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Editorials

  • Closed campus good for VCHS

    Many of us have been driving in the area of Vandalia Community High School during lunchtime when several students, without looking for incoming traffic, cross the street right in front of us.

    That may seem like just an inconvenience, but what happens if one of those students gets hits by a motorist. The school district, because it allows those students to leave the school grounds for lunch, would likely face a lawsuit.

  • IHSA ban harms students, media

    As the student athletes in our coverage area advance to state competition, we strive to provide the best possible upclose coverage. Unfortunately, the very organization that sponsors those competitions is hampering us from doing that.

    The individual state wrestling tournament this weekend is the first time that we will be faced with sitting alongside fans, away from the wrestling matches, as we attempt to cover that event.

  • Should VCHS be closed campus?

    If you drive in the area of Vandalia Community High School around noon, its clear that the school has an open-campus lunch hour. In all kinds of weather, dozens of students can be seen walking to nearby fast-food restaurants and convenience stores.

    Should we care if high school students eat their lunch at school or go to one of the fast-food restaurants within walking distance? What are the concerns, the potential liabilities, the disruptions to the educational process that would prompt school officials to consider closing the campus?

  • Get out and vote!

    Next Tuesdays primary election will feature only three contested races, and only residents in three county board districts will be voting on those contests. But that doesnt mean that everyone else in the county should not bother going to the polls on Tuesday.

    Fayette County residents should take advantage of the rescheduling of Illinois primary, to allow it to be included in Super Tuesday. On that day, voters in 20 states will be selecting their presidential candidates.

  • 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.