Click Here To Subscribe View Cart  


Editorial 668

Missy Layfield - Editor

Shop Local

As the holiday season kicks into high gear, think of your community before you order online or head out of town for the big box stores. This is an excellent opportunity to support your local community by shopping with your local businesses. Shop Small Business Saturday.

Nestled between the monolithic shopping days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday, celebrated on November 30th this year, gives local business some well-deserved attention.

Last year, 67% of shoppers were aware of Small Business Saturday and they spent $5.5 billion at small independently owned retailers, according to American Express, who launched Small Business Saturday in 2010.

Local business is the lifeblood of any community, including ours. They create jobs. They provide services and products that residents and visitors need. They keep our economy running.

Islanders know how important supporting their own community is. While we’d like to draw visitors and shoppers to our island from far and wide, the base of island business enterprise is local support.

We recognize this during the summer months when visitor numbers are down by patronizing our local shops, bars and restaurants. We should remember it during the holiday shopping season also.

Our own Beach community offers an abundance of shopping options. Right here in our community, you can give someone the experience of a sunset cruise or a day on the water in a kayak or a day at a spa. How about a jet-ski afternoon or an oil change or house cleaning?

If you’d like to wrap up a gift, take a look at any of our excellent gift stores. You’ll find unique and clever gifts that no matter how early you rise, you won’t find in those big box stores. The island holds clothing stores, jewelry stores, hardware stores and ship’s stores. Any of them would really appreciate your business this holiday season.

Don’t forget our fun and funky bars and restaurants. Most of them offer interesting and colorful t-shirts and other items. How about a bottle of hot sauce or hand cream or a beach towel? Or a Sand Paper subscription? We, along with all the other locally owned small business owners on the Island, would like to encourage residents and visitors to Shop Local this holiday season. Look for the December Entertainment Magazine, out December 1st -- it’s chock-full of local businesses and gift ideas!

Skip the dawn patrol this year and make your way into one of our local stores to pick out a truly original gift for those on your list.

Shop local – this week and every week!

Coconut Telegraph

We are reminded of the power of rumor, or as we call it on the Island, the coconut telegraph. Often it’s the harmless sharing of who’s returned from vacation or how the food is at the new place.

But sometimes rumor can pack a dangerous and powerful punch. Town of Fort Myers Beach Community Development Director Walter Fluegel recently found himself the subject of reputation damaging rumors. Last week he chose to face them head on by asking Town Manager Terry Stewart to bring in an outside attorney to investigate the rumors and to clear his name.

As Development Director, he is an easy target. There’s always somebody unhappy about a permit application or a zoning regulation or code enforcement.

Right now the hot topic is elevated pools. For those of you who are just back on Island, a few elevated pools were permitted, based on current code interpretation, before neighbors started complaining about the loss of their canal views. Town Council and the Local Planning Agency have moved to hold off on permitting more above ground pools until current Town codes can be fully examined and possibly updated to address the subject.

This is not the first time our code has fallen short of providing clear direction on a topic. There are several areas that have been brought up for revision to clarify what is and is not allowed. Each time, there is a hue and cry to leave it the way it is. Except the way it is remains too vague and fails to address issues that come before the Town. Like elevated pools.

Meanwhile, Fluegel explained in a memo to Stewart that there’s been talk that a developer bribed Fluegel. This casts a shadow of suspicion on both the developer and Fluegel.

It’s not harmless gossip. It threatens the livelihood of two professionals and calls into question their integrity. They both deserve better.

As hard as it can be to pin down the source of a rumor, an independent investigation will give both men the opportunity to clear their names. But how sad that our tax money needs to be spent on this.

Think before sharing "news” that is harmful or hurtful. The Golden Rule applies, as it usually does. Would you want someone saying this about you?

Missy Layfield