FLASHES, 6-29

Yellow Journalism
E.J. Montini's writing style can be trying.
You know what we mean.
Or perhaps you don't.

In any case, Montini and Steve Benson are the only Arizona Republic commentators whose names should appear in the same sentence with the words courage and imagination. (Memo to management: While you're merging the Republic and Gazette staffs, why not merge Steve Wilson and Bill Hart? You might come up with one whole columnist.)

While their peers cower before the aristocracy, Montini and Benson still can be counted on to give voice to the questions Joe and Jane Sixpack are asking. So when Joe turned to Jane last week and asked, "How 'bout the governor's sons peein' all over Scottsdale?" he could also turn to the editorial page and, sure enough, find a Benson cartoon.

Montini's space, however, was conspicuously void of any poop on the public peein'. According to a newsroom leak, that's because Republic city editor Steve Knickmeyer killed the column, which was, by all reports, pithy.

Now the fact that John Symington, 26, and Scott Symington, 23, were cited for wagging their weenies in public is not a point of grave concern.

But the Republic's continuous suppression of controversy is. In January, shortly after Knickmeyer became city editor, he huddled with his statehouse reporters and made it clear that they were to keep their hands off the governor, who maintains a direct Whine Line to R&G publisher Chip Weil and executive editor John Oppedahl. "No more gotcha stories," the reporters were told.

The hilarity in that quote is the thought they'd ever really tried to get Fife.

At least Montini's still trying.
And trying.

Bye-Bye, Bureaucrat
State Department of Insurance deputy director Gay Ann Williams has resigned in the midst of an extended review of her department by the state auditor general. Williams tendered her resignation May 22 to department director Chris Herstam. Her last day is July 7. Williams' husband, Dale Hazlett, received more than $1.1 million in contracts from the department during the first nine months of 1994 ("Holy Matri-money," November 3, 1994). Williams gave no reason for her departure after 11 years. Herstam stated in a memo that his deputy was leaving "to pursue new career challenges." Taste in Automobiles

Eerie things happen in the forest. Porcupines mate. Militias maneuver. Flying saucers pick up woodsmen. Timber companies give free turkeys to Forest Service employees. Spotted owls fly around, endangering themselves. Elk lick cars.

It's strange but true. The Flash spoke with a pair of intrepid outdoor types who returned from backpacking to discover that their vehicle had been thoroughly slathered by a herd of elk. Fearful of being labeled wild-eyed kooks, both campers requested anonymity. But if you really want to know who they are, look for a gray Subaru wagon bearing the unmistakable work of giant elk tongues.

"There were elk hoofprints all around the car, and the car had lick prints all over it. They covered it completely, like every inch," one befuddled camper explains. She called the Forest Service to ask if elk were prone to licking foreign imports. "They'd never heard of it before," she says.

The only plausible explanation: Aliens Control Elk!

 
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