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Today's Opinions

  • Burtschis founded title company in 1890

    Burtschi Brothers Title Co. had its beginning on Aug. 5, 1890, when Julius Louis Burtschi acted as the go-between on a $700 loan from William Sonnemann to Katy Mayz.

    The next year, Julius opened an office on the second floor of a new Gallatin Street building, on the site of his birthplace. This second year, he made seven loans and built the first of 800 houses that he would build during his lifetime.

  • Downtown project must be a priority in 2008

    As they look back on 2007, city officials have to be pleased with many things that they saw within the past year, including the continued development of Vandalias western Interstate 70 interchange.

    But, as they reflect, Mayor Rick Gottman, City Administrator Jimmy Morani, Director of Economic Development JoAnn Givens and Vandalia aldermen also need to be looking at some projects looming in the future.

    At the top of the list is the effort to revitalize the downtown business district.

  • Christmas memories of a one-room school

    Nearly 20 years ago, I struck up a correspondence with a lady named Ruby Hearn from San Antonio, Texas.

    Ruby was the daughter of Selby and Laura Grandfield Hunter, and was born and raised in Fayette County. She lived away for most of her adult life, and always spoke of her old home with affection. She often told me she would like to return to Vandalia to live some day.

  • Don't make it easy for thefts from cars

    Vandalia Police Chief Larry Eason reported late last week that his officers had been handling an unusually high number of reports related to the theft of items from vehicles.

    And he noted that there was one fairly common thread in those thefts the thieves had been provided easy pickings.

    Eason seemed frustrated about that, the fact that some local residents continue to leave their property unsecured. In a number of cases, the thieves had only to open vehicle doors to get to their treasures.

  • Public participation key to school issue

    While the Brownstown and St. Elmo school boards voted recently to take another step toward the possible reorganization of the two districts into one, there is much to be done before that possibility comes to a final vote.

    The action by the school boards means that officials in the two districts will only continue to study reorganization. We encourage residents of the two districts to do the same.

    Reorganization obviously has both advantages and disadvantages, and its the job of everyone in the two districts to weigh both sides.

  • Old Johnson Store a Pittsburg landmark

    Named for William M. Pitt, Pittsburg is a crossroads community located at the junction of sections 16, 17, 20 and 21 in Seminary Township. Originally spelled Pittsburgh, the "h" was dropped from the spelling in 1889 when the post office was established.

    In a letter to the editor from Walter H. Evans, published in the Jan. 31, 1974, edition of The Vandalia Leader, Evans wrote that his earliest recollections began about 1890, when he was four years old.

  • Merry Christmas!

    As the above editorial indicates, Caring and Sharing has done many good things for needy residents of Fayette County. But it's not alone.

    Many other acts of charity and many holiday activities have been performed by other local groups.

    It's a characteristic of our community that we've grown to expect. The people of Vandalia – and all of Fayette County, for that matter – are a very giving lot. It's one quality that makes this a special place to live.

    This week, as we prepare to celebrate Christmas, we are reminded of the importance of that giving spirit.

  • Caring & Sharing the season's spirit

    It's hard to believe, but it's been more than 30 years since a program that provides a Merry Christmas for the less-fortunate families in Fayette County got its start.

    The program that would grow into what is now known as Fayette County Caring & Sharing was initiated in the mid-1970s, when Fayette County Health Department Administrators Cara Kelly and Rhea McCarty of the Community Action Center spearheaded a drive that would serve six families.