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Missy Layfield - Editor
11/29/2012 at 7:13pm Delete

Don’t Shoot the Messenger

With the General Election just three weeks behind us, I hesitate to mention this, but we have another election coming up in March.

Town Council will have two seats on the ballot this year. When Council called for interested candidates for the open seat left when Larry Kiker resigned to run for County Commissioner, they drew 11 highly qualified candidates. With that level of interest in a term of only a few months, there should be a strong field of candidates for a full three-year term.

Anyone who is a registered voter and has lived in the Town of Fort Myers Beach for a year is eligible to file candidacy papers. See our story on page 16 for more details.

Here at the Sand Paper, we’ve been working on how best to cover the Town Council election, helping voters learn about the candidates in the most effective way possible, while giving fair coverage to all candidates. We feel it’s important to weigh our policy carefully because in this type of local election, we appreciate that we are one of the primary conduits through which voters will learn about these candidates. And that requires taking into account access and fairness, responsibility and duty to our community.

You won’t be seeing expensive ads on the nightly news shows or hearing in-depth radio interviews or even getting piles of campaign mail from these candidates. Local elections are grassroots elections. You know the people running for office. You can call them and ask questions. You’ve probably had conversations with most of the people who will appear on the ballot. You’ve seen them in the produce aisle and passed them on the street.

11/21/2012 at 3:17pm Delete

Shop Local

The weekend after Thanksgiving has just about risen to the level of being it’s own holiday. A unique American holiday devoted to spending money.

It all started with the Friday after Thanksgiving, now known as Black Friday. At one time getting a 6am start on holiday shopping was early enough, but no more. This year, several stores are starting Black Friday sales on Thursday, which would make them Thanksgiving Day sales.

Stay tuned because the way this is going, soon, Black Friday is going to start on Wednesday. Or maybe we’ll just skip that pesky Halloween to Thanksgiving period and start them on November 1st.

Seriously, a good portion of the retail world depends on holiday shopping at the end of the year to boost their bottom line. Black Friday came first. Then came Cyber Monday when online businesses noticed an increase in orders that day, as workers returned to their offices and computers after the Thanksgiving weekend. Back in the old days, many people had computers only at work. Online companies jumped on this opportunity and began promoting online sales on Cyber Monday.

Lost in all this shopping frenzy focused on big box stores and online merchants are the local small business. Decades ago, as retail business was migrating from small local stores to malls and big box stores, the "shop local” effort was born, with varying degrees of success.

Now comes Small Business Saturday, promoted by American Express. Situated between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local.

What a great idea!

We’re bombarded by TV and radio ads to shop at the big stores or online, it’s refreshing to see an effort to draw people back into their own community to shop.

11/15/2012 Delete

Election Aftermath

It’s been ten days and the dust is still swirling from the November 6 election. Not enough scanners led to long lines, short tempers and polling places that didn’t process the last Lee County vote until well after 2am.

It is a testament to the value Americans place on their right to vote that people were willing to stand in line for hours after the polls closed so they could cast their ballot.

There were calls for the job of Elections Supervisor Sharon Harrington, as voters stewed in the long lines throughout the day. We all knew we were in the middle of another Florida election disaster as we watched people step out of line and leave without voting.

The end result was widespread disenfranchisement in Lee County, meaning a good number of people throughout the county were deprived of their right to vote, not by law, not by intimidation but by the conditions that had to be endured in order to vote.

Voting is a sacred right to Americans and people will stand in line for hours just to exercise that right.

Not everyone was able to endure the long lines. Voting is a right, one that should not require a marathon effort to be exercised.

Those with jobs do not get Election Day off, so they have to vote early, by mail or go to the polls before or after their shift.

We have a sizable elderly population in Lee County. Standing an hour is hard –three hours – an impossibility. The poll workers in my precinct were quick to offer assistance to those with an obvious handicap, ushering them to the front of the line. But what of those with invisible issues - the kind of problems that don’t require a cane or wheelchair?

11/08/2012 at 4:38pm Delete

Good News and Kudos

Here at the Sand Paper, we think it’s a good idea to search out and share good news. Every couple months, we use this space to focus on the good things happening in our community and the people who make our Island a better place to live. Kudos go out to…

The six volunteers who completed training and are now part of our Beach Citizen Emergency Response Team.

Literacy advocates who stepped up to save the Beach Elementary ‘Reading is Fundamental’ program. Their first book give-away was held recently and we wish every one of those donors could have seen the kids’ eyes light up when they looked at the table of new books to choose from.

Parrot Key Caribbean Grill on their 10th Anniversary.

The artists, both adult and children, who painted the Seafarer Mural that will be installed this weekend, brightening up our downtown area.

The Amazing Beach Marching Kazoo Band and costumed pets who brought a lot of smiles to Santini Marina Plaza last month during the Pet Parade.

Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille on Fort Myers Beach for their sponsoring the Cypress Lake Panther Baseball Alumni Fishing Tournament to support the baseball program.

All those who did their best to make Pirate Fest 2012 a spectacular event. The local effort gave meaning to the phrase ‘making lemonade out of lemons’ after the promoter backed out of the event. The Fest benefited the Beach Elementary School.