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Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - August 25, 1999, Alton, Illinois SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836 SammsL/SosaTHE TELEGRAPH familial name Casablanca Restaurant becomes popular place to dine Page IM Thaoutlaok Skies will be partly sunny; high around 83, low® Page IM HEAD to HEAD-AGAIN Mark McGwire 51 home runs after 127 games 51 home runs after 124 games Vol. 164, No. 222 —50 centsWednesday, August 25,1999 www.thetelegraph.comAccused teacher free on bond By DENNIS GRUBAUGH Telegraph staff writer EDWARDSVILLE -Teacher Jonathan B. Becker, charged with assault for allegedly having a sexual affair with one of his students at Edwardsville High School, was released Tuesday from the Madison County Jail. Madison County Chief Sex assault suspect won’t plead guilty, lawyer says Criminal Judge Edward C. Ferguson lowered Becker’s bond from $200,000 to $50,000, allowing him to post bail with $5,000 that he had borrowed from relatives. “How are you doing otherwise?” the judge asked Becker. “Hanging in there,” he responded during a video appearance broadcast between the jail and the courthouse. Becker’s attorney, John Rekowski of Collinsville, said his client will plead not guilty to a charge of criminal sexual assault when he appears at his preliminary hearing Sept. 2 in Madison County Circuit Court. Rekowski declined to delve much into the state’s allegation. “He’s obviously a well- respected member of the community, and of the teaching community,” Rekowski said. “We’ll wait and see what the specific allegations are, and then respond to them.” Becker’s wife, Mary, and his church pastor were at the appearance for emotional support, Rekowski said. Becker’s bond had been set intentionally high, in part because officials with the Edwardsville    Police Department feared he “might do harm to himself,” Rekowski said. A support group is in place to help Becker cope, he See TEACHER, Page A-11 City gets ‘final piece in puzzle’ for school rehab State OKs tax credit for developers turning Humboldt into seniors complex By LINDA N. WELLER . Telegraph staff writer ALTON — The city has cleared its final hurdle in obtaining financing to renovate the old Humboldt School into a senior citizens complex. On Friday, the Illinois Housing Development Authority approved a 10-year tax credit for the developers of the project, the nonprofit Greater Alton Community Development Inc. and the National Development Council of Raleigh, N C. The tax credit is the final “piece of the puzzle” in financing the $4.9 million project at 1028 E. Sixth St., at the edge of the Hunterstown neighborhood, said Dennis Dugan, director .of housing and community development for Alton. “We realize there is a growing need for quality senior housing in our area, and this will allow us to fill that need,” Dugan said. “We are seeing developments like this taking place all across the state where older schools and buildings are being converted into quality housing for people age 55 and over. It is a victory for our city that has been over a year in the making.” John Downs, director of theWater main repairs under way at society By DEBORAH L BATES Telegraph staff writer EDWARDSVILLE - Work will begin today to repair a water main break at the Madison County Humane Society. Business manager Susan Haddad said the work should not take much longer than two or three days, depending on the amount of damage contractors find when they look at the waterline. A temporary connection was hooked up to the main line and will serve the shelter until the permanent repairs are made. The line break occurred sometime between Thursday night and Friday morning, when it was discovered by ■ See MAIN, Page A-11 National * Development Council, also said it was good news that developers will be able to offer tax credits for financing the project. “This action secures permanent financing for the Humboldt Senior Apartments, which will provide much-needed quality housing for persons age 55 and over,” he said. “There has been a lot of support and effort on the part of the city, county and state to make this a reality. The approval will allow us to begin working on a construction and groundbreaking schedule.” Tax credits are offered to investors — usually corporations — who buy them at less than face value. The purchasers become equity investors in the development, then are able to deduct the investments from their federal corporate taxes. The equity provided by the tax credit investors will be about $3.1 million. “Tax credits bring private equity into investments in exchange for tax benefits,” Downs said. Dugan said some potential investors have expressed interest in buying tax credits ■ See REHAB, Page A-11Good^ Morning Area/Illinois .A-3-12 Bulletin Board .A-6 Classified C-8 Comics D-5 Editorial A-4 Horoscope .... D-5 Nation/world . .A-12;D-6 Obituaries .... A-5 Carmody, Crader, Dorsey, Garrett, Geist, Helmkamp, Keeney, Richter, Rozich, Witherow Scoreboard .. .C-2 Stocks .....  .D-2 Television ........D-7 I ne i eieyraprvuuniN dmuiwmn Rose Dunaway, an employee of American Banner Amusements in Marine, sets up a kiddie ride Tuesday at the South Roxana Dad’s Club Park in preparation for the annual South Roxana Homecoming, which opens Thursday evening. Dad’s Homecoming taking shape • * ic i oioyiapn/uvi mn    v Myrt Stearns of South Roxana, a member of the South Roxana Dad’s Club Auxiliary, uses a broom to sweep away the cobwebs in the main concession stand Tuesday in preparation for the Thursday opening of the annual South Roxana Homecoming.«rnhe proceeds from this event go to I great causes.” Tony Venezia Dad’s Club member By KERRY SMITH Telegraph staff writer SOUTH ROXANA - Rides are being trucked in and assembled for this weekend’s 53rd annual South Roxana Dad’s Homecoming. Today is the final day to buy advance discount tickets. Tickets can be purchased in advance from Casey’s General Store and Debbie’s Market in South Roxana. On Tuesday, entertainment stages were taking shape and carnival booths were well on their way to completion for the four-day event. Tony Venezia, one of 28 Dad’s Club members who together with Dad’s Club Auxiliary members have been planning for this since February, said solid attendance throughout the weekend is what will make this year’s homecoming a success. Held at South Roxana Dad’s Club Park, the event begins at 5 p.m. Thursday and runs until midnight Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Things get going at I p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The best bargain on rides has to be both Saturday and Sunday afternoons, Venezia said “On Saturday afternoon from I to 4 p.m., adults and kids have the opportunity to purchase six-ride tickets for the price of only five,” Venezia said. “And Sunday, we’re offering an unlimited number of rides from 2 to 5 p.m. for $7 a person. Ifs a great deal, and the proceeds from this event go to great causes.” Dad’s Club Park is a direct beneficiary of the money the homecoming reaps. Venezia said the Dad’s Club works hard to maintain the quality of the park year-round and to pay for improvements and upkeep. Making sure needy area families are able to serve their loved ones a hot meal at Thanksgiving and Christmas is another outreach accomplished by the South Roxana Dad’s Club, thanks to homecoming proceeds. Venezia said the South Roxana Needy Family Fund has been a function of the Dad’s Club and Dad’s Club Auxiliary for years. Homecoming committee members are crossing their fingers in expectation of as many as 7,000 guests at this year’s event, Venezia said. ^ 46” RGA BIG SCREEN a week REGISTER TO WIN! A FULL SIZED WASHER & DRYER  ‘Drawing to ba held Pct. 1,1999 (‘TV-104wk»f$3,430.9HDVD-78wks/i779,22 *Computer.104wks53,534.&6 ROA DVD’s $<|W i jp a week ;