April Fool’s Comes but Once a Year
CAPE CHARLES WAVE
April 2, 2014
Quite a few more readers than we expected were fooled by yesterday’s story reporting that Town Council was selling the Inner Harbor for $10. We thought we had planted enough clues to make everybody realize it was a joke, but in retrospect we realize the story was close enough to reality to be somewhat believable.
For example, after the first sentence reporting the $10 sale, we wrote: “The original offer was $1, but was raised ten-fold as a demonstration of goodwill by the buyer.” But that’s exactly what happened with the old school property: the buyer originally offered $1 and then raised it to $10.
The next clue was the Harbor purchaser: J. David Schmick of St. Petersburg, Russia, owner of Sketch-Along Resourcing LLC. Readers who have closely followed the sale of the school and park property know the buyer was J. David McCormack of Petersburg, Virginia, owner of Echelon Resources LLC. But not everyone remembers that, so it wasn’t enough to give the hoax away.
But then we reported that Schmick planned to turn the Shanty into a Hong Kong style floating restaurant, and that he might rebrand it as a McCormick & Schmick’s restaurant. If that wasn’t a giveaway, we thought that surely the Disney waterslide, jet ski race course, and ferry boat casino would not pass the reality test. An added clue was that Charade Adventures LLC would operate the ferryboat casino. The contract to buy the old school was with Echelon Resources, but the town actually sold it to another McCormack company – Cheron Ventures.
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Then there was Scmick’s advice to Town Council to “liquidate the Harbor,” supported by town financial advisor Wally Webber & Associates. But for readers who still believed, we scheduled the public hearing for 6 a.m. Sunday at St. Charles Parish Hall. Of course, Town Council does hold its meetings in the Catholic Church, so again there was a degree of plausibility. And a Town Council member had asked Father Mike what he thought Jesus would do about the old school.
Readers who might be rusty on the New Testament could have missed the reference to feeding the group with five loaves and two fishes, and expecting to have food left over.
And then the next part was actually true: the town did plan to give away control of the north side of the harbor in 1988.
We concluded with a reference to Council member Frank Wendell’s opposition, which sounded perfectly logical. He has led opposition to selling the school and park property for $10, so he could be expected to oppose selling the Harbor as well. Wendell has posted large signs in his vacant downtown storefront opposing the old school sale, so why not have a SCHMICK IS A SCHMUCK sign? And yes, the new town sign ordinance makes that illegal.
But for readers who still believed the Wave story, we ended with a simple CLICK for complete details. Most folks did not click. Now you get a second chance.
As of last night the story had generated nearly 1,400 page views. But don’t worry; it won’t happen again. We promise to remember that April Fool’s comes but once a year.