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Local News

  • Brad Etcheson wrote journal as he fought cancer

    Brad Etcheson died on Feb. 19, 1998, at the age of 42, following a 2 -year battle with cancer. During this battle, he kept a journal, filling five notebooks to record what he came to refer as his Spiritual Biography.

    During school years, Brad excelled in all sports, and later became an avid golfer. He later played with a group of older men that was affectionately called The Wobblys.

  • Security tightened for city meetings

    A week after stricter security measures were put in place at the Fayette County Courthouse, and about three weeks after five people were fatally shot in a public meeting in Missouri, the city of Vandalia announced tighter security practices for its city council meetings.

    As the council met for the first time in the new city hall on Tuesday, Mayor Rick Gottman announced the new security measures.

    Police Chief Larry Eason, who serves as sergeant-at-arms for council meetings, now sits at a desk facing the entrance to council chambers.

  • Closed campus for VCHS OK'd

    Just a week after holding a public roundtable discussion on the topic, the Vandalia Board of Education on Tuesday passed, without discussion, a proposal to close the lunch hour at Vandalia Community High School.

    That move to a closed campus at noon brings the local district into line with all other districts in Fayette, Bond and Effingham counties.

    The change will be effective with the start of the school year next fall.

  • Lincoln's Birthday celebrated at Statehouse

    The Vandalia Historical Society celebrated Lincoln's Birthday with a program on Tuesday afternoon at the Vandalia Statehouse. The program was presented by Dale Timmermann, president of the historical society. Timmermann read some of the narratives he has written for Vandalia's Looking for Lincoln wayside exhibits.

  • Shobonier man sentenced to 17 years in prison

    A Shobonier man who was charged with sex acts with a minor has agreed to a lengthy prison term.

    Michael E. Cunningham Sr., 57, signed a plea agreement last week for two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child.

    In doing so, Cunningham accepted a nine-year prison term for one count and an eight-year term for the second. Those terms will be served consecutively, which translates to a total of 17 years in prison.

    Under Illinois law, in major felony cases such as this, the offender is required to serve at least 85 percent of his or her sentence.

  • County steps up security at courthouse

    Members of the Fayette County Board learned first-hand on Tuesday night of the county sheriff's efforts to step up security at the county courthouse.

    As they entered the courthouse for their regular monthly meeting, board members were required like everyone else attending that meeting to pass through the county's metal detector.

    As he gave his report to the board, Sheriff Aaron Lay explained that he was planning to upgrade security measures, and that an incident in Kirkwood, Mo., spurred him to move quickly on those actions.

  • School board likely to vote Tuesday on discontinuing open campus at VCHS

    The Vandalia Board of Education is likely to vote next Tuesday night on closing the Vandalia Community High School campus.

    If approved, VCHS students will no longer be allowed to leave the school grounds at any time during the school day, including lunchtime.

    Based on discussions at a public meeting on Monday evening, there is heavy sentiment for Vandalia to become the final district within Bond, Fayette and Effingham counties to go to a closed campus.

  • Lady Vandals in regional final

    The Lady Vandals advanced to the championship game by virtue of a 52-35 win over Effingham St. Anthony on Thursday night.

    Vandalia, which is now 22-4, will face Teutopolis in the championship game, which gets under way at 7:30 p.m. at VCHS.

    For more information, check out the Sports section of our Web site.

  • Obama holds slight edge over Clinton here

    Barack Obama posted an overwhelming victory in Illinois on Super Tuesday, but he edged Hillary Clinton by only a slight margin in Fayette County.

    In this county, Obama defeated Clinton by only 34 votes, 1,093-1,059. Clinton, however, did win the majority of 24 states in the contest for the Democratic nomination in the presidential election.

    On the Republican ballot, John McCain posted a comfortable victory both statewide and in Fayette County. Here, McCain garnered 1,119 votes, while Mike Huckabee had 648 votes and Mitt Romney received 436 votes.

  • Storm damages South Central High School

    Students at South Central High School were not in class on Wednesday morning, but many of the teachers showed up for work though they were doing work of a different kind.

    Instead of giving lectures or tests, those teachers were busy helping district employees take care of storm damage.

    The roof covering over the high schools library and media center was ripped off by high winds that were part of a major storm that moved through the area on Wednesday night.