Category Archives: Commentary

Will We Exclude, or Will We Pay Attention to What Jesus Said?

By Linda Hart Green Jim Wallis is an evangelical Christian who has worked for peace [...]


Want to Be in the New Parade? Have the Right Beliefs

By Linda Hart Green Fernandina Beach is a parade-loving town! There will be a new [...]


Zoo and FWC Partnering to Expand Manatee Care

By Lauri deGaris Tucked away behind the scenes of the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is [...]


Take It from Chessie the Manatee: You Can Help

By Lauri deGaris In the fall of 1994, reports began to surface that a West [...]


When Apologies Really Mean It, Forgiveness Flows

By Linda Hart Green Saying “I’m sorry” is hard. I am talking about the kind [...]


Manatee Stories Go Back into 1756

By Lauri deGaris I have a subscription to This allows me to search thousands [...]

Put the Parking Costs Where the Profits Are

By Suanne Thamm Dear Commissioners: It seems to me that most of the complaints about [...]

An Ode to Trees — and Their Protectors

By Dickie Anderson Live oak trees with their sprawling limbs add a dash of Southern [...]

Introduction to a Biologist’s Love Affair with Manatees

When you’ve spent as many hours as the author has observing manatees from 750 feet, [...]

A Commentary on Inconsistent Public Comment Rules

By Mike Lednovich Corrine Garrett led off the public comment segment of the May 7 [...]

A Plea for Action on the Waterfront Park

By Suanne Thamm Dear City Commissioners: Yours is not an easy or financially rewarding job. [...]

Commentary: Reflections on Earth Day

By Linda Hart Green Earth Day 1970, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I only skipped school [...]

Dear Readers: Prepare for Change

By Mike Phillips Observer Editor and Publisher In the coming weeks, you will start seeing [...]

Commentary: It’s Now or Never to Keep Our City Liveable

By Mike Lednovich The deadline is just six weeks away for candidacy in the Fernandina [...]

Commentary: Book-Banners Who Preach a War Between Good and Evil

By Linda Hart Green A number of books have been removed from Nassau County school [...]

Commentary: Six Short Lessons for Our School Board

By Mike Phillips The Nassau County School Board was treated Thursday evening to a lesson [...]

Commentary: Living With Grief Is a Long, Learning Process

By Linda Hart Green I exhale with relief when the date of March 6 passes. [...]

Commentary: Good Old Boys Versus the Public Good

By Mike Lednovich In the heart of Fernandina Beach, important decisions that shape our community’s [...]

Commentary: An Interview With Johnnetta Betsch Cole

By April L. Bogle Johnnetta Betsch Cole’s lineage alone could fill a book. She is [...]

“You People” — a Commentary

By Chip Ross, city commissioner I recently received an email from a local charter boat [...]

Commentary: How Religious Freedom Was Born in the USA

By Linda Hart Green This is the current signboard in front of the First Baptist [...]

Commentary: When a Helping Hand Is a Jar Opener

By Linda Hart Green I received this fancy jar opener for Christmas. This may seem [...]

Commentary: The King Celebration Goes to the Very Roots of Fernandina

By Linda Hart Green Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2009 marked my first visit to [...]

Commentary: A Topsy-Turvy Year at City Hall

By Mike Lednovich Now after more than a year in office, how did the 2023 [...]

Do You Have Room for a Labor of Love?

By Linda Hart Green New Year’s Day was special for my brother and me. We [...]

Commentary — The Manager Solution: Make Charlie George Permanent

By Mike Lednovich What many folks don’t realize is that over the past 12 months, [...]

Pay Attention: Really Hearing People is a Gift

By Linda Hart Green It’s crunch time for gift buyers. At least, that is what [...]

Commentary: Sure Things Lost and Lessons Learned

By Mike Phillips One day, back in my corporate career, I lamented to the CEO [...]

Commentary: A Nightmare on 14th Street

By Chip Ross City Commissioner Traffic is about to get much worse on South 14th [...]

Commentary: It’s Not the Alcohol, It’s Everything Else

By Suanne Thamm Dear City Commissioners: Please accept my sincere sympathy for the position that [...]

Commentary — For the Good of the Order: Resignation

Editor’s note: We are offering publication of brief, thoughtful, well-written commentaries on this subject. They [...]

Learning to Wait Is a Spiritual Discipline

By Linda Hart Green In the golden light of an early summer evening, I swished [...]

In Dark Times, Find Small Hopes and Nurture Them

By Linda Hart Green I’m hearing that folks are finding it difficult to be hopeful [...]

We Could Use More Table Talk in This Community

By Linda Hart GreenDo you remember the kitchen or dining room table in the home [...]

Commentary: It Was a Black Day at City Hall

By Mike Lednovich Last Tuesday in Fernandina Beach was a day of ignominy. That’s when [...]

Commentary: Deaths We Know, and Deaths Beyond Understanding

By Linda Hart GreenI think about tomatoes when I think about my friend’s husband. He [...]

Commentary: Port Commission Simply Isn’t Functioning as it Should

By Mike Phillips It’s time to say this, and say it bluntly: The Ocean Highway [...]

Commentary: The Wise Know What They Don’t Know

By Linda Hart Green I don’t like to admit I was a know-it-all in school. [...]

State of the City: A First of Five Responses to Ty Ross

STATE OF THE CITY – By Chip Ross 10 October 2023 Last week all the [...]

Commentary: Insults on Local Media Unworthy of the Mayor’s Chair

By Mike Lednovich At Tuesday night’s city commission meeting, Fernandina Beach Mayor Bradley Bean’s unvarnished [...]

The Language of Trees Gladdens Human Hearts

By Linda Hart Green I grew up with “sand between my toes,” as my parents [...]

A Comment for and About William H. Goodwin Junior

Dear Sir, I’ve been reading about you. I do that a lot: reading about people [...]

Commentary: How a Jeweler Would Untangle a Community

By Linda Hart Green My jeweler/watchmaker father earned a nickname in the community where his [...]

Commentary: Vote AFTER the People Have Spoken

By Mike Lednovich Twice in eight days the Fernandina Beach City Commission told residents your [...]

Commentary: Turning Sympathy Into Empathy

By Linda Hart Green I had a different topic chosen for this commentary. I couldn’t [...]

Commentary: Finding Divine Goodness in Angry Times

By April L. Bogle My father was a pious young man who attended a Bible [...]

Commentary: Musing About Connections That Make Life Better

By Linda Hart Green I took a photo of a mishmash of wiring out of [...]

Commentary: A Highly Seasoned Boater’s Advice on Our Marina

By Wally Moran Having stopped in Fernandina Beach by boat more than 50 times myself, [...]

Commentary: Blindsided by a ‘Good Neighbor’ Church

By Samuel Jefferson Kennard I am shocked and dismayed to hear that Amelia Baptist Church [...]

Commentary: Hard Choices for United Methodists

By Mike PhillipsMy first church fight scared the pants off me. I was only five [...]

Commentary: It Isn’t Just $30,000 — It’s the Principle of the Thing

By Mike PhillipsThe cost of the city commission’s 50% pay raise that’s under discussion is [...]

Commentary: Farewell, Dale Martin. Flagler Beach Is Lucky

By Suanne Thamm On Friday, July 14, 2023, former Fernandina Beach City Manager Dale Martin [...]

Commentary: OK Commission, Stop Kidding Yourselves About Taxes

By Suanne ThammNero fiddled while Rome burned. The Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) sticks its [...]

A celebration of Southern Grassroots Music

By Lauri deGaris Recently, a good friend of almost 40 years gifted me an LP [...]

It’s Time to Reframe Our Conversations

By Linda Hart Green “Why don’t they get it?” It’s the question public theologian and [...]

Commentary: Let’s Face Facts — Brett’s Has To Go

By Mike Phillips So here we go again. Yet another well-respected engineering firm has told [...]

June 26 Florida Legislative Forum to Transcend Party Affiliation

By Melissa A. Moss Recent history shows there are a lot of thoughtful folks in [...]

Feeling Welcome Means Feeling Safe

By Linda Hart Green Actions and words should match. Easy to say but difficult to [...]

Commentary: A Budget Cut That Doesn’t Need to Hurt

By Mike Phillips Wow. Did that governor of ours ever give us something to think [...]

Habitat Honors Ed Stanley With New Award

Nassau Habitat for Humanity (NHFH) has announced that this year’s inaugural Al Pertuz Impact Award [...]

Commentary: Think About a Run for Commission — Yes, YOU

By Suanne Thamm Fernandina Beach wants YOU to consider running for city commission in 2024. [...]

Let’s Learn from Fernandina Beach of the Past

By Linda Hart Green“Why did people here turn so ugly?” mused Lisa Williams, her big [...]

Say It Loud: No More Anonymity

By Mike Phillips Recent events have convinced me that our reader comments service needs a [...]

Setting the Record Straight: Private Groups Can Deny Access to Meetings

By April L. BoglePrivate organizations such as Citizens Defending Freedom-Nassau (CDF-Nassau) can assemble in public [...]

Commentary: Only True Believers Welcome at CDF Meetings

By Mike LednovichEvidently Citizens Defending Freedom – Nassau believes freedom isn’t for everybody. CDF’s meeting [...]

A Small Island with a Lot of Room

By Linda Hart GreenOne of my favorite Bible verses is from the gospel of John. [...]

Unexpected Bending

By Linda Hart Green “Why are they so angry?” Have you thought that after reading [...]

Why Amelia Island Needs a Statue of William Penn

By Linda Hart Green I grew up in a suburb of New Jersey just five [...]

Commentary: When is a Public Prayer Out of Line?

By Linda Hart Green “Will you offer a prayer, Reverend?” I have been asked that [...]

Commentary: The Times Have Changed, Mr. Knocke

By Darlene Drury FBHS class of 1974 I was born and raised a Fernandinian. When [...]

Commentary: Mr. Nicklas Has Opinions. Now, Here Are The Facts

By Chip Ross Steve Nicklas writes an opinion column called “Steve’s Marketplace” for the Amelia [...]

Commentary: Bad Advice on ‘Special Privileges’ for Developers

By Faith Ross Recently Tammi Bach, the Fernandina Beach City Attorney, gave a workshop for [...]

Commentary: The Divine Creation is Wonderfully Diverse

  By Rev. Linda Hart Green Is difference dangerous? There are those who think so. [...]

Commentary: The Law Is Clear. Deny the Tringali Townhouses

By Taina Cristner In early 2006, at the beginning of the aughts’ housing bubble, the [...]

Commentary: We Have a Chance to Degrade Our Home — or Add Value

Dear Nassau County Commissioners, The county’s reduction of coastal building height in 2021 was appropriate [...]