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Today's News

  • Funds aid fight to eradicate breast cancer

    There aren’t many among us who haven’t been impacted by breast cancer.

    It is the leading cause of cancer death among women between the ages of 40 and 59, and it is second only to lung cancer in total cancer deaths among women.

    This week, we at The Leader-Union are observing national Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a variety of activities.

  • Accidental poisoning kills family members

    Along with contributing a weekly history column for The Leader-Union, I also answer genealogy and history questions in a “Queries” column published bi-monthly in The Ramsey News-Journal.

    A question from Ron Marsh of Pullman, Wash., prompted me to look closer at the family of Zelah F. Watwood, who homesteaded along Boaz Creek (Ramsey Creek) in the 1830s.

    Ron had found the family living in Fayette County in 1840 and 1850, but Zelah was not mentioned in the 1855 Illinois State Census records. Ron questioned what happened to him. Had he moved on?

  • Motown officials to visit in November

    Representatives of the Michigan group that wants to build a $300-million sports and entertainment complex in Vandalia plan to come to town next month to request an extension on a deadline for presenting financial information.

    Mayor Rick Gottman said Wednesday morning that he was told on Tuesday that Motown Technology & Sports Facility Inc. plan to attend one of the two city council meetings in November.

  • IDOT considering roundabout for Veterans and Sunset

    The Illinois Department of Transportation is studying the feasibility of a traffic roundabout at Veterans Avenue and Sunset Drive, city officials reported last week. Traffic often gets clogged at the intersection, Mayor Rick Gottman said. “It could make it more flowable,” he said. “[IDOT] has to do a lot of surveying, studies, public hearings. The idea is very much in the infancy stage now.” The circular road junction – popularized in Europe – is designed to slow traffic and redirect drivers in a one-way stream around a central island.

  • Workers finishing up second block of downtown project

    At least one block of downtown Vandalia that has been left dark because of the streetscape project should be illuminated in the near future.

    At Vandalia Main Street’s “Mornings on Main Street” meeting on Tuesday, Lorne Jackson of HMG Engineers told city officials and downtown merchants that the general contractor, Hank’s Excavating of Belleville, is waiting for a key piece of lighting equipment.

  • McCarter will seek election to Senate

    The man who eight months ago was appointed to fill Frank Watson’s vacated state senate seat, last week announced his intentions to run for a full term in that office.

    State Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, was in Vandalia last Wednesday to announce his re-election plans from the steps of the Vandalia Statehouse. He also spoke that day in Decatur, Greenville and Highland.

  • National Road Center receives grant

    The Federal Highway Administration has announced that a grant of $101,750 has been awarded to the National Road Interpretive Center in Vandalia, Illinois. The project will allow the Illinois National Road Association to develop a prime Interpretive Center that will house exhibit materials, an interpretive guide and planning materials.

  • Patty Sprague writes about Down syndrome

    Down syndrome is usually described as a congenital defect caused by an extra chromosome, characterized by moderate to severe mental retardation and marked physical traits that are often easily identifiable in the person with the condition.

    The above information can be found in medical books and dictionaries. What is not described are the initial heartbreak, struggles and coping of the parents and, especially, the very special gifts ­ the unexpected joys, triumphs, love, sweetness of spirit and affection brought by the child with Down syndrome.

  • FAYETTE FACES: Locals take part in 'Honor Flight'

    When U.S. Navy veteran, Robyn Pontious, learned of the need for guardians to travel with World War II veterans to visit the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C, she answered the call.

    Moreover, she arranged for her sister, Kelly Washburn, to serve also as a guardian.

    The enthusiasm the two sisters share over the experience is approached only by the compassion they show for the two veterans’ emotional reactions as waiting American citizens met them with respect, displays of gratitude and recognition of their service to their country during WWII.

  • Judge puts state layoffs on hold

    Just two days before Gov. Pat Quinn’s plan to layoff more than 2,600 state employees – including 127 at Vandalia Correctional Center – was to kick in, a Southern Illinois judge put that plan on hold.

    Judge Todd Lambert issues in Johnson County Circuit Court on Monday a preliminary injunction that provides more time for the governor and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the union representing the majority of Illinois Department of Corrections employees, for bargaining on three AFSCME grievances.