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Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - July 29, 1994, Alton, Illinois INDEX Ann Bulletin Fun A3C7 4 Sections No 195 44 Pages ALTON ILLINOIS Lassie comes home again Ufestytes See B1 A man with power Business see B7 Players may strike out August 12 Sports See C1 Im nri w 1ELEGR APH Sunny High 84 Low 64 Weather C12 JULY State study may save Douglass School By JASON HILLERY Telegraph staff writer ALTON The Illinois Histor ic Preservation Agency may pluck the old Douglass School building from the demolition list and place it on the National Register of Historic Places The agency has blocked use of Community Development Block Grant money or state money for demolition of the building at 917 Market St until officials can complete a study to see if it qual ifies for the National Register The agency intervened after being contacted by Alton resi dent Stephan Walker who has waged an effort to halt the planned demolition of the 97 yearold building named after 19th century civil rights activist Frederick Douglass Based on information we have received and talks weve had with Walker weve said the building may have enough his torical significance to be placed on the National said Anne Haaker IHPA deputy state historic preservation officer The review is required before any state funds can be She said the study should be completed in the next few weeks Madison County Community Development Agency Director Cheryl Jouett confirmed Thurs day that the grant to pay for the planned demolition has been placed on hold until the state can research the issue Walker who has been working to save the vacant building for the past several weeks has secured an architect to examine the building and is trying to line up investors St Louis architect Jack Luers preliminary evalua tion concluded it would be feasi ble to renovate the building City officials had planned to award a demolition contract Wednesday But the resolution called for use of Community Development money Second Ward Alderman Phil Hanrahan said Thursday he D See DOUGLASS Page A2 West Alton A city of two tales m m Alton ready to dive in to Floodfest By JACK M FARMER Telegraph staff writer ALTON Just as he was at this time last year Mayor Bob Towse will be all wet Saturday on Third Street But this time hell be smiling Instead of being kneedeep in floodwater Towse may be com pletely submerged as the top attraction in the celebrity dunk ing tank at Floodfest 94 Organizers are expecting at least people including about 50 National Guard troops to commemorate the historic Great Flood of 93 and celebrate the areas comeback by eating drinking and playing from 11 until 1 Sunday Were so organizer Dianne Burton said In the same spirit of cooperation in which we fought the flood were putting on the party It will be Vehicle traffic will be blocked D See FLOODFEST Page A2 Rebirth devastation bloom side by side By MARY BRASE Telegraph staff writer Weeds have virtually taken over condemned homes at the end of Main Street in West Alton Some famllies have reciaimed and repaired their WEST ALTON Mo Tangles of pink and white petunias are blooming wild along Leona Ellebrachts driveway this summer a gift of the Great Flood of 93 Ellebracht 66 who lives along Missouri High way 94 between the two land mark railroad viaducts wel comed the petunias and replanted flags day lilies and perennials to fill backyard flower beds left barren by the flood The floodwaters apparent ly washed the wild petunia seeds along with fertile soil into the yard We had to cut down two giant red oaks in the back yard but the persimmon tree came she said almost grateful for any sliver of shade Her husband Neals stand of sweet corn pumpkins and tomatoes is flourishing behind the refurbished house on ground that seems to get better every year she said But last years record flood left behind other scars along with soil that turns the garden to D See TALES Page A12 County hops aboard MetroLink tax hike in Missouri By JACK M FARMER Telegraph staff writer Madison County officials are trying to get in line for an extension of the MetroLink light rail system The Madison County Transit Districts Board of Trustees voted unanimously Thursday to endorse quartercent sales tax proposals on ballots Tues Ruling cuts short mysterious drive to halve board day in St Louis and St Louis County The tax hikes listed as Proposition M would generate about million a year to cover operating deficits for BiState Development Agency which operates MetroLink With the tax hikes the federal government would provide for transit expansion for every dollar St Louis city and county contribute and that would help expand the light rail line into six other corridors Federal funding could total billion in 25 years according to BiState The tax would have no direct effect on Madison County but backing the entire project now is vital to the systems eventual extension into the county transit Board Chairman Nelson Hagnauer said The benefits from that tax will affect everyone in the St Louis metropolitan district Direc tor Jerry Kane said As far as Madison County goes any potential MetroLink extension will be based on the success of the heart of the system in D See METROLINK Page A2 By JOE CARROLL Telegraph staff writer EDWARDSVILLE An elu sive grassroots campaign tq cut the County Board in half appears likely to fail because of constitutional constraints States Attorney William Haine said For the last two months sever al County Board members have said petitions were circulating in their districts calling for a referendum to cut the 29mem ber board in half Who is behind the petition drive has remained a mystery with some elected officials say ing they heard the backers were from Granite City and others saying East Alton Haine said he decided to research the legality of reducing the number of board districts by referendum because of requests from concerned board members The question of reducing the County Board is not open to the voters by petition The state Con stitution leaves that decision solely to the County Board Haine said Thursday He cited a 1988 Illinois Supreme Court decision striking down a similar referendum drive in Peoria County The Supreme Court inter preted the state Constitution to say that the voters have no pow er over the size of the board The board reserves that Counties are not governed by the same statute that allows city councils and village boards to be reduced by referendum he said Voters in Alton cut the 14 member City Council in half in a November 1992 referendum The organizer of the petition drive John Vollmer was later elected 1st Ward alderman Granite City voters followed suit with a petition drive and referendum of their own that successfully cut their City Coun cil in half earlier this year Joe McGinness a former Granite City Democratic pre cinct committeeman and the organizer of the Granite City petition drive is piloting a refer endum to replace the County Board chairman with a county executive elected by a county wide vote McGinness said he does not know anything about the effort to cut the County Board Blew it The BADMAN A tuba player In the Suncoast Sound drum corps from Clearwater shows disappointment at the conclusion of his corps competition In Wednesdays Alton Drum and Brass Review Suncoast Sound finished last Furloughed convict on the run with electronic monitor By MAUREEN HEGARTY and SUSAN McCAIN Telegraph staff writers ALTON The hunt is on for a convicted robber who walked away from home wearing his electronic monitoring device Trent Lamarr Robinson 21 is believed to have bolted about three hours after being fur loughed to get his affairs in order before going to prison Robinson who lives in the 100 block of East llth Street in Alton was granted a fiveday furlough after pleading guilty to robbery unlawful possession of a controlled substance and obstructing justice Associate Judge J Lawrence Keshner granted the furlough Wednesday with the stipulation that he wear an electronic moni tor and remain in his house Robinson is scheduled to return to the county jail Monday to start his fiveyear prison term He asked for furlough to get his affairs in order since he had been in jail so long I thought with the electronic monitoring there would be sufficient safe Keshner said He granted the furlough over objections of Assistant States Attorney Craig Jensen who could not be reached Thursday for comment Electronic monitoring requires prisoners to wear an electronic ankle bracelet and remain within a certain area A transmitter hooked up to the prisoners telephone will sound an alarm if the prisoner goes outside the defined boundary Robinson was supposed to stay at his home The alarm telling us he was out of range sounded about Wednesday which is about three hours after we put the bracelet on probation supervisor Bob Astorian said Probation officials called Rob insons home immediately and a man on the telephone claimed to be Robinson The officer felt it might be an imposter so it was checked out and he was found Asto rian said And the judge had the warrant issued by 8 Police officers recovered most of the electronic monitoring equipment at Robinsons house Thursday We do not have him in custo dy yet but our officers are looking for Alton police Lt William Fitzgerald said D See CONVICT Page A2
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