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Today's Opinions

  • Make your mark; help with census

    Residents who feel that they are not valuable participants in the workings of local government can be just that this year.

    The federal government will conduct the 2010 Decennial Census this year in an effort to make sure that every person in this country is counted in the United States' population.

    Why does it matter whether you and I participate in the census?

  • Several freed slaves owned land in county

    At the suggestion of Gale Red, I sat down one day and worked my way through the 1870 Federal Census of Fayette County, searching for men who may have been soldiers of the Confederacy.

    Gale, a member of the Dixon Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans, is heading up the effort in Illinois to compile a list of all known Confederate veterans buried in the state.

    The results surprised me a little, because as I scanned the entries and identified families from Virginia, Tennessee, etc., all of the Confederate veterans known to us showed up in this census.

  • Motown project raises red flags

    It’s time for the city of Vandalia to seriously look at discontinuing its relationship with the group that says it wants to build a $300-million sports and entertainment complex in Vandalia.

    Why do we feel that way, in light of all of the jobs and money that the Motown project could bring into our community? The bad check the city received for the traffic study, of course, is one reason; but it is not the only reason.

  • 'Weary Willy' had Fayette connections

    Emmett Kelly, who became famous worldwide as "Weary Willie," the sad-faced clown, had his beginnings in a small Kansas town. But there is a local connection, too.

    Born in Sedan, Kan., on Dec. 9, 1898, Emmett was called “Tater” in his youth, alluding to his Irish heritage. His father, for whom he was named, was a section foreman for the Missouri-Pacific Railroad, and owned the house in which Emmett Jr. saw the first light of day.

  • Residents asked to help thwart burglaries

    In frigid temperatures like we’ve been experiencing lately, most people stay out of the weather unless they’re required to work in it. But then, those who steal from others are not like most people.

    Vandalia Police Chief Larry Eason announced on Monday that his department is working to solve a number of recent burglaries, both in town and at Vandalia Lake.

  • Input vital on river intake

    The Vandalia City Council has long been searching for a solution to the city’s inoperable raw water intake on the Kaskaskia River. On Monday night, it heard of a possible solution.

    Yet, there is still some varying opinions on how to deal with the situation.

    Gonzalez Companies projects that it will cost about $400,000 to get the intake working properly.

  • P.G. Donaldson writes of hunting lessons

    In my last column, I shared several stories of Christmas "spreeing" that went on in the early days, as told by old-timers of Fayette County.

    The Rev. Presley Garner Donaldson’s story, “A Christmas Spree,” was among them, and his talk of sky-blue lizards and red-hot reptiles made me chuckle. This story was taken from Presley’s 1908 book, “Life and Adventures of P.G. Donaldson,” in which he tells tales of his life and childhood "in plain home talk."

  • Out with the old, in with the new

    As we close the door on 2009 and prepare to launch into 2010, it’s an appropriate time to take stock of what has happened in the past 12 months, and to look ahead to what the new year may hold.

    For most of us, bidding goodbye to 2009 is a welcome relief. It’s been a tough year on several fronts. Yet, many of the year's clouds were not without silver linings. Better times lie ahead.

    Following is a summary of the highlights.

    The Economy