• lois-jost-ad-may-2014

Library Offers FREE Program on Mindful Meditation

Friends of the Library is offering a FREE presentation led by Terri Ames, CCH, to help people better understand mindfulness and to help them develop meditation as a daily practice.

Participants will learn how to lower stress levels by maintaining balance and control. This John Kabit Zins-based program will include instruction as well as a guided mindful meditation.

This FREE program will be held in the Fernandina Beach Library’s Community Room at 24 North 4th Street, on Thursday, September 29, at 7:00 p.m. To register, please call the Library at 904-277-7365.

For further information on joining Friends of the Library or to donate, please visit the Friends of the Library website at www.fernandinaFOL.org.

FSCJ Launches FSCJ Safe Mobile Safety App

Jacksonville, FL – Florida State College at Jacksonville’s (FSCJ) students, faculty, staff and visitors now have access to the new FSCJ Safe mobile app, designed to keep them safe throughout the College’s campuses and centers.

The free app, available to download on Apple and Android devices, offers real-time safety functions and features in one convenient location to help ensure the safety of those on campus at all times. To help users plan ahead and prepare before incidents occur, the comprehensive app provides important information on how to respond to emergencies such as active shooter situations, evacuations, severe weather and more.

Through the FSCJ Safe app, users can report information and receive emergency notices. In addition, the app offers campus maps, helpful resources and options to call 911 or report a tip to Campus Security if a user witnesses suspicious activity.

FSCJ Safe’s features include the Mobile BlueLight function, which allows on-campus users to send their location to and chat with Campus Security dispatch. The feature works similarly to the fixed positioned BlueLight boxes located throughout FSCJ’s campuses.

Using the Friend Walk tool, users can send their location to a friend or Campus Security, who can then watch the user walk to their destination via GPS. FSCJ Safe also provides a list of Campus Security contacts as well as phone numbers for JSO and the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office.

“We continue to strengthen any and all efforts to provide our faculty, staff and students with a safe and secure environment, knowing we cannot predict the unthinkable though believing the more prepared we are, the greater the prevention,” said FSCJ President Dr. Cynthia Bioteau.

All users are encouraged to submit feedback on ways to improve the FSCJ Safe app through the “About/Preferences” tab. Users can easily locate and download the app in Google Play or the App store by searching “FSCJ Safe.”

Learn How to Participate in Dickens on Centre 2016

Santa Claus vacationed on Amelia Island this year and has plans to return for the 2nd Annual Dickens on Centre. Check out his vacation video by clicking HERE.

If you are interested in participating in Dickens on Centre this year, please mark your calendar and come to the Historic Fernandina Business Association’s Dickens on Centre Merchant Meeting on Friday, August 26th at 10:30 a.m, in the City Hall commission chambers.

After the success of the inaugural Dickens on Centre festival, the Amelia Island Convention and Visitors Board is diligently making plans for the second annual Victorian holiday festival in downtown Fernandina. Attend on August 26th to learn more about this year’s plans and how you can get involved in this festive community event.

The event is already already promoting the holidays on Amelia Island throughout the southeast with some extra help of a special visitor:

Save the Date for Dickens on Centre 2016
· Kicks off Thursday, December 8th with America’s Youth annual lighted Christmas parade
· Festival held Friday, December 9th – Sunday, December 11 (Just one weekend this year)

Join us at the merchant meeting to learn more about:
· Site plan, street closures and event schedule
· Vendor opportunities
· Décor, lighting and entertainment plans
· Ways for your business to get involved
· Promotional plans for Dickens on Centre and Amelia Island holiday events

As we may not have contact information for everyone that may be interested, please feel free to invite other businesses that may have an interest in this informative meeting about Dickens on Centre.

Learn About Vegetable Gardening

On August 3 at 10 AM, Master Gardener Joseph Smith will conduct a Landscape Matters class on vegetable gardening. The session will be held at the Yulee Extension office on Pages Dairy Road.

The class will review seasonal gardening for vegetables, including seeds and ‘starter’ plants, container gardening of vegetables, as well as what vegetables to grow during different seasons.

The session is free and open to the public.

For more information, access our website at http://nassau.ifas.ufl.edu/horticulture/landmatters/landmatters.html, or call the Extension office at 530-6350.

Small Farm Crop and Vegetable Irrigation Class

The Nassau County Extension office is offering a short course about irrigation selection for small farms vegetable and crop production. The class will be located at the UF/IFAS Extension office in Callahan, Florida (543350 US Highway 1), on Monday, August 1, 2016 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Topics being covered will be selection of proper watering systems, irrigation design and layout, irrigation system components, proper watering scheduling for crops, with hands-on demonstrations as well!

There will be a $5.00 pre-registration fee, or $15.00 at the door.

If you would like to attend, please contact Luke Harlow at (904) 530-6356 or by email at harlow1231@ufl.edu

Attached is the flyer with full information. Thank you and have a great week!

2016 Amelia Island Wedding Expo

2016 Amelia Island Wedding ExpoWe just passed the one year anniversary of my two oldest children’s nuptuals. The summer of 2015 was full of wedding planning, decorating ideas, planning musical playlists, preparing menus for my son’s wedding rehearsal, as well as menu planning for my daughter’s reception. All of the planning, for both weddings, went so well you could hear the birds singing Top 40 love songs, and practically watch the squirrels help hang decorative ornaments from tree branches. Indeed, love was in the air.

The weddings were held, one week apart, here on Amelia Island. It was quite fun to exclaim, “I’m the mother of the bride and the groom!” Though the phrase did require a bit of explanation to some.

Marriages take a lot of planning, and if you have one in your future, there is a fabulous Wedding Expo, benefiting the Cedar Haven Transitional Housing for Homeless Women, coming to Amelia Island in August, here are the details:

The Amelia Island Wedding Expo on August 14, 2016, sponsored by Coastal Engagements, is very intimate compared to the expo you would find held in a large Convention Center. This smaller setting permits brides and their parties the opportunity to spend quality time with each vendor in attendance. They will be delighted by the attention to detail showcased by the wedding professionals on Amelia Island. With so much to enjoy, expect to be wowed!

Benefiting the Cedar Haven Transitional House for Homeless Women, a transitional housing and education program to improve the quality of life for homeless women without children in Nassau County, the Amelia Island Wedding Expo will take place on Sunday, August 14, 2016, at the Atlantic Recreation Center, 2500 Atlantic Avenue, in Fernandina Beach from 1:00-4:00 pm. Admission is free. DONATIONS ARE WELCOMED.

The Expo will feature several vendors for that special day. Brides will find exactly what they need and save countless hours having to search for their perfect wedding vendors. They will see the best-of-the-best including Amelia Island’s top professionals and discover all that is new and different for weddings this season, in just one afternoon.

The Cedar Haven Transitional House seeks to assist women that have been challenged by homelessness in the Nassau County area in an effort to direct them towards permanent housing. They provide a 180-day transitional housing program and offer classes that will assist residents in becoming self-sufficient; improving the quality of their lives as they return back to society.

For more information on the Cedar Haven Transitional House for Homeless Women, please visit www.womenofpowerinc.org/cedarhaven.htm. To register for the free Wedding Expo, please visit www.AmeliaIslandWeddingExpo.com.

Pub Night Social with EABC

The EABC (European American Business Club) meeting for July will be a pub night social at Pablo’s Mexican Grill and Cantina. This will be an opportunity to relax, visit with friends and network with new acquaintances in an informal setting.

They do not plan to have a speaker for this event, but do plan to hold a drawing for a nice bottle of wine or spirits, depending on how the spirit moves. We will also talk about our exciting August event (to White Oak Plantation) and provide some details of interest.

There is no charge for this meeting, so you’re on your own for refreshments and food.

With many people traveling on vacation and due to some difficulty in securing our original venue for July, it seemed natural to just have a relaxed, fun night for this month’s meeting. So come on out to Pablo’s and join the gang for a cool one. The group will likely be in the patio area, but check with the host/hostess when you arrive. It will likely be obvious where they are.

Pablo’s Mexican Grill & Cantina is located at 12 North Second Street in historic Fernandina Beach.

If you know someone who might enjoy our club, bring them along.

Date: Tuesday, July 12, 2016, 6 pm – 8 pm
Cost: Everyone pay-as-you-go
Please R.S.V.P. to info@eabcnetwork.com so we have an idea of how many to expect Send us an email if you are planning to attend. You are still invited should you decide to attend at the last minute without letting us know. …and feel free to bring a friend or two!

Post July 4th Beach Clean-Up Planned

Keep Nassau Beautiful and Wild Amelia invite you to participate in a beach clean-up on Tuesday, July 5 at 6:00 a.m. where volunteers will meet at Peters Point.

This clean-up is specifically for the purpose of getting fireworks debris off the beach before it washes into the sea at high tide, so we will get out at first light to begin to pick up what we can.

All you need to bring is water, if you wish. Bags, gloves, and vests will be provided.

There is no need to pre-register. Just show up with a willingness to help restore the health of our beach after the fun of the July 4 holiday weekend.

So many sticks, plastic caps and other small objects are always left behind on our beaches after the fireworks display.

Plan to sign in when you arrive and after a brief gathering for important information (and to receive your supplies), and a group photo for newspaper publicity, you will be free to walk south or north as you pick up debris. Your time is your own; you may leave when you wish and know we are grateful for your time.

What’s the Word on Fireworks in Florida?

What's the Law on Fireworks in Fernandina, Amelia Island, or in Florida?Here is a press release from Fernandina Beach Chief of Police James Hurley

As the July 4th holiday approaches many folks have been expressing concern about the annual ritual of backyard (non-permitted) fireworks displays. Suffice to say, if you’re planning a holiday fireworks show, you might want to brush up on Florida’s current fireworks laws. The bottom line is that just because you see it in a store or at a roadside stand doesn’t mean that it is legal to purchase, possess or use!

What Fireworks Are Legal in Florida?
The only fireworks legal for use by consumers who don’t possess a special permit are those that fall into the category known as “sparklers.” This includes items more commonly known as sparklers, fountains, snakes and glow worms. If you’re not sure whether a particular firework is approved for consumer use, the Florida State Fire Marshall publishes a full list of legal sparklers each year.

Can I Buy Other Fireworks?
Well, you can buy other fireworks, but it is illegal to do so. Stores and roadside stands who sell these fireworks are exploiting a loophole that allows them to sell the fireworks for legal, approved uses. When you buy them for your backyard fireworks show, you are breaking the law. And yes, even Roman Candles are illegal in Florida.

What If I Sign a Waiver?
If you try to purchase fireworks (other than sparklers), many stores and roadside stands will often ask you to sign a waiver form. If you read this form carefully, you will notice that you’re stating that you intend to use the fireworks for an approved purchase, such as use on your farm or at your fish hatchery to scare off birds or animals. This lets the store off the hook. If you’re lying to them, that’s your problem, not theirs, in the eyes of the law. The wavier protects the store, not you.

But Everyone Else Is Doing It!
It’s true that lots of people set off illegal fireworks in Florida. Lots of people also speed, jaywalk and break any number of other laws. You will be gambling that you won’t be the person who gets caught.

What Can Happen If I Set Off Fireworks Illegally?
Most importantly, you may be seriously injured or you may injure an innocent bystander or child. In Florida, possession or use of illegal fireworks is classified as a misdemeanor. If you violate this law, you can be arrested. If you are found guilty you can be fined up to $1,000 and sentenced to up to a year in prison.

Because of the increasing number of complaints, the potential for serious injury, and the time and cost of cleaning up, the Fernandina Beach Police Department has been tasked with addressing this problem. Please do everyone a favor and limit your fireworks viewing to one of the permitted displays already being planned for the area.

What about Filling the Loophole?
In the next few months the City will consider how best to address this issue, either by City Ordinance or through a state legislative initiative, effectively eliminating the roadside sale of illegal fireworks loophole.

Kick-off Independence Day Weekend with Sounds on Centre

flipturn-sounds-on-centreJuly 1, 2016, join your neighbors and friends at Sounds on Centre. From 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., the corner of Centre and Second Streets becomes a dance party. Bring your lawn chairs and dancing shoes, and dance with members of the Fernandina Pirates Club, too. There will be t-Shirts, raffles prizes, popcorn and more.

This month’s band is “flipturn”, a local, five-piece indie rock, garage band that you don’t want to miss. Fun for the entire family, you need to hear this up and coming group of youngsters.

Members: Adrian Walker, Dillon Basse, Madeline Jarman, Taylor Allen, Tristan Duncan
Hometown: Fernandina Beach

If you would like to volunteer to help with Sounds on Centre please meet us outside of Debonair at 4:15pm.

Property Taxes and the Rollback Rate

Apply for Homestead Exemption before March 1, 2014Article by: Mike Hickox, Nassau County Property Appraiser

For the past four years, real estate values have experienced a steady increase and we have seen an improvement in overall market conditions. As the economy improves, the inventory of existing homes for sale has been reduced and values have steadily increased. The increase in value does not necessarily translate to an increase in your property tax. The increase in taxes is a direct result of the decision of the taxing authority.

The market value of a property is determined by one of three approaches to value. The most common being the sales comparison approach. This approach compares a piece of property to other properties with similar characteristics that have been recently sold on the open market. Once we determine the value of a property based on current market conditions, we then apply any applicable caps and exemptions to determine the property’s taxable value. It’s important to note that we do not determine the market value of a property. Previous sales determine the market value. We reflect what is happening in the real estate market only after it takes place.

There’s a common misconception that property values drive up ad-valorem taxation. This couldn’t be farther from the truth as both items, while similar in nature, have a very different meaning.

The Property Appraiser’s Office certifies the preliminary tax roll every year to each taxing authority. It is the taxing authorities (i.e. County, School Board, City, Water Management, etc.) who levy their millage (tax-rate) based on their financial needs. Using the scenario that property values increase, the taxing authority has one of three options.

1. Maintain the same tax-rate as the prior year and bring in additional revenue.
2. Increase the tax-rate and bring in more revenue.
3. Opt to use the Rollback rate and maintain the same revenue as the prior year.

The Rollback rate calls for a change, typically a decrease, in the tax rate to fund the same level of service as the prior year’s budget. This in fact prevents a tax increase for property owners, even though your property’s taxable value may have increased. Taxing Authorities, like the County, are calculating rates based on aggregate changes in taxable value. The change to the taxable value of an individual property could be different for each owner.

Always remember – it’s the Property Appraiser’s job to appraise your property to a fair market value each year. If you feel your property is not assessed correctly, call us, we are more than happy to discuss it with you. However, if you feel your taxes are too high, call your Commissioners. I’m certain they will be happy to discuss their tax rate with you.

As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call. Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Property Appraiser. It truly is an honor and privilege.

Highly Decorated Officer Promoted to Police Sergeant

Highly Decorated Officer Promoted to Police SergeantJason Smith, a ten year veteran of the Fernandina Beach Police Department, has been selected to be the next Police Sergeant after successfully completing the recent competitive promotional process.

Sergeant Smith has twice been recognized as the Police Officer of the Year by the Fernandina Beach Police Department based on his volume of work, initiative and dedication. He received the annual MADD Outstanding Performance Award in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 given by the Northeast Florida MADD organization for his continuing efforts to reduce DUI traffic offenses. He has served as a Field Training Officer and Drug Recognition Expert.

Sergeant Smith is an active mentor in the Take Stock in Children program in Nassau County. He is also an active instructor for NACDAC, teaching Responsible Alcoholic Beverage Training curriculum on a quarterly basis.

Smith, hired on May 15, 2006, began his new supervisory duties on Sunday, June 19th.

Operation Dry Water Makes for Safer Waters

Operation Dry Water Makes for Safer WatersAs the summer recreational boating season gets into full swing, the FWC Law Enforcement Division is ramping up its enforcement efforts as part of a national crackdown on boating under the influence.

The annual three-day, heightened awareness and enforcement campaign, Operation Dry Water, focuses on deterring boaters from boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Law enforcement agencies nationwide will be out in force June 24-26, looking for boaters who choose to boat under the influence, and then removing them from the water. Increased awareness about the dangers of boating under the influence, along with officers focused on identifying impaired operators, aim to drastically reduce the number of accidents and deaths due to impaired boating.

“It is our job as law enforcement officers to identify and remove impaired boaters from the water so that everyone else can continue to have an enjoyable boating season and not become a victim of boating under the influence. Protecting the public goes to the heart of our mission,” said Maj. Richard Moore, FWC’s Boating and Waterways Section Leader. “Our agency is participating in Operation Dry Water, and joining thousands of law enforcement officers nationwide to decrease the number of accidents, injuries and deaths that come as a result of boaters who choose to drink and boat.”

In Florida it is illegal to operate a vessel with a BAC level of .08 or higher. The FWC wants to remind boaters to stay safe this summer by staying sober on the water. Alcohol use is one of the leading contributing factors in recreational boater deaths. During the national weekend of heightened awareness and high-visibility enforcement, boaters can expect to see an enhanced law enforcement presence and increased messaging about this dangerous and preventable crime.

FSCJ Hosts Color Me FSCJ Art Exhibition

Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) invites faculty, staff, students and members of the public to demonstrate their creativity at the #ColorMeFSCJ art exhibition. The goal is to transform a life-size coloring page into a collaborative masterpiece, which will serve as a welcoming mural for incoming students in the Fall Term.

Visitors are encouraged to help bring the Open Campus/Deerwood Center Gallery walls to life by using the exhibition as a blank canvas. Whether you are in search of an outlet, have a little extra time or simply possess the urge to express, everyone is welcome to add a touch of color and imagination to the exhibition.

Crayons will be provided. Visitors are asked to take photos of their contributions and share them using the hashtag #ColorMeFSCJ. Weekly favorites will be shared on social media.

WHEN: Now – September 24, 2016

WHERE: Florida State College at Jacksonville-Open Campus/Deerwood Center
Rotunda Gallery, 9911 Old Baymeadows Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32256