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Today's Opinions

  • 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.

  • 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?