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Wednesday, April 2, 2008 01:39 am

Cap City

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Untitled Document THAT NOXIOUS ODOR . . .  
. . . that pervaded Springfield last week was, for once, not eau de Archer Daniels Midland plant wafting westward from Decatur but rather the brief presence of Chicago Sun-Times professional sourpuss Neil Steinberg. Prompted by the need to take some sort of spring-break sojourn with his family, Steinberg was here for 24 hours that, he reported in his March 31 column, felt like a week. He gave a halfhearted thumbs-up to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum for presenting history with a dollop of Disney, writing, “You have to put the slop where the pigs can get at it.” But the dead president was the only thing Steinberg found to like about Springfield. His spawn’s quest for “edible chow” downtown was “a soul-sapping experience.” And lodging, in Steinberg’s opinion, was even worse: “[T]he city boasts nowhere to stay that is better than sleeping in your car.”
On the advice of an “acquaintance” at the State Journal-Register (notice that he can’t claim anyone in Springfield as friend?), he booked space at the Pasfield House Inn, the B&B owned by Tony Leone. There, Steinberg was revolted to find a morning repast consisting of Bob Evans Breakfast Bowls to be microwaved inside his suite — food “so unappetizing” that no Steinberg would eat it, “which is like a meal being rejected by goats.”
Yet the Pasfield House Web site offers a clickable menu of gourmet goodies custom-prepared by Café Moxo. All Pasfield patrons need to do is order a day in advance — a policy apparently lost on killjoy Steinberg. (Frozen food is the fallback offering for guests who fail to order online.) Leone, former clerk of the General Assembly and therefore an old pro at dealing with pompous blowhards, let the Steinberg spanking roll off his broad shoulders, saying that nasty insults are just Steinberg’s shtick. “Somebody was gonna get hurt,” Leone says. “I’ll take it.”

Springfield goes dutch The next British invasion will take place in Springfield, but instead of mop-topped heartthrobs, sitcoms, or dysfunctional royals, the U.K. is sending its husbandry practitioners. Hey, at least it isn’t another female pop band. Fourteen leporid breeders from England will be making the transatlantic hop for this year’s American Netherland Dwarf Rabbit Club national show, the Prairieland Nationals, on April 17 at 3231 S. Veterans Pkwy. The event, open to the public and expected to draw 600 contestants and 2,000 rabbits, was moved to Springfield this year because of our central location. The Dutch dwarf is among the smallest of all bunny breeds, although Lew Bevan, one of the Brits who’ll be coming to town, says, “The English version of the animal sits a little higher.” Typical limeys.

TRASHTALK It’s been months since the City Council revamped Springfield’s trash system. After some hefty groundwork, the new ordinance went into effect April 1. Here’s what you gotta do: • Leave garbage out for pick-up in the alley — unless you live in an area that doesn’t have alleys.
• Put your yard waste out for free pick-up in April and November and continue using the $1.50 stickers the rest of the year. If you put yard-waste bags out without stickers, waste haulers will still collect them but they’ll charge you $2 per bag after your second offense. • If you’re not signed up for trash service, get it before the end of April or face $250-a-month fines. If you’re a landlord, you’re now responsible for trash service.

News of the news Two days after snagging GateHouse Media’s “Newspaper of the Year” honor, the Rockford Register Star announced that it would offer voluntary severance packages to 20 to 25 core newspaper personnel. A pizza party might have been a better reward. Register Star publisher Fritz Jacobi told his staff that the reduction had nothing to with GateHouse’s taking ownership from Gannett in May, saying “From my years with Gannett, I am comfortable saying that, were we still owned by them, we would have had to make these cuts last year.”
However, the move does come on the heels of a similar buyout offer made in December to 16 workers at the State Journal-Register, which was swallowed up by Fairport, N.Y.-based GateHouse last year. Meanwhile, the SJ-R’s masthead is seeing a few shakeups as well. Features editor Erin Orr and senior news editor Mike Turley were promoted to managing-editor positions for content and digital delivery, respectively.
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