Island Issues

How About An Airport On A Stick?

How About An Airport On A Stick?

Since Fernandina Beach City Manager Dale Martin and the town’s commissioners are hell bent on building an airport that looks like an airplane why not an airport on a stick?

I found the above photo in a file I was browsing through and am willing to share this unique design concept free of charge with the city and the firms it has commissioned to design and build their “Let’s Build It To Look Like An Airplane” airport terminal.

In case anybody thinks I am making this up, I’m not! I mean the part about the city wanting to build an airport-that-looks-like-an-airplane. Is there a town anywhere on the planet that has an airport that looks like an airplane? If this group pulls this off will we be in the Guinness Book of World Records? On Saturday Night Live? Will it be a tourist attraction?

Will our new airport come with glue and instructions?

The city is bound and determined to build an airport terminal that resembles a FU4 Corsair, a plane that flew out of the Fernandina Beach airport during World War II, and have actually been accepting bids from firms drooling over such a loony and lucrative project.

From what I’ve read and been hearing so far the lowest bid is $4,395,000, almost two million bucks over the original $2.6 million originally budgeted. One bid came in at more than $7 million. Just the tail section piece of our new airport will cost between $400,000 and $1.1 million. That’s a lot of money for a piece of tail.

What about the cockpit and the wings? Will stewardesses wander around taking drink and food orders? Do we get free peanuts? Does it come with a big tube of glue and assembly directions?

Oh, and the seats in this new facility — will they recline and have tray backs? I assume the airport people will be charged a $318 impact fee assessment for each one. And if not, why not? I’ve heard that a barbershop downtown was told that they would be hit up for $318 for each “waiting chair.”

This whole airport thing is looking like a Monty Python episode, but would probably be rejected by that nutty crew as being too farfetched.

As Russian President Vladimir Putin said about Russia’s alleged involvement in the U.S. presidential election in a recent television interview: “Has everybody over there lost their senses?”

But wait, just when you think the city’s employees and elected officials can’t get any goofier, they do.

Our modest and humble Palace Saloon barkeep, and Commissioner Johnny “Look at me! Look at me!” Miller, who’s aching to be mayor again, wants to be given credit for the proposed downtown waterfront park that’s been hashed over for many, many years.

Notes obtained in a public records request by Mary Maguire of the online newspaper The NCFL Independent, ( contain some interesting comments about the city commissioners during one-on-one meetings the private consulting firm, Dix-Hite, held with each of them.

Ms. Maguire reported that the consultant noted concern from Mr. Miller about his persuasive abilities to convince the public about the proposed park with their notes saying: “He needs us to help him with the right message to citizens – social media/press releases, why does it cost what it costs to do study?” And, they said, “He wants to be the champion!”

The late cowboy actor Gene Autry had a horse named Champion. And Johnny’s beginning to resemble the south end of Gene’s horse as it faces north. But that’s probably not what the “Look at me! Look at me!” commissioner has in mind, unless he’s once again considering tattooing a likeness of socialist Senator Bernie Sanders on his butt.

It’s understandable that Johnny is seeking help with communications as he has severed connections with outlets that report his antics. Recently Ms. Maguire indicated to me that she has difficulty communicating with Commissioner Miller as he won’t speak to her anymore since she reported the fact that his $120 qualifying fee check for the last election bounced. It also steamed the commissioner that Ms. Maguire reported that Moonbeam allegedly owes several thousand dollars to the state of Maryland in back taxes. So he refuses to speak to Ms. Maguire. I guess he won’t speak to her again until she stops printing the truth about him. I’m also told that he won’t speak to Jacksonville’s tabloid, Folio, because they also had the nerve to print the truth about his bad check. And he hasn’t spoken to me in months.

I assume he talks to the bi-weekly News-Leader because it’ll print column inch after column inch of mindless pap since its publisher, Foy Maloy, focuses his irrational dislike solely on Commissioner Tim Poynter. And if Maloy’s paper can’t find anything negative to write about Tim, it makes stuff up.

So while Moonbeam is busy seeking news outlets that will stop covering his numerous flaws and focusing on his “Look at me!” routine; the city is building a “Ripley Believe It or Not” airport; and the downtown marina seems to have a problem that is being ignored. It runs out of water at various times of the day, a very annoying situation for a marina, particularly if you are a boater and dependent on the wet stuff to stay afloat or earn a living. Pictures of boats sitting on mounds of marina mud are becoming commonplace on Facebook.

I’ve been banned by Moonbeam from reading his personal Facebook page, but folks who aren’t often show me stuff he posts there. The latest being his defense of the muddy marina and why repairs to it haven’t been made since the Hurricane Matthew damage late last year. When asked on Facebook if the city had insurance, Moonbeam said it did but that the city’s insurance didn’t cover “wave damage” provoking a responder to comment: “That’s like buying car insurance that doesn’t cover car collisions.”

All of this would be aisle-rolling, knee-slapping funny stuff if it didn’t involve our tax dollars. But instead of getting frustrated let’s give the whacky gang at city hall credit for keeping us entertained. If you don’t have anything better to do on a Tuesday evening stop by the commission chambers and take in the show, there’s no cover and no minimum. Some of the warm up acts there such as Lynn Williams, Ron Sapp and Dr. Chip Ross have two minute standup routines that will keep you giggling, but the main attraction is the commission itself, a nonstop laugh riot, particularly when Commissioner Miller does his “Look at me! Look at me!” shtick, which is usually enough to startle Commissioner Roy Smith from a nap but not enough to provoke a smile from the stone-faced Len Kreger, who is patting the bunny in his lap and ensuring local sea turtles don’t wander toward the bright lights downtown.  Commissioner and Mayor, Robin Lentz, is like a military short timer, trying not to roll her eyes, while she anxiously counts the days until her term is up, while Commissioner Tim Poynter is the commission straight man, providing a dose of frustrated logic and sanity to this comedic free for all.

A couple of the warm up acts are fine tuning their performances, and following the next election may well have their names on plaques on the main stage.


A Folio Folly? For reasons only it can explain Folio Weekly, Jacksonville’s tabloid newspaper, has approached me about writing a series of columns for it beginning this coming week.

A sampling appeared this past Wednesday on the publication’s back inside page called “Backpage Editorial” while future ones will be inside with a title to come.

The paper says they’ll run my musings for six weeks initially to gage what kind of reaction they receive and assuming that their readers don’t attempt to firebomb their building or call for my public flogging they’ll continue them until they tire of my blather or I run out of gas, whichever comes first.

What’s in the column? Well, about the same as what’s in this blog, only shorter as they have space restrictions and I have a tendency to get longwinded.

I can apparently write about whatever I want and it gives me an opportunity to extend the quest for smoked mullet beyond Amelia Island and Yulee and see if I can find a better BBQ brisket than that produced by Island BBQ, Yulee’s Willie Jewels, or Gilberts. It also enables me to tout Amelia Island’s bars and eateries and share the comedic antics of our goofy Fernandina Beach City Commission beyond Nassau County. I’m also pondering if I should ask the new Fat Man From Space to extend his search for the perfect hamburger beyond Amelia Island and Yulee.

If you alert readers have any ideas you’d like me to share with the folks in Folio’s circulation area, by all means let me know at or in comments here.


Bad Deal: According to the Georgia Public Policy Foundation only about one out of five Georgia teachers will break even on their pensions – meaning they will get more out than they have put in – says a new study published by Harvard University.


Good Deal: Friend, boat dweller and expert local fisherman Charlie Freeman, reminds me that one of the great things about being over 65 and living in Florida is a free hunting and fishing license. The retired AT&T employee, who lives here aboard his boat dubbed “No Dial Tone” says folks that qualify can go to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission site to get their permits.


Swim At Your Own Risk Department: According to the new Florida Times-Union magazine “J” the St. Johns River contains more than 100,000 alligators, a fact verified by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. They also say there’s a colony of Rhesus monkeys in there too.


This Winner’s A Big Time Loser: Reality Winner (real name, really), a 25-year-old moron who worked for a contractor with the National Security Agency, was arrested and jailed without bail for sending “top secret” material to an online news service. Good!

“Her words to me was that she was scared she was going to be … they were going to make her disappear,” her mother Billie Davis-Winner said recently. Mom added that her daughter would never put herself in a position where another person was at risk.

“She would not jeopardize anybody’s safety. She would not. I can tell you that for certainty,” Winner-Davis said. “She loves children. She loves animals … She’s not a threat to anyone. She’s not a violent person.”

No? But, she apparently doesn’t love her country and according to her Facebook postings would like to burn the White House down and had praise for ISIS. I guess as long as no animals or children are harmed in her treason and proposed mayhem, apparently mom thinks that’s OK.

Oh, and she’s also an idiot. How did this nincompoop get a top secret security clearance. The people that authorized it should join her in her cell.

And speaking of morons and traitors, when is the military’s most outrageous US Army deserter, Bowe Bergdahl, going to be sent to Leavenworth?


Drinking, Dining & Dancing: There are two eating out rules I adopted while living in Texas: 1- Never order barbeque or chili in a place that also serves tofu and; 2- Never send anything back in a joint where the cook is wearing a sidearm. Well, if you want really, really good barbeque, and will never ever have a desire to send anything back and where there’s no tofu in sight, then get yourself down to the recently opened 1925 South 14th Street Island BBQ right now. Pit master Rodney Stubbs may not be wearing a sidearm but he is armed with the best BBQ skills this side of the Mississippi and his brisket is to die for. The Millen, Georgia native showed me his giant smoker out back the other day with stacks of the wood that he uses to prepare his mouth-watering beef, pork, ribs, turkey, and chicken. Depending on what he’s fixing he uses a combination of hickory, oak, pecan and apple. Folks, it doesn’t get better than this and I haven’t had BBQ this tasty since I lived in Texas. I know I’ve said it before, but I just can’t help myself, as my car automatically pulls into this joint each time I drive past. Call ’em at 904/624-7811. They’re open every day 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. but I suggest you get there early as the last time I went, just before 5 p.m., they were almost out of everything and down to their last 1/2 pound of brisket. A local restaurant even called in a huge order while I was there, high praise indeed. Don’t look for a fancy sign, as the name of the place is painted on the front window in its Keystone Plaza location. Despite the fact that rumors that I and many others have heard, and the fact that a “For Sale, Hotel Site” sign is still up, Salt Life has NOT backed off its plans to open a place at Main Beach just across from Putt Putt. It is still on and this information is straight rom the horse’s mouth.  And speaking of Main Beach, the Sandbar & Restaurant,  is still undergoing renovations and should be ready early next month or shortly thereafter, in the old Sandy Bottoms location. From what I’ve seen the wait will be well worth it. The Fletcher Avenue Surf now has competition in the muffuletta arena as Karibo’s Theresa Poynter is offering her delicious ciabatta bread New Orleans specialty sandwich on Thursdays only for just $9.95,  but only if you ask for it since it’s not on the menu. And neither is Karibo’s 16-ounce ribeye market price steak available any day of the week. I’ve never had anything at Karibo that I didn’t enjoy, and am particularly fond of its 3-6 p.m. Monday to Friday happy hours where all drinks including the top shelf stuff is one-half off. Being a beer guy I quaff $1.50 Bud Lights while the folks next to me sip three buck Grey Goose martinis. Mark tomorrow, Saturday, June 24, on your calendars because the always popular Sean McCarthy (vocals and guitar) will be back at PJD’s Beer & Wine Garden at 12 South 2nd Street with Hot Shot Carter (steel pedal guitar), Ernie Ealum (bass) and Marcus Carter (guitar) from 7-9 p.m. Tonight they’ll have Jim Bacaro, next Tuesday Hupp Huppman,Wednesday Dan Voll, and Thursday Hupp again. The 801 Kitchen and Bar has changed piano man John Springer’s schedule to Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, 7-10 p.m.



HLamar - 04. Jul, 2017 -

Please vacation at Amelia Island

The short drive into Amelia Island from I95 to Amelia Island consist of approximately 8 miles of construction which will require a Dakar Rally vehicle a complete suspension rebuild. BTW it’s only a short 14 stoplight jaunt over to Amelia Island. Additionally you will be accompanied with a phallenx of assorted vehicles. Beside the loaded 100,000 lb. concrete trucks you will experience NE floridas reincarnation of Dale Earnhardt sr. driving “Beaver Bro’s Log Haulers” log trucks. Please come prepared for this stage of your vacation. If for some reason an “accident” occurs on this scenic portion of A1A as stated by the Chamber of Commerce the “scenic highway” will be in essence closed until “Pirate Towing” arrives to drag the unfortunate crumpled local or vacationers vehicle to “Pirate Auto Service”. I highly suggest vacationers driving to “Amelia Island Vacation Paradise” purchase at least the three year unlimited front end alignment from “Pirate Tire and Alignment located conveniently on “Scenic A1A” so your able to exit promptly when your vehicles front wheels assume the Charlie Chaplain degree of toe out after negotiating the “Scenic A1A” entry to “Scenic Amelia Island”.
Once arriving on “Scenic Amelia Island” and become comfortably established in your vacation abode you next adventure will be the “Scenic Atlantic Ocean” and the soothing lapping of the waves to repair your mental wellbeing after the 10 miles of death car ride upon “Scenic A1A’.
As you assume the well needed prone position on your foldable beach chair you notice a distinctive noise. Is it a boat, nope on boats on the water. You notice a plane circling above. Is it the NSA following you? Nope. Is it a new full plane size drone? Nope. It’s skydivers! A needed addition to a peacfull barrier island. Unfortunately your unable to hear the waves to sooth your rattled mind and body. The drone of the O520 Lycoming engine in the “Pirate Skydiving Adventure” is running at 100% to lift fellow vacationers to dizzying heights 09:00 to sunset. These fellow vacationers are enjoying the ability to be strapped to a fellow skydiver and plummet while strapped to this proffesional at dizzying speeds back to earth.
As you finish your “Island CulinaryCusine” shrimp au joust with asparagus tips and organic wild Sumatran juju berry tea and then retire for the night. You can still see in your minds eye. The 30 foot logs pokeing at your windscreen as the “Pirate Bros Logging” trailer emergency brakes and the droning of the Lycoming “Pieate Skydiving Adventure” at your “Scenic Atlantic Ocean” reminds you why you work hard to enable a small vacation for your family.

tony crawford - 30. Jun, 2017 -

Great Idea George!!!!!!!

JEANNE WYATT - 24. Jun, 2017 -

A huge population of wild monkeys is sweeping across Florida after being introduced during the filming of TARZAN.
There are now thought to be 1,000 Rhesus monkeys roaming the sunshine state – all descended from three males and females released together in the late 1930s.
The ‘couples’ were brought to America and marooned on a small island near the Silver River by tour operator Colonel Tooey.
And, I thought my husband, who knew of this cockamamie story was making it up. Who else knew it to be true?
Read more:
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Orlando Avila - 24. Jun, 2017 -


When was the last time you went to Tampa. I’ve spent the last week here. This is a working waterfront. My goodness. Really well done.
Oh and checkout Skippers Smokehouse if you get down that way

George Murphy - 23. Jun, 2017 -

If we must have an FU4 CORSAIR could it be possible for the City to aquire a mothballed actual one from the government for display “on a stick”, with proper historic plaque, somewhere appropriate on the field. Might be cheaper and certainly not as bizarre.

John Goshco - 24. Jun, 2017 -

There’s a nice Corsair on display at the entrance to Sikorski Airport in Stratford, CT and it’s already mounted on a stick. Maybe the city could trade the David Yulee statue for it.

Christine Harmon - 23. Jun, 2017 -

Dave, I’m going to offer another solution to the Airport/Welcome Center/tailless plane building. Forget the tail. Forget thinking of it as a plane. Consider it a boomerang. Slogan: Everyone comes back to Fernandina! Just a “modest proposal”.

H Ralph - 23. Jun, 2017 -

“That’s a lot of money for a piece of tail.”….
I dunno I gave a house worth $200K to a woman I don’t ever wanna see again.
Yup….. married for 17 years …happiest 3 years of my life.

Peg Dickinson - 23. Jun, 2017 -

Pete took his sliced brisket and cut it up, not too finely, added chopped onion, and added, what looked to me to be the refrigerated hash brown potatoes you buy in the dairy section, and then fried the whole mess, served it with an egg or two on top. The seasoning tasted like the top crust on the brisket. The ratio was probably 60% meat, and 25% potato.

Darlene Smith - 23. Jun, 2017 -

There’s money to build an airport terminal/welcome center but none to repair the marina? Silly me, I thought this city was built on the shrimping industry. Smh.

Micah Ward - 23. Jun, 2017 -

Dave, please don’t take the job with the Folio! As the word of our wonderful town and island gets out more people will want to come see it for themselves. Just consider the ramifications of an influx of Jacksonvillians.

R trox - 23. Jun, 2017 -

Well this just reaffirms my decision to never live in the city limits.No matter how many elections are held,all these people morph into the same idiotic doofuses as those that they replaced.Must be the City Hall water.

Pat - 23. Jun, 2017 -


Great issue. Using the waterfront for a park is a waste of a valuable asset. Take a trip up to St Mary’s to see a waterfront park in a dying town. Might be a connection there. Their park lacks only people and activity. But I have a suggestion. The one thing the city seems to do right is run a cemetery. At least they don’t seem to get many complaints. So a downtown Bosque Bello would accomplish the verdant thing, maintain the view, generate some income and maybe Mandrick can levy an impact fee. His “Pay to Play” monicker is getting a little long in the tooth. How about John “Pay to Plant” Mandrick? Great luck with the Folio gig. They do some interesting writing there.

Charlie Freeman - 23. Jun, 2017 -

Yes I got my free “lifetime fishing license”as I’m over 65… but it has to be renewed in 2042…..

Monty - 23. Jun, 2017 -

Dave, that is the funniest thing I ever read. Not having insurance to cover waves at a marina?
As for the BBQ, I went to Island BBQ. Not bad but they choopped my brisket and put sauce on it. Gonna go back and give it one more shot my way!

Mary W Gorman - 23. Jun, 2017 -
Dave — This can’t REALLY be the airport design. It looks like something from The Jetsons. It’s ugly. Why???? Why can’t we have a tasteful, normal building that reflects the natural beauty of our landscape here on Amelia Island? One that costs a lot less, but looks and functions a lot better. This has got to be a joke. Unbelievable.

John Hornsby - 23. Jun, 2017 -

Jist a small editing note. The Corsair is an “F 4U”

Gary McKillips - 23. Jun, 2017 -

Send this one to Hollywood! I see a sitcom in the making. And congrats on the new column. my suggestion for a title–“Great Scott!” But , then, the younger generation may never have heard the expression.

Peg Dickinson - 23. Jun, 2017 -

We were just up north and had some barbecue at our favorite pitmaster’s restaurant. He makes a beef brisket hash that is to die for! If you ever have some of Island BBQ’s brisket left over try to make some, we’re going to!

Peg Dickinson - 23. Jun, 2017 -

I should have added, before you tell me “good barbecue up north?” Pitmaster Pete Deversa has worked at Blue Smoke and Hill Country Barbecue in NYC and has opened restaurants for owners in Hong Kong and London. He has also been on ABC’s GMA with his barbecue. He is building his own restaurant in CT right now and is running a small snack snack for the summer in Niantic CT. If you are in the area it’s worth the trip!

David Scott - 23. Jun, 2017 -

Peg, send me the recipe!