Update on A.L. Lewis house destruction in American Beach

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
February 14, 2020

Community confusion and outrage over the destruction of the A. L. Lewis house in American Beach continues.  The Fernandina Observer has obtained a copy of the County Building permit reproduced below, which clearly indicated that the work approved was for repairing and remodeling a residential structure:

While the home’s significance lies in its history and connection to A. L. Lewis, Adrienne Burke, Nassau County Director of Planning and Economic Opportunity, Continue reading

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Local author pens Novella – A Fictional Saga of Life as a Foreign Service Agent in Southeast Asia

By Karen Thompson
Features Reporter
February 15, 2020

The author will be greeting visitors and signing books at the Amelia Island Book Festival Author Expo, Saturday, Feb. 15 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Fernandina Beach Middle School, 315 Citrona Dr., Fernandina Beach. A reception and Book Talk will be held Sunday, Feb. 16 at Story & Song Bookstore and Bistro, 1430 Park Ave., Fernandina Beach.

Where were you in the turbulent 60s? For Anne Oman, a 22-year-old recent college graduate, Phnom Penh the capital of Cambodia would become her home as an American Foreign Service Officer for the U. S. Information Agency.

Anne H Oman

Fernandina Beach resident Oman has written a novelette, Mango Rain, that chronicles the changing political climate in Southeast Asia and life in a part of the world where she describes “heat that encases the city in its steamy cocoon.”

Her descriptions of this exotic place…the smell of the frangipani blossoms, the sound of the mango rains before sometimes violent monsoons and the sight of young Buddhist monks in bright saffron robes….bring a story of love, loss and political intrigue to life.

“In 1962, opportunities for women were limited. My wanderlust moved me to take the Foreign Service test and because I could speak French and specialized in news and culture, I was accepted, went through training and was off to Cambodia,” she said.

The book is 50 per cent imagination, according to Oman. Julia Galbraith, the main character, is fictional but the time and place are true to Oman’s own experiences. Julia’s diary records the workings of the expatriate community and what happened to them later in life.

The 50 per cent real life included the good…”many Cambodian and government service friends and coworkers and the opportunity to experience life in an enchanting place at a pivotal point in history,” she said.

“Other events were very real and life-changing…the war next door in Vietnam, the horrors of the Khmers Rouge, being expelled from two countries and the assassination of President Kennedy,” she said. Her second post was in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Oman has always been a writer…for the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, National Geographic World and Christian Science Monitor to name a few. She is a reporter-at-large for the Fernandina Observer. Mango Rain is her first work of fiction. Oman is married to Ralph Oman an attorney. She met him while training for the Foreign Service. They have three daughters.

The author will be greeting visitors and signing books at the Amelia Island Book Festival Author Expo, Saturday, Feb. 15 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Fernandina Beach Middle School, 315 Citrona Dr., Fernandina Beach. A reception and Book Talk will be held Sunday, Feb. 16 at Story & Song Bookstore and Bistro, 1430 Park Ave., Fernandina Beach.

Karen Thompson 2Editor’s Note: Karen moved to Fernandina Beach eight years ago after working in Chicago as a senior public relations specialist for the Midwestern regional office of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. Prior to that, she was an editor, columnist and writer for a chain of Chicago newspapers , an account executive for several Chicago public relations agencies and proprietor of her own pr/marketing business. She grew up and earned her journalism degree in Wisconsin.

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It’s not true love if they ask for money

By Cristina Miranda
Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC
February 12, 2020

It’s almost Valentine’s Day. Lots of us have profiles on online dating sites, apps or social media to find “the one.” But that interesting person who just messaged you could be a sweet-talking romance scammer trying to trick you into sending money.

Reports of romance scams are growing, and costing people a lot of cash. According to new FTC data, the number of romance scams people report to the FTC has nearly tripled since 2015. Even more, the total amount of money people reported losing in 2019 is six times higher than it was five years ago – from$33 million lost to romance scammers in 2015 to $201 million in 2019. People reported losing more money to romance scams in the past two years than to any other fraud reported to the FTC.

In a sea of online profiles, romance scammers can be hard to detect. But, there are signs you can look out for. Romance scammers start by using someone else’s identity to create fake profiles. They’ll send you flattering messages to make a special connection, say all the right things, and gain your trust. They might claim to be a doctor, a servicemember, or an oil rig worker living overseas. They want to make future plans with you. But then, something comes up and they ask you for money to help them out. Which nearly always means asking you to buy gift cards (and give them the PIN, so they get the cash), or wiring them money.

Here’s the thing: Never send money or gifts to a love interest you haven’t actually met. It’s a romance scam.

  • Stop communicating with the person immediately.
  • Search online for the type of job the person says they have. See if other people have heard similar stories. For example, you could do a search for “oil rig scammer” or “US Army scammer.”
  • Do a reverse image search of the person’s profile picture. If it’s associated with another name or with details that don’t match up, it’s a scam.
  • Never wire money to a stranger, or pay anyone with gift cards. If someone asks you to wire money or pay with gift cards, report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

For more information, read What You Need to Know About Romance Scams. And check out this video.

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Yesterday (2-13-2020) in Tallahassee

Gov. Ron DeSantis wants a criminal investigation into the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the group in charge of government funding for domestic violence centers. The coalition has made a string of negative headlines, including the recent revelation that its former CEO received more than $5 million in paid time off. The Governor’s office has also directed the Department of Children and Families Secretary Chad Poppell to oversee domestic violence funding while the state seeks out a replacement for the coalition. Here’s your nightly rundown.

Half-staff. DeSantis ordered flags to fly half-staff Friday in respect for the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in 2018. Senate President Bill Galvano held a moment of silence as Senators convened for the final floor session of the week: “We join victims’ families, survivors, communities and all of those who continue to mourn this devastating loss in our hearts today in the Florida Senate.”

Budget time. The Senate unanimously passed its proposed budget Thursday, folded into an amendment to the House budget, sending the Legislature to debate over key disparities in their $91 billion-plus spending plans.

‘Power grab.’ A plan to move the Office of Energy out of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services passed the full House, despite strong opposition from Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Democratic lawmakers. Continue reading

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Amelia Museum Annual Golf Tournament February 21, 2020

18th Annual Charity Golf Tournament
In Memory of Milt Shirley
Friday, February 21, 2020
12 pm Shotgun Start
Handicap Scramble Format
Prizes guaranteed for every foursome
(Even last place is a winner!)
Entry fee includes:
  • Pre-tournament reception party on Wednesday, February 19th, 2020 from 5 – 7 pm at the museum
  • Cart and green fee
  • Special treat bag
  • Prizes for closest to pin, longest drive, and putting
  • Optional Putting Contest & Mulligans
  • Awards presentation with heavy hors d’oeuvres, wine, and beer
  • Door prizes and silent auction
Want to sponsor the tournament? Hole Sponsorships are available for $100
or contact Joshua at 904-261-7378 x 102, and [email protected]
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