• Fernandina Beach City Commission candidates answer . . . Why serve? Skills?
    October 5, 2015 1:00 a.m. Editor’s Note:  For the next four days, the Fernandina Observer will post answers to questions posed to candidates running for a seat on the Fernandina Beach City Commission.  In the November 3 election Incumbent Commissioner … Continue reading →
  • Amelia Island revealed . . .
    Submitted by Mickey Baity October 4, 2015 1:00 a.m. Editor’s Note: Mickey Baity and his wife Pam moved to Amelia Island from Washington, D.C in 2000. He spent much of his professional career living and traveling in the Middle East … Continue reading →
  • Fernandina Beach approves Airport Master Plan 5-0
    Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm Reporter – News Analyst October 1, 2015 5:15 p.m. At a Special Meeting of the Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) on September 29, 2015, commissioners and the public viewed the final product of a 10 … Continue reading →
  • Institute for Enterprise elects Poynter and Flowers to board
    Submitted by John Campbell Elwell October 1, 2015 9:42 p.m. The Institute for Enterprise, Inc. is pleased to announce that Timothy M. Poynter and V. Scott Flowers have been elected to the Board of Directors. Mr. Poynter is a graduate … Continue reading →
  • Fernandina Beach Fire Department Goes Pink
    Fernandina Beach Fire Department Press Release October 1, 2015 5:02 p.m. Fernandina Beach Fire Department personnel will be sporting pink for the month of October to help bring awareness to the importance of mammograms and the dangers of breast cancer. … Continue reading →

Wildlife in the Front Yard

My wife, youngest son Landon and I were out for a bike ride earlier today and saw something that’s becoming more common here on Amelia Island. With no natural predators other than the occasional coyote, deer show up in front yards across the island, especially on Northern Amelia Island.IMG_7007 IMG_7008


Happy 453rd Birthday…… Isle de Mai….Amelia Island

CarolinaToFloridaCoast1733.jpgNot only do we have 8 flags, we were also flying Some of those flags 453 years ago….three years longer than St. Augustine?   I think I’ll settle for more flags.  

The map to the right (1733) is interesting, in itself.  As a native, I tend to forget the sheer number of coastal settlements.  There is a huge history to the island and the region.   In 1817, pirate Luis Aury declared himself ruler of the island under the Mexican flag.  Fernandina, for some time, became a pirate haven and a rumored location of buried treasure.  Springs like the one you see here, flowed with clean, fresh water, when the water table was higher.  This is a spot, I believe, flowed from the center of a blackberry patch near by home.  40 years and a world of change, only a few vines remain, but the location still has a certain feeling of history.  I can imagine ship’s captains in the 1500’s looking for fresh water on a sparsely populated island. 

We may not be the oldest, but I think we’re, by far, the most interesting city in Florida.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Original_Town_of_Fernandina_Historic_Site

Fernandina Beach is a city in Nassau County in the state of Florida in the United States of America, on Amelia Island. …….  Known as the “Isle of 8 Flags”, it has had the flags of the following nations flown over it since 1562: France, Spain, Great Britain, Spain (again), the Patriots of Amelia Island, the Green Cross of Florida, Mexico, the Confederate States of America, and the United States. It is the only municipality in the United States that has flown eight different national flags.[3]

Fernandina Beach, Florida – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hurricane Floyd….1999 and Amelia-Island.net’s History.

The post below was a "pre-Wordpress" post on Amelia Island Net, back in 1999.  Time passes, but looking back at a post from nearly 16 years ago….Wow!  Keep Preparedness in mind and pay attention to emergency updates in hurricane season.  Locals may seem lax, but they know to move when a major storm is on the way.  While the old surfer in me still hopes for waves, I’d love to see storms pass a few hundred miles offshore, instead of making landfall. 

On September 15th, 1999, Hurricane Floyd passed a short distance off the coast of Amelia Island.  Although this was not a direct "hit", it is interesting to see what happens here when a category 3 storm passes nearby.   The pictures you see were all taken before, during and after the storm.  If you have any shots you would like to add, you can e-mail them to source@amelia-island.net .

Click any of the pictures to enlarge…

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Well, that is about everything.  We saw very little damage here on the island.  The pictures run from the left to right starting at the top.  The first shot is the day before the storm.  Then all the rest are the day of the storm and the final picture is the morning after.

If you want to see how lucky we were this time, another storm in 1964 caused far more damage.  I think the last shot is a picture of the North Beach area of Amelia Island during Hurricane Dora.

Anyone is welcome to use these pictures with the following stipulation.  If they are published, you must contact me for a release and I will ask for a small credit.  No permission is given to sell the above pictures without express written consent from Edward E. Boner, Jr. The last shot of Dora is not mine.  If you would like a copy, call Quality Fast Photo at 904-261-9600.

Hurricanes and Complacency

[Image of 5-day forecast and coastal areas under a warning or a watch]

NHC Image of projected path for Erika on 8/26/2015 at 5PM. Go to the National Hurricane Center for Current Information.

Watching the news, www.weather.com , www.nhc.noaa.gov and various forecasting tools online, we all should pay attention to storms like Erika.   The projected path can change and evacuation in Florida is far from simple.  If you remember the last near miss here in Fernandina, Hurricane Floyd in September of 1999 or Dora in 1964, there is a world of difference or can be in storms.  The link below is one of the best common sense plans I’ve seen.  Consider your plan to meet family members, in the event of a major storm event, but plan for water, food and shelter, if power is interrupted.  Filling bathtubs or using water from a hot water heater is good, if you aren’t evacuated, but evacuation and mandatory evacuation will happen with a major storm.

As a native, I’m not complacent.  I do watch storms and am used to thinking about the possibility of wind shear and projected increases in wind speed.  I would highly recommend basic preparation for the possibility of a storm.   We tend to forget the Andrews and Katrinas, after time passes.  Preparation for pets, family and property  can go a long way.


Map of Springs and Sinks in Florida

This is an exceptional map of spring and sink locations here in Florida, put together by Jhwum Ki-ak.  See the reference to the source below.  I’ve been to some of the areas, but the smaller springs or less known areas are entirely new to me.  I’m inclined to make a point of taking the kids to the Suwanee River, when I’m sure the water is down and clear.   Ichetucknee State Park for tubing, is a great day trip from the island, but most visitors never know about the inland clear-water springs.  

There are a variety of state parks and springs, all within 2 to 4 hours of Amelia Island and interesting for the day.  Crystal River, on the west side or Blue Springs, will often have manatees in the winter, as the animals look for warmer water and food. 

Florida Spring and Sink Location Map: By Jhwum Ki-ak A map of the known springs in Florida.
Contact: jhwumkiak@gmail.com

Multiple Vehicle Crash A1A

I have no idea what caused the wreck, but ….well, lot of chips on the road and one lucky pickup!  The falling truck barely missed crushing the cab and, I’m sure, the driver.   Looking at fatality and fault statistics, it is worth driving defensively around large trucks, with a far more difficult time stopping or avoiding a car.  Car occupants are far more likely to die in a crash and, surprisingly, are more often the cause of an accident between cars and trucks.

"NCSO Press Release – …semi-tractor trailer carrying a load of wood chips overturned Thursday afternoon on A1A just west of the Shave Bridge."

A major driver behavior issue in car-truck crashes concerns fault—the relative contribution of truck vs. car drivers. In 1998, Blower analyzed more than 5,400 fatal car-truck crashes from 1994–95, examining Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) records of driver-related factors, pre-crash movements, and vehicle positions.(2) According to this analysis, the car driver’s behavior was more than three times as likely to contribute to the fatal crash than was the truck driver’s behavior. In addition, the car driver was solely responsible for 70 percent of the fatal crashes, compared to 16 percent for the truck driver. Blower could not replicate the analysis for nonfatal crashes, because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) National Automotive Sampling System General Estimates System (NASS-GES) only contained contributing-factor data for cases in which a citation was written (approximately one-third of nonfatal crashes recorded in the system).http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/humanfac/04085/

Old Fashioned Service

Thriving for as long as I can remember….great hardware stores never die.

Definitely a contractor’s place to find anything missing on a job. Running out of wall space for “best of the best” awards.

There aren’t many places you can find old-fashioned service and everything….down to a single mail. Amelia Island Paint and Hardware is one of those places where you can find anything.

Instead of buying mass packaged goods you might never use, you’ll find only item you want, and knowledgeable helpful staff. I’ve been coming here whenever possible for nearly 30 years.


Brewery Space Takes Shape

okanes (2)

O’Kanes before work began…date unknown.

The trend in Fernandina is moving in the same direction.  We’ve had our share of local micro breweries, but the brew pub and more tourist-friendly version, designed to be light, open and offer a view of the process will soon be complete.  The entry will be open, light and appears to have exposed old brick with iron supports.

New building takes shape….just to the left of “Hunts”

A huge difference….from the original building, with structural issues, to the newer version!

Interest spread to the U.S., and in 1982, Grant’s Brewery Pub in Yakima, Washington was opened, reviving the U.S. “brewery taverns” of well-known early Americans as William Penn, Samuel Adams and Patrick Henry. Growth was initially slow—the fifth U.S. brewpub opened in 1986,[43] but the growth since then has been considerable: the Brewers Association reports that in 2012 there were 2,075 regional craft breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs in the U.S.[44]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microbrewery

The process will take place on the right side of this picture. Notice the pipes in the wall…just to the right of the equipment.

Beach Before and After Hurricane Dora

Main Beach 1960 Pre-Dora

1024px-Hurricane_Dora_1964_Florida_track It is interesting to see the changes in Main Beach from 1960 to 1969 and then on to a map in present day.  At the later shot, you can see dramatic changes to the contour of the beach and added building, as the area developed.  Notice the missing road going north along Fletcher and to the area along Ocean Avenue?

Hurricane Dora, September of 1964….




Hurricane Floyd Flooding in 1999





main beach 1969

Main Beach 1969


Weekend Events on Amelia Island

Ever hear “There isn’t anything to do…..”?     A few of the events in the coming few days.   

  • The Fox on the Fairway Amelia Community Theatre Sunday, June 21, 2015, 2 – 4:30pm The ‘Lend Me a Tenor’ playwright sets this modern-day farce at a country club during a golf tournament between clubs with a longstanding bitter rivalry. Besides golf, there are “three love affairs, a missing diamond, objectionable golf sweaters, and an exploding vase” in this fast-paced comedy. Type […]
  • The Music Man Fernandina Beach Middle School Auditorium315 Citrona DriveFernandina Beach, FL 32034 Sunday, June 21, 2015, 2 – 4:30pm "76 trombones lead the big parade" as the timeless classic comes to Amelia Island presented by Nassau Community Players.  Tickets available at Amelia Awards (817 S. 8th Street) and at Color Me Green (1008 Atlantic Avenue,) Type of Event: Community, Music, […]
  • Downtown Tasting Tour – Amelia Island Tasting Tours Meeting place is Hola Cuban Café located on North 2nd Street behind the Palace Saloon (117 Centre) Thursday, June 25, 2015, 2 – 5pm Stroll beautiful downtown Amelia Island while sampling wonderful food prepared by our favorite chefs! Each tour stops at 4 "locals’ favorite" restaurants where you’ll also meet the owners and chefs that create the […]
  • The Fox on the Fairway Amelia Community Theatre Thursday, June 25, 2015, 8 – 10:30pm The ‘Lend Me a Tenor’ playwright sets this modern-day farce at a country club during a golf tournament between clubs with a longstanding bitter rivalry. Besides golf, there are “three love affairs, a missing diamond, objectionable golf sweaters, and an exploding vase” in this fast-paced comedy. Type […]
  • Mixology Tour – Amelia Island Tasting Tours Meeting place is Hola Cuban Cafe 117 Centre Street (N. 2nd Street, behind the Palace Saloon) downtown Amelia Island. Friday, June 26, 2015, 5:30 – 7:30pm Think of this tour as an on-the-go cocktail party in beautiful downtown Amelia Island!  On this 2 hour tour, you will meet some of Amelia’s best bartenders while enjoying the unique […]
  • Bad Panda Amelia Musical Playhouse1955 Island Walkway, Fernandina Beach, Florida 32034 Friday, June 26, 7:30pm – Saturday, June 27, 2015, 7:30pm June 26th and 27th, 7:30pm curtain written by Megan Gogerty, directed by Rachel Tyler produced with special permission of Original Works Publishing They’re the last two pandas on earth. It’s mating season. One of them falls in […
  • Fernandina Beach Market Place Farmers Market North Seventh StreetHistoric, downtown Fernandina Beach Saturday, June 27, 2015, 9am – 1pm Join your family, neighbors and friends at this true farmers market where every Saturday farmers, growers, and producers sell locally grown and homemade goods to those living in, and visiting, our friendly little community. The Fernandina Beach Arts Market features local arts & crafts […]