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Thursday, May 18, 2006 04:18 pm


Who needs a lawyer? Plus gramps knew Abe and our longneck alderman

Shawn McKinney, artist and owner of Petersburg’s Terror on the Square, enjoys a burger with his children while on a recent visit to Springfield’s west side. “People ask me why I drive a hearse. Some just don’t get it, but most seem OK
WHO NEEDS A LAWYER? Ever since the Springfield Police Department’s two top detectives were put on administrative leave, defense attorneys have been clamoring for their personnel files. Detectives Paul Carpenter and James Graham were assigned to SPD’s now-disbanded major-case unit, meaning that they worked on solving all of the biggest crimes. As soon as they were sent home sans badges and guns (in October and January, respectively), lawyers looking for ways to puncture police credibility started asking for their disciplinary files. So far, Springfield’s top attorneys haven’t had any luck getting those files. But one guy without so much as a high-school education has. Thomas Munoz, who tried in vain to interest several of these same lawyers in his federal claim of wrongful arrest, is now the pro se plaintiff in a federal lawsuit against Carpenter, Graham, and SPD Detective Rick Dhabalt. Munoz subpoenaed their files and has so far received more than 600 pages of documents. He paid the 15 cents per page fee with tip money he earned as a busboy at a local restaurant.
Nobody ever believes Springfield resident Brenda Warren when she says that her grandfather shook hands with Springfield’s favorite son, Abraham Lincoln. Well, why would you? Warren, after all, is a spry 62 years old; Honest Abe’s big 2-0-0 is coming up in 2009. “I don’t have anyone who can corroborate it, because they’re all dead,” Warren says. Explaining the age gap, Warren says that the grandfather in question, Abraham Gordon, fathered Warren’s mother at the age of 53, and Warren was born late in her mother’s life. According to family lore, young Abe Gordon, who was born in 1851, met Lincoln in Shelby County as Lincoln was on his way to Washington, D.C., to assume the presidency. For the rest of his life Gordon remembered the encounter, saying that Lincoln “was a very homely man, but he was a kind man.”
Sounds about right.
Springfield’s aldermen are always looking out for the little guy. This week the City Council passed an ordinance creating a new liquor-license classification allowing some restaurants to sell wine and beer to go, which, as one city official put it, will “make it easier on the guy buying their pizza.”
Bless his heart. However, Monday’s meeting of the public-affairs committee featured spirited opposition from Springfield Ward 7 Ald. Judy Yeager, who objected, saying that she thought the law was designed just for eateries with house microbrews and wines. Don’t worry about restaurants’ turning into package-liquor stores, Springfield corporation counsel Jenifer Johnson assured Yeager: “It wouldn’t be economical for someone to go to Bella Milano and buy a case of beer.”
Besides, it keeps people from making an extra stop, says Ward 1 Ald. Frank Edwards, who describes himself as “not much of a wine guy. “I’m more of a longneck,” Edwards says.
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