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Today's Opinions

  • 'Weary Willy' had Fayette connections

    Emmett Kelly, who became famous worldwide as "Weary Willie," the sad-faced clown, had his beginnings in a small Kansas town. But there is a local connection, too.

    Born in Sedan, Kan., on Dec. 9, 1898, Emmett was called “Tater” in his youth, alluding to his Irish heritage. His father, for whom he was named, was a section foreman for the Missouri-Pacific Railroad, and owned the house in which Emmett Jr. saw the first light of day.

  • Residents asked to help thwart burglaries

    In frigid temperatures like we’ve been experiencing lately, most people stay out of the weather unless they’re required to work in it. But then, those who steal from others are not like most people.

    Vandalia Police Chief Larry Eason announced on Monday that his department is working to solve a number of recent burglaries, both in town and at Vandalia Lake.

  • Input vital on river intake

    The Vandalia City Council has long been searching for a solution to the city’s inoperable raw water intake on the Kaskaskia River. On Monday night, it heard of a possible solution.

    Yet, there is still some varying opinions on how to deal with the situation.

    Gonzalez Companies projects that it will cost about $400,000 to get the intake working properly.

  • P.G. Donaldson writes of hunting lessons

    In my last column, I shared several stories of Christmas "spreeing" that went on in the early days, as told by old-timers of Fayette County.

    The Rev. Presley Garner Donaldson’s story, “A Christmas Spree,” was among them, and his talk of sky-blue lizards and red-hot reptiles made me chuckle. This story was taken from Presley’s 1908 book, “Life and Adventures of P.G. Donaldson,” in which he tells tales of his life and childhood "in plain home talk."

  • Out with the old, in with the new

    As we close the door on 2009 and prepare to launch into 2010, it’s an appropriate time to take stock of what has happened in the past 12 months, and to look ahead to what the new year may hold.

    For most of us, bidding goodbye to 2009 is a welcome relief. It’s been a tough year on several fronts. Yet, many of the year's clouds were not without silver linings. Better times lie ahead.

    Following is a summary of the highlights.

    The Economy

  • Old-time Christmas stories recalled

    Christmases past were celebrated in a somewhat different way than today.

    It appears that "spreeing" was a common denominator in the tales told by the early settlers of the county. For "spreeing," insert the word "whiskey."

    This time next year, a new book, “Christmas Anthology of Illinois,” by James Ballowe of Ottawa will be in the bookstores. Included in this work are stories from around the state, Fayette County included, of how the holiday was celebrated in years past.

  • Decorating the tree brings back memories

    Last Thursday my son, Ethan, and I put up our Christmas tree. It was fairly simple – fit tab A into slot B and so forth. I’ve never had an artificial tree before, so this was a new experience.

    After the metal pieces had been slotted, we stood back and Ethan said, "Mom that doesn’t look like the box." I assured him that the metal branches extending from the metal trunk could be covered with cuttings from our cedar tree outside – not to worry.

    I was worried. It looked like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

  • Merry Christmas!

    The decorations are up, the cards are sent, the carols are being played, the holiday goodies have been baked and – unless you’re a world-class procrastinator – the gifts have been purchased.

    It’s nearly Christmas time!

    As we approach Christmas Day this Friday, it’s an appropriate time to reflect on the many things for which we are thankful. Family, friends and health come to mind easily.