What This Town Needs Is A Really Shitty Community Newspaper

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Vol 38 Issue 47

Fact Repeated As Urban Legend

BREWSTER, WA—An actual occurrence passed into the realm of modern folklore Tuesday, when actor Robert Reed's 1992 AIDS-related death was repeated as urban legend. "Dude, this guy I know told me that the guy who played the dad on The Brady Bunch died of AIDS," said Jeff Gund, 16. "Can you believe he believed that?" Gund went on to tell the equally implausible tale of a woman who cut off her husband's penis and threw it in a field, only to see the man surgically reattach it and become a porn star.

How Was Local Man To Know Carol Channing's Niece Was Around?

SAN BERNARDINO, CA—Well, Jesus, is area resident Richard Pauling, 43, never supposed to crack jokes about anyone at a party because, by some freakish coincidence, their niece might actually wind up being in earshot and get pissed off? "All I did was make a humorous remark about actress Carol Channing's advanced age that involved speculation regarding the dryness of her nether regions, and suddenly I'm Hitler," Pauling said. "Shit."

FBI: Six Dead Not Really 'Mass' Murder

WASHINGTON, DC—Addressing reporters about the ritual slaying of six cheerleaders at a Frankfort, KY, high school, FBI director Robert Mueller clarified that the body count does not seem high enough to qualify as "mass" murder. "I don't know if there's an official minimum, but I always imagined 'mass' was more like 15 or 20," Mueller said. "Charles Whitman, now there was a mass murderer." Mueller added that in spite of their modest scale, the killings "were still pretty bad."

Man Always Insists You Toss Him Keys Rather Than Just Hand Them To Him

LITTLE ROCK, AR—Area resident Russ Squirek insists on having his keys tossed to him rather than handed, sources reported Monday. "It's always, 'Yo, here we go, long bomb, send 'em over, going deep,'" friend Craig Green said. "I think he thinks it's cool." Green said Squirek also insists on hopping into convertibles whenever possible rather than using the door.

Barnes & Noble Staffers Mock Orson Scott Card Crowd From Back Of Room

RALEIGH, NC—Employees of the Crabtree Mall Barnes & Noble used a Tuesday book-signing by science-fiction author Orson Scott Card as an opportunity to mock those in attendance. "'Excuse me, Mr. Card,'" cashier Randy Feig said to coworker Ian Rose in a derisive, pinched "nerd" voice. "'In Shadow Of The Hegemon, why was Ender Wiggin so reluctant to return to Earth after the Formic War?'" Feig then urged Rose to "check out the huge dude in the cloak" in the second row.

Woman Who Visited Kenya Once Struts Confidently Into African Store

SKOKIE, IL—Amanda Wyner, 23, who in 1998 spent a week vacationing at a Kenya resort during college spring break, strode confidently Monday into Harambe, a Woodfield Mall store specializing in African art and collectibles. "This is a tribal mask," Wyner stated authoritatively to her sister while holding an Ashanti war mask. "The Africans wear these during actual ceremonies."

Frequent Flyer Knows Out-Of-The-Way Airport Bar That's Never Crowded

ATLANTA—Savvy, experienced business traveler Donald Meyers, 46, knows a great out-of-the-way bar at O'Hare Airport's "B" terminal that's never crowded, the frequent flyer said Monday during a layover in Atlanta. Meyers, a project manager for Motorola who is on the road an average of 150 days a year, discovered the Windy City Pub during a three-hour layover at O'Hare in May 2001. He said the bar is one of his top 10 frequent-flying treats.

Iraq And The Nuclear Option

Last week, President Bush said he would not rule out using nuclear weapons against enemies wielding weapons of mass destruction. What do you think?
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What This Town Needs Is A Really Shitty Community Newspaper

Here in Park Hills, we get The Duluth News-Tribune, just like people do all over the greater Duluth area. But while that major daily does a perfectly adequate job keeping the people of Park Hills in touch with the goings-on of the city at large, it doesn't speak directly to our own local community. It doesn't take into account the uniqueness of Park Hills, focusing on the people, places, and things that make our neighborhood so special. Yes, it's clear as day to me: What Park Hills needs is a really shitty community newspaper.

When the first issue of The Park Hills Beacon rolls off the presses next week, the people of Park Hills will finally have a mind-numbingly insipid newspaper to bind them together. Each week, the Beacon will offer the good people of Park Hills grammatically shaky, factual-error-packed articles on traffic problems, local taxpayer issues, and proposed public works projects. There will also be reports on the few trivial incidents of crime that occur in our neighborhood, but above all, we wish to highlight positive aspects of our community, no matter how grindingly dull they may be. From the Park Hills Senior Center production of South Pacific to the Park Hills Elementary School spelling bee, no event is too small or mundane for the Beacon to cover.

And how will the Beacon determine which local issues will be covered? That's simple: If someone in town writes an article about something they saw or heard about, that article will run.

When someone picks up a copy of The Park Hills Beacon from the stack in the Save-Rite entryway, they will be doing so in the spirit of building a better, more tightly knit community. What better way to foster community spirit, for example, than by scanning our ludicrously unreliable events listings? Many events occurring in the area will be included: the Oak Barrel Brew Pub's "Brew Ha-Ha" comedy night, a rummage sale at St. Mary's Episcopal church, and a two-piece band playing at the Down Under Jazz Café. I wouldn't advise showing up at any of these, though: Nine times out of ten, the day, time, or place will be listed incorrectly. Sometimes all three! That auction at the Park Hills Convalescence Center at 8 p.m. on Dec. 24? It's actually at the Park Hills Rec Center on the 23rd. Oops, sorry.

So what can you look forward to in the first issue? Well, the Gallery Players theater is putting on a sub-amateur production of a play called Locomotive, and we're going to run a cover story with two large, blurry photos. The story will include a sidebar biography of the director, a woman we have all known for years, but her name will still be misspelled. Along the side of the page, we'll print ads for China Wok restaurant and Visions Eyewear Center, as well as a semi-pleading reminder to pick up The Park Hills Beacon every Thursday.

Speaking of restaurants, Beacon readers will enjoy puffy, unexacting reviews of the handful of restaurants that everyone already knows about here in town. And each new restaurant that opens will receive a glowing review, praised either as "absolutely delicious" or "an experience not to be missed." Fat Jack's Barbeque? Absolutely delicious! Pat's Supper Club? An experience not to be missed! I think you get the idea.

That's just the tip of the iceberg. There will also be reviews of the two or three movies someone on staff happens to see, stories about sales on outdoor furniture at garden shops if anyone on the staff should happen to be shopping for items for their garden, a "youth view" column by my daughter Kim, and trivia quizzes, soap-opera updates, and other such syndicated filler from King Features. Oh, and clip art. Plenty of clip art.

Who will write for the Beacon, you ask? Anyone! New stay-at-home moms whose careers are suddenly on hold. Kids from the local college looking to impress their journalism professors. Old cranks. The band teacher at the local high school. Undiscovered "writers." There is a place for everyone and everything in this paper: trite opinion columns, boring letters to the editor, painfully unfunny humor pieces, even poems. We will actually print poems!

Granted, we are not the first weekly in the Duluth area to offer an alternative, more localized viewpoint. Other papers have blazed a path: The South Duluth Journal Of Arts & Urban Affairs (December 1999 to September 2001), Minnesota Mother (September 2001 to February 2002), Natural Foods & Life (February 2002 to April 2002). Right here in Park Hills, the years have witnessed a host of long-forgotten newspapers: Out-N-About, What's Around Town?, Go! Park Hills, and The Park Hills Courier, which was this neighborhood's journal of record for several months in late 1991. The Park Hills Beacon, however, will be different—slightly different, though not actually any better.

Who knows what fate will hold for the Beacon? Perhaps we will last just a few months. Perhaps we will last a full year. Either way, we will have made our mark. By the time we fold, hundreds of community members will have absentmindedly skimmed our unprofessional, visually unappealing rag while waiting in line for the ATM. Some may even go so far as to carry an issue back to their car, only to find it crumpled and wet under the floor mat a few months later. But when our shitty newspaper inevitably goes under, it will have been worth it, for The Park Hills Beacon will have made a tiny difference in the lives of some of the people who worked on one of the issues.

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