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Today's Opinions

  • National Road: History in every mile

    Imagine covered wagons pulled by plodding oxen, dusty trails and arched stone bridges. In your mind’s eye, picture the weary travelers, the men, women and children walking the 1,000 miles beside the wagon as they headed west…to the unknown.
    The National Road, also known as the Cumberland Trail, was the first federally funded road in the country. Beginning in Cumberland, Md., the road was completed  to Vandalia by 1836.
    The financial panic of 1837 would stop construction at Illinois’ 90th mile – at Vandalia.

  • Take advantage of cleanup week

    Are you tired of parking the car in the driveway because the garage is full of junk? Do you have old appliances and other large items sitting around because the trash company won't accept them?
    Well, next week is your chance to rid your life of that unwanted clutter. It's cleanup week in Vandalia.
    City residents who are customers of Doty Sanitation will have the chance to set out unwanted items alongside their regular trash on their normal trash pickup day. Then, city workers will follow after the trash crews on May 14-18 to pick up the large items.

  • Congrats to FCH on mammography grant

    Though the goal of raising money to purchase digital mammography equipment at times seemed distant and nearly insurmountable, the persistence demonstrated by staff and supporters of Fayette County Hospital has paid off. An announcement this week confirmed that the hospital has been awarded a $356,470 grant to fully fund the project – and more.
    In addition to the digital mammography equipment, the grant from the Illinois Department of Public Health also will allow the hospital to purchase a C-arm X-ray machine to replace the current 20-year-old unit at FCH.

  • Banks of the Okaw

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: These two brothers, pictured in 1949, both served in the military and later both became doctors.

  • The Way We Were

    15 Years Ago

    1997 – A fire that apparently started in the kitchen area destroyed the home of the David Smith family in Vandalia.
    The Leader-Union placed third in the annual advertising and marketing contest sponsored by the Illinois Press Association.
    Sandra Leidner won six of nine precincts to become the first woman elected mayor of Vandalia.
    Betty Anne and Duane Luallen of Vandalia were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary .

  • Depew family cemetery finally located

    On Sept. 15, 1995, with my sons, Aaron and Ethan, I accompanied the late Agnes Grubaugh on a cemetery hunt. We were looking for the burial ground of Agnes’ ancestors, John and Mary Seagraves Depew, who settled in Fayette County around 1821.

  • Departure of Graham a test of our fortitude

    In spite of months of intense efforts by local officials and business representatives, Graham Packaging announced this week its plan to close its plant in Vandalia. The closure will be effective in July.
    That decision leaves 126 hourly employees and 12 salaried employees – along with 77 hourly employees who are currently on layoff – without jobs. And it puts a giant dent in the Vandalia economy, as the buying power of those 215 families is diminished.

  • Banks of the Okaw

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: This young lady, pictured when she was a student nurse, graduated from St. John's Hospital School of Nursing and is celebrating her 40th year as a registered nurse.