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Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - June 28, 1999, Alton, Illinois SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836 THE TELEGRAM Santa Glaus to some I IMPACT helping j residents live Page B-l | Racing lo a close 16th Annual Prairie State Games comes to an end PageC-l The outlook Partly sunny with t-storms late ; high near 85, low near 64 Page W Pride and iou Green thumbs put gardens on display during tour Page D-l Vol. 164, No. 164 — 50 cents Monday, June 28,1999 www.thetelegraph.comGray finally free to begin again / TV &*. 4. ’ WLm , % \ St %. C .rn < * im l l I* By DENNIS GRUBAUGH Telegraph staff writer EDWARDSVILLE - There was no apology, no offer of compensation, no finding of innocence. In the end, all David A. Gray had was his attorneys’ assurance that he was finally free to start a new life — 21 years after going to prison for a brutal crime he’d always denied. Man jailed for 20 years considering malicious prosecution suit Last Wednesday, the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office dismissed rape, attempted murder and robbery charges filed in 1978. The office said it no longer had the evidence to sustain a new trial. Gray, of Alton, said he was surprised only by the timing. “I expected it to turn out like this, but I thought I’d have to wait a few more months for the appeals process,” he said. He doesn’t hide the bitterness he feels toward prosecutor Don Weber and Alton police officers who he said conspired to build a case that did nbt exist. He said he is considering a federal lawsuit for malicious prosecution. Gray, 46. was convicted in the second of two trials in 1978 for the assault on Anna Brewer, 58, in her Belle Street home He served 20 years of a 60-year prison sentence before DNA tests excluded him from evidence left at the scene. Madison County Associate Judge Ann Cadis ordered a new trial in September, and Gray was freed from jail as the state’s attorney appealed the matter Last week, the case was dropped — just two weeks after the Illinois 5th District Appellate Court affirmed the local judge’s ruling. State’s Attorney William Haine issued a press release saying the case was hampered by lack of witnesses. ■ See FREE, Page A-7TV helps save Wadlow houseChildren’s special to focus on local icon I ne i eiegrapn/Huss smi i n Jton Public Works Department employees with the PACA program use weed trimmers to clean up the house at 1421 Monroe St., I Alton, the birthplace of Robert Wadlow. A production crew from England is coming to Alton to film a documentary about Wadlow. By LINDA N. WELLER Telegraph staff writer ALTON — An English film crew’s interest in taping the birthplace of Alton’s gentle giant, Robert Wadlow, means the house is getting spruced-up instead of demolished. Officials learned late last week that members of Wall to Wall TV of London will arrive soon in Alton — possibly this week — to film a children’s television special on the life of the world’s tallest man. The film reportedly will be called “In Search of the Tall Guy.” Mayor Don Sandidge said the English filmmakers described the Wadlow sites they plan to film, among them Wadlow’s birthplace at 1421 Monroe St. Wadlow, who grew to 8 feet, 11.1 inches tall, was born in the house Feb. 22, 1918, and lived there three months. Wadlow died in 1940. Sandidge said the house, which has been vacant for about two years, was on the city’s demolition list. "We found out in the nick of time,” he said of the home’s historical    significance. Officials    immediately removed the property from the demolition list, he said. The former owners of the house are dead, leaving the property’s ownership held in an estate. Sandidge said the late owners’ survivors are not interested in keeping the house and may transfer ownership to ■ See WADLOW, Page A-7 New post office thrills residents By ANDE YAKSTIS Telegraph staff writer HAMBURG — Residents of this scenic river town are happy to see a new post office built in town to replace the old building washed out in the record Flood of 1993. “We’re overjoyed to see our brand new post office,” Postmaster Carol Hirschfeld said. “We’ve waited six years since our old post office was lost to the big flood.” The new post office stands on a hill below the tall bluff's of Hamburg, a historic along    the Mississippi River in western Calhoun County. “It’s a happy, exciting moment in the history of our town to see our new post office,” said Hamburg Mayor Donna Kelly, who loves Hamburg and its history as a steamboat town. Hirschfeld admired the new post office, which has just been completed on State Street. “ITI raise the Stars and Stripes on the new flagpole in front of the post office on July 2 and open the door to our customers for the first time,” she «Weve VV waited six years since our old post office town was lost to the big flood.” Carol Hirschfeld said. For the people of Hamburg, ifs been a six-year struggle, a long wait to finally get their new post office. Kelly and other residents courageously battled the Flood of 1993 to keep the raging river out of their town. People stood shoulder to shoulder on the riverfront in _ the summer of 1993 to pile sandbags IO feet high to save their community from the flooding Mississippi. Residents were heartbroken when the floodwater raced through the post office on the main street of Hamburg, Hirschfeld said. She waded postmaster through waist-deep floodwater to carry postal supplies out of the old post office to higher ground after the flood raged through the building. “It was sad when the floodwater washed out our post office,” she said. After the big Flood of 1993, the Postal Service hired a contractor to build a new post office. The contractor went bank-■ See OFFICE. Page A-7 A monumental honor County health official is hunting mosquitoes By SANFORD J. SCHMIDT Telegraph staff writer EDWARDSVILLE While most people are going to try to avoid mosquitoes this summer, Toni Corona of the Madison Country Health Department will be out trying to find some. Corona is an environmental health services manager who will be looking for Asian tiger mosquitoes, which can cause St. Louis encephalitis, according to Don Brannon, administrator of the department. The mosquitoes pick up the virus by biting infected birds, then can spread it to the humans they bite, Brannon said. “We look for mosquitoes primarily in illegal tire dumps,” Brannon said. The discarded tires catch water, and standing water is a prime breeding place for mosquitoes of all types. Corona sets traps in areas where mosquitoes are likely to breed, then sends samples to a state laboratory in Springfield. Many mosquito types look the same, and it takes an expert to tell an Asian tiger from others, Brannon said. Last year, th? department identified six Asian tiger mosquito breeding sites. The mosquito seeking program is being pursued under a $10,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Public Health. This is the second year of the grant program in Madison County. The Asian tiger mosquito ■ See HUNTING, Page A-7 The Telegraph/MARGIE M. BARNES Compatriot William Scoggins unveils the memorial to Reuben Hopkins, a Patriot of the American Revolution, at Lusk Memorial Cemetery in Edwardsville. See story, Page A-7. Good Morning Area/Illinois...............A-3,6 Bulletin Board..............A-8 Classifieds...................C-7 Comics.........................D-2 Editorial........................A-4 Nation/World................B-4 Neighbors....................B-1 Obituaries....................A-5 Conrad, Godar. Jacobs, Odorizzi, Probst, Rieger, Robertson, Search Region..........................D-1 Scoreboard..................C-2 Television....................D-3 WEEKEND BAWDS FRIDAY, July 2 it Till 11 IAI IT ll III no SATURDAY, July 3 SUNDAY July “FLUID DRIVE” ;