Metro East Area News Briefs

Chronicle Media

Trudy Bodenbach
(Photo courtesy  Linkedin)

New Madison County community development director named

Trudy Bodenbach, the executive director of Godfrey’s Options Now Medical Pregnancy Clinic, has been named Madison County’s new director of community development.

In addition to leading the county’s economic development efforts, Bodenbach will oversee the county’s Community Development Block Grants, Community Service Block Grants, Continuum of Care program to assist the homeless, Low Income Home Energy Assistance program, a range of housing programs, and other initiatives.  

As executive director of Options Now over the pasts six years, Bodenbach led a reorganization of the clinic, formerly known as Arms of Love, to focus specifically on assistance to Riverbend area women with, or at risk for, unplanned pregnancies or related health conditions.

She also led creation of a network of 94 pregnancy centers across Illinois; with annual conferences and quarterly regional meetings.

Before that, Bodenbach served for five years as the business development director for Alton Memorial Hospital and, during the prior three years, as the manager or business development coordinator for various professional services in the hospital.

She is also a former assistant director of marketing and recruitment at Greenville College’s office of adult and graduate studies.

Bodenbach has a master’s of business administration from Lindenwood University and is pursuing a master’s degree in leadership at Greenville College.

Her salary as community develop director will be $92,000 per year.

She replaces Kristen Poshard who was terminated from the position in October.

Lawmaker calls for review of I-55 work zone safety

A series of serious crashes near a work zone on Interstate 55, between the Edwardsville and Hamel exits, has prompted 48th District State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) to request a review by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT)

Four people were killed Nov. 21 in the construction zone on southbound I-55 near Hamel, when a passenger vehicle, which had slowed in the work zone, was struck from behind at an estimated 60 m.p.h. by a semi-truck. A chain reaction pile-up involving eight vehicles ensued; with about a dozen people hospitalized for injures injuries —two in critical condition. Sisters Madisen Bertels, 17, and Hailey Joann Bertel 20, of Staunton were killed at the accident scene. A passenger in their vehicle, Tori Caroll, 20, of Alhambra, succumbed to injuries at an area hospital on Nov. 30.  A motorist in another vehicle, Vivian Vu, 19, of Joplin, Mo., died of injuries she sustained in the accident on Nov. 23.

On Dec. 15, northbound I-55 was closed for seven hours at Ill. Route 143 near Edwardsville, after a tractor-trailer truck plowed into vehicles that were slowed in the construction zone; causing a ten-vehicle pile-up.  Pauline McKinney, 62, of Livingston, died a few days later of injuries sustained in the incident. Two other people also suffered serious injuries.

In his Dec. 20 letter to IDOT Secretary Randall Blankenhorn, Sen. Manar asks the agency to determine if more can be done to minimize crashes and improve safety for both motorists and construction crews in the I-55 construction zone.

“I don’t know if drivers need more warnings to slow down and pay attention, if more police patrols are required, or if some other measure is needed to ensure this stretch of I-55 is safe,” Manar said.  He added that constituents in his district, just north of the construction zone, have for some time expressed concerns about the potential for accidents in the work area.

Work zone safety is “a top priority throughout the year,” IDOT stated in a Dec. 21 statement, following Sen. Manar’s request.

Illinois State Police say they have now assigned additional traffic enforcement officers and a truck with a speed monitoring system to the construction zone.

Local officials say the work zone has been the site of at least six major traffic accidents since crews began replacement of bridge decking in both northbound and southbound lanes I-55 between the Edwardsville and Hamel exits in late October.  The work is taking place along a long, straight stretch of the highway, they note.

Sen. Manar has requested IDOT release specific traffic accident data for the work zone.

SIUE, faculty reach first collective bargaining agreement

In a key step towards unionization of its tenured and tenure tract educators, the Southern Illinois University system (SIU) and faculty at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) have approved an initial collective bargaining agreement.

The agreement, signed last week by SIU President Randy Dunn, on behalf of the university’s board of trustees, recognizes the SIUE Faculty Association, an affiliate of the Illinois Education Association and National Education Association, as the bargaining unit for the university’s tenure-line faculty.

It also provides salary increases for the faculty for both the 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic years.

The agreement spells out grievance procedures, rules for counter offers, and the bargaining rights afforded both the university administration and faculty association.

However, the initial agreement will be in effect only until the end of SIU’s 2017-18 fiscal year.

“After the winter holidays, we look forward to resuming bargaining toward a comprehensive agreement,” said FA President Kim Archer, PhD.

Auffenberg moving auto mall to Shiloh

Metro East’s largest auto retailer, the Belleville-based Auffenberg Dealer Group, is planning to move its St. Clair Auto Mall from O’Fallon to a 35.6 acre-tract adjacent to the new BJC Progress East Healthcare Center in Shiloh.

Auffenberg Shiloh, LLC, a new entity incorporated to develop the new auto mall, recently purchased 32-acres on Frank Scott Parkway from BJC for the future relocation project, according to BARBERMurphy Group, the realty group handling the transaction. An additional 3.6 acres will be added in February, the realtor says.

The relocated auto mall is to be situated along Interstate 64 about two miles to the east of its present site in O’Fallon.

A total of eight new car lines — including Nissan, Mazda, Volkswagen, Kia, Chrysler, Jeep and Ram — will be offered in the complex.

No plans for the auto mall’s current site have been announced.


–Metro East Area News Briefs–