12-1-2006

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BECAUSE OF SEVERE WEATHER AND POWER OUTAGES THE WGEL DAILY DELIVERY WAS DELAYED UNTIL SATURDAY DECEMBER 2ND

 


FIRST WINTER STORM LEAVES A LASTING MARK

This season’s first winter storm left a memorable impression on the lives of area residents.  A heavy layer of ice led to power outages throughout the WGEL listening area.  Area fire departments, Greenville police, and the Bond County Sheriff’s Department were kept busy Thursday night and Friday morning responding to numerous reports of power lines down, transformers on fire, and tree branches and limbs falling on roadways, houses, and cars.  One eastbound driver on Route 140 near Greenville Regional Hospital Thursday evening had a tree branch fall onto the hood of her truck.  She was not injured.  Greenville firefighters responded to twelve calls Thursday night and two Friday morning. 

During the storm, the Greenville Fire Protection District was called to a house fire on South Avenue at the Shannon Cripps residence.  One room was gutted by the fire and the rest of the home sustained major smoke damage.  Firefighters say the fire began in a first floor computer room and spread to the second floor.  Damage was estimated at $25,000.  No one was home at the time and the fire was spotted by a neighbor.  While at the scene, a tree fell into a phone line pulling it across one of the department’s pumper trucks.  It was not damaged. 

The ice storm left more than 7,000 Southwestern Electric customers without power.  That number was reduced to around 4,400 by Friday afternoon.  The highest concentration of outages was near New Douglas, Bethalto, Collinsville and Troy.  In addition to power outages, Southwestern said disruption of communication services such as telephone, cell phone, and the Internet added to an already difficult situation.  Frontier phone in northwestern Bond County and Verizon wireless were among those knocked out by the storm.  Southwestern’s Joe Richardson said when storm damage is this extensive, it’s difficult to estimate when power will be restored to all customers. 

Ameren IP’s Erica Abbett told WGEL that at one time over 500,000 customers in Illinois and Missouri were without power.  Around 220,000 of those were in Illinois with many in the Metro East. Abbett also said that due to the extent of the damage that some Ameren IP customers could expect lengthy outages.  Several areas in Greenville including portions of the business district were affected by outages.

The Greenville Regional Hospital emergency room was without power at one point Friday morning. The phone system at Greenville Regional was also down but the hospital remained open until backup power was utilized.

The Greenville First Christian Church, which had power, opened its doors to those in need of a warm place to stay and area motels also reported people booking rooms to find refuge from the cold.

Rain and ice totals for the city of Greenville were 1.75 inches of rain and ½ inch of ice at the Waste Water Treatment Plant on Route 40, 1.8 inches of rain and ½ inch of ice at 6th Street, and 2.02 inches of rain and ¾ inch of ice at Idler Lane and Route 140. 


RYAN AVOIDING JAIL DURING HIS APPEAL

Former Governor George Ryan says he is elated that he will remain free while appealing his conviction on corruption charges.  Ryan was to report on January 4th to begin his six-and-a-half year sentence.  He received word on the reprieve Wednesday morning.  However, a state pension board ruled the former governor will not be able to collect any of his $197,000 a year pension.  Ryan could appeal that decision. 


RURAL BOND COUNTY BUSINESS BURGLARY VICTIM

40TH and Plum Furniture fell victim to burglars earlier this week.  On Tuesday afternoon the Bond County Sheriff's Department received a report of furniture stolen from the business.  Deputies found signs of forced entry and gathered several pieces of evidence.  There was also a large amount of damage to the office area.  40th and Plum employees are taking an inventory to determine the amount of furniture stolen.

 




BLACK BEAR EMAIL BELIEVED TO BE HOAX

Over the past several weeks, an e-mail has been making the rounds depicting a large black bear trapped under a combine in a corn field.  The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has received several inquiries about the photo which many people believe was taken in this state.  However, the IDNR says the e-mail is a hoax and it did not occur in Illinois.  According to the e-mail, a man combining a cornfield ran over the bear as it was emerging from a large hole in the ground.  The details surrounding the incident vary but in one instance they infer that it happened in the Decatur area.  


BOND COUNTY NOW MEMBER OF SWIDA

The Illinois House has joined the Senate in approving the Governor's requested changes to a bill that allows Bond County to join the Southwestern Illinois Development Authority.  Madison, St. Clair, and Clinton counties are the other members.  In August, Governor Blagojevich issued an amendatory veto to the bill and asked that two additional members be added to the authority board.  These would be appointments by his office.  On Wednesday the Illinois House voted to accept the changes.  SWIDA issues industrial revenue bonds that are federal and state tax exempt.

Representative Ron Stephens talked to WGEL from the floor of the House Chamber in the Old State Capitol where the veto session is being held.  Representative Stephens said he had worked on passage of the bill with Bond County Board Chairperson Jill Franks and Greenville Mayor Alan Gaffner.  He explained that economic development is the most important issue in Bond County and the area.  Stephens added that SWIDA's bonding authority is an important financial tool for leveraging millions of dollars that Bond would not have access to, otherwise.  According to Stephens, the county's membership in the authority tells industries that Bond County is organized and "upscale" when it comes to economic opportunities.

Senator Frank Watson introduced the language in the bill adding Bond County to SWIDA in the Senate last fall.  It was approved by the Senate in October 2005 and by the House in May of this year

 




VOLUNTEERS HONORED WITH GOVERNOR'S AWARDS

Four people who have volunteered as Medicare Part D counselors at the Bond County Senior Center were recently honored at a state ceremony.  The Senior Health Insurance Program and Illinois Department on Aging trained Phyllis and Jerry Libsack, Mary Dixon, and Marie Siefken to field questions on Medicare Part D.  Senior Center Director Anna Oestreich told WGEL that she interviewed the quartet for their efforts answering Medicare Part D questions and enrolling interested people in the program.  She said they also handled other drug prescription program questions. 

Phyllis and Jerry Libsack, Mary Dixon, and Marie Siefken were chosen for the Governor's Award for Unique Achievement during a ceremony at the Governor's mansion.  The director of the Illinois Department on Aging made the presentation.


OBITUARIES

LINDA KLINE

Linda Kline, the daughter of Norvel and Helen Liedner oF Smithboro, passed away Friday morning at 2:30am at St. Louis University Hospital from a one-vehicle accident.
Visitation is Monday from 5PM to 8PM at the Rogers Adkins Funeral home in Salem, Illinois. Funeral Services will be held Tuesday at the Kinmundy United Methodist Church at 10:30am.

MABEL RIEDEMANN

Mabel Riedemann, age 94 of Greenville, passed away Wednesday (11/29) at Greenville Regional Hospital.  Funeral services for 94-year-old Mabel Riedemann will be conducted Sunday at 2PM at the Greenville First Presbyterian Church.  Interment at Montrose Cemetery.  Friends may call Saturday December 2nd from 5-7PM at the church.  Memorials to Greenville Regional Hospital. 


BOOK DISCUSSES FORTS OF EARLY ILLINOIS

A new book by two area men tracks 170 forts of early Illinois.  The authors, Bill Wilson and Kevin Kaegy, wrote "Tales of Hill's Fort" a few years ago and have followed up with "Forts and Blockhouses of Illinois."  With over 260 pages, the book was three years in the making.  Kaegy discussed the book during Tuesday's Bond County Historical Society meeting.  It begins with the five known stone forts in southern Illinois from the pre-historic era and moves through the French era, early American settlers of the state, and the War of 1812 and Blackhawk Indian War.  Kaegy said the first edition of one hundred books has already sold out.  The next shipment is due December 4.

Kaegy shared that in 1800 there were around 100,000 Indians living in the Illinois territory in comparison to just a few thousand white settlers.  Southern Illinois was primarily hunting ground as there were few large Indian villages in this part of the state.  Kaegy talked about the Whiteside Fort located near Columbia.  He is a descendant of the Whiteside family that moved here from North Carolina in 1793.

There were 30 forts in Madison and Bond counties during the War of 1812 including Hill's, Lindley's, and Greene's forts in Bond.  "Forts and Blockhouses of Illinois" is the first book on the topic since 1912.  Kaegy explained that he and Wilson utilized over 90 sources during their research. 


PUBLIC AFFAIRS PROGRAM

Join us this Sunday for WGEL's Public Affairs Program.  Our guest this week is Greenville Fire Chief Bill Johnston.  Bill will be talking to us about the dangers of Carbon Monoxide along with signs and symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning.  He will also talk to us about the new law that states if you have gas appliances in your home, you must have a Carbon Monoxide detector by January 1. That's Public Affairs this Sunday following our noon Bond County Area News here on WGEL.


 

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