Friday, March 5, 1999

Alton Telegraph

Location: Alton, Illinois

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Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - March 5, 1999, Alton, Illinois SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836 The outlook Goudywitha chance of rain. High 54; low 35 Page IW March 5,1999 County to get out word about tax cap vote «TI7e’re not going to create a tax VV Utopia.” Wayne Bridgewater County Board member By PAUL MACKIE Telegraph staff-writer EDWARDSVILLE - County officials are concerned about the lack of interest in the April 13 tax cap referendum. So the Legislative Committee decided Thursday to recommend that the Madison County Board launch an advertising campaign to educate the public about how a cap could affect property taxes. “Spending a little extra money to inform the public is not out of line,” County Clerk Mark Von Nida told committee members. He said no proponents of the plan have stepped forward, so county officials should feel obligated to distribute facts since the County Board decided unanimously in December to put the question to voters. “Normally, the process would be for proponents to gather petitions and interest. The County Board has the authority to place it on the ballot, but there’s an absence of anybody speaking out on this thing,” Von Nida said Committee members are concerned that voters will see the complicated wording on the ballot, which will include “tax" and “limits” side by side, and automatically be in favor of the proposal. “As for an individual tax bill going down, it’s not going to happen,” said Wayne Bridgewater, D-Roxana. “We’re not going to. create a tax Utopia.” If the proposal passes, Von Nida said individuals are likely to receive “big, fat” tax bills ■ See TAX, Page A-7 Not guilty Marine pilot I acquitted in cable car deaths Page C-2 ; On the hardwoo Alton battles Belleville East for regional crown Page B-l 1.164, No. 49 — 50 cents Taste of success Luther Dryers turns lemons into sweet business Page D-l www.thetelegraph.com Loopholes In pension plan costly Taxpayers shelling out $110,000 more this year By PAUL MACKIE Telegraph staff writer EDWARDSVILLE Political pension loopholes are costing county taxpayers an additional $110,000 this year, officials say. And, because of recent controversial hirings involving county officials, that figure is expected to dramatically increase next year. The County Board’s Legislative Committee voted unanimously Thursday to support bills filed recently in the Illinois Senate that would halt abuses of the retirement plan known as “Elected County Officials.” Also on Thursday, state Rep. Steve Davis, D-Bethalto, announced he is co-sponsoring a bill in the Illinois House designed to curb pension abuses. Davis’ bill is similar to the one in the Senate. “Evidently, other counties are having the same problems,” committee chairman Alan Dunstan, D-Troy’, said. “The (state legislators) who voted for it didn’t think it would be a problem, but most of us are looking at it as an abuse.” Pensions for elected county officials were enhanced with the introduction of the plan in Madison County in 1997. Previously, those officials received the same retirement benefits as regular county employees. However, public office was deemed less attractive because elected officials don’t get sick time or vacation pay, and pensions were minimal for those who didn’t remain in office long, County Clerk Mark ■ See PENSION, Page A-7 Indian artifacts found at site of apartments By DARRYL HOWLETT Telegraph staff writer SOUTH ROXANA Archaeologists have made South Roxana their temporary home in the past week. They have found American Indian artifacts on the site of a planned apartment complex. The property south of homes along Sinclair Avenue will eventually be the home of a 10-building complex owned by Lockwood Development Co. of St. Louis. “They’ve located some broken pieces of pottery, arrow heads and burn pits,” South Roxana Police Chief Dennis Carpenter said. “The artifacts supposedly are 2,000 years old.” Officials with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency said the artifacts could be a part of the Cahokia Mounds system. The company and the village must now wait for approval from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency before proceeding with development. Anne E. Haaker, deputy state historic preservation officer, told The Telegraph that towns are required by law to survey land suspected of being an American Indian site or “cultural resources.” “If there’s land that requires a state or federal permit, the land must be surveyed,” she said. “It must be surveyed when there’s a high probability of the land being a historic site.” Another site in South Roxana, a water main extension project along Wagon Wheel Road, will soon be surveyed by archaeologists. At least three surveys have been performed in the village in the last four years, starting with an excavation on property where Casey’s General Store now stands. Village officials said the only downside to the surveys is that they hold up construction and the village must pay for those done on village property. Area/Illinois . .A-3,8 Bulletin Board .A-6 Business......D-1 Classifieds C-3 Comics.......D-6 Editorial ......A-4 Horoscope D-6 Nation/worldC-3;D-5 Obituaries .. *. .A-5 Ashauer, Bryant, Cheesman, Eickmeyer, Federle, Garity, Hair, Hirschl, Matlock, Osterman, Steelman, Sullivan, Swetlik, Wille Scoreboard____B-2 Stocks........D-2 Television.....D-7 Weather.......D-8 The Telegraph/RUSS SMITH Students pet a hen held by Oblate Father Darrell Rupiper during an assembly Thursday at Saints Peter and Paul School in Alton as part of The Heifer Project, an effort to provide income-producing animals to needy families across the world. Children learn value of animals Project Heifer teaches how sheep, chickens aid needy families By ANGELA MUELLER Telegraph staff writer ALTON — A dog in sheep’s clothing and a live chicken helped show pupils Thursday at Saints Peter and Paul School how they can help needy families in third-world countries as well as in the United States. The Awareness Seekers, a local interdenominational group, used live animals to present the Heifer Project to the elementary school pupils. The Heifer Project is an effort to provide income-producing animals to needy families across the world. “We’re trying to make the children aware that there are people who are not as fortunate as. us,” said Sean Cullen, a seminarian at the Mary Immaculate Novitiate in Godfrey. “And during Lent, we’re trying to encourage them to help those less fortunate.” A video showed the pupils how an animal, such as a water buffalo or a sheep, can help a struggling family by providing milk, wool and other resources for the family to use and sell. Walt Gregory, owner of an organic farm outside Alton, showed the pupils a live chicken and explained how one hen will lay about 250 eggs in one year, providing food and potential income for a family. “If you give a chicken to someone, that little boy or girl can have eggs for breakfast ■ See ANIMALS, Page A-7 «Tf you give a lchicken to someone, that little boy or girl can have eggs for breakfast every day.” Walt Gregory owner of an organic farm The Telegraph/RUSS SMITH Patrick Davey, 6, learns to do the ‘duck dance’ with his fellow pupils during the assembly.