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Today's Opinions

  • Restore the funds

    The Illinois Senate on Tuesday passed a resolution that could restore funds to keep the doors open at 14 historic sites – including the Vandalia Statehouse – and 11 state parks in the state.

    The 40-15 Senate vote means that body joins the Illinois House in supporting restored funding for those sites. Tuesday's Senate bill would funnel more than $220 million toward parks, historic sites and social service programs.

    Now, it's Gov. Rod Blagojevich who stands in the way of keeping the sites open to the public.

  • Corn Day offers many activities

    As area farmers prepare for harvest, our community is preparing for this Saturday’s annual Corn Day celebration.

    Sponsored by Vandalia Main Street, the event features a variety of activities – some to celebrate the prominent role that corn plays in our area’s economy and some just for fun.

    The activities get under way at 7 a.m. with a community-wide yard sale promotion. (See the ad elsewhere in this issue of The Leader-Union for the addresses of more than 50 yard sales included in the event. Many also have ads in the classified section of today's paper.)

  • Amateur photographer preserved history

    Accompanying my column last week was a picture staged and photographed by Granville Blankenship in January 1920. That particular picture of pelts mounted on a barn won him a $4 cash prize.

    Granville described himself as an amateur photographer, according to his daughter, Mila Elam, of Bear Grove Township.

    Mila and her late husband, Loren Elam, were my "end of the road" neighbors when I was a newlywed in 1976. My husband, Dale, and I rented a house not far from the Elam homestead for a little over three years, and we became good friends.

  • Congrats to new HOF members!

    Congratulations to the Vandalia Community High School wrestling teams from 1996-97 and 1997-98, which were inducted last Friday into the VCHS Sports Hall of Fame.

    Those two teams both compiled sterling records and went on to place fourth at the state team wrestling tournament.

    Also to be congratulated are VCHS homecoming royalty, Lexie Schukar and Wayne Stock, who were crowned queen and king at Saturday’s homecoming dance.

  • Safety is priority as harvest begins

    In normal years, area farmers would be well into the job of harvesting their crops by now. They’d be in the fields from dawn to dusk, stretching themselves and their equipment to the limit, and generally pushing the envelope in a profession that is one of the most dangerous around.

    But this is not a normal year.

  • Grocer fleeced in raccoon skin scam

    From the time of the earliest settlements in Fayette County, money was rarely used. The settlers bartered skins for goods.

    James Evans, whose father, Akin, was Fayette County’s sheriff and tax collector in 1836-1839, 1846-1849 and 1852-1854, wrote that if you did not have gold or silver to pay your taxes, you could catch a few raccoons and pay your taxes with their skins. You could not pay with paper money, as it was not legal tender.

  • House, Senate must reverse misguided cuts

    After a couple of weeks of feeling the sting of the public’s frustration, members of the Illinois House of Representatives this week have an opportunity to correct the misguided budget cuts mandated by Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

    As they gather in Springfield, state House members must come up with an alternative budget plan that makes more sense than the random cuts the governor required of state agency heads in late August. Then, they must convince their counterparts in the state Senate to follow suit.

  • Luster family has many tales to tell

    The Luster family made its way into the wilderness that was Fayette County before statehood. At the head of the clan was Archibald Luster, who with his wife, Malinda Yarbrough, lived in the southwestern part of the county.

    Some of their sons moved across the Kaskaskia River and settled in the Pinhook area, about four miles southeast of Vandalia. Archibald and Malinda were parents of nine children: Henry, born in 1778, Chana, William, Josiah, Malinda, Catherine, Mary, David and Philip, the youngest, born in 1801.