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Today's News

  • Vandalia native recording images of our city

    Someone asked the other day how I found ideas for the articles that appear in this column.

    That is an interesting question. A subject can be suggested by a photograph, a biography of a person, the history of a town and even questions from our readers.

    Fayette County’s recorded history begins in scattered histories of Illinois, the "History of Fayette County," published in 1878; followed by the "Pictorial History of Vandalia, Illinois," in 1904; and the "Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Fayette County," from 1910.

  • Motown visit postponed again

    The fate of the plan to build a $300-million sports and entertainment complex will now not be known until early December.

    Director of Economic Development and Tourism JoAnn Givens told the Vandalia City Council on Monday night that Kenneth Bardwell, chairman and chief executive officer of Motown Technology and Sports Facility Inc., plans to visit with city officials on Dec. 7.

    At the council meeting on that date, Bardwell will present a request for an extension on the deadline for providing proof to the city that Motown has obtained the financing for the project.

  • A team effort to battle the flu bug

    Rumors that there have been cases of H1N1 flu in Fayette County are just not true, according to local health officials.

    “We have had no confirmed cases (of H1N1),” said Kendra Craig of the Fayette County Health Department.

    But the FCHD, along with local school officials, are working to prevent and treat cases of both H1N1 and regular flu as flu season gets under way.

  • School district has good audit, but still has some challenges

    The Vandalia Board of Education heard some good news on the financial and educational fronts Tuesday night. But those positive reports were balanced by several challenges that still face the district.

    On the positive side, the board heard an upbeat audit report from Joe Barth of the accounting firm of Luallen, Cearlock, Barth & Burnam. Barth noted the district’s “strong fund balances,” and said that the district “is on the right track” financially.

  • Funk, Taylor are grand marshals for Lions' parade

    As it organizes its Halloween parade each year, the Vandalia Lions Club honors an individual who has made a commitment to community service. This year, the club is honoring two men, both of whom have never seen the parade

    Lifelong Vandalia residents Don Funk and Ed Taylor have never seen the Lions’ parade because they’ve been part of the club leadership organizing and pulling off the Halloween event.

  • Not Enough: The Vandals' one scoring drive got them on the board, but was not enough to get them in contention

    As the Vandals walked off the field Friday night, they had little to show for the last two hours they had spent in the cold and rain. The scoreboard read Southwestern–20, Vandalia–6, but the scoreboard didn’t show the six turnovers by Vandalia and only one significant drive.

    “We didn’t play well,” coach John Stout said. “We didn’t play real well. We turned the ball over, and couldn’t get anything going.”

  • Field of Dreams continues progress as winter approaches

    Over the last month, the Field of Dream project has taken three steps forward and one step back. While they received a sizable donation in the form of dirt, erosion problems on the high school baseball field have the committee members scratching their heads.

  • 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.