To dredge or not to dredge? to be continued …

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
March 28, 2017 1:00 a.m.

During the March 21, 2017 Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) meeting, Commissioner Roy Smith asked commissioners to discuss their positions on increasing the scope of the upcoming dredging activity at the City Marina.

Vice Mayor Len Kreger asked how much the broadened scope would cost, but no proponent of the project had any hard figures to offer. Commissioner Tim Poynter asked why, if the city had just purchased property with the intent of moving the marina north into deeper water, the city would be paying to deepen the south basin of the existing marina.

The ensuing hour-long discussion did not answer either Kreger’s or Poynter’s questions, although a presentation from Rob Semmes of Applied Technology and Management, Inc. (ATM) attempted to add some clarity to the discussion.

It was the consensus of the commission to seek bids for increasing the upcoming, budgeted dredging bid as an additive alternative. Should the cost prove too high, the additional dredging would not be approved without further FBCC consideration.

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New Nassau County Sheriff’s Office Building officially opened

Submitted by Gerry Clare

Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper speaks at the ribbon cutting for the Sheriff’s Office Facilities.

Roving Reporter
March 27, 2017 7:59 p.m.

The ribbon cutting for the new Nassau Sheriff’s Office Building brought many county and city officials out Monday afternoon at 4 pm.

Nassau County Board of Commission Chairman Danny Leeper opened the ceremony and thanked the many who helped accomplish the new project.

Sheriff Bill Leeper continued with his remarks, noting that the building came in “under the $10 million budget, but is not finished. ”

A tour and refreshments followed.

Nassau County Board Chair, Danny Leeper speaks at the ribbon cutting.

Gerry Clare.jpg 2Editor’s Note: Gerry began free lance writing for fun and is the author of a published book (available on Amazon and at Books Plus) about funny real estate experiences. Gerry is a longtime member of our local American Business Women’s Chapter, a volunteer cancer driver and church deacon who loves to read, travel and meet interesting people.

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FDOT- ‘Construction Career Days’ for high school students

FDOT Media Release
March 27, 2017 5:03 p.m.

Florida Department of Transportation and industry partners are hosting the Construction Career Days event for high school students Tuesday (March 28) through Thursday (March 30) this week at the Equestrian Center, 13611 Normandy Boulevard in Jacksonville.

How do you get high school students interested in a career in the road and bridge construction industry? Give them a chance to experience the different types of jobs available by letting them have hands-on learning experiences and a chance for $1,000 scholarships to either college or vocational school.

Florida Construction Career Days has scheduled more than 2,000 juniors and seniors from 44 schools in 11 different counties to attend.

Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Transportation Builders’ Association and the Federal Highway Administration combine to sponsor the event. More than 100 companies in the transportation builders industry volunteer their employees to conduct learning labs that include the operation of equipment as part of a full day of curriculum.

Industry partners including construction contractors, engineering firms, equipment vendors, state and local agencies, colleges and military organizations provide a diverse range of subjects for the students to experience. The various education labs include bridge repair, GPS surveying, geotechnical exploration, asphalt and concrete testing, pole climbing and Intelligent Transportation Systems.

A career center teaches students how to prepare and practice for job interviews. Outside, students can operate heavy equipment such as excavators and backhoes in games of skill.

Additional information is available at the Northeast Florida Construction Career Days website at

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Mark your calendars for upcoming programs at the Museum

Submitted by Gray Edenfield
Amelia Island Museum of History
March 27, 2017 1:00 p.m.


April 3rd at 7:30 pm – General Duncan Lamont Clinch Historical Society Meeting Featuring F. Gary Powers Jr.

The General Duncan Lamont Clinch Historical Society has partnered with the Amelia Island Museum of History to offer a special presentation on Monday, April 3rd, at 7:30 at the Museum. (Note: This is a special meeting date for this meeting only.)

F. Gary Powers, Jr. in his office.

Special guest Francis Gary Powers Jr – son of U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers, who was shot down while flying over Russia and captured by the Soviets – will discuss the Cold War, his father’s mission, his time in captivity, and the challenges he faced at home and abroad. In May of 1960, the American U-2 spy plane “Dragon Lady” was shot down while flying an aerial reconnaissance mission over the Soviet Union. Its pilot, Francis Gary Powers, was taken into Soviet custody and charged with espionage. Kept prisoner in Moscow for 21 months, Powers was exchanged for a KGB prisoner held by the FBI in February of 1960. Powers kept a journal detailing his experiences, and was posthumously awarded the Silver Star Medal for his loyalty to the United States. This program is free for members of the Historical Society and Amelia Island Museum members. A donation of $5 is suggested for others. Seating is limited, and is first-come/first-served (no reservations). For more information contact or Gray at the Museum at 904-261-7378 ext 102.

Francis Gary Powers Jr. is the son of Francis Gary and Claudia “Sue” Powers. Gary holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy from California State University, Los Angeles, and a Master Degree in Public Administration / Certification in Non-profit Management from Continue reading

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Youth in Child Welfare System Score Win as Senator Bean’s SB 60 Passes Florida Senate

Florida Senator Aaron Bean

Media Release from Office of Senator Aaron Bean
March 27, 2017 11:00 a.m.


Senate Bill 60, Children Obtaining Driver Licenses, by Senator Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville), passed unanimously in the Florida Senate today. The bill is a substantial win for youth in Florida’s child welfare system. It makes permanent a pilot program helping foster teens obtain driver’s licenses. The program, known as “Keys to Independence,” assists youth that have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect with getting a learner’s permit or driver’s license. Additionally, the program offers financial assistance to teens and helps them find driver education courses and insurance.

“This legislation is absolutely necessary and will empower youth to succeed as adults,” said Senator Bean. “We heard so much great testimony from foster youth who are pursuing their education, trying to find jobs, or starting a life for themselves, often while leaving abusive or neglectful circumstances behind them. As the people responsible for Continue reading

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How loud is too loud?

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
March 26,2017 1:00 a.m.


How much noise is too much noise? What type of noise? At what time of day? Constant or intermittent? Longfellow claimed that music was the universal language of mankind. But odds are he did not write that at 3 a.m. as one neighbor played amplified guitar against his wall to the accompaniment of a fellow musician on drums. One man’s music is another man’s noise. And that is one of the reasons why cities adopt noise ordinances.

It appears that the Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) is preparing to reexamine the noise ordinance adopted in 2009 in light of complaints from Amy Petroy, owner of the Patio Place, that the existing ordinance is neither clear nor uniformly enforced. Further, she asserts that it interferes with her ability to earn a living because it would seem to work against her plan to feature bands on some regular basis that play amplified music.

At least two neighbors have taken strong exception to Petroy’s plans, telling city commissioners that her bands interfere with their quiet enjoyment of their homes, which they have lived in for many years prior to the opening of the Patio Place.

Some commissioners indicated that they wanted to hear from more citizens and businesses on problems with the current noise ordinance. It appears that the FBCC will continue discussion of whether to revisit the city’s noise ordinance at their April 4 meeting.

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Amelia Island State Park to host free fishing clinic for kids

Media Release
Contact: Brandon Volbrecht
(904) 277-7226
Allison Conboy (904) 251-2320
March 26, 2017 1:00 p.m.

Event provides an opportunity for children to learn about Florida’s marine ecosystems and practice basic angling skills-

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Amelia Island & George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier State Parks is partnering with Fish Florida, The Friends of Fort Clinch, Inc., The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, and local businesses to conduct a Kids’ Fishing Clinic on Saturday, May 13, 2017 to teach lessons on knot tying, fishing ethics, tackle, habitat, casting and more.

The clinic is open to children ages 5-15 and will be held on the George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier at Amelia Island State Park. Park Entrance Fees are waived for all participants attending the event. The first 200 kids will take home their own rod and reel combo provided by Fish Florida through their sailfish license plate funding. A free hot dog lunch will be provided to every participant. Bring your family to enjoy a fun day of saltwater fishing.

Online pre-registration is required:

The event will take place:

9 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 13, 2017
Amelia Island State Park
State Road A1A North
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034

The Florida Park Service is dedicated to providing programs that are accessible to all. Persons with special needs which may limit participation or enjoyment of any program should advise the park in advance so assistance with reasonable accommodations can be provided.

For Essential Eligibility Criteria to participate in these programs visit or call the Talbot Islands Ranger Station at (904) 251-2320 or visit our website at .

For additional information on any of these programs, contact the Talbot Islands Ranger Station at (904) 251-2320. For more information about Florida State Parks, visit



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Amelia Island revealed . . .

Submitted by Gale Jameyson
March 26, 2017 1:00 a.m.

Amelia Island Vintage Gran Prix Photo courtesy of Gale Jameyson

Editor’s Note: Gale Jameyson was on the scene for the 2017 Amelia Island Vintage Gran Prix held March 16 – 19 at the Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport. Although this photo appears to show the plane dangerously close to the race course, Gale assured me it is the camera that gives that impression.

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Residential structure fire – 226 N 8th Street

Press Release
City of Fernandina Beach
Fire Department

March 25, 2017 1:08 p.m.

On Friday, March 24, 2017 at approx. 6:45pm, the Fernandina Beach Fire Department responded to a residential structure fire at 226 N 8th Street. The initial report from Nassau County Dispatch stated there were flames coming from one of the bedrooms and that all occupants were out of the residence.

At approx. 6:54pm, units arrived on scene and observed smoke coming from the single family residence. As firefighters entered the building with hose lines, the fire was located and within 14 minutes the flames were extinguished. The fire was contained to the area of origin, with heat and smoke damage to the hallway and the rest of the home. With assistance provided by Nassau County Fire Rescue, it took Firefighters approximately sixty minutes to complete overhaul and extinguish all hot spots.

Fire damage to the structure was primarily kept to the area of origin with a total loss estimate of several thousand dollars. After investigation the cause was determined to be accidental and no civilian or firefighter injuries were reported as a result of this fire.

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Local Public Health Celebrates Opening of Third Dental Operatory at Hilliard Clinic

Florida Department of Health – Nassau
Contact: Ronnie Nessler

March 25, 2017 1:00 p.m.

As part of National Public Health Week, April 3-7, 2017, Florida Department of Health in Nassau is celebrating the completion of a third dental operatory at the Hilliard Dental Clinic, 37203 Pecan Street, Hilliard, FL 32046. The operatory was completed through a generous donation of equipment and installation and site renovation by County Maintenance.

The public health dental program serves primarily children and at-risk adults covered under Medicaid or special grants. The main clinic, located at the Yulee Full Service School, was established in 1996. The program expanded to establish the Hilliard dental clinic with two operatories in 2007. By opening a third operatory, the dental team, composed of a dentist, dental hygienist or dental assistance and support clerk, are able to serve more patients on the days they provide services in Hilliard (Mondays & Wednesdays). Additionally, through the use of telehealth technology, a dental hygienist can provide treatment in Hilliard and consult as needed with the dentist who is working at the Yulee site.
Annually, both dental clinics combine serve approximately 2000 unduplicated clients.

According to Dr. Eugenia Ngo-Seidel, County Health Department Director, “increasing access to oral health services is an important goal to improve individual and community health”. There is a shortage of dentists in our community, especially in western Nassau. There is less water fluoridation, either naturally occurring or added to municipal water supply in Nassau’s rural communities, which can increase the risk of childhood dental caries. Other preventive strategies in place to improve children’s dental health include the fluoride swish program at Callahan Elementary and school based sealants provided by the Health Department in high-risk areas. More information about the Health Department’s dental programs is available at or by calling 904.530.6800

The public is invited to the ribbon cutting for the new dental operatory on Friday, April 7th at 3 pm. Other public health programs including School Health and WIC (Women’s, Infants & Children) will also be showcasing their programs during an Open House from 2-4 pm immediately prior to and after the ceremony.

About the Florida Department of Health
The department works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.
Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit

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