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Alton Telegraph: Monday, April 19, 1999 - Page 1

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   Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - April 19, 1999, Alton, Illinois                                 SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836  r r J f |  lr c> r ii; 1  nptp  A rn _ -J - l!il J ilm/xL -  CASA program Forum gives pupils a chance to discuss community issues  Page D-l  Vol. 164, No. 94 — 50 cents  pp ■ --  gH  Monday, April 19,1999  Tho outlook Skies will be ly sunny; near 67, low near 46 Page IM  Baseball  Big Mac’s homer can’t lift Cards past Astros  Page C-l  i rn   www.thetelegraph.com   Officials seek funds from reforms  Other ways to fund education sought after ‘tax cap’ failure  By PAUL MACKIE  Telegraph staff writer  EDWARDSVILLE - With the failure of last week’s “tax cap” measure in a countywide referendum, local and state officials are looking for other property-tax reforms to fund education.  Madison County Board member Steve Stobbs, R-Godfrey, proposed in  December that the board place the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law on the ballot, but only because it was the lone reform available from the Illinois Legislature.  “I don’t expect it will appear on the ballot again. People had the opportunity to vote, and that was the  primary concern of the board,” Stobbs said.  Although the tax cap failed by just a 4 percent margin, a push by school officials likely scared voters about the cap’s loophole, which would have allowed local taxing districts to enforce unlimited — and possibly  dramatic — increases during the next nine months, Stobbs said  Sixty percent of property taxes, which are distributed locally, go to schools, whose officials largely believe a property-tax cap would strap their means of spending  Stobbs said now it may be a good  idea to seek school funding from other sources.  “We should generate interest at the local level or pass a County Board advisory resolution to get the Illinois Legislature to do something," he said “I don’t think anybody thinks education should depend on property taxes.”  ■ See FUNDS, Page A-7  Good :Vr Morning     Area/Illinois . —    A-3,6      Bulletin Board .A-8,B-2      Classifieds......    C-6      Comics.........    D-?      Editorial........    A-4      Nation/World    R-3      Neighbors ......    R-1      Obituaries ......    . .A-5      Baker, Brookshire,          Chontofalsky, Hamilton,      Hanneken, Lentz,          McBride, Morris,          Pohlman, Urban          Scoreboard.....    0-?      Television ......    . .D-3     Apple blossoms are blooming in Batchtown  By ANDE YAKSTIS  Telegraph staff writer  BATCHTOWN - Thousands of apple blossoms are bursting open in their annual spring show along the hills of Calhoun County.  “It’s apple blossom time, and visitors come from everywhere to see apple trees in full bloom," said Tom Ringhausen, whose great-great-grandfather, Christian Ringhausen, planted the family’s first apple orchard in 1860.  Ringhausen walked through his orchard to show the first apple blossoms unveiling their beauty along the scenic hills of Batchtown.  Apple blossoms, dogwood trees and  spring winnowers    .........  paint the hillsides To IO HPQ ll ll in an array of col- IGItSJfl U|lll ors around Batchtown, a community along the limestone bluffs near the southern tip of Calhoun County.  “My great-great-grandfather came to Calhoun County from Germany and planted his first apple and peach trees 139 years ago along Blue Ridge near Hardin,” Ringhausen said.  Ringhausen is following the orchard tradition of his grandfather, A.J. Ringhausen, and father, K.C. Ringhausen. Like them, he grows apples and peaches in Batchtown, a picturesque country town of 250 residents.  “We’re looking for a big apple and peach crop this year if the frost stays away from the trees,” said Ringhausen, walking through rows of beautiful apple trees  In the summer and fall, Ringhausen’s fruit market is full of peaches and apples and vegetables on Illinois Route IOO at the east edge of the Joe Page Bridge, across the river from Hardin.  German pioneers crossed the rivers in the  ■ See BATCHTOWN. Page A-7  The Telegraph/MARGIE M. BARNES  Mella Taylor, group leader at Beverly Farm in Godfrey, helps Tammy, a patient at the home, hold a spoon during mealtime.  Beverly Farm joins statewide effort to increase funding for the disabled  during each of the next three years to the service system for people with developmental disabilities.    -  The coalition also is calling for a minimum 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment across all state programs for the developmentally disabled for 12 months.  Officials and employees at Beverly Farm in Godfrey are acting in conjunction with the I ARF and the coalition, which comprises par  ents, people with disabilities, and service providers and associations who all have joined together in a unified effort to lobby state lawmakers on the issue.  “From Beverly Farm alone, we’ve had about IOO people who have written the governor and ■ the legislators in our area, explaining their concern, encouraging them to pass this COLA, hopefully of 3 percent, and to seriously consider this additional $50 million for the whole state in a wage adjustment Monte Welker above and beyond the ..'    .    COLA,”    said    Monte  Beverly Farm Foundation executive director  Welker  executive direc-  ______ tor of the Beverly Farm  By STEVE WHITWORTH  Telegraph staff writer  GODFREY — A statewide coalition is urging state officials to increase funding for the care of people with developmental disabilities.  The    Illinois  Association    of  Rehabilitation Facilities has joined the “Do the right thing" campaign, which asks the state to commit an additional $50  million a year in funding explaining”their concern.”  uTTirom Beverly Farm alone, r we’ve had about IOO people who have written the governor and the legislators in our area,  Foundation.  Welker said the need for more funding is illustrated by Illinois’ ranking of 43rd among the states in what it allows for developmentally disabled services. He noted that Illinois pays  ■ See FARM, Page A-7  By REBECCA HOPKINS  Telegraph staff writer  GRAFTON — The first-ever Wild West Weekend got off to a slow start when spring temperatures didn’t cooperate, but Sunday’s skies broke beautifully for a trek up the Great River Road to see some of the Old West in action.  Parking was at a premium, but  few people seemed to be deterred from making a visit as the River Road traffic swelled with cars and pedestrians filled the walks on Main Street.  In addition to the gift and antique shops, visitors could make frequent stops to chat with a cowboy, buy old-fashioned caramel corn made over an open fire or browse through a display of Native American clothing and jewelry.  Several tourists used the occasion to wear their own Western finery as a predominance of cowboy hats covered the heads of many of the males. Children and adults delighted in the warm, sunny weather to enjoy a ride in a horse-drawn carriage or an authentic stagecoach as the draught animals clip-clopped their way through town.  Shop owners were delighted to  see the crowds.  “The rain and cold on Friday and Saturday really slowed things down,” said Sammie Healzer, coowner of Grandma’s Dream. “I was even a little worried about the river levels coming up, but today has been just great and the weather has been a big help. We’ve had lots of people come in today.”  ■ See WILD WEST, Page A-7  Blaze, left, and Tom, a team of Persian quarter horses, pull a carriage along Main Street during Grafton s 1999 Wild West Weekend on Sunday. Kent Jackson of Pere Marquette Stables brought the team of horses to give free carriage rides through Grafton to interested visitors.  Weather can’t tame Wild West Weekend  CLOSEOUT SALE OF ALL ABOVE GROUND POOLS (1998 models in stock) limited quantity H 1   LAYAWAY NOW FOR SPRING  HOH. Adams Parkway Alton, IL 62002  466-5301   

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