Local News

  • AT&T finally adds 911 surcharge

    Fayette County residents who have landline phone service through AT&T were expecting the surcharge for Enhanced 911 to begin showing up on their bills as early as last December … or January … or February.

    The surcharge began showing up on the most recent AT&T bills, and residents were surprised to see about $30 added to their bills for E911.

    The members of Fayette County’s Emergency Telephone Systems Board discussed the surcharge billing at their monthly meeting last Thursday evening.

  • TIF committee recommends funds for seven projects

    Vandalia’s Tax Increment Financing Committee is recommending to the city council that it use the limited TIF monies now available to help fund seven improvement projects.

    The TIF Committee decided on Tuesday to recommend several smaller TIF grants and to allow a property tax benefit for two of the seven projects.

    The committee voted to endorse TIF grants for:

    • Thompson’s Home Center, $7,500

    • Dr. Mark Brunk, $7,500.

    • Fred Metzger, $1,554.

    • The Leader-Union, $2,630.

  • VCC warden terminated

    The Illinois Department of Corrections on Wednesday terminated the Vandalia Correctional Center warden who has been on administrative leave for more than two months.

    Derek Scnhapp, a spokesperson for the IDOC, said early Wednesday afternoon that Steve Mensing's termination had become effective that day.

    Mensing, who has served as the warden of VCC since the fall of 2004, has been on administrative leave since late January.

  • Gottman wins third term; Tish, Deal win Brownstown, St. Elmo posts

    Rick Gottman garnered two-thirds of the vote on Tuesday in winning a third term as Vandalia’s mayor.

    But residents of Brownstown and St. Elmo decided it was time for a change, unseating their incumbent leaders.

    In Brownstown, Billy “B.J.” Deal defeated incumbent Chuck Fitch in the village president’s race, and in St. Elmo, incumbent Jayson Porter was beaten by challenger Larry Tish.

  • City OKs change order policy for downtown project

    The Vandalia City Council voted on Monday to give the mayor, city administrator and director of public works the authority to approve minor change orders for the downtown improvement project.

    But not without considerable discussion.

    Mayor Rick Gottman submitted the request to allow him, City Administrator Jimmy Morani and Director of Public Works John Moyer to handle minor change orders in the two-week periods between council meetings. In presenting the request, Gottman told aldermen that it was up to them to set the monetary limit on change order approvals.

  • Gottman wins; St. Elmo, Brownstown get new mayors

    Rick Gottman received two-thirds of the vote in gaining a third term as Vandalia's mayor. But the incumbent mayors in Brownstown and St. Elmo were defeated.

    Also in Tuesday's election, the consolidation of the St. Elmo and Brownstown school districts was approved in St. Elmo, but rejected in Brownstown, meaning that the measure failed.

    Gottman received 886 votes, easily outdistancing his two challengers, Neil Clark (299) and John D. Wehrle Jr. (156).

  • Senior dances on first and third Tuesdays

    Dances for seniors at the Patoka Service Center are now being held on only the first and third Tuesdays, starting at 7 p.m.

    A potluck will be held at both dances, with those attending asked to take dishes. Admission is $5 per person.

  • Fire destroys unoccupied house early Tuesday

    Vandalia Fire Chief Merle Adermann (standing) looks on as firefighters Tom DePaolo and Mark Meadows battle a fire early Tuesday morning that destroyed an unoccupied home. Firefighters were called to 411 S. Poplar St. at 6 a.m., and upon their arrival three minutes later, they found the home fully involved in flames. The home, owned by Rob Schukar, was undergoing an extensive remodeling project. An investigator with the Office of the State Fire Marshal visited the scene on Tuesday morning and told local fire officials he did not believe the fire was of suspicious nature.

  • Fighting another state closure

    With the Illinois Department of Human Services planning to close 17 of its rural offices, including the one in Fayette County, Vandalia’s mayor and this area’s legislators have begun working to get a full explanation of those plans.

    Mayor Rick Gottman, state Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) and state Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Greenville) have also begun the fight to prevent the implementation of those plans.

  • New state senator begins teleconferences

    Fayette County residents who have been getting phone calls from this area’s new state senator may have been a little leery about the true identity of the caller or confused about why Kyle McCarter would be calling them.

    But McCarter is, indeed, offering the invitations to participate in teleconferences, as a way of getting a feel for the wants, needs and opinions of his constituents.