Saturday, April 13, 2013

SUNDAY, APRIL 14, 2013

GOOD is your last chance to visit one of the best craft shows of the season:  THE 35th ANNUAL SIESTA FIESTA.  Located on Ocean Blvd. and Beach Road on Siesta Key, it features over 250 of the nation's most talented artists and crafters along with plants, food and entertainment.  Parking is always a hassle; whether going to FIESTA or the top rated beach in the country it can take hours to find a  parking space.   Fear no more, there is a way to get there conveniently and inexpensively....
Siesta Shuttle is a full service shuttle service from Westfield Southgate Mall (Saks, Macy's, Dillard's) to Siesta Key Beaches and Siesta Key Village, site of SIESTA FIESTA. The fare is $5 for adults, and free for kids under 12.  This weekend it is leaving every 30 minutes 9am-7pm.  The shuttle leaves from the north east corner of the mall parking lot (near Dillard's).

The picture above is designed to draw your attention to North Cattleman Road extension.   Both northbound and southbound lanes are open to traffic south of Brown Lane.  The intersection of North Cattleman Road and Richardson Road is now a one-way stop.  Roberta and I drove the entire length of Cattleman last weekend while visiting a rowing event at BENDERSON PARK.  It is ready to open except for some landscaping.  It should be open for traffic sometime this spring, and will bring one more north-south travel option in addition Honore, Tuttle, Lockwood Ridge and I75. 

Today is also the last day to watch the FSRA rowing championships at the aforementioned BENDERSON PARK.  Several schools from around the state are participating affording you an opportunity of seeing several races and experiencing the new Cattleman Road extension.  jim's first  rant this week comes from a letter to the editor in Wednesday's Herald-Tribune by an uninformed University Park resident.  She has not a clue as to what is being planned for the BENDERSON ROWING FACILITY.  Demeaning the crowd as amateur she fails to take into account the number of visitors attracted to the rowing events as well as the number of dollars being spent each weekend there is an event.  Furthermore she questions the site without ever seeing a rendering of the site as well as the finished product.  And, though it's hard to argue "Arts and services first" she is way off base saying..."The money is better spent on the arts and services for the needy instead of Benderson's fantasies."  You need more than sunshine and beaches to attract snow-birds and tourists.  They come to SARASOTA for several reasons in addition to our arts and culture. Thankfully, the Benderson family stepped up to the plate and created this wonderful facility for us.
Last week I encouraged you to watch the premiere of Mad Men.  Much to my disappointment, it dragged and did little to move a new story line for their sixth and next to last season.  Hopefully the remaining weeks will make up for the first week's boredom.  Mr. Selfridge on PBS was also sluggish and repetitive.  THE GOOD WIFE is back this week along with VEEP so you have many options.  For golf enthusiasts, this is also the MASTERS weekend.  If the tournament runs beyond 7, be sure to set your DVR for THE MENTALIST as well so you don't miss part of GOOD WIFE. 

PBS ALERT.....The Ken Burns documentary THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE which was on demand and later at Burns Court for a few weeks is being shown on PBS Tuesday 9-11pm.  We saw it and highly recommend your viewing as well.

The popular Florida chain, Michelangelo has opened its 5th location in the  University Parkway shopping center anchored by TIRE'S PLUS.  CIO Debbie was there and writes..."We each had a slice of cheese pizza.  Mine had a hot,  with a crispy crust and just the right amount cheese.  Jack's had Sicilian with fresh tomato rather than sauce.  Also very thin and crispy.  For a reasonable price, we split an order of linguine with white clam sauce and a salad.  Open as well for lunch, there will soon be a covered area for outside eating so feel free to bring your dog. Carry out along with free delivery extending the University Parkway corridor, this will be my go-to for neighborhood Italian."
Debbie also reports, on a sad note, one of the first restaurants to open
 in the KOHL'S/FRESH MARKET complex, Red Elephant,  has closed its doors.  I went there twice, was not impressed, but it was always  busy with young families.  The parking lot was full most evenings, so one can only guess why they closed. 

 After graduating college , I had a dream of owning my own restaurant.  A Chicago friend , Bob Don, worked in a successful family restaurant supply business.  It was my vision to someday own a restaurant so Bob agreed to set up a meeting with his father.  I met with Mr. Don to learn the ins and outs of the restaurant business...."for every one that makes it, hundreds fail."  I did not like those odds and chose broadcast marketing, sales and advertising  instead.  WISE CHOICE!!!  The DON company is still supplying restaurants all over the country, including SARASOTA.

A few weeks back, we spent a couple of days in South Beach with our son and college friends.  On Collins Ave still selling hot corned beef,  the former WOLFIE'S delicatessen, so famous in the 50's and 60's.  It still sits on the same spot,  only now it is known as Jerry's Famous Deli.  It smelled good.  That's as far as we got to the food.  Took a walk down Ocean Drive and felt like we were in the BIRD CAGE movie of several years ago.  It is a freak show, that is sure.  Lincoln Road is now an open mall with stores on both sides of the street and tables and benches in the middle.  It was good to get back to SARASOTA.

jim's second rant is again directed at SARASOTA's county commission who waited until the last minute to appropriate funds for the SUNCOAST SUPER BOAT GRAND PRIX which has been a July event for 28 consecutive years.  The economic impact is more than $14.3 MILLION and possibly 13,000 area hotel rooms.  We all know the economy has been sluggish at best, but is now rebounding, but when money is thrown to events with less exposure, why should one have to wait for the last minute to get funding?????

Tracy, you really did yeoman work this week.  No one will know the problems you resolved for me.  Thanks to Debbie for her Michelangelo review and the news on Red Elephant, and a very happy birthday to her as well. .......  Everyone have a great day........JIM

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