Mr. Hayes is the gentleman who built an ocean-front home on Fletcher Avenue next to Beach Access 33 and got permission from then City Manager Joe Gerrity to upgrade the landscaping of the shabby beach access next door to his spanking new house.
At the time Gerrity’s permission was all Mr. Hayes needed so he contracted for a very attractive, and obviously, very expensive landscaping job that included sod and a half dozen full grown palms for the city property at his own expense.
So what did he get for his efforts?
Despite the fact that the access was unkempt, couldn’t accommodate parking, and that there was no walkway to the beach on the overgrown area, many locals were irate at Mr. Baxter’s beautification efforts saying his work blocked access to the ocean, even though there wasn’t one. They also said he prevented folks from parking, even though there never has been a parking area there because there isn’t room for cars. And even if there had been access or parking the palms and grass spiffed up the area. But, the pitchfork and torch crowd were having none of it. They told the city commissioners and the local population that they didn’t care. They didn’t like it. And even though Mr. Gerrity was acting within his authority, the commissioners, despite being sympathetic to Mr. Baxter, decided that the city manager should never ever be allowed to do such a thing again, and stripped the office of that right.
But instead of screaming, ranting and threatening to sue or hold his breath until he turned blue as I or any other normal person would have done, the calm and benevolent Mr. Hayes took the high road. In fact, he took a road so high he should have terminal vertigo, as he offered to keep spending his own cash, this time to build an ADA handicapped accessible walkover to the beach and then transfer ownership of it to the city.
This guy is obviously up to something, right? Wrong. In a lengthy interview this past summer with Mary McGuire, editor of the online NCFLIndependent newspaper, the generous, rational, and calm Mr. Baxter said that he wanted to end the controversy.
Mr. Hayes said he would tear down the private walk-over on his property, telling the Independent: “I’ll use the city boardwalk like everyone else.” He said that his personally financed city boardwalk could be built by the end of the year and that that he will respect restrictions regarding turtle nesting that are in place and that he would work with the Department of Environmental Protection for permits.
Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, Commissioner Tim Poynter quickly reminded his fellow commissioners that in previous capital improvement plans the city had allocated $100,000 -$125,000 to build an access like the one Mr. Hayes was offering the city on a platter. Mr. Poynter rightly said that by funding this project, Mr. Hayes will save the tax payers a few sand buckets full of money.
However, despite the logic, benevolence and patience of Mr. Baxter, government bureaucracy, idiotic regulations, and tax payer-paid stumble bums are currently holding up the permitting process. But in spite of their ineptitude, incompetence and red tape, the city will eventually be gifted the walkway courtesy of Mr. Baxter.
So far Mr. Baxter has beautifully landscaped a piece of overgrown city property at his own expense; said he would build an ADA compliant walkway to the beach that is expected to cost him some $125,000 or more; transfer ownership to the city; protect turtles and the dunes; save tax payers $125,000; deny himself a personal boardwalk access; eat tofu; make a lifetime pledge to National Public Radio and host a “Save the Ditch Leech” fundraiser. Just kidding about the tofu, NPR and the leeches.
So why is Mr. Baxter digging so deeply into his wallet and restraining himself from blowing his stack at a group of local loons? “This is going to be my home now and my wife and I want to have a good relationship with the community,” Mr. Hayes calmly told Mary McGuire. Look up the word “tolerant” in the dictionary and there’s a picture of Mr. Baxter.
I suggest Baxter Hayes be named the 2016 Shrimp Festival parade grand marshal. Based on his generosity if I was a kid his house would be my first stop this Halloween. Heck, why don’t we all send him Thanksgiving and Christmas cards, thanking him for his efforts and since I don’t know his exact address, I’m betting the post office will find him if we address the cards to Baxter Hayes, Fletcher Ave, Next to Beach Access 33, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034.
Welcome To….Oh, Never Mind: Not that it matters now that the Fernandina Beach City Commission unanimously approved it Tuesday, but I’ve never understood why we need a “Welcome Center” at the airport when there is nobody to welcome. As I said once before, most of the folks that arrive here in private planes are either corporate types or wealthy residents who aren’t going to hang around a welcome center dropping quarters into a soda machine, munching a bag of Fritos or flipping through local “what’s to see here” brochures they plucked off a rack. These folks are quickly whisked away by waiting limos to their gated homes, the Omni Plantation or the Ritz-Carlton. So instead of calling it a “Welcome Center” call it what it is — an administrative building. Local resident Louis Goldman, a man who knows a lot about airplanes and airports, argues that the City should not have any part in building a Welcome Center at the airport and said so very eloquently in an opinion-editorial in the online Fernandina Beach Observer Monday, October 19. In it Mr. Goldman says: “Typically, cities will only get involved with Welcome Centers when they, the city or an airport authority, is the operator of the Fixed-Based Operator (FBO).” He says Fernandina Beach, since it does not operate the FBO, should stay out of the Welcome Center business and forego their dream of a public/private partnership at the airport. “The FBOs on the field will provide all of the Welcome Center services that are needed for our airport and at their own expense.” He went on to say, “….. if the City feels that they should have a building on the airport I would be in favor of an administrative building that would have offices for the airport manager, some rental offices for possibly a rental car agency and/or aviation oriented businesses and space for a small diner or cafe.” He also suggested that there is an urgent need for the city to hire a competent, full time airport manager. “This will not cost the city since the manager is paid from the airport account. In fact, the proper manager should be able to develop our airport to be one of the best general aviation airports in the state,” he explained. Oh, did I mention that Mr. Goldman is also an FAA licensed pilot who has logged over 3,000 hours of flight time since 1959 and served on the City of Fernandina Beach Airport Advisory Committee for 10 years. The folks in charge should pay attention to Lou from now on.
NPR’s Alternate Universe: Once again I made a serious effort to tune in the local Public Broadcasting Station, WJCT, 89.9 FM, but have reached my tolerance level and can no longer stomach the inane claptrap broadcast by these finger-wagging masters of indignation.
At times I felt as though I’d tuned into a Stephen King audio book where an alternate universe exists and victims are the oppressors. For example, during the recent savagery committed by the Palestinians against Jews in Jerusalem, NPR broadcast an operatic anger scenario portraying the martyrdom-seeking Palestinian Arabs as poor and subjugated, lashing out at their “Jewish tormenters” rather than the brain-washed savages they have become because they are taught in their literature and indoctrinated in school to hate and kill Jews, and encouraged by their political leaders to do so. Apparently NPR can’t locate anyone to explain on the air how the Israelis are supposed to defend themselves but have no trouble finding lots of folks to condemn them for doing so.
And the station got even more upside down during a recent Terry Gross show when she gleefully featured an indignant couple who sued their son’s elementary school district because the boy was refused entry into the girl’s bathroom because the kid says he’s a gal.
And when history doesn’t unfold the way NPR likes, it proposes an alternative version. A recent show actually broadcast a fantasy “what if” scenario on what a second Jimmy Carter presidential term would have looked like.
Oh, and if you want to hear liberal New York Times and Washington Post columnists prattle on about the suffering of their latest victims du jour, then by all means tune into the Diane Rehm Show for an hour or so of insufferable progressive hand-wringing, wailing and weeping.
At night I thought I might get some relief with an hour or so of pleasant music, but with the exception of Monday’s Doo Wop and Route 66 programs it’s pathetic. Who in the world at this station thinks “Electro Lounge” is musical composition rather than an aggravating racket that sounds like recordings of electric power transformers short-circuiting or exploding?
To add insult to injury in this cacophony of progressive claptrap and oddball musical programming, everybody at the station from the general manager to the cleaning lady is currently on the air begging and pleading with listeners to send them money. They claim the “little” they get from the government isn’t enough and that they have to publically rattle their tin cup in order to continue to broadcast their schedule of liberal BS.
I don’t want any more of my tax dollars going to this nonsense. In fact, they’d have to pay me to keep listening to their rubbish.
I suggest that liberals would get more for their money if they eliminated the NPR middle man and sent their contributions directly to the Democratic Party’s socialist primary candidate Bernie Sanders
Coming Soon To A Neighborhood Near You: During the next Republican debate would one of the candidates please ask why hundreds of thousands of Muslims are being given refugee preference over the Middle East’s endangered Christians, particularly those in Syria and Iraq, in jumping the immigration queue. Oh, and also ask how thousands of fighting-age Islamic Arab men with a grievance, that far outnumber the women and children claiming refuge, are being vetted. The Democrats won’t ask, hoping that those huddled masses and wretched refuse from the Middle East’s teeming shores will vote for their candidates rather than kill them. Why are we and Western European countries allowing members of a religious group, whose followers are committing genocide against Christians and Jews, into our country with open arms while ignoring the Christian victims of Islam’s Nazi-like extermination campaign of atrocities? To say Middle Eastern Muslims don’t particularly like us and our Judeo-Christian culture is an understatement. The few Christian immigrants that recently made it to German refugee camps so far have reportedly suffered so much intimidation from Muslim ones that the German police union has recommended that they be housed apart. They also won’t assimilate into Western mostly Christian societies and will strain the West’s educational, medical, and other social resources to a breaking point, not to mention competing for jobs that its own citizens need. Oh, and didn’t our government even say that some of them might well be ISIS terrorists? So why is this being allowed and even encouraged? Maybe Donald Trump will ask. I don’t believe he’ll get the GOP nomination, but so far he’s been very good at making other candidates talk about issues they’d rather ignore and that voters wants to hear explained.
Boo! I’m sure Halloween is the favorite holiday for liberals as they can appropriate a false identity and go to other people’s homes and demand free stuff.
Pajama Plea: Quirky David Voorhees, aka Pajamadave, has come up with a novel holiday donation idea by asking folks to provide a new pair of kid’s pajama’s and a children’s story book so less fortunate area urchins can enjoy a comfy tucking in and a happy bedtime story this holiday season. The drive will take place from October 24 to November 15 with the books and PJs being gifted to kiddos at Micah’s Place which helps Nassau County families that have suffered domestic abuse. Drop off your book and PJ donations at the 12 South 2nd Street Pajama Life shop downtown and not only bring a smile to a kid’s face, but make yourself feel all comfy inside. Call Pajama Life at 904/310-9314 for more information.
Drinking, Dining & Dancing: The Amelia Island Long Point Club will host the 5th Annual Navy Seal Foundation Charity Golf event Saturday, November 7 that includes activities for those that play golf and those that don’t play golf with the ultimate purpose being a function that provides support and assistance to the Navy Special Warfare community and its families. A donation of $75 earns entry to a buffet and silent auction, while $100 gets a tee box sponsorship, $300 an individual entry and $1,200 a foursome. Several sponsorships ranging from $2,500 to $10,000 are also available. Folks this is a very worthwhile program that serves those who sacrificed for their country. To participate in the golf tournament, sponsorship or the buffet contact Dean Grunewald at 904/277-5908 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on the foundation go to www.ameliaislandnavysealfoundation.org. The Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort will host a massive Florida-Georgia game bash on what it bills as the largest pool deck in Northeast Florida starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday, October 30 with the Swingin’ Medallions performance beginning at 7:30. Last year some 700 folks turned out for this “open to the public” event poolside by the beach. Drinks, food, prizes for best costume and more will be available to those coughing up the $30 a person entry that includes two drink vouchers. Overnight packages are available by calling ’em at 904/261-6161. On football Saturdays the Fletcher Avenue Surf now has two for one beers and 50 cent wings all day, a hard combination to beat. Don’t forget this evening’s A Taste of Wine By Steve’s 5-7 p.m. tasting event and mark your calendar for the special 3-6 p.m. Oct. 30 wine tasting that will take place inside and outside the 4924 First Coast Highway shop with special $100 Bar Zin gift certificate drawings available to purchasers of Rodney Strong bottles of fermented grapes. And there may be live music, all to celebrate the GA-FL game the next day. Call ’em at 904/557-1506. Sandy Bottoms at Main Beach has a full “let’s attract the locals” schedule in place since the tourist ranks have thinned. Specials include Saturday outside music starting with Dan Voll and Michele Anders beginning at 1 p.m., Karribean Flavor starting at 6:30 p.m.; the Macy’s outside on Sunday at 2 p.m. and a Monday special of 5 for $5 with customers being able to select one of five food specials for five bucks. Tuesday is a one-half off special for teachers with an ID proving they teach; Thursday a buy-one-get-one-free pizza (4-7 p.m.) and music by Larry Lemair outside at 6 p.m. and my favorite, the Wednesday 50 cent wings from 4-8 p.m. with music by the Macy’s outside. Friday features steaks and prime rib beginning at 5 p.m. until sold out. Happy hour is every day from 2-7 p.m. except Wednesdays when it extends to 9 p.m. Call ’em at 904/310-6904. And speaking of guitarist Dan Voll and bassist Michele Anders, the two singers have signed on to appear this evening at the Plantation’s Shops of Amelia for a shrimp boil 5:30- 8:30 that is open to the public. Apparently the Shops’ Marché Burette will throw a shrimp broil, served low country style every Friday evening 5-9.