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Missy Layfield - Editor
09/27/2012 at 4:09pm Delete

The Littlest Ones

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Not a topic that anyone likes to think about. Who wants to contemplate sick children fighting for their lives?

Nobody does, most of all the family of that child.

Kids get cancer. Every day another 28 kids. Each day 4 children will die from cancer.

Kids that are just babies or kids that are teenagers fighting about using the car one day—fighting for their lives the next.

There are problems in this world that are hard to put a face to. Starving children in a far off land…natural disaster victims…they all tug at our heartstrings but it’s not personal for us, we don’t know them or their families. We don’t know their dreams and their plans. These problems aren’t quite real to us.

Childhood Cancer IS real to my family. The shock, the fear, the rage, the hope, the determination to stop cancer in kids. These have been stalwart companions for my family since one very bad day in July 1995.

The sun was shining. All was right with the world. It was a good day, until it wasn’t. Once you hear "Your child has cancer” the world never looks the same again. I share that jarring moment with thousands of other families, some of them in our own community.

Which is why once each year in September, I owe it to those families to point out that kids get cancer. The idea of it is so scary to some that they cannot handle even hearing about it. Cancer families lose friends, relatives, even church groups as people can not handle the knowledge that something so scary can happen to children, possibly even their own.

If you know just a little about kid’s cancer, you know that 80% of kids survive. That means they’re alive 5 years after they were diagnosed. Some types of cancer have very high survival rates-in the 90’s. Some have zero survival rates. Imagine for a minute that you are a parent hearing that news.

09/20/2012 at 5:21pm Delete

Freedom of the Press

Been thinking about the concept of freedom this week after the murder of our Libyan ambassador and three others by people angry over an obscure video clip that was insulting to the Prophet Muhammad.

How do you explain our American liberty to say whatever you want and make any video you want to people who live in a tightly controlled society? To people who cannot conceive that any video or book or newspaper article can be created without the government’s consent and participation?

The American concept of freedom of expression is unheard of in many places around the globe.

It's easy to defend speech you agree with. It's a test of our resolve as a nation to defend speech you don't agree with.

What irony that a state department diplomat who most certainly would disagree with anything that insulted the beliefs or religion of another culture-was killed by someone who also disagreed with a video clip.

But as an American he would have defended the right of the maker of the video to be able to express his opinion in any way he wanted.

Three things that were encouraging in the coverage of this issue:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s comment, "We absolutely reject its content and messages. But there is no justification — none at all — for responding to this video with violence.”

And the Twitter exchange between representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood and American embassy public affairs staff last week as demonstrations roiled Cairo. Muslim Brotherhood staff sent messages to the American Embassy saying they were relieved that no diplomatic workers had been harmed in Cairo demonstrations. They hoped relations between the two countries could be maintained.

09/13/2012 at 3:10pm 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 Coast Guard and our Fort Myers Beach Auxiliary for their constant vigilance keeping our waters safe and providing education to the boating public.

Fort Myers Beach Fire District, Key West Express and the Lani Kai Resort for hosting blood drives, especially critical during the summer months when blood supply tends to run low.

Area environmentalists who let the South Florida Water Management District Board know that they opposed back-pumping polluted water back into Lake Okeechobee and eventually into the Caloosahatchee River. Sadly the SFWMD Board voted to move forward with the plan anyway.

Chef Craig Panneton and the Pink Shell Resort for hosting the Great American Chili Cook Off benefiting the Harry Chapin Food Bank. This third annual event of the Southwest Florida Chapter of the American Culinary Foundation brought pros and amateurs together and provided some unique and tasty chili for attendees and helped fill the shelves at the food bank.

The Legends of the Beach we’ve featured –Roxie Smith, A.J. Bassett, Tom & Fran Myers, Fran Santini, Jean Matthew, Terry Cain and Bruce Cermak for their contributions to our community and their graciousness in allowing us to share their stories with our readers.

Fish Tale Marina for bringing the Mobile Mammo Coach to the island, providing convenient health screening for local women.

Gavin’s Ace Hardware on their celebration of 25 years in business.

09/06/2012 at 4:04pm Delete

COP Passes

This week the Town Council approved the expansion of Consumption on Premise in the Environmentally Critical Zone, or as it has been derisively termed, "booze on the beach.”

As if that’s a new concept and there isn’t already plenty of alcohol consumption taking place on the sand. And I’m not talking about those locations that claim a prior right to serve on the sand.

Spring breakers would laugh hysterically at the concept that it’s illegal to drink on our sandy beach. Even some of those who were vehemently opposed to the COP expansion spoke fondly of enjoying a glass of wine as they strolled the beach at sunset. So, let’s drop the artifice that there’s no alcohol on our beach right now.

What Town Council has done is provide a regulatory framework that the Town can now use to control alcohol issues on the sandy beach. Prior to this week’s approval of the COP ordinance, there was the open container law. Period. With the new ordinance, establishments serving on the sand will have expectations spelled out for them.

And we’ll all be watching carefully to make sure that this new framework works the way it was designed to and prevents the Wild, Wild West atmosphere that opponents have feared.

Everyone should be proud of the way the system worked on this issue.

The ordinance passed on Tuesday night is a far different ordinance than was first proposed. As the Local Planning Agency and then Town Council held hearings and workshops, the input of both supporters and opponents was used to sculpt this ordinance to fit our community.

Opponents are no doubt disappointed that it passed. Some supporters are equally disappointed that it doesn’t have everything in it that it once did or that they would like.

The final result is a compromise that we can all live with. We all had the opportunity to address and suggest and debate the issues. That’s what a real community does about things they care about. And a lot of people care about this issue.