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Today's Opinions

  • 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.

  • New senator brings assets to position

    After nearly three decades of being represented in Springfield by former state Sen. Frank Watson, it's difficult to imagine someone else in that position.

    But with Watson's decision to retire after suffering a stroke last fall, we must shift gears.

    This week's selection of Kyle McCarter, a Lebanon business owner, to fill the seat as state senator in the 51st District appears to be a good one.

  • Lincoln's 200th 'a downright good time'

    The 300-plus guests for Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday at the capitol last Thursday evening were treated to a wonderful spectacle and a downright good time.

    The capitol building, built in 1836, was bathed in the soft glow of accent lights around the building’s foundation, complemented by the period streetlights surrounding the Public Square.

    The chandeliers sparkled through the windows of the two-story building, adding to the beauty of the historic structure and enhancing the feeling of expectancy that my son, Ethan, and I were already feeling.

  • Burris not worthy to represent us

    Illinois continues to have a place in the national spotlight … for all of the wrong reasons.

    When U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin first spoke out on the search for Barack Obama’s successor in the U.S. Senate, he said that Gov. Rod Blagojevich should not be allowed to make the appointment. Anyone appointed by Blagojevich, Durbin said, would be “tainted.”

    Durbin eventually relented, supporting Blagojevich’s appointment of Roland Burris, and oh, what a fortune-teller Durbin has turned out to be.