COMMENTARY: CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN

Soon, U.S. 27's rough spots will be gone


September 28, 2003

At long last, one of the bumpiest stretches of highway this side of Central Florida is getting a makeover.

Anyone traveling in south Lake County is well-aware of the atrocious condition of U.S. Highway 27's outside northbound lane, which forces blood from drivers' knuckles as they try to keep from bouncing off the road.

Last week, crews started resurfacing that lane, closing it at night to traffic, which shouldn't matter because few people dared to use it.

During the next couple of months, both northbound lanes will be resurfaced between U.S. 192 and State Road 50, project engineer Tony Walters said. U.S. 27 in south Lake will be going to six lanes someday, but that project is still in the design phase.

Boo's Web shelves runneth over

You wouldn't think you could fit the phrase "I Got Bamboozled at the Big Bamboo" on a thong, but you'd be wrong.

Not only has the Big Bamboo Lounge on U.S. Highway 192 in Kissimmee -- a favorite haunt for many Four Corners residents -- held on despite the wishes spelled out in the last will and testament of its founder, but it has expanded into merchandising as well.

According to founder Bruce Muir's will, the Boo was supposed to be closed and sold four years after his death Feb. 25, 1999, but in legal limbo, the gem continues to serve and welcome daily from its discreet post between U.S. 192 and State Road 535.

In addition to the "Boo Thong," the quirky bar that doubles as a clubhouse for Disney cast members offers Big Bamboo tote bags, wall calendars, aprons, clocks, mugs and mouse pads through its online store.

Proceeds pay for the Web space, Webmaster John Kerr said. The top seller so far has been the gray T-shirt with a photo of Big Bamboo founder Bruce Muir as a young World War II naval aviator over the heart and a picture of the landmark flight tower and MASH ambulance that signal the Boo's location on the back.

Kerr points out that the online store is the only time the Boo accepts anything but cash, so take a look at bigbamboolounge.com.

Polk comes to Poinciana

Polk County Commissioner Charles Richardson appeared to win over some Poinciana residents recently when he showed up as the featured speaker at the homeowners association's monthly meeting.

But I got the sense that it was not so much Richardson's presence as the couple dozen county officials traveling in his posse that impressed residents from the sprawling community that straddles the Polk-Osceola county line. Richardson had County Manager Mike Herr introduce the staffers he thought could help and stepped back.

After a rainy summer, drainage complaints from a couple of residents dominated conversation along with discussion of a new fire station jointly funded by Polk and Osceola for Solivita. But officials hung around after the meeting to talk one-on-one.

Poinciana residents probably still think they get more attention from Osceola County government than from the folks in Bartow, 45 miles away, but the gracious applause suggested the visit went a long way.

Christopher Sherman can be reached at csherman@orlandosentinel.com or 863-422-3395.

Copyright 2003, Orlando Sentinel