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Today's Opinions

  • Indian scout had connections in area

    Perry Commodore Oller was born in Bourbon County, Ky., on Feb. 4, 1819, and would go on to become one of the foremost Indian scouts in America.

    What would become his career began one day when Perry was 12. His parents, George and Elizabeth Taylor Oller, had moved to Illinois by this time, and were attacked by Indians near Swan Lake.

    It was Perry who traveled the 70 miles through an unknown wilderness to carry a message to the frontier village of Kaskaskia about the attack.

  • Abe winners make others' lives better

    The Vandalia Chamber of Commerce each year picks two individuals to honor for their contributions to the chamber and the community. The two people picked this year represent what the Abe Award means.

    Sharon LaDage is probably most well-known as an educator. The Vandalia native taught English at the junior high and high school levels for 34 years, and also served as the Vandalia Community High School yearbook adviser and gifted coordinator for the Vandalia School District.

  • Adelyn Connors returned to Vandalia roots

    It wasn’t a total surprise to see an obituary for Adelyn Meek Connors in The Leader-Union a few weeks back. Adelyn was 94 years old, having been born in Vandalia on Dec. 30, 1914, the youngest of six children of George and Dora Luker Meek.

    Ten years earlier, Adelyn had contacted me for information about her Meek family. Having left Vandalia when she was 18 to further her education at Northwestern University, Adelyn knew to whom she was related, but wanted to get the names organized so she could see the relationships more clearly.

  • 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.