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Today's Opinions

  • Friend turns out to be journalism prof

    Recently, I contacted my friend, Roger Boye, of Evanston, to tell him my exciting news! My name appeared among the acknowledgments in Edward Callary’s new book, “Place Names Of Illinois.” This was a first for me, and I knew Roger would appreciate what it meant.

    I met Roger early in 1995 through a genealogical query. He was interested in family information on the Rheiner and Boye families of St. Paul. I copied what I had and sent it to him.

  • Good choices keep prom safe

    This is the time of year for proms, and many local high schools have either held theirs already or will be holding them soon. At Vandalia Community High School, the prom is this Saturday from 7-11:30 p.m.

    It’s a wonderful time of making memories, socializing with friends and enjoying a dress-up date. If you’d like a glimpse into the evening’s activities, the coronation of the prom king and queen will take place at 8 p.m. in the gymnasium. This year’s theme is “A Night of Enchantment.”

  • Downtown pain worth the gain

    This week, they brought in the big equipment.

    And as the first buckets of earth were moved, the downtown enhancement project in Vandalia is officially under way.

    The first phase will be to install new storm sewer lines. Those will take runoff water out of the sanitary sewer system, which should significantly reduce the load on our sewage treatment plant. Plus, by moving the storm water out of the area more efficiently, the incidents of basement flooding will be significantly reduced in the downtown area.

  • 'The Rock House' to host family reunion

    In recent conversations with Betty Schaub, I learned that she has a very interesting corollary in her family.

    Betty’s fourth great-grandfather, Hezekiah Alexander, was a framer of the North Carolina State Constitution and Bill of Rights, and her cousin, another of Hezekiah’s descendants, Ray Garrison, helped draft the Illinois Constitution in 1965.

    Hezekiah’s story is told in the book, “Hezekiah Alexander and the Revolution in the Backcountry,” by Norris W. Preyer, and I have drawn from this reference to tell his story.

  • Closing DHS office not a sensible move

    A state office that is ostensibly designed to help people who are down on their luck or have specials needs will become inaccessible to many of those people if a recently announced plan is enacted.

    Late last month, the Illinois Department of Human Services announced its plans to close 17 of its rural offices – including the one in Vandalia that serves Fayette County residents – as a cost-savings move. State officials said that Fayette County residents would be served out of an office in Centralia if the proposal goes into effect on July 16 as planned.

  • Sharing the joy of music was way of life

    This past week, the music emitting from my "antique" cassette player has been old country from a March 13, 1989, “Okaw Valley Opry” show.

    Joining Bill and Evelyn Oliver on stage were daughter Connie Lee, vocals; Mike Eulberg, bass and vocals; Rick Stanbery, drums; Buddy Olsteen, banjo, steel guitar and vocals; and Dale Torbeck, fiddle and general cuttin’ up.

    Listening to the show, I feel as though I am a member of the audience. I laugh at Dale’s jokes and applaud the musicians along with the live audience. What fun!

  • Election shows the system still works

    Though there weren’t many contested or controversial races in Tuesday’s election, there were enough to spark significant interest in certain parts of the county.

    For instance, several mayoral races were hotly contested – including contests that resulted in new mayors in St. Elmo and Brownstown and a new village president in St. Peter. In Vandalia, two-term incumbent mayor Rick Gottman fended off efforts by two challengers to secure his third term.

  • Bermuda Triangle story makes rounds

    Little did I know when my Feb. 5 story about a Vandalia connection to the mysterious Bermuda Triangle was published in this newspaper that a copy of the article would make it to a family member, Don Garner.

    You may recall from that article that Aviation Machinist Mate (AMM3) Thomas Garner was lost with 11 crew members aboard a PBM Mariner flying boat on July 10, 1945, while on a routine training mission. It was last sighted over New Providence Islands, going north, apparently headed into a rain squall.