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Alton Telegraph: Tuesday, August 24, 1999 - Page 1

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   Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - August 24, 1999, Alton, Illinois                                 TELEGRAPH  —rn "~wi i mbi (ha outlook I i.'-. C    Slice    of    success  SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836  HEAD IO HEAD  Mark McGwire  50  home runs after 126 games  o. 221 — 50 cents  home runs after 122 games  Hie outlook Partly sunny and warmer ; high near 81, low near 63  Page DU  *■  Tuesday, August 24,1999  sr   7 !!?.v ••  , *  »    J*  Regina K’s in Cottage Hills is netting they can turn pizza pies into plenty of profits  Page IM   www.thetelegraph.com   Teacher laces sex charges  Good rVr Morning  Area/Illinois.......A-3  Business.........D-1  Classifieds........D-6  Comics...........C-4  Editorial..........A-4  Horoscope........C-4  Nation/World D-5  Obituaries........A-5  Baker, Henry, Hunt, Karcher, McReaken, Offringa, Sanders  Scoreboard C-2  Stocks...........D-2  Television ........C-5  Weather..........D-6  Ti 700 Rolls in slock • Vinyl from 33< sq. ft.    .  Carpet from 33< sq. ft.    A  Mohawk Laminate Wood Flooring from  5 1  99  sq. ft.Jgk  Authorities say Edwardsville High instructor had sex with female student  By BARBARA M. COPE  Telegraph staff writer  EDWARDSVILLE Edwardsville High School will be starting the new school year without one of its most popular teachers after his arrest on charges stemming from an alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student.  Jonathan B. Becker, 32, was charged Monday with criminal sexual assault, a Class I felony punishable by four to 15 years’ imprisonment. According to a statement released by police, the felony charge was sought because the law considers Becker’s position as a teacher to be one of both supervision and trust.  Many details of the case are still being withheld because the investigation is continuing, but Sgt. Scott Evers, chiel investigator for the Edwardsville    Police  Department, said the victim did not bring the accusations forward.  “It was brought to us by outside sources,” Evers said. “We have investigated the accusation and corroborated it with her statement as well as other outside sources. (Becker) was arrested Friday night at his home and is in custody at the Madison County Jail.”  Although the victim, whose name is being withheld, did not initiate the investigation, Evers characterized her as being cooperative when she gave her statement.  The statement alleges the relationship occured over a period of seven months at various locations, including  Edwardsville School District property. Superintendent Ed Hightower said it would be “inappropriate” for him to comment on the use of school property.  Becker has been suspended with pay pending the outcome of the charges against him. Hightower said the charges are at odds with the image of the popular and effective teacher Becker was known as.  “It is always surprising and extremely disappointing whenever you hear stories such as these," Hightower said. “This is very difficult. He has been a social studies teacher in this district for IO years and has a wonderful reputation with the students, teachers and his colleagues. He has always done a marvelous job.”  Students at Edwardsville High School echoed Hightower’s words calling the charges “scary," “freaky" and “very disturbing.” One student aptly summed up the reaction of students.  “I wouldn’t expect that from him — I mean, I really liked him,” 17-year-old Alisha Aanes said of the man who taught her during her freshman year. “He made class exciting and always told us something new that we had never heard in other history classes. He always added new facts to the lessons he taught us. He was a cool teacher.”  Teachers at the school declined comment on the situ :  ation, but Hightower said they have already begun to come together to minimize the effect the situation will have on the  ■ See TEACHER, Page A-7  EA-WR sees slight enrollment increase  By ANGELA MUELLER  Telegraph staff writer  School buses across the East Alton-Wood River area were on the road again Monday as local districts welcomed pupils for the first day of the 1999-2000 school year.  The East Alton Elementary District opened the school year with a slight increase in enrollment, Superintendent Mike Gray reported. Pupils attended class for 90 minutes Monday.  The district will be adding additional first- and third-grade classes at Eastwood School, Gray said. Besides teachers for these classes, the only new teacher in the district is seventh-grade language arts/social studies teacher Sheri Stimac.  Gray said the staff was look  ing forward to utilizing new district technology installed over the summer. Five new computers and one printer were added to each regular classroom at Eastwood and Washington Elementary, and three new computers and a printer were installed in the special education classrooms. At East Alton Middle School, two new computer labs were opened.  “The teachers were trained on the computers all summer, and we’re looking forward to seeing how the computers improve instruction,” Gray said.  In the Wood River-Hartford Elementary District, the total enrollment this year equalled last year’s enrollment, though it varied in the different build-  ■ See INCREASE, Page A-7  The Telegraph/JOHN BADMAN  A pupil at Meadowbrook Elementary School plays kick ball with classmates Monday on the first day of school. A new classroom addition, background, is not yet ready for occupancy.  ‘New’ Meadowbrook greets students  Renovated building only the beginning of improvements to elementary school  By ANGELA MUELLER  Telegraph staff writer  MORO — A new school year started Monday morning in the renovated section of Meadowbrook Elementary School, while construction continued on expansions that will double the size of the school.  ♦--The 167 kindergarten to fifth-grade pupils enrolled at Meadowbrook came to school to find freshly painted classrooms, offices and hallways with new tile floors, new ceilings and new windows. A new air-conditioning and heating system was also installed over the summer.  “It looks like a new building,” said Karen Keener, principal. “I think .the kids were very excited, and the parents were pleased, too.”  Work will continue after school hours on renovations to some hallways and the cafeteria, which doubles as a gymnasium.  Sack lunches prepared at Parkside Elementary were served to the pupils Monday because hot water had not yet been restored to the cafeteria. Cold cereal and toast, also made at Parkside, were  served for breakfast. Keener said the hot water was working by the end of the day Monday, so meals will be able to be prepared in the Meadowbrook cafeteria today.  While pupils attended their first day of classes, crews from Morrissey Construction Co. continued work on the eight aew classrooms and media center being added to the northern end of Meadowbrook. The addition is expected to be completed by the end of September, Keener said.  When the expansion is completed, Keener plans to move the third-, fourth- and fifth-grade classes into the new classrooms as well as the two second-grade classes and a Title I reading class.  “That will fill six of the classrooms right up and leave us two to work with,” Keener said.  Construction is also under way on a high school-sized gymnasium being added to the east side of the building. The anticipated completion date for the gymnasium is the end of October.  While waiting for the construction to be completed, the  By BARBARA M. COPE  Telegraph staff writer  EDWARDSVILLE - Urban sprawl and a merger between two railroads is proving to be an economic boom for the Metro East, leading to a huge development under construction near the Gateway Commerce Center.  The Norfolk & Southern Railroad is building an “inter-modal” rail yard just north of the business park between Illinois Routes 111 and 255 to handle its Triple Crown operation. The location, partly in Edwardsville and partly in unincorporated Madison County, was chosen for its easy access to St. Louis and points beyond.  “It was envisioned by them to be a good location because of the growth in that area, like the Gateway Commerce Center and the potential for similar developments,” Mayor  The Telegraph/JOHN BADMAN A bricklayer from Jim Pagan Masonry in Marine builds the walls of a new gymnasium higher Monday.  staff at Meadowbrook had to improvise to find enough classroom space.  One class was moved into the music room, and the music teacher will temporarily travel from room to room. The teacher’s lounge was transformed into a third-grade classroom and Keener’s conference room is now the teacher’s lounge. Two special education classes will double up in one classroom until the  expansion is ready.  Formerly, three modular units provided extra classroom space, but the modulars were sold to make room for the expansion “So far things are working out really well,” Keener said of the improvisations. “All of these things seem kind of minor put into perspective. This was such an enormous project. I’m very pleased at  ■ See SCHOOL, Page A-7  Workers from L.W. Contractors Inc. of Collinsville prepare the grade for the bridge work for the intermodal transfer facility along Illinois Route 111 and Interstate 255.  Gary Niebur said of the tent with areas with ware-incoming enterprise. “With house-type facilities.” that growth, it will be a cen- Intermodal facilities are trally located spot for them.  That type of facility is consis-    n    See TRAIN, Page A-7  TRUCKLOAD. CARPET J SALE! juBk  DISCOUNT ’  CARPET, INC. 3475 HUMBERT OD  465-2622   

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