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Today's Features

  • Some will remember a childhood and past years of early springs when a sure sign of the anticipated season was the arrival of tiny, fuzzy baby chickens at the local feed store. The large cardboard boxes had holes in the sides to allow for air and for glimpses of the little creatures and through which many little “peeps” and “tweets” were heard.

  • Last Monday, the Evergreen Outreach party was a special one, as they celebrated EO charter member Polly Grinnell’s 90th birthday with songs, well wishes, refreshments, and balloons.

    And the guest of honor reciprocated by sitting down at the piano and playing one of her favorite songs, “Turkey In the Straw.”

    Polly, who was born on Feb. 15, 1919, began taking piano lessons when she was 8 years old and was urged diligently by her mother to practice, practice, practice.

  • OUR PLACE Youth Center in downtown Vandalia is a popular gathering place for young people, offering a highly-visible, safe and pleasant environment, with entertainment, games and opportunities to grow in character, individuality, self-esteem and tutoring to aid their education.

    Seeing the need for an attractive and safe place for youth to gather, Phyllis Rames set forth to provide such a place and campaigned for volunteers and the support of others to make this happen..

  • Megan Roper grew up on a farm and loves animals so much that her heart’s desire was to be a veterinarian. However, she also loved animals so much that she decided her sensitivity for them would cause her too much distress to see them suffer, from illness, injury, abuse or neglect.

    “I knew I couldn’t take seeing them in pain and abused, and I’d end up taking them all home with me.” So she decided to become a photographer and take photographs of animals. Thus, the startup of Diekemper Photography.

  • Many around Vandalia will remember a little, red-headed, freckle-faced paperboy of years ago, delivering the Decatur Herald and Decatur Review newspapers on his bicycle in all kinds of weather.

    Few probably ever imagined that little boy, Donald “Ferd” Funk, would grow up to contribute so much to his hometown of Vandalia and surrounding communities with the same conscientious commitment to the task at hand, industrious, but with a friendly, willing spirit,

  • The word shawl is described in the Microsoft Encarta Dictionary simply as “a fabric square for the head and shoulder.”

    The word “shawl” also brings to mind thoughts of being wrapped or enfolded in warmth, shelter and comfort.

    These are the feelings and sensitivities a group of Brownstown–Sefton United Methodist Women members is endeavoring to give to others with their hand-crocheted prayer shawls. The shawls also symbolize encouragement, understanding and Christian love through prayers for the recipient.

  • As millions of people the world over watched on television, Barack Obama took the oath of office to become the 44th and first African-American president of the United States.

    Literally countless others attended the event in person in Washington, D.C. The volume of people was such that a photograph taken from space indicated the masses of humanity.

    Vandalia Community High School senior Brittany “Nikki” Stine, was among those huge crowds on the mall braving the very cold day of January 20, 2009, an experience she will always treasure.

  • “Parkinson's is a long, lonely road … for the afflicted and for the caregivers. It’s just as bad as Alzheimer’s. At least with Alzheimer’s, they are still moving. With Parkinson’s, everything shuts down, and it’s a long, lonely road.”

    These are the words of Charlene “Pokie” Pryor, as she described the disease that began to claim her lifestyle when she had two grand mal seizures in 1996.

  • Many of our readers are familiar with the music and ministry of Laurel Jean, who has been blind since birth. Her gift of reaching people spiritually and joyfully through her music, as a creative pianist, composer, vocalist and speaker, has blessed many through her ministry.

  • More people are reaching the age of 100 years these days, but probably few of them are retaining the energy, mental capacity, enthusiasm and appearance of Erma L. Warner.

    Erma seems to have put the brakes on aging at about 75, although she reached her 100th birthday on Dec. 17, 2008, and celebrated it with a party.

    When Erma was called to set up an interview, she gave detailed directions to her rural home, down to the finer details of “you will cross a crick and go up a hill, to the second mailbox.”