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Today's Opinions

  • Closing DHS office not a sensible move

    A state office that is ostensibly designed to help people who are down on their luck or have specials needs will become inaccessible to many of those people if a recently announced plan is enacted.

    Late last month, the Illinois Department of Human Services announced its plans to close 17 of its rural offices – including the one in Vandalia that serves Fayette County residents – as a cost-savings move. State officials said that Fayette County residents would be served out of an office in Centralia if the proposal goes into effect on July 16 as planned.

  • Sharing the joy of music was way of life

    This past week, the music emitting from my "antique" cassette player has been old country from a March 13, 1989, “Okaw Valley Opry” show.

    Joining Bill and Evelyn Oliver on stage were daughter Connie Lee, vocals; Mike Eulberg, bass and vocals; Rick Stanbery, drums; Buddy Olsteen, banjo, steel guitar and vocals; and Dale Torbeck, fiddle and general cuttin’ up.

    Listening to the show, I feel as though I am a member of the audience. I laugh at Dale’s jokes and applaud the musicians along with the live audience. What fun!

  • Election shows the system still works

    Though there weren’t many contested or controversial races in Tuesday’s election, there were enough to spark significant interest in certain parts of the county.

    For instance, several mayoral races were hotly contested – including contests that resulted in new mayors in St. Elmo and Brownstown and a new village president in St. Peter. In Vandalia, two-term incumbent mayor Rick Gottman fended off efforts by two challengers to secure his third term.

  • Bermuda Triangle story makes rounds

    Little did I know when my Feb. 5 story about a Vandalia connection to the mysterious Bermuda Triangle was published in this newspaper that a copy of the article would make it to a family member, Don Garner.

    You may recall from that article that Aviation Machinist Mate (AMM3) Thomas Garner was lost with 11 crew members aboard a PBM Mariner flying boat on July 10, 1945, while on a routine training mission. It was last sighted over New Providence Islands, going north, apparently headed into a rain squall.

  • Cast an informed vote on Tuesday

    You’ve read the ads. You’ve heard the rhetoric. You’ve formed your opinions.

    Now, it’s time to prepare to vote.

  • Military records show Jarrett's local ties

    Since I’ve put Dale Reeves, a local Civil War aficionado, in the spotlight with the photo of Civil War soldier, Pvt. John Strobel, I think I’ll leave him there a little longer.

    On the same day Dale shared the Strobel photograph with me, he gave me a photo of a man by the name of Jarrett, who had enlisted on Aug. 5, 1861, at Kinmundy, Marion County. Dale said that this man was not a Fayette County soldier.

  • Common sense best in parking

    As the city begins the process of spending millions of dollars to repair streets, upgrade utilities and beautify the appearance of downtown Vandalia, it’s also time to consider carefully the city’s policies governing parking in the central business district.

    Currently, the city limits parking to two hours – day and night – on Gallatin Street. Several side streets off of Gallatin Street have two-hour parking between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., with no restrictions on overnight parking.

  • Charcoal drawing confirms soldier's identity

    From time to time, my friend, Dale Reeves, a Civil War aficionado, stops by to visit and share history.

    Not long ago, I handed him a photograph of Vandalia’s Civil War hero, Col. Lucien Greathouse, in full military dress, one that has been published in this newspaper on several occasions.