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Owen's 1984 April Fools Prank That May Soon Become Reality

Project Tim: The Durand Express "Most Talked About" Story of A New Factory Coming to Town Was Meant To Be Joke, But Not Everybody Laughed -- Now, More Than Thirty Years Later, A Factory May Really Be Coming

Posted by Durand Now at 10:37am 9/20/17


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We asked the late Owen Rood, longtime publisher of The Durand Express, if there was a story from his time at the paper that he could call "the most talked about." He took us straight back to 1984.

DN: Is there a story from The Durand Express that you could call “the most talked about” story?
OWEN: Yes, it was probably the day after I published an April Fools story about a new factory opening just north of Lansing highway. Not everyone saw the humor to put it lightly.

The Museum of Hoaxes describes the 1984 event in more detail, explaining the story alleged that Nissan would build a plant just outside the city that would employ thousands and pay higher wages than GM.

--- Does any of this sound familiar? --- 

Furthermore, the story said, "Nissan would pay farmers $10,000 an acre for the land on which the plant was to be built."

The biggest story in Durand this year is "Project Tim." "Project Tim" is the name given to a massive industrial project that, provided the mysterious, unknown entities behind the development can secure the necessary land from local farmers, will be built on the exact land that Owen said his 1984 story about a huge plant to be built referred to.

Because of confidentiality agreements, very little is known about Project Tim, but we do know that the company or companies behind the project have been offering a lot of money to local farmers to buy up the land required for the "footprint" of the development.

At the September Vernon Township Board meeting, Supervisor Bert DeClerg announced that the company had secured enough land for the project, but it is known that obtaining enough land isn't good enough -- the company has to obtain a specific amount of land arranged in such a way that it would accommodate the "footprint" of the development. DeClerg said the company is still working to secure some land in that footprint.

Though officially unconfirmed, Durand Now has on good authority that the company needs just one remaining section of property inside the footprint in order to move forward. From another reliable source, though, again, officially unconfirmed, we're told that the "hold out" property owner maintains they will not sell their property. 

Durand City Manager, Colleen O'Toole, recently told Durand Now that she expects more information to be revealed this month.

If Project Tim, which is widely believed to be some sort of steel mill development, comes to fruition, it will fundamentally change the landscape and lifestyle of Durand area residents. Some believe that to be good. There are plenty of people opposed to the project as well.

We've documented all we know on our PROJECT TIM page, and will continue to keep it updated.

The Museum of Hoaxes says Rood's April fools prank published in The Durand Express in 1984 attracted a lot of angry criticism. "Many readers threatened to cancel their subscriptions."

It goes on to say "[Rood] explained that he hadn't been trying to hurt anyone, and thought that he had exaggerated his story enough to make it unbelievable."

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