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Features

  • A framed photograph in Roy Elliott’s room shows his shirt tail being cut off, a traditional ritual when someone becomes a licensed airplane pilot.

    A member of Fayette County Civil Defense (now Emergency Management Agency)  for years, he was a jack-of-all-trades with many skills, until a fateful day three years ago when a tree he was trimming fell on him, fracturing his back in two places. Parkinson’s disease entered the picture, rendering him unable to perform routine daily activities.

  • At last Wednesday’s Lenten Luncheon at First United Methodist Church in Vandalia, Beth Hoffman spoke on the topic of “sacrifice.”

    Sharing in a sincere manner, Hoffman spoke of a time in her life that was a personal struggle, a time of sacrifice that she later came to see as a blessed time, and a time of growth spiritually.

    An accomplished vocalist, she also provided inspirational music for the program, performing a duet with her daughter, Megan.

  • Stefanie Montgomery is well into her second year as director of youth ministry at First United Methodist Church in Vandalia, accomplishing a goal she has had since a young girl – working with and helping teens.

  • The Rev. Joseph Havrilka, often referred to as the new priest of Mother of Dolors Catholic Church in Vandalia, has followed his calling for God’s service in several states, and in various areas of service. He came to Vandalia in July 2009.

    A native of Pana, he has lived in Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri and Arkansas in previous assignments with the Catholic Church. He taught in parochial schools, and before coming to Vandalia, was a hospital chaplain in Alton. He also filled in on weekends for priests who were ill or on vacation.

  • Other than the Statehouse, no other building in Vandalia has captured the imagination of the people of Vandalia like The Depot.

  • Following Matt Philbrick’s inspirational message at the recent Lenten Luncheon at First Christian Church in Vandalia, the pastor of the host church, the Rev. Robert Francisco, further blessed the meeting as he gave a beautiful rendition of “Bethlehem Morning,” sung with such reverence that it could have served as the benediction. He has been pasturing churches since 1992.

    Meet Francsico  and his wife, Euna.

    A Bit of History

  • The word “phantom” can be defined as an apparition or an illusion. However, if a lawbreaker would come face-to-face with “Phantom,” the German shepherd who is a member of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office’s team, the perpetrator would have no illusion about Phantom’s size, strength and abilities to carry out his trained skills and duties in order to keep the Fayette County citizens and environment safe.

  • He will be a first-time speaker at the first 2010 Lenten Luncheon next Wednesday at noon at First Christian Church in Vandalia. It will be an opportunity to meet him as he shares his faith with the community in the spirit of this reverent Easter season.

    He may be referred to as “the new kid on the block,” but Matt Philbrick, the new minister of youth at the First Baptist Church in Vandalia, is not new to his chosen work with youth, something he feels that was not just of his choosing, but also of the Lord’s calling.

  • Marie Sutton is a familiar face in the area, as a local volunteer for causes such as Evergreen Outreach and a member of First United Methodist Church.

    Her manner is quiet, unassuming, gentle and kind, and her voice is soft with the charming accent of her native homeland, Czechoslovakia. She keeps busy and is always willing to lend a helping hand.

  • He remembers the dirt road that the stagecoach ran on many years ago. What is now U.S. Route 185 south, was then a dirt road called Vincennes Road, “because it ran from Vincennes, Ind., to Vandalia, Ill.,” he said.

    “I traveled it a lot. The stagecoach would go through here from Vincennes, on the way to Vandalia, and would stop at the old brick house on (U.S.) Route 40. It was an inn, then,” he said.

  • Wayne Hale has led a varied, interesting and “magical” 90 years of life, and is still giving of his talents, encouraged by his wife, Lida, who has been a full-fledged, supportive partner since the day the self-confident young man asked her to roller skate with him.

    Wayne is well-known for his skill as a magician, entertaining young and old, both locally and in other areas.

  • Countless books have been written and illustrated on dog training. Some are very serious manuals, with professional, no-nonsense attitudes and instructions, accompanied by photos of elite-looking models (both handlers and canines).

    There are also those that focus mainly on new puppy behavior and toilet training.

    Then there are the lighter instructional manuals with a humorous slant, illustrated with humorous caricatures.

  • It is documented that on Feb. 6, 1898, six men sitting on a lumber pile in a shipyard in Seattle, Wash., decided to form an organization that, while providing activities and events for its members, would also focus on helping other individuals, communities and the nation.

    Starting out as a fledgling project, they called it the Order of Good Things. As it grew, and after its formal organization, the name was changed to Fraternal Order of Eagles.

  • Anthony Workman was a typical 16-year-old boy who enjoyed baseball and other outdoor activities, especially hunting.

    Then he had a bout with a virus that changed his life about a year ago. It left Anthony with marked physical changes, such as tiredness, weakness and a feeling of always being cold, even during hot weather. His dad described him as boy formerly built like a football player who suddenly began losing weight.

  • Dave Arnold, custodian at Brownstown Elementary School, is well known as the “school custodian poet,” not only in this area, but also far and wide in the nation’s public schools network and associations.

    He also is known for his moral standards, sense of humor, generosity and various other gifts and talents, such as woodworking.

    Dave’s love for his job as the elementary school custodian and his respect, support and understanding for the teachers and school officials is also notable, as is his rapport with the children.

  • Every year for the past 20 years, Don and Ellie Funk have graciously hosted a favorite, famous and beloved guest in their lakeside home.

    He usually appears in the second week of December and stays until he has to return to the North Pole to make his toys and gifts run on Christmas Eve.

    He travels light, with few personal items, as he never seems to shave, and always wears the same style of clothing.

    However, he does bring reindeer along with him, for which the Funks have graciously provided a shelter.

  • To sit in on a casual conversation with Dale “Pete” Burnam and Glen “Whitey” Daniels, one would think the two were highly incompatible.

    As they volley insults back and forth, however, it soon becomes clear they actually share a close, brotherly-love-like friendship and have the utmost respect for one another.

    When not harassing one another, they are quick with compliments, credits and tributes to the other.

  • When it was learned that World War II veteran John C. Sefton was honored as a participant of the Central Illinois Honor Flight to Washington D.C., on Oct. 14, a request was made to him for a report of the event.

    John modestly, but graciously, agreed to meet in his home in Sefton, which is just across the road from where he was born 85 years ago. John grew up in a two-story house that no longer stands.

  • Born in Bingham on April 30, 1913, Lucille Fisher has lived a long and fruitful life – fruitful for her friends, her neighbors, her community, the organizations to which she still belongs (and contributes to), and especially her family, which enjoys a closeness, respect and love for one another that is heart-warming to witness.

  • Herb Woolsey was released from active duty with the Army Infantry in September 1953. However, in early 1954, an armored tank unit in Vandalia needed a company commander, and Woolsey was asked to take the job.

    He did and remained with the reserve unit as the commander until June 30, 1985, when it was disbanded. He served 34 years in the service and retired a colonel. An all-American patriot, he is often asked to speak at Memorial Day and Veterans Day events.