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Alton Telegraph: Friday, October 15, 1999 - Page 1

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   Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - October 15, 1999, Alton, Illinois                                 SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836  Prep football Jersey tackles CM in a battle of 7-0 teams  Tasta ot frontier Cabin restoration in Bethalto  Page Cl  The outlook Partly cloudy and warm; high 77, low 55  Page D8  I Tommies Mini-Mall blooms in Wood River  Page DI   www.thetelegraph.com   Friday, October 15, 1999  Vol. 164, No. 273 - 50 cents  Thousands cheer Graham  Evangelist brings crusade to Trans World Dome  The Telegraph/MARGIE M. BARNES  Evangelist Billy Graham addresses the 40,000 people who attended the opening night Thursday of his crusade at the Trans World Dome in St. Louis.  By ANDE YAKSTIS  Telegraph staff writer  ST. LOUIS — Thousands of voices filled the air with the stirring hymn “Amazing Grace” from the crowd that poured into the Trans World Dome Thursday night to hear evangelist Billy Graham preach the gospel message of Jesus Christ.  The mass of people broke into spontaneous Christian songs as they flocked into the dome in Downtown St Ixniis to hear one of the world’s greatest evangelists proclaim the message of Christian faith.  The spiritual excitement of Graham’s appearance was everywhere among thousands of people who filled the dome for the historic 1999 Billy Graham Evangelistic Crusade in St. Louis.  “It’s an exciting, great moment in my Christian life to hear evangelist Billy Graham preach the good news of Jesus Christ,” said Patsy Dossey of Wood River, a member of the Bethalto Church of God.  The spirit of God was in the smiles and friendly voices of people who came to the do ne to hear the 5,OOO-member ch >ir sing “How Great Tho i Art” and listen to Graham proclaim the gospel message.  The autumn sunset glowed  sr i Th 15-  dilly Graham  Kl S  VDE  'jrirtw 14-n nm- TWA otm  5:30 Doors open to the crusade at the TWA Dome 7:00 Crusade service begins  ■ Charlie Daniels Band  ■ St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner  ■ Baseball Hall-of-Famer Lou Brock  ■ 5,000-voice Greater St. Louis Billy Graham Crusade Mass Choir  Crusade music director Cliff Barrows Crusade soloist George Beverly Shea  8:00 The Rev Billy Graham 9:00 Crusade concludes  KSIV AM 1320 and KSIV FM 91.5 will be broadcastingJive during the Billy Graham Crusade.  on the steel Gateway Arch as thousands of people lined up for five blocks along Downtown St. Louis streets to wait for the doors of the dome to open  “You can feel the spirit of God when you walk into the dome,” said Joan Willman, who drove to the Crusade from the Friendship Baptist Church of Hardin in Calhoun County. “You can see the spirit in the faces of the people who are coming to hear Billy Graham.”  People drove in cars, vans and hundreds of buses from Missouri, Illinois, Indiana,  Kentucky, across the country and from as far away as India to hear Graham.  Hundreds of people came from Alton, Bethalto, Wood River, East Alton, Bunker Hill and across the River Bend for the historic crusade.  “We brought two bus loads of folks to the Crusade,” said the Rev. Charles West, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Bethalto and a volunteer leader at the crusade.  Glenda and Forrest Hall drove from Alton to the dome to be spiritual counselors at the crusade.  ■ See GRAHAM, Page AU  Graham’s message: God loves you  The crowd listens intently to Billy Graham’s remarks.  By KERRY SMITH  Telegraph staff writer  ST. LOUIS - For 40,000 people gathered Thursday night in the Trans World Dome, the two-year wait was worth it.  The Rev. Billy Graham brought his ministry back to St. Louis for the Greater St. Louis Billy Graham Crusade, his last crusade of the century.  Graham’s message was simple yet earnest: God loves you no matter what, and if you repent of your sins, he guarantees to bring you peace and joy that you’ve never known.  ’Speaking of his friendship with John F. Kennedy Jr. and his wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, who were killed in a plane crash during the summer, Graham said physical death is inevitable but spiritu  al death is spared through “making things right” with Jesus Christ.  “I cannot even prove to you the existence of God,” Graham said. “And no scientist can. But by faith, we know that there is something beyond ourselves.  “People used to look to science to save them. Now we’re afraid that science will destroy  us.”  Graham shared the concept that God will judge but that he wants to love and forgive for eternity.  “When we abuse the environment, we pay a price,” Graham said. “When we sin, we break God’s moral and spiritual law, and we pay a price. But if we accept Jesus Christ, he has already paid  ■ See MESSAGE, Page ATT  New child support system draws fire from parents  BY DEBORAH L. BATES  Telegraph staff writer  EDWARDSVILLE — A new system for child support payments has left some recipients without money to pay bills or to buy necessities for their children.  Gayla Jackson, 35, of Collinsville, said she has been receiving child support checks for 13 years without problems, until now. The last  check she received was in the middle of September, and this has caused her to be late in paying bills.  “My landlord even threatened to evict me,” she said. “Nobody can tell us anything. It’s affecting my bills. My landlord is wanting me to move out with two kids, and Christmas is close. And when it was going to Edwardsville, I never had a problem in 13 years.”  The federal la\y went into effect Oct. I. It  mandates that each state have a single disbursement center through which child support payments are sent and then distributed to recipients.  Jackson said she has been trying since Oct. 4 to contact the State Disbursement Unit, the Illinois center that now is processing child support payments. She said she kept receiving a busy signal and then called the operator to check the center’s phone line.  “They’ve had their phone off the hook,” Jackson said. “They’re trying to tell me they were having trouble, and I called the operator, and the phone was off the hook."  She said she contacted the Madison County Circuit Clerk’s Office and they said they were going to report the agency.  “What really makes me mad is them taking  ■ See SYSTEM, Page ATT  Area/Illinois.......A3-10  Bulletin Board........A9  Classifieds..........C5  Comics.............C2  Editorial.............A4  Horoscope..........C2  Nation&world.......A12  Obituaries...........A5  Allen, Colborn, Crader, Johnson, Jones, Long, Proctor, Scott, Slaten Television  ........C4  Vietnam War hero’s body coming home after 28 years  _________ ______________________________ -    -....... MA    Ai/niifA    f a ** I K/t m i I if till L.  Clyde Wilkinson Shot down over Laos in ’71  By BARBARA M. COPE  Telegraph staff writer  EDWARDSVILLE - A local family has won a 28-year battle to bring home the remains of a U.S. Army pilot shot down over Laos and killed during the Vietnam War.  The body of Capt. Clyde David Wilkinson was identified positively through DNA testing this year.  Although the truth about Wilkinson’s fate brings some closure for his widow, Lee Ann Warner, she and close family friend Jackie Stephenson said 28 years was too long to have  «TT e was a  hero. He was one of ll America’s finest.”  Jackie Stephenson  close family friend  to live with the uncertainty.  “Some mornings, I would wake up and think he was going fo come knocking on the door,” Warner said. “When they told me, I didn’t believe it at first, but I wasn’t surprised. I am angry it took them 28 years to get the job done.”  Stephenson helped Warner and her daughters, Tiffany and Tracey Wilkinson, as they waded through the government channels to bring Wilkinson’s remains home. Stephenson, who survived three tours of duty as a Green Beret in Vietnam, said there is  no excuse for the military’s apparent lack of effort to find Wilkinson’s remains.  “He was a hero. He was one of America’s finest,” Stephenson said. “The Army knew exactly where his plane went down, but his plane went down behind lines the government didn’t admit to. They had photos of it, but it took them 28 years to go in and bring him home. That’s (unacceptable.)”  .Wilkinson was 25 years old when his AG-IG Cobra aircraft was shot down by enemy fire Feb. 12, 1971, over Laos. He  ■ See HERO, Page Ail   

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