Publisher John Weiss says he was asked a couple months ago by one area Starbucks store to pick up the Indy's news racks there. When he asked why the paper was being kicked out, the manager told him an individual had complained and the corporate office decided to pull the paper, KOAA-TV reports. "Starbucks has a non-solicitation policy and the standard operating procedure is to carry only the New York Times and the local paper, i.e. the Colorado Springs Gazette," the coffee giant says in a statement. Weiss says it sets a double standard: "Just allowing one newspaper, which is very, very conservative, into their stores, we don't think provides the balance this community needs." The Indy went through a similar ban eight years ago at King Soopers grocery stores, according to KOAA. The stores eventually brought the paper back after receiving multiple complaint letters and phone calls from customers.
A recent surge in newspaper theft has a coalition of Bay Area newspapers -- including the East Bay Express and the San Francisco Bay Guardian -- asking local authorities to help pursue thieves both on the street and at the recycling businesses where they fence the stolen goods, according to the Berkeley Daily Planet. The Express is doing more than just asking cops for help, though. The Planet reports that after complaints to local police failed to result in the apprehension of a man repeatedly seen stealing papers, the alt-weekly hired a private investigator. On his first night out, the private eye caught the thief with more than 500 copies of the Express -- and nearly as many Bay Guardians -- in his truck. Express publisher Hal Brody says that stopping the thefts will take more than arresting street-level thieves -- rather, he thinks cops need to target the recycling businesses that accept the contraband. A meeting between Oakland police and local publishers to discuss how to stem the tide of theft is planned for the near future, the Planet reports.
In October, as the New Times grand-jury probe fiasco bubbled to the surface, reporter Ray Stern was given a criminal citation for disorderly conduct after an argument over taking photos of public records at the sheriff's office. Stern said Monday that a Phoenix prosecutor offered him a fine of $100 or attending anger management classes in exchange for a guilty plea, the Associated Press reports. "I'm not going to (plead guilty)," he says. "I know I wasn't yelling."
Attorneys for the alt-weekly have filed legal papers with the California Court of Appeal arguing that a judge erred in finding the Indy in contempt of court for refusing to turn over all the crime scene photographs taken by Paul Wellman. The paper's attorneys argue the judge failed to provide any evidence there was "a reasonable possibility" that Wellman's unpublished photos "will materially assist" the defense attorney who asked for them. The legal standard required by California Constitution to penetrate California's shield law requires a reasonable possibility, the Indy reports.
Sandra Widener, who started the Denver alt-weekly in 1977 with Patricia Calhoun and Rob Simon, died on Saturday when the vehicle her family was in skidded out of control and a tractor trailer slammed into the driver's side, the Denver Post reports. She was 53 years old. Her husband, Democratic political consultant John Parr, and one of their two daughters also died in the crash. Their 17-year-old daughter is expected to leave the hospital today, according to the Rocky Mountain News. "Their house became a focal point for the neighborhood, and the world. Their friends included everybody," Calhoun tells the Post. "They always had students in from other countries. It was just a nonstop party." The News also reports that three drivers have been charged with driving too fast for conditions in the chain-reaction crash.
On Wednesday, the Phoenix published David Bernstein's "Was It All a Dream?," which called into question whether Romney's father actually marched with Martin Luther King, Jr., as the presidential candidate had claimed in a recent speech and TV appearance. Dogged by reporters over the assertion, Romney yesterday backpedaled and admitted that he never did see such a thing. Yet a spokesperson tells the Phoenix that, even if Mitt never "saw" it, George Romney did march with King, despite historical evidence to the contrary. "I researched this question, and indeed it is untrue that George Romney marched with Martin Luther King," the assistant editor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project at Stanford University tells the Boston Globe.