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Alton Telegraph: Saturday, May 29, 1999 - Page 1

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   Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - May 29, 1999, Alton, Illinois                                 SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836  THE TE LECH AP  Bella Donna  East Alton native k  women for success  Page IM  Vol. 164, No. 134 — 50 cents  Bol  Motorola 300 runs today at Gateway  Page OI  The outlook j lech 2000 Sunny to partly Prepare  tows ’ = yo^lf for i the new  _ „ I millennium  Page C-12 :  Special Section  Saturday, May 29,1999   www.thetelegraph.com   Man gets 14 years for sex abuse  Girl was fourth person to die at Piasa Creek site  By ANGELA MUELLER  Telegraph staff writer  GODFREY - The portion of Piasa Creek that meanders along the Madison-Jersey county line appears harmless. The surface of the water is murky but still and smooth.  Yet this apparently placid stretch of water has claimed four lives in the past 15 years.  Eight-year old Andrea Sweeney took one step from the safety of a sandbar into a 15-foot-deep pool and drowned May 16 while swimming with a baby sitter and seven other children at the portion of the creek near the West Delmar overpass, north of Godfrey.  On April 30, 1984, two adults and one child drowned when their 14-foot boat carrying eight people hit a submerged tree stump and capsized less than a mile downstream from the area ut the creek where Andrea drowned  None of the victims in either case was wearing a life jacket.  “In both of these cases, we have a number of children without access to life jackets,  ■ See DANGER, Page A-11  ,    ,    .    _    _    ,    The    Telegraph/JOHN    B    ADM    Al  Ralph Baahlmann Jr., chief investigator for the Madison County Coroner's Office, stands on th Illinois Route 3 bridge over Piasa Creek overlooking the site where Andrea Sweeney £ drowned May 16. Flowers and crosses have been placed on the bridge in her memory.  By DENNIS GRUBAUGH  Telegraph staff writer  EDWARDSVILLE - A man who sexually abused his two stepdaughters told them he wished he could change the past before a judge in Madison County Circuit Court sentenced him Friday to 14 years in prison.  James Ramsey, 26, formerly of Wood River, received one year less than the 15-year cap agreed to by the Madison County State’s Attorney's Office in return for his plea It was also three years more than the 11-year sentence his wife, Lori A Ramsey, received Tuesday on related charges.  Circuit Judge Charles V. Romani Jr. sentenced James Ramsey to the maximum seven years on one count of criminal sexual abuse and 14 years on a single count of criminal sexual assault, with the terms to run concurrently.  Three other sex-related counts were dismissed when he entered a plea in March.  “You deprived both of these young girls of a normal childhood, something they’ll never be able to recapture,” Romani said “What you did is unconscionable.”  The abuse of the teen-age girls took place from September 1995 to December 1996, while they were living in Wood River, and was uncovered only after one of them  uATou deprived X both of these young girls of a normal childhood, something they’ll never be able to recapture.”  Circuit Judge Charles V. Romani Jr.  remarks to defendant  reported it to a friend, whose tip eventually led to an investigation by the Wood River Police Department.  What authorities learned was that James Ramsey had been having sexual relations with the girls, and his wife did nothing to stop it. She claimed on the witness stand that she was unaware of the occurrences, but the girls testified that she had actually witnessed some of it and threatened them with physical harm if they told anyone.  The girls testified that Lori Ramsey, 36, was an abusive mother who would scream at them, beat them and encouraged them to lie when the police first questioned them during the investigation. A social worker testified Tuesday that they lived in fear  ■ See ABUSE, Page A-11  Couple awarded $8.64 million  By DENNIS GRUBAUGH  Telegraph staff writer  EDWARDSVILLE — A Glen Carbon woman and her husband have been awarded $8.64 million for near-fatal injuries she suffered when a camper trailer broke away from a passing truck and slammed into her car.  Jurors in Madison County Circuit Court deliberated seven hours before returning  ■ See COUPLE, Page A-11  rn  Good Mornil     Area/Illinois .A-3,10    Bridgewater, Cauley,      Bulletin Board    .A-8    Cooper, Cornett,      Business.....    .B-1    Hefley, Hildebrand,      Classifieds ...    .C-9    Slavik, Stephenson,      Comics......    .A-6    Stewart, Walker      Editorial .....    .A-4    Religion.....C-7,8      Horoscope ...    .A-6    Scoreboard____C-2      Nation/world ..    .A-9    Stocks........B-2      Obituaries ....    .A-5    Television.....A-7     River Road towns seek grants  By SUE HURLEY  For The Telegraph  SPRINGFIELD    -  Communities along the 50-mile Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway, also known as the Great River Road, have put in their bids for improvement grants. Civie leaders are keeping their lingers crossed that their projects will be financed in full.  About $1 million is up for grabs in areas along Illinois’ two scenic byways. The second is the Ohio River Scenic Route, which follows the Ohio River in Southern Illinois, conusee GRANTS, Page A-11  Scenic Byway grant proposals  Six grant proposals for the Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway in order of priority as they will be sent to the Illinois Department of Transportation:  ■ Godfrey: $158,400 for restroom facitilities at  Clifton Terrace Park  ■ Jersey County: $210,000 for emergency and  agricultural pull-off areas  ■ Greater Alton/Twin Rivers CVB: $200,000  for a marketing plan  ■ Grafton: $349,200 for a riverfront master plan,  streetscape and lighthouses  ■ Alton: $500,000 for Market Street entrance improvements  ■ Kampsville: $150,000 for riverfront restrooms  Telegraph graphic/CRAIG WHITWORTI  Senior Living Apartments and Garden Patio Homes  Tours Available ■ Display Models On-Site 466-8662  4503 North Alby Road ■ Godfrey  A real morale booster  For The Telegraph/MELINDA KIDWELL Donna Kasten laughs as her partner, Sheryl Wyman, is fed some banana split by Delores Kaiser during a morale boosting activity for employees Friday at Beverly Farm in Godfrey.  cr -    —   

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