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Missy Layfield - Editor
18 hours ago Delete

And Were Off.

The project talked about for decades and planned for just about as long, finally kicked off this week. Estero Boulevard is finally showing signs of progress! While delayed for a day by heavy rains this past weekend, work crews were out Tuesday, restriping pavement, setting lane dividers and shifting lanes to prepare for the first part of the project. By next week, theyll have the southbound lane of Estero removed in the first work area and the ground will be ready for the water line work crews.

What most people think of as the Estero Blvd project is really several projects in one. Water, gas, power poles, sewer, stormwater and finally streets and sidewalks. Learning about the plans will help Islanders understand the project and the challenges that are coming with it. This will be a huge project and will affect every Islander, which is why youll see a lot of information in the Sand Paper about it.

The first part of the project is actually the Towns water line project, not the Countys road project. Oh, I know it doesn't much matter to drivers trying to make their way past the construction, but it surely does to those of us who are working or living in the construction zone. Next week, crews will begin installing water and gas lines, roughly under the southbound lane, the one currently roped off. From 7am-7pm, theyll be closing the center lane while they work, leaving just one lane for both directions of traffic. Flaggers will allow traffic to alternate but you know there will be delays, so plan extra time to get anywhere if youll be driving in the downtown area.

2 weeks ago, 07/23/2015 at 2:23pm Delete

Gerrymandering, Florida-Style

Politicians are fond of saying that we regular people just dont understand the complexity of how government works. And few would contest a comparison between the making of legislation and the making of sausage. Neither is very pretty.

But our elected representatives in Tallahassee take it to a whole new level.

Over four and half years ago, Florida voters approved dual Fair District amendments to combat the Florida Legislatures bad habit of gerrymandering voting districts for both state reps and U.S. Congressional representatives.

The constitutional amendments prohibit the Legislature from drawing districts to favor or hurt incumbents, parties or minority groups. Districts must be contiguous and compact. Those pesky Florida voters thought that was a good idea. Not so our elected officials.

And like their recent treatment of Amendment One for land and water conservation purchases, the Legislature proceeded as if the Fair District Amendments did not exist.

Voting district lines are redrawn every 10 years based on census data. They brought in party consultants, Republican, because they control both the Florida House and Senate, and a few lawyers. They held a ridiculous series of meetings around the state, supposedly to ask for input, but hamstrung Floridians by not having a map to comment on at the meetings. And in the end, drew up a map with lots of gerrymandered districts.

3 weeks ago, 07/16/2015 at 5:02pm Delete

Enjoy Fort Myers Beach!

Earlier this month, a Lee County woman made the news when she was arrested for a laundry list of offenses tied to driving drunk, hitting two cars and driving without a license. For some of us, her arrest was notable for her comments on the beach. According to the arrest report, when asked if shed been drinking, she told the deputy that she sure had been– 22 beers worth and then added, "I was at the beach, what else do you do there?”

What else is there to do at the beach than drink 22 beers? Hmmmm.

As a beach community, vacation destination and playground for Lee County, our Town has a variety of great pubs and places to enjoy a drink. These places give our community a good portion of its color and character. We have nothing against the enjoyment of alcoholic beverages. Grab yourself a designated driver and have a great time! We do object to overindulgence in drivers that leads to endangering the lives of others on the road and then blaming it on nothing else to do on the beach.

Maybe she should talk to some of our Islanders and visitors who find ways to enjoy our beach every day without needing 22 beers to fortify themselves.

What can you do on the beach? We publish a monthly magazine, SAND LIFE, which includes a long list of what there is to do here every day. Classes, events, tours, games, historical walking tours – just to name a few. Plus there are the age-old beach standbys…

4 weeks ago, 07/09/2015 at 5:13pm 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 go out to…

The Town of Fort Myers Beach, especially Bay Oaks Recreation Center for their part in the Towns 4th of July Celebration. The parade, Hot Dog Eating Contest and fireworks gave us another terrific Independence Day here on the beach.

Beach Kiwanis and the Community Pool for their ongoing efforts to help every Island child learn how to swim. Kiwanis picks up half the cost for lessons.

Fort Myers Beach Little League for another successful season, helping Island youth learn to play baseball and softball as a team. Kudos also to the volunteer coaches, refs and concession workers.

Matanzas on the Bay for hosting the 2ndAnnual Bluegrass, Brew & BBQ to benefit Operation Open Arms. And for hosting the FGCU Lionfish Derby and Cook Off that pulled 450 of the invasive fish out of our local waters and offered a free taste of lionfish.

Kiwanis Gateway to the Islands for hosting a book fair for Heights Elementary school.

All the runners, walkers and trotters at Turtle Trot to benefit Friends of Lovers Key and their Visitor Center Project. Over 450 people took part this year.