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Today's Opinions

  • Many ties between Vandalia, Mt. Pulaski

    For the Dec. 4, 2008, issue of this newspaper, my story for this column was about Arnold "Mike" Koehler of Mt. Pulaski.

    In the story, I told of attending the annual Torbeck family reunion and seeing Mike there. I looked around the room for his wife, Berniece, only to discover that she had died five months earlier. Berniece was a first cousin to my dad, Ed Torbeck.

  • FOIA rewrite aids openness in state

    Monday was a good day for openness in Illinois government.

    Though our state is widely known for its corruption and pay-for-play politics, Monday’s action is a welcome movement toward transparency and accountability in state government.

  • Reunion plans prompt old memories

    My 40th high school class reunion is coming up on Sept. 19, and I figured this would be a good time to look back.

    I began my school career at Central School on Kennedy Boulevard in Vandalia, with Miss Crickman as my kindergarten teacher.

    Do all children love their kindergarten teachers? I surely loved Miss Crickman, and then one day she got married and wasn’t Miss Crickman anymore. In fact, I think she quit teaching and turned our class over to a perfect stranger.

  • State must keep its commitments on school funding

    With the sounds of coaches' whistles on the football field and the whir of fans in school halls, it's undeniable that the beginning of a new school year is upon us.

    In fact, most area schools will welcome students back next week. Vandalia teachers have a work day on Thursday and then welcome the students for a half day on Friday.

    The start of classes in the fall is always a busy time for families, with school supplies to purchase, registration to tend to and schedules to adjust.

  • County once had 130 towns and villages

    Many of the earliest settlers in Fayette County came in small groups, bound together by family or religious ties.

    The Paul Beck family is recognized as making one of the earliest permanent settlements, with members of the family camping on the banks of the Kaskaskia River during the winter of 1805, near what would become Vandalia.

  • Lend a hand to paint downtown

    As the work in downtown Vandalia continues, it’s easy to get enthused about the new face we’re seeing emerge for our downtown business district.

    Already, the project is more than one-third done, more than a month ahead of schedule and well under budget. Those are, indeed, cause for excitement.

    But short of standing on a street corner and watching the work, there’s not much the common citizen can do to feel like they’re really a part of the project.

    Or is there?

  • Author's health is 'the talk of Harvard'

    I’m the talk of Harvard University. At least that is what my oncologist, Dr. Philip Dy of Crossroads Cancer Center in Effingham, tells me.

    Let me explain that statement. I’m the talk of a group of 23 Harvard doctors specializing in the study and treatment of breast cancer. Their names are unknown to me, and my name is unknown to them. However, I’m sure my patient profile number reads something like BR-549.

  • It's up to us to save VCC jobs

    Once again, Vandalia officials are doing everything possible to preserve jobs at Vandalia Correctional Center. And, once again, local residents are encouraged to be part of that effort.

    This latest tussle between the state and our community comes about five years after a local effort, led by Mayor Rick Gottman, staved off then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s attempt to close VCC. The key player in that fight was the public.