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Today's Features

  • Haldon Warner became a member of the family at First National Bank of Vandalia in 1963, working in the bookkeeping department.

    “Back then,” he said, “they wanted you to start by learning every department and work your way up.”

    That seems like a good plan, because young Haldon Warner did, indeed, work his way up. He is now senior vice president and chief lending officer, positions from which he is retiring. He wears other hats, including serving as the compliance officer.

  • Seventy years ago, a young girl saw a photo in a local newspaper of a young boy, a member of the Vandalia High School FFA chapter … and fell in love with him.

    She didn’t know who he was, but she cut the picture out of the paper, and showed it to friends and family as the guy she was going to marry.

    Meet Dwight and Darlene Denning as they share their unique and lasting love story. As they celebrate their 66th wedding anniversary, Darlene still has that same 70-year-old newspaper clipping in her purse.

    The Photo

  • Jay Stortzum gives the first impression of a soft-spoken man of with a pleasant, intelligent and friendly personality. 

    An ensuing conversation reveals that the first impression is correct, along with a sincere commitment to serve for the betterment of others, a trait which became apparent when he attended Eastern Illinois University.

    As a student at EIU, Stortzum served as a student senator and the student body vice president, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education.

  • The purple ribbons displayed about town represent hope for finding a cure and effective treatment in the fight against cancer, all kinds of cancer.

    The shape of the ribbons is familiar. While the pink ribbon has long represented breast cancer, the purple ribbon  represents all types of cancer.

    Behind this symbol of the battle against cancer are many people, of all ages, all stations and all walks of life, survivors and caregivers, all with the common goal – winning the fight against cancer.

  • Katie Carson’s winning essay for the “Patriot’s Pen” contest, which is held every year by the Brownstown Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9770, went on to win the District 12 competition.

    Katie, the daughter of Duane and Tammy Carson, is an eighth-grader at Brownstown Junior High School. She said that her writing was partially inspired by the return home from the service of a friend, Travis.

    “The town escorted him home and had an appreciation party for him,” she said.

  • “Does America Still Have Heroes?” was the intriguing question asked, and answered, by Brownstown High School senior Connor Smith in the essay he wrote for the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ annual “Voice of Democracy” student contest.

    Connor’s entry won the local award presented by the Brownstown VFW Post 9770.

    The 18-year-old son of Stan and Lana Smith is a member of this year’s graduating class at Brownstown High School. 

  • In many cases, when one is nearing the age of Ethel Gates Booher, the occasion is described more accurately as “observing”or simply “reaching” the honored year, which, in Ethel’s case, is 99.

    In Ethel’s case, her homey, cheerful room in the Long Term Care facility at the Fayette County Hospital was alive with greetings, laughter and listening to Ethel’s stories of the past last Friday, as she, and her children and grandchildren literally celebrated Ethel’s 99th birthday.

  • Five years ago, in an effort to help their grandson, Justin Dial, find a outlet for his computer repair expertise and sales during the summer months, Dewayne “Speed” and Marilyn Dial of St. Elmo had no idea that they would adopt, or be adopted into, a group of vendors that is rather like a large family.

    That “family” gathers on weekends from the first weekend in April until the last weekend in October, weather permitting.

  • Cindy Hicks saw a need in the Fayette County area and, wanting to help people, was tossing around ideas in her head on how best to do this.

    She saw a need to help people clothe their families, especially younger children and teenagers, when they are hard-pressed to pay their bills, handle school expenses and put food on their table. Although clothes are a necessity, they are not at the top of the have-to-have list.

  • Faye “DeeDee” Diveley recently celebrated her 40th anniversary of serving others through her work at Fayette County Hospital and Long Term Care. She worked a brief time as an aide, when she was very young, then as an LPN.