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Editorials

  • Helm, Taylor worthy of Abes

    The two individuals who last Thursday received an Abe Award from the Vandalia Chamber of Commerce have a lot in common. Its just that they have taken different paths in reaching a similar goal serving the community and its people.

    Saundra Helm and Ed Taylor Jr. are also similar in that they have quietly and modestly done numerous things to benefit other residents of the area.

  • Route 51 hearings need public input

    Though we said it last week, it bears repeating once again that two important hearings regarding the future of U.S. Route 51 will be held this Thursday.

    These hearings will allow area residents to hear information from Illinois Department of Transportation officials and then to share their opinions about the options available for the four-lane expansion of U.S. Route 51 in Fayette County.

    The first will be from 1-4 p.m. in the multi-purpose room at the Kaskaskia College Vandalia Campus. The second will follow from 5:30-8 p.m. at Ramsey High School.

  • Use new school funding wisely

    Though its been passed by legislators and signed by the governor, a bill authorizing an increase in state aid to Illinois school districts has yet to produce any increased cash in local districts coffers.

    But, thankfully, that aid is coming.

    When it arrives, the $400 per student per year hike will represent the first increase in school funding since 1985. For the Vandalia district, that will mean an additional $250,000 to $300,000 per year to educate our children. Our per-pupil annual funding now stands at $5,734.

  • Route 51 hearing vital to our future

    One doesnt have to stand along Interstate 70 very long to realize just how much east-west traffic travels through Vandalia on that four-lane highway. Hopefully, the same will be true for north-south traffic in the not-too-distant future.

    The Illinois Department of Transportation will hold a public hearing here next Thursday as it progresses with its four-lane expansion of U.S. Route 51. We hope that the hearing draws a good crowd of local residents.

  • City's division on engineering not good

    The city of Vandalia has some significant projects on the table, including the extension of water and sewer lines at the western Interstate 70 interchange and improvements to the downtown business district. And there are signs of other projects planned in the future.

    It's not the best time to have an obvious split among city officials about who should provide engineering services. Based on comments and votes at recent city council meetings, there is such a split.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Merry Christmas!

    As the above editorial indicates, Caring and Sharing has done many good things for needy residents of Fayette County. But it's not alone.

    Many other acts of charity and many holiday activities have been performed by other local groups.

    It's a characteristic of our community that we've grown to expect. The people of Vandalia – and all of Fayette County, for that matter – are a very giving lot. It's one quality that makes this a special place to live.

    This week, as we prepare to celebrate Christmas, we are reminded of the importance of that giving spirit.

  • Caring & Sharing the season's spirit

    It's hard to believe, but it's been more than 30 years since a program that provides a Merry Christmas for the less-fortunate families in Fayette County got its start.

    The program that would grow into what is now known as Fayette County Caring & Sharing was initiated in the mid-1970s, when Fayette County Health Department Administrators Cara Kelly and Rhea McCarty of the Community Action Center spearheaded a drive that would serve six families.