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September 4, 2012

Greetings ~


It may be a short work week for many of us but it appears there's been no shortage of good news coming out of the Metro East as we wound down to the official end of summer. Among the stories capturing attention was the return of passenger service at MidAmerica Airport and the positive ripple effect expected from SIUE's eligibility for post-season play at the Division 1 level, as well as the infrastructure improvements coming to Alton, Brighton and Edwardsville. This post Labor Day edition of NewsLink also spotlights the upcoming Jobs Plus job fair later this month and includes links to some of the latest coverage on the levee improvements, which remain our region's top priority. While there are still challenges to overcome in advancing this vital project, we remain optimistic as we continue to lead the Levee Issues Alliances' efforts to bring the FPD Council and Corps together to find a viable path forward.

Have a great week!



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Flights to Florida returning to MidAmerica Airport (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 8/21/2012)


MidAmerica Logo The St. Louis Post-Dispatch was one of several local media outlets covering the good news that passenger flights are returning to MidAmerica Airport after an absence of more than three years. In November, Allegiant Air will begin a two-flight-per-week service, usually on Thursdays and Sundays, to Orlando-Sanford International Airport in Florida by way of a 166 passenger MD-80. MidAmerica Airport offers free parking directly in front of the facility, adding to the convenience and affordability of this alternative for those traveling to Florida from the St. Louis region.(Read More) 


SIUE's Division I status could bring economic gains to Metro East (Suburban Journals 8/21/2012)


SIUE Cougars Fans of the "Big E" know that the Cougars have been competing in Division 1 conferences, but this year they will be eligible for post-season play. The 2012-2013 school year will be Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's first year as a fully eligible Division 1 school. The Suburban Journal is reporting that SIUE's athletic director is expecting bigger crowds and better matches, while local businesses are preparing for the increased tourism. Division 1 competitors have larger budgets, draw bigger crowds and stay in town longer than lower division schools. Spill-over from the Edwardsville market is expected to positively affect the region. Collinsville, in particular, has more hotels to offer than other cities in the area and expects to see tourism and restaurant traffic increase once the seasons are underway.(Read More) 

Recertification of levees remains priority (The Alton Telegraph, 8/27/2012)


August 2012 marked the five-year anniversary of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's announcement that the agency considered the Metro East Levees to be inadequate in providing 100-year flood protection. The anniversary served as the hook for a series of articles and interviews providing an update on the latest with the levee improvement efforts, including this comprehensive round-up piece in the Alton Telegraph. It summarizes the achievements of local leaders to date, including the creation of the Southwestern Illinois Flood Prevention District Council, launch of the St. Louis Metro East Levee Issues Alliance, development of a plan to improve the levees to meet the new federal standards and securing of local funds for implementation. It also calls attention to the current challenges as the FPD Council continues to rework its plan to find a solution that will be acceptable to the Corps, which must provide the necessary approval and permits for the project to move forward.

East Alton improving Main Street (The Alton Telegraph, 8/27/2012)


The Alton Telegraph is reporting that Main Street in Alton will receive an upgrade courtesy of $450,000 in grant funding awarded by Madison County and the Illinois Department of Transportation. The improvements will take place from St. Louis Avenue to Shamrock Street. The main focus of the project is to make the street ADA-compliant, but other work will be done as well, including milling, overlay, curb, gutter, and ramp updates. The project is expected to be completed by mid-September.(Read More) 


Attorney John Simmons donating island to LCCC for research (The Alton Telegraph 8/22/2012)


According to the Alton Telegraph, Attorney John Simmons will deed the 170-acre, Coon Island, located in Calhoun County in the Upper Mississippi River, to the Lewis and Clark Community College Foundation for use by the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center. The island, which is appraised at $250,000, is located northwest of Hardin, adjacent to the Rip Rap Landing State Fish and Wildlife Area and Clarence Cannon National Wildlife Refuge, and is only accessible by boat. The island is described as primitive and will provide an opportunity to study a new flood plain and help develop a research-informed, sustainable management plan.

(Read More) 


Brighton Officials Lay Out Sewer Project (The Alton Telegraph, 8/29/2012)


Brighton officials are developing plans to utilize a $1.164 million revolving loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to replace or repair a substantial portion of the village's sanitary sewer system. According to the Alton Telegraph, residential sewer customers can expect an estimated $5 to $10 monthly increase in their rates, based on water consumption. The plan calls to replace almost 13,000 feet of sewer mains and repair another 2,300 feet. The update should fix flooding and backups caused by heavy rains and prolonged periods of wet weather. (Read More) 


Business District Moving Forward (The Edwardsville Intelligencer, 8/30/2012)


The Edwardsville Intelligencer reports that the area south of the Route 157/Interstate 270 interchange near the Hampton Inn is three steps closer to becoming a business district. Board members approved a public hearing set for Sept. 11 to review plans for widening route 157, along with installing a traffic signal and turn lane at Heritage Crossing Drive to make the area more attractive to area businesses. Two other resolutions were approved, including a project funding agreement with Premier Re, Inc., and another with Moran Economic Development. The improvements are estimated to cost $2 million with no real financial risk to the village. The development hinges on its own success and will need to generate sales to cover the costs of the infrastructure improvements. A one percent increase in sales tax in the proposed business district would help pay down the debt associated with the enhancements.(Read More) 


In Other News


Conner Promotes Metro-east Region in new RCGA Post (The Belleville News-Democrat, 8/28/2012)


Rich Connor  

Will Buss of the Belleville News-Democrat recently sat down to chat with Leadership Council President Rich Conner regarding his transition from serving as Superintendent of Administration for Ameren Illinois, to his new role with the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association. His new duties for RCGA are as an advisor for regional development, a position in which he believes he can continue to serve as a champion and advocate for Southwestern Illinois as a key part of the broader St. Louis economy. In the interview, he talks about the importance of a regional approach to staying competitive in a global economy.(Read More)  





Annual Job Fair Set in Collinsville (The Edwardsville Intelligencer, 8/23/2012)


The annual Jobs Plus 2012 Job Fair is set for September 13 at the Gateway Convention Center in Collinsville, Ill., from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Last year the event attracted over 50 employers from the St. Louis region and more than 1,600 job seekers. This year's turnout is expected to be even bigger. The fair is free and open to the public. Job seekers will have access to a free on-site copy service for duplicating resumes and a chance to register for one of four $50 gas cards. The fair will also host free informational workshops on topics including making a job fair work for you; dressing for success; mock interviewing; job search tips for seniors; using the Illinois workNet Internet-based job search website and other web-based job search engines; and tips on filling out online job applications. Employers will be provided space to conduct on-the-spot interviews with job seekers. (Read More) 



Contact Information

Ellen Krohne

 Executive Director

Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois



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