Learn More About Candidate Jonathan Petree

Learn More About Candidate Jonathan PetreeJonathan Petree, who is running for the Nassau County School Board from District 5, is in a tightly contested race and needs your vote. His election is an open election meaning that all registered Republicans/Democrats/Independents can vote for him.

Jonathan is the owner of Atlantic Warriors, a martial arts company in Jacksonville. Over the years he has come to Amelia Island and given classes to women only for self-defense. He is truly dedicated to doing the best possible job in this position, and with four children will be involved in our school system, for many years to come.

Jonathan, who comes from a family of educators, is a Nassau County native and married to Jessica Petree. He is focused on college readiness, supports vocational education, and believes in parents rights.

Early voting in Nassau County for Florida’s August 30 primary will be 10 am to 6 pm August 19-27. Registered voters may vote at any of four sites: Callahan County Building, 45401 Mickler St.; Hilliard Community Center, 37177 Pecan St.; James S. Page Governmental Complex, 96135 Nassau Place, Yulee; and MLK/Elm Street Recreation Center, 1200 Elm St., Fernandina Beach.


Chamber to Host Debate for Nassau School Superintendent

The Government Affairs Committee of the Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce will host a debate for candidates for Nassau County Superintendent of Schools on Tuesday, July 26, 2016 at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club at 11:30 a.m.

The cost to attend is $20 for Chamber members and $30 for non-chamber members.

No tickets will be sold at the door. You MUST have a ticket to attend.

Register on-line at www.islandchamber.com.

For more information contact the Chamber at (904) 261-3248.

The Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce is a membership based association of Nassau County businesses, professional leaders and individuals working together to provide leadership which will aggressively promote and defend responsible economic growth, employment opportunities, government and excellence in education and quality of life.

Justin Taylor to Run for County Commission

Justin Taylor to Run for County CommissionNassau County, FL – Justin Taylor has filed to run for the District 5 County Commission seat. “After careful consideration and discussions with my family, friends, colleagues, and residents, I felt this was the right time to bring fresh new leadership to our County,” said Taylor.

Taylor currently serves as the Public Information Officer for the Nassau County Property Appraiser where some of his duties include office operations and public relations. In working with the Property Appraiser and other key staff, Taylor continues to find ways to improve upon customer related services while maintaining efficiency in operations.

As a Commissioner, Taylor will focus on community development, improving the quality of life for residents, and creating an open line of communication between county government and taxpayers.

“As Nassau County continues to grow, we need to sustain that growth in such a way that we make it easier to attract new businesses that are beneficial to our citizens,” said Taylor. “With the Port of Fernandina, Interstate 95, a major rail line, and just minutes from an international airport, Nassau County is a prime location for industry. We need to help facilitate job growth in Nassau so residents do not have to leave the County to find employment.” Taylor believes that growth can be managed while improving our quality of life. “It’s a delicate balance that must be maintained.”

Taylor has a background in sales and marketing and studied business at Florida State College of Jacksonville prior to receiving his Real Estate license from the Florida Real Estate Institute. He owned and operated a successful event rental and multi-media development company and has also worked in real estate.

In 2007, Taylor began working to improve Florida’s Foster care system by creating a group to empower former foster youth and encourage them to advocate for positive change. The group now has over 250 members statewide who make frequent trips to Tallahassee where they meet with Legislators to discuss issues facing the foster care system. In addition, he plays an active role in various community organizations including: Board Member of Family Support Services, Board Member of Florida’s Children First, Steering Committee Member for Leadership Nassau, Member of Amelia Masonic Lodge, and Vice-Chair of the Nassau County Republican Party.

“My candidacy is a result of my desire to work with the residents of Nassau County, ensuring that we are well positioned for success in the future,” said Taylor.

Justin is married to Shannon (Conn) Taylor, a 3rd year doctoral student at Nova Southeastern University. Together they have a 5-year-old son named Brayden.

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City Commissioners Appoint New City Manager

On Tuesday, September 22nd, the City Commissioners of Fernandina Beach unanimously appointed a new City Manager, Mr. Dale Martin. Mr. Martin comes to Fernandina Beach from Winchester, CT, where he serves as Town Manager. He is expected to start with the City after sixty days. His recommendation as a candidate for the position comes as part of the executive search conducted by Colin Baenziger and Associates.

Mr. Martin is a U.S. Army veteran, and has almost twenty years of experience in municipal management in Michigan and Connecticut. He is a Credentialed Manager with the International City/County Management Association and has a master’s degree in Public Administration and an undergraduate degree in Political Science.

City Attorney Tammi Bach will be working with Mr. Martin on finalizing the terms of his employment contract. The City Commission appointed Deputy City Manager Marshall McCrary to serve as Interim City Manager until Mr. Martin arrives.

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2015 City Commissioner Candidate Forum

2015 City Commissioner Candidate ForumFernandina Beach voters will have an opportunity to get up close and personal with candidates competing in the November 3 General Election for two seats on the Fernandina Beach City Commission.

The Fernandina Observer is sponsoring a Candidates Forum at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 15, 2015 in Commission Chambers, Fernandina Beach City Hall, 204 Ash Street, Fernandina Beach.

The Forum will also be live streamed on the city’s website, www.fbfl.us.

For the 4th consecutive year, Larry Myers, former City Manager & Nassau County Manager, and former legislative aid to now State Senator Aaron Bean will serve as moderator.

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Amelia Island CVB Wins Awards at Conference on Tourism

Amelia Island CVB Wins Awards at Conference on TourismAmelia Island, FL – The Amelia Island Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) won four awards for outstanding tourism marketing at VISIT FLORIDA’’s annual Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism. The CVB took top honors in the Internet Advertising category for its UK and Canada Southern Elegance Campaign, accepting the coveted Henry Award trophy during the conference’’s opening night Flagler Awards ceremony held Monday night, August 31, at the Tampa Convention Center. The CVB also won Silver Awards in the Mobile Marketing, Websites and Resource/Promotional Material-Trade categories.

“”We constantly strive to create and implement marketing strategies across all platforms and it’s gratifying to have our hard work recognized among our industry peers and partners”,” said Gil Langley, president and CEO of the Amelia Island CVB. “I’’m proud of our entire marketing team and the top-notch work they do year after year.”

In addition to the Henry Award for Internet Advertising, the destination’s new website, AmeliaIsland.com, was one of three CVB entries to earn a Silver Award. The site was also named the best travel and events website of 2014 by Kentico. The two additional marketing campaigns that received Silver Awards were the Sea Turtle Texting Campaign in the Mobile Marketing category and a Meetings Mailer to Local Influencers in the Resource/Promotional Material-Trade category.

Past Flagler Awards won by the CVB include a Best of Show Award for its Mixed Media Campaign (2014); Henry Awards in the Direct Marketing, Print Advertising, Mixed Media Campaign and Rural County Marketing categories (2013); and Best of Show for the Amelia Island Visitor’s Guide (2012).

As the state’’s annual tourism marketing competition, the Flagler Awards recognize Florida’’s travel businesses and organizations that demonstrate outstanding tourism marketing efforts. Each year, the Flagler Awards honor many of the countless individuals and organizations that help position Florida as a premier travel destination and pay tribute to the determined efforts of those who help ensure the continued success of the state’s most important industry.

For additional information about Amelia Island, please visit www.ameliaisland.com.

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Education Solutions Summit Discusses Education and Dyslexia

Education Solutions Summit Discusses Education and DyslexiaThis is a “Public Meeting Notice” for Education Solution Summit: Dyslexia being held September 10 (Thursday) from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM, at Florida State College at Jacksonville; Yulee Campus Betty P. Cook Center; Nassau Room, 76346 William Burgess Blvd, Yulee, FL 32097.

Please join State Representative Janet Adkins, and a panel of leading experts in the fields of education and dyslexia, for an EDUCATION SOLUTIONS SUMMIT to discuss and review the need for legislative changes to the Florida’s statutes which relate to struggling readers and those with dyslexia.

Panelists include:
-Dr. Vitti; Superintendent of Schools – Duval County Schools
-Dr. Sally E. Shaywitz, MD. Co-Director, Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity
-Mary Jane Tappen, Executive Vice Chancellor; Florida Dept. of Education
-Dr. Holly Lane, Associate Professor; University of Florida
-Dr. Laura Bailet, Executive Director; Nemours BrightStart!
-Diane McGee; Florida’s Teacher of the Year for 2016

State Representative Janet Adkins as Chair of the Florida House of Representatives K12 Education Committee is drafting legislation for the 2016 session to address the need for policy framework that will address the needs of those that struggle with reading and persons with dyslexia. Chair Adkins will be taking public testimony at this meeting and will be working with the panel to help identify how state policy should be shaped and what should be included. Do not miss this important opportunity to help shape state policy for those that struggle with reading and dyslexia in Florida.

Representative Adkins, “I am excited to be involved in this effort to improve the reading skills of Florida’s students. The foundation of a quality education starts with good reading skills and habits. I am committed to working with the teachers, parents, experts and state agencies on looking at crafting legislation that will strengthen Florida’s focus on struggling readers and dyslexia. I am interested in hearing new ideas and ask that people come with their ideas and proposals in a written form so we can be sure to share these proposals with the members of the House K12 Committee.”

There will be an opportunity to view and/or listen to the summit remotely. For more information or if you are interested in speaking, call Representative Adkins’ office at (904)491-3664 or email Carol Hays at carol.hays@myfloridahouse.gov.

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The Gray-Haired Geezer Movement

The Gray-Haired Geezer MovementThis was sent to me by more than one of my friends and family members who are a little bit older than me. In fact, I also received this from my mother – whose birthday is today. “Happy Birthday, Mom. I love you!!!” (Yes, I’ll admit it; my mom reads my blogs.) Apparently, there is a gray-haired, geezer movement in progress that “we”, as a nation, should be paying attention to. The original author is unknown.

The typical U.S. household headed by a person age 65 or older has a net worth 47 times greater than a household headed by someone under 35, according to an analysis of census data released last month.

They like to refer to us as senior citizens, old fogies, geezers, and in some cases dinosaurs. Some of us are “Baby Boomers” getting ready to retire. Others have been retired for some time. We walk a little slower these days and our eyes and hearing are not what they once were. We worked hard, raised our children, worshiped our God and grew old together. Yes, we are the ones some refer to as being over the hill, and that is probably true. But before writing us off completely, there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration.

In school we studied English, history, math, and science which enabled us to lead America into the technological age. Most of us remember what outhouses were, many of us with firsthand experience. We remember the days of telephone party-lines, 25 cent gasoline, and milk and ice being delivered to our homes. For those of you who don’t know what an icebox is, today they are electric and referred to as refrigerators. A few even remember when cars were started with a crank. Yes, we lived those days.

We are probably considered old fashioned and out-dated by many. But there are a few things you need to remember before completely writing us off. We won World War II, fought in Korea and Viet Nam. We can quote The Pledge of Allegiance, and know where to place our hand while doing so. We wore the uniform of our country with pride and lost many friends on the battlefield. We didn’t fight for the Socialist States of America; we fought for the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.” We wore different uniforms, but carried the same flag. We know the words to the Star Spangled Banner, America, and America the Beautiful by heart, and you may even see some tears running down our cheeks as we sing. We have lived what many of you have only read in history books and we feel no obligation to apologize to anyone for America.

Yes, we are old and slow these days but rest assured, we have at least one good fight left in us. We have loved this country, fought for it, and died for it, and now we are going to save it. It is our country and nobody is going to take it away from us. We took oaths to “defend America against all enemies, foreign and domestic”, and that is an oath we plan to keep. There are those who want to destroy this land we love but, like our founders, there is no way we are going to remain silent.

It was mostly the young people of this nation who elected Obama and the Democratic Congress. You fell for the “Hope and Change” which in reality was nothing but “Hype and Lies.”

You youngsters have tasted socialism and seen evil face to face, and have found you don’t like it after all. You make a lot of noise, but most are all too interested in their careers or “Climbing the Social Ladder” to be involved in such mundane things as patriotism and voting. Many of those who fell for the “Great Lie” in 2008 are now having buyer’s remorse. With all the education we gave you, you didn’t have sense enough to see through the lies and instead drank the ‘Kool-Aid.’ Now you’re paying the price and complaining about it. No jobs, lost mortgages, higher taxes, and less freedom.

This is what you voted for and this is what you got. We entrusted you with the Torch of Liberty and you traded it for a paycheck and a fancy house.

Well, don’t worry youngsters, the Grey-Haired Brigade is here, and in 2016 we are going to take back our nation. We may drive a little slower than you would like, but we get where we’re going, and in 2016 we’re going to the polls by the millions!

This land does not belong to the man in the White House nor to the likes of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Eric Holder. It belongs to “We the People” and “We the People” plan to reclaim our land and our freedom. We hope this time you will do a better job of preserving it and passing it along to our grandchildren. So the next time you have the chance to say the Pledge of Allegiance, Stand up, put your hand over your heart, honor our country, and thank God for the old geezers of the “Gray-Haired Brigade.”

Can you feel the ground shaking??? It’s not an earthquake, it is a STAMPEDE!

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Local Attorney Seeks Commission Seat Citing Tax Dollar Waste

Local Attorney Seeks Commission Seat Citing Tax Dollar WasteFernandina Beach, FL – Local attorney Clinch Kavanaugh, a seventh generation Fernandina Beach resident and long-time critic of the city’s legal and management executives, announced that he has filed to seek election to the Fernandina Beach City Commission, Group 5. Kavanaugh cites wasteful spending and balanced growth as his top platform issues.

“The people that operate our city need to understand that the money they spend does not belong to them, not one cent of it,” says Kavanaugh. “That money comes out of the pockets of the taxpayers who live here, work here, and own property here and it is the job of the commission to ensure it is spent wisely and in the best interests of the community.”

Clinch Kavanaugh - Copyright 2015 Steve Leimberg-300

Clinch Kavanaugh – Photo courtesy of Steve Leimberg

Kavanaugh represented local business and home owners in the recent class action lawsuit regarding crippling impact fees imposed by the city government on local businesses, and new homeowners. The lawsuit was settled in favor of the business owners, but only after the city spent millions of tax dollars in legal fees fighting its own citizens. “We filed the case in order to recover money that was illegally taken by the City Government from its citizens. This is just one example of the misguided and inept legal advice the city is currently receiving that is almost criminal itself. This needs to change,” says Kavanaugh. He cites his experience as an attorney as a means to focus on eliminating wasteful spending on legal expenses as the city faces new lawsuits in the future.

Aside from wasted tax dollars, Kavanaugh cites a gap in leadership when it comes to utilizing the city’s assets. “This is a wonderful and beautiful community. It has so many things going for it. As commissioner, I will work to finally see the marina will be redesigned so that it can be economically viable and efficient,” says Kavanaugh. Other changes Kavanaugh is focused on creating a “rational and balanced approach” to growth, protecting both the environment and people’s property rights. “We need to protect all public beach access. The beach access ordinance needs to be amended to reflect that no one may infringe on the public’s right of using our public beach access either now or in the future.”

He graduated Magna Cum Laude from University of West Florida (with a degree in history. In 1976 earned his law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston. After graduating he became a member of the Texas Bar and soon thereafter a member of the Florida Bar. Initially he practiced law in Bradenton and Sarasota and in the early 1990’s moved to Fernandina, but his family has been deeply invested in the community since 1853 when his great, great grandfather founded the Fernandina’s First Presbyterian Church. His mother, Mary Celeste Hardee Kavanaugh was born in Fernandina and his is father E. Clinch Kavanaugh, Jr. moved here before WWII to work as an Engineer and helped construct the Rayonier Mill. His family has lived on North 6th Street since the early-1850s. Kavanaugh currently practices in Fernandina, focusing on Government, Administrative, Land Use and Environmental Law as well as General litigation.

Clinch Kavanaugh welcomes the opportunity to answer your questions and participate in town hall meetings, debates or interviews. For more information, to volunteer, or to contribute to his campaign, Kavanaugh can be reached at (904) 753-0370, or email him at clinch@clinchkavanaugh.us

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Hundreds Show Support of Kathy Burns for Superintendent of Schools

Hundreds Show Support of Kathy Burns for Superintendent of SchoolsNassau County, FL – Dr. Kathy Burns, a lifelong resident of Nassau County and candidate for Superintendent of Schools, held her campaign kick-off event this past Tuesday, touting her education, experience, and leadership skills.

Dr. Burns was well received by the nearly 400 people in attendance with over five thousand dollars being raised for her campaign. “It was very humbling having so much support from the community,” said Burns.

Retired Fernandina Beach High School Band Director Johnny Robinson performed for the evening alongside the Instant Groove Band while members of the Nassau County Professional Firefighters prepared the meal.

Campaign Kickoff 2015-BurnsNotable supporters who attended the event included Tax Collector John Drew, Chair of the County Commission Pat Edwards, Commissioner Danny Leeper, Chair of the School Board Donna Martin, School Board Members Gail Cook and Jamie Deonas, along with many other dignitaries and elected officials.

Retiring Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Ruis gave an encouraging speech, endorsing Dr. Burns as his successor.

It was announced at the event that this was possibly the largest campaign rally in Nassau County history.

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Obama’s Upcoming ISIS Speech Should Take This in Consideration


The Political Angle of a Global Threat

President Obama is slated to give a speech, outlining the White House’s call to action in the Islamic State threat. It has been widely in the news lately, especially since horrific images have filled social media calling the threat of ISIS more dangerous than Al Qaeda ever was. This morning at 3:43 our time I received an email from a friend in Dubai, who is uniquely qualified to shed a more informed light on the situation.

I would like to share the New York Times opinion article from Sept. 7 with our readers, just in case you missed it.


Hi There.

Catching up on my reading here in Dubai and this article does decent job of framing structure of what world is facing.
Opinion: The Saudis Can Crush ISIS
7 September 2014
The New York Times
As ISIS continues to grow, many commentators have been pointing to Saudi Arabia as the source of the group, and most assume that the United States is the only force that can stop it. Both of these assertions are incorrect.
Saudi Arabia is not the source of ISIS, it’s the group’s primary target.
ISIS’ core objective is to restore the caliphate (an Islamic empire led by a supreme leader), and because Saudi Arabia is the epicenter of Islam and the custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in Mecca and Medina, ISIS’ road to the caliphate lies through the kingdom and its monarchy. Indeed, ISIS has even launched a campaign against Saudi Arabia, called qadimun, or “we are coming” to take over the country. Saudi Arabia has put the group on its list of terrorist sponsors, declared that funding ISIS is a crime with severe penalties, and arrested ISIS supporters and operatives over the past several months.
ISIS emerged not from Saudi Arabia but from postwar Iraq and the remnants of Saddam Hussein’s senior officer corps and their local support networks in Iraq and Syria. This has enabled ISIS to capture large swathes of land in these two countries and seize valuable economic, financial and energy assets, thus becoming financially self-sufficient. Now they are after Saudi Arabia’s riches.
The kingdom’s enormous oil fields and monetary wealth have always been coveted by Al Qaeda, as they are now by ISIS. Of course, with typical hypocrisy, while Al Qaeda and ISIS covet the kingdom’s riches, they also despise the way it has modernized in order to capitalize on that wealth – seeing it as having strayed from proper Islamic practices.
Why, then, do so many people believe Saudi Arabia is behind ISIS?
At the root of the claim that Saudi Arabia created ISIS is the belief that both entities practice a version of Islam called Salafism (erroneously known in the West as Wahhabism). While it is true that the kingdom espouses Salafism, ISIS’ claim that it is Salafi has no basis. Salafism is based on the word salaf, or “the ancestors,” referring to the way Islam was practiced by Prophet Muhammad’s early followers in the religion’s first three generations.
The Salafists believe that Islam should be practiced according to the dictates of these ancestors. Different interpretations of these dictates have occurred over time, leading to four schools of jurisprudence in Sunni Islam. The founders of these schools were Abu Hanifah, Malik, Al Shafi’i, and Ibn Hanbal.
ISIS follows an ideology that is a continuation of a crude sect known as the Kharijites, or the ones that “deviated” from the Muslim community during the reign of the fourth Caliph Ali (whom they assassinated). The Kharijites believed that whoever disagreed with them should be murdered as infidels (takfir), rationalized mass killings against civilians, including women and children (isti’rad), and practiced an extreme form of inquisition to test their opponent’s faith (imtihan).
These concepts make ISIS’ ideology the absolute opposite of Saudi Salafism. The version of Salafism applied in the kingdom’s courts and religious institutions was formulated by one of the four leading Muslim jurists, the ninth-century scholar Ahmad ibn Hanbal. Hanbali law stands firmly against sedition, shedding of blood, and forcible conversion.
One of Ibn Hanbal’s best known sayings typifies current Saudi theology: “Glory to God; shedding blood! Shedding blood! I do not consent nor do I command it; to observe patience in our situation is better than sedition that causes the shedding of blood.”
ISIS poses a unique threat: It is a bloodthirsty movement that can find disaffected young men and women and recruit them from among the world’s 1.3 billion Sunnis. It does not face the numerical constraints of groups like Hezbollah or countries like Iran, whose ideologies only appeal to the smaller Shiite community. With such enormous growth potential, ISIS must be defeated now.
Saudi Arabia is the only authority in the region with the power and legitimacy to bring ISIS down. Having effectively eradicated Al Qaeda in the kingdom, the Saudi government, with its experience fighting terrorism, is uniquely positioned to deal with ISIS, which is, after all, an Al Qaeda-aligned organization. The kingdom has built up an impressive counter terrorism program and its counterterrorism strategies are considered some of the most sophisticated and effective in the world.
More importantly, the Saudi leadership has a unique form of religious credibility and legitimacy, which will make it far more effective than other governments at delegitimizing ISIS’ monstrous terrorist ideology. The message sent to the Muslim and Arab worlds as Saudi Arabia takes on ISIS is radically different from – and much preferable to – the message sent if the United States does so, especially given America’s recent disastrous record in the Middle East.
When ISIS first appeared in Syria in 2011, Saudi Arabia tried to galvanize support for the moderate Syrian opposition against the murderous regime of Bashar al-Assad. But the world failed to listen.
Now, as King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia recently pointed out, ISIS is not only a threat to the Middle East, but to Europe and America. We call on the international community to form a solid coalition with Saudi Arabia to roll back ISIS’ military advances while at the same time supporting the kingdom’s ever increasing campaign to delegitimize ISIS in the eyes of the wider Sunni world, in order to ultimately destroy it.