Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
Fernandina Beach Mayor Sarah Pelican led the City Commission in recognizing contributions of individuals to events and causes in the local community.
Les DeMerle Amelia Island Jazz Festival
Proclaiming October 6-13, 2013 as “The Les DeMerle Amelia Island Jazz Festival,” Mayor Pelican noted that in addition to bringing world-class jazz entertainment and famous artists to the community, this festival also features educational programs for adults and children, along with a scholarship program. In accepting the proclamation, DeMerle expressed his gratitude and enthusiasm to the city and the public for their support. He acknowledged the efforts of all who make the festival so successful, including his wife and vocalist Bonnie Eisele, Festival Vice Chair Loren Lumb, Secretary Suzanne McLeod and Treasurer Holly Germano. “We are so proud to bring world class jazz to the community, now for the 10th year. We thank all the volunteers and invite everyone in the community to attend. In the words of Duke Ellington,” DeMerle said, “we love you madly.”
National Long-Term Residents’ Rights Month
Mayor Pelican presented to Russell Jahn, Florida’s Long-term Care Ombudsman, the city’s proclamation declaring October 2013 to be National Long-Term Care Residents’ Rights Month. The proclamation stated that in the United States there are more than 1.5 million individuals living in 16,000 nursing homes and one million individuals living in 50,000 assisted living facilities. There are over 4,000 such facilities in Florida providing for 170,000 residents. The Mayor said, “We wish to honor and celebrate these citizens, to recognize their rich individuality including their right to have a say in their care.” Jahn spoke briefly about the ombudsman program and its goal to support the rights of patients. He thanked the commission for its support.
Recognizing volunteer efforts of Joe Blanchard and Judith Lane
Mayor Pelican expressed appreciation to Joe Blanchard and Judith Lane for their investments of time and hard work in serving on the Telephone Assessment Committee to upgrade the city’s telephone system. When the city sent out a call for volunteers to help in determining the city’s telecommunications needs for the future, both these individuals stepped forward and brought with them a wealth of experience in information management and technology. Mayor Pelican commended them for their hard work and spirit of volunteerism. Judith Lane credited the many people who helped, especially city employees. She cited Guy Reiner of the Supervisor of Elections Office for special recognition. She encouraged citizens of Fernandina Beach to come out and volunteer their talents and skill sets to help the city. Mike Gagnon accepted the proclamation on behalf of Mr. Blanchard and delivered brief remarks on behalf of Blanchard, who also encouraged talented residents, especially retirees, to volunteer on behalf of the city.
Recognizing volunteer Len Kreger
Mayor Pelican cited Len Kreger’s on-going volunteer efforts on behalf of the city and on behalf of conservation groups such as the Amelia Island Sea Turtle Watch. She commended Kreger’s extensive volunteer work on various projects, highlighting his work with the Parks and Recreation Department on many beach-related activities such as the Main Beach Boardwalk and coastal clean ups. Kreger was instrumental in the city’s consideration of and move to alternative energy heating the pool at the Atlantic Avenue Recreation Center. He was also commended for his hard work, enthusiasm and tireless energy in environmental and planning activities. Kreger was appreciative of the city’s capability and willingness to allow citizens to come in and help. “I’m just trying to make the community better, “ he said.
Commending Police Captain Jim Norman
City Manager Gerrity singled out Fernandina Beach Police Captain Jim Norman for his extensive volunteer work ion the Telephone Assessment Committee. Gerrity had formed this committee after initial bids to replace the city’s failing telephone system had been deemed inadequate. Gerrity said that Norman was ‘voluntold’ to chair the committee, an activity that was far outside the scope of his job description.
He presented a letter of commendation to Captain Norman, which has been made a permanent part of Norman’s file, citing his outstanding efforts in helping to select and implement the new phone system.
Editor’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.
October 3, 2013 11:23 a.m.