Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - April 27, 1999, Alton, Illinois SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836 Taken easy Comfort comes to Alton Refrigeration Page IM Hoops heroes Class A All-Area basketball player of the year Page B-I The outlook Chance of showers and thunderstorms; high near 68, low near 54 Page IM tree trees Godfrey sowing Arbor Day plans Page GI wiiwu 'v ammmmmmHmmmmmmmt Vol. 164, No. 102 — 50 cents Tuesday, April 27,1999 www.thetelegraph.com Good Morning Area/Illinois........... .......A-3 Attey, Bohlmeyer, Couatre, Bulletin Board...... .......A-6 Fish, Franklin, Gibson, Business............... D-1 Haustein, Kehr, Klunk, Classifieds............ .......C-6 McCauley, Rut!, Stemmier Comics.................. .......C-2 Region............. .............C-1 Editorial................ .......A-4 Scoreboard..... .............B-2 Lottery................... A-7 Stocks............. D-2-4 Nation/World........ .......A-8 Television........ .......„.....C-3 Obituaries............. A-5 Weather........... .............D-4 l s ^ Quality Mill Direct Carpel & Vinyl Quality Service Discount Prices Starting at 33V< r SQ.FT. * J 4?fP8§; • hi ?MI HMAMCIW WITH APPKOV1P CMMMT DISCOUNT -CARPET 3475 HUMBERT RD ALTON 465-2622 Suspect admits to bank holdup By LINDA N. WELLER Telegraph staff writer ALTON - A Wentzville, Mo., woman faces four charges in the armed robberies of two Illinois banks — one of them in Alton. A federal grand jury in East St. Louis last week indicted Jennifer Anne Fitzgerald, 29, in the April I robbery of the Mercantile Bank, 620 Landmarks Blvd., and the Union Bank in East Hannibal on April 13. She is charged with two counts of armed bank robbery and two counts of using a firearm during a crime of violence. U.S. Attorney Richard Lloyd said Hannibal, Mo., police arrested Fitzgerald after she allegedly committed the Union Bank robbery. “After the bank was robbed, they alerted police,” Lloyd said of Union Bank employees. “Fitzgerald crossed over the Mississippi River into Missouri, saw a police car behind her with its lights on and she gave herself up.” A police source said that while being questioned about the East Hannibal robbery, Fitzgerald admitted to the bank robbery in Alton. Lloyd said Fitzgerald is the ■ See SUSPECT, Page A-7 Woman beaten to death charas lur ack at da\ carr By DARRYL HOWLETT Telegraph staff writer Rain will have river on the rise By ANDE YAKSTIS Telegraph staff writer ALTON — Heavy rains will push the Mississippi River more than five feet above flood stage this week at Melvin Price Locks and Dam. “The heavy downpours upstream will cause the river to raise higher than originally forecasted at the Alton locks,” said Ray Kopsky Jr. of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The river stood at 24 feet Monday at the Alton locks and will jump to a 26^-foot crest by Friday, Kopsky said. “The river at Alton will rise about 5.5 feet above the 21-foot flood level,” he said. “It rose more than a foot since Sunday.” The corps had predicted that the river would crest at 25 feet this week at Alton but three inches of rain upstream will raise the river another foot. “More rain is expected across the area (today),” said Ann Rundel of the St. Louis National Weather Service. Towboats and barges moved freely through the 1,200-foot and 600-foot locks at Alton on Monday. Towboats steered around tons of debris and fallen trees floating in the current in the high water toward the locks. The dam gates are standing out of the water in an “open river” position to let the high water flow through the locks, said Dennis Williams, a shift chief at the Alton locks. The Mississippi and Illinois rivers rose higher Monday in Calhoun, Jersey and Greene counties, flooding some fishing cabins along the shore. “The water is creeping up toward Route 96,” said Bill Clendenny, owner of the Mozier Short Stop Restaurant along the Mississippi in Mozier in ■ See RAIN. Page A-7 The Telegraph/RUSS SMITH The dam gates at Lock and Dam 26 are up in an open river position to allow the high river to flow freely downstream. HERALD NEWS PHOTO/LIZ WILKINSON ALLEN Joliet Police Sgt. Rick Moore, front, and Officer Mike Reilly carry children out of a home day care facility at 804 Kenilworth Ave in Joliet Thursday morning after a day-care provider and her stepfather were attacked with a hammer by her estranged husband. All four children at the home were unhurt. Deputy Chief Dave Gerdes follows at left. ALTON — An area relative said a murder in Joliet involving a former Wood River resident could have been prevented. Kimberly Cunningham, 34, died at 9:50 a m. Sunday in Joliet after allegedly being beaten in the skull with a hammer by her estranged husband, Timothy Cunningham. Also beaten was Kimberly Cunningham’s stepfather, Larry Piasse of Joliet, who came to her house to check on her. Piasse, 59, is in critical but stable condition at a Joliet hospital. Piasse is in a coma and on a life-support system. The incident occurred last Thursday. Kimberly Cunningham’s Timothy aunt, Toni Plank of Alton, said the murder didn’t have to happen. Plank said the couple’s divorce hearing was set for Monday. “Their marriage was fine until the separation came forth,” Plank said. Kimberly Cunningham worked as a day-care provider out of her home. _ Plank said the couple had Kimberly been married for 12 years and enjoyed raising their four children, two from Kimberly's first marriage. But then something went wrong. “She wanted to get a divorce because he wouldn’t hold down a job,” Plank said. “Once he became violent, she had a restraining order against him. He violated the protection and was in jail for four months.” Plank said Timothy Cunningham was ■ See ATTACK, Page A-7 Paint, puppets help Kiddie Kollege celebrate ‘Week of the Young Child’ By ANGELA MUELLER Telegraph staff writer ALTON - Children at Kiddie Kollege Learning Center experimented in science, art, music and language Monday as part of the center’s “Week of the Young Child” celebration. Special activities at the learning center, a ministry of Church on The Way at 726 Henry St., culminated Monday with a puppet show by Patty Cusic, the church pastor’s wife, and her puppet friend Gerbert. Cusic and Gerbert told the children the story of how Jesus instructed his disciples to allow the little children to come to him. The puppet show followed a week of activities for the group of 45 children, ages 2 through 4. The activities held Monday through Friday of last week focused on a different subject each day. “It’s something we have not done before,” said Diane Mayden, teacher and grant coordinator at the center. “We wanted to do something unique created especially for the kids.” Mayden said Week of the Young Child is important because reaching and teaching children when they are young is important. “If we can get children to understand the important lessons when they’re younger, they have a better chance of starting to open up ■ See KOLLEGE, Page A-7 The Telegraph/RUSS SMITH The Kiddie Kollege Day Care in Alton celebrated the Week of the Young Child’ on Monday. Tatianna Berry, 4, sat patiently while her teacher Carrie Huff, painted a rainbow on her cheek.