Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
March 7, 2019 11:30 a.m.
Amelia Island Book Festival
Members of the Amelia Island Book Festival Board of Directors were on hand to accept a proclamation of appreciation for another successful book festival. For almost two decades, Festival organizers have raised funds to host the Authors in Schools Literacy Program and the Author Exposition & Reader’s Extravaganza. These annual events bring more than 100 diverse, well-known and emerging authors to Fernandina Beach venues, Nassau County Schools and several area pre-kindergartens. The events are always free of charge and provide children and adults with an opportunity to meet the authors of the books they have grown to know and love, participate in lively readings, talks, and receive autographed books.
Vice Mayor Len Kreger said, “We recognize the contributions of the Amelia Island Book Festival staff, volunteers, business partners and students to the advancement of literacy and broader vision for Fernandina Beach and Nassau County to become a more educated, prosperous, and equal community.”
On behalf of the festival organization, Raffaela Marie Fenn thanked the city for its support and recognition. She also thanked current and past volunteers, sponsors and donors, board members, the Nassau County School Board and the Nassau County Library System. She said, “This year with community support the Festival brought 27 authors into county schools. Through the generosity of supporters, the Festival purchased more than 12,000 books to allow every student to receive a book written by the author they met in their school.”
City recognizes efforts of Flowering Fernandina
For the past nineteen years, Flowering Fernandina volunteers have planted and maintained as many as forty blossoming containers and flower pots in twenty-four locations along Centre Street. Flowering Fernandina receives funding through the generosity of private donations, civic groups, locally owned landscaping businesses, the Historic Fernandina Business Association and the City of Fernandina Beach. These funds are used to purchase plants, flowers, potting materials and watering equipment.
Flowering Fernandina volunteers replant each container three to four times per year to ensure flowers are at peak freshness and maximum brilliance. Maintaining the plantings requires a coordinated manual watering effort which is led by volunteers who pull a wagon equipped with a water tank several times weekly. Local businesses allow Flowering Fernandina to fill the water tank at their buildings; without this local support, Flowering Fernandina would not be a success.
On behalf of the city Vice Mayor Len Kreger thanked the volunteers for their outstanding dedication to the beautification of the Fernandina Beach Historic District and encouraged all citizens to do the same for being able to “stop and smell the roses” along Centre Street.
Cathy Klein accepted the proclamation on behalf of the Flowering Fernandina volunteers and thanked the city. She credited individuals for their previous and ongoing efforts. “Connecting Flowering Fernandina to [Fernandina Beach] Main Street has been a wonderful project,” she said. “This has made our work easier and more fun in many ways.”
March 2019 proclaimed United Way Month in Fernandina Beach
City Human Resources Director Robin Marley and United Way representative Michelle Braun accepted a proclamation from Vice Mayor Len Kreger declaring March 2019 as United Way Month in the city. The City of Fernandina Beach acknowledged the efforts of its employees, citizens, and businesses who continue to support the United Way to build a better tomorrow for all.
The City of Fernandina Beach acknowledged the dedication of City employees for their work in conducting the City’s annual United Way Employee Campaign and year-round employee events which resulted in raised awareness and annual contributions of over $52,000 during the past five years.
In launching this year’s campaign, Vice Mayor Kreger encouraged all citizens to give, advocate, and volunteer to inspire hope and create opportunities for a better tomorrow.
Braun, who represented United Way of Northeast Florida, thanked the city and noted that Fernandina Beach is one of her favorite communities. She said that for every dollar the community contributes, United Way returns $1.44. She acknowledged other community partners such as Westrock, Rayonier and Baptist Hospital. She thanked Robin Marley for heading up the city’s effort.
Recognizing City Comptroller Patti Clifford on her retirement
Vice Mayor Len Kreger expressed the city’s sincere appreciation to Patricia Ann “Patti” Clifford, city comptroller for more than 14 years, who retired on January 31, 2019. Throughout her tenure with the City of Fernandina Beach, Clifford was continuously recognized as a highly capable and competent employee; she successfully managed the City’s finances, placing the City in the strong financial position it is in today.
In recognizing her dedicated service to the city, the Vice Mayor also called Clifford a role model in volunteerism. She is a 2009 graduate from Leadership Nassau. She served as Treasurer for the Nassau County Volunteer Center; the Treasurer for her Home Owner’s Association (Amelia Park); she served as Treasurer, President and Director of Kraft Tennis Partners. She also served as Director of the First Coast Chapter of the FGFOA (Florida Governmental Financial Officer’s Association).
Mayor John Miller joined Vice Mayor Kreger to present Patti Clifford with a plaque honoring her service with the city. Both Miller and Kreger expressed their appreciation both personally and professionally to Clifford for keeping the city in good financial shape as well as her ability to explain financial details to commissioners.
In accepting her proclamation and plaque, Clifford thanked the city and announced that she was “really loving retirement.” In reflecting on her tenure with the city, she said she had really enjoyed working with city staff. “I would not have been nearly as successful had it not been for the Finance and Utility Billing staff,” she said.