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4 days ago, 07/24/2014 at 3:14pm Delete

News and Opinion

Recent events in our community have reminded us at the Sand Paper that we enjoy amazing rights and freedoms, unequaled almost anywhere in the world. With those rights and freedoms, come some serious responsibilities, some of which have been challenged this week by readers taking exception to our news coverage and editorial regarding the elevated pool setback controversy.

Our role as a community newspaper is to serve the community and advocate for what we feel is best for our entire community, not agree with everyone. We respect the fact that intelligent people can look at the facts of a situation and come to different conclusions. For some, the lack of agreement with their viewpoint is enough to be branded as the opposition, or, at the very least, as not well informed.

Last week’s coverage of the elevated pool setback issue brought on Letters to the Editor and some statements or implications that we should be embarrassed, are ignorant of the facts or just wrong.

We don’t expect everyone to agree with our opinions. Readers are always invited to respond with a Letter to the Editor. Each week, we print our Submissions Policy that provides letter guidelines.

This all comes with the territory of running a newspaper, and we’re not crying in our beer, but we felt as though some clarifications might be helpful this week just so our readers know exactly where we stand.

1. Our news articles are based on facts. We report the facts and quotes and may report the opinions of others, but the management of the Sand Paper does not express our opinions on local or regional news via our story selection or coverage. That is one of the serious responsibilities mentioned above and one that we regard as inviolable.

2. We do express our opinions in the Editorial. The weekly editorial is the only platform for our opinions in the Sand Paper.

3. We are a small community newspaper with only so many hours in the day to get the news out. We concede almost every story could be longer and include more info, but advertising revenues dictate the size of our free newspaper, which dictates the number and length of the stories we can run. A sad and very rude reality we face each week is that we must make a profit or we fail, and will no longer be able to serve our community.

Issue-702's Top Story 4 days ago, 07/24/2014 at 3:20pm

FMB Fire District Chief Darren WhiteIsland Neighbor - Darren White
FMB Fire District Chief

When any sort of disaster arises, like the fatal lightning strike on our beach this week, we count on our emergency services people to come to the rescue, to do what can be done. What sort of person chooses to be the one who first arrives on the scene, who makes life-and-death decisions in a moment, who, when it is necessary, calms and comforts total strangers during what, for some, is possibly the worst moment of their lives? Fort Myers Beach Fire District Chief Darren White is such a person.

Born and raised in Miami, Darren White was a happy-go-lucky kid. His parents and neighbors often got together in his backyard on the weekends, to celebrate a special day, or just to unwind after the workweek, and all their kids would come with them.
Water Rally 4 days ago, 07/24/2014 at 3:58pm
Clean Water RallyWater Rally Expected to
Draw Thousands

Seeking to continue withthe momentum created last year -when thousands rallied statewide to protest the horrifying results of the excess water releases from Lake Okeechobee, the organizers of last summer's successful Sugarland Rally in Clewiston and the march to the St. Lucie Locks that drew some 7,000 people have put together another event called the '2nd Annual Save Our River Clean Water Rally', which is scheduled for next Sunday, August 3rd, at Phipps Park in Stuart,Florida. This all-day event will feature speakers from both coasts, a peaceful march and a rock concert and the expected attendance is in the thousands.

Nature 4 days ago, 07/24/2014 at 3:26pm

Seine NettingDedicated to Learning About Nature

On a beautiful, sunny Saturday we decided to accompany students from Lee County Extension's Florida Master Naturalist Program (FMNP), instructors Bryan Fluech and Joy Hazel from Lee County Extension Services and Good Time Charters co-owner Captain Cristina Denegre and her staff on a field trip to learn about the wonders of our back bay onboard Good Time Charters' comfortable pontoon boat.

After setting out from Snook Bight Marina, the trip began with a cruise by Bird Island, where Denegre shared her extensive knowledge of local birds, explaining that there are several mangrove islands in the back bay used as nesting sites for everything from brown pelicans to roseate spoonbills.

Amazon Fire Phone2 days ago, 07/26/2014 at 3:16pm

iSandPaper on Fire PhoneAmazon Offers New Smartphone Options
with iSandPaper Mobile Web App Compatibility!

Amazon recently announced the July 25 introduction of their new Fire Smartphone, the first phone designed by Amazon, and the only smart phone with Firefly technology.

According to, users can launch the new Firefly technology feature by holding down the Firefly button, then just point your camera at items you want to recognize, or tap the music or video icons on the screen to identify music you are listening to or a movie or TV show you are watching.

Elevated Pool Controversy2 weeks ago, 07/18/2014 at 2:57pm

Settlement EndsControversy Ends With a Divided Vote

The elevated pool controversy appeared to finally come to a close Thursday night when the Town Council voted 3-2 to accept a slightly revised settlement agreement between the Town and Developer Joe Orlandini - where he will take down the elevated pool already constructed at 301 Palermo and agree not to build any accessory structure within 25 feet of a seawall if the height of that structure exceeds 42 inches - in return for a payment from the Town of $250,000. Council had already accepted most of the agreement at a special meeting on June 20th, but asked staff to make a few adjustments. That work was completed earlier this week, so Vice-Mayor Dan Andre - acting in Mayor Anita Cereceda's stead as she is out of the country - called the meeting so that Council could finally put the matter to rest.


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Dogs having fun at the dog beach in Fort Myers Beach.
This is a great dog beach, with lots of sand for dogs to run on. The water is shallow, gradually deepening and opening up to the Gulf of Mexico. Video courtesy of Debbie Bates.
Did you know?

While we are definitely a small, independent newspaper, I would say our audience and reader population is not. Why? Between our 5 platforms:

  1. Weekly newspaper - 750,000 readers per year
  2. Monthly magazine - 100,000 readers per year (conservative estimate of 1.5 readers per issue)
  3. Newspaper website - 600,000 unique visitors per year
  4. Mobile web app - est first year visitors/users 100,000
  5. Social media presence - estimate next twelve months traffic 100,000

We can expect to reach a total of 1,650,000 readers and viewers in the upcoming 12 months! By Islanders For Islanders since 2000.

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