Archive for the ‘Florida’ Category

Sarasota's First Labor Day Regatta, 1947

Event Details

  • Friday, January 27
  • 6-8pm
  • Mildred Sainer Pavilion
  • 5313 Bay Shore Road
  • Free and Open to the Public

Sarasota County and New College of Florida present the Sarasota Oral History Project reception and viewing. Enjoy stunning photographs and wonderful stories from people who lived through the good and sometimes not so good times on the Gulf Coast. Those interviewed for the project include Lorraine Rife, Richard Braren, Peter Stultz, New College alum and Assistant to the VP of Finance Jono Miller and Herman Johnson, who provides maintenance support for the New College Fitness Center. Meet and mingle with the interviewees, the student interviewers and your fellow water heritage fans. An outdoor reception will follow this free event. View past oral history sound slides at www.sarasotaoralhistory.com. For more information, contact Amanda Dominguez at 941-650-1089.


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CHAPEL HILL, NC—A study published Thursday by psychologists at the University of North Carolina concluded that all American problems—from stuck jacket zippers to the national debt—could be solved if citizens just stopped, took a deep breath, and thought for two seconds before they acted. “We found that in 93 percent of cases, a positive outcome could have been achieved if Americans simply splashed a little water on their faces prior to dealing with an unfair boss, being out of clean spoons, signing on to direct a second Wall Street film, or answering a call from a parent,” Janet Mallory, the study’s lead author, told reporters. “Our data indicate that when U.S. citizens don’t take a second to compose themselves, they typically charge in like maniacs and hurt either themselves or several million Iraqi civilians.” Mallory said a good rule of thumb for Americans is to think of a plan, stop, and then do the complete opposite.

E.H. Gombrich, in his A Little History of the World, wrote of Caesar Augustus, “It is said that he never gave an order or made a decision in anger. Whenever he felt his temper rising, he slowly recited the alphabet in his head, and by the time he had reached the end he had calmed down.”

Sometimes as the Sarasota summer heats up our fuses shorten. But the next time somebody cuts us off in traffic or forgets to pick up after their dog or doesn’t take our order as promptly as we’d like it might be good to do as Augustus did and count our way to calmness. We’re all neighbors after all, whether we share a block, a city, or a planet. So, let the little stuff slide, neutralize hot tempers with cold drinks, and help Laurel Park Management keep paradise peaceful.

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So, this week’s post is a bit of an aberration, as we are not only giving a direct plug for a restaurant, but one that isn’t even especially close to Laurel Park. However, Laurel Park Management and J.R.’s Old Packinghouse Cafe do have something in common—a love of old Florida and a belief that the best of ol’ cracker life can coexist just fine with the modern city. Walk around Laurel Park and you’ll see people happily living in traditional bungalows only a stone’s throw from Main Street. Step into the Old Packinghouse Cafe and you’ll find a diverse crowd enjoying the traditional digs, honest food, and good music a stone’s throw from highway 75.

Known for good food, cold beer and live entertainment; it was used for packing locally cultivated celery beginning in the 1920’s. South of the Border offerings complement sumptuous southern dinners. A large variety of sandwiches are available, some prepared with “jerk”, a semi-mild Jamaican spice. And don’t forget to try the home made desserts, especially the bread pudding and key lime pie.

Celery can still be found here in the “Celery Plate with Dip” as can a bevy of other tasty menu items prepared fresh daily. Locals like the down-to-earth atmosphere of antiques and old photos, but it’s mainly the food they come for. Some favorites include: Black Beans and Rice, Cuban Sandwiches and Grouper Filet. Owner J.R., has been in the restaurant business for 25 years. He invites you to come out, enjoy a good meal at a fair price and have some fun. Six nights a week there is live music.”

The Old Packinghouse Cafe is located at 987 South Packinghouse Drive in Sarasota. You can reach them by calling (941) 371-9358 or checking out oldpackinghousecafe.com


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Along with air, water is the most important resource on planet Earth. You’d think something so important would be treated like gold, but think about how much is lost through running hoses and faucets, leaks, and inefficient washing machines. We can do better. We should do better. And if the rainclouds that pass over Sarasota stay stingy, we’ll need to do better. From today’s Sarasota Herald-Tribune:

In a signal that watering restrictions may be coming in the next few months, the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s governing board declared a water shortage today.

The shortage declaration, which goes into effect on Dec. 1, is meant to alert local governments and the public to developing drought conditions. It does not bring additional watering restrictions.

The water district is urging residents to check their irrigation systems to make sure they do not leak and that timers and rain sensors work properly. An estimated 50 percent of fresh water suitable for drinking is doused on landscaping in many parts of Southwest Florida.

The district also is encouraging local governments to step up their enforcement of existing watering restrictions.

While the district limits watering to two times per week regardless of drought conditions, Sarasota County limits watering to once a week. (see entire article)

So, are you water smart? Do you use low-flow faucets and toilets? Have you traded in your energy-intensive lawn for Florida-friendly landscaping? Laurel Park Management is proud to say that we’ve upgraded nearly all of our units by taking these steps and others to make the water we’ve got go that much further. Want to know more? Here are 100 ways to conserve water. Every little bit helps.


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Saw this article last week and thought I’d pass it along. Florida has been hit hard by the economic and housing crises, and Sarasota hasn’t been exempt, but it isn’t all gloom and doom. Laurel Park residents know they live in a special place, and apparently the word is getting out.

Local home sales hit post-boom high in June

by Duane Marsteller

Tax credits? What tax credits?

The Bradenton-Sarasota housing market showed no ill effects from the expiration of federal homebuyer tax credits, with sales of previously occupied homes hitting their highest point since the building boom, according to figures released Thursday.

A total of 1,068 existing single-family homes changed hands in June, the most since August 2005, the Florida Realtors trade association said. It also was the fourth consecutive month of 1,000-plus sales, something that also hasn’t happened in five years.

“That’s just absolutely phenomenal,” said Cindy Greco, the Manatee Association of Realtors’ president and an agent with Wagner Realty.

June’s figure was 3.8 percent higher than May’s 1,029 sales, Florida Realtors said. The June tally was even better than a year ago, when 789 homes changed owners.

Local prices also were up, but not by as much. The median sales price — the point where half sold for more and half for less — was $170,400 last month, up from $166,400 in May and $162,700 in June 2009, according to the trade group.

The data reflects closings, which usually occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are signed.

Thus, the June figures captured some buyers receiving federal tax credits of up to $8,000 that boosted home sales this year. Buyers had until April 30 to have signed sales contracts and initially had to close their purchases by June 30, but now have until Sept. 30 thanks to a last-minute extension by Congress.

While the credit helped spur sales locally, Greco said low prices and historically low mortgage interest rates were bigger factors behind the June sales lift. Home prices have fallen as foreclosures, short sales and distressed properties continue to dominate the market.

“This is our new normal,” Greco said. “Good sales, good prices that people can afford.”

continue reading at bradenton.com

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