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Love, Land Taken; Sky Next - Serenity April Fool’s day news

Monday 2 April 2007, by Webmaster

SERENITY, Ariz. - A local restaurateur has lost his 15-week court battle to prevent chain retailer Mega-Lo-Mart from claiming his business and property under eminent domain.

Joe Sweden, 43, owns the Blue Sun Grill, whose innovative fusion of Western and Chinese cuisine has attracted a small but fanatically loyal fan base from around the country. Since early December, he has battled Mega-Lo-Mart and city officials who sought to buy out his restaurant in order to make space for a new 300,000-square-foot location that proponents say will bring much-needed jobs and money to this sleepy town.

“Cooking’s what I love doing, and my family’s owned the land for years,” a dismayed Sweden said after the state court of appeals had declined to rule on his case. “My little place may not be popular with the masses, but some folk might say that makes it all the better.”

Still, Mr. Sweden, who studied astronomy before starting his restaurant in 2003, says he doesn’t care. “I’m still free,” he said. “They can’t take the sky from me.” He plans to use the money from the city’s purchase of the Blue Sun to build a private observatory in the hills outside of town, where he can look at the stars in peace.

Unfortunately, environmental activists estimate that the light pollution from the planned Mega-Lo-Mart parking lot will blot out any view of all but the brightest constellations. Upon hearing this, Mr. Sweden let loose a string of curses in Mandarin.