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Today's Opinions

  • Governor betrays citizens of state

    Tuesday was a sad day for Illinois.

    With former governor George Ryan already in prison, Gov. Rod Blagojevich was taken into custody by FBI agents at his Chicago home Tuesday morning on a wide variety of corruption charges.

  • Attend storyboard dedication Sunday

    Like nothing else our community has done in the recent years, the soon-to-be-installed Looking For Lincoln storyboards will tell visitors the fascinating story of Vandalia’s intersection with Abraham Lincoln.

  • Uncles tell of family history in St. Peter

    I think I learned more about my dad’s family from my two bachelor uncles, Renatus "Noddy" and Harold Torbeck, than just about anyone else.

    Of course, by the time I began to drive out to the German Prairie to visit the pair, they were semi-retired and had the time to visit. Uncle Harold would join right in on the conversation, but Uncle Noddy would more or less study the green patterned linoleum in front of his feet and offer a few words here and there.

  • Local gift may save Statehouse

    When the key turned in the door of the Vandalia Statehouse on Sunday evening, the state said it would be the last time the facility would be open to the public for the foreseeable future.

    Gov. Rod Blagojevich had slashed the funding, and that was that.

    But state officials don't know the people of Vandalia – though they should be getting an idea of the character of the residents by now. Remember the effort to save the Vandalia Correctional Center? Remember the effort to build the first phase of the Kaskaskia College campus?

  • Jeweled frame gift keeps memories alive

    At our annual Torbeck Family Reunion this past July at the Senior Citizen’s Center in Vandalia, I arrived with my family and looked around to see who was already there.

    As I looked around the room, I saw some of my immediate family, and cousins of my dad, the oldest members of the family. In the days of my childhood, the numbers attending the reunion numbered 100, but now it is down to the 20-plus dutiful family members, for the most part descendents of Johann Joachim Torbeck, who was 3 years old when his parents sailed to America.

  • 'Tis the season to shop locally

    With the Christmas season in Vandalia successfully kicked off by Vandalia Main Street's recent Olde Tyme Christmas celebration, it's now time to make the arrival of the season official. That will be accomplished when Santa Claus comes to town in this Saturday's Rotary Christmas Parade.

    The 10 a.m. event, sponsored by the Vandalia Rotary Club, begins near the Fayette County Courthouse and proceeds east on Gallatin Street to Fourth Street, where Santa will exit his sleigh and visit with children in the Lincoln Park gazebo.

  • Watson needs to take care of himself for now

    State government just won’t be the same in the future.

    But more important than losing state Sen. Frank Watson’s presence among the state’s leaders at the bargaining table is the future health of our long-time representative in Springfield.

    Watson made his first visit to Springfield last week after suffering a stroke. Yet his recovery is far from over, with many challenging days, weeks and months ahead.

  • Families of St. Paul settlers still in area

    My chemo buddy at the Fayette County Hospital outpatient clinic the past couple of weeks has been Carl Benning of St. Paul, down on the German Prairie in Wilberton Township.

    I have never lived in St. Paul, but part of my heart is there, because my mother’s people, the Sasse and Kruenegel families, settled there about 1865, migrating with the Dodge County, Wis., German Lutherans. These settlers founded the St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church.