Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - July 9, 1999, Alton, Illinois SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836 Wood River Rate hike OKS tram collection pact I ® Page GI * Bombers win Bluff Qty beats Decatur 5-1 Page B-l Hi The outlook Partly cloudy, hot and humid ; High 91, low 69 Page DB Buffet bash Chinese restaurant celebrates anniversary Page DI ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■I Vol. 164, No. 175 — 50 cents Friday, July 9,1999 www.thetelegraph.com Monitor urged for Bey Farm Lawmaker calls for state to put home in receivership By LINDA N. WELLER Telegraph staff writer GODFREY — A state representative Thursday called for Beverly Farm Foundation to be placed in receivership, citing a recently released state report that lists 16 alleged violations of federal regulations. Just one day before a strike is scheduled to begin by employees at the home for developmentally disabled adults, 6301 Humbert Road, state Rep. Louis Lang, D-Skokie, held a news conference recommending that the state place a monitor at the home to oversee its operations. The monitor’s duties would include visiting the home five days per week, reviewing ail Strike set for tonight Page A-3 records of why patients were placed at the home and providing weekly written reports and daily telephone reports about the home’s conditions, Lang said. The state would pay the salary of the monitor, he said. “This is not because of the impending strike at the end of the week,” Lang said, standing under a grove of trees across from the home. “This is a real serious indictment of what goes on across the street at Beverly Farm. The abuse and neglect is not just there, though, it is across the state. Many facilities such as the one across the street do not toe the mark.” Lang, chairman of the Illinois House Mental Health and Patient Abuse Committee, said he had read the report last week listing results of an Illinois Department of Public Health investigation. His visit one day before workers plan to strike “is a coincidence.” “I’m not here to protect the union,” he said, noting that he invited several members and staff of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 to his news conference. AFSCME issued an intent-to-strike notice June 29; the walkout is set for IO tonight. “When you have 85 pages of alleged abuse, all ■ See FARM. Page A-9 The Teleqraph/JOHN BADMAN State Rep. Louis Lang from Skokie, chairman of the Mental Health and Patient Abuse Committee, talks to the press Thursday in Godfrey about allegations against Beverly Farm Foundation. Officials seek center for sex abuse victims By DENNIS GRUBAUGH Telegraph staff writer EDWARDSVILLE — A state agency is working to restore services for sexual assault victims in Madison County, but the process will take time, its director said Thursday. Polly Poskin of the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault in Springfield said a meeting will be held Thursday to devise proposals to establish a new victims’ center serving the area, after last month’s closure of a center in Collinsville. “There will be services in Madison County,” Poskin said, “but it may be one-and-a-half to two months.” Her comments would seem to reassure local officials who called a news conference earlier Thursday to announce a coordinated push to return a victims’ center to the county as soon as possible. Last month, the coalition declined to renew grant funding to Sexual Assault Victims First in Collinsville after problems involving the agency’s grant application. The agency closed June 30, ending free services to victims that had existed through various agencies in Madison County for more than 20 years. Attending Thursday’s new^ conference were state Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Collinsville; Madison County State’s Attorney William Haine and members of his staff; and representatives of local domestic and sexual abuse agencies. Haine said justice in sex abuse cases involves not only prosecution but tending to the victim. The latter requires immediate counsel-* ing, close to home, he said. “This is something (the coalition) must do to fulfill their mission with us.” Assistant State’s Attorney Kyle Napp, who handles many sex cases for the office, said prosecution is improved by the communication lines that are opened by locally based counseling. Local authorities now are referring victims to Call for Help Inc. in Belleville, the closest agency. However, everyone agreed that a cen- ■ See CENTER, Page A-9 «rphere will be I services in Madison County.” Polly Poskin of the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault Chemetco sued over ‘secret’ By DENNIS GRUBAUGH Telegraph staff writer EDWARDSVILLE - As many as 600 landowners along an allegedly contaminated tributary of the Mississippi River could be parties to a suit filed against Chemetco Inc. of Hartford. Company officers facing federal conspiracy charges were named as defendants in the lawsuit filed this week in Madison County Circuit Court. The lawsuit accuses the company and seven of its officials of installing a “secret” discharge pipe leading from the plant to a nearby ditch that drained into neighboring Long Lake and its adjacent wetland. The pipe allegedly was in place from September 1986 to September 1996. Chemetco operates a foundry on the east side of Illinois Route 3, south of the Cahokia Canal, for the purpose of smelting copper-bearing scrap and other materials. The pipe was used to discharge large amounts of excess wastewater that had collected within the plant and was contaminated with substantial amounts of zinc, lead, cadmium and other pollutants, the lawsuit says. Attorney Stephen M. Tillery of Belleville is representing the lone plaintiff, property pipeline owner Elroy Paschedag Jr. of Granite City. If the lawsuit is certified as a class action, which should take about six months, Paschedag could be joined by between 400 and 600 other owners of property contiguous to Long Lake, Tillery said. The lake basically is a branch of the Mississippi River that meanders for miles ■ See CHEMETCO, Page A-9 Fire leaves family homeless Area/Illinois .A-3-10 Bulletin Board .A-6 Business D-1 Classifieds ... .C-5 Comics.......D“ 5 Editorial ......A-4 Horoscope D-5 Nation/world .C-3,5 Obituaries.....A-5 Bush, Hill, Klemme, Koenig, Lichtenberg, Schlemer, Schulte, Suhllng, Winterberger Scoreboard B-2 Stocks........D-2 Television.....D-7 By CORY A. PITT For The Telegraph ALTON — An early-morning fire Thursday left an Alton family of five homeless. V The fire destroyed the home of Thomas and Deb Whitehead, 2315 Brandt Ave., about 3:30 a.m. A neighbor called the Alton Fire Department after the family escaped from the house and screamed for help. j No one was injured. The cause of the ' blaze is unknown but is termed suspicious. The Alton Police Department is investigating. The Whiteheads have an 8-year-old daughter, Lavada, and twcrsons, Tom, IO, and Aaron, 20 months. The family had no insurance on the house and is left with little. “We have no home, no clothes, everything is gone,” said Deb Whitehead, who is six months pregnant. “You see it on TV and read about it in the newspapers, but I never thought in a million years my house would burn down.” The fire began in a rear bedroom in the southeast corner of the house, according to ■ See FIRE, Page A-9 Deb Whitehead examines the extensive damage to the rear of her house, in the 2300 block of Brandt Avenue in Alton. She escaped with her family early Thursday as fire ripped through the house. Intense heat in one room melted family photos off the wall, charring it black, but spared a picture of Christ on the cross.