Q. For years, a radio personality named Pat James was on the Cornbread show on WIL-FM (92.3). Then he just disappeared. I would love to know what happened, but I never heard.
-- Carolyn Thomason, of Granite City
A. Usually when companies downsize, employees who are sacked have to slip away quietly in the night -- and that's likely what James did here.
After Hubbard Broadcasting bought WIL-FM from Bonneville in early 2011, they apparently started to look for ways to cut expenses. So after 15 years as Cornbread's sidekick -- eight in Wichita, Kan., followed by seven in St. Louis -- James (along with producer Annie Henson) was cut in what fans would say was a nasty Halloween trick last year.
"I did not want to leave," James told the Wichita Eagle.
But if you like James, you'll be happy to know that he quickly landed on his feet, moving back to Wichita, where he started his family. He is now program director of KIBB (97.1-BOB-FM) and KVWF (100.5-The Wolf), two stations that didn't even exist when James followed Cornbread to St. Louis in 2004.
"If there's anyplace we were going to move to, Wichita feels like home," said the Illinois native, who also likes the cheaper housing and better schools. "I had probably more friends in Wichita than I (had) in St. Louis."
If you miss him, you can try and catch him on the computer. Currently, he has a 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. gig on www.1005thewolfonline.com followed by a 3 to 7 p.m. stretch on www.971bobfm.com. He also invites you to befriend him on Facebook.
And, that's not all for the father of two -- Ally, a tween, and Abby, who is now 5. Pat is also an avid photographer, so if you're planning a wedding in the Wichita area, check out his services at www.pat-james.com.
Q. A friend said he had heard that Barack Obama was not the first candidate/president accused of being born outside the United States. Details?
-- Ernest Jackson, of O'Fallon
A. More than a century before birthers began questioning where Obama came into the world, Chester Alan Arthur faced his own political storm of birthday blues. But while questions over Obama's origins seem settled for most, Arthur's true birthplace continues to be a question mark.
"It's an old rumor that won't die -- political slander," Jon Dumville, who runs Vermont's historic sites, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 2009 after the Obama story grabbed headlines. "It's a fun story, and it comes up every year."
If he were still alive, Arthur, of course, would tell you he was born Oct. 5, 1829, in Fairfield, Vt., to William and Malvina Arthur. His father was an Irish native who emigrated to Dunham, Quebec, in 1818 or 1819. After their first child, Regina, was born in Dunham, William Arthur, a minister, started his first assignment in Fairfield, Vt.
But the family didn't stay in Fairfield long, moving to three other towns before apparently settling back in Fairfield in 1828, a year before Chester's birth. It was partly the family's frequent moves that proved troublesome when Arthur became Republican James Garfield's running mate in 1880.
Looking for dirt, Democrats hired Arthur Hinman, a New York lawyer, to probe rumors of a foreign birthplace, which would disqualify Arthur from the ticket. At first, Hinman alleged Arthur had been born in Ireland and lived there for 14 years. (Sound familiar?)
When this didn't fly, Hinman said Arthur was born just 50 miles up the road in Dunham. Later, Arthur changed the birth certificate of a younger brother who had been born in Fairfield but died to use as his own, Hinman claimed. Hinman published his findings in a book titled "How a British Subject Became President of the United States."
Arthur didn't help matters by refusing to provide documentation despite requests from his own party, according to historical accounts. He also later lied about his birthdate, saying he was born in 1830. (It's the year still on his gravestone despite family Bibles that say otherwise.) But the stories failed to gain traction, and Arthur became president when Garfield was assassinated 200 days after taking office.
The answer of his birthplace may have gone to the grave with Arthur. Vermont birth records don't start until 1857, so you'll find people in both Canada and Vermont claiming Arthur as a native son. In fact, right now, a house in Bedford, Quebec, is up for sale that its owner claims was Arthur's birthplace.
Who was the first actor to play outlaw Jesse James in a movie?
Answer to Tuesday's trivia: People living in Russia are called Russians, those in Germany are called Germans and naturalized citizens in Monaco are called Monacans. But people actually born in Monaco get a special demonym: They call themselves Monegasques, although they make up only about 20 percent of the population. Most of the 36,000 residents are French nationals (28 percent).
Send your questions to Roger Schlueter, Belleville News-Democrat, 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427 or firstname.lastname@example.org