Voting Matters by Greg Feldman

milissa-holland-mayor-palm-coastHow many times have you heard someone comment that “my vote doesn’t count, so I don’t bother”? To many Americans, that statement is as troubling as nails on a chalkboard. But have you ever taken a look to see why voting is such an important action?

Our nation’s founders believed in the system, but only for certain citizens. In the early days of our country, voters were limited by sex, race, property ownership, religion and other qualifiers. The Constitution eliminated a religious test, but it would take nearly 100 years and a bloody civil war, taking the lives of over 600,000 Americans, before race and color were eliminated from it and even longer with regards to sex and property holdings. Brave men and women have fought across the globe to preserve this right, and countries around the world emulate our inalienable rights with passion and commitment to their people. Emerging countries have populations fighting and dying for the rights that many Americans take for granted.

judge-scott-dupont-political-ad“All politics is local” is a grammatically challenged phrase most often associated with the former Speaker of the U.S. House, Tip O’Neill. While the phrase came from his actions on a Federal level to influence a local election, the statement holds true today. In 2008, a U.S. House seat from Alaska was decided by a single vote; while the U.S. Senate seat in Minnesota was won by 312 votes. And in what was probably the most famous (or infamous) of all close calls, George W. Bush became President of the United States in 2000 by winning a fiercely challenged and contested Florida race over Al Gore. Bush beat Gore by 537 votes out of over 5.5 million cast. In perspective, the Bush win was accomplished by about one third the number of people who attend the European Village Farmer’s Market on a typical Sunday afternoon!

Locally, in the 2014 election, a Palm Coast City Council seat was won by 302 votes. That was a landslide when compared to 2011, when two of those seats were won by margins of 55 and 36 votes.

rick-staly-for-sheriffA multitude of offices are up for election with voters making their wishes known in 2016. In addition to a Federal election where a new President, Vice President, Florida Senator, and U.S. House of Representatives member will be chosen, many local candidates are vying for your vote. These elected offices can easily affect your daily life. If you are concerned about the crime rate in your area (Sheriff), about voter fraud (Supervisor of Elections), how the court system functions (Clerk of the Court), or how your services are provided (Flagler County Commission and Palm Coast City Council), just to name a few of the races, you have a chance to express yourself at the polls. Have issues or concerns with your child’s education? There’s an election for that (Flagler County School Board). What does the state legislature do? Both the State Senator and State Representative are on the ballot in the fall.

Registering to vote is easy in Flagler County. You can obtain all of the necessary information and forms by going to the website for the Supervisor of Elections at, or you can call 386-313-4170.

This election year will influence every citizen’s life for years to come. Voting is an opportunity to express your feelings, beliefs, and convictions to the people entrusted to make decisions that directly affect the quality of your life for years to come. It is a right, a responsibility, and even a privilege to make your voice known. Be heard. Your vote counts.

The Parental Guide – Maria P Barbosa Ph.D

mariabarbosaphoto1“Leaders become Great not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others. “John Maxwell

Recently published, Small Voices Heard- The Parental Guide, this book that provides hope for future voices. Reviewing statistical data from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children, Youth, and Family- dated back 2005, it reveals that 62.8 % of abused children suffer from neglect.  Neglect remains the highest concern of all abuse!  The 2013 Census showed 679,000 children are victims of abuse and neglect.  Abuse remains an ongoing concern, and everyone can make a difference in changing the path for our children. Overworked parents remain a significant influence in the increased statistical data of abuse.  But we need to consider the concerns directly from the mouth of our children.

Author, Orjanette Bryan, of Small Voices Heard-The Parental Guide publication has said the Millennials population grew beyond expectations, and now the Generation Z population has many greater challenges facing them today. Children born after 2000 are fending for themselves in this technological society.  Our youth has replaced their parents with computer technology.  Learning everything from the world wide web, our children have the ability to transmit any situation and create awareness with a click of a button. Empowering them, teaching them, and adding a  subsidiary guide was added to help improve parent communication in the Small Voices Heard- The Parental Guide publication. Allowing children to articulate is a movement for this century.  The schools are giving the youth the opportunity to begin focusing on their career path much earlier. Through job internships and in school training, Flagler County’s Flagship program is innovative.  Other communities are adopting the same philosophy and concepts of early vocational training.

mariabarbosaphoto800Bullying, attention deficits, loneliness, abuse, neglect, and physical limitations caused by obesity remains major obstacles for the growing challenges of our children, though there is a much bigger problem. A risk of parentless children. Pairing children with mentors from organizations outside of the school system seems to be the best approach. However, time limitations, two-way communications obstacles due to lack of trust from judgments, and ridicule may be huge barriers between the youth and their paired mentor.  Our children are holding onto more inner personal pain and not sharing their internal concerns because of fears of exposure and further neglect.

When a preschool child asks their elderly grandparents, “where will I live if something should happen to you”? We must be concerned! Children are supposed to be outside playing with their friends, but instead, they are sitting at a computer seeking solutions to their daily struggles. Children are suffering from a condition known as social isolation. Playing video games on their handheld devices while sitting across the table from their peers and communicating with no words, brings up the question, “Where are our children’s voices?

maria-p-barbosa-no-bullyinSmall Voice Heard- The Parental guide author has partnered with Accel leadership under the umbrella of DIVAS International to enhance stronger alliances to help support the voices of tomorrow.  Licensed Christian counselor, Dr. Maria Barbosa, is the visionary of the Accel Leadership Institute and she wants to make a difference and has designed the life coaching training.

Through empowering our children, we can connect to their creative abilities and they can make a difference by helping them understand they can become authors, painters, and entrepreneurs at any age.  ACCEL leadership has a series of three workshops that teaches the youth how to build good moral character, peer to peer mentoring, and become successful leaders in their community. The coaching training track is being implemented in several youth programs and has shown favorable impacts in school-aged children’s development.

During the summer, Small Voices campaign will continue by expanding it’s outreach by introducing publishing to the youth.  Accel leadership is partnering with other organizations to promote a youth literacy workshop and mentoring program.  Author, Orjanette Bryant, the director of Accel Leadership Institute believes in our young people and hopes to encourage and empower them. Dreams become reality as we inspire our young writers, poets, photographers, and artists.

By: Maria P Barbosa Ph.D.

Weddings in the RAW by TWO HEARTS

stacy-harris-hammock-island-magazineMy name is Stacy Harris and I’m a wife, a mommy of two beautiful boys, and the owner of a family portraiture business called Stacy Lynne Photography.  My home base and studio is here in Palm Coast, Florida. My stomping grounds for taking photos is primarily in northeast Florida, but mainly in the Hammock area. My love and passion has grown overwhelmingly for capturing the love between two intimate soles. In January of 2016, I opened a separate photography company called, TWO HEARTS, which specializes in engagements and weddings. I thrive on the energy that pours out of the celebration of weddings and how fun it is to be involved in the preservation of such a fluid event. My shooting style, for the amazing couples that hire me, is bold, real, and heartfelt, just like my words.

This leads me to mention what I will bring to every issue of the Hammock Island Magazine. Each month, one of my wedding couples will have their chance to “tell all” from their point-of-view about their wedding experience: the moment they met, fell in love, marriage planning, the honeymoon, as well as bloopers. They will also give words of advice from what they learned from these memorable experiences. There will be gorgeous, eye-candy, wedding photographs from the featured couple’s wedding day with highlighted special moments, allowing you to dream about and look forward to these moments on your own big day! Finally, I will also feature a tip from one of the best local vendors in the industry to help guide you in a positive direction in your own wedding planning. So let’s get started!

Meet the Doney’s:

Thomas and I grew up a couple of miles apart, we are basically the same age, and have attended the same schools since the 3rd grade. We never actually spoke to each other until the11th grade, when mutual friends brought us together. In middle school, Thomas, with a friend, kicked my rolling book bag as I walked to class one day which made me cry. I don’t know, maybe he was trying to meet me back then and it backfired! When we did meet and we started dating, I knew that he was “the one!” We dated for almost seven years before we became engaged. We were engaged for two years before we got married.

Thomas’ parents, my mom, and a few friends knew that Thomas was going to propose on the night that he did. He wanted to catch me off guard so he didn’t plan anything which would have made me suspicious. We went to one of our favorite places for dinner. After dinner he said, “Let’s walk around the lake next to the restaurant.” As we walked, we came to a bench and he said, “Sit down. You need to read this.” He handed me a handmade booklet. I recognized my mom’s handwriting immediately. As I started to read it, I was overcome with emotion. As the tears rolled down my cheeks, Thomas got down on one knee.

You see, my Dad passed away from cancer a little over a year ago. As a result, this handmade booklet came about. You see, one night my Mom and Dad where talking and out of the blue, he said, “You know it is just a matter of time and Thomas is going to ask if he can marry our girl.” She said, “Yes, I know.” He had a smile on his face and said, “They are a good match, like you and I are.”

Then a few weeks back, Thomas went to my mom and asked her for permission to marry me. She told him that she had this whole speech prepared for this occasion, but all she could do at the time was say, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” and cry happy tears. She decided to write down her thoughts, with my Dad’s blessings for Thomas, so that Thomas could keep it and one day show his children. She titled it, “A Love Letter to My Future Son-in-Law.” When he first read it, he called her and said, “You made me cry, and then laugh, and then cry some more.”

So this handmade booklet was very special and of course, I said, “Yes!”

Now The Fun Begins:

  1. When looking at dates for your wedding, look at a calendar, and see if there are any conflicting events such as holidays, major football games, or any other event that could affect your venue, vendors, or guests. We picked the Saturday before Easter and it caused a few cogs in our wheels!
  2. Make a list of everyone in the world you might want to invite. Consult both sets of parents for people you may have forgotten. Then remember to add spouses, dates, and children. This number will soar! Now look at this list realistically and start deleting, which is by far one of the hardest things to do! Once you get a number you are happy with, it is time to locate a venue that comfortably accommodates your number.
  3. You now have two new best friends: Pinterest and Etsy. Both are the best places to get organized, find hairstyles, wedding party gifts, and all the other little details that will make your wedding so memorable and “your own!” Caution, both sites are addicting, but I couldn’t have done it without them!

I Now Pronounce You:

If I had one tip for your big day, it would be to have everyone aware of the exact time to arrive! If you have someone in your party that is always late, give them a time which is actually 30 minutes before you actually need them to be there. Make a little note card for each person in the wedding party so there is no question, which says, “Please arrive tomorrow at___. Thanks!” At our rehearsal dinner, my officiant made a joke that he would see us at 5:30 tomorrow. He forgot that he was really supposed to be there at 4:00!!

Make sure you check out the ceremony and reception area well before the guests arrive. That way if anything is not correct, it can be fixed before anyone arrives.

Remember the reception is as special as the wedding itself. And both the Bride and the Groom need to eat something during the reception. Not only will you be hungry, but you want to know if the food was good or not. After you eat, get out there and mingle and dance with your guests. Your guests will appreciate your effort to make them feel special and have fun, too!

Lastly, when planning your departure, make sure it is done in grand style! Make your departure from the venue so fun and unusual that your guests will leave talking about how wonderful your wedding was from the beginning to the very end!

Honeymooners Words of Wisdom:

Remember, through this whole planning process, this is YOUR wedding! Do not let anyone (including bridesmaids and mothers) control you and your fiancées decisions. There will be disagreements! Just say, “It is our wedding and we want….” And don’t let your vendors control your wedding, either. Remember, they are there to make your day perfect and they should adhere to your wishes. One of my vendors tried to end the wedding reception an hour earlier because people were starting to leave. I had already paid for the time he would be there and also had paid for the venue until that time. I didn’t care who was left at the end of the reception! We were staying, ourselves, until the very last minute! It was a beautiful event and we wouldn’t have changed a thing!

The couple’s Three Favorite Vendors:

Stacy Lynne Photography – (904) 583-2131

Panheads Pizza Catering – (386) 872-4924

Hair & Makeup by Cameron – (863) 228-2792

Venue: Crystal Ballroom at Sunset Harbor – Daytona Beach, Florida

Tip from PRO:

“Saying yes to the dress with nowhere to wear it.” – You want to be sure that your dress matches the ambiance of the facility. A flowing, beach dress may look out of place at the Grand Ballroom. So, book the venue before you buy the dress.” — Stephanie Mazzeo, Pyramids Weddings & Events, Flagler Beach, Florida

“Hammock Luxury Real Estate Market Improved Over Last Year”

Image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard ### FREE Community Edition ### on 2013-12-06 04:24:42Z | |

Image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard ### FREE Community Edition ### on 2013-12-06 04:24:42Z | |

Life in the Hammock, both in our vibrant community activities and beautiful beaches, as well as in real estate, is bright and full of energy. When Jim and I decided to move home to Florida several years ago, it quickly became clear to me that I wanted to settle down in the Hammock. Moving to Island Estates was one of the best choices I have ever made, and I love living in our beautiful beachside paradise.

As both a realtor and a resident of the Hammock, I am personally interested in the state of the market for our community. Before writing this article, I wanted to take an in-depth look at the sales in the Hammock’s luxury communities over the last two years. I compared the period from May 1, 2014–April 30, 2015 to the period from May 1, 2015–April 30, 2016. Take a look at the accompanying chart for detailed information about your specific community.

We all remember the economic downturn, and it is encouraging to see that we have weathered the storm and are returning to a more normal market. Sales for many areas in the Hammock are holding steady, or increasing, and properties are moving.

One of the largest areas of growth is in Hammock Beach and Ocean Hammock, both in condos and homes. Hammock Beach Villa owners should note that unit sales increased from six sold units to 14 sold units during the compared periods of time. The price per square foot for these sales increased slightly by 3%. Homes in Ocean Hammock and Hammock Beach also saw increased pricing, rising by 23% from one year to the next. The average days on market were also cut virtually in half, from 237 to 120.

Island Estates is another area of particular interest given that their year-over-year home sales increased from two homes to eight homes. Additionally, the price per square foot for homes in that area increased slightly from $227 to $234.

The one area of downturn is in Hammock Dunes proper. While the number of home sales remained relatively unchanged from year to year, the average sales price decreased by 19%. This could be a result of a sales mix, i.e. more older homes selling that are located further from the ocean, rather than a truly significant market change. However, the Hammock Dunes Condos saw increased sales for high end units, and the number of units sold has held steady.

Despite the uptick in activity, it is important for sellers to be realistic about the price they can expect to fetch for their property based on market activity. The biggest mistake I see from sellers is incorrect pricing of their properties. As a homeowner in this area, I am acutely aware of the desire to receive top dollar for what is likely the largest investment any of us has made. However, incorrect pricing–whether motivated by the original purchase price or the amount a seller desires to retain after the sale–can cause otherwise excellent listings to languish on the market and become stale. To avoid this, sellers should be realistic about the state of their home and the market.

Does your property need renovations? Are there a number of available properties for buyers to choose from in your specific community? Are the properties that are currently on the market in your area receiving interest? All these factors can affect the market value for your home. By pricing their properties appropriately, sellers typically see sales take less time, and they can avoid stress, irritation, and the emotional and financial carrying costs associated with homeownership.

Now is an excellent time for owners who are considering selling to assess the value of their homes with a licensed, experienced realtor, and begin making any improvements or updates that will help their home to be as desirable and marketable as possible. Just as I fell in love with life in our oceanside paradise, many visitors will do the same this summer and beyond, and perhaps your home is the perfect fit for them!

About the Author: Dana Davis is a licensed realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, the number one brokerage in regular and luxury sales in Flagler County, according to MLS statistics. She holds CIPS, GREEN, and RSPS designations. She can be contacted via email at

A Sense of Place.

pc-tower-low-resDriving down I-95 the other day, I exited the freeway and turned east, decelerating beneath a canopy of century-old oaks in flickering late afternoon sun.  I couldn’t suppress a smile.  I was actually enjoying the simple every day act of driving home along Palm Coast Parkway.

It struck me how different our community is than the one I had just visited where signs, concrete, and traffic created a visual pollution and a rushed sense of anxiety.  Here along my new route, the luxuriant trees, glimpses of waterways, and green fairways created a completely different feeling. It was a visual calm. It was a sense of home and wellness.

What is it that inspires people to want to live, work, and play in a place like Palm Coast?  How did we get to this point in time where there is so much natural beauty preserved?  How did other communities loose what they may once have held so dear?  It is important to me and I think to all of us to understand the answers to such questions.

In Palm Coast, our history is not too distant.  We know that ITT purchased land encompassing forests, waterway, estuaries, and beaches.  They planned and built amenities such as swimming pools, golf courses, tennis courts, and a marina and then the people came to populate this community, including myself when I was just a teenager. Today, we have grown to nearly 80,000 residents attracted by a vision of what a community can be when quality of life is taken into consideration to be the very heart of everything.  It is perhaps the thing I love most about Palm Coast.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “The best time to plant a tree is a long time ago.  And the next best time is now.”  How lucky we are that the city of Palm Coast was long ago laid out with so much of what we continue to value today.  These amenities draw visitors and fuel a tourist economy based on activities such as biking, bird watching, kayaking, beachcombing, fishing, tennis, boating, and golf. Our amenities draw executives and businesses to locate here. They are a magnet for active retirees and young families alike.

The original vision for Palm Coast was a concept based not just on the profit potential of land development.  The executives at ITT were wise enough and had the foresight to understand what would attract families to buy homes here and businesses to open their doors would also, bring financial gain as well. As a result, they have benefitted from their insights. Early civic leaders, including people like my father, chose to preserve and build a future on what was here. This was a deliberate decision making process in the development of the Palm Coast community..

Today, we all treasure the things that make Palm Coast unique, the natural beauty that gives us a compelling sense of place.  When I drive down the road past a riot of pink crepe myrtle in the median or watch eagles and ospreys fishing in the intracoastal or kids fishing off the docks, I want to do my part, however small, to make this a great place to call home for generations to come.  Although, this is a personal goal, I believe a community-wide involvement is needed. Citizens, as well as business and government leaders, all have important contributions to make. The decisions we make to support our natural resources and our quality of life amenities will boost property values and provide a feeling of well-being for everyone.

I see positive developments ahead for Palm Coast on several fronts.  Local governments continue to expand green spaces and parks from the City’s new Long Creek Preserve, which is a kayaking and wildlife paradise, to the County’s new pickle ball courts under construction on A1A.  I also see education opportunities increasing with the expansion of healthcare and technology curriculums at Daytona State College. Also, I see arts and cultural opportunities thriving with the ground breaking of Palm Coast’s new Performing Arts Center and the expansion of the Flagler Auditorium. And, I see future connectivity to our 100 plus miles of nature trails.  I love the sense of vibrant growth which I see across our community.

The choices we make are important. They matter.  It is both what we choose to do and what we choose not to do.  I hope that one day, future residents will still be hiking through our old growth forests or observing sea turtles lumbering ashore with the high tide on a moonlit night.  I hope they will look back at us, you and me, and say it is their good fortune that a decision was made to save this natural area a long time ago.

Confluence at Ocean Art Gallery: Ripple Effects locally and Beyond

mourning-into-dancing-jill-1-editedFlagler Beach resident artisan, Glenda Greenberg, creates jewelry based on healing and positive energy.  Her intention in the creative process is in “making well through the energy of positive thought and positive direction.”  Using the teachings of reiki, meridian, and chakra systems through the colors of the stones, Glenda makes her jewelry to be in tuned with the energy of that stone’s healing properties. “With each piece of work I send out healing one by one.”  The concept in Judaism of Tikkun Olam came to mind as Glenda discussed her thoughtful and creative process.  It literally means “repair of the world” or alternatively, “construction for eternity.” Glenda reinforced this concept by mentioning that there are “seven ribbons of similarity in each religion that brings the intention of healing and happiness to the world through belief systems.”

Glenda’s collaboration among artists began at Boca Raton Museum of Art School where she trained with fellow jewelers. Her circle of influence has since expanded to include various types of artists. Glenda worked with Rachel Thompson who formerly owned I AM ART/Rachel and Friends and that’s when the concept of confluence began to emerge.  Glenda’s pieces were often displayed as sculptural art in their own right. Her jewelry reiterated concepts, colors, fluidity, and direction found amid paintings exhibited at the gallery. Since Glenda’s transition to Ocean Art Gallery, she has furthered her connection with the ocean and confluence.  Glenda’s new collection for Ocean Art Gallery is sea creatures.

Another example of confluence: Glenda was commissioned to make a set of jewelry auctioned off to benefit the South Florida Wildlife Care Center in Palm Beach. While at the gala there Glenda crossed paths with Creative Artist, Aaron Ansarov.  In addition to being impressed by Aaron’s photography at the Wildlife Care Center Glenda, she also became privy to Aaron’s Project on Portugese Man O’ War entitled, Zooids. Glenda asked Aaron if he was interested in representation in North Florida and he relayed his contact information to Rachel Thompson where she was affiliated at the time. Although both were extremely excited about Aaron’s work and the prospects of working with Aaron, Rachel knew in the back of her mind that Frank Gromling and Ocean Art Gallery was a better fit. Frank’s involvement and knowledge of Marine Life and Coastal conservation coupled with being a local gallery owner made him the undeniable fit for Ansarov’s projects.

Enter Aaron Ansarov:  In keeping with the quote attributed to the Dalai Lama of being the change one wants to see in the world, South Florida Artist Aaron Ansarov operates from a simple nucleus of:

1 -Seeing nature through childlike eyes and with childlike wonder; ZOOID Project:  Aaron is a former military combat photographer and respected professional in the photography field. His personal quest is to exude creative and interactive interpretations of nature and the human form which in itself is a lofty goal. Yet, there is another dimension to Aaron’s character and being.  Through his children, Aaron returned to seeing the wonder of the world through the eyes of a child. A simple father and son adventure to the beach, coupled with talent and resourcefulness results in his spectacular “Man O’ War” portraits. They have been described as:

Psychedelic, biomorphic and on the cutting edge of design trends. Aaron’s Man O’ War photographs are featured as his ZOOID collection.

2-Redefining the concept of Perfection by translating what society perceives as imperfection into perfection, The HUMAN SPECTRUM Project. Again, Aaron is doing his own part in bringing healing to the world through showing us nature and people through childlike eyes. His Human Spectrum project requalifies the fractured self-concepts of humanity through the lens of a heart that inherently sees perfection. Human beings are showing up in all shapes (and ‘mis-shapes, sizes, economic strata, gender, races, and sexual preferences to come into the safe zone that Aaron and his wife, Anna, have created. The only prerequisite is “come as you are” and that means NAKED! Through this transformational process, even breast cancer survivors who wear their battle scars can once again see themselves as complete and perfect. What a healing process.  Let’s Go! The project has gone national and is currently traveling to 20 cities.

3-Maintaining his wife and children as first priority, Aaron has been able to strike that envious balance of being true to himself and available for his family while drawing on local resources.  Every life decision made in the light of unwavering core commitments is spelling out SUCCESS for the Ansarov family and healing to those they come in contact with, a noteworthy feat in today’s world that warrants our self-reflection.

Aaron has been featured in National Geographic and Smithsonian Magazine.  Ocean Art Gallery represents his work in 17 counties throughout Florida.

The confluence continues… Gargiulo Art Foundation’s Flagler County Artist of the Year, Rachel Thompson, goes with the flow and FLOWS with the GO!  Although Rachel still identifies as I AM ART/Rachel & Friends, she no longer owns her gallery and has joined the teaming fish in the waters at Ocean Art Gallery. Rachel and Frank came to know each other while working together for the Art and Wine Shuttle events. She reached a crossroads at her gallery where she could put her energies into excelling as an artist or in giving opportunities for other artists. At her core, she knew that she was an artist first and that the gallery had to go.  Rachel knew of Frank Gromling’s strong business background and sensed that they would be able to capitalize on each other’s strengths. Her liberation from the gallery affords her time to concentrate on her work again.  Currently, Rachel is participating in a Psalm study and partnership program with Israeli artists through the Jewish Federation in Jacksonville. She will travel to Israel in early April to research and participate in the artist’s reception and community.  The exhibit will show in Israel this spring and then return to travel in the southeastern United States. Upon Rachel’s return, she will exhibit as featured artist at Ocean Art Gallery with a reception on May 7th. She will also be curating at the gallery.

The art of Glenda, Aaron, and Rachel can be seen now at Ocean Art Gallery along with works from many other talented artists located at 206 Moody Blvd., Flagler Beach.

Article by Rachel Thompson

Please contact me at if you would like to submit art news from local galleries and venues.  The next edition will be printed in August, 2016