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Sarasota Thursday, Apr. 5, 2012 5 years ago

April Fools' stories elicit community responses


The Sarasota Observer’s April Fools’ edition seemed to have resonated with many readers this year, based on the feedback we have received.

For the record: The stories on pages 1A through 4A in the March 29 issue of the Sarasota Observer are not true. Here are some of the stories we’ve heard regarding this year’s April Fools issue.

+ Extreme People Mover story 
• City Public Information Officer Jan Thornburg reported that several messages were left on city voicemails inquiring about the city’s new people mover. Some people even showed up Sunday afternoon to City Hall to attend the people mover workshop and take a test drive on the new people mover.

• Caught on video was one Sarasota resident who decried the validity of the Extreme People Mover System and the new slot machines set to replace parking meters downtown.

• One resident called the Observer office to say they wanted to start a petition to stop the Extreme People Mover System from being built. “I’ve never heard of such a thing,” they said.

+ Casino parking meters story
Although the Observer received two phone calls from residents who were upset with the story, one city official received a phone call from a familiar voice — his mother.

Commissioner Shannon Snyder announced at the commission’s regular meeting Monday that he received a phone call from his flabbergasted mother who couldn’t get over the commissioners’ decision to turn the bagged parking meters into slot machines. Snyder congratulated the Observer “on a job well done” and said his constituents appeared to really get a kick out of this year’s issue.

+ Homeless shelter story 
Sarasota Police Department office staff personnel crowded City Editor Kurt Schultheis last week to tell him they were worried for their jobs when they first read Thursday, March 29 the police station was being turned into a homeless shelter. Finally, one employee turned to the jump page and realized it was an April Fools’ joke. But, that was not before one employee grabbed a box in case she had to pack her belongings for the future move.

+ Albino badger coming to Sarasota Jungle Gardens
A PR rep for the Sarasota Jungle Gardens called to inquire how the Observer received information that an albino badger would be coming to the attraction. All was well after being informed the story was part of the April Fools’ edition.

+ Reader response
We always read the weekly Observer and enjoy the local news coverage.  
Your April 1 issue was hilarious reading. My wife, myself and our daughter visiting from Pittsburgh were laughing with tears in our eyes as we read your stories on the People Mover, the slot machines and the new homeless center, etc. By the way, we are Badgers and enjoyed the albino badger.
Thanks for doing this, it was very entertaining.
Don and Lily Hildewig

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