Have you ever dreamed of Writing? Seats Still Available for The Steve Berry, Writers Workshop, “Lessons from a Bestseller”

Media Release
Amelia Island Book Festival

December 3, 2016 1:00 a.m.

Presented by CBC National Bank, the Workshop is set for

Friday, February 17, 2017 – At the FSCJ-Nassau Campus

Best selling author Steve Berry

For writers, aspiring writers, and readers of all levels. Whether you are an already published author or have a fledgling idea that you want to shape into a book, you can benefit. Every participant regardless of skill level can hone their writing skills with the expert guidance of Steve and Elizabeth Berry during this intensive four-hour workshop. Steve covers all aspects of the craft of writing: story structure, effective dialogue, point of view, and the 10 rules of writing and a special session on the “Business of Writing” conducted by Elizabeth.

Click here to learn more.

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Local awards received at 2016 Northeast Florida Elected Officials Luncheon

Submitted by
Vice-Mayor Len Kreger
December 3, 2016 1:00 a.m.

At the 2016 Northeast Florida Elected Official Luncheon regional Leadership Awards for Excellence  were given to the Amelia Island Sea Turtle Watch for  Excellence in Environmental Steward and the City of Fernandina Beach Ocean Rescue for Excellence in Public Safety.

Fernandina Beach Fire Rescue Chief Ty Silcox, Vice Mayor Len Kreger and his wife Pat, Mary Duffy, and Sherri Hair receive awards for excellence.
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Weekly comments from Dale Martin

Dale Martin
City Manager
City of Fernandina Beach

December 2, 2016 1:00 a.m.

Dale Martin City Manager

As some of you are aware, one of my great interests is collecting and playing boardgames. My collection current has approximately five hundred games with a variety of topics and mechanics, nearly all of which are relatively unknown to non-gamers. Obviously, my games include such common titles as Scrabble, Sorry, Yahtzee, and Monopoly.

Most of my games, though, include other unfamiliar titles such as Advanced Squad Leader (fight small battles), Age of Steam (build a railroad), Clash of Civilizations (build a civilization), Food Chain Magnate (manage a diner), Drum Roll (manage a circus), Merchants and Marauders (plunder and pillage). I have dozens of other games with subjects as obscure as chariot racing, space colonization, art collecting, power plants, and German parliamentary politics. My games also include several party games for larger groups.

Some of those unfamiliar games, however, are somewhat more complicated and involved that the familiar titles- they are not games that are easily grasped (including by me) without several opportunities to play. Part of the allure of the games is to explore the depth and variety of strategies in the games. It is that Continue reading

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Arts & Culture Nassau

Evelyn C. McDonald
Arts & Culture Reporter

December 1, 2016 1:50 p.m.

arts-culture-nassauNext Monday is my last Arts & Culture Nassau (ACN) board meeting. My tenure comes to an end on December 31. I have represented the Friends of the Library for the past three years. It’s been an interesting time. ACN is a Fernandina Beach city council with a mission to advocate for and to promote arts and culture throughout Nassau County.

In 2010 Nassau County Commission appointed ACN to be the county’s locally designated arts authority. As such ACN is funded by revenues from the State License Plate Fund. Currently eight arts and culture organizations in the county have appointed Continue reading

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No liquid natural gas (LNG) in Port of Fernandina’s future

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm

Reporter  – News Analyst


Spots Watkins, FMX director
Spots Watkins, FMX director

Spotswood “Spots” Watkins welcomed about 25 people to the Annual Meeting of the Fernandina Maritime Exchange on November 30, 2016 in the County Commission Chambers at the James Page Governmental Center in Yulee, FL. Four speakers covered five topics of interest to the gathering of primarily stakeholders who promote, protect and encourage commercial shipping through the Port of Fernandina.

Update on LNG fueling and facilities at JaxPort

The topic that generated the most interest for local citizens was the update on LNG fueling operations and facilities at JaxPort delivered by USCG LCDR Marc Montemerlo, Chief of the Inspections Division. He explained that by 2018 there will be four LNG vessels—two Tote and 2 Crowley owned—moving freight between JaxPort and Puerto Rico. Currently there is an interim LNG bunkering facility at JaxPort to service the Tote vessels that began operation in January. By fall/winter of next year there will be a liquefaction facility in place as well.

LCDR Marc Montemerlo briefs on JaxPort LNG progress.
LCDR Marc Montemerlo briefs on JaxPort LNG progress.

Montemerlo said that LNG bunkering operations are new and that currently regulations governing the handling and storing of LNG at ports are being written with an eye toward conformance with appropriate international regulations. Until such regulations can be promulgated following public notice, policy letters serve as the operating guidelines.

In response to audience questions, Montemerlo asserted that there are no plans to build LNG facilities at the Port of Fernandina. The USCG has received no expression of interest in handling LNG vessels or building fueling facilities from Kinder Morgan, Nassau Terminals or the Ocean Highway Port Authority. He stressed that bunkering LNG is not an easy matter and cannot be done simply or quickly. “Such a facility,” he said, “could not pop up overnight.”

Right whale, manatee updates

USCG LCDR Claire Surrey-Marsden provided updates on right whales and manatees. She said that the right whale population was not coming back as quickly as had been hoped. Last year only 14 calves were born, leaving the population under 500. She said that the area off the South Georgia – Northeast Florida coast is the only known right whale calving area. The area is warm enough, and the water deep and calm enough for the whales to give birth. Continue reading

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Nassau County Sheriff’s Office conducts “Operation All There”

Press Release
Nassau County Sheriff’s Office
Bill Leeper, Sheriff

December 1, 2016 11:00 a.m.


Nassau County Sheriff’s Office announced the results of Operation All There, which was an operation to reduce illegal drug activity within Nassau County.

Over the past four months the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Division has conducted numerous undercover drug operations throughout Nassau County. Based on these operations 24 individuals have been arrested and 6 others are wanted on outstanding arrest warrants.

“The people who were involved in this operation are not your casual drug user,” said Sheriff Bill Leeper. “These are drug dealers and repeat offenders. If we successfully remove the drug dealers and repeat offenders crime goes down.”

A total of 30 people were involved for various drug-related charges during Operation All There. Items seized were 3 vehicles (2005 Audi A6, 2004 Ford F-150, 2006 Ford Mustang), $8,168.54 in cash, 123.3 grams of marijuana, 145.9 grams of cocaine, 102 pills, 133.1 grams of methamphetamine, 2.8 grams of heroin, and 18 acid sheets.

“We see the destruction that these illegal narcotics reek on the homes, individuals and families within our communities,” said Continue reading

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Local Cuban-Americans React To Death of Fidel Castro

hola-cropped-271x300-croppedAnne H. Oman

December 2, 2016 1:00 a.m.

Hanging on the wall at Hola!, the Cuban coffee shop on North Second Street, is a framed black-and-white photographs of a group of young men in front of an airplane.

Marisol Triana

“That’s my uncle on the left,’ said owner Marisol Triana. “He originally came to the United States in Operation Peter Pan.”

When Fidel Castro first came to power in 1959, she explained, he began taking young boys away from their families and putting them in schools where they would be indoctrinated.

To avoid this, many parents sent their children to the U.S. under a program known as Operation Peter Pan. According to the Miami Herald, the program, spearheaded by a Catholic priest, brought more than 14,000 unaccompanied children here between 1960 and 1962. Among them was former U.S. Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL).

“My uncle went back to Cuba to fight at the Bay of Pigs,” said Ms. Triana. “He was captured, and put in a Cuban prison for three years. The man who captured him was his first cousin, who told him he had betrayed his country. Families were divided.”

Ms. Triana’s family fled Cuba for Miami in 1962.

“I was born in Miami, and raised in a Cuba-rich culture,” she told the Fernandina Observer in an interview while she served Cuban coffee and pastries to a stream of regular customers, many of them practicing their Spanish. “We were raised not as immigrants, but as exiles – we always thought we were going back. When my grandparents died, we found a suitcase in their closet, already packed. All it contained was a change of clothes for each of them, and a bottle of champagne. My grandparents have been on my mind a lot since we heard the news… I really don’t want to celebrate a death, but now there’s a Fidel-free world.”

Would she go to Cuba to visit?

“Not at this time,” she answered. “I’m waiting for a free Cuba – not just an open Cuba. My grandparents made a real smart decision, but it was hard. They didn’t speak the language. My grandfather had been a professor, but he drove cabs in Miami. And my grandmother worked in a factory that made fishing rods.”

The future of Cuba weighs heavily on the minds of Cuban-Americans, Ms. Triana said:”Often after a family dinner, we sit for hours and talk. Who should be in charge? Should we have stayed to fight?”

Dr. Berta Arias

On the restaurant’s outdoor patio, Dr. Berta Arias nibbled on a croqueta and talked about the future – and past – of Cuba, and the jubilation at the news of Castro’s death among the expats in Miami.

“There’s one less dictator in the world – it’s a celebration of the beginning of a new era,” said Dr. Arias, who was born in Cuba but left in 1957 when her accountant father was offered a two-year contract in Chicago. The family was due to return Continue reading

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Jacksonville.com reports Amelia Island Concours d’Eligance awarded “Best Motoring Event of the Year”

November 30, 2016 4:00 p.m.

File photo courtesy of Stephen Mintz.

Dan Scanlan, reporter for the  Florida Times Union published in Jacksonville.com that the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance won an international award in recognition of its classic car event. According to Scanlan, “This is the second time the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance won the award, last presented to it in 2013. Sponsored by Octane Magazine, it was presented Thursday in London.”

To view article, click here.

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