Friday, October 24, 2014

REACH618 Ribbon Cutting

This Monday .  Hopefully the press release is in error an the ribbon cutting is at 4:30 PM:

The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce will hold a Ribbon Cutting at 4:30 a.m., Monday at REACH618. The organization operates out of the former Bowen Gym on North Oakland Avenue.

REACH618 is a basketball-based outreach for Southern Illinois high school students. The organization strives to provide a safe place for teens to meet, interact and learn through conversations, activities and character-development activities.

Representatives of the Chamber, City and organization will participate in the ceremony. The event is open to the public.

Popeye's Returning

The headline on this story in the Southern should read "Popeye's Returning to Carbondale". Long time residents will remember a Popeye's used to occupy a space nearby on the other side of East Walnut. The building houses a payday loan operation now. Of course, back then it was called Popeye's Chicken and Biscuits, rather than Popeye's Louisiana Chicken.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Chamber Getting Testy About Panhandlers

The Chamber of Commerce wants the city to start cracking down on the 'passive' panhandlers that operate on the east side of town, notably those that trade shifts near the intersection of 13 and Giant City Road and hold signs asking for help (I am always amused by the "Help Wanted" sign on the Burger King less than 50 yards away. I have heard that the Burger King manager has offered assorted panhandlers work and gotten turned down). Here's the press release the Chamber sent out yesterday:

The Chamber’s Board of Directors last week approved a resolution calling on the council to control or restrict panhandling and similar activities, especially on the community’s east side. The resolution has been sent individually to each member of the Council, Chamber Executive Director Les O’Dell said. The Chamber resolution includes nine suggested actions.
                “These bullet points are simple changes to the code or examples of steps other communities have taken to combat this problem,” O’Dell said. “Our goal is not to infringe on anyone’s personal rights, but it is to improve the appeal of Carbondale as a great place to shop, dine, attend school and live.”
                In presenting the resolution, the Chamber said the presence of individuals holding signs which state a need for help is a safety concern, especially in high traffic areas.
                The Chamber was partially responsible for a change in city ordinance several years ago dealing with aggressive panhandling. The new resolution looks to further regulate both aggressive and passive panhandling. Suggestions from the resolution include requiring panhandlers to obtain a free, city-issued license; treat panhandlers as solicitors; requiring them to wear reflective vests; increasing the minimum distance a panhandler can be from an automated teller machine and prohibiting panhandlers from making fraudulent statements.
                The full resolution:
We, the Government Affairs Committee and the Board of Directors of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, representing more than 400 businesses and organizations in our community, urge the Carbondale City Council to consider one or more revisions to the Carbondale revised city code to address the growing and on-going problem with panhandlers, particularly those frequenting the retail sector of the city’s east side.

We feel that the presence of these “sign-holders,” while currently legal, is a source of an unnecessary blight to our community, especially the restaurants, retailers and other businesses in this area. The presence of these individuals--many of whom have unpaid citations with the City and lengthy criminal histories--is distracting to motorists (a very serious safety concern at extremely busy intersections). Additionally, their presence negatively impacts the appeal of businesses in this area, potentially reducing customer visits, revenue for these business and ultimately revenue to the City of Carbondale in the form of city sales tax. Furthermore, the presence of these individuals may cause prospective Southern Illinois University students and their families to view our community as unsafe, leading them to enroll in other institutions.

We urge the Carbondale City Council to take action to control or restrict these panhandling activities. Our research has led us to several options worthy of consideration:

·         Amend Section 14-4-10 of the Carbondale City Code to change the definition of panhandling to include both “passive” and “active” (or “aggressive”) panhandling.

·         Creation of “Demonstration-Free Zones” in the business-oriented parts of the community.

·         Treatment of panhandlers as solicitors, requiring a city permit. Such a permit could be free of cost, requiring only registration with the city. Permits could be pending a criminal background check and would not be issued if the requestor has any outstanding financial balances with the city. Fingerprinting also may be a requirement.

·         Make licenses/permits expire within 90 days and/or make such permits revocable.

·         Make panhandlers subject to Section 5-5B of the city code pertaining to solicitors.

·         Require panhandlers to wear a photo ID (or permit) at all times. The reverse of the permit could include a list of charitable services available to those truly in need.

·         Because these individuals are standing along busy roadways and at busy intersections, require them to wear fluorescent safety vests.

·         Prohibit these individuals from knowingly making any fraudulent or misleading representations (by any means) including, but not limited to falsely stating that the solicitor is from out of town and stranded, falsely that he or she is or was a member of the armed forces; stating falsely that the solicitor is homeless or falsely stating that they are seeking money for charitable purposes.

·         Prohibiting solicitation within 1,000 feet of a bank, financial institution, ATM, playground, school, retail shopping facility or restaurant.

On behalf of our member-businesses and their customers we encourage you to address this issue and look forward to working with you to make Carbondale a more attractive community for business.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Unoffical Halloween Police Report

Here is the report from the C'dale Police on the  South Ash Street disturbances. Glad to hear no force used in disbursing the crowd. As far as anyone who complained about getting gassed or sprayed, get out of the area if you don't want to get sprayed. Once gas gets loose, it is pretty hard to control:

Updated Release 10-21-14: 
Following the removal of the vehicle, officers in standard police uniform attire worked together to disperse the crowd and no force was used to disperse the crowd, however there was one instance in which pepper spray was deployed in the direction of a group of approximately five individuals who failed to comply with verbal commands to disperse.  Weekend arrest totals have been revised to include one additional arrest for public possession of alcohol and one additional arrest for possession of cannabis.  One of the persons arrested was an SIU student and the other was not. 
Previous Release on 10-20-14: 
On 10-18-14 at about 11:14 p.m. an officer with the City of Carbondale Police Department observed a large group of people in the 400 block of South Ash Street.  The officer further observed the large group of people physically overturn a vehicle parked on the street, which caused extensive damage to the vehicle.  Officers with the City of Carbondale Police Department, and other police agencies who were in Carbondale at the time, responded to the incident to monitor a large crowd which had gathered after the vehicle had been overturned.  Officers estimated the size of the crowd to be around 200 people.  While officers were monitoring the large crowd, there were a few members of the crowd who began throwing rocks, bottles and full cans of beer in the direction of the officers.  One officer was struck by a bottle, but was not injured.  Some officers retrieved and wore protective helmets because of the objects being thrown from the crowd.  A vast majority of the crowd stood by peaceably and simply watched as the tow agency retrieved the overturned vehicle.  During the retrieval process, the vehicle inadvertently became disengaged from the tow truck cable and damaged a second, parked vehicle, which prolonged the removal process and extended the overall time this incident took to resolve.  Following the removal of the vehicle, officers in standard police uniform attire worked together to disperse the crowd and no force or pepper spray was used to disperse the crowd. 
The Carbondale Police Department arrested three individuals for separate offenses during this incident.  Gerald Welch, age 30 out of Chicago, Illinois, was arrested for Criminal Damage to State Supported Property and he was incarcerated at the Jackson County Jail.  Corey Albrecht, age 18,  was  arrested for underage possession/consumption of alcohol, aggravated assault, and reckless conduct and he was released after posting bond.  Zachary Justus, age 19, was arrested for disorderly conduct and was released.  Albrecht and Justus reported they are SIU students.  None of the individuals who overturned the vehicle have been identified at this time.   
The City of Carbondale Police Department was assisted by the Illinois State Police, SIU Department of Public Safety and the Jackson County Sherriff’s Office. 
Weekend preliminary arrest totals include 60 arrests and/or citations, most of which were alcohol related, as 39 citations were for public possession or underage possession of alcohol.  There were 7 arrests for Littering and 2 persons arrested for each of the following violations of Fighting, Obstructing a Peace Officer and Possession of Cannabis.  There was 1 person arrested for each of the following violations of Resisting Arrest, Responsibility of Persons in Control of Premise, Amplified Sound, Public Urination, Criminal Damage to Property, Disorderly Conduct, Aggravated Assault and Reckless Conduct.  Of the 60 arrests, 31 were SIU students and 29 were not.  Of those 29, one person arrested attends John A. Logan College, one attends Southeast Missouri State and another attends Rend Lake College.  The remaining 26 persons arrested did not divulge what school they are attending, if any.   

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bryant vs. Kilquist

A day doesn't go by that I do not receive a postcard from the Democratic Part of Illinois bashing "insider politician" Terri Bryant for doing something or other. A friend has collected a stack of cards attacking her that tops two inches. The problem I have is that the mailings do not attack her on anything substantial, nor do the ones my neighbors have received attacking Bill Kilquist.

Looking at these, I have no idea where either candidate stands on school funding, the income tax extension, Tamms Correctional Facility, Illinois pensions or any other issue of import (I do know where they stand on these but it is not due to these mailings). However, I do know that each is a professional politician who took multiple pay raises and tax breaks while opposing policies that would benefit Illinois. At least that's what I know from reading their mailings.

Given the amount each side has spent on media, I think the post office and television stations will be sorry when the campaign ends. Me, I'll be quite happy with fewer items in the mailbox.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Candidate Meet & Greets

Meet and greets with the candidates for Mike Post's position.  Based on the post cards I have seen from both campaigns, I want to ask each candidate how they became so evil. Sheesh.  Bill Kilquist is at the Old Train Depot tomorrow and Terry Bryant on Thursday.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Busy Weekend For Unofficial Halloween

From what I have heard, "Unofficial Halloween" kicked off with a large number of students roaming around Carbondale, looking to "do stuff" and take the Strip. Police had to use tear gas disperse at least one crowd and a car got flipped near West Cherry. Student apartments were pretty loud with partying until about midnight, I was told, then it quieted down as the residents headed out to find something 'interesting' to do in town.

Update:  Just heard police received a report sometime after midnight about someone waving a gun around on West Oak. Lots of people out in that area as well.