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Today's News

  • Former teacher, preacher impacted many

    Last week I mentioned in this column that F. M. Bolt, former editor of the Ramsey News-Journal, contributed stories to his hometown newspaper on a regular basis.

    Over the years, I have looked at many back issues of the News-Journal on microfilm, and when I came across a Bolt article, I would print a copy and add it to my file.

    It was this file I was looking through for my column about voting in the early days. The name Peter W. Blair kept popping up in F. M.s articles. I knew I had seen that name before.

  • Sunshine Week empowers people

    It happens every time I walk into a voting booth.

    At those times, when Im preparing to do my civic duty, I always wonder if Ive gotten enough information about the candidates. Do I know all I need to know to cast an informed vote? Am I missing important information about the activities and character of the people for whom Im voting?

  • Leader-Union Basketball Coach of the Year: Bussard brings Bombers stability, success

    The news immediately brought a smile to Brownstown sophomore Michael Kramer's face.

    It wasn't necessarily word that BHS coach Adam Bussard had been named The Leader-Union's 2007-08 Boys Basketball Coach of the Year, coming off a season in which he led the Bombers to a surprisingly successful 16-10 record.

    It was confirmation that Bussard is committed to bringing the program something else it's been sorely lacking in recent seasons - stability - that made Kramer's day.

  • Leader-Union Basketball Player of the Year: Booher's versatility sets him apart

    It was a sequence that pretty much summed up Colton Booher's career.

    First, the St. Elmo senior came up with a steal and took the ball the length of the court for a two-handed dunk.

    The 6-foot-4 point guard then went airborne once again, this time to vehemently reject an opponent's feeble attempt at a jumper.

    Moments later, Booher grabbed a defensive board and alertly found a teammate downcourt with a baseball pass for an easy transition bucket.

    Final tally: one steal, an assist, a block, a rebound and a field goal.

    All in the span of 90 seconds.

  • Area gives strong support to St. Elmo fundraiser

    Austin Adams has lost his hair, because of chemotherapy treatments he has taken to battle cancer. By late afternoon on Sunday, about 70 people at the St. Elmo Fire Station had similar hairstyles.

    Those individuals who agreed to have their heads shaved did so both as a show of support for Austin and other children with pediatric cancer, and to raise funds to fight that type of cancer.

  • Smoke-Free Act too hazy to work

    What appears to be a poorly drafted piece of legislation has the states restaurant and bar owners enveloped in a cloud of smoke, with no easy way to clear the air.

    The new Smoke-Free Illinois Act, which went into effect the first of the year, attempts to ban smoking in virtually all public areas. Thats good news for those who are bothered by second-hand cigarette smoke. But its extremely confusing for business owners, government officials and law enforcement personnel who are expected to enforce the vague measure.

  • Schools may lose out on state funds

    Though the Vandalia Board of Education dealt with a variety of issues at its monthly meeting Tuesday, an announcement by Superintendent Rich Well about the possibility of diminished state funding was cause for concern among board members and school officials.

    Well told the board that hes hearing from other superintendents and others in the states educational hierarchy that theres a distinct possibility that the state will not make the final two state aid payments of the fiscal year in June.

  • Council's discussions on river intake continue

    For the second time in two weeks, the Vandalia City Council voted on bringing a second engineering firm in to study the new Kaskaskia River water intake. And for the second time in two weeks, the proposal was rejected.

    But support for that proposal, suggested by Alderman Chad Feldpouch, is growing.

    Discussion on the river intake which has been inoperable for lengthy periods since its installation in 2004 was initiated on Monday night by Mayor Rick Gottman, who said he received some phone calls after the councils March 3 meeting.

  • St. Elmo fundraiser generates close to $15,000 for fight against pediatric cancer

    For several years, Bryan Jennings' friends in Northern Illinois had been coming to them for support of their St. Baldrick fundraisers.

    While Jennings was happy to support those events held in the northern part of the state to raise funds for the fight against pediatric cancer, he thought it was time to hold such an event in this area.

    Jennings gained the support of his fellow firefighters on the St. Elmo Fire Department, then he invited the 22 departments that are a part of MABAS 54 (Mutual Aid Box Alarm System) to also get involved.

  • Area Community Calendar

    Thursday, March 20

    eoe" Soroptimist International will meet at noon at Ponderosa Steakhouse in Vandalia.

    eoe" The Breakfast Optimist Club of Vandalia will meet at 6 p.m. at Ponderosa Steakhouse. All members are urged to attend, because upcoming projects will be discussed.

    eoe" TOPS IL 1872, Ramsey, will meet at the Christian Church in Ramsey. Weigh-in is at 6 p.m., and the meeting is at 7 p.m. For more information, contact Tami Washburn at 283-4664.

    eoe" Al-Anon will meet at 8 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church on Fillmore Street in Vandalia.