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Today's Opinions

  • Vandalia connections followed Lincoln

    In my previous column, I mentioned that Abraham and Mary Lincoln’s neighbor, Julia Remann Sprigg, was reared in Vandalia. The Lincolns lived across Eighth Street from the Sprigg household.

    Julia, a widow, had boys, too, and Willie and Tad Lincoln were frequent guests in the home with the Sprigg back yard one of the children’s familiar haunts.

    Julia’s brother, Henry Remann, lived a block from his sister, so members of his family, too, were Lincoln neighbors. Both Henry and Julia left Vandalia after the capital was moved to Springfield.

  • Home Expo offers one-stop shopping

    After an absence of several years, the Vandalia area this weekend will see the return of a home show.

    This time, the Home & Lifestyle Expo will be sponsored by the Vandalia Chamber of Commerce, in cooperation with The Leader-Union and radio stations WKRV/WPMB.

    The event, which features booths by 30 area businesses, will bring a variety of products and services to one convenient location from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. this Saturday. Those booths will be set up in the gymnasium and cafeteria of the Vandalia Junior High School.

  • New senator brings assets to position

    After nearly three decades of being represented in Springfield by former state Sen. Frank Watson, it's difficult to imagine someone else in that position.

    But with Watson's decision to retire after suffering a stroke last fall, we must shift gears.

    This week's selection of Kyle McCarter, a Lebanon business owner, to fill the seat as state senator in the 51st District appears to be a good one.

  • Lincoln's 200th 'a downright good time'

    The 300-plus guests for Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday at the capitol last Thursday evening were treated to a wonderful spectacle and a downright good time.

    The capitol building, built in 1836, was bathed in the soft glow of accent lights around the building’s foundation, complemented by the period streetlights surrounding the Public Square.

    The chandeliers sparkled through the windows of the two-story building, adding to the beauty of the historic structure and enhancing the feeling of expectancy that my son, Ethan, and I were already feeling.

  • Burris not worthy to represent us

    Illinois continues to have a place in the national spotlight … for all of the wrong reasons.

    When U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin first spoke out on the search for Barack Obama’s successor in the U.S. Senate, he said that Gov. Rod Blagojevich should not be allowed to make the appointment. Anyone appointed by Blagojevich, Durbin said, would be “tainted.”

    Durbin eventually relented, supporting Blagojevich’s appointment of Roland Burris, and oh, what a fortune-teller Durbin has turned out to be.

  • Statehouse's value seen Thursday

    Do you doubt whether a lot of people are excited about the reopening of the Vandalia Statehouse? If you would have seen the crowd last Thursday night at the Statehouse, you wouldn’t have such doubts.

    More than 300 people turned out for the program held to celebrate the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln at the state’s oldest existing capitol.

    It’s not unusual for many people to walk through the Statehouse for events such as the Christmas Open House. But it’s been a long, long time since there have been so many people in that building at one time.

  • This past Thursday afternoon, a nice crowd gathered for the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Vandalia’s new National Road Interpretive Center downtown.

    John Goldsmith, president of the organization, along with Jerry Swarm and Mayor Rick Gottman, each gave a brief speech. Jerry received special thanks for the long hours he spent working on the center, and he spoke volumes when he said, “I had a lot of help.”

    This is what the National Road Association of Illinois has exemplified since its inception in 1997. People working together for a common interest.

  • Happy 200th birthday, Abe!

    He’s long been referred to as the most respected and beloved president in our nation’s history.

    And now, as we pause to observe the 200th anniversary of his birth, Abraham Lincoln is once again front and center. Across the nation – but particularly here in Illinois – we’re celebrating the life and character of this remarkable man.