Grisham or Baldacci?   

img_8161.jpgAmelia Island is blessed with great resident authors.    You might think the local library would, especially after expansion, have room…but locals have their favorites.    Which is your favorite author?  #JohnGrisham or #DavisBaldacci?    Thinking of a visit to the island?  Great reading material, if you want to spend a day dining and reading in a historic district.


Kudos to Rayonier Advanced Materials

8th Street Survey

According to a survey conducted in 2014, 82% of those surveyed felt landscaping improvements offered a substantial benefit to the appearance entering downtown Fernandina.

Rayonier $RYAM has a history of being a great community partner.  Driving down 8th Street in the past few weeks, you might notice the improvements to appearance around well sites.  This location is adjacent to Napa Auto Parts.  Dark screening, fresh paint to the well house, palms and ligustrum plantings make the sites far more attractive.  Sometimes the improvements you don’t notice are more important than those you do notice.

Improvements to the 8th Street corridor and the entry into Historic Downtown Fernandina, has been an important goal for many years.  From goal setting workshops to visioning to the current 8th Street Revitalization effort, this corridor and the appearance profoundly impacts business and tourism on the island.

Thanks to anyone taking a proactive approach to improvement of their parcel, building or landscape and “Kudos to #Rayonier”.


The Importance of a Door

Entries and doorways have a great deal to do with value and perception. How important is an entry? When listing a property, one of the most common improvements recommended is a new coat of paint to the front door. Replacing the lockset, painting and refinishing an entry, have a dramatic impact on the curb appeal and perceived value. Doors in a historic district even become a part of preserving the integrity of a home. Some of the doors in this picture are more than 100 years old. The original “Dublet” doors are less commonly preserved, but add tremendous appeal to the entry of an older home.

Much Needed Renovation Coming Soon

We’re all looking forward to a restoration of the post office here in Fernandina. More details will follow soon, but the front of the building and the less visible back of the building are quite different. The structure is no longer up to current code, has roofing problems, gutter/water issues, deteriorating and dry rot at windows and concrete literally falling off the side of the building at some window detail.

There is little excuse to allow an irreplaceable asset reach this level of neglect. If you consider the kind of visual impact the building has on Centre Street and the wasted potential as the building sits with two out of three floors neglected and vacant. Hours were changed and doors were locked in the evening for security reasons. At one time, the entire top floor was an attorney’s office…a highly respected attorney. The space is configured well and has great potential for public use or redevelopment. I believe the conversion will cost far less and the building design itself, is far more suited to an eventual public use.

Busy Halloween Weekend…Parking Problem or Walking Problem?

Alachua Street on a Saturday Morning

Parking and, on some streets, access becomes one way, as cars line the road near events.   Parking lots several blocks away are overlooked by the typical visitor.    I know the parking shouldn’t be a problem, or become intrusive to nearby residential use, but I also see the scene below almost every weekend.

Our new parking lot on Broome appears vacant most of the time and I would wonder whether we have a parking problem or a walking problem.  The clip from the Zev Cohen parking study is linked the the full document with recommendations from 2009.

Merry Christmas from Amelia Island

WaxHead Bars…Local Business…Interesting People…Weekend “Dickens on Centre” Event

I have interesting conversations with a variety of people….problably more so, given the love I have for coffee. Recently, I met the owners of WaxHead over coffee. Both owners of the startup company also run a marketing/consulting business and have for many years. Over time, they tell me, starting a second business became a logical extension of the consulting. The bars come in a variety of flavors, but the company is aso about “Thriving in the Sun” and related products. Humans belong outside and it seems logical to eat to “Thrive”. The bars are gluten free, supplimented with skin or immunitiy enhancing vitamins and rich in antioxidants. My teenagers say they taste great, leaving barely enough for Dad to taste after th feeding. I’m also beginning to think the invisible, if there is such a thing, creative forces are alligning to bring interesting people to Amelia Island. As a native, I’m more than pleased and less likely to ever leave as each year passes.

Shannon and Kari Kenner, the owners of Waxhead impressed me as sincere and passionate about the idea of a food meant to improve the outdoor lifestyle and it was a pleasure to meet over coffee at Hola Café, here on the island. Did I mention the coffee at Hola? It is literally the best Cuban Coffee and, arguably, the best coffee on the island….maybe in Northeast Florida. I’ll be there in the morning for the weekend ritual.

This is the second weekend of Dickens on Centre. If you missed the first weekend and inaugural event, your second chance started tonight. Chestnuts, authentic costumes, local celebrities dressed in surprising ways are all part of the fun. My children played giant chess last weekend and, if they’re still around, there might be a free ornament in the train station. Thanks to Gil Langley, the TDC and many others, we have an exceptional event, ideal for the “Dickens Authentic” historic district.

A Few Thoughts and Editorial Standards for Blogs?

I’m a local, turned blog writer, turned politician and now returning to civilian life,  with fewer restrictions.   Thinking over the last few years,  I avoided unfair public criticism, avoided publicly endorsing candidates or campaigning against anyone I felt truly needed to stay out of a race.  I tried to follow a set of unwritten rules I considered fair.   I do the same things here on this blog.  I may not have a degree in journalism, but I make every attempt to be fair.  Opinions are expressed as opinion.  Even if I have an opinion, I state “OPINION” clearly and, even then, I try not to name names or personally attack anyone.   Using words like bias, impotent and “no brainer” to describe a position or failure to agree with the writer’s position says a lot about the writer and their argument.

argumentum ad hominem, is an attack on an argument made by attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, rather than attacking the argument directly. When used inappropriately, it is a logical fallacy in which a claim or argument is dismissed on the basis of some irrelevant fact or supposition about the author or the person being criticized.

Try to “do no harm”.  Be responsible for the facts.   Tell the story and don’t publish opinion as fact.  What does this mean to you and what does it mean, when you read a one-sided blog post or editorial?  Blogs, newspapers and public figures have the luxury of amplification.    Even a post to Facebook or Twitter can damage.  What I might or might not write is usually opinion, but the Society of Professional Journalists publishes a code of ethics with excellent suggestions you could apply to any public writing.  If you read through some of the ideas, I’m not sure anyone measures up in the media or in today’s world of half-truths, partially covered stories and sometimes “lurid” coverage.

Recovered and Needs Home

Details below, were taken from   This is the same dog recovered a few weeks ago, after being cut around the face and neck, somewhere in Downtown Fernandina.  Dogs are forgiving and, apparently, Melody made a full recovery.

Site Fernandina Beach Animal Rescue 

Location Kennel 

Intake Date 10/26/2015 

Melody, available for adoption at Nassau Humane Society

Our beautiful Melody will make your heart sing! She’s a sweetheart who has quickly become one of our staff and volunteers’ favorites. We believe she’s a Beagle/terrier mix, and she’s about 2 years old. She loves people and really appreciates affection. She’s a compact size, great for a house dog, and she has wonderful, expressive “mascara eyes” and cute little freckles on her white coat. She walks very well on her leash and she’s housetrained. She also likes to play with other dogs. She will love to sit by your side and gratefully accept all the loving you can give her, and in return she’ll happily provide kisses on request! She’s low-heartworm positive, but that’s no problem, because we’ve put her on the monthly heartworm-prevention pills that all dogs should receive, and they should eliminate the heartworms with no special treatment necessary. She’s spayed, microchipped and up to date on her shots, so she’s ready to go home with you! She really is a wonderful lady and you owe it to yourself to meet her in person. Please watch her video to see what a love she is, then come on over and meet sweet Melody — she’s really something special!

 Adopt and Protect this pet with the 24PetWatch Gift of Pet Insurance.

Visit us at or call 1-877-291-1524.

Great Places in Florida “People’s Choice Award” Fernandina Beach Honored

If you live here, it isn’t difficult to understand the appeal.   This is a wonderful place to live….and getting better every year!

The Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) visited Fernandina Beach on October 28, 2015 to present the City with the 2015 “Great Places in Florida” People’s Choice Award for the downtown historic district. The Great Places in Florida award is an annual selection of places that represent the gold standard of having a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement and a vision fortomorrow. Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach received the most votes out of the finalists. Close to 4000 people weighed in on who would be recognized as this year’s great place of Florida. “Fernandina Beach knocked it out of the ballpark in terms of votes received”, said Brian Teeple, NEFRC CEO and APA Florida Immediate Past-President, who presented the award to the City Commission. For more information, contact Brian Teeple,