12/26/2013 at 4:23pm
It’s that time of year again. Break out the pad and pencil and start thinking about how 2014 is going to be different than 2013 or 2012 or 2003. It’s never a bad idea to give some thoughtful consideration to where you’ve been and where you’re going and New Year’s Day is the perfect time for that.
Here are a few of our Island wishes for 2014…
A safe year for residents and visitors – those on foot, on two wheels and behind the wheel. No traffic fatalities, no pedestrian casualties.
Thoughtful and civil conversation on community issues. Not every difference of opinion should lead to estrangement and the conclusion that the person holding a different opinion is uninformed and the enemy. No doubt tied to our national tendency to vilify anyone who doesn’t agree with us 100%, it is much more damaging in a small community than it is on the national stage. We need to work with each other on community projects down the road. If we all dug our heels in and stopped working with each other, most of the wonderful community efforts we all support would disappear.
Engagement in government on a regular basis. It’s sad to see month after month of meetings for governmental bodies where only a handful of citizens show up. In some cases, no one other than the board and the press attend meetings. We know it’s not because everyone is thrilled with the board’s decisions, because the room fills up for budget hearings in September.
Public restrooms for visitors and islanders who enjoy our beach.
Progress on the Seafarer’s property, still sitting idle with weeds growing at the most visible corner of our island. The lovely beach scenes painted by our Island kids to screen this eyesore have begun fading while waiting for movement on this property.
Progress on our water utility, storm water and Estero Blvd projects. All three are long awaited and sorely needed. We’re all pretty hopeful now as these projects begin, let’s hope that progress is steady and results visible soon.
12/19/2013 at 4:55pm
Holidays elicit thoughts of home for most of us. Our childhood home, the home we raised our children in or our current home - most of us have had experienced several homes in our lifetimes. Home is much more than four walls and a roof, it’s a feeling.
Is our Island home for you? Does it feel like a safe place where you know you’re welcome, where your opinion is valued and your contributions to the community dialogue encouraged?
I hope so, because everyone deserves to have a home like that. I think most Islanders would like our Island to offer that kind of home to both long-time residents and newcomers.
It seems we’re doing pretty well in that regard, according to one of our regular contributors. Be sure to read Simple Life by Anastasia Marchese this week for a peek into how someone new to our Island experienced our Island welcome.
How do we welcome people to our island? Whether they are here for a day, a week, a couple months or for a year or two, it’s nice to be known as a welcoming place.
We do that by getting to know newcomers, inviting their participation in the island’s everyday life and our special events. With so many newcomers, we really can’t afford to adopt an exclusionary attitude-we all know from experience that it takes all of us to make our community the best place it can be.
One of the best ways for newcomers or long-time residents to find their place in our community is to volunteer-and we have ample volunteer opportunities-from the Marine Science Center, to the Chamber’s "Roxie” to the Library, Historic Cottage and Mound House, just to name a few. It’s also a great place to meet the most friendly and welcoming Islanders, as they are the volunteers that make our island run.
As we Islanders celebrate holidays, whether on our own or surrounded by loved ones, may we each find here that sense of "home” that lets you know you are welcome, valued and appreciated. If you know someone who’s on their own this year, consider sharing your sense of "home” with them. It’s the Island thing to do.
12/12/2013 at 4:19pm
Fahoo for-ays, Dahoo dor-ays
Welcome, Christmas! Come this way,
Fahoo for-ays, Dahoo dor-ays
Welcome, Christmas, Christmas Day!
So sings Cindy Lou Who and the entire population of Who-ville as they prepare for Christmas in Dr. Seuss’ "How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
Here in America, we prepare for this mid-winter holiday in our own ways by decorating our homes, gathering with loved ones, shopping for gifts and baking sweet things to share with our friends. Many Christians decorate their homes with nativity scenes, wise men and angels as they focus on the religious Christmas.
The religious Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, recognized by Christians as the Son of God and Savior. Christian churches are packed for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services.
There are also millions of Americans who celebrate a Christmas that has little or no religious significance for them. Yet it’s a happy, warm holiday for everyone. The Christmas season means celebrating a season of love and caring for friends, family and your fellow man.
Plus there are millions of Americans who don’t celebrate Christmas of any kind. Those of the Jewish and Muslim faiths, atheists and others don’t celebrate Christmas or choose to celebrate a non-religious Christmas.
Yet each year as Halloween fades into the past, we are inundated with indignant and defensive accusations about the "War on Christmas.” It’s all over the media with a few spokespeople who bravely step forward to claim that they will fight in this war. They’re not afraid to stand up for the rights of American Christians. And increase their market share and book sales, while they’re at it.
At precisely the season that Christians celebrate the birth of the Prince of peace and goodwill, we get a rancorous debate, by supposed Christians warriors demanding that we force feed a Christian celebration on everyone in our schools, our communities, our public spaces.
The anger the "warriors” spew is decidedly un-Christ-like and does more to harm the cause of Christianity than any "Happy Holiday” ever could. Hey, who doesn’t want to join a bunch of people who defies their core beliefs to exclude and offend others? Sign me up!
Fortunately, there are also many Christians who recognize and attempt to live by the tenets of Christianity, the ones that call for acceptance and love of others, forgiveness and hope.
12/05/2013 at 4:05pm
We at the Island Sand Paper believe it’s always a good idea to share good news. We use this space every couple months to focus on all the good things happening in our community and the many people who make our island a better place to live, work and play. Kudos go out to…
Fort Myers Beach Soccer Under 18 Teams for winning both 1st and 2nd place in the County Cup!
The Town of Fort Myers Beach, the Marine Resource Task Force, Fish Tale Marina and local businesses for supporting the Dolphin/Gator Alliance, a unique program bringing Island Coast High School and Beach Elementary students together to learn about water quality.
Thomas Bartel on being awarded the Pilgrim Degree by the Loyal Order of the Moose, for his many years of above the call of duty service and philanthropy.
The organizers and volunteers of the Fort Myers Beach marathon and Beach Survival races that brought runners from all over the country to our island for a great weekend of running.
The Rotary Club of Sanibel-Captiva for their recent gift of a dictionary to each 3rd grader at Beach Elementary School.
Beach Chamber of Commerce for another successful Pirate Festival. The family-friendly emphasis is appreciated by residents and visitors alike.
Surfers for Autism who brought a fun event for families to Crescent Beach Family Park for the 3rd year. Volunteers introduce kids with autism to the basics of surfing in a relaxed environment.
Volunteers and the Marine Resource Task Force who planted beach plants as part of the Beachscape program, designed to reduce erosion and create dunes.
Rick Sebastian on his retirement from the role of Town receptionist. Often the first voice or the first face residents encountered in dealing with the town, he offered a friendly greeting to everyone and will be missed.
Manhattan Construction and the Beach Library for their Sand Dollar award for public building design from the Collier Building Industry Association.
Members of the Estero Island Historic Society for bringing interesting speakers to their public meetings each season. They also staff the Historic Cottage museum and have recently unveiled their "Footprints in Time” QR code Historic Tour, offering residents and visitors a glimpse into the past.