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Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - November 18, 1999, Alton, Illinois SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836 The outlook ; Skating awn Mostly sunny j Geoff and warm; I Courtnall High 70, low 51 I to retire Magical Illumination v Celebration of lW Lights in Alton part of holiday festivities Page Cl Victorian i Christmas I memories * on display Page DI www.thetelegraph.com Thursday, November 18, 1999 Vol. 164, No. 307 - 50 cents Greer and Stevenson, who was visiting the home. Gregory Greer said he didn’t know what started the fight, but he asked the men to stop. Stevenson told him to butt out. -I said, ‘Why don’t you stop arguing,’ and we pushed each ■ See TEEN, Page A9 By DENNIS GRUBAUGH Telegraph staff writer EDWARDSVILLE - An Alton teen-ager testified Tuesday he was in fear for his life when he fired three shots into a Godfrey man to stop a butcher knife attack during a confrontation involving drugs. Gregory Greer, 17, took the However, Willman asked him to throw her cat outside after the animal came in with the men, and Gregory said he complied. When he came back in a moment later, a quarrel had developed between Jerry cie in a Hardee’s restaurant drive-up when Jerry Greer was paged to come to the home, Gregory Greer testified. When they got there, Jerry Greer and Willman talked out of earshot while Gregory said he waited by the kitchen door. Stevenson, 29. The shooting occurred in the 300 block of Main Street, the home of Christina Willman, a crack cocaine customer of the Greers, Gregory Greer testified. The Greers were in a vehi- stand in his own defense Tuesday during his first-degree murder trial in Madison County Circuit Court. Greer and his cousin, Jerry Greer, 22, also of Alton, face similar charges in the Jan. 2 slaying of Courtney J. Crews making way for apartments for senior citizens By LINDA N. WELLER Telegraph staff writer ALTON — A track hoe with a grapple bucket Tuesday began chewing away at the west end of Humboldt school’s gymnasium — the first exterior sign of a major transformation for the old school. Three crew members from Spirtas Wrecking Co. Inc. of St. Louis began the job of tearing down the 40-year-old brick gym. Asbestos and other materials had been removed earlier from the interior. “We went right through the middle,” said Butch Lee, pro ject supervisor. “We pulled down the bar joists a couple at ■ See GYM, Page A9 - nr - J - The Telegraph/JOHN BADMAN A demolition team makes quick work of the newer section of the old Humbolt School on Central Avenue in Alton Wednesday as a worker hoses down the debris to control the dust. Edwardsville, then it denies equal access to the law and government. “This is clearly discriminatory and a violation of the 14th Amendment, which guarantees equal access to the law,” Garrett said. “I am almost certain to sue over this.” “This is similar to the racist poll tax,” he said. The elimination of mileage expenses, however, passed on a 24-2 vote with Garrett and Mike Holliday, D-Alton, the only no votes. The raises had a tougher time. By SANFORD J. SCHMIDT Telegraph staff writer EDWARDSVILLE - A divided County Board voted to award raises to officeholders, board members and department heads, but cut out most travel expenses for board members. Several board members voted against the raises because, they said, 3.5 percent is out of line with the inflation rate and because board members are being told to cut expenses in light of soaring retirement costs. Bill Little, the chairman of the board’s Finance Committee, said there was «I am almost certain to sue over able in coming years to propose a major shift of the funding of the cost of providing county services from the property tax to a sales tax,” Finance Committee Chairman Bill Little, D-Alton, said. “This would lessen the burden that the real estate tax payers carry in paying for the cost of government services,” Little said. That would be a bad idea, said Board Member Don Garrett, D-Madison, because it would put a disproportionate By SANFORD J. SCHMIDT Telegraph staff writer EDWARDSVILLE — The County Board adopted its annual budget Wednesday, but not before members debated future alternatives to property taxes and cutting expenses. Officials agreed that the budget for the coming fiscal year beginning Dec. I is a lair ‘and balanced one, but some disagreement arose over whether the county should consider substituting sales taxes for property taxes. “The County Board may be Don Garrett board member on cut in travel expenses concern about abuses of mileage expenses paid for attendance at regular board meetings, but he did not elaborate. The Alton Democrat also said the mileage reimbursement was cut because of the expense of the 3-5 percent cost of living raises granted virtually all county employ ees. The cut in mileage drew fire from board member Don Garrett, D-Madison, who said it discriminates against people who live farther away from Edwardsville, the county seat. Garrett said if it costs him more to come to meetings than it does a member from Area/Illinois........A3-1 Bulletin Board........A Business............D Classifieds...........C Comics..............D Editorial.............A Horoscope...........D Nation/world.........C Obituaries...........A Blake, Blurrier, Ernst, Hancock, Haun, Holloway, Norris, Price, Smith, Stone, Williams Scoreboard..........( Stocks..............£ Television............( Weather.............t switch to turn on the blaze of lights. Chairman Greg Gelzinnis said the display has nearly 1.75 million lights in the old-fashioned themed displays. The light show is opening a week earlier than usual to capture business from tour buses, Gelzinnis said. The display will be open from 6 to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from 5 to 9 p.m. on weekends through Dec. 26. From 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, Nov. 29, however, the park will be open to walking visitors only during the special presentation. Cost is $7 per vehicle, with proceeds going to charity. Once again, a special commemorative ornament will be sold at Santa’s House in the park for $5. This year’s design features a snowman. After the Rock Spring ceremony, ■ See LIGHTS, Page A9 By LINDA N. WELLER Telegraph staff writer ALTON — Residents will get a double dose of Christmas festivities Friday night when thousands of brilliant lights are turned on at Rock Spring Park and Lincoln-Douglas Square. A 5 p.m. ceremony at Rock Spring Park on College Avenue will kick off the eighth annual Celebration of Christmas light extravaganza. Alderman Charles Brake, Ward 5, Commissioner George Helden of the Alton Park and Recreation Board and the Colonial Fife and Drum Corps will participate in the program. The family of the late Don Killam, who was a member of the “Grandpa Gang” volunteers who help put up the lights every year, will flip the
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