The local economy has gotten a reprieve from the harshest wrath of the recession. One of the county’s largest employers – the Smurfit Stone Container Corp. mill in Fernandina Beach – has reportedly regained solid financial footing after a sudden slide. The Amelia Island Plantation Company has also sought out the protection of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, attempting to reduce debt and restructure. It is widely expected that the resort company will also be successful in its restructuring efforts.
There is something good and virtuous about counting your blessings — especially when starting a new year. We still live in an enchanted place. Just ask the visitors who travel to Amelia Island from around the world. The beaches are still breathtaking, the historic district of Fernandina Beach still emanates a distinct charm, and the island lifestyle is still laid-back and idyllic. Norman Rockwell could portray us in a painting.
On a local level, the national issues have inevitably trickled down and impacted our way of life here. However, so has the hope of an economic recovery and a return to a normal way of life. With a new year beckoning, here are 10 hopes for 2010. It is indeed a wish list, but it’s the kind of positive thinking we need as a follow-up from last year.
Judging from initial readings, the Christmas holidays may turn out to be a jolly good season — and a respectable finish to a tumultuous year. This is not to sugar-coat a U.S. economic landscape with a 10 percent unemployment rate, a ballooning national debt, and a chaotic political scene. Or to be insensitive to those of us falling upon hard times. Let’s count our blessings either way. Remember, just one year ago, things looked a lot worse than they do now in the financial and economic senses.