Island Issues

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

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

Blank NewspaperJust 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 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 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?


Speaking Of Newspapers: In my opinion Fernandina Beach News-Leader columnist Pat Foster-Turley, an Amelia Island zoologist, is one of the best reads in Northeast Florida and apparently that paper’s management has figured that out too as they are occasionally running her columns on the front page. This lady knows what she is talking about, from bugs to bears and oaks to oysters, and possesses a writing style that keeps you reading. My wife occasionally cuts Pat’s columns out of the paper for future reference or to show to others, something she never did with me when my column appeared in that publication. Pat will also answer your nature questions if you email her at And speaking of good reads, if you want to know what’s happening on the island and want your information on a daily basis then check out a site that will provide you with items ranging from business and sports to politics and entertainment among many others. Operated by Dutch-born inn-keeper, musician and entrepreneur Johan (Han) Ramakers and edited by the colorful and talented Judie Mackie, whose fun personalities are reflected in their product, the site is an informative and entertaining attention grabber and is soon to receive a technological facelift.


Environmental Hot Air: Once a month members of the European American Business Association (EABA) meet at the Amelia River Golf Club where for a mere $12 they gather to socialize, have snacks, purchase cocktails at a cash bar, and listen to a guest speaker. I usually take advantage of these gathering as they are fun, lively and the speakers fun and informative, however, this past Tuesday (April 8) I watched as an Englishman, whose name I have already erased from my memory, talked to the group on “environmental sustainability” and as he was about one-third of the way through his presentation I was convinced we were being put on and watching a live performance of Monty Python sketch, particularly as one or two apparently bewildered and confused members of the audience, not realizing that this was a stand-up comedy routine, began doing what misguided audience members do best…nod approvingly. The speaker believes that we should reduce our standard of living by punishing US citizens with toilets that need 15 flushes to work, bird-dicing windmills, tofu power, etc. to set an example for India, China and other countries that would be delighted to soon see America disappear from the map. His “call to action” was to urge the EABA to preach his pagan environmental religion to Fernandina Beach city officials to warn them that our island’s warm summer breezes are apocalyptical warnings that your Arid Extra Dry Spray and backyard grills are destroying the global ecosystem and melting the polar ice caps. He quoted as authorities, the World Wildlife Fund and the United Nations, organizations that say warm trends prove global warming and cold trends prove global warming, the philosophy of madmen. This guy was so full of it he was a porta potty on legs.


Speaking Of Hot Air Types:  The island bag people have decided to pollute the landscape with little green signs saying things like “Grab Your Bag” etc. urging folks to bring reusable, bacteria-breeding cloth sacks to local super markets rather than use the free plastic bags the stores offer. These loons need to meet the European American Business Association’s last speaker; a Michael Moore embraces Al Gore moment.


And Even More Elitist Global Warming Policies: Global warming policies harm the poor more than any others according to Bjorn Lomborg, a Dane who is adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre and a former director of the Environmental Assessment Institute in Copenhagen. He cites an analysis that quantifies the disregard of the world’s poor: “Investing in renewables, we can pull one person out of poverty for about $500. But, using gas electrification, we could pull more than four people out of poverty for the same amount. By focusing on our climate concerns, we deliberately choose to leave more than three out of four people in darkness and poverty,” Lomborg writes. Source: Georgia Public Policy Foundation.


Buy A Shrimp Festival Committee Member a Beer Day:  The next time you run across one of the unpaid Shrimp Festival committee members, shake their hand, pat ‘em on the back, and offer to buy ‘em a cold one. These folks do an awful lot of work and most of the time all they receive for it is whining, complaining, and nasty letters to the editor in the island’s various news outlets. Recently a couple of angry members of a seafood association publically chastised the volunteer group for reasons I have yet to comprehend and for which even if I did, committee members say are unfounded.  Organizers work hard in a thankless job and rarely receive praise for this volunteer activity and they do it all without compensation. So thanks folks for moving the parade back to Thursday and the other good stuff you do and if you see me out hereabouts tap me on the shoulder and remind me that I owe you a cold beer.


Odds & Ends: …a string of randomly selected disconnected items, or as faithful reader Cal Atwood calls ‘em – “bric-a-brac:” So far my favorite campaign quote comes from Democratic candidate for national office, Iowa Representative Bruce Braley, who is running for the US Senate seat of retiring Republican Senator Charles Grassley, when he boasted that he had the support of “hundreds of farmers across Iowa.” That’s good news for Braley’s Republican opponent since Iowa has almost 90,000 farms; Craft beer brewers in neighboring Georgia are having problems similar to our Florida craft brewers as the lobbyists for large beer distributors there are also holding up the small craft guy’s distribution plans too; The United States will surpass Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s top oil producer by 2015, and be close to energy self-sufficiency in the next two decades, amid booming output from shale formations, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said recently; I’ve been wondering if you aren’t incarcerated there, in hospice, hospital or under house arrest, why in the world would anyone in their right mind live in Detroit?; Call me an old fuddy-duddy but I can’t figure out why guys wear ear rings. Pirates wore them, but my research came up empty as to why. Like the gals, do the guys have to match their shirts, hats, shoes with their ear decorations? To me Jacksonville’s National Public Radio (WJCT,89.9 FM) outlet’s current annual fund raising event is like the old Soviet Union’s Pravda asking its readers to send them a few Rubles to help publish senseless propaganda nationwide, despite the fact it was government funded. If you really want to contribute, eliminate the middleman and send your check directly to the Democratic National Committee; someone asked me recently if I re-did my home with feng-shui? I told them, “No, I just tripped carrying in an order of Chinese take-out;” In front of a bar up north a sign reads: “Do not trust atoms. They make up everything.”


Drinking, Dancing & Dining: Sunday, April 27, from 6-9 pm the Florida House will host this year’s 2nd FORK dinner with six of the area’s best chefs participating including Chef Brian of Lulus, Chef Roberto of Espana, Chef Scotty of 29 South, Chef Adam of Merge, Chef Ricky of Joes, and Chef Marshal of the Florida House Inn. For $125 per person you’ll be treated to a six-course dinner with wine pairings and proceeds from the event going to the Barnabus Food Pantry. Last year was a sellout and this one is close to being full so hurry if you want to participate. Go to to see if can still snag a seat. If the downtown Courtyard Pub & Eats and Wines by Steve ever team up again to do a low-country boil count me in, as the one this past Wednesday (April 9) was worth more  than the $35 a couple for the food and beverages and musical entertainment by keyboardist Stevie Fingers in the courtyard. They tell me an oyster roast is coming soon so stay tuned.

1 Comment

marywgorman - 11. Apr, 2014 -

The FB Wrecker is a great idea! Love it!