Tuesday, December 28, 1999

Alton Telegraph

Location: Alton, Illinois

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Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - December 28, 1999, Alton, Illinois SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836 TELEGRAM Nuts and botts Handyman Express no-frills fix-it | business Page DI: Tho outlook Partly sunny and seasonable High 44; Low 31 Page C8 !000 baby urn y will get of gifts Page Bl Tuesday, December 28,1999 www.thetelegraph.com Vol. 164, No. 347 - 50 cents I PKI i V I - i-E* Wrestling CM’s Shaun Dannebrink keeps on winning Page Cl Good Morning Area/Illinois........A3,6    Obituaries ...........A5 Business ............DI    Austin, Bryant, Carter, Cason, Classifieds ..........C6    Dawes, Gibson, Gray, Comics.............C4    Hogan, Lile, Manns, Miller, Editorial.............A4    Schoenhofen, Seehausen, Horoscope ..........C7    Simpson, Thompson, Ward, Nation/world.........A8    J., Ward, T. FIPergo 700 Rolls in stock > Vinyl from 33< sq. It. Carpet from 33 < sq. ft. Pergo/Mohowk Laminate Wood Flooring from ? I 99 sq. I#. Garage tire damages home garbage By DAVE WHALEY Telegraph staff writer BETHALTO - A garage fire apparently started by a bag of ashes caused substantial damage to a home in the Timberwood Estates subdivision on Monday. The fire began about 11:30 a m. at the home of David and Kathy Smith, 213 Teakwood Drive. David Smith and the Smiths’ two children were in the house at the time the fire began, but everyone escaped without injury. “From what I could tell, the homeowner said he had cleaned out his fireplace (Monday) morning and had put the bag in the garage,” said Dave Miller, assistant fire chief for the Bethalto Volunteer Fire Department. “He was obviously assuming all of the ashes were cold.” The fire began in the ■ See FIRE, Page A7 The Telegraph/MARGIE M. BARNES Above, Bethalto and Meadowbrook firefighters work to put out a fire at 213 Teakwood Drive in Bethalto on Monday morning. The fire began in the garage and spread to the upstairs rooms. Right, Kathy Smith arrives at home late Monday morning to see her house burning. Banks ready for Y2K Preparation began as early as 1996 By ANGELA MUELLER Telegraph staff writer Months — and even years — of preparation by area financial institutions will be put to the test early Saturday morning when the clock changes to 12 a m. and the calendar changes to January 2000. Banks across the area, the state and the nation began as early as 1996 to prepare for the transition into the new mil- Tax hike By KERRY SMITH Telegraph staff writer EDWARDSVILLE - A judge in Madison County Circuit Court gave approval Monday for the Wood River Drainage and Levee District’s petition for the district’s first tax increase in 18 years. The new rate of 10.3 cents per $100 of assessed property value, approximately a 22 per- lennium, and most bankers believe the transition will be a smooth one. According to information from the Illinois Office of Banks and Real Estate, 98.5 percent of the more than 600 Illinois financial institutions had received the highest possible rating on their Y2K compliance reports as of September 1999. Across the nation, nearly 99.9 percent of ■ See BANKS, Page A7 approved cent increase over the rate of 8.05 cents that had been in effect since 1982, will take effect on levee district taxpayers’ bills in the .spring of 2000. A handful of citizens attended the judicial hearing presided over by Associate Judge Lewis E. Mallott to express their opinions about the proposed tax increase and ■ See TAX, Page A7 The Telegraph/RUSS SMITH The Melvin Price Locks and Dam 26, a multimillion-dollar federal project completed in 1994, helps up to 40 percent of the nation’s grain harvest reach market. 1999 was the Belle’s year Casino acquires ‘fun barge’, goes dockside By LINDA N. WELLER Telegraph staff writer ALTON - The Alton Belle Casino made headlines throughout 1999:    first when the state allowed open boarding in June, and then when its colorful new landing facility opened in December. On June 25, Illinois Gov. George Ryan signed a dockside gambling bill into law; the next day, the Alton Belle ■ See BELLE, Page A7 T TELKCiRAPJf flirt! Locks and Dam vital link to river system Dam honors late U.S. Rep. Melvin Price By KATHLEEN HILL Assistant city editor ALTON — The new Melvin Price Locks and Dam were com-in and form a VI SB vital link in’ RBRyflV the nation’s river transportation system. About 40 percent of the nation’s grain passes through the structure each year. “No one should ever doubt this structure is vital to the national and international economy,” U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Ill., said when the new lock opened. The new 1,200-foot main lock and 600-foot auxiliary lock replaced the 1938 Henry T. Rainey Lock and Dam 26. The 1938 structure had a single 600-foot lock that required large tows to uncouple to get through, stalling river traffic and driving up costs. River traffic had increased since its construction, resulting in average delays of 15 hours, which tied up 73 million tons of river traffic a year. The old lock was decommissioned and demolished in 1990, the same year the main lock of the Melvin Price structure was put into operation. Construction began on the new structure in 1980. The cost was estimated at $790 million in 1980 dollars. By the time ■ See DAM, Page A7 TUR TELEGRAPH DISCOUNT Wl'M CARPET INC. 3475 HUMBERT RD nnnriiil ummmm    ALTON 465-2622 A 4