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Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - April 8, 1999, Alton, Illinois SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836 Tradition ‘Fiddler’ this weekei at Marquette Highschool Page C-l Softball Jersey falls to Edwardsville Tigers 13-3 Page IM V Af 1 H The outlook Chance of a few thunderstorms; high near 73, low near 53 PageIV6 Up. up and away Dow,S&P 500again march to new highs Page IM Vol. 164, No. 83 — 50 cents Thursday, April 8,1999 www.thetelegraph.com Regional buildings on selling block By BETHANY BEHRHORST Telegraph staff writer BETHALTO — Expansion efforts spearheaded by the St. Louis Regional Airport Authority have attracted a handful of companies to the bargaining table to get a slice of "the best-kept secret in the Midwest." Despite widespread rumors circulated last week, the airport is not being sold. Only two hangars and a building complex owned by a group of investors from St. Louis are on the block. Six companies are negotiating, while an airline maintenance company has presented a written offer for the buildings. “St. Louis Regional is probably the best-kept secret in the Midwest,” said Richard Erzinger. president of Erzinger Investment Corp., based in Columbia, 111. “Hopefully, this will bring a lot of jobs to the area." Erzinger is one of four owners of the buildings that are for sale. The two hangars and the building complex are part of a conglomeration of buildings. The hangars could be used for aircraft maintenance operations, an air cargo company and an airplane repair company. Most of the companies involved in negotiations plan to use the business complex as a headquarters. Erzinger said information about the buildings was sent to more than 4,000 companies and that the response has been encouraging. “We’re talking to a number of companies,” he said. “The aviation industry is just booming right now. I think we’re pretty close to getting it sold.” Erzinger, who bought the property last May along with his father and two partners, said he hopes the transaction is complete next month but that there are no guarantees. ■ See REGIONAL, Page A-7 Good Morning Area/Illinois ... .A-3,8 Brazier, Clark, Bulletin Board . .A-6 Daniels, Dezort, Business ... . .D-1 Freeh, Freeman, Classifieds .. . .C-5 Gainer, Girardi, Comics..... . ,D-5 Hickman, Editorial---- . ,A-4 Huddleston, Kahl, Horoscope .. . ,D-5 King, Penrose Nation/world . . .C-4 Scoreboard .. .B-2 Obituaries ... . .A-5 Stocks........D-2 Belcher, Bopp, Television.....C-3 Spring spruce-up The Telegraph/JOHN BADMAN Charles “Butch” Burns, a retired carpenter and volunteer, installs a trellis Wednesday at the entrance to the Nan Elliott Memorial Rose Garden in Alton’s Gordon Moore Park. The entrance to the garden is getting a face lift, which includes several new trellises. City, police to resume pact talks By LINDA N. WELLER Telegraph staff writer ALTON — City and police union officials plan to resume contract talks May 4 since the union rejected the city’s “final offer.” The talks will be held at Haskell House in Alton. The 47-25 rejection vote was March 31, the day the previous police contract expired. Police are continuing to work under provisions of that contract. The city’s offer was similar to what three other city employee unions had approved this year; five years, 3.5 percent pay raises during each of the first three years and provisions for re-opening salary talks for the final two years of the agreement. After the vote, officials with the Alton Police Benevolent and Protective Association Unit 14 said the main reason the membership rejected the offer was length of the contract. The state Policemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association Labor Committee in Springfield released a two-page statement detailing why it believes a five-year contract is too long. The committee wrote: ■ Unit 14 never has had a contract longer than three years with the city of Alton. ■ The Illinois Public Labor Relations Act does not protect contracts that last longer than three years. ■ More than 2,000 new pieces of legislation are pending before the Illinois General Assembly, with IO percent of them related to law enforcement. At that rate, some 1,000 pieces of legislation affecting law enforcement could be proposed to the Legislature in the next five years, the release said. “Unit 14 simply cannot predict what issues might arise during the term of a five-year contract,” said Erie Poertner, chief labor representative for the labor committee. ■ Set POLICE, Page A-7 TCI teams on lookout for cable thieves By DARRYL HOWLETT Telegraph staff writer EAST ALTON — Residents who get cable television illegally should beware: The “cats” are coming. Throughout the month of April, Telecommunications Inc. will be sending cable audit teams out into neighborhoods. Those teams — made up of one to two people — will conduct visual and electronic exterior inspections of residential cable lines to identify people who are receiving cable TV and not paying for it. “The U.S. Congress has passed laws about cable TV which affect residents who currently are not cable subscribers, particularly those receiving cable TV and not paying for it,” said Ken Smith, TCI general manager. “People who hook themselves up to cable usually ruin or degrade the picture quality for other paying customers. Cable theft costs everyone, including iocal government.” Smith said TCI is offering an amnesty pro gram for non-cable subscribers through the month of April. “The April cable audit program is just a time to highlight those who may be hooked up to cable illegally,” he said. “This month is the only time we offer an amnesty program It gives residents a chance to become paid subscribers.” Industry estimates project IO percent to 12 percent of non-cable subscribers may be con- ■ See CABLE, Page A-7 THURSDAY, APR. 8| "STONEBRAKER” ■fc JBk ■ KonAip FRIDAY APRIL 9th SATURDAY Bt SUND APRIL 10th & 11th Sims loses appeal ‘You’ve had your day in court,’ judge says depression when she killed her two infant daughters in 1986 and 1989. The judge said he reviewed her previous trial testimony and found she “was adamant about not being guilty.” There was nothing to justify her attorney -- selecting a postpartum defense over the defense that he chose — guilty beyond reasonable doubt, he said. « Tt’s not the end of it; lit will go on for a few more years.” Neil Hawkins Madison County assistant public defender DeLaurenti said he wasn’t a mind-reader but that he found it “more than a coincidence” that Sims, 39, claimed to be suffering from mental illness after giving birth to daughters Loralei in 1986 and Heather _ in 1989 but showed no such problem when she gave birth to a son, Randy, who was bom in 1988 and never was harmed. “I’m not God, but that’s my analysis,” DeLaurenti said. The prosecutor’s theory from the start was that Sims was influenced to commit the killings because of her husband’s dislike for girls. Madison County Assistant Public Defender Neil Hawkins has represented Sims during her quest for a new trial the last few months. He plans an immediate appeal. “We thought we had a good case and hope the appellate court agrees with us. Ifs not the end of it; it will go on for a few more years." ■ See SIMS, Page A-7 By DENNIS GRUBAUGH Telegraph staff writer The Telegraph/MARGIE M BARNES Paula Sims walks out of the courtroom Wednesday after Circuit Judge John DeLaurenti denied her bid for a new trial. EDWARDSVILLE - Paula Sims headed back to prison Wednesday when a Madison County circuit judge shot down her latest appeal of her 1990 murder conviction. “I feel comfortable, Miss Sims, that you’ve had your day in court,” Circuit Judge John DeLaurenti said. He ruled that Sims’ former trial lawyer, Don Groshong, did not represent her ineffectively when he opted against pursuing an insanity defense based on her contention that she was suffering postpartum
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