Bomb Threat at Fernandina Beach High School

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

January 24, 2017 4:12 p.m.

At approximately 10:20 AM this morning a student at Fernandina Beach High School found a balled up piece of paper in a bathroom with a crudely written note indicating that a bomb would detonate inside the school at 10:50 AM.

The Fernandina Beach Police Department, Nassau County Sheriff’s Office and the Fernandina Beach Fire Department responded to the scene. Public safety responders coordinated closely with school officials and the decision was made to evacuate the school in advance of a physical search of buildings and classrooms.

Once the bleachers were deemed to be a safe area, students were evacuated to the football stadium. Public Safety then paired with school employees and conducted a search of the facility. The search did not produce any unusual items and school officials, in consultation Continue reading

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Support Boys & Girls Club and bid! 10th Annual Benefit Saturday, February 4

Boys & Girls Club Nassau
Press Release

January 24, 2017 3:00 P.M.


The Boys & Girls Clubs Benefit, featuring the live music and painting of David Garibaldi, is just about sold out. But all those interested in supporting this most worthwhile program for youngsters can bid at the exciting Silent Auction, starting on Tuesday, January 24.

The Auction this year is bigger than ever. It includes Local Adventures such as a Guided Private Quail Hunt, Trips and Resort Visits such as a 7-night European River Cruise and an all-inclusive trip to the final round of 2017 U.S. Open Golf Tournament, Designer Jewelry and Private Chef-Prepared Dinners, more than 75 highly-desirable offerings up for bid.

If you want to see if seats at the event are still available, please call Nancy Carpenter at (904) 321-2131.

Anyone interested in the Silent Auction may bid by logging in to: The Silent Auction will ‘close’ that Saturday evening at 9 pm.

All proceeds of the evening will go to the support of the two local Boys & Girls Clubs. So, Continue reading

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2700 Atlantic Avenue ready for development as community commercial project

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
January 24, 2017 9:00 a.m.


On First Reading at their January 17, 2017 Regular Meeting, the Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) approved amendments to the Future Land Use Map (FLUM) and the Zoning Map for a parcel of land totaling 4.73 acres located at 2700 Atlantic Avenue. All commissioners except John Miller voted to approve the amendments.

This site is currently zoned medium density residential (R-2) and previously supported a 33,000 square foot adult daycare center. However, that building was recently demolished following several years of vacancy. The applicant—AICC, Inc.—plans to redevelop the property for commercial purposes, changing the zoning to community commercial (C-1). The property is adjacent to the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church and backs up to the Pirates Cove subdivision. Its location across Atlantic Avenue from Fort Clinch State and near Main Beach is capable, according to city staff, of supporting resort style commercial development. Both city staff and the Planning Advisory Board approved the requests.

Continue reading

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VIP’s Crate Escape to celebrate grand opening – January 28

Press Release
January 24, 2017 1:00 p.m.

VIP’s Crate Escape, LLC (formally VIP Dog Salon) will celebrate its Grand Opening Saturday, January 28th from 1pm to 4pm at its brand new location at 1426 Lime Street, Suite 1. In celebration of the new location, local Non-Profit Rescues and other local pet services will be represented, including a puppy kissing booth and more.

We strive to provide a truly unique environment for your four-legged family member. We will be Amelia Island’s First Dog Daycare that is exclusively crate free. All dogs approved for daycare must pass an evaluation and up to date on certain vaccines, before signing the daycare contract. Our facility is equipped with an outdoor and indoor play area. Our top priority is creating a safe Continue reading

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FBHS students returning to classes after evacuation

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
January 24, 2017 11:42 a.m.


Fernandina Beach High School

Out of an abundance of caution, Fernandina Beach High School was briefly evacuated this morning, following the discovery of an undated, generally worded threat relating to the safety of the school.  Fernandina Beach Deputy Chief Mark Foxworth reported around 11:30 a.m. that following extensive searches of the school complex, students were being cleared to return to their classes.

The generally worded threat to blow up the school was found in a balled-up note on the school grounds.  There was no indication that the threat had been issued to authorities, or that it was written today.


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“Everything old is new again” – An opinion

Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter-News Analyst

January 23, 2017 6:40 p.m.

When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills. ~Chinese Proverb

Back in the days before Spell-check, did you ever find yourself getting lost in a book-form dictionary on your way to look up something specific? I know I did. I’d be on my way to find one word and get distracted by other terms that caught my eye. The same thing happened to me recently when I started researching city archives to find information on the city’s dealings with the railroad over time. I began in the late 1970’s and am currently up to the mid-1980’s. This exercise has given me a new appreciation for the phrase, “Everything old is new again.”

Here are some of the issues that our city commissions were trying to solve:

· Kids skateboarding on Centre Street;

· Dealing with airport problems and leases;

· Building a clubhouse at the golf course;

· Horses on South Fletcher;

· Beach driving;

· Sewer connection fees;

· Stormwater and drainage problems;

· Whether to maintain or cancel city bus service into Jacksonville;

· Getting the county to pay its fair share for public safety services and recreation services provided by the city;

· July 4th fireworks;

· Maintenance issues on city facilities and Centre Street;

· Adequate street lighting;

· Franchise fees and arrangements for utilities and Fernandina Cablevision;

· Helping indigent citizens pay water, sewer and electric bills;

· Downtown and beach parking.

Did you know that at one time the Police Department had a K-9 unit? And that the airport FBO operator had a felony conviction for drugs? The City Commission briefly considered requests to authorize a Christian Parachute Jumping business at the airport and to accept the gift of a statue of Christ carved into a log for displaying on public property.

In the mid 1970’s there was a lot of controversy over a proposed library and where it Continue reading

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City beats out County in tips collected for Ark of Nassau

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm

Reporter – News Analyst


Florida State Senator Aaron Bean decided to use his appearance at the January 17, 2017 Regular Meeting of the Fernandina Beach City Commission for an unscripted presentation to the commissioners on behalf of Ark of Nassau, formerly known as ARC Nassau.

Accompanied by Jane Bloom, the new executive director of Ark of Nassau, Bean presented the city with a trophy in recognition of their successful fundraising for Ark during the fall Celebrity Waiter competition between the city and Nassau County commissioners.

Bean said that he has teamed with the city for several years in this competition between the commissions to see which group can raise the most money via tips earned while waiting tables to benefit Ark of Nassau. “Fernandina Beach pride has been on the line for many years,” Bean said, “as we have come up short compared to the county team led by Judge Foster. This year, finally, Fernandina Beach has topped Nassau County in total funds raised for Ark of Nassau.”

The Winning Team: Fernandina Beach City beat Nassau County Commission Team in raising tips during 2016 Celebrity Waiter Competition

Bean and Fernandina Beach Mayor Robin Lentz gathered the commissioners, City Manager Dale Martin and City Attorney Tammi Bach together for a Team Photo. Bean said, “Let’s get a photo of the entire commission holding the trophy—and hope it gets back to Nassau County. We want them to know that we savor this trophy.”

The audience applauded their appreciation for the city effort—and Bean’s showmanship.

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Three February events at the Amelia Island Museum of History

Submitted by Gray Edenfield
Amelia Island Museum of History
January 23, 2017 1:00 p.m.


February 1st – Brown Bag Lunch with Dr. Ann Browning-Masters

The Amelia Island Museum of History invites you to its next Brown Bag Lunch on Wednesday, February 1st, at noon. Join us as special guest Dr. Ann Browning-Masters delivers a presentation based on her book – Floridanos, Menorcans, Cattle-Whip Crackers: Poetry of St. Augustine. A twelfth generation Floridian, and a descendant of Civil War spy Lola Sanchez, Masters can trace her lineage back to the early days of America’s first permanent European settlement. Her book describes common life in St. Augustine through oral traditions from after the Civil War through the Civil Rights Movement. Giving voice to a rich slice of Americana, it illustrates how Floridano, Menorcan, and Cattle-Whip Cracker lives drifted toward overlapping worlds, and became the roots of a heritage that still exists in St. Augustine. This program is free and open to the public. Seating is first-come/first-served. For more information contact Gray at 261-7378 ext 102, or Amelia Island Museum of History 233 S. 3rd St.

February 7th at noon – Veterans History Project Luncheon with CDR (ret.) J.R. Sharp

Fernandina Beach Golf Club
Buffet Style Lunch and VHP Raffle
$20 per person

The Amelia Island Museum of History invites you to its next Veteran’s History Project Luncheon on Tuesday, February 7th, at noon, at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club (2800 Bill Melton Rd). Our special guest will be author and retired Naval Commander J.R. Sharp. Sharp perfected his writing skills during his nearly 32 years of naval service by updating complex correspondence, writing and contributing to countless naval manuals and instructions. He is a retired Mustang Naval Officer (Commander) who served and lived in Europe, Middle East, South America, and Caribbean. Sharp holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Southern Illinois University and an Engineering Degree from Florida State College in Jacksonville, Florida.

The author will discuss his career in the United States Navy and his fascinating family background – which inspired his stellar debut novel, Feeding the Enemy. Feeding the Enemy is based on the true story of an Italian family’s determination to survive in the face of evil during WWII. It is a story of perseverance, ingenuity and love. This book captures the spirit of survivability against all odds and provides the reader with an appreciation of what Europeans went through during the war to end all wars. The event will include a buffet style lunch and a raffle, with prizes related to military history. Continue reading

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Changes in store for former lumberyard property on S. 3rd Street

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm

Reporter – News Analyst

The Historic District Council (HDC) of the city of Fernandina Beach gave conceptual approval to a plan to add 22 townhouse dwellings with garages to property located at 117 S. 2nd Street, once home to Fernandina Lumber. The applicant must address a series of concerns raised by city staff, HDC members and the public before final approval can be granted, however.

Existing site of proposed townhouse development

Before granting conceptual approval to the design the HDC approved three associated variance requests for landscaping, buffer and accessory setbacks. Because the dwellings are being built on the underlying lots of record (25’x100’), the Asa Gillette, the applicant’s agent argued that the setbacks set out in code would significantly reduce an already small buildable area. The requirement to plant canopy trees in the long run would undermine the underground stormwater capture system required by code for the development. And the accessory setback was requested in order to align each garage with the dwelling it supported.

Units facing Beech Street include parking in main structure; units facing 2nd, 3rd Streets have separate garages behind the main buildings accessible via an alleyway accessed from 3rd Street.

After considerable discussion, the HDC agreed that the arguments in support of the variances allowed them to conclude that the cases were substantially compliant with the Land Development Code, the Downtown Historic District Guidelines, and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards to warrant approval. They were approved on a 5-0 vote. Continue reading

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Fernandina Beach Women’s “Sister March” – A Gallardo photo essay

Photos courtesy of Lea Gallardo
January 23, 2017 10:00 a.m.

Editor’s Note: We thank Lea Gallardo for photographing the Women’s “Sister March” in Fernandina Beach. Lea developed a love of photography at a very young age. Not until photography and computers “joined forces” did Lea become completely involved in photography. For the past 7 years, Lea has shared her talents with the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival. After 47 years in the Washington, D.C. area where Lea owned a group of stores, she became a full time resident of Fernandina.

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