Year in Review: Strange But True

From kitty cut-ups to an airline named Ted, this was one oddball year.

A screwing screw-up: But that was small potatoes compared to a blunder in the Greeley Tribune, which earned that paper national acclaim in the "Headlines" portion of Jay Leno's show. When Dr. Michael Springfield won a Favorite Chiropractor award from readers of the Trib, the laudatory copy was supposed to read: "Springfield works a combination of traditional chiropractic treatments, along with acupuncture in many cases, to cure many conditions -- such as infertility..." But as published in the newspaper, that line read "along with acupuncture in many cases, to cure many conditions -- such as infidelity." As he read it, Leno pretended to stick a needle in another person, saying: "Cheat on me, will you? Cheat on me? Take that, and that, and that."

Patriot games: The Washington Post, though, meant every word when it noted one standout in the increasingly bland Congress: Representative Tom Tancredo. Tom Terriff, the Post cheered, "shows promise of someday rising to legendary status" as a kook. A Snowmass Village planner didn't fare as well after talking to the Aspen Times. Promised anonymity for her criticisms of an Aspen Skiing Co. project, she was easily identified -- since her job and gender were mentioned and she was the only possible suspect. The Times wasn't the only Aspen newspaper to besmirch itself. The Aspen Daily News went Kobe-free for days, intentionally ignoring the strangest-but-truest event of 2003: Bryant's sexual-assault case unfolding 75 miles away in tiny Eagle, where hundreds of journalists camped out to capture every move of the Lakers hoop star.

Panty raid: And what did readers of the Aspen Daily News miss? Among other things, descriptions of everyone's favorite Eagle legal eagle, District Attorney Mark Hurlbert, so hot to spray motions that he became unglued at times. In legal documents filed on October 21, the DA seemed totally caught up in the passion of the case and asked the court to use a July 24 order to whack any lawyer or law-enforcement officers leaking prejudicial material to the media. Hurlbert was particularly angered by an October 11 New York Daily News exposé revealing that semen from multiple partners had been found in underwear belonging to Bryant's alleged victim -- a tidbit leaked by a local judge who'd talked to a Bryant attorney. As Hurlbert inaccurately reported the judge's quote in the News (the italics are ours), "There was more than one man's seamen in [the victim's] panties." And then Hurlbert went on to conclude, "There appears to be a pattern [of] disregard for the Court's orders that cumulated with the Jones' leak."

Christopher Smith
Christopher Smith

All in all, it was a strange, leaky year.

Compiled from mounds of newspapers, press releases, Westword archives and interviews.

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