HDC, neighbors ponder the future of Mag-Mag

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
April 22, 2019 9:11 p.m.

Mag-Mag as it looks today at the back of St. Michael’s Parking lot on N. 5th Street

American Beach has Na-Na, the giant sand dune named by the late Beach Lady MaVynee Betsch.  The North Side Historic District now has Mag-Mag, a magnificent magnolia tree named by North 6th Street homeowners Carol and Mike Hays.  Mag-Mag lives and thrives on St. Michael’s property on North 5th Street in Fernandina Beach.

Planted in the 1960’s, Mag-Mag has grown to a diameter of 38 inches with a canopy spread of 55 feet, providing welcome shade to its North 6th Street neighbors.

But as plans for expanding the North 5th Street campus of St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church and Parish have progressed, neighbors have expressed concerns that Mag-Mag might become a casualty in the church’s quest to provide needed parking for its Continue reading

2 Comments | Posted in General |

Trash complaints continue

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
April 22, 2019 5:53 a.m.

Over recent weeks Fernandina Beach residents have been noticing a marked decline in the quality of trash removal that they receive from Advanced Disposal, the city’s trash hauler.  City Maintenance Manager Jeremiah Glisson has met with company officials on performance issues and stated the city’s desire for immediate improvement.  Glisson reports many complaints from the community in March on:

  • Frequently missed streets and missed pick ups for garbage, recycling, bulk and yard debris;
  • Unreasonable telephone hold times, sometimes over an hour;
  • Inconsistency in the bulk route, part of the new contract;
  • A social media presence that does not appear to be regularly updated to explain problems the hauler might be experiencing.

These service problems have resulted in more work for city staff, who need to handle problems when the contractor appears unresponsive.

During the April 16, 2019 Fernandina Beach City Commission meeting, it was revealed that Advanced Disposal was recently bought out by Waste Management for $2.9 billion.  

City Manager Dale Martin reported that he, Commissioner Phil Chapman, and Glisson had met with representatives of Advanced Disposal ten days ago about these concerns, but Continue reading

3 Comments | Posted in City News |

Florida State DAR names FBHS’s Ben Weiser “Outstanding History Teacher”

Daughters of the American Revolution
Press Release
April 22, 2019 3:00 p.m.

Ben Weiser has been named the state’s outstanding teacher of American History by the Florida State Society DAR a month after the Amelia Island Chapter cited him for its award. Mr. Weiser is a veteran of 20 years in the classroom and currently teaches American history at Fernandina Beach High School. His undergraduate degree is from Purdue University, and his Master of Arts in Secondary Education is from Indiana Wesleyan University.

Standing with Mr. Weiser are (L-R) Florida State DAR Historian Cindy Addison, Florida State Regent Dawn Lemongello, national DAR President General Anne Dillon, Amelia Island DAR Historian Rebecca Mayle, and Amelia Island Regent Lynn Leisy.

The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution is the largest women’s service organization in the world and contributes over one million volunteer hours a year. The Continue reading

Leave a comment | Posted in General |

Amelia Island Dance Festival brings classic ballet and modern dance to the island

Amelia Island Dance Festival
Submitted by Lauren Templeton
April 22, 2019 1:00 p.m.

A Conversation with AIDF President, Susie Dodge

Launching the premiere performances for the inaugural Amelia Island Dance Festival has been a labor of love for Susie Dodge, the Amelia Musical Playhouse sensation, beloved instructor at Royal Amelia Dance Academy, and owner of Dodge Fitness. Upon she and her husband, Joe Gallerizzo, retiring their careers as professional dance artists with Paul Taylor Modern American Dance Company, Susie Dodge and her family relocated from New York City to Amelia Island in 2014. Leaving New York City wasn’t easy for the accomplished dancer, but Ms. Dodge recalls, “At the time, I was satisfied with the mark I made on the world of dance, l was ready to return to my Northeast Florida roots and embark on a new chapter with my husband and two children.” In picturing her new Florida future, the Douglas Anderson Alumna anticipated sunshine, the beach lifestyle, more family time, and more square footage in living space. When moving back to the area, Ms. Dodge did not necessarily anticipate or plan on launching a Dance Festival; yet here she stands one week away from stepping on stage to welcome Amelia Island audiences to the first Festival.

As President of the Amelia Island Dance Festival, Susie Dodge describes the conception of the Festival as a gradual process, she remarks, “The concept for the Dance Festival evolved over time, I was encouraged by family and friends over the years. In the last Continue reading

Leave a comment | Posted in General |

Amelia Island revealed . . .

Submitted by Durango
April 20, 2019 11:00 p.m.

The importance of the South Front Street public recycling bins is lost on Durango the dog, who is far more interested in the rear mirror view of the trees and running space on the City’s beautiful riverfront park area nearby.  Photo courtesy of Durango!


Leave a comment | Posted in General |

Wild Amelia Junior Naturalist Program on “Trees and Compassion” April 28

Wild Amelia
Press Release
Contact: Kathy Brooks
[email protected]
April 18, 2019 2:00 p.m.

The Wild Amelia Junior Naturalist Program, in partnership with Amelia Tree Conservancy and Compassionate Fernandina, will be hosting the program “Trees and Compassion” on Sunday, April 28 at 3:00pm at Story and Song Bookstore and Bistro. This free program, about an hour in length, is appropriate for all ages and will include a reading of The Lorax. The featured speaker will be Munsell McPhillips, a retired scientist and knowledgeable, entertaining speaker! Artwork and photographs by our community’s children as well as local photographer Ann Kemp will be on display.
Leave a comment | Posted in General |

FBCC votes 3-2 to approve FLUM change, final plat for Amelia Bluff

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
April 19, 2019 5:37 a.m.

FBCC prepares for another long meeting.

Opponents of the Amelia Bluff development turned out in force for the April 16, 2019 Regular Meeting of the Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC).  Seats in City Commission Chambers were filled an hour before the meeting began, with even more vocal opponents of the proposed residential development on Citrona Drive preparing to stand outside chamber windows with signs urging the FBCC to deny approval for the final plat and zoning change.

Following more than two hours of discussion and input from more than 30 speakers, the FBCC voted 3-2 to approve Ordinance 2019-08 changing the city’s Future Land Use Map (FLUM) from Conservation to Low Density Residential for the 6.4 acres of land constituting the Amelia Bluff development; and Resolution 2019-57 approving the final plat.  The vote mirrored the FBCC vote on First Reading of the ordinance, with Mayor John Miller, Vice Mayor Len Kreger and Commissioner Phil Chapman voting in favor, while Commissioners Chip Ross and Mike Lednovich voted in opposition.

Following the vote, a frustrated and disappointed audience shouted angry comments at the commissioners as they filed out of the meeting.

Attempts to resolve differences:  City Manager, City Attorney report

Following First Reading of the Ordinance, commissioners charged City Manager Dale Martin and City Attorney Tammi Bach to meet with the developer in an attempt to determine how the conflicting viewpoints might be resolved.  Martin reported the results of those discussions to the FBCC and the public before the FBCC began discussions on Second Reading.

Martin reported that he and Bach had identified three options.  The first was to move forward on a vote, thereby setting up a scenario that could involve a legal challenge.  Option two involved asking the developer for a “walk away” price, which he provided:  $3M.   Continue reading

4 Comments | Posted in City News |

“Anatomy of a Decision” – A photo essay by Stephan R. Leimberg

By Stephan R. Leimberg
April 19, 2019 11:30 a.m.

Editor’s Note: As Fernandina Beach City Commissioners and citizens weighed in on the controversial issue of the Amelia Bluff development during the April 16, City Commission meeting, Stephen R. Leimberg captured the emotions of the moment through his photography. We thank Steve for his contribution to the Fernandina Observer.

Mayor Johnny Miller, Vice Mayor Len Kreger, Commissioners, Phil Chapman, Chip Ross, and Mike Lednovich. Photos courtesy of Stephan R. Leimberg.
Representatives of the Amelia Tree Conservancy, and members of the public address the city commission prior to the Amelia Bluff vote. Pictured: Margaret Kirkland, Robert Weintraub, Mike Miller, Attorney Robert C. Apgar, Arthur Herman, and Joann Bean. Photos courtesy of Stephan Leimberg.

Editor’s note: A native of Wildwood, New Jersey (another barrier island), Leimberg makes his home on Amelia Island. While residing in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, Steve taught Estate and Business Succession Planning in the Tax Masters Programs at Temple University Law School , Villanova University Law School, and the American College.

On Amelia Island , Leimberg works as a professional portrait and wildlife fine arts photographer. To view more of Leimberg’s work visit www.unseenimages.com We appreciate Leimberg’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.

Photographers can submit their photos to [email protected] Fernandina Observer Incorporated is committed to protecting the copyright and intellectual property of others. Content provided to the Fernandina Observer must be content that does not violate copyright or intellectual property of others.

2 Comments | Posted in General |