With an upstairs event space often filled with 125 people for a variety of events for which Story & Song has become known, COVID precautions now dictate that seating be limited to 25 to allow for safe distance. So the events go on. If you’re tired of staying home, but still want to feel safe, here are some opportunities to do so:
100 Things To Do in Jacksonville Before You Die
Afternoon tea with author and luxury travel brand expert Amy West
Wednesday, Sept. 30, 3 pm
$25 tickets include a personalized and autographed copy of Amy’s book, TeaBlossom tea and fresh-baked scones.
“The People’s Choice”: A Musical Celebration of Presidential Elections from 1788-2020
with Caren & Paul Umbarger, The Island Duet
Saturday, Oct. 3, 2:30 pm or 7 pm
Getting to Know God’s Voice: Discover the Holy Spirit in Your Everyday Life (a 31-day interactive journey)
with author Jenny Randle
Tuesday, Oct. 6, 3 pm
Mindfulness and Well-Being
Thursday, Oct. 8 & 22, 10:30 am
Listen to the soothing sounds of Valerie Brandt’s “singing bowls” and learn the practice of yoga nidra.
Jacksonville and the Roots of Southern Rock
with author Michael Ray FitzGerald
Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2 pm
“Seaside Strummers” Ukulele Camp
with Robyn Nemes
Wednesday, Oct. 21, 4 pm
First of an 8-week session for all ages and skill levels. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
with local author DonnaLee Overly
Tuesday, Oct. 27, 3 pm
Debut of the first book in the bestselling “The Knot”, series II
For more information, to reserve one of the 25 seats available, or to purchase tickets, call (904) 601-2118.
Skinner Bros. Realty is expanding in Nassau County with the completion of its second multi-tenant retail complex in Wildlight. The new mixed-use retail and restaurant space will continue to transform the master-planned community’s central Village Center, with new tenants slated to open winter 2021.
“The pandemic has maximized Wildlight’s need for more convenient access to service retail,” said Chet Skinner, vice president of Skinner Bros. Realty. “As Nassau County continues to grow at an impressive rate, especially in the area near Interstate 95, there is increased demand for services that retain homebuyers. Our newest retail complex strengthens the appeal of the Wildlight market by providing access to additional amenities and everyday services that area locals desire close to home.”
Skinner Bros. Realty began construction on the commercial complex located at 40 Homegrown Way in early 2020 and finished development in September 2020. The new mixed-use building is an extension of The Village Center’s first multi-tenant complex that opened early last year, adding 11,670 square feet of additional retail and restaurant space. It is designed to capture the inspiration of an open-air market with spaces that flow into each other, including an outdoor courtyard and covered dining area.
Skinner Bros. Realty leased the building’s available space to four tenants that will begin buildout this fall and join a cohesive mix of hospitality and lifestyle services at The Village Center. Family-owned restaurant Anejo Cocina Mexicana will bring fresh, from-scratch dishes and an upbeat atmosphere to the area, expanding from its current Ponte Vedra Beach location and new planned location in the Brooklyn neighborhood near downtown Jacksonville. Hana Sushi & Asian is a fast-casual service concept that will offer Asian fusion cuisine and sushi, blending fresh ingredients with exotic flavors.
Additional tenants confirmed to open at the site include DEP Nail Salon, a luxury salon that will offer nail, eyelash extension and waxing services, and Firehouse Subs, a locally founded fast-casual restaurant chain that will bring hot specialty subs and more. They’ll join Royal Amelia Dance Academy, Great Clip’s, Cold Stone Creamery and Tasty’s Fresh Burgers and Fries, all of which opened last year at The Village Center.
“We’re very pleased to continue working with the talented Skinner Bros. Realty team to further define Wildlight as an ideal place to live, work and play,” said Chris Corr, president of Raydient Places + Properties. “Their deep understanding of North Florida’s real estate market has helped us ensure the community remains a safe and quality investment for residents and future homebuyers by providing the conveniences of an established town with a rich mixture of amenities at The Village Center and beyond.”
In addition to the new multi-tenant complex, Wildlight recently began development on its second neighborhood, Forest Park. The growing neighborhood will bring more than desirable homes to the master-planned community by nationally recognized builders Mattamy Homes and Riverside Homes. Yulee KinderCare and St. Clare Early Learning Center also opened in Wildlight this summer, providing additional early education and faith-based learning opportunities for the area. The UF Health Rehabilitation – Wildlight center is slated to open in October 2020, which will offer residents a new style of healthy living.
For more information about Wildlight, please visit www.wildlight.com.
About Skinner Bros. Realty
Skinner Bros. Realty Company, established in January 1999, is a developer, investor, owner and manager of retail, office and mixed-use properties. The firm specializes in acquisition, planning, permitting, development and marketing of real estate as well as the representation of individual and corporate clients in the search for premier business locations.
Wildlight is envisioned as a new town inspired by a character, culture and pattern of living that we call “Florida Lowcountry,” where play is a part of every day and the natural world is a natural part of life. The plan for Wildlight includes a mix of homes, townhomes and rental apartments together with shops and restaurants, a new elementary school and a system of trails and pathways intended to make it healthy and walkable and connect it all together. Our Phase 1 plan is flexible and currently designed for about 1,000 homes across about 260 acres plus nearly 350 acres of permanently preserved open space. Wildlight will offer comfortable and friendly Florida Lowcountry living 20 miles north of Jacksonville, just east of Interstate 95 on A1A, with easy access to both Amelia Island and the Jacksonville International Airport. Wildlight is being created by Raydient Places + Properties, a taxable subsidiary of Rayonier Inc., a real estate investment trust. For more information please visit Wildlight.com.
On Wednesday, September 30, 2020, the Friends of Bosque Bello will be hosting Atlas Preservation’s 48 State Tour. This will be an interactive workshop in Bosque Bello Cemetery to demonstrate some of the most common conservation treatments utilized in monument preservation.
The workshop will include:
After the cleaning demonstration, workshop participants are encouraged to adopt a gravestone and perform the cleaning process.
Some of the conservation treatments demonstrated will include:
This workshop is free to the public and will be held from 9AM-3:30 PM at Bosque Bello Cemetery (1320 N. 14th St. Fernandina Beach). Please bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and insect repellent.
Please join us. Watch, listen, learn, or help.
For more information, please visit
https://48statetour.com/ or www.fbfl.us/Bosque Bello
Kinetico CGC Water Treatment is celebrating its 50th Anniversary!
Celebrate Client Appreciation Day with Kinetico CGC Water Treatment on Saturday, September 26th from 10 AM - 5 PM. There will be hourly prize drawings, special guest appearances, special deals, music and so much more! For more information, call (904) 544-6242.
RESTAURANTS AND HOTELS PERMITTED TO OPERATE AT 100% CAPACITY. LOCAL MUNICIPALITIES MUST ALLOW AT LEAST 50% OPERATIONAL CAPACITY
Today, at The Birchwood hotel in St. Petersburg, Governor Ron DeSantis announced that the state will move to Phase 3 of his “Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan” for Re-Opening Florida, including allowing restaurants to operate at full capacity, effective immediately.
There will no longer be operational limitations enforced by the State of Florida. He further explained that his Executive Order, coming out later today, will prohibit local municipalities from restricting the re-opening of businesses. They must be allowed to operate at least at 50% capacity, regardless of local rule.
Governor DeSantis highlighted that the restaurant industry is difficult to succeed in with thin margins, and there have been devastating effects from COVID-19 shutdowns on operators and their employees since March.
“We are saying in the state of Florida everybody has an opportunity and the right to work,” SAID GOVERNOR RON DESANTIS. “Every business has the right operate.”
“Florida’s hospitality industry has been decimated by COVID-19,” said CAROL DOVER, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF THE FLORIDA RESTAURANT AND LODGING ASSOCIATION (FRLA). “This has been a crisis like we have never seen before. Businesses have closed, and more than 336,000 people have lost work in our industry. The effects on the local and state economy have been significant. I want to thank Governor DeSantis and DBPR Secretary Halsey Beshears for their support as we have navigated this unprecedented time and for allowing us the opportunity to get back to work. We look forward to welcoming back our wonderful guests and to re-opening the Sunshine State.”
“I would like to commend Governor DeSantis for his leadership,” SAID JT CORRALES, DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT FOR CRABBY BILLS. “Today is a big step for us in the restaurant industry in the road to recovery. I think this gives us a real fighting chance.”
At the announcement, Governor DeSantis was joined by the following Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) members:
FRLA will share additional details and the Executive Order as soon as it is available.
Attached is Executive Order No. 23 issued by the Board of County Commissioners on Wednesday, September 23, 2020. This Executive Order lifts the mandatory mask requirement in the County limits and became effective at 12:00 p.m. on September 24th.
This new Executive Order still encourages use of masks at indoor business establishes. It will remain in effect for 30 days unless extended.
If you have any questions, please contact the County Manager's Office at (904) 530-6010.
County Manager's Office
The past few months have been devastating for the theater industry, but B&B Theatres is committed to continuing to provide guests with exceptional entertainment experiences through unparalleled service at best in class facilities.
As we wait for a pandemic resolution and for Hollywood to resume scheduled releases of new films, we are thrilled to be able to still offer guests great onscreen options.
The flyer below outlines our circuitwide programming options. While not all are available in every market, we are doing all we can to offer our communities fun and enjoyable films during this unprecedented time.
We believe in the power of the movies to bring joy, offer relief and escape, to inspire and uplift. We appreciate your support during this challenging time in our industry's history.
White Oak Conservation has started construction on a new 2,500-acre home for Asian elephants. Most of these elephants previously traveled throughout the United States with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® until they were retired in 2016.
Thirty elephants will be released in the northeastern Florida refuge, owned by philanthropists Mark and Kimbra Walter, as soon as it is ready. The first arrivals are expected in 2021. (Photos of some of the elephants can be accessed here and a video rendering of the new habitat can be found on YouTube. Credit: White Oak Conservation)
“Elephants are majestic and intelligent animals, and they are in dire need,” Kimbra Walter said. “For too long, humans have decimated the native habitats, poached, and removed these animals from their natural home.”
Mark Walter added, “Our family is committed to improving the lives of individual elephants and ensuring the survival of elephants in the wild.”
Within White Oak Conservation’s 17,000 acres, nine interlinked areas will be opened for the elephants. The area will include a variety of vegetation and habitat types for the elephants to choose from, including wetlands, meadows, and woods.
The spacious habitats will give the elephants room to wander, exercise and forage. White Oak’s philosophy is to accommodate natural behavior and social bonds as closely as possible. Family groups will be together, with calves and their mothers and siblings in the same areas as grandmothers wherever possible.
Eleven waterholes will be built, each wide and deep enough for the elephants to splash and frolic in. Three barns will be built within the complex specifically to suit the elephants’ needs. These facilities will be easily accessible to the elephants and equipped with high-tech veterinary equipment.
White Oak has recruited an expert team to design the habitat and to care for the elephants. Nick Newby, who has managed elephants since 2003, leads the team. He is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Elephant Taxon Advisory Group and is an instructor in the AZA’s Principles of Elephant Management program.
“AZA strongly supports White Oak Conservation’s efforts on behalf of elephants,” said Dan Ashe, President and CEO of AZA. “By providing these elephants the space to explore, to interact with one another, and to engage in natural behaviors, they are being given a key element in animal welfare and wellness — choice.”
Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®, supports the move to the new location and has provided food, care, and expertise throughout the transition. Feld Entertainment has been committed to the care and conservation of the endangered Asian elephant since the company was founded in 1967.
In 1995, that commitment was expanded through the founding of the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation® in Polk County, Fla. After the removal of the elephants from the show in 2016, the company continued to care for all the elephants located at the Center and also worked with other conservation organizations to share years of knowledge and expertise to help save this endangered species for future generations.
“We are proud of our partnership with White Oak to transfer the elephants in our care to their facility to further expand their endangered species conservation efforts,” said Kenneth Feld, Chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment. “White Oak is one of the world’s most well-respected conservation organizations, and we know their dedicated staff will continue to care for these magnificent elephants for years to come.”
Nineteen of the elephants were born in the United States.
“Asian elephants are endangered in the wild,” explained Michelle Gadd, Ph.D., who leads the Walters’ global conservation efforts. “Only 30,000 to 50,000 elephants remain in the wild in less than 15% of their historic range. Where they do survive, they continue to be threatened by habitat degradation and fragmentation, conflict with humans, and poaching.”
Walter Conservation is committed to bringing elephant education and awareness to the next generation of conservationists through its world-class educational and training programs, in person and remotely. In 2019, more than 1,600 students visited White Oak and participated in education programming.
“It is exciting to see these elephants transition into their new home while continuing their strong history as ambassadors for their wild cousins,” said Deborah Olson, executive director of the International Elephant Foundation. “White Oak’s commitment to conservation and animal care makes it the perfect forever home for this herd. The International Elephant Foundation looks forward to working with White Oak to improve the quality of life and viability of elephant populations everywhere.”
ABOUT WALTER CONSERVATION AND WHITE OAK
White Oak, which is a part of Walter Conservation, is a one-of-a-kind center for conservation. With 17,000 acres in northeastern Florida, it has long been dedicated to the conservation and care of endangered and threatened species, including rhinoceroses, okapis, bongos, zebras, dama gazelles, and cheetahs.
White Oak partners with wildlife agencies here and abroad. In the United States, White Oak collaborates with federal and state agencies on species recovery and release efforts for Florida panthers, Florida grasshopper sparrows, Mississippi sandhill cranes, and whooping cranes. In addition to native species, eighteen endangered and critically endangered species have a safe haven in spacious, natural enclosures at White Oak.
Through Walter Conservation, the Walter family conserves rare species and wild places around the world. Efforts include improving the quality of life of individual animals, recovering rare species, restoring ecosystems and protecting wilderness areas.
Thus far, their philanthropy supports several areas in North America and Africa, protecting important wild populations of African elephants, rhinos, lions, and many other species. The Walter Conservation approach is to protect and preserve large wild areas, provide wildlife security and management, to collaborate with local residents and host-country governments, and to invest in sustainable enterprises.
On September 16th the Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved an employment contract with Nassau County’s own, Taco E. Pope, for the position of County Manager. Following the motion, a round of applause broke from county department directors and other local government officials in attendance.
“Nassau County is my home, it is where I grew up, where I am raising my kids, and I don’t intend to ever leave. I chose to dedicate the last 15 years of my professional career to Nassau. I am proud of the fact that I was asked to be the Planning Director, I was asked to be the Asst. County Manager and I have now been asked to serve as the County Manager. If the citizens will have me, I will dedicate the next 15 years of my career to Nassau in whatever capacity the Board feels is appropriate. I just want to be a part of the team.” - Taco E. Pope, AICP
Taco holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from Florida Gulf Coast University and two Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degrees from the University of North Florida; a BBA in Business Management and a BBA in Transportation and Logistics. Taco also holds professional accreditation as a community planner through the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and is a ‘full member’ of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and the Florida City/County Management Association (FCCMA), a member of the American Planning Association (APA), and the Urban Land Institute (ULI).
Taco not only brings local knowledge to the County Manager position; he also brings15 years of local government experience. Of the 15 years, seven years were spent in supervisory roles with the last five years being in management where he served as the County’s Director of Planning and Economic Opportunity and then as the Assistant County Manager. During that time, Taco has been instrumental in fostering a collaborative, community-based approach to community formation through meaningful public engagement, transparency and a holistic view of quality of life.
Taco’s approach to governance has resulted in a number of State and Regional Awards including, most recently, the 2018 Best Practices in Community Planning from the Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association; a 2018 Regional Award for Master Planning of Land Areas from the Florida Planning & Zoning Association; a 2018 Regional Award for Planning & Growth Management from the Northeast Florida Regional Council; a 2019 Regional Award for Outstanding Public Participation from the Florida Planning & Zoning Association.
In addition, Taco’s collaborate and community-based approach to his profession has resulted in requests to serve on both State and Regional boards and committees. Currently, Taco serves on the Florida Association of Counties Trust (FACT) Board of Trustees; the Regional Community Institute of Northeast Florida’s Board of Directors; he is the staff liaison to the Small County Coalition of Florida, and was recently appointed to the newly formed Northeast Florida Economic Resilience Taskforce.
On the personal front, Taco resides in Yulee with his wife of 10 years, Amy, and their two sons. His oldest son was part of the 2020 graduating class at Yulee High School. His youngest son attends Wildlight Elementary School.
When asked why he wants to be County Manager, Taco stated, “Nassau County is my home, it means something to me. I consider myself lucky to have been raised here and to have the opportunity to raise my boys here. I want to craft a community they can enjoy with their grandkids and a community that all residents are proud to call home.”
Taco has also been involved in athletics throughout his life. He was one of the founders of the Yulee Basketball Association (Yulee’s youth basketball league) and has coached numerous youth basketball teams including, three years as the assistant coach at Yulee Middle School. In the late 2000’s, Taco represented the USA as a member of the USA Tomahawks (now the USA Hawks), the USA’s representative team in the Ruby League, for three years. He earned several international appearances including three Atlantic Cup Championships and a World Cup Qualifying match. He also played six seasons in the AMNRL/USARL with the Jacksonville Axemen rugby league team and was placed into the Jacksonville Axemen Hall of Fame in 2015.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Human Resources at (904) 530-6075.
Florida Amendment 2, the $15 Minimum Wage Initiative, is on the ballot in Florida as an initiated constitutional amendment on November 3, 2020.
A "yes" vote supports the initiative to increase the state's minimum wage incrementally until reaching $15 per hour in September 2026.
A "no" vote opposes the initiative to increase the state's minimum wage incrementally until reaching $15 in September 2026, thereby keeping the current minimum wage of $8.46 per hour.
How would Amendment 2 change the minimum wage in Florida?
See also: Ballot language and constitutional changes
Amendment 2 would increase the state minimum wage from $8.56 in 2020 to $15.00 in 2026. Under Amendment 2, the state minimum wage would increase each year as follows:
Beginning on September 30, 2027, there would be an annual adjustment to the state minimum wage based on increases to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).
The ballot summary was as follows:
“Raises minimum wage to $10.00 per hour effective September 30th, 2021. Each September 30th thereafter, minimum wage shall increase by $1.00 per hour until the minimum wage reaches $15.00 per hour on September 30th, 2026. From that point forward, future minimum wage increases shall revert to being adjusted annually for inflation starting September 30th, 2027.”
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