Amelia Island revealed . . .

Submitted by Bill Birdsong
December 21, 2014 7:29 p.m.

Outgoing Tide Photo courtesy of Bill Birdsong
Outgoing Tide
Photo courtesy of Bill Birdsong

Editor’s Note: William Birdsong was born in Jacksonville, Florida and entered the military in 1962. He retired from the Air Force in 1992. While on active duty he served as a Korean linguist, and as an Obstetrician-Gynecologist. His second retirement was from the University of California, Davis.

In 2000, Bill and his wife Susie moved to Amelia Island. Bill is a volunteer at the Amelia Island Museum of History, and plays in the Nassau County Community Band. Photography has been his hobby for the last few years. We thank Bill for his contribution to the Fernandina Observer.

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Train Depot restoration chugging along

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
December 19, 2014 12:31 p.m.

Larry Wolfberg of Paul Bowman Design updates TDC on depot restoration.  Gil Langley (center) and Susan Hurley (CVB Special events) look on.
Larry Wolfberg of Paul Bowman Design updates TDC on depot restoration. Gil Langley (center) and Susan Hurley (CVB Special events) look on.

Renovations and restoration of Fernandina Beach’s historic train depot at the foot of Centre Street are moving along carefully, but not quickly. Gil Langley, Executive Director of the Amelia Island Convention Visitors Bureau, updated the Amelia Island Tourist Development Council (TDC) on progress at the TDC’s December 17, 2014 meeting.

Work on the building’s exterior began in spring of 2013. Langley reported that the building has been stabilized and exterior work has been completed. The task now is to complete work on the building’s interior and install exhibits to help visitors learn more about Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island. While the building is small, its restoration and retrofitting have presented many challenges caused by age of the structure, weather, and well-intentioned but misguided repairs over the building’s 115-year history. Continue reading

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Fernandina Beach impact fees will be revisited in 2015

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst

December 19, 2014 7:19 a.m.

DSCN3774The Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) held a special meeting December 17, 2014 to receive a presentation on a recent impact fee study. Following discussion, the FBCC unanimously approved Resolution 2014-175 to allow Burton & Associates to conduct the 2014-2015 water and wastewater revenue sufficiency analysis study as a sole source vendor for $24,985.

By adopting the resolution the city is attempting to address concerns raised in the recent impact fee lawsuit regarding the “dual rational nexus test” that Judge Brian Davis ruled the city had failed to meet in establishing water impact fees. Until the city acts to establish a water impact fee that meets the test, there will be no water impact fee imposed on new construction or additional water fixtures. The sewer impact fee, which was not challenged under the recently settled suit, will remain as it is currently set.

Should the city decide to reimpose a water impact fee or adjust the sewer impact fee following the completion of the study, there will be at least two public meetings held for a full discussion by the FBCC and the public.

The city anticipates such public meetings to take place in early 2015. Continue reading

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A Pyrrhic victory? City prevails in playground lawsuit – Contract did not specify “how to pay”

Submitted by Adam Kaufman
Legal Analyst
December 18, 2014 2:00 p.m.

In 280 BC and 279 BC Greek King Pyrrhus of Epirus defeated the Romans at Heraclea and Asculum but his army sustained such casualties and staggering losses he is quoted as remarking “another such victory and I am undone.”

A “Pyrrhic victory” has come to mean a victory that is costly to the point of negating or outweighing the expected benefits.

DSCN1338 Crop
A view of $20,000 worth of playground equipment located at Sunrise Park along Egan’s Creek.

On December 16, a Circuit Court in the State of Oregon ruled in favor of the City of Fernandina Beach denying a claim that the City was required to pay approximately $20,000 to the Columbia Cascade Company of Oregon, a manufacturer of playground equipment. The City purchased equipment made by that company in the fall of 2011. The lawsuit was filed on October 30, 2012 alleging that the City violated its contract with Continue reading

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Latest Green Dot Card Scam Hits Fernandina Beach

Press Release
Fernandina Beach Police Department
James T. Hurley, Chief of Police

December 18, 2014 8:40 p.m.

Police DeptThree unusual bomb threat calls were made to area businesses today, in each case the caller attempted to extort money from the business by having the business deliver money electronically via a Green Dot Card.

The first call was received by Walgreens on Sadler Road at 2:22 PM, the second call went to the Dollar Tree in Amelia Plaza at 2:35 PM and the third call was made to the Radio Shack in Amelia Plaza at 2:42 PM. In each instance the male caller was described as having a Middle Eastern accent. The caller threatened to detonate a bomb in the store if the manager did not load money onto a Green Dot Card within ten minutes.

Fernandina Beach Police Officers, assisted by Deputies from the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office, responded to each location and coordinated a search. No devices were found at any Continue reading

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Financial support needed for local arts and culture organizations

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
December 18, 2014 12:50 p.m.

Tony McAdoo
Tony McAdoo

Local Fernandina Beach resident Tony McAdoo is trying to find money for local arts and cultural programs. McAdoo appeared before the Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) during its December 16, 2014 Regular Meeting. “You may be the wrong jurisdiction,” he said, “but I’ve got to start somewhere.” He said his comments arose from a need to speak with the FBCC, Nassau County and the Tourism Development Council (TDC) on the lack of a grants process. He said that seven years ago the TDC had a grants process for individuals and organizations to apply for some reimbursements of money spent on special events that brought overnight visitors to Amelia Island. He claimed that such a program no longer exists. McAdoo said that other Florida cities and counties have such grants process for arts and culture organizations that host special events bringing visitors to their communities. He said that the local arts Continue reading

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South 2nd Street garbage caper

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
December 18, 2014 12:11 p.m.

David Voorhees, aka Pajama Dave, presses city for action on downtown trash issues.
David Voorhees, aka Pajama Dave, presses city for action on downtown trash issues.

A frustrated local merchant appealed to the newly seated Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) at its first Regular Meeting on December 16, 2014, to end the garbage standoff with Centre Street merchants once and for all. David Voorhees, known around town as Pajama Dave, operates Pajama Life, a retail business on the east side of the first block of South 2nd Street. For the past year Voorhees and a neighboring business owner have had to deal with trash dumped in front of their businesses by some Centre Street merchants who appear unwilling to walk the extra block to use designated disposal areas. Voorhees explained that merchants wheel their often overflowing garbage canisters to the front of his building, where often lids are left open and the contents are blown onto the street. Following his initial complaint, the city tried to track canister owners. Failing to locate canister claimants, the city confiscated the canisters. Voorhees said that the offending merchants then just dumped trash bags on the sidewalk in front of his business. He said that he and Ricky Pig, owner of Joe’s 2nd Street Bistro, are left to clean up the city street at least 20 minutes each morning before opening their businesses. He said he thought the problem had finally been solved, but this morning he found another garbage canister in front of his business. Continue reading

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Work begins for new Fernandina Beach City Commission

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm

Reporter – News Analyst

Fernandina Beach Mayor Ed Boner  speaks with Rev. Anthony Daniels, Macedonia AME Church, before the meeting.  Daniels, who delivered the meeting invocation, is convening a community meeting at the church on January 5 at 6:00 p.m. to discuss clergy and community leadership in the wake of recent national events.
Fernandina Beach Mayor Ed Boner speaks with Rev. Anthony Daniels, Macedonia AME Church, before the meeting. Daniels, who delivered the meeting invocation, is convening a community meeting at the church on January 5 at 6:00 p.m. to discuss clergy and community leadership in the wake of recent national events.

The first Regular Meeting of the 2015 Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) got underway shortly after the FBCC Reorganizational Meeting on December 16, 2015, with newly seated commissioners Robin Lentz and Tim Poynter sitting in the spots previously occupied by Sarah Pelican and Charlie Corbett. The meeting lasted only an hour. Commissioners handled a relatively light agenda, unanimously approving three resolutions and one ordinance on first reading:

  • Resolution 2014-172: Designating the tree located in the median of Via Del Ray and Amelia Island Parkway as a Heritage Tree;
  • Resolution 2014-173: Approving budget amendments for the previous fiscal year to correct coding errors and provide for the purchase of new Police and Sanitation equipment;
  • Resolution 2014-174: Vacating and abandoning an unused utility easement in the Park Subdivision;
  • Ordinance 2014-34: Modifying the Amelia Park PUD to add a new housing type identified as “Single Family House—Tract I.”

Continue reading

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If–

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter-News Analyst
December 17, 2014 4:16 p.m.

Commissioners Corbett and Pelican at their final meeting of the 2014 Fernandina Beach City Commission.
Commissioners Corbett and Pelican at their final meeting of the 2014 Fernandina Beach City Commission.
Rudyard Kipling
Rudyard Kipling

At the December 16, 2014 Reorganizational Meeting of the Fernandina Beach City Commission, outgoing Vice Mayor Sarah Pelican presented outgoing Commissioner Charlie Corbett with a framed copy of British Nobel laureate Rudyard Kippling’s famous poem “If.”  Kipling (1865-1936) wrote the poem in 1895 and allegedly claimed that his poetic inspiration for the poem was the military actions of Leander Starr Jameson, leader of the failed Jameson Raid (December 1895 – January 1896) against South Africa to overthrow the Boer Government of Paul Kruger some 15 years prior to its publication in 1910.

At Pelican’s request, Mayor Boner read the poem which appears below.

If—

BY RUDYARD KIPLING
(‘Brother Square-Toes’—Rewards and Fairies)

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
Source: A Choice of Kipling’s Verse (1943)

Suanne Thamm 4Editor’s Note: Suanne Z. Thamm is a native of Chautauqua County, NY, who moved to Fernandina Beach from Alexandria,VA, in 1994. As a long time city resident and city watcher, she provides interesting insight into the many issues that impact our city. We are grateful for Suanne’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.

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Lentz and Poynter join Fernandina Beach City Commission

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
December 17, 2014 3:22 p.m.

 

The last seating of the 2014 Fernandina Beach City Commission at the beginning of the December 16, 2014 FBCC Reorganizational Meeting
The last seating of the 2014 Fernandina Beach City Commission at the beginning of the December 16, 2014 FBCC Reorganizational Meeting

Last night at their annual Reorganization Meeting, the Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) rang out the old year and rang in the new, as Robin Lentz and Tim Poynter were sworn in as new city commissioners, replacing Sarah Pelican and Charlie Corbett. While commissioners re-elected sitting mayor Ed Boner to continue in that role for 2015, in keeping with the wishes of the electorate as expressed in the straw poll conducted during the November General Election. Commissioner Johnny Miller was elected to the position of Vice Mayor, following his nomination by Commissioner Pat Gass. Continue reading

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