• Florida Main Street application on its way to Tallahassee
    We are proud to announce that we have finalized the Florida Main Street application and it is now on the way to the Tallahassee Department of Historic Preservation.  This was a partnership between the Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce, Tourist
  • Senator Rubio and Senator Bean’s Mobile Office Hours in Nassau County
    Filed under: aifby chamber news, community information, news you can use Tagged: AIFBY Chamber, Senator Aaron Bean, Senator Marco Rubio
  • Mobile Notary Service from the Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce
    Now offering FREE mobile notary services for all Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce members. For more information or service request please email info@aifby.com.Filed under: aifby chamber news, news you can use Tagged: Notary Public
  • Nassau County property values projected to increase
    According to the Nassau County Florida Property Appraiser’s Office, the 2015 estimated  taxable values is showing a 5% increase compared to last year.  New construction of over 500 new homes were added to this year’s tax roll.  This brings the taxable value for
  • Guide to the Beach Warning Flags
    Please pay attention to the flags flying from the lifeguard stands when you visit the beach. They are used to promote safety by identifying surf conditions and dangers in the water. You can find more information on the Florida Department of Environmental Protection,
  • Business After Hours at Littleberry Farm 05.21.15
    Filed under: aifby chamber member news, events Tagged: Business After Hours, Littleberry Farm
  • Ribbon Cutting for imortgage 05.14.15
    On Thursday, May 14th we welcomed imortgage to the community with a ribbon cutting. Carrie Budds is the Sales Manager at imortgage, she can create loan solutions for specific mortgage needs. She works with a team to assist in funding each loan on-time. Visit
  • Chef Kenny Gilbert has Gilbert’s Big Oak BBQ Shack in the Works
    Coming soon Gilbert’s Big Oak BBQ Shack! It will be located near 432 S. 8th Street in Fernandina Beach, next to his current location Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen. The restaurant is due to open in October, but in the meantime you can check
  • We need your input on public transit in Nassau County
    We are almost finished but need help from our Nassau County community!  There is one last opportunity to participate in the Nassau County Public Transit Study.  The public workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, May 20th, 6:00 p.m.  – 7:30 p.m. at FSCJ, Nassau
  • Traffic delays
    From the Florida Department of Transportation:   State Road A1A traffic may see delays Monday, Wednesday and Friday from the delivery of bridge beams for the Sisters Creek Bridge on Heckscher Drive in Duval County which must use a route through Nassau

Weekend Events on Amelia Island

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

Rayonier (RYAM) and Borregaard Lignin Partnership in Fernandina

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Rayonier Advanced Materials (NYSE:RYAM) announced today that it has entered into a non-binding letter of intent (LOI) with Borregaard ASA to form a joint venture (JV) at its Fernandina Beach facility for the manufacturing, marketing and sale of natural lignin-based products. The new company will be owned 45 percent by RYAM and 55 percent by Borregaard.

“Pursuing this opportunity with the leader in lignin-based chemistry significantly enhances the prospects for success while reducing operational and market-based risk”

“This partnership between Rayonier Advanced Materials, the world’s leader in cellulose specialties, and Borregaard, the global leader in lignin-based products, is significant for both companies,” said RYAM CEO Paul Boynton. “For us, the project advances our strategy of leveraging the value of our assets and co-products while further enhancing the competitive position of our Fernandina plant.”

According to Borregaard, the project increases their lignin products sales capacity by 30 percent. “The Fernandina Beach project represents an excellent growth opportunity for our lignin business in a global market which for some time has been supply-constrained,” stated Per A. Sørlie, President and CEO of Borregaard.

Lignin, a natural component of wood, is a co-product of RYAM’s cellulose specialties manufacturing process and is currently used for its energy value by the facility. The planned JV would process the lignin into higher-value products that provide environmentally friendly alternatives to petroleum-based chemicals used globally in construction, agriculture and other industrial applications.

It is anticipated that the project will be completed in two phases over five years. The parties estimate an aggregate capital investment of $110 million for a capacity of 150,000 metric tons per year. The first phase is expected to commence commercial operations in 2017.

Completion of the JV is subject to board approval by both companies and conclusion of definitive agreements, as well as final engineering, refinement of capital estimates, and obtaining required permits and other approvals.

“Pursuing this opportunity with the leader in lignin-based chemistry significantly enhances the prospects for success while reducing operational and market-based risk,” stated Boynton. “As we have stated previously, our focus in 2015 is to take advantage of the value of our co-product streams, reduce our costs and working capital, optimize our assets and grow our business. This opportunity is one example of how we expect to deliver on these goals.”

Source: http://expandinnassau.com  6/14/2015

Hola Café….Fastest Barista on Amelia Island

North 2nd Street……behind the Palace Saloon, Tuesday through Saturday at 9AM, Sunday opening at 10:30.

Rendezvous Festival on Amelia Island

 

The festival has been ongoing for the past week, but almost invisible to locals.  I had the pleasure of meeting the director of tonight’s feature film, “The Better Half”.  The films are generally all independent efforts by film makers from DSC04069across the world.  People are here from across the country, Europe, Asia, and yes….even from far away California.  Just kidding   If you’re planning to be out tonight, “The Better Half” begins at City Hall at 7P, with event details linked below.  My wife and I will make an effort to be there, if only to support making independent film a bigger part of Fernandina Beach.  

http://www.rendezvousfestival.org/

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Rendezvous Festival

Barred Owl

Perched across a small creek....watching. Out riding bikes through the greenway, a large bird swooped overhead to perch across a creek.  He or she commenced calling to us or at us.  I’m not sure if it felt curious or if we were near a nest, but it showed little fear and appeared to be focused on my sons and on me.  We didn’t stay long and I’m guessing it wanted us to leave. 
After finishing the loop south of Jasmine, our path took us past the owl again.  Again, it swooped away to cross the creek….perching in almost the same spot.  I wonder if the behavior had something to do with a lost mate.  We only noticed one owl and it made little effort to stay hidden….other than flying across the creek to perch in a tree.  Then, it proceeded to make an odd sort of cawing noise….not anything like the normal owl sounds you expect. 
Normally, you hear these in wooded areas at sunset.  In the daytime, they will perch in a tree.  We had a pair of large owls in a large pine tree in our front yard for years, but they appeared larger than this owl. 
Quiet ride through the center of the island.If you want to hear the sound, this youtube video and background noise, sounds a lot like the Fernandina/Amelia Island Greenway near sunset. 

Owls of Florida

Memorial Day on Amelia Island

I’m thinking of my favorite Uncle today.   I can still remember growing up.  He never talked about his time in Europe during World War II, but I know many friends died and I can imagine the sacrifice he made, not to mention the4568794578_a3a1720252_o men and women who didn’t make it back.  Mom and her sisters stayed at home to work, while both brothers enlisted.  In 10th grade, Vera, my mother, dropped out of school to work and did something unusual.  At 14, she said she was 17, to get a job.   In 1939, she was 11 years old. 

We tend to think about the sacrifices everyone made, but the people who never made it back, should be remembered.  Remembering how little my Uncle talked about the war said a lot.   Later, I would see the seriousness and the way he cared about others as the after-effect. 

May we honor the sacrifices made and remember the price of freedom.  When you think about the media and little real exposure we have to war, remembering the WW1, WW2, Japan, Germany, Hiroshima and Nagasaki….the extreme price paid to end wars and the short memory we have, Memorial Day takes on a different meaning.   People tend to think about parades or and even mix up Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day.  Honoring those who serve and the sacrifice of life is exceptionally important.   

One of the more famous speeches by FDR…..worth listening…..

Kindness and Humility….Donald MacPherson

At 74, Don MacPherson, passed away on May 12th, 2015.  We knew Don through my recently deceased mother inth law, Brenda Lathrop.  He lived next door and for the last 12 years, our sons, my wife and I saw Don at least weekly.  Don was the unofficial handyman for a community of older residents.  Money was never exchanged and the world, for Don, was about helping others.  Family was important.   He wanted his daughter to finish school and, like any father, wanted the best for his son.  He served as a mentor in another organization locally and helped countless people in his complex, with small projects, repairs or just with a helping hand.  Speaking of hands….I’ll always remember the time he almost lost the fingers on one hand while using a table saw.  IMG_6052He bundled up the hand in a towel and drove himself to the hospital.  Amazingly, a surgeon specializing in hand repair was on hand (no pun intended) and a week later, he was back using the saw…all fingers re-attached, if slightly shorter.   If you believe in miracles….his quick recovery and the luck of having the right surgeon available might qualify.

An obituary does little to tell us how this man lived his life.  Looking back, the small things he did every day made a huge difference in many lives.  He never asked for recognition and put himself last….without a thought.     Touching to me, was a younger man I suspect he sponsored as a “Friend of Bill”.   He was just a positive influence in many lives.

Don, you will be missed and remembered.  IMG_6053

Shrimp Festival Parade 2015

Views from the parade and riding in the parade….great fun!  The locals are more colorful as the years ago by….and I definitely miss knowing everyone in town.  Seeing so many I do know is great fun though.  A few locals below…..from Amelia Paint and Hardware, Larry Hertz the accountant originally from Long Island and Pajama Dave….owner of Pajama Life here and soon in Key West.

Shrimp Festival 2015

Just looking back at the last 51 years, I can see the absolutely amazing change here on the island. Back, when I was a kid, I remember the wooden docks and calls from friends with shrimp boats to buy shrimp off the boat. On holidays, I’d spend time at the beach, sometimes sneaking into Fort Clinch on a holiday, looking for rats in the old granite boulders covered by dunes today, fishing under the docks, watching turtles at the marina or drinking free orange juice at the welcome center. We may think things are getting better, but they’re just changing to fit the residents. I loved living here as a kid. I loved driving along the beach from behind Fort Clinch to the southern tip of the island and back on the highway. I loved surfing Talbot Island without gates or tolls. After leaving in the early 80’s, I came back to beach driving permits and a gate across the beach access at Talbot.

Change is always difficult. It isn’t always a bad thing….the island just changes to fit the population. My father, Ed Sr., came here in 1939, when Rayonier opened a new mill. The road was 2 lane all the way from 17. We drove to Jacksonville to shop and taking the ferry was the fast way to parts of the big city. We also had one community golf course…..with little competition. Tourists were mostly from South Georgia or inland counties.

Driving back to the island, the change in traffic, development, people and landscape really hit me. Lofton Creek Hunt Club and Rayonier’s property along Amelia concourse is developed. Surreal doesn’t begin to cover the change you’ve seen if you live here and are local or native to the area.

East Coast Inland Passage cruise: Baltimore, MD to Jacksonville, FL (We mean Amelia Island)


I finally remembered to look up the cruise line stopping through Amelia Island.  The Independence was in town yesterday and it occurred to me to look up the route and stops. 
 

Day 15
Jacksonville, FL area (Amelia Island)

Take in the beautiful weather of northern Florida as you disembark from your tour of the South. Jacksonville offers a number of wonderful activities, including a tour of Cummer Art Museum, which house an exclusive collection of art, including rare porcelain.

East Coast Inland Passage cruise | Two week cruise from Baltimore, MD to Jacksonville, FL