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Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008 09:03 am

Cap City

Untitled Document WELCOMEWAGON
Nothing says “Welcome home” like a monthly visit from a gun-toting law enforcer who reminds you — just in case you were able to forget — that all eyes are watching you. This week, Mayor Tim Davlin announced that the Springfield Police Department will team up with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Illinois Department of Corrections in a new initiative designed to keep tabs on the city’s recently released parolees. As part of “Project Welcome Home,” the department’s neighborhood police officers will supplement the role of parole officers by making their own routine checks on violent offenders who have been paroled. Davlin says the goal of the program is to welcome parolees to the city but also to let them know that they’d better “walk a straight line” while here.
As far as Springfield’s supply of coconut shell candles, gourmet wing nuts, and cheap international booze is concerned, the world is coming to an end. After less than three years, the Cost Plus World Market store at White Oaks Mall is closing. In late January the Oakland, Calif.-based retailer announced plans to pull out of eight markets, close 18 stores, and trim its workforce by 10 percent in 2008. Jill Osaka, World Market’s PR manager, won’t say which stores are closing. Stephen Hunt, a Simon marketing director says mall management isn’t aware of World Market’s closing. Looks like we let the cat out of the Javanese floral-patterned tote bag.
To get a fresh perspective on the monthly “Solemn Assemblies” commemorating the race riots of 1908, we checked in with Ward 2 Ald. Gail Simpson, who has participated in both services. “Both were very moving,” she says. “I could be seeing things through rose-colored glasses, but I think the majority of people in Springfield are ready for healing this division between the races.”
OK, so much for the warm fuzzies. The real question involves the logistics of marching from a downtown church, where these assemblies begin, to one of the historical markers memorializing the 1908 tragedy: Does Simpson show up in her usual famously high heels? “I’ve worn boots,” she says, “with a bit of a heel — kind of a chunky heel but still cute.”

We’ve written several times about Dorothy Milford, the east-side grandmother forced to move with her six grandchildren out of the home she and her late husband owned because of the presence of lead paint. A group of truly good Samaritans organized by Hope Evangelical Church has been working for months to rehab the Milford home. They’ve completed major exterior repairs and are now installing a new heating-and-cooling system. Some of the Samaritans noticed that Milford had to rely on her daughter’s antique station wagon to transport the children to the grocery store and Laundromat and on other errands. Last month a church family donated their 1996 Dodge Caravan to Milford’s daughter. It should make Milford’s next move — back into her own home — even sweeter.
Last month, state regulators slapped Clare’s Hair and Beauty Supply with a $150 fine for the “unlicensed practice of optometry by selling contact lenses to members of the general public,” which has been banned since 2007. As the arbiters of all that is just and fair and righteous in this town, we wanted to ensure that everybody’s playing by the same rules — so we got on the horn and rang a local eye-care provider to make sure that the staff there wasn’t selling any unlicensed hair products. Cap City: Hi. How much is your 10-inch Yaki Wet n’ Wavy weave? Female optical worker: I don’t know what that is. Cap City: Well, do you have any French curly No. 33? Worker: Excuse me? You called [name of local optical store]. Cap City: I know that. Do you sell hair weave?
Worker: No. [Hangs up.]
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