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Today's Opinions

  • 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.

  • State shoots self in the foot by closing sites

    Just when you think that things can't get any worse in our state capital...

    The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, responding to budget cuts implemented by Gov. Rod Blagojevich, announced on Thursday the closure of 24 state historic sites and state parks. On that list is the Vandalia Statehouse.

    The news of those closures comes as a major blow to our state, which is getting ready to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birthday, as well as to our community.

  • Old family photos spawn identity question

    Helen Luster, of the Pinhook community, and I have corresponded for several years now. In her occasional letters, she has shared with me old stories passed down through the Luster family, several of which I have repeated in this column.

    Last week, I received a note from Helen, accompanied by two pictures. She wrote about a mild controversy in the Luster family over the identification of a couple in an old photo.

  • Both sides win

    The agreement inked last week between the Vandalia Board of Education and the Vandalia Unit Teachers' Association marks a successful conclusion to an important negotiation process.