Metro East Area News Briefs

Chronicle Media
Illinois RiverWatch Network is offering a series of RiverWatch volunteer training workshops throughout the state this spring and summer.  (Photo courtesy National Great Rivers Research and Education Center)

Illinois RiverWatch Network is offering a series of RiverWatch volunteer training workshops throughout the state this spring and summer.  (Photo courtesy National Great Rivers Research and Education Center)

NGA to top $1.6 billion

Development of the federal government’s new National Geospacial Intelligence Agency (NGA) west headquarters (NGANEXTWEST) will total some $1.6 billion, according to documents reviewed by the Missouri Legislature last month as St. Louis political and business leaders launched a last-ditch effort to keep the high tech spy agency in the city. The NGA is widely expected to relocate from South St. Louis to a tract just north of Scott Air Force Base in St. Clair County.  St. Louis is seeking state financial incentives for the new facility, even though the NGA has told St. Clair County officials their offer of free land would not be a factor the site selection.

St. Louis officials over recent months have drawn increasing criticism for concentrating on an ill-fated effort to keep professional football in the city instead of the NGA. The NGA is expected to announce the new site for their western headquarters this spring.

East St. Louis, SIUE students send water to Flint

Students from East St. Louis High School and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville collected more than 15,000 bottles of water for Flint, Mich., over the past two week. The collection drive here was held in conjunction with the Decatur Water Challenge, sponsored by an organization called the Distinguished Gentlemen’s Academy, to benefit Operation Water for Flint. Residents in Michigan city have been warned not to use their tap water as a result of lead contamination on the town’s water system. Organizers say the initiative began with some informal discussion among students in a high school English class.

Clinton beats Sanders in unofficial caucus

Former first lady and secretary of state Hillary Clinton narrowly defeated former senator Bernie Sanders in Madison County’s first-ever caucus-style Democratic presidential straw poll.  The unofficial caucus, staged Feb. 1 by the Madison County Democratic Central Committee, saw Clinton garnered 47.6 percent of votes cast, and Sanders 46.2 percent. County Democrats organized the event in an effort to encourage “grassroots” political involvement, according to a party statement. A crowd of more than 500 turned out for the inaugural event at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Edwardsville, with a final count showing Clinton with 272 votes and Sanders with 264.

Illinois’ official presidential primary will be held March. 15.

Madison County tax auction set

Madison County Treasurer Kurt Prenzler, CPA, has set the county’s annual tax auction for 10 a.m., Feb. 22 at the Madison County Administration Building, 157 N. Main St., Edwardsville. County property owners who owe taxes have until 4:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 19 to make necessary payments.  The right to collect tax debt, not settled by that deadline, will be offered at auction to private parties. Property owners must then have the right to collect the debt taxes be sold during the annual tax sale. The property owner must then redeem the property through a settlement with a private entity. If property owners do not redeem their taxes within two to three years from the date of the tax sale, the tax buyer can ask the court for the title to the property.

Taxpayers had until Feb. 8 to pay delinquent taxes online. Effective Feb. 9, all payments must be paid at the Treasurer’s Office. To verify a payment status, taxpayers can call the Treasurer’s Office at (618) 692-6260. The treasurer’s office encourages people to make sure elderly family members and friends to have paid their taxes.

RiverWatch training ‘citizen scientists’ for water quality monitoring

Illinois RiverWatch Network is offering Illinois residents and educators the chance to train to become citizen scientists and join the network of more than 250 volunteers throughout the state who monitor water quality of Illinois streams. A series of RiverWatch volunteer training workshops will be held throughout the state this spring and summer. The workshops will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and combine both lecture and classroom time with field training in a local stream.  Registration is $50 per person for most workshops, and must be paid in advance of the workshop. Registration is free for Illinois 4-H groups.

The RiverWatch program is organized by the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center in East Alton. RiverWatch water quality data can be accessed at .  

To register for a workshop, visit, call (618) 468-2784 or email at For more information about RiverWatch Citizen Science, or to register for a workshop online, visit For information about the Stream Discovery Program for educators and students, visit

–Metro East Area News Briefs–