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Wednesday, March 26, 2008 01:41 am

Cap City

Untitled Document You are not alone
Want to check the pulse of Springfield? The Internet may be the last place to go. Local Web logs are replete with tales of woe, apparently produced by middle-aged men who spend their nights in their underpants, typing about their unrequited dreams and day-to-day anxiety and trading funny clips from YouTube with each other. Where else but on a Springfield blog can you see a photograph of a shriveled-up melon inside a local writer’s otherwise empty fridge? Or learn whether it’s possible to squash a penny in Lincoln, Ill.? That said, when it comes to local blogs we’re like motorists who can’t resist looking at a bloody wreck or TV viewers who wait anxiously for the paternity-test results on The Maury Show. This week we were startled to learn that two local veterans of cyberspace — Dave of The Eleventh Hour (the11thhour.blogspot.com) and Palmer Blevins (palmerblevins.net) — have hit the Esc key, at least for now. Dave’s message, posted March 19, is simple (“I need to take some time off”), Blevins’ more cryptic (“There comes a time in a man’s life when he must accept defeat”). Fortunately, our favorite blogger, Jerome Prophet (jeromeprophet.blogspot.com) is keeping the faith. If you ever find yourself at night, in your underpants, wondering how life slipped by you, go to www.SpfldBloggers.com. You are not alone.

BOULEVARDOFBROKENDREAMS In 2000, conservationists in southwestern Missouri transformed land once occupied by a Kmart store into a wildlife museum. Sounds fun, but people around here would probably oppose such an enterprise in our vacant Kmart on MacArthur Boulevard, citing certain amphibians’ ability to secrete hallucinogenic chemicals. After all, aren’t there are already enough places in Springfield to lick toads and get high? So good luck to neighbors Rebecca Hendrickson and Jeff Pasquini, who last week launched a petition drive to convert the MacArthur Kmart into a city park. The idea met with ridicule, which Hendrickson calls unfortunate: “People are reading parts they want to read. Our intention isn’t just to have a park smack-dab in the middle of MacArthur. We want to see it cleaned up.”
She says that about 65 people responded to the survey. “We’re not fighting anyone; we’re just encouraging that area to go green,” she says. “I don’t think [a park] would be the detriment people are making it out to be.”

HORSINGAROUND Like all little girls, boys and Brussels sprouts gross us out but we’re absolutely fascinated by horses. So when the National Clydesdale sale, originally slated to take place in Springfield, was moved to Wisconsin, we fought back tears and prepared to amend our Christmas list. Thanks to the Interior Department, there could be a pony in our future after all. The Bureau of Land Management is holding an adoption event for wild burros and horses on Friday and Saturday, April 4 and 5, in Ewing, Ill., about 165 miles to the south. When herds of wild horses grow too large for an area, federal wildlife officials isolate a portion of the group with use of special helicopter maneuvers and “Judas horses” that lead their fellow equines into corrals. The animals are then gentled and put up for adoption.
Adoption fees are pretty darn cheap ($125 for a horse under three years of age; $25 for older horses). Prospective adopters must have at least a 400-square-foot corral (with 6-foot-high fence for adult animals) per animal, as well as shelter from the elements. “You wouldn’t want to put a 5-year-old stud in the same pen as a 2-year-old mare,” says Scott Swanson, a BLA spokesman. For complete program info, go to www.wildhorseandburro.blm.gov or call 866-468-7826.
HOTTICKETS The Sangamon County Child Advocacy Center’s second annual “La Nuit de l’Enfant” takes place this Friday, March 28, at the Crowne Plaza, 3000 S. Dirksen Pkwy. Motivational speaker Bonnie St. John provides the keynote address; weatherman/actor/local celeb Gus Gordon, an inspiration in his own right, is master of ceremonies. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $75 per person; make reservations by calling 217-522-2241. The center, established in 1989, works on behalf of victims of child sexual abuse.
On Saturday, April 12, the good folks at Brother James Court hold their 14th annual benefit auction — this year under the theme of “Steppin’ Out” — also at the Crowne Plaza. The event, which begins at 5:30 p.m., features basket, silent, and live auctions offering such items as a two-week stay in a five-star Austrian resort, guide services for a dove-hunting trip to Argentina, and a trip to Africa to hunt big game. The auction is an important fundraiser for the 32-year-old organization, which houses about 100 developmentally disabled men. To buy a ticket or make a donation, contact Susan Barrett at 217-747-5905 or e-mail her at development@brotherjamescourt.com.
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