Cindy Jackson
April 11, 2019 3:00 p.m.

The April 8, 2019, meeting of the Nassau County Board of Commissioners was business as usual.

The Amelia Island Convention and Visitors Bureau was the “opening act” and staff members Amy Boek and Kate Harris gave brief summaries of events and activities, fact and stats including:
• The one week event known as the Concours d’Elegance had an economic impact of $26 million which continues the trend of a 20% growth rate year after year
• 200,000 new visitor guides are being distributed with 11 downloadable pages as part of the augmented reality (AR) program. Augmented reality, as defined by “is the blending of interactive digital elements – like dazzling visual overlays, buzzy haptic feedback, or other sensory projections – into our real-world environments.” To that end, signs and beacons for this program were recently installed at the Dee Dee Bartells Nature Center & Fishing Pier, American Beach and four other sites throughout the City.

For a demonstration of what this AR is and how AICVB is incorporating this new technology in its tourism efforts, go to

In addition, the organization just completed its 45th video of the “Love Amelia” series and this one features American Beach. The AICVB is also looking at ways to utilize new technologies as part of the Beach Program – including flyovers before and after big tourism weekends and ways to transmit immediate reports of incidents on the beach or a need to have an item or items removed.

The Amelia Island Tourist Development Council was created by the BOCC in 1988 and oversees the development and marketing of Amelia Island as a world-class tourism destination.

Judge James Daniel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Florida then spoke at the podium to request the BOCC to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) so the county can accept a grant from the US Department of Justice to start a drug court program here in Nassau County. By a vote of 5-0, the motion was approved. Before taking leave of the microphone, Judge Daniel expressed his appreciation to Commissioner Aaron Bell, saying while it has been on his list of things to do, “Commissioner Bell really got the ball rolling.”

Such a program has been in Duval County since 1994 and in Clay County since 2000. According to the 4th Circuit’s website: “Non-violent felony offenses are eligible for diversion into Adult Drug Court, even if the offense itself is not drug related. In cases where the offense is not eligible for diversion, the Court has discretion to include Adult Drug Court as a condition of probation. This reduces incarceration and offers offenders an additional opportunity at making changes to better their lives. In many cases, the offense is a direct result of substance abuse or the need to support a substance abuse habit. Adult Drug Court recognizes this and agrees that individuals with offenses that are not directly drug or alcohol related will benefit from the services offered in this program in an effort to instill permanent lifestyle change. Adult Drug Court is a 12 month (minimum) program consisting of 5 phases.

A full program description can be found in the Duval County Adult Drug Court Handbook (pdf)”

April 7 – 13, 2019 was unanimously proclaimed National Library Week and Justin Taylor, President of the BOCC presented a proclamation to Dawn Bostick, Library Director, Nassau County Public Library System noting that libraries help to promote “civic engagement.”

The month of April 2019 was then declared Water Conservation Month (“typically a dry month as outlined in the proclamation). Commissioner Thomas Ford read and delivered that proclamation to Geoff Sample with St. Johns River Water Management District and Dean Woehrle, longtime member of the St. Marys River Management Committee. Mr. Woehrle took the opportunity to mention that St. Mary’s River Management Committee has been a bridge for thousands of dollars in grants . . . for the entire area.”

Gil Langley, President and CEO of the Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau presented a summary of the Beach Comprehensive Plan and Beach Signage program. It was noted, however, the Beach Committee (composed of members from both Fernandina Beach and the County) had not yet completed their series of meetings which would likely take another 60-90 days for a report to be issued.

Langley outlined a seven-prong plan to the overall goal of better beach management which included elements addressing safety, beach renourishment, environmental concerns, cleanliness, activities, facilities/signage and opportunities.

Langley also announced the AICVB did authorize just last week the expenditure of $350,000 for revised signage.

The entire meeting can be viewed at which includes Mr. Langley’s presentation in full.

Megan Diehl, Director of the Office of Management and Budget brought to the attention of the BOCC, the need for a budget adjustment as a result of high costs of medical care at the jail.

On a celebratory note relating to local pride, the commissioners voted unanimously for the construction of a monument to Yulee resident and 2015 Heisman Trophy winner, Derrick Henry. Born in 1994, Derrick Henry was a standout on the Yulee High School football team and now plays for the Tennessee Titans of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the Alabama Crimson Tide, and was drafted in the second round of the 2016 NFL draft by the Titans. The sign is to be located on SR 200.

Editor’s Note: Born in Hagerstown, Maryland, Cindy received her BA in Political Science from Dickinson College. Upon graduation, Cindy began her career on Capitol Hill working as a legislative aide and director. She later became a part of the public relations and lobbying team of the American Iron and Steel Institute and served as director of the office of state legislative affairs for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). Cindy was involved in economic development with the state of Maryland, and served as executive director of Leadership Washington County. As a community volunteer, Cindy participates in numerous volunteer activities serving as a member of Sunrise Rotary, and as board member of Cummer Amelia Board of Directors.

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