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Alton Telegraph: Friday, March 19, 1999 - Page 1

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   Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - March 19, 1999, Alton, Illinois                                 SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836  TUE TELEGRAPH  Digging in  EA-WRHigh installing new track  PageC-l  Tigers cruise  Edwardsville wins triangular  Page B-l  Vol. 164, No. 63 — 50 cents  Friday, March 19,1999  I nv ouiioon    nacK iii Business  Skies will be    |    Motorcycle shop  partly cloudy with    i nt1 fhp‘    m  the high 52 and    ;    .    ,  the low 33    !    raXMM  i after ore ill.  Page IM !    Page    IV!    W   www.thetelegraph.com   Motorist  sentenced for deaths  The Telegraph/RUSS SMITH  Firefighters from six Missouri fire departments, including the West Alton Volunteer Fire Department work, to put out a fire in a wood pile Thursday at the Lewis and Clark Sawmill on U.S. Highway 67 in West Alton, Mo.  Lumber fire gives crews a long battle  By LINDA N. WELLER  Telegraph staff writer  WEST ALTON, Mo. — Firefighters from six departments battled a stubborn lumber fire Thursday that smoldered for nearly two days at Lewis and Clark Sawmills.  An employee of the mill, 14400 U.S. Highway 67, said workers had been burning off old, unwanted firewood Wednesday when the fire “went out of control with the wind we had" and spread to some large wood piles.  “It was nothing major,” she said, declining to give her name.  There were no injuries.  The Highway 67 entrance to the mill opened Thursday afternoon; the company had remained open for business via a back entrance during the two-day fire.  Capt. Rich Allen, of the West Alton Fire Department, said “everything from logs to kindling" burned in an area of about IOO yards by 30 yards.  ■ See FIRE, Page A-9  Driver gets 42 months for hitting deaf couple  By DENNIS GRUBAUGH  Telegraph staff writer  EDWARDSVILLE - The day they died, George Steward and Robin Chapman were a deaf couple happily looking forward to married life and building a ministry for the hearing-impaired.  On Thursday, the drunken driver who killed them was sentenced to 42 months in prison, a sentence short of the expectations of still-grieving family members.  “Forty-two months is not nearly enough prison (time) for somebody who killed two people,” said a sobbing Mary Steward of Wilsonville, George Steward’s mother.  Paul Gutgsell, 42, of Freeburg, pleaded guilty in Madison County Circuit Court to two counts of reckless homicide. In return, prosecutors dropped three counts of driving under the influence of alcohol and two counts of failing to reduce speed.  “I’m sorry for the victims,” Gutgsell told reporters after the sentencing in the courtroom of Circuit Judge Edward Ferguson.  Steward, 30, of Gillespie, and Chapman, 31, of Worden, were returning home from a St. Louis circus trip late Nov. 8, 1996, with a young niece and nephew when they had to pull over for a flat tire on eastbound Interstate 270 near the Illinois Route 111 overpass.  Robin Chapman  Independent living center worker  Gutgsell’s pickup truck, also eastbound, hit both of them as they were fixing the tire. Gutgsell was intoxicated at the time of the crash, police have said.  The niece and nephew, Mary Irvin, 16, and George Steward, 13, of Benld, had to flag down help, Mary Steward said. She said the children have suffered psychologically.  “(Steward) was the father they never had. He would take them everywhere,” she said.  Assistant Madison County State’s Attorney Rich Rybak  ■ See DEATHS, Page A-9  Officials still battle for SIUE ethanol plant  By SANFORD J. SCHMIDT  Telegraph staff writer  EDWARDSVILLE — University officials and legislators are renewing the struggle to bring an ethanol research plant to SIUE.  The university has been awarded a $6 million state grant for the project, which could go to waste if a $14 million federal grant is not forthcoming, said U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville.  “The plant will primarily explore ways to improve the cost-effectiveness of ethanol by finding more efficient ways of manufacturing,” said Brian Donnelly, director of University Park at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.  The university already has received a $1.5 million grant from the federal government for design and engineering.  “The U.S. Department of Agriculture called for construction of such a pilot plant back in 1994,” Shimkus said. “In addition, the design and engineering work has already been completed with federal participation If we don’t move forward, we have wasted the money already spent.”  ■ See ETHANOL, Page A-9  Gooder:  Morning  Area/Illinois .A-3-10 Bulletin Board .A-6  Classifieds____C-5  Comics.......D-5  Editorial ......A-4  Horoscope____D-5  Nation/world .C-3,4  Obituaries.....A-5  Anderson, Boedy, Brecht, Dunham, Goldasich, Jones, Knipmeyer, Kuethe, McClellan, Straube, Tandy, Varwig, Waggoner, Waters, Williams  Scoreboard____B-2  Stocks........D-2  Television.....D-7  Flu season blows ill wind into River Bend  By BETHANY BEHRHORST  Telegraph staff writer  A tardy visitor came and left the River Rend this winter, leaving a trail of complications in its path.  Influenza hit the area hard and fast this year, said Dr. David Burnside, director of the emergency department at Alton Memorial Hospital.  “It came late, and it came hard, but it seems to be going away now,” he said.  . He said he is concerned about the aftermath of the illness. Because of the late onset of the flu this season — giving it more time to mutate — Burnside said he has seen more cases of pneumonia and complications associated with the flu.  “This flu has been really good for causing pneumonia. It was very acute and very quick-acting. I began to see so much of this that I thought I might be over-reading.”  He discussed the situation with other physicians in the emergency department to find that they, too, felt the number of flu cases was overwhelming during the last week and a half.  Burnside said the virus usually is spread by ■ See FLU, Page A-9  George Steward  Worked at care center  The Telegraph/RUSS SMITH Dr. David Burnside, director of the emergency room department at Alton Memorial Hospital, has examined many flu patients within the last week and has seen many cases of the flu progress to pneumonia.   

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