We haven't actually made a firm decision on this, however, because we really haven't identified a good, steady source of such information.
You could call this column, however, a trial run of "News of the Weird," because today I found some compelling material in, of all places, the Web site Stateline.org. Stateline is an independent element of the Pew Research Center and is based in Washington, DC. It was created as a resource for newsmen and newswomen who cover state government.
Leave it to the government to provide tidbits of weird news. Read on (Thanks to Chris Hamby, who provided this information to Stateline.org):
- Capitol Facility Management, tear down this wall. That was the cry from North Dakota lawmakers who voted to raze a wall they spent $175,000 erecting just last fall to divide a large committee room into two subcommittee rooms.
The cost to level the partition: $13,000. The subcommittee rooms were seldom used because lawmakers were "jammed in there like sardines," state Rep. Al Carlson (R) tells the Grand Forks Herald.
- Handshaking will join the list of banned behaviors in Indiana prisons. A new directive from the state's correction commissioner insists that inmates now greet each other with a "gentle bump" of fists to prevent the spread of germs.
But "staff will need to ensure that this type of greeting is not construed to be a form of battery," the commissioner's memo notes. Indiana got the idea from Oklahoma, the The Indianapolis Star reports.
- Arizona is now the proud owner of a Hells Angels' clubhouse. The state Attorney General's Office outbid the previous owner in a court-ordered auction with a $205,000 offer, effectively expelling the infamous biker club, The Arizona Republic says.
Because of forfeiture laws, the state will pay only half of that sum for the house, which is valued at $150,000. The clubhouse had been home to twice-a-week Hells Angels meetings since 1999. "We'll get another one," a local club leader told The Republic.
- I don't need the Legislature, sums up Newsday after New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) lambasted state lawmakers for adjourning and leaving a number of issues unresolved. Without using those exact words, the governor made clear he would prefer to circumvent the legislative branch, using executive orders and regulatory changes to run the state.
Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, a Republican, called Spitzer "temperamental" and said, "He ought to understand that we're not a third-world country where he is a dictator," the newspaper reports.
- As Oregon legislators hurried to finalize a $15 billion two-year state budget, they also put in their two cents on another state concern: Whom should the Portland Trail Blazers select with their top pick in the NBA draft?
A proclamation by 13 senators and 13 representatives recommended the team choose Greg Oden, the behemoth Ohio State Buckeyes center, instead of lanky University of Texas standout Kevin Durant, according to the Statesman Journal. Legislators got their way Thursday (June 28) when the Trail Blazers chose Oden.
- Indiana State Fair-goers finally can enjoy a "Corn Dog Caliente" and some Cajun fritters without feeling guilty about polishing it off with a deep-fried Snickers bar. The state fair is one of the first in the nation to ban trans fats from oils in fryers. Maybe the fair isn't the right place to start a diet. But "this is something we can do to make this the healthiest possible fried food that we can," a fair spokesman tells the The Indianapolis Star.