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Opinion

  • Two months ago, we asked that the city of Vandalia seriously consider discontinuing its relationship with Motown Technology and Sports Facility Inc. We’re glad to see that city officials are moving in that direction.

    Alderman Mike Hobler suggested at Monday’s city council meeting that the city look at initiating legal action against the Michigan-based group, and Alderman Larry Bennett agreed.

  • Included in today's issue of The Leader-Union is a special section called "Salute to Agriculture 2010.

    In that section, brought to you by several of the leading ag-related businesses, we highlight the many contributions of our farmers.

    In a county like Fayette, it's hard to overestimate the impact of agriculture on our local economy. In most years, the fortunes of our farmers have a direct impact on the health of all other aspects of our business community. The ripples are that significant.

  • The case began with a telephone call to the Shelby County Sheriff’s office in early December 1962.

    Lyle McDonald, the newly elected sheriff, took the call, and was asked whether a loss claim for a wallet found in a schoolyard near Herrick had been made. The wallet contained $500 and belonged to a man named Tony O’Dell.

    The caller said he did not want to get involved, but the sheriff should check some schoolhouse wells in the Herrick area for a body.

  • Saturday was one of the best indications that spring is just around the corner – a relatively warm day with very little wind. It was the perfect day for many types of outdoor activities, but burning trash or brush was not one of them.

    Saturday was a reminder that people need to take several factors into consideration when they do any type of outdoor burning, including the wind. And they need to watch over their fires at all times, a hose at the ready in case the fire starts to spread.

  • As I sipped my coffee early in the morning on Feb. 23 and watched a local St. Louis morning television station, it was with surprise and alarm that I saw the name of our town running across the bottom, accompanied by a brief photo of a fire.

    The commentator began the lead-in to the story, and the first image I saw was from a helicopter, with the majestic capitol in the background. As the flames roared and the camera angle changed, I looked for the 1867 M. Hall building that housed Denny Gerkin’s insurance agency, and was relieved to see it standing.

  • Just a day after the fire that destroyed his business, Art Martin was counting his blessings.

    With smoke still rising from the corner where his business stood, the owner of Donaldson’s Carpet, said, “We are fortunate enough to be in a small town.”

    Donaldson was referring to the offers for help he received, including one from his main competitor, Tom DePaolo of DePaolo’s Floor Covering and Home Decorating Center.

  • Just a day after the fire that destroyed his business, Art Martin was counting his blessings.

    With smoke still rising from the corner where his business stood, the owner of Donaldson’s Carpet, said, “We are fortunate enough to be in a small town.”

    Donaldson was referring to the offers for help he received, including one from his main competitor, Tom DePaolo of DePaolo’s Floor Covering and Home Decorating Center.

  • My last column dealt with some of the 150-plus Fayette County one-room schools,  through whose doors generations of Fayette County citizens passed. 

    In that column, I mentioned that County Superintendent C.F. Easterday had visited more than 20 country schools, and he shared his report in an issue of The Vandalia Union newspaper.

  • An internet query from Jane Cox, a Leader-Union reader, is the impetus for this column. Jane wanted to know if a list of county schools was available, along with information about those still standing. 

    The answer is “yes.”

  • For the owners and employees of six downtown Vandalia businesses, the world changed early Tuesday morning.

    A fire that swept through Cages, Donaldson’s Carpet, Gathe’s Tax & Accounting and Gerkin Insurance Agency has left a darkened scar in the 300 block of Gallatin Street, directly across the street from the Vandalia Statehouse.

  • Even though no work has been done on Gallatin Street since Dec. 22, the two-block stretch between Third and Fifth streets remains closed to traffic.

    That means continuing hardship for merchants in those blocks trying to stay afloat during the downtown renovation project. In fact, since those two blocks have been closed to vehicular traffic since October, the total time without curb access there could be approaching six months by the time the weather allows construction workers to return to the job – probably in April.

  • The recipe I was preparing called for American cheese slices, and as I substituted Velveeta brand cheese, I had to laugh.

    When I first married into my husband’s family, 33 years ago now, we were at Grandma Berniece Spires’ home in Bingham for the weekly Sunday supper.

    Grandma asked me to go “in yonder” to the back porch to fetch a cheese box. I walked down the hallway to the porch and searched the shelves for a Velveeta cheese box, that being the only cheese I knew of being packaged in a box.

  • Two months after the Vandalia City Council granted an extension to the Motown Technology & Sports Facility Inc., our city’s relationship with that Michigan-based group is, unfortunately, starting to look like Motown’s connection to a community in Kentucky.

    In an agreement the council approved on Dec. 7, Motown agreed to present, under the terms of that agreement, a $17,500 check to reimburse the city for a traffic study performed as part of the group’s plan to build a $300-million sports and entertainment facility in Vandalia.

  • Perry Commodore Oller was born in Bourbon County, Ky., on Feb. 4, 1819, and would go on to become one of the foremost Indian scouts in America.

    What would become his career began one day when Perry was 12. His parents, George and Elizabeth Taylor Oller, had moved to Illinois by this time, and were attacked by Indians near Swan Lake.

    It was Perry who traveled the 70 miles through an unknown wilderness to carry a message to the frontier village of Kaskaskia about the attack.

  • The Vandalia Chamber of Commerce each year picks two individuals to honor for their contributions to the chamber and the community. The two people picked this year represent what the Abe Award means.

    Sharon LaDage is probably most well-known as an educator. The Vandalia native taught English at the junior high and high school levels for 34 years, and also served as the Vandalia Community High School yearbook adviser and gifted coordinator for the Vandalia School District.

  • It wasn’t a total surprise to see an obituary for Adelyn Meek Connors in The Leader-Union a few weeks back. Adelyn was 94 years old, having been born in Vandalia on Dec. 30, 1914, the youngest of six children of George and Dora Luker Meek.

    Ten years earlier, Adelyn had contacted me for information about her Meek family. Having left Vandalia when she was 18 to further her education at Northwestern University, Adelyn knew to whom she was related, but wanted to get the names organized so she could see the relationships more clearly.

  • There I was, minding my own business. Just doing my job.

    My task for the evening last Thursday was to cover the Vandalia Chamber of Commerce annual banquet.

    Several speakers took the stage. Outgoing president, Joanna Helm, talked about the accomplishments the chamber has made during the past year. Incoming president, Shaun Murray, outlined his goals for the coming year.

    And emcee Kevin Childers took on all comers with a barrage of jabs and jokes to keep the mood light – and to keep people running for cover.

  • Don’t let the fact that all county officer and county board candidates are running unopposed keep you from going to your polling place next Tuesday.

    For example, you can be a vital part of the process in deciding who will be on the ballot in the gubernatorial race – and in all statewide officer races – in the general election. The same is true for the state representative and state senator races in November.

  • My job that day was to clean shelves in my office. Among and amidst the papers, boxes and books, was a slim black metal deed box.

    I carried the box to the kitchen table, and with slight pressure, opened the lid. The 5-inch-by-10 l/2-inch box had last been the property of an uncle, Renatus (Noddy) Torbeck of St. Paul. It was given to me some years back by my cousin, Leila Dippold, who co-administered his estate.

  • Residents who feel that they are not valuable participants in the workings of local government can be just that this year.

    The federal government will conduct the 2010 Decennial Census this year in an effort to make sure that every person in this country is counted in the United States' population.

    Why does it matter whether you and I participate in the census?