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Alton Telegraph: Saturday, March 13, 1999 - Page 1

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   Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - March 13, 1999, Alton, Illinois                                 TMs-N-That Craft shop has just about everything  Page B-l  SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836  TELEGRAP  The outlook • Cloudywitha i chance of snow; high near 36, low near 27  PageC-10 I  Spring Car Caro  • Tigers aid season i Get your car with loss; ready for the  K  I approaching travel I season  P»ge« •    Special    Section  Vol. 164, No. 57 — 50 cents  Saturday, March 13,1999   www.thetelegraph.com   Good  Morning  Area/Illinois .. .A-3 Bulletin Board .A-6  Classifieds C-7  Editorial ......A-4  Horoscope C-5  Nation/world .. .A-7  Obituaries.....A-5  Archer, Bird, Brecht, Landreth, Lumpkins, Ringor, Robison, Rollins, Russell,  S Wofford  Television.....C-6  Laclede union fights for jobs  Tube mill closing would idle 150 workers  Storm watch  Path of system to determine depth of snow for River Bend  By ANDE YAKSTIS  Telegraph staff writer  ALTON — Storm trackers at the National Weather Service are watching a winter storm that could dump snow across the Alton area early today.  “There is a winter storm watch posted for the Alton area on Saturday morning,” said Tom Spriggs, a forecaster at the weather service office in St. Louis.  The storm is heading toward St. Louis, but a wind shift could cause it to veer south, away from the Alton area, Spriggs said.  “It could start snowing early Saturday morning, but there is still uncertainty about how much snow might fall,” he said. “There is a potential for 2 to 4 or 6 inches, depending on the path of the storm.”  A winter storm with 30 mph winds formed over the Texas Panhandle and blew toward the St. Louis area, said Bill Bryant at the weather service.  Downpours of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and arctic air from Canada collided over  Texas, creating the late winter storm.  City and state road crews were busy Friday preparing in anticipation of heavy snow.  Nine trucks and crews are ready to plow Alton streets, Alton Public Works Director Jim Hernandez said.  “We’re putting snow plows back on the trucks, and we’ll be loading them with salt.”  Some of the heaviest winter snows have hit the area during March, Bryant said.  “In March, ifs getting closer to spring, and there is always plenty of moisture flowing from the warm Gulf area. When a late winter cold blast hits all of the warm Gulf air, it quickly turns into a lot of snow.”  Records show a snowstorm hit the area March 23, 1990, with more than 9 inches of snow, he said. On March 4-6, 1989, nearly 12 inches of snow fell across the area.  “In March, the air and soil is warmer and the snow usually melts faster after it hits the ground,” Bryant said.  Tax cap plan won’t cap taxes, officials warn  By STEVE WHITWORTH  Telegraph staff writer  EDWARDSVILLE - City officials want to tell voters about the shortcomings of PTELL.  PTELL stands for Property Tax Extension Limitation Law, but it is referred to most commonly as “tax caps.”  Officials say that’s a misnomer.  “We need to make sure when we’re talking about it that people understand that this is not a tax cap in any sense of the imagination,” said 4th Ward, Alderman Richard Walker, chairman of the City Council’s Finance Committee.  “It does not cap the amount  of tax that the individual  pays.”  According to Walker, it would be more accurate to refer to the measure as “revenue caps” because it limits the amount of revenues that some municipalities, including Edwardsville, can bring in each year.  Walker and other elected officials in the city and Madison County are expressing concern about the issue because it is going before voters countywide in the April 13 election.  The actual ballot question reads: “Shall th'e Property Tax Extension Limitation  ■ See CAP, Page A-9  Hours: Mon - Fri 9-6 Sat - 9-4 Moving Boxes/Copier/Fox  is to keep the Alton plant open,” said Michael Lane, Laclede executive vice president and chief financial officer,  Laclede has served notice on the union that the company plans to close the tube mill in April, plus the 22-inch mill that feeds steel into the tube mill.  “I’m optimistic about keeping the Alton plant open, but the tube mill is uncertain,” Lane said.  If the tube mill closes, the pipe making operation would be merged with the company’s Fairfax, Pa., plant, the company said.  The union is urging Laclede to keep the tube mill open and include it in the company’s reorganization plan to be presented to U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Barry Schermer  in St. Louis, Wooden said.  “We want to keep the tube mill alive and hold on to the jobs for steel workers and their families,” Wooden said. “Our goal is to keep the Alton steel plant viable and working into the next century.”  Wooden praised Lane and Thomas E. Brew Jr., Laclede chief operating officer, for continuing to hold talks with the union to devise a plan to keep the Alton plant open and protect the steel workers’ jobs.  “Tom Brew and the company spent more money for maintenance of the tube mill last year than the company ever did in five years,” Wooden said.  Steelworkers union leaders, Laclede officials and financial  ■ See LACLEDE, Page A-9  Leaf fire ignites house fire  By UNDA N. WELLER  Telegraph staff writer  ALTON — Fire officials blame illegal leaf burning for a fire that damaged a house Friday in the 1300 block of Highland Avenue.  Assistant Fire Chief Stephen Mikoff said Ruth McBride, who lives next door to the damaged house, was openly burning leaves in her yard about 2 p.m.  A burning leaf traveled to the adjoining property and ignited a plastic basement window on the vacant house, which he said McBride owns.  The fire spread upward under the aluminum siding, which covered old wooden siding, Mikoff said. He estimated damage at $3,000.  Mikoff stressed that leaf burning in Alton is legal in the spring only from April 15 through May 30. Burning also must be done in a flame-retardant barrel with an “approved” grate on top.  Mikoff said authorities did not give a citation to McBride in light of the damage that her property suffered.  By ANDE YAKSTIS  Telegraph staff writer  The Telegraph/JOHN BADMAN  An Alton firefighter pulls hose into position Friday as flames burn their way through the wall of 1307 Highland Ave. in Alton.  Prairie fire  The Telegraph/JOHN BADMAN  Burning grass and weeds were the cause of all the smoke over West Alton, Mo., Friday as officials burned off grass in the wetlands. The burned fields are in the process of becoming natural prairie grass sites. Officials burn the grass annually but try to preserve about 30 percent as cover for wildlife.  Among stacks of steel pipe produced in Laclede Steel Co.'s tube mill are, from left, Dallas Moore, vice president of Alton United Steelworkers Union Local 3643, Terry Wooden, union president, and Fred Cox of the union’s grievance committee.  ALTON — Steelworkers’ union leaders qre battling to keep the tube mill open and save more than 150 jobs at Laclede Steel Co. in Alton.  “If the tube mill closes, we’ll lose more than 150 jobs with an estimated $6 million-a-year payroll,” said Terry Wooden, president of United Steelworkers Local 3643. “It would be devastating to the workers, their families and the economy of the Alton community.”  Laclede filed for Chapter ll bankruptcy Nov. 30 in St. Louis in a move to reorganize the company and keep the Alton plant and five others in operation.  “Our goal in the bankruptcy plan  7  Hand*  With  560  The store that does more than pack...  • all occasions gift wrapping  • buy your own packaging material   

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