There are many things to admire about local entrepreneur Ernie Saltmarsh but two stand out: 1- He works hard, very hard, never asking his employees to tackle jobs that he wouldn’t pitch in to do himself, ranging from mowing the grass to helping out in the kitchen; and 2- He is sincerely dedicated to improving our island community by restoring deteriorating island landmarks back to their once proud historic elegance.
Ernie has proven that combining a community spirit with hard work and a shrewd business sense can also prove very profitable as evidenced by the crowds swarming his North 3rd Street Green Turtle almost every evening of the week; the wedding and other affairs packing the Florida House event calendar and filling its rooms and restaurant; the growing passenger count on his island trolley fleet and the increasing popularity of his leased-out Beech Street Bar & Grill. He has also received two historic preservation awards from the city for his efforts with the Florida House and Beech Street Grill.
The personable former Bobby Bowden coached FSU quarterback is still calling plays and just recently revealed that he is currently conducting due diligence on another dormant island landmark that he hopes to bring back to life — the iconic Down Under, that has sat abandoned under Shave Bridge since mid-summer 2008.
He’s hoping his Midas touch can restore that once popular waterfront eatery, bar and live music venue into a “funky fish camp” atmosphere that will attract even greater crowds from the population explosion experienced in Yulee and surrounding areas since the 12,469 square-foot facility closed more than seven years ago. He says he’s contemplating keeping the name “Down Under” due to its solid name recognition and reputation.
Digging though some old news clips I discovered that the Down Under kitchen was considered one of the best in the area with Southern Living writer Morgan Murphy saying in the August 2002 issue: “Down Under could fry a dishrag and we’d eat it” while The New York Times in December 2003 called it “One of the local residents’ favorite restaurants.”
The weather worn and faded Down Under sign can still be seen standing above the north side of Shave Bridge, while the rambling group of buildings sit below on 1.51 acres at 4883 Otis Trail; literally ”down under” the Shave Bridge, on the Intracoastal Waterway and the tracks of what was once the Florida Railroad Company. Leaving the island, take the first left after crossing the bridge and follow the dirt road going past the VFW Post and there it is.
Ernie’s deft hand was in evidence earlier this week when the folks that handle publicity for General Motors’ Chevrolet Division could be seen scrambling around his Florida House as they selected it to feature their soon to be announced 2016 Sport Utility Vehicle, Equinox, in the firm’s just recently published glossy magazine, New Roads. The magazine is sent to more than six million people, mostly Chevy owners, which will give the Florida House and Fernandina Beach a powerful shot of national publicity. It contains a variety of lifestyle stories ranging from the obvious automobile articles to recipes, movie and travel features. The above photo of the publicity shoot was taken by local photographer Rick (Not the Governor) Scott.
The Chevy people said they picked the Florida House because of its historic significance, authenticity and durability. On their first night in town Ernie’s equally hard-working wife, Karen, suggested the camera crew, writers, and models check out their neighboring eatery Timoti’s for dinner and the crew was so taken with it that they added the Tim Poynter owned eatery to the magazine’s photo shoot.
Describing the Florida House in the article writer Bob Butz says: “After the Civil War, the railroad was finally completed and the Florida House Inn—now on the National Register of Historic Places and the oldest hotel in the state—became a playground for the rich. Vanderbilt, DuPont, J.P. Morgan and the Carnegies (who owned a home on nearby Cumberland Island) all stayed and hosted countless dinner parties here.
“The reason to visit the Florida House Inn is simple,” he continues. “Unless you get an invite to overnight at the White House, it might be impossible to sleep in rooms and wander through more historically significant halls.”
The article also goes on to describe downtown Fernandina Beach while plugging the new SUV saying: “Downtown Fernandina Beach is also one of Florida’s great antiquing destinations, and with the second row of seats folded, the Equinox has an impressive 63.7 cubic feet of cargo space for that Blackbeard the Pirate mannequin you must have for your man cave.”
For Ernie Saltmarsh everything is coming up roses even down under.
Clean Power Plan: ‘Cleaning out Consumers’ Wallets’: Kelly McCutchen, president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, had this to say about the final rules of the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan:
“That the Environmental Protection Agency has delayed implementation of the Clean Power Plan by two years for the states is no help. As we pointed out in testimony before the EPA in July 2014, the agency’s promise of “flexibility” and “state leadership” toward building a cleaner power sector is akin to letting a condemned man choose his method of execution: One way or another, it’s the end.
Despite the high cost, the plan offers few benefits: It does nothing to address climate change, and for President Obama to claim the plan will help relieve asthma goes against the evidence.
What we do know, however, is the Clean Power Plan will succeed in cleaning out consumers’ wallets by increasing rates for utility customers.
These needless, burdensome and costly regulations on America’s energy companies to curb carbon emissions will be passed through by businesses, too, to consumers and hurt those very vulnerable families with lower incomes – the families who struggle with children with asthma – taking away money that can be better used to improve their quality of life.”
DaveScottBlog Editor’s note: Florida’s rates will skyrocket since the state is heavily dependent on coal. Despite not having any in-state coal supplies some 30 percent of the Florida’s electrical generation comes from coal. The rest comes from natural gas, nuclear, oil, municipal solid waste , tires, or other manufactured and waste gases from fossil fuel. The Jacksonville area including Amelia Island is dependent on electricity from burning coal and petroleum coke at the Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) Northside Generating Station Units 1 and 2. The massive cooling towers located at the Saint Johns River Power Park, located immediately north of JEA’s Northside Generating Station, from state road 105 can be seen on the drive South along Heckscher blvd. Not only will our electric bills skyrocket, but we’ll also be forced by the government to pick up the tab for those unable to pay because of this President’s misguided and reckless actions.
Oh, Johnny! A regular reader sent an email this week commenting on my critique of Fernandina Beach City Commissioner Johnny Miller saying:
“Dave, I’ve been enjoying your Johnny Miller riffs. But I think he needs a theme song. Should it be:
1) Johnny Angel (how I love me)
2) Johnny One Note (Johnny could only sing one note and the note he sang was MEEEEE!)
3) Johnny B. Good (Go Johnny Go …)
And of course we have “Johnny on the spot” when it comes to showing up at beach rescues and accidents, and “Johnny Jump Up” when discussing environmental issues at the FBCC.
At first I thought you were being a tad harsh on the lad, but in light of his recent self appointed role as comic book super hero, I have come to reassess.
I look forward to the next commission meeting and the latest installment of Saving the Planet.”
A Trump Observation: Political commentator, entrepreneur, 2008 Libertarian Party VP candidate, motivational speaker and author of several books, most recently “The Murder of the Middle Class,” Wayne Allyn Root, makes some fascinating observations about Donald Trump’s candidacy for the Republican nomination for president questioning why politicians, right and left are “nervous and frightened” about his candidacy. Despite the fact that Trump crashed and burned in Thursday night’s GOP debate and came across as boorish and thin-skinned here’s what Mr. Root has to say:
“He’s doing something no Republican has the chutzpah to do. He’s questioning our relationship with Mexico; questioning why the border is wide open; questioning why no wall has been built across the border; questioning if allowing millions of illegal aliens into America is in our best interests; questioning why so many illegal aliens commit violent crimes yet are not deported; and questioning why our trade deals with Mexico, Russia and China are so bad.
Trump has the audacity to ask out loud why American workers always get the short end of the stick. Good question.
I’m certain Trump will question what happened to the almost billion dollars given in a rigged no-bid contract to college friends of Michelle Obama at foreign companies to build the defective Obamacare website. By the way, that tab is now up to $5 billion.
Trump will ask if Obamacare’s architects can be charged with fraud for selling it by lying. He will ask if Obama himself committed fraud when he said, “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it.”
Trump will investigate Obama’s widespread IRS conspiracy, not to mention Obama’s college records.
Trump will prosecute Clinton and Obama for fraud committed to cover up Benghazi before the election.
How about the fraud committed by employees of the Labor Department when they made up dramatic job numbers in the last jobs report before the 2012 election?
Obama, the multinational corporations and the media need to stop this. They recognize this could get out of control. If left unchecked telling the raw truth and asking questions everyone else is afraid to ask, Trump could wake a sleeping giant.
Trump’s election would be a nightmare. Obama has committed many crimes. No one else but Trump would dare to prosecute. He will not hesitate. Once Trump gets in and gets a look at “the cooked books” and Obama’s records, the game is over. The gig is up. The goose is cooked.
Holder could wind up in prison. Jarrett could wind up in prison. Obama bundler Corzine could wind up in prison for losing $1.5 billion of customer money.
Clinton could wind up in jail for deleting 32,000 emails, or for accepting bribes from foreign governments while secretary of state, or for “misplacing” $6 billion as the head of the State Department, or for lying about Benghazi.
The entire upper level management of the IRS could wind up in prison. Obamacare will be defunded and dismantled. The Obama crime family will be prosecuted for crimes against the American people. And Obama himself could wind up ruined, his legacy in tatters.
Trump will investigate. Trump will prosecute. Trump will go after everyone involved — just for fun. That will all happen on Trump’s first day in the White House. Who knows what Trump will do on Day 2?
That’s why the dogs of hell have been unleashed on Donald Trump.”
In my opinion Trump’s dismal showing in the debate did him more harm than the dogs of hell.
Oohrah! The 14th Annual Marine Corps League Golf Tournament at the North Hampton Country Club is now the “Calvin ‘Cal’ Atwood Marine Corps Tournament,” having the Iwo Jima veteran’s name added this year to honor the 91-year-old Amelia Island icon for his efforts in raising money for the charitable event the past many years. Play starts October 24 at 1 pm and there are still opportunities to be one of the 120 players. All money received is used by the Marine Corps League of Nassau County to assist area families in need. And you’ll have a chance to meet Cal, well worth the entry fee alone my friends. For information and to play call Chairman Paul Dossin at 904/225-9479 or Cal at 904/277-3435. Don’t play golf? Then sponsor a hole for just $100.
Now This Is Funny: While quaffing cheap cold beers and gnawing on 50 cent grilled, scorched-to-order-best-chicken-wings-on-the-island, the Wednesday evening downstairs Crab Trap bar stool regulars were discussing what is funny and for a change unanimously agreed on something, and that is that a more than 50-year-old skit with Sid Caesar and Carl Reiner may be one of the most hysterical comedic episodes ever produced. If you don’t laugh out loud at this side-splitting routine, then you need some serious mental health care. Here it is: http://youtu.be/gNbT9Lf9xZo