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Alton Telegraph: Thursday, October 7, 1999 - Page 1

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   Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - October 7, 1999, Alton, Illinois                                 SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836  Accused takes the stand in murder case  By DENNIS GRUBAUGH  Telegraph staff writer  EDWARDSVILLE - A man killed at an Alton house party last winter was a rival gang member who had been threatening violence to the teen-ager now charged with his murder, the defendant i d ............—  leave the party. The other men were members of the Gangster Disciples gang, Gomez said.  Until Wednesday, Berry had not been publicly identified as a gang member. Police have always downplayed or denied that he had gang ties.  Gomez testified he had gone  UTT    outside the  VV IMI b Up,    residence a  of  times, hoping the friend who  rphey said,  s a  Wednesday.  Michael F. Gomez,  18, of Alton,  took the folks?’ I told them, couple  stand in his    *     Q   own defense ‘What’s up, cuz? ”  in Madison  County    Michael    Gomez    had brought  Circuit    .    ,    .    . him, Clark  Court. He is    defendant    p er ry, would  accused of __ follow him  the first-    out, so they  degree murder of Alden E. Berry, 23, a former Alton resident who was killed during a party in the 1000 block of Elliott Street on Feb. 21.  Gomez, a self-proclaimed member of the Crips gang since age ll, said Berry and another man, Rodney Gipson, threatened him with harm as he was trying to     Area & Illinois........A3, 6-10      Bulletin Board.............          Business.....................    ,.04      Classifieds..................    OB      Comics........................          Editorial......................    A4      Horoscope..................          Lottery........................          Nation & World............    .A14      Obituaries...................    ...A5      Crabtree, Crook, French,      Havlichek, Killam, Marshall,      North way, Richardson,          Smith, Turman, Weds          Scoreboard................    ...B?      Stocks........................    05-7      Television...................    .A1?      Weather......................    ..014      Weekend....................    01     could leave. When Perry failed to come out, Gome2 went back inside, and Berry and Gipson challenged him, spouting gang terminology.  “They said, ‘What’s up, folks?’ I told them, ‘What’s  Up, CUZ?’”  The words “folks” and ■ See MURDER, Page A13  Harbor getting a new life  By THOMAS WRAUSMANN  Telegraph staff writer  ELSAH — The owner of Piasa Harbor is working to revitalize the facility to create another major tourism asset on the Mississippi River.  The harbor is located east of Elsah on the Great River Road at Lockhaven Road and Piasa Creek’s confluence with the Mississippi River.  John Kjar, former owner of a bait shop and hunting equipment store in Hardin, said he completed the purchase of the facility in November 1997. Since then, Kjar and his employees  I See HARBOR, Page A13  _ JIE HIEL E I- it Ami  Special  Section  Champs Tigers claim regional golf i Saluting title    i    area  Page bi j heroes  Section D  T-ieroefc in Our  JL J* L.    J    %  The outlook Sunny skies and mild. High near 77: low near 58  Page C14  Sentimental! laughter ‘Octette Bridge Club’ starts Friday  Page Cl  Vol. 164, No. 264 - 50 cents  Thursday, October 7, 1999   www.thetelegraph.com   Vehicle collision  injures area man  By KERRY SMITH  Telegraph staff writer  WOOD RIVER — A three-vehicle collision late Wednesday afternoon on Illinois Route 111 near Illinois Route 143 required one driver to be extricated from his vehicle and transported to a nearby hospital with a serious head injury.  Sgt. R. Goodman of the Wood River Police Department said the crash occurred about 4:45 p.m. Wednesday. Details of how the collision occurred weren’t available from police.  Authorities said Dennis Johnson, 44, of Bethalto was driving his sport utility vehicle northbound on Route 111 when it collided headon with a pickup truck driven by Herb Mosby, 30, of Wood River.  Mosby and his infant son, Sammy, were not injured, but the front and sides of their vehicle suffered extensive damage.  “I couldn’t open my door, so I climbed out the window and then walked around to get my son out,” Mosby said  Acting Capt. Jeff Norton of the Wood River Fire Department said Johnson suffered a serious head injury from hitting the windshield. Johnson was taken by Medco Ambulance Service to Wood River Township Hospital, where he was being treated in the emergency room Wednesday night.  “Witnesses said Mr. Johnson was not conscious immediately after the collision,” Norton said “But he had regained consciousness when we arrived on the scene.”  A third motorist, Charles Jett, 42, of Greenfield, collided with the bumper of Mosby’s truck as it stopped abruptly upon allegedly being struck by Johnson’s vehicle.  “All I know is, all of a sudden I saw the back of the truck’s bumper making contact with my car,” Jett said.  Dennis Johnson, 44, of Bethalto, the driver of the sport utility vehicle in the foreground, was injured seriously in a three-vehicle collision accident Wednesday on Illinois Route 111 near Wesley Avenue in Wood River. The collision remained under investigation.  Warehouse declared a total loss  A man walks past the scorched, crumbled remains of the Frontier’s Home Furnishings Co. warehouse Wednesday on Fourth and Market streets. The former Sears-Roebuck Co. warehouse was declared a total loss by officials from the Alton Fire Department following the devastating fire that lasted several hours late Friday night and early Saturday morning. Six Godfrey Fire Department firefighters assisted more than 20 Alton firefighters in battling the flames and preventing the fire from spreading to adjacent buildings. One nearby shop did suffer from water damage. Power was cut in the Downtown area for about an hour during the fire. Cause of the fire has not been determined. Only a few scattered pieces of furniture escaped the intense flames inside the building.  The Telegraph/JOHN BADMAN  Godfrey bellies up to longer bar hours  Ordinance OK’d by 4-2 margin  By BETHANY BEHRHORST  Telegraph staff writer  GODFREY - The passing of an ordinance will allow Godfrey businesses to increase the lawful hours of alcohol sales to meet recent changes in sale hours made by the city of Alton.  An amended liquor control ordinance for the village of Godfrey will allow merchants with appropriate permits to sell alcohol until 3 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.  This will extend sale hours by one hour on busy Friday and Saturday nights to com-ete with the hours permitted  by Alton businesses.  The ordinance was approved by a 4-2 vote Tuesday night, with trustees Gary Ayers and Eldon Williams voting against the proposal.  “I’ve given this a lot of consideration, and I feel I cannot vote for this because of safety issues,” Ayers said.  Williams expressed similar concerns at the meeting. He said he was concerned the increased hours of sale might cause patrons to linger in parking lots outside liquor-  serving establishments for longer periods in the evenings, which would pose public safety concerns for residents.  Some of the trustees said they were concerned about safety issues after hours on roadways.  The after-hours concern was addressed through the Amendment. The ordinance mandates that individuals at facilities serving alcohol may stay a half-hour each night after the permissible sale of alcohol ends but must leave  the premises of the facilities after that half-hour expires.  “If you’re in business, you have to be able to compete with other businesses,” said Tony Vambaketes, owner of The Ranch House, 3330 Godfrey Road in Godfrey. “Our restaurant is open all night long, so hopefully, this will help the restaurant side.”  Vambaketes has owned The Ranch House since 1984.  With the passing of the amendment, no alcohol will be served in the village of Godfrey between 2 and 6 a.m. Monday through Friday; 3 and 6 a.m. Saturday; and 3 a m. and noon Sunday.   

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