Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Hwy 127 Roadwork

In another nod to the upcoming eclipse, IDOT has posted there will be work on Hwy 127 just north of Alto Pass but not starting until the end of the month. Apparently we don't want to risk slowing traffic through southern Illinois this weekend.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Street Closures

Despite rumors, the only street closing during Eclipse Weekend is Washington Street between Main and Walnut. Everything else remains open, unless something happens:

 The City of Carbondale would like to remind eclipse goers that all major roads in Carbondale will remain open during the eclipse.
Washington Street between Main and Walnut Streets will be closed August 19-21 for Shadow Fest.
Route 13, U.S. Highway 51, Illinois Avenue and all other main thoroughfares are planned to be open throughout eclipse weekend.

Pony Hiring

Sign on the long-closed Pony building is advertising someone is hiring managers, bartenders and waitstaff. No indication if they will be hiring dancers though or even if the business will re-open under the Pony name. I have heard it will move to more of a bar and grill with out the dancers.

Monday, August 14, 2017

School Funding

This week's State Week in Review is an interesting listen on the whys and wherefores of the recently vetoed school funding bill. One reason for the Legislature to hold off sending the bill to the Governor for his already announced veto was that, if negotiations had panned out between the two sides, the bill would have only needed an amendment to incorporate any negotiated changes, then the Governor could sign the amended bill. As it stands now, with the veto, there can be no changes to the bill.  If the House overrides his veto, the school funding bill goes into effect as written.

The discussion also points out that, although Gov. Rauner only mentions the funding for Chicago teacher pensions as his reason for vetoing the bill, his amendatory veto also made a lot of changes in the way payments to school systems are calculated. Currently, according to my understanding of the discussion, since they don't generate any funds for schools, TIF districts and property tax caps are not considered when calculating how "rich" a school district is for purposes of calculating state funding. Under Gov. Rauner's changes, the value of TIF districts and total property valuation in excess of caps would be considered when determining funding, meaning that even poor districts would now have access to much more valuation, at least on paper.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Streetscape ribbon cutting

There will be a ribbon cutting to celebrate the completion of the streetscape project along S. Illinois next Friday, August 18 at 4:30 p.m. followed by an "official" cash mob. I am not sure how an official cash mob differs from an unofficial one but certainly the businesses along the strip will happily take people's money, especially after the drop in traffic that the streetscape work caused.  Might be an exaggeration but I heard figures of 80-90% drops in customer traffic along S. Illinois during the construction.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Highway 146

Looks as if the Illinois Department of Transportation is taking local eclipse traffic seriously. There is a small bridge on Highway 146 between Anna Jonesboro and Ware that was scheduled for repair starting at the end of July. Just before then, a new sign went up stating that the starting date for construction had moved back to the end of August. Given that hotel rooms are sold out in Cape Girardeau, I bet the IDOT expects a lot of traffic eclipse weekend from Cape to the Carbondale region.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Connect 2 Compete

Sat in on a presentation by Mediacom today and one of the topics discussed was the company's Connect 2 Compete program. Designed to help lower income families get home internet, qualifying families can participate in the program in Carbondale (or anywhere Mediacom services) for $9.95 per month (plus taxes and fees). Participants receive broadband access at up to 10 Mbps and a Wi-fi modem with no rental fees.

To participate in the program, as I said earlier, you have to have Mediacom internet service, which Carbondale does, have at least one student in grades K-12 living and home and have at least one child qualifying for the National School Lunch Program. Families cannot currently subscribe to Mediacom and have not been a customer in the past 90 days, nor have any outstanding bills with the company.  Broadband internet access for $120 a year sounds like a pretty good deal.