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Missy Layfield - Editor
yesterday, 04/16/2015 at 3:35pm Delete

Who Do We Want To Be?

Its time again for our Town to decide who we are and who we want to be.

Are we a live music destination for SWFL?

Are we a quiet residential town?

Or are we both or something in between?

The subject of noise is not a new one. With an existing ordinance crafted years ago that has been deemed unenforceable, you know noise has been an issue for a very long time. If anyone thought a new ordinance could be crafted quickly or easily, they certainly know better now.

The Towns draft of a noise ordinance has gone through more changes than a Vegas showgirl as it wound its way through the LPA and Council work sessions on its way to a probable Public Hearing at a Town Council meeting on May 18th. At this point the May 18th agenda and a copy of the exact ordinance being proposed is not yet available as its with the Town Attorney. A copy will be available when it is placed on the agenda and the agenda is published, so watch the Towns website.

There is some confusion on the noise issue and that is not helping the discussion. Recently Nervous Nellies was told they were not allowed to have amplified music outside based on a COP provision for the property from over 10 years ago, dating from before it was Nervous Nellies. Realizing that only a few tables right next to the musicians would hear non-amplified music, they opted to cancel all outside music. They still have inside music. The next step looks to be a request for a COP variance that would allow amplified music outside.
2 weeks ago, 04/09/2015 at 5:10pm Delete

We Love Visitors

We love the thousands of seasonal residents and visitors who flock to our island, whether they come for a day, a month or a full season. They bring economic health to our businesses, variety to our community and a seasonal vitality that is hard to duplicate in a community that holds the same people every month of the year.

The visitors we love the most are the ones who participate in our community and treat our community with respect, in other words who act like they care about the island and the people who call it home. The vast majority of our visitors fall in that category and we are grateful for each and every one of them.

The ones that are harder to love are the ones who leave trash everywhere they go. Or the ones who bag it up nicely and then drop it in our parking lots, leaving it all for the trash fairy who sweeps over the island each night, cleaning up after their rude and careless littering habit.

Newsflash: There is no trash fairy. Luckily, our island is blessed with some real trash heroes who pick up otherstrash – Town Public Works staff, Adopt a Beach volunteers, businesses, residents and visitors. Most of us pick up something every single day that someone else has carelessly discarded.

Its April, were growing weary of picking up lazy peoples trash. If we could, wed gladly follow them home and leave it in their home or workplace, so they too could experience dirty empty cans, bottles, drink cups and food wrappers but thats not possible.
3 weeks ago, 04/02/2015 at 3:21pm Delete

Easter

Easter will be celebrated this Sunday with a sunrise service at the Pier at 6:30am and with multiple services at Beach churches later in the morning. Children of all ages will be filled to the brim with sugar and chocolate from Easter baskets and Easter Egg Hunts. Many adults and children will don their best attire and head off to church humming something about an Easter Bonnet.

For those who have lived in far northern climes, Easter, with its promise of new life, at a time when the air is just beginning to warm and the snow to melt, is a perfect metaphor for the story of death and resurrection central to Easter. Living in a world of gray and brown, with only the evergreens to offer any color for half of the year, makes it easy to explain how even though dead, the ground would soon reveal life; grass and plants would sprout and grow and soon the world would once again be ablaze with spring color and life!

We are at a disadvantage here in our beautiful sub-tropical island paradise, where plant life thrives year round and bright-colored flowers are abundant in the middle of "winter.” The story of new life and new beginnings that are at the very heart of the Easter message, illustrated by the wonder of spring, is a little harder to appreciate when youre surrounded by lush tropical foliage year round.

Ask any visitor. They spend a good part of their first days here, marveling at the lush landscape plants and flowers we have, even in January. Thats how important our natural world is. Many flock to our shores just for those signs of life – the warm sun, the swaying palms, the bright flowers.
4 weeks ago, 03/26/2015 at 4:31pm Delete

What Part of Yes Don’t They Understand

Last November 75% of Florida voters sent a message to the Florida Legislature: We want designated funds used for land and water conservation. It isn’t often that such a large number of voters are so clear on an issue.

Fort Myers Beach voters were even more insistent, with over 82% of voters voting yes on Amendment 1.

Unfortunately, the Florida Legislature hasn’t heard the message.

Amendment 1 called for 33% of documentary stamp taxes to be used to acquire and restore Florida conservation and recreation lands for the next 20 years.

The first thing the Legislature did was pull funding for affordable housing, also funded by the documentary stamp fees. They could have adjusted the amount of stamp fees going into the general fund, but apparently needed to make a statement about the effects of Amendment 1. "See what you foolish people made us do?” Once their point was made, they magically found the funding to restore the full amount that the affordable housing trust fund would have received before Amendment 1 before passing the bill along. Seems childish, doesn’t it?

Another tack they’re trying is to use Amendment 1 funding to cover existing administration costs for the Department of Environmental Protection or pay for park ranger salaries rather than invest in new land and water projects.

See, if they use Amendment 1 funds for those things, then they can take the money that would have paid for the DEP and ...