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Dave Scott Publishes 2nd Annual News Wrecker Parody Paper

2016-news-wrecker-dave-scott

Dave Scott is at it again… he’s published the 2nd Annual News Wrecker, a parody paper that pokes fun at Amelia Island’s sacred cows. Here is the press release:

FERNANDINA BEACH, FL – A massive iceberg threatening Amelia Island, a demolition derby at the Concours d’Elegance and the International Hide & Go Seek Finals being held here are just a few of the “news” stories in the second edition of the Amelia Island News Wrecker, a satirical tabloid newspaper that made its debut on Amelia Island during last year’s Shrimp Festival.

The popularity of the paper, which publisher and editor Dave Scott, initially expected would be a one-off publication generated a demand for a second edition from both readers and advertisers says Scott.

The free 24-plus-page tabloid News-Wrecker is available in island pubs, restaurants, businesses and selected shops and other establishments says Scott, a Fernandina Beach resident who also writes the weekly www.davescottblog.com. An online version of the News Wrecker will be available mid May.

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. “The only thing I can be possibly be accused of is bad taste,” says Scott.

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

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

This year’s publication also includes news reports about a local Caucasian family criticized for its lack of diversity, a local man discovered without tattoos, a nuclear bomb testing ban declared by Fernandina’s environmentalist mayor, local restaurants being ordered to install scales to avoid serving overweight customers, and many, many more “timely and accurate articles” says Scott.

Free copies of the paper are available at the advertiser’s locations and most restaurants and bars on the island and Yulee.

“The News Wrecker 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,” says Scott.

Scott said that if this issue proves as popular as last year’s he’ll continue the annual publication prior to each year’s Shrimp Festival. Last year’s edition can be read online at amelianewswrecker.com. Scott can be reached at davidnscott@bellsouth.net or dave@amelianewswrecker.com.

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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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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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.

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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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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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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?”

***

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?

***

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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Local Cops Have Crime and Criminals on the Run

dave-scott-fernandinaDave Scott’s blog this week talks about our local city and county police departments, outrageous retirement packages, local treasure hunting, Atlanta and more… and you can read it first on SearchAmelia.com!

While it appears that both Nassau County and Fernandina Beach law enforcement agencies are doing bang-up jobs it also appears that a few of those that do commit illegal acts hereabouts have elevators that don’t go all the way to the top.

Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper reports that crime fell by 17.2 percent county-wide, well below the state average of 4.7 percent, and Fernandina Beach has the lowest crime rate in its recorded history despite reducing its force from 35 to 30 full time officers, Fernandina Police Chief James Hurley, tells me.

According to the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) statistics provided by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) there were 247 fewer county crimes overall in 2013 than 2012 in Nassau County.

In Fernandina Beach Chief Hurley has done a number of things to bolster his department’s law enforcement presence including using many of his retired officers and organizing a crack volunteer auxiliary force in a variety of effective ways. He added that “social media is also becoming a rapidly developing tool, as you would expect, as is technology in general.

“Faster communications is important when you are looking for information or just to get the word out about a trend or incident and the folks we have do a terrific job,” he says. But, he’s not complacent saying “I’m reluctant to poke the crime devil… this job is sometimes about holding your breath.”

It also appears that many criminals on Amelia Island stay out in the sun too long. For example a would-be bank robber, who after bungling his first bank heist, had his girl friend drive him a few blocks away to a second bank and then attempted to escape across Shave Bridge where the cops, alerted by employees of the first failed robbery, had blocked the bridge, and tracked him in the stopped line of traffic through a GPS device located in the stolen loot.

And then there was the guy who assaulted a woman in her car and then called her on his cell phone he left in the back seat and arranged to meet her so she could return it to him. She brought the police along to help in the transaction with this dimwit.

We are indeed fortunate to have a chief and a police force and a sheriff and deputies that are the envy of many much larger municipalities.

A Voice Of Reason: I’ve never met Fernandina Beach resident Gary Fierro but based on his Jacksonville Times-Union “Lead Letter” City cannot afford current pension deal (Sunday, June 1, 2014) he factually and logically shredded Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown for approving “outrageous retirement packages” and a “weak city council” for “refusing to stand up to the transgressions of past office holders.” He rightly said it was “another sad example of out-of-control government abusing its power by taking advantage of citizens they purportedly serve.” Hurrah for Mr. Fiarro for accurately describing a situation that the folks in Fernandina Beach will soon be facing as well, but whose elected commissioners would rather not discuss and deflect by spending their time on such “vital” issues as back-yard chickens, beach water slides, seating arrangements, and whether dogs can eat on restaurant patios. Mr. Fierro, have you ever considered running for the Fernandina Beach city commission?

Speaking Of Outrageous Retirement Packages: Our next door neighbor Georgia’s state and local governments face a deficit of more than $23 billion for the lifetime health benefits promised to public workers when they retire says the Atlanta Journal Constitution and they have no alternatives left but to substantially reduce the benefits or require employees, retirees and taxpayers to pay more. And that’s on top of a $23 billion shortfall in pension funds. We have a lot of Georgia retirees hereabouts who will be hit by this, including teachers who live here and teach in St. Mary’s or other nearby Georgia towns, and others who plan to move here from the Peach State who may have to change those plans because of politicians promising tax payer money that doesn’t exist and ignoring the issue until it’s too late. Tax payers will not only get hit eventually with higher rates but also with fewer services, while the city will have less money to hire employees and provide salary increases. Not a pretty picture.

Have Local Treasure Hunters Found Their Pot Of Gold? It is estimated that more than $2 billion in treasure is buried in sand just off the south end of Amelia island in what is left of the Spanish galleon San Miguel, which sank in August 1715 and has been the object of island treasure hunters who hang out at the South 8th Street Maritime Museum and poke around in the ocean floor from their research and recovery vessel Polly L. They recently plucked a silver coin from their designated site with a date on it that indicates they are very close to hitting the jackpot, and if so they stand to rake in 80 percent of the loot, a sum that would make Mel Fisher’s famous Key West find look like a kid’s piggy bank. The state takes the other 20 percent.

Dogs Purge “Poet Laureate”: The University of Georgia recently shed itself of four players arrested this past spring with three of the miscreants headed for the Louisville football team with the latest being safety Tray Matthews, who was preceded by safety Josh Harvey Clemons and cornerback Shaq Wiggins who so eloquently tweeted “my boy tray coming to da Ville wit me and day boy JHC. It’s gone get ugly.” I doubt Mr. Wiggins is majoring in English Literature and assume the school has hired someone to read the team’s playbook to him.

Beer Stuff: When the new brew bar at the corner of downtown’s Centre and S. 4th Street opens sometime next spring it’ll feature eight of its own special brewed beers and four brewed around the first coast. It will also hopefully be licensed to serve liquor. The Salty Pelican’s Al Waldis and T.J. Pelletier tell me that the name has yet to be determined but that the brew-pub will seat 150 and feature European food, possibly with a German accent. And speaking of beer, T.J. and Al’s Front Street Salty Pelican boasts 14 draught beers plus many more in bottles and if you want to try something really different not related to beer and introduce a few more very tasty calories to your system ask for the Pelican’s special beignet with chocolate sauce on the side.

Things I wish I Had Said: Friend Benita Dodd of Georgia’s Public Policy Foundation put the “terrorists for US Army deserter swap” in succinct simple words saying, “My apologies. I thought President Obama had negotiated with terrorists. It now appears I was wrong. In fact, he did not negotiate with terrorists. He just gave them what they wanted.”

Things I Didn’t Know Department: 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Georgia Tech bolting the SEC due to a scholarship issue that caused then Coach Bobby Todd to yank the Yellow Jackets out of that football powerhouse in January 1964, an organization Tech helped found in 1932. Tech was more than competitive too, with winning records against Tennessee, Auburn, Alabama and Georgia and tied with Florida from 1951 to its departure and winning the national championship in 1952, says the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Mark Bradley.

The Detroit Of The South: Despite crumbling and corrupt school systems; failed transportation initiatives to unclog massive traffic congestion; horrible crime; political cronyism; an almost bankrupt public transportation system run by inept bureaucrats; corrupt and indicted public officials; city agencies raging from the Watershed Department to Workforce Development being used as private piggy banks, the city of Atlanta is pressing ahead to build a $1.2 billion new football stadium for its NFL Falcons to replace the perfectly good 20-year old Georgia Dome, with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporting that up to $400 million will be coming from locals and visitors through various taxes. And if that isn’t enough, it appears that recently feral pigs have been discovered crashing through some Atlanta suburbs, some that didn’t even appear on local ballots. Oh, and the Atlanta Braves have abandoned downtown for the Northern suburbs of Cobb County asking voters there to cough up millions for a new stadium while Atlanta’s 17-year-old Turner Field sits vacant, and surrounded by derelict neighborhoods. Will the Braves bring along Atlanta’s panhandlers, muggers, street hawkers, filth, etc? These are all good reasons I am delighted to have that Southern cesspool in my rearview mirror.

Redefining Poor: “Thanks to America’s free market system the average poor American has more living space than the typical non-poor person in Sweden, France or the United Kingdom. In 1970, the year I was born, only 36 percent of the U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning. Today, 80 percent of poor households in America have air conditioning and 96 percent of poor parents say that their children were never hungry at any time in the preceding year because they could not afford food.” – U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Russian Journalism: The RT (Russia Today) Broadcasting Network International broadcasts in a number of languages in some 100 countries and is just one of many foreign TV networks where we can tune for their version of news and entertainment. I am skeptical of its “news” reporting but it recently broadcast a story that caught my attention despite the network’s dubious credibility, when it reported that some 400 TSA agents in the US have been fired for stealing in the past 10 years but so far not one terrorist has been discovered by them. Well, folks I don’t recall a single news story about TSA nabbing a terrorist but I do recall many about TSA folks stealing passenger’s stuff. Maybe the RET Network actually did some factual reporting.

“Holy Cow” As Harry Carey Used To Say: Unlike football, basketball and hockey, baseball seems to attract players with colorful catchy names and there are several currently playing that are labeled with my favorite monikers: Felix Pie and Coco Crisp, outfielders for Cleveland and Oakland respectively; and Buster Posey, catcher for San Francisco. Players of the past whose names caught my attention included Mookie Wilson, Pokey Reese, Trot Nixon, Chili Davis, Catfish Hunter, Oil Can Boyd and Bobo Newsome. And those a bit older will certainly recall the names Dizzy and Daffy Dean, and my hall of fame best baseball names of all time: Bo Belinsky and Minnie Minoso. If a colorful name was criteria for making the majors then former Atlanta minor league catcher Scooter Tucker would have been a shoo-in.

Drinking, Dining & Dancing: Despite rumors that outrageous impact fees drove him away, Demy Martin, owner of seven Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin Robins shops in Northeast Florida, tells the Jacksonville Times-Union that he’s opening one of them in the abandoned Wendy’s fast food site on South 8th St. but didn’t say when. A sign has popped up recently in front of the shuttered Cotton Eye Joe, saying “Bucketz Oyster Bar & Tavern,” but no indication of when it will open its doors. This Highway 200/A1A location just west of Shave Bridge has been home to four different eating and drinking joints the past five years if my memory serves me right. Wines By Steve will be moving at a date to be announced from its current location to Palmetto Walk, 4924 First Coast Highway across the parking lot from Barzin says Steve Raszkin, claiming the new location will provide more room for tastings and browsing and even include a porch. Call ’em at (904) 557-1506.

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Dave Scott Blogs on Shrimp Parade Controversy

violence

Opinions are just opinions, too often fed by aggression or ignorance

A handful of observers at the Thursday, May 1 Shrimp Festival Parade were whipped into an emotional frenzy by a lone entry walking the route, cracking a bull whip, saying the whip “cracker” was a symbol of slavery and its brutality.

Based on an article in the online Fernandina Observer, “Two parade marchers whip up controversy;” letters to the editor of the Fernandina Beach News-Leader; and Facebook comments, it appears that these parade watchers had been standing in the sun too long.

I saw the guy cracking the whip, and – along with folks around me – I thought he was entertaining and I didn’t hear a single complaint. On the contrary, he was applauded.

The comments made by the letter writers and those quoted in the Observer article are so outrageously loony, I could throw a deck of cards out the window and wait for someone to come by and pick up the three of diamonds and find a person with more reasoned thought, particularly those on Facebook who said “the man with the whips, raised the specters of the Ku Klux Klan and of Bull Connor, who turned fire hoses and dogs on civil rights workers in the 1960s.”

The absurd argument posed by these hysterical letter writers and Internet posters expose the poverty of their logic and tracks the impotent rage of a three-year-old throwing a temper tantrum.

Based on their delusional comments dogs, firemen, fire trucks, bulls, Southern law enforcement officials, among others should all be banned from future parades as they are reminiscent of slavery and the Jim Crow era. And, by all means anything associated with a whip should never be allowed including jockeys, circus ring masters, lion tamers, ox-cart and mule-team wagon drivers, cattle drovers, Lash LaRue, Indiana Jones or even Santa Claus who is portrayed numerous times cracking a whip over his reindeer team. Let’s also banish Miracle Whip, Cool Whip and whipped cream, subtle white racist symbols of Southern plantation life and slavery. And forget about displaying the Christian Cross, a symbol appropriated by the Ku Klux Klan.

Since it appears the Confederate battle flag also offends some parade watchers as well, let’s ban the Stars & Stripes too since slavery was legal under “Old Glory” for more than 70 years.

But, here’s a better idea. Let’s all sit back and enjoy the next parade that so many of our fellow citizens worked so hard to put together for us. I seriously doubt anyone involved in organizing the event or anyone entering it, had a racist thought or intended to offend anyone, just the opposite. I would also encourage Shrimp Festival Chairman Mark Deaton not to waste his time responding to these foolish people thus stemming their attempt to arouse and spread mythical anguish.

I also suggest that these offended observers save their moral rage for late slave-holder David Yulee, who built a cross-state railroad on the backs of black slaves and was imprisoned as a traitor to our country following the Civil War, and who a group of locals are honoring with a statue in front of downtown Fernandina’s restored train station. Now here’s a guy that they can direct their righteous indignation toward and actually have facts on their side. I bet Yulee owned a gun and a whip too.

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Local Bakery Changes Hands: Almost three years to the day they opened The Great Harvest Bread Company on Sadler Road and hired Brandon Mitchell as a baker, Dirk and Jody Henson have sold their successful operation to Brandon and his dad Doug. Brandon is currently in Montana, the national HQ of Great Harvest, learning the corporate ropes and suffering through a freak snow storm, but is expected to be back shortly and regular customers won’t notice any difference in the tasty baked goods. Jody and Dirk will remain on the island with both going into business consulting operations, jobs they also did well before becoming bakers.

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Historic Site Sale: According to an article in the Fernandina Observer the Standard Marine and Tringali properties at 101 N. Second Street and 105 North Front Street downtown were sold on May 6 for $2,000,000.  The purchasers are an investment group out of Atlanta, Georgia who will hold the property in the name of Front Street Properties, LLC and the paper says plans for the property are currently unknown but whatever it is will be an improvement over the historic site that’s been sitting empty for years.

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So You Think Your Job Sucks: If you don’t like the job you have now just be thankful you’re not cutting down trees for Rayonier or Rock-Tenn or working for the Fernandina Beach News-Leader as lumberjack was ranked the worst job out of 200 occupations this year with newspaper reporter coming in 199th for the next crummiest, all this according to CareerCast.com, an Internet site that targets job opportunities by industry, function and location. Imagine what being a reporter covering the forestry industry must be like. The best jobs they say are mathematician; tenured university professor; statistician; actuary; audiologist; dental hygienist; software engineer; computer systems analyst; occupational therapist; and speech pathologist, none of which appeal to me, except maybe tenured professor, a position that is immune to firing, except possibly for mass murder and even that would probably get a union involved to advocate for the smug, pipe-sucking, tweed coat-wearing killer.

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A Gubernatorial Mood Ring: Remember those mood rings we bought years ago that would change colors depending on our emotions? We now have a gubernatorial candidate that does the same thing. Charlie Crist, who, when he was our Republican governor, was anti-gay marriage; anti-Affordable Health Care Act; anti-abortion; anti-illegal immigrant; anti-Obama; and thought he was on the short list to be John McCain’s running mate. He is now for all those things except John McCain. If you don’t agree with what he says today, then wait until tomorrow. I’m not a huge Republican Governor Rick Scott fan, but I know exactly where he stands on the issues while I have no idea what a vote for Democratic candidate Crist means. Slip one of those rings on Crist’s finger and we’d be treated to an array of colors changing as fast as those on a brightly lit county fair midway.

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Things I Wish I’d Said: “What ‘multiculturalism’ boils down to is that you can praise any culture in the world but Western culture – and you cannot blame any culture in the world except Western culture.” – Thomas Sowell, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Sanford University.

“Music is like candy. You throw the rappers away.” – Anonymous.

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Things To Think About: These thought provoking quotes popped off the page while reading through Georgia Public Policy Foundation material recently:

“France, where a cozy elite runs government and large corporations, has a 75 percent top income tax rate and essentially zero economic growth. Is that the future American liberals want?” – Michael Barone, political analyst, pundit and journalist.

“American governance over the centuries has shifted from state’s rights to federal power.Now the states are evolving into little nations. State-nations … For example, Florida’s population is about to surpass New York’s. Georgia has 10 million people, or twice the number of Ireland’s, its ports would make several czars salivate, its three leading universities rank among the nation’s greatest, and its capital is a vast metropolis. Now these state-nations want some of their power back.” – Joe Ledlie, Atlanta-basedcommunications executive and former national journalist.

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Grumpy Old Men: If Hollywood producers ever consider doing a remake of the film “Grumpy Old Men” they should consider auditioning locals Ron Sapp and Fernandina City Commissioner Charlie Corbett for the lead roles. I don’t know about their acting skills, but based on Mr. Sapp’s occasional commentaries in the local newspaper and Mr. Corbett’s gruff demeanor during city commission meetings, they’ve nailed the grumpy part.

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Oui, The Salt Life Is Good: If you think your taxes here are high and may increase further and are thinking about moving where they are lower, scratch France off your list. (See above Michael Barone quote.) The French migration from their “progressively”leftist leaning country has been going on for years and so many French citizens now live in London now that it has become France’s “sixth largest city.” French newspaper Les Echos reported that some French were taxed more than 100 percent of their income so London will surely move up a few notches on that list with residents bailing out of France as fast as Californians trying to escape that state’s inevitable bankruptcy. We’re fortunate in Florida not to suffer a state income tax, and boast a business-friendly state government, other reasons besides sunshine and beaches for our continuing population increase. Oui, life is still very good at the beach.

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Is This a Great Place to Live or What Department? Conde Nast Traveler readers voted Amelia Island the 24th top island destination in the world and one of the top 10 in the US last year, while Leisure Living magazine says that Fernandina Beach is the fifth best small town in America. It appears they’re on to something that those of us who live here have known for a long time.

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Maybe You’ll Like Jail Food: If you post a negative online review of a business and were not actually a customer then you could be in big legal trouble as a Virginia court recently ruled that the website Yelp must turn over the names of seven reviewers who anonymously criticized a prominent local carpet cleaning business.The owner of the business said the users leaving bad reviews were not real customers of the cleaning service and he may have a lawsuit against them as his attorneys have issued a subpoena demanding their names. An appeals court agrees that the comments were not protected First Amendment opinions if the Yelp users were not customers and thus were making false claims says the Washington Times. As I’ve said before I don’t pay attention to online reviews from multiple sites including Tripadvisor, Urbanspoon, Yelp and others, that enable folks to anonymously review restaurants, hotels, bed & breakfasts, etc. If a friend, neighbor or acquaintance provides their opinion or a newspaper restaurant reviewer has been several times and provides a professional judgment that carries some weight with me. But an anonymous review? How do I know that that person isn’t the owner’s mother, girl friend, employee, worst enemy, competitor, etc.? Online reviews do not make the cut with me and a recent issue of Consumer Reports cautions readers to beware of reviewers who may be acting as paid shills to slam or praise establishments. I’ve read the online reviews of many of our island establishments and many are pure baloney even though that’s not what’s on the menu. Somebody needs to set up a site to review the reviewers and put the shoe on the other foot. And if you decide to post a spiteful review and haven’t actually been to the restaurant, the Virginia court verdict says you may end up dining on fried baloney, eggs and gravy in the local slammer.

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Drinking, Dining & Dancing: Starting Saturday, May 17, and going forward every Thursday and Saturday Steve Raszkin of A Taste of Wine by Steve will be at Gourmet Gourmet from 5-6:30pm pouring some special selections at very approachable prices giving folks a chance to explore some new wines while enjoying a light bite from Gourmet Gourmet’s early bird or appetizer menus and meeting other local oenophiles. Cucina South, a new Italian restaurant started by Tim Seyda and John and Kelly May will have its grand opening Saturday, May 17 at 4828 First Coast Highway. Tim currently operates the popular First Coast Highway’s BarZin and worked with John when the two of them were employed at the Amelia Plantation.

 

Beer, Spirits, Oysters, Patio Dining On Tap for Downtown Fernandina

Beer, Spirits, Oysters, Patio Dining On Tap for Downtown FernandinaAuthor Dave Scott offers interesting blogs on his new site, www.DaveScottBlog.com, and this time he talks about beer, spirits, oysters, and patio dining… and they are all on tap for historic, downtown Fernandina Beach, despite town’s anti-business impact fees.

“It appears that entrepreneurs are shaking off Fernandina Beach’s restrictive and arbitrary impact fees as reports of a rash of new businesses sprouting up downtown range from a distillery and a brew bar to a raw bar and a new outdoor dining venue, all in the very near future.

This capitalistic optimism is certainly not fueled by the comatose crew of indifferent elected and full-time city officials but may instead be sparked by Circuit Court Judge Brian Davis’ ruling earlier this year that the city’s anti-business impact fees on new users are “arbitrary and irrational” and are “in violation of the law,” a ruling bungling city officials are vainly appealing to the Florida Supreme Court, another ill-advised action that will cost local citizens thousands of dollars in tax dollars on wasted attorney fees.

Following are businesses that are proceeding in spite of the city’s impotent incompetence:
-Brew Bar: The name of the brew bar at the site of the now shuttered O’Kane’s has been determined by patrons of Front Street’s Salty Pelican, when they were handed a ballot and asked to select from one of the following: Amelia Island Brew Tavern, Amelia Island Brew & Chew, Amelia Island Beer Works, Centre Street Brew Tavern, Amelia Island Bierwerks or Centre Street Beer Works. Voting ended last Monday for the name of the enterprise that will be operated by the Pelican’s T.J. Pelletier and Al Waldis and Espana’s Roberto Pestana with an opening date yet to be announced. I like Bierwerks, sort of the BMW of beer.
-Palate: The Amelia Island Omni Plantation is obviously a terrific training ground as many seasoned professionals leave that island resort and start their own area businesses and now it’s long-time Omni employee Tammy Barnes turn, as she has been busy refurbishing the closed Benito’s at 614 Centre St. to be renamed Palate and featuring downtown’s first raw bar. Ms. Barnes hopes to be open in time for Shrimp Festival with 12-year Omni veteran Chef Matthew Kennedy handling the menu’s steak and seafood offerings. I’m told that a regular bar will be open in the back area with the raw bat up front.
-Marlin & Barrel Distillery: Capitalizing on the island’s history of rum-swilling pirates, a distillery will call downtown Fernandina Beach home, settling in at 115 South 2nd St., with former Air Tran Airways executive Robert Morenc saying he’s starting with rum in his Marlin & Barrel Distillery, because of the area’s rich pirate history. Hoping to be opened in time for this year’s Florida-Georgia football game, he said he’ll be adding vodka, gin and American rye whiskey and will act as the facility’s head distiller.
-Leddy’s Porch Expansion: Ernie Saltmarsh is expanding his South 3rd St. Florida House Inn’s Leddy’s Porch facility, opening an outdoor dining area between his popular Green Turtle Tavern and the Florida House, enabling diners to kick back and enjoy the beach music on the Turtle’s porch and the offerings of Chef Marshall Sands’ Florida House kitchen, particularly his signature buttermilk fried chicken, in a beautiful courtyard atmosphere. When the Turtle porch is silent, the Florida House has installed a new sound system surrounding the dining area, with conversational music coming from speakers designed to look like the surrounding landscaping and those in charge are discussing the possibility of jazz brunches.
-Beech Street Grill: Saltmarsh is continuing his restoration activity on the Beech Street Grill facility the corner of South 8th St. and Beech St., with plans within the next few weeks to move a 1900 shotgun house at 217 S. 8th St. next to the restored Grill and he says it will replace one that burned at the restaurant site in the 1990s and it will be restored as a retail spot. He said a restaurant may well be opened on the site this summer but declined to say what it would specialize in and who was involved.”

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Here is Dave Scott’s Latest Blog

dave-scott-fernandinaDave Scott is a former Florida and New York daily newspaper reporter, international corporate public relations executive and PR agency head who has lived on Amelia Island the past three years. His “Dave’s World” column ran for two years in the Fernandina Beach News Leader and he currently writes a blog: www.davescottblog.com.

Here is Dave’s latest blog:

“Coming to a News Stand Soon: The Fernandina Beach News Wrecker

(Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more)

Just like Amelia Island, the folks in Durango, Colorado celebrate their town’s heritage with an annual festival, an event called “Snowdown,” a celebration devoted to “fun, commerce and tourism” that includes parades, costumes, musical performances and more.

But Snowdown has something we currently don’t at our yearly Shrimp Festival. My Indian Rocks Beach, Florida cousin, who splits his time between this state and Durango, presented me with a 16-page edition of The Snowdown Sneer, a hysterical spoof of the town and its winter fete that was held this year, January 29-February 2.

The tabloid parody pokes harmless fun at Durango’s liberal population, the festival, and other area sacred cows with a front page headline reading “City will ban toothpicks to save trees” saying anyone needing a toothpick will have to pay 10 cents, money that will go to the annual Arbor Day celebration, and quotes community activist Payne Dias who says “having a chunk of food between your teeth is not justification to chop down the forest.”

A page 2 article headlined “City’s new parking meters will cost $7.25 per hour” and reports that motorists who need to visit downtown will have to pay minimum wage to shop in stores where employees make minimum wage. It quoted parking enforcement officer Cy Tayshun as saying “Would you rather spend an hour’s time with a disinterested, mouth-breathing, Facebook-posting retail clerk or get one hour of rock-star quality parking?”

To take advantage of Colorado’s new legalized marijuana law the paper’s Business & Technology section details how two local “depots” – Office & Home – will concentrate on selling pot to capitalize on their revised names of Home d’POT and Office d’POT, while a story in the same section claims the city will spend an estimated $31 million to subsidize the downtown’s essential service industries of T-shirt shops and restaurants to ensure they remain open in the off season, an act designed to keep city staffers from “finding real jobs and working hard.”

Another article explains how Durango High School was forced to pawn its shop tools for $672 to help keep its doors open after voters rejected a school tax hike. It reported that other school fund raising options include a marijuana pancake breakfast and a Buy-A-Grade program in which parents can purchase higher marks for their under-achieving kids.

The paper’s weather forecast for the Snowden event ranged from “squiggly lines on a map and a devastating drought to swarms of locusts and a wildebeest stampede” while the local electric company announced that the coal-fired generator that “activists complained about because it spewed carbon” will be replaced with an alternative “53 bazillion kilowatt massive nuclear reactor complex” to be located on the banks of a local recreational and scenic river.

The classified ads contained some of the funniest material with the Business Opportunities section touting chances to earn cash by laundering money for a worldwide crime syndicate and another one urging readers to respond to a “$10 million from Nigeria” offer. A “Livestock & Pet” ad offered a “mean dog free to a good home. A really mean dog that chews furniture, isn’t housebroken and bites children” while the same section advertised “Take My Chickens! What was I thinking? Raising chickens in the backyard? Bad idea. They are noisy and my shoes and carpets are smeared with chicken poo. You can have the whole flock. Oh, they are a couple of years old and don’t lay eggs anymore…”

A “Help Wanted” ad seeks people to “Make expensive coffee for lazy people” while “Homes/Apartments Available” offers a “Dump. $2,995/mo. Drafty, small, depressing, no parking, lots of crime.” In the “Miscellaneous for Free” ads this one stood out: “Free. Online newspaper access. Click on www.DurangoHerald.com and read the paper. It’ll cost you nothing! Oh wait. Never mind.”

Who wants to join me to produce a similar publication, sort of like a local version of the National Lampoon, both print and online, to distribute prior to and during our annual Shrimp Festival, maybe not in time for this year’s event, but certainly for the next one? I’ve already secured the domain name: The Fernandina Beach News Wrecker. If it proves successful we’ll publish as often as financially practical and we’ll have good fun grinding sacred cows into hamburger.

Submit your story ideas to me here or to davidnscott@bellsouth.net. Also, let me know if you want to be on the editorial staff of the Wrecker. Imagine how much fun it will be because “fun” will be your only compensation and our first editorial meeting will be at a local watering hole?

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