Sad But True

And God said Ha! (Can you blame Him?)

Clarke's response: "John, reporters report."

In November, John and Patsy Ramsey announced that they'd signed a deal with Thomas Nelson Publishers to write The Death of Innocence, a book about the murder of their daughter, JonBenét. "We have remained silent while baseless and slanderous accusations about our family were made by the frenzied media," they said. "The time is appropriate to recount our experiences in this tragedy."

In March, the Post felt compelled to write an editorial denying rumors that it was being bought by the News. The denial contained the following incomprehensible sentence: "Like most rumors, this one started quietly, was swatted down, crept back up, was laughed at and then took off as though all the conspiracy theorists, UFO Abductees and The-World-Ends-Tomorrow Adherents had found the formula to finally convince us."

Actual headline in the April 16 News: "Voters could decide in November election."

Former Post reporter Kerri Smith, who took a year off to try to lose half of her 460 pounds and write a series of newspaper articles about it, was honored by a proclamation declaring March 20 "Kerri Smith Day" in Colorado. Coincidentally, March 20 had also been named "Ag Day," in honor of the state's farmers and ranchers.

In June, Post columnist Chuck Green planned to write about his adventures on a motorcycle trip that was billed as a macho kissoff to the paper's annual Ride the Rockies bike ride. Green was forced to dump his planned series, however, after he wiped out only 45 minutes into his ride.

In an attempt to boost the morale of Post workers last spring, then-editor Dennis Britton bought his newsroom employees a popcorn machine -- which made it hard for reporters sitting near the thing to conduct interviews over the sound of popping.

A Double-Breasted Suit
In November, U.S. District Judge Walker Miller ordered property-management firm Lobb & Co. and its subsidiary, LCI Maintenance Services, to make payments totaling more than $500,000, to develop policies against sexual harassment and to write letters of apology to three former employees. The women, who claimed that they had been sexually harassed, had been recruited from their bartending or waitressing jobs at Hooters into "marketing" or other unspecified jobs at the companies -- jobs, Miller said, for which they had no "experience or education."

Bad Ideas
In September, Sears halted Christmas catalogue sales of a $29.99 masked, trench-coat-wearing, gun-toting action figure called the "Modern Villain." The toy's maker, 21 Century Toys of Alameda, California, promised to remove the offending garment. "It was just an unfortunate coincidence for us that those idiots at Columbine were wearing trench coats," said a company vice president.

Denver defense attorney Michael Axt, who has a tradition of making holiday cards that parody current events, this year sent out a picture of himself dressed in a trench coat and holding a weapon; also included in the image were fifteen crosses (two of them downed). "Chestnuts roasting on an...OPEN FIRE!" read the message, which was signed: "We believe. Michael Axt, the Bernalls and The el-Batoutis." (The Bernalls are parents of slain Columbine student Cassie; the el-Batoutis are the family of the co-pilot of EgyptAir Flight 990.) "Implicit in each message is that there are those in life less fortunate, and we shouldn't always take ourselves so seriously. They are not intended to hurt anyone," said Axt. "If I had ever thought the Bernalls would get this, I wouldn't have done it."

Way to Go
In July, 34-year-old Julie Kay Wilbur of Delta was killed when she was hit on the head by a limb of the tree her husband was cutting down.

In November, 28-year-old Angela Carter, going 70 mph in a 45 mph zone, was killed when she ran into a cow.

Lasting Legacy
In August, the cremains of former Erie town manager Leon Wurl, who had died suddenly on the job the year before, were mixed in with the asphalt used to pave the town's previously dirt-road Main Street. "He liked the smell of asphalt, so, by God, he can smell it forever," said Wurl's widow, Nancy Jo.

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