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Today's Opinions

  • Col. Greathouse was courageous warrior

    As you may know, the Fayette County Genealogical & Historical Society publishes a quarterly magazine under the title of "Fayette Facts." This 60-page book is chock-full of research help on Fayette County families through church and courthouse records and family histories.

    What you might not know is that the society exchanges publications with nearly 40 other genealogical societies around Illinois and beyond. One of these is the Genealogy Society of Southern Illinois, which publishes "The Saga of Southern Illinois," covering 28 counties in the southernmost part of Illinois.

  • Governor's cuts for historic sites baffling

    What better time than the celebration of Abraham Lincolns 200th birthday for Vandalia and all other state historic sites to present the communitys ties to the most popular man in history. Unfortunately, it looks like we are going to be greatly hampered in our efforts to do that.

    In what is just the latest of bizarre twists of the Blagojevich administration, Governor Rod has cut $1.4 billion with a B out of the budget for state historic sites.

  • Storyboards to tell our history

    Vandalia residents already know that Abraham Lincoln began his political career in our community and that it was in the Vandalia Statehouse that Lincoln became legally entitled to practice law.

    But there is a great deal of other information about Lincolns time in Vandalia that is not common knowledge. That will change this fall.

    At a meeting of Vandalias Looking for Lincoln Committee last Thursday, Dale Timmermann unveiled the 10 wayside exhibits that will tell our communitys Lincoln stories.

  • Aunt Frieda's trunk yields mysterious portrait

    Following years of living away from Fayette County, my dads oldest sister, Frieda Torbeck, decided it was time to return to her roots in St. Paul. She had left the area as a teenager, joining a neighborhood friend in a domestic job in northern Illinois.

    Many of the young women who went to the cities to work as housemaids and nursemaids, returned home, married and raised families, their grandchildren now living on the old family farms. But not Frieda.

    She found a position with a family whose mother had died and became housekeeper, looking after two children.

  • School options require study, input by voters

    With several months of study already under its belt, the committee of 10 representatives studying the potential reorganization of the St. Elmo and Brownstown school districts is continuing on a path toward presenting the issue to voters in those communities.

    So far, the committee has progressed at a reasoned pace, and with a consistent goal of determining what the reorganization could do to enhance the quality of education available to the students of those districts.

  • Flour milling once a thriving business

    Again this week, we turn to the historical archives found in back issues of The Vandalia Union newspaper. For this weeks column, we are visiting the week of Oct. 13, 1927.

    In that issue, an article titled, "Flour Milling in Fayette County" was published in the paper. Special attention was given to the St. Elmo Milling Co., once the most thriving of its kind in this part of the country.

  • How we respond to Orgill loss can determine our future

    A week after receiving the news, its still hard to swallow the fact that our community was a runner-up in the race for a new Orgill distribution center. Making the news doubly hard to accept was that it means the loss of the current Orgill facility in Vandalia.

    Obviously, that news hits no one harder than the 140 or so employees of the Vandalia facility who know that they will have to find a new job and one that pays as well within a year.

  • Grandpa's Indian discovery creates stir

    My mother, Cora Rebbe Torbeck, was reared along Flat Creek in Wilberton Township. The firstborn of seven children of Edward and Edna Moeller Rebbe, she was reared within a stone's throw of the home of her grandparents, Chris and Minnie Rebbe.

    One night, while sitting around the supper table, Mom told us of the time her father had unearthed the skeleton of an Indian while plowing a field along Flat Creek. Mom knew that this had happened while her dad was still a teenager, but she didnt know any of the details. The story intrigued me.