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City fails to get bids for downtown improvement project, Temple Baptist dedicates new church

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The city of Vandalia continued to struggle as it attempted to get the downtown improvements project on track. A fire in the early morning hours of Labor Day destroyed The Depot, a popular eatery and meeting place.

Those were a couple of the stories from the past year. Today, we continue our look back at 2007.

MAY

The city of Vandalia learned that its downtown improvements project, which includes streetscape and infrastructure work, failed to attract any bidders at a bid letting held by the Illinois Department of Transportation. City officials continued to struggle with the project through the end of the year.

The building trades program at the Okaw Area Vocational Center in Vandalia made a successful return. In its first year back after the program was suspended during the 2000-01 school year, the 33rd house to be built by OAVC students was sold prior to an open house held to show off the structure on Karen Street.

The Vandalia Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for First Bank at its new facility at Mattes Avenue and Randolph Street. First Bank donated its old building, located at Fifth and Gallatin streets, to the city for use as a new home for city offices.

Bob Page retired after 33 years as a teacher and coach at Brownstown High School. The Brownstown School District later recognized his contributions to the district by naming the schools baseball field after Page.

State Sen. Frank Watson (R-Greenville), the Illinois Senates minority leader, and other legislators were successful in gaining a reprieve for the Brownstown Agronomy Research Center. The University of Illinois announced earlier in the year its plans to close the research center, due to reduced funding.

As a way of helping the Vandalia School District battle its financial situation, the members of the Vandalia Unit Teachers Association agreed to a one-year salary freeze.

JUNE

The Fayette County Relay for Life raised a record amount of $78,000, exceeding its goal by $13,000.

Vandalia officials worked to deal with problems with youth at the lake. An earlier attempt to deal with the issue by passing an ordinance that set a curfew for youth was followed by a decision to rescind that ordinance in June.

The Vandalia Board of Education approved the promotion of Brian Holliday to the positions of assistant principal at Vandalia Junior High School, No Child Left Behind coordinator and grant writer.

The Fayette County Fair Association was ready for the 2007 Fayette County Fair. Preparations included the completion of a new, larger grandstand.

JULY

Shayla Branham was chosen as the 2007 Miss Fayette County Fair queen. Kaitlyn Cole was crowned the Fayette County Junior Miss, and Emily Norris won the Little Miss Fayette County crown.

Candy Zeman, who had served as the librarian at Evans Public Library for 19 years, announced that she would be retiring at the end of October.

Marsha Wodtka, who is completing her seventh term as Fayette Countys circuit clerk, announced that she would not be running for re-election. At the same time, Mary Sue Ruot, a deputy clerk for Wodtka, announced that she would run for the clerks post in 2008.

AUGUST

The Guaranteed Air Freight fastpitch softball team won its third state title with a 4-0 run at the state tournament in Altamont. At the end of the month, the Freight would win its second national title in three years.

The city of Vandalia announced that it would extend its search for the person who would become the citys first director of economic development and tourism, planning to advertise the job on a mainstream job search Web site.

Fayette County sheriffs deputies Shawn Carter and Larry Halleman were honored by the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists for their efforts to fight drunk driving.

The Illinois Department of Transportation announced plans to work on the path of U.S. Route 51 through Vandalia. The project includes a public hearing to be held on Jan. 24 of this year.

The Fifth District Appellate Court announced that a post-conviction relief filed by Stuart Heaton had been denied. Heaton was convicted in 1992 of the first-degree murder of 16-year-old Krystal Lynn Naab of rural Ramsey a year before.

Temple Baptist Church held a dedication service for its new home at Ill. Route 185 and Airport Road. Temple Baptist members looked on in the early hours of June 11, 2006, as a fire caused by a bolt of lightning destroyed the church.