A collection of blogs and musings from the people that work at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum - Florida's Finest Lightstation.

January 2007 Archives

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January 31, 2007

Happiest of Songs

Posted by: in Flights of Fancy

There are songs that inspire, songs that comfort and songs that cheer you…..,but one of the happiest of songs is the “Linus and Lucy” dance song from the Charlie Brown Christmas Special.

This song brightens my outlook on life!

I’m not the only one that reacts this way:

On week-ends I serve coffee and snacks at the St. Augustine
I am away from the office so I play music.
Last week-end I had customers who arrived with a very sober
expression, heard this song, smiled and in short order we all were
dancing in comic book character style.

Amazing!! Great fun and unforgettable for all!

January 29, 2007

Hello World!

Posted by: Beau Phillips in Barely Legible

Hello world… or more likely, Hello Mom and Dad this is my blog. My name is Beau Yukio Phillips, I am 27, a University of Alabama Grad, an Air Force Brat, and somehow my first job, in my chosen career field, wound up being at a lighthouse. What are the odds?

Some of you may be thinking, “what would a PR guy do at a lighthouse?” Good question, it’s the one I asked when I read the ad in the newspaper. I called anyway and here I am. More than a year after I started, I have found that the PR guy at the Lighthouse has plenty to do.

For those who do not know what a public relations practitioner does, it can be many things. Bottom line, my job is to communicate our message to the public. The message of the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum is one of education, preservation, and discovery. I will not allow this to turn into an issues ad, so I won’t expound on all the good things I think we do here. However, if you want to hear about those things you can read about them on our webpage(shameless plug).

Instead, at least at this point, I would like this blog to be about the day-to-day things a PR guy gets to do here at this lighthouse and museum. You may here about events like Luminary Night, or trips out on the research vessel with our marine archaeologists, a busy day in the office, or a mistake that I am almost sure to make.

So welcome to my barely legible ramblings, I hope they may provide a window into what it is like to work in public relations at this lighthouse. If not, I hope they will at least make you laugh.

Is there anything you are particularly interested in hearing about?

January 25, 2007

My Birthday is Here. Yuk. Well maybe not.

Posted by: Kathy Fleming in Speaking Directly

I am only five years away from 50. Some might think I'd be shy about talking about this. Not so. I find I am more comfortable with myself the older I become. It is fine with me to be 45. I would not trade it in for 22. Maybe 28...Maybe 32...but no...I think not.....hmmm?

We have a Florida’s LH Association meeting the next day and are planting a tree here in memory of a dear friend, Gene Oakes who led that group. The plaque we are placing says "Gene Oakes, Light Seeker." As president of the Florida Lighthouse Association he was a light seeker. So along with our lighthouse volunteer Barbara Hamel, and Eddie Conlon, Tree Medic and a group of Gene's family and friends we will plant an oak on the light station (what else?) where the shadow of the lighthouse would fall on it and point to it. One day we hope the tree can help return the favor and cast it's own long shadow. Gene would like that.

At the same time my husband’s mother is struggling with the last days of her life. She was a strong person too. A native Floridian, her dad was a fishing guide in the keys. She lived in a small Spanish-styled house on 8th street in Miami. It's still there, but her plants are long gone. When hurricane season came they just boarded up the house and lived there with the boards on the windows. She was Rosie the Riveter in Miami during WWII. She made airplanes, at one time she knew every piece of a B-39 bomber. I think that's the one. She had five babies. My hubby is the youngest. She is a fabulous person.

It seems to me that we've lost and are losting lots of fabulous people. We all face times like this. Times of loss and times of memories. Times of renewal are there too, a tree planting, the telling of as story, the holding of a memory.

We are starting a project on Shrimping. Shrimping is tied to our local lives and the flavor of our existence. Ed Long is writing a book about Shrimping and the families who lived here. We want to help him as we can. We want to save those stories. What do you think about this? I think saving history and especially maritime history is a chance to think about men and women who were very strong and also revolutionary.

The shrimping industry changed the way we live and became a part of our culture. We would love to hear your story about the sea or salt or fishing or shrimping or growing up in Florida. Let us know what you think. And thanks for listening to me or rather reading my bloggin.

January 18, 2007

The New Governor’s Staff Called!!!

Posted by: Kathy Fleming in Speaking Directly

The Governor is interested in learning more about issues that Florida’s Lighthouses face! Wow, how exciting! How humbling! And it is kind of scary! What an opportunity to share our work and vision. Florida's lighthouses face futures which are both glorious and struggling. Some are stars like well St. Augustine or Ponce or Jupiter or Key West. Others are mired in paper work, red tape and other issues, like Egmont or Mayport. The Coast Guard wants to divest itself of lighthouses and we support that effort. Lots of good people want to do the right thing. We lighthouse preservation types need funding.

The Florida Lighthouse Association a group of about 1000 of us around Florida is trying to get a license plate to help fund lighthouses. Maybe the Governor will help? I hope so. His staffer asked some good questions. He was engaged and interested. He really seemed to care. He asked about the need that lighthouse face. Well, we added it up for him based on a 2002 lighthouse architectural study in Florida. Florida Lighthouses face a $20 Million dollar need. Wow. It is more than even I thought. And I'm someone that spends time pushing others to understand this need. Do I believe that this maritime heritage is so very important? Yes, I do. Do I think we have a responsibility to lead? Yes, absolutely. Saving lighthouses is not only good for a few, it's good for our state and our culture.

Climbing the Lighthouse Tower Ca

I have been taking this class on-line at Gonzaga University about leadership. I am working on my master’s degree in Organizational Leadership, something I have always wanted. It’s fun and it’s challenging. The challenge comes from doing the work at home where kids and dogs and cats and husband make life akin to a Steve Martin movie. There is action and confusion and drama at the center of our lives.

In all this I am thinking and writing about leadership. Leadership interests me in the way that the Civil War might interest a history buff, or the way that energy might interest a physics major. I personally think true leadership comes from faith in others and a willingness to talk about what’s real so that we can move forward together. I think leadership is also born of struggle, and of a need to change the world for the better.

I am grateful to those who lead because I also think leaders can also be vulnerable. Florida’s lighthouse need is real. And the power they hold to help Florida in return, through heritage tourism and economic impact, is real. The need to protect a shared heritage tied to the sea, well that is like saving the story of old salts, of our grandfather's fishing trips, and of the way we think Florida looks and feels in our head. We are saving those precious items that make it valuable as a place to live and work in and to visit. This is real too. Sounds canned. It isn’t. We live and breath it here at the lighthouse.

I am extremely grateful to Governor Crist’s staff for looking into saving our maritime heritage. I did not know much about him when he took office. But this is very much appreciated. We’ll see what comes of it, we are all deeply in debt to him if he can help us save Florida's maritime heritage. It is very much a part of who we are in my view.

January 12, 2007

Old Florida Attractions

Posted by: Rick Cain in From the Lens Room

This has been a good week. Florida Attractions Association forums were held this week all over the state. I attended one here in St. Augustine and one in Orlando.

It is good to get together with others in the tourism industry and hear what is going on in their world, from small sites like ours to big ones like Disney, Universal, or SeaWorld. I also got to hear from colleagues who refer to themselves as “old Florida attractions” like Weeki Wachee Springs, Gatorland, and Cypress Gardens, among others. These classic spots date back to the tourism boom that started in the post WWII 1940’s and give Florida its long vested history in family tourism.

xvii 17
Photo courtesy of the St. Augustine Historical Society

As early attractions go however, I would like to point out that back in the 1880’s, Henry Flagler built a couple of big hotels in St. Augustine, and rich Victorians, primarily from the northeast, started vacationing here to escape the frozen north. One thing that they commonly did was come over to the island for a picnic lunch, stroll the beach and look at the lighthouse, maybe take a picture. There were two outhouses at the station, one for the Head Keeper and one for the Assistant Keeper. It was the Assistant Keeper who had to provide his outhouse for the visitors; the Head Keeper got to keep his private. Rank has its privileges. So the lighthouse was an attraction long before it was a museum, and it was one of the first in the state. It is good to be part of something that has been drawing people to Florida from the beginning, whether from the sea or from the interstate. It is also great to be part of the Florida Attractions Association family; old Florida or new, and we are honored to be counted among them. We are all about carrying on traditions.

P.S. We’ve made improvements in the bathrooms.

January 9, 2007

01/09/07 Lecture: Update on LAMP's Recent and Upcoming Research Activities

Posted by: Chuck Meide in LAMP Events

Presentation: "Update on LAMP's recent and upcoming research activities"
Speaker: Chuck Meide
Program: St. Augustine Archaeological Association meeting
Where: Salt Run Community Center (near Lighthouse Boatramp), St. Augustine
When: 9 January 2007, 7 pm

January 6, 2007

Wake Forest Was in the Orange Bowl.

Posted by: Kathy Fleming in Speaking Directly

The WFU football team had a great year. Turns out I love football. My husband has me watching and playing fantasy football and I love it. I’m competitive, so it’s fun to win and I hate to loose.

So, when our College team was in the Orange Bowl we celebrated. It is an academic school without a huge football program. We have a song by Steely Dan, about loosing, "Deacon Blues." We only have about 5K students enrolled at any one time and there are only 30 – 50 thousand living alumni (I heard both numbers.) So when we made the Orange Bowl we went. It was lots of fun.

We lost. But you know what….we saw lots of old friends. It is funny to see how the tough guys had turned into nerds about their children. I find this heartwarming and comforting in many ways. We lost, but we all won too because we found each other again if just for a little while. It was fun to realize that so much of what we live for is camaraderie with one another. Good feelings. Team work is a remarkable thing.

Team work will save lighthouses too…OK so this is a lighthouse blog, it can’t all be about football.

January 5, 2007

Lemonade and Lighthouse Keeping

Posted by: Rick Cain in From the Lens Room

Happy New Year! It took five days to pass the kidney stone, two trips to the ER, two Spiral CT scans, and some heavy-duty painkillers. I paced the floor of my house for four hours one night figuring that the pain had to let up sooner or later but it didn’t. Woke up my wife at 3:45am to take me back to the hospital.

This was my fifth stone since 1996. I am supposed to be drinking a lot of water and lemon juice(the citrate in the lemon juice is supposed to bind with the oxalates that make stones and prevent them from forming. You can’t have the rind or the pulp; they contain oxalates; just the juice), but I haven’t been doing it like I should. The guy who services my air conditioner says that I should change the filter more often too. Yet more lessons on what happens if you don’t pay attention to detail and adopt an attitude of neglect.

In the Keeper’s day neglect was something that could never happen. Ships traveling in the shipping lanes offshore depended on the light to fix their position along the coast as they sailed north and south. It is still true today. In spite of all the modern instruments aboard ocean going vessels, we are still human beings and captains like to use their eyes. It is a great comfort to them to look across the vast blackness of the ocean and see a signal light telling them the same thing their instruments do. That is why we like to continue to be operational as a private aid to navigation for the Coast Guard.

I guess if I paid as much attention to taking care of my kidneys as I do our lighthouse, I wouldn’t have started my new year run aground on a rock…(yea, I know it's a bad joke, but I couldn't pass it up).