Amelia Island revealed . . .

By Bill Birdsong
January 19, 2019 11:00 p.m.


“Preening:  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 during his retirement years. We thank Bill for his contribution to the Fernandina Observer.

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Birds, Butterflies, and Blooms – Plantation Artists’ Guild

Plantation Artists’ Guild
Press Release
Submitted by Brenda Price
January 19, 2019 4:00 p.m.

“Birds, Butterflies, and Blooms,” is the new show on display starting January 25 at the Plantation Artists’ Guild and Gallery located in the Spa and Shops at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation .

Come join us as we celebrate this new show at our reception on Friday evening February 1, from 5:30 to 7:30 with light refreshments and conversation.

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United Way, partners celebrate Dr. King’s legacy through MLK Week of Service

United Way of Northeast Florida
Press Release
CONTACT: Sarah Henderson
Director of Marketing and Communications
Office: 904-390-3226; Cell: 904-300-8366
January 19, 2019 10:00 a.m.

Activities include service projects and several special events

Join hundreds across our community for MLK Week of Service, honoring and celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Activities include a variety of neighborhood-based volunteer projects; a thought-provoking event about race and equity; networking events; and special exhibits.

MLK Week of Service brings local residents of all backgrounds together to highlight the power of community service and ignite important cultural conversations that break down barriers to change and move our community forward.
WHO: United Way of Northeast Florida, 904WARD, Dreamweek Jax, the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, more than 20 local nonprofit organizations, and hundreds of community volunteers and members.

Service Projects | Jan. 19-26 | Various locations
Sign up:

Groups and individuals can sign up to participate in more than 25 service projects Continue reading

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Nassau County Road & Lane Closures: January 19-25, 2019

January 18, 2019 5:15 p.m.

Daytime lane closures from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Tuesday southbound near the Nassau County line and Georgia State line for Gateway sign and guardrail construction.

I-95 from Florida State Line to Georgia exit 22 (Horsestamp Church Road)
Daytime lane closures for GDOT resurfacing project.

State Road A1A from Mickler Street to U.S. 301 and U.S. 301 from Kings Road to Wing Park Road (Callahan)
Daytime road closures Monday from noon to 1 p.m. for the Callahan Martin Luther King Jr. Parade. Law Enforcement will assist with traffic flow.

State Road A1A from St. Peter Boulevard to Meadowfield Bluffs Road
Nighttime lane closure Friday from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. for road work and beam installation.

U.S. 1 from Alligator Creek to the curb and gutter section (Hilliard)
Daytime lane closures from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. for road work.

U.S. 17 at St. Mary’s River
Daytime lane closures with flaggers Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for routine bridge maintenance.

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Timucuan Parks Foundation needs volunteers for Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service – Jan 21

Timucuan Park Foundation
Press Release
January 18, 2019 5:00 p.m.

MLK Day of Service Volunteer Project is Jan. 21 at Hanna Park

Timucuan Parks Foundation is hosting the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service volunteer project on Monday, Jan. 21 at Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park. The nonprofit organization is asking for volunteers to join them from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. to help with invasive plant removal, trail maintenance and shore cleanup. Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park is located at 500 Wonderwood Dr.

Volunteers are asked to identify themselves as volunteers to park staff at the front gate and meet at 9 a.m. at the front parking lot. They should wear closed-toe shoes and clothes that they don’t mind getting dirty. They are asked to bring work gloves (if they have them), sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat, sunglasses and water (in a reusable water bottle). Timucuan Parks Foundation will have additional work gloves, equipment and supplies and will also provide snacks and water.

Volunteers of all ages are welcome. Those under 18 must have a waiver signed by a parent or guardian. Children under 16 must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or youth leader during the project. Volunteers are eligible for community service hours. To receive a waiver or for more information, contact Timucuan Parks Foundation at Continue reading

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FBCC considers added changes to city’s Auxiliary Dwelling Unit code

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
January 18, 2019 12:39 p.m.

A California ADU above a garage

At their January 15, 2019 Regular Meeting, the Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) once again considered an amendment to City Code which would address requirements for accessory dwelling units.  This was second reading of Ordinance 2018-40, which the FBCC first approved at its Regular Meeting on October 16, 2018. 

On second reading, some changes were proposed.  A second dwelling unit, often referred to as a “Granny Flat” or “In-laws Apartment” would only be allowed for homesteaded properties.  Commissioner Chip Ross indicated his opposition to allowing for such use in areas zoned C-3 (Central Business District) and I-W (Industrial Waterfront).  Most Commissioners also seemed sympathetic to expanding the scope of the proposal to include Old Town residential properties. 

Commissioner Phil Chapman continued his opposition to the ordinance, expressing concerns that it would adversely impact neighborhood character and result in increased stormwater problems and more removal of the city’s tree canopy.

Commissioner Ross indicated that auxiliary buildings are currently allowed under the code.  The only change would be that homesteaded property owners would be allowed to rent these units, which could contain working kitchens.  Commissioners discussed the fact that many such units exist already, some of which have been rented out in violation of existing code.

Most commissioners appeared sympathetic to requests from Old Town residents that their properties be included in the ordinance change.  However, because the inclusion of Old Town had not been part of the original proposal, commissioners on a 4-1 vote (Chapman dissenting) approved the proposed ordinance with the proviso that it be considered by the Planning and Advisory Board and the Historic District Council before returning to the FBCC for a third reading later this spring. Continue reading

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FSCJ to Host Give Kids a Smile Day Community Wellness Event February 2

Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) welcomes the community to participate in the Give Kids a Smile Day Community Wellness Event. Over the course of the day, free dental services will be provided for kids while general wellness education and health screenings will be available to attendees of all ages.

Dental services for kids ages 3 to 18 will include free fillings, cleanings and extractions. Prescreenings are highly recommended in order to reserve an appointment time during the Saturday event and will be available on Thursday, January 31 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the FSCJ North Campus dental clinic. For more information, please contact the Jacksonville Dental Society at [email protected] or call (904) 513-8234.

Expanding on the dental offerings primarily offered at previous Give Kids a Smile Days, this year invites all community members to take part in free school and athletic physicals, blood glucose testing, physical therapy assessments, manicures and massages. FSCJ’s nursing department will also provide free screenings for blood pressure, body mass index (BMI) and head lice, along with valuable health education. Representatives with Florida KidCare will be available to help families enroll in the low-cost health insurance program for children. Additionally, CarFit will be in attendance to help older adults find their safest positioning within their own vehicle.

Fun activities for kids will include an obstacle course, Nerf golf, basketball contest, as well as baseball and softball pitching lessons.

Vendors include Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute (JOI), Vision is Priceless, Area Health Education Center, St. Vincent’s Mobile Health, YMCA (Dunn Avenue), Florida Healthy Kids, Florida KidCare, DaVita Kidney Care and Kidney Smart, and THE PLAYERS Center for Child Health at Wolfson Children’s Hospital.

Dental prescreenings for kids ages 3-18 will be on Thursday, January 31, 2019, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the FSCJ North Campus dental clinic, 4501 Capper Road,
Jacksonville, FL 32218.


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FBCC recognizes local educator for achievement

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
January 18, 2019 11:08 a.m.

At their January 15, 2019 Regular Meeting, the Fernandina Beach City Commission recognized Jennifer Albert as the 2018/2019 Milken Educator Award recipient of the year for dedication and commitment to excellence in teaching the youth of Fernandina Beach.  Albert, who teaches 5th Grade science and math at Emma Love Hardee Elementary School, was one of only 40 teachers nationwide to be awarded this honor, along with a $25,000 check.  Milken awards are sometimes called the “Oscars of Teaching.”

Milken Award recipient Jennifer Albert listens as Mayor John Miller reads the city Proclamation recognizing her achievement.

On behalf of the FBCC, Mayor John Miller read the Proclamation, which he then signed and delivered to Albert.  He noted that she was the only educator in Florida to receive this award this year.  He lauded Albert’s commitment to sharing her skills and techniques with other teachers at her school.  The audience at City Hall gave Albert a standing ovation.

In accepting the Proclamation, Albert expressed her appreciation for the honor of the award and the city’s recognition.  

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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