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Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - March 31, 1999, Alton, Illinois SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836 TlJ ii '-TOLECRA. J»H Today's Fowl Sports Alton beats Moville in Easter perfect time to bring •: SWC opener ; treats to the table Pi»CA I    Page    B-l    : Tho outlook Partly sunny and mild; high near 71, low near 54 Page[Mi Vol. 164, No. 75 — 50 cents Morning Star helps with home healthcare Page D-l Wednesday, March 31,1999 Morniitt Area/Illinois. A-3, 6-9 Bulletin Board A-10 Business...................D-1 Classifieds................C-8 Comics......................C-6 Nation/World...A-12, D-5 Obituaries.................A-5 Boswell, GU'/eland, Hill, Hillier, McGarrah, McRevey, Pohlman, Rathgeber, Roark, Schnarre, Tannoy, Waterman, Wheeler Scoreboard...............C-2Attorney testifies in Sims case Says the best defense was pleading not guilty Workers protest ‘six-two’ schedule By LINDA N. WELLER Telegraph staff writer ALTON — Some IOO patient care workers at Alton Mental Health Center spent two lunch shifts Tuesday protesting a proposed switch to a “six-two” work schedule. The workers, members of Local 124 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees No. 31, carried signs on both sides of busy Illinois Route 140 outside the mental health center, 4500 College Ave. Messages ranged from: “We count, we care, no 6-2” to “Save Employees’ Mental Health.” “They want to change to six days on, two days off for continuity of staff,” said John Royal, president of Local 124. Officials say the proposed ■ See SCHEDULE, Page A-11 Hospital sale would mean more doctors, less taxes By DARRYL HOWLETT Telegraph staff writer WOOD RIVER - The possible sale of Wood River Township Hospital could mean more doctors and less taxes paid by area residents. Officials with the hospital announced Friday they had agreed to enter into exclusive negotiations with Western Illinois Physicians and Surgeons Group in performing “due diligence” in pursuing the possible sale/purchase of the hospital’s assets. Wood River Township Supervisor Greg Kuehnel said closing the hospital is not a option. “I think with the past history over the last five years, the (hospital) board is pursuing whatever options they can to help the hospi- By SANFORD J. SCHMIDT Telegraph staff writer EDWARDSVILLE — Paula Sims’ attorney testified Tuesday he did not assert an insanity defense in her murder trial because she continually insisted she was innocent and there 8—^,1 ■ , . ^as no evidence that she was insane. Attorney    Don    Lf*® ..ill j Groshong, who represent    I cd Sims during her mur- AAL    j do! trial, said the hest ffll • /Bai defense seemed to be HHK that Sims was not guilty, Biff - ^m making an insanity *-    —3 defense useless.    S,ms    . Groshong testified during a hearing in Madison County Circuit Court to determine whether Sims should get a new trial, based on Groshong’s shortcomings, including the fact that he failed to assert an insanity defense. Sims is serving a life sentence for the 1989 murder of her 6-week-old daughter Heather in Alton and for concealment and obstruction of justice in the 1986 death of her 13-day-old daughter Loralei in Jersey County. Two other witnesses — both expert psychologists — also testified there was no evidence to support Sims’ contention that she v as suffering from postpartum psychosis or depression at the time of the murders of her two children. A state witness testified there was no validity to tests entered as evidence a week ago that supported the insanity claim. The hearing continues today with testimony from Chris Hunter, an attorney who did research for the defense on possible conflict of interest in having Groshong represent both Paula and Robert Sims, her estranged husband. Groshong said he was well aware of the possibility of postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis shortly after he took the case. “A lot of people were sending me letters and calling me about it,” he said. However, there was nothing on record to indicate postpartum depression, and it appeared to Groshong that the circumstantial case against her was weak, he testified Tuesday. “I didn’t think it (the insanity claim) was relevant. She told me she didn’t do it. That’s what she told me, and that’s what her defense was,” Groshong said. “I don’t necessarily believe that postpartum depression equals insanity,” he said. He said his first inkling that Paula had, in fact, killed her children was after she was convicted in 1990 of Heather’s murder. Sims acknowledged to Groshong that she had committed the murders, but there ■ See SIMS, Page A-11Vandal guns down Habitat’s hard work tai. We cannot allow the hospital to close. It must be sold,” he said. Kuehnel said if the hospital closed, the bond indebtedness would come due immediately in the amount of millions of dollars. “It would be devastating to the local community,” he said. “I have to commend the (hospital) board for looking at any option they can.” More than 40,000 residents from Hartford, Roxana, East Alton, Wood River, Bethalto, Rosewood Heights, Forest Homes and Cottage Hills pay annual taxes in support of the hospital. The hospital and the physicians’ group hope to minimize and ultimately eliminate hospital taxes. Wood River Mayor Lon Smith said the potential sale could usher ■ See SALE, Page A-11 clip this coupon This coupon may be redeerrv erned fc for 10% off c.ny mechanical service repair of $1 OO or more. May not by applied with any other I Dupon off. Offer expires 4/30/99 service cour Not valid with previous work done. See dealer for details. Must present at time of write up. □ .Goodwrench Service    offers • ASE Certified • Lifetime Service Technicians    Guarantee • Courtesy Alternate • Competitive Transportation    up front pricing The Telegraph/MARGIE M. BARNES Donald Weber, left and Donald Groshong, right, outside of the Madison County Coqrtroom Tuesday before testifying in the Paula Sims trial. The Telegraph/RUSS SMITH The Santa Claus that remains on the roof of a procrastinating owner on Logan Street in Alton has been decorated with bunny ears just in time for Easter. By LINDA N. WELLER Telegraph staff writer ALTON — Someone with a pellet gun has tarnished the efforts of 400 hard-working volunteers who have spent months building a home for someone less fortunate. The unknown shooter fired off at least 14 pellets Friday, destroying two double-paned windows and several strips of vinyl siding on two sides of the home, 221 Allen St. The 1,000-square-foot house is the first new one that Piasa Area Habitat for Humanity has built in Alton. Its owner-to-be hopes to move in April IO. “We are going to be scrambling to get everything done” in time, said Al Hoppe of Alton, one of the volunteers from Trinity Lutheran Church, 801 Blair Ave. The national Aid Association for Lutherans donated $20,000 last May to begin the project, and pledged another $15,000 to complete the home. AAL is a fraternal, beneficial society of Lutherans that also affords members opportunities for volunteer work. ■ See VANDAL, Page A-11 The Telegraph/RUSS SMITH Al Hoppe of Alton points out holes made by a pellet gun in the siding of a Habitat for Humanity home at 221 Allen St. in Alton. The new owners are planning to move in April 10, whether or not repairs are completed. ;