Today's News

  • Prison workers' union supports study of early-release program

    A hostage situation, the third in recent history, offers continuing proof that Illinois needs to address staffing shortages at state prisons, according to a union official at Vandalia Correctional Center.

    On Monday, an inmate at Pinckneyville Correctional Center held a 62-year-old prison employee hostage. The hostage situation was resolved when that inmate, who was serving a sentence for aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated kidnapping, was fatally shot.

    This kidnapping followed sexual assaults of prison workers by inmates at Jacksonville and Dwight prisons.

  • New law prohibits texting while driving

    A state law that was enacted several years ago prohibits teens from talking on cell phones while driving. A new law that goes into effect on Jan. 1 further addresses the use of phones and other devices while driving, and this one affects drivers of all ages.

    Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law in August two Illinois House bills pertaining to cell phones and computers.

    One law bans motorists from text messaging while driving. More specifically, motorists may not read, compose or send text messages, instant messages or e-mails while moving in traffic.

  • Santa has been visiting Don Funks for two decades

    Every year for the past 20 years, Don and Ellie Funk have graciously hosted a favorite, famous and beloved guest in their lakeside home.

    He usually appears in the second week of December and stays until he has to return to the North Pole to make his toys and gifts run on Christmas Eve.

    He travels light, with few personal items, as he never seems to shave, and always wears the same style of clothing.

    However, he does bring reindeer along with him, for which the Funks have graciously provided a shelter.

  • Johnson powers Vandals past Hillsboro, Vandalia crushes Greenville by 14 points

    Vandalia had three starters in double figures on Tuesday night as they defeated Hillboro, 60-46.

    The Vandals picked up their third consecutive win and moved above the .500 mark for the first time this season with the win.

    Marty Johnson scored a team-high 22 points, 15 of which came from beyond the arc. On defense, he battled down low for 10 rebounds.

    Holding a narrow lead after the first quarter, Vandalia outscored the Hilltoppers 17-8 in the second quarter to take a 10-point lead at the half.

  • St. Elmo squeaks past Cowden, 53-51

    After seeing Cowden-Herrick last week and winning easily behind a 23-point performance by Nathaniel Maxey, St. Elmo should have felt pretty confident going into Tuesday night’s game against the Hornets. Only this time, the Eagles would be without their leading scorer. But that didn’t hurt their confidence at all.


  • Donations sought for CEFS Food Pantry

    For many low-income families, the Christmas holiday season is a tough time of year.

    This year, it’s particularly difficult – with many families facing seasonal layoffs or job losses.

    Many of those families have used the services of the CEFS food pantry, leaving the food supplies precariously low.

  • Burnam, Daniels are modern-day 'fishers of men'

    To sit in on a casual conversation with Dale “Pete” Burnam and Glen “Whitey” Daniels, one would think the two were highly incompatible.

    As they volley insults back and forth, however, it soon becomes clear they actually share a close, brotherly-love-like friendship and have the utmost respect for one another.

    When not harassing one another, they are quick with compliments, credits and tributes to the other.

  • Statehouse's Christmas Open House is Saturday

    Rooms illuminated by candlelight will highlight the annual Christmas Open House from 4:30-6:30 p.m. this Saturday at the Vandalia Statehouse State Historic Site, the oldest remaining Capitol building in Illinois.

    The Statehouse where Abraham Lincoln served as a state representative from 1836-39 will be trimmed with 1800s decorations, including fresh greenery, fruits and nuts.

    Statehouse staff and volunteers in period clothing will greet visitors and be available to answer questions. Period recorder music will be provided by Baroque Folk.

  • Dispute over firing of St. Elmo chief continues

    The division created by the mayor’s firing of the police chief has risen to the level that the St. Elmo City Council is unable to conduct regular business.

    Various area media outlets reported that the council’s regular December meeting came to an early end when three of the city’s aldermen walked out of the meeting in protest of Mayor Larry Tish’s decision not to reopen discussions on the firing of Ken Thomason.

  • Council approves 8.57-percent water rate hike

    Over the displeasure of two aldermen, the Vandalia City Council on Monday approved an 8.57-percent increase in water rates as a way of helping the city’s ailing water and sewer funds.

    That increase is on top of the 7.19-percent water rate increase approved by the council in September.

    In presenting the latest increase, City Administrator Jimmy Morani explained that the rate hike was being proposed as a way of generating funds that the city did not receive as a result of council action in 2007.