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Missy Layfield - Editor
3 days ago, 01/22/2015 at 5:01pm Delete

And It Isn’t Even Season Yet!

Im hearing that phrase a lot lately and I bet you are too as our seasonal population surges earlier than weve seen in several years. Season is expanding.

Some define "season” as Valentines Day to the week after Easter, but its been pushing those boundaries for several years and even our summers have been busier as our Island paradise is discovered by more and more people.

You can tell by the smiles on our hoteliers and bartenders faces that more people on our Island translate into more business for them. Vacation rentals, jet-ski businesses, retail stores, ice cream shops, restaurants, the list goes on – if you work or live here, season usually means income. It also translates into more jobs, always a good thing. It even seems to carry over into the shrimping industry as one local shrimper just celebrated bringing in a cool $1 million worth of shrimp in 2014 – the first time that has happened – ever.

So, Welcome Back Snowbirds! Welcome Back Vacationers! Welcome Back Day Trippers!

Were happy youre here and are able to experience the Island lifestyle that we love so much we live here!

In season, however you want to define it, there are some challenges that come with an Island crowded with people enjoying the good life, traffic being one of them.

So here is a traffic primer for everyone who doesnt live here year round…

Starting at the north end of the Island, that first mile between Bowditch Point Park and Time Square is owned by the Town of Fort Myers Beach.
2 weeks ago, 01/15/2015 at 4:48pm Delete

Island Kudos

The Sand Paper family is 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 this week go out to…

Katie Corning and Karen Swanbeck for their many years of service to the Beach Library including a total of 20 combined years on the Library Board.

Everyone who supported Ben Westerhouse and his son at a benefit held in November. Hopefully, with his recent passing, remembering that great day brings comfort.

Bay Oaks staff for bringing the first ever Craft Beer Fest to FMB. Look for another one in coming months.

Beach Kids Foundation, Michael DeCarlo Foundation and Spirit of Christmas Foundation for bringing joy to local kids and families through the spirit of the Holidays and Spirit of Christmas campaigns. Every business who held a fundraiser and each donor did their part in these community-wide efforts.

Participants and organizers of the Chamber's 26th Annual Christmas Boat Parade for a fun holiday event that delights kids of all ages.

The organizers, venues, sponsors and participants in all of our local benefits to help Islanders in need.

All the sand sculptors, the masters and the amateurs, for their inspiring work at the 28th Annual American Sand Sculpting Championships held in November.

Find A Home Give A Home, Ann Knobloch with the TNR program and Fur Babies for their work with island pets and their owners.
3 weeks ago, 01/08/2015 at 2:55pm Delete

Power of the Pen

Twelve people were killed this week, murdered for their work publishing a weekly newspaper; murdered for sharing their opinions and ideas. Some people didnt like what was printed in the newspaper, went to their office and killed twelve people. At press time, the police were searching for suspects, who stormed the editorial offices with AK 47s claiming links to al-Qaida and shouting "Allahu akbar!” as they killed the papers editor, journalists, cartoonists and two police officers.

The newspaper, Charlie Hebdo (French for Weekly Charlie) is a French publication known for its satire and extreme non-conformist tone, often publishing crude and lewd cartoons that mock religious extremists, including some of the Prophet Muhammad. Some Islamic sects prohibit the publication of images of the prophets, believing it could lead to idolatry. Islam accepts, among others, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad as prophets, recognizing Muhammad as the last prophet.

The attack was the latest chapter in an ongoing values clash between the West and a version of militant Islam that goes back at least to 1989 when Irans Ayatollah Khomeini called for the death of "Satanic Verses” author Salman Rushdie, accusing him of blasphemy.

Reaction to Wednesdays massacre was swift and almost universal as leaders around the world condemned the attack, including the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, which represents 57 Muslim countries. According to CNN, a Muslim at a demonstration in Paris carried a sign saying, "Not in my name, not in the name of my religion.”
4 weeks ago, 12/31/2014 at 5:54pm Delete

Our Wishes for 2015

Happy New Year from the Sand Paper family!

As most of you know, we’re not a corporate monolith based somewhere else. We are like many of you who have chosen this beautiful piece of paradise to live, work and play. Thus we feel highly invested on multiple levels in our local community. We mention this only because we know we are different and rather unique in our industry, where most newspapers are owned and managed from afar, with little or no stake in the community.

Our Year in Review story anchored last week’s issue, closing out 2014. Another year in the books, so to speak, so now is the time we take pause, and reflect on our journey together going forward in 2015.

When the topic for today’s Editorial was raised, a lot of mischievous subjects came to mind, but were eliminated for the purposes of taste and decorum, so the following consists of those issues about which we felt most seriously and wish for our Island community. Here are our 2015 wishes:

We wish our reFresh Project on Fort Myers Beach proceeds on time with a minimum of residential and business disruption. Follow for ongoing details and updates on this Estero Boulevard project and the Island-wide rebuilding of our water lines. This project has been on the drawing board seemingly forever and will commence after Easter along Estero Blvd. In the long term this will be great, but in the short term, not so much. Imagine a big ditch running down Estero Blvd making access to businesses and homes a challenge.