NEWS This week's (thankfully brief) news section kicks off with a story that will be relevant in... oh, say about three months—and even then, coming as it is from The Stranger, the word "relevant" is probably a bit hopeful. Still, one has to give the paper's crack news squad "props," as I'm told they say, for even realizing, through this tiresome haze of bong smoke and this now Limbaugh-esque clutter of OxyContin bottles, that a number of city council seats are up for grabs in November. Never let it be said that The Stranger is behind the ball when it comes to elections that don't matter; let it also never be said that whatever insight they give into those elections is noteworthy, keen, or indeed, necessary. ALSO: A follow-up report from Stranger intern JONAH SPANGENTHAL-LEE (notice many of the paper's best [read: readable] stories come from those not on the payroll) on last week's scoop about a teenage prostitute. A word to Mr. Spangenthal-Lee: The real crime here is that the teenage prostitute made more money than you did in the production of this piece. Some advice: Get thee as far away from this wretched pile of pulp as possible. Your career depends on it. PLUS: OlyIntel, In the Hall, In Other News, and Police Beat.

FEATURE The Offender ELI SANDERS takes a breather from lambasting Republicans and Christians (political assassination and blasphemy can take such a toll, after all) to file a feature story that is not only coherent (a rarity, to be sure), but also an outright must-read. The subject: Jefferson County's lone Level 3 sex offender. I must say I found myself wondering why Mr. Sanders displays such a deep familiarity with what it's like to live as a sexual criminal. But I'll be optimistic and assume this familiarity comes from his sitting near The Stranger's watercooler, where the conversations always start at Level 3 and proceed upward. In any case, the revelations found within this piece are startling, troubling, and fascinating. Kudos, Mr. Sanders. I don't know who your guest editor was—Dan Savage would never allow such a quality piece to sail into The Stranger's pages unsullied—but he/she certainly deserves credit.