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East County Thursday, Apr. 1, 2010 11 years ago

Surely we jest!

by: Michael Eng Executive Editor

APRIL FOOLS — As this week’s edition went to press, we all said a little prayer hoping you’d make it this far.

Dear beloved East County Observer reader: Happy April Fools’ Day.

Make no mistake: All of the stories, photos, headlines and cutlines on pages 1-3 in the April 1 print edition are part of The East County Observer’s first April Fools’ spoof edition. They are not true.

We repeat: They are not true.

No, Lakewood Ranch isn’t annexing the neighboring communities. No, a strip club is not coming to San Marco Plaza. No, HOAs aren’t after your bank account information. No, there is no “Survivor: Town Hall” TV show. No, there will be no world’s largest cow patty. No, Dick Vitale isn’t dining at Denny’s.

And perhaps most importantly, no, Rex Jensen isn’t sporting a glass bead anything these days — although he may look smashing with some new earrings. (Sorry Rex!)

To read our April Fools' content, click on the headlines below:

Takeover: Lakewood plans annexation
Lakewood Ranch to premier 'Survivor: Town Hall' show
Ranch HOAs announce automatic debit program
Golden Melons to open in Lakewood Ranch's San Marco
Lakewood to unload big new attraction
Jensen takes up new hobby
Vitale changes breakfast plans

Our sister paper, The Longboat Observer, started this tradition a dozen years ago. Since then, the April Fools’ edition has become paper’s most anticipated — and most popular — issue of the year.

This year, we’ve expanded the spoof to both The East County and Sarasota Observers. The reasoning is simple: Who couldn’t use a laugh? Now three-plus years into a struggling economy and a weeping real estate market and in the middle of a polarizing health care debate, isn’t it the perfect time for a little levity?

We think so, and we hope our inaugural edition prompted a few laughs.

And if you got all the way to this page before realizing it was all a joke, don’t feel bad. After all, some of the East County’s real news has been more fantastic than these spoofs.

When coming up with our April Fools’ content this year, we first thought about Schroeder-Manatee Ranch’s Villages project. We thought maybe the proposal could go before Sarasota County commissioners, but they would reject some of SMR requests. Then, one of the commissioners would change her mind a day later.

But alas, that actually happened.

Then, we thought we could report a series of ridiculous HOA fines of thousands of dollars for items such as flowerpots, grass lengths or small signs.

But yes, that, too, actually happened.

So we decided to get a little more far-fetched with it. We’re sure you’ll let us know if we went too far, and as always, you can direct any and all hate mail to Executive Editor Michael Eng, [email protected].

Obviously, we hope you don’t. We hope we made you laugh — at least for a few minutes.

But consider this your only warning: The March 31, 2011, edition is going to be a doozy.

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