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Missy Layfield - Editor
yesterday, 10/30/2014 at 4:51pm Delete


Surely something on the ballot this November is important to you. Whether it’s conservation of Florida land, the legality of medical marijuana or who selects Florida Supreme Court justices, there are questions on the ballot that need your input. How about whether Lee County Schools should take a baby step toward single member districts or should our County Commissioners have term limits?

All those questions are on the November 4th ballot. Plus there are important local races – two seats on the Fort Myers Beach Fire Board will be decided. Plus seats on the School Board, Lee Health Board, County Commission – all important decisions and we haven’t even crossed the county line yet.

Voters are turned off on this election thanks to the ugly gubernatorial race. If you let that keep you from the polls, your community will lose out on your voice in how it’s governed. Hold your nose and vote for the least offensive candidate, or vote for a third party candidate or skip the governor race entirely on the ballot, but please, VOTE! Your community needs your voice!

Cool – Warm – Perfect!

Our streets are lined with zombies, baseball players and swimsuit-clad northerners eager for some sun time. It must be almost November. October flurries in some northern cities seem to have triggered a rush to our sunny shores.
2 weeks ago, 10/23/2014 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.
3 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.  
4 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.