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Today's Opinions

  • Think before doing any burning

    Saturday was one of the best indications that spring is just around the corner – a relatively warm day with very little wind. It was the perfect day for many types of outdoor activities, but burning trash or brush was not one of them.

    Saturday was a reminder that people need to take several factors into consideration when they do any type of outdoor burning, including the wind. And they need to watch over their fires at all times, a hose at the ready in case the fire starts to spread.

  • Downtown fire sparks old memories

    As I sipped my coffee early in the morning on Feb. 23 and watched a local St. Louis morning television station, it was with surprise and alarm that I saw the name of our town running across the bottom, accompanied by a brief photo of a fire.

    The commentator began the lead-in to the story, and the first image I saw was from a helicopter, with the majestic capitol in the background. As the flames roared and the camera angle changed, I looked for the 1867 M. Hall building that housed Denny Gerkin’s insurance agency, and was relieved to see it standing.

  • Just a day after the fire that destroyed his business, Art Martin was counting his blessings.

    With smoke still rising from the corner where his business stood, the owner of Donaldson’s Carpet, said, “We are fortunate enough to be in a small town.”

    Donaldson was referring to the offers for help he received, including one from his main competitor, Tom DePaolo of DePaolo’s Floor Covering and Home Decorating Center.

  • Aftermath of fire shows character

    Just a day after the fire that destroyed his business, Art Martin was counting his blessings.

    With smoke still rising from the corner where his business stood, the owner of Donaldson’s Carpet, said, “We are fortunate enough to be in a small town.”

    Donaldson was referring to the offers for help he received, including one from his main competitor, Tom DePaolo of DePaolo’s Floor Covering and Home Decorating Center.

  • History of schools full of interesting facts

    My last column dealt with some of the 150-plus Fayette County one-room schools,  through whose doors generations of Fayette County citizens passed. 

    In that column, I mentioned that County Superintendent C.F. Easterday had visited more than 20 country schools, and he shared his report in an issue of The Vandalia Union newspaper.

  • Question prompts look at county schools

    An internet query from Jane Cox, a Leader-Union reader, is the impetus for this column. Jane wanted to know if a list of county schools was available, along with information about those still standing. 

    The answer is “yes.”

  • Response to fire will be watched

    For the owners and employees of six downtown Vandalia businesses, the world changed early Tuesday morning.

    A fire that swept through Cages, Donaldson’s Carpet, Gathe’s Tax & Accounting and Gerkin Insurance Agency has left a darkened scar in the 300 block of Gallatin Street, directly across the street from the Vandalia Statehouse.

  • Find a way to open Gallatin Street

    Even though no work has been done on Gallatin Street since Dec. 22, the two-block stretch between Third and Fifth streets remains closed to traffic.

    That means continuing hardship for merchants in those blocks trying to stay afloat during the downtown renovation project. In fact, since those two blocks have been closed to vehicular traffic since October, the total time without curb access there could be approaching six months by the time the weather allows construction workers to return to the job – probably in April.