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View Sample Pages : Alton Telegraph, January 07, 1999

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Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - January 7, 1999, Alton, Illinois SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836 Vol. 163 No. 357 50 cents Thursday January 7, 1999 Students back but more wintry mix on the way By SANFORD J. SCHMIDT Telegraph staff writer School officials were happy to get students hack into the classrooms Wednesday, but street and road crews were bracing for another winter storm. All school districts in the area except for Brussels in Calhoun County were back in session after 8 inches of snow and sleet fell last weekend. But no sooner did the students get back to class than school officials turned their attention to forecasts of another fast-moving cold front and winter storm tonight after a brief respite with temperatures in the 40s Wednesday. Temperatures will dip into the teens with a chance of light snow tonight, followed by freezing rain or snow Friday and an increasing chance of snow Friday night. “We’re right on the line between freezing rain and snow,” said meteorologist Scott Truett, of the National Weather Service. “Most people would prefer snow." The high today will probably not rise above 30 degrees, Truett said. There is a chance for a wintry mix Friday with a high of 30 degrees and a chance of snow Saturday with a high in the 20s. Classes were canceled in most districts Monday and Tuesday, but most were back in session Wednesday. “There were no reports of any problems, and we’re happy to be back,” Alton Superintendent Mike Beaber said. “We are happy to be back, and we are sure the parents are happy," Edwardsville Superintendent Ed Hightower said. ■ See STUDENTS, Page A-7 Newlook Elias-Smith Funeral Home modernizing its facilities Page IM Nature s beauty Science Center hosts‘The Great Barrier Reef PageC-l The Outlook Partly cloudy and cold, with a high of 22 and low of 16 Pagel>6 Unbeaten Marquette returns to the court Page B-l On rive! winter upsets routine Navigating locks delicate process By PAUL BRINKMANN Telegraph staff writer The Telegraph/RUSS SMITH Barge traffic along the Mississippi River was at a standstill Wednesday because of ice backed up above Melvin Price Lock and Dam 26. The towboat and barge at right were used to cut a trough through the ice near the Great River Road. ALTON — From the control room at Alton Locks and Dam No. 26, shift leader Bill Hedger helps guide barges through the icy wasteland of the frozen Mississippi River. Such was the case Wednesday. As the towboat Anne Holly approached Alton with nine barges, Hedger advised Capt. Tom Obenheim over the radio about navigating the lock. “As soon as you clear the upper gate, I’ll tell you to stop," Hedger said. “If you stop slowly, that ice won’t break away from the front.” Ice on the river is part of life during the winter for employees at the locks. Barges pushing small mountains of ice must either go through the locks with the ice or allow the frozen mass to pass through first. Hedger and lockmaster Tom Miller watched closely as the Anne Holly got closer, heading downstream. With luck, Obenheim, of Utica, would not jar loose any more ice than he was already pushing. “As long as he can stay in this path, it’s not a problem," ■ See WINTER, Page A-7 SHIE gets $1.3 million gift By LINDA N. WELLER Telegraph staff writer EDWARDSVILLE - A longtime supporter of SIUE has donated his Collinsville house and surrounding 12 acres to the university’s foundation. The gift is valued at $1.3 million. Officials from Southern Illinois    University Edwardsville and donor B. Barnard “Barney” Birger announced the New Year’s Eve gift at a press conference Wednesday. “This is really good news,” Chancellor David Werner said. “This is a really significant event for the university. The gift of property will be used to to build a foundation/alumni services center, which we will name in honor of Mr Birger.” The gift is the second largest to be donated to SIUE Birger, a former SIU See SIUE, Page A-7 Good Morning Area/Illinois . .A-3,8 Bulletin Board .A«6 Classifieds ... .C-5 Comics.......D-5 Editorial ......A-4 Nation/world .. .B-6 Obituaries A-5 Alexander, Ambuehl, Campbell, Clendenny, Coker, Cook, DeSha, Drew A., Drew M.# Eggers, Johnson, Kessinger, Klaus, Pomatto, Rhodes, Steed, Unnerstall, Zimmerman Television C-4 ‘Holdup’ is sheer drama at credit union By LINDA N. WELLER Telegraph staff writer EAST ALTON - The good^ guys turned into the bad guy^ Wednesday night in a training exercise as they showed how the pros might rob a credit union. In two believable minutes that seemed to stretch much longer, Detective Maj. Darren Carlton and Sgts. Shannon Hobbs and Bob Greene of the East Alton Police Department turned intq violent “stickup artists." In the near-to-life scenario, the trio “robbed” the closed Olin Employees Credit Union, 419 N. Shamrock St., while yelling at employees and customers to lie down and not “eyeball” them. After getting the loot, Hobbs forced employee Dawn Ray upstairs then fatally “shot” her. The exercise was a test of preparedness for the credit union’s staff, as well as for East Alton police. Participants in the drama had undergone a three-hour training session by Penny Giles, a training consultant for the Illinois Credit Union League in Naperville. But the participants did not know The Telegraph/JOHN BADMAN East Alton Police Sat. Bob Greene, armed with a sawed-off shotgun, marches into the Olin Employees Credit Union Wednesday evening after firing blanks in the air during a mock holdup. what was going to transpire. While taught to obey the frantic robbers’ orders, employees and “customers" surreptitiously noted the crooks’ appearances, where they might have left fingerprints, names that slipped out and any other clues that could help police. A number of the employees managed to activate a security alarm or call 911. “You did excellent,” Police Chief Richard Brown told the group after the mock heist. “It gave us a chance to do something that we are not used to doing — it was our chance to come in and be the bad guys and understand what goes through the bad guys’ heads,” Brown said. After the drama, which left a somber pall on some employees, Carlton asked the employees what they had observed: How many blank shots were fired? How tall is he? How many robbers were there. How long did it take? Brown said he wanted to get the message out that the credit union will not be a good place to rob. More important, he said the staff should do what it must to survive and not resist robbers. “I hope we didn’t shake anybody up too much, but I hope we got your attention. Anyone thinking of coming in here to take money ought to think twice. Remember, it is a life-and-death situation. We ■ See HOLDUP. Page A-7 Call Your Local Credit Union George G. Burnett Like “huge mounds of snow” that won* I melt away iday “credit card bitts”arc here to stay. so high that some Witt be tate - your “local credit union”has a much "lower rate” ‘People 'ping People” ;