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Today's Opinions

  • The Way We Were

    20 Years Ago

    1993 – U.S. Rep. Dick Durbin (D-Springfield) held his first town meeting in Fayette County since picking up all of this county through a redrawing of congressional district boundaries. The town meeting drew about 50 people.
    H. Edward Smith, a former employee of the National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA), visited with students of Vandalia Junior High School.
    Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Harner of rural St. Elmo were planning to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on Jan 23.

  • Names of Fayette County towns have story

    Nearly 20 years ago, I compiled a list of Fayette County towns, villages and neighborhoods. My main source for the list was back issues of "Fayette Facts," where, in addition to information on schools, churches and cemeteries for each township, various place names within the township were listed. Many of the villages have long since disappeared.

  • Openness at VCC helps public see challenges there

    For most area residents, the only view of the Vandalia Correctional Center is the one they get from driving past on Ill. Route 51.
    From that vantage point, they can see the fences, the buildings and the 1,500-acres of land on which the facility is located. They may occasionally observe inmates in the exercise area, when the weather allows. But those superficial glimpses are about the extent of the contact most residents have with the county’s largest employer.

  • Griffin Tipsword averts a massacre

    Long before the French traders and pelters discovered the Kaskaskia River and her tributaries, the land encompassed by Fayette County was part of vast hunting grounds for various Indian tribes.

  • McCarter office site in Vandalia is good for area

    Going back to the days when Frank Watson (R-Greenville) represented our area in the Illinois Senate, Vandalia has maintained close ties with its state senator. We’ve had a similarly close relationship with state Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon), even though his home was farther away and his district was gerrymandered into an atrocious L-shaped mess that started in Madison County, came east through Vandalia and careened north to include Decatur.

  • The Way We Were

    15 Years Ago

    1998 – Dr. Phillip Good was the new emergency medical director at Fayette County Hospital.
    First National Bank in Vandalia, Ramsey and Patoka handed out checks to 30 area organizations. In the first five  years of its Hometown Support Program, the bank handed out more than $50,000 to more than 50 organizations.
    As they considered changing the city’s form of government, Vandalia officials discussed the roles of a mayor and city administrator under the city administrator form of government.

  • Banks of the Okaw

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: This picture, taken in 1956, shows a father and first-born daughter.

  • Legislators must address finances

    The Illinois General Assembly’s lame duck session ended Tuesday with a whimper, as legislators once again refused to deal with the state’s out-of-control finances.
    After failing to come up with a plan to begin fixing the $96 billion (billion!) pension shortfall, the house and senate adjourned – kicking the can down the road to be dealt with by the next legislative session.
    Or the next. Or the next.