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Today's News

  • Lady Vandals win Mattoon Tournament

    With the bitter disappointment of Thursday's overtime loss to Marion still fresh in the Lady Vandals' minds, and their Mattoon Christmas Tournament title hopes hinging on a Friday evening game against MacArthur, the VCHS girls basketball team did what many squads before them have done.

    They turned to Hollywood for inspiration.

    And as it turns out, inspiration can come from the unlikeliest of sources.

  • Wesclin holds off Cougars in OT for 3rd-straight VHT title

    Wesclin managed to overcome the magic that seems to accompany South Central every time it steps on the court at Vandalia Community High School.

    But just barely.

    After watching the Cougars erase an 11-point fourth quarter deficit and force overtime on Will Crain's buzzer-beating 3-pointer, the top-seeded Indians held off South Central in the extra frame for a 54-51 victory in the championship game of the 36 Annual Vandalia Holiday Tournament Saturday night.

    The title was the Warriors' third in a row and a record seventh overall.

    But it was anything but easy.

  • Downtown project must be a priority in 2008

    As they look back on 2007, city officials have to be pleased with many things that they saw within the past year, including the continued development of Vandalias western Interstate 70 interchange.

    But, as they reflect, Mayor Rick Gottman, City Administrator Jimmy Morani, Director of Economic Development JoAnn Givens and Vandalia aldermen also need to be looking at some projects looming in the future.

    At the top of the list is the effort to revitalize the downtown business district.

  • Burtschis founded title company in 1890

    Burtschi Brothers Title Co. had its beginning on Aug. 5, 1890, when Julius Louis Burtschi acted as the go-between on a $700 loan from William Sonnemann to Katy Mayz.

    The next year, Julius opened an office on the second floor of a new Gallatin Street building, on the site of his birthplace. This second year, he made seven loans and built the first of 800 houses that he would build during his lifetime.

  • City fails to get bids for downtown improvement project, Temple Baptist dedicates new church

    The city of Vandalia continued to struggle as it attempted to get the downtown improvements project on track. A fire in the early morning hours of Labor Day destroyed The Depot, a popular eatery and meeting place.

    Those were a couple of the stories from the past year. Today, we continue our look back at 2007.

    MAY

  • Illinois' smoke-free law is now in effect

    Although some of the rules and details are still not finalized, the Illinois Smoke-free law is now in effect.

    As of Jan. 1, indoor public places and places of employment in Illinois are now smoke-free.

    The new state smoking resistriction includes, but is not limited to, restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, private clubs and gaming facilities. Smoking also is prohibited in public conveyances, such as taxis, buses, shuttles, and any vehicle owned, leased or operated by the state or a political subdivision of the state.

  • City gets permission to use TEA-21 funds for wayside exhibits

    While the city of Vandalia has its downtown improvements project on hold, it is moving ahead with one facet of the plan to enhance the downtown.

    The city has received permission from the Illinois Department of Transportation to use some of its federal TEA-21 project funds for the production and installation of its Looking for Lincoln wayside exhibits.

    On those 10 exhibits, formerly known as storyboards, Vandalia will present to local residents and tourists stories about Abraham Lincolns time in Vandalia.

  • Don't make it easy for thefts from cars

    Vandalia Police Chief Larry Eason reported late last week that his officers had been handling an unusually high number of reports related to the theft of items from vehicles.

    And he noted that there was one fairly common thread in those thefts the thieves had been provided easy pickings.

    Eason seemed frustrated about that, the fact that some local residents continue to leave their property unsecured. In a number of cases, the thieves had only to open vehicle doors to get to their treasures.

  • Public participation key to school issue

    While the Brownstown and St. Elmo school boards voted recently to take another step toward the possible reorganization of the two districts into one, there is much to be done before that possibility comes to a final vote.

    The action by the school boards means that officials in the two districts will only continue to study reorganization. We encourage residents of the two districts to do the same.

    Reorganization obviously has both advantages and disadvantages, and its the job of everyone in the two districts to weigh both sides.

  • Christmas memories of a one-room school

    Nearly 20 years ago, I struck up a correspondence with a lady named Ruby Hearn from San Antonio, Texas.

    Ruby was the daughter of Selby and Laura Grandfield Hunter, and was born and raised in Fayette County. She lived away for most of her adult life, and always spoke of her old home with affection. She often told me she would like to return to Vandalia to live some day.