Fernandina Observer celebrates a six year anniversary!

May 25, 2018 7:00 a.m.

Centre Street Fernandina (Florida State Memory Project)

On May 26, 2012, tropical storm Beryl ripped through Fernandina Beach with winds reaching 70 mph. Although the damage to the marina was relatively minor, there was significant damage to homes, and disruption from downed powerlines and fallen trees across the city. The Fernandina Observer was in its second week of publication, and during the storm we worked hard to provide timely updates despite electrical outages, strong winds, and rainy weather. We were the only source of local information during Beryl and thanks to Google, we were discovered!

This month we celebrate our sixth year of bringing news and information to our community. We keep going because we love where we live and we believe our work is an important community service.

Reporter-News Analyst Suanne Thamm’s in depth coverage of City Commission meetings and other city news, is the most difficult assignment. With recent storm damage to the city marina and an increased number of city issues to tackle, Suanne continues to keep you updated. We have said it before; Suanne is key to our success and we appreciate all she does.

Covering city meetings is difficult, but covering the meetings with a very rare mistake is amazing! It is not surprising that we often receive words of praise from city leaders, merchants, involved citizens and even from the commissioners we cover, that Suanne gets the story right. She skillfully breaks down complicated issue to a simple understandable form.

As always, we thank all of our volunteer reporters for giving their time and talents to help us provide news and information to our community. They include Gerry Clare, roving reporter; Adam Kaufman, legal analyst; Karen Thompson, features reporter; Evelyn McDonald, arts & culture reporter; Anne Oman, reporter-at-large; and Suanne Thamm, reporter-news analyst. If you are a good writer with an interest in city or county government, join us! (Contact [email protected])

Larry Myers, moderator of the yearly “Fernandina Observer Candidate Forum,” continues to support our efforts to educate voters on candidates’ positions. A new friend to the Observer, Chris Whelan has offered his photography talents to update our readers on the airport terminal construction. We also thank all photographers who have shared the beauty of our island through their contributions to “Amelia Island revealed . . .”

A special thank you goes to our advertisers, especially those who have been with us from the beginning. Their support helps offset our operational costs. We encourage you to utilize their services.

During the last year, we invested in an efficient system to deliver news to our readers. The “Daily News” allows individuals to subscribe and wake up in the morning to the Fernandina Observer in their email inbox. (Click here for instructions to sign up.) Because your response to this free service was overwhelmingly positive, we have experienced tremendous growth in our readership. We encourage you to sign up.

As we approach year seven, we will not rest. You will be updated on the city and county budgets, the city marina rebuilding project, and the airport terminal completion. As the Judicial Nominating Commission completes its process to identify six candidates to recommend to Governor Rick Scott to fill the position of retiring Circuit Court Judge Robert M. Foster, we will keep you informed.

From the beginning, our major goal was to be a credible source of information. During the last six years, we have gained your trust and that makes all of our efforts worthwhile.

Thank you readers for your support!

Doug Newton
Susan Hardee Steger

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David Lott
David Lott(@dave-l)
5 years ago

Congratulations Susan and Doug on bringing the FO from its birth to six years of great news and event coverage. Suanne is the anchor of a great team supported by Evelyn, Gerry, Adam, Eric, Karen and Anne. The photographs by Chris and other contributions serve as a constant reminder of how special Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island are. Somehow I missed the Daily News feature and will sigh up immediately as I look to the FO as a means to stay in touch with all that is happening in the magical city of Fernandina Beach.
Congratulations again and best wishes for the future years.

Mary Maguire
Mary Maguire (@guest_51411)
5 years ago

Congratulations on your continued success in the coverage of local news and opinion. You recognized a need in the community and stepped in to fill the void. Six years on, you have a leading voice and you’re going strong.

I am continually interested in the thoughtful insight shared by your contributors and commenters. I am repeatedly amazed by the beautiful nature photography featured in your posts and have enjoyed the occasional dispatch from around the globe. I have learned a lot from you about local history and the inner workings of local government, which can be difficult to follow and at times impossible to understand. I am smarter for reading the Observer and it’s likely I am not alone.


Robert J. Riegler
Robert J. Riegler (@guest_51414)
5 years ago

Our community is richer and well served by all you folks. No matter where mI travel my morning coffee and your reporting are how I start my day. Thanks so much for all you are doing and have done!

Marc Williams
Marc Williams(@willimarcgmail-com)
5 years ago


Congratulations to you and and Doug and the entire Fernandina Observer organization on a very successful venture. I agree with David, Mary and Robert (above) who have accurately described the nature of the F.O. You provide a wonderful service to the community with timely and reasoned coverage of local issues and a forum for snark-free discussion. (Well, for the most part. Sometimes people just want to vent.) Suanne Thamm is by far the best journalistic reporter in northeast Florida. After reading one of her articles you can actually understand the issue at hand. The local and regional print newspapers could only hope to have such clear and accurate reporting. Your vision for this news and discussion outlet for the community was right-on from the beginning and I hope you continue it for many years.
Marc Williams

Penny Landregan
Penny Landregan (@guest_51432)
5 years ago

I love Fernandina Observer. You are the first thing I read each morning when I click on my computer. You are always there waiting for me. I appreciate the fact that I can keep up with what’s going on in our community – way in advance of our twice weekly newspaper. Thank you for all you do to keep Fernandina Beach in the know. We love you all.

Lyn Pannone
Lyn Pannone(@lyn-pannone)
5 years ago

Thank you to everyone involved in publishing Fernandina Observer. You provide an important service to our community and it is appreciated. Congratulations on all six years and best wishes for many more.

John Goshco
John Goshco (@guest_51439)
5 years ago

Congratulations on reaching your six year anniversary.
Thanks to the entire staff for all your hard work and for your excellence in journalism.

Mrs. D. Hunter
Mrs. D. Hunter (@guest_51449)
5 years ago

STANDING OVATION! You are smart, you are consistent, you are steady, you are deep, you are second to none. I can’t believe how lucky we’ve been to have you delivering critical island/city/county information to us all these six years. Please eat your Wheaties so we may look forward to many more years with you and your staff at the helm of the Fernandina Observer. With so many thanks,