Fernandina Branch Library presents “Technology for Beginners”

Press Release
Submitted by Mary Pitcher

September 26, 2016 1:00 p.m.

technology-overload2Do you find some of today’s technology challenging? Friends of the Library is offering FREE workshops to assist people who want to learn more about technology and how to use it. The classes will be led by Virginia Mealing, an educational consultant and technology specialist.

Classes will meet on Wednesdays during the month of October at the Fernandina Beach Library, 24 North 4th Street. All classes are scheduled from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. and Continue reading

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Surf’s Up at Little Talbot Island State Park

Submitted by Karen Thompson
Features Reporter

September 26, 2016 10:45 a.m.

surfer-1-man-in-waveSurf’s Up…..at Little Talbot Island State Park this weekend as Tropical Storm Karl moves through the area. While on a long walk Saturday morning, with the Walkin’ Nassau group, we came upon hundreds of surfers from as far away as Tallahassee and Gainesville, catching the bitchin’ surfing conditions at Little Talbot. The surfers included dudes and wahines, entire families, young and old, experienced and not so experienced.

Evidently there are several Web sites that give up-to-the-minute reports on the conditions at surfing spots nationally including local swell, period, wind and pressure charts. And word spreads fast.

A wahine (young female surfer) catches a wave.

According to North Florida Surfing, North Florida has a wealth of surfing opportunities. It has a reputation for consistent surf and white sand. Swell from the northeast to southeast break from August through April, with the biggest coming during hurricane season, or from a strong low-pressure system sending in long-period swell from the northeast. Little Talbot gets a 7 out of ten rating for a Florida wave which is one of the best.

One guy I talked to, a meteorologist said he has been coming to Little Talbot from Jacksonville Beach for years. His secret surfing spot is marked by a palm tree that is taller than all the others and because of the topography at that spot in the Atlantic Ocean, the “breaking waves are epic.”

surfers-doubleMany of the surfers drive to the park then ride their bikes to their favorite spot. I saw bikes equipped with surfboard racks. There is more than 5 miles of beachfront on Little Talbot Island and the entire island is state park land.

I talked to another surfer from Jacksonville Beach who said he has been coming to Little Talbot for years because of its unpopulated and peaceful beaches and excellent surfing conditions. He said today he sees too many people and regrets that it has become so popular.

Karen Thompson 2Editor’s Note: Karen moved to Fernandina Beach five years ago after working in Chicago as a senior public relations specialist for the Midwestern regional office of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. Prior to that, she was an editor, columnist and writer for a chain of Chicago newspapers , an account executive for several Chicago public relations agencies and proprietor of her own pr/marketing business. She grew up and earned her journalism degree in Wisconsin.

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Storytellers vie for champion in Fernandina Beach Branch Library Fundraiser

Submitted by Mary Pitcher
September 26, 2016 11:30 a.m.

fol-storytelling-slam-cropYou’ll giggle, laugh and maybe even cry when six area storytellers compete for the coveted title of Island Tales Story Champion on September 30 at Burns Hall, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in downtown Fernandina Beach.

This year’s theme “I Was So Embarrassed!” promises to be a rousing, hilarious storytelling event. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres and libations first, then sit back and be regaled by some of the area’s finest storytellers.

The reception begins at 5:30 p.m. with island-themed delights sponsored by Lulu’s Restaurant and a cash bar. The storytellers take the stage at 7:00 pm to entertain you and Continue reading

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Checks, balances and Tom Paine

Submitted by Adam Kaufman
Legal Analyst

September 26, 2016 1:00 a.m.

Adam Kaufman A Stephan Leimberg Photograph

Our form of constitutional government relies on a system of checks and balances, with three co-equal branches, executive, legislative and judicial, operating independently but each having the ability to limit the other two.

In the upcoming election for Fernandina Beach City Commissioner actual checks and balances have roiled the waters in the campaign for Commissioner between Mayor Johnny Miller and former Commissioner Eric Childers. The dispute is about actions of the City Clerk, a Florida statute, as amended in 2011 that by its terms may have disqualified Miller and a Florida Supreme Court decision in September 2016 that may be the vehicle for Miller to remain on the ballot.

As reported in the News-Leader, Miller, together with filing the paper work to qualify as a candidate provided a $120 check drawn on his campaign account to City Clerk Caroline Best on August 3, 2016. The qualifying period for candidates ended Friday, August 5, 2016. Two weeks later, Best was notified by the City’s Finance Department that the check had been returned unpaid purportedly because a monthly maintenance fee had been charged against the account and Continue reading

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FSCJ Hosts International Observe the Moon Night Event

fscj-logoFSCJ Media Release
September 25, 2016 5:30 p.m.



Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) invites members of the public to participate in NASA’s International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN). FSCJ will join locations all over the globe in this annual worldwide public engagement program that encourages observation, appreciation and understanding of our moon and its connection to NASA planetary science and exploration.

Attendees will be able to observe the moon using telescopes that will be set up in parking Lot 1 at FSCJ North Campus. Lights in this area will be turned off for an unobstructed viewing experience. Additionally, FSCJ Professor of Astronomy Dr. Mike Reynolds will host Moon Talks every 30 minutes.

Everyone is encouraged to attend this free event.

WHEN: Saturday, October 8, 2016, 7:30 – 9:30 p.m., weather permitting

WHERE: Florida State College at Jacksonville- North Campus Parking Lot 1
4501 Capper Road, Jacksonville, FL 32218

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Protect your organization from directory scams

imagesFederal Trade Commission Scam Alert

by Aditi Jhaveri
Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

September 25, 2016 4:46 p.m.

If you work for a business or a non-profit, you probably get lots of messages and mail about directory listings and upcoming trade shows. Just make sure you weed out for scams as you sift through these items. Here’s why.

The FTC says a company, Fair Guide, tricked businesses and non-profits into paying millions of dollars for listings in an online directory — something these organizations never ordered nor wanted. The FTC recently announced a settlement with former and current CEOs of Fair Guide and put a stop to these deceptive practices.

How did the scam work? Scammers mailed letters to organizations, asking them to update their contact information for a trade show or exhibition they attended or planned to attend. All they needed was someone to update the form, sign it, and send it back. Most folks didn’t notice the fine print buried at the bottom of the form, saying they agreed to pay $1,717 every year to list online with Fair Guide — which, by the way, has no connection to any trade show.

So how can you protect your business or organization from scams like this? Continue reading

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Amelia Island revealed . . .

Submitted by Lea Gallardo
September 25, 2016 1:00 a.m.

“Scattered Light” Photo courtesy of Lea Gallardo

Editor’s Note: Lea Gallardo 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.

Photographers can submitted their photos to susan@fernandinaobserver.com Fernandina Observer Incorporated is committed to protecting the copyright and intellectual property of others. Content provided to Fernandina Observer must be content that does not violate copyright or intellectual property of others.

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Amelia Island DAR contributes to Navy Seals

Amelia Island Chapter
National Society Daughters of the American Revolution
Lucinda Jo Glenn, Regent

September 24, 2016 1:30 p.m.


Larry Byrd (R), president of the Amelia Island Charity Group, and treasurer Joe Murphy (L) accept a check from Cindy Glenn, Regent of the Amelia Island Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution. Amelia Island Charity Group serves as an ambassador for the Navy SEAL Foundation, which provides support and services to members of the Special Warfare Community and their families. Amelia Island Chapter DAR provides over 5,000 volunteer hours in the community each year, as well as $4,000 in scholarships and awards.

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Beach safety program pays off in Fernandina Beach

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
September 23, 2016 8:18 p.m.

2016 Fernandina Beach Lifeguards
2016 Fernandina Beach Lifeguards
Fire Chief Ty Silcox delivers 2016 Beach Safety Report to FBCC as city clerk Caroline Best records meeting.
Fire Chief Ty Silcox delivers 2016 Beach Safety Report to FBCC as city clerk Caroline Best records meeting.

Fernandina Beach Fire Chief Ty Silcox provided the Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) with welcome news during his 2016 season summary relating to beach safety: there were no drownings on island beaches, despite a season with significant rip tide issues and a healthy increase in beach population.

During his slide presentation to the FBCC at their September 20, 2016 Regular Meeting Silcox reported that the city’s 49 USLA-trained lifeguards had covered 13 towers along 12 miles of island coastline. By agreement with Nassau County, the city provides lifeguards to both city and county beaches on Amelia Island.


Continue reading

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Weekly comments from Dale Martin

Dale Martin
City Manager
Fernandina Beach

September 23, 2016 1:00 a.m.

Dale Martin City Manager

The budget process to prepare for the start of the next fiscal year (October 1) has been remarkably quiet when compared to the last four municipal budgets that I helped develop. Those budgets were for my former community of Winchester, Connecticut. That town had approximately the same population of Fernandina Beach, but it was significantly larger area-wise (about thirty-two square miles, most of it rural in nature).

The dedicated General Fund expenditures were similar, with each community appropriating roughly $15,000,000. The General Fund budget for Winchester actually indicates expenditures of $35,000,000, but $20,000,000 of the General Fund was a “pass-through” appropriation to the local Board of Education- the town had no spending authority with regard to that sizeable sum.

Several notable differences contributed to the more contentious budget process in Winchester. For my four budgets in Connecticut, I actually worked with four different Finance Directors: Henry Centrella (2012; subsequently convicted of embezzling millions of dollars from the town); Jane Wall (2013; a short-term interim following the termination of Mr. Centrella); Robin Manuele (2014; lost to the longer-term repercussions of Mr. Centrella); and Bruce Stratford (2015; still a remarkable Winchester survivor!). Without that amount of turnover, it was obviously a continuity challenge.

Other differences were the brutal partisan political climate. Selectmen (as City Commissioners were referred to) were elected based upon party nominations. Although it was possible to run as an independent candidate, success as an independent was pretty Continue reading

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