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I started signing up subscribers to my spring break e-mail newsletter from SPIonline.com in last December. In exchange for sending them all the spring break info and updates I could find, I ask for a fair amount of information about them, including what schools they attend; what weeks they are coming; how large of groups they will be traveling with, etc. I also leave room on the subscription form for comments and questions -- which has resulted in some ... interesting reading material. Below is a sample of a much-voiced concern, written by a student coming down the last week in March:

I'm coming down to SPI. I went last year and there was no live music or nothing really going on. There was quite a lot of people. The people made it happen. I just wish there was more going on. SPI would get a lot of more people if they had a lot of stuff going on during that "dead week" as they say. There is a group of 15 guys coming down and we just want SPI to show us what's up. If there was stuff going on I couldn't hardly imagine the fun we would have. SPI is the best. - Josh

While some might find it easy to dismiss Josh's plea based on his use of double negatives alone, I think he makes a valid point: the organized spring break activities are very heavily weighted towards the second and third weeks of March.
I find it interesting to note that the percentages of "who is coming when" on my subscription list have remained remarkably consistent throughout the past three months: 1st week -10%; 2nd week - 40%; 3rd week - 30% and 4th week - 20%. Now let's just assume for a moment that my 600+ subscribers are indeed a microcosm of the whole spring break crowd. And let's also assume that the projected figure of something like 186,000 spring breakers expected for the whole month of March is somewhere close to accurate. In that case, we can expect that about 18,000 will be here the first week, and about 37,000 of them will be here the last week in March -- the weeks when there are no concerts; few beach activities - if any; or hardly any other organized activities planned. (The exception here seems to be Schlitterbahn, which is promising live music every day in March.) Of course the clubs will be open and we know these kids are pretty good at finding each other and ways to keep themselves entertained. Even so....
37,000 is a fairly impressive figure. Seems to me that somebody is missing a major marketing opportunity here.

Ask sandy Updates: Last month I answered a question about the dimmed out lights where the causeway was repaired. Since then, a recent news article was published stating that the new lights are going to be replaced with the older, less-efficient type in an effort to restore the causeway's nighttime profile. Apparantly few others share my opinion that the "light gap" serves as a fitting - if fleeting - memorial to those lost in the accident.
In the meantime, someone has pointed out yet another difference in the repaired section of the bridge that is not so easily "fixed." Amazin' Walter says, "Have you noticed that the new pavement sings a different song than the older stuff? When I reach the top of the bridge, the hum from my tires changes timbre." Next time you drive across the bridge, try turning the radio off and see if you can hear it too.
In that same column, I made note of the white plastic barrier posts scattered along the new bike path at the foot of the bridge. I was happy to notice on my most recent trip back from the mainland that this area has since been cleaned up. Kudos to whoever is in charge for jumping right on it. I don't know if my published whine had anything to do with it, but it sure looks a lot better.

Breaking News: See your local sand wiz on location in the Bahamas this month! I have been invited to come build sand sculptures on LIVE with Regis and Kelly, broadcasting four shows from the Atlantis Hotel on Paradise Island, starting Feb. 25. I am of course very excited by the opportunity to play on a new beach in front of a national audience, and if "Reg" gets around to sticking a mike in my face, you can be sure I will put in a plug for my home beach. As usual, I will be traveling with my laptop and digital camera and - assuming I can figure out a way to connect to the net from there - will be posting daily updates on my web-site at www. sandyfeet.com. I hope you will turn on and tune in!

There are five (5) ways to submit your questions/comments for future Ask Sandy columns: In person; by phone (761-6222) or fax (761-8930); the US Postal System (box 2694,spi,78597) and E-mail: (sandyfeet@unlitter.com). Visit my web-site (http://spionline.com/) for tips on sandcastling, contest info, recent Ask Sandy columns, and my reviews of local businesses.

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