The Tri-City Regional Port Authority is seeking to expand its territory and change its name in the process.
Senate Bill 499, sponsored by Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton, would create America’s Central Port District. It passed out of the state Senate April 7 and by month’s end was pending before the House Rules Committee with Rep. Dan Beiser, D-Alton, as the chief sponsor.
If enacted, the Authority would expand its territory substantially. The Tri-City Regional Port District was created in 1959 encompassing three and a half townships: Venice, Granite City, Nameoki and the southern half of Chouteau. The bill would add five more townships: Wood River, Alton, Godfrey, Elsah and Quarry along with the remainder of Chouteau Township.
Dennis Wilmsmeyer, the port’s executive director, said the interest in expansion is driven by success.
“We’ve done a pretty good job of attracting companies here since taking over the Congressman Mel Price Army Support Center property in 2002,” Wilmsmeyer said. “Our larger parcels have been leased by companies like Abengoa Energy. They’ve made a tremendous investment but, as we’re seeing some of these larger prospective companies that are searching for sites, we’re finding now that our contiguous parcels may not be large enough to meet the needs of some of these large projects that are out there.”
Wilmsmeyer said that their initial interest was just to expand up to take in the rest of Chouteau Township and add Wood River Township. They hired former Alton Mayor Tom Hoescht as a representative to talk to the various mayors and township officials to determine if there would be support for such a move.
“We told him to focus on Wood River Township but, if other communities were interested, we’d certainly be willing to talk with them,” Wilmsmeyer said. “It took off from there and we ended up going all the way up to Grafton.”
Dury Estes stood out among others walking the aisles at a recent college job fair. Outfitted in a nice suit coat, tie and slacks, he looked dressed for success — and was hoping to find it.
Ever since he was “let go” at a medical records facility he’s had a rough four and a half months, searching for the next job.
“I’ve got a folder full of rejections,” said the Wood River man. “I’ve probably applied to about 40 places.”
But he said he’s not to be discouraged. Things have picked up lately with three interviews.
“I’m making a job out of getting a job,” he said, quoting from an old saw.
Estes, who is well past his school years, was among a sea of people in attendance at an April Career Fair sponsored by Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey.
Many of those present were college students, hoping to latch on to something after graduation. Others were people well into their prime, hoping to regain something they had lost or to grab on to something new, and better. They represented an amalgam of those looking for work after the recession of the last few years.
“I’ve got a job, but I’m just getting by,” said one man, who declined to give his name for fear of alerting his current boss. “I don’t want to just get by; I want to live.”
Job seekers, particularly those now coming out of college, may be in for some good news. The markets are easing up, and some places are hiring. Many employers say they have jobs now ready to be filled — in some cases, really good jobs.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons, which is not high on many occupational lists, is about to see a surge of hirings in Illinois, said Kurt Neudeck, a counselor in Unit Management at FCI Greenville, the federal correctional center in Bond County. Because that facility is turning 20 years old, a number of its workers who have been there from the beginning are eligible for retirement. That’s opening up jobs in a number of professions, not just guards.
ALTON — An unusual threefold plan to build on local business will kick off this month with the launch of a long-planned food hub project in Alton.
The project is a complexity of interwoven ingredients designed to sustain each other. One is a food hub that aims to get fresh, locally grown food products to local users. The second establishes a business incubator to build start-up companies. And the third creates commercial kitchen rental space that will generate a revenue stream to run the incubator and serve as a modest source of income for the kitchen owners, all of which are charitable in nature.
A public, fund-raising kickoff will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 13, at the Alton Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1308, 4445 N. Alby St. The buffet is $15 a person. The VFW has a kitchen that gets little use and will be utilized as part of the commercial kitchen rental plan.
The key to the plan is the vendor network now involved in Alton’s successful Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market, which this spring moves to a new location on the southeast corner of the intersection of Henry Street and Landmarks Boulevard.
The food project, in the works for about two years, is being coordinated by the Alton Area Business Development Association, an administrative body formed to run what’s being called the Great Rivers Market Fresh Network, the working name for the combined incubator/food hub/commercial kitchen.
“The food hub movement across this country is no accident. It’s gaining traction everywhere it goes,” said Ron Tanner, a participant who publicly presented the plan for the first time at a meeting sponsored by the Small Business Development Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
The association’s network hopes to broker unused commercial kitchen space to businesses and groups that need it.
“But the network is more than that,” Tanner said. “It’s also access to financial networks. It’s also training and education, mentoring and such. It’s a lot more than just an incubator or food hub, it’s a whole network of opportunities to expand small business.”
Simmons case leads to settlement offer for residents near Bridgeton Landfill
Settlement requires landfill owners to pay residents most impacted by putrid odor nearly $7 million
ST. LOUIS – A federal magistrate judge gave preliminary approval to a settlement that will require the owners of the Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill to pay residents living near the site nearly $7 million. The class action lawsuit that prompted the settlement alleged lost property value and public nuisance caused by the overwhelming and noxious odors released from an underground fire in the depths of the landfill. Notification will go out immediately to residents of three neighborhoods closest to the landfill who will have a choice to accept or reject their portion of the settlement.
The lawsuit was filed March 2013 in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Missouri by attorney Ted Gianaris, of Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC, on behalf of more than 400 residences impacted by the putrid smells in the neighborhoods of Spanish Village Subdivision; Terrisan Reste Mobile Home Park; Carrollton Village Apartment Homes and Condominiums; and homes on Foerster, Taussig and Boenker roads in Bridgeton, Mo.
"Republic Services put these families in a terrible situation. By uniting together through a class action lawsuit, we were able to quickly reach a resolution that will give residents some resources to decide how to move forward," Gianaris said.
The settlement will go to individuals who were legal residents living in the areas immediately surrounding the landfill between November 2010 and December 2013. In order to receive a portion of the settlement, class members are required to complete and return a claim form. Gianaris said payments could be made as early as this fall.
"Through aggressive litigation we were able to put together a solid case," Gianaris said. "This settlement provides the landfill's neighbors a fair amount of money within a reasonable time frame."
Residents have compared the smell to rotten eggs or something dead. "The smells have negatively impacted these people's quality of life," Gianaris said.
The Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill is located at the intersection of Interstate 70 and 270 on St. Charles Rock Road in Missouri. The landfill covers 52 acres and extends below the surface approximately 240 feet. The total waste thickness is 320 feet and is located in two areas known as the North and South Quarries. The Bridgeton landfill accepted waste from 1985 until Dec. 31, 2004.
The case name and number is Buck et. al. v. Republic Services, Inc., et al. No. 4:13CV00801 TCM (E.D. Mo. Apr. 17, 2014).
About Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC: Headquartered in Alton, Ill., with offices in St. Louis, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, the Simmons Firm is a leading national law firm in complex litigation matters and has represented thousands of clients throughout the country on issues involving toxic exposure, consumer rights and public safety. The firm is dedicated to its clients and has pledged over $20 million to cancer research. For more information, visit http://www.simmonsfirm.com.