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Monday, January 26, 2015
A Message from the Executive Director of Florida's Turnpike:

Reposted from http://www.floridasturnpike.com/sunpassages/14.fall/steering-column.html

Did you know the Founding Fathers left road building largely in the hands of the states and local municipalities? They believed locals could better maintain their roadways and so provided no federal mechanism for funding or constructing them. As a result, by the time Henry Ford began the mass production of vehicles that led to America's love of both cars and traveling the open road, cities and states were designing all kinds of signals and signs to direct traffic around urban areas. There were no recognized standards. The first stop sign was a white rectangle with black letters, not the red octagon we are familiar with today. Most signals had only green and red lights and a buzzer to warn the color was changing, not a yellow light. Police officers stood in the middle of the intersections and manually changed the signals from green to red. It took state transportation officials banding together to begin providing continuity. Eventually, signs and signals would be the same whether you were in Salt Lake City or Atlantic City.

Things evolved that way with electronic toll collection. Each state picked a system suited to its needs at the time, with the price of installation and maintenance near the top of the list in importance. Toll Tag, the first electronic toll system in the U.S., was installed in Texas in 1989. In the mid '90s New York and New Jersey got on the same page with E-ZPass because they were just across the river from one another and traffic continually traveled back and forth on a myriad bridges and tunnels. California picked an entirely different system, as did Washington State. When the Florida Department of Transportation was ready to begin electronic collection, we picked the technology that became SunPass.

Twenty years ago, there was no reason to believe a driver in Texas would need or want to use his Toll Tag in Massachusetts. In major urban areas, most toll traffic was locals going to and from work. Commuters had replaced the long distance travelers that made up the majority of the traffic on the legacy turnpikes in the '50s, '60s and '70s.

Florida remains the most popular tourist destination in the US, however, and we have thousands of motorists coming from the Atlanta and Raleigh/Durham areas--for football games, to visit family or the tourist attractions and beaches. Floridians are traveling to vacation spots in Georgia and North Carolina. It makes sense for us to allow our respective customers to use their own transponders when traveling nearby for day or weekend trips and longer vacations.

Florida just became interoperable with Georgia; we can use our SunPass on Atlanta's Express Lanes and they can use their Peach Pass here in the Sunshine State. Last summer, we began accepting Quick Pass from North Carolina. We are also working with other nearby states on becoming interoperable very soon. We have had some requests by winter residents to be able to use their E-ZPass here in Florida, but until recently, SunPass customers had shown little interest in using their transponders outside the Sunshine State. That is changing.

Meanwhile, on the larger stage, the federal initiative Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21 Century (MAP-21) mandates that all toll systems in the U.S. will be interoperable by October 2016.

That requires all of the agencies complete a lot of work in a short time. Thirty-five states have toll roads, bridges, tunnels or causeways. Our friends farther north in Ontario are also interested in interoperability.

We must make all of the different existing technologies "talk" to each other without requiring every state to change to one type of toll protocol, which would run into billions of dollars. Business rules must be established that include such things as the number of times per day active account data is exchanged and the timeframe for reconciling transactions and income for each agency. Most important, however, is ensuring that SunPass customers receive equal and fair treatment when traveling on other state's toll facilities without being charged higher tolls or service fees.

Also, we are participating in a national effort to develop universal signage that will tell you where your SunPass is accepted--whether you are traveling on the Capitol Beltway or the Golden Gate Bridge.

Another step in readying Florida for nationwide interoperability is our ongoing SunPass Tag Swap program. If you have received a postcard from SunPass and have not taken advantage of the opportunity to get a new transponder, I urge you to do so as soon as possible. Call 1-855-TAG SWAP (1-855-824-7927) or visitwww.sunpasstagswap.com. Once you have your new interoperable-ready transponder, please take a minute to review that your SunPass account is up to date by going to www.SunPass.com.

With gratitude,

Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti
Executive Director

Posted at 1:28:01 PM
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Things to Do This Week in Fort Lauderdale (Jan 22)

It’s 2015 and Fort Lauderdale is proving, more than ever, that it is truly a top notch city filled with culture, entertainment, and fun for the entire family. Here are just a few of our picks for some fun events happening this weekend throughout Greater Fort Lauderdale. We hope you are inspired to experience some of these – and other – great things happening around our beautiful city!

The finest young talent in South Florida is performing at The Bonnet House & Museum’s “Young Artist Music Series” throughout the winter season. The next presentation of the series is tonight, January 22, from 7-9pm. The evening's activities take place in and around the estate house with the concert taking place on the veranda lawn beneath the moon and stars. Sweet music, balmy starlit nights, and the setting of the beautiful Bonnet House & Museum (900 N. Birch Road) combine for a truly unique experience. The Concert Under the Stars series includes complimentary wine, dessert and coffee (sponsored by Whole Foods Market) with the price of admission.

The legendary singer Michael Bolton will be at the Hard Rock Live (1 Seminole Way, Hollywood) on January 23rd to perform his greatest hits including “When a Man Loves A Woman”, “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You”, and “I Said I Love You, but I Lied”. $1 from each ticket goes to Michael Bolton Charities, which support various women’s and children’s charitable organizations benefiting victims of poverty and abuse, both emotional and physical. Enjoy the evening’s performance and support these admirable causes. The show begins at 8pm and tickets start at $45.

January 23-24, bring the children (Grades K-2) to The Bailey Concert Hall & Fine Arts Theater (3501 Davie Road, Fort Lauderdale) to experience a wonderful musical stage production of “The Rainbow Fish”, the famous children's story by Marcus Pfister. As the story goes, The Rainbow Fish is the most beautiful fish in the ocean because of her shiny scales, but she learns the true meaning of beauty when she shares her scales with others. The show starts at 10am both Friday & Saturday.

Fort Lauderdale gets in on the laughter when the worlds #1 name in comedy comes to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (201 SW 5th Avenue) on January 23! The Second City takes on all the news that's fit to twist, featuring hilarious sketches, songs and improvisations about the biggest headlines and hot-button issues in South Florida. And it is all served up with a satirical side of that famous Chicago-style brand of Improv. Don't miss your chance to see the superstars of tomorrow live on stage when The Second City Hits Home! The show starts at 7:30pm and tickets are just $39!

January 24th is Tri-Rail’s “Rail Fun Day”. From 11am-3pm at the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport Tri-Rail Station in Dania Beach (500 Gulfstream Way), the “Rail Fun Day” will offer a FREE, fun-filled afternoon for the entire family. South Florida families will have a chance to meet Tri-Rail’s mascot Conductor George Green, participate in cookie decorating with Winn-Dixie and interactive games from the Miami Marlins, South Florida Parenting and more. Prizes, giveaways and activities will be provided courtesy of Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Fort Lauderdale Children’s Theatre, Museum of Discovery & Science and many more. Ride the train to the event with roundtrip fares for just $5, in addition to free rides for kids 12 and under (on this day only). Plus, you can see eleven young stars under 17 will show off their singing talents as they compete in the “South Florida’s Kids Got Talent” competition and vie for the $500 grand prize.

January 25th will be the last day to experience “Amaluna, presented by Cirque du Soleil” at Sun Life Stadium (2269 Dan Marino Blvd). Amaluna invites the audience to a mysterious island governed by Goddesses and guided by the cycles of the moon. Their queen, Prospera, directs her daughter's coming-of-age ceremony in a rite that honors femininity, renewal, rebirth and balance which marks the passing of these insights and values from one generation to the next. In the wake of a storm caused by Prospera, a group of young men washes ashore, triggering an epic and emotional story of love between Prospera's daughter and a brave young suitor. But theirs is a love that will be put to the test and the couple must face numerous demanding trials before they can achieve mutual trust, faith and harmony. Amaluna (the name of this mysterious island) is a fusion of the words ama, which refers to "mother" in many languages, and luna, which means "moon"; a symbol of femininity that evokes both the mother-daughter relationship and the idea of goddess and protector of the planet. It is a tribute to the work and voice of women, and for the first time in Cirque du Soleil's history, features a cast that comprises 70% women, with a 100% all-female band. Admission is $45.

Now through February 1st, you can experience the phenomenon that is The Lion King! The most eagerly awaited stage production ever will leap onto the Au-Rene Theatre stage at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (201 SW 5th Avenue). Visually stunning, technically astounding and with a musical score like none you've ever heard. Giraffes strut, birds swoop, and gazelles leap. The entire savannah comes to life and as the music soars, Pride Rock slowly emerges from the mist. See the Tony® Award-winning Broadway sensation that Newsweek calls "a landmark event in entertainment." The New York Times says, "There is simply nothing else like it." Marvel at the breathtaking spectacle of animals brought to life by a cast of more than 40 actors. Wonder at the inspiration of award-winning director Julie Taymor, who created visual images for this show that you'll remember forever. Thrill to the pulsating rhythms of the African Pridelands and an unforgettable score including Elton John and Tim Rice's Oscar®-winning song "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" and "Circle of Life." Showtimes for the run vary, and tickets range from $34.75 to $149.75. If you are a fan of the theater, you won’t want to miss this show!

Be sure to check in with us often as we share the many events Fort Lauderdale has to offer each week. And to learn more about our great city - or for information on Fort Lauderdale Real Estate - visit us at www.gayleborden.com or call The Gayle Borden Group at 954.525.3355.

Posted at 12:35:23 PM
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
4 New Year's Home Resolutions for 2015 That Can Save You Money

Home Resolutions

If your New Year’s resolutions include saving money, we've got four great ways for you to achieve your goals:


If you haven’t yet refinanced your mortgage or home equity loan to take advantage of today’s low interest rates, there’s still time to lock in a great deal. Jay Brinkmann, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association, expects mortgage rates to rise to 4.8 percent in 2015, and to 5.4 percent by the end of 2016.

If your current mortgages exceed your home’s value, you may still be able to refinance using one of the federal government’s Home Affordable Refinance Program.

Change Your Furnace Filters

New Year’s resolutions don’t get much easier than vowing to change your HVAC filter once a month in 2015 to increase your furnace’s life span. To make this task easy, buy 12 filters and store them in the furnace room so they’re at hand when you need them. Put a reminder on your calendar, or tie this chore to another monthly chore, like paying your household bills, so you remember to do it each month.

Seal Those Home Air Leaks

Sealing the air leaks in your home is one of the most cost-effective ways to cut your utility bills. Check to make sure your windows are caulked around the outside of the trim on the inside, and outside, of your home. Use foam to fill large gaps where the plumbing, electric or cable comes in the house.

Shop Your Insurance Policies

Yes, it’s a bother to shop for insurance, but if you haven’t checked what’s out there lately, you may be overpaying. The easiest way to get this chore done is to delegate. Copy the declarations pages from your current home, auto, life and umbrella policies, and ask an independent insurance agent to look for a better overall deal for you.

You can also visit your current agent, or call your insurance company and ask for an annual review to make sure you've got the right coverage and are getting all the discounts for which you qualify.

If you need a referral to a good insurance agent, mortgage loan officer or home handyperson, please contact me.

Posted at 3:53:00 PM
Monday, December 08, 2014
Things to Do This Week in Fort Lauderdale (Dec 8 to Dec 14)

The holiday season is always such a wonderful time to enjoy live music – it just seems so festive! And good thing there is plenty of beautiful live music to be heard throughout Fort Lauderdale this week! Here are a few choices to get you in the holiday spirit:

On December 8, enjoy the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra perform “Holiday Pops” at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (201 SW 5th Avenue). When music director John Morris Russell talks about the Cincinnati Pops, which he calls "the finest pops orchestra on the planet," he simply echoes what countless critics and audience members have been saying for years. "We're celebrating American music in a whole new way," he says, and demonstrates in an exciting, captivating holiday concert with Broadway sensation Brian Stokes Mitchell. The Tony Award-winning "super baritone" is such a dynamic stage presence that the New York Times called him "Broadway's last leading man." You'll see and hear how right they are in this holiday extravaganza for the whole family--come home for the holidays, home to the Broward Center! The show starts at 8pm.

On December 10, the Broward Center for the Performing Arts will play host to another genre with a jazz concert of American popular song featuring the Bill Charlap Trio. One of the world’s premier jazz pianists, Bill Charlap has performed and recorded with many leading artists of our time, ranging from jazz masters Phil Woods and Wynton Marsalis to singers Tony Bennett and Barbara Streisand. Since 1997, he has led the Bill Charlap Trio with bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington, now recognized as one of the leading groups in jazz. Enjoy this evening filled with the music of Gershwin, Porter, Kern and more from the Great American Songbook. The evening’s performance will begin at 7:45.

In a recording career that spans almost three decades and 23 albums, Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Kenny G has solidified his reputation as the premier artist in contemporary jazz. Since the early '80s, his combination of unparalleled instrumental chops and indelible melodies has resulted in sales of more than 75 million records worldwide (45 million in the U.S. alone) and more than a dozen climbs to the top of Billboard's contemporary jazz chart. Sit back, relax and enjoy the king of smooth jazz for a musical experience like no other. He’ll be performing at the Parker Playhouse (707 NE 8th Street) on December 11 at 8pm.

And finally, the holidays just wouldn’t be the same without an exciting performance by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. TSO will wrap up 2014 by performing their rock opera “The Christmas Attic” live at the BB&T Center (One Panther Parkway, Sunrise) on December 12. This is the first time they will perform this piece in arenas across the nation for their Winter Tour 2014. While 1998's album “The Christmas Attic” features one of the band's most popular songs "Christmas Canon," surprisingly, it is the only album of The Christmas Trilogy that they have never before performed live. The 2014 Winter Tour will find TSO playing more than 120 shows in 71 cities across North America. Don’t miss them as they make their stop in South Florida this holiday season!

What a festive start to the holiday season here in Fort Lauderdale! We love sharing how spectacular our community is and the array of events that are available here each week. So check out our website regularly in order to stay up-to-date on all that Fort Lauderdale has to offer and to learn more about this great city. Additionally, you can browse our Fort Lauderdale Real Estate listings anytime by visiting www.GayleBorden.com or call Gayle Borden at 954-525-3355.

Posted at 11:23:20 AM
Monday, December 01, 2014
Things to Do Next Week in Fort Lauderdale (Dec 1 to Dec 7)

With Thanksgiving behind us, the holiday season really gets into full swing this week in Fort Lauderdale! Get into the spirit at a few of these great events that shouldn’t be missed!

The 52nd Annual Christmas on Las Olas takes place this year on Tuesday, December 2 from 5pm-10pm. Over 40,000 people are expected to gather on Las Olas Boulevard to celebrate the “unofficial” start to the winter season. It is a rare winter wonderland you and your family won’t want to miss! Enjoy a snow mountain for sledding, a skating rink, carolers, and lots of food, drink, and overall holiday cheer! Admission is free and the event spans Las Olas from SE 6th Avenue to SE 11th Avenue.

Another festive holiday event will take place in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea on December 3, as the charming village celebrates their annual Christmas-by-the-Sea. From 5:30pm-9:30pm, Anglin’s Square (Commercial Blvd & A1A) will feature holiday carolers and dancers, a Yuletide market, children's activities, a commercial holiday window decorating contest, visits with Santa and the lighting of the town's Christmas tree at 6:30PM.

If you’d like to experience a great performance at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (201 SW 5th Avenue), the Florida Grand Opera will present Madame Butterfly December 4-6. The beautiful opera is the classic tale of a Japanese geisha as she catches the fancy of a caddish American naval officer. She crosses cultural boundaries to become his bride and grapples with a serious dilemma, while faithfully awaiting his long delayed return. Puccini’s tale of tradition, romance, sacrifice, and yearning is one of the world’s most beloved operas. Tickets start at just $21.

On December 6, the Bonnet House (900 N. Birch Road) will host the Orchid, Garden & Gourmet Food Festival from 9am-4pm. The event will include the 8th Annual Orchid & Exotic Plant Sale and includes orchids, exotics, tropicals, herbs, fruit trees, garden art, gourmet food trucks, libations, gardening lectures, cooking demos, live music, Farmer’s Market and much more!! Admission is $15 for the day.

We’re looking forward to an exciting week here in Fort Lauderdale, and a festive start to the holiday season – one of the most anticipated times of the year! We love sharing how spectacular our community is and the array of events that are available here each week. So check out our website regularly in order to stay up-to-date on all that Fort Lauderdale has to offer and to learn more about this great city. Additionally, you can browse our Fort Lauderdale Real Estate listings anytime by visiting www.GayleBorden.com or call Gayle Borden at 954-525-3355.

Posted at 11:00:27 AM
Monday, November 17, 2014
Things to Do This Week in Fort Lauderdale (Nov 17 to Nov 23)

Looking for something fun to do this week? We’re not just sun and sand here in Fort Lauderdale, there is so much more to do! Here are a few of our picks this week…

Get ready for an evening of astronomical proportions! The Museum of Discovery and Science’s auxiliary group, Friends of MODS, will host “Starry Night at the Museum” on Tuesday November 18, 2014, at 6 p.m. The price of admission ($45 for members, $55 for non-members) includes access to the reception, located in the traveling exhibit hall, complete with open bar and themed ‘space’ cocktails, hor d’oeuvres, a special silent auction, DJ, raffle prizes and entry to the AutoNation IMAX Theater! Attendees will get to journey into the new Black Holes: Space Warps & Time Twists as it pulls them in to the modern search for real black holes—the most mysterious and powerful objects in the universe. This extraordinary intergalactic evening concludes with a screening of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar: The IMAX Experience 70mm Film on the BIGGEST Screen in South Florida! Interstellar, starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, and Jessica Chastain, is about a group of explorers making use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage. It is already gaining praise as one of Christopher Nolan’s best films to date. To purchase tickets, call Nicole Rodriguez at 954.712.1159 or visit the website: www.friendsofmods.org.

Following an acclaimed sold-out tour of the United Kingdom, Cameron Mackintosh's spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's phenomenal musical success, The Phantom of the Opera, is coming to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts November 19-30 as part of a brand new North American Tour. Hailed by critics as "bigger and better than ever before," this production boasts many exciting special effects including the show's legendary chandelier, new scenic and lighting designs, new staging and choreography. The beloved story and thrilling score will be performed by a cast and orchestra of 52, making this Phantom one of the largest productions now on tour. Tickets start at $34.75 and showtimes vary throughout the 2 week run.

Just a short drive from Fort Lauderdale, Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek will once again be a fantasy of color, lights and design this holiday season, starting November 21. The Holiday Fantasy of Lights, Broward County’s spectacular drive-through holiday lighting event, is returning for its 20th year. With 3 miles of giant animated holiday displays and illuminated trees, this year’s spectacular display is larger than ever, blending tried-and-true favorites from the past and the excitement of new creations by Brandano Displays. The attraction is expected to draw over 150,000 visitors of all ages in 35,000 cars, trucks, and buses while it is open nightly through January 3. Admission is $14/car, with special $10 value nights throughout the season.

The acclaimed Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival ends its annual run on November 23. The competitive festival, showcasing independent cinema from around the world, features premieres, documentaries, films for kids, free outdoor family movies, student film competition, black tie galas, and celebrities. You can still catch plenty of films at Cinema Paradiso (503 SE 6th Street); check their website www.FLIFF.com for showtimes and more information.

Be sure to continue checking in with us as we share the many events Fort Lauderdale has to offer. And to learn more about our great city - or for information on Fort Lauderdale Real Estate - visit us at www.gayleborden.com or call The Gayle Borden Group at 954.525.3355.

Posted at 3:31:24 PM
Friday, November 07, 2014
Rock The Ocean's "Tortuga Music Festival" is Back!

The Tortuga Music Festival is coming back to Fort Lauderdale! Tickets go on sale at tomorrow (Friday, Nov. 7) at 10:00am for Rock The Ocean’s Third Annual Tortuga Music Festival taking place April 11-12, 2015 on Fort Lauderdale Beach. Produced and promoted by HUKA Entertainment, the two-day music and conservation festival on the ocean features over two dozen of the hottest artists in country, rock and roots music. Created together with the Rock the Ocean Foundation, the event serves to celebrate the festival’s oceanfront setting while raising awareness for issues impacting the world’s oceans, supporting marine research and conservation, and protecting of the festival’s namesake – the sea turtles that nest annually along South Florida’s Atlantic coast.

The early-bird tickets can be purchased for $139 for a two-day pass ($579 for two-day VIP and $979 for Super VIP) online at TortugaMusicFestival.com or by calling 877-987-6487. The early-bird ticket offer is an article of faith, since no performers have been named yet for Tortuga 2015. But in its first two years, the festival has brought in a solid lineup of country, blues, pop and indie-rock performers including Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Jake Owen, Dierks Bentley, Sheryl Crow, Train, Brantley Gilbert, Grace Potter, the Avett Brothers, Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite, Ziggy Marley and Slightly Stoopid.

Additionally, Tortuga Music Festival fans who may have missed the opportunity to purchase merchandise at previous events will now have a chance starting today, with the launch of the festival’s online merchandise store at www.tortugamusicfestival.com. (Merchandise supplies are limited.)

Three stages of music will surround the festival’s centerpiece: the Conservation Village. Curated by Rock the Ocean founder - and former Fort Lauderdale resident - Chris Stacey, Conservation Village will offer interactive, educational experiences from such organizations as the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Shark Savers, Sea Turtle Oversight Protection, Florida Fishing Academy and Bonefish Tarpon Trust. “The concept of marrying music and conservation has proven to be a winner,” Stacey told SouthFlorida.com. “With this year’s event, we hope to take our conservation awareness to new highs.”

We can’t wait to hear more about this great event that is quickly becoming a Fort Lauderdale Beach tradition! See you on the beach in April!

Posted at 3:19:48 PM

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Things to Do This Week in Fort Lauderdale (Jan 22)
January 22, 2015

It’s 2015 and Fort Lauderdale is proving, more than ever, that it is truly a top notch city filled with culture, entertainment, and fun for the entire family. Here...
> Full Story

4 New Year's Home Resolutions for 2015 That Can Save You Money
January 21, 2015

Home Resolutions

If your New Year’s resolutions include saving money, we've...
> Full Story