results in mountains of contaminated material that need to be landfilled or incinerated. This creates a secondary pollution problem. At least with hair booms and hair mats, natural material is used that breaks down faster and releases less toxins when incinerated or landfilled. They even have a chance at being composted with bacteria. To suggest that any possible shedding of natural fibers into the gulf are a problem, pales in comparison to methods using hundreds of thousands of gallons of toxic industrial solvents. The benefits of removing oil waste with natural fibers largely outweighs the minimal immediate risk to the environment. Also they reduce the secondary pollution concerns that come with using oil based products, such as only synthetic boom and dispersants.”

How it works:

You shampoo because hair collects oil. That means it can collect petroleum oil spills too. Over 300,000 pounds of hair are cut each day in the US and not to mention all the clippings from pet groomers. Here is a little film about the Matter of Trust “Oil Spill Hair Mats Program:”


The music is “Via Con Me” by Paolo Conte and the seal photo is courtesy of Deus Ex Malcontent.

So, what is the problem?

While this may not clean up the entire Gulf, this does sound like a great way to help, right? Well, not so fast. On May 21, 2010, Matters of Trust received official word from Ronald D. Ryvarczyk, BP Government & Public Affairs that, “they have a plentiful supply of synthetic boom for their needs and will not be in want of donated boom or renewable fiber.” Still as May ended hundreds of volunteers were making thousands of booms all along the Gulf Coast. Supplies will only be given to “official government haz mat teams that have hazardous waste disposal plans in place. We are an environmental charity and would not risk oily boom being left out without proper disposal. BP Public Affairs has told us they have enough of their own boom. And Matter of Trust is now in contact with local parishes and counties in the Gulf States. The question is not whether the boom will ever get used, but if responsible parties will take all clean up materials now and pay for haz waste disposal so that cash strapped communities don’t have to pay out of pocket. We will let everyone know as soon as officials take the hair boom.”

In their latest press release, dated June 11,2010, Matters of Trust is “still accepting sign-ups so that donors are at the ready to help send fiber for local and large scale emergency spills.”

Fernandina Beach Oil Drilling Protest

On June 26, the international demonstration against offshore oil drilling, “Hands Across the Sand,” will be sponsored here by the Nassau Sierra Club. Participants will meet at Main Beach (Atlantic and Fletcher) at 11:30 a.m. and at 12 noon join hands in a line across the beach, a metaphorical and actual line in the sand.

For further information about Hands Across the Sand, go to their website. Nassau Sierra will also be holding a small memorial to the 11 people killed on the BP drilling rig. A moment of silence punctuated by the tolling
of a ship’s bell 11 times.

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Recycle Your Soap and Shampoo

Recycle Your Soap and Shampoo

Recycle Your Soap and Shampoo

You may have read or heard about ways to recycle your own soap, but there is a company called Clean the World in Florida that recycles used hotel soaps and shampoos to help save the lives of those living under filthy conditions.

Many diseases are spread by poor handwashing, well, imagine if you lived somewhere where no one washed their hands! In 2009, two businessmen asked themselves what hotels did with the leftover sample sized soaps and shampoos their guests used. In their first year they found over 200 hotels and Bed and Breakfasts that wanted to recycle half-used bottles of shampoo, conditioners and bars of soap. Even Walt Disney World Resorts have jumped on-board!

Too many people die each year from respiratory infections and diverse kinds of diarrheal disease, however, in some countries soap is a luxury!

The company is trying to reach out to areas around the world and in the United States. Many recycled soaps were send to Haiti when it was struck by the massive earthquake recently.

Sometimes you hear about a company that is doing the right thing and you just want to help spread the word!


Press Release

Orlando, FL – Walt Disney World Resort hotels are working with Clean the World to recycle all the partially used amenities from their nearly 28,000 Central Florida hotel rooms. Clean the World sanitizes the soap and shampoo that would be discarded and distributes these amenities to people in need around the world.

“With the support of with Walt Disney World, even more supplies will reach those in desperate need,” said Paul Till, co-founder and managing director of Clean the World, who is responsible for recruiting new hotels to join the Clean the World Hospitality Recycling Program. Through this program, hotels financially contribute a tax-deductible recycling fee in exchange for collection, recycling and free redistribution of partially-used amenities to those suffering due to a lack of available hygiene products. In 2009, Clean the World distributed more than 230 tons of hygiene products to countries worldwide including Haiti, Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Uganda, Mali, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Mongolia and Romania. By participating in this program, Walt Disney World Resort hotels are showing a commitment to saving lives and protecting the environment.

Clean the World in Haiti
“In the wake of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Clean the World has stepped up its commitment to provide basic necessities to the impoverished people of the island nation, and has included medical supplies, food, water and other essentials as well. Since January 2010, Clean the World has delivered over 150 tons of supplies directly to Haiti.

In 2009, Clean the World delivered 200,000 bars of soap to schools, orphanages, clinics and churches in Cap Haitien, Haiti. Though its Haitian partnerships and distribution network, Clean the World is providing free soap to people desperate in desperate need for proper hygiene. In Haiti alone, 8,000 children die annually from diarrheal disease, which is preventable by up to 62% with proper hand washing.

About Clean the World, Inc.
An Orlando-based charitable organization, Clean the World, Inc. is committed to the prevention of illness and death caused by acute respiratory infection and diarrheal disease in countries across the globe. In an effort to prevent these needless deaths from occurring, Clean the World collects discarded soap and shampoo from hotels to be recycled and distributed distributes these soap products along with appropriate educational materials to domestic homeless shelters and impoverished countries people worldwide. In 2009, Clean the World collected, recycled and distributed over 230 tons of soap and other bathroom amenities to impoverished people worldwide. With the donations of these discarded soap and shampoo products, Clean the World Foundation is a step closer to reaching their goal of preventing the millions of lives lost each year – and they’re doing it one bar of soap at a time. Clean the World Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization.

For more information about Clean the World, visit their website at

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Hands Across the Sand

Hands Across the Sand

Hands Across the Sand, Image by: Maggie Fitzroy, The times-Union

Hands Across the Sand is a peaceful protest against offshore drilling. Amelia Island residents are planning to participate and we will share additional details when we hear from the local organizer!

Americans and the World To Join Hands In The Largest Gathering Against Offshore Oil Drilling In History

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: – Hands Across the Sand is now international. Any person in any country may plan events on the website. This is a peaceful gathering of the people of America and the world. Planning an event is as simple as this:
– Go to your beach on June 26 at 11 AM in your time zone.
– Form lines in the sand and at 12:00, join hands.

The image is powerful, the message is simple. NO to Offshore Oil Drilling, YES to Clean Energy.

On Saturday, June 26, Americans and the people of the world in solidarity events will join hands on beaches and in parks and cities united against the dangers offshore oil drilling present to our oceans and marine wildlife, fishing industries and coastal economies, in Hands Across The Sand.

Hands Across the Sand

Hands Across the Sand

Hands Across The Sand’s mission is to change our energy policy away from its dependence on fossil fuels and into the light of clean energy. The aim is to convince our leaders to abandon expanded offshore oil drilling and adopt policies that encourage clean and renewable energy sources.

“The image is powerful, the message simple,” said event founder Dave Rauschkolb. “No to offshore oil drilling, yes to clean energy. We are drawing a line in the sand against offshore oil drilling along America’s beaches and in solidarity events across America and around the world. No one industry should be able to place entire coastal economies and marine environments at risk with dangerous, dirty mistakes.”

Sea Turtle Protests Offshore Oil Driling

Sea Turtle Protests Offshore Oil Driling

Hands Across The Sand was founded by Dave Rauschkolb in October of 2009. He organized a statewide gathering on February 13, 2010, to send a message to Florida’s legislators and Governor Crist that Floridians did not want them to lift the bans on near and offshore oil drilling in Florida’s waters. Thousands of Floridians representing 60 towns and cities and over 90 beaches joined hands to protest the efforts by the Florida Legislature and the US Congress to lift the ban on oil drilling in the near and off shores of Florida. Thousands joined hands from Jacksonville to Miami Beach and Key West to Pensacola Beach. The lifting of the near shore ban would have brought oil rigs as close as 3 miles from Florida’s shores. Shortly after the event the Florida Legislature tabled the effort.

Hands Across The Sand is endorsed by national and international environmental organizations including Sierra Club, Audubon, Surfrider, Oceana, Greenpeace, Defenders of Wildlife, Alaska Wilderness League, Ocean Conservancy, Friends of the Earth, Environment America, 350,, Center for Biological Diversity and

It is simple. Any person can go to the website and sign up to organize a beach or city. Downloadable tools are also available on the website: free posters, T-shirt designs and newspaper ads.

Dave Rauschkolb is a surfer and the owner of 3 restaurants on the beach in Seaside, Florida, located on the northern Gulf Coast between Pensacola and Panama City.

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2012 Doomsday The End is Near

2012 Doomsday The End is Near

2012 Doomsday The End is Near

Let us feed the fear shall we? The recent increase in the prediction of 2010 hurricanes, the oil spill in the gulf and the economic woes that are spreading through markets around the world like the flu, are fueling the Doomsday Disaster scenarios some extremists are predicting for December 2012.

Floods, hurricanes and erupting volcanoes, too, provide nourishment to the panic of those already feeding on fear. My grandmother always told me, “The one thing you can count on is change.” Yes, the earth is changing. Humans have stripped Mother Earth of her natural resources for many years… what did we expect to happen?

We have lusted to consume her oil, which is the blood of Mother Earth. Our envy, greed and pride to have more than our neighbors has stripped her of natural resources and encouraged gluttony. We are sloth-like towards God and express wrath and impatience for our fellow man! It is no wonder she is pissed! claims that governments around the world are aware of the impending emergency situations. They suggest that and were developed so people can help themselves prepare to survive because their governments cannot. “You and your family will have to be more proactive and assume more preemptive strategies for long term or even permanent survival. You need to realize that this will be a global event that will effect each and every living thing on the planet. Food and clean water will be scarce and public utilities will be nonexistent, The world governments can not and will not be able to assist in your continuing wellbeing and you will more or less be on your own,” according to the website, of course. They will also sell you books, food and first aid kits from their 2012 on-line store that you may want to take a look at. Some of their products, though alarmingly overpriced (more intentional scare tactics, I presume?), would do well in your hurricane kit.

Like the warnings and uncomfortable speculation that surrounded the roll-over to the new millennium, I was hoping for a bit of excitement and maybe the loss of power for a couple of weeks. While being forced to spend time with your family because there is no TV, radio or internet is less appealing than wanting to spend time with your family, I believe the family unit as a whole would have benefited greatly from the ordeal, but it didn’t work out that way.

The Serenity Prayer

The Serenity Prayer

Personally, I need to concern myself with my reality. What I see in the world, without worrying to the point of becoming ill or obsessed over things I cannot change. I think we all have become more conscience of what we are doing to our environment on a global level. We are growing and raising more of our own food and making mindful decisions about waste. Just imagine if everyone were to take a bicycle or walk to the corner market to pick up a few items. If you live close enough to work try walking, cycling or even roller skates! My kids rode bicycles to school most of the time, even though we live on a bus route. Unless threatened by inclement weather, their preferred after school transportation to their part-time jobs was a bicycle rather than make two trips giving them a ride because they did not have a driver’s license.

Grow some vegetables on your back porch, learn to eat leftovers and walk a little more. If we all make the smallest effort we can make a difference… well, until it all comes to an end in December of 2012!

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Just Add Water [Video]

Just Add Water

Just Add Water

I took a hanging flower basket of wilted new guinnea impatiens and placed her in my kitchen sink and gave her a great big drink of water. My son was astounded at how rapidly and beautifully the plant bounced back. He was certain the plant had no chance to live.

We hung the basket of impatiens back outside on the shepherds hook and three days later, she was wilted and dry as a bone. Once again, I carried her saggy and drooping folliage back to the kitchen. This time I set up the video camera so I could make a DVD for my son. He could now watch this small miracle, when all I did was just add water to the thirsty plant. The plant appears to have drank from the Fountain of Youth!

“Alex, this is for you.


After Adding Water

After Adding Water

Just Add Water

Water is blood to life here on earth,
Do not misjudge, her value – her worth.

All of life’s forms suckle at her breast.
Her bosom is home, your den, your nest.

Don’t spite her veins with man-made pollution,
Keeping her pure is our only solution.

You’ll never invent an adequate fodder.
To save ourselves? Simple – just add water!
Judie Mackie

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Arbor Day Ceremony in Fernandina

There will be an Arbor Day Ceremony in Fernandina Beach along the boardwalk near the Marine Welcome Center. The festivities began at 9:00 AM on Friday, May 7th, with an introduction, a speech by Mayor Susan Steger and tree planting by the Fernandina Beach Parks and Recreation Department.

BP Oil Spill

BP Oil Spill

BP Oil Spill

The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is about to wreck havoc along the same shores that were devastated by Hurricane Katrina just a few years ago.

The President has ordered Janet Napolitano to use all available resources from Homeland Security to investigate the explosion that caused the spill and to oversee British Petroleum’s progress on the clean up efforts. This is a substantial release of hazardous materials and will require ongoing cooperation between many, many agencies. Controlled burns have begun to burn off some of the oil before it hits the shores. Dispersment agents to break up the oil slick have also been used. Booming efforts using 220,000 feet of materials to help block the spill from Louisianna, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida’s coastlines have already been deployed. Napolitano is urging BP to “engage in the strongest possible steps” to protect our shoreline, wildlife and land.

This region of the United States will be changed in unimaginable ways, as an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil per day is expected to continue spilling into the Gulf for at least the next three months! We will be following this story for a long time.

The economic impact could be catostrophic with the loss of the shrimping and commercial fishing industries, including oyster harvesting. The blackening of tourist beaches and the stench of dead fish and other wildlife will ruin tourism. Fishing and tourism is what this coastline counts on for its economic survival, pray for a miracle!

Fire Damage Cleanup

Fire Damage Cleanup

Fire Damage Cleanup

I have performed them, but had the great pleasure of watching my competition perform a fire damage cleanup project in a duplex of a friend. The lack of detail and following of standards was absolutely amazing to me.

I watched a professional fire restoration company use a water based cleaner to clean the walls. Water based stain removers will only encourage the stain to sink in farther. Instead, they should have used chemical sponge to remove as much of the stain as possible. There were so many processes done incorrectly, that I was baffled that the homeowner hired them to do the job.

After seeing their estimate, I now understand why. Remember that old adage, you get what you pay for? It was estimated as if they were performing a regular house cleaning job, which is what the homeowner got.

Keep in mind that this was a two bedroom, 1 bathroom duplex with a living room and kitchen. The source of the fire was in the kitchen and the entire kitchen had to be gutted and the carpet was trashed. The estimate was for cleaning (not fire soot removal) of all of the interior walls, ceilings (which was a popcorn ceiling) and flooring. They cleaned the 3 week damaged carpet (which still looked trashed) in the bedrooms.

They then ran an ozone generator for odor removal, which is accepted in this industry. However, this is a duplex with exposed cavities where materials were removed leading to my friends unit. Um, where were the safety precautions? Many companies will offer ozone treatments as a way of knocking out the odor. Be wary! While ozone is useful for removing some smoke odor, if not used VERY carefully it can cause rapid deterioration and oxidation of fabrics. This damage is real and irreversible! Ozone treatments can also be harmful to the indoor air quality. Here is a link from the EPA about Ozone use. The potential health affects to occupants, pets and plants and the damage to property are something to keep in mind before having an ozone generator run in your home.

The homeowner chose to do the restoration end themselves. I get that because I am a big DIY girl. The homeowner proceeded to paint one layer of primer over the paint and then painted the walls. Guess what happened? You guessed it… the stain is showing through the paint. For some projects, knowledge is key. If you are going to do a project yourself, research!

Per the IICRC there are certain standards set in place for performing this type of cleanup. These standards were developed to ensure the homeowner has their home back to its pre-loss condition without stains and odor.

The first thing a fire damage professional will do is remove the source of odor, salvageable and unsalvageable items. The salvageable items will be cleaned to remove odor-causing residue. Using a deodorizing fogger (also known as a thermal fogger), they will counteract any remaining odor. These items would then be sealed and stored to prevent recontamination.

The second thing a fire damage professional will do is remove unsalvageable materials and as much soot as possible from all flat and horizontal surfaces in ALL affected areas. When dealing with popcorn ceilings that have soot, rule of thumb is to scrape this off. Also, depending on the materials affected, i.e. tile, vinyl, drywall, brick, the solutions used to clean the soot will be different. Not using the proper solution can and usually does cause extra damage.

They will then use a thermal fogging process. Just how fire can open the pores of materials, this fogger will open the pores and release the trapped odor causing molecules. It effectively neutralizes odor without damaging property.

Have a project you would like us to look at? Wipe Out will provide you with an estimate, free of charge! Call (904) 567-3885 today for your free quote.

Did you know?
Within minutes, acid soot residues cause plastics to yellow; small appliances located close to the source of combustion will discolor; highly porous materials discolor permanently.

Within hours, this residue stains floor grout, yellows fixtures; uncoated metals will tarnish, counter tops may yellow, finishes to appliances may yellow and furniture finishes may discolor.

Within days, this residue causes yellowing of painted walls permanently; metal will corrode, pit and/or rust; wood furniture will require refinishing, vinyl flooring will require replacement, clothing becomes stained, upholstery stains permanently.

Within weeks, carpet will yellow or discolor permanently; etching and pitting can occur on glass, crystal and china.

Landlords Beware of Mold

Landlords Beware of Mold

Landlords Beware of Mold

In this economy, EVERYONE is trying to tighten their purse strings.

But sometimes a penny saved is not a penny earned. If you don’t get the job done right the first time, you’ll probably have to do the job again, and you could find yourself in a multi-million dollar lawsuit.

So here’s the skinny on how to save money AND protect yourself.

Let’s start with the basics. If a property is not dried correctly, you could end up with a microbial situation with the dreaded brown/grey fuzzies called mold. Although it may seem thorough, removing carpet and pad when there’s been a flood or water damage is usually not enough to prevent mold. You can’t see any water, the walls look dry, your carpet cleaning company who extracted the water tells you everything is fine. We’ve all been there.

Be careful. You could be sitting on a bomb just waiting to explode.

Why? Because every 30 minutes water sits in a property, water wicks up the drywall at least 1 inch. Water also moves into the wall cavities and penetrates insulation and studs. This is the nature of water and it’s what makes it so dangerous, especially since you can’t see it.

This water that has crept into the wall cavity is what causes mold. Mold likes dark, wet places. So the water is sitting in the wall cavity and the mold is starting to grow. But it all looks dry and you’re glad you got that job handled so quickly and economically.

A few months later you get a call from the same tenant. “My house smells funny. I think it’s mold!”

Now it’s time for part 2 – Mold remediation. Think of mold like an iceberg. The part you can see is only a small part of it. By the time you can see mold on a wall, your tenants may already be complaining about health issues because they’ve been breathing mold spores everyday for a while. And we all know what comes next. The ugly words “sue” and “my lawyers” get thrown around.

By not ensuring the property is dried properly, you have opened yourself up to a law suit. If you had recommendations of procedures from a professional water damage company and neglected to do so, it’s not going to look good in court. That means the buck you saved on the water damage job will cost you three fold in mold remediation and additional restoration that would not have been needed if it was dried properly the first time. In addition to these expenses, you may be looking at potential legal fees and the liability of paying out for health issues.

Another issue I have seen lately includes all of the issues above, but with the additional liability of being a category 3 (black water) flood. This means it is contaminated water (normally sewage) with the possibility of viruses and bacteria, which can and usually does, make a person sick.

Category 3 floods need to be treated seriously. Materials that black water has touched must be removed, baseboards, drywall, carpet and pad. When these materials are being removed, protective equipment should be worn to ensure inhalation of these contaminates does not occur. Remaining materials must then be decontaminated. It is further recommended that testing be performed prior to any materials being put back. Why? To ensure no contaminates are left in the indoor environment. This protects landlords from future suits.

Many landlords would like to think this couldn’t happen to them, but let’s face it, if you choose not to dry your property correctly, you are responsible. Ask yourself if it is worth the dollar saved now to pay more later? Ask yourself if you want to be the person responsible for the degradation of the health of your renter? When it comes to indoor air quality and the health of your renters, our recommendation is to treat water damage or mold as if it occurred in your home.

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