THE YEAR-END, AND YEAR-EARLY-DECADE-END, lists are rolling in. This is one you haven't seen: the bottom eight news stories from 2009. Some of them aren't completely made up.
Ashland passes Carrboro as wackiest town
CARRBORO -- The Carrboro Board of Alderpersons met in emergency session late last night following news reports that Ashland, Oregon, may have surpassed Carrboro as the wackiest town in America.
Ashland city council member Eric Navickas, to protest proposed limits on public nudity in the town, held a clothing-optional showing in his art gallery of nude portraits and conceptual art involving naked people. Nudity is currently legal in Ashland, except in the city center and public parks, where people are required to cover their genitals.
Although the Carrboro board did not act, they are mulling future clothing-optional board meetings.
Same-day registration increases voting
RALEIGH -- The institution of same-day voter registration in North Carolina has dramatically increased voting, one election expert has found. With same-day registration and voting, many more voters are voting earlier and more often, according to N.C. State political scientist Ward Heeler.
"Before same-day registration, voter fraud was too onerous for many would-be voters, discouraging their participation in vote buying, vote rigging and other basic elements of the electoral process. Before same-day registration took effect, it wasn't that hard to find a homeless vagrant to register but it was often burdensome or even impossible to find them again on election day to actually get the vote tallied," said the University of Chicago graduate.
"Now, with a single six-pack, a person can be registered and vote in one simple step. With proper transportation, one individual can register and vote in multiple precincts or even municipalities without undue effort. This greatly enhances voter participation rates which have been flagging over time," added Prof. Heeler.
UNC goes green, replaces coal plant with nuke
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The University of North Carolina, in its biggest push to reduce its "carbon footprint," has begun plans to replace the University's aging coal-fired power plant with a third-generation breeder reactor. Based on the never-constructed Clinch River Breeder Reactor, UNC's nuclear power plant should provide enough electricity to light up Kenan Stadium several times over
Satan sues Santa for "image infringement"
NEW YORK -- B.L.Z. Satan, the founder, CEO and COO of Satan, Inc., filed suit today in U.S. federal district court in New York, against Santa K. K. Claus and Associates for "intellectual image infringement."
"The case hardly needs to be stated. For example, the red suit is pretty obvious. Only a forked tail and pitch fork would be clearer," said Harold Kleinman, the attorney for Satan, Inc. A spokesman for Claus and Associates had no comment.
Sponsors flee Wie
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Pro golfer Michelle Wie, who was until recently the highest-earning and most-publicized golfer on the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour, now finds herself losing multiple endorsements and being abandoned by her sponsors. Experts say when Wie, 20, won her first professional individual tournament, the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, marketers then realized she would never be her sport's Anna Kournikova.
U.S. voted "Best Destination for Terrorism"
SANA‘A, YEMEN -- The United States has been voted the "Best Destination for Terrorism" in 2009 by the International Organization of Terrorists and Terrorist Associations. Insiders say the vote wasn't even close.
Sequel to Shakespeare's Hamlet found
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- UNC literary historians have found what they believe to be the first newly discovered major work by the English playwright William Shakespeare in nearly 400 years. The play, which is thought to be a sequel to the tragedy "Hamlet," is a comedy entitled "Omelet" which is set in Ye Olde Waffle House in a "Chapell on the Hill."
U2 to become U3
NEW YORK -- Singer Cher has announced plans to re-unite with Bono, forming a group to be called U3.
Gary D. Gaddy, who has been voted, for the third consecutive year, one of the bottom eight Chapel Hill Herald Local Voices columnists, would like to wish his reader a joyous new year.
A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday January 1, 2010.
Copyright 2010 Gary D. Gaddy