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Today's Opinions

  • Charcoal drawing confirms soldier's identity

    From time to time, my friend, Dale Reeves, a Civil War aficionado, stops by to visit and share history.

    Not long ago, I handed him a photograph of Vandalia’s Civil War hero, Col. Lucien Greathouse, in full military dress, one that has been published in this newspaper on several occasions.

  • Seeing world through grandmother's eyes

    After I reached my early 20s and opted for contact lenses, I realized that not only had I inherited by father’s big toe, I also had his eyes.

    The reason I hadn’t noticed before was because my eyes had been hidden behind thick black-framed glasses since the sixth grade. In those days, almost all light-haired and fair-skinned kids were fitted with those black frames. One style for girls came with tiny rhinestones in the corner.

  • Sunshine Week's message needed

    If ever there was a year to observe Sunshine Week in Illinois, this is it.

    The week, which runs March 15-21, is set aside each year to raise awareness about the importance of openness in government.

  • Downtown benefits worth disruptions

    After years of discussion and planning, construction has finally gotten under way on the downtown enhancement project in Vandalia.

    This first phase will involve work to shore up the infrastructure in the in downtown area – specifically, the sewer lines. One benefit of the project will be that sanitary sewer and storm sewer lines will be split – so all rain runoff won’t have to go through the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

  • Stamm, Lockart " Vandalia's shoemakers

    In 1994, Vandalia celebrated her 175th anniversary with a year-long celebration.

    One of the events was a dinner held at the First Baptist Church to honor first families, cities whose charters were granted while Vandalia was the capital (1819-1839), oldest living person in the county and Vandalia’s premier businesses.

    Clarence Lockart was recognized at that time, not only for being the oldest businessman in Vandalia, but also for having been in business more years than any of Vandalia’s other merchants.

  • Ethics reform, openness vital

    There’s a fresh breeze blowing in Springfield.

    After the embarrassing events surrounding the arrest and impeachment of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich on alleged ethics violations, people are actually talking about the need for more openness in government and for shoring up the ethical standards we expect from our elected representatives.

  • 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.