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Today's Opinions

  • Thomas Lakin recalls newspaper career

    Three weeks ago, I contributed a story for this column telling how I had been contacted by editor and publisher Mike Lakin of The Mt. Pulaski Times for permission to reprint an earlier column.

    Immediately, my antennae went up, because Thomas N. Lakin was editor and publisher of The Vandalia Union. I learned from Mike that his grandfather, William Lakin, and Thomas Lakin were cousins.

  • Celebrate progress during Corn Days

    As construction work advances down Gallatin Street, the rebirth of Vandalia’s downtown is becoming more apparent each day. Much of the underground infrastructure work is now complete, and workers are preparing to pour the second block of concrete street surface.

    There’s a lot to be excited about as a new and improved downtown Vandalia gradually takes shape.

  • Pro-business plan is best budget fix

    In his life outside his duties as a state senator, Kyle McCarter is a businessman. And he plans to keep his business ties to remind himself that his votes as a senator have a real-world impact on the state's businesses.

    It's a perspective some of his fellow legislators apparently have forgotten.

  • Local inventors made their mark

    The late Dr. George Ross published a history column in The Centralia Sentinel newspaper, and from time-to-time my friend, Emory Meador, would hand me an envelope stuffed with some of Dr. Ross’ articles that he thought would interest me.

    One of these was a compiled list of 42 Marion County inventors. I came across this list the other day and thought to myself, if Marion County has 42 inventors, then so does Fayette County.

  • Ed Mills influenced many as a teacher

    Though teachers and coaches have a unique opportunity to influence young people, few have done the job as well as Edward W. Mills.

    For 65 years, he worked in either a full-time or part-time capacity as a teacher, coach or volunteer at area schools. He began teaching at Vandalia High School in 1946, after serving in World War II. He taught general science and biology, but he also coached a number of sports and served as the basketball scorekeeper for 50 years

  • Greathouse stone survived toppling tree

    “War, like the thunderbolt, follows its laws and turns not aside even if the beautiful, the virtuous and the charitable stand in its path.”

    – Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman

    These are the words that came to mind Friday afternoon when I first saw the fallen "capital" oak, its trunk splintered as it lay on the ground in the Old State Burial Ground in Vandalia, a victim of the strong storms that passed through two weeks ago.

  • Jazz musicians share the gift at concert

    When you’re a jazz fan, you’re accustomed to being a minority. Popular musical tastes run in other directions.

    So it was on Saturday night, when my wife and I attended a jazz concert at Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis. We were among a decided minority of whites in a predominantly black audience. But it wasn’t uncomfortable in the least.

    In fact, race didn’t seem to matter. What bound us together in color-blind unity was our love of music. And there was plenty of that to love.

  • Quinn must take time to listen

    Though his behavior since taking office in January doesn’t raise our expectations much, Gov. Pat Quinn has promised to talk with Vandalia officials this Saturday at the DuQuoin State Fair.

    We hope it doesn’t trouble the governor unduly to have a conversation with Vandalia Mayor Rick Gottman and other locals who would like an audience with him.

    Since Quinn early this month announced his plan to slash about 125 positions at the Vandalia Correctional Center, lot of us in this area would like to bend his ear. But no go. He’s been unavailable.