Get Your Social On

Monday, September 12, 2011

Website of the week: Orlando Magicard

Orlando, Florida recently set the record for most tourist visits in one year. 50 Million (plus or minus a handful to be exact). We think that record can easily be broken and if visitors can save money at the same time, more power to you all! The 2011 discount card is going to expire soon but you can still apply for it and save money as well as plan ahead for your 2012 vacation needs. Enjoy!

Visit Orlanod Magicard to sing up today!

-Other Favorite Features-

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ugly Mugs: Stupid people doing stupid things

(Left to right, top to bottom)
Marc A. Szakaly cashed in $40,000 by selling phony Babe Ruth autographed baseballs to 35 statewide pawn shops.

Mr. Aniball Barris gets busted at an A.A. meeting after a botched kidnapping attempt.

Robert Allen Walker earns himself a $50K bail over a botched $5 SubWay robbery.

18-year-old Montezz Blackmon faces misdemeanor criminal mischief charges after defacing recently renovated lions on the Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine.

Jessica Beers was turned in to Tampa PD after attempting to sell her parental rights to her child for $2,000 so she could feed her pill habit.

Sarah Lynn Cheek arrested after police say she left a 5-year-old girl unattended outside while she drank at a bar in Daytona.

Keyona Davis arrested for felony child neglect after she loaded a stroller containing an eight-month-old boy into the back of a Dodge Ram pickup truck which then drove around on two of the area’s busiest roadways.

Rebecca Treston maybe better known as "Cookie" to her Total Nonstop Action Wrestling fans was nabbed in Tampa for DUI 

-Other Favorite Features-

Saturday, September 10, 2011

***TONIGHT ONLY*** Rebirth Celebration: Ramblin' Rose Grand Re-Opening

Rosey Williams, Owner, would like to encourage everyone to come 
out and celebrate the Grand Re-Opening of Ramblin' Rose!
sound blessings +
Special guests: JANE JANE POLLOCK
young egypt
Stoic + noctumbulo
Nick Lennon and more...
Interactive art
Live Painting
costumes and theatrics
683 Central Avenue 
St. Petersburg, Florida
Find out how you can get 
your event listed right here!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Photo Friday! 9/9/2011

What are you planning to do this weekend? Shopping? Golfing? Going to the beach? If you are looking for a place to go that feels like time stands still we suggest you head over to Anna Maria for the weekend. There are beautiful bread and breakfasts, beaches, shops, and unique dining experiences just waiting for you to take advantage of.

If you ask us, we think this would make a pretty nice background image on your computer. What do you say? Simply right click with your mouse and choose 'Set As Desktop Background...'

For personal use only. All rights reserved ©Dana Nichols 06/07/1987

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Trader Joe's finally makes it to the Sunshine State

“It’s absolutely true!,” said Alison Mochizuki, a spokeswoman for Trader Joe’s grocery chain. The rumors are no longer hearsay about the trendy grocery store coming to Florida. North Naples will be the future home to Florida's first Trader Joe's which will be located in Granada Shoppes south of Immokalee Road. A lease to a 14,000-square-foot retail outlet was recently signed and the store will open later this year.

“There are a lot of foodies in the area,” Mochizuki said. “We consider ourselves a neighborhood grocery store and it seems like a wonderful neighborhood for us to be part of.”

Monrovia, California based Trader Joe’s headquarters carries the most basic of food goods to the most exotic like a roasted seaweed snacks, truffle mousse pate made out of chicken and a frozen, ready-to-eat mandarin orange chicken dinners. About 80% of the store’s groceries are sold under the Trader Joe’s name. Anything under its own label doesn’t have artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

The grocery chain is widely known for its bargain $2 Charles Shaw wine, which the Naples store will carry and store employees will be sporting Hawaiian-themed shirts, as “traders on the culinary seas.” Trader Joe’s has 360 locations in 30 states with another one opening Friday in Chicago. Mochizuki said she had no comment when asked if there would be other locations in Florida. “We don’t have anything else to announce right now,” she said.

“We cut out the middleman whenever possible and we buy direct,” Mochizuki said. “In order to keep our costs down, we don’t do branded television advertising. We don’t do the weekly newspaper advertising. So we do limited advertising.” Instead of mainstream advertising grocer sends out its “Fearless Flyer” that highlights a selection of interesting products to residents near its stores and has been described as a cross between Consumer Reports and Mad Magazine.

Fortune magazine published a story more than a year ago stating that Trader Joe’s was unlikely to expand to Florida because the state is so far from its distribution centers. Industry insiders said it would be difficult for the company to efficiently get products to the state.

Estero, Florida resident, Karen Polacek said news of Trader Joe’s coming to Southwest Florida made her day on Wednesday. “We shop at the Trader Joe’s in Minneapolis and also are fans of their counterpart Aldi’s - still hoping they will bring one of those to the area,” she said in an email.

“They are usually small stores with great products. They package for both families, but also in a small quantity for one or two,” she said.
Trader Joe’s Company started in 1958 as a southern California chain of convenience stores known as Pronto Markets. In 1967, Pronto Markets became Trader Joe’s, which at first operated as small wine and cheese shops.

Over the last 40 years, Trader Joe’s has evolved and grown as a national grocer. It offers more than 2,000 unique grocery items under its label. The company does not sell its products online.
An opening date has not yet been set for the store in North Naples but is expected to open before the new year.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Florida Monthly magazine officially crowns Vero Beach as Florida's "Friendliest Small Town"

Florida Monthly magazine names Vero Beach as the state's official "Friendliest Small Town" in its "Florida's Best Of 2011" special edition September issue. Overall, 14 Indian River County, Florida attractions and businesses received accolades which include, McKee Botanical Garden, the Environmental Learning Center, the Vero Beach High School Athletics Program, the Vero Beach Book Center, Deep Six Watersports, the Vero Beach Museum of Art and the Sebastian Inlet State Park.

More than 115,000 print subscribers of Florida Monthly magazine participated in the 16th annual competition as they nominated their Florida favorites across 139 different categories. Readers write in their choice in each category and then submit their selection via e-mail or snail mail to publisher Doug Cifers. The Altamonte Springs based magazine collates the results and announces the winners in its September edition which is out now.
"We have some people who have participated in this every year since the first year," said Cifers. "And most of the time, you can attribute that to a very aggressive marketing campaign by a local chamber of commerce."

Tourism Director Susan Hunt at the Indian River Chamber of Commerce took action and encouraged local organizations to participate in this year's contest. Hunt e-mailed all of the chamber's members and asked them to submit names for consideration.

"We asked people to support our community by sending in nominations for the 'Best of Florida' contest," said Hunt. "And then we encouraged our businesses to have their customers go on-line and vote for them."

Cifers said that many organizations and businesses ask their customers to go to the Florida Monthly magazine website to vote for them.
"The whole idea is to provide a third-party endorsement," said Cifers. "We really have a lot of fun with this contest, and it's amazing the kind of nominations we receive. For years, we had a category called 'Best Hospital Food' and you would be surprised how many hospitals were competing with one another to win."

Winners of Florida Monthly's "Best Of 2011"survey receive a certificate and are profiled in the September edition. Florida Monthly is only available for purchase by subscription or through and cannot be found on any newsstand.

For a complete list of winners, go to

Monday, September 5, 2011

Website of the week: Beach Hunter

Happy Labor Day everyone. If you are planning a beach weekend getaway then this weeks website is definitely an online destination you are going to want to check out. The Beach Hunter website offers a great amount of useful information from what the Gulf temperature is to what to watch out for so your day doesn't end in injury. Be safe, have fun, and we'll see you on the sand!

Previous Websites of the week:
Girls Drink Free
Streamline Hotel
Buddies Golf Getaway
Zip Orlando  

Friday, September 2, 2011

Photo Friday! 9/2/2011

Welcome to St. Petersburg's most unique landmark, the St. Pete Pier. Know by locals simply as "The Pier" is a great tourist destination where you can find an aquarium, souvenir shops, fast food, upscale dining, bars, and even an observation deck on the top floor that has a 360 degree view of Tampa Bay. I always enjoy stopping by for a refreshing cold beverage and taking in the sights.

If you ask us, we think this would make a pretty nice background image on your computer. What do you say? Simply right click with your mouse and choose 'Set As Desktop Background...'

For personal use only. All rights reserved ©Dana Nichols 06/07/1987

Previous Photo Fridays:

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Gov. Rick Scott gets serious in St. Augustine

Gov. Rick Scott shared his thoughts early this week on how he plans on attracting hundreds more statewide jobs. Scott, appeared showed face at Markland House in St. Augustine relaxed yet upbeat as he met with two dozen local business and political leaders from St. Johns County.

"We've had a wonderful (legislative) session this year," Scott said. Some the administration's accomplishments include the elimination of tenure so Florida can keep "the best teachers," lower corporate and property taxes, cutting $700 million from water management district budgets and a continuing effort to free business from excessive regulation and "frivolous lawsuits."
"We want to stick to our core mission and eliminate those things that would be nice to have but don't need," he said. "We're very focused on jobs. We want to ensure by cuts in corporate tax rates that businesses will want to locate in this state."

Scott briefly mentioned Florida's unemployment rate had been 12.6 percent is now down to 10.6 percent. But according to the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce unemployment is about 8.2 percent. Business leaders asked Scott to come and highlight business opportunities in St. Johns County, said Norm Gregory, vice president of economic development for the Economic Development Council. "Overall he was very positive, very directed and focused on doing what is necessary to increase employment on St. Johns County," Gregory said. "He wanted business leaders to give him an idea about what is hampering or holding back growth."
Wayne Robison, a business leader for Rulon Co., a manufacturing company that sells its products internationally, said there was a "lot of (business) opportunity" in Florida. Robison told Scott he'd like to see lower taxes on new machinery purchases so he could expand production. "The state (taxes) are onerous and overbearing," Robison said. "Businesses our size would love to come here. It's a no-brainer to give them a tax incentive."

According to Scott, Florida increasing its manufacturing, shipping capacity and relationships with the military. "In 2014, Miami will be the first port (on the East Coast) ready for the new Panama Canal," he said. Scott is serious about increasing the job market and working close with business owners. "If any of you have any issues with one of our state agencies, call me. If there are mandates coming out of the state that don't make sense, call me. We're very focused on solving problems," Scott said. And without hesitation, Scott gave out his direct line in Tallahassee: (850) 488-5603.

"We're the nation's fourth biggest exporter and have the third largest number of tech companies, and nobody knows that," Scott said. "(Taxpayers) are expecting government to become more efficient, just like people's businesses are doing. Federal programs have not been successful. There's no more money left. Next year's election is going to be about jobs."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Website of the week: Girls Drink Free

We hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. But now that it is time to get back to work, we thought it would be an appropriate opportunity to let you all know that you have something to look forward to. Ladies, it doesn't get any better than free drinks any day of the week. Guys, go ahead and take that special somebody out for a good time and save some scratch at the same time. Be sure to do two things. Bookmark Girls Drink Free, and tell the bartender "I found your bar on"

Enjoy responsibly.

Previous Websites of the week:
Streamline Hotel
Buddies Golf Getaway
Zip Orlando 

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Get Your Social On

Friday, August 26, 2011

Photo Friday! 8/26/2011

One thing I love about Miami Beach is the vast variety of wild life. From the party animals on North Ocean Blvd. to the vibrant parrots that fly freely through the clear blue sky, it never gets old to me. Here is a wild parrot I spotted while walking from my hotel room to the beach. By the looks of things this little bird is not camera shy.

If you ask us, we think this would make a pretty nice background image on your computer. What do you say? Simply right click with your mouse and choose 'Set As Desktop Background...'

For personal use only. All rights reserved ©Dana Nichols 06/07/1987

Previous Photo Fridays:

Get Your Social On

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Out of office reply: On the road

Hi all,

We will be away from our desks Thursday August 25, 2011 and returning Friday August 26, 2011.
We didn't want to leave you with nothing so here is a short compilation of most viewed posts:

Florida Lottery set to get face-lift:  

(Originally posted Monday, August 1, 2011) 

Website of the week: Zip Orland

(Originally posted Monday, August 8, 201)

Would you like a rug with that heroin?: 

(Originally posted Wednesday, August 10, 2011)

Ugly Mugs: Stupid people doing stupid thing

(Originally posted Sunday, August 14, 2011)

87-year-old student earns doctorate from FIU: 

(Originally posted Monday, August 15, 2011)

Photo Friday! 8/19/2011: 

(Originally posted Friday, August 19, 2011)

Get Your Social On:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Deadline to file federal economic injury disaster loan is Sept 26

A reminder to Florida small businesses owners that September 26th is the U.S. Small Business Administration's filing deadline federal economic injury disaster loans. Loans can be used to protect assets from hurricane damage and frost freezes to crops from November 5, 2010 through December 17, 2010.

Under this declaration, the SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is available to eligible farm-related and nonfarm-related entities that suffered financial losses as a direct result of this disaster.  "When the Secretary of Agriculture issues a disaster declaration to help farmers recover from damages and losses to crops, the Small Business Administration issues a declaration to eligible entities affected by the same disaster," said Frank Skaggs, director of SBA's Field Operations Center East in Atlanta. Unfortunately farmers and ranchers are not eligible to apply to SBA.

Small businesses are eligible for loans up to $2 million with a 4% (3% for non-profits) interest rate and terms up to 30 years. Eligibility is based on size of the applicant, type of activity, financial resources, and loan amounts. Terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant's financial condition. Loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits but may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred.  

The SBA's disaster declaration includes the following counties: Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, DeSoto, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lafayette, Lake, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Polk, Putnam, Saint Johns, Saint Lucie, Sarasota, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, Union and Volusia in Florida. 

Disaster loan information and application forms may be obtained by calling the SBA's Customer Service Center 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. Loan applications can be downloaded from the SBA's website at . Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

Those affected by the disaster may also apply for loans electronically from SBA's website at .

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

U.S. Department of Justice orders Miami-based Ocean Bank to pay $11M for willfully failing to establish an anti-money laundering program

Ocean Bank in Miami is ordered to pay $10,988,136 to the federal government in a deferred prosecution agreement to resolve charges against it for willfully failing to establish an anti-money laundering program from 2001 through June 2008.

The settlement comes after a hefty state and federal investigation nicknamed "Operation Dirty Dinero." Law enforcement agencies examined Ocean Bank's handling of several of its high-profile customers' accounts, including transactions with Mexican currency exchange houses and found that Ocean Bank failed to monitor potential money laundering activity in five accounts allegedly used to launder narcotics money.

“The bank will make a one-time payment in the amount of $10,988,136 to satisfy any penalty, forfeiture or fine that may have been pursued by the Department of Justice, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, and the Assessment of a Civil Money Penalty by FinCEN,’’ Ocean Bank said in a statement. The amount of the penalty represents the proceeds of illegal narcotics sales that were laundered through the five accounts.

The $11M blow to Ocean Bank, (which is in the midst of trying to raise capital to meet regulators’ requirements) will not effect its current capital position since it already accounted for the penalty in its fourth-quarter 2010 financial statements. Ocean Bank has fully cooperated with government officials and has closed all 5 of the accounts in question.  

The bank claimed that it has improved its anti-money laundering program in 2008 when it revamped its senior management and Bank Secrecy Act staffs. The bank also appointed a new Chief Executive, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and heads of lending and branch administration, operations, legal, credit, human resources, and wealth management to help reduce the risk of a similar incident.  

This year, Ocean Bank has begun monitoring accounts, has invested in additional training and hired additional staff for its BSA department. It also named a new manager of the Bank Secrecy Act department, BSA officer, and a new director for BSA and Regulatory Risk.

According to the government the payment will also satisfy a $10.9 million civil penalty issued by regulators, for “serious and systemic” anti-money laundering violations. “In light of Ocean Bank’s willingness to acknowledge responsibility for its actions and omissions, its full and truthful cooperation and remedial actions taken to date, and its promised continued cooperation and remedial actions in the future, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has agreed to defer prosecution of the criminal charge in the information for 24 months,’’ the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. “If Ocean Bank fully complies with its obligations under the agreement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office agrees to dismiss the criminal information at the end of the 24 months.’’
The agreement was accepted in federal court in Miami on Monday by U.S. District Court Judge Jose Martinez.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Website of the week: Streamline Hotel

This week we bring to you the Streamline Hotel website. Not because it is aesthetically pleasing but because there are some fun filled Daytona events on the horizon and it is a great piece of Florida history. The Streamline Hotel is located on Daytona Beach and reasonably priced. Caution if you have kids since every Friday night at the Streamline there are "female impersonators" and Saturday nights are amateur male dance contests. 

Upcoming events:
August, 25-28th Hippi Fest 
September, 3rd Labor Day fireworks (last of the season)
October, 13-16th Biketober Fest 

Streamline Hotel
140 South Atlantic Avenue
Daytona Beach, FL 
(386) 258-6937 | Website

Friday, August 19, 2011

Photo Friday! 8/19/2011

Happy Friday everyone! I am pleased to bring you all a photo of the wonderful Streamline Hotel. Why is it so wonderful you ask? This was actually one of the earliest inspirations for Get Your Sunshine On. But other than being a great inspiration the Streamline Hotel's claim to fame is that it is the birth place of  National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR).

If you ask us, we think this would make a pretty nice background image on your computer. What do you say? Simply right click with your mouse and choose 'Set As Desktop Background...'

For personal use only. All rights reserved ©Dana Nichols 06/07/1987

Previous Photo Fridays:

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

It's going to be a smooth ride

Yesterday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced Florida will receive $13 million in grants for highway improvement projects.

State officials will use the grant money to fund an array of highway-related efforts ranging from improving safety and reducing congestion on I-10 at the Marietta Hammond Boulevard Interchange in Duval County ($3,750,000) to providing Construction Career Day activities for middle and high school students ($95,000).

"Transportation investments like these will create jobs and improve the quality of life for Florida residents as well as strengthen the state's economy," said Secretary LaHood. "The demand from the states for these funds shows just how critical the need is for infrastructure investment."

In June, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) invited states to apply for federal funding from 14 grant programs. More than 1,800 applications poured in from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C, totaling nearly $13 billion, which is more than 30 times the funds available.

"At a time when states are facing serious budgetary constraints, these grants will help fill a critical need," said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. "Investments like these are immediate and long-lasting and will help create jobs."

The discretionary grant programs were created by Congress to give the Federal Highway Administration leverage to support projects that maintain the nation's roads and bridges, improve roadway safety and make communities more livable.

Florida received funding for the following projects:
Improving safety and reducing congestion on I-10 at the Marietta Hammond Boulevard Interchange in Duval County $3,750,000
Designing and constructing the Sarasota County Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS) $2,608,800
Completing segment 3 of the Snake Road Improvement Project in Clewiston $1,500,000
Building 90 new truck parking spaces at the I-595 Truck Stop in Broward County $1,019,987
Assisting Miami-Dade County remove and relocate the Tamiami Canal Historic Swing Bridge $978,300
Completing phase 2 of the Big Bend Scenic Byway Plan for the 220-mile corridor $707,420
Connecting the Green Mountain Scenic Byway to the Lake Apopka North Shore Restoration Area $681,855
Developing phases 1 and 2 for an integrated congestion pricing plan for South Florida $600,000
Allowing the Florida Department of Transportation to expand its Disadvantaged Business Enterprise/Supportive Services Program $407,400
Completing phase 3 of the Paynes Prairie Preserve Visitor Center on the Old Florida Heritage Highway $400,000
Replacing two bridges using innovative construction methods on US 90 over Little River and Hurricane Creeks $300,000
Providing Construction Career Day activities for middle and high school students $95,000
TOTAL $13,048,762

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Top 10 best towns in America that are also affordable.

Top 10 U.S. towns that have the most affordable homes according to Money Magazine. 

1. Hunter's Creek, FL
Median home price: $80,000
Median family income: $87,801

2. Lake Jackson, TX
Median home price: $125,000
Median family income: $91,922

3. Wesley Chapel, FL
Median home price: $134,000
Median family income: $89,426

4. Johnston, IA
Median home price: $181,000
Median family income: $118,055

5. Papillion, NE
Median home price: $145,000
Median family income: $92,430

6. Crete, IL
Median home price: $147,000
Median family income: $91,939

7. Morrisville, NC
Median home price: $214,500
Median family income: $133,343

8. Cedar Rapids, IA
Median home price: $106,560
Median family income: $66,227

 9. Franklin, IN
Median home price: $99,000
Median family income: $60,914

10. Deer Park, TX
Median home price: $131,250
Median family income: $80,721