Local News

  • Painting the town red...

    The effort to make below-ground improvements in downtown Vandalia has begun. In the near future, improvements to the streetscape on Gallatin Street will get under way.

    And as those improvements are made using city, state and federal funds, Vandalia Main Street volunteers will begin adding their own enhancements to the downtown business district.

    Main Street’s design committee plans to kick off its “Paint the Town” program sometime in April by painting the exteriors of three downtown businesses.

  • Vandalia suing HMG over I-70 interchange boring

    The city of Vandalia is suing its consulting engineers in an attempt to recoup funds it paid for a boring at the western Interstate 70 interchange.

    In a two-count suit filed earlier this month, the city is seeking a judgment of $361,370.18 from HMG Engineers of Carlyle. That total includes legal fees and services provided by another engineering firm.

    The amount being sought equals the amount that the city has spent to date on the extension of water and sewer lines to the northwest quadrant of the western interchange.

  • Shobonier pleads guilty to federal meth charge

    A Shobonier man pleaded guilty to a methamphetamine charge in federal court last Friday.

    Larry G. Tinker, 58, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, according to A. Courtney Cox, a U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Illinois,

  • The Work Begins (Finally!)

    Ten years after an expansive streetscape project for Vandalia’s downtown business district was first discussed, work on that project is under way on Gallatin Street.

    As local operator Ronnie Smith began digging at the intersection of Fifth and Gallatin streets on Tuesday morning, Mayor Rick Gottman and engineer Lorne Jackson stood half a block away, explaining the flow of the project to a group of downtown merchants.

    Eleven hours later, merchants, city officials and other Vandalia residents received a similar report on the project.

  • Shobonier man pleads guilty to federal meth charge

    A Shobonier man pleaded guilty to a methamphetamine charge in federal court on Thursday.

    Larry Tinker, 58, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.

    See more in the next issue of The Leader-Union.

  • Statehouse reopens, BUT.....

    A little more than a week before Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested on federal charges, the doors of the Vandalia Statehouse – and other state historic sites – were closed as a result of Blagojevich’s budget cuts. On Saturday, the Statehouse doors were reopened.

    But just how long that’s the case is still up in the air, considering the budget address by new Gov. Pat Quinn on Wednesday.

    The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency held a ceremony on Saturday to celebrate the reopening of the Vandalia Statehouse that morning.

  • City will study Gallatin Street parking limit again

    Vandalia’s mayor has asked a city council committee to again study the two-hour parking restriction on Gallatin Street.

    Rick Gottman turned that matter over to the council’s streets and sewers committee after a downtown developer complained about a parking ticket.

    The discussion on the issue started when Dennis Grubaugh told city officials that he received a ticket for parking on Gallatin Street overnight while staying in an apartment in one of his downtown projects.

  • St. Elmo man gets prison for sex crimes

    A St. Elmo man found guilty of three sex offenses in January has been sentenced to 18 years in prison.

    At a sentencing hearing in February, Derek M. Klincar was given two six-year sentences and one three-year sentence by Fayette County Resident Circuit Judge S. Gene Schwarm for the sex offenses.

    Those three sentences will be served consecutively, and consecutive to a three-year sentence for a 2007 offense.

  • Vandalia School Board handles a number of personnel issues

    After an executive session lasting more than 90 minutes, the Vandalia Board of Education handled a variety of personnel issues at its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday.

    Upon returning to open session, the board approved the resignations of Jeri-Lynn Burnam (Jefferson Primary School teacher), Cathy Houghtaling (Vandalia Elementary School teacher), Mike Butler (Vandalia Community High School girls basketball coach), Meggyn Sytar (Vandalia Junior High School cheerleading coach) and Todd Ehlers (VJHS boys basketball coach).