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East County Friday, Apr. 1, 2011 9 years ago


by: Michael Eng Executive Editor

APRIL FOOLS’ DAY — To be fair: We warned you.

It was one year ago today on the same page in the April 1, 2010 edition. Consider this your only warning: The March 31, 2011, edition is going to be a doozy, we wrote.

Dear loyal East County Observer reader: Happy April Fools’ Day!

Let me be clear: All the stories, photos, headlines and cutlines on pages 1-3 in this edition are part of the East County Observer’s April Fools’ spoof edition. They are not true.

I’ll say it one more time: They are not true.

Lakewood Ranch’s name is not in jeopardy. There will be no oil derricks in Summerfield. Lakewood Ranch and Braden River will not combine athletic teams. Incorporation will not be decided by a sumo tournament. The Sarasota Polo Club won’t be launching jousting matches on the weekends. The Loch Ness Monster was not spotted at Nathan Benderson Park. Lakewood Ranch did not invest to have its signature color changed to the same color. There is no such thing as Lakwood Ranch.

And finally, Schroeder-Manatee Ranch President and CEO Rex Jensen will not be immortalized as a bronze statue at the newly renamed Rex Plex. (At least, not to our knowledge.)

But that does not mean he’s completely innocent, either.

Shortly after last year’s inaugural spoof edition, Jensen offered his “services” for the 2011 edition. And so on a Monday morning in March, News Editor Pam Eubanks and I found ourselves in hysterics as Jensen pitched his ideas for the edition you now hold in your hands.

In fact, the two cover stories as well as the Sanborn/Sheen partnership were all his idea.

So, thank you, Rex, for giving us our best hoaxes this year. And yes, we are expecting more brilliance for next year. Our people will call your people.

For those new to the East County Observer, our sister paper, the Longboat Observer, started this tradition 13 years ago. Since then, the April Fools’ edition has become one of the paper’s most anticipated — and most popular — issues of the year.

After a decade of wondering how our readers would respond to a spoof edition, we decided to bring the tradition to the East County last year. Our fingers trembled over our mice as we clicked “send” to export to the printer, but based on the (mostly) positive feedback we received, we now know you don’t mind being duped once in a while.

And from where we sit — as the bearers of bad news of the economy, foreclosures, gas prices, prescription-drug abuse and more — that’s definitely a good thing. We all could use a laugh now and then, and we hope we could do that for you in these first few pages.

From page 5A on, you will find all the “real” news, features, photo galleries and sports coverage you expect from your East County Observer.

And whether you enjoyed this edition or consider us completely immature and unprofessional, send an email to Executive Editor Michael Eng, [email protected].

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