And such was the case in a perfectly harmless announcement this week from the Cornelius Police Department and the town's Parks, Arts, Recreation and Culture Department.
The Police and PARC are hosting their local version of the National Night Out Celebration on Aug. 7. The program is designed as a nationwide outing to create better relationships between citizens and law enforcement personnel while promoting safety, awareness and neighborhood spirit in the fight for safer, crime-free communities.
So, as the press release encourages, come out for some fun at the annual event, but first, be sure to turn on your porch lights and, for goodness sakes, it reminds you, lock your doors!
Peeling the layers
A little irreverence now and then is a good thing and, as readers of the famous — or infamous, if you prefer — annual April Fool's edition of the Citizen can attest, sometimes even Talkers take a little pride in peeling off the stuffy veneer of the stodgy ol' news pages.
But when it jumps out at you as a complete surprise mid-week in the region's largest daily — a publication not exactly known for taking itself lightly — well, Talkers wonder if it was really humor or, perhaps, just an editor asleep at the wheel.
Recently right at the top of the classy "Style" section, enhanced by a photo of a scantily clad vixen longingly eyeing the reader, was a list of seemingly real "summer beauty tips."
At first glance, Talkers didn't even flinch at the first one: "The more reduced-fat food you eat, the more weight you lose." But by number three — "For a quick loss of a couple of pounds, remember the body can function with only one kidney" — Talkers were understandably baffled.
Closer examination revealed the hints were culled from the end-all, be-all of witty words, The Onion, but Talkers were still left with the uneasy feeling that somewhere, someone didn't get the joke. The queasiness increased with a closer look at tip number two: "No one looks good in a size 30 swimsuit. Wear a size 8 no matter how much you weigh."
Yanking her chain?
Davidson has long been regarded in municipal government circles as a progressive island in a sprawling suburban sea of conservatism. Whether that's good or bad is in the left or right eye of the beholder. But Talkers continue to wonder whether the label is even accurate, at least when it comes to gender equity among its administrators.
Talkers offer, as Exhibit A, one Lauren Blackburn.
Blackburn took charge of Davidson's planning efforts last year after her former boss, Kris Krider, resigned. Krider earned more than $85,000 a year as Davidson's planning director. But when Blackburn assumed the role of Davidson's chief planner, she was left with the title "planning manager" — and a salary of $58,000.
What does it take for a woman to become a department director and get a corresponding salary? In Blackburn's case, it apparently meant leaving Davidson and going to work for the North Carolina Department of Transportation, where Talkers now note that, as director of DOT's Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation, she is pulling down a salary of $72,000.
A $14,000 raise and the title she wasn't offered in Davidson? Now, that's progress.