Photo by Diane Cox
Bob DiPaolo stands before the seal of the Village of Bethalto on his last night as a board trustee. DiPaolo was defeated in the April 7th election by less than 25 votes after 35 years of service.
BETHALTO — Newly elected trustee Dan McRae took the oath of office as he replaced Bob DiPaolo on May 4 at the first regularly scheduled Village Board meeting following the April 7 election.
After serving the village for more than three decades, DiPaolo graciously shook McRae’s hand as the changing of the guard officially took place. DiPaolo was defeated in the election by less than 25 votes.
“I was appointed 35 years ago to the zoning board, where I served for almost 20 years, half of that time as chairman,” DiPaolo said. “I moved over to the planning commission when it was first started and we developed the first comprehensive plan for the village. That was a very rewarding experience where I learned a lot. Fourteen years ago I became a village trustee. If it were up to me, I’d still be on the board, but I respect the voters’ wishes that they feel it’s time for me to step down for a bit. I have to say I don’t mind losing to people who I respect and admire and feel confident that they’ll do as good a job, if not better than I can do myself.”
DiPaolo is retired but spends his time teaching economics in the Lewis and Clark Community College business department. He said he still has time to do work in his community.
“I told Mayor Winslow that I’d be willing to volunteer if there is a need in an area where my experience or education would come in handy,” DiPaolo said. “You learn to appreciate a community so much more when you deal with the issues that have to be dealt with and see some of the hardships, along with some of the successes that we all share. The people of Bethalto have been very supportive of me for all the time I’ve been in office. I believe that the people of Bethalto are very special people; everybody really does care about our community and its future.”
DiPaolo said he has lived a wonderful life with his wife, four children and five grandchildren along with his time with LCCC and the village of Bethalto. He could only smile and say: “What a life.”
McRae also brings a background in business to the Village Board, along with a family tradition of community service.
“I hope to bring a level of understanding to current business practices,” McRae said. “I have a lot of experience in employer relations and I understand contracts and benefits. I have a lot of experience in managing factories and have recently been in the sales end of the business. My family has been involved in local boards for many years — this is something that has always interested me and I felt like this was the time in my life where I can really make a contribution. I take this role seriously and will do the very best job I can.”
Mayor Alan Winslow announced the William F. Stephenson scholarship winners, named to honor former Bethalto Mayor Bill Stephenson. The village awards four $500 scholarships per year, based on an application that students must fill out. A large portion of the criteria for the scholarship is based on students’ volunteer work and community activities during their high school careers.
Mandy Arnold, Mary Alice Gowen, Andrea Lewis and Jacob Troeckler were named as winners of the scholarship and were notified at an awards ceremony May 5 at Civic Memorial High School.
Fire department reports
The Bethalto Fire Department will host a St. Baldrick’s event from noon until 6 p.m. Sept. 26 at the annual fly-in at the St. Louis Regional Airport in Bethalto.
“The event is titled the Bethalto Fire Department St. Baldrick’s Shave-a-thon,” BFD organizer Natalie Masulla said. “People can sign up to have their head shaved and become a sponsor. People can sponsor or donate to someone to have their head shaved to raise funds for children’s cancer research. St. Baldrick’s is the largest charitable organization toward childhood cancer in our country and by and large the best. Tonight is the kickoff for the event.”
September is childhood cancer awareness month and as a part of the fire department’s fund raiser, BFD will sell T-shirts to mark the event. All of the proceeds from the St. Baldrick’s and the T-shirt sales will go directly to the charity for childhood cancer research.
“In 2011, the government had given $5.17 billion for cancer research,” Masulla said. “Only 3.7 percent of that dollar amount will go toward childhood cancer research. There is a big gap in funding. Participating in events like this is not only just a good deed, it’s needed.”
Anyone interested in participating in the event can visit www.stbaldricks.org and type Bethalto Fire Department in the search bar to download sponsorship forms, join to get shaved or make a donation online. Anyone can attend the event in person on Sept. 26 to make a donation or volunteer. Anyone who wishes to get shaved for the fund-raiser needs to pre-register prior to the event.