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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Movin' On Up

The population of Palm Coast was approximately 37,000 when I showed up in 2003.

If you want to go further back, I have friends who remember the only gas station in town was an Exxon. The particular Exxon is no longer there, but Palm Coast has more gas stations, and more people to go around. Today, the population is approximately 77,000 but it still holds that “everybody knows your name” quality. Perhaps this very sense of community is what keeps the people coming.

Moving to Palm Coast as a kid
, entering the 8th grade, the cusp of one of the most important periods of a life, was the best thing that could’ve happened to me. Of course, I didn’t see it that way at the time. New Jersey was home and going as south as Florida was a culture shock. There was so much greenery! And where were the towering buildings and bumper to bumper traffic jams?

My mind didn’t start to change until high school. At the time, there was only one high school and the city was rapidly growing. I graduated with over 600 students, the largest in the school’s history up until that point. It was here where I discovered my love for writing. Once I figured it out, there was more than one teacher backing me up, making sure my skills were honed. I’m sure I would’ve met influential teachers in New Jersey, hadn’t I moved, but I would’ve never met THOSE teachers. My time in the Flagler County school system was invaluable.

In the time since 2003, I discovered Palm Coast’s strategic geographical placement. Jacksonville to the north, Orlando to the south, Tampa not so far away if you needed it. I could go to a superstar or local’s concert with friends and still be back and rested for the next day. Historical St. Augustine and legendary Daytona Beach are even closer, providing more native and hole in the wall scenes, allowing for the genuine feel of Florida.

If you want to know the true nature of Palm Coast, the defining attribute is balance.

You can find your night out on the town at the European Village with live music and a few drinks.

There’s the quiet day at a park with numerous walking and bike trails. You’re only a few miles away from the beach at any given moment. People spend years moving place to place trying to find all these things, but here it’s all rolled into one.

We’re still growing. There’s another high school now and more middle/elementary schools. The state of the art Epic movie theater just opened up. There are tennis clubs, genuine New York pizza parlors everywhere you look, dock your boat, go check out an art gallery, everything hipster and old school all at once.

Recently, I had the opportunity to leave to finish my degree.  Instead, I chose to stay and attend Flagler College.

Why? It’s simple. I found myself here. Palm Coast, the people in it, and the surrounding areas enabled me to find what I needed. If life takes me elsewhere in the future, I’ll be equipped because of the strong start I was given here and it’s not even over yet. Are you looking for somewhere to see your kids get the right beginning, or just find your own way?

Do it here!

Lauren Mack is an aspiring writer, blogger, and overall enthusiast of brainstorms. Home is in Palm Coast, FL, where she works a customer service job for magazine subscriptions. When she isn’t helping you out on the phone, Lauren attends Flagler College where she majors in English and dabbles in Communications. In Lauren’s downtime she labors away, hopefully, at a novel and can be found observing things on her blog) or dashing about on Twitter.

Who is talking about Palm Coast on Twitter?

Are you on twitter?  If so, you know where to go to search for what people are saying on a particular subject or phrase.

But if you're not on twitter, here's a little widget we included on this page that will help you to keep an eye on who's saying what about "Palm Coast."  Without further ado, here's all the chatter about Palm Coast on twitter:

Did you know?
All the contributors to this Palm Coast Blog are on twitter.

Ky Ekinci
twitter handle: @KyEkinci 
twitter bio: Management Consultant. Strategic Marketing Consultant Entrepreneur. World Traveler.

Lisa Schenone Ekinci
twitter handle: @LisaFLA
twitter bio: Digital media producer; rotarian, entrepreneur, lover
David Royall 
twitter handle: @royalld 
twitter bio: Writer - Photographer - Sailboat wanderer - Retired: Air traffic control

Brad West
twitter handle: @bwest2 
twitter bio: n/a

Lauren Mack
twitter handle: @heylaurenmack 
twitter bio: As bad for you as anyone you ever knew

Harriet Lewis, PhD
Harriet Lewis, PhD is the Co-Founder/President of Konesens Research, a Palm Coast, FL based international market research firm specializing in online data collection and panel development, and studies of social and economic interest.  You can connect with Harriet on twitter at @Konesens

...and the last but not the least, Palm Coast Blog's own Spokesperson on Twitter:
Ask Palm Coast -
twitter handle: @AskPalmCoast 
twitter bio: Professional and Business life, events and tips in Palm Coast, Bunnell, Flagler Beach and Flagler County, Florida.

Note: List of contributors is shown in the order of when they became a blog contributor.

Twitter?  How About Facebook?
Fair question!  You can stay in touch with thousands of Palm Coasters on the Palm Coast Facebook Page at

Monday, July 26, 2010

Local Realtors Improving Service With Technology

Outside of my career as a bookstore manager I help my wife, Kathleen, with her Real Estate career as an assistant to her (yes, I get coffee . . . occasionally).  Technology gets a lot of buzz and discussion in the industry.  There have been great advances and technology tools available today that have allowed local Real Estate Pros to provide new services and improve the levels of existing services.  Steve Thomas (Broker/Owner of Trademark Realty Group of Palm Coast) and Kathleen West (Realtor, Trademark Realty Group of Palm Coast) shared some of their insights and experiences with me.

Listing a home for sale and security

It's natural for owners to want to feel comfortable leaving a key to their home in a lockbox outside of their home.  Steve and Kathleen are really excited with the local Realtor Association's (Flagler County Association of Realtors) decision to institute a new lockbox system that improves security for owners.  The new Sentrilock system transitioning in now adds improved security for access and wireless transmittal of who is accessing a lockbox.  This allows Brokers and Realtors to get email notifications and online reporting for who accesses a lockbox for a property.  According to Kathleen, "Although we've had electronic lockboxes for several years, this new system allows us much more control and access to information to give our customers more piece of mind."  Steve added, "Tracking everyone entering a house for sale and having the listing agent receive email notifications of these events is a great benefit for both security and communication of showings." 


"Staying in touch, keeping customers informed, and document exchange can always be a challenge in Real Estate especially when you have customers out of state and out of country.", says Kathleen.  "Email, the ability to easily digitize documents, electronic signatures, etc. have all been huge advances that have made the experience easier and less stressful for customers."  Kathleen shared an experience with a customer who was living in Greece at the time. "International calls, faxing, and mailing can end up being very costly and a real hassle.  Thanks to the internet and email, I was able to easily share properties and complete the transaction with her without the need to use faxing or mailings.  This way, the customer was able to focus on the move itself which I was able to make a bit easier by providing her links to online services for easily setting up utilities."

The local Association also instituted a new MLS system this past year which provides local professionals new services for both buyers and sellers.  Online scheduling of showings, online feedback, and seller access to their property which includes the showing and feedback information is extremely beneficial.  "Being able to provide sellers with access to this type of important information is crucial to being able to make decisions together.", says Kathleen. "As showings occur and we are seeing trends in feedback (which has always been one of the most challenging things to get from others), we can make informed decisions based upon facts and not mere speculation.  For example if we are getting feedback that the house seems small or 'closed in feeling', we can take a look at staging and make necessary changes." 

Online Shopping and Advertising

One of the things I assist my wife with is the advertising of properties for sale and website design/maintenance.  Advertising anything for sale is about getting out in front of the widest possible buyer audience and enticing them to want to know more.  You first have to know who your potential buyers are and where they are at.  The internet provides many new avenues for advertising that can be much more strategic due to the data that is available online.  Online advertising also allows Real Estate professionals to share much more of the property in terms of information including detailed property data, a multitude of photos, and virtual tours.  Potential buyers can experience much more of the property than ever before.  The challenge and barrier that has always existed with print advertising is limited information, and that it is very difficult  (if not impossible) to know if you are really reaching potential buyers.  For example, we use email flyers as one form of advertising.  This allows Kathleen to get a property sent directly to a targeted group of potential buyers and other Real Estate professionals complete with data that provides us the ability to see how effective the campaign is in a relatively short period of time. If we are not seeing a response, we are better informed and can make better decisions to get the customer to their goal.

Advances in internet technologies also allow us to provide customizable feeds of properties for sale straight from the MLS at Kathleen's website and Steve's website at  This allows Kathleen and Steve to provide great places for visitors to shop properties for sale in the area including adding 'quick links' to easily pull up properties by neighborhoods, and visitors can create accounts to manage their searches.  All of which provides customers with a better local shopping experience while putting customers more in control, the ability to stay better organized, and providing them with information they need to make better informed decisions.

Real Estate is a service business and technology tools are improving those services everyday in a number of ways.  As Steve puts it, "I have so many examples of how internet technology helps me provide valuable services everyday that I don't know where to begin. Our business would not be the same without it!"

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Peanuts in Our Parks... Can Butterflies Cause Hurricanes?

There is a theory that a butterfly can flap its wings in a rain forest and cause a hurricane a half a world away.

The thinking is that butterfly wings create tiny changes in the air around them. Those small changes produce a delicate chain reaction in the earth's atmosphere and can build into a powerful force thousands of miles from where the little butterfly flits innocently from flower to flower.

That theory has been tossed-around and questioned for fifty years or more; but what is not in dispute is that nature, without any help from humankind, creates its own highly sensitive system of balance.

I sometimes think about the balance of nature when I walk along St. Joe's Walkway in Palm Coast's Linear Park. Many walkers in the park have taken up the habit of bringing edible treats for the squirrels and other wildlife along the path. Some of them say it makes it easier for the squirrels to find food for a nestful of youngsters. Other's say they like to interact with the animals and it makes them feel closer to nature. I say, it disturbs a very sensitive balance of nature in ways my fellow walkers may not be thinking of.

There are dozens of reasons why humans shouldn't feed wildlife. I will mention only four of them.

  1. This practice causes wildlife to lose their fear of human beings. That is dangerous for both the animal and the human. Squirrels in the park routinely approach passersby for food. Innocent squirrels have been attacked by startled walkers who are unaware of the feeding practices and think the squirrels are overly aggressive and maybe even rabid.

  2. When young animals start to rely on human feeding they lose their natural instinct to forage for food on their own. Animals, much like humans, need a variety of food to stay healthy. If they feed solely on the processed food that humans bring to the park they will eventually get sick.

  3. When humans introduce food to the park it attracts more animals than normal to the area. More animals in a small area breed disease and create territorial conflicts within the animal population. I am not a scientist of any kind, but that kind of imbalance certainly cannot be good for beast or for mankind.
  4. The last reason I will offer is that the City of Palm Coast has deemed it unlawful to feed animals in city parks. I bet they had an even longer list of good reasons when they created that law.
I have no idea if butterflies can really create hurricanes, BUT IF THEY CAN; I wonder what a squirrel that has indigestion from eating salted peanuts does to mother nature's extremely delicate system of balance.

Flagler County 911 Emergency System Upgraded...

Flagler County’s emergency 911 phone system switched to what is called the Next Generation 9-1-1.

The major change in the system is when there is a problem with incoming calls at the Flagler County Emergency Operations Center (the location of the dispatch center), the calls can be properly and efficiently rerouted. Dispatchers can then answer calls from their E-911 consoles at the Emergency Operations Center, while the calls are actually being routed from the second dispatch center in the Sheriff’s Office.
The new system assures us of increased reliability of the system and makes it flexible when we have an increased call load during emergencies. 
~ County Administrator Craig Coffey

Under the old system, dispatchers would have had to leave the Emergency Operations Center and drive to the backup dispatch center at the Sheriff’s Office if there was a problem. The new system, paid for by grants from the State E-911 Board and fees, also allows the two sites to be used simultaneously when needed.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dunkin' Donuts in Palm Coast putting in outdoor seating...

Outdoor seating is part of Florida lifestyle, but unfortunately in Palm Coast and Flagler County that's a rarity...

But one establishment is making the right moves: Dunkin' Donuts location on Palm Coast Parkway is now adding an outdoor patio with 5 or 6 tables, which will accommodate up to 20 people...

According to John (the manager), it was both a common-sense business move as well as a move based on customer feedback.  He says the outdoor seating will be available later in August.  It was a smooth permit process with the City of Palm Coast, which is good news.

The Palm Coast Parkway Dunkin Donuts location offers free wi-fi, and that's great for those folks who want to hang out a little bit and browse the internet on their notebooks, netbooks, and tablets.  Enjoying a cup of freshly brewed coffee with some goodies, while browsing the net, facebooking, twittering, or doing a blog post is an unbeatable combination.  Add outdoor seating to the mix, for what is nearly 300 sunny days a year; and that's priceless!

There is also another Dunkin' Donuts coming up soon, at the Town Center, off of Rt. 100.  It's under the same ownership, and John says it will be ready later in the fall of 2010.

Flagler County Fire & Rescue Chief joins the Florida team on BP Oil Spill in the Gulf

Flagler County’s Fire and Rescue Operations Chief, Mike Bazanos has been sent as part of a state team to work on the British Petroleum Oil Spill.

Bazanos is now a member of the Florida Incident Management Team with the State Division of Emergency Management. He competed with fire officers around the state for the position.

Chief Bazanos is the Operations Section Chief for the Team for this event. He lends his expertise in managing large scale extended incidents. He will serve on the team from July 20 to August 3.
His deployment on this mission and the fact that he was selected to serve on the state team speaks volumes about the quality of personnel that serve with Flagler County Fire Rescue. 

County Administrator Craig Coffey.

While he is serving the state on the team the State is reimbursing the county for his salary and traveling expenses.

Mike Bazanos joined the Flagler County Fire Rescue Department in October of 2003. Chief Bazanos comes to Flagler County with over twenty years of experience in the Fire Rescue Service. Prior to his employment with Flagler County he served 18 years with the Ormond Beach Fire Department, retiring with the rank of Captain. In addition to his full time duties with Ormond Beach, he spent several years working with the Daytona International Speedway in the Fire Rescue Division and eight years as an instructor for Daytona Beach Community College in the Fire Science Program.

Chief Bazanos is responsible for assisting with all aspects of Fire Rescue. As second in command, his responsibilities include planning and organization of the department's daily operations and long term goals. His main focus is coordinating efforts between outside agencies, procuring necessary equipment and overseeing Fire Ground and Emergency Medical operations. Chief Bazanos serves as the Acting Chief in the absence of the Fire Chief.

Chief Bazanos holds a Bachelors Degree in Management and an Associates Degree in both Fire Science and Emergency Medicine. He holds state certificates for Fire Instructor III, Fire Officer I, Pump Operations, and is a state licensed Paramedic.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

eBook Explosion Brings New Avenues For Seasoned & New Local Authors

Barnes & Noble Nook
As many authors locally will tell you, getting a book published is not an easy task.  One can go through the painstaking task of submitting their work to major publishers waiting sometimes for months for a response.  New avenues have opened up over the years such as 'Print-On-Demand' through services like iUniverse, Xlibris, Lulu, and others.  These fee-based services allow authors to submit their manuscript to the publisher which is then made available on-demand through multiple major booksellers.  These services make it very easy in terms of handling printing and the logistics of distribution, but they do not fully accomodate the barriers to actually getting the books onto shelves in physical stores.  In the good majority of cases, authors soon find out they need to spend a great deal of time and expense working to get their books into stores.  Well, now there is a new avenue . . . ebooks.

eBook sales are growing at explosive rates as a popular new book format.  Amazon, for one, just released to the media that ebook sales through their store are outpacing hardcover sales around 143 ebooks to every 100 hardcover sales.  As well the publishing industry has stated that ebook sales have risen to 8% of book sales up from 3% compared to the same period last year.  It's easy to see that the ebook is becoming a popular and preferred format for readers.  eReaders that are affordable and easy to use are being scooped up by readers everywhere.  B&N's NookAmazon's Kindle, Apple's iPad, etc. are all showing up as reading devices in the hands of every generation.  Authors who make their book available as an ebook now have similar access to readers.  They are on the virtual store shelf the same as major authors like Grisham, King, Patterson, etc.

One of the common questions I get from authors is, "How do I make my book available as an ebook?"   There are several different options:
  1. Already published (or going to publish with) with a Print-On-Demand Publisher - If this is you, many of these services are including the ebook format and distribution to ereaders in their fees. Simply check with your publishing service to see if your book is already available as an ebook, and if not find out what you need to do to make it available. Local author of Ila's Diamonds, Donna Banks is a print-on-demand author who currently has book II in her series available as an ebook with major booksellers such as Barnes & Noble.
  2. Self-Published - There are new free (or virtually free) services that you can publish straight to ebook such as, and Barnes & Noble's PubIt (coming this summer).  Both services allow you to get your book available through Barnes & Noble's huge ebook store and also provides distribution to Amazon's Kindle book store.  These services typically allow you to set the price.  This allows authors new opportunities to "test" a book and get reader feedback prior to putting out large amounts of money or simply publishing in a low-cost manner "just to see what happens" and possibly raise money towards going to print as well.   For example, pricing your book at $1.99 might seem extremely low; but keep in mind . . . volume!  If you sell 2000 ebooks at $1.99 and you receive 70% to 80% of sales ('s distrbution), you're looking at making around $3,000 with little upfront cost (if any). 
  3. Make it an App! - This is a great option for authors of children's books which creates your book as an app available to iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android device users.  Basically you are bringing the book to life in interactive ways.  The difficult part with this is finding a developer and you'll need to work out the financial end with the developer.  A great example of this type of publishing is what Oceanhouse Media has done with Dr. Seuss books as apps for Apple products like the iPad.  It will be interesting to see developments in this area evolves.
Now, the next part is . . . is how do I promote my book as an ebook and get people to buy it?  It's actually easier in many respects.  The first step is making sure everyone knows it's available as an ebook.  It should be a part of all your advertising (i.e. print ads, promo materials such as bookmarks, email campaigns, etc.) and link to where it can be purchased when possible (i.e. Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Smashwords, Sony, etc.).  And the most important . . . look for the owners of ereaders and mention your book is available for $x.xx on their Nook, Kindle, Sony eReader, etc.  It's a great conversation starter and opportunity to sell a book.

It's exciting times in the world of books as great new avenues open up for authors and readers alike.  

What are your thoughts?

Discounted Golf and Free Activities at Palm Harbor Golf Club

Enjoy a day filled with free golf activities and discounted golfing fees on Saturday, July 24th at the Palm Harbor Golf Club. Play 18 holes of golf for only $20 (plus tax); participate in a free golf clinic by Head Pro Jeff Ryan at 9am; enjoy a free cook-out from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., receive free cart fees, complimentary gifts and more!

Palm Harbor Golf Club is located at 20 Palm Harbor Drive.  It is the City of Palm Coast's historical 18-hole, par 72 golf course, giving residents a quality affordable location to practice on a driving range, play a round of golf and enjoy a delightful meal at Canfield's Restaurant.

This fun golf event is one of two special programs being offered to residents on July 24th to celebrate National Parks and Recreation Month in Palm Coast. On the same day there is also a Free Day at the Frieda Zamba Swimming Pool.

Ex Mayor Jack Canfield, Palm Coast Mayor Jon Netts, Mary DiStefano, and the City Council

Country Music Night & Grill Off Contest in Flagler Beach

The 4th Annual Flagler Beach Grill Off Contest will take place on Friday, August 6th, from 6 to 9 pm at Veteran’s Park in Flagler Beach.  Local merchants/businesses and the Flagler Beach Museum will be open late for your convenience.

Food fun and entertainment for all!  Bring a chair or a blanket and relax.

Are you going to show your BBQ skills?  Here's is the "grill off contest" rules:

1. All grills MUST be clean and in good repair. You may use propane or charcoal.

2. Each Contestant is responsible for bringing their own grills and utensils (and cleanup). All food must be handled in a sanitary manner using safe food handling techniques.

3. Contestants must be at least 18 years old. Though, a minor may assist an adult as part of a team.

4. You may make your favorite recipe.

5. No precooking allowed. Marinating is OK. Set up time will begin at 4:30 PM in front of the City Hall Chamber entrance on Central Avenue.

6. You may begin grilling at anytime but MUST be finished at 6:30PM.You must grill enough food for 5 judges to sample.

7. All food must be done and ready for judging at 6:30 PM. Any food not completed by that time will be disqualified. After judging is done, contestants may allow the public to sample. Donations for sampling
will be accepted at the grill off event entrance. Tickets will be given to donors and will be used to vote for the “Peoples Choice Award.”

The 4th Annual Flagler Beach Grill Off Contest will be judged by Flagler Beach restaurant owners.  For more information, call 517-2040 or go to website at

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What is Qi Gong?

At the check-in desk at Thriv Fitness Center a new member studied a list of the many classes on the center's calendar. Her head slowly tilted. She used her shoulder to raise her arm, and then her finger tapped on one class as she wondered out loud, "What is Qi Gong?" 

Bobby said from behind the desk, "I really don’t know, but a lot of people really like it. Larry teaches Qi Gong twice a week. And all classes are free with your membership."

Bobby was referring to Larry Maccherone. Each Monday and Friday morning Larry instructs a beginner's class in Qi Gong. Larry often says, "I am here solely to teach people to take better care of themselves. Qi Gong promotes better health and creates a better quality of life; and fewer doctor visits."

Okay... but what is Qi Gong?

Qi Gong is a subtle exercise. It has 18 postures or movements. However, the beginner course includes only the first 8 postures. If you watch someone practice Qi Gong the movements look very easy. But when you practice it yourself, you realize that the mind and the body must work in harmony to move properly.

"Qi Gong exercises the internal organs of the body", Larry says. "It uses good internal breathing to strengthen the organs and assist with proper body posture. It also gives a person good control over the movement of individual body parts".

Larry explains that many people move awkwardly. "When doing something as simple as reaching for a glass, or bending to pick-up something from the floor they tend to put stress on body parts that are not needed to complete the task. If you only need your arm to reach for a glass why tense your shoulder and neck too?"

I thought of the woman at the check-in desk. She didn't need so much shoulder action to lift one index finger.

Qi Gong is not a martial art, even though it does have moves that could be helpful in a physical struggle. Qi Gong is a health exercise that can be practiced by people of any age. No matter your physical condition the practice of Qi Gong will help it improve.

Students who have been in the Thriv Qi Gong class for the past 8 weeks say they have more energy, feel more agile, and balanced in their everyday movements than they did two months ago. Larry says they are just beginning, “Within a month or so, those who practice regularly, will feel even better, eightfold.

Larry teaches the entire 18 posture Qi Gong exercise, along with Chen style Taiji, at his own school in Palm Coast. His school operates under the certification of Grand Master Zhu Tiancai who is a 19th generation Grand master of the ancient arts.
Flagler Taiji
Atlantis Business Park
Rt. 1 Bunnell, Palm Coast, FL
Phone: (386)868-6490

Thriv Fitness Center:
3 Commerce Blvd.
Palm Coast, FL, 32164

Monday, July 19, 2010

Where do you go for Turkish Food in Palm Coast?

The short answer is: Nowhere!

Unfortunately our beautiful city of Palm Coast is yet to have a Turkish or Greek Restaurant.  You can't even travel to Daytona Beach or St. Augustine for a Turkish Restaurant, they are non-existent!  But only 1-hour drive from Palm Coast is a welcoming, charming, and good restaurant which combines Turkish, Greek, Italian, and Mediterranean Cuisines: Istanbul Turkish and Mediterranean Restaurant in Jacksonville.

Terrific oldtime Turkish & Italian Restaurant atmosphere with table cloths (though paper sheets), good looking servers, with nice wooden chairs. 

Here are some select items from the menu well worth trying:

  • Smoked Eggplant Salad (aka Baba Ghanoush)
  • Saganaki Greek Flaming Cheese
  • Manti (lamb stuffed dumplings served in yogurt sauce)
  • Cigar Borek (fried flaky phyllo pastry with white cheese & parsley)
  • Fried Calf-Liver (if you are into liver, you want to try this)

Main Dishes:
  • Yogurt Lamb Shish Kebab
  • Istanbul Combo (mixed kebabs and doner --aka Shawarma or Gyro)
  • Shrimp Casserole
  • Mediterranean Sea Bass
  • Lamb Chops
  • Ali Nazik (mashed, smoked eggplant with lamb shish kebabs)
  • Lahmajun (Turkish pizza) 

  • Baklava
  • Kunefe (must have! Prep time=20mins, order with your meal)

Enjoy the video above, and here are some pictures:

    Located at 13170 Atlantic Boulevard in Jacksonville. Phone: 904.220.9192

    Tell the hostess "Neda" that you learned about it in the Palm Coast blog and she'll be happy to hear.  Her husband, Yusuf, is the maestro in the kitchen.  The drive from Palm Coast is just about an hour, and the directions are below:

    • Take I-95 North (towards Jacksonville) for 47.5 miles
    • Take Exit 337 and merge onto 9A (towards Jax Beaches)
    • Take the FL-10, Atlantic Boulevard Exit
    • Keep right at fork, follow signs to Neptune Beach/Atlantic Beach
    • Merge onto FL-10 Atlantic Boulevard
    • The restaurant is at Ace/Publix Shopping Center: 13170 Atlantic Blvd.
    • Located between Publix and Jerry's Grille

    Sunday, July 18, 2010

    Get Wet at the Frieda Zamba Swimming Pool

    City of Palm Coast waives entrance fees to the Frieda Zamba Swimming Pool on Saturday, July 24th. Enjoy a free day at this fabulous public pool with games, music and bar-b-que free of charge, all on the City.

    The Frieda Zamba Pool recently undergone renovations and it is now heated throughout the winter.  Recreational swimming, classes, facility rentals, classroom and swim team activities will continue on a year-round basis.

    The Frieda Zamba City of Palm Coast Pool serves 800 residents per week on average throughout the year. It is a focal point for families as well as residents of all ages and abilities. The Pool facilities and the water is professionaly managed, sanitized and chemically balanced.
    Summer Hours (thru mid-August)
    Monday - Saturday: 10:30AM - 7:30PM
    Sunday: 11:30AM - 7:30PM

    The pool is located behind the Buddy Taylor Middle School.  The address is 339 Parkview Drive, Palm Coast.  Phone : (386) 986-4741

    Take Belle Terre, turn onto Parkview Drive, take the first right to the property of Wadsworth Elementary School, follow the route behind the buildings to the Pool Club House.  Free Public parking is available. (though gets cramped on the weekends).

    Open Letter from Janet Valentine, Superintendent of Flagler County Schools

    This is my first opportunity to address Flagler County School’s family as Superintendent. I have had the great fortune to get to know so many of you over the years and I am so very grateful for the warm reception I have received. I am honored to serve as your new Superintendent of Schools and vow to do my very best to keep up the high standards that Mr. Delbrugge has set for this office and our district.

    I have lived and worked in this district for more than 27 years and in that time I have seen quite a few educational philosophies come and go.

    I would describe myself as a pragmatist who is dedicated to doing whatever works best for students. I plan to focus on expanding and improving a learning community that fosters individual inquiry, emphasizes learning by doing, educates for social responsibility, celebrates success and acknowledges effort.

    I know this won’t be easy. Our resources are likely to be stretched as never before. We will be increasing our reliance on data to inform our decisions and ensure that our resources are used to the greatest advantage. I encourage everyone to review the new strategic plan we will be adopting for the district, which will be posted on the web site in the very near future. Despite our challenges, I am confident that Flagler County Schools will continue to provide an educational experience for our students of which we can all be proud.

    In closing, let me once again offer my thanks for the support I have received and invite the entire community to become an active partner in the education of our children. Let me leave you with a quote by author Harrison Owen that has meant a lot to me and I think is applicable to all of us as we move forward:
    When the spirit of people is strong, focused, and vibrant, wonderful things happen. 

    I expect to see wonderful things happen in Flagler County Schools.

    Janet Valentine
    Flagler County Schools

    Good News: Palm Coast no longer tops the Unemployment Charts

    Agency for Workforce Innovation released their unemployment figures on Friday (July 16, 2010). Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for June 2010 is 11.4 percent. This represents 1,056,000 jobless out of a labor force of 9,237,000. The unemployment rate is down 0.3 percentage point from May 2010.

    According to the June report, Flagler County no longer has the highest unemployment in Florida.  Out of a labor force of 32,713 people, 27,661 are employed, leaving 5,052 people unemployed, making Flagler County unemployment rate 15.4%.

    Even though the unemployment rate actually increased in Flagler County vis a vis May (15.1%) and April (14.7%), the County's 15.4%  Unemployment is no longer the highest in Florida.  Hendry County unemployment surpassed Flagler's: 16.1%. 

    The neighbors, Volusia County had 12.1% and St. Johns County's rate in June was at 9.6%

    Free Technology Training
    As Florida’s economy continues to recover, job seekers interested in improving their digital literacy and competitiveness in today’s increasingly technical job market are encouraged to visit to apply for no-cost Microsoft technology training and certification vouchers. The vouchers – 40,000 total – were made available to Floridians by Microsoft® Elevate America, an innovative partnership between Microsoft and the State of Florida. Vouchers will be available through Aug. 21, 2010, or while supplies last. All vouchers must be activated by Aug. 21 

    More Programs to be Available for Job Seekers due to Oil Spill
    Last month, Governor Crist announced that Florida was awarded a $7 million National Emergency Grant (NEG) to provide job training and employment/reemployment services to workers who have lost jobs as a result of the Gulf oil spill. The grant will help impacted workers secure jobs in other industries. Additionally, Florida received a federal $3.46 million On-the-Job Training (OJT) Grant in June to help employers in new and emerging industries access job training for workers and create employment opportunities. The NEG and OJT grants are being administered by AWI, with programs for job seekers becoming available in the coming weeks.

    Friday, July 16, 2010

    Florida #1 in Nation In "Workforce" but #28 "for Business"

    Florida Governor Charlie Crist, today announced that Florida has been ranked number one in the nation for its workforce by CNBC. The ranking came in CNBC’s fourth annual America’s Top States for Business rankings — a study of all 50 states that examines 10 different categories, including workforce, to measure each state’s ability to attract businesses.

    Florida moved up from the number three spot in 2009, reclaiming the number-one ranking the state held in 2008.

    Governer Crist said:
    The Sunshine State is home to the best talent in the world.  We are committed to creating a highly skilled, innovative workforce across all industry sectors, and we take great pride in the role our workforce plays in driving Florida’s businesses into the 21st century.

    The workforce rankings in CNBC’s annual study are based on several indicators, including the education level of the workforce, the number of available workers, union membership and the relative success of each state’s worker training programs in placing participants in jobs. Workforce Florida Inc., the state’s business-led workforce policy and oversight board largely appointed by Governor Crist, is charged with strengthening Florida’s business climate and helping Floridians enter and advance in the workforce.

    We are committed to providing Floridians and businesses with the tools they need to ensure Florida’s competitiveness in the global marketplace,” said Workforce Florida Chair Belinda Keiser. “To receive the number-one ranking for the second time is a testament to the tenacity of our workforce, and to the excellence of Florida’s programs and collaborative partnerships that ensure we are able to create and sustain highly skilled talent.

    Most employment and training services in Florida are provided at the local level through the state’s 24 regional workforce boards, the backbone of the state workforce system. Key leadership is also provided by the Agency for Workforce Innovation, which is charged with administering workforce services in Florida.

    In 2009, Florida’s workforce system provided services including job search, referrals and placement assistance as well as training to more than 1.7 million people.

    The workforce ranking is one of the most heavily weighted categories in determining each state’s total score in the CNBC study, along with the cost of doing business and quality of life.

    Unfortunately, the #1 ranking in workforce did not help Florida to move into the 50% percentile in the overall rankings for "Top Business Friendly States."  Out of the 50 states, this year, Florida placed number 28 in the study’s overall ranking for top business states for the second consecutive year.
    Unfortunately #1 ranking in Workforce did not help the overall rankings... This year, Florida placed number 28 in the study’s overall ranking for top business states for the second consecutive year.
    Who is the #1 State?  Texas.  And who's number 50 in the list?  Alaska.

    To view the CNBC's total rankings click here.

    Florida may be winning gold medals in Workforce, but the state is still in the bottom 5 in the nation in terms of unemployment, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics.  And unfortunately Palm Coast and Flagler County still have the highest unemployment in the state of Florida...

    * * *

    About Workforce Florida
    Since its 2000 inception, Workforce Florida has developed and directed numerous successful initiatives aimed at addressing the state’s workforce needs. Among them are Quick Response Training (QRT) and Incumbent Worker Training (IWT) grants, which reimburse businesses for a portion of the cost of training employees. Recently, Workforce Florida developed a new, five-year state strategic plan, with statewide input from Florida businesses and the education sector. The plan confronts the challenges of getting Floridians back to work while focusing on the most promising opportunities to diversify our state’s economy by strengthening talent development at every level of Florida’s Talent Supply Chain.

    Through the recently launched Microsoft® Elevate America initiative, an innovative public-private partnership, free technology training is available to Floridians for a limited time. Another recent workforce-system initiative, responding to a real-time need confronting the state, is the creation of the Florida Gulf Recovery Jobs web portal at The portal is dedicated to helping Floridians access information about jobs stemming from recovery and cleanup of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

    To find out about the comprehensive workforce services and resources available in Florida, visit

    Where is the Workforce Florida Office located in Palm Coast?
    Center for Business Excellence (CBE) is a member of Employ Florida, has an office in Palm Coast (Flagler County), Florida, located in the same building as the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce.
    CBE - One Stop Employment Division
    20 Airport Road, Suite E
    Palm Coast, FL. 32164
    Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 am to 5 pm
    Phone: (386) 586-5169

    Thursday, July 15, 2010

    Steve Jobs is said to know about iPhone 4 antenna problems

    Are you one of the folks who couldn't wait for the new iPhone 4?

    If you are left-handed you may be experiencing a problem, and that's got nothing to do with reception in Palm Coast or Flagler County... 

    iPhone 4 seems to be losing signal, the moment the metal antenna that surrounds the edge of the new device is covered, which really most happens with left-handed user.

    Steve Jobs issued a bizarre advice as he responded to an email from a user on the Ars Technica technology news-site who had complained about the sudden loss of signal.

    In an astonishingly blunt response, Mr Jobs's reply to the email was:
    " Just avoid holding it in that way. All phones have sensitive areas."
    And today, there are claims that Apple and Steve Jobs knew about the phone antenna issue but proceeded with going to market with it. Apple says there is no recall..

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010

    Flagler County School Board Candidate Forum - July 27

    A Flagler County School Board Candidate Forum will take place on Wednesday, July 27 from 6 to 8 PM in School Board Chambers in the Flagler County Government Services Building.

    Flagler School Board Candidates invited for the forum are, Marc Ray and Trevor Tucker for School Board District 3; and John Fischer, Peter Peligian, and Raven Sword for School Board District 5.

    The Forum's objective is to give the Flagler County residents an opportunity to learn more about candidates and their platforms.

    Circuit Judge candidates will also participate in forums on July 27th and 28th.  Forum is hosted by the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce, the Flagler Home Builders Association and the Flagler County Association of Realtors.

    Flagler County Government Services Building.
    School Board Chambers, Bunnell, FL 32110
    Phone: 386.437.0106   

    Wednesday, July 27, from 6 PM to 8PM

    Source: Flagler County Chamber of Commerce

    AT&T experiences cell-phone outage in Palm Coast

    Channel 13 report explains the AT&T cell-phone outage in Palm Coast, Flagler Beach, Daytona Beach and surrounding area due to a road construction crew cutting a main AT&T cable:
    AT&T is experiencing 3G cell service interruption in parts of West and Central Florida, a company official said Tuesday.

    The AT&T outage began when a company working on road construction cut a main AT&T cable serving several cell sites, the company said.
    Kelly Layne Starling of ATT says:
    " At this time customers have 2G service and AT & T is working as quickly as possible to get 3G service restored."
    Here is the screen shot of the conversation between a Palm Coaster and AT&T (used with his permission):

    Original Source: Channel 13 website

    Monday, July 12, 2010

    Former Florida Senator Mel Martinez joins JP Morgan Chase

    JPMorgan Chase & Co. today announced that former Senator and HUD Secretary Mel Martinez will join the firm to be its Chairman of Florida, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

    He will serve on JPMorgan Chase's Executive Committee and will be the firm's senior executive in Florida and the region, representing the firm at the most senior levels to clients - from businesses to large corporations to non-profits and governments.

    "Mel has been a business and civic leader and a role model in Florida for decades," said Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase. "He has served the people of Florida well at both the local and national level and now he will help JPMorgan Chase continue our expansion to serve the consumers, businesses and communities of Florida and the region."

    "Mel's record of perseverance, hard work and integrity is a perfect complement to the many Chase and J.P. Morgan executives and bankers already there," Dimon said.

    Chase serves nearly 6 million customers in Florida and employs 14,000 Floridians. The bank also has provided face-to-face loan counseling for more than 18,000 families struggling through its 11 Chase Homeownership Centers in Florida.

    "I'm thrilled to accept this new challenge and look forward to building upon the reputation of this premier financial services company," said Martinez, who will be based in Orlando.
    " The firm is a global leader, and it's an honor to take on this role in Florida, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean."

    He immigrated to Florida in 1962 at age 15 through Operation Peter Pan, a humanitarian program to relocate children from Cuba in the early years of the Castro regime. After living in refugee camps and foster homes, Martinez worked his way through school, earning undergraduate and law degrees from Florida State University.

    He worked as an attorney in Orlando for 25 years while serving in leadership roles on a Who's Who of youth, civic and business organizations. He was first elected to public office in 1998 as Mayor of Orange County, representing the greater Orlando area.

    At President Bush's request, he became U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in 2001. After his service at HUD, he was elected as the first Cuban-American to the U.S. Senate in 2004. He served on the following Senate Committees: Armed Services; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Foreign Relations; Energy and Natural Resources, and Commerce as well as the Special Committee on Aging.

    Most recently, he has been a partner at DLA Piper in Orlando, a leading global business law firm. "I leave DLA Piper with warm relationships with many of its lawyers around the world, which I know will continue."

    Source: JPMorgan Chase Press Release

    Sunday, July 11, 2010

    Are you friends with "Palm Coast with Julie" yet?

    Julie from "Palm Coast with Julie" is all about Palm Coast and Flagler County...

    She is a brand new online and social media personality broadcasting from Palm Coast, Florida, through her "webisodes" (video series on the web) on Facebook.

    She's actually kind of a Super-Hero!  Instead of fighting crime, she fights the temporary amnesia we all get when we forget how good we have it.

    Though, she is not, a "rose-colored glasses" kind of gal... Julie isn't afraid to name things that seem a bit odd. The difference is, she does it with humor and style cause guess what, non of us are getting any younger and life is too short.

    Her mission?  To unearth all the hidden gems in Palm Coast, Flagler Beach, Bunnell and even in Western Flagler County.  

    She says:
    " Hair, Shopping, Exercise, Restaurants, Night Life, with great friends in and around Palm Coast is what I love.  I'll do my best to share what I know about the area and the hidden gems I find all the time."
     Here is her welcome video:

    How to connect with Julie?
    Visit and "like" Julie on her facebook page at   You should also follow her on twitter here: @PalmCoastJulie

    Thursday, July 8, 2010

    “A Family Affair” on Saturday July 10, 2010 at Central Park in Palm Coast Town Centre

    Precious Hearts Foundation will be holding their inaugural fundraising event, “A Family Affair” on Saturday July 10, 2010 at Central Park, 160 Lake Avenue at Town Center in Palm Coast.

    The Foundation says to expect tons of fun; with space walk for the kids, face painting, pie-eating contests, and prizes.

    People from the local business community as well families from Flagler County are invited to the event.  This is a free event, there is no cost to attend.

    Precious Hearts Foundation is a non-profit organization that aid men, women, and children who are victims of domestic abuse, as well as reaches out to the elderly and the less fortunate, and the homeless by establishing a "meals on wheels" program, and by providing hotel vouchers to domestic abuse victims along with counseling.

    For more information about our organization, visit and become a member at:

    * * *

    Precious Hearts Foundation's  President and Founder, Elva "Precious Love" Thompson; a Pennsylvania native is a past victim/survivor of domestic abuse, and a divorced mother of 5 that range in the ages of 6-year-old twins to age 22.

    Elva was determined to not allow the effects of her abusive marriage effect her children.  She knew that self-sufficiency was the key to regaining her power as a woman and mother.

    Elva began her journey of healing and transformed from victim to victor, as she holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and an Associate's Degree in Medical Editing and birthed her own limited liability company, Georgia Editing Service, LLC (a medical and general editorial service) since 1997, and she is the owner of Esquire Publications (a book publishing company). 

    Elva Thompson is also an author of a slew of nonfiction novels.  Her current bestseller is "A Mother's Cry" an inspirational story about her life as a survivor that talks about her struggle and ordeal of living with domestic abuse and how she was able to set herself free physically, mentally, and emotionally.  In this novel, Elva aspires to offer solidarity and hope to others who are in similar situations.  She wants abuse victims to know they are not alone and if she survived it, they WILL too! 

    Here is an interview with the President and the Founder of the Precious Hearts Foundation, Elva Thompson (aka "Precious Love")...
    Q: Who are the vendors/sponsors who signed up so far?
    Elva: Sponsors of the "A Family Affair" event are Golden Corral, Cracker Barrel, Publix, Palm Coast Ford, Mezzaluna’s Pizza, Honey Baked Ham, Bob Evans, Denny’s, Worldwide Digital Advertising.  Additional vendors are: John/Carole Wolfram of Waterless Carwash, Palm Coast Ford with their cars in display,     James Tyson Treats, Denice of Mary Kay Cosmetics, Daytona State College, Montessori School of Palm Coast, and Esquire Publications.

    Q: How does the fund-raising component affect visitors?
    Elva: Precious Hearts Foundation is raising awareness of domestic abuse. There are no donations or any entrance fees required. This is a free event, there is no fee for the visitors.

    Q: How is the raised money used?
    Elva: Money is used to purchase hotel vouchers for domestic abuse victims who need a quick "out" and to aid in Angel Food Ministry to provide a "meals on wheels" type program for the elderly, as well as the homeless.

    Q: How old is your organization? 
    Elva: We applied last year, so I guess we will be one year old this December.

    Q: Where is your organization located?  
    Elva: We are headquarted in Palm Coast, FL, and my Vice President is based in Atlanta, GA.  We are trying to raise awareness in both states (both Florida and Georgia), until we can eventually reach all around the world.

    Q: Are you aligned with any regional or national organization?
    Elva: I am still a volunteer with DAHMW (Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women) as a helpline telephone advocate every Tuesday from 8am to 2pm; and they allow me to use their helpline 800 number in case when I'm not working and they receive calls for anyone needing help in my area.

    The event, “A Family Affair” will take place on Saturday July 10, 2010 at Central Park, 160 Lake Avenue at Town Center in Palm Coast.

    Sponsored by: