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Opinion

  • It’s nearly Christmas time! We’ve come to the end of the most wonderful holiday season of the year – one anticipated by young and old alike.

    It’s a season that’s easy to love. Of course, there are the presents; we all enjoy giving and receiving things. There are the holiday traditions – the sights and sounds and smells we have filed away in our memories from Christmases past. And there are the many opportunities to gather with friends and family.

  • What a difference a week can make.

    It was a little more than a week ago that almost everyone had said that Rod Blagojevich was done as governor, that he should resign from office, after being arrested on federal corruption charges.

    Now, many are changing their tune, pointing out that Blagojevich is innocent until proven guilty, and that some of the allegations aren’t nearly as bad as they sounded just a week ago.

    Indeed, Blagojevich deserves his day in court.

  • As much history as there is inside the Vandalia Statehouse, tourists visiting Illinois’ oldest capitol have only been able to learn part of the story about Abraham Lincoln’s time in our community.

    Now, they can learn the rest of the story, thanks to local historian Dale Timmermann and Vandalia’s Looking for Lincoln Committee.

    The committee, led by Bill Donaldson, celebrated yet another milestone on Sunday, when it dedicated its 10 Lincoln wayside exhibits.

    Those exhibits tell important stories about Lincoln’s time in Vandalia.

  • Several years ago, I was caught unawares at the Ingram Log Cabin Village in Kinmundy. There I was, without a camera, standing in front of the Schwarm family log cabin that had once stood along Hickory Creek, right here in Fayette County!

    So, when an ad in the newspaper told that the village was open the weekend of Oct. 13, I grabbed my husband, Dale, and my camera, hopped in the car and visited the village.

  • Tuesday was a sad day for Illinois.

    With former governor George Ryan already in prison, Gov. Rod Blagojevich was taken into custody by FBI agents at his Chicago home Tuesday morning on a wide variety of corruption charges.

  • Like nothing else our community has done in the recent years, the soon-to-be-installed Looking For Lincoln storyboards will tell visitors the fascinating story of Vandalia’s intersection with Abraham Lincoln.

  • I think I learned more about my dad’s family from my two bachelor uncles, Renatus "Noddy" and Harold Torbeck, than just about anyone else.

    Of course, by the time I began to drive out to the German Prairie to visit the pair, they were semi-retired and had the time to visit. Uncle Harold would join right in on the conversation, but Uncle Noddy would more or less study the green patterned linoleum in front of his feet and offer a few words here and there.

  • When the key turned in the door of the Vandalia Statehouse on Sunday evening, the state said it would be the last time the facility would be open to the public for the foreseeable future.

    Gov. Rod Blagojevich had slashed the funding, and that was that.

    But state officials don't know the people of Vandalia – though they should be getting an idea of the character of the residents by now. Remember the effort to save the Vandalia Correctional Center? Remember the effort to build the first phase of the Kaskaskia College campus?

  • At our annual Torbeck Family Reunion this past July at the Senior Citizen’s Center in Vandalia, I arrived with my family and looked around to see who was already there.

    As I looked around the room, I saw some of my immediate family, and cousins of my dad, the oldest members of the family. In the days of my childhood, the numbers attending the reunion numbered 100, but now it is down to the 20-plus dutiful family members, for the most part descendents of Johann Joachim Torbeck, who was 3 years old when his parents sailed to America.

  • With the Christmas season in Vandalia successfully kicked off by Vandalia Main Street's recent Olde Tyme Christmas celebration, it's now time to make the arrival of the season official. That will be accomplished when Santa Claus comes to town in this Saturday's Rotary Christmas Parade.

    The 10 a.m. event, sponsored by the Vandalia Rotary Club, begins near the Fayette County Courthouse and proceeds east on Gallatin Street to Fourth Street, where Santa will exit his sleigh and visit with children in the Lincoln Park gazebo.

  • State government just won’t be the same in the future.

    But more important than losing state Sen. Frank Watson’s presence among the state’s leaders at the bargaining table is the future health of our long-time representative in Springfield.

    Watson made his first visit to Springfield last week after suffering a stroke. Yet his recovery is far from over, with many challenging days, weeks and months ahead.

  • My chemo buddy at the Fayette County Hospital outpatient clinic the past couple of weeks has been Carl Benning of St. Paul, down on the German Prairie in Wilberton Township.

    I have never lived in St. Paul, but part of my heart is there, because my mother’s people, the Sasse and Kruenegel families, settled there about 1865, migrating with the Dodge County, Wis., German Lutherans. These settlers founded the St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church.

  • Several months ago, when Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced his plans to save money by closing several state parks and historic sites, we felt certain that the move was a political ploy to gain leverage for other projects he wanted to advance.