Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - April 17, 1999, Alton, Illinois
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Vol. 164, No. 92 — 50 cents Saturday, April 17,1999 www.thetelegraph.comLaclede, union appeal to Ryan
Officials to seek $25 million state loan
By ANDE YAKSTIS
Telegraph staff writer
ALTON — Laclede Steel Co. officials and Steelworkers leaders will urge Gov. George Ryan to approve $25 million in low-interest state loans to save the ailing Alton plant.
“Laclede and the union are pulling together to ask Gov. Ryan for state financing to keep the Alton plant open and
save hundreds of jobs," said state Rep Steve Davis, D-Bethalto, who is arranging a meeting with Ryan.
The $25 million would be a giant step toward $50 million in proposed improvements to keep the Alton plant operating into the next century, said
Terry Wooden, president of Alton United Steelworkers Local 3643.
“If major improvements are made to the Alton plant, it could become a state-of-the-art steel mill and increase production and possibly add new jobs. It would revive Laclede
and boost the economy of the Alton area.”
Davis will set up a meeting of union and Laclede officials, possibly this week, with Ryan and his staff in Springfield.
“Laclede is the last remaining production industry in Alton, and we must keep it
operating for the workers and the economy of the Alton community,” Davis said.
The union and company will muster lawmakers to attend the meeting with Ryan and voice their support for the Alton plant, Wooden said.
Along with Davis, state Sen.
Evelyn Bowles, D-Edwardsville; U.S. Reps. Jerry Costello, D-Belleville; and John Shimkus, D-Collinsville will be invited to the special meeting. Wooden said.
Mayor Don Sandidge said he and his staff also plan to go to Springfield
Laclede filed for Chapter ll
■ See LACLEDE. Page A-7
Rivers are on the rise
By STEVE WHITWORTH
Telegraph staff writer
Spring got off to a mild start in The Telegraph area, but colder temperatures have returned, and with the recent rainfall, the Illinois and Mississippi rivers are on the rise.
Both rivers will rise above flood stage this weekend — the Illinois at Grafton and the Mississippi at Alton — with crests forecast for early next week.
For this weekend, however, the cold may pose a bigger problem than the high water.
“It looks like a pretty chilly weekend," said Scott Truett, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in St. Louis.
■ See RIVERS. Page A-7
The Telegraph/JOHN BADMAN
A fisherman casts his line Friday into the turbulent waters of the Mississippi River near the Melvin Price Locks and Dam, background, which has raised its floodgates to allow rising waters to pass downstream.
Non-union worker joins ConAgra pickets
The Telegraph/JOHN BADMAN Sgt. Pamela Jackson, from the 245th U.S. Army Reserve maintenance unit in St. Louis, welcomes 3-year-old Wilson Kayser of Edwardsville with a smile and open arms as he arrives to tour a military Humvee Friday at the third annual Vehicle Day sponsored by the Early Childhood Center at SIUE.
Vehicle Day at SIUE puts kids in driver’s seat
By ANGELA MUELLER
Telegraph staff writer
ALTON — Union electricians picketing at ConAgra Inc. were joined on the line Friday by a non-union worker.
Members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 649 have been picketing ConAgra since January for allegedly using non-union workers at the mill.
John Keck, a non-union electrician journeyman with Interstate Electric, walked out of the mill at 11:30 a.m. Friday and joined the union
workers on the picket line.
“I’m looking for better wages, better benefits and — hopefully, all in all — a better life,” Heck said.
Heck, who is from Lexington, Ky., had been working at ConAgra for seven weeks. Jack Tueth, business manager for IBEW Local 649, said non-union workers from Interstate Electric of Sioux Center, Iowa, have been doing renovations at ConAgra since January.
Keck is the first non-union worker to join the Local 649
■ See CONAGRA, Page A-7
By CURTISS A. HARTLEY
For the Telegraph
EDWARDSVILLE * Toddlers, draped and hooded against the blowing rain, scurried among unusual vehicles Friday, blowing horns, testing sirens, flashing lights and trying out every knob and switch within reach.
“That’s how kids learn,” said LaVernn Wilson, coordinator of the third annual Vehicle Day at SIUE. “They have to touch and see everything for themselves.”
Wilson is director of the Early Childhood Center at Southern Illinois University
■ See KIDS, Page A-7
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The Telegraph/JOHN BADMAN A youngster leans into the strong wind after touring an Edwardsville Fire Department pumper truck.