A massive iceberg wedged between two sandbars off Main Beach; a license required by Fernandina Beach officials to take photos of local sunsets; the discovery of a vast canyon and mountain range on the south end of Amelia Island; and a local man building a personal computer using only discarded plastic bags, are just a few of the breaking news stories that will appear in the spring 2016 edition of The Amelia Island News-Wrecker.
According to Editor Anita Nuderbeer, the next News-Wrecker is almost ready to go to press and should be distributed about a week or two prior to this year’s April 29 – May 1 Shrimp Festival.
Ms. Nuderbeer said that when the first Wrecker debuted last spring the publisher never anticipated producing another one, but, according to her, the paper’s readers and advertisers convinced her to change her mind because, she says: “They are hungry for a factual and accurate news source.”
“Amelia Island residents’ appetite for local in-depth, investigative, and honest news reporting is so strong we are considering producing our next issue on rice paper,” says Publisher Shirley U. Jest. “That way people can not only read the paper, but then eat it to digest all the details, thus pioneering the kind of journalistic breakthrough that our readers have come to expect from us.”
Editor Nuderbeer said that despite what her publisher says accuracy, timeliness, ethics and writing skills aren’t priorities in her newsroom. “Look, I’ve got my hands full just trying to keep this staff sober in order to get the next edition out,” said the grizzled journalism veteran.
Last year’s edition featured “news” stories about tree huggers gone wild, wave-top strip mining, and Ft. Clinch re-enactors firing on a US nuclear submarine.
The free tabloid News-Wrecker, which boasts the tagline “Amelia Island’s sacred cows make the best burgers” will be available in island pubs, restaurants, businesses and selected shops, particularly the paper’s advertisers. An online version of last year’s paper is available at www.amelianewswrecker.com and this year’s will be available online eventually.
The News Wrecker pokes harmless fun at the island’s small but vocal liberal and right wing populations, local governing bodies, politicians, the Shrimp Festival, local news gathering organizations, and other area sacred cows.
Folks interested in advertising, contributing “news” items or to simply tell us what a stupid idea this is can contact me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at my unlisted phone number.
The Best Pistol Shot Ever? Good friend Cal Atwood sent me a story recently that I found fascinating and that was verified by Field & Stream magazine in a June 2011 article about the .45 sidearm headlined “Best Shot with a 1911. Ever.”
According to the story Cal sent the most unusual shot made in wartime with a 1911 pistol was the one fired by a USAAF B-24 co-pilot named Owen J. Baggett in March, 1943 in the skies over Burma
On a mission to destroy a railroad bridge, Baggett’s bomber squadron was intercepted by Japanese Zero fighters and his plane was badly damaged. After holding off the enemy with the top turret .50s while the gunner tried to put out onboard fires, Baggett bailed out with the rest of the crew. He and four others escaped the burning bomber before it exploded.
The Zero pilots circled back to strafe the parachuting crewmen, killing two and lightly wounding Baggett, who played dead in his harness, hoping the Japanese would leave him alone. Though playing dead, Baggett still drew his .45 and hid it alongside his leg…just in case. A Zero approached within a few feet of Baggett at near stall speeds. The pilot opened the canopy for a better look at his victim.
Baggett raised his pistol and fired four shots into the cockpit. The Zero spun out of sight. Although Baggett could never believe he had shot down a fighter plane with his pistol, at least one credible report said the plane was found crashed, the pilot thrown clear of the wreckage with a single bullet in his head.
Baggett, a native of Texas, survived two years in a Japanese prison camp in Singapore and eventually retired from the Air Force as a colonel. He and his fellow prisoners were liberated by OSS agents (World War II version of the modern CIA) and Baggett was recognized as the only person during the war to shoot down a Zero with a pistol. It has to count as one of the greatest feats ever accomplished with a .45 says Field & Stream and Cal.
By the way, for those of you who don’t know, Cal, a very active 92, is a survivor of the World War II battle of Iwo Jima in the Pacific theater, where he was eventually wounded and evacuated. He was one of the marines fighting there that actually witnessed the rising of the American flag on Mt. Suribachi, one of the most historic moments in American history.
Got Beer? If you like beer ,and if you like the Shrimp Festival, and you’d like to combine the two without falling over here’s your chance. The Shrimp Festival will be offering draft beer as an additional beverage choice this year at the festival’s Riverfront Stage and Food Court and is looking for volunteers to help pour. Cash incentives will be offered to earn income for your charity or civic group by covering one or more shifts. Shifts are about six hours each, and your favorite non-profit can earn $10.00 per person, per hour but you must be at least 18. Go to www.shrimpfestival.com and click on the Volunteer Form button or email your name, phone number, email address and charity/civic group name to Harry Harrison, Beer Station Director, at email@example.com. He will contact you either by phone or email to discuss the opportunity and schedule the shifts.
Bodacious Bodega: If you’ve ever been to New York City, a city in Latin or South American or Europe’s Latin countries, you’ve probably wandered around in a “bodega,” which is the Spanish word for “warehouse.” When Spanish-speaking people began arriving in New York in large numbers during the first half of the 20th Century, they brought this word with them to describe small stores selling a variety of items including packaged food, beverages, cigarettes, candy, and newspapers. When prohibition was repealed, these small stores also began stocking beer; some also sold fresh and prepared food like sandwiches, produce, milk, flowers, and eggs. Well, thanks to local entrepreneurs Michael Smith and Randy Bowman, Amelia Island now has its own bodega, an 800-square-foot store called “BuyGo” at 813 South 8th Street that features more than 3,000 items, many hard to find including those old fashioned hard candies that come in tins, which I picked up for just two bucks there recently. Now this is NOT a convenience store where you can buy gas and a bag of pork rinds, no siree Bob! This shop features a small coffee bar with a few stools, an unusual and fascinating wine selection e.g. Duct Tape®, which the producers say is the one to buy “When you need something to hold you together if your significant other breaks up with you via email, your dirt bike won’t start, or your dog won’t hunt.” The store also stocks craft and other beers, and things like pickled jalapeno stuffed olives, just like mom used to make. This is a fun place to wander around and where you can also pick up general grocery items, health & beauty and even seasonal goods like beach stuff. Randy and Michael told me they have access to more than 30,000 items through their distributor which enables them to order in bulk for restaurants, schools, churches, and special events. Call ’em at 904/310-9766 or go to www.buygostores.com. Or just stop by and look around.
Turning On Their Own: Republican pundits, politicians, editorialists and commentators aren’t the only ones attacking their own as far left New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, using language usually reserved for conservative politicians, called Bernie Sanders’ economic proposals “not just implausible but embarrassing” and declared the Vermont socialist’s campaign “not ready for prime time.” It also appears that beaches, beer, boys, bands and broads will cut into Bernie’s vote count as an anticipated half million students, who provide most of the loopy out-of-touch candidate’s support, are headed our way during spring break, the same time that primaries and caucuses are being held in their northern states. Not a fun week for Bernie’s ballot box, particularly when the Republican turnout in state after state has been far greater than the Democrat one.
Things I Don’t Get: Hillary Clinton says that Donald Trump should take responsibility for George Soros’ Moveon.org thugs that were organized and paid for by the left and her party that disrupted Trump’s Chicago campaign rally last week and shut down his right of free speech. However, she won’t take responsibility for Benghazi, illegal Clinton Foundation contributions, lying to family members of Americans killed in Benghazi, or the email scandals surrounding her campaign, much less acknowledge that her party’s left wing groups are instigating all of this hate speech run amok. Some of Trump’s rhetoric is outrageous, but his supporters, unlike those of the Democrats, are not out there trying to shut down the opposition’s campaign rallies and stifle their First Amendment rights. And the media is in lockstep with this tactic claiming that Trump is saying what the left is actually doing. Good grief!
More Things I Don’t Get: When a group of regulars arrive as usual at a local pub to drink, eat and discuss whatever they want to discuss, and then a musician begins playing and singing, drowning out the conversation when there is nobody else in the place, what is the best approach to this dilemma? It’s not that the musician is awful, it’s that beginning at 6:30 p.m. he isn’t the reason they’re there, and didn’t see any other folks who were there because of him. When they left he was still singing and strumming all alone, or maybe his girlfriend was sitting with a friend at the bar. Not much of a revenue stream there, but if I’m going wrong here please tell me why.
Drinking, Dining & Dancing: Good news for burger lovers, as the Main Beach Putt-Putt located at 6 North Fletcher has reopened after a winter hiatus and now what I and many others consider to be the most unexpected place to find the best burger on the island is open Saturday and Sunday from 11a.m. to 7 p.m. Beginning in May Putt-Putt will open full time through Labor Day say the ownership team of Frank & Janet Blake. And speaking of hamburgers, the Fat Man From Space, who provides this “space” with Amelia Island hamburger reviews tells me he is on a mission to lose few pounds and as soon as that is accomplished will squeeze back into his space shuttle and drop back in with another “out-of-this-world” burger report. In the meantime, if any of you have suggestions for burgers the Fat Man should try, please let me know and I’ll forward the information to our galactic correspondent. The third annual “Slide into Spring Craft Beer and Music Festival” fundraiser returns to Main Beach this evening (Friday, March 18) from 5-9 p.m. , reopens again Saturday, March 19 from noon – 10 p.m. and Sunday, March 20, noon – 9 p.m. All proceeds go to the 8 Flags Playscape and advance tickets are available online at www.goincoastalmusic.com to hear the following bands with names that may be more entertaining than their music: Dirty Heads, Donavon Frankenreiter, G-Love and Special Sauce, Passafire, Sidereal, The Hip Aduction, The Trongone Band, Post Pluto, The Fritz, Chillakaya, Herd of Watts, Rusty Shine and more I’m told. Food stands will be available along with craft and other vendors and the venue welcomes all ages with 12 years old and under getting in free. Ticket prices are $70 per person for all three days, $10 for tonight’s kickoff and $40 each for Saturday and $40 again just for Sunday. Luca’s Bar & Grill, the restaurant at the corner of Centre and South 7th Street, where Bonito’s used to be downtown and another eatery that opened and closed so fast I can’t remember its name, has debuted to what I hear are very good reviews. The owners are also owners of the popular Ciao restaurant just down the street at Centre and South 3rd Street. I had one of the best pizzas I’ve eaten recently at a most unlikely place to get pizza — Sandy Bottoms at Main Beach where Nick Hartley has outdone himself with a thin crust, square cut pie with an amazing lobster and shrimp topping. I was lucky to buy it on two-for-one Thursday and it didn’t take Linda and I long to devour those two tasty pies. Call ’em at 904/310-6904.