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Today's News

  • Closing DHS office not a sensible move

    A state office that is ostensibly designed to help people who are down on their luck or have specials needs will become inaccessible to many of those people if a recently announced plan is enacted.

    Late last month, the Illinois Department of Human Services announced its plans to close 17 of its rural offices – including the one in Vandalia that serves Fayette County residents – as a cost-savings move. State officials said that Fayette County residents would be served out of an office in Centralia if the proposal goes into effect on July 16 as planned.

  • Sharing the joy of music was way of life

    This past week, the music emitting from my "antique" cassette player has been old country from a March 13, 1989, “Okaw Valley Opry” show.

    Joining Bill and Evelyn Oliver on stage were daughter Connie Lee, vocals; Mike Eulberg, bass and vocals; Rick Stanbery, drums; Buddy Olsteen, banjo, steel guitar and vocals; and Dale Torbeck, fiddle and general cuttin’ up.

    Listening to the show, I feel as though I am a member of the audience. I laugh at Dale’s jokes and applaud the musicians along with the live audience. What fun!

  • 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.

  • Grapperhaus will play at Illinois College

    Illinois College announced on Tuesday that South Central multi-sport standout Isaac Grapperhaus will play basketball at the Jacksonville school.

    The 6-foot, 6-inch Grapperhaus scored 19 points and pulled down 12 rebounds per game in helping guide South Central to a 23-7 mark in Gary Shirley’s final season as head coach.

    Grapperhaus was a second-team selection for the 2008-09 Illinois Basketball Coaches Association all-state squad.

  • Girls Softball Action

    St. Elmo 12, Neoga 4

    Neoga 5, St. Elmo 0

    The St. Elmo girls picked up their first win of the season with a 12-4 victory over Neoga in a doubleheader last Thursday.

    Shelby Sapp led St. Elmo hitters with a 2-for-4 performance and 4 RBIs. Also having two hits in the contest were Lindsey Mills, Cortney Calhoun, Taylor Carson and Meghan Evans.

    Mills drove in two runs, and Brooke Maxey, Calhoun, Dylan Dilley, Taylor and Evans each had one RBI.

  • Top Guns

    Five area natives helped their respective college shooting teams to impressive finishes at the Association of College Unions International National Shotgun Championships, held March 18-22 at the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio, Texas.

    Brett Pruett of Brownstown and Mulberry Grove natives Garrett Blankenship and Matt Blankenship helped Lindenwood University win its sixth straight national championship.

    The Lions finished by hitting 1,562 targets, 67 more than runner-up Missouri.

  • Girls track squad second at Hillsboro

    Vandalia placed second in a field of five teams in a girls track meet at Hillsboro on Tuesday.

    The Lady Vandals had six first-place finishes in scoring 72 points in a meet featuring Vandalia, Hillsboro, Mt. Olive, Staunton and Highland.

    Kayla Houston had two first-place finishes, taking the high jump at 5 feet and winning the 400-meter run with a time of 1:01.07.

    Tori Hagy won the triple jump with a jump of 30 feet, 7 inches, and Ashley Durbin won the 800-meter run with a time of 2:35.

  • Lady Vandals improve to 2-3

    Vandalia picked up its first win of the season in girls softball in placing third at the Woodlawn Tournament over the weekend, then added its second win on Tuesday.

    The Lady Vandals fell to Sparta, 4-0, in their Woodlawn Tourney opener, but bounced back with a 7-6 win over Webber Township to take third.

    Audra Donaldson took the loss against Sparta, then recorded the win against Webber as the Lady Vandals improved to 1-3 on the season.

    On Tuesday, Donaldson tossed a no-hitter as the Lady Vandals defeated St. Elmo, 23-0, in a four-inning contest at St. Elmo.

  • Election shows the system still works

    Though there weren’t many contested or controversial races in Tuesday’s election, there were enough to spark significant interest in certain parts of the county.

    For instance, several mayoral races were hotly contested – including contests that resulted in new mayors in St. Elmo and Brownstown and a new village president in St. Peter. In Vandalia, two-term incumbent mayor Rick Gottman fended off efforts by two challengers to secure his third term.

  • Bermuda Triangle story makes rounds

    Little did I know when my Feb. 5 story about a Vandalia connection to the mysterious Bermuda Triangle was published in this newspaper that a copy of the article would make it to a family member, Don Garner.

    You may recall from that article that Aviation Machinist Mate (AMM3) Thomas Garner was lost with 11 crew members aboard a PBM Mariner flying boat on July 10, 1945, while on a routine training mission. It was last sighted over New Providence Islands, going north, apparently headed into a rain squall.