Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
August 6, 2015 10:28 a.m.


On behalf of the City of Fernandina Beach, Mayor Ed Boner delivered two Proclamations at the August 4, 2015 Regular Meeting of the Fernandina Beach City Commission. Additionally, City Manager Joe Gerrity recognized those responsible for the success of the library expansion project and employees of the city’s Utilities Department for their diligence in repairing a water main break on Saturday, August 1, 2015.

International Homeless Animals’ Day/Month

Cat's Angels Executive Director Pat Glassbrenner (l) accepts  city proclamation highlighting plight of homeless animals from Mayor Ed Boner.
Cat’s Angels Executive Director Pat Glassbrenner (l) accepts city proclamation highlighting plight of homeless animals from Mayor Ed Boner.

Fernandina Beach has proclaimed August 16, 2015 as International Homeless Animals’ Day and the month of August 2015 as Homeless Animals’ Month to highlight the plight of millions of homeless animals around the world. Mayor Ed Boner read from the proclamation, “The cat and dog overpopulation crisis can be solved by adopting a dog or cat from our local animal shelter, by having dogs and cats spayed or neutered before their first litter, by volunteering at the animal shelter, by donating much needed supplies, or by sponsoring a spaying or neutering procedure.”

Ms. Pat Glassbrenner, Executive Director of Cat’s Angels, Inc., accepted the Proclamation. She thanked the Mayor and the Commission for the recognition of the plight of homeless animals. She recounted the stories of two rescued cats that were adopted last week after four years of care by Cat’s Angels. She invited the community to join in a walk and a vigil that will begin at the gazebo in Central Park at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 15.

Recognizing WestRock as an outstanding community partner

WestRock plant manager Tom Sweetser looks on as Mayor Ed Boner reads Proclamation recognizing community accomplishments of WestRock
WestRock plant manager Tom Sweetser looks on as Mayor Ed Boner reads Proclamation recognizing community accomplishments of WestRock.

Mayor Boner invited WestRock plant manager Tom Sweetser to join him as he read a Proclamation recognizing this corporation for its many contributions to the community since it began local operation as Kraft Corporation of America in 1937. Boner said that WestRock currently employs 480 local citizens and provides thousands of indirect jobs in the logging, trucking, contracting, forest resourcing and box plant industries as well as positions in the service and maintenance industries.

He praised WestRock for embracing a culture of corporate citizenship, crediting management and employees for giving generously of their time, talent, and funding in the community. He also cited WestRock’s legacy of recycling that dates back 100 years.

In accepting the Proclamation, Sweetser thanked Boner and the commission and spoke about all the changes that have occurred during the mill’s existence in Fernandina Beach with respect to technology and management. He said, “We are proud of what we have accomplished at the Fernandina Beach mill, the success we’ve had over the years, and the longevity of the mill’s operations as a testimony to the dedication of the workers and the strong support we’ve always enjoyed from the residents of the island. The mill has a rich history, and we intend to remain a major player both in the industry and in the community by continuously focusing on the safety of our workers and the community, by making high quality products at competitive pricing and acting as good stewards of the environment. I believe that we will be here for another 78 years and beyond.”

Kudos to those who worked on Library expansion

joeDuring his remarks, City Manager Joe Gerrity reported that the $1.6M library expansion and renovation project has been completed, having exceeded the budget by only $12,880 (plus a change order to replace the original portion of the ceiling), which he termed “phenomenal” for a project of such a size. He handed out kudos to many who had been involved in planning, funding and executing the project, including: Architect Steve Lazar, VRL Architects; Marand Builders; Jeremiah Glisson and Rex Lester from the city; city resident Joe Blanchard, who helped run cabling for the computers; Nassau County for their financial commitment; the FBCC; and Bill Flynn and the Friends of the Library. “Everybody did a nice job,” Gerrity said, “and it was good to see everybody pull together to produce a good, quality product for the city.” 

Utilities staff recognized

Gerrity also called commissioners’ attention to the major water main break at Amelia Landings last Saturday night. The break resulted in a 20×20-foot hole and about 5 feet deep that almost swallowed a car. Members of the Water Department staff responded to the emergency, working without a supervisor to fix the break. “These guys knew what to do with this mess,” Gerrity said. “I was really impressed and just want to give them a call out: Jason Sweat, Joe Evans, Joshua Glisson, Tommy Carless, Joshua Davis, Kerrry Lewis, and Dale Crews. I was on site about 8:15 p.m., and these guys had it all put back together by 6:00 a.m. the following day. Those guys did a great job.”

Suanne Thamm 4Editor’s Note: Suanne Z. Thamm is a native of Chautauqua County, NY, who moved to Fernandina Beach from Alexandria,VA, in 1994. As a long time city resident and city watcher, she provides interesting insight into the many issues that impact our city. We are grateful for Suanne’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.

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