MASCOUTAH, Ill. (AP) - A metro-east airport that has never turned a profit since opening with great fanfare 15 years ago continues to lose money.
The Belleville News-Democrat reports an audit shows the St. Clair County-owned MidAmerica St. Louis Airport last year suffered a $3.8 million loss. That's despite boosting revenue by $2.2 million from additional capital funding from the Federal Aviation Administration and the state.
The airport near Mascoutah got $5.6 million in county funds to subsidize its operations. That brings to $28.7 million the county has funneled into the airport over the past five years.
J.W. Boyle & Co. auditors anticipate the county will continue to subsidize the airport "in the near future."
MidAmerica has struggled since opening in 1998, and critics persistently have labeled it a $330 million boondoggle.
After a drug scandal rocked the county courthouse, St. Clair County officials are expanding their drug testing program. The board decided unanimously Monday night to expand the random drug testing to hundreds of additional employees.
Ironically, the new policy won't apply to the circuit court system where the scandal broke. That's because the courts are a separate government entity.
In March, Circuit Judge Joe Christ died while staying with Circuit Judge Michael Cook at a hunting lodge. In May, Cook was charged with heroine possession and a weapons violation. A probation officer and another man are also facing charges.
Another interstate closure will delay drivers in the metro-east this weekend.
The Illinois Department of Transportation will shut down westbound Interstate 55/70 between IL Rte. 203 and the I-64 merge starting at 9:00 p.m. Friday.
Eastbound Interstate 64 will remain closed this weekend between 25th Street the split.
Detours using Interstate 255 will be marked.
Both closures are related to the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge over the Mississippi River. Both highways should reopen by Monday morning; Westbound I-55/70 by 5:00 a.m.. Eastbound I-64 by 9:00 a.m.
Another former metro-east police chief is heading to prison. The former top cop in Edwardsville, 57 year old James Bedell, was sentenced Thursday to a year and a half in federal prison for stealing nearly $140,000 in city funds.
Bedell had pleaded guilty in April to taking money from a department lock box that contained vehicle impound fees between 2009 and 2012.
Bedell resigned nearly a year ago on the day agents raided his home and office. He had been with the department since 2007.
Monday is the first morning commute since Illinois transportation crews closed a key stretch of Interstate 64.
All lanes of eastbound I-64 are closed between the I-55/70 split and 25th Street. And it's scheduled to remain closed until next Monday morning (Sept. 23).
The closure will allow crews to build connections to the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge. IDOT reports that the new bridge across the Mississippi River is on track to open early next year (2014).
BETHALTO, Ill. (AP) - A metro-east village is paying tribute to a hometown Marine who died in 2010 of complications from injuries sustained in Afghanistan.
The Alton Telegraph reports that seven signs honoring Lance Cpl. Kenneth Corzine have been erected at each road entrance to Bethalto.
Corzine was 23 when he died on Christmas Eve of 2010, 19 days after being injured by a roadside bomb that exploded, costing him both legs.
Corzine grew up in Bethalto and was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force out of Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Bethalto is in Madison County, northeast of St. Louis.
Two metro-east teachers are among the finalists for Illinois Teacher of the Year.
Sina Rowe is a kindergarten to third grade special education teacher at Goshen Elementary School in Edwardsville. Donna Whitaker teaches seventh grade Science at West Junior High School in Belleville.
They're among 11 finalists named Monday by state education officials. The winner will be announced at an October banquet in Normal.
Other finalists: John Bierbaum at Normal Community West High School in Normal, Mark Buesing at Libertyville High School in Libertyville, Amanda Dearmond at DuQuoin Middle School in DuQuoin, William Fritz at Adlai Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, DeLores Mannes at Parker Junior High School in Flossmoor, Kerry (Fran) Meyers at Brimfield Grade School in Brimfield, Pam Reilly at Woodbury Elementary School in Sandwich, Aaron Sitze at Oregon High School in Oregon and Amy Walsh at Tioga School in Bensenville.
BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - Three more women are accused in southwestern Illinois in the 2011 attack on a Red Lobster waitress who was pummeled after serving the wrong fish order.
The Belleville News-Democrat reports the latest charges come about a week after one of the defendants, 21-year-old Ania Wilkes of Ferguson, Mo., was convicted of felony assault and mob action. She awaits sentencing October 3rd.
Prosecutors in St. Clair County charged Denise McNeal of Jennings, Missouri and Lareka McNeal and Diane Ryland, both of St. Louis, with aggravated battery and mob action.
The victim, Heather Frink, says she was punched and pushed by diners at one table after she brought broiled fish instead of the requested fried fish.
Online court records don't show whether the three newly charged people have attorneys.
LITCHFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Two Interstate 55 rest stops in central Illinois now bear the name of a state trooper killed on the freeway last year.
Kyle Deatherage's family joined Illinois State Police in dedicating signs Thursday that designate the rest stops near Litchfield in Deatherage's honor. The action was approved earlier this year by Illinois' General Assembly.
Deatherage was a 32 year old motorcycle trooper when he was hit and killed by a passing tractor-trailer last November during a traffic stop along the highway, about 45 miles south of Springfield.
The trucker, 52 year old Johnny Felton Jr. of Hinesville, GA, is charged with reckless homicide and operating a commercial motor vehicle without a proper license. He has pleaded not guilty.
Deatherage was a married father of two children and had been a trooper since May 2009.
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - The chief federal judge in southern Illinois is warning citizens not to fall for a telephone scam involving jury duty and possible identity theft.
U.S. District Judge David Herndon says the caller poses as a court official and threatens prosecution for shirking jury duty. The caller then tries to extract confidential data from the call's recipient.
Herndon warns the calls don't involve actual court officials, are bogus and could be used for identity theft and fraud if the person called divulges such things as his or her Social Security or credit card numbers.
The judge adds federal courts don't require anyone to provide sensitive information by telephone, with most legitimate contact taking place by mail.
Herndon urges anyone who gets such a call to notify the local federal court clerk.