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Today's Opinions

  • State must keep its commitments on school funding

    With the sounds of coaches' whistles on the football field and the whir of fans in school halls, it's undeniable that the beginning of a new school year is upon us.

    In fact, most area schools will welcome students back next week. Vandalia teachers have a work day on Thursday and then welcome the students for a half day on Friday.

    The start of classes in the fall is always a busy time for families, with school supplies to purchase, registration to tend to and schedules to adjust.

  • County once had 130 towns and villages

    Many of the earliest settlers in Fayette County came in small groups, bound together by family or religious ties.

    The Paul Beck family is recognized as making one of the earliest permanent settlements, with members of the family camping on the banks of the Kaskaskia River during the winter of 1805, near what would become Vandalia.

  • Lend a hand to paint downtown

    As the work in downtown Vandalia continues, it’s easy to get enthused about the new face we’re seeing emerge for our downtown business district.

    Already, the project is more than one-third done, more than a month ahead of schedule and well under budget. Those are, indeed, cause for excitement.

    But short of standing on a street corner and watching the work, there’s not much the common citizen can do to feel like they’re really a part of the project.

    Or is there?

  • Author's health is 'the talk of Harvard'

    I’m the talk of Harvard University. At least that is what my oncologist, Dr. Philip Dy of Crossroads Cancer Center in Effingham, tells me.

    Let me explain that statement. I’m the talk of a group of 23 Harvard doctors specializing in the study and treatment of breast cancer. Their names are unknown to me, and my name is unknown to them. However, I’m sure my patient profile number reads something like BR-549.

  • It's up to us to save VCC jobs

    Once again, Vandalia officials are doing everything possible to preserve jobs at Vandalia Correctional Center. And, once again, local residents are encouraged to be part of that effort.

    This latest tussle between the state and our community comes about five years after a local effort, led by Mayor Rick Gottman, staved off then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s attempt to close VCC. The key player in that fight was the public.

  • 'Those Were The Days' event stirs residents' memories of earlier times in Brownstown

    A week ago Sunday, on July 19, the Brownstown Library sponsored "Those Were The Days" history day at Brownstown City Hall.

    The event gathered in one place some of Brownstown’s older residents, who had been asked to pass on their knowledge and memories about early Brownstown to the younger generations.

  • City right to fix old water lines during project

    Just a couple of months into the project, we’re beginning to see signs of how the TEA-21 project will enhance our downtown business district. And beyond those visible indicators, there are facets of the project that we will not see.

    Among those facets are new water lines along Gallatin Street.

    Action taken by the Vandalia City Council on Monday helps to prove the worthiness of the enhancement project.

    City officials knew beforehand that significant work was needed underground. Separate storm sewer and sanitary sewer lines ranked at the top of that list.

  • Fayette County Fair has a colorful past

    The 80th anniversary of the Fayette County Fair was celebrated this year with events the organizers could not have imagined back in 1930, when it all began.

    It has always puzzled me that the county fair was not located at the county seat. Same with Effingham and Montgomery counties, where smaller towns, Altamont and Butler, respectively, host the annual county fair.

    I figured it was politics, or because there was a sulky track already in Brownstown. However, my research into the beginnings of the Fayette County Fair held another explanation.