Broward News

Blimp Company Doubles Pleasure With Sun-Sentinel

The Sun-Sentinel loves blimps. On Sunday, the newspaper ran a story on page 6B about a giant new zeppelin. Reporter Travis Reed, of the Associated Press, told us how an Orlando company called The Lightship Group created a "drive-in movie screen that floats 1,000 feet in the air -- and travels 15 mph." It will be used to air movie trailers and entire commercials, some of them apparently having to with grilled chicken sandwiches. Very Blade Runner. And the Sentinel -- which is all about marketing these days -- was so smitten with the idea it ran the very same story as the centerpiece on the front page of today's Business section. Only this time the photo of the blimp was in color.

Stories That Hit Close to Home Something I haven't done in a while: The Story of the Day comes from the Miami Herald's Larry Lebowitz, Matthew Haggman, and Andres Viglucci. You put those three on a job and you're pretty sure it's gonna be good, but in this case they may just have needed safety in numbers. The story is about the drug-dealing past of developer Mark Siffin. What makes it extraordinary is that Siffin's giant condo and retail project will be built on ... the Miami Herald's parking lot. Knight Ridder sold the land to the Terra Group, which is partnering with Siffin.

The Knight-Ridder executive handling the sale, Larry Marbert, said he was unaware of the past allegations against Siffin until Martin phoned him last month, after The Miami Herald began gathering information for this article.

Because Knight-Ridder is not selling directly to Siffin, Marbert said the revelations would not affect the sale. But he called them ''an unwelcome development.''

Siffin pushed to replace some of the contemplated condos with more than half a million square feet of stores and restaurants, said land broker Edie Laquer, who represents Knight-Ridder in the sale. Given the current slowdown in condo sales, Siffin's idea was prescient, she said.

''The best thing that ever happened to us and residents of Miami was Mark Siffin and his vision,'' Laquer said.

God I love that. Good reporters telling an executive in their giant media company that, um, well, he's dealing with a former crook. Sweet. Even better though is the way the writers painted a portrait of Siffin. These characters seem to always wind up in South Florida and for that we who write for newspapers should be extremely grateful.

And, lastly, in a story that hit way too close to home at the Palm Beach Post, Rochelle E.B. Gilken tells us of the death of 26-year-old Gerardo Rodriguez-Sanabria, who was struck by a car after his car broke down on I-95 in PBC on Monday morning. Rodriquez-Sanabria was Post sports writer Steve Dorsey's son-in-law, according to the story.

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman