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Today's Opinions

  • Rural King plan good for Vandalia

    Any time a new company comes to town, we're ready to celebrate and welcome them with open arms.

    We ought to welcome growth by existing local firms with the same enthusiasm. After all, both types of growth bring valuable jobs and expanded opportunities to our community. 

    This week, we have reason to celebrate. Rural King's plans to move into the former home of Orgill and significantly expand its business here was given approval by the Vandalia Planning Commission. The issue now goes before the Vandalia City Council for its approval.

  • 'Orphan Train' brought many children west

    John J. Brown, who went on to become a well-respected Vandalia attorney, was a boy of 7 when he, along with 26 other boys, including his brother, William, were brought to Fayette County on what was called the "Orphan Train." 

    John J. and William Brown, both born in New York City, were the sons of John and Mary Brown, immigrants from Dublin, Ireland. Following the death of their parents in 1858, the boys were placed with the New York Orphan Asylum.

  • Fire-damaged property must be cleaned up

    In March 1969, the five-story Evans Hotel in downtown Vandalia was destroyed by fire. More than four years later, the northwest corner of Fourth and Gallatin streets was still filled with rubble.

    That’s what city officials are trying to prevent now, six weeks after a fire destroyed four downtown buildings and caused major damage to a fifth.

    This situation is not unlike any others when fire destroys property; the city has guidelines to follow in requiring property owners to take care of the damage.

  • Kudos for getting Gallatin Street open

    Nearly two months ago, we urged the city to do whatever it could to get Gallatin Street open. Having been closed to vehicular traffic since October, we felt it was high time that the merchants there were given some relief. At that time, very little work remained to be done, yet the barricades stayed in place.

    Last week, the barricades came down.

  • Downtown ordeal nearly over

    A little more than a year after workers dug up the first section of Gallatin Street, there’s light at the end of the tunnel or, more specifically, light at the east end of Vandalia’s downtown business district.

    The 400 block of Gallatin Street was opened to traffic on Tuesday afternoon, and city officials say the 300 block – the final block of the downtown enhancement project – could be opened up as early as Friday.

  • Check your smoke detectors!

    All of us can’t depend on someone like Larry Peyton driving by at the right time; therefore, we need to make sure that we have smoke detectors in our homes … and that they’re working.

    Peyton was driving by Washburn Trailer Court at Vandalia Lake early Saturday morning when he noticed smoke coming from one of the mobile homes. As the residents heard Peyton pounding on the door, they noticed that their smoke detector was beeping, giving them time to get outside safely.

  • Thomas Lakin writes memoir of his life

    In 1893, after living on a farm and teaching school for 38 years in Christian County, Thomas N. Lakin purchased The Vandalia Union newspaper. 

    His son, Ira, was only 18 years old when his father sent him to Vandalia, in March 1893, to take over publication of the weekly newspaper.

    Accompanying him in the move to Vandalia were his wife, Rebecca, sons, Jesse and Ira, and daughters, Lulu, Minnie and Ara. A third son, Will, stayed behind in Christian County, where he died in 1914.

  • More information surfaces on country schools

    Several weeks ago, I wrote a column about the one-room country schools dotting the countryside of Fayette County. A question from Vandalia resident Jane Cox prompted the column; and since it was published, interest has grown.

    Bill Stolte of Vandalia telephoned to tell me that he had a school record book from Maple Grove School in Seminary Township that he had saved from destruction. He asked if I would like to look at it.