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Missy Layfield - Editor
2 days ago, 10/23/2014 at 5:46pm Delete

Serving Our Community

As our busy season ramps up here on the Island, the Sand Paper crew would like to let our readers know how much we enjoy serving our community.

We use the work "our” as a legitimate claim. The Island Sand Paper is the ONLY newspaper available on Fort Myers Beach that is owned by Islanders. Tax-paying, property-owning, voting Islanders. We experience life on our Island just as our readers do. Every Shrimp Festival, every water main break, every 4th of July party, every storm evacuation, every traffic jam, every beautiful sunset, every power outage on a sunny day – we experience it right beside you.

All of our core staff live on the island also. Take a look at those smiling faces to the right that make up the Sand Paper family. All but one, live directly on Fort Myers Beach and have for a number of years. Not nearby, not some of the time, but full time right here between the bridges. Combined we have over 100 years of Island living in the Sand Paper staff!

Know any other paper that can claim that?

We are committed to providing the staff necessary to cover Fort Myers Beach news and events. Not just a Publisher and Editor, but our Associate Editor, Production Manager, Circulation Manager, Webmaster, Advertising Manager, Sports columnist and a collection of talented contributing writers. They all, each and every one, live right here on the beach. And the sole off-island staff member has 17 years of Fort Myers Beach residency on her resume.

Our slogan, "By Islanders, For Islanders,” is taken very seriously by everyone in the Sand Paper family. We hope we transmit that devotion to our community to our readers and advertisers each week.

The Island Sand Paper knows Fort Myers Beach.

We know that there are other papers that can be found on the beach and that carry some beach news – some daily, some weekly.
2 weeks ago, 10/16/2014 at 4:23pm Delete


Election Day is November 4th. Though many have already voted early or by mail, there are plenty of us traditionalists and who show up at the polls on that first Tuesday in November to mark our ballots and get our "I Voted” sticker.

This year, without a presidential election, there is bound to be a lower turnout. And that is a sad reflection on how our society views elections, as if only the guy at the top matters, when it’s actually the elected officials at the state, county and local level that have the biggest influence on our taxes and our government services.

Our Florida gubernatorial race is flinging enough mud to turn off any voter. Yet, surprisingly, that is often the very effect some of those slinging the mud want. It’s no longer a dirty little secret, it’s right out there in the open. Some politicians and their advisors want there to be fewer voters voting. Their polls have shown them that they benefit if voters of a certain stripe, location or party, do not go to the polls. How un-American is that?

Don’t let the negative ads keep you from the polls. Surprise the people who want you to stay home, who want to silence you. Vote!

In the meanwhile, I am appreciating the near-miraculous benefits of my DVR that allows me to fast-forward through every single one of those mud-slinging TV ads. Thirty some years in the state with the first in the nation primary taught me a few things. Caller ID and a DVR are the finest inventions of the modern age, allowing me to ignore the awful mud-slinging TV ads and the robocalls. Who has ever had their opinion swayed by some recorded voice that disturbs your precious few hours at home to tell you how great their candidate is or how evil their opponent is? No one, I suspect.

Here on the beach, we will see a ballot for two Beach Fire Board seats, with two candidates vying for each one. As the campaign has heated up, it occurs to us that it’s time for us to explain our Campaign Policy.  
3 weeks ago, 10/09/2014 at 3:40pm Delete


This week is Fire Prevention Week. The theme – "Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month!” speaks volumes about how far fire prevention science has come.

The timing of Fire Prevention week is not random. It’s held each year during the week that two massive fires claimed over 1300 lives in two massive fires in the Midwest. The Chicago Fire may be best known, possibly for the long-held, but erroneous belief that Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked over a lantern to start the fire that would sweep through the urban city, killing over 250 people and leaving 100,000 homeless. Recent research has vindicated that poor cow though no one expects the myth to fade easily.

The same day that fire was sweeping through Chicago, October 8, 1871, a fire begun accidentally by some workers in Northeastern Wisconsin grew into the most devastating forest fire in American history, the Peshtigo Fire. That fire burned down 16 towns and killed over 1,100 people, leaving over 1.2 million acres scorched.

In 1871, devastating fires were much more common than they are today. Homes were built of wood and lit by the open flames of candles or lanterns. Firefighting equipment consisted of blankets, buckets and horse-drawn wagons. In 2014 we have amazingly high-tech tools to prevent, detect and fight fires. We also have the power to protect ourselves in our homes and businesses by utilizing inexpensive fire detection tools, like smoke alarms - the focus of this year’s Fire Prevention theme.

Two out of three fire deaths occur in homes without a working smoke alarm.

Smoke alarms can be purchased starting at under $10. Most homes have them.
4 weeks ago, 10/02/2014 at 5:24pm Delete

Right to Vote Threatened

Nothing defines the American experience more than citizens voting freely for their representatives. From directors of the local library to the President of the United States, voters expect to have a say in who is elected.

This is so much a part of the American fabric that it’s taken for granted. Too often, to the extent that citizens don’t vote at all, tossing their hard-earned right to vote aside.

World news watchers have seen the uprising in Hong Kong as students and other citizens fill the streets demanding to have the right to vote without China’s interference.

If your right to select the candidate of your choice were taken away, what would you do?

Here on American soil, those that would suppress the vote of those they don’t agree with are not nearly as bold as the Chinese in their suppression of Hong Kong democracy. Here, we have voting laws that define who can vote, when and where they can vote and how those votes will be counted.

The American way to control elections, other than throwing billions of dollars into attack ads, seems to be tweaking election laws.

In darker days some states required voters to own land to vote or pay a poll tax or pass a literacy test or prove that their grandfather had the right to vote (the origin of the term ‘grandfather clause.’) All to control who they felt had the right to vote and what candidate they might vote for.

Not very American, land of the free, home of the brave, was it?