Community thanks: Holiday food donations

Barnabas Center Nassau
Contact: Alexandra Winsor
Communications Manager
January 15, 2019 1:00 p.m.

The board and staff at Barnabas extends our sincere gratitude to the many organizations who collected donations for the Barnabas Food Pantry during the holiday season. Over 3,000 pounds of food were donated by 23 organizations. Major supporters included the Amelia Island Club and WestRock. Amelia Island Club held its annual Thanksgiving Food Drive to benefit families in need in Nassau County and raised $3,500 and collected 136 pounds of food for the Barnabas Food Pantry. WestRock brought 75 turkeys to the Barnabas food pantry to give to families in need of a Thanksgiving meal.

We offer our gratitude to the additional organizations that supported Barnabas over the holidays including: Island Photography, New Vision, Southside Elementary, Prince of Peach Church, Fort Clinch, Association of Realtors, First Presbyterian Church, Monster Club, Ocean Breeze Subdivision, Rayonier Inc., YMCA, Harvest Outreach, Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, St. Michaels Academy, Fernandina Beach Middle School, FBMS Library, Fernandina Beach Golf Association, Fernandina Beach Golf Club, Montessori School, Nassau Schools and Memorial United Methodist Church.

Barnabas is grateful for the strong support we receive from the community. Each year, Continue reading

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Board of County Commissioners listens, honors, and gives

By Cindy Jackson
January 16, 2019 9:00 a.m.

Understanding how government works – be it at the local, state or federal level – is never easy. Understanding what a government body can do under the powers vested in it is yet another level of complexity.

County Attorney/Manager Mike Mullin, Board chair Justin Taylor, and Danny Leeper listen to residents.

At the January 14, 2019 meeting of the Board of County Commissioners, during the segment of every BOCC meeting when members of the public are invited to the podium provided the perfect example of how very daunting is the task of knowing who does what and where one should go to help resolve these issues.

One individual was angry with her homebuilder and asked, “what can this community, the BOCC do, to help resolve these issues?”

Nothing. County Attorney Michael Mullin very simply stated, “the BOCC has no control over builders.” He explained that the first recourse would be to contact the Department of Business and Professional Regulation in Tallahassee. That department is where consumers can verify licenses, file a complaint against licensed or unlicensed individuals and obtain other information.

Dennis Lavery

Another resident, Mr. Dennis Lavery, expressed his frustrations with the homeowners’ association in his community and stated emphatically that he did not want to be a part of it. In addition, he was looking to the BOCC for help to get a mailbox in front of his house. The mailbox issue, as Mr. Mullin explained, is strictly the responsibility of the United States Postal Service (USPS) but offered to meet with Mr. Lavery as well. Mr. Lavery insisted that he had been told “if the county pushes the issue it would happen.”


Nassau County does have a very comprehensive website which includes a list of Frequently-Asked-Questions (FAQs). It is often a good place to start for information about meetings and events and “How Do I” type questions. That address is

Steve Leimburg holds his  photograph of “Old Florida” selected by the Florida Association of  Counties for its upcoming calendar.

A resolution honoring local photographer Steve Leimburg for having his photograph selected to be included in the 2019 calendar of the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) was presented. Leimburg responded to a call for submissions back in July of 2018. Over 351 photos were submitted statewide. Mr. Leimburg’s photograph, entitled “Old Florida” is an image of the old welcome station at the Florida/Georgia line on U.S. Highway 1. It will be the August photo feature.  (To order calendar click here.)

Another resolution, also unanimously approved was one proclaiming January 31, 2019 as “American Beach Day.” Joyce Jefferson, President of the American Beach Property Owners Association, was there to accept a copy of the proclamation. The proclamation includes a brief history of this unique community on Amelia Island:

American Beach, an African American enclave on Amelia Island in Nassau County, Florida, was founded on January 31, 1935 by the Pension Bureau of the Afro-American Life Insurance Company for the purpose of developing an oceanfront resort for its employees and shareholders; and
2019 marks the 84th anniversary of the founding of American Beach;
during the period of racial segregation in America, American Beach became known to hundreds of thousands as the Negro Playground, and was a home in Paradise to many; and
since 1982 property owners assumed leadership for the community and began a neighborhood association; through the efforts of the American Beach Property Owners’ Association, Inc., a state historic survey of homes and structures on American Beach was completed; and
after a thorough and certified documentation conducted by the American Beach Property Owners’ Association, Inc., American Beach, since January 28, 2002 has been listed as the American Beach Historic District in the National Register of Historic Places.

Later in the meeting, commissioners gave their final approval and authorization of funding agreements for several not-for-profits including:

  • $150,000 to the Nassau County Economic Development Board, whose mission is to create, grow and attract business investment to Nassau County and offer high-wage jobs to its residents and our future workforce, says its website.
  • $83,655 to the Jacksonville Area Legal Aid (JALA) which provides legal services to low income persons residing in Nassau County including services to individuals and families facing domestic violence, loss of housing and computer scams
  • $243,000 to the Council on Aging which describes itself as an organization whose goal “is to maintain and enrich the lives of older citizens throughout Nassau County. NCCOA’s programs enable those age 60 and older to live independently at home while also providing opportunities for companionship, and activities geared toward the needs of seniors.”’
  • $60,000 to the Boys and Girls Club of Nassau County Foundation whose “mission is to fund and operate Nassau County’s after-school and summer programs which benefit the community’s youth by providing them with a safe place to improve their academics, be engaged with positive role models, and develop into confident leaders; and
  • $50,000 to Micah’s Place, “the only certified domestic center in Nassau County,” as their website instructs.


Editor’s Note: Born in Hagerstown, Maryland, Cindy received her BA in Political Science from Dickinson College. Upon graduation, Cindy began her career on Capitol Hill working as a legislative aide and director. She later became a part of the public relations and lobbying team of the American Iron and Steel Institute and served as director of the office of state legislative affairs for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). Cindy was involved in economic development with the state of Maryland, and served as executive director of Leadership Washington County. As a community volunteer, Cindy participates in numerous volunteer activities serving as a member of Sunrise Rotary, and as board member of Cummer Amelia Board of Directors.

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Here’s to stories . . .

Evelyn C. McDonald
Arts & Culture Reporter
January 15, 2019 11:00 p.m.

Stories are an important part of our lives. How to be get to know another person? We exchange stories. How do we pass the time with an old friend? We tell “remember when” stories. The Friends of the Library honors the storyteller’s art with another of their Story Slams.

There are usually five or six storytellers. Sometimes I know one or two of them; others are new to me. Some storytellers are familiar figures on the local stages. Their stories are themed to a specific topic. On January 24, this year’s Story Slam theme is “Feast or Famine.” There is generally someone who introduces the speakers and may or may not have a story of their own. This year Arlene Filkoff is the ring mistress for the event.

The evening begins with a reception starting at 5:30 pm so that you can sip, taste, and talk with friends. The story telling will begin at 7:00 pm. The audience can buy votes for their favorites. Yes, there are some times when buying votes is encouraged. The winner will be crowned Island Tales Story Champion. (To purchase tickets for the January 24 championship online, click here.)

The format assures a nice evening with socializing and listening fun. I’ve attended a few of these and they provided insight as well as humor. While I encourage you to attend for the enjoyment of the evening, this is also an important event for the FOL. This time you will also be answering a need. Normally the twice annual book sales raise over $20,000 for the library. This year there will be no spring book sale. The FOL has Continue reading

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Reframe New Year’s Resolutions to achieve success

McArthur Family YMCA
By Karina Gilchrist
Member Experience Director
January 15, 2019 4:00 p.m.

It’s hard to believe that we are midway through the first month of the New Year. As you continue to settle back into life post-holidays, now is a really good time to check-in with yourself and evaluate those hefty New Year’s resolutions you made on Dec. 31.

If your resolutions are still going strong – keep it up! However, many of us find our resolutions thrown out along with the holiday decorations. It’s no wonder—starting the New Year by making sweeping cuts to our diets and declarations that we’ll hit the gym seven days a week doesn’t exactly set us up for success! But by reframing resolutions and breaking them down into smaller, easy-to-sustain goals you’ll see big benefits in the long run.

As a leading community service organization here in Nassau County we see how getting Continue reading

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Several Florida species no longer warrant listing

Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
January 15, 2019 3:00 p.m.


The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) completed the final step in reevaluating five Species of Special Concern, one of six key objectives outlined in Florida’s Imperiled Species Management Plan. As a result, several fish and wildlife species no longer warrant listing.

Based on thorough scientific review, the FWC determined the harlequin darter, Homosassa shrew, southern fox squirrel and the Monroe County osprey population no longer warrant listing as Species of Special Concern.

Through the process, FWC biologists and partners agreed that Florida has three distinct species of alligator snapping turtles. Two of these species do not warrant listing. However, the Suwannee alligator snapping turtle will now be listed as State Threatened.

The new listing status for these species took effect Dec. 23, 2018. Continue reading

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Girl Scouts of Gateway Council Announce 2019 Summer Camps

Girl Scouts of Gateway Council

January 14, 2019 2:00 p.m.

Girl Scout camp is a place where girls explore nature, take on new challenges, master new skills, and develop a stronger sense of self – all in a safe, all-girl environment.

Girl Scouts of Gateway Council announces 2019 summer camps. This year, Camp Kateri and North Fork Leadership Center will offer a variety of camp themes and activities.

Camp Kateri offers resident camp that features a wide array of safe outdoor experiences, including canoeing, outdoors skills, kayaking, hiking, campfires and more.

North Fork Leadership Center in Middleburg will be the site for day camp with exciting Continue reading

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New Short Film Reveals Amelia Island’s “Treasured” Past

Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau
January 14, 2019

The Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) will debut a new documentary-style film, “Amelia Island: The Real Treasure Island,” which explores the island’s little-known history, rich with plundering pirates, lost galleons and a cast of colorful characters. Produced in association with the Amelia Island Museum of History and the Maritime Museum of Amelia Island, the short film was developed to educate and entertain visitors and locals alike about the popular destination’s storied past. The film will debut on the Amelia Island Facebook page ( on Jan. 15 at 8 p.m.

“This island has more history than anywhere else in the United States,” said Travis Cloyd, a sixth generation Amelia Islander and CEO and founder of Observe Media Inc, a production company based in Hollywood, California.  “As the only place in America to have flown eight different flags, it’s no surprise Amelia’s shores still echo the secrets of infamous pirates, literary legacies and swashbuckling socialites,” said Kate Harris, Director of Digital Marketing for the CVB.

The 17-minute film produced by the CVB brings to life the history of treasures on Amelia Island, from buried pirate plunder to sunken Spanish ships just offshore. Several local experts provided a wealth of information and insight for the film, including Captain Steve Hair, Ye Olde Pirate Charter; Billy Taylor, Director, Maritime Museum of Amelia Island; Roger Morenc, Owner, Marlin and Barrel Distillery; Travis Cloyd, 6th generation Amelia Islander and Hollywood producer; Thea Seagraves, Education Director, Amelia Island Museum of History; and Scott Jensen, Archeologist.

In addition to the Jan. 15 Facebook debut, the film will be featured during a special “Havana Nights” event at Marlin & Barrel Distillery, a local distillery which is featured in the film, on the same night. This Cuban-themed event will pay homage to Havana as the last port of call for two of the treasure ships discovered off Amelia’s coast, and will feature salsa dancing, specialty beverages, and flavorful dishes from Hola Cuban Café. The event begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $35 and can purchased at

For more information about Amelia Island, or to begin planning your vacation, visit

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Amelia Lifelong Learning Special Event

Amelia Lifelong Learning
Submitted by Evelyn C. McDonald
January 14, 2019 11:00 a.m.

2019 is the 100th anniversary of the end of The Great War – World War I. In recognition of that, Amelia Lifelong Learning offers a special short course to explain how the Great War ended and how the Paris Peace talks of 1919, including the Treaty of Versailles, resulted in the creation of a world destined for an even greater disaster – what Winston Churchill called the Thirty Years War of the 20th Century.

This class provides a bridge between the WWI class in fall 2018 and the WWII class being offered in Spring 2019. It is not necessary to have taken the WWI class to benefit from this special short class. The WWII class will cover major areas such as the failure of Democracy and the rise of Fascism, America First, U.S. Internment Camps, espionage, the Holocaust, Halsey’s Typhoon, use of Atomic Bombs, Allied conferences, and the Nuremberg and other post-war trials.

The class meets Tuesdays January 22 and January 29 from 6-8 pm at St. Peter’s Church. The course fee is $25. There are no materials to be purchased.

For more information and to register visit

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