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Missy Layfield - Editor
01/26/2012 at 3:26pm Delete
Here at the Sand Paper, we like to take the time every couple months to recognize some of the Islanders whose efforts make our Island a better place for all of us. Kudos go out to….

Time Square merchants for their cooperative efforts to revitalize the area, particularly for hosting their Friday & Saturday night Sunset Celebrations. They’ve upped the ante with music, food and fun on the square.

Jim Rodwell, Mark List and Julie Schwab for their efforts creating a "Smart Trail” for Matanzas Pass Preserve, a trail utilizing new QR code and smart phone technology. There will be guide for adults and kids.

The Fort Myers Beach U-14 Boys Soccer Team for their unbeaten season, notching three post-season championships in the County Cup, Commissioner’s Cup and the I-75 Shootout All-Star Tournament. Way to go guys!

Participants and organizers who put together special holiday events that bring that special island touch to the holidays like the Christmas Carol Pub Crawl and Boat Parade.

Ranchers, environmentalists and government agencies who found a way to work together to create the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area. The efforts to improve the quality of water flowing into Lake Okeechobee are a step in the right direction.
01/19/2012 at 3:58pm Delete

January is a great time for making lists. Resolution lists, to-do lists, honey-do lists--all of them amount to the same thing—wish lists. What we’d like to see happen. January, the start of a new year, is the perfect time to daydream about wish lists.

With the Florida Legislative Session due to begin January 10, a lot of organizations and individuals have been composing wish lists for this legislative season.

New year, fresh start…it’s almost enough to make us forget that that there are well-paid lobbyists working in Tallahassee and Washington, DC, to further their employer’s wish lists. And those lobbyists seem to have better access to our legislators than we voters do.

But it’s January, a good time to dream a little. Here are a few of my Tallahassee wishes…

-Quick action on the redistricting maps. Both the Florida House and Senate are due to take up the redrawing of legislative and congressional districts during the first week of the session. That doesn’t mean they’ll complete the work then, just that the appropriate committee is working on it. They need to complete the redistricting process during their two month session, then the court must approve the changes, including the amendment requirements passed last year, by June when the qualifying period for the 2012 election begins. Accomplishing that feat may require more than a wish list-that might call for all of us clapping as hard as we can trying to bring the Legislature back to life, ala Tinker Bell.
01/12/2012 at 5:58pm Delete
Can it be election time already? Ready or not, here it is! On January 31, voters head to the voting booth for the first time in the New Year. Registered Republicans will go to the polls that day for the Presidential Preference Primary Election. However, January 31st is not just for Republicans-it’s for everyone on Fort Myers Beach! Every registered voter in Fort Myers Beach can and should go to the polls to vote on the Bond Referendum regarding Town Hall that is being held that same day, same voting locations. The risk of holding a referendum at any time other than a general election is that turnout is low. I’m not sure why that is, each and every election is asking voters a question. Shouldn’t we answer it? For a country that loves to share anonymous opinions, as witnessed by the proliferation of anonymous blogs, online comments and radio call-in shows, it seems odd that the best opportunity to offer an anonymous opinion is not used more often-the ballot box. Maybe it’s true that we don’t really want to solve our problems, we just want to complain about them. But I sure hope not. Get out there and vote January 31, whether it’s for your choice of Republican Presidential candidate and the Beach Referendum or just the Beach Referendum. Vote! You can vote early. This year that means Jan 21-28 at early voting locations. There are five of them in Lee County; the closest is at the Election Center South Branch across from Bell Tower Shops at 13180 S. Cleveland Ave. You can see all 5 locations at leeelections.com. Look for the VOTE box and choose "When Do I Vote?” Absentee ballots may be requested up to 6 days before an election by calling 239- LEE-VOTE. No excuses-VOTE!
01/12/2012 at 5:55pm Delete
Can it be election time already? Ready or not, here it is! On January 31, voters head to the voting booth for the first time in the New Year. Registered Republicans will go to the polls that day for the Presidential Preference Primary Election. However, January 31st is not just for Republicans-it’s for everyone on Fort Myers Beach! Every registered voter in Fort Myers Beach can and should go to the polls to vote on the Bond Referendum regarding Town Hall that is being held that same day, same voting locations. The risk of holding a referendum at any time other than a general election is that turnout is low. I’m not sure why that is, each and every election is asking voters a question. Shouldn’t we answer it? For a country that loves to share anonymous opinions, as witnessed by the proliferation of anonymous blogs, online comments and radio call-in shows, it seems odd that the best opportunity to offer an anonymous opinion is not used more often-the ballot box. Maybe it’s true that we don’t really want to solve our problems, we just want to complain about them. But I sure hope not. Get out there and vote January 31, whether it’s for your choice of Republican Presidential candidate and the Beach Referendum or just the Beach Referendum. Vote! You can vote early. This year that means Jan 21-28 at early voting locations. There are five of them in Lee County; the closest is at the Election Center South Branch across from Bell Tower Shops at 13180 S. Cleveland Ave. You can see all 5 locations at leeelections.com. Look for the VOTE box and choose "When Do I Vote?” Absentee ballots may be requested up to 6 days before an election by calling 239- LEE-VOTE. No excuses-VOTE!