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Today's Opinions

  • Ed Mills influenced many as a teacher

    Though teachers and coaches have a unique opportunity to influence young people, few have done the job as well as Edward W. Mills.

    For 65 years, he worked in either a full-time or part-time capacity as a teacher, coach or volunteer at area schools. He began teaching at Vandalia High School in 1946, after serving in World War II. He taught general science and biology, but he also coached a number of sports and served as the basketball scorekeeper for 50 years

  • Greathouse stone survived toppling tree

    “War, like the thunderbolt, follows its laws and turns not aside even if the beautiful, the virtuous and the charitable stand in its path.”

    – Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman

    These are the words that came to mind Friday afternoon when I first saw the fallen "capital" oak, its trunk splintered as it lay on the ground in the Old State Burial Ground in Vandalia, a victim of the strong storms that passed through two weeks ago.

  • Jazz musicians share the gift at concert

    When you’re a jazz fan, you’re accustomed to being a minority. Popular musical tastes run in other directions.

    So it was on Saturday night, when my wife and I attended a jazz concert at Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis. We were among a decided minority of whites in a predominantly black audience. But it wasn’t uncomfortable in the least.

    In fact, race didn’t seem to matter. What bound us together in color-blind unity was our love of music. And there was plenty of that to love.

  • Quinn must take time to listen

    Though his behavior since taking office in January doesn’t raise our expectations much, Gov. Pat Quinn has promised to talk with Vandalia officials this Saturday at the DuQuoin State Fair.

    We hope it doesn’t trouble the governor unduly to have a conversation with Vandalia Mayor Rick Gottman and other locals who would like an audience with him.

    Since Quinn early this month announced his plan to slash about 125 positions at the Vandalia Correctional Center, lot of us in this area would like to bend his ear. But no go. He’s been unavailable.

  • 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.