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

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

Progressive Pod People Infest Fernandina News Leader

The date the Fernandina News Leader was impregnated by Progressive Pod People can probably be traced back to its acquisition by the New York Times in the 1970s.

“OH NO! It’s a Progressive Pod Paper!”

Once its liberal seed gestated, Mother Ship Times jettisoned its Nassau County progeny from the nest in 2000.  Its work here was complete.

However, instead of the progeny eagerly anticipated by the NY Times and its local acolytes, the unfortunate offspring exhibited the characteristics of a drunken one-night stand between the Babylon Bee and Rolling Stone resulting in a special needs People’s Daily.

Tracy Dishman, the latest editor/nanny of the Times’ sad descendant is a crotchety Miss Grundy displaying little to no news gathering experience or journalism training. Publisher/grandpa Foy Maloy was neutralized following the Pod People’s intrusion and acts solely as a zombie-like figurehead reduced to grinning at passersby and glad-handing advertisers.

News Leader reporters long ago abandoned the formula for a news story – the “five-W’s-and-an-H.” The paper’s remaining readers need to be reminded that the term refers to who, what, where, when, why, and how. Inside the News Leader pod objectivity is an alien concept.

With the exception of long-time journalist and part-time columnist, Steve Nicklas, and nationally acclaimed local fishing expert, Terry Lacoss, there isn’t a columnist at the News Leader who is the least bit interesting, informative, or humorous. They are either angry, bitter, left wing ideologues or as boring as the Sunday afternoon women’s club quilting session’s idle chit-chat and as bland as a mashed potato-green pea casserole.

Miss Grundy

Creativity and investigative reporting are nonexistent. Recent above-the-fold front page news stories include several about beached whales in Georgia, some 150 miles north of Nassau County, a retiring News-Leader production employee, and a three-quarter page article and photo of a school bus driver who told a child not to step in front of a truck. Nice, feel-good stuff. But hardly front page news.

Newspapers such as the News Leader validate a recent Pew Research Poll survey that found more than two in five Americans say they have little to no trust in the information they get from journalists. It also revealed that the total weekday circulation of locally focused newspapers – print and digital – fell by 40 percent between 2015 and 2020.

I recently submitted a letter critical of far-left columnist, Chuck Oliva, to Ms. Dishman, who informed me I violated the paper’s “Letters to the Editor Policy” by writing: “Olivia’s mug shot shows him perpetually gazing down at his shoes like a guy caught lying to his wife and ashamed to look at her.” Ms. Dishman printed my letter “Unhinged rubbish” in the Friday, March 15, issue with the sentence she objected to omitted.

When I objected to her omitting what I consider an accurate description of Oliva’s picture the “Miss Grundy” in her snapped back saying: “You disagree with what one of our columnists has said but there is no reason to comment on how someone looks.” At that point I gave up. It’s impossible to reason with Pod People.

She also attached a copy of her paper’s letter policy failing to indicate which portions of it she enforces and which ones she ignores.

Maybe he just dozed off.

For example, in the Friday March 8 News Leader there was a 786-word (Yep, I counted them} insomnia-curing letter, headlined: “New development should preserve character and charm.” The paper’s policy Dishman sent me clearly states in its very first sentence: “The word limit for a Letter to the Editor is 600 words.” Oh well, what’s an additional 186 mind-numbing words, particularly when readers dozed off  just 20 words into that snoozer.

“I have sent the News-Leader policy to you before but have attached it again to this email for your reference,” her Miss Grundy alter ego snapped. She failed to highlight those parts of the policy that apply only to me

The News Leader is so ripe for parody in its blatant hypocrisy and liberal outrageousness that it’s surprising more locals don’t poke fun at it. Maybe because it only appeals to only a small hardcore Fernandina Beach liberal crowd and the rest of Nassau County ignores it. There’s certainly nothing to fear in it, as its snarling cadre of liberal contrarians, busily slurping kale smoothies, are as harmless as the psychedelic idiocy they spew onto its pages from their progressive South 10th Street pod.

Tomes in disguise

Ideological fanatics like the News Leader’s Oliva have carte blanche to write nonsense such as  Republicans “cheated” left-wingers Genece Minshew and Mike Lednovich out of City Commission seats by actually turning out to vote. He can screech “Russia, Russia, Russia” while staring down at his shoes and go unchallenged. His March 13 word jumble “Promises, promises” is a rehash of the mainstream media’s tired repetitive praise of Biden and condemnation of Trump. There isn’t an original idea or thought anywhere to be found.

The photo of Oliva’s equally extreme leftwing colleague, Mark Tomes, portrays a guy who also doesn’t want to be recognized on the street.  His picture shows him wearing sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat shading his face. “Don’t dare question the way he’s disguised, at least not in our pod,” Dishman would likely scold.

The News Leader Pod is infested with ideological fury, dishonesty, hysteria, ineptitude and a collective venomous attitude. Anyone disagreeing with it must be silenced, vilified, and punished. Or put to sleep and bored to death.

The NY Times must be very proud of its Fernandina offspring.


Bioethanol, Ethanol, Ethtanol, Whatever, Just Get Outa Town: A News Leader front page story complete with this photo of a local resident named “Jack” who apparently doesn’t know “Jack” about spelling or possibly why he’s even protesting appeared in the pod paper’s front page Friday, March 8.

The article was bylined by a News Leader  “reporter” with the fortunate name of “Julia Roberts”. Ms. Roberts extensively quoted area gadfly Margaret Davis, who never misses an opportunity to publicly preach to Fernandina residents and local businesses about what they should or shouldn’t do.

Both Ms. Davis and wannabe Brenda Starr reporter Roberts appeared highly disappointed they couldn’t find any antagonistic Rayonier executives to engage them in verbal combat. There were no exploding corncobs (ethanol is also a derivative of corn} or sneering executives, only articulate and knowledgeable Rayonier employees who politely and articulately answered questions.

A couple members of  the tiny group of four or five misguided protestors happily predicted their typical unsubstantiated “end-of-the-world” prophesies, which Ms. Roberts hungerly reported.

Once again Rayonier’s engineers and professional PR team smoothly and accurately fielded  question after question with ease without having to initiate a call to its bullpen. They’re as skillful at explaining the benefits of their products and safety procedures as they are at producing, implementing and marketing them.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection said it will approve a permit for Rayonier to produce bioethanol. I’m sure the tiny contingent of protestors will conduct an emergency meeting and invite Ms. Roberts to join them in their handwringing session.

Fernandina Beach is fortunate to have such a good corporate citizen and employer.


The News Cavalry Arrives: A cavalry of balanced reporting has arrived in Nassau County both in print and online.

A couple of years ago southern California refugee George Miller arrived here and set up shop with his digital newspaper He successfully published a similar product in southern California and his startup here is gaining considerable traction. There is no print version. Miller and his staff do an excellent job of analysis and covering events ignored by the News Leader.

Publisher Matt Davis, a former Ohio police officer and Lowe’s traveling sales manager, is making a big splash with his print and online Yulee News and recently hired the Ponte Verde Recorder’s Amber Lake, as editor. The paper is continuously adding more pages, writers and features as its advertising revenue increases. Racks of the now free print edition can be found at various shops in Nassau county or by going to

Both publications carry this column.


Speaking of The Cavalry Riding To The Rescue: Following the February 10 Chili Cookoff in downtown Fernandina Beach my wife, Linda, toppled off her bicycle while cycling home from the event.

Kevin Ross, a first responder member of the Rescue 1, A Shift of the Fernandina Fire Department administered medical treatment while rushing Linda by ambulance to Jacksonville’s UF Medical Hospital.

Kevin notified me through my pal Pajama Dave as we were cleaning up following the event. Good friend Bill Cimino drove me to the Jacksonville facility where Linda was being treated by the emergency room medical staff. It was determined she didn’t have a concussion but suffered a head laceration and two fractured ribs. She spent two nights at the hospital for observation and treatment.

The incredibly fast response by Mr. Ross and the others at the FBFD was more than impressive. We are indeed fortunate to have such a dedicated, efficient, and sympathetic crew of professionals serving our community. Their incredible work goes mostly unnoticed and unrecognized. They deserve a truck load of accolades for their service and professionalism.

Not only did Kevin’s speedy response and professionalism get Linda the fast medical care required, but he went beyond his duties. When I returned home from the hospital that evening Linda’s bike was parked in front of our garage. A few days later day Kevin stopped by with an envelope containing one of Linda’s earrings he found at the accident site.

This is our second introduction to this crew’s incredible response and competence. In 2013 they responded to Linda’s 911 call after I suffered a stroke at home and arrived at our house within 10 minutes, providing treatment and transportation to the Weaver Stroke Center at Jacksonville Shands that probably saved my life.

We are beyond grateful for the care, courtesy and concern displayed by this group of dedicate public professionals. Thank you!


Florida Home Insurance Dilemma: Premium increases greater than 50% on homeowner policies by two insurance companies will be considered in hearings by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

The requested rate hikes are a result of natural disasters such as hurricanes and flooding and rising reconstruction costs. They come as Florida’s legislative leaders grapple with proposed solutions to the state’s rising rates.

According to Center Square news service Castle Key has asked for approval to increase its average rate for its Homeowners Multi-Peril Condominium insurance by 53.5%, and Amica is asking to increase its statewide average premium for dwelling fire insurance by 54.1%. Some insurers have abandoned Florida altogether saying it’s too risky.

It isn’t helping residents hereabouts that the Nassau County School Board and Fernandina City Commission are piling on with their pet projects further adding to tax payer misery. Those increases are on top of the last school tax increase encouraged by devious Superintendent Kathy Burns,  property tax increases, high interest rates on mortgages, and increased utility rates, thus leading to high rents and mortgage payments.

These increasing financial burdens are driving many families to reconsider moving here, locals to abandon the area, and others to forsake any hope of purchasing or renting a residence

Residents should keep all of this in mind when they enter the voting booth this year.


Attention General Austin Wherever You Are: If they can find him Pentagon officials may want to introduce Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to the Israeli Lieutenant colonel who, when asked if the Israeli Air Force had any initiatives to increase diversity in its ranks, responded saying: “While there are efforts to recruit a broad swath of Israeli citizens assignments and promotions are based on ability. A person has to earn the pilot’s seat in an F-35, because when Israel is at war, Israel must win. It can’t afford to embrace such a divisive and destructive ideology.”

  • Comment (19)
  • Yay to the Israeli Lieutenant Colonel for his common sense remarks! Wish we had MORE of his gendra in OUR country, not only in the military, but in all areas where ABILITY is key, not DIVERSITY!!

      • Why should she or anyone listen to Schumer ? He’s obviously in support of Hamas because he doesn’t like Netanyahu or anyone who opposes his liberal Dem ideology. He was one of the “Trump Russia Collusion” accusers later found to be a Hillary Clinton bogus effort to disenfranchise our elections. Suggestion – Read up on the facts before commenting.

        • The Israeli “genocide” could end today with the unconditional surrender of Hamas. That’s the standard we applied to the Japanese who attacked us. The Japanese didn’t accept those terms at first and innocents died until they did accept and the war ended. The likes of Schumer may extend the violence by giving Israel’s enemies hope that there is a solution short of surrender.

          • Incorrect and insulting comparison to the sacrifices made by my parents (and yours)
            by comparing Oct 7th attack to the war with Japan–sad. You care not a whit for the

        • Schumer supports Hamas? Sounds like the same kind of logic used when accusing anti-Black Lives Matter people of supporting the KKK. The problem isn’t Schumer denouncing Netanyahu, it’s his call for new elections in Israel. If the U.S. wants to meddle in the political affairs of another democratic country, it should limit its involvement to the kind and types of aid it provides.

    • I am a colleague of Dr. Ross and he is one of the finest physicians we have on staff. The wife is very lucky to have been treated by him.

      As-salamu alaikum,
      Dr. Patel

      • I rarely if ever respond to comments here, but in your case I’m making an exception. I’ve never heard of you, but if you are indeed a M.D. as you allege, then your patients should be terrified. You either can’t read or have no comprehension of what you read, maybe both. Kevin Ross, who assisted my wife following her accident, is a member of the Fernandina Beach Fire Department’s EMS, NOT a doctor. I clearly pointed that out here. Maybe you can find someone to read it to you. Kevin is exceptionally good at his job and, unlike your patients, we are fortunate to have him serving this community. If you are actually a M.D. your unwary patients might want to reconsider their choice of health care providers. If your writing skills as as pathetic as your reading and comprehension abilities I can only imagine the prescriptions you must be writing and the advice you are dispensing. If you are a M.D. at the local Baptist hospital ER I pity any unfortunates who may encounter you. Or maybe this comment was some kind of pathetic joke….either way it should serve as a warning to locals.

        • And in the end
          The love you take
          Is equal to the love you make (Lennon/McCarthy)

          In your case sir, you should replace the word “love” with “hate”.

          • Have you ever actually read the lyrics to the song Imagine? Get back to us after you do…

  • Hi Dave, I always enjoy reading your column but this one hurt a bit. I didn’t think I was a useless columnists who is not the least bit informative, interesting or humerous. Ouch! I’m not at all angry or bitter.
    I just thought that writing a monthly wellness column that is factual might be relevant for some readers. Or have I been wasting my time these past four years?
    Hopefully others don’t find my column bland as a mashed potato green pea casserole. Now that wouldn’t even be healthy. Lol!

  • Rayonier is going in the WRONG direction with this new adventure.
    Expansion of their island footprint is not a friendly action.
    Sure, thev’ve been here since the 1930’s, but they do not own the place.
    Sea level rise and associated climate impacts should have them reducing
    not increasing footprint–but a quick buck is all they see–spurred on
    by the Biden push to increase ethanol percentage in gasoline.
    Good corporate citizens–no way.
    Bad actors–every way.

  • “Anyone who puts themselves over the Constitution should never be president of the United States. And anyone who asks someone else to put them over the Constitution should never be president of the United States again.”

    • Trump is on the financial ropes, and that makes him potentially even more dangerous. He urgently needs cash – lest he be forced to give up some of his trophy properties to satisfy the courts. That pressing need could make him vulnerable to anyone offering to help him out of his troubles, including America’s enemies and rivals.

      In addition to nearly half a billion dollars in judgements, Trump faces massive legal fees over multiple civil and criminal cases, and his presidential campaign funds, drained after funding his personal legal costs, are badly lagging behind President Joe Biden’s massive war chest.

      Incredibly, Trump now wants to bring back to his campaign none other than the disgraced, Russian-linked, formerly imprisoned operative Paul Manafort,his 2016 campaign chairman. Even without Trump’s financial troubles this would raise all manner of red flags, especially concerning Russia.

      A vote for Joe is a vote for the USA – a vote for Trump is a vote for Putin and Russia!

      • You idiots just can’t get past your TDS, can you? If you can’t tell the difference between the Trump Presidency and Bumblin’ Joe’s, you need to be lobotomized. If you can’t see that the Big Guy has already sold his soul and our country to foreign interests, you should just crawl back under the rock you came out of…


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