Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - June 26, 1999, Alton, Illinois
SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836
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The outlook Partly sunny with isolated thunderstorms. High 89; low 71
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Vol. 164, No. 162 — 50 cents
Saturday, June 26,1999
www.thetelegraph.comBelle docks as Ryan signs bill
By DAN BRANNAN
Telegraph managing editor
ALTON - The Alton Belle Casino took its last cruise on the Mississippi River early today and will offer gambling while permanently moored from now on.
The Alton Belle’s last cruise left the dock at 4 a m., less than 24 hours after Gov.
Unlimited boarding begins today
George Ryan signed legislation Friday that lets Illinois riverboats stay permanently docked, subsidizes the ailing horse racing industry and opens Cook County to casino gambling.
Bill Albert, director of operations for the Alton Belle Casino, said the riverboat will have unlimited boarding as of 8 a m. today and will cease to make its excursions lft miles up the Mississippi.
“Actually, we thought the governor was going to sign the bill last Friday," Albert said. “When he didn’t, it took us by big surprise. We’re glad it’s happened so we can put to rest some of the rumors. We have
no plans for layoffs.
“We have officers, deckhands and people who work in the engine room. We will be changing the scope of their jobs, but they all will still be here. We actually probably
will be hiring additional people with our expansion.”
Ryan signed the bill just a stone’s throw away from the Casino Rock Island, which has faced tough competition from riverboat casinos across the river in Iowa. Casinos in Iowa generally stay docked, allowing customers to come and go
■ See BELLE. Page A-7
Cahoon, Flure, Godar, McKean, Meyer, Murphy, Tungett
Liquor costs up Thursday as tax rises
By KERRY SMITH
Telegraph staff writer
Buyers of hard liquor, wines and beer will need to come up with extra dollars at the checkout counter beginning Thursday, when a new state law takes effect.
Senate Bill 1066, a multi-faceted piece of legislation passed May 15 as a key funding source for Gov. George Ryan’s “Illinois FIRST” roads and infrastructure plan, is expected to generate some $81 million statewide through hefty excise tax increases on alcoholic beverages.
The biggest increase will be attached to hard liquors, according to the bill. The per-gailon tax on distilled spirits will jump from $2 to $4.50. The tax on high-alcohol wines — those containing more than a 14 percent alcohol content but less than 20 percent — will increase from 60 cents to 73 cents per gallon. The tax on low-alcohol wines — defined by the state of Illinois as those containing up to 14
■ See LIQUOR, Page A-7
Area trails will be on U.S. list
Telegraph staff report
ALTON — President Clinton will designate 16 national “millennium trails” today, several of which will intersect large areas of southwestern and Southern Illinois.
U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Ill., hailed the announcement, which will allow areas that are eligible to pursue grants of up to $500,000.
Four of the eligible areas touch the region. They are:
■ The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, commemorating the westward expedition of 1803-1804, beginning in Madison County. Costello secured $4 million last year for a Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center at Camp DuBois near Wood River.
■ The Mississippi River Trail, featuring a bicycle route adjacent to the Mississippi. Costello worked to include the $6.5 million in
■ See TRAILS, Page A-7
The Telegraph/JOHN BADMAN
Firefighters and employees of the Wood River Refining Co. work around the front of a Chevy Astro van Friday to free 17-year-old Frances Lewis of Roxana, who was trapped inside for 40 minutes after the van hit the back of an Illinois Department of Transportation backhoe on Illinois Route 111 in Hartford, killing her father, Daniel Lewis, 56.
Driver killed when van hits backhoe
Crews rescue teen-age daughter
Bill Robertson of the Hartford Police Department, an accident reconstruction specialist who investigated the crash.
Frances Lewis was rushed by ambulance and paramedics to Christian Hospital Northeast in St. Louis County, where she was reported in stable condition Friday night.
IDOT employee Roger Beasley was driving the backhoe north on Route 111 about 1:20 p.m. when Lewis’ northbound blue 1995 Chevrolet Astro minivan suddenly slammed into the rear of the vehicle, Hartford Police Lt. James Riley said.
Firefighter rescue crews from South Roxana, Roxana and Hartford sped to the crash scene, along with paramedics in two ambulances, to try to free the two people pinned inside the overturned van.
“The front of the van is destroyed, and the driver and passenger are trapped inside,” said Riley as he watched firefighters attempt to rescue the occupants. “Firefighters are using
■ See VAN, Page A-7
By ANDE YAKSTIS
Telegraph staff writer
The Telegraph/JOHN BADMAN
Roxana firefighter John Losch uses a Hurst rescue tool to cut open the top of the van.
HARTFORD — A Roxana man died and his daughter was injured Friday when their minivan plowed into the rear of a state highway department backhoe on Illinois Route 111 at Hartford.
The van’s driver, Daniel P. Lewis, 56, of the 500 block of South Central Avenue, died in the twisted wreckage of the van after it crashed into a backhoe of the Illinois Department of Transportation and flipped over on the highway in front of Wood River Refining Co.
“I pronounced the driver dead inside the vehicle at 2:05 p.m.,” said Ralph Baahlmann, Madison County coroner’s chief investigator.
Firefighters labored in 91-degree heat for 45 minutes with rescue tools in an effort to save the life of Lewis’ daughter, Frances Lewis, 17, who was trapped inside the van’s wreckage.
“Firefighters cut the top off the front of the van to reach the man and his daughter trapped inside,” said OfficerSenior Living Apartments and Garden Patio Homes J^pe^Tours Available • Display Models On-Site % sljnciays 466-8662 4503 North Alby Road • Godfrey 7- i-3pm