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Today's Opinions

  • Civil War soldier tells of his experiences

    A few weeks ago, my husband, Dale, and I were shopping in a neighboring town when we ran into Vandalians Jeanne and Ivan Witbracht.

    As we paused to talk, Jeanne told me of a document written by her Civil War great-grandfather, Sgt. J.K. Francis, that she thought I might find interesting. She told me it was a description of all the battles he had taken part in, and it included a list of the officers in his infantry regiment.

    She cautioned me that her great-grandfather was not a native of Fayette County, although there might be county men listed in the papers.

  • E911 is worth the fee

    Fayette County residents have the opportunity on Tuesday, Nov. 4, to provide for the addition of Enhanced 911 emergency phone service. We hope that they take advantage of that opportunity.

    County residents are being asked to approve the addition of a $2.75 monthly surcharge to the bills for their landline phones. That’s $33 a year for a lifesaving service that is equaled by no other.

  • Election is vital

    If ever there was a general election where citizens had numerous reasons for going to the polls, this is it.

    From top to bottom, the Fayette County ballots feature a number of races. All county residents also will be casting ballots on the proposed call for a Constitutional Convention and a proposal for the implementation of Enhanced 911 emergency phone service in the county.

    By now, we all have heard or read just about everything we need to know to vote in this year’s presidential race. Yet, there still is a need for some thought before stepping into the voting booth.

  • Company has 1968 aerial photos of area

    Ed Miller of State Aerial Farm Statistics Inc., telephoned the other day to tell me he was in the area. Ed and I have played phone tag during the past year, because he has something that I, as a historian, am interested in.

    Back in 1968, when I was a high school junior, this firm took photographs of Fayette County’s farms and towns. Once this was done, salespeople visited the farms and businesses to see if the owner would like to purchase the image painted on canvas.

  • Help fight crime by calling in tips

    With about 720 square miles to cover, it’s no surprise that Fayette County law enforcement officials have welcomed the idea of resurrecting an organization through which citizens can help solve crimes.

    The launch of CrimeWatchers was announced earlier this month by Vandalia Police Chief Larry Eason. His office, in conjunction with the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office and the police departments in all county communities, are joining together to operate the program.

  • Airplane crash in 1951 remembered

    On the morning of Aug. 27, 1951, folks in Vandalia were shaken up when sounds of a small airplane in distress filled the morning sky.

    Witnesses told The Vandalia Leader that the airplane was observed making three or more spirals through the clouds, and next they observed its rapid angular descent with throttle wide open, virtually skimming treetops.

    The four-passenger Bonanza Beechcraft airplane made a nose-dive into Carl Boggs’ car, which was parked along Sixth Street near the Old Capitol Monument Works, where he was employed at the time.

  • Candidate sign damage is a crime

    In this space last week, we talked about how vandalism always seems to increase this time of year, with many of those acts being inappropriate pranks. But it’s not just Halloween that we’re talking about here.

    We’ve gotten reports within the past week of campaign signs being damaged or stolen.

  • Christiana Tillson recorded pioneer life

    Born Christiana Holmes at Kingston, Mass., she suffered culture shock when she moved with her new husband, John Tillson, to the backwoods of Montgomery County, Ill., in October 1822.

    Last week, I referred to Christiana’s book, "A Woman’s Story Of Pioneer Illinois," written two years before her death in 1872. The book was privately printed in Massachusetts, and intended for family and close friends.