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Features

  • To paraphrase a familiar old nursery rhyme, “How does the Little Community Garden grow?
    “With work and toil, to prepare the soil,
    By Master Gardeners and volunteers,
    Working side by side through the years.
    Tilling, planting and weeding many hours,
    To provide the community with food and flowers.
    The Little Community Garden, tended with love,
    And blessed by the rains and sun, from Heaven above.”

    The Vision Planted

  • Lawrence Brown, Dewayne Brown, Russ Stewart and Bob Culbertson traveled to Nashville, Tenn., to fill the request of their fans, to cut a CD of their music as the popular gospel group, the FOURGIVEN Quartet.
    They consented to share their experience, which proved to be even more unforgettable, sadly, by the fact that, due to the terrible onslaught of the recent storm, the area was flooded and homes and buildings ruined.

  • Jackson Reunion
    The Jackson family reunion was held on Sunday, Sept. 12, with a noon picnic dinner at the Vandalia Lake pavilion.
    Those present were: Jeanene Lener of Plainfield; James Jackson and Dixie White, St. Elmo; Ricky and Syliva Pruett, and Ricky Hipsher and Aiden Lash, Brownstown; Marvin and Jean Torbeck, Odin; and Reahert and Alva Elder, Mike, Lisa and Aiden Elder, Carmen Elder and Halie, Ashley and Alisha Lape and Ayla Evans, Elbert D. Jackson, Betty Berry, and Lucy and Andy Marclini, all of Vandalia.

  • Retirement is usually not an unusual occurrence.
    But this summer at Friendship Manor in St. Elmo, it was a special event, as Versie Baucum had worked 39 consecutive years in the same position – a certified nurse’s aide – in the same location, caring for nursing home residents in an occupation that is very fulfilling and satisfying, but one that can also be both physically and emotionally taxing.
    One tends to become very attached and bonded to their patients, often regarding them as an extended family, even as an uncle or aunt.

  • First impression from outside  – Young people of various sizes and ages happily entering the door of a downtown building in which several young people seem to be laughing and having fun, with several adults present.
    Impression on entering – The room is well-illuminated, cheerful, colorful, clean and lively with young people playing assorted games, talking, stirring up cookie dough. Some are interacting with several adults, who obviously are enjoying the children enjoying just being children.
    What, Where, Who, When and How?

  • “Shiver Me Timbers," a pirate ship is dry-docked in the Brownstown Elementary School library…much to the delight of the BES students.
    Thanks to the ingenuity and ship-building skills of “Captain Melvin” (Willms) and “First Mate Jerry” (Reed), who answered the plea of Lady Verla, a.k.a. by the students as Mrs. Reed.

  • Thursday, Sept. 2 – Sloppy joe on bun, hash brown casserole, seasoned broccoli and spiced apples.
    Friday, Sept. 3 – Marinated chicken breast, brown rice, asparagus, copper penny carrots salad, fruit cocktail and whole grain roll.
    Monday, Sept. 6 – Closed for Labor Day.
    Tuesday, Sept. 7 – Porkburger on whole grain bun, peas, baked beans and applesauce.  
    Wednesday, Sept. 8 – Stuffed green peppers, mashed potatoes, cauliflower, plums and bread.

  • The ExxonMobil Annuitants Club held its Aug. 26 luncheon and meeting at Ponderosa Steakhouse in Vandalia, with 23 members and five guests attending.
    Guests present were Marge Harre, Pam Orr, Kenneth Hagen, Jane Hammond and Stacey Langston.
    The pledge of allegiance was given, followed by Brock Fisher asking the meal prayer.
    After the meal, the meeting was opened with President Dean Black welcoming the guests andmembers present.
    The secretary and treasurer report was approved as read.

  • Elvis and Maxine Meyer sit in their side-by-side recliner chairs every night and watch television. ”And we still hold hands sitting there,” Maxine said, grinning.  
    “A lot of times, when we pass, we steal a kiss in passing,” Elvis said, chuckling.
    Both seem active, in comparably good health and very happy, contented and cozy in their pleasant little rural home, which is located on his family’s old home place. Their pets are their treasured companions.    

  • The Satterthwaite family bought the Shafter Store in 1945, and last week, Don, Harry, and John Satterthwaite shared some of their memories about the store.
    This week, the saga continues as they reminisce, and move on to the eventual demise of the store, but not of their memories.
    Satterthwaites’ Shafter Childhood

  • The saga of Shafter Store continues. It served as the hub of the small rural community and supported two large, growing families (the Etchesons and Satterthwaites) during the Great Depression years and later, when there were many shortages during World War II.
    The store supplied customers with virtually every need it was possible to fill for everyday living, including providing them with egg and chicken money.

  • When 99-year-old Helen Tompkins consented to an interview, she said she could not do it on a Tuesday, because that's when she always goes to a nursing home to sing for the residents.
    Within a few minutes of meeting her, this amazing lady’s statement seemed not only a possibility, but a not-surprising probability.
    She easily recalls dates, events, and people of long ago, looking to her daughter-in-law, Georgianne Tompkins, only rarely to offer a comment, to clarify or add information to a statement.

  • For the past 75 days, Lucas Van Engen has seen America like few people ever will – from the seat of a garden tractor.
    Beginning on May 15 in Santa Monica, Calif., Van Engen has traversed nearly two-thirds the width of the continent – more than 2,000 miles so far – on a Sears Craftsman garden tractor. Powered by a 26-horsepower Kohler engine, the GT 5000 series tractor has held up just fine; perhaps better than Van Engen.

  • “W.E. Etcheson, General Merchandise” was the large sign under which Donald Etcheson was (figuratively) born 82 years ago, and lived from infancy until young manhood.
    Last week,Etcheson began sharing his story of his childhood days in Shafter Township. He continues sharing memories this week, beginning with his family's move to Vandalia.
    The Move from Shafter to Vandalia
    Don said his dad sold the store to Don Satterthwaite, and they left Shafter in 1945.

  • “W.E. Etcheson, General Merchandise” was the large sign under which Donald Etcheson was (figuratively) born 82 years ago, and lived from infancy until young manhood.
    Don Etcheson probably has more memories of the old Shafter Store, which was located on Ill. Route 185, than most people do.
    This is not surprising, as he grew up there in the days when Shafter was rather a hub of business and activities.

  • Darrin Lurkins is showing his family’s Polled Hereford cattle at the Fayette County Fair.  He seemed especially proud of “Eclipse,” a heifer that was born in September.

    Raising Hereford cattle is the Lurkins family’s business.

    “We raise seed stock, and sell bulls and heifers to 4-H kids, and try to help people out as much as we can,” he said.

    Lurkins, a 4-H Club “veteran,” is an avid supporter of the organization.

  • Ethel Augenstein’s name has been almost synonymous with good food during her 95 1/2 years.

    Although she held down other jobs in her earlier years, she found her way to various restaurants, schools and church kitchens in the area, and there she remained, assuring anyone who partook of her cooking good food.

    Ethel, however, did get out of the kitchen(s) long enough to live an interesting and active life, a fulfilling life as a wife and mother, and a useful life to her community, organizations, and her church…and still is. 

  • Though he came from very humble beginnings, the Rev. Norris Price has fashioned a life that is rich in all the important ways.

    At the age of 77, he is still vital, healthy and involved. And he maintains an intellectual curiosity that keeps life interesting.

    “I grew up in the country southwest of Ramsey,” Price said. “I suppose we were considered poor. There wasn’t much cash, but we never went hungry. And we had a lot of fun.”

    From an early age, he demonstrated a thirst for knowledge and a fascination with people.

  • Many words could describe Eleanore McNutt – upbeat, optimistic, energetic, creative, fun-loving, caring, modest, cooperative and willing to work. The list of good qualities could go on.

    Among her most notable qualities are her compassion and compatibility for elderly adults and for those special people who need a special person to understand them.

  • Haldon Warner became a member of the family at First National Bank of Vandalia in 1963, working in the bookkeeping department.

    “Back then,” he said, “they wanted you to start by learning every department and work your way up.”

    That seems like a good plan, because young Haldon Warner did, indeed, work his way up. He is now senior vice president and chief lending officer, positions from which he is retiring. He wears other hats, including serving as the compliance officer.