Rayonier Advanced Materials
January 21, 2021
(Fernandina Beach, FL – Thursday, January 21, 2021) Rayonier Advanced Materials’ (RYAM) today announced its Fernandina Plant—a fixture of the Nassau County community since 1937—has produced 10 million tons of high purity cellulose. The local plant, which produced pulp and paper during the Great Depression and rayon tire cord during World War II, today manufactures a highly-refined performance fiber that can be found in LCD screens, pharmaceuticals, automotive filters and countless essential products.
“10 million tons is a major milestone,” said Mark Homans, the Fernandina Plant’s General Manager. “And countless stories underpin that statistic: Four generations of workers, vendors, customers and community partners made this achievement possible. We’re proud to be an integral part of our local economy and to call Nassau County ‘home.'”
Rayonier Advanced Materials’ 10 millionth ton rolled off the line on January 10th, 2021. The milestone was marked by the plant’s longest-serving employees—some of whom have worked at the facility since the 1970s [photo attached].
“Our 10 millionth ton is a reminder that our community, economy and environment are all connected,” said Paul Boynton, the company’s President and CEO. “Our products are part of countless daily routines, from eating breakfast and taking medicine to answering the cell phone and driving the car. Ordinary products require extraordinary manufacturing—and that’s what we’re celebrating: The combined efforts of thousands of employees, vendors, customers and community partners who made it possible; thank you to the entire RYAM “network” for making this happen!”
The operations of Rayonier Advanced Materials’ Fernandina Plant supports 300 employees, 1,229 local jobs and over 250,000 acres of rural forests. 95 percent of the plant’s total fuel comes from renewable resources, 98 percent of its electricity is self-generated and its total economic contribution to the region is $185 million. The plant’s high purity cellulose makes essential products possible, including: LCD screens and films, filters, construction materials, sponges, and shampoos.
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The North Florida TPO is the independent regional transportation planning agency for Duval, Clay, Nassau and St. Johns counties. We lead our region’s efforts in planning, funding and mobilizing resources to develop and maintain our transportation system.
The North Florida Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) is the independent regional transportation planning agency for all of Duval and the major parts of Clay, Nassau and St. Johns counties. We work closely with our agency members and partners to develop and administer transportation plans and programs. Additionally, we conduct studies and provide a regional forum to identify and address transportation issues.
That’s how we meet the transportation needs of our growing region. New and improved roads, transit services, greenways and technologies require extensive planning, funding and coordination among multiple government agencies, stakeholder groups and the public. And the North Florida TPO is leading the way.
Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival
January 20, 2021
Serving as the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival’s Executive Director since 2013, Dr. Joe Marasco has guided the Festival through challenges and growth. His passion, dedication, and optimism have provided the necessary components to usher the Festival into its 20th season. With respect and appreciation, the Festival’s Board has given him a new title, Executive Director Emeritus.
Eric Sakurai was appointed by the Festival’s Board as the new Executive Director. Eric has held a variety of corporate senior executive positions in operations and finance at major corporations in the Northeast and the Midwest. After his retirement in 2015, Eric held positions as the treasurer and board member with the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival. He is also a former executive board member and mentor of Take Stock in Children of Nassau. Currently, he is a board member of the Guitar Foundation of America. He is a life-long, classical music enthusiast, and developed a strong passion for playing classical guitar in recent years. Eric and Gail, his wife of 50 years, have two grown children in Washington DC and Atlanta.
“In my new role as the Executive Director of the Festival, I look forward to working closely with patrons, volunteers, artists, board/staff members, and all music lovers to bring world-class music and education programs to our community,” said Eric Sakurai.
Festival Board President Emma Mills Bledsoe said, “As we welcome Eric to his new role, we all stand and applaud Dr. Joe with our most sincere thanks for his years of dedicated leadership and service.”
The Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival is celebrating its 20th season with an array of internationally recognized award-winning musicians from multiple genres. Respecting the safety of both musicians and the audience, the Festival has arranged for both live and virtual venues. The first concert, featuring the Dover Quartet with Cellist Christopher Rex, is free and may be viewed online Sunday, January 31, 2021, at 2 pm. Information about this and all concerts and tickets are available at www.AICMF.com.
About the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival
Celebrating its 20th Anniversary season, the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival is one of the nation’s most renowned classical music festivals. The Festival is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Celebrating 5 Years of Teen Mentoring and Summer Employment Partnership Between Baptist Medical Center Nassau and Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County
Xanah and Xarah Sproul are recent graduates of Yulee High School. These twins’ aspirations of working in the health and medical fields are now within reach thanks to a partnership between Baptist Health and our local Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County (BGCN). Throughout their high school careers, they participated in weekly mentoring sessions and introductions to various aspects of health care while earning a weekly stipend. They also worked at Tipping the Scale (TTS) summer internship jobs at the hospital each summer after turning 16.
“Thanks to the Tipping the Scale opportunity, I have decided to pursue higher education and focus on a pre-med track in Medical Humanities. The experience in this program, the mentors, and the opportunity in general have helped me realize that I want to go to medical school after I receive my bachelor’s degree,” said 2020 graduate and scholarship awardee, Xanah Sproul.
The program was created to help students stay in school through mentoring relationships, job-readiness training, and real work experience. One key aspect is that students get to develop their communication, social, and work skills while helping to identify their future goals.
“I learned about Tipping the Scale through two of my friends who were involved in it already. I thought it would just be fun, but it turned out to be the best decision ever,” said recent scholarship recipient Reggina Alexander.
“This scholarship means my daughter can continue her education without worrying about how she is going to pay for classes and books,” added Reggina’s mother, Carlesa Kirkland-Glover.
Since 2015, the TTS program has had over 25 students involved and has awarded 5 scholarships for those seniors who complete the program and desire to attend college. The program has expanded from supporting 8 students each year to now offering space for 16 with plans for future expansion. Students in TTS begin the program in the 9th grade are also members of BGCN until graduation.
Baptist Nassau and BGCN board member, Bill Gower, was instrumental in bringing this program to the county. He summarized: “Tipping the Scale is a tremendous opportunity where BGCN teens join the program in the 9th grade and attend weekly sessions at Baptist Nassau Medical Center with our facilitator and a designated Baptist employee mentor. The student receives life guidance, experience in the healthcare field, and earns a weekly stipend of $10.00 per session (48 sessions annually). Also, when students turn 16 they can interview for 8-week summer internships at 40 hours per week. These jobs span most facets of the Medical Center operation. When students graduate, they are eligible to apply for the TTS Scholarship. The award covers tuition and books and can be applied to each successful semester until they earn an undergraduate degree at their college of choice.”
Baptist Health Foundation’s generosity provides the funding for the TTS program. Also, they have assisted in procuring employee mentors, providing facilities at Baptist Nassau Medical Center, and gifting a major donation to help start the Scholarship Endowment. Baptist Nassau President Ed Hubel has been very involved and supportive: “Baptist Nassau takes pride in the contributions within our community and partnering with BGCN and TTS. Our mentoring provides the youth of Nassau county an opportunity for success to graduate high school, demonstrate good character, attend college in the future, and live a healthy lifestyle. These young adults will be OUR future leaders, business partners, and mentors”.
BGCN provides support and leadership for teens who demonstrate a desire to join the TTS program. Steve Nadeau, President of Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County Foundation, expressed his impressions of the impact TTS is having on local teens: "TTS has significantly benefited the BGCN teen members over the last several years due to the year-round commitment of mentors provided by Baptist Medical Center Nassau. These mentors meet with our teens individually once a week to introduce them to a variety of opportunities for future employment in the healthcare industry and they help our teens prepare for job interviews and other challenging projects throughout the year. In short, the TTS program helps our teen members dream big and prepare for bright futures."
Current 8th and 9th graders who have an interest in the TTS program can find out more by contacting the Miller Freedom Center at 904-261-1075.
Barnabas Center Nassau
By Alexandra Winsor,
Date: January 18, 2021
As the safety net organization for Nassau County residents in need, Barnabas Center continues to be on the front lines during the COVID-19 crisis. Services offered to Nassau County residents with low-to-moderate incomes include food programs, financial assistance for housing and utility payments, and medical and dental care.
In response to the need for food in Nassau County due to this pandemic, Barnabas continues to operate mobile food distributions throughout Nassau County. In addition, Barnabas offers a drive-through service distribution three days per week of pre-bagged food items at our main office (1303 Jasmine Street, Fernandina Beach).
Last year, over 200,000 meals of healthy food were provided to more than 4,000 food insecure households. The number of households in need more than tripled as the negative economic effect of the pandemic increased in 2020. Through established partnerships, (including Feeding Northeast Florida, Elm Street Sportsmans Association, Hilliard Baptist Church, Bryceville Baptist Church, Springhill Baptist Church, Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Greater Mt. Pleasant Missionary Church, River Road Baptist Church and Mt. Olive Baptist Church) Barnabas provided fresh produce, dairy, and meats to people in need. We are grateful to all our supporters and community partners that continue to help us meet the needs of our neighbors during these extraordinary times.
For more information about Barnabas food programs and how to get help, call our office at (904) 261-7000 or visit https://barnabasnassau.org/covid-19-food-program-updates/.
For information about available assistance and eligibility, contact Barnabas at (904) 261-7000, or visit www.BarnabasNassau.org.
For your safety and others, please call us for a telephone pre-screening for crisis assistance, food stamp and/or Medicaid applications before visiting our office.
AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. (Jan. 19, 2021) – Northeast Florida’s Amelia Island is setting the table for the annual Amelia Island Restaurant Week, Jan. 22-31. The 2021 event is a 10-day, island-wide culinary celebration with special events and fixed lunch and dinner menus at 27 of the island’s most popular and award-winning restaurants. Menus for lunch are just $12 per person, with dinner menus priced at either $21, $31 or $41 per person. All the menus, restaurant listings, special event information, and discounted stay packages can be found online at AmeliaIsland.com/yummy.
2021 Restaurant Week Events, Menus, Hotel Offers Now Online
“In addition to providing an exceptional dining experience for guests, every meal purchased and every event ticket sold will be a boost for our local restaurants and their employees, which is vitally important to the health of our community,” said Gil Langley, President and CEO of the Amelia Island Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Amelia Island has come together and taken steps to create a safe and inviting environment where diners can feel comfortable and enjoy our diverse dining scene.”
The 2021 Restaurant Week festivities will begin Thursday, January 21 at 6 p.m. with the “Tangent Tastes” Opening Dinner at the Omni Amelia Island Resort. The extravagant five-course, cocktail-paired dinner will feature a unique interactive experience allowing guests to chart their own journey by adding assorted sea sprays and glazes which have been carefully crafted to complement each course. Safety protocols will include social distancing and required face coverings. Tickets are $99 per person.
This year’s restaurant week will showcase 27 of the island’s most popular restaurants, each providing fixed menus for lunch, dinner or both. The list of participating restaurants currently includes:
Wrapping up the 2021 Amelia Island Restaurant Week will be a finale event at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island on Thursday, January 28th at 6 p.m., featuring a tantalizing four-course dinner and reception with an Oysters & Pearls theme. A culinary prelude to the resort’s 30th anniversary, the menu will draw inspiration from the traditional 30th-anniversary gift of pearls, combined with coastal traditions. Dinner will feature fresh oysters, local shrimp and local fish paired with sparkling wines and desserts. Tickets range from $100 to $130 per person, with a portion of proceeds benefitting St. Mary’s Riverkeeper.
For a complete listing of menus, participating restaurants, special event information and discounted hotel packages, visit AmeliaIsland.com/yummy.
About Amelia Island
Northeast Florida’s coastal treasure, Amelia Island is a barrier island rich in colorful history and breath-taking natural beauty. Amelia Island offers long, beautiful beaches, abundant wildlife, and pristine waters. Upscale resorts with world-class spas, championship golf and exclusive dining blend effortlessly with a captivating collection of bed and breakfast inns and historic districts. The island is home to Fernandina Beach, once a vibrant Victorian seaport village, and now a charming downtown district of eclectic shops, attractions and eateries. Forget the everyday getaway; come make memories on Amelia Island. For visitor information and online planning, visit AmeliaIsland.com
Nassau County residents now have access to the most advanced neurological care without leaving the county with the opening of Baptist Neurology Group at Baptist Medical Center Nassau.
Michael Gebel, MD, and Timothy Lucey, DO, have joined Baptist Neurology Group’s new location on Baptist Nassau’s hospital campus. Dr. Gebel and Dr. Lucey are board-certified neurologists who believe in providing the highest quality patient-centered care.
Their specialties include:
Dr. Lucey has practiced neurology in Nassau County for the past 12 years. “I am thrilled to partner with Dr. Gebel to form Baptist Neurology Group in Nassau County,” said Dr. Lucey. “This gives our patients access to a wealth of neurological expertise without having to leave the county.”
Dr. Gebel joins Baptist Neurology Group from Bon Secours Neuroscience Center in Virginia and has more than 30 years of neurology experience. “What I enjoy most about being a neurologist is the relationships I develop with my patients. I enjoy helping patients live their best lives,” said Dr. Gebel.
Baptist Neurology Group has been recognized by U.S.News & World Report as a regional leader in neurology and neurosurgery. The Baptist Neurology Group physicians are highly-qualified specialists and subspecialists who treat spine, brain and nervous systems conditions. Patients at Baptist Neurology Group have access to a complete range of advanced neurological treatments at Baptist Health. They can easily be transported to Baptist’s Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center located at Baptist Jacksonville if more extensive treatment is needed.
About Baptist Health
Baptist Health is a faith-based, mission-driven system in Northeast Florida comprised of Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville; Baptist Medical Center Beaches; Baptist Medical Center Nassau; Baptist Medical Center South; Baptist Clay Medical Campus and Wolfson Children’s Hospital – the region’s only children’s hospital. All Baptist Health hospitals, along with Baptist Home Health Care, have achieved Magnet™ status for excellence in patient care. Baptist Health is part of Coastal Community Health, a highly integrated regional hospital network focused on significant initiatives designed to enhance the quality and value of care provided to our contiguous communities. Baptist Health has the area’s only dedicated heart hospital; orthopedic institute; women’s services; neurological institute, including comprehensive neurosurgical services, a comprehensive stroke center and two primary stroke centers; a Bariatric Center of Excellence; a full range of psychology and psychiatry services; urgent care services; and primary and specialty care physicians’ offices throughout Northeast Florida. The Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center is a regional destination for multidisciplinary cancer care which is clinically integrated with the MD Anderson Cancer Center, the internationally renowned cancer treatment and research institution in Houston. For more details, visit baptistjax.com.
Barnabas has been selected as a beneficiary of the Community Bag Program for the month of February.
The Winn-Dixie Community Bag Program, which launched in February 2019, is a reusable bag program that facilitates community support with the goal to make a difference in the communities where shoppers live and work. Barnabas was selected as the February beneficiary of the program by store leadership at the Winn-Dixie in Fernandina Beach. Barnabas will receive a $1 donation every time the $2.50 reusable Community Bag is purchased at this location during February, unless otherwise directed by the customer through the Giving Tag attached to the bag.
“We are so grateful to have been selected as the beneficiary of Winn Dixie’s Community Bag program in Fernandina Beach,” said Wanda Lanier, Barnabas President & CEO. “Not only does the program promote reuse and recycling, (a value we demonstrate through the operation of our resale store, which sells gently used items to support our food pantry, health services and crisis assistance programs) but the proceeds from the Community Bags program will provide much needed support to these important services that help our neighbors in need in Nassau County.”
Barnabas is a non-profit based in Fernandina Beach with the mission of providing help and hope to individuals and families in need in Nassau County to improve their stability, health, and well-being. Learn more about Barnabas by visiting www.BarnabasNassau.org.
For more information on the Community Bag Program, visit seg.bags4mycause.com.
In Response to Latest COVID-19 Developments The Amelia Island Concours D'Elegance Moves to May 20-23, 2021
Jacksonville, FL – In light of current developments both locally and around the globe, the 26th Annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance will move to May 20-23, 2021.
At the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Foundation made a promise to put the safety of our spectators, volunteers, entrants, judges, vendors, sponsors, staff and board of directors first. Every day since, our team has consulted experts, followed local and national developments and weighed our options. We worked tirelessly to create a plan that would allow us to move forward. We also set benchmarks that would require us to pause.
Moving the date allows more time for the vaccine to be distributed. Additionally, hosting the concours in May will likely increase attendance and the corporate partnerships that allow our 501(c)(3) charitable foundation to continue its mission of providing resources for those in need on Florida’s First Coast and beyond.
We know the date change will present challenges for some. But we believe the health and well-being of those involved outweighs the inconvenience. Tickets and event packages purchased directly from The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Foundation will automatically be carried forward to the corresponding events during the week of May 20-23, 2021. Current vendor and sponsor agreements will also be honored for the new dates.
Thanks for your faithful support of The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Foundation.
Founder and Chairman, Bill Warner, and the Team of The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance
About The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance
THE AMELIA will be held May 20-23, 2021 at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island and The Golf Club of Amelia Island. For the Amelia’s full events schedule, including Saturday’s Cars & Coffee at the Concours and Sunday’s premier Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, visit www.ameliaconcours.org. The show’s Foundation has donated over $3.75 million to Community Hospice & Palliative Care, Spina Bifida of Jacksonville and other charities on Florida’s First Coast since its inception in 1996.
West Nassau Historical Society Selects Saturday, April 17, for Their 16th Annual Fundraising Railroad Day Festival
The West Nassau Historical Society has selected Saturday, April 17, for their signature fundraising Railroad Day Festival. The all-volunteer nonprofit’s 16th annual celebration is an all-day event held in and around the historic 1881 Callahan Train Depot and adjoining 1856 Florida Railroad bed. This year’s event will include a commemoration of Florida's 200th anniversary of becoming a US territory. Other photos and maps of interest will be on display inside the museum of local history section of the 140-year old wooden train station.
The arts/crafts vendors and food vendors are open from 9 AM to 4 PM and the kids’ area will include Joel Pace hands-on music zoo and Hobo scavenger hunt. Local live entertainment will perform on the main depot stage from 9 AM to 4 PM. Callahan Cruisers will host a classic car show at Cochrane's Collision Center next door to the depot Various citizens and sponsors will be honored and car show and contest winners announced during the festivities. Antique engines, tractors, and scaled trains will be exhibited outside the depot while model train layouts will be on display inside the Depot Annex. This is an outdoor event so please bring your lawn chairs. COVID-19 guidelines that are in place during April will be followed.
The West Nassau Historical Society is an all-volunteer non-profit, tax exempt organization dedicated to the preservation of Nassau County’s rich and diverse history and entrusted with the upkeep of the historic Callahan Train Depot. Donations to the 501c3 organization are tax deductible in accordance to current IRS rules. Sponsors and volunteers are needed to help make this year’s festival a success. For additional information on the 2021 Railroad Day Festival visit www.wnhsfl.org or if you are interested in becoming a volunteer, vendor, sponsor, member, or donor call festival co-chairs John Hendricks or Emily Baumgartner at 904-879-3406.
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