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COLUMN

Happytown: East Orlando Sun sets

East-side newspaper owned by Avalon Park Group publishes its last issue.

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The East Orlando Sun, a monthly newspaper that served the east-side residential areas of Avalon Park, Eastwood, Stoneybrook and Waterford Lakes – places that are so far from downtown Orlando that they kind of need to have their own community papers to keep people in the loop – ended its 17-year-long run last Friday with the distribution of its last issue.

The paper's farewell announcement came seemingly out of thin air. In an online letter to readers, Megan Stokes, associate editor for the Sun wrote, "It saddens me to say goodbye, but it heartens me to know that what we've created together has transcended simple images and words on a printed page."

Owned by Avalon Park Group, a "diversified family of companies" founded by Swiss investment banker Beat Kahli, and managed by a division of Turnstile Media Group, which also manages the Winter Park Maitland Observer and the Seminole Voice, the East Orlando Sun began publication in 1995 and had a circulation of more than 12,500.

Little has surfaced as to why the paper closed, but Kahli, CEO of Avalon Park Group, in a separate post on the paper's website wrote, "We're closing because we have too much to do."

Indeed – Avalon Park Group owns development companies, medical-office parks, residential developments (including the sprawling Avalon Park) and even owns shares in a mixed martial-arts studio. "The East Orlando Sun may yet rise again," Kahli wrote. "But not for now."

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