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Proposal adds second ferry
4/23/2014
Over the past few weeks there have been headlines creating fear of a negative impact on St. Marys, and/or Cumberland Island, from a proposal to add a ferry franchise from Fernandina Beach, Fla., to Cumberland, like the one that exists from St. Marys. There is no proposal to make new bicycle paths on Cumberland Island, and there is no proposal to take away the St. Marys ferry service to Cumberland. There is simply a proposal for a second ferry service connection to Cumberland, which would enable a FL-GA ferry connection via Cumberland with a transfer between the two ferries. This connection would enable bicyclists using the East Coast Greenway, a national trail from Maine to the Florida Keys, to have a safe GA-FL connection.
In 2013 the National Park Service (NPS) and Adventure Cycling, Inc. signed an agreement to support trail and park connections where possible. Trail and park connections are a good thing. While there is risk with any change, there is also risk with no change. Many cities are competing for tourists and many cities are improving.
With this connection, tourists to St. Marys and Fernandina Beach will have a new and fun way of connecting to both cities. The cities could and should cooperate to encourage their tourists to visit both cities (and the city, state and national parks in the area) to make this connection a win-win. Amelia Island has two sate parks and is connected to the Timucuan Preserve, a national park, on the south.
About 40 years ago, the Cumberland Island visitor ceiling was set at 1,460 per day with initial visitors limited to approximately 300 per day. The average has been 110 per day, so we believe there is room for the second ferry service within the current NPS visitor guidelines. We can improve the quality of life in the region, improve tourism business for both cities, close a gap in a national trail and do it with no harm to Cumberland.
Phillip Scanlan
Amelia Island, Fla.


Pickleball venues, would be good for community
4/23/2014
Completely absent from St. Simons Island or elsewhere in Glynn County are any facilities for the fastest growing sport in the United States today - pickleball. Invented about 40 years ago, it has become extremely popular among the active sets in their 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and, yes, even 90s. What is this game? How is it played? For answers, I suggest reading about it (on Wikipedia) and watching it played (on YouTube).
I met in March with Wesley Davis, Director of Glynn County's Recreation and Parks, who expressed considerable interest in the healthy aspects of pickleball and the financial benefits to communities that host pickleball venues and competition. He said that the support of the County Commissioners would be critically important, in particular St. Simons Island commissioner, Dale Provenzano. I attempted to contact Mr. Provenzano for his support on three occasions, twice by phone and once by email. Regrettably, he did not return my calls or respond to my email. The web videos demonstrate a strong likelihood that pickleball will catch on here like wildfire, as it has elsewhere. This would be good for the health and well-being of our local residents and visitors and would surely bring added income for businesses that cater to sports equipment and sports tournaments.
I hope that all who read this letter and who support the idea presented above will contact the County Commissioners to voice that support.
Jim McAdams
St. Simons Island


St. Simons roundabout extremely dangerous
4/23/2014
A few short weeks ago, I was attending an AARP driver refresher course (no, they don't refer to it as a defensive driving course - you'll have to ask them) and the instructor stated that statistically, roundabouts are far safer than normal intersections.
Later, with a minimal amount of research, I learned the instructor was absolutely correct. Roundabouts are statistically safer than normal intersections. The flaw in the statistics lies in the face that they were gleaned through studies of roundabouts in England, Canada and Europe. Those roundabouts have a much larger radius, more driving lanes and the drivers in those countries are actually trained in the proper usage of some.
Anyone who has had the honor of traversing the roundabout by the St. Simons Airport will attest the fact it can be a life-changing event. Not only are the instructions for its usage vague or nonexistent, we have the added nightmare of pedestrian walkways at all four roads entering the roundabout. Should a pedestrian or biker wish to cross at any of the four walkways, he or she simply pushes the button to activate the flashing yellow lights and proceeds across.
So what is wrong with this?
All traffic coming through at this point must immediately stop, which means there suddenly and abruptly is a stoppage all the way around the roundabout in a chain reaction manner. It's only a matter of time before an event of tragic proportions occurs at one of our miniscule roundabouts.
The engineers at the Department of Transportation who designed and constructed our roundabouts must either be very small people or absolutely have no understanding of the consequences of their designs.
The roundabout at the St. Simons Airport is better suited to accommodate golf-cart races than vehicular traffic.
Robert Callahan
Brunswick


Reader responds to letter to editor on spit
4/23/2014
I guess that the community can be thankful that you are not a county commissioner, Mr(s). Meeks. No private property would be out of your reach if you were. That may be a bit of a stretch, but the point is that the Sea Island Spit is not your property and you actually have no say over it. It is private property.
It does not make any difference whether it is owned by an individual or an out-of-state investment company. Other than the acreage that they are asking to build on, you have no way of knowing what their future intentions are for the rest of the property. You might consider making the Sea Island Company an offer for that piece of property. It can't be worth much since you say it will not be there in a few years.
By the way, I doubt that the commissioners oath of office included anything about the IPC decision. We are very fortunate to live in a country that still lives mostly by the rule of law. It will apply, when the decision is made, on this private property.
William F. Johnson
Brunswick


Woman wants to thank citizen who helped her
4/18/2014
I'd like to address this to my guardian angel who, on Friday, April 11, between 12:45 and 1:30 p.m., came to my rescue after a terrible biking incident along Golden Isles Parkway. I have no recollection of the incident, only that I woke up in an ambulance, unclear as to why I was even in Brunswick, Ga. It was not until later that I was told that a concerned citizen either witnessed the accident or simply saw me lying unconscious and called 911. I have only moved to Brunswick less than a month ago and am not too familiar with the area. Although I had been biking along the route of Golden Isles Parkway and Cate Road for three weeks, that days' events, actions of a stranger and results that I am alive have solidified why I have come to the area.
In short, thank you to my guardian angel, whomever and wherever you may be. I hope the day will come that I may meet you in person to honor your efforts so you can know how truly touched I am for your genuine concern of a stranger.
Carrie M. Woods
Brunswick


Historic foundation completes first acquisition
4/18/2014
On April 3, a warranty deed was recorded by which Neil R. Foster conveyed Lot 92, Old Town, 721 Grant St., and the 19th century cottage remaining in place to the Historic Brunswick Foundation, Inc. Congratulations to the Historic Brunswick Foundation for the completion of its first acquisition and to Mr. Foster for his help in the transaction.
Let all who care about our heritage get behind our new leadership to insure Historic Brunswick finally realizes its potential.
Austin E. Catts
Brunswick


People should come together despite tragedy
4/18/2014
Passover is a season for freedom for moving from oppression to strength and joy. With deep sadness, I write about recent events at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kan.
Sunday, a white supremacist murdered three people at the JCC. This was a desperate act of violence, an attempt to force upon us a pained sense of reality - a reality of fear.
It's tempting to focus only on this man but we would miss that in every life. Regardless of background, color or creed, we all have felt marginalized... alone. In difficult moments, we can step into a darkness which can consume us and those around us.
At Passover, we are told to relive the story of Exodus as if it is happening now. In light of Sunday's events, the pain of the Exodus story comes to life - our lives. We also must relive the courage it took to move out of slavery, reminding us redemption happens when we lift our feet and step towards freedom.
At this season, may we all reach out for freedom. Let's speak out against fear, stand against every injustice and fight to grab the light to beat back that darkness. Let's all gather together as one. Not only at a Passover Seder or an Easter feast, but as one community, one world, and one people.
Our thoughts and prayers are with those whose lives were forever changed by the horrific events Sunday. As we say at the Passover meal, "This year we are bound. Next year, may we all be free."
Rabbi Rachael Bregman
St. Simons Island


Reader encourages letter writer to check facts
4/18/2014
In response to the letter from Steve Kroop on April 16, I would like to make several remarks. First, this newspaper has always been fair to both sides, not like the majority of our biased media. Had The Brunswick News been as one-sided as he intimated, his letter would never have been printed. Second, he's blaming Obama's failures on Republican obstruction. Please note he had controlled the Congress and Senate the first time around and still failed miserably. Mr. Kroop mentioned how great things were under Bill Clinton. Please note that he (Clinton) had a Republican Congress that forced bills like welfare reform through, for which he got and took credit.
He blamed the recession on Republicans.
Please, as he asked, check the facts. Google Barney Frank and Franklin Raines. These Democrats forced banks to grant loans that could never be paid back (good intentions to help the poor but got horrible results). After the banks failed under the control of Mr. Raines, he received a 90 million dollar bonus while the rest of the country lost their homes and jobs. Yes, please check these facts.
Don Brunelle
St. Simons Island


County must end spit debate
4/18/2014
If I were a county commissioner, I would be furious regarding the proposed development of the Sea Island Spit. This proposal is based on abundant misinformation, illegalities and deceit. The area to now be developed was not in the text or even on the map of the original rezoning in 2004. This development is illegal on several grounds, including violating the county's own setback lines, which the county attorney knows-if he's worth his salt-and should so advise them. To be asked to agree to sell land that will be under water in a few years is morally inexcusable.
According to Smithsonian Magazine, pumped (re-nourished) beaches erode 11âÑ2 to 12 times faster than natural beaches, especially down current (south) of groins. The aerial photos of the area is priceless proof. I stood on the beach south of the groin when it was first installed. It is now underwater, as the photo shows. By it's nature to capture sand, it will continue to starve the proposed area of sand and beach.
Make no mistake - all this money, time and effort are not about eight houses. Our commissioners are not naive. It's about getting a foot in the door and setting a legal precedent to fully develop the spit. Years ago, a developer got permission from the commission to build a road to Hawkins Island for "tennis courts." They waited quietly for a few years, then developed it. Bait and switch. The Spit development is a classic example.
The Commissioners need to honor their oath of office and overturn the IPC decision and end this illegal and immoral boondoggle.
Tad Meeks
St. Simons Island


Disrespecting leaders does not advance nation
4/18/2014
At some point the question must be asked: what do we expect from our elected officials? Obviously we expect to be represented, to be heard. But on another front, we expect, rather, we should hope that our officials would help elevate the national discourse. That is far from the case. Politics and party aside, this is not liberal vs. conservative, Republican vs. Democrat. This is civility and basic human decency. This seems to be lacking.
I witness the dog-whistle phrases used against the president: "Food Stamp President," "born in Kenya," "Act like an American." I hear the disrespect not just for the man but the office that Louie Gohmert is displaying towards Attorney General Eric Holder. Whether showing disrespect for another man be he black or white, Republican or Democrat, is not the way our nation advances.
I would hope that those in power would use their esteemed office not to belittle those they oppose but elevate the public conversation.
Charles Hill
St. Simons Island


Reader confused by wording used from SACS
4/18/2014
Your article about our schools receiving SACS stamp of approval left me confused by their three items requiring actions. One I could interpret as saying all children need an adult advisor. That makes sense. But what does "develop and implement a district wide policy that engages stakeholders effectively" mean? Are we all stakeholders of the school system, or is that just the students, teachers and parents? What does "engage effectively" mean? Is that talk and listen? The third recommendation was just as senseless. Can't anyone speak plain English anymore?
I'm fortunate to have had a college education but this is beyond me.
Madge C. DeMay
St. Simons Island


What happened six years ago is not the issue now
4/18/2014
Yes, by all means, wake up, Georgia. Any of you who continue to be unaware of the reckless spending policies of this Democrat-controlled administration need a wake-up call. Runaway spending. Runaway debt. What is their answer? More taxes so they can spend more of our money to give them what they want - more control over every aspect of our lives.
Still think Obamacare is about health insurance? Think about all the lies that have been told about it: "You can keep your doctor"; "your insurance costs will be lower." Even the one about the Republicans causing the government shutdown was a lie. The House passed a budget that included everything but Obamacare and the Democrat-controlled Senate refused to consider it. Forget the Bush-bashing. Whatever happened six years ago is not the issue. What is the issue is what has been done to straighten things out, and the answer is nothing.
Want lower gas prices? Probably bringing the oil Canada is already producing to Gulf-Coast refineries would help. Heard of the Keystone non-pipeline? Many years of Democrats and their cronies obstructing the drilling and refining of oil have finally had their effect. Are we really better off now than we were six years ago when this "community organizer" was elected? I certainly am worse off, and I think I have plenty of company in that. We are taxed enough already and unwilling to pay the bill for Euro-Socialism. Wake up, America.
Albert W. Way
Darien


Obama does not focus on issues that matter
4/18/2014
The war on women is not an issue. Gay marriage is not an issue. Abortion and birth control are not an issue. Polls always show that the majority of people in the country could care less about these things. So why does Obama constantly harp on them? To deflect from his colossal failures in the things that are issues like the economy, taxes, an effective foreign policy, maintaining a justice department that actually upholds the law and cleaning out the vast corruption in his administration, starting with himself.
But the media is all too happy to bury these issues while promoting a nonsense agenda that only affects a tiny percentage of the people.
Chuck Jones
St. Simons Island


Reader appreciates article with multiple viewpoints
4/16/2014
I wanted to write to comment on Michael Hall's article on April 11, "Families still grieve for crime victims." I thought the way in which Hall told the story of a much larger issue through the eyes of two women who have been affected by violent crimes in different instances helped me feel more empathy for the issue at hand than if he had simply described the scene at the Crime Victims' Memorial Ceremony.
Showing the surprise at how long the list of names read at the memorial ceremony has helped me, as the reader, understand just how prevalent this problem is and how important it is for the community to do something about it. It is nice to see a piece delve deeper and provide multiple viewpoints than many I read at The Brunswick News that appear more surface and one-dimensional. Thanking Mr. Hall for his work!
Mary Matthews
Athens


Brunswick study is waste of money
4/16/2014
Sunday morning I woke up to the headline "What will potential tax mean for city." I was so upset and appalled as I read the amount of money it will cost to "study" what is already a known fact. The city of Brunswick is in a continual state of decay. The "historic downtown" is losing small businesses as fast as the weather changes. There is blight because owners either are on a fixed income like I am or don't care. Brunswick is losing residents at an alarming rate.
Between the food tax and possibility being taxed on run off, which we have no control over, who - I say, who - would want to come here or own here. This smacks of poor planning, i.e., the jail, the motel for the JWSC, now the purchase of the United Community Bank building.
The people of Brunswick who can't sell because, according to the federal government, Biggert-Waters Act renders their property sellable, I am one of those. Sure wish Jack Kingston had read it. I had to sell the home of my birth in an already depressed market because I couldn't afford to live in it or wait in hopes of a rebound. I remember when they went down this same road.
I voted for you, Mr. Harvey. I implore you. Don't let this happen. If the city can't afford to exist, stop burdening the already-struggling citizens of Brunswick. Face it and consolidate. Hey! Dan and city commissioners: How 'bout you guys take that money, don't pay for a study to tell you what you already know and fix the decaying sewer system.
Patricia Buie
Brunswick


Republicans gave us recession
4/16/2014
Who is Donald Lambro? What rock did he crawl out from? What are his credentials? Where does he get his facts from? You're newspaper, which is so biased, gives him the platform to spew unsubstantiated, so-called facts about our president. I am sick of it! Our president has been blocked and criticized at every turn by the do-nothing, no-nothing Republicans. What have they done for us common people? Nothing!
Instead of introducing legislation to advance the common cause, all they can do is obstruct. Where can I get a part-time job that pays $174,000 a year?
Things were great for all of us when Bill Clinton was president. Gas was 97 cents per gallon, and my business was booming. Then came Bush and Bush and "The Great Recession"! Forget about Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan - $700 billion bailout? That's what the Republicans gave us! Think they're going to straighten us out? Think again!
How about some Democratic commentaries to refute the lies? Wake up, Georgia!
Steve Kroop
Brunswick


FEMA needs to be logical, more realistic
4/16/2014
The editorial on April 14 regarding FEMA was the best in 14 years. Those who pay flood insurance should not have to bear the burden for the uninsured. If the government chooses to assist, it should come from a separate fund. Those who pay flood insurance for years and never have a claim should not be penalized for irresponsible people who choose to build in flood prone areas like oceanfront in the Outer Banks.
The 100-year floodplan is unrealistic. We had a tornado on St. Simons Island in 2008. Our homeowners' insurance did not increase. We are still considered low risk for tornados. FEMA needs to be logical and realistic.
Cathy King
St. Simons Island


Dog attack worries resident
4/9/2014
On Friday April 4th, I was taking my dog for our peaceful stroll through the beautiful downtown area of Saint Simons Island. Unfortunately on that day, the stroll was neither peaceful or beautiful. As i turned at the 300 block of 12th Street, a vicious dog burst from a screen porch and attacked my dog.
I want to thank the kind people who stopped to help me and take us to the Island Animal Hospital, the neighbor who called the animal hospital to tell them we were coming and the staff there who were so kind and caring. I don't know your names, but want you to know what your kindness means to me.
Despite there heroic efforts it was too late to save Maggie. While the loss of Maggie is a tragedy, an equal loss, is the thought that the dog is still there, and I can no longer walk in peace through this area without thinking of other dog, or even children who could suffer the same tragedy.



4/9/2014
Do I understand this correctly?
Jermaine Javon Thomas was arrested for allegedly killing his girlfriend April 2. He was on probation. Not once but four times.
In 1997 he received five years probation for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
In 2000 he received five years probation for three counts of obstruction through violence.(Did he not just break the previous 5 year probation?)
In 2001 he received five years probation for sale of cocaine. (Twice broke his 1997 probation)
In 2010 he received five years probation for possession of a firearm by convicted felon.
Do we see a pattern here?
The law enforcement apparently did not.
With four previous convictions and four overlapping probations, is it any wonder he now has committed murder? Will he get a five year probation again?
Hello out there Justice....I hope not. It's way past time to lock him up.



4/9/2014
Apparently we were hard up for news on Monday.
(Monday's) headline in the Brunswick News was "Drivers handle rising gas prices."
Huh!
The petroleum Industry is huge, and while there are probably many things that go into the price of gas at the pump, the price is primarily determined by supply and demand. When the price of gas drops (due to low demand), produceres shut down until the price goes back up. You can't sell at a price below your cost to produce. Think like a producer. What would you do.
As for accepting the price, what choice do you have. When gas prices go up, I drive less and perhaps buy less expensive groceries etc. We all do that. What about the price of a loaf of bread. I remember when it was a nickle. In 1997, when Mr. Brown was paying $.99 for a gallon of gas, the price in London was $6. Now the London price is $10 per gallon, but somehow, the Britts have adapted.
People polled believe gas price are too high. What do you expect. I have never heard a poll where people said prices were too low, for anything. Come on Man.


Once land is developed, it's gone forever
4/2/2014
The only thing I know for sure is that once any wilderness is "developed," it is gone forever.
Chuck Carter
St. Simons Island


Residents should let officials know stances
4/2/2014
Our island home is changing more rapidly than most of us can absorb. We have The Reserve, where land has been clear-cut; the new Sea Island Inn where wetlands were filled, then grassed over; and the now pending approval of eight residences on a fragile bit of land on Sea Island. Levying fines is pitiful retribution for doing things after the fact when in fact the offenders should be forced to restore what had been done.
Our St. Simons Island residents need to let our Island Planning Commissioners know that we expect them to stand up and vote for what best serves the public interest and not only the developers. We know the Glynn County Commissioners, would not stand for anything else. Let our county commissioners and our own planning commission hear from you.
Page Oberlin
St. Simons Island


Opponents of spit should buy land to preserve it
4/2/2014
I don't understand why so many citizens want to control the spit. If they do not want anything built, maybe they should consider buying it. The owners have every right to follow the codes and procedures to sale, develop or trade their property.
If the land is not suitable to build, the price will reflect so.
Get over your controlling nature and allow people to progress.
Van Box
St. Simons Island


Ferry could be run privately
4/2/2014
For the second time this week, I've seen Cumberland's park service blame "sequester" for some woe.
Rep. Jack Kingston succeeded against strong resistance in authorizing five to eight tours per day to more distant points of Cumberland.
Your report states that they are currently running one per day.
Georgia state parks have a network of volunteers that begs to be of some service to our state parks. They are volunteers with varied professional backgrounds who free up paid personnel to perform other duties within the system. This looks like one possibility to ponder. The other is exploring the possibility of putting the tours in private hands and private vans, much as the park service does with the ferry service to the island. I couldn't imagine that this wouldn't cause a flood of interest, but it requires thinking outside of the box and a free market approach to solving a problem.
It's always easier to blame something else for your problem than try to solve it.
Rick McBride
St. Simons Island


Shrimpers not responsible for killing fish, turtles
4/2/2014
Your Monday article states that local shrimpers disagree with the study by Oceana on sea turtle deaths. My husband is a shrimper. We live in Yulee, Fla., and mainly shrimp the Fernandina Beach area. We purchase a Florida, as well as a Georgia license each year as we do shrimp Georgia waters. We have a 32 foot trawler and bring our catch in daily.
Until July 2011 I had never been on a shrimp boat. At that time, I met Mike Adams and began working as a striker on his boat. We married in February of this year. As of this date, I have never seen a turtle caught on our boat. The Turtle Excluder Device works as it is designed to do. Also we have a device called a fish eye made into our nets. Your article failed to mention this device. Because of these devices, turtles and fish are allowed to escape the nets.
I have never met John Wallace, but I too agree that this study should be taken with a grain of salt. We have taken government, as well as FWC officials out on our boat. If we were killing sea turtles and fish, we would have been hesitant to do so. Shrimpers welcome the devices that exclude anything other than shrimp on the boat. It is hard enough to make a living as a shrimper, without groups such as Oceana making it sound as if the shrimpers were responsible for the destruction of fish and sea turtle.
Barbara Adams
Yulee, Fla.





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