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View Sample Pages : Alton Telegraph, December 27, 1999

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Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - December 27, 1999, Alton, Illinois SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836THIE TELEfuRAPII Touchdown More Rams I coverage Page Cl I i'i i Keeping well Flu virus hits area Page DI The outlook Chance of flurries and cool High 34 ; Low 20 Page D4 Doing good deeds Rotary Club leads the way in helping River Bend PageBl Vol. 164, No. 346 - 50 centsMonday, December 27, 1999 www.thetelegraph.comlegislators disagree on gun law By DEBORAH L. BATES Telegraph staff writer EDWARDSVILLE - Illinois legislators can’t agree when it comes to recent debates over a gun law. Illinois Gov. George Ryan has been pressing the legislators to rein Felony charges could be too harsh, local gun shop owners say state the felony charge, but rural democrats would not budge, claiming a felony that could result in years of jail time is too tough. State legislators were called into special session by the governor to re write the “Safe Neighborhoods Aet”, which was passed in 1994. The package contained a provision that made illegal possession of a weapon a felony, but the Supreme Court struck down the package, claiming it was unconstitutional because it addressed several unrelated topics. Some legislators, as well as local gun shop owners, want the offense to be a misdemeanor, particularly for a first time offender. Don Page, owner of Raymond’s Guns & Ammo in Alton, said he thinks the penalty should be a misdemeanor. “It could be an innocent mistake,” he said. "Anybody could be driving around with a gun in the back or the ■ See LAW, Page A7 girls die in house fire Father could not save daughters in Christmas morning blaze Telegraph staff report CARLINVILLE - Two young girls died in a fire Christmas morning despite efforts by their father to save them. The girls were Tia and Jasmine Ward, IO and eight years old respectively. The fire occurred in their home at 432 E. Hoehn St.. Carlinville Fire Chief Gerald Loveless said the fire department got the call at 4:20 a.m. Saturday but the fire was “totally engulfed” when they got there He said both parents, Joseph and Peggy Ward, got out of tile house safely, though Ward was taken to Carlinville Area Hospital with injuries suffered when he broke the window to the girls’ room with his bare hands from outside to reach them. He said Ward was unable to get to the girls from inside the house. The chief said Ward suffered smoke inhalation and cuts to his hands and feet. He said the mother, who was unhurt, awakened the father when the fire started. Joseph Ward works for Prairie Farms Dairy and his wife is a homemaker, Loveless said. The bodies were taken to St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield for autopsies, Loveless said. He said the cause of the fire was believed to be electrical. Good rV; Nlornirid Area/Illinois..........A3 Classifieds...........C9 Editorial.............A4 Horoscope...........C7 Nation/world      B3 Neighbors...........DI Obituaries..........A5,6 Austin, Cason, Chaffer, Clark, Evans, Garrison, Geisler, Gibson, Hendricks, Henrichs, Hogan, Jones, Lane, Mann, Mayerhofer, Melton, Michel, Renken, Seehausen, Tucker,Wade, Waltrip, Winder, Ward, J. and Ward, T., Wyrick Region..............Bl Scoreboard..........C2 Rams trap Bears Sunday’s victory ‘special win’, team coowner says By WARREN MAYES Telegraph sports editor ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Rams went bear hunting Sunday afternoon and easily bagged one. St. Louis ended its home portion of its schedule with a perfect 8-0 mark after defeating Chicago 34-12 before 65,931 fans at the Trans World Dome. The victory hiked the Rams overall record to 13-2. That’s the most wins in franchise history and ties St. Louis for the most victories this season in the NFL with Jackonsville and Indianapolis. “Say that again — undefeated at home and most wins by a Rams team,” said St. Louis defensive tackle D’Marco Farr. “That about says it all. We wanted to come in here today and get a win and we did. We’re not through yet.” The Rams conclude the regular season this Sunday with a road game in Philadelphia against the Eagles, who had a bye this week. Then St. Louis will enjoy a first-round bye in the playoffs before seeing postseason play either Jan. 15 or 16. “This was just a special win today,” said Rams coowner Stan Kroenke. “The ■ See RAMS, Page A7 Nursing home closes County plan calls for new home to be built by 2002 The Telegraph/MAHUiE m. bahncs Grant Wistrom of the St. Louis Rams picks up a fumble while teammate Kevin Carter looks on during the second quarter of Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears at the Trans World Dome. Wistrom didn’t score on this play, but he later intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown in the Rams 31-12 victory. Nation shocked by Sims case Serving life sentence for killing baby By DENNIS GRUBAUGH Telegraph staff writer EDWARDSVILLE - Few local crimes during the last IOO years have captivated the attention of Telegraph and    the nation    — quite like the tale of Paula Sims. People were both spellbound and horrified on June 17, 1986, when the 27-year-old Sims reported to police that a masked gunman had broken into her rural Brighton home and kidnapped her 13-day-old daughter Loralei. After the child’s skeletal remains were found under brush near the home just six days later, the public’s horror turned to shock as suspicion fell upon the parents, Paula and Robert Sims. Despite the general belief that the mother was somehow guilty, there was not enough evidence for a charge, Jersey County officials said. It would take almost three more’* years and a different venue for the Sims ■ See SIMS, Page A7 THS TllMiRAI'll Stinks ... ja jUL**. MIW By DAVE WHALEY Telegraph staff writer After years of legal wrangling, the Madison County Nursing Home closed its doors for good Nov. 30. The last patient had moved out of the home IO days earlier. The Madison County Board had voted in April 1998 to close the homes. The vote came a month after voters turned The Telegraph/MARGIE M. BARNES Madison County Nursing home closed its doors Nov. 30 down two referendums that would have raised taxes for the Nursing Home as well as the Madison County Sheltered Care Home. After earlier denying permission to close the homes, the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board approved on Aug. 20 the county’s plan to replace them with a new home that will offer a place for residents. The county plan is to entice a private business into the operation, allowing the ■ See HOME, Page A7 Tm TEMSGltAPH ;