Back to School Safety


With temps in the 90’s and humidity not far behind, it doesn’t feel much like Back to School time, but it surely is. Our Island kids headed back to Beach Elementary, assorted Middle and High Schools on Thursday this week. On the road, watch for kids and buses and parents rushing to drop off or pick up their students!

Drivers are often confused on when they need to stop for a stopped school bus. We include some valuable tips on that subject from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office in this issue on page 20.

On Fort Myers Beach and San Carlos Blvd, drivers must stop in both directions if the STOP arm is raised and stay stopped until it is withdrawn. Got any questions, call the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Community Relations Unit 239-258-3280.

Watch for pedestrians, especially students. Our ongoing roadwork makes navigating our sidewalks a challenge. Give pedestrians some extra room. That roadwork is requiring some one-lane travel with flaggers lately. Don’t let that short delay make you an impatient driver. We’ve survived the first section of the Estero rebuild; we can survive anything!

Slow down, watch for pedestrians and bicyclists. Look twice for motorcycles and scooters. Let those waiting to turn into or out of traffic do so, to help traffic keep moving.

And watch out for our most precious Islanders – our kids!


On Sunday, Southwest Florida will mark 13 years since Hurricane Charley roared ashore near Cayo Costa & Captiva as a 150mph Category 4 storm, carving a destructive path through Southwest and Central Florida, leaving devastation, heartache and confusion in its wake.

The storm was truly a seminal event in our island’s history, influencing many events that would follow – elections, jobs, decisions on whether to continue to live here and to some extent, how we live here in houses raised a dozen feet or more off our white sand. Island life surely did shift after Charley. And our Islanders shifted right along with it, showing their resilience and determination to move forward and recover from Charley.

Lessons were learned  – don’t put too much stock in storm path predictions — don’t leave pets behind when you evacuate  — be ready long before a storm is anywhere near our shores – to name just a few.

We now have an active Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) that is the envy of many coastal communities. Our first responders, on and off the island, have a coordinated plan for pre-storm, storm and post-storm scenarios. Our town has a detailed Emergency Operations Plan. Most of all, we have a population of citizens who have seen firsthand the power of Charley’s glancing blow and as a result don’t want to see what a direct hit by a slow moving storm with a serious storm surge would do here. We’re safer just by recognizing the power of a hurricane.

May this be our lucky 13th year since a storm of that magnitude hit our Island!

Beach Business

No denying that it’s August on the beach. It’s off-season and a while a few places are closed for renovation, cleaning or vacation time, most of our Island businesses are open and would love your patronage.

With few tourists this time of year, Island businesses depend on local residents to keep their cash registers ringing, their employees employed and their doors open. Can you help?

At the same time, many Islanders find August and September the best time of year for some downtime. How about combining the two? Take a well-deserved break from the rest of the year and enjoy our Island! Ride the trolley downtown, grab lunch in Times Square, do some shopping, walk the beach, stake out a seat at the pier and watch the fishing. Or head to the south end. Pick a lunch spot, then head to the beach and rent a jet ski or go parasailing and grab a cool drink under a tiki hut while you watch the sunset.

Our Island is full of interesting and fun things to do. Many of us don’t have enough time to enjoy this great place we live most of the time. Make some time now during our slower season and you’ll be recharged and ready for another busy season that is really right around the corner.

We still hear people from off island talk about how they “never go to the beach, it’s too crowded.” These folks need to be invited to the beach now. It will blow their mind to drive right over the bridge, easily find a parking spot and walk right into any restaurant they choose. So invite your friends to lunch or dinner on the beach! Got a business meeting, have it here on the beach!

The beach is open for business!


Missy Layfield