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Missy Layfield - Editor
2 days ago, 11/26/2014 at 2:58pm Delete

Shop Local

As the holiday season kicks into high gear, think of your community before you order online or head over the bridge 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 29th this year, gives local business some well-deserved attention.

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. We are very fortunate here on our Island to have a majority of locally-owned businesses. While some might complain at the shortage of national chains on our Island, many more love living and visiting here for that very reason. We are a small town and in many ways reflective of what small towns used to be like everywhere, before the Wal-marts and Walgreens and Lowes pushed most of the locally-owned businesses aside.

Islanders know how important supporting their own community is. While wed 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. And invite our visitors to support our Beach businesses.
2 weeks ago, 11/20/2014 at 3:13pm Delete

Giving Thanks

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s time for our annual pause to consider all that we are thankful for.

While it’s easy to get caught up in what seems to be our national pastime of grouching and complaining about the government, idiot drivers and well, idiots in general, usually defined as anyone who doesn’t agree with our politics, we do have a national holiday devoted to giving thanks.

Just for a few days, let the world be. Complaining hasn’t fixed it yet, has it? Let’s stop complaining about the Christmas displays that popped up in September and the stores that are open on Thanksgiving Day. Don’t let the slow driver in front of us or the one making a left turn from the wrong lane make us crazy.

Look around at all we have to be thankful for. As a general rule, those with less tend to be more thankful, while those with more tend to take it for granted. Which are we?

Have a warm, safe place to sleep at night? Be thankful.

Have your health? Be thankful.

Have a few people who care about you? Be thankful.

Have a job? Be thankful.

Have the ability to read and speak? Be thankful.

Live in the snow zone but have the opportunity to come south to enjoy the sun? Be thankful.

You get the drift. We all no matter our circumstances are surrounded by gifts for which we can and should be grateful.

You know the grouchy guys in the balcony from the Muppets, Statler and Waldorf?
3 weeks ago, 11/13/2014 at 3:14pm Delete

Island Kudos

The Sand Paper family is committed to sharing the good news about our community. We use this space every couple months to focus on all the good things happening and the numerous generous and devoted people who make our Island a better place to live, work and play. Kudos this week to…

The Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau and the many Island venues that brought us the inaugural Island Hopper Songwriter Fest in early October. Filling a number of our favorite beach spots with over 40 free performances by successful songwriters, this event was a treat for both songwriters and music fans.

AMIkids Southwest Florida for their efforts to provide at risk youth an opportunity and the tools to turn their lives around. Located on San Carlos Island, this small school serves over 125 students each year.

All the fishing Captains who share their skill and love of the sport with visitors and locals. They can be found at our local marinas and are always ready to head out on the water.

The Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce for another successful Pirate Festival! From the kids fishing tournament to the authentic pirate entertainment and the Sea Battle, it was just plain fun for all!

Rick Sebastian, Director of ‘Love, Loss, And What I Wore,’ a play presented with local actors at the Fort Myers Beach Woman’s Club. Islanders love live theater and appreciate all efforts to bring more of it to our shores.
4 weeks ago, 11/06/2014 at 4:32pm Delete


And the winner is…Precinct 81, voting at Ascension Church – with a turnout of 71.4% in Tuesday’s mid term election, the best turnout of the three Fort Myers Beach precincts.

Within the Town of Fort Myers Beach live a total of 4866 registered voters. 1,094 of 1532 registered voters in Precinct #81 voted, according to preliminary data provided by the Lee County Elections Office. Even our precinct with the lowest turnout, Chapel by the Sea’s #82 at 61.28%, far outshone the Lee County average of 52%. The Town as a whole had a 65% voter turnout.

Not too bad for a mid-term election, or so they say.

Turnout is always less than it is during a Presidential election. In 2012, 71% of Beach voters island-wide turned out to cast ballots.

Contrast that to the Town Council elections of March 2014 when a paltry 27% weighed in.

How we vote, when we decide to vote, is changing. This election, only 45% of those voting went to the polls on Tuesday. The majority of those casting ballots did so early, primarily with mail-in ballots, what used to be referred to as absentee voting. Only 7% voted in person using early voting locations. Not a big surprise considering how inconvenient early voting locations are for Beach voters. The closest one to the island is near Bell Tower Shops, more than 15 miles away.

It’s said that it’s not voters who decide an election; it’s voters who care enough to show up at the polls. Where are those 35% of registered voters who didn’t vote?