It’s been quite a 2015! The Hopewell Democrat-Tribune is pleased to reflect upon some of the highlights, as reported in these pages over the past 365 days:

Chicago Cubs Win The World Series Over Miami Marlins
Hopewell residents were stunned at the news, as local hometown hero LeDemetri Washington was playing as Miami’s second baseman. Following his career with Southern Michigan University and the minor-league Grand Rapids White Caps, many had expected a World Series win to cement Washington’s bid for the 2015 MVP. Sadly, the Cubs’ sweep of the series meant that honor was reserved for Chicago pitcher Brett Newmom. Speaking on condition of anonymity, bookmakers at the Gliding Eagle Casino report that the few local bets made for the Cubs to win reaped significant dividends.

Billionaire Michael Drucker’s Death Leads to Bankruptcy of Replacement Technologies
The technology world was shaken by the death in May of billionaire Michael Drucker, the former manager of Apple’s Biologics division and close associate of the late Steve Jobs. The company was hit hard by the reveltation, confirmed by forensic analysis, that Drucker had been illegally cloning human beings in flagrant violation of the Biological Ethics Act 856 USC 2005 § 2 (commonly known as the “Sixth Day Law”). The resulting bankruptcy and dismemberment of Replacement Technologies and its holdings led to significant hardship in and around Hopewell as the Aspen Mall RePet was forced to close. Led by the local ASPCA chapter, all incomplete cloned pets that were outstanding at the time of the bankruptcy were given to forever homes.

Hopewell Mecha Crew Instrumental in NERV Defeat of Nineteenth Angel
Readers are quite familiar with the continued assaults on the population of the Earth by beings known as Angels resulting from the crippling Second Impact in 2005. Hopewell citizens were delighted to learn that Hopewell High School student Mitchell Baker (HHS Class of ’99) was instrumental in the annihilation of “Metatron,” the Nineteenth Angel, over Tunguska in Russian Siberia. Baker, remembered by peers as a mechanical prodigy, piloted one of the flotilla of support vehicles neccessary for fielding the massive Evangelion-class armored mechas needed to defeat Angels. An official NERV press release credits Baker’s swift refueling of EV-014 with helping to turn the tide against the massive alien organism, and he was posthumously awarded the key to the city.

Queen Diana’s First Visit to the USA An Odyssey for Hopewell Native
Starting on September 22, 2015, the Democrat-Tribune was given unprecedented access to Mary Winemann, the personal chauffer assigned to Queen Diana during her first visit to the USA since her acession in 2012. Winemann met the Queen in D.C. at Joint Base Andrews at 4 p.m., driving her and her consort Prince Al-Fayed to an official White House Welcoming Ceremony and personal meeting with President Barack Obama followed by a parade along the Ellipse and the National Mall and a speech to a Joint Session of Congress. Ms. Winemann, a gradute of Southern Michigan University and University Montessori, so impressed the Queen that she was retained as driver for the remainder of the official visit, from the United Nations General Assembly and motorcade through Central Park in New York to the Independence Mall in Philiadelphia. “She’s a lovely person,” said Ms. Winemann. “All the rumors about her husband’s death and her ascension to queen regnant from queen consort are totally baseless slander.”

Horror in Chicago Five Years After the Battle of Chicago Turned Back Alien Invasion
As anyone visiting the memorial in Veterans Park is aware, five servicemen from Hopewell were killed in the 2010 Battle of Chicago, in which an alien invasion of extraterrestrial robots was decisively turned back at great human cost. When alien robot violence re-erupted in Chicago this year, the Democrat-Tribune interviewed Hopewell native Moammar al-Fatima (HHS Class of ’02) about the experience. “It was insane,” Mr. al-Fatima said in an exclusive interview. “You see the photographs and read the news stories, but until you see a semi truck transform into a robot that skates through a crowded street firing a plasma cannon, you don’t completely grasp it. Every time it missed a shot, somebody was reduced to cinders.” Find Mr. al-Fatima’s photographs of the encounter and his Michigan Broadcasting Association Award-winning snapshot of an alien robot riding an alien robot dinosaur in our online archive.

Norsefire Party Sweeps UK Parliamentary Elections; Adam Sutler Installed as Prime Minister
As a result of economic chaos and an increased terrorist threat, the new Norsefire Party was able to sweep aside Labor, the Conservatives, and the Liberal Democrats to earn a dominant majority of seats. The party, which had polled under 1% in the parliamantery election of 2010, was asked to form a government by Queen Diana the following day with its leader, former Under-Secretary of Defense Adam Sutler, installed as Prime Minister. The Democrat-Tribune spoke with Hopewell students studying in the UK about what the new Norsefire government means for them and for the nation. “I don’t think anything will change, really,” said Sadie Cunningham, currently reading law at Oxford as part of the Scholars Abroad program. “Sure, Norsefire and Sutler said a lot of crazy things during the election, but they have to work within the system now, and with the opposition. They’ll get their rough edges filed off and probably lose the next election, just you wait and see.”

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This is Clifton “Sagebrush” Lowe, reporting for the Prosperity Falls Futurist. As part of our continuing series on “People in the News” I interviewed Virginia MacNeil, late of the Prosperity Rangers, on the circumstances of her dismissal from that storied organization.

LOWE: To what gainful purpose have you put your so-called skills to now that the Rangers have permanently expelled you from their ranks for cowardice and recklessness?

MACNEIL: I’m working as a guard for the Chatham Stage Company now, and they’re lucky to have me. They know what the Rangers don’t: these skills are in the blood. It’s not about practice or anything like that; I come from a line of people who can shoot straight and hit hard, and that why I’m the best at what I do.

LOWE: This despite your well-known loss to young Mr. Sullivan at the Ranger Trials?

MACNEIL: He caught me off-guard, and is a low-down, dirty sneak and cheat. You can take that to the bank and cash it in.

LOWE: Could the words you had not moments ago for the convalescing Mr. Sullivan indicate a latent and passionate longing? What truly defines love for an ex-Ranger?

MACNEIL: Love is about being equal or better than somebody, and I don’t see a lick of that in Sullivan. He’s haughty, insulting, and superior, putting on more airs than a perfume factory and more full of insults than a whorehouse for a cheap john.

LOWE: So by her own definition of love, Miss MacNeil has been laid low by Ranger Sullivan!

MACNEIL: I hope for his recovery only that I might have a chance to show him up once more and that the Rangers might see that my so-called mistakes weren’t so bad. They’re between me and God, not me and the Rangers–who’re they to say I was wrong when I’m just doing what comes naturally, what I was made to do?

LOWE: There can be no secrets from the Great Watchmaker, it’s true.

MACNEIL: Well…I’m not sure if he knows about the stack of Horatio Alger pulps behind the loose board in my room, especially not the ones where the hero’s name is crossed out and I wrote my own in. If Adam knew that I was reading the same thing that the Prosperity Library burned in a heap last year…

LOWE: Salacious! I would opine that the Great Watchmaker does in fact know all about your stash of pulp rubbish. Then again, but your earlier argument, since he made the man who made them, the fault lies not with that pulp-peddler Alger but rather the Watchmaker himself.

MACNEIL: Yeah! I fit hadn’t been meant to be read, it wouldn’t have been written!

LOWE: And I suppose the same can be said of homemaking guides for young ladies?


LOWE: Fair enough. If you could tell your own story your own way, how would it go?

MACNEIL: Dashing, beautiful, and talented Ranger Virginia MacNeil, daughter of late Marshals Vincent and Patricia MacNeil, has risen from hardship to glory! People constantly underestimated her, called her stupid and boastful and idle and lazy and such, but she has proven them wrong in spectacular fashion by saving Prosperity Falls from forces that would destroy it from the inside and the outside! Like the hero of a Horatio Alger novel–and in fact Alger is hard at work adapting her own story for worldwide publication–she pulled herself up by her bootstraps and triumphed!

LOWE: So you count being the daughter of two of the most famous Rangers and being admitted to the Rangers despite failing the admission test and having your brother’s successful ranch at your back as Horatio Alger style hardship?

MACNEIL: Shut up.

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The student-run newspaper at Southern Michigan, the SMU Times, was notorious for exactly two things: the number of alumni that had gone on to work major news desks all over the country, and the absolutely infernally wretchedly awful state of its copy editing. Some, myself included, have opined that there must be some relation between the two.

Who could forget the time that the paper blew the lid off the extraordinary rendition and torture practices of the SMUPD? That epochal headline had read “Arson Suspects Held in Campus Fire.”

Then–this one is legendary–we have the spoonerism in one of the Times’ “Voice on the Street” posts. The reporter, paraphrasing an interviewee, had clearly meant to write “sorority girls sucking from university funds.” He was worried that Phi Qoppa Mu was taking cash away from the other student organizations, but when the paper published the story, it read (if you’ll pardon my French) “sorority girls fucking some university funds.” Microsoft Word helpfully changed “srom” to “some,” proving once and for all that Bill Gates does in fact have a sense of humor.

There was also the time the Times spoke of a quote from former South African president “Nelson Mandevla.” I couldn’t quite decide if that brutal misspelling evoked a Mandela under development (Mandevla ver. 0.93a) or a twisted lovechild of Mandela and Dmitry Medvedev.

“We’re still waiting for Schoss to turn in his story on the Greek Formal,” said Jamie. “It’s the front page tomorrow.”

“You sent Schoss to cover the formal?” said Pam, incredulous. “The same Schoss that disappeared last finals week and wound up calling his roommate from Munising?”

“The very same. He has connections to the community, and always writes positive articles,” Pam said. “Whenever I send someone like Loam, I get an anti-Greek diatribe the next day, and an avalanche of angry letters from various and sundry Mu Delta Qoppas.”

“Schoss is probably passed out under a beer pong table after throwing up on his camera and/or date,” cried Pam. “Hell, the Greek Formal will just be getting swinging at press time! We’ll have to go with Loam’s story on financial aid or the SMU Times will run with a big white spot where the cover story should be.”

“Hell no,” replied Jamie. “The Greek Formal story is going up tonight . We just need someone to go out and find Schoss: you.”


“I need to typset and handle ads,” said Jamie. “If you know how to do that, you’re welcome to take it over.”

“Now,” Bethany said, toying with the ‘editor-in-chief’ sign on her desk. “With a Greek participation rate approaching 50% on our campus, we have to be very careful about offending our fraternities and sororities. Offense translates into boycotts which translate into lower sales which translate into pink slips and thin resumes and eventual refrigerator boxes under overpasses for the lot of us.”

“Do you really think a school newspaper run by students runs that kind of risk?” asked Tom, the sports editor.

“Try and get a Kenmore box when you land in the gutter,” Bethany retorted. “They’re the most spacious and are double-ply.”

Tom folded his arms and glared as Bethany passed a stack of papers around the office.

“The point is, people, we need to take steps to preserve our circulation from baseless attacks on the Greek community, especially on the opinion pages,” Bethany said. “So I’m beginning a new initiative.”

The paper contained the following list:
Digamma Ϝ
Stigma Ϛ
Heta Ⱶ
San Ϻ
Qoppa Ϙ
Sampi ϡ

“What the hell is this?” demanded Aaron, the opinion editor. “It looks like a rejected script page from a Star Wars prequel.”

“Those are obsolete Greek letters,” Bethany said proudly. “Unused since 500 BCE. They look Greek, they sound Greek, but they ain’t Greek. Not anymore, at least. From now on, you are to substitute these letters for the letters of an actual Greek organization when writing opinion columns, dealing in speculation, and so on.”

“You cannot be serious,” Aaron said.

“So, if you were writing about a rumor of a wild party in your opinion column,” Bethany said, briskly ignoring Aaron, “you could attribute the even not to the very real Sigma Phi Delta, but the fictional Heta Qoppa San.”

A moment of silence followed. “I like it,” Felicity, the weekend insert editor, said. “It opens up all sorts of puns to us. Frat acting up? We can tell people ‘don’t be a Heta.’ Sorority getting a bad rap? We’ll call ’em Stigma Heta Omega or the Stig HO’s for short!”