Metro East Area News Briefs

Chronicle Media

The Edwards Family of East St. Louis on the set of “Family Feud.” From left: Ledena Crocker, Jeff Patterson, Natalie Edwards, David Edwards and Janeen Dawson.
(Photo courtesy of Family Feud)

East St. Louisans compete on ‘Family Feud’

They may not have taken home a new car or the grand cash prize of $20,000, but the Edwards family of East St. Louis seemed to have a good time during their two-day stint on ‘Family Feud.”

Comprising their team on the popular game show were David Edwards, a contractor; his wife, Natalie Edwards, a nurse; two nieces — nurse Janeen Dawson and cosmetologist Ledena Crocker, and a nephew, contractor Jeff Patterson.

They appeared Feb. 26 and 27 in episodes taped in June of last year.

The family won a chance to compete on the show after passing an initial tryout, held by producers in spring 2017 at Westport Plaza in St. Louis, then being flown to Los Angeles in June of last year for a second on-site audition and taping.

Family Feud is consistently among top five syndicated programs in the nation.

Pervious pavement installation — useful in preventing the type of rain runoff issues increasingly common across Metro East —  is among the step encouraged under the OneSTL program.
(Photo courtesy of OneSTL)

Regional environmental plan announced

The environmental collaborative OneSTL St. Louis hopes to have all eight St. Louis metropolitan area counties enrolled

in its new BiomeSTL Regional Vision, Atlas, and Action Plan by 2025, according a Feb. 28 announcement.

Under the plan, all eight counties would use “a regional biodiversity vision and atlas to actively guide their planning, policies, and practices in ways that increase habitat connectivity, ecological functionality, and quality of life for all,” according to the announcement.

The regional sustainable development plan was formulated over the last 3 years by a group of 11 partner organizations, more than 50 other groups, 200 committee members, and 2,000 public meeting attendees, according to OneSTL.

Consortium partners include the Belleville-based HeartLands Institute and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, as part of a consultancy known as the Academic Research Collaborate.

“It is a good initiative. Many organizations in the region are coordinating together on this, and it is being led by the Missouri Botanical Garden, St Louis Zoo and Forest ReLeaf of Missouri,” said Mary Vandevord, HeartLands president and CEO.  

“For the Illinois side of the river, we see this as an important network to increase the diversity of wildlife; an issue that is of worldwide importance. Pollinating insects and animals are declining rapidly, for example. This poses huge threats to our food supply and agriculture,” Vandevord continued.

While regional in breadth and comprehensive in scope, BiomeSTL “isn’t a typical plan,” OneSTL asserts. Though offering goals, objectives, and strategies for organizations and public agencies, the “intent is for anyone to be able to use the plan based on local conditions and to get involved with strategies or initiatives that line up with their interests and priorities,” the group’s website states.

The OneSTL plan can be accessed on

Renovations beginning at River Bend Arena

Lewis & Clark Community College’s (L&C) George C. Terry River Bend Arena will undergo major renovations over the next nine months, college officials say – with the building partially or almost-completely closed over much of that period.

Construction is expected to begin April 1.

Crews began moving faculty and staff facilities out of the athletics area of the building on March 11. The majority of the displaced athletics staff will be relocated to L&C’s Wade Hall during the project. Their contact information, phones and emails, will remain unchanged.

“Most of the classrooms will also move after the spring semester ends in May, with the intention of being back up and running for fall sports and classes in August,” said L&C Vice President of Administration Lori Artis.

The building’s Paul B. Hanks Dental Clinic will remain open during the renovations.

The entire renovation project will be completed by December 2019, Artis said.

Renovations are to include a new roof, HVAC upgrades, gutter replacement, electrical improvements, waterproofing, a new gym floor, and other interior improvements.

Updates on the progress of the renovations are to be posted on L&C’s social media channels.

Metro East leads state in vacancy rates

St. Clair County had the highest home vacancy rate in Illinois during the third quarter of 2018 —with Madison County not far behind, according to a study by ATTOM Data Solutions.

Some 3,774 of the 77,000 single-family homes and condos in St. Clair County were vacant during the third quarter; for a 4.9 percent vacancy rate.

The good news: that represents a 441-unit — or 5 percent — decrease from the 4,215 single-family residences available in the county during the same period of 2017.

Madison County ranked third in analysis of 15 large Illinois counties (population 50,000 or more), with no change in its vacancy rate from 2017

The report found 2,796 of the county’s 91,825 single-family units were vacant during the third quarter of 2018, for a vacancy rate of 3.04 percent. That was basically unchanged from the third quarter of 2017 when 2,874 single-family units were available in the county.

Nationwide, the home vacancy rate was 1.52 percent in the third quarter, representing more than 1.4 million housing units. That represents a 4 percent decrease for a year earlier, as activity in the nation’s housing market continued to intensify, according to ATTOM Data.

The study used county tax assessor information to determine the vacancy status for more than 95 million homes throughout the nation.


–Metro East Area News Briefs–