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Alton Telegraph: Thursday, June 24, 1999 - Page 1

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   Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - June 24, 1999, Alton, Illinois                                 SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836  HE Ii 'll J ILE (ii RAU*  Flavorful mix    ; Red-hot  Acoustic Intemote I Bombers brings new    i head to  combination of    I Normal  sounds to life    i today  Page B-l i Page C-l  Morning showers j Celebrate changing to partly i the season  cloudy. High 86; low 70.  Page D-14  i for outdoor I activities  Special Section  Vol. 164, No. 160 — 50 cents  Thursday, June 24,1999   www.thetelegraph.com   Charges dropped in ’78 case  By DENNIS GRUBAUGH  Telegraph staff writer  EDWARDSVILLE -Prosecutors dismissed charges Wednesday against David A. Gray of Alton, saying they no longer can prove the attempted murder case that sent him to prison for 20 years.  Gray, 46, was convicted  DNA evidence freed man after 20 years in prison  by a Madison County Circuit Court jury in 1978 and sentenced to 60 years in prison on charges of attempted murder, armed robbery and rape involving an assault on a woman in her home on Belle Street in Alton in March of that year.  He stayed in prison until last year, when Madison County Associate Judge Ann Callis ordered a new trial for him after DNA tests excluded him from evidence recovered at the crime scene.  This month, the Illinois 5th District Appellate Court in Mount Vernon affirmed the lower court decision, paving the way for a crucial decision by prosecutors The Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office announced that the charges had been dropped through a news release. State’s Attorney William Haine, who was out of town, authorized the dismissal. Assistant State’s Attorney Don Weber, the original trial counsel, issued the  release, which reads:  “The decision to not retry David Gray was based on the factors enumerated in the people’s (dismissal) motion, which include: the victim, Anna Brewer, being deceased and; the neighbor. Lyman Wallendorf, being deceased.”  Both individuals testified at Gray’s two trials, the first of which ended in a hung jury. Brewer identified Gray as the man who had stabbed and raped her, while Wallendorf identified him as the man who had come to the house on an  ■ See CHARGES. Page A-13  The Telegraph/JOHN BADMAN  Rescue workers rush Natalie Slack, 38, to a waiting ambulance Wednesday after she was stabbed in the head by another woman in the HOO block of East 7th Street in Alton. Below, Alton police officer Sue Williams moves her hand in a stabbing motion as she questions a witness for details after the attack.  Alton woman stabbed in head  By ANGELA MUELLER  Telegraph staff writer  ALTON — An Alton woman was stabbed in the head Wednesday morning at a house in the HOO block of East Seventh Street, police reported.  Police responded to a report of a disturbance at the house about 9:30 a.m. The victim, a 38-year-old resident of the 400 block of Jefferson Avenue, suffered cuts near her eye from an apparent knife wound, paramedics with the Alton Fire Department said.  The victim was taken to Saint Anthony’s Hospital, where she was treated for bruises and cuts and released.  No one was in custody Wednesday night.  The incident occurred in the same block where Richard L. Skelton, 48, of Wood River, was killed during a mob beating in 1998.  Christmas light display receives Hometown Award  By BARBARA M. COPE  Telegraph staff writer  SPRINGFIELD - Four community projects won either first or second prizes as the 1999 Governor’s Hometown Awards were announced Wednesday night in Springfield.  Alton, Wood River, Staunton and Edwardsville all received honors for projects that improved economic development, volunteer efforts and  general commu- .........-..............—  nity services.  Alton received second-place  honors for eco- , .    .    .     r   nomic develop- citizenship of  ment for the Altnn ” annual Al Will.  Celebration of  ii Tt’s an honor  I for the entire  Christmas light display in Rock Spring Park  Sponsored by the not-for-profit Community Celebrations Inc., which donates proceeds to charities, the 1998 display featured a 1.5-mile drive through the park. More than 700 volunteers donated their time to string and remove lights, as well as to staff a gift shop, Santa’s House and a petting zoo.  Last year, Alton also won a second-place prize for its Bucket Brigade program, in which volunteers paint the houses of low-income, elderly and disabled residents.  Greg Geizinnis, chairman of Celebration of Christmas, pointed with pride to the city’s recognition for two projects in as many years.  “It says a lot about the volunteer spirit in our community,” Geizinnis said. “Both the  Bucket Brigade and Celebration of Christmas depend heavily on volunteers. We’ve seen our volunteers go from 25 to 700 just to do our event. It’s an honor for the entire citizenship of Alton.” Wood River took second place for senior involvement for towns in the 6,001 to 12,000 population range. A new museum on Ferguson Avenue, housed in a building renovated by the Wood River Heritage Council, has met the challenge of attracting volunteers to staff the museum and keep records and exhibits up to date, the awards announcement said.  “I’m proud of. the people who spent thousands of hours on  - this,”    Wood  River Mayor Lon Smith said. “Our museum is staffed by volunteers, and it is a beautiful attribute to the city. I’m just aglow.”  Staunton also was honored for volunteer activities, winning first place for youth involvement. The town was honored for a Home Town Web Page that has given the town a new marketing tool, as well as developing new respect between students and adults, the announcement said.  “It’s a big honor for us to be here, especially when you look at how many communities are here,” said Gail Scheller, a teacher in the city’s schools whose students were involved  ■ See AWARD, Page A-13  Greg Geizinnis  chairman of Celebration of Christmas  a/Illinois .A-3-14 letin Board A-12  iness .. ;sifieds  . .A-8 . .C-8 . .C-6 . .A-4 jscope ... -C-6 on/world .. .B-4  uaries A-5  Habbe, Hagen, ean, Rawlins,  vision  .B-3  Eagle One offers hope to laid-off Boeing workers  By BETHANY BEHRHORST  Telegraph staff writer  River Bend employees hit hard by the Boeing Co. layoffs might find solace closer to home in August.  Until last month, Steve Bivens of Bethalto was one of more than 2,400 people from the River Bend employed at Boeing. Bivens, who had been with Boeing since 1985, went under with the first wave of job cuts at the St. Louis aviation plant.  “It was no surprise,” he said. “It’s the trend of the industry.”  Bivens keeps an updated resume ready at all times and said he sets aside money to prepare for just such an occasion. Being laid off for a time in 1992 made him painfully aware of the need to tuck some money away and  plan for the future.  “I’ve learned all too well that there’s no such thing as a job forever,” Bivens said. “Those days are gone.  “But I’m quite confident that something will turn up. When you’ve been around the block a time or two, you realize God has a plan for all of us — he just guides us through. But you have to participate in the process.”  Last week, Fort Worth, Texas-based Eagle One Aviation Inc. LLC, an aircraft modification firm specializing in converting Boeing 727 passenger jetliners into cargo carriers, announced tentative plans to land at St. Louis Regional Airport in Bethalto and bring 350 jobs to the area in August.  When he heard the news, Bivens said  ■ See EAGLE, Page A-13  Two injured  The Telegraph/RUSS SMITH An ambulance emergency crew and paramedics of the Wood River Fire Department move an injured woman to an ambulance from the scene of a two-car accident at 1:40 p.m. Wednesday at Sixth Street and Edwardsville Road in Wood River. Two people were taken to hospitals with injuries. No further information was available.         ...............l i ii ii iv ut, lim—i.........i.........    .........................................-in......i      ...... ........ ....... ........ ..............................................T r      

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