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Columns

  • Banks of the Okaw-Jan. 6, 2011

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: These three boys and one girl grew up in the Augsburg area. The boy on the left still lives in the Augsburg area, is married,  and has one daughter and one son. The boy second from the left recently moved to Decatur, is married, and has two daughters and two sons. The boy third from the left still lives in the Augsburg area, is married and has two daughters. The girl on the right lives in Vandalia and has one son.
    Do you know them? If so, call The Leader-Union, 283-3374.

  • Koehler recalls days as prisoner of war

    A couple of weeks ago, my cousin, Mike Koehler, from Mt. Pulaski telephoned. Mike calls at least twice a month, and at the beginning of this call he asked, “Do you know what day it is?”
    Actually, I had no idea what day it was, although I was fairly certain it was December.
    “December 19,” he said. “Sixty-six years ago today, I was captured by the Germans.  You know that recipe I sent you? That is what I had to eat on Christmas Day.”

  • Banks of the Okaw-Dec. 30, 2010

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: In this photo are the owner, driver and crew of a stock car that raced in Brownstown in the 1970s.
    Do you know them? If so, call The Leader-Union, 283-3374.
    In last week’s Mystery Banks Photo was: Robert P. "Bob" Meyer.
    Identifying him were: Ronnie and Norma Heather, and John Schaub.
    This week’s Scrambler: iescelnsnla mesobce reom tnapomtri henw lsegidons si kylenuil

  • The Way We Were-Dec. 30, 2010

    15 Years Ago

    1996 – A space heater was believed to be the cause of a fire which gutted the building on North Eighth Street housing the Sunshine House Health Food store. Vandalia firefighters battled extremely cold weather in putting out the blaze.
    The Fayette County Board continued to study the county’s need for more space. The board met in closed session for about 40 minutes to discuss property acquisition.
    Andrea Lilly and Nick Hopfensperger were winners of “I Dare You” leadership awards.

    20 Years Ago

  • "The Year of the Deep Snow"

    Hughea Davenport was not a resident of our county, but his descendents were. It is through the late Berle Mattes that I received a copy of a memoir, written in May 1876 by his great-grandfather Davenport.
    Hughea was 12 years old when he came to Illinois from Kentucky in 1824, settling with his family six miles west of the hamlet of Springfield, which Hughea told consisted of eight to 10 houses, several stores –  including one with a whiskey barrel owned by Herndon – and the Capps brothers’ hardware and shoe shop.

  • Banks of the Okaw-Dec. 23, 2010

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: This man, who has farmed all his life in rural Vandalia, is turning 60 today. He is married and has four children (two girls and two boys). The two boys help him farm. If you know him, give him a call and wish him a happy birthday.
    Do you know him? If so, call The Leader-Union, 283-3374.
    In last week’s Mystery Banks Photo was: Zachary Ryan Townsend.

  • The Way We Were-Dec. 23, 2010

    15 Years Ago

    1995 – Springfield Calvary upset Shelbyville, the team rated No. 1 in Class A basketball, to win the Vandalia Holiday Tournament. Mario Brown of Calvary was named the tournament MVP.
    State Sen. Frank Watson (R-Greenville), along with several representatives of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, held a meeting at Days Inn in Vandalia to hear concerns about the future of Carlyle Lake. About 70 local residents attended the meeting.

  • Was Abraham Lincoln really a Scrooge?

    The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Blog “From out of the Top Hat” has an entry this week about the Lincolns and Christmas, titled “Scrooge Lincoln?” It talks about how Christmas was just like any other day in the Lincoln White House, and the president, like Scrooge, saw no reason for the family and staff to act differently on that day. The blog is at www.alplm.org/blog. It is updated every Monday, and additional topic suggestions are always welcome.
    The text of the blog is presented below.

  • Christmas memories center on families

    The Christmases of my childhood revolved around family.
    We would always visit Grandma Gum, my mother’s mom, on Christmas Day. On Thanksgiving Day, cousins would draw names for a gift exchange to be held at Christmas, and her house would be filled with aunts, uncles and cousins.  
    On Christmas Eve day, we were allowed to open one gift before we left for church.  Generally, it was a package that contained an outfit to wear to the Christmas program that evening. Most times, the outfit was made by mom.

  • The Way We Were-dec. 16, 2010

    15 Years Ago

    1995 – The attorney for Stuart Heaton, a Bluff City man convicted of murder in 1992, was asking the court for the permission to obtain fingerprints for two local men who he believed committed the murder.
    Vandalia’s wrestlers took first place at the Mascoutah Invitational. Mike Mabry, Nathan Graumenz and David Graumenz won their weight classes.
    Fayette County Caring & Sharing distributed Christmas baskets to 523 people in the county.