Today's Opinions

  • Recreation center will be an asset to the area

    As ceremonial shovels were thrust into the ground last Tuesday, a new era was launched for the Family YMCA of Fayette County. And for the city of Vandalia.

    The groundbreaking ceremony, which attracted more than 50 community residents, was the culmination of more than 15 years of efforts to build a community recreation center in Vandalia.

  • Firing of chief may cost city

    A dismissal that had its beginnings in a case involving tall grass may eventually land the city of St. Elmo in deep weeds.

    For 16 years – under five mayors – Ken Thomason has served as St. Elmo’s chief of police. From what is known, his personnel file contains no reprimands, no indications of performance problems.

    Then, two weeks ago – after a flap over the enforcement of the city’s weed ordinance – Mayor Larry Tish presented Thomason with a letter saying that he was being terminated.

  • Old threshing pictures tell tale of harvest

    Driving in the Ramsey Creek bottoms the other day, I slowed down to watch the graceful ballet of three Case-IH combines as they performed the dance of "gathering the harvest" in the field below me.

    Chaff and dust rose up behind the combines, fully engulfing them as they made a sweeping turn at the end of the row. The men and women in the cab know exactly how far to go before executing their turn so that the beans are fully harvested.

  • Wyatt Earp named for a Vandalia man

    Most of us have heard of Wyatt Earp and the shootout at the O.K. Corral, but did you know that Marshal Wyatt Earp was named for a Vandalia man?

    Yes, Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp was named for his father’s commander during the Mexican War, Capt. Wyatt Berry Stapp, whose family came from Kaskaskia to Vandalia with the capital.

    One of eight children of Nicholas Porter Earp and Virginia Ann Cooksey, Wyatt Earp was born on March 19, 1848, in Monmouth, in Warren County, at the home of his aunt, Elizabeth Earp.

  • Good to see young volunteers

    What’s better than a volunteer program that enhances our business district by providing facelifts on downtown buildings? One that draws participation by a large group of youths.

    Since its inception, the Vandalia Main Street Program’s “Paint the Town” project has brightened several downtown buildings with new coats of paint.

    The last building to get exterior improvements is the National Road Association of Illinois’ interpretive center in the 100 block of South Fifth Street.

  • Ben-Hur Literary Club impacted Ramsey

    The Ben-Hur Literary Club was organized on Oct. 25, 1901, by some of Ramsey’s upper crust ladies, and has been identified as one of the longest continuous organizations in Illinois.

    The object of the club, as stated in their "constitution," was to "advance the knowledge of literature and promote the art of conversation."

  • City's teamwork and volunteers are vital

    In recent years, Vandalia has stepped up its commitment to better present the history of this community, this region and this state. In turn, those efforts have improved the experiences of people from other towns and states who stop here to learn about Vandalia, Fayette County and Abraham Lincoln.

  • Outlaw Slade had ties to Fayette County

    Mark Twain wrote of his Western travels in the book, “Roughing It.” Twain said that the men he traveled with had three subjects on their mind – "Californy, the Nevada silver mines and the desperado, Slade."

    Twain wrote, “From Ft. Kearney west, he was feared a great deal more than the Almighty. Mothers used his name to strike terror in the hearts of their misbehaving children.”