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Missy Layfield - Editor
07/26/2012 at 2:51pm Delete

Covering the Candidates

We are knee deep in election campaigns here at the paper. You probably are too as attack ads interrupt your favorite programs and your mailbox fills with ads.

Here at the Sand Paper, we want to be fair to all candidates while pursuing our goal of providing information on upcoming races that Island voters will be asked to weigh in on. As a result, we’ve put our pol

icy in print so that we could share it with candidates.

As this affects how we cover elections for you, our readers, we want to share it with you also. Anyone who would like a complete copy can call or email us and we’ll send it to you.

We, of course, sell advertising. That is how this paper exists -- to bring you Island news or your favorite column. No advertising – no newspaper. We accept campaign advertising and reach out to let qualified candidates know about our paper and invite them to reach our readers on Fort Myers Beach and in southwest Lee County. Advertisers/ candidates determine what they put in their ads, so we don’t have much input on what goes in their paid space in our paper.

However, our news or editorial coverage is a different story. That is the area where we are responsible for providing our readers with balanced and fair information on candidates.

How will we cover local races?

We’ll let those who have qualified announce their candidacy in the paper, via a press release.

We will accept and run guest opinions or press releases from candidates in the last month before the primary and general elections. We’ll print one guest opinion per candidate before the primary and two before the general election for the campaigns we’re covering.

07/19/2012 at 4:33pm Delete

Water, Water, Water

The almost daily rains make it easy to forget that just a few short weeks ago, we were dealing with a drought. Our most precious commodity-water- is one we treat as if there’s no limit to it. We are so spoiled at the ease of turning on the tap and having clean water flow out, that we think it’s a given.

Part of it is that we live in a climate that is not so much defined as Spring, Summer, Winter & Fall, but Dry Season and Wet Season.

Human beings have very short memories and tend to get lost in the moment we’re in. It’s raining now, who cares about when it’s not.

Luckily there are plenty of people who do.

Much of our quality of life is tied to water quality. During the dry season, there is a constant battle to assure that the Caloosahatchee River gets enough fresh water from Lake Okeechobee to keep the high salinity where it belongs, in the Gulf, not upstream in the river, where it kills fish and critical habitat for wildlife. In the wet season we can become a dumping ground for heavily polluted water from the lake that damages our estuary.

This year, we’ve seen an inching forward of solutions to that problem. South Florida Water Management District Board member, Dan Delisi has stepped forward to help find solutions. Solutions that are badly needed.

The Water District uses Adaptive Protocols (AP) to help them make decisions about water delivery, especially during the dry season. The current plan calls for the Caloosahatchee to be totally cut off from water flow when no other users were restricted.

This year they have a revised AP on the table. They call for pumping water from fields in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) back into Lake O, which would provide enough water in Lake O to guarantee the Caloosahatchee dry season water flow.

07/12/2012 at 3:59pm Delete

In the digital age, with every scrap of bad news at our fingertips instantly from the far-flung corners of the world, there is the temptation to bemoan the lack of good news.

Here at the Sand Paper, we like to take the time every couple months to focus on the good things going on in our community and the people who make our Island a better place to live. Kudos go out to…

Lee County for bringing the USS Mohawk first to San Carlos Island and finally to Charlie’s Reef off shore. It will serve as a key part of the artificial reef program as a Veterans Memorial.

Town staff who put on a Kid’s Fishing Derby at the Mound House for area children.

The Fort Myers Beach organizations that provide scholarships to area youth: Community Foundation, Lions, Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Kiwanis and Art Association.

Members of the Town’s Public Safety Committee who have brought concrete practical ideas to Town Council to address visibility and safety issues on Estero Blvd.

Our local veteran groups who marked Memorial Day with services honoring those who gave their lives in service to our country.

The Fort Myers Gateway to the Islands Kiwanis Club members who rolled up their sleeves to work on a new playground for Brightest Horizons Child Development Center on Gladiolus.

Those local officials who labor in anonymity preparing for Hurricane Season. When the season kicks off on June 1, they have to fight public apathy, but hopefully after a week of Tropical Storm Debby, residents are paying closer attention to hurricane preparation.

07/05/2012 at 3:24pm Delete

Not As Free As We Think

While celebrating Independence Day this week, it’s logical to ponder the freedom that we Americans take for granted each day. We go about our lives assuming that we can do just about anything we want to do because we’re Americans.

We have the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, don’t we?

The Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution, was adopted in 1789 to limit the power of the government and guarantee certain rights to citizens. Of course "citizens” at the time meant white, land-owning men. It would take centuries, additional Constitutional Amendments and a number of Supreme Court cases to extend those rights to all genders and races.

I’m not too worried that our democracy is on the verge of collapse, as some would have us believe. I think our Constitution and Bill of Rights continue to serve our nation as a strong framework of freedom.

That’s not to say that we should rest on our 236-year-old laurels. Freedom has a way of eroding if not exercised, not kept in the sunshine so all can see it.

The acts of terrorism of September 11, 2001 shocked our country and its lawmakers and sent us scrambling to find ways to assure us all that this would never happen again.

Congress rushed to pass the Patriot Act and President George W. Bush signed it into law on October 26, 2001, only 45 days after 9-11. Talk about a complex bill that was passed with virtually no discussion or even reading of the bill…