Metro-East Area News Briefs

Chronicle Media

Dr. Mae C. Jemison, former NASA astronaut, will speak at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

MidAmerica Airport parking lot expansion approved

Anticipating an increase in flights this summer at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport, the St. Clair County Board approved expansion of airfield’s parking facilities during a special meeting March 6. The $749,000 expansion will add 438 spaces to the parking lot; bringing total capacity to 1,276 vehicles.

The parking lot currently has 838 spaces.

Paving work is expected to begin by March 27 and be completed by May 14 when Allegiant Air begins service from MidAmerica to Fort Lauderdale and Myrtle Beach, Florida.  With the new routes, Allegiant will have 25 flights weekly at the airport; requiring a projected 1,018 parking spaces to accommodate passengers at the peak of the summer travel season, according to county documents.

Parking at the airport will remain free, despite calls by some county board members to implement a parking fee to help cover the cost of the expansion.

Funding for the parking expansion will come from the county’s capital improvement. The county board approved the expansion on 17-9 vote, with three board members absent.

New online archive offers digital history of Madison County

“Madison Historical: The Online Encyclopedia and Digital Archive for Madison County, Ill.”, a new website, will offer an up-to-date history of Madison County as well as provide a gateway to all historical resources in county, according to Madison County Regional Superintendent of Schools Robert Daiber, who spearheaded the project.

Organized around themes such as government, industry, education, law, and culture, the digital archive will offer:

  • Encyclopedia-style articles on significant people, places, and events in the county’s history;
  • Oral history interviews, including audio recordings and complete transcripts; and
  • Historical artifacts such as photographs, letters and documents that can be scanned and uploaded to the digital archive.
  • Links in the text will direct readers to local museums and historical societies.

County residents and other interested parties are invited to contribute content to the site and to upload photos and documents, Daiber said.

The new digital archive represents the first comprehensive history of Madison County to be compiled since 1912, organizers say.

The new digital archive was developed in conjunction with faculty and students at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, who will maintain the site.

It will be officially launched Tuesday, March 14, 10:30 a.m. with a public ceremony in the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Morris University Center Conference Center.

Hoffman named assistant majority leader

Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea) has been named assistant majority leader of the Illinois House of Representatives Democratic Caucus.  Representing Illinois’ 113th Legislative District, Rep. Hoffman this session also serves as the vice chair of the Illinois House Appropriations-Public Safety Committee, chair of the Judiciary – Civil; Labor & Commerce Committee; and sub-chair of the Public Utilities Committee, as well as the Unemployment Insurance, Workers Compensation, and Tort Liability Law subcommittees.

Groundbreaking astronaut to speak at SIUE

Chicago native and former NASA astronaut Dr. Mae C. Jemison, the first woman of color to travel in space, will speak on “Exploring the Frontiers of Science and Human Potential” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 16, in the Morris University Center Meridian Ballroom at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

In 1992, aboard the space shuttle Endeavor, Jemison was NASA’s first science mission specialist; performing experiments in material science, life science and human adaptation to weightlessness. Jemison, an engineer and physician, speaks around the country on issues of health care, social responsibility, technology and motivation.

Metro-East fab lab hosts national symposium 

Techies from across the nation are expected, March 13-15, at the 2017 United States Fab Lab Network (USFLN) Symposium, at the St. Louis Confluence Fab Lab on Lewis and Clark (L&C) Community College’s N.O. Nelson Campus in Edwardsville.

The USFLN is a network of fab labs that exchange information, ideas and resources to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to experiment and invent new products in fab lab settings. The symposium, “Stairway to Making,” will focus on using the tools and machines available in fab labs.

Lab labs (fabrication laboratories) are small-scale workshops offering personal, digital fabrication facilities.  Fab labs are generally equipped with an array of flexible computer-controlled tools, which can be used with various materials to make virtually any item, organizers say. The labs often center on technology-enabled products with markets too limited for mass production.

There are currently 713 fab labs around the nation, according to a listing compiled by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The 5,000-square-foot St. Louis Confluence Fab Lab opened on L&C’s N.O. Nelson Campus in 2015. The lab is used by students and members of the public who purchase memberships. It features equipment for advanced 3D printing, CNC, metalworking, welding, wood/plastic working, clean manufacturing, design, finishing and electronics.

Medical Reserve Corps volunteers sought

The Madison County Health Department is seeking volunteers for its Medical Reserve Corps, which has been established to assist health department personnel with medical dispensing and related functions in the event of an emergency.

The county Medical Reserve Corps currently has about 300 members; however, more are needed, according to Health Department officials. Medical Reserve Corps members must be 18 years of age or older. Medical knowledge is not required. Non-medical positions are available.

The Health Department will hold Medical Reserve Corps volunteer orientation training on March 27, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., at the Madison County Health Department, 101 E. Edwardsville Road, Wood River.  Attendance is limited. The deadline for registration is March 20. Those interested should contact Medical Reserve Corps volunteer coordinator Cathy Paone at (618) 296-6096 or

For additional information visit, or see materials available on Facebook at MadisonCHD and Gateway Volunteer Network; on Twitter @MadisonCHD; or on YouTube at MadCoHealth.

–Metro-East Area News Briefs–