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.

Traffic Circulation Study and Parking Thoughts

No, or I should say few, other topics generate so many diverse opinions. ¬†We need parking, but the City of Fernandina’s parking requirements change from season to season. ¬†Beach accesses in July appear to be scarce. ¬†In January, they appear far too numerous. ¬†Regardless, downtown parking and beach parking are very separate issues, with different seasons.

Beach parking comes with the right to use recreational spaces.  We have some areas with less access points and a perception of nearly private beach space.  Other areas are squeezed by surrounding commercial development and more on the way.  Does it make sense to consider paid parking?  I read one variation with a certain logic and, in my opinion, those opposing any paid parking will agree when actual public access becomes an issue.  Sadler and Atlantic areas will be the first to see some form of paid parking, given the surrounding commercial uses requiring added parking to access.   FHUIEqOZS6uO8oI0gNVjnA.jpg

Downtown parking is an entirely different issue and other considerations, like the marina, waterfront, street openings and traffic, all make the issue far more complex. ¬†The season is becoming an “all year” season in the Historic District and a scarcity of parking for dining or shopping during peak times is becoming apparent to anyone with a business. ¬†I’m able to find a space before 11:30, but after lunch, I’m often searching or walking. ¬†This isn’t improved as I see some merchants located on Centre using space in front of side street storefronts for “All Day” parking. ¬†Yes, I think we’re spoiled and are going through a period of adjustment, but we also need to be proactive to preserve the high level of access to business and a tourist attraction. ¬†img_0575

If you doubt the attention given to the subject, see the link below.  The conversation comes up over and over, with repeated, but slightly different studies over the years.

City of Fernandina “Parking” Search Results


We are currently awaiting response to a Request for Proposal fro a traffic consultant to reevaluate a prior study by Zev Cohen, with updates. ¬†The only suggestion I would have is to consider whether you want the same consultant to update or would prefer to make a point of using a second consultant to validate findings and recommendations. ¬† Hopefully, we will be able to move forward on recommendations after paying for advice. ¬† In an election year, note the timing. ¬†The response will be after November and may mean two new commission members. ¬†This election will, again, be about parking, the waterfront, street openings and I hope not about “kicking the can down the road”.

A portion of the CoFB request for bids to re-evaluate a previously completed study by Zev Cohen.  Source: www.fbfl.us 7/20/18


The purpose of this project is to review, reconsider, and re-evaluate, a previously completed, but now dated, document: Waterfront CRA Master Plan Traffic Circulation and Parking Study (Zev Cohen & Associates; 2009).

The review effort should focus upon the same Primary and Secondary Study Areas, described on Page 6 of the original report. Within those areas, pedestrian and vehicular activity has markedly increased due to population trends and commercial activity.

The City has struggled for many years to achieve political consensus regarding waterfront redevelopment. The challenges have included railroad crossings, parking facilities and capacity, parks, and related infrastructure. The City’s Marina, severely damaged during Hurricane Matthew, is scheduled to be rebuilt within the next twelve months. The results of this Traffic Circulation and Parking Study will be utilized to determine key facets of future waterfront and downtown redevelopment.

Primary stakeholders of this project include officials and staff from the City of Fernandina Beach, the City of Fernandina Beach Main Street organization, the Ocean Highway and Port Authority, the State of Florida Department of Transportation, and the Genesee and Wyoming Railroad officials. Each of these agencies should be engaged as part of this project.

The goal is to complete this review by December, 2018, including a presentation to the City Commission of the study’s findings no later than December 18, 2018.

Just tell me the bulb failed! Island Lifestyle and Time

After seeing an engine light earlier, noting my daytime running light sensor was having a problem, I just assumed the worst. ¬†Cars seem to have sensors for things I never considered, like telling me if the sun is shining. ¬†I don’t use reading glasses, so the difference between day and night is something I can manage without a special feature. ¬†Anyway, the owner’s manual shows warnings to keep the surface of the sensor clean and avoid paper over the sensor….avoid spraying excessive chemicals on the sensor…and warnings all leading me to believe the special light on my dash meant an expensive part of my vehicle might requiring replacement by the dealer. ¬† One Google search later, I realized one bulb was failing and I needed directions to reach the area behind the front bumper. ¬† Youtube has videos for everything, including replacement of a DRL,and another 30 seconds later, my learning curve improved a little more. ¬† Advance Auto Parts on 8th Street was truly helpful, including a tip not to buy the more expensive “best” quality replacement, unless I planned to replace both bulbs. ¬†Lights shown as replacements aren’t all the same brightness or color…good to know!

My point is taking a little longer to make than intended, but staying on the island saved gas, a trip to the dealer with a little internet effort and the time to replace a second bulb or mismatch the color and intensity of the light. ¬†A shop owner took the time to help, the trip to buy a part took 10 minutes and it made my day to avoid having the DRL sensor checked or replaced. ¬† It sure would be nice if the manufacturer just changed the message to read….”Your right front light burned out! ¬†Please replace.“, directions and perhaps a replacement part # suggested. Considering the time, money and effort I nearly wasted by trusting the dash display…. #SMH

Earlier today, my youngest son and I were talking about local delivery services like Uber Eats. Small places like the island offer some unusual possibilities for work, like delivery, ride sharing and odd jobs you wouldn’t ordinarily consider. ¬†Things have changed, but using technology to put people together is making the island a much more convenient place to live. ¬†Buying local can mean you don’t even need to leave the house.

Thinking of technology, our second and longer conversation was about the change to using Apple devices. ¬†My youngest son doesn’t always see the reason to save time and effort, but I made a change to almost all Apple or iOS devices last year. ¬† The time savings is at least 30 minutes each day and everything “ALWAYS” works. ¬†I’m typing now on a MacBook, considering the time I saved by switching. ¬†Using windows systems or pre-windows systems, I was loyal from the late 80’s until last year, but the complexity of updating or forcing compatibility went a little too far in 2017. ¬†Making the change, I paid much more for the system, but the dollars in time savings is covering my cost every 60 days. ¬†IMG_0808.jpg

The end of both conversations moved back to efficient use of time. ¬†The cost of the tool or cost to live somewhere means much less than the time you save or efficiency. ¬†We can’t replace time. ¬†Living here on the island, I spend more for housing or, nothing to do with the island, a computer system I choose to use, but the time has value. ¬†Think about it another way. ¬†My time in my 50’s is worth much more to me than time in my 70’s, I might never see. ¬† That came across as a little depressing, but time today is always worth more than an uncertain time tomorrow. ¬†Spending money to live in a premium location or buy better tools usually makes sense. ¬†That was the lesson I wanted my son to learn. ¬† #AmeliaIslnd #IslandLiving #Smalltownwisdom

We all think about seizing the day or living well.  Just think about the place you live and saving time, not money.  Sure, we all need enough to live, but the things you begin to see here all mean you have more time and living, assuming you live, work and play on the island.  Even if a commute is part of your life, checking the live and play boxes makes a big difference.

Happy 4th of July

….Well, for most of us. ¬†Before I explain, I want to wish everyone a happy 4th of July. ¬†We live in the best country in the world and I feel honored to live here, enjoying freedom, standard of living and privileges much of the world cannot imagine.


Earlier today, I had a conversation, I think, ¬†with a friend in a local coffee shop. ¬†While civil on my side, they made every effort to insult each and every person in local government, state government, the POTUS and everyone in between. ¬†I didn’t agree, so the hostility neared “saliva spitting” levels, vocal enough to make the next table leave the shop. ¬†Voters don’t have it right, those elected to represent us don’t have it right and everyone not agreeing with this person (coffee shop acquaintance) must be criminal…or patently stupid. ¬†Those were his words or the equivalent, not mine.

After 15 minutes of trying to exert civility, I finally left, but the holiday seemed such an odd day for this conversation! ¬†I hope we all remember “WE” live in the same country and “WE” have a government elected to represent all of us. ¬†Whether or not we agree politically, recognizing our system and respecting the country is something I feel should be universally accepted/expected. ¬†Yes, the media is becoming polarized and, depending on your political view, I could probably tell you which major station you choose to hear. ¬†I say “HEAR” because I’m as guilty as the next person and simply turn off the things I begin to see as biased. ¬†The key is in recognizing both sides of biased reporting. ¬†We should all make a conscious effort to just be “Americans”. ¬†I hope we all begin to recognize the importance of seeing our country as “OUR” country with an inclusive “OUR”.

Happy 4th of July, 2018. ¬†May you all enjoy today and celebrate the freedoms we have in the greatest country in the world. ¬†I’m thinking about The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and it’s wording….”I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” ¬†We all, I think, still live in the same country and a quiet talk over coffee shouldn’t turn into something impossible for people with different political views.


A Few Favorite Pictures and History

The Honey Badgers are playing for Sounds on Center this week and I thought about some of the concerts we’ve enjoyed over past years. ¬†The picture below is from 7 years ago and pretty common for our street concert series. ¬†These are family-friendly events and a lot of fun for everyone before an evening out or after a day spent downtown.

No, the Palace Saloon Coca Cola does not represent the current sign code or size, but it is historic.

I took this shot on the way to the car one night.  Palm trees and skies s clear, full moon illumination at night can be as bright as a streetlight. 

Deer and coyote are on the island. ¬†I’ve noticed far more in the last few years, but, for some reason, not so many rabbits. ¬†¬†

Shrimping is still around, but the dock space is shrinking.  The newest change to the island is a shift toward becoming a dining, shopping and recreation destination and away from what you might traditionally think of as a working waterfront.  The island is the home of the shrimping industry, but finding a way to preserve history and embrace change is an ongoing challenge.

PJD’s is something local and unique. ¬†If you’re downtown, this is a wonderful stop for an amazing selection of craft beer. ¬†Hours are short and they do close for weather.

The development downtown is always a mix of the old and new. ¬†I enjoy the coffee at Hola Cafe on North 2nd….attached to the rear of the Palace Saloon building. ¬†The best businesses bring something truly unique to Fernandina. ¬†Pi for Pizza, Hola Cuban Cafe for Coffee, PJD’s for Craft Beer….Hand Crafted Chocolate at Fantastic Fudge and Timiti’s for a Poke Bowl. ¬†¬†

Brugmansia (Angel’s Trumpet) Reminder


I’m just pointing out the blooming brugmansia plants, common in the area, ¬†and potential for unwanted exposure. ¬†While I don’t think ingestion is likely, assuming most people don’t eat random shrubbery, would someone with high blood pressure or a damaged heart be at risk if pruning or cutting flowers?

All parts of Brugmansia are potentially poisonous, with the seeds and leaves being especially dangerous. Effects of ingestion can include paralysis of smooth muscles, confusion, tachycardia, dry mouth, diarrhea, migraine headaches, visual and auditory hallucinations, mydriasis, rapid onset cycloplegia, and death. Source: www.wikipedia.org 6/19/18


Coyotes Becoming Common on Amelia Island

I hope you’ll excuse the very poor quality of the image, but last week a fairly large coyote ran through ¬†our back yard. ¬†Talking with a neighbor, this coyote or another one spent some time attempting to encourage their new puppy to leave the yard, until the owner noticed. ¬†Given the reputation coyotes have for eating pets or small animals, I’ve started keeping our dog on a leash when we take her outside after dark.


At the size of a small German Shepard, this was more than enough to be a threat to our dog, so I began looking for information on just how dangerous these might be to pets.  It turns out they do have a reputation for eating cats and small dogs.  Even larger dogs are sometimes taunted into following the much faster and more agile coyotes.

Whether you’re looking for tips on avoiding a problem with feral cat feedings or some of the links below have very different thoughts on how to deal with coyotes. ¬†Are they actually a problem? ¬†While I’m not pleased by the need to take more care with my¬†IMG_0919.jpg“Thanksgiving Turkey”-sized golden-doodle, one study shows coyotes actually protect wildlife by changing where feral cats live. ¬†If true, the change should push feral cats away from areas with wild birds and eliminate some of the issues with disease, since the study also shows the location change appears to naturally reduce health issues in feral animals.

Now a study at Ohio State University shows that coyotes keep down the cat population in the more natural urban/suburban areas in two ways ‚ÄĒ meals of cat and cat education. The latter is the most significant. The cats learn that life closer to houses is safer. Cats migrate out of the parks and live in areas where the researchers found the cats to be both fatter and less diseased. In effect, the urban area becomes divided into coyote zones and cat zones. ¬† The Wildlife News¬†6/15/18