As the tort reform debate raged and the most closely watched political race in state history dramatically unfolded in southern Illinois, the Record newspaper—fiercely conservative yet tolerant of dissent—humbly began its weekly coverage.

“Kardis Takes Center Stage in Asbestos,” pronounced the lead story in the Record’s first edition nearly a year ago Sept. 6, 2004. The article detailed Judge Philip Kardis’ assumption of asbestos docket duties from outgoing asbestos chief Judge Nicholas Byron. A week later the Record reported on an even newer docket administrator, Judge Daniel Stack—who’s still in charge of Madison County’s massive asbestos caseload.

Since then, scores of stories in the under-reported civil law divisions of Madison and St. Clair counties have been told, including attention-grabbers: Husband's heating pad burn deprives wife of love; couple sues; Alton woman wants $50K+ over chicken breast and Alton attorney accidentally sues himself.

On a number of occasions, Record news reports have ruffled feathers, so much so that the newspaper was once forbidden in some parts of the Madison County Courthouse. But at least in one instance, an investigative report prompted a fraud investigation by Granite City attorney Jane Unsell over a dubious real estate transaction.

To commemorate our one-year milestone, the Record is offering a “Letter to the Editor” challenge. Writers are encouraged to grade us on our first year, offering constructive analysis. Please keep letters under 250 words.

Submissions may be made to Contest deadline is Sept. 6 and the winner, whose entry will be judged on insightfulness and clarity, will receive a $100 gift certificate to a restaurant of choice. Results will be announced in the paper’s Sept. 12 edition.

Another important aspect of our year-long existence is that the Record may soon begin accepting legal notices for publication.

Notices, which will cost 80 cents per line, may be emailed to The first publication date for legals will be Sept. 12.

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