Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - August 17, 1999, Alton, Illinois
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Tuesday, August 17,1999
www.thetelegraphxomOtters of help roll in after liraInvestigation into Department of Public Works garage blaze continues
The Telegraph/MARGIE M. BARNES Butch Stemmer of the Edwardsville Department of Public Works torts through debris Monday after a fire gutted the public works garage early Saturday morning.
By BARBARA M. COPE
Telegraph staff writer
EDWARDSVILLE - As the city scrambles to find temporary equipment to replace that lost in a fire last weekend, officials are receiving numerous offers of help to survive the blaze.
At the same time, the cause of the fire that destroyed an estimated $1 million worth of street and sewer equipment at the Department of Public Works’ M Street garage is likely to stay under investigation for quite some time. One of the questions is whether the fire, believed to be electrical in nature, is related to a transformer failure a neighbor reported to police hours before the same neighbor
reported the fire.
Betty Unterbrink, who lives in an apartment building near the garage, reported to police that she saw a transformer south of the warehouse “blow up” about 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Afterwards, the lights at the garage immediately went out until “back-up” power kicked in. One light, she said, did not come back on.
At I a.m., Unterbrink and her husband heard a loud boom and raced outside. When they saw flames shooting into the sky, they reported the fire to the police.
Fire Chief Mike Karlechik said his department and the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s office are still investigating the cause of the fire, but admitted it is possible the two incidents are related.
“The possibility does exist,” Karlechik said. “That’s what’s going on with the investigation.”
Meanwhile, the public works department has been trying to “find temporary resources to continue to function,” Director Sue Mueller said.
Several agencies have called to offer their assistance, she said. Among them, Edwardsville Township and Korte Construction have already delivered some equipment. Madison County, the cities of Swansea and Highland, Collinsville Township and the North East Central Water District have also offered to help where they can.
■ See FIRE, Page A-7
Committee is opposed to new plan for homes
By SANFORD J. SCHMIDT
Telegraph staff writer
EDWARDSVILLE Members of the County Homes Action Committee are meeting at 7:15 tonight at the Hays Mallory Community Building, 216 Crane St., to discuss their opposition to the latest county proposal to replace the existing homes.
“The County Homes Action Committee is opposed to the closing or privatization of the County Nursing Home and Sheltered Care Homo,” said Debbie Groeteka of Collinsville, a co-chairman of the group.
Group members are planning to attend a Thursday meeting of the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board at the Pere Marquette Hotel, 501 Main St., Peoria.
County officials are planning to replace the Nursing Home and Shelter Care Home with a home that will offer a place for residents of the existing homes.
The county plan is to entice
a private business into the operation and allow the county to get out.
The county would offer a cash fund that could' supplement Medicaid patients and make land available to build a new home.
Groeteka has said the plan would not be a sound business deal for the private operator. The site of the existing Shelter Care Home contains a iong-for-gotten cemetery.
County officials said they feel confident they can offer a site for a new facility without disturbing the cemetery.
The latest plan is an alternative to closing the homes and allowing the residents to find placement at other, existing facilities.
Groeteka said there are many unanswered questions about the new plan.
“How do we know that the developer will provide quality care?” she asked.
County officials could not be reached Monday for comment.
Organizers are banking on River Bend demand
By DENNIS GRUBAUGH
Telegraph staff writer
Proponents of a new bank say they hope to capture a portion of the $1 billion in deposits available in the Alton community.
Organizers of the new Partners Bank began a public campaign Monday to draw interest in their fledgling oper
ation, the latest of several bank start-ups to be announced in the region this
“We think there is still a demand for professional service in the River Bend banking market,” said Bart Solon of Edwardsville, the chairman, president and chief exec-
See BANKING, Page A-7
■ Due to production problems, the Edwardsville/Glen Carbon edition does not appear in today’s Telegraph. It will reappear tomorrow. The Telegraph apologizes for any inconvenience.
Fremming, Mu§graves, Rumbaugh, Smiley, Smith, Zeman III
Rundown homes fall to make way for police station
Telegraph staff writer
ALTON - Charlotte Tittle shared childhood memories of her old neighborhood Monday as she watched a bulldozer demolish the homes for a new police station.
“I have sweet memories of growing up 65 years ago in this old neighborhood,” the 70-year-old Tittle said. “It was once a beautiful and proud place to live. It was sad to see the old homes deteriorate.”
Tittle stood with a crowd at Feldwisch and Washington avenues to watch a bulldozer tear down the 75-year-old rundown homes in clouds of dust, broken boards and bricks.
Alton city bulldozer operator Ken Chaney and equipment operator George Robinson loaded tons of debris on seven city trucks to haul away to a landfill.
“I offered to bring my wheelbarrow today to help clean up the debris from the homes,” said Tittle, who was happy to see the deteriorating houses demolished.
Construction may start next
spring on the new $8 to $9 million Alton police station on property bounded by Broadway, Washington, Feldwisch and Illinois avenues, said Mayor Don Sandidge, who saw the first
house demolished at 9:15 a.m. Monday.
“We’re hoping that our police officers will be in the new station in the early
■ See MEMORIES, Page A-7
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Charlotte Tittle of Godfrey (below) holds the street sign from the intersection of Washington and Feldwisch avenues given to her by Alton Mayor Don Sandidge on Monday. Homes in the block were demolished to make way for construction of a new police station. Tittle, who grew up on Washington Avenue, shared her childhood memories of the neighborhood with Sandidge, Sixth Ward Alderman Gary Fleming, second from left, and Fifth Ward Alderman Charles Brake.
Demolition leaves a pile of memories
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