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Friday, 13 November 2015

Winter Fashion Tips: Florida Style

Florida garners quite a bit of hate from the rest of the country when the winter months start to roll around. People in Chicago, Boston and New York really just don’t understand that we, too, get a winter season. Sure, we don’t get feet upon feet of snow, and we rarely hit below-freezing temperatures. But we still have a winter season—it’s just a little warmer than winters up in, say, New England.

 So when it comes to dressing for the season, our winter wardrobes look a little different than those of our colder counterparts. Floridians love looking at all the autumn/winter trends when they debut on the runways during fashion month, but we know that each trend will take a certain bit of adjusting in order to work with our warmer climate. With that said, here are some tips for dressing for winter in Florida…

Know Your Colours

Every year, Pantone publishes a colour report based off of a host of design, fashion and cultural factors. The colour report often predicts the biggest hues of the season. Since Floridians can’t wear as many winter styles as the rest of the country, stay on-trend by finding garments in the colours of the season. This year, “Cadmium Orange” and “Biscay Bay” seem to have been inspired our sunny weather, making it simple to work these shades into your winter style. Goodbye, black!

Keep It Simple

In the Sunshine State, the sun does exactly that—it shines… a lot. One moment you may be a little chilly, but as soon as the sun pops out, you’re ready to shed the coat. Keeping it simple is key. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many items like a scarf, cardigan and a coat—you’ll regret the extra garments as soon as you decide to sit outside for lunch. Just one piece of outerwear is all you need.

One Trend Rule

Just because you can’t sport a heavy parka doesn’t mean you can’t follow any of the winter trends. It just takes a little more creativity. Less is more when it comes to Florida winters, so pick one winter trend you just have to try, but then pair it with your trusty warm weather attire. As Lyst suggests, wearing a trendy beret and matching it with a “sophisticated mini dress” is a stunning, ladylike look, and it perfectly balances the winter trend with Florida’s weather.

Be Ready For Anything

Just like folks in the northern states need to be prepared for a snowstorm to hit at any moment, sometimes the Sunshine State’s weather can be a little unpredictable, too. Though Florida’s not popularly known for freezing temperatures, every now and then, we get a little frost. Even earlier this year, News4Jax reported that Jacksonville experienced snow flurries. With that said, you should always have at least a couple cold weather items in your closet: waterproof boots, a heavier jacket and some scarves. You never know when you might need them!

Note: Pantone colors image via Second City Style, and beret image from Lyst

Thursday, 29 October 2015

How To Park Your Mustang When The Garage Is Full

Well, this is pretty novel... I often complain to my wife that even with the million dollar views and living in what is one of the nicest, safest and friendliest communities in all of Florida, having a two-car garage is tough when we need to park my 2015 Mustang GT and her 2015 Ford Explorer side-by-side. It's a tight squeeze!

Whenever we park either car in the driveway, we have the kids complaining because they want to shoot hoops with their neighborhood mates.

What I would never have thought of, is parking on the roof... it's actually a little unsightly as you can see from the mock-up above.  :)

However - this is exactly what happened recently in Shiawassee County in Michigan.

Described by the home owner, 83-year old Joyce Kingsley, there was a loud "kaboom". At first, she mistook it as thunder... that was until she moved her line of sight towards the roof of her home.

The driver of a Ford Mustang had parked their car smack-bang in the middle of her roof!

According to police reports, the errant driver had suffered from some kind of medical problem related to low blood sugar, lost control on Interstate 69 and ended up where he (or she) did. The driver was otherwise uninjured.

Ms Kingsley's home is about about 20 miles northeast of Lansing and built next to a hill... with the roof sitting almost level to the ground. In her statement, Ms Kingsley said, "I was just watching TV inside. I had it up pretty loud — but this was much louder."

State police said that the Mustang, before stopping on the roof, traveled through several trees, bushes and even a fence before stopping on the roof. Trooper Ben Rowell said, "The driver is extremely lucky... it could've been a lot worse."

The below is the actual picture - not doctored in any way...

Thursday, 2 July 2015

30 Year Old Woman Jailed For Having Sex With Her 17 Year Old Student

The sentence handed down today? - 22 YEARS!!

Jennifer Fichter, who is now 30 years of age, was a teacher at Central Florida Aerospace Academy in Lakeland (Polk County).

Jennifer Fichter, the 30-year-old Polk County Teacher convicted for 22 years for sex with her students

She had pleaded guilty to having sex with at least three former students, who had come forward to claim she had a sexual relationship with them when they were 17-years-old.

According to prosecutors, one of these relationship had resulted in an aborted pregnancy.

A total of 33 witnesses testified at Fichter's sentencing hearing. At least one of these was a parent of one of the victims.

Fichter apologized to the victims at the hearing. When she addressed her own family she broke down in tears... "I'm sorry for the dishonor, to you, to them," she said.

A total of 37 criminal charges were accorded to Fichter, with each one carrying up to 15-years-in prison.

It should be noted that before her job in Polk County, Fichter had resigned from a position in Orange County under similar suspicions... One might rightly wonder how she made it back into the education system??

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Something Fishy About This Drug Smuggler

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Miami International Airport, a 38 year old 'would be' drug smuggler concealed more than two pounds of cocaine in some fried fish.

The woman arrived from Jamaica Saturday morning and was carrying the fried fish with her luggage. I'm guessing that the officers smelled something fishy from the get go.

Upon X-ray examination of the fish, anomalies were noticed in some of the cooked fish. Officers said "the bellies of some of the fish were sewn together and certain fish felt thicker than the rest".

That's when they found 2.3 pounds of cocaine hidden inside the fish. The woman has been arrested and her name has not been released.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

2015 Hurricane Season – The Time To Prepare Is Now!

The 2015 Hurricane Season began on June 1st and runs through until November 30th.  Although forecasters are anticipating a ‘below-normal’ number of storms, they are also telling us “that’s no reason to believe coastal areas will have it easy.”

Be sure to watch the video at the end of this article - extremely scary but true!! Project Phoenix...we MUST be prepared!

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration anticipates that this season will witness the formation of six to 11 named storms. They’ve set the likelihood for that many storms at 70 percent.

Storms are named when they have winds of 39 mph or higher. Of those six to 11 storms, forecasters anticipate three to six could become full-blown hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or higher. Up to two major hurricanes – with winds of 111 mph or higher – could form.
Now – where would be the most likely place for these major hurricanes to make land fall? Hands down, the experts all agree that the most likely AND the most vulnerable would be Tampa Bay.

What The??!!

It’s been more than 90 years since the last major hurricane came onshore in the Tampa Bay area and experts are warning that complacency may prove costly in lives and property.

According to Massachusetts Institute of Technology meteorology professor, Kerry Emanuel, “We’ve been kind of lucky… In the Tampa region, an Andrew-sized storm could cause more than $200 billion in damage, according to a local government study in 2010.”

Meteorologists say areas like Tampa, Daytona Beach and Houston should get hit with major storms every 20 to 40 years or so. The last major storm to strike Tampa hit way back in 1921. Although Hurricane Frances passed through the area in 2004, it was diminished in strength by the time it hit the Bay.

Emanuel was quoted by the U.S. News & World Report, “It’s just the law of statistics… Luck will run out. It’s a question of when.”

Even a Category 1 storm would cause more than $2 billion in damage around Tampa if it were to strike directly, according to estimates from Hillsborough County, where more than 110,000 structures (most of them residential) sit in an evacuation zone.
Upgraded building codes that call for shatter-proof windows and hefty wind resistance mean new construction stands a better chance of holding up in a storm.
"The things that we are building are going to be more resilient than they have been in the past," said Bryan Koon, the state's emergency management director.
"Building codes … have actually reduced the (potential) damages (from a hurricane)," said Graham Tobin, a geosciences professor at the University of South Florida.
Upgrades, though, have limited reach, as many structures predate the standards. More than half of the homes in Pasco were built before the Florida Building Code was enacted in 1994, according to the county.
Tampa Bay is also full of mobile homes — more than 100,000 across Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough and Hernando. Even with improved durability (the result of Hurricane Andrew, which left chewed-up double-wides strewn across South Florida) such structures are often broken up by cyclones and tossed about like autumn leaves in the wind. A 2013 state analysis found that there were more than 850,000 mobile homes in Florida.
Building stronger, more expensive structures is not always the best way to mitigate financial loss, according to Watson, who has worked in hazard modeling since 1989 and has advised a panel that seeks to ensure Florida adequately assesses its risks from hurricane damage. For instance, he said, the destruction of a modest, older home along the water still costs less than repairing a million-dollar mansion that is damaged 25 percent.
A more pragmatic view, he said, would be to assume that "if something is on the coast, it's going to get knocked down."

After a hurricane, when the wind dies down, the water begins to rise. In Tampa Bay especially, storm surge poses a significant threat. If a strong hurricane hit, 20 feet of water could rush into downtown Tampa, flooding miles of land and pulling splintered homes out to sea when it receded.
 "We can make things safer from the wind," said Harold Wanless, a geology professor at the University of Miami, but "there is so little you can do to make something safer from the storm surge. The risk is just huge."

Experts are particularly worried about the potential casualties a major storm in the Bay area would create.

Christopher Landsea of the National Hurricane Center in Miami is reported to have said, “My worry is that we’ll have hundreds or even thousands dead in the next major hurricane that hits the Tampa Bay area.”

Tampa Bay area residents can keep up with storm activity by bookmarking the National Hurricane Center’s website. Residents readying for the season can get tips and advice on the federal government’s website. For local weather and severe weather alerts, visit the National Weather Service online.
All residents throughout the Bay area are urged to create emergency kits, know whether they reside in evacuation zones and brush up on the safest routes out of town should evacuations be called for.

Following, is a county-by-county breakdown of where to go for important hurricane information:

Pinellas County

The county has put together an extensive list of resources available to residents on its website. Residents can follow these links to access information on:
The county’s full 2015 hurricane guide is also available for download by following this link.

Sarasota County

Residents will find the county’s emergency management website is the place to go for everything they need to know about surviving the season.
Follow these links for specific information on:

Manatee County

Manatee County Emergency Management office provides a wealth of information on its website. Follow these links for specific information on:
The county also has a 2015 disaster planning guide available for download.

Hillsborough County

The county’s Office of Emergency Management website offers everything residents here need to know to weather a storm. Follow these links for information on:

Pasco County

The county’s Office of Emergency Management website offers a variety of resources for the storm season. Follow these links for specific information on:
The county has also prepared a Hurricane Guide that details what residents need to know. Download it by following this link.

According to the National Hurricane Center, there’s more to it than just stocking up on water and nonperishable food.

Here’s a checklist of things the center recommends residents do before storms arrive:
    • Discuss the types of hazards that could affect your family. Know your home’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind.
    • Locate a safe room or the safest areas in your home for each hurricane hazard. In some circumstances, the safest areas may not be in your home, but within your community.
    • Determine escape routes from your home and places to meet. These should be measured in tens of miles rather than hundreds of miles.
    • Have an out-of-state friend as a family contact, so all your family members have a single point of contact.
    • Make a plan now for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate.
    • Post emergency telephone numbers beside your phones and make sure your children know how and when to call 911. (You can also add emergency numbers to your cellphone contact list for easy reference.)
    • Check your insurance coverage – flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance.
    • Stock nonperishable emergency supplies and a disaster supply kit.
    • Use a NOAA weather radio. Remember to replace its battery every six months, as you do with your smoke detectors.
    • Take first aid, CPR and disaster preparedness classes.

Source: National Weather Service

Hurricane Phoenix: The Tampa Bay Region's Worst Case Scenario. An eye-opening & frightening look at the potential effects of a catastrophic Category 5 hurricane making a direct landfall on the Tampa Bay metro area.