Local News

  • City receives report on river intake

    Vandalia officials are hoping to hear just after the first of the year an answer to its problem with the city’s raw water intake on the Kaskaskia River.

    Alderman Larry Cable, chairman of the city council’s water and disposal plants committee, reported at Monday’s council meeting that an engineering firm hired by the city to inspect the intake will present its findings on Jan. 4.

  • Downtown project still ahead of schedule

    Because of the weather and the holidays, work on the downtown enhancement project has come to a stop until after the first of next year.

    But that will not cause the project to be delayed past the scheduled completion date.

    In fact, the downtown project continues to be far ahead of schedule, according to reports from city officials.

    At Monday’s meeting of the Vandalia City Council, Mayor Rick Gottman reported that the project is about 85-percent complete.

  • Two homes damaged by fire last week

    Two area homes sustained substantial damage from fires late last week.

    Shortly after 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Vandalia firefighters were summoned to the home of Terry Alsbury northeast of Vandalia.

    When it was discovered that the home is in the Brownstown Fire Protection District, firefighters from Brownstown were also dispatched.

    Both fire departments arrived at the scene at the same time, 12:47 p.m., and found heavy smoke coming from the eaves of the home.

  • School administrative staff will be reorganized

    Like other school districts around the state, the Vandalia Community School District is watching its finances carefully. Delinquent payments from the state and rising operating costs are chipping away at districts' reserves – if they’re fortunate enough to have any.

    To maximize the local district’s chances of success in the midst of that budget squeeze, Superintendent Rich Well announced on Tuesday a plan to reorganize the district office administrative staff.

  • Prison workers' union supports study of early-release program

    A hostage situation, the third in recent history, offers continuing proof that Illinois needs to address staffing shortages at state prisons, according to a union official at Vandalia Correctional Center.

    On Monday, an inmate at Pinckneyville Correctional Center held a 62-year-old prison employee hostage. The hostage situation was resolved when that inmate, who was serving a sentence for aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated kidnapping, was fatally shot.

    This kidnapping followed sexual assaults of prison workers by inmates at Jacksonville and Dwight prisons.

  • New law prohibits texting while driving

    A state law that was enacted several years ago prohibits teens from talking on cell phones while driving. A new law that goes into effect on Jan. 1 further addresses the use of phones and other devices while driving, and this one affects drivers of all ages.

    Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law in August two Illinois House bills pertaining to cell phones and computers.

    One law bans motorists from text messaging while driving. More specifically, motorists may not read, compose or send text messages, instant messages or e-mails while moving in traffic.

  • Donations sought for CEFS Food Pantry

    For many low-income families, the Christmas holiday season is a tough time of year.

    This year, it’s particularly difficult – with many families facing seasonal layoffs or job losses.

    Many of those families have used the services of the CEFS food pantry, leaving the food supplies precariously low.

  • Statehouse's Christmas Open House is Saturday

    Rooms illuminated by candlelight will highlight the annual Christmas Open House from 4:30-6:30 p.m. this Saturday at the Vandalia Statehouse State Historic Site, the oldest remaining Capitol building in Illinois.

    The Statehouse where Abraham Lincoln served as a state representative from 1836-39 will be trimmed with 1800s decorations, including fresh greenery, fruits and nuts.

    Statehouse staff and volunteers in period clothing will greet visitors and be available to answer questions. Period recorder music will be provided by Baroque Folk.

  • Dispute over firing of St. Elmo chief continues

    The division created by the mayor’s firing of the police chief has risen to the level that the St. Elmo City Council is unable to conduct regular business.

    Various area media outlets reported that the council’s regular December meeting came to an early end when three of the city’s aldermen walked out of the meeting in protest of Mayor Larry Tish’s decision not to reopen discussions on the firing of Ken Thomason.

  • Council approves 8.57-percent water rate hike

    Over the displeasure of two aldermen, the Vandalia City Council on Monday approved an 8.57-percent increase in water rates as a way of helping the city’s ailing water and sewer funds.

    That increase is on top of the 7.19-percent water rate increase approved by the council in September.

    In presenting the latest increase, City Administrator Jimmy Morani explained that the rate hike was being proposed as a way of generating funds that the city did not receive as a result of council action in 2007.