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Issue 590 Delete 05/31/2012 at 4:17pm

Hurricane SeasonHurricane Season Begins

Today marks the official start of Hurricane Season, but don't tell that to Mother Nature. She already battered northern portions of the state with near hurricane force winds and dangerous surf as Tropical Storm Beryl made landfall near Jacksonville early Monday morning. It was the second named storm in the Atlantic Basin this month.

The 70-mph storm that toppled trees and caused coastal erosion is a startling reminder of what could be in store for the Sunshine State this year. Experts have predicted an average storm count for the 2012 season, but that is no reason for area residents to let down their guard.

Issue 589 Delete 05/24/2012 at 4:04pm
USS Mohawk USS Mohawk Makes Final Voyage

The gray camouflage, World War II-era ship sits alone in our back bay, docked at San Carlos Island, a shell of its former glory. Only a name and a number, painted in white on the hull, provide a glimpse into its storied past and national pride.

The former U.S. Coast Guard "A” class cutter and gunboat, named Mohawk (WPG-78), will find its final resting place 28 nautical miles west of Redfish Pass in the Gulf of Mexico. She will become the largest ship to be scuttled as part of Lee County's Artificial Reef program. Plans are to sink her to a 90-foot depth in the Gulf in July 2012 after the ship is cleaned and gutted.

Issue 588 Delete 05/17/2012 at 3:38pm

ShrimpersLocal Shrimpers Meet

On Thursday afternoon, the Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA) held a Town Hall meeting at Bonita Bills' conference room where they discussed issues related to the shrimping industry including an update on a bill intended to close loopholes on the importing of contaminated shrimp and the latest developments in fisheries management. After the meeting, the Sand Paper met with local independent shrimper Tracey Gore and Commissioner Ray Judah, who told us some of the plans for our local shrimpers.

SSA Executive Director John Williams began the meeting by talking about how some imported farm-raised shrimp can be contaminated with antibiotics and pesticides deemed harmful to humans by the FDA. Foreign farm-raised shrimp have gained popularity since the late 1970's because of their low cost, but those savings not only put local shrimpers out of business but can also be a health risk - research done by the SSA in 2010 and presented to Congress showed that, in 2009, US consumers were likely exposed to 59 million pounds - or roughly 118 million servings - of shrimp contaminated with FDA‐banned antibiotics and pesticides imported from the nations of India, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Ecuador.

Issue 587 Delete 05/10/2012 at 4:24pm
Cement SignaturesSchool Year Wrapping
Up in Grand Style

School children on Fort Myers Beach are anxious to reach the end of the current school year and get busy with fun, summertime activities. None are more excited than the outgoing fifth graders at Fort Myers Beach Elementary, who graduate May 24th and prepare for the transition to middle school.

Summer Johnson, a Fort Myers Beach fifth grader, is headed next school year to Lexington Middle School, 16351 Summerlin Road, along with many of her classmates. She chose Lexington because it's a "nice school” and her friends are going there. Johnson looks most forward to making new friends at the off-island school located closest to the beach. Before attending her first classes there, she plans to travel to Canada and Puerto Rico to visit family.

Johnson's classmate, Allison Graeber-Witt, is also headed to Lexington, where both her brother and sister attended. She said her siblings had a good experience there and she likes the middle school's "sports focus.” Graeber-Witt looks forward to "meeting new people and playing volleyball, soccer and track.” She has travel plans over the summer break to include a one or two-week trip to New York. Her summer plans include Vacation Bible School at a church near Iona, as well.