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Today's Opinions

  • Abe Award a surprise ee" and a motivation

    There I was, minding my own business. Just doing my job.

    My task for the evening last Thursday was to cover the Vandalia Chamber of Commerce annual banquet.

    Several speakers took the stage. Outgoing president, Joanna Helm, talked about the accomplishments the chamber has made during the past year. Incoming president, Shaun Murray, outlined his goals for the coming year.

    And emcee Kevin Childers took on all comers with a barrage of jabs and jokes to keep the mood light – and to keep people running for cover.

  • Important issues in next Tuesday's election

    Don’t let the fact that all county officer and county board candidates are running unopposed keep you from going to your polling place next Tuesday.

    For example, you can be a vital part of the process in deciding who will be on the ballot in the gubernatorial race – and in all statewide officer races – in the general election. The same is true for the state representative and state senator races in November.

  • Family documents found in deed box

    My job that day was to clean shelves in my office. Among and amidst the papers, boxes and books, was a slim black metal deed box.

    I carried the box to the kitchen table, and with slight pressure, opened the lid. The 5-inch-by-10 l/2-inch box had last been the property of an uncle, Renatus (Noddy) Torbeck of St. Paul. It was given to me some years back by my cousin, Leila Dippold, who co-administered his estate.

  • Make your mark; help with census

    Residents who feel that they are not valuable participants in the workings of local government can be just that this year.

    The federal government will conduct the 2010 Decennial Census this year in an effort to make sure that every person in this country is counted in the United States' population.

    Why does it matter whether you and I participate in the census?

  • Several freed slaves owned land in county

    At the suggestion of Gale Red, I sat down one day and worked my way through the 1870 Federal Census of Fayette County, searching for men who may have been soldiers of the Confederacy.

    Gale, a member of the Dixon Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans, is heading up the effort in Illinois to compile a list of all known Confederate veterans buried in the state.

    The results surprised me a little, because as I scanned the entries and identified families from Virginia, Tennessee, etc., all of the Confederate veterans known to us showed up in this census.

  • Motown project raises red flags

    It’s time for the city of Vandalia to seriously look at discontinuing its relationship with the group that says it wants to build a $300-million sports and entertainment complex in Vandalia.

    Why do we feel that way, in light of all of the jobs and money that the Motown project could bring into our community? The bad check the city received for the traffic study, of course, is one reason; but it is not the only reason.

  • '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.