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Missy Layfield - Editor
2 days ago, 10/08/2015 at 8:54pm Delete

Neighbor to Neighbor
Its Time to Step Up.

Today I make a rare appearance in this space, not as the publisher of the Island Sand Paper or as the person in charge of the content (along with my business partner, the editor) of our publications, nor am I writing as your Advertising Guy today.

I am coming to you as a local small business owner and as a Fort Myers Beach resident. One of the reasons we chose to live here is the small town atmosphere. Like many of you, we have lived elsewhere, large and small cities and towns. One of the characteristics found in most small towns and definitely found here is the normal unrestrained, grassroots efforts of helping each other during times of emergency, disaster or just a garden variety of hard times. Im speaking neighbor to neighbor now about the impact of the Estero Boulevard Most have no argument about the need for our Estero Boulevard redevelopment project. Our sewer, fresh water and stormwater lines and road resurfacing are all long overdue for attention and needed for the next phase in the life of Fort Myers Beach for all visitors and locals. There is just no way possible to "keep it the way its been” as an approach to these infrastructure problems.


2 weeks ago, 10/01/2015 at 5:59pm Delete

Fall Fever

We need a new term for that lightening of spirit, hopefulness and generally positive vibe that seems to arrive with the first signs of fall. Further north, where cold, ice and snow smother the ground for months at a time, they feel something similar in April and May and call it spring fever.

Here, as we enter the tenth month, we have the ever so slightly less humid air, decreasing frequency of afternoon storms and dropping temperatures that signal fall. Of course only those who live here full time may recognize these signs. Some days its still hotter than blazes and the humidity is high, but there is the slightest hint of relief in the air. And that is all it takes for Fall Fever to flourish.

While its hot most places in the summer and there are many locations where the high temperature is above ours in the heart of summer, there arent very many that have the 1-2 combo of heat in the 90s with high humidity for months and months that we see each summer. So, when that heat/humidity combo starts to ease just a touch lower, its noticeable and brings a collective sigh of relief.

Fall in Fort Myers Beach means much more than a relief from summer weather though. October begins our shoulder season; visitor numbers are up. Car carriers will be appearing next, bringing long-term visitors to our shores and businesses are planning for a busy season.

3 weeks ago, 09/24/2015 Delete

Budget Season Ends

This past week was residents final chance to weigh in on local taxes for the coming year as final budget hearings were held for the 2015-2016 year that begins October 1.

Its always interesting to watch how these play out. Which taxing districts get the most attention – which ones get a free pass – and which ones are hammered during budget season for reasons that seem to have no connection to budgets?

We have to thank the financial directors and managers for their generous assistance in answering our questions and making sure we had the most current budgets and the correct dates of meetings.

Ahh yes, the dates of those meetings…

Residents can be forgiven if theyve struggled to keep track of the schedule for some of these hearings. The Town wins the award for most confusing schedule this month. Their regular council meeting would have been on Labor Day, so it was moved to Wednesday, Sept. 9, the same day as their First Budget Hearing. But they werent ready for the Budget Hearing, so that was then moved to Sept 15. Then they discovered that date had a couple of conflicts. It was the same day the Fire District had a meeting and Budget Hearing already scheduled in Council Chambers. Plus they realized that they could not hold a Budget Hearing the same day as the County or School Board and the County had a hearing set for the 15th.

4 weeks ago, 09/17/2015 at 7:02pm Delete

Many Hats

As the editor of the Island Sand Paper, I wear many hats. Sure I proof every article before it goes in the paper, assign writers and fact check stories as an editor. I also answer the phone, attend meetings, talk to countless Islanders each week and participate in numerous community activities. And I enjoy all the many pieces that make up the job of Editor of a community newspaper.

There is one additional job Ive accepted that is way more than a job – its a mission and it has a special significance this month. September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I volunteer as a member of a data safety monitoring committee for the Childrens Oncology Group, an international pediatric cancer research community with over 200 childrens hospital members. Ive been working with cancer researchers for 15 years now, supporting their work, explaining it to families and sharing the familys perspective with researchers.

This one month of the year is dedicated to a group of people who are very special to me-kids with cancer. The littlest ones, the twenty year old ones, the ones who are sitting in a waiting room right now waiting for their turn in the chemo room and the ones that are long finished with treatment and are trying to get on with their lives. The ones I know personally, and there are a lot of them…