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Missy Layfield - Editor
6 days ago, 08/27/2015 Delete

Island Kudos

The Sand Paper family is a part of our community, living and working right here on the island. As a result, we are committed to sharing the good news about our Island community. We use this space every couple of months to focus on some of the good things happening and the numerous generous people who make our Island a better place to live, work and play. Kudos go out to…

Students, teachers and staff at all of our Lee County Schools on the beginning of another school year!

The Fort Myers Beach Fire Control District and their ongoing efforts to provide CPR and AED training to residents and businesses.

Shell Points Community Thrift Store for their donation of clothing to Haiti and their financial support of the Heights Center for senior programming.

All those Islanders who close their drapes, turn off their lights or switch to turtle-safe light bulbs along the beach. Were in the midst of turtle hatching season. Light is the enemy of newly hatched turtles. Help them make it to the surf by keeping the beach dark.

Lee County Bar Association for their efforts to help area kids via scholarships, civics education, learning activities and mentorships.

All those who work to keep water quality issues front and center on our island and with the decision makers in Tallahassee.

Camp counselors, helpers and parents on the end of summer vacation.

2 weeks ago, 08/20/2015 at 4:39pm Delete


Its the doldrums of August here on Fort Myers Beach. August creeping toward September. Heat, humidity and afternoon storms. A time when our number of visitors is traditionally down. While that is the downside, its also a time when we who have the privilege of living here year-round get to visit our favorite local shops and restaurants and try a few we havent visited in awhile. With construction, its even more important that we patronize our local businesses this summer, so enjoy the slower paced life and stop by some old friends downtown to shop or grab a cool drink.

After a rocky start, traffic is moving much better now than it was a couple weeks ago. With two different one-lane areas with flaggers, there are still some delays but nothing even remotely approaching seasonal traffic gridlock. It might take you an extra 15 minutes to traverse downtown during the afternoon hours. Those of us used to zero traffic in August are making adjustments.

Those on the other side of the project, namely the Town and County, could use a little sensitivity training. The fact is that Island employees and businesses are hurting as a direct result of this much-needed project. It wouldn't hurt to, at the very least, try to seem sympathetic. Mostly what those hurting have heard is that it isnt the Towns job to help keep them in business. Theyre on their own.

Last week the Chamber asked the Countys Tourist Development Council (TDC) for funds to get a social media campaign rolling to counteract any negative publicity caused by the construction. No word on a response yet.

3 weeks ago, 08/13/2015 at 4:21pm Delete

Estero Notes

Traffic on Estero Boulevard is improving in this second full week of construction. Progress is being made with the water lines that are the first part of the project. A meeting last week provided residents and businesses the opportunity to offer suggestions and share their concerns. All good things.

Changes have already been made and will continue to minimize traffic congestion as much as possible.

Tempers are short. Apparently memories are also. At the meeting last week, no less than three officials involved in the water line project explained why this phase of the project couldnt safely be done at night. Safety of workers, pedestrians and vehicles is paramount. The lines run under the road. The lines and utilities that crews are finding as they dig up the road, which is a foot thick in some places – another complication -- are worse than they feared. Its really difficult to shine adequate light into a hole in the ground, while several crew members and equipment stand over or in the hole. Especially when you dont know what youre going to find in the hole. Lights bright enough to even begin to illuminate the trench would violate state and local laws, as they would be visible from the beach during turtle season. Estero Blvd is very close to the beach in that section of the road. No way to shield that kind of light. All valid reasons why this section of water line work cannot be done at night.

So can we move on to workable solutions to ease the traffic problem now?

4 weeks ago, 08/06/2015 at 3:27pm Delete


How long did it take you to get to work today?

That seems to be the most frequent question heard on the Island this week, often said with a hint of ‘Wow, who knew this was going to happen?

Anyone in any government office can attest that the solid waste hits the spinny thing only when the barricades go up and work begins. You can talk about a project until youre blue in the face and everyone dozes off, but nothing grabs peoples attention like a line of Bobs Barricades. And oh boy! Did that happen this week or what?

Weve had a week of roadwork with closed lanes in the downtown for the water line project, plus the FPL pole replacement project mid-Island. Traffic has been backed up to Publix and beyond heading north and Pine Ridge heading south in season-like gridlock.

It would be an understatement to say Islanders are unhappy. Weve heard from them. You have too, no doubt. Town Hall, Lee County, Cella Molnar, the Chamber of Commerce and everyone else has heard also.

So the start of the project did not go as smoothly as everyone had hoped. Adjustments are being made in response to the traffic issues. Flaggers are fine-tuning the number of cars allowed through the work area based on traffic back ups. Lanes are reopened as quickly as possible. Theres more to do surely, but from where we sit, the people who can make changes are aware of the problems and are working on them.