Sunday, November 28, 1999

Alton Telegraph

Location: Alton, Illinois

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Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - November 28, 1999, Alton, Illinois www.thetelegraph.com s,%Vl- $342: I I I Coupons and special offers I I inside most editions I mm tm S I PO RTS High note Blues drop Hawks 8-3 Page Bl ii Fast Eddie’s Sholar built business into one of region’s most popular establishments Page DI Wheels*Deals Dakota Quad A truck with hauling power The outlook Partly cloudy and mild. High 52; low 34. S1UMIMY Vol. 164, No. 317 Serving The River Bend Since 1836 November 28, 1999    $1.50 Page Cl Crime is down But so is money to fight drugs Good Mornirig Area/Illinois A3-9 Bulletin Board......A8 Classifieds ........C6 Editorial........    A4 Horoscope.........B8 Nation/world ... .AK),12 Obituaries.........A6 Bowman, Boxdorfer, Brave, Clore, Feyerabend, Foster, Graiff, Hawkins, Hinthorne, Nash, Owens, Quinn, Renner, Roady Westerhold, Wilson Wojtkiewicz Scoreboard........C2 Stocks............D2 By LINDA N. WELLER Telegraph staff writer ALTON — The good news that the city had an 18.3 percent decrease in crime for the first six months this year has a down side - Alton is losing as much as $250,000 in federal anti-drug grant money. Stan Henderson, executive director of the Alton Housing Authority, said the city is not getting any money from the New Approach Anti-Drug Program That program previously was called the Safe Neighborhoods Action Plan. “It may have been the Page D8 result of the city of Alton’s crime rate going down; that may have affected our not getting the grant," Henderson said. The city had applied for $250,000 in safe neighborhood grants for next year. The Housing Authority’s current grants will pay for programs through July or August, he said. Federal money recently was used to buy and install exterior security cameras at housing complexes. The money also has paid for extra police patrols, mainly from officers Jonniece Young and Henry Moore. The patrols, seen as a crime preventative, have been ongoing for about 18 months. “The SNAP program has been a real success," said Alton police Capt. Kick McCain, chief of detectives. The public housing complexes, in particular, have seen a deep decline in crime, he said. One reason the crime rate has fallen citywide - as well as nationwide — said McCain, is the extra police officers who have been hired in recent years through the federal COPS FAST funds. See CRIME, Page A11 Six-month crime statistics city of Alton* Criminal Sexual Assult Robbery Aggravated Assault/battery Burglary Theft Motor Vehicle Theft Arson Murder TOTAL *Source - Alton Police Department Santa comes in for landing . - <*> ,■■v.-vN.-ff. i, '; *v-if    • - ' I: * BW rMS    I    I 'v. t - The Telegraph/ERIC KASSLER Title bound St. Louis Rams could clinch division today Santa skydived safely onto the grounds of the Godfrey Holiday Festival Saturday. Read more about his arrival and the activities planned for the festival on Page 3. By WARREN MAYES Telegraph sports editor ST. LOUIS - By the end of tonight, the Hams could clinch their first division title in 14 years. With an 8-2 record, St. Louis entertains the New Orleans Saints (2-8* in a noon game at the Trans World Dome. The combination of a win by the Rams and a loss by the Carolina Panthers to the Atlanta Falcons will give St. Louis the NFX West Division ■ See RAMS, Page A11 rn Mother leads battle over visitation rights Woman sits in jail for refusing to let grandparents see girl, 7 By DENNIS GRUBAUGH Telegraph staff writer EDWARDSVILLE - A mother jailed for refusing a grandparent visitation rights to her 7-year-old daughter is representing a cause far bigger than her own family, others say. “The time has come for our communities to call upon their elected representatives to bring an end to these evil and unconstitutional statutes,” Lance Freezeland, the attorney for Julie Mehring, said. Mehring, 27, of Waterloo, was placed in Madison County Jail Nov. 17 after Madison County Associate Judge Barbara Crowder found her in indirect civil contempt ot court. Mehring was cited for refusing to allow her former mother-in-law to visit Mehring’s daughter, Jenna, 7. As of Saturday afternoon, Mehring still was in jail. Freezeland, a Roxana native who practices law in Effingham, has filed a motion seeking to declare the statute under which Mehring was sentenced unconstitutional. A hearing on that motion has not yet been scheduled. In the meantime, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments Jan. 12 in a case from :    Washington state that could provide direction :    or determine the outcome of Mehring’s case • and many others from around the country, I Freezeland said. At issue is whether any third party — i including grandparents — has a legal right to i sustain a relationship with a child over a par- • ent’s objections. Grandparental visitation statutes have been ■ See MOTHER, Page A11 The Telegraph/ERIC KASSLER More than 1,500 people of all ages started the Great River Road Run in Downtown Alton Saturday. Great River Road Run draws 1,613 By DEBORAH L. BATES Telegraph staff writer ALTON — Some runners participated in the race for fitness. Others did it for fun. Some raced just to prove they could. But whatever their reasons for participating in the Great River Road Run, the athletes enjoyed the workout, the competition and the company of others. Kavin Bennett of Alton said he ran the 10-mile race several years ago but wanted to try it again. * “Probably because I’m 49 and I want to do it just for the challenge «TI7e thought it would be a good family Wi thing to do.” Lynn Echt Alton participant of it,” he said. “I just want to run and stay in shape.” Lynn Echt of Alton, her husband, Bernie Echt, 39, and their son, B.J. Echt, 12, took part in Saturday’s event for fun. “We thought it would be a good family thing to do,” she said. “I talked them into it,” Bernie Echt said. The 40th annual event in Alton consisted of a 10-mile competitive ■ See RUN, Page A11