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Local News

  • Agreement halts prison layoffs

    A mediated agreement reached this week prevents the layoff of state prison workers for at least 17 months.

    Vandalia Mayor Rick Gottman received on Tuesday a copy of the mediated agreement approved by the union that represents the majority of state prison workers and the state.

    The mediated agreement is a resolution to the lawsuit filed by the employees’ union, Council 31 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, in Johnson County in August of last year.

  • Andy Canning among those helping earthquake victims

    When Vandalia native Andy Canning enlisted in the Navy, he hoped to see the world.

    What he didn’t count on was being deployed to help provide aid to the people of Haiti after a devastating earthquake hit the area on Jan. 12.

    But that’s exactly where he’s found himself.

  • Census promotion gets under way

    They may have been worried that filling out the form would mean providing information that could lead to identity theft. They may have not understood that their participation would mean more dollars for their local city and schools.

    Whatever the reason, about one-third of St. Elmo’s residents chose not to participate in the 2000 Census.

    And area officials want to see that that doesn’t happen again. In fact, those in St. Elmo are a little ahead of the game this time.

  • FCH, operator OK amendment to operating agreement

    The Fayette County Hospital District Board and the company that has operated the local hospital for the past five years on Monday hammered out an amendment to the management agreement between the two entities.

    In that new agreement – termed the “first amendment to the use, operating and management agreement” – Heartland Health System Inc. agreed to share more financial information with the board, and the board was given the option to terminate the relationship between the two after giving Heartland a six-month notice.

  • Former St. Elmo superintendent dies

    James Smith, a long-time superintendent of the St. Elmo School District, died Monday afternoon at St. Anthony's Memorial Hospital in Effingham.

    Mr. Smith, who was honored in 2009 as St. Elmo's Citizen of the Year, was St. Elmo's superintendent from 1965 until his retirement in 1985. He was a member and past president of the St. Elmo Lions Club and was involved in many community organizations and projects in St. Elmo over the past 45 years.

    His obituary is in our Obituaries section on this Web site.

  • Extreme cold puts freeze on downtown enhancement work

    A few weeks ago, the city was hopeful that new sidewalks could be poured – and the roadway opened to traffic – in the last two blocks of Gallatin Street being improved by the downtown enhancement project.

    Not only did city officials find out recently that that would not be a possibility in the near future, but they also learned that some of the sidewalk work already completed would have to be redone.

  • City works on two fronts for good census figures

    Knowing how the data gathered through the 2010 Census will impact their wallet, Vandalia officials are working through a couple of different channels to make sure that every local resident is counted.

    Mayor Rick Gottman announced at Monday’s Vandalia City Council meeting that the first meeting of the city’s 2010 Census Complete Count Committee will be held at 5 p.m. this Wednesday.

  • State still behind on school funding

    Though the Vandalia Community School District will probably not have to dip into its working cash reserves to make it through the current fiscal year, Superintendent Rich Well said Tuesday that the district is “still dramatically behind in categorical payments from the state.”

    In his report to the school board, Well said that the state now owes the district $379,927.

  • Brownstown man killed in Wednesday crash

    A Brownstown man was killed in a two-vehicle accident near Ramsey on Wednesday afternoon.

    According to Fayette County Coroner Bruce Bowen, Micky A. Koehler, 40, sustained fatal injuries in an accident on County Road 2700North, one mile west of Ramsey.

    Bowen said Koehler was eastbound on the county road when he crossed the center line and hit a westbound van head-on. He pronounced Koehler dead at the scene at 5:33 p.m.

    The crash remains under investigation by Bowen’s office and the Illinois State Police.

  • Ramsey man dies in Wednesday accident

    A Ramsey man was killed in a two-vehicle accident south of Brownstown on Wednesday afternoon.

    According to the Illinois State Police, Forest Stokes, 32, died after a 1997 Dodge Neon collided with a 1993 Ford pickup truck driven by Carl J. Sefton, 20, of Brownstown.