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Today's Opinions

  • Congrats to the class of 2010!

    As area high school seniors prepare to close out their high school days, we offer our congratulations – and we urge them on to even greater accomplishments.

    Graduating from high school is a great thing, a milestone to be celebrated. Along the way, many area students have distinguished themselves in the classroom, as well as by excelling in extracurricular activities and in the athletic arena. Those activities produce learning opportunities that can’t be duplicated in the classroom.

  • Input needed on U.S. 51 bypass route options

    The fourth in a series of public meetings about the possible bypass routes of U.S. Route 51 was held last Wednesday in Vandalia.

     Like the previous hearings hosted by the Illinois Department of Transportation, it was only modestly attended, and few questions were asked. We’d like to see more involvement by local residents.

    The potential impact of the bypass on our community is significant, depending on where the final route goes.

  • Accused murderer hanged in error?

    Nathan Burgess was hanged at half past 1 o’clock on Friday, June 18, 1875.

    The gallows was erected on the front portico of the Effingham County Courthouse for carrying out the sentence because the trial had been moved to Effingham County on a change of venue. 

    Found guilty of the murder of Joseph Robbins, Burgess mounted the 13 steps leading to the gallows platform, accompanied by three clergymen of his choice.

  • Beautify your property during Cleanup Week

    Does your garage look like a disaster area? Is every nook and cranny crammed with the carcasses of once-useful items that never will be used again?

    How about the basement? The attic?

    It’s time to take charge. It’s time to drag those treasures to the curb and send them on their way.

    Yes, it’s time for Vandalia’s annual cleanup week. The promotion runs May 10-14.

    Once each year, the city allows city residents to unload all the unwanted items that have accumulated around their homes.

  • Hiram Beck Cemetery found again

    There are many cemeteries scattered about Fayette County – more than 230 at last count. 

    Thanks to the work of volunteers from the Fayette County Genealogical & Historical Society, headstone readings from all known county cemeteries have been recorded and published. This leaves about 30 cemeteries that are known to exist, but their location has been lost over the years. 

  • Bank robbery, fire lead to death of man

     The young bank clerk yawned and reached for his coat. James Kelley had worked into his supper hour again that evening and was anxious to leave the State Bank building in Vandalia where he worked.

  • Downtown work worth celebrating

    It was more than a decade ago that Sandy Leidner, while serving as Vandalia’s mayor, had a vision to improve the community’s downtown business district. On Monday, we will celebrate that vision becoming a reality.

    Leidner, and others, realized that Vandalia’s downtown would never be like it was prior to the introduction of large retail department stores. But she also realized that the downtown would suffer even greater damage by letting the streetscape, and the infrastructure beneath it, continue to age and deteriorate.

  • Solution needed for budget crisis

    Unless you’ve been locked away in a cage in recent months, you’ve noticed that virtually every government entity has begun initiating significant budget cuts.

    In this week’s issue alone, we have stories about the city of Vandalia approving furlough days for all of its full-time employees and the Vandalia School District cutting staff and programs.