As we stroll the beach and the boulevard, it’s unanimous, season is here and it’s big --bigger than it has been in several years. And that is cause to celebrate here on the beach.
With that increase in population comes an increase in traffic and, unfortunately, an increase in crime.
No, I’m not suggesting that our seasonal visitors are responsible for a local crime wave. I suspect that thieves and assorted lowlifes are also aware of the increase in population and find the beach a target rich environment for thievery.
According to crimereports.com in the last 2 weeks, there have been 9 thefts and 8 breaking and entering reports made on Fort Myers Beach.
Does this surprise you?It does many. Our visitors come to our island for rest and relaxation, for sun and sand, for a slower pace of life, for a laid-back comfortable break from their regular life.
All of those things can be found here. But it’s important to not abandon the common-sense safety precautions you use in other places just because you’re at the beach.
Lock your car and your house. Don’t leave valuables lying in plain sight. Get to know your neighbors and watch out for each other. Be aware of your surroundings.
Another aspect of island safety that cannot be emphasized enough, is pedestrian safety. We are an island with several pedestrian heavy areas without enough separation between car traffic and sidewalks. That is an issue that is being addressed ever so slowly in the planned rebuilding of Estero Blvd by the county. In the meantime, it’s critical that everyone, pedestrians, cyclists, runners and drivers-all pay careful attention ALL the time.
We’ve had several tragic accidents on our island in the last few years. A second’s lack of attention can mean life or death. Pay attention. Put down the phone.
Use crosswalks whenever possible. Drivers are required to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk. Pedestrians help your case and make eye contact with drivers before stepping into the street to be sure they’ve seen you. And for heaven’s sake, look like you’re waiting to cross the street. Standing at the edge of the crosswalk with your face buried in your phone does not send a clear message to drivers.
Outside a crosswalk, pedestrians must wait for traffic to clear before crossing. Remember there are 3 lanes in some areas-make sure all 3 lanes are clear.
If you’re going to be walking at night, carry a flashlight and wear light-colored clothes. Make yourself as visible as possible. Walk on the sidewalk rather than the side of the road. Remember that you can see the car before the car’s driver can see you.
There’s no magic to making our roads safer-it takes each one of us paying close attention ALL the time.Let’s make this the year we don’t have a serious accident on the island.
The qualifying period for two Town Council seats begins today
Seats #1 and 2 are up for election, currently held by Dan Andre, appointed in late 2012 and Alan Mandel, who is eligible for a second term. Both Andre and Mandel have qualified by petition already and will be on the ballot.
The question is, will anyone else run for Town Council?
In October, there were 11 interested candidates who applied for the open seat left when Larry Kiker resigned to run for County Commissioner, all with impressive credentials.
Will any of them or any other Island resident be willing to run for office on March 12th?
Candidates must be a registered voter and a resident of the Town for at least one year. The qualifying period runs from noon January 18 to noon January 25th. The qualifying fee is $432. For details on forms, requirements and deadlines, stop by Town Hall.
We get letters, lots and lots of letters here at the Sand Paper. They come by postal carrier, fax and email. Some are dropped off at our front desk. We love hearing from our readers on any subject that moves them to share their opinions with Sand Paper readers.
Our letter submission guidelines are spelled out on the Editorial page each week. They’re designed to allow us to print as many letters as possible because we know our readers enjoy reading what other Islanders think about a variety of subjects.
After some misdirection this week, we are going to require that letters to the editor include a name signed or typed at the end of the letter and a phone number for confirmation.We don’t publish the number. If you are not willing to give us your name and number, your letter will not be appearing in the Sand Paper.
The Sand Paper and our readers want to hear what Islanders think, especially about Beach topics of concern. Send us your letters, but please sign them and give us a phone number.