Business briefs: This year's Forks & Corks a success

February 15, 2014 

Forks & Corks, The Sarasota-Manatee Originals four-day food and wine festival, beat all of its records from the past six festivals.

The January festival featured interactive food and wine seminars, vintner events at area restaurants, a trade tasting for restaurants, retail and hotels, and The Grand Tasting at The Ringling.

Kate Atkin, executive director of The Sarasota-Manatee Originals, said The Grand Tasting, attracted more than 1,200 paid guests and sold out eight minutes after tickets went on sale.

The event raised nearly $13,000 to benefit All Faiths Food Bank and raised more than $30,000 for The Ringling.

The festival also featured winemaker events at Originals member restaurants and two wine seminars. According to Atkin, more than 540 guests attended these events.

A main objective of Forks & Corks is to reinforce the Sarasota-Manatee region as a significant culinary destination.

She says that her team was able to analyze that eight percent of this year's ticket buyers lived outside of the state of Florida and 11 percent were Florida residents -- but reside outside of Sarasota and Manatee counties.

Next year's festival is set for January 23-26, 2015. For more information about the seventh annual Forks & Corks Food & Wine Festival, visit www.dineoriginal.com/forksandcorks, or call 941-365-2800.

Canceled! Airlines scrap record number of flights

NEW YORK -- The relentless snow and ice storms this winter have led to the highest number of flight cancellations in more than 25 years, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.

U.S. airlines have canceled more than 75,000 domestic flights since Dec. 1, including more than 14,000 this week. That's 5.5 percent of the 1.37 million flights scheduled during that period, according to calculations based on information provided by flight tracking site FlightAware.

It's the highest total number and highest percent of cancellations since at least the winter of 1987-1988, when the Department of Transportation first started collecting cancellation data.

The nation's air traffic system was still recovering Friday from the latest bout of bad weather. Flights were taking off again but thousands of passengers weren't.

Higher gasoline pricesare on the way

NEW YORK -- Drivers, here's the bad news: You'll be paying more for gasoline in the coming weeks. The good news: You'll likely pay less than last year. Or the year before, or the year before that.

The price of crude oil has risen 8 percent over the past month, to $100 per barrel. And analysts expect fuel supplies to begin to decline as refineries dial back production to perform maintenance and make the switch to

summer fuels. Reduced production depletes supplies and causes gas prices to rise as the U.S. driving season approaches.

Gasoline prices are already creeping higher.

Comcast-TWC merger worries consumers

LOS ANGELES -- Cable subscribers don't give Comcast and Time Warner Cable good grades when it comes to customer satisfaction. So after Comcast announced its $45 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable Thursday, it didn't take long for consumers to start venting their frustrations over high prices, spotty service and fears of a monopoly.

The pairing of the nation's two biggest cable companies spurred a cascade of sarcastic tweets and satirical jokes in which people likened the new entity to the killer Death Star battle station from "Star Wars" and the evil Eye of Sauron from "The Lord of the Rings." Some people recalled a "South Park" snippet in which character Eric Cartman and friends are tormented by cable employees before a logo curiously similar to Time Warner Cable's own.

The jokes reflect a more serious sentiment among consumers.

-- Herald staff and wire reports

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