2008 a year of successes

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By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

Fayette County students began taking classes at Kaskaskia College’s new campus in Vandalia.

A fight to get the Vandalia Statehouse reopened ended when an anonyomous donor stepped forward with the funds needed to pay a state employee.

Fayette County residents had choices when it came to electing a state’s attorney, circuit clerk and coroner in November.

Those were among the stories from 2008. Today, we continue our look back at last year.


Second Chance Animal Rescue unveiled its new kennel south of Bluff City. The new kennel was funded solely with private donations and fundraisers.

A Fayette County Electoral Board granted State’s Attorney Stephen Friedel’s petition to disqualify Greenville attorney Dan Goggin as a Republican candidate for the state’s attorney’s post. Goggin’s quest to run for the office ended with him running as a write-in candidate.


Kaskaskia College held a dedication ceremony at its new Vandalia Campus on West Fillmore Street.

A committee formed by Fayette County Board Chairman Steve Knebel began meeting to study putting an Enhanced 911 referendum before county residents again in November.

The Vandalia Community High School foursome of Kris Stunkel, Ashley Durbin, Kayla Houston and Paige Dodson was the state champion 4x400-meter relay team at the Illinois High School Association State Track Meet at Charleston.

First National Bank of Vandalia, Ramsey and Patoka unveiled its plans for a new branch facility at the west end of Randolph and Jefferson streets. In addition to regular banking services, the new facility will host the bank’s Investment Center and trust department.

The city of St. Elmo held a grand opening for its new Eagle Point Disc Golf Course, which is laid out over 26 acres at Lake Nellie, north of town.


Marsha Wodtka, Fayette County’s circuit clerk for the past 28 years, announced that she would be retiring in July. She recommended that the Fayette County Board appoint her long-time deputy, Mary Sue Ruot, as the interim circuit clerk, but the board’s appointment of Ruot – a candidate for the post in November – wouldn’t come for several months.

Josie Earnest of Vandalia, a sophomore on the Vanderbilt University bowling squad, was named the Division I Player of the Year by the National Ten Pin Coaches Association.

After city officials completed their move into the new city hall facilities, the former home of First Bank, the city’s police department finished its relocation into the north end of the former city hall. The city’s volunteer fire department began expanding into the former quarters of the police department.

The city of Vandalia, with help from state legislators and leaders of state agencies, began the effort to land Orgill’s new distribution facility. Orgill announced plans to close its Vandalia and Memphis. The company would choose Sikeston, Mo., as the home of its new facility.

Fayette County Sheriff Aaron Lay introduced the newest member of his department, Phantom. The German shephard, who is teamed up with deputy Shawn Carter, is being used to search for drugs and missing individuals.

Greenville attorney Dan Goggin filed papers seeking to run as an independent candidate for state’s attorney in November, but incumbent Stephen Friedel filed an objection to those papers, claiming that Goggin’s papers included a number of invalid signatures. Goggin withdrew as an independent candidate on the day that the county’s electoral board was to convene for a ruling on Friedel’s petition.