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Missy Layfield - Editor
06/26/2014 at 3:39pm Delete

Summertime!

And we’re sitting in traffic? How can this be? The times, they are a-changin’.

As much as we talk about wanting and needing more of a year round economy, sometimes we balk a little at what that actually means – a little bit of traffic, a few more bar stools filled in our favorite pub, fewer days off and maybe a short wait to eat dinner. After a really busy season, those waiting for the doldrums of summer to arrive, are still waiting.

And this is a very good thing! But it does take some adjustment. We had a few years where summertime just about meant ghost town here on the beach. Those days are behind us we’re adjusting to that happy fact.

Who wants to pine away for the bad old days when most places closed for the summer? There will always be a few that close for cleaning or renovation or just to give staff a few days off, but mostly, our businesses are year round enterprises these days. And that is good for our Island economy and for Islanders employed by those businesses.

While we may be accustomed to a summer break, it does look like we need to wait a bit longer for it to arrive, so let’s enjoy our prosperity now. We can sit a bit in traffic if it means our friends and neighbors are having a good summer economically.

Driving Island-Style

With the busy 4th of July weekend coming up, it’s a good time to polish up our Island driving skills so they are on full display for our visitors next weekend. Nothing beats a good example.

When traffic backs up, take a deep breath and accept that wherever you were planning to be, it’s gonna be awhile before you get there. Knowing that our traffic is heavier than normal and will be more so over the 4th weekend, leave earlier. You live here. You know this. Give yourself lots of time. Sitting and fuming doesn’t work in March; won’t work in July. Deep breath now.

While you’re creeping along Estero, Islanders let people turn on and off side streets. And we all know that if you don’t wave when someone lets you in—then you’re not from around here. Islanders always wave a ‘thanks!’
06/19/2014 at 3:06pm Delete

By Islanders, For Islanders

How time flies! Four years ago, we assumed ownership of The Island Sand Paper, and while that anniversary passed quietly last month, our commitment to an open relationship with our readers remains an integral part of our newspaper’s mission. With that in mind, we reprise this editorial.

When we assumed stewardship of this community newspaper in May 2010, we told readers what they could expect from us, knowing that what we said would be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism. We knew we'd have to prove that we meant what we said, that we would indeed walk the talk.

Four years ago, we fielded a lot of questions about how we planned to handle this treasured island resource called the Sand Paper. We learned early on that this was not just a business or just a newspaper. This was Islanders' community forum, a reflection of Islanders' interests, opinions and concerns.

When we began, we promised unbiased information. We feel strongly that it's not our job to tell Beach residents what to think. If we have an opinion, it will appear on the editorial page, not in story selection or how we write stories. We made the decision not to endorse candidates, rejecting the power of endorsement in favor of trusting our readers to make up their own minds on who should represent them. Our job is to provide readers with enough information to make the choice themselves. Some candidates utilize the opportunities we offer – some do not.

We promised responsibility and respect. Our responsibility is to report community news, to seek out the stories that Islanders want to read, to respect not only our readers but also the subjects of our stories.

We promised to support local business. We believe in the power of a community to support its businesses. We want to contribute to the success of the entire business community of Fort Myers Beach -- not just our advertisers -- the whole island. We know that when one business succeeds, we all benefit. Sure we have a beautiful beach, but without the restaurants, bars and shops, how many people would spend their precious vacation time here?

We want to support efforts by Islanders and businesses to work cooperatively. We've been supportive of efforts to bring businesses and Islanders together, whether it's the weekend Times Square Sunset Parties, Pirate Fest or the Friends of the Arts Film Festival.
06/12/2014 Delete

Time to Step Up

The November general election seems a long way away. At just under 5 months in the future, it is. But if you’ve been thinking about running for a seat on a local special district, you need to get a move on right now.

There is no last minute decision to run. There is also no spontaneous write-in campaign. In case you were pondering those options. Florida election law doesn’t allow for either one.

To run for a special district, candidates must qualify by June 20th. Qualification week is noon June 16th to noon June 20th. The good news is that it doesn’t take millions of dollars to run for elected office. $25 gets you on the ballot.

Of course, there are rules for candidates and deadlines and details to know. But first, you need to decide if you want to run for a special district office. Fort Myers Beach has three special districts with a total of eight seats up for election in November.

The Fort Myers Beach Fire Control District will have three seats on the ballot, Seats #1, 3 & 5. The Fort Myers Beach Library will have 4 seats, #1,2,3 & 4. The Fort Myers Beach Mosquito District will have one seat, #1.

In all three special districts, candidates must specify which seat they are running for. This is different than Fort Myers Beach Town Council seats, where, in the most recent election, five candidates all ran for the three seats up for election, with the top three vote getters winning a Council seat.

Many incumbents are running for these 8 seats, though not all. As of press time, just 4 candidates for the three seats on the Fire Board have qualified for the November election.

We respect the work and dedication of all incumbents and thank them for their work, but still encourage anyone with an interest in these special districts and the work that they do to consider running for one of these eight seats.

Each of these districts do important work for taxpayers, managing budgets that range from the Mosquito Board’s $366,259 for the 2013-2014 fiscal year to the Beach Library’s $1,394,881 to the Fire Board’s $14 million budget (including reserves of $5.3 million). Serving on a board is more than just hashing out budgets, it’s working with your neighbors to provide important services to your fellow residents and visitors, whether that be fire prevention or emergency medical services or controlling mosquito populations or providing information services via the library.
06/12/2014 Delete

Time to Step Up

The November general election seems a long way away. At just under 5 months in the future, it is. But if you’ve been thinking about running for a seat on a local special district, you need to get a move on right now.

There is no last minute decision to run. There is also no spontaneous write-in campaign. In case you were pondering those options. Florida election law doesn’t allow for either one.

To run for a special district, candidates must qualify by June 20th. Qualification week is noon June 16th to noon June 20th. The good news is that it doesn’t take millions of dollars to run for elected office. $25 gets you on the ballot.

Of course, there are rules for candidates and deadlines and details to know. But first, you need to decide if you want to run for a special district office. Fort Myers Beach has three special districts with a total of eight seats up for election in November.

The Fort Myers Beach Fire Control District will have three seats on the ballot, Seats #1, 3 & 5. The Fort Myers Beach Library will have 4 seats, #1,2,3 & 4. The Fort Myers Beach Mosquito District will have one seat, #1.

In all three special districts, candidates must specify which seat they are running for. This is different than Fort Myers Beach Town Council seats, where, in the most recent election, five candidates all ran for the three seats up for election, with the top three vote getters winning a Council seat.

Many incumbents are running for these 8 seats, though not all. As of press time, just 4 candidates for the three seats on the Fire Board have qualified for the November election.

We respect the work and dedication of all incumbents and thank them for their work, but still encourage anyone with an interest in these special districts and the work that they do to consider running for one of these eight seats.

Each of these districts do important work for taxpayers, managing budgets that range from the Mosquito Board’s $366,259 for the 2013-2014 fiscal year to the Beach Library’s $1,394,881 to the Fire Board’s $14 million budget (including reserves of $5.3 million).