But the real news was this week's gala event commemorating the release of the Gazette's 2010 Best of the Springs, in which editors and readers named Colorado Springs' Best Funeral Parlor, Best Crossing Guard and Best Female News Hottie. (I wish I was kidding, but I'm not.)
In an example of the company's ceaseless innovation, the paper has introduced a solution to the problem of having the same winner monopolize a given category year after year. Traditionally, this has been a source of great frustration for Gazette editors, who must then struggle to come up with something different to say in their 10- to 25-word testimonials.
So instead they've decided to make perennial recipients ineligible, and just name the awards after them instead.
OK, stay with us here, if you can. Here's an example that will make everything clear:
1. Georgianne Lymberopoulos finished first in this year's Female News Hottie category.
2. Georgiann Lymberopoulos also won the Lisa Lyden Best Anchor Award, so named because the Gazette grew tired of giving it to Lisa Lyden.
3. Now, if Georgianne Lymberopoulos CONTINUES to win in the Female News Hottie category, fed-up Gazette editors may choose to throw her out of the running, in which case ...
4. Some lesser Female News Hottie will win the following year's Georgianne Lymberopoulos Female News Hottie award.
OK, now that that's all cleared up, let's par-tay! And nothing says party like a guy in a chicken suit standing next to a Gazette delivery van.
I know what you're thinking, and we thought the same thing: That's actually Gazette publisher Steve Pope dressed in a whimsical chicken outfit, right?
But it wasn't! Turns out the diminutive but feisty little guy was an employee of Wild Wings 'n Things, which has eight convenient locations in the Colorado Springs area.
And that was only a small taste of the fun and excitement to come. Spilling forth from the cozy intimacy of Studio Bee and into the cavernous hallways of the Pikes Peak Center, Gazette staffers and advertisers enjoyed cash bars, tasty hors d'oeuvres, and inspiring speeches from a fired-up Warren Epstein and the aforementioned Pope, who fought back sobs while pronouncing this year's awards the "most ginormous ever!"
The Thursday night jamboree also featured card tables draped with white paper so that revelers could sit in folding chairs and apply colorful paints to little ceramic peace signs and palm trees. And it was easy to see that the one child in attendance was plenty thrilled by the balloon animal modeler.
All in all, this was surely the most exciting thing since the Shriners' appearance at this year's St. Patrick's Day Parade.
For more in-depth coverage, be sure to check the next several issues of the Gazette's weekly sister publication, Fresh Ink.