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Columns

  • The Way We Were

    15 Years Ago

    1997 – A large crowd was on hand for the unveiling of the Vandalia Chamber of Commerce’s new welcome sign.
    Mr. and Mrs. James Thomas of Vandalia were planning to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.
    The Fayette County Board agreed to get estimates on work needed on the county courthouse.
    Fayette County Sheriff Michael D. Kleinik reported that 16 memorial trees had been purchased for the lawn of the county courthouse and jail.

  • Banks of the Okaw

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: These three siblings, pictured about 35 years ago, grew up in the Vandalia area.

  • The Way We Were

    15 Years Ago

    1997 – The city of Vandalia was continuing to fight the spread of odor from its sewage treatment plant on the north edge of town.
    The Vandalia Chamber of Commerce planned a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new welcome sign, which resembles the Vandalia Statehouse.
    Charles Metzger received a pin for 50 years of service with Temperence Lodge No. 16 in Vandalia.
    The Vandalia City Council approved a four-way stop at the intersection of Sunset Drive and Fillmore Street.

  • The lost 'Brick Cemetery' has been found

    I write a bi-monthly genealogy and history query column for The Ramsey News-Journal newspaper, and one of the first questions I was asked came from a gentleman in Dallas, Texas.

  • Banks of the Okaw

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: This picture, taken in the late 1940s, shows a young man who graduated from Seminary School in 1949 and from Vandalia High School in 1953. He married in 1959 and has lived in Vandalia ever since.

  • The Way We Were

    15 Years Ago

    1997 – After deliberating for about 30 minutes, a Fayette County jury found Kelly McGinnis of Greenville guilty. McGinnis, who previously was sentenced to 60 years in prison for murdering Greenville Tom Meyer, was charged with armed violence after shooting up the office of Vandalia Attorney Larry LeFevre.
    Rob Blackerby resigned from the chief deputy position with the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Michael D. Kleinik announced that he would not fill the vacancy.

  • Grace Kurtz funeral showed her status

     We were sitting at my kitchen table when I told my friend, Dale Reeves, that he was allowing me a rare opportunity. Dale had placed a small photo album in front of me containing pictures taken by the late Edith Hausmann that he had purchased at an antique store.

  • Banks of the Okaw

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: These two boys, the youngest boys in a family of seven children (three girls and four boys), both served in the military.

  • The Way We Were

    15 Years Ago

    1997 – Based on an ordinance, water rates for residents of Vandalia were increased by 7.01 percent and sewer rates were hiked by 1.48 percent.
    After hearing residents in the area of Sunset Drive and Fillmore Street voice complaints about speeders, the Vandalia City Council agreed to consider making the intersection of Sunset and Fillmore streets a four-way stop.

  • Can Vandalians be called river rats?

    I moved from Vandalia to Springfield in the fall of 1970. It was about this time that I found out we Vandalians, or at least this particular one, are considered "River Rats" by some of the "flatlanders" up north.
    The first time I heard the phrase, I protested! My folks lived on North First Street,  and the Kaskaskia River flowed a short distance from our back yard, but I didn’t think much about it. I knew the river was behind our house somewhere, hidden by the trees, but did not spend time looking for it. A river rat, indeed!