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Chevrolet Selects Florida House To Feature Its 2016 Model Equinox

Chevrolet Selects Florida House To Feature Its 2016 Model EquinoxFERNANDINA BEACH, FL – The landmark 158-year-old Florida House here was selected by the Chevrolet Division of General Motors to feature the 2016 Equinox, its compact sports utility vehicle, and will be highlighted in the company’s new magazine “New Roads.”

The new Equinox arrived Monday evening, August 3, while GM film crews, magazine writers and Chevrolet and hotel executives busied themselves preparing for the photo and filming sessions.

The first issue of “New Roads” magazine was published this past spring. It is distributed to more than six and one-half million people, particularly Chevrolet owners, and contains a variety of lifestyle stories ranging from the obvious automobile articles to recipes, movie and travel features.

The Florida House was selected by Chevrolet for its durability, authenticity and historic significance.

“From what we’ve been told the evaluation process was extensive and rigorous and we’re flattered and honored that Chevrolet selected the Florida House as one of the four U.S. sites to introduce its 2016 Equinox,” said Ernie Saltmarsh, the hotel owner. “I know that our location in the historic town of Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island was instrumental in the company’s decision and together we all benefit.”

Describing the hotel in the article writer Bob Butz says: “After the Civil War, the railroad was finally completed and the Florida House Inn, now on the National Register of Historic Places and the oldest hotel in the state, became a playground for the rich. Vanderbilt, DuPont, J.P. Morgan and the Carnegies (who owned a home on nearby Cumberland Island) all stayed and hosted countless dinner parties here.

“The reason to visit the Florida House Inn is simple,” he continues. “Unless you get an invite to overnight at the White House, it might be impossible to sleep in rooms and wander through more historically significant halls.”

“This building has survived hurricanes, terrible financial periods and the Civil War with the rooms and the architectural details of the interior amazingly intact,” says Florida House owner Saltmarsh.

The article describes downtown Fernandina Beach while plugging the new SUV saying, “Downtown Fernandina Beach is also one of Florida’s great antiquing destinations, and with the second row of seats folded, the Equinox has an impressive 63.7 cubic feet of cargo space for that Blackbeard the Pirate mannequin you must have for your man cave.”

The Florida House was built in 1857 by David Yulee to house employees working on the cross state railroad that he was constructing to connect the Fernandina port with the Gulf Coast in Cedar Key. It was renovated in 2001 and brought back with its original historic features and to its elegant state in 2011 by Saltmarsh.

For information about the Florida House go to www.floridahouseinn.com. To view an online version of the New Roads Magazine Click HERE.

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News Wrecker Parody Newspaper Pokes Fun At Amelia’s Sacred Cows

News Wrecker Parody Newspaper Pokes Fun At Amelia's Sacred CowsFernandina Beach, FL – Tree huggers gone wild, wave-top strip mining, and Ft. Clinch re-enactors firing on a US nuclear armed submarine, are just a few of the “news” stories covered in the inaugural edition of the Amelia Island News Wrecker, a satirical tabloid newspaper that is being distributed on Amelia Island this week.

The free 20-page tabloid News-Wrecker can be picked up in island pubs, restaurants, businesses and selected shops, establishments that were “carefully selected as those that wouldn’t toss me and my newspaper bundles out the door,” says publisher and editor Dave Scott, a Fernandina Beach resident who also writes the davescottblog.com. An online version of the News Wrecker will be available Friday, May 1.

The tag line for the paper is “Amelia Island’s sacred cows make the best burgers” and according to Scott: “Its purpose is to generate laughs without resorting to obscenities and vulgarity. However, it will probably be criticized by some for what they may perceive as ‘bad taste.’ But, I’m taking the high road and a mature approach to the paper’s critics with a well thought out and carefully crafted “OH YEH!” response,” says Scott.

The newspaper idea was motivated by Scott’s devotion to Mad Magazine and the National Lampoon along with inspiration from the Onion, a national print and online satirical publication. The inaugural issue includes a front page story on how the Fernandina Beach City Commission has decreed that the daily sunset will now alternate between the east and west sides of Amelia Island and the town’s shabby South 8th Street has been declared a “scenic highway for the vision impaired.”

Stories inside the paper range from how “tree huggers” are squeezing the life out of the island’s century oaks and an illegal immigrant Powerball jackpot winner moving next door to resident author John Grisham.

“From the feedback I’ve received the self-deprecating ads are generating as many guffaws as the absurd stories,” claims Scott. “So far the response has been overwhelmingly positive. However, if you’re sitting next to someone in a pub who thinks the stories in the News Wrecker are authentic, then you’ll probably want to move down a couple of stools.”

Advertisers range from the downtown Hampton Inn & Suites and the Amelia Island Hospitality Group to A Taste of Wine by Steve and Amelia River Cruises, among others. Free copies of the paper can be picked up at the advertiser’s locations which also include T-Ray’s, Amelia Island Boat Club, Pajama Life, Hola!, Buy Gones, Cafe Karibo, Crab Trap, The Green Turtle, Second Amendment Outfitters, Salty Pelican, The Palace Saloon Dog Star, Amelia River Gold Club, Hammerhead, The Surf, Emerald Goat and Sheffield’s.

“The News Wrecker tabloid parody pokes harmless fun at our small but vocal liberal and far right wing populations, local governing bodies, the Shrimp Festival, local news gathering organizations, and other area sacred cows,” he says. Inside page headlines read “Trident Submarine Fired On From Ft. Clinch” and “T-Ray’s Unveils Hamburger for Left-Handed Folks.”

“Joining me in producing the paper was a very patient and talented Kathy Warner, who currently spends the majority of her time volunteering for the Nassau Humane Society and Nassau County Extension. Without this brilliant and very tolerant lady’s help I’d still be puzzling over how to assemble the paper. She also created the paper’s website which unlike the print version will be in color and will be announced next week.

Scott said that if the parody newspaper proves successful he’ll publish another one during next year’s Shrimp Festival. “Folks have already begun sending me suggestions for future stories and it has been fun grinding island sacred cows into hamburger,” adds Scott.

Folks interested in advertising, who have story ideas, or are seeking editorial abuse can contact Scott at dave@amelianewswrecker.com.

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Obama Reaction To Paris Terrorists – Terrifying

Paris Protests against Muslim Terrorism

Paris Protests against Muslim Terrorism

By Dave Scott

I’m mystified and frightened by the administration’s reaction to the psychopathic Islamic killers and the President’s and those in his administration’s refusal to call them what they are: psychopathic cold-blooded Islamic murderers, killing on behalf of their religion.
For example, the reaction by President Obama to the slaughter of the 17 journalists, police and others in Paris last week was as weak as his response to the 2009 killings in Fort Hood, Texas by an Islamic American US Army major that he labeled “workplace violence.”
The White House doused its comments in the stench of appeasement and cowardice when spokesman Josh Earnest refused to even call the Paris massacre an act of terrorism, and made sure to add the traditional non-sequitur, which now routinely follows Islamic terrorist attacks,  that “Islam is a religion of peace.” Obama issued his own statement keeping with his prohibition on using the term “Islamic terrorism,” he simply referred to the attack as “terrorism” — a vanilla expression conspicuously devoid of any descriptive term explaining the motivation behind the killings. At least he didn’t label it “workplace violence” but to the uninformed it could just as easily have been an act of eco-terrorism.

And even if Obama did threaten to act would anyone believe him? Remember the “line in the sand” threat to Syrian President Assad? Or his claim that he has decimated al-Qaeda? How about that he will eliminate ISIS? Obama and the apologists in his administration are origami experts, they just keep on folding.
Instead of fighting the Islamic madmen the Obama Administration has declared war on our own CIA and Department of Defense. And at Guantanamo he is releasing these maniacs back onto the battlefield faster than our armed forces could capture them.

The Paris killings are reminiscent of the Muslim reaction over the publishing of a series of cartoons in a Danish newspaper in 2006. In that instance homicidal Islamic madmen caused rioting that resulted in scores killed and many embassies attacked and consulates torched. Any western country would do, since Danish flags for burning appeared to be in short supply and not easily identifiable by the ignorant, enraged Muslim mobs. And the heck with political correctness — Norway, the UK, Germany, who cares, all Europeans look alike anyway.

Back then I saw a newscast with a 12 year-old boy in Islamabad, Pakistan sporting a slogan reading “O Allah give me courage to kill the blasphemer.” Apparently his folks went to a Muslim riot and all he got was a crummy “kill an infidel” T-shirt. And who hasn’t seen the videos of Muslims joyfully dancing and cheering in the streets when they heard the “good news” of the 9/11 attacks and when they hear of Christian and Jewish women and children being massacred anywhere, anytime? Muslim Shia and Sunni sects slaughter each other and Christians by the droves in Iraq; Muslims massacre Christian and Jewish women, children and the elderly throughout the Middle East; They kidnap and slaughter classrooms full of young school children all over North Africa, Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc; Hijack ships in African waters and kill the crews if ransom isn’t paid; Gleefully behead people and videotape the acts; Continually attempt to blow up passenger airlines; Set off bombs in Boston; Hack policemen to death in New York and London; Kill families and fire rockets into cities in Israel, and on and on.

I can only imagine what these Islamic nuts would do if they wised up and got angry about their own government’s and religious leader’s corruption and totalitarian leadership that perpetuate their economic deprivation, inadequate health care, lack of education and mindless propaganda.
These rampaging hordes aptly reflect the Lenin quote “Religion is the opiate of the masses,” and their leaders have administered an overdose. I have yet to read or hear another logical explanation by anyone that otherwise justifies this Muslim mass horror.

The day after the Paris atrocity USA Today published a column by a London-based Muslim cleric, Anjem Choudary, headlined “People know the consequences” asking why France would allow the paper to mock Islam, and further excused the murders as justified under Islamic law and confirming my belief that Islam is anything but a peaceful religion. He stated in the very first paragraph: “Contrary to popular misconception, Islam does not mean peace but rather means submission to the commands of Allah alone. Therefore, Muslims do not believe in the concept of freedom of expression……” Normally I would condemn USA Today for printing such garbage, but by doing so it allowed this nut to verify what many of us already know, and that is that Islam is violent. How would you like to live next door to this fruitcake or any others that think as he does?

At a time when the world is facing a situation as dangerous as the one Nazi Germany and militant Japan posed in the late 1930s and early 1940s we have a President who is probably the least qualified, most inept, naive, and ill-prepared person to ever occupy the White House… a community organizer whose acolytes wind him up, push him on stage then pull the string in his back so he grins and spouts meaningless platitudes. He makes Jimmy Carter look like a fierce warrior. Oh, and just last summer it was announced that a Muslim, Fatima Noor, will be a special assistant in the Office of the Director for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the Department of Homeland Security. Isn’t that comforting.

And as world leaders united in Paris this past Monday for a million man march displaying unity and voicing their opposition to Islamic terror, the US was conspicuously absent — with only its Paris-based ambassador attending. Some 40 world leaders including Israel’s Netanyahu and even the Palestinian Authority’s Abbas marched, but not Obama, Joe Biden or even John Kerry.

Democrats should be ashamed that their current standard bearer has dismissed the words of President John F. Kennedy who declared, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty.”

The western world appears to be waking up and just maybe this hideous act by psychopathic barbarians in Paris rang the alarm, but apparently not one that can be heard by our do-nothing apologist and Community-Organizer-In-Chief who we are stuck with until January 2017, a very long and frightening two years distant.

Dave Scott writes a weekly blog at www.davescottblog.com

 

Publisher’s Note: Maybe some of our readers disagree with using the Searchamelia platform to express an opinion of such grave  consequence, but with the writer of this opinion, it is our belief that tolerance is a virtue that can only be earned through respect and understanding. Fanatics of all religions (except a small number of Eastern Religions) have historically tried to impose their absurd, maniacal beliefs on the world. They were always met with overwhelming force that would ultimately eliminate the extremist position. But to get there, it requires decisive, independent, smart leadership and not puppets executing agendas of a different interest.

News-Leader’s Unhinged Editorial

News-Leader's Unhinged EditorialThe Fernandina Beach News-Leader is part of the privately owned Community Newspapers Incorporated chain of weeklies and it can print whatever it sees fit. But there is little virtue in having editorial and news pages that the paper’s masthead says are “…dedicated to the truth, integrity, quality and hard work” and whose aim is to expand the horizons of its readers if those pages contain sycophantic suck-up endorsements and blatantly false claims, and its news pages are edited to paint a picture preferred by a stridently prejudiced publisher and editor on personal vendettas, who knowing they can’t win intellectual arguments, seek to influence opinion by portraying those they oppose with an editing pen dripping with bias, animosity, innuendo and omission. Its editorial pages bear a greater similarity to a psychological disorder than they do to standard political discourse.

The Internet and the online upstart Fernandina Beach Observer newspaper have helped expose the paper’s demonization of those not in its favor, but it is still up to what’s left of the News-Leader’s readers and subscribers to sort the wheat from the chaff, but sometimes they need assistance.

For example, the paper has dutifully been running verbatim press releases on the bottom right front page submitted by candidates running for the Fernandina Beach City Commission. However, readers wouldn’t know if these releases have been edited if they haven’t seen the original press release as was the case with candidate Tim Poynter when the paper’s editor and/or publisher struck the following from Mr. Poynter’s submission: He was the only commissioner to oppose the proposed FY2012-13 city budget that called for both higher taxes (a 15 per cent increase, the highest in ten years) and higher franchise fees.

Maybe that sentence would make the paper’s endorsement by its publisher, Foy Maloy, of the two folks (Charlie Corbett and Sarah Pelican) who have actually increased taxes, but are running on a platform of lowering them, appear awkward and foolish. Maloy also credited Corbett and Pelican with accomplishments (library expansion and train depot restoration) that belong to the last commission which included Poynter and were paid for with funds from the Forward Fernandina project, a program that an obviously confused Maloy criticized with all the finesse of a guy leaping into the nosh pit just as the crowd parted.

But the heartiest yuks came this past this past Wednesday in an above-the-fold front page piece headlined “Restaurateur seeks commission ‘seat'” bylined by the paper’s editor, Michael Parnell, that was a detailed story about all the laws, permitting rules, and regulations that Tim Poynter meticulously followed while opening and expanding his downtown eateries.

Parnell, doing an exceptional imitation of a Mother frantically searching for a Playboy Magazine hidden under her son’s mattress, tried his best to portray Poynter as someone who took advantage of his commission seat to get around the various permitting and regulations, but came up empty handed.

His story asked: “Did the then city commissioner receive favorable treatment from the city in obtaining his permits?” The answer was a resounding “NO.” City Manager Joe Geritty said he didn’t. Parnell even stated that there is “No evidence that Poynter or his businesses acted illegally…” Oh, Parnell failed to mention that Poynter received almost a $10,000 refund on impact fees proving that he paid what was due, but apparently that didn’t fit into Parnell’s story line. He also failed to mention that Poynter laid out thousands of dollars to redo inside and outside doors and storage areas of his existing restaurant to comply with a city inspector on his first day on the job. Oh, by the way, Poynter’s businesses employ some 55 local people, more I’m betting than the News-Leader. So what was the point of the article Mr. Parnell?

Obviously the facts got in the way and Parnell, on a tight deadline, was left with a non-story to plug a gaping hole on the front page that certainly raises questions about the credibility — not of Poynter — but of the paper and Parnell’s “journalistic” credentials. In its rush to print what they hoped would be a scathing expose it ended up scrambling to publish a piece that is an embarrassment to the paper’s owners and its staff and leaves no doubt as to why it is losing subscribers and advertisers faster than passengers abandoning a cruise ship with an Ebola outbreak.

While the News-Leader buries, forgets, ignores or lies about gaffes, misstatements and blunders by the current Curly, Larry and Moe commission trio it enthusiastically and blindly endorses, it comically does pratfalls as it tries to conjure up images of those it opposes as frivolous ne’er-do-wells. News-Leader targets can take comfort in the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s comment: “I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.”

Personally I’m voting for Poynter, a former commissioner and owner of two downtown businesses, whose four kids grew up here and who has a vested interest in the community’s success and understands city government inside and out; and Robin Lentz, a bright and energetic young lady and county educator so dynamic she was named teacher of the year her rookie year and who has two young children she wants to grow up in a vibrant, healthy community that she can help shape.

The Corbett-Pelican duo scare me, because if re-elected they might violate their long-standing political credo of “Don’t just do something. Stand there” — thereby creating havoc within the city.

The saddest part is that ridiculous and insubstantial candidates can run for city office and, until recently, no one ever knew because the News-Leader didn’t report it, worse they endorsed them. That is all changing.

(Dave Scott writes a weekly blog www.davescottblog.com)

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Hillary Clinton Can Relate to the Common Folks

Hillary Clinton Can Relate to the Common FolksI keep reading and hearing about how 2016 Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton is weighing in on the side of working class people and the middle class and how she and other party muckity mucks can relate to them, but I’ve yet to see where she or anyone else in her party has defined those terms. If her understanding of working class and middle class is based on her actions, then I think we may be miles apart.

For example, Ms. Clinton received a $250,000 fee, and demanded and received round trip transportation on a $39 million, 16-passenger Gulfstream G450 and the Presidential Suite in her luxury hotel all for her total 90-minute visit, which included her talk to the University of Las Vegas Foundation, according to documents obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal through the state public records law. And she doesn’t travel alone, relying on an entourage of a couple of “travel aides,” and a couple of advance staffers who check out her speech site in the days leading up to her appearance.

According to her contract, Clinton will remain at the event no longer than 90 minutes; will pose for no more than 50 photos with no more than 100 people; and won’t allow any press coverage or video – or audio-taping of her speech. The only record allowed will be made by a stenographer whose transcription will be given only to Clinton. The stenographer’s $1,250 bill, however, will go to the UNLV Foundation. The foundation, meanwhile, is prohibited from advertising the event on radio, TV or billboards. Mail and website ads are allowed, although Clinton staffers must approve in writing any promotional material.

What in the world does this woman have to say that would be of the least bit of interest or benefit to students or the school’s foundation that would be worth this kind of lavish spending? And how can she pretend to “relate” to the working or middle class unless in her bubble world she thinks that’s how they also survive. The size of her fee has come under fire from critics who question the large expense in an era when students are hard-pressed to cover tuition and leave school saddled with massive debt. UNLV student leaders have sent a letter to the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, which collects the $250,000 fee, asking that Hillary Clinton donate all or part of the money back to the university. They’ve received no reply.

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Local Technology Firm Doubles in Size With Acquisition

Local Technology Firm Doubles in Size With Acquisition FERNANDINA BEACH, FL Maxis360, a Fernandina Beach headquartered firm that supplies and manages computer and telecommunications technology infrastructure for organizations throughout the Southeastern US and the Caribbean, announced today that it has nearly doubled in size and added additional product lines with the acquisition of Panama City-based Inacomp.

Inacomp, which also provides and manages computer and telecommunications network infrastructure, adds an additional 250 customers in a new geographic market to Maxis360’s client roster. Approximately 15 Inacomp employees were added by Maxis and they will service current and new clients.

“Current and future customers of both Maxis360 and Inacomp are the beneficiaries of this acquisition as it provides them with additional professional experience and a wider selection of products and services from a single source,” says Chris Ghosio Maxis360’s CEO. “Because the two companies have had a long-standing relationship and similar corporate cultures, the integration of the two firms will be very smooth,” he adds.

Inacomp has served clients in the Northwest Florida area for more than 30 years, starting as a retail operation selling IBM’s first personal computer in 1983. It grew with the industry and developed partnerships with other technological industry leaders to become a full-service provider of computer networks and voice systems. It is is one of the leading technology firms in Northwest Florida serving clients ranging from financial institutions to large government organizations.

In addition to the geographic expansion the acquisition also adds several product lines including structured cabling and “smart office” technology to Maxis360’s product offerings.

Acquisition pricing details were not disclosed by the two privately held companies.

About Maxis360

Maxis360, a Fernandina Beach FL based company, helps businesses and other enterprises organize and secure their technological requirements by designing, installing, managing and maintaining their technology infrastructure. Working with a variety of firms ranging from newspaper publishers and airlines to health care enterprises and travel agencies, Maxis 360 incorporates their diverse communications services into a compatible structure including employing harmonious wireless and wire-line networks; complying with and implementing confusing and complex government standards; staffing help desks; round-the-clock monitoring; and insuring the security of the entire system. In addition to its Fernandina Beach, FL headquarters, the firm has offices and facilities in Orlando, Altamonte Springs, Coral Springs and Charlotte, NC. For more information go to www.maxis360.net.

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Monkey Movies Are Dumber Than Those That Make Them

Monkey Movies Are Dumber Than Those That Make ThemWhen I was a young sports writer for the Tampa Tribune many years ago a good friend was the theatre and movie critic who I used to tease about being paid to watch movies and stage plays.

He returned fire saying I was a hypocrite since I picked up a weekly paycheck to attend sporting events, a job that had no value whatsoever as the competitions I reported on had no lasting value.

He had a point, but over the years as I’ve read reviews, of movies in particular, I’ve become convinced that film critics surely must be on the studio’s payroll because their slobbering, over-the-top evaluations of dreadful films and interviews with insipid actors and actresses read like fawning studio press releases and People Magazine pap.

dawn-of-the-planet-of-the-apesJohn Podhoretz, the movie critic for the conservative Weekly Standard is an exception. If he’s ever done an interview with an actress or actor, I’ve never seen it, and his critiques of films are a delight to read as he takes no prisoners, with his commentary “Monkey Business” in the July 28 issue on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes being one of my favorites.

I saw the 2011 Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and suggested to my wife, Linda, less than halfway through it, that I go to the box office and request our money back, but she nixed that thought. These days I don’t go to many films, but the reviews of that one were so overwhelmingly positive and the creativity of the 1960s original Planet of the Apes staring Charlton Heston were still vivid in my mind, so I sucked it up and sat through what today I call “that stupid monkey movie.”

Podhortez wasn’t impressed with the film I saw either and his opinion calls this new cinematic disaster, “…the comedy highlight of the summer – even though that’s the last thing it wants to be.” For example Podhoretz questions the film’s logic when he reports that an ape who is supposed to be verging on genius points to San Francisco and says, “Human. Home.” then says, pointing to the suburbs; “Ape. Home.” If they’re so smart asks Podhortez: “Why can’t they speak in complete sentences?”

But my favorite part of his review is when he compares the stupid ape geniuses to the late comedian Ernie Kovacs’ 1950s Nairobi Trio, a threesome of apes that wore bowler hats and long coats, with one conducting with a banana and sucking on a cigar, while the other two played the piano and a drum and they all moved around like they were wind-up dolls. I won’t attend this or any other monkey movie, but I sure would like to see some of those hilarious Nairobi Trio segments again.

(Dave Scott writes a weekly blog www.davescottblog.com that includes musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more.)

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All The News About The Jaguars That Fits,The Times-Union Prints

All The News About The Jaguars That Fits,The Times-Union Prints
The editor of the Jacksonville Times-Union’s Metro Section apparently didn’t get the memo regarding the paper’s Friday, July 25 edition as his was the only one of five sections that day that didn’t run a story on its front page about the city’s hapless pro football Jaguars along with an accompanying photograph. Even the Money section ran an almost half page article and a three column picture of a Jaguar player.

And it gets even goofier. Last Sunday, July 27, a “Second Coming” headline splashed across Page A1 screamed “THE BIG, BIG DEBUT” referring to the unveiling of the EverBank Stadium’s giant new scoreboards with almost the entire front page devoted to the 362-foot wide video screens with an article on the mayor’s budget squeaking in a few inches of space at the bottom of the page.

All of this is taking place before the team has yet to play a single game confirming my belief that the team’s ecstatic public relations guy has the one job in the organization that is secure. I can only imagine what the paper will look like once the season begins. And hold on to your hats if and when they win a game.

The paper’s never-ending, inexhaustible coverage with articles on the team’s training camp and practices, prospects for the upcoming year, player personality profiles, the new giant scoreboard, contract signings, stadium naming rights, position-by-position analysis, player misdeeds, etc. continues day-after-day, pushing the baseball pennant race, the Tour de France, Jacksonville Suns, the PGA, NASCAR, and other current sporting events deep into the recesses of the Sports Section where they reside alongside the greyhound track racing results.

Since the coverage doesn’t stop with the sports section and has spilled over into the other segments as well I can only assume that the paper’s editors are fed up with the IRS scandal, the Hamas-Israel war, the collapse of Iraq, the VA mess, the stock market’s continuing rise, the war in Afghanistan, airline crashes, American’s net worth declining, Russian aggression in Ukraine including a passenger jet shot out of the sky, a struggling US economy, the state governor’s race, and so many other pesky national, state and international events that T-U editors apparently think are a nuisance as they take valuable space and time away from the city’s professional football team that won a total of four games last year. The Times-Union spears to be the team newsletter and lead cheerleader all in one.

Don’t get me wrong. I like sports and started my career as a sports writer for the Tampa Tribune where I covered the first Miami Dolphins training camp. So if the paper wants to continue this massive coverage here’s a few story ideas the editors can chew on for other sections of their paper:
-Tips from wide receiver and repeat offender Justin Blackmon on how to decorate a jail cell to make it feel more comfortable and homey
-How to roll a perfect joint and fool the NFL’s drug testing program
-How to break your contract and word and still generate fan adoration
-How to sell worthless crap from jerseys to baseball caps for outrageous prices to a gullible fan base
-Ways to batter your wife, fiancé, girlfriend without leaving telltale marks
-How to get through three or four years of college while reading at a third grade level
-Player’s favorite DUI attorneys
-Best bars and nightclubs to watch a player get arrested
-Lists of player’s and coach’s favorite clichés
-Investment tips from 21-year-old multi millionaires
-Drunk while tailgating? Tips on how to sober up before the game
-The best rehab centers to meet pro football players
-The most lenient states in enforcing players’ child support payments
-Tips on how to plead theft, battery, and sexual assault felonies down to misdemeanors
-Selling autographs to kids for fun and profit

Oh, by the way, the stadium improvements including the new scoreboards cost $63 million with $43 million of that coming from tax payers in the form of hotel bed taxes, so if you live on Amelia Island or in any of Jacksonville’s other surrounding communities and spend the weekend in the city for a game or any other event, you are helping foot the bill for this extravagance.

(Dave Scott writes a weekly blog www.davescottblog.com that includes musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more.)

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Dave Scott Does Nothing and Still Wins

Dave Scott Does Nothing and Still WinsFor doing absolutely nothing, I won a $50K Car, trips, and more! Or did I?

The other day at our house someone named Alex representing “The Notification Center” called and left a message saying that he had “excellent news” for me.

On the recording he said I “had been selected in an official contest, that I or someone else may have entered in my name” and I had won either a “$50,000 home makeover or $25,000 in cash” but I needed to call 888-207-3176, extension 224 and ask for Alex to claim my winnings.

With visions of a backyard swimming pool and a round-the-world trip dancing in my head, I excitedly did as I was instructed and called the number but was connected to a lady named Lauren, not Alex. She informed me that my name was “pulled” and I had indeed “made the final round and could win either a new vehicle worth $50,000, $25,000 in cash, or a $25,000 shopping spree.” She volunteered that she wasn’t selling anything – not “time shares or travel club memberships.” The home makeover that Alex told me about in his message wasn’t mentioned, and not wanting to appear greedy I didn’t bring it up.

But the goodies were piling up. Lauren added that since I was married, not over the age of 75 and because she was confident that I could pay the taxes on all my loot, that I had also raked in a $100 dinner card, a round trip airfare for two anywhere we wanted to go or a cruise on one of a selection of cruise lines to a variety of locations. To pick up all these goodies my wife and I merely had to travel to 9454 Phillips Highway, Suite #1, 32256 in Jacksonville on Wednesday or Thursday at 3 or 7 pm, fill out a survey, and take a look at something called “Direct Buy Warehouse,” to see all the other stuff we could pick up if we were shopping spree winners. The whole thing wouldn’t take more than 1-1½ hours of our time she said.

Lauren said I wasn’t under any obligation and while there I would pick up a key to see if it was the one that unlocked a box holding the really big prizes. She said I had “a really good chance of winning” and gave me the claim number of ECM1985, and her cell phone number (315) 623-0796, telling me when I asked, that she was in Constantia, NY.

“Darn,” I said, “as excited as I am about all this,” I told Lauren that I was unable to make it since I practice my trick sleeping technique on those days and sadly hung up the phone. However, I’m sure that anyone reading this can take my place next week or later by giving Lauren a call, and you’re welcome to use my claim number. If she answers the phone I bet you’re a winner, and the least you can do is buy me a cold beer for steering you toward this bonanza. Good luck.

(Dave Scott writes a weekly blog www.davescottblog.com that includes musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more.)

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Dave Scott Comments on Steve Nicklaus’ Columns

Dave Scott Comments on Steve Nicklaus' ColumnsDave Scott’s column hit our inbox a little later than usual, but that is fine with us! This week he discusses his feelings about Steve Nicklaus and his recent comments in Steve’s recent columns. Enjoy:

Steve Nicklaus, an island financial adviser who writes a weekly “Steve’s Market Place” column for the Fernandina Beach News-Leader, is an entertaining and fun guy to join for a couple of cold beers, and his columns are well written, interesting and amusing.

I’ve discovered that he is most always factual and rarely lets things get by him. That’s why I was surprised by two of Steve’s recent columns criticizing former Fernandina Beach City Commissioners for a variety of issues that were, in fact, not of their making and giving credit to current commissioners for good works they don’t deserve. In fact Steve just flat out got a lot of the facts wrong or he got them from a source that spun a distorted view.

Here’s my take on Steve’s recent comments:

Golf Course: Steve says the former commission gave Billy Casper Golf a “lucrative $100,000 annual contract that does not contain performance clauses”. In reality the contract is for $84,000 and the RFP (Request for Proposal) and Casper’s proposal contain a lengthy list of clearly stated performance requirements. What Steve should have asked is why the current commission and the city manager aren’t enforcing them and why did this city manager and commission disband the unpaid Golf Course Advisory Board, a group of dedicated golfers who added oversight and know more about the course that the five current commissioners and City Manager Joe Gerrity combined. The RFP itself (10-100), is available at City Hall for those who want to read it, and if Sara Pelican thoroughly read the contract as she recently stated, then perhaps she needs to take a reading comprehension refresher course. There’s probably only one sitting commissioner that knows one end of a golf club from the other.

Downtown Twinkling Lights: They don’t twinkle and never have. Yes, they were removed, but for tree trimming purposes and it was thought that after they were taken down they could be replaced by ground-based lights, a move that two former commissioners tell me they regret as that certainly didn’t work out well. Lights were reinstalled in the trees, not by this current commission, but by the efforts and funds of former mayor and commissioner, Beano Roberts, who deserves a standing ovation.

Impact Fees: Steve says the past commission “secretly assessed $800,000 in impact fees on local restaurants,” when in fact nothing was done in secret since all decisions on impact fees were public. Interested citizens can simply go to the city website and key in “impact fees” in the search field and a fee schedule pops up, not a very good place to keep secrets. However, I do agree with Steve when in his July 9 column he called impact fees “anti-capitalistic fees on new business.”

Felix: Steve says the past commission tried to restrict Felix, our peanut-selling, harmonica-playing, bike-pedaling pal from selling his products downtown. But the city staff blew that one and the commission was late in stepping in and fixing it, but it did get fixed, as it should have, after a great public out-cry.

Forward Fernandina: Steve says the commission “pushed through a $15 million downtown restructuring plan without allowing citizens to vote on it.” The $15 million number appears to have come out of the air with even Commissioner Pelican who was on the commission then, mentioning it but failing to say that she may have heard that number from one of the voices in the head of Commissioner Pat Gass. In fact the resolution was for $6 million, with $2 million eventually being borrowed. In Section 2 of resolution 2011-11-8 signed August 11, 2011 it says “The City of Fernandina Beach City Commission authorizes and directs the city manager to proceed with the implementation of the Strategic Plan which will be funded through non –ad valorem resources including a revenue bond/ bank loan proceeds not to exceed six million ($6,000,000.00) dollars to be made in up to three draws by 2015.” Part of the money was earmarked for the library expansion, which the current commission is now taking undue credit for following through on. Oh, and don’t we elect our elected commissioners to make important decisions for us without tossing them back at us in expensive referendums?

Airport Lawsuit: When the majority of the past commissioners were seated they inherited an airport lawsuit that was already in mediation with a court appointed mediator. They did not, as Steve implies, fight and lose the court battle, as decisions had been made four to six years previously by former commissions to enter into a lawsuit, and by this time is was in the hands of judges and beyond anyone’s control.

Pursuing Taxes and Raising Revenue: Steve claims the past commissioners raised taxes and pursued revenues vigorously to grow government but fails to provide examples. He also conveniently leaves out the fact that the current crop of commissioners approved what may be one of the highest tax increases in the city’s history with a millage rate jump of 15.95 percent, the largest bump since the early 1990s, a rather startling omission.

The Current Commission Balanced The Budget: Um, OK, but he forgets to say that ALL Florida municipalities are required by law to “bring forth a balanced budget” something that decades of commissioners have done, good and bad. Steve’s claim is like saying they got dressed and came to work.

Boardwalk: Again, stretching to find any positive accomplishment by this current commission, Steve credits them with building the new boardwalk at Main Beach. But, as President Obama so famously said “You didn’t build that!” Money for the boardwalk was budgeted for a number of years and its construction was delayed by the Department of Environmental Protection, as the last commission worked to try to get it closer to the beach or at least in the same place as the old one. The boardwalk, like the library, fell into the lap of the current commission and trying to list any of this commission’s accomplishments is similar to listing Hillary Clinton’s while she was a US Senator from NY or US Secretary of State.

This coming election in November will be vital for the city and its residents. Two very qualified, energetic, enthusiastic and intelligent candidates will be challenging two incumbents that need to be shown the door.

Educator, mother, and community volunteer Robin Lentz is running against Sarah Pelican and former commissioner, businessman, and city restaurateur Tim Poynter, is running against the curmudgeonly Charlie Corbett. This city will be much better off without Ms. Pelican and the cranky, clueless Corbett and will, in my opinion, see a marked improvement with Mr. Poynter back on board and Ms. Lentz adding a refreshing new face.

I know both Ms. Lentz and Mr. Poynter and I truly believe that they will do more than bring a “to do list” with them to the commission chambers, but instead will work to draw up long-range, realistic goals that best serve the community and make the most efficient use of our tax money.

It’s time to break up the Curly, Larry and Moe majority that has turned the commission chambers into a burlesque venue, and get on with seriously representing the citizens of the city and run its affairs without the nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

(Dave Scott writes a weekly blog www.davescottblog.com that includes musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more.)

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There is More to Florida than you Know

There is More to Florida than you Know
Want to Talk to the Dead, Ride in a UFO, Meet Monkey Girl? Florida’s the Place

There is more to the state of Florida than beaches, swaying palm trees, and plenty of year around sunshine. Lots more!

Pick up a copy of Lynn Waddell’s book “Fringe Florida” and you’ll discover some oddities you never imagined existed even if you’re a second or third generation native.

For example, did you know there is a small town 145 miles south of here between Orlando and Daytona Beach called Cassadaga that is dedicated to spiritualists who say they converse with the dead, is populated by psychics and mediums, and has consequently been named the “Psychic Capital of the World?” Ask our pal Pajama Dave and his girlfriend Zan Maddox about it as they’ve been there and have some spooky tales to tell about their unnerving overnight visit.

cassadega-spiritual-camp-floridaOr maybe you want to join a group of folks who sit around on the beach waiting to be picked up by a UFO, join a granny motorcycle club, or visit Gibsonton, a town populated by circus and carnival sideshow performers ranging from the Lizard Man and Lobster Boy to the Monkey Girl and the Human Blockhead.

On our way to Sarasota and Fort Myers, before the Sunshine Skyway was constructed, my mother used to stop in Gibsonton, which is on Highway 41 and was about a half hour south of our Tampa home, to visit the Giant’s Fish Camp, a dive bar and grill, where the owner was the retired circus giant and his wife the retired “fat lady.” I was more fascinated by what was out back though, where a swampy dilapidated chicken wire enclosure was populated by what I remember were a whole bunch of alligators of all sizes and I was allowed to toss them food scrapes. The town also had a midget police chief and in my child’s imagination I always thought it would make a cool Rod Serling Twilight Zone TV episode, with the show opening as a drunk speeding through the little town gets arrested and sobers up to be confronted by a gathering of bizarre local inhabitants.

Oh, and the book will also introduce you to some of the oddest swinger clubs in the country, claiming Florida is home to more of these than any other state. If nothing else it’ll give you some interesting suggestions on what to tell friends, relatives and tourists when they ask what other things they should do while visiting the sunshine state. Why bother with Disney or any of the other fantasy parks when you can go see the real thing? Just be careful where you take junior though.

***

Crime-Free, Pollution-Free Paradise? And speaking of unusual Florida locations, according to reports from Bloomberg News, our state boasts the fastest growing metropolitan area in the United States and one that is also crime free, has almost no pollution, no children, and is just a little more than 150 miles southwest of Amelia Island, or about a three hour drive. With a population of some 110,000, The Villages, is the world’s largest retirement community and growing on par with megacities such as Lagos, Nigeria and Dhaka, Bangladesh, experiencing a 5.2 percent surge in growth this past year. It’s about 60 miles northwest of Orlando, and just a few miles southeast of Ocala. Golf-cart accidents have killed more people there than criminals, said Elaine Dreidame, president of the Property Owners’ Association of The Villages, which is about the size of Manhattan and has more golf carts than that New York borough has taxies. The Villages, which has rules governing how long children can visit and follows an age-restricted model used by developer Del Webb’s Sun City in Arizona, sells new homes ranging from $150,000 to $1 million. It also has been reported that the Villages population boasts 10 women to every man, has one of the highest sales of Viagra anywhere, a thriving swingers scene among married couples, as well as an alarming rate of sexually transmitted diseases. So, for a “good time” if you’re 55 or over head south and grab a granny.

(Dave Scott writes a weekly blog www.davescottblog.com that includes musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more.)

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Trailer Park Home Owners’ Association

Trailer Park Home Owners' AssociationIn a recent comment to my blog (www.davescottblog.com) city resident and tax payer Bill Kremler asks some interesting questions about the $8,000 the Fernandina Beach City Commissioners gave to local gadfly Lynn Williams for a Water Injection Dredging (WID) project saying:

“Are we, as tax payers supposed to pay for equipment that Lynn Williams allegedly purchased to do a job that he was hired for? And also are we to pay for his travel expenses, to where, may I ask!! And are the items which were purchased (pump, valves, and gauges), now the property of the city of Fernandina Beach or will they remain with the contractor? My point is this, when a contractor is hired, doesn’t he bring along the tools to do the job.””

Mr. Kremler makes some valid points as I’ve never expected to pay for a contractor’s tools or travel expenses for work they do on my house or car. But the city agreed in a document signed May 15, 2013 that materials purchased will remain the property of Williams and David Cook. How come, since the tax payers paid for them?

If this $8,000 Water Injection Dredging (WID) idea has drawn critical local media attention and angst among his supportive Curly, Larry and Moe trio of city commissioners it should set off alarm bells about what else might be going on with our tax dollars down at city hall on a much larger scale.

I’m sure that Lynn Williams is indeed a fine person with good intentions; however, I also believe that this “water injection dredging” concept or “the miracle mud machine” as I’ve heard others refer to it, is all wet for a variety of reasons and here’s why:

In a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the City Manager Joe Gerrity, City Attorney Tammi Bach, Williams, and David Cook it says in item number 3 that “Williams and Cook agree to provide a prototype equipment suitable for test and demonstration of WID” and in item 4 Williams and Cook agreed that they will deliver a report with photographs describing the apparatus, test work and results at the conclusion of their work. That was well over a year ago.

They must not be anywhere near close to completion because nothing has been photographed or reported to date and when Williams was asked for an accounting by Mayor Ed Boner last month, he became testy and the Curly, Larry and Moe trio of commissioners supported his lack of activity, with one, Pat Gass, falling all over herself apologizing for the mayor’s inquiry. What’s up with that?

What happened to the $30,000 worth of dredging studies conducted by Advanced Technology Management (ATM) that was submitted in November 2011 that included a Water Injection Dredging solution? And why didn’t the city hire a company adequately staffed and qualified in WID operations instead of the Williams one-man-show?

Why did the city have to pay for a $250 permit to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for the WID project modifications this past March? Why didn’t that come out of the $8,000 given to Williams?

Why did Mr. Gerrity in a May 15, 2014 memo to Beverlee Lawrence of the Army Corps of Engineers in response to her inquiries on the WID project say, “We want to avoid costs and time in responding to a request for public notice?”

From everything I’ve seen the only activity that’s taken place to date is Mr. Williams showing a promotional video of a Dutch firm’s WID capabilities at a commission meeting last month and signing a check made out to him and depositing it in his personal bank account on May 31, 2013. With the exception of Mayor Boner and Johnny Miller, the other three city commissioners have only criticized those that question the city’s funding of this project who are asking Mr. Williams to account for the tax money he received.

And since the city insurer’s risk management authority said the WID experiment should not be conducted on city property due to liability issues, where is David Cook in all of this? His property south of the city’s marina was supposed to be the site of the test, and he signed the MOU, but he has been suspiciously quiet and no recent correspondence I’ve seen includes him. If Mr. Cook’s property isn’t involved where will this WID test take place?

Local attorney Clinch Kavanaugh interestingly and colorfully described this situation when he told me that the current chaotic city management resembles a cross between “a Criminal Enterprise and a Mobile Park Home Owner’s Association.”

Folks, you need to attend some of these city commission meetings to track the use of your tax money, ask questions, and then vote in the November local elections for those you think will be the best stewards of your cash. From what I’ve seen it is not the Curly, Larry and Moe trio currently Nyuking it up at city hall.

***

But This Group Deserves A Medal: One city organization that works like a well oiled machine is the Fernandina Fire Department under Chief Jason Higginbotham, which I credit along with my wife, Linda, for saving my life when I suffered a stroke last August 11. This professional group of no-nonsense responders were inside our house about two minutes after I hit the floor and Linda called 911, and they had me hooked up to a variety of devices and on the way the Jacksonville’s Baptist General’s emergency room and its stroke victim ICU, which they were in constant communications with from the ambulance. But the other day I wondered out loud to Commissioner Johnny Miller why both an ambulance and fire truck responded and he posed that question to Chief Higginbotham, who said there are a variety of very good reasons; including the fact they never really know what they may face when responding to an emergency. For example, they could be up against anything from a HazMat incident to a high angle and confined space rope rescue with broken bones, even with a stroke or heart attack victim. If, like me, you need these folks in a hurry you won’t care if they bring along a platoon of Navy Seals and the Radio City Rockets, because they know what they are doing and they are the most polite and proficient city employees I’’ve dealt with anywhere I’ve ever lived and that covers a lot of territory. So, if you see an emergency vehicle with its lights flashing near you pull over and be thankful we have such an expert staff available to serve us. This is tax money well spent and I don’t begrudge a dime of it, in fact these people are probably under paid.

(Dave Scott is a resident of Fernandina Beach, writes a weekly blog www.davescottblog.com, and can be reached at davidnscott@bellsouth.net)

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Conservative Columnists, the Redskins, and Will

Conservative Columnists, the Redskins, and WillMedia On Offense Against Offensive

The nation’s media is on the offense to protect the public from what they consider “offensive.”

Editors of several major newspapers in California, Washington State, and Oregon have said they will no longer allow “Redskins” to be used in print in their publications and syndicated columnist George Will’s opinion is no longer welcome in the pages of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The papers dropping “Redskins” from their reporting say they are doing so because they consider the 80-year-old name “offensive,” while the Post-Dispatch announced that it would no longer carry Will’s column, because a recent one argued that colleges’ efforts to combat sexual assault made being a campus rape victim a “coveted status” and they considered that offensive.

Amelia Island resident, friend and former Associated Press Correspondent Rick Scott says he sees this as “an example of intolerance in the newspapers, which apparently feel now that THEY too must always be politically correct.”

Says Mr. Scott, “When they say they are dropping a column (Will’s) because it’s offensive, they should just say it’s offensive to them. By the way, this would make me wonder how much other news is kept out because the editor finds it offensive. My point is it’s not offensive to everyone. So I guess newspapers now print only the news that, in its opinion, is not offensive to a majority/plurality of its readers!

“In my journalism days, we EXPECTED to offend readers (whether we agreed with a story or not) because it was believed important for readers to get all sides of a discussion in order for democracy to work. I guess that’s just considered nonsense in these polarized times.”

Will’s column offered an anecdote from a student at Swarthmore College, in which a woman reported a rape after a former sexual partner wouldn’t take no for an answer. Will implies that because the incident occurred “with a guy with whom she’d been hooking up for three months,” she wasn’t sexually assaulted. “Six weeks later, the woman reported that she had been raped,” Will wrote in his column about the Swarthmore student.

I don’t – and neither does George Will or Rick Scott – defend the crime of rape. What Will is saying is that campus rape victims enjoy a privileged legal status because they are not required to prove anything or present any evidence to slur for life a man’s name and character and deprive him of an education. It’s kind of a modern-day form of lynching.

The Washington Redskins football team is being lambasted by many journalists and their editors for its eight-decade-old name they have now deemed offensive.

As Washington Times sports editorial correctly says “The Redskins name controversy is not about discrimination, it’s about power, pure and simple. Power, that is, for politically correct bullies to impose their view of what everybody else should and should not be permitted to say. The latest salvo from the bullies came from U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), which cancelled six Redskin trademarks.”

The Times adds, “It is preposterous to claim that anybody in America watching the Redskins on any given Sunday is doing so while savoring the horrors of Wounded Knee or lamenting Custer’s death at Little Big Horn. “This reality is why the claim that the name ‘Redskins’ perpetuates discrimination is a politically motivated pretext for nullifying the First Amendment and handing control over speech to politicians and bureaucrats in the nation’s capital.

As the editorial noted, the escalating tactics being used against the Redskins in recent months increasingly involve application of the full force of the federal government, including threatened prosecution by the FCC and the prospect of the IRS revoking the team’s tax exemption.

Closer to home, in the June 20 issue of the bi-weekly Fernandina Beach News-Leader Editor Michael Parnell in a lead editorial criticizing the dedication of a downtown statue to honor David Yulee began his anti-Yulee opinion saying, “I hate to agree with our former columnist Dave Scott on anything…”

My two-year-old weekly column, for which I wasn’t paid, was dropped from the paper in January because I was told “it was too heated” and some found it “offensive” and it is now obvious that one of those was the paper’s editor, Mr. Parnell. I was told once by the News-Leader publisher, Foy Malloy, that “our readers either hate you or love you Dave, there’s no in between.” So the ones that loved it lose, same as with Redskins fans and St. Louis readers of George Will’s commentary, not that I’m putting myself in their esteemed company, but am simply using my column’s cancellation as an example of how many of those that advocate for freedom of speech, only advocate it for those that think as they do.

It’s sad that the media, that were once the American public’s watchdogs have morphed into “politically correct bullies.”

(Dave Scott is a resident of Fernandina Beach, writes a weekly blog www.davescottblog.com, and can be reached at davidnscott@bellsouth.net)

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Fernandina Commissioners Apologize?

Fernandina Commissioners Apologize?SearchAmelia is thrilled to have Dave Scott offer his commentary and opinions to us; he always manages to comfortably manipulate us to drink his Kool-Aid while we yearn to keep things in perspective… much like our head-shaking reaction to the apology from Commissioner Gass to Lynn Williams – WTF?

Commissioner Pat Gass’ inexplicable apology to gadfly Lynn Williams at the June 17 Fernandina City Commission meeting expressing her dismay at Mayor Ed Boner’s legitimate June 3rd questioning of Williams for an accounting of $8,000 in tax payer money it gave him for a harbor dredging concept, was so inexhaustible it appears the voices in her head of folks that don’t vote and never attend commission meetings, that she claims to represent, were working overtime stoking her mental furnace.

Said Ms. Gass, “Mr. Williams, I’d like to publicly apologize to you for the last meeting and not defending you. You have done nothing wrong, and I’m sorry I didn’t come to your support. We the Commission owe you thanks and gratitude. You have kept us informed every step of the way. You have done everything we’ve asked you to do. Thank you. I apologize for not coming to your aid two weeks ago when you were called out and called down. It was embarrassing. It was humiliating, and I apologize for my lack of response, but I was just dumbfounded. I offer you my most sincere apology.”

What the…? She was dumbfounded? It’s the taxpayers who are dumbfounded. How could this commissioner think that asking for an accounting of our money that they foolishly gave away in March 2013 without any agreement or contract, is wrong and the guy who got it deserves an apology when he was rightfully questioned about how it is being spent?

Why was Commissioner Gass falling all over herself in an act of contrition for Mayor Ed Boner’s justifiable questioning of Williams when he rightly asked Williams to account for the eight grand of our tax money he had been given well over a year ago, without any kind of signed agreement and no accounting up to that point?

But wait, it gets even goofier. Williams, prior to showing Dutch dredging firm Van Oord’s promotional video of a water injection program of the sort he’s suggesting, jumped on the apology band wagon, telling the commission his “hostile” comments last week may have resulted from him being too thin skinned, but he did verbally account for $3,380 of the eight grand saying it was spent on a pump, valves, gauges and travel expenses. That’s a beginning, now where’s the rest of it?

Much to his credit, Mayor Boner was not swayed, and emphasized that he looks forward to another update and that he is the kind of guy who looks at numbers and budgets, a welcome relief from those groveling apologists who obviously don’t care how our tax money is spent.

Commission Johnny Miller, who was not on the commission when the money was given to Mr. Williams, appeared bemused by Commissioner Gass’ gushing act of contrition as did several citizens attending, who swapped puzzled glances at one another during the apology parade.

I don’t know a darn thing about dredging and I hope Williams’ concept has merit, but I do know that election day can’t come soon enough so we can rid ourselves of the Moe, Larry and Curly trio that have turned the commission chambers into a slapstick comedy venue.

To read more from Dave Scott, visit his blog at DaveScottBlog.com.

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Boner Questions Williams in Dave Scott’s Latest Blog

Boner Questions Williams in Dave Scott's Latest BlogBelow is your advanced copy of Dave Scott’s blog which can be found at www.DaveScottBlog.com. There is a lot of stuff in this week’s opinion piece, so please feel free to comment. (I’m particularly interested in asking for a no-questions-asked deal from the city of my own. -Judie)

Need Cash? Then Ask City Hall For A Taxpayer-Funded No Contract Check

If you’re running short of funds and could use a few thousand extra bucks then head downtown to City Hall and ask the Fernandina Beach City Commission to dip into the taxpayer’s till for a “no questions asked, no contract” deal and see if they’ll ask City Manager Joe Gerrity to cut you a check.

Four of the current commissioners did exactly that more than a year ago when failed commission candidate and community gadfly Lynn Williams was granted $8,000 for a dredging plan that has yet to materialize and for which he won’t or can’t account. In fact Williams became downright indignant when Mayor Ed Boner rightly asked him how the money is being spent and Williams spouted some mumbo-jumbo answer about “turbidity” and state environmental and fish and wildlife bureaucracies.

Mayor Boner proceeded to question Williams for an accounting of the eight grand saying, “I’ve had several people ask me how much money has been spent so far to construct the working model. Just some requests for basic accounting: how much has been spent, how much is left?”

An indignant Williams unashamedly told the mayor, “Ask them to call me. In our proposal there was never any intention of trying to itemize or be specific on what this would cost. To this day, I don’t know what it will cost to see it to the end.” At one point Williams said he spent about $3,600 of our tax money on hardware for his test machine, but didn’t produce any evidence.

When the mayor pressed Williams saying “I need to get more numbers” Williams blatantly replied, “I’m not giving you more numbers. I don’t have them.”

Some of the commissioners apparently lost sight of whose money they are dealing with as evidenced when Commissioner and Vice Mayor Sara Pelican, who voted to cut Williams a check in March 2013, also told Mayor Boner to tell those who called him to call Williams. Huh? Excuse me lady but you voted to hand over $8,000 of our money more than a year ago and now you want US to go find out what happened to it? Aren’t you up for reelection in November? It’s obvious that you have been sitting to close to Commissioner Pat Gass and have been strangely influenced by the voices that don’t vote and never attend commission meetings that congregate in Ms. Gass’ head.

Not satisfied with Williams’ responses Mayor Boner said the next time the city Commission cuts a check he would like to see “some sort of accounting,” which further irritated an always irritable Commissioner Charlie Corbett, not the brightest bulb in city hall and one also severely limited by a lack of tact, manners, and an understanding of parliamentary proceedings, who also voted to cough up the cash last March. “Are you telling us what to do?” Corbett spit out at the mayor. According to a report in the online Fernandina Observer Corbett is the same commissioner, who when Williams initially requested the money, asked Williams “You think you can do it for $4,500 but you’ve asked for $8,000?” to which Williams replied, “Yep, because I don’t know how it’s gonna work.” That was good enough for Corbett.

Last March Corbett, Pelican, Boner and Gass all agreed to have the city cut Williams a no strings-attached check. Former Commissioner Arlene Filkoff was the lone dissenter and Johnny Miller, who fortunately defeated Williams among others for a commission seat, was not a member at the time.

A tip of the hat to Mayor Boner, who in my opinion should never have voted for the initial request, but has the integrity, hindsight and the community’s best interests at heart by asking for an accounting. And as far as Pelican and Corbett are concerned, we can be thankful that the polls will be open in November enabling us to correct mistakes made in previous elections.

This has been an $8,000 lesson on how not to handle the public’s money.

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Fernandina’s Bernie Madoff? Numerous articles about David Yulee and the dedication of his statue in front of the old downtown train station Thursday, June 12, (Statue of David Yule coming home, 6/11/2014, Jacksonville Times-Union and David Yulee’s History, Fernandina Beach News-Leader, 6/11/1014), two by Fernandina Observer writer Suanne Z. Thamm and a gushing piece by former local museum director Ron Kurtz, all glossed over some interesting details about this controversial historical figure. The Times-Union article by reporter Dan Scanlan was mostly a factual piece probably written from a press release while the Page one News-Leader story, was a puff piece with lots of extra puff, written by Amelia Island Museum of History’s Gray Edenfield. The Observer articles were all as puffy as the one written by Mr. Edenfield, conveniently glossing over key factors in Yulee’s past.

All of the articles conveniently forget to mention that artist Chuck Oldam turned the opportunity to sculpt Yulee’s statue down, saying in a letter last year to the News-Leader: “I discovered a shocking truth. David Yulee was not only a slave holder but one of the most ardent proponents and defenders of slavery in his day.” In fact, according to the recently published A Disease in the Public Mind, a New Understanding of why we Fought the Civil War, author Thomas Fleming points out that only six percent of the Southern population owned slaves, grouping Yulee into a small, immoral class of folks.

The statue depicts a likeness of Yulee holding a pocket watch to check on the next scheduled train, a bit odd since the only ride Mr. Yulee ever took on his ill-fated rail line was to escape the advancing Union forces. That was the one and only trip Yulee’s train ever made until after the war as Robert E. Lee had the rails ripped out and shipped to more strategic and defensible Confederate locations north of Florida.

The statue was pushed through by a small group of folks in Fernandina who conveniently overlook the fact that Yulee’s railroad was built by slaves and the US Senator Yulee-controlled consortium was paid with tax payer money by the Florida state legislature at Yulee’s request. Following the Civil War, the ardent slavery proponent and turncoat Yulee was imprisoned for treason in Ft. Pulaski, GA. After he was released he entered into even more railroad schemes and in the 1880s state money went to pay off debts Yulee failed to pay on his railroad plans.

T.D. Allman’s book Finding Florida (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2013), which was favorably reviewed by the Times-Union last year, details much of Yulee’s controversial life, and in a light that the statue proponents would rather ignore. In addition to the statue we now have a town (Yulee) and a Florida County (Levy, his real name) named after this man of dubious character. Upon his death in 1886 a Tampa editorial said “From beginning to end Mr. Yulee has shown himself a trickster,” yet that didn’t stop the state of Florida from naming this racist turncoat and flim-flam man a “Great Floridian” in 1999, a blatant act of revisionist history.

Dedicating a statue to David Yulee in Fernandina Beach in front of the train station is like New York City erecting one of Bernie Madoff in front of the NY Stock Exchange.

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A Catch 22 Fish Tale: Searching for an answer for a guest who asked if he needed a license to fish on the beach, Amelia Oceanfront B&B Innkeeper Johan Ramakers clicked on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission web site and was overwhelmed with our state’s version of “The Most Dangerous Catch” as in Catch 22 and more. The list of licenses, exceptions and options found on the link http://myfwc.com/license/recreational/do-i-need-a-license/ read strikingly similar to the pointless activity witnessed by Alice in the “Who Stole the Tarts” trial during her travels through Wonderland when the White Rabbit said “I gave her one, they gave him two; You gave us three or more; They all returned from him to you, Though they were mine before.” For example this is a verbatim paragraph Han found in our state’s Catch 22 Fishing Commission: Residents who are fishing for a saltwater species (other than mullet in fresh water) from land or from a structure fixed to the land are required to have a no-cost saltwater shoreline fishing license unless they have a regular saltwater fishing license or are exempt. Could Lewis Carroll have said it any better? When the folks that write this gibberish go home after work it must be terribly embarrassing when they try to explain to their family and friends what they do for a living.

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Shrimp Boats Are A Coming: This past Thursday Captain Kevin McCarthy restarted his annual Eco-Shrimping Tours that involve an interactive exploration of the St. Marys River Basin, where guests are coached on the operation of an Otter Trawl shrimp net, which they will actually deploy and retrieve if they wish. Don’t bring a fork or tarter sauce though because the sea creatures are released back into the water after being displayed and identified in an on-board aquarium while the boat glides through the backwaters and tidal creeks that make up the area’s local estuary. Developed in Fernandina, the net is similar to those nets used by the commercial shrimp industry today. Reservations for the two-hour Thursday to Saturday 10 am trips are recommended and can be made by calling (904) 261-9972 or visiting the white kiosk in the North parking lot of the downtown Marina.

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Sidewalk Brouhaha: Jenn Niles, the striking blonde paraplegic, who successfully got the attention of the feds after she was ejected from her wheelchair when she tried to maneuver the Front Street area of gravel, railroad tracks and busted up pavement, and was ignored by local politicos, had an eloquent letter printed in the Fernandina News-Leader (June 6, 2014, Sidewalk to Somewhere) to rebut lawyer John Cascone’s May 30 letter, “The sidewalk that never was.” Unlike Cascone, the New England resident cited ordinances, references, surveys, etc. that show a sidewalk has existed in an area where Mr. Cascone and Marina Restaurant owner Patricia Toundas say there never was one. Because of Ms. Niles efforts the feds under the auspices of the Americans for Disabilities Act (ADA) visited the site, met with city officials and from what I heard are not happy, an attitude that may well cost Fernandina taxpayers plenty and eventually lead to a much safer walkway to other Front Street businesses such as the community-minded owners at the Salty Pelican. Thanks to Ms. Niles the town’s good ‘ole boy network appears to be as broken down as the sidewalk it claims doesn’t exist.

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More From A Clueless President: The following excerpts, which I agree with wholeheartedly, were sent to me by island resident Cal Atwood, a decorated World War II Marine, who fought on Iwo Jima and who devours three books a week as well as a variety of periodicals, are from Why Team Obama Was Blindsided by the Bergdahl Backlash written by retired Army officer and former enlisted man Ralph Peters: “Congratulations, Mr. President! And identical congrats to your sorcerer’s apprentice, National Security Adviser Susan Rice. By trying to sell him as an American hero, you’ve turned a deserter already despised by soldiers in the know into quite possibly the most-hated individual soldier in the history of our military. I have never witnessed such outrage from our troops. President Obama and Ms. Rice seem to think that the crime of desertion in wartime is kind of like skipping class. Team Obama and its base cannot comprehend the values still cherished by those young Americans “so dumb” they joined the Army instead of going to prep school and then to Harvard. President Obama never stopped to consider that our troops and their families might have been offended by their commander-in-chief staging a love-fest at the White House to celebrate trading five top terrorists for one deserter and featuring not the families of those soldiers (at least six of them) who died in the efforts to find and free Bergdahl, but, instead, giving a starring role on the international stage to Pa Taliban, parent of a deserter and a creature of dubious sympathies (that beard on pops ain’t a tribute to ZZ Top). How do you say ‘outrageous insult to our vets’ in Pashto?”

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More Colorful Baseball Names: Atlanta friend and sports broadcaster Gary McKillips, after reading my post last week on colorful baseball names, reminded me that I left off former Dodger pitcher Van Lingle Mungo while local retired Binghamton, NY attorney Bruce Smyk says Mungo was honored in a 60s song and says I should have also listed former big leaguer Candy Maldonado. All good picks. Any more I missed?

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Drinking, Dining & Dancing: Executive Chef for the Amelia Island Ritz-Carlton Thomas Tolxdorf, who was killed last Saturday in a single car accident on US 17, leaves a lasting legacy of many in the island’s hospitality industry who worked with him, knew him as a friend and learned from him. Tolxdorf who relocated to Amelia Island thirteen years ago will be missed, but not forgotten.

If you have never heard the combination of Dan Voll, Michele, Nico and “fiddle girl” Amy Basse then you have a special treat in store because last Friday evening they did an impromptu on the porch of the Green Turtle that was a foot-stomping, toe-tapping humdinger with Amy performing Dan Voll’s signature “Everybody’s Got a Cousin in Miami,” something I’ve never heard before on the fiddle.

Tim Poynter asked some friends and I to sample a hard cider he says his North 3rd St. downtown Karibrew Brew Pub will be serving this summer and which we declared “refreshing and tasty” and unlike any other bar offering I’ve tried hereabouts. He’s also conducting a contest to name the beverage, so stop by, order a glass, and pick a name, which, if you win, will provide you with a certificate for a dinner for two and bragging rights.

The Bloody Mary wars have headed into the kookie phase as last weekend Crystal Foster built a Hammerhead version that included a Krispy Cream sausage and French Toast while Johnny Miller put his creativity into overdrive with a pickled okra, stuffed olives, pickle, mozzarella cheese, prosciutto peppers, a slice of baguette and corn chips topped off with a glazed doughnut, for a creation he called the “Sunday Brunch” at the Palace Saloon. Urp!

American Legion Post 54 at the corner of Gum and South 3rd St. is providing lunches and dinners at prices you’d be hard pressed to match if you cooked at home. Oh, and if you want to eat at home they’ll deliver. Menus are subject to change but here’s a sampling of Pam “Big Red” LaClair’s menu of luncheon specials that are served 11:00 am – 1:30 pm:
Monday – meatball sub & chips $6;
Tuesday – Club sandwich & chips $6;
Wednesday – Beef stroganoff & salad $7;
Thursday – chicken tenders & fries $6;
Friday – tuna melt sandwich & pasta salad $6.

Dinner is served from 5-7 pm with recent meals including:
Wednesday – pot roast with potatoes & carrots $7;
Thursday – wings .50, hotdogs $3;
Friday – Prime rib with garlic mashed potatoes & salad $14.00.

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