(Editor’s note: We’re taking some time off for a couple of weeks so the next blog will be published January 26.)
Local author, Fernandina Beach High School Counselor and blog reader, Rob Hicks, tells me that Fernandina Beach is home to a new “celebrity.”
However, nobody that I or Mr. Hicks knows have ever heard of the guy. And neither Mr. Hicks nor I have the stomach to actually watch an entire episode of the MTV show in which this guy is featured.
But so what. Amelia Island is not exactly shy about celebrating its famous sons, particularly if they’re not actually locals, and famous for reasons that don’t involve talent, valor or character. Ineptitude, treason, cowardice and corruption are qualities that get your name in lights hereabouts. And not being a native son appears to be a prerequisite for bestowing honorifics.
Take slave-owner and Confederate champion David Yulee for example. This is a guy who came here from Morocco, and whose real name was David Levy. He changed it to Yulee, after he married the local Presbyterian minister’s daughter. He has Levy County in east Florida claiming his original name and the town of Yulee his second one, making him one of the state’s most notorious name droppers.
Nobody is sure what this guy’s name really was because no one ever asked to see his driver’s license, and the last time he was seen hereabouts he was on a train caboose about 1861 headed out of town making obscene gestures at Union soldiers who were shooting at him.
Following the Civil War Levy-Yulee was captured and tossed in a federal slammer in Savannah for advocating treason against the United States. To prove what an accomplished con man he was, after being released from prison, he managed to screw the Florida tax payers out of piles of money that were intended to build another railroad. And before all of that he was the first to discover that you could make a fortune selling worthless mosquito-infested swamp land to unsuspecting Yankees. This guy is what Florida legends are made of.
It was only fitting that the town erect a statue of ole David What’s-his-name from Morocco. So about four years ago a group of locals raised a whole bunch of money, and now a likeness of this scoundrel sits on a bench in front of the town’s old train station holding a watch, while he’s thinking: “Yep, ‘ole P.T. Barnum was right. There’s one born every minute.” So while leftists around the country are busy tearing down statues of Confederates and others they feel don’t properly convey their mantra of “Give me all your stuff white supremists” a group here is erecting one. Both groups are equally nuts.
We also have a fort named after one of the most inept, cowardly and bungling men ever to wear a U.S. military uniform, Duncan Lamont Clinch, a guy who never once stepped foot onto Amelia Island. This is a fellow who deserted his men on the battlefield, cheated the government out of a small fortune, and actually admitted to slaughtering more than 200 women and children during an 1816 military campaign against Negro Fort in northwest Florida. So it was only logical to name a huge fort here after him. Look, this guy is so disgusting that when they slapped Clinch’s name on the north Amelia Island fort that overlooks the Atlantic and Cumberland Sound, the tide around that part of the island had to be persuaded to come back in.
The dimmer the person and the more egregious their behavior the more the community seems to applaud, admire and embrace them. Maybe it has something to do with the area’s pirate heritage. Take a look at our current crop of City Commissioners. It appears that in order to be elected a Fernandina Beach City Commissioner you have to run on a platform that makes locals nod their collective heads and say: “Yep, that’s the strangest, most far-fetched nonsense I’ve ever heard, so they’ve got my vote.”
But back to our newest celebrity, a fellow who should fit right in. He says he’s from here in his TV bio, but I can only find one or two people who think they’ve ever heard of him, and just one who says she’s even met him.
Meet Jeremiah Buoni (22), of the MTV reality show Floribama Shore, a mindless takeoff of the mindless reality show, Jersey Shore. Remember Snooki?
The show takes place along Florida’s Panhandle beaches and documents eight mental midgets who live together and permitted themselves to be filmed partying, working, and living in their pathetic and embarrassing environment.
It’s a sad commentary, not only on the people featured in this piece of trash, but of anybody who would spend time watching it. If you are interviewing a job candidate and the applicant mentions that Floribama Shore is their favorite TV show, you should excuse yourself from the office and immediately call security.
I met a young lady who tends bar locally and she tells me she thinks she recalls meeting Mr. Buoni, when he was working at the Ocean Club on the south end of the island, but she’s not sure exactly what he did there. Also Mr. Hicks says he doesn’t recall the lad either and as a local high school counselor, nearly all of Fernandina’s teens go through him or his co-counselor and his was not a name they recognized.
A bit of Internet research indicates the fellow may have moved to Fernandina late in his teen years but never attended Nassau County Schools. It also indicates he was born in Clermont, Florida, a town just west of Orlando.
But since his contributions to our community are nil, his accomplishments even slimmer, and his career consists of embarrassing himself, it seems logical that some sort of local recognition is appropriate. How about naming the storm damaged, silt filled, nonfunctioning downtown marina after the young man?
Speaking Of Irritating Personalities: It didn’t take long for Chip “Dr. Strangelove” Ross to get under the skin of a fellow Fernandina Beach City Commissioner. He’s only been on the City Commission for about three weeks and his pompous, abrasive, know-it-all personality was on full display during the January 2 session where he managed to stretch a 15-minute meeting to more than two hours, rambling on about issues such as derelict boats and repeating an earlier Commissioner Roy Smith program for marina repairs. Ross peppered his deadly boring monotone presentation with his standard eye-glazing Power Point illustrations. An ear-weary Commissioner Smith pointed out that the derelict boats are a Coast Guard issue and the marina repair matter was one originally detailed by him at an earlier session. New Commissioner Philip “The Listener” Chapman who campaigned on a promise to “listen” got an opportunity to do a lot of that during Ross’s tedious discourse. Commissioner Len “Turtle Man” Kreger chimed in on Smith’s side during the marina discussion while Commissioner and Mayor Johnny “Moonbeam” Miller said something about liking pie or maybe it was pie charts, during the Ross show. It’s understandable why fed-up members of the Planning Advisory Board (PAB) booted this bellicose bully out of their organization. Citizens with insomnia issues are encouraged to visit the Dr. Ross Sleep Clinic at City Hall on Tuesday evenings for treatment.
The NFL Blues: 2017 will be remembered as the year the National Football League and its disrespectful kneeling knuckleheads drew the lowest ratings in a decade. They got what they deserved. The Sports Business Journal’s Austin Karp reported that Sunday Night Football averaged 18.2 million viewers, which is its lowest number of fans since 2008. ESPN also wrapped up 2017 averaging 10.8 million viewers for “Monday Night Football,” which is the package’s lowest figure on record. ESPN’s previous low was 11.2 million in 2007. If the ratings decline continues, the next time the various networks return to the table to discuss broadcast rights, the league is very likely to lose billions since the networks will negotiate fees downward due to the massive loss of fans. The networks are not the only ones who feel the impact of lower ratings. Last year, due to fewer viewers, many NFL advertisers were awarded “make good” refunds for the advertising fees paid to the league. You reap what you sow
What You Heard Is What You Got Department: Donald Trump’s presidency, just like his campaign, has been unconventional and his governing style has been untidy, unprecedented and at times appears chaotic and messy.
And that’s exactly what America should’ve expected.
America didn’t elect Donald J. Trump to get more of the same and D.C. wouldn’t have had such a vial backlash had he not been trying to keep the promises he made to the American people. Had it been business as usual this year, then we would have grown suspect.
He made illegal immigration his key platform campaign issue and he’s followed through on exactly what he said he would do if elected.
So far the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shows historic success during the first year of Trump’s administration.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in FY 2017 reported a 23.7% decline over the previous year. Illegal migration along the Southwest border declined sharply from January 21 to April, which was the lowest month of border enforcement activity on record. In FY 2017, CBP reported the lowest level of illegal cross-border migration ever on record.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Removal Operations (ERO) conducted 143,470 arrests and removed 226,119 illegal aliens, an increase of 40% from the previous fiscal year. From the start of the Trump Administration on January 20, 2017 through the end of the fiscal year, ERO made 110,568 arrests juxtaposed to 77,806 in FY 2016, also an increase of 40%.
Worth noting, 92%, or 101,722 illegal aliens arrested by ICE during the Trump administration, either had a criminal conviction or a pending criminal charge, were an ICE fugitive, or were an illegal re-entrant. In other words, he isn’t ripping babies out of their mother’s arms and dreamers out of their homes en masse as the hysterical media portray.
What you heard during the campaign was what you got.
Follow The Numbers: “Hillary Clinton got 2,868,691 more votes than Donald Trump nationally. However, she beat Trump by 4,269,978 in California alone, so Trump did beat her head-to-head in the aggregate of the other 49 states. “Unfortunately, California’s votes counted, so … ” — Rich Galen, http://www.mullings.com/.
Ach Du Lieber! Germany’s decision to phase out of carbon-free nuclear energy after Japan’s Fukushima plan accident has made things worse for the climate, despite hundreds of billions in investments and renewable energy subsidy schemes, according to a new report. Germany, which decided to phase out nuclear energy after Japan’s Fukushima plant accident, now is “by far the largest emitter” of greenhouse gas emissions of the European Union. Source: World Nuclear News via Georgia Public Policy Foundation.
Drinking, Dining & Dancing: Rumors floating around about the sale of the Richard “Choo Choo” Germano owned North 2nd Street Crab Trap are true up to the point that so far there is no sale since no money has exchanged hands. However, I understand that the same NewYork/New Jersey folks that purchased the Surf are the potential buyers. Choo Choo, who has owned the “trap” for almost 25 years has been phasing himself out and turned day-to-day operations over to daughter, Holly, recently and if the sale does go through, both will be missed. However, if the new owners show the same amount of dedication and attention to the Crab Trap as they do to the Surf, which they purchased last year and which is undergoing massive renovations, regulars will be pleased.
I just hope the voters of Fernandina Beach are happy with their vote for the likes of Chip Ross. His first three weeks are the example of what his first term will be. You were warned but ignored the warning. Now reap the rewards. ROTFLMAO.
Keep up the good work! It never hurts to hear the truth, unless you are of a certain political persuasion. History is what it is and you do not change it by either taking down or putting up statues. We all have to remember we were not there, so believe none of what hear and half of what you see.
A bit vituperative. We’re there no good qualities in these men?
This is great, keep up with the articles. Best local publication in 33 years
I hope that you come appreciate the town you live in, and the history it has. To judge these persons, that lived in very different times, seems over the top.
Was amused this week when the weather channel on- site person reported on winter storm Grayson from Fernandino Beach & nobody back at the studio knew where that was. It was explained that it’s near Amelia Island. Now your little secret is out!
David you may have gone a bit too far poking at good ol General Clinch. His Great Great grandson “In A Clinch” was seen at The old dueling green in Savannah practicing for the up coming challenge he plans on hitting you with !
Word is he was the gold medal pistol champ at the1930 hot shot Olympics !