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Today's Opinions

  • Downtown project to hit high gear

    If you've driven in downtown Vandalia recently, you know that the enhancement project there is clearly under way.

    For now, the work is confined primarily to upgrading the city's storm sewer system on Fifth and Sixth streets. Though not as visible as later portions of the project will be, fixing the storm sewers is vitally important in making the downtown area attractive for current and future businesses. We must fix that system if we're to end the basement flooding and other problems that have plagued the antiquated existing sewer system.

  • Saving office of human services a victory for all

    From the beginning, it was a decision that didn’t even meet the state’s own criteria for closing offices. The client base was higher than the minimum set by the agency for closure and the driving distances to alternative Department of Human Services offices were greater than the standard set by the agency.

    It just didn’t make sense.

  • Cemetery statues were sculpted in Italy

    A couple of weeks back, my friend, Joyce McClary, was showing me photographs taken on one of her walks.

    Joyce was scrolling through the images, telling me where she had taken the shots when all at once I stopped her. The next photo was of the statue in South Hill Cemetery of a seated woman.

    The previous week, I had searched newspaper microfilm at Evans Public Library, looking for a story about four statues, sculpted in Italy, unveiled during a Memorial Day ceremony in 1952. The seated woman was one of the four.

  • Friend turns out to be journalism prof

    Recently, I contacted my friend, Roger Boye, of Evanston, to tell him my exciting news! My name appeared among the acknowledgments in Edward Callary’s new book, “Place Names Of Illinois.” This was a first for me, and I knew Roger would appreciate what it meant.

    I met Roger early in 1995 through a genealogical query. He was interested in family information on the Rheiner and Boye families of St. Paul. I copied what I had and sent it to him.

  • Good choices keep prom safe

    This is the time of year for proms, and many local high schools have either held theirs already or will be holding them soon. At Vandalia Community High School, the prom is this Saturday from 7-11:30 p.m.

    It’s a wonderful time of making memories, socializing with friends and enjoying a dress-up date. If you’d like a glimpse into the evening’s activities, the coronation of the prom king and queen will take place at 8 p.m. in the gymnasium. This year’s theme is “A Night of Enchantment.”

  • Downtown pain worth the gain

    This week, they brought in the big equipment.

    And as the first buckets of earth were moved, the downtown enhancement project in Vandalia is officially under way.

    The first phase will be to install new storm sewer lines. Those will take runoff water out of the sanitary sewer system, which should significantly reduce the load on our sewage treatment plant. Plus, by moving the storm water out of the area more efficiently, the incidents of basement flooding will be significantly reduced in the downtown area.

  • 'The Rock House' to host family reunion

    In recent conversations with Betty Schaub, I learned that she has a very interesting corollary in her family.

    Betty’s fourth great-grandfather, Hezekiah Alexander, was a framer of the North Carolina State Constitution and Bill of Rights, and her cousin, another of Hezekiah’s descendants, Ray Garrison, helped draft the Illinois Constitution in 1965.

    Hezekiah’s story is told in the book, “Hezekiah Alexander and the Revolution in the Backcountry,” by Norris W. Preyer, and I have drawn from this reference to tell his story.

  • Closing DHS office not a sensible move

    A state office that is ostensibly designed to help people who are down on their luck or have specials needs will become inaccessible to many of those people if a recently announced plan is enacted.

    Late last month, the Illinois Department of Human Services announced its plans to close 17 of its rural offices – including the one in Vandalia that serves Fayette County residents – as a cost-savings move. State officials said that Fayette County residents would be served out of an office in Centralia if the proposal goes into effect on July 16 as planned.