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Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - August 2, 1999, Alton, Illinois SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836 Visiting nurses Company bringing health care home Page D-l His outlook Partly sunny and pleasant; high near ! 83, low near 64 Page IM \ Closing In on SOO McGwire hits No. 497 as the Cardinals lose to Colorado 54 Page C-lVol. 164, No. 199 — 50 cents Monday, August 2,1999 www.thetelegraph.comInsurance costing county plenty By PAUL MACKIE Telegraph staff writer EDWARDSVILLE - The taxpayers of Madison County are paying way too much to protect government buildings from earthquakes, say officials from throughout the area. The Madison County Board recently voted 25-3 to pay more than $42,000 this year for earthquake insurance on Madison paying $42,000 to protect buildings from earthquakes the county’s $103 million in assets. That premium is largely disproportionate to annual costs paid by other counties. Most strikingly, perhaps, is the contrast between Madison’s policy and that of St. Clair County. Located just south of Madison and closer to the feared New Madrid fault line, St. Clair is paying a $12,000 annual premium to protect $93 million in county assets. “(Madison County is paying) a significant dollar,” said Wes Sir of the Risk Management Consulting Group of St. Louis, the insurance consultant for St. Clair County. “We’d be more than happy to come over and talk with Madison County, but I think there hasn’t been much interest from them in the past. We did quite a lot of bidding for St. Clair,” Sir said. Hardly any attempt to widely bid may have been the biggest problem for Madison County, which gets insurance policies through Leaders Agency, a brokering firm in Granite City. “If you only receive one (bid), you can only use one,” said County Administrator James Monday, The county’s only other choice of ■ See INSURANCE, Page A-7 The Telegraph/MARGIE M. BARNES Jack Ryder, left, of Cottage Hills, and Jason Saffel, righty of Greenfield, as ‘Pedro & Pancho,’ perform a song Sunday during the 50th anniversary celebration of Wood River Township Hospital. Hospital celebrates 50 years of care By REBECCA HOPKINS Telegraph staff writer WOOD RIVER - Several hundred residents turned out Sunday to help Wood River Township Hospital celebrate its 50th anniversary by honoring special people from its past and looking forward to a brighter future for health care for all Americans. Wood River Township Hospital was the first hospital in the state of Illinois to be built under a law passed by the state legislature on July 17, 1945, which authorized townships to levy taxes for the construction, operation and maintenance of hospitals. By a vote of 4,049-270, the citizens of the township approved the proposal to build, operate and maintain a public hospital on May 7,1946. The hospital opened its doors Aug. I, 1949, at 8 a.m. and admitted its first patient, Anna Westbrook Alston, at 9:35 a.m. “I want to say that I’ve never been treated (in a hospital) anywhere as well as I’ve been treated here,” Alston said. Alston was recognized for her notoriety as were the parents of the first baby born at the hospital, Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Harmon; and the last living member of the hospital’s original medical staff, Dr. Harry Mendelsohn. All were given gifts commemorating the anniversary event. The celebration began at I p.m. when President and Chief Executive Officer David Triebes welcomed a standing-room only crowd by reading letters of commendation from President Bill Clinton and Gov. George Ryan before introducing Congressman Jerry Costello, D-Belleville, and Rep. Steve Davis, D-Bethalto. “This is a happy occasion for all the people in the area,” Costello said. “When I was reading the history of Wood ■ See HOSPITAL, Page A-7 Heat helping drain region’s blood supply By STEVE WHITWORTH Telegraph staff writer The St. Louis region is experiencing its usual summer shortage of blood, a situation officials with the American Red Cross believe has been aggravated by the recent heat wave. The Missouri-Illinois Blood Services Region of the Red Cross, based in St. Louis, needs 1,000 units of blood to be donated daily just to keep up with demand. “We haven’t been meeting our goal,”    .... said Peggy Michaelson, director of marketing for the Missouri trend, which is not good news,” she said. “Ifs really the lowest it’s been since June I.” The region is especially low on its supplies of O-negative, A-negative, B-positive and O-positive blood types, Michaelson said. The minimum inventory requirement to serve the hospitals in the Missouri-Illinois region is 2,500 units of blood. As of last week, the region’s inventory had dipped to 2,726 units. “We don’t want to get to the 2,500 mark,” aT'he hot weather ll Michaelson said. “That’s has not helped. “Tu Everybody is staying ?0r°ps “*{ have a major blood appeal. We want to Illinois Blood home. It has been a leergvi‘ocn8 rough road.” Peggy Michaelspn Missouri-Illinois Blood Services Region “There are a lot of conditions during the summer that contribute to - this: vacations, schools being out. We do an enormous amount of blood drives at schools and universities, so we feel the absence, especially now, between summer school and the fall session. “The hot weather has not helped,” she said. “Everybody is staying home. It has been a rough road.” Michaelson warns the region’s blood supply is extremely low. “It is going on a downward avert that. We don’t want to get the region into a serious - or even critical condition. “We need to reverse the trend so we are able to continue to meet the daily needs of hospitalized patients who need blood products to survive.” The Missouri-Illinois Blood Services Region serves a total of 120 counties in the two states, with 128 hospitals in its service area, which includes Kansas City, Jefferson City, Columbia and St. Louis in ■ See BLOOD, Page A-7 Gentle Giant, Amateur Public Links helping draw more tourists to Alton By CORY A. PITT For The Telegraph ALTON — Robert Wadlow continues to be a big draw for tourists coming through Alton, but many factors this year have had a giant impact on area tourism — possibly in record proportions. “The numbers are showing great promise to be a record year for tourism," inquiries to the area, both via the telephone and the Internet. About 70,000 out of the city’s 100,000 visitors guides published this year have already been distributed. “This means people from all over are reading about us and are uHPhis has been a tremendous year for tourism, due largely to the work of the said Doug Arnold, presi-    ^ dent of the Greater Convention and Visitors Bureau.” Alton/Twin Rivers Convention and Visitors Bureau. “With events such as the Amateur Public    RBGA    president    largely to the work of the Links and the National    Convention    and    Visitors Bureau. Based on their plans Don Miller extensive display devoted to Wadlow, while a statue of the Gentle Giant is right across the street from the museum on College Avenue. Don Miller, president of the River Bend Growth Association, said tourism is important to this area, and a lot of hard work has produced a successful year. “Tourism is the cleanest kind of economic development there is,” Miller said. “The benefits are almost immediate for residents. “This has been a tremendous year for tourism, due Scenic Byway bringing people to the area, those activities create a positive business environment, helping the local economy in many ways.” Arnold said there has been a strong increase in tourist interested in learning more about the area,” Arnold said. Robert Wadlow, the tallest man in history, is just one of the tourism draws for the city. The Alton Museum of History has an for the upcoming year, this is just a start.” Arnold said the Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway has ■ See TOURISTS, Page A-7 The Telegraph/JOHN BADMAN Pam Becker of Bethalto and her grandaughter, Jessica Wehrle, 2, of Meadowbrook, walk around the Robert Wadlow statue in Upper Alton. Good? Morning Area/Illinois .....A-3,6 Bulletin Board    .B-2,D-3 Classifieds........C-6 Comics...........D-2 Editorial..........A-4 Lottery...........A-7 Nation/World . .A-8,B-4 Neighbors ........B-1 Obituaries........A-5 Bostick, Henke,    Ketcham, Meisenheimer, Royston, Wallett Region...........D-1 Scoreboard.......C-2 Television ........B-3 Weather..........D-4 ;