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March 2014 Posts

National Parks Service Being Urged To Say ‘OK’ To Florida-Georgia Ferry

…….and you can help

boatsIf you’re one of the many Northeast Florida residents that would like to take a ferry from Amelia Island’s Fernandina Beach downtown harbor to Cumberland Island and maybe even take your bike along, then take a minute to contact Gary Ingram of the National Parks Service at gary_ingram@nps.gov telling him you support the nautical route.

cruiseCurrently Kevin McCarthy, who operates Amelia Island River Cruises & Charters out of Fernandina Harbor Marina, would like to do more than just show his boat passengers Cumberland Island’s wild horses, beaches, and historic landmarks then turn around and head back to Amelia Island.

McCarthy, who currently takes sight-seeing passengers back-and-forth on a daily basis,

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Whacky Law Has Beer Lovers Growling

Beer texture, seamlessBecause of a Florida law that State Senate President Don Graetz says he can’t explain but will continue to support anyway, beer aficionados awaiting the opening of a micro brew pub in downtown Fernandina Beach at the site of the now shuttered O’Kane’s, will not be able to purchase the popular half-gallon growlers, that are currently OK in 47 other states.

Long before six-packs became popular, most beer was consumed in a bar and folks who wanted to drink beer at home filled a small pail called a “growler” to carry it. According to beeradvocate.com when the beer splashed around in the pail it created a “rumbling” sound as gases escaped through the lid,” causing what sounded like a “growl.”

In an Associated Press story filed earlier this week Senate President Graetz says he doesn’t know why growlers are illegal in Florida and even admitted that the law appears to be overregulation, but added that a repeal of it isn’t in the cards because a close friend of his asked him to continue to support legislation that hurts the state’s fledgling craft beer businesses. That friend is Lewis Bear, a distributor of Budweiser products in Republican Graetz’s district and Graetz says he does what he’s told by his friend.

“We know we can’t compete with Budweiser, but we should have the opportunity to sell our own beer in a growler to our customers who want it,” says Al Waldis, who along with

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Environmentalists say ‘Bag It!’ But in What?

Last Saturday, at the initiative of Fernandina Beach City Commissioner Johnny Miller, a group of some 20 local citizens including a Sierra Club representative met at Sheffield’s to discuss what they view as a community plastic bag problem.

At least this group hasn’t yet reverted to the tactics of the apocalyptic loons who wander the streets wearing sandwich boards and handing out homemade leaflets. However, if they did some further investigation they might be stumped for an answer when the cashier at their favorite grocery store asks: “Paper or plastic?”

Some, like those who met at Sheffield’s, say the slow composition of plastic leaves the bags drifting around in the ocean for years and according to something called the Algalita Marine Research Foundation they cause the death of marine animals that think the bags are edible.

On the other hand another group of environmentalists, who also think they are doing the

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Drinking & Driving is Cheaper in Georgia

Drinking and drivingTo save a few bucks on liquids the less than 20 mile drive North from Amelia Island to the Georgia state line may be in order as gasoline, wine and distilled spirits all cost less in our neighboring state than they do here says the non-partisan, non-profit Tax Policy Foundation (TPF).

At the time of this writing the average price for a gallon of gas in Florida was $3.44 says TPF while in Georgia it stood at $3.29, so the short drive up I-95 or Highway 17 may be worth it to fill your tank, particularly if you drive an RV or some other gas guzzler.

If you’re a beer drinker you’re better off buying your suds in Florida since Georgians pay

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Impact Fee “Impact” = Empty Store Fronts

???????????????????During a conversation at the Centre St. Amelia Island Coffee Shop the other day an acquaintance and life-long island resident told me that he counted 15 empty store fronts in the downtown area, a number he attributed mostly to the negative effect of the city’s reckless impact fees.

I may have missed it, but so far I haven’t seen a single letter, opinion-editorial or article in a local blog, online news site, in the bi-weekly News-Leader, or in a Jacksonville business or news gathering publication in support of Fernandina Beach’s controversial impact fees, just the opposite.  In fact, I’ve never even met anyone who has voiced support for the fees and earlier this year even Circuit Court Judge Brian Davis ruled against the city’s fees in a bond validation case that is now headed to the state Supreme Court.

The only folks claiming they are beneficial are petty city bureaucrats led by its attorney, who have wasted some $600,000 of taxpayer money in legal fees trying to defend this

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