Tuesday, June 29, 1999

Alton Telegraph

Location: Alton, Illinois

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Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - June 29, 1999, Alton, Illinois SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836 THE TELEGRAM * Born of necessity PiasaNet promises ‘real’ people to help Page B-l WA I* vV z; C\ legion baseball Edwardsville puts on a hit parade in Roxana Page C-l The outlook your finances Partly to j Financial mostly sunny; j planning guide high near 79, :    • low near 64    ; 3 Wise Way IO page D-io j invest your time Special Section Tuesday, June 29,1999 www.thetelegraph.com Vol. 164, No. 165 —50 cents NAACP fighting for judges’ jobs By DENNIS GRUBAUGH Telegraph staff writer EDWARDSVILLE - The potential loss of the only black judge in the 3rd Judicial Circuit has magnified the interest in two upcoming bench vacancies. James Gray, president of the Alton Branch of the NAACP, has called a news conference for Wednesday to lend his organization’s support to Associate Judges Ellar Duff and Michael Meehan. The terms of both expire at day’s end Wednesday, following a recent vote of nine circuit judges not to retain them. Duff, the only black judge, and Meehan both have said they will reapply for their jobs, but this time they are likely to be up against some stiff competition. Sources have said that other can didates are likely to include Thomas Chapman and Clarence Harrison, both of Granite City. Chapman is the son of Illinois 5th District Appellate Court Judge Charles Chapman; Harrison is the son of Illinois Supreme Court Justice Moses Harrison. Neither could be reached for comment Monday. Applications now are being taken to fill the vacancies, and if Duff is not re-elected, judicial progress experienced by Madison County’s black community during the last 25 years ■ See JOBS. Page A-9 CARPET, INC. 3475 HUMBERT RD ALTON 465-2622 Apple crops will keep plenty of doctors away Rain may cause best yields in history Bood : Morning Area/Illinois .....A-3,6 Bulletin Board A-7 Classifieds........C-7 Comics...........C-6 Editorial..........A-4 Nation/World......A-8 Obituaries........A-5 Graves, Hembrow, Hunt, Oelzen, Price, Robertson, Sammis, Smith Scoreboard.......C-2 Stocks..........B-2-3 Television ........C-7 By ANDE YAKSTIS Telegraph staff writer GRAFTON — An abundance of summer rain is boosting the growing apple and peach crops in The Telegraph area to some of the best yields in history. “We’ll see one of the biggest apple crops ever this fail,” said Gary Laird, manager of Eckert’s Pick-Your-Own Orchard, northwest of Grafton. Two inches of weekend rain flooded streets and soaked gardens, farm fields and orchards across The Telegraph area. Approximately IO inches of rain during the spring and summer has saturated the soil under. 20,000 trees loaded with apples at Eckert’s orchard. “There will be plenty of Red and Golden Delicious, Jonathans, Fuji and Granny Smith varieties of apples to pick,” Laird said. Laird estimated that the trees may yield nearly 20,000 bushels of apples this fall in the pick-your-own orchards along Otterville Road, about two miles west of Illinois Route 3 at Grafton. “It’ll be one of the best ■ See CROPS, Page A-9 Alton Belle Casino deckhands Scott Ventimiglia, left, and Charles Towell were hard at work cleaning the top of the riverboat Monday morning as senior Capt. John Mosele watches. The casino was docked at its landing on the Alton riverfront Monday (right), where it will stay now that a change in state gaming laws no longer requires the boat to cruise. The Telegraph/JOHN BADMAN Safety still not Classic crash me i eiegrapn/juMN bauiviain The two occupants of a pristine condition 1965 Ford Mustang were uninjured Monday after the driver apparently left the roadway, knocked down two signposts and crashed into a utility pole on East Broadway at Sering Avenue in Alton, only narrowly missing a nearby fire hydrant. • 700 Rolls in stock • Vinyl from 33 < sq. It. • Carpet from 331 sq. ft. Pergo/Mohawk Laminate Wood Flooring from * 1 99 «g. ft. Docked Belle hits gambler jackpot By LINDA N. WELLER Telegraph staff writer ALTON — During the Alton Belle Casino’s first weekend of dockside gambling, gamblers boarded the boat in droves. The rush put big smiles on the faces of officials from both Argosy Gaming Co. and Alton City Hall. “We had really strong crowds Saturday and Sunday,” said Brenda Bauer, general manager of the casino. “At one point Saturday night, there was 90 percent occupancy. That’s unusual." Official head counts for the weekend will not be available until today. “It was very strong, one of our biggest weekends,” Bauer said. “It might be that people are happy that they don’t have to plan their whole day around parking, standing in line and getting in.” Bauer said although the boat was nearly full Saturday night, there were no lines waiting to board. Normally, June is one of the slower ■ See BELLE, Page A-9 a game on boat By CORY A. PITT For The Telegraph ALTON — As captains and crew of the Alton Belle Casino begin their first full week of unlimited boarding operations, safety procedures on the boat are business as usual. Legislation signed Friday by Gov. George Ryan allowing Illinois riverboat casinos to remain permanently docked has not changed the company’s dedication to safety for passengers and crew, according to John Mosele, Alton Belle senior captain. “The company really pushes safety,” said Mosele, who brought the former Alton Belle riverboat to the area in 1991, before the current boat began operations in 1993. “That’s why we’re here, for the safety of people on board,” he said. “We’ll carry on exactly the same as we would going down the river.” Docked riverboat casinos allowing customers to enter and leave the facility freely still face possible emergency situations. Mosele referred to a 1998 incident in which 2,300 passengers on the President Casino on the Admiral at St. Louis were evacuated after a barge broke loose from a towboat on the Mississippi River and collided with the permanently moored riverboat. “Those people (on the Admiral) were lucky,” he said. “They had no life jackets, no engines and no power. R See SAFETY. 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