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Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - February 14, 1999, Alton, Illinois He outlook Mostly sunny and warmer today, with the high 56 and the low 41 Page D-12 liOOfl 4cmorningArea/Illinois .A-3-10 Bulletin Board .A-8 Classifieds ... .C-3 Editorial ......A-4Horoscope ... .D-9 Nation/world .. .A-11,14Obituaries A-6 Fansler, Hopkins, Kessinger, Nash, Patrick, Price, Shimkus, Stanka, Stuart, Thompson, WestScoreboard ... .B-2 Stocks........D-2Where are the teachers?Illinois bucking nationwide trend otehortage EDITOR S NOTE: This is the first of a three-part series about possible teacher shortages locally and statewide in light of deficits in other parts of the United States By LINDA N. WELLER Telegraph staff writer Contrary to a nationwide trend, Illinois is not experiencing a teacher shortage, according to some officials. News reports recently have painted a dire picture of the teaching profession, tdating how educators are reaming out of classrooms into retirement or other careers. The reports show droves of teachers taking advantage of lucrative retirement plans while still in their 50s, Other teachers, particularly those in inner-city schools, leave because they are burned out, stressed out and ti^ed of worrying about their safety. In Illinois, school administrators and teachers’ union officials will answer “yes and no” to the question: “Is ■ See TEACHERS, A-13 Inuring’business Floral business delivers for nearly a century Page IM . -= SUNDAY    I WOT WT V?#1 TO A TOU rn lf Hi ft HiHiHili lf /rn J  J J Vol. IM, No. 30    Edwardsville/Glen Carbon Edition    February    14,1999    $1.50 t Coupons and special offers * inside most editions Sports Mat men Area wrestlers head to state Wheels*Deals Setting sail Honda floats hopes on new Odyssey Page C-l The Telegraph/JOHN BADMAN Amy Perica and Sister Marita, in the chapel at St. Anthony’s Health Center in Alton, have fond memories of Pope John Paul irs visit to St. Louis. Sister Marita is a member of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George in Alton. The Telegraph/JOHN BADMAN Amy Perica shows her rosary, which has a portrait of the pope.Effect of pope’s visit lingers on By ANDE YAKSTIS Telegraph staff writer ALTON — Amy Perica of Alton remembers how the love of God flowed from Pope John Paul II to thousands of people at the Trans World Dome in St. Louis Jan 27. “When we looked into the Holy Father’s face, we could feel the presence of Jesus Christ,” Perica said Perica and hundreds of others in the area are clinging to the memories of the pope’s historic visit. Perica, her mother, Kathy, father, Marion, and sisters, Jennifer and Stephanie, attended the papal Mass at the Dome Elizabeth Perica, 15, attended the youth rally in the Kiel Center the night before “The joy and love that the Holy Father showed us teens at the youth rally will stay ■ See POPE, Page A-13 Page B-l House sales up across area Sweets are order By DARRYL HOWLETT Telegraph staff writer By SANFORD J. SCHMIDT Telegraph staff writer House sales are giving people in the real estate business a warm, cozy feeling, and the outlook is for more of the same. Sales of single-family houses in the River Bend were up 10.8 percent from 1997 to 1998, and more growth is expected, according to figures from the Greater Gateway Association. “Conditions for home sales in 1998 couldn’t have been better," said Jean Crosby, president of the Illinois Association of Realtors. “Steady, low interest rates, high consumer confidence and a healthy economy all contributed to this record year. All indications point to another strong year in home sales; however, the predictions are that 1999 won’t be quite as strong as 1998." The Greater Gateway organization includes real estate offices in Alton, Wood River, East Alton, Bethalto, Edwardsville and Glen Carbon. In the Greater Gateway area, slightly more than 3,000 houses were sold in 1998, compared with 2*732 in 1997 and 2,650 in 1996. Prices in the Greater Gateway area remained modest, rising only 3.6 percent between 1997 and 1998. The median price of houses sold in 1998 was $82,700, compared with $79,800 for 1997. The median price of a house in Oak Park was $205,400 in 1998. House sales statewide hit a record for 1998, the state association said. ■ See SALES, Page A-13 Ifs a chocolate-covered holiday. The usual flowers and candy were popular items in stores for St. Valentine’s Day, but the hot item was chocoldte-dipped strawberries. “We sold out of chocolate-dipped strawberries," said Jackie Boyd, manager of Mrs. Seibold’s Bake Shop, Montciaire Plaza in Edwardsville. “We had 50 more orders on Saturday that were going to be filled. From Thursday to Saturday we ordered 250 boxes. “Some of our other popular items were heart cakes with chocolate and strawberries shaped like hearts. We also had little edible pictures on top of cupcakes for children to eat. I think our sales have been phenomenal." The Candy Pantry in Alton also enjoyed supplying sweets to residents. “Our best sellers have been the chocolate-covered strawberries,” owner Maxine Korte The Telegraph/RUSS SMITH Sandy Huber of Edwardsville stopped by Mrs. Siebold’s Bake Shop in Montciaire Plaza Friday to pick up a heart-shaped, cherry-topped cheesecake for her boyfriend for Valentine’s Day. Boxing up the scrumptious gift is Ellen McKee. said. “We’ve sold quite of few this season. It’s going good. With the availability of the strawberries, we had a wait-* ing list. Other popular items were our fchocolate-eovered turtles, chocolate-dipped rasp berries and boxes made out of chocolate.” No sweet gifts were complete without flowers, and McConahey’s Flowers in Alton made sure customers were able to complete a romantic package. “One of the things that is unusual about this holiday is that it’s on Sunday," owner Van McConahey said. “One. good thing about having Valentine’s Day on Sunday was we had three days to deliver flowers Flowers were sent to people at work (on Friday), while flowers were sent to homes during the weekend.” Home sales Home sales in Illinois during 1998 topped 100,000 for the first time according to the Illinois Association of Realtors Numbers are shown below for the ‘Greater Gateway’ area which includes the Metro East and surrounding communities. $81,000 $80,000 $79,000 $78,000 $77,000 $76,000 $75,000 $74,000 1997    1998    1996    1997    1998 SOURCE: Illinois Association of Realtors -rn- Number of homes sold -rn- Median price of homes sold $83,000 $82,000 ;