Fernandina Observer celebrates its 9th year delivering news and information

By Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter-News Analyst
May 13, 2021

Photo credit Florida Memory Project.

April showers bring may flowers. And Mayflowers bring Pilgrims, right? And also another anniversary for the Fernandina Observer. This year marks our 9th anniversary of bringing you news we hope you can use in making many decisions that confront Fernandina Beach residents: What are the issues being debated in local government meetings? What are state and local leaders doing to tackle economic, environmental and infrastructure problems? Who deserves your vote in local elections? What’s up with our local non-profit agencies?

Much of our 2020 coverage was devoted to Covid, Covid, Covid. Luckily for our crack staff of writers, we always have worked from home, so quarantine did not stop us from getting out whatever news there was. And of course, due to Covid, the number of events to cover dropped significantly: no Shrimp Fest for two years, no 2020 Chamber Music Festival, no Sounds On Center, limited theatrical and musical offerings.

But the work of government grounds on. Cindy Jackson continued to cover Nassau County Commission meetings; Suanne Thamm hung in there covering Fernandina Beach City Commission meetings. Neither rain nor face masks nor social distancing kept them from covering our local lawmakers as they welcomed new commissioners and grappled with growth-related issues, financial challenges, and preemption measures levied by the state.

Writers Evelyn McDonald, Karen Thompson, Anne Oman, and Adam Kaufman regularly added depth and insight to the Fernandina Observer. Other contributors, like Alan Prescott and Benjamin Morrison, further added to our understanding of activities in our community. Thanks to Nassau County Public Information Officer Sabrina Robertson, we were also able to provide more information about events and happenings around the entire County. And we continued to be grateful and amazed by the incredible talents of photographers in our midst who contributed their works to our regular Sunday feature, Amelia Revealed.

With the always reliable assistance from Larry Myers, and the help of Fernandina Beach City Clerk Caroline Best, we were able to host another Candidates Forum to help City residents better understand candidates and issues in the November City Elections, which brought us two new commissioners (Bradley Bean and David Sturges) and one recycled commissioner (Chip Ross).

We witnessed the arrival of a new City Marina operator — Oasis Marinas, LLC — replacing Westrec. The long awaited reconfiguration of the docks in the City Marina was completed, although sadly we were not able to report on a resolution of the FEMA imbroglio or the return of fuel sales. We also saw the departure of Billy Casper Golf from the City Golf Course and the arrival of Top Tracer, along with the departure and return of City Golf Course Manager Steve Murphy. Next year’s highlights will undoubtedly reflect more developments in both of these City departments.

We thank our loyal readers for their comments and insights as we enter our tenth year.

The adventure continues!

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