Collinsville | St. Louis Public Radio

Collinsville

Collinsville Dispensary Can Sell Recreational Marijuana, City Approves New Zoning Laws

Nov 27, 2019
peter.a photography | Flickr

COLLINSVILLE — A Collinsville medical marijuana dispensary is one of the first in the state to receive a permit allowing recreational marijuana sales alongside its medical cannabis products.

The state announced Tuesday that HCI Alternatives at 1014 Eastport Plaza Drive was awarded a “same-site” adult-use cannabis license. 

An analysis of states that decriminalized marijuana reported a steep drop in the number of related arrests and no increase in adolescent use.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

EDWARDSVILLE — Metro East cities that want to allow cannabis-related businesses are starting to decide where these establishments can set up shop in their communities.

The Edwardsville City Council made its decision Tuesday night when it voted 7-0 to establish new zoning rules and other restrictions for cannabis businesses that may come to the city. 

The intersection of Collinsville and St. Louis Avenues in East St. Louis is where a mob of white rioters first gathered before they rampaged through the city, seeking out and killing black residents.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

BELLEVILLE — Illinois’ slow but steady population decline could jeopardize the home rule status some Metro East cities enjoy.

Home rule grants cities broad taxing and regulatory powers, making it easier to quickly tackle local issues and fund projects and services. Status is automatically granted to any Illinois city with more than 25,000 residents. Towns can also achieve home rule through a referendum, as Fairview Heights did. 

Fairmount Park Will Have More Racing Days In 2020, But Has Not Yet Hit Its Minimum

Sep 27, 2019
In March 2019, a trainer works out a horse at Fairmount Park racetrack in Collinsville. The Illinois Racing Board recently approved the track's plan for 60 live racing days in 2020.
Derik Holtmann | Belleville News-Democrat

Fairmount Park in Collinsville has scheduled 60 racing days in 2020 — up from 40 this year.

But that schedule will require Fairmount to spend more money upfront to help pay race purses for the extra days. To do that, the track will allow its purse account to run a deficit next year, said Brian Zander, president of Fairmount Park.

“We’re going to pay it forward,” Zander said. “The purse is going to go into a deficit situation. On the basis, the management knows at some point that money will be coming in. There will be at some point, we don’t know when, there will be some casino and sports betting revenue coming into the track.”

A worker at Kruta's Bakery selects a bear claw for a customer's order on Aug. 13. The bakery celebrates a century of serving the Metro East and St. Louis region.
Eric Schmid | St Louis Public Radio

Jennifer Hammond knows exactly what to do when there’s a birthday at her office. She immediately picks up a cake from Kruta’s Bakery in Collinsville.

For the last century, the family-owned business has lured customers with kolaches, danishes and a wide variety of other baked goods.

“They’re just so tasty — the doughnuts, the cakes, the cupcakes, everything. It’s really good,” said Hammond, who lives near the bakery. 

On Sunday, Kruta’s Bakery will celebrate its 100th year as a family-owned business.

Two counties in southwestern Illinois grow the majority of the nation’s — possibly the world’s — horseradish. The city of Collinsville, population 25,000, straddles both Madison and St. Clair, and celebrates the root annually, hosting the International Horseradish Festival.

Harvest Public Media decided it was time to check out the entertainment, games and horseradish-based dishes and drinks. Here’s a bite of the zesty gathering.

The festival has taken place in July over the past two decades to mark the big catsup bottle in Collinsville.
Mike Gassmann

After 19 years, an annual July event to mark a Metro East roadside attraction is no more. Organizers have pulled the plug on “The World’s Largest Catsup Bottle Festival” in Collinsville, saying it’s become too much work.

Kids sitting on the floor in a classroom
Phil Roeder | Flickr

Illinois passed a budget Thursday for the first time since 2015, and is giving more money to education than in previous spending plans.

But several years of prorated and delayed state aid have forced K-12 school districts in St. Clair and Madison counties to cut staff, increase class sizes, take on debt and deplete cash reserves. And, like the state’s finances, it’s going to take time for districts to bounce back.

Collinsville pitcher Ryan Siverly tries to apply a tag on O'Fallon's Jacob Dryer in a high school baseball game Tuesday, April 25, 2017 in Collinsville, Illinois. Players at both schools have to pay a fee to play sports.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Several Metro East school superintendents are among the 413 public school leaders who are calling on Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democrat-majority legislature to pass a budget after nearly two years of disagreements, and fully fund public education.

Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

Fans of the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle will hold their 18th annual festival on Sunday, their first gathering since the Collinsville landmark changed ownership last November.

Mike “The Big Tomato” Gassmann, president of the water tower’s preservation group, say he's relishing the occasion.

“We’re really happy with our new owner, and we’re really looking forward to the future,’’ said Gassmann, who wears a button on his cap that reads “I put catsup on my ketchup.”

A jockey rides a horse back past the finish line after a race on opening day at Fairmount Park.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

There were 30 minutes until the first race of the day and the locker room at Fairmount Park Racetrack buzzed with activity. Jockeys flipped through race programs and flicked their whips through the air. Television sets perched on cluttered shelves flashed scenes of the track outside, where fans filled the stands for opening day of the Collinsville racetrack's 91st season.

As announcers counted down in anticipation, the jockeys helped each other tape up aching joints and teased each other playfully. Some said a quick prayer.

Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

Five months after the news broke that the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle in Collinsville is for sale, we figured it was time to ketchup with the story.

So far, there are no buyers for the 70-foot-tall water tank perched atop a 100-foot-tall tower, says Mike “Big Tomato” Gassmann of the Catsup Bottle Preservation Group, which formed in the 1990s to raise money to repair and paint the icon.

Mary Delach Leonard|St. Louis Public Radio

Fans of the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle snapped keepsake photos of the iconic water tower in Collinsville Saturday morning and noted the sign posted beside it: Property For Sale. And Bottle.

“I just hope they can keep it — that someone buys it who will take care of it,” said Adam DeLeon, a Jesuit seminarian who was on a road trip to St. Louis when he heard the news that the catsup bottle was for sale.

DeLeon is a fan of roadside attractions. “These things are significant to us,'' he said. "It’s funny. It’s classic Americana.’’

World's Largest Catsup Bottle
Provided by Catsup Bottle Restoration Group

What’s coming up this weekend? There’s the Celebrate Again art show and sale at the Regional Arts Commission (July 11), La Traviata at Union Avenue Opera (July 11-19), the 2nd Annual LaBute New Theater Festival (July 11-Aug.

(Mary Delach Leonard, St. Louis Public Radio)

There's a pretty good chance that the jar of horseradish you have in the refrigerator has its origins in farms located just across the river from St. Louis.

St. Clair and Madison counties in Illinois produce the lion's share of horseradish in the U.S. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, just 16 growers in Illinois harvest horseradish from 1,779 acres, accounting for about 60 percent of the nation's horseradish. Nationally, only about 3,100 acres are in horseradish production.

Longtime southwestern Illinois circuit clerk Melucci dies

May 11, 2012
(Madison County Government website)

A longtime circuit clerk in southwestern Illinois has died.

Madison County officials say Circuit Clerk Matt Melucci was 69 when he died Thursday night of cancer at his Collinsville home.

Melucci served in the post for nearly 20 years and was planning to retire in November, having announced last September that he would not seek re-election this year.

Democratic Madison County Clerk Mark Von Nida faces Republican John Barberis Jr. in the November election for circuit clerk's position.

Morning headlines: Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Jul 12, 2011
(via Flickr/GIANTsqurl)

Good morning! Here are some of today's starting headlines:

Mo. Gov. Nixon to sign legislation related to disability issues

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is preparing to sign legislation addressing several physical and mental disability issues. The governor has scheduled a signing ceremony for this morning at Paraquad Independent Living Center in St. Louis.

Students in the Collinsville Community Unit School District 10 got an extended winter break this year after vandals flattened tires on the school buses that transport students.

Maureen Richmond, a spokeswoman with First Student Inc.,  says a maintenance man entered the bus lot around 5am Friday to begin pre-trip maintenance on the fleet. He discovered that at least one tire on all of the nearly 80 buses on the lot had been flattened. It was not clear if the tires were slashed or simply deflated.