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Features

  • Lutherans living in Sharon and Hurricane townships organized the Jehovah Lutheran Church in what is now Shafter Township in 1879. Prior to 1913, Shafter Township was part of Sharon, and was identified as West Sharon Township.

  • If you are entering Tony Koberlein’s workshop and showroom for the first time, be prepared, because you might come face-to-face with a snarling, teeth-bared coyote, a huge elk, a full-size longhorn cow or a life-size buck deer with a large rack.

  • “We’re supposed to attack Satan where he’s at…That’s the only way I know how to do it, as a paratrooper would do, just jump in with both feet.”
    Rev. Carl Rhodes

  • Some years back, Leo Marty of Ramsey asked me to write a column about the creeks of Fayette County. I had written about the villages, schools, people and roads, but nothing on the creeks and branches that run through the valleys of Fayette County.

  • Rosemary “Rosie” Gerkin’s family could be considered as pioneers in Vandalia.
    A life-long resident of Vandalia, Rosie and her husband, the late Dennis Gerkin, are the parents of sons Denny and Jimmy Joe.

  • “I knew it when I was 21,” he said. “Up to that time, I had only treated horses or some suffering animal. One day, I happened to visit a man who as very ill with erysipelas.  His head was twice as large as it should have been, and the doctors told him they couldn’t help. That man received my first treatment.  The next day, he was up and all right.”

  • April is National Volunteer Month, and one of Fayette County’s favorite volunteers, for both young and old, is Bill Beard, also known as “Windy Willy,” the lovable balloon animals clown.
    What began as a desire to help others as he and his family had been helped became a ministry of sorts that has spanned 20 years, and Bill is enthusiastically entering into the 21st.

  • Last week, the subject of my column was Dr. Hiram S. Short, a Fillmore doctor with Fayette County connections.

  • Marilyn Calvert is retiring from First National Bank of Vandalia this week after logging 59 years, more than any other employee of the bank.

  • As the third week of the Lenten Luncheons draws near, Al Schumacher prepares to be the featured speaker at St. James Lutheran Church at noon on Wednesday, March 30. Meet, or get reacquainted with, Al and his wife, Susann.

    “We came here (to Vandalia) 17 years ago,” Al said. “We came from Hillsboro, where we lived for 10 years prior to that.
    “We opened the National Bank here in 1993, and we just kind of love Vandalia,” he said.

  • As the Easter season draws near, the Lenten Luncheons are being held every Wednesday, beginning this week at First Christian Church in Vandalia with the Rev. John Glennon of the Parkview Methodist Church as the first speaker.

  • Patti Van Uytven was climbing up to a sewing machine as soon as she was big enough … and has now climbed all the way to the top of a “fabrics and all the trimmings for sewing and quilting” business, known in Ramsey as  “The Quilt Top Shop.”

  • March 8 is National Organize Your Home Office Day, and the third week of March is National Clutter Awareness Week.
    Louella Yakel refers to herself as “The De-clutter Gal,” as she has a business that specializing in helping others de-clutter their homes, thereby their environment and their lives.
    “I think I was born with the organizing gene,” she said. “I can remember as a little girl  cleaning out the desk drawers for my dad. He really appreciated it.”

  • The news headline from The Vandalia Union read: “Sleepy Citizen Shot and Killed in Vandalia.”
    I’m too young to remember Frank H. Meier’s alligator, but many of our readers may recall this "pet" that, along with an ancient black snake, inhabited the Meier greenhouse.
    The Union newspaper reporter wrote that E. F. Steffen, the new owner of the F.H. Meier Greenhouses, fired the fatal shot, and then went on to fire a few of his own.

  • “Have Karaoke Machine, Will Travel” could be the motto of retired factory worker Raymond Swofford, who spends much of his time traveling to nursing homes and other places to share his love and enjoyment of gospel and country western music with others.
    His interest in music began when he was 7 years old, as he sang along with the radio as his favorite country music stars, such as Roy Acuff (“The Great Speckled Bird”) and Ernest Tubb (“I’m Walking the Floor Over You”), made their mark in bluegrass, gospel and country music history.

  • As February is traditionally the month for expressions of love, Wanda Puleo’s labor of love,  a gift  to her mother, seemed to be an appropriate valentine story this week.
    Meet Wanda Puleo and her extraordinary 100-year-old mother.
    As the 100th birthday of Wanda Puleo’s mother, Ethel Pittman, approached, Wanda wanted to give a special, meaningful, gift to a very special, alert, mentally active and up-to-date lady.

  • Ivan Swofford is friendly and upbeat, has a quick, ready smile and laughs easily at something humorous.

  • Picture this. It is a brisk mid-winter evening in Vandalia, in the year 1861, 150 years ago.

  • For most of her 100 years, Farrell Gruenbaum has been an athlete.

  • Dave Denning was already firmly ensconced in a job he had worked at since graduating from high school, one he was steadfastly committed to, when he happened by a physical therapy room one day.
    He thought to himself, “I’d like to work at that.” Little did he know, or even dream,  that he would become a physical therapist, helping others strive for a more comfortable and active life, while also lifting their spirits.