Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
April 4, 2019 1:00 p.m.
Fernandina Beach Mayor John Miller delivered three Proclamations during the April 2, 2019 Regular Meeting of the Fernandina Beach City Commission.
National Library Week: April 7-13, 2019
Assistant Nassau County Library Director Janet Loveless accepted the city Proclamation, which praised libraries as centers of learning and librarians as knowledgeable experts who help patrons navigate print and electronic information sources to find answers to their questions. Miller offered a resounding “YES” to the question of whether libraries are still relevant in today’s electronic world.
In accepting the Proclamation, Loveless thanked the commission and touted the many services the local library offers that goes beyond the traditional view including: high speed internet and wi-fi, programs for adults and children, Tax preparation services, passports and career information.
She said that the library celebrates all month long and encouraged the community to visit to take advantage of the many free services available.
Water Conservation Month: April 2019
Mayor Miller reminded the audience that Florida’s leading natural beauties are its unspoiled white sand beaches and the abundance of pristine, crystal blue waters. Together they attract over 113 million visitors from around the world every year. He stressed that Florida’s quality of life and economy depend greatly upon a clean and healthy environment. Fresh, unpolluted and sustainable water resources are vital to Florida’s present robust economy and its future economic success.
The Proclamation stated that the State of Florida, the St. Johns River Water Management District, and the City of Fernandina Beach have designated April, typically a dry month, when water demands are most acute, as Florida’s Water Conservation Month, to educate citizens and visitors about how they can help save Florida’s precious water resources; and that local partners, the State of Florida, and the St. Johns River Water Management District are together investing billions of dollars to develop alternative water supplies, clean up storm-water pollution, restore rivers, lakes and springs, upgrade drinking water facilities and improve wastewater treatment.
Miller encouraged all water users, including commercial industrial, agricultural, institutional, hospitality, private citizens and schools to help now by making positive contributions to reduce water use and protect Florida’s water resources, thus promoting a healthy economy and community.
On hand to accept the Proclamation were Jennifer Mitchell, Public Communications Coordinator for the St. Johns River Water Management District and City Utilities Department Director John Mandrick. Mitchell thanked the city for participating in the District’s conservation program. She encouraged the public to visit the District’s website for more tips and strategies to save water.
Mandrick said that the community is doing a good job at conserving water in that the city draws only 42 percent of the allowable amount. He provided city commissioners with a blue stress ball in the shape of a water droplet to remind them to squeeze every drop of water to help in conservation. He reminded the audience that in conserving water use, the community also saves on the cost of electricity required to pump the water.
Mandrick informed the public that the city is teaming up with America’s Youth to host a Bicycle Rodeo in connection with Conservation Month on Saturday, April 6 from 10-2, starting at the Peck Center.
Gopher Tortoise Day: April 10, 2019
The gopher tortoise is a protected species listed as threatened in Florida and other parts of the United States. It s the official state tortoise of Florida.
Miller called upon citizens to better understand the ecological significance of the tortoise and to help conserve the species.
In accepting the Proclamation, city Code Enforcement Officer Michelle Forstrom explained that gopher tortoises have flat feet and claws used to burrow into mounds. She cautioned against handling the animals. Miller also reminded the community that tortoises are land creatures and should not be placed in the ocean. He added that people should not handle sea turtles or gopher tortoises.