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Missy Layfield - Editor
04/25/2013 at 4:28pm Delete

Tough Week

As we’ve watched Boston funerals, memorial runs and the excruciatingly slow revelation of possible motives and background of the alleged bombers this week, there have been not so faint echoes of 9-11 in the emotions evoked if not the actual events. As the media focuses on the why question, devoting most of each newscast to the inane questioning of the accused’s family members, (How do you think they feel?), the rest of us are left awash in vulnerability.

You recall what vulnerability felt like on 9-11 and the days, weeks and months afterward? When we all felt like we’d never feel safe again. Seems we did eventually move through that vulnerability and back to our sense of safety. We went back into tall buildings; we even got on planes again. We felt safe. And that was what shattered last week. We watched in horror as people just like us, going about their lives fell victim to some crazy plot to kill as many innocents as possible.

We are not alone in our lack of interest in the bomber’s childhood, background and religious beliefs. That just seems like we’re giving the bomber exactly what he wants-notoriety and attention. And it feeds the next crazy loner’s desire to become infamous by killing innocent people.We can’t control what the rest of the media does. In spite of whatever conspiracy theory might be floating out there, there is no mass media conspiracy or if there is, we haven’t been invited to the secret meetings.

No, for us, the story is not the bomber’s life, struggles, beliefs or motives. Don’t know. Don’t care.

For us, the story is how Americans responded. They helped. They cared about those that were injured. They stepped into the unknown to help because someone needed them.

I spent two decades providing medical care at athletic events much like the Boston Marathon.The people in those medical tents at the finish line were well prepared for dehydration, blisters, heat injuries and maybe a heart attack.
04/18/2013 at 4:14pm Delete

Island Kudos

We at the Sand Paper believe that it’s always a good idea to share good news. Every couple of months, we use this space to focus on all the good things happening in our community and the many people who make our island a better place to live. Kudos go out to…

Fort Myers Beach Lions Club for another tremendously successful Shrimp Festival-from the Queen’s Sunset Social to the parade to the last Shrimp Dinner served, it was all great fun for a great cause.

Fort Myers Beach Woman’s Club for the successful 13th Annual Home Tour that raised funds for local charities and maintenance of their clubhouse.

Ostego Bay Foundation and the volunteers who hosted a lovely Tea by the Sea event to support the foundation and its Marine Science Center.

Speaking of the Ostego Bay Foundation, kudos to Shirley Semmer for coordinating a unique fundraiser with Vino’s Picasso to raise funds for scholarships to the foundation’s Summer Camp.

Friends of Matanzas Pass Preserve, who each year, bring history to life during their "Visions of the Past” event at the Preserve. Through their efforts visitors and residents alike have the chance to hear from Pirates, Calusa Indians, Spaniards, Koreshans and early settlers of our island.

Pink Shell for the completion of their beautiful new marina-sure to be a destination for area boaters.

Beach Library Board members, volunteers and staff for the completion and Grand Opening of the new library, an island gathering place, featuring more space, more services and an awesome view of the Gulf.

Fort Myers Beach Community Foundation for their 13th Annual Spring Fashion Show and their support of local kids programs and beach cleanups, one of which is this Saturday. Be at the Beach School at 9am to help! .
04/11/2013 at 5:14pm Delete

Stay Involved

As many of our seasonal residents pack up and head north, our island’s issues and challenges will remain. Whether it’s Estero Boulevard or noise issues or water rates – while it is tempting to think that life pauses here while seasonal residents are away, it does not. The issues and full time residents are here year round.

There are those who complain whenever a hot topic is brought up at any time other than January through March. But our Town exists 12 months of the year and deserves 12 months worth of effort and input, not just three.

Just as the issues in many of our resident’s northern hometowns continue while they are here for several months, our issues continue while our seasonal residents are absent.We wonder if any northern towns ever have residents who complain that their northern town’s government holds meetings and makes decisions during the winter when they are in Fort Myers Beach. We suspect any effort to demand that local government there put critical discussions on hold until summer when they return would be met with laughter.

Yet it happens here fairly regularly. I can assure our readers that the Sand Paper’s staff attends more local government meetings than anyone and we’ve never seen any effort, subtle or otherwise, to manipulate an issue so that a public hearing or discussion occurs during the off-season in order to limit public input.

So, life goes on here on the Beach year round – and that includes government. The Town, Library and Fire District all continue to meet on a regular basis. All of them welcome public comments.

It is easier than ever to stay tuned into what is happening on Fort Myers Beach.The Town has a website and posts not only the agendas of upcoming meetings, but provides links to background information on agenda topics that can be downloaded. There’s no reason to not be informed of what’s happening in Town government whether you are just down the boulevard or a thousand miles away.
04/04/2013 at 5:28pm Delete

The Price of Prosperity

This is the best season we’ve had in five years. Our hotels and rentals are busy if not sold out. Our restaurants are full. Our parking lots are packed. The beach is a sea of sun-worshippers. Estero Boulevard is in gridlock.

This week, well after college spring break season, we saw northbound Estero traffic backed up from Matanzas Bridge to Santini Plaza. That’s four and a half miles of serious gridlock.

If our County Commissioners were to find themselves in that line daily for three months as Islanders do, I suspect that our traffic and transportation issues would get a lot more attention than they do now from the county-owner of the trolley system and Estero Boulevard.

Nobody likes gridlock, or standing in line to get a table for dinner, but they are sure signs that Fort Myers Beach is having a good season. Not too many years ago, we looked forward to the return of a busy season to help relieve the economic challenges brought on by cold winters and the BP oil spill.

We got what we wanted and we are re-learning what it means to have a busy season. And many Islanders are tired.

I suspect there are some Islanders who have been working double shifts for too many weeks or sitting in traffic too many afternoons or are just wearing down from the constant crush of people enjoying our island and all it has to offer.

This is the price of prosperity. It’s April and we are as busy as ever. We know the lazy days of summer are coming, but right now, we’re still working flat out to welcome and accommodate our many visitors.

We know it can be hard to keep that warm Island welcoming spirit in place as we approach the end of season-for it will end in the not that distant future.

In the meantime, Buck Up Buttercup! Season’s end is coming soon.

We want to salute the Islanders who are working their tails off. The server bringing you that refill with a smile may not have had a day off in 3 weeks. Be nice to her. Remember to tip.