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Today's News

  • Statehouse closing at end of day on Sunday

    One of the biggest local events during the holiday season is the Christmas Open House at the Vandalia Statehouse. Each year, several hundred people enjoy the old state capitol bathed in candlelight, period music and holiday refreshments.

    But, this December, both local residents and those who come from miles away, won’t be able to enjoy the holiday event.

    The Christmas Open House won’t be held on Dec. 14 as planned, because the Vandalia Statehouse will be closed as of Monday.

  • Etcheson earns all-state Honor

    Sometimes, in order to be considered among of the best, you have to beat the best.

    That old saying has proved doubly true for VCHS senior Jake Etcheson.

    Vandalia football coach John Stout decided to move Etcheson from safety to cornerback in the Vandals’ pivotal Week 7 showdown with Staunton in an effort to shut down the aptly-named Cody Best – considered one of the top wideouts in the region.

    Etcheson did just that, finishing with four pass breakups, including two that saved touchdowns late in the game, helping Vandalia hang on for a 7-0 win.

  • Route 51 meetings are next week in Ramsey, Vandalia

    The Illinois Department of Transportation will again seek comments from Fayette County residents as it continues to work on the four-lane expansion of U.S. Route 51 between Decatur and Centralia.

    Representatives of IDOT and Clark-Dietz Engineers, which is serving as a consulting engineering firm for the Route 51 project, will be present at public meetings next Tuesday and Wednesday.

    From 3-7 p.m. on Tuesday, those representatives will be at the Ramsey Village Hall. They will also be at the Ramada Inn Ltd. in Vandalia on Wednesday from noon-6 p.m.

  • Improvements made to Leader-Union Web site

    Starting this week, people who go online to www.leaderunion.com to get local news, weather, sports, obituaries and advertising information will notice a few changes in The Leader-Union Web site.

    The newspaper is in the midst of a platform change for the Web site, with some improvements being added in the initial stage of that change.

    All of the information that has been available at www.leaderunion.com, including complete obituary information that goes online as we receive it, will still be there, albeit in a slightly different format.

  • Watson needs to take care of himself for now

    State government just won’t be the same in the future.

    But more important than losing state Sen. Frank Watson’s presence among the state’s leaders at the bargaining table is the future health of our long-time representative in Springfield.

    Watson made his first visit to Springfield last week after suffering a stroke. Yet his recovery is far from over, with many challenging days, weeks and months ahead.

  • Families of St. Paul settlers still in area

    My chemo buddy at the Fayette County Hospital outpatient clinic the past couple of weeks has been Carl Benning of St. Paul, down on the German Prairie in Wilberton Township.

    I have never lived in St. Paul, but part of my heart is there, because my mother’s people, the Sasse and Kruenegel families, settled there about 1865, migrating with the Dodge County, Wis., German Lutherans. These settlers founded the St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church.

  • Bombers hold off Mt. Olive in season opener

    Brownstown boys basketball coach Adam Bussard preached patience – oftentimes at the top of his lungs – during the final four minutes of the Bombers’ season-opening game against Mt. Olive Monday at the Mulberry Grove Thanksgiving Tournament.

    And the second-year head coach proved he practices what he preaches when assessing a 40-34 Brownstown victory after the game.

  • St. Elmo grad earns all-conference honors

    St. Elmo grad Maribel Guerrero was one of the big reasons Kaskaskia College’s volleyball team approached the .500 mark this year.

    That fact was recognized by the Great Rivers Athletic Conference in mid-November. Guerrero, who is a 5-foot-5 sophomore defensive specialist, was named to the GRAC’s first team. She finished her sophomore year with 394 digs and 16 service aces. As a freshman, Guerrero finished with 96 digs and one service ace, bringing her two-year career total to 490 digs and 17 aces.

  • County Board OKs loan to health department, but not before a lengthy discussion

    The Fayette County Health Department moved its staff from the basement of the Fayette County Courthouse and a building on North Fifth Street in Vandalia into a former residence 21 years ago.

    Renovations were made to the home at 509 W. Edwards St. in order to prepare the building for the staff, and a number of subsequent renovations followed.

  • Retirement is another chapter in McConkey's life

    Paul McConkey operated the Victory Lane Service Station and Convenience Store in Brownstown for 16 1/2 years, something he began in 1992, because he saw a need in the community.

    And it proved to be something he enjoyed over the years.

    However, Sept. 30 was his last day in the business, as he handed the keys over to a new owner.

    “I don’t think of it as retiring,” McConkey said, “It was a chapter in my life, and now I’m just going on to another chapter.”