It looks different from the air…View of Fernandina Beach Waterfront

My newest effort to update the photographic game was the purchase of a drone. ¬†I’m early in the learning process and, so far, I am pleased to see very different views of my hometown. ¬†I think seeing the impact of tourism (Hampton and Train Depot, the marina, Port of Fernandina, working waterfront and WestRock, all in one shot, brings home the level of diversity in Fernandina.


Bucket List and Wishlist…..

I don’t think I need to fit in a prom dress or own another golden retriever, but this is an entertaining read on my way to or from my favorite local coffee shop. ¬†Outside Cafe Karibo, travel, love, pets and great achievements….


How many of you dreamed of living in a beach town with great dining, great beaches, great neighbors and raise children in a place like Fernandina?  I have a lot on my bucket list, but a surprising number of those things are here in Fernandina.


Hurricane Florence and Fernandina – Amelia Island

Our hearts go out to our neighbors in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and any other states impacted by Florence. ¬†The storm is showing signs of a possible turn to the south and hurricanes are notoriously unpredictable. ¬†I tend to go to two sites for updates. ¬†I use NOAA and Mike’s Weather Page for collected links to “MANY” sources of information. ¬†“Mike’s” is the easiest place I’ve been able to find for a collection of spaghetti models, if you love watching the least likely and most likely predicted storm paths.

Hurricane Floyd Waves at the foot of Atlantic Avenue

I would urge everyone to take this as as a warning and purchase basic supplies. ¬†Be sure your vehicle is filled, have food for time in a car and supplies in the event of an extended stay out of the area. ¬†I’m going to share a link and image for a 5 day forecast, as well as an image of the current path projected for Florence. ¬†The 5 day image shows the potential storm areas and areas of formation. ¬†This is a busy season and potentially difficult year for Florida. ¬†With luck, we won’t see a landfall in Florida this year, but Irma and Matthew should have been warning enough for locals. ¬†Storms are unpredictable and preparing for evacuation is important each year.

Thinking of our coastline and past storms, it can be easy to become complacent. ¬†I’m told the Carnegie family chose to build on Cumberland Island based on the lower probability of a hurricane strike. ¬†That said, our two most recent storms were really near misses, even though we lost significant property and a significant period of time without a fully functional marina.

Florence on Wednesday and updated forecast as of 11AM Wednesday. Source: 9/12/18

Elections, Endorsements and First Time Voting

My oldest son registered to vote for the first time and I started to think a little about how elections and politics must look to a new voter.  I still remember 4JTI5pcCSqJ1uDiLu71zg.jpgvoting in my first year of college and how important I felt it was to be a part of the system.  Feeling entitled to have a voice and feeling the obligation to make good choices meant a lot to me, even then.

Elections (Primary) are about choice, but having a voice endorsing candidates can mean a lot as well. Be sure to check the links to Municipal Candidates, if you live inside Fernandina Beach city limits.

Announced Candidates Link

In the city races, I feel both commissions in office, Roy Smith and Len Kreger, are the most qualified to continue to represent the City of Fernandina.

Roy Smith
Roy Smith City Commission

Roy Smith (City Commissioner)  has been willing to take unpopular stances and willing to ask questions, when needed.  His recent opinion on sales tax revenue was good.  We need to think about funding maintenance for streets and sustainability.  Roy has my vote and I appreciate his service.

Len Kreger
Len Kreger for City Commission

Len¬†Kreger (City Commissioner) also has my support. ¬†He has been diligent, ¬†active as both a commissioner and in support of a number of local causes. ¬†He was chair of the PAB for a long time and involved with causes like sustainability, smart development, stormwater planning and beaches. He is a true advocate and tirelessly works to make Fernandina a better place. ¬†He is also one of the best prepared commissioners I’ve ever known.

I also support two candidates, in particular, for other local races.


Aaron Bell and Family

Aaron Bell is running for County Commission. ¬†He has been involved for¬†years with Nassau County Economic Development and a part of local politics for the entire time I’ve known him. ¬†Well-educated, articulate and prepared, he would be an excellent full-time commissioner and, I feel, would be an advocate for jobs and the local economy.

Mike Cole

Mike Cole, I know personally, and respect.  We were on a board together in 2014 and/or 15 and I was consistently impressed with his preparation and intelligence. He is running for the OHPA District 5 seat.

Finally, I prefer several names in the bigger races.

Joe Zimmerman, I’ve known for years. ¬†He has been extremely helpful to me, when he worked with Janet Adkin’s office and I know his level of knowledge puts him far ahead of ¬†other candidates. ¬†I felt disappointed in the changes with a negative impact for Nassau and a negative impact to beach access. ¬†In this race, I feel we would do well with a change of representation. By the way, his website is one of the best I’ve seen. ¬†If organization means anything….my hat is off to Joe.

Aaron Bean and Family

Aaron Bean is running for re-election. ¬†While we don’t always agree, I’ve known him for many years and he has been diligent in representing the county. ¬†The general election is some time away and I also think representation is important. ¬†Aaron has a better chance to work for our interests and is developing into a better representative each year.

Finally, I like Rick Scott. ¬†As governor, he was proactive in reaching out to our local representatives. ¬†I was pleasantly surprised to hear from him, personally, as a City Commissioner and Mayor. ¬†I also witnessed, first hand, his handling of disasters and efforts to improve Florida’s economy. ¬†He was and is a great governor. ¬†He has my vote and endorsement in the primary and general election as our new United States Senator. ¬†I was involved in local politics when Crawford Diamond held an inauguaral groundbreaking event attended by Governor Scott and watched him eventually approve funding for a drainage project here on the island, saving millions for local government. ¬†He tends to remember people and does, in my opinion, care.

Fernandina’s Food and Drink

We were out of town for a week on vacation and I can honestly say I missed the food and coffee. ¬†Several stops with salads or something near Timoti’s poke bowl were sad by comparison and the coffee at Hola Cafe is better than anything we found on our trip.

Poke Bowl with extra tuna……no edit needed.

No offense to any other barista, but Chris at Hola makes the best Cortaditos. ¬†I watch and still can’t tell if the sugar, how much espresso, temperature or the order makes the change, but it is truly addictive.


Rain and Plans Change….Close to So Much!

August is the “rain every afternoon” season. ¬†It usually doesn’t last, but being aware of the weather is important near the end of summer. ¬†We learned last week, when our plans to do almost anything within a 6 hour drive, involved rain and heavy thunderstorms.


Riding a zip line, fantastic coffee, a new favorite stop for pizza, visits to world-class universities and swimming with the manatees salvaged the week in style.  Fernandina is driving distance for stay-cation day trips or a fantastic place, if your plans change with the weather.

Some of the highlights were a stop at the Alachua County library to renew an electronic card and see what’s changed. ¬†We also enjoyed a fantastic meal at V Pizza in Jacksonville, something a little different and only about 45 minutes from the island. ¬†I normally focus on the island, but knowing so much is within driving distance, the island makes a great place to play or just use as a base for trips to most of Florida. ¬†We live here and tend to forget to do the things tourists sometimes find. ¬†Coffee was fantastic at several stops, including a place we found in Ocala….with some unique artwork.





Freedom of Speech, Meeting Rules and Current Events

I’ve seen an increasing willingness to eliminate freedom of speech. ¬†Earlier today, several posts on a discussion board were removed, ironically, based on a non-existent violation. ¬†Given the nature of the internet and sometimes litigious nature of people, I won’t use the name of the forum, other than to say it was not Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. ¬†The big three have actually been pretty kind to me over the years and I have yet to experience real censorship.

Regardless, I was disappointed to bring up the subject of free speech on a forum as a discussion item. ¬†I wanted to know whether people, in general, felt free speech should be protected. ¬†Lately, it seems free speech is only protected if the listeners find it agreeable. ¬†I don’t want to protect hate speech, but there are many shades of opinion between “Good Morning” and something everyone would see as communication encouraging violence. ¬†Opinions never offend me, but it does offend me when I feel someone or some idea is being suppressed, simply because the listeners don’t like a message.

Think a little about rules for discussion. ¬†Adding “difficult to meet” requirements to speak or limiting time is all a kind of censorship/control, in my opinion. ¬†When is this unreasonable? ¬†Recognizing something might mean suppressing public input or suppressing an idea entirely, is important. ¬†If I can tell someone they have a right, but create an unreasonable requirement, the result is the same. ¬† In my opinion, discussion rules should improve order and encourage sharing of ideas in a civil fashion. ¬†If it takes a little longer to listen…well, this is what moderators or those elected to represent are expected to do.

In Fernandina, the following is a “proposed” change to the way commissioners are allowed to present information and prior submission of any material used. ¬†Personally, have some experience sitting and was on the commission when the first version of this passed. ¬†Rules for submission are worth considering, but what is the purpose? ¬†Any meeting should be a place to encourage information. ¬†Logistically, it is difficult to hand information to a City Clerk, just prior to a meeting. ¬†Agendas are usually finalized the week prior, so adding more is inconsiderate, but making it impossible, is a mistake as well. ¬†14 days prior is unrealistic. ¬†Running a poll on a local group, consensus appeared to center on 4 days prior to a meeting or a Thursday or Friday submission of information. ¬†A cutoff of 3PM on either day would be a realistic cutoff to submit something for a Tuesday meeting, but I can also see commissioners with added information available and a logic to allowing additions after the cutoff time. ¬†So, instead of making the cutoff firm, make it about consideration for staff and understand giving short notice might have an impact on the effectiveness of a presentation or acceptance by other commission members or public unable to review. ¬†As for the time limit, I’m not in favor of limiting time presentation other than allowing a Mayor to have discretion to cut it short if a presentation runs over 10 minutes. ¬†The Mayor keeps a meeting moving forward and should have the ability to move discussion forward if no new points are being made….or simply at the Mayor’s discretion.

Scheduled for discussion August 7th, 2018…



WHEREAS, on May 1, 2012, the City Commission adopted Resolution 2012-70 establishing Rules of Procedure for the City Commission; and

WHEREAS, the City Commission wishes to amend its Rules of Procedure by providing restrictions on adding agenda items with short notice and providing deadlines for Commissioners to provide information for discussion at Commission meetings.


SECTION 1. It is hereby proposed that Section 6.3 of the City Commission Rules of Procedure, be amended to read as follows:

6.3 Agenda. All discussion items (not resolutions or ordinances) and presentations shall be added to Commission agendas through the City Manager’s Office in accordance with deadlines for submission approved by the City Manager. Only discussion items related to health, safety and welfare may be added to a Commission agenda with short notice. Presentations shall be limited to ten (10) minutes unless the City Manager or a majority of the City Commission waives or alters the time limit.

SECTION 2. It is hereby proposed that the City Commission Rules of Procedure, be amended to add a new section 6.4 which shall read as follows:

6.4 Information Provided by Commissioners. Any and all documents, information, memoranda, research materials and agenda item backup materials must be submitted to the City Manager and/or City Clerk no later than fourteen (14) calendar days prior to the City Commission meeting date at which the particular issue will be discussed or considered by the City Commission.

SECTION 3. This Resolution shall be effective immediately upon passage.

ADOPTED this 7th day of August, 2018.

Historic Fernandina Beach Post Office Building Deteriorating Again?

The irony (?) of restoring a building, only partially used, is the rapid pace of deterioration as common areas are overlooked.  Restoration, if we hope to avoid waste, requires an identified use for the property.  This building is in danger of deteriorating and the restoration stopped short in many areas.  Landscaping and exterior finish seems nearly negligible, considering the total cost to renovate. Re-using old plants, never installing or freshening a sprinkler system, paint or coatings over deteriorating areas….allowing what you see above a short time later?

Transferring this property to an entity willing to fully use it and properly maintain the exterior, or properly finish the restoration, makes a lot of sense, but it needs to happen before the exterior deteriorates again.


Historic Fernandina Beach Post Office Building Gets State Award For Rehab Project | WJCT NEWS:

‚ÄúFinally, we kicked the Post Office Department in the shins enough that they went in there and they have done a beautiful rehab job,‚ÄĚ Nelson said.

Now he sees a different future for the building: He wants the Postal Service to sell or give it to the city of Fernandina Beach.

‚ÄúThey can use it as their City Hall, and the old federal court room, that‚Äôs a perfect place for the meeting for the City Council,‚ÄĚ Nelson said.