Nassau County issues call for action – Urgent notice regarding Senate Bill 324

February 21, 2018 3:48 p.m.

Editor’s Note: Today, we received three phone calls and several emails from individuals who are requesting information from the Fernandina Observer on the controversy between the Nassau County Board of Commissioners and Raydient, a real estate subsidiary of Rayonier, Inc., regarding alleged promises made to the the BOCC prior to approving a development of 24,000 acres known as the East Nassau Community Planning Area (ENCPA). The County believes Raydient is trying to renege on its promise that “growth would pay for growth inside the development.” Raydient is now lobbying the state to support a bill that would allow them to break their promise and force county taxpayers to pay for development growth with in the ENCPA.

The Fernandina Observer has not reported on this disagreement, prior to posting the information provided below by the “Nassau County Insider.” Before we cover a story, we want to know the story. There is still work to do before we can begin to separate the wheat from the chaff. We will however, report on the outcome of a Senate Committee vote scheduled for tomorrow.

Thank you for your understanding and continued support.

This week, all five County Commissioners and various County staff are in Tallahassee meeting with Legislators in an effort to ensure that the cost of growth does not fall on the backs of taxpayers. There is proposed legislation which if passed, could cost the County millions of dollars… dollars which developers should have to pay in order to mitigate impacts on local government and provide public facilities needed to support their developments. The County is urging all citizens to contact their senators immediately to OPPOSE SENATE BILL 324 unless amendments are made to protect Nassau County!

Below are some key points you should know: Continue reading

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FBCC Proclamations and Board Appointments: February 20, 2018

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
February 21, 2018 1:00 p.m.


Take Stock in Children Month – March 2018

On behalf of the Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) Mayor John Miller proclaimed the month of March 2018 “Take Stock in Children Month.” Miller credited the program with providing unique educational opportunities to low income students to escape the cycle of poverty. Organization Chair Robert Henderson and Development Chair Dr. Dee Torre-Kaufman accepted the proclamation.

TSIC Chair Robert Henderson and TSIC Development Chair Dr. Dee Torre-Kaufman listen as Fernandina Beach Mayor John Miller reads proclamation.

During its 21 years of existence, Take Stock in Children of Nassau County, Inc. (TSIC) has delivered mentoring services and scholarships to more than 550 Nassau County students. Within eight area Nassau County schools, Take Stock in Children volunteers aggressively promote 100% high school graduation rates, offer invaluable scholastic guidance and expert college success preparation. Presently, the organization is mentoring 165 Nassau County students in pre- college and 140 Nassau County program participants are in college with tuition paid by Take Stock in Children of Nassau County, Inc. and matched by the Florida Prepaid Foundation Project Stars Foundation

In accepting the proclamation, Henderson encouraged commissioners and audience members to attend celebrations throughout March, 2018, with the annual “Light Up a Life Gala”, “Silent Auction” and live music at The Ritz-Carlton – Amelia Island on March 22, 2018. Torre-Kaufman asked for the community’s help in funding 10 currently unfunded scholarships.

For more information on the program, volunteer opportunities and ways to contribute, visit

Board Appointments

Commissioners appointed Benjamin Morrison to a 3-year term as Alternate Member #2 on the Historic District Council.

Appointment to fill Alternate Member #2 vacancy on the Board of Adjustments was postponed to the March 6, 2018 FBCC meeting.

Commissioners reappointed three serving members of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee. Board Member Trudie Richards will serve an additional one-year term ending February 2019; Board Member Eric Bartelt will serve an additional two-year term ending February, 2020; and Board Member Joy Behan will serve for an additional one-year term ending December 2018.

City Clerk Caroline Best is seeking applicants for two vacancies on the Code Enforcement and Appeals Board. For more information, call the Clerk’s Office (904) 310-3115 or visit the city’s website to download an application.

Editor’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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FBCC to City Manager: Enforce the code

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
February 21, 2018 – 1:01 p.m.

Whether it’s unleashed dogs on the beach or poorly tended dumpsters, the at their February 20, 2018 Regular Meeting the Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) was clear in its direction to the city manager: enforce the codes consistently and evenly around the city.

A call for a dog park on the beach

In light of a recent crackdown on unleashed dogs on city beaches, Kate Kilpatrick spoke during Public Comment at the February 20, 2018 FBCC Regular Meeting in hopes of encouraging commissioners to pursue the creation of a dog park on the city’s Atlantic Beach. She came armed with extensive research conducted around the state, with examples of two communities – Jupiter and DeSoto Beach—that have successfully implemented such parks. She addressed concerns relating to sea turtles and endangered migratory birds, citing actions that these two communities have taken to address such concerns.

Kate Kilpatrick

Kilpatrick suggested that volunteers might be enlisted to assure that dogs stay within the designated area, and that they might call in law enforcement for those dog owners who do not abide by the rules of the beach.

Vice Mayor Len Kreger, who spends several hours each day on city beaches, said, “It’s a disaster out there with the dogs. I’ve witnessed dogs digging sea turtle nests on this beach. It’s got to the point that I carry pepper spray with me. We don’t make the people who don’t comply with the [leash] law criminals; they make themselves criminals. People are terrified of dogs. We have a law and we have given the city direction to enforce that law. Sea turtles, endangered species, are protected in the state of Florida. Dogs do not have rights on these beaches. They are a hazard on these beaches as shown by recent attacks.”

There are signs all over the place,” Kreger said. “But people [with unleashed dogs] don’t care.”

Kilpatrick parried concerns of the various commissioners with information Continue reading

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Amelia Community Theatre to hold dinners and show in support of local teens

Amelia Community Theatre
Press Release
Submitted by Linda McClane
February 21, 2018 10:00 a.m.

Amelia Community Theatre’s teen troupe, ACTeen, presents “Monologues and Melodies: NY or Bust!” on the main stage on Saturday, February 24. It’s an event that will put the “fun” in fundraising, as the teens put on a show to raise money for their summer theatre trip to New York.

The evening kicks off with a reception in the theatre lobby from 6 – 7 p.m., featuring New York themed food, such as pizza, hot dogs, and cheesecake. The Continue reading

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Friends of Fort Clinch Membership Drive

Friends of Fort Clinch
Submitted by Don Hughes
February 21, 2018 7:59 a.m.

The Friends of Ft. Clinch 2018 Board members include, (from left-right) Ronald “RJ” Jones, Sandra Baker-Hinton, Don Hughes-President, Julian Sauer-Treasurer, Jim McCannell, Vice-President, Nancy Fishburn-Secretary, Caleb Wilson, Stan Fishburn and Amy Wade.

The Friends of Ft. Clinch, Inc., currently conducting a membership drive, is a 501C(3) non-profit member organization that supports and financially assists the Park to enhance events, activities and projects. Membership levels include Individual ($20), Family ($35) and Lifetime ($200). Individual and Family memberships are entitled to 12 Park admissions, for a one year period, while Lifetime member admissions are unlimited. There is a separate admission fee to enter the fort.

Membership information and applications are available at the Park Ranger Station or by contacting Sandra Baker-Hinton, Membership Chair, at or at 557-1195.


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2017-2018 Florida Forum Series welcomes Caroline Kennedy on March 5

Women’s Board of Wolfson Children’s Hospital
February 20, 2018

The Florida Forum Speaker Series, produced by The Women’s Board of Wolfson Children’s Hospital, will welcome Caroline Kennedy on Monday, March 5, 2018. The program will begin at 7 p.m. at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts.

Caroline Kennedy

 Kennedy, who served three years as the U.S. ambassador to Japan, is the daughter of former President John F. Kennedy and following her family’s legacy. A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia Law School, Caroline Kennedy has helped raise $280 million and engage a record number of volunteers for public school reform in New York City. Kennedy has co-authored two books on civil liberties and edited bestsellers about history, politics and poetry.

Tickets for Caroline Kennedy’s appearance at the Florida Forum Speaker Series are available for purchase. Tickets start at $83 each for general seating. Preferred and reserved seating options also are available. Patrons under age 30 may purchase Young Subscriber tickets for $50 each.

Funds raised from The Florida Forum benefit Wolfson Children’s Hospital. The series is presented by Wells Fargo, Florida Blue and Landstar, and many valued supporters of The Women’s Board.  For more information and to purchase tickets, go to The Women’s Board website at

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Major Florida energy firm selects Nassau County’s Wildlight for corporate headquarters

Submitted by Laura DiBella, Executive Director
Nassau County Economic Development Board
February 20, 2018


The emerging Wildlight community announced a second company will build its headquarters in the Nassau County development.

Raydient Places + Properties, a subsidiary of Rayonier Inc. and the developer of Wildlight, announced that Florida Public Utilities will build an 18,000-square-foot building next to Rayonier’s 55,000-square-foot headquarters. Rayonier’s headquarters was built last year.

“Wildlight’s strategic location within our Florida service territory and commitment to sustainable growth and infrastructure make relocating to this community a natural fit,” Jeff Householder, president of Florida Public Utilities, said in a news release. “We believe this move is a smart decision for our Company, our employees and our customers.”

FPU provides natural gas, electricity and propane gas services to residential, commercial and industrial markets throughout Florida. It has 315 employees spread across 39 Florida counties.

The FPU headquarters will incorporate Wildlight’s “Florida Lowcountry architectural style, while complementing the area’s natural landscape,” according to the news release.

Continue reading

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Amelia Island Welcomes Classic Car Enthusiasts for 22rd Annual Concours d’Elegance and Concours Week – March 8-11

Amelia Island Convention Visitors Bureau
February 20, 2018


For classic car enthusiasts, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance (March 8-11) is springtime’s signature automotive event. Two-time winner of the prestigious International Historic Motoring Awards, “The Amelia” features more than 300 rare vehicles from seldom-seen private collections around the world at The Golf Club of Amelia Island and The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. Now in its third decade, it has become the centerpiece of an island-wide celebration known as Amelia Concours Week. A complete schedule of Concours Week events, activities and special offers from many of the island’s award-winning hotels, resorts and inns can be found at

The 2018 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance will honor two-time Formula One World Championship and Indianapolis 500 winner, Emerson Fittipaldi, and celebrate the Jaguar E-Type and Porsche Carrera, along with Cars of Martini Racing, Ferrari Daytona’s 50th Anniversary class, pioneers of electric cars, and more. In addition, the four-day event includes a thrilling assortment of live and silent auctions, ride and drive experiences, road tours,seminars, luxury car displays, automobilia vendors, and gala dinners and cocktail receptions.

Other signature Concours Week events include high performance, high speed driving exercises with Le Mans and Daytona 500 winner Hurley Haywood at the Porsche Driving Experience, as well as auctions by Bonhams (March 8), Gooding & Company (March 8-9), and Motostalgia (March 10), showcasing a curated lineup of cars that always invites spirited bidding in a setting of southern elegance.

The Festivals of Speed (March 10) is a luxury lifestyle cocktail reception featuring an array of exotic, classic, and muscle vehicles of all makes and models, and offers the opportunity to view some of the world’s most exotic supercars, custom motorcycles, watercraft, and other extraordinary vehicles.

The Porsche Club of America (PCA) welcomes all Porsche clubs, owners and enthusiasts to the second annual Werks Reunion at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation (March 9), an event focused on camaraderie rather than competition. An impressive array of Porsches will be on display at this free-to-spectators event, from rare classics to current models and everything in between. Owners can choose to display their cherished car in model-specific Porsche Corrals or enter the Porsche Judged Field and compete to win in more than 20 prize categories.

For more information, visit, or to plan your Amelia Island vacation, visit Continue reading

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Pending legislation undermines local government control – Wetlands, Impact Fees

1000 Friends of Florida
Legislative Update
February 20, 2018 6:21 a.m.

As the Florida Legislature enters the seventh week of the 2018 session, misleading affordable housing legislation is moving forward. Please contact key legislators listed below to express opposition.

Despite many calls, SB 1402 dealing with delegating federal Section 404 wetland permitting to the State of Florida passed the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources last week and is moving forward. 1000 Friends continues to monitor this issue and will let you know when more calls and emails are needed.

1000 Friends opposes “Affordable Housing” bills to restrict funding to offset development impacts

House Bill 987 and Senate Bill 1328 are titled “Affordable Housing” but are poised to undermine local government programs to fund the infrastructure investments that accommodate new development.

Specifically, beginning July 1, 2018, and ending June 30, 2023, SB 1328 would Continue reading

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