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Thursday, Jan. 29, 2004 07:32 am

Quick Takes

PUTTING THE "COIN" IN COINCIDENCE

City Council has scheduled three more budget meetings (all beginning at 5 p.m. in council chambers): A "re-cap" session on Feb. 4, a public hearing on Feb. 10, and a special meeting to vote on the budget on Feb. 19. The timing of that last meeting came as a shock to Ward 1 Alderman Frank Edwards, who just happens to have a fundraiser scheduled that same night.

"They asked about dates and I specifically said, 'Please, any night but that night,' " Edwards says.

Edwards, a Republican and an outspoken critic of Mayor Tim Davlin's proposed budget, says he has no choice but to be absent from his own fundraiser. "I'll be at the budget thing," he says. "My friends will understand. The budget's more important. It's what they elected me to do."

An earlier budget workshop was rescheduled to avoid conflict with Davlin's Jan. 22 fundraiser even though Davlin himself does not attend the budget workshops.

Based on information that budget hearings would conclude by Feb. 17 -- because the mayor has a vacation scheduled shortly thereafter -- Edwards had already reserved the Lake Springfield Beach House for the 19th. He's planning a beach party theme with Bermuda shorts, hot dogs and chili but "no chips -- gives me gas."


BIZ BUZZ

Haven't received your war dividend yet? The folks at Halliburton, Bechtel, Parsons and other major U.S. contractors are looking for small-business partners to help rebuild Iraq.

Senior execs from the companies, along with representatives of the Coalition Provisional Authority, senior Iraqi officials, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will be at Chicago's Hyatt Regency O'Hare on Feb. 17.

Panel discussions will cover topics like obtaining credit and managing risk in a nation where more than 3,400 American soldiers have been killed or wounded. To register, contact Hannelore Quigley at New Fields Exhibitions in Washington, D.C., at 202-496-4976 ext. 221. Before Feb. 10, registration for the event is just $150.

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