Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tax Debate

If you're intersted, John Patterson is liveblogging the tax debate in the House. If a budget doesn't get passed today, none will get passed without Republican support.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Notes from Pickle's Alley

Follow-up on Christian Kargbo's academic qualifications
Attempted robbery at Steak & Shake.
Debit card stolen and used in C'dale, Murphysboro and Marion.
More stupid (with photos)

Spate of Robberies

Looks like there was a busy group of robbers out last Thursday night. In the space of 3 and a half hours, groups of 3 black men, age around 20, held up victims on E. Main, S. Hayes, N. Washington, E. Snider and S. Poplar. With the exception of S. Poplar, all of those locations are on the east side of downtown and relatively close together. S. Poplar would only be about a 15 minute walk or so from any of them, so it's quite likely all of them were committed by the same group.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Notes from Pickle's Alley

State's Attorney found last month's shooting of Oluwatofunmi O. Kaiyewu by police officers justified.
Brooke is a winner!
Refunds are available for SIUC's annual Mother's Day brunch.
Donald Lowrey to run for Roland Burris' Senate seat as a Republican.
Sen. Durbin in town, pushing Cash for Clunkers.
Ethics reform passing, kinda, sorta, maybe.

Southern Illinois Stimulus

Illinois is getting just over a billion dollars from the stimulus plan to fund 420 projects. Of that, it looks like Saline County is getting around $13 million for infrastructure repair, Williamson County about a million, Jackson County? Zip, zero, nada, so far.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Notes from Pickle's Alley

Protesting Prop. 8 in Carbondale will do a lot of good in California.
Director of the Convention and Tourism Bureau has a cookbook out.
Campus still a big mess but it's getting better.
Burglary on South Forest at the home of Celtic Connections host Brian Kelso Crow.
Geez, SIUC is involved in a question about academic credentials in Sierra Leone.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

City Council Meeting

Which I missed as I got there just as Mayor Cole closed the meeting. Did see Councilman Jack on crutches. In case, you're wondering he was out running with his dog at night, missed a step and severely sprained his ankle.

Did get the opportunity to speak with City Manager Alan Gill for a few minutes. Guess he took pity on me because I got there late as he did pass along some info about the storm status.

Debris pick up has been extended through the next day or two. City employees have gone through neighborhoods and created a list of properties that still have debris piled up. As they sweep through the neighborhoods and clean up the piles, that address gets checked off and won't be picked up again.

The city has hauled away about 200,000 tons of trees and other vegetable matter. That's enough material to cover SIUC's football field seventeen stories high. The city got a burn exemption from the state because there is no practical way for the city to dispose of it any other way before it becomes a health hazard. Cost of the cleanup to the city right now is about $3 million.

A mpa on display somewhere in city hall shows property damage throughout the city, ranging from red (total loss) to green (minimal or no damage). The only red area is on the north side of the city, near the Crossings trailer park. Mr. Gill wasn't certain if that was an area with anumber of trailers that had been destroyed or a large peice of property with only one building on it. Interestingly, the map shows that most property damage took place on the south side of C'dale, though you'd think, as Mr. Gill did that, based on trees down, the north side got hit worse. Apparently, the trees didn't do nearly as much damage in the northwest as the winds did to buildings on the south, SIUC in particular.

City Council

Here's the agenda for tonight's city council meeting. Doesn't look like anything too exciting going on, though I'd be willing to bet Councilman Fritzler asks to vote on a few specific warrant items.

Notes from Pickle's Alley

SIUC provided beds and meals during the storm.
Yeah, we've sure got wind in Illinois.
Sure didn't take long for the stupid to stand creeping out again.
The Varsity is tripping down Memory Lane.
Lots of Memorial Day activities yesterday.
We got a grant for the Attucks School.
Brief reference to C'dale as the location of the first official.Decoration Day
Twenty three years between books is quite a break.

Carbondale Curfew

Given the various curfews imposed during the storm, I got curious as to what Carbondale's actual curfew regulations are:

14-4-1: CURFEW; PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY:
A.Definitions: As used in this section, the terms specified have the following meanings ascribed to them:
EMERGENCY: An unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for immediate action. The term includes, but is not limited to, a fire, natural disaster, automobile accident, or any situation requiring immediate action to prevent serious bodily injury or loss of life.
LEGAL GUARDIAN: A person who, under court order, is the guardian of the person of a minor or a public or private agency with whom a minor has been placed by a court.
MINOR: A person who is under seventeen (17) years of age who is not an emancipated minor pursuant to the laws of the state of Illinois.
PARENT: A person who is a natural parent, adoptive parent, or stepparent of a minor.
PUBLIC PLACE: Any place to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access and includes, but is not limited to, streets, highways, and the common areas of schools, hospitals, apartment houses, office buildings, transport facilities, shops, or any other establishment.
SERIOUS BODILY INJURY: Bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss of impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
B.Curfew Hours Set: It shall be unlawful for a person under the age of seventeen (17) to be present at or upon any public place at the following times:
1. Between one minute after twelve o'clock (12:01) A.M. and six o'clock (6:00) A.M., Saturday;
2. Between one minute after twelve o'clock (12:01) A.M. and six o'clock (6:00) A.M., Sunday; and
3. Between eleven o'clock (11:00) P.M. on Sunday to Thursday, inclusive, and six o'clock (6:00) A.M. on the following day.
C.Defense To Section: It is a defense to a violation of this section that the minor was:
1. Accompanied by the minor's parent or legal guardian or a person approved by the parent or legal guardian who is at least eighteen (18) years of age.
2. Participating in, going to, or returning from any of the following events or activities:
a. Employment which the laws of this state authorize a person less than seventeen (17) years of age to perform;
b. A recreational or school activity supervised by adults;
c. A religious activity or event;
d. An emergency involving the protection of a person or property from an imminent threat of serious bodily injury or substantial damage;
e. An activity involving the exercise of the minor's rights protected under the first amendment to the United States constitution or article 1, sections 3, 4, and 5 of the constitution of the state of Illinois, or both;
f. An activity conducted by a nonprofit or governmental entity that provides recreation, education, training, or other care under the supervision of one or more adults;
g. An errand at the direction of the minor's parent or guardian, without detour or stop.
h. An activity on the property owned by the minor's parent or guardian.
D.Parental Responsibility: It shall be unlawful for a parent, legal guardian, or other person to knowingly permit a minor in his or her custody or control to violate this section, without legal justification.
E.Parental Liability: The parent or legal guardian of an unemancipated minor who resides with such parent or legal guardian is liable for actual damages for the wilful or malicious acts of such minor which causes injury to a person or property.
F.Enforcement: Before taking any enforcement action under this section, a police officer shall ask the apparent offender's age and reason for being in the public place. The officer shall not issue a citation or make an arrest under this section unless the officer reasonably believes that an offense has occurred and that, based on any response and other circumstances, no defense in subsection C of this section is present.
G.Penalties: A person who violates a provision of this section is guilty of a separate offense for each day or part of a day during which the violation is committed, continued, or permitted. Each offense is punishable by a fine of not less than twenty five dollars ($25.00) and not more than seven hundred fifty dollars ($750.00). (Ord. 2004-21)

Monday, May 25, 2009

How Much is that Student Worth?

There's an interesting little fact in this article about the money coming for a new transportation center at SIUC. Each 100 students coming to SIUC generates about $1 million in revenues for the city:

The automotive and aviation curriculums can expand their student enrollments. According to economic development formulas, 100 SIUC students generate approximately $1 million of revenue for the city through sales tax and other channels.

Notes from Pickle's Alley

Here's a little more detail on the death of Samuel Casey.
More places to dump trees at.
SIUC likely to spend $5 million to clean up.
SIU to get $168 million in the state capital expenditures bill.
Nice story about one SIUC employee and his work during the storm

Disaster Area

Not sure what conclusion to draw from this but Florida is already asking for President Obama to declare flooded counties in the state a disaster area, which I don't find any indication that federal disaster area status has been sought for the Jackson and Williamson county region. The last reference to Carbondale I find from FEMA is about a boil water order and a mention that no federal disaster assistance has been sought (Scroll down). State distaster status yes, but not federal.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Storm Aftermath Death

The Carbondale PD website reports the death of Samuel Casey,38, of Florida. One of hundreds of lumberjacks that arrived in town following the storm, he was crushed while removing a tree on North Beadle. His is the first death I am aware of linked to the storm's aftermath. Thanks to D. Gorton for pointing this out.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

New Downtown Business

Couldn't see them name of it when I went by a couple of days ago but I see there's a barbershop set up in the space where 2 Boutique used to be. Also, I see the Merle Norman shop over in Eastgate Plaza has shut down.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Notes from Pickle's Alley

Hickory Ridge lost about $40,000 as a result of the storm.
People shying away from trees in Tree City?
New doctor coming to town.
Another Leave No Trace Master Educator (?) graduates.
Reminiscences of Carbondale Hallowe'en's past.
About 2 dozen buildings damaged on SIUC farms.
SIUC suffers about $5 million in storm damage.
Here's an overview of SIUC's response to the storm. Since it's from SIUC, they did great. However, the DE agrees.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Clayship Guitar Closing?

Looks like it based on the email I received titled "Going Out of Business Sale", with the following message:

Take AT LEAST 20% off everything at Clayship Guitar & Repair (except consignment items) only until MAY 30th!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Notes from Pickle's Alley

Apparently it's now a "derecho".
More storm overview, this time from Indiana.
Tom Buttonwood has an installation at the Glove Factory.
Zuul performed at PK's last night.
SIUC offering a training session in internet safety.

Neww Downtown Businesses

The sign on the roof still reads "Ragwear", but the sign in the window at 210 West Freeman now reads "Exclusive Exposure". However, the business seems to deal in the same types of used and consignment clothing.

Over in the Island Building at 715 S. University. G'Max has a sign up saying it opens for business on the second floor on May 22, dealing in urban, rap and hip hop clothing.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

Carbondae Police Website

Some sort of glich with the Carbondale Police website sent me out 47 notifications of the latest update about the recovery within about half an hour.

Storm Recovery

Here's today's update on the storm recovery, as well as the most recent list of those with permits to do cleanup in the city.

City Response

Here's the most recent update from the city regarding its status and storm response. There's a meeting at city hall tomorrow at 1 p.m. where I imagine Mayor Cole will pass along the current status of the city.

Plant Sale

From Roxanne Conley:

The Evergreen Garden Clubs annual plant sale date has been changed to
this Saturday May 16th, 7am - 2pm at Turley Park in Carbondale.
Due to recent storm damage the greenhouse providing the plants has ask that we have the
plant sale as soon as possible.
Hanging baskets, planters, annuals, perienniels and tropical plants will be available.
Proceeds from the plant sale benefit community garden projects such as the butterfly garden at Turley Park, landscaping at Good Samaritan House and Habitat for Humanity homes as well as a host of other projects.

Also, "Plant it Pink" tulip orders will be take a benefit for the American Cancer Society - Cancer Action Network.

Notes from Pickle's Alley--Storm Edition

Marberry Arboretum closed because of tree damage.
Gov. Quinn seeking federal aid for southern Illinois.
About $1.5 million in damage to the farms at SIUC.
Cleanup will run about a million (I think it will be somewhat more).
Ameren has spent about $6.5 million on the cleanup and power restoration so far.

Storm Recovery

Most customers in the 62901 Zip code have power back, with only about a dozen still without, at least according to the Ameren website. Ameren estimates it will take about six months for them to compete their part of the cleanup. I spoke to one local contracter who estimated it would take at elast that long for homes in Carbondale to get restored to their pre-storm state.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Road Closure

Courtesy of the Chamber of Commerce:

Due to the severe weather, the Illinois Department of Transportation will be closing Route 13 tonight for a short period of time, approximately 15 minutes, in two locations:

1) IL 13, just west of Spillway Road
2) Just west of the intersection of IL 13 and Cambria Road

This work is planned for tonight, May 14, between 6:30 pm and 7:00 pm.

They apologize for any inconvenience, ask for your patience, and suggest finding an alternate route if you can.

Salvager Kain

C'dale resident Paul Sloboda has hit the middle time with the movement into wider distribution of his comic Salvager Kain. Here's the press release I just received:

Paul Sloboda has been creating minicomics for years. Although he started off with comics that looked good and read well, it's taken him years to move to the US (now he's in the Chicago area) from Canada, and years to finally warm to the idea of using my service. So it's with great pleasure and a bit of trepidation that I announce the arrival of FGP as a new client.
You may ask: why the trepdiation? Well, because Paul has actually (unlike a lot of other clients) done some legwork. Many of you most likely already HAVE at least issues 1 through 3 of Salvager Kain. Paul has chosen to keep some house accounts but most of you who order minicomics from me will be my accounts. Ask me if you have a question and/or just put in your order and Paul and I will figure it out later.
So what is Salvager Kain? It's sometimes loony, sometimes violent, sometimes clever, and entertaining... but it's also a puzzle.
There are two locations. The CITY, which is surrounded by huge walls, and OUTSIDE. When we meet Kain, he's been cast out of the city with a tattoo on his head, and the doors slam shut. Oh, and his memory is wiped. He has no idea who he is, or what he did to be exiled. But odd things happen to him almost immediately, for instance the name he chooses, KAIN, is from the shape of some sticks.
Life outside the city is tough. There are friends, enemies, monsters, folks that act like friends who aren't, and all sorts of natural predators that all have their sites set on the new meat. At first, he's naive, and finds himself alive, but taken advantage of by some. But he learns fast. He has natural cunning. And he also finds out that the tattoo on his head could be some sort of signal. It's kept hidden. But he has one thing the other outcasts he meets don't have: a burning desire to get back into the city!
By issue 4, he's found a map...but will the talking bees let him live long enough to use it?
This series is the longest work Paul has attempted. So far, it's tightly plotted with humor, and strikes me as the sort of "dungeon" adventure that would appeal to gaming fans, although it is not yet sword and sorcery, since Salvager Kain is mostly surviving by his wits alone, not physical strength.
Issues 1-3 are 24 pages, while issue 4 is 28. Each is $3. 5.5" x 8.5". You can see more at www.salvagerkain.com or www.foolsgoldpress.com.

Blatant plug here but issues 1 through 3 are available at the store.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

City Council Meeting

Mayor Cole called an emergency meeting of the city council at 5 today to update council members on the status of the storm cleanup.

The city estimates it has lost the following in tax revenue:
Sales Tax--$75,650
Home Rule Tax--$82,885
Use Tax--$5000
Electric Utility Tax--$1,900
Hotel tax--$9,110
Total estimated lost for May 8th through the 13th--$187,545

Plus estimated loss of motor fuel taxes of $6,645. Total estimated tax revenue lost by the end of the emergency will likely run around $500,000

There are a couple of major damages to city property. There's about $70,000 damage to the roof at the Eurma C. Hayes Center and the Northwest Wastewater Treatment Plant suffered about $500,000 in damage.

Roughly 150,000 cubic yards of trees and other plants were destroyed during the storm and are in the process of getting removed at a cost of $990,000. Current estimates are 2100 trees lost within the city of Carbondale and another 1000 on the SIUC campus. A couple of people at the meeting expressed the opinion later that these figures are probably pretty low. Money for the cleanup is coming from the city's general fund, which has about $5 million in it for just this sort of emergency. Plans are for the city to offer free hauling of trees and branches until May 24. Reisdents are resposible for getting branches and trunks to the curb, then the city will haul them off, but they the mayor emphasized the city would only do this for the next two weekends but would make as many sweeps during this period to clean everything up.

Also, in order to make this easier, city residents are to treat this as a snow emergency and refrain from street parking in areas so marked. Regular updates are posted on the Carbondale Police and Explore Carbondale websites.

After hearing the update, the council then passed a resultuion extending the city's Disaster Emergency status until May 31. Afterpassing this, the mayor closed the meeting at 5:26, then took questions from council members, residents and the press.

According to Mayor Cole, Carbondale is far ahead of its sister cities in assessing damage and arranging for debris pickup. There are still about 15,000 people without power in Jackson County, 20% to 1/3 of them in Carbondale. Crime has been remarkable low, which the mayor attributed to the 24 hour presence of both uniformed and plainclothes police. There have been a couple of burglaries, the perpetrators of which were caught almost imeeediately. About 100 vendor permits have been issued for landscapers, eletricians and tree removal and there have been problems with only a couple of them. No instances of outright fraud have been reported.

There has been no federal disaster assistance as of yet and the only assistance from the state has been the loan of trucks and prisoners from the department of corrections.

Sometime next eyar will see the city start developing plans to reseed and replant the thoushands of trees lost during the last few days but this weill be a (very) long term process.

Notes from Pickle's Alley

C'dale coming back to life.
Most SIUC students had already left before the storm.
Tree pickup by the city started yesterday afternoon.
1900 Ameren employees working to restart southern Illinois.
It was a "meso cyclone" that hit southern Illinois.
Whole lot of storm pictures here.

Criminal Stupidity

One local thief got turned in by acquaintances after they found out, while I heard that the police picked up some others that were trying to steal the generators the railroad had put out to power the crossing gates and lights. That's gotta indicate a monumental lack of disdain for the welfare of others

Latest City News

Here's the latest update from the city, posted at 4:45 yesterday afternoon.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Boil Order Lifted

In case you hadn't heard it elsewhere, the boil order for Carbondale has been lifted.

Notes from Pickle's Alley

More comments on the storm aftermath.
30,000 still without power.
SIUC starts to cleanup.
SIUC re-opens after 4 days.

A limited number of $20 Kroger Food Cards will be given away at the side door of the Murphysboro Fire Department this afternoon. Call Crosswalks at 937-3581 for more information

Free Lunch

While it lasts, Majestic Cleaning over in the Murdale Shopping Center is serving free turkey sandwiches and fruit.

Also, Victory Christian Church in Murphysboro is serving a free lunch from 1130 until 1:30

Latest from the City

Power is being restored in various areas throughout the City of Carbondale. Be extremely cautious around downed lines because lines that are currently dead may be re-energized unexpectedly. To prepare for power restoration and to protect your property, please unplug as many electric devices as possible. Once power is restored, wait an hour or so before using electrical devices to make sure the power is stabilized.

Ameren utilities will be operating a customer service center at Carbondale City Hall through Wednesday. Hours of operation are 8:00 a.m. through 8:00 p.m..

Property damage assessments are continuing city-wide. Over the next week you may see City workers in your neighborhood looking at properties, knocking on doors and asking questions. All City workers will have City identification cards.

Residents are warned to be suspicious of vendors and contractors that are not from this area. All vendors must have a permit from the City of Carbondale. Residents are encouraged to ask to see a vendor’s permit before contracting with a company they do not know. Do not pay cash in advance for services and report all concerns to the Carbondale Police Department at (618) 457-3200. A list of permitted vendors is available at Carbondale City Hall.

Use caution at intersections where traffic signals may not be working. Traffic from all directions should come to a complete stop at each unlit intersection.

City Hall and city services remain open.. The City’s refuse collection and recycling program is operating on the normal schedule.

Information is available through the City’s radio station at 1620 AM and on the Carbondale Police Department website at carbondalepolice.com and on the City’s website explorecarbondale.com.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tree Collection

From the Carbondale PD website

The City will begin collecting tree debris including branches and limbs beginning today, Monday, May 11.

Tree debris should be placed between the sidewalk and the street. However, do not block streets, sidewalks, gutters, storm sewer inlets or water meter pits. If you cannot place debris curbside without blocking these areas , keep debris on private property just behind the sidewalk.

Limbs should be cut to a manageable size. Landscape waste stickers are not necessary at this time.

Construction debris and other refuse will not be accepted by City crews.

Private contractors will be utilized by the City, in addition to City employees. The State of Illinois will be providing assistance through the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Department of Corrections. This will be the first phase of collection throughout the City.

For general information, contact the City of Carbondale non-emergency line at (618) 549-5021. Information is also available through the City’s radio station at 1620AM.

Latest City News

Here's the latest storm info from the Carbondale PD website:

Ameren utilities will open a customer service center at Carbondale City Hall. Hours of operation are 8:00 a.m. through 8:00 a.m.

Damage assessment has been started city-wide. You may see City workers in your neighborhood looking at properties, knocking on doors and asking questions. All City workers will have City Identification cards.

The City will begin collecting tree debris including branches and limbs beginning today, Monday, May 11. Tree debris should be placed at curbside. Do not block streets, sidewalks, gutters, storm sewer inlets or water meter pits. Limbs should be cut to a manageable size. Landscape waste stickers are not necessary. Construction debris and other refuse will not be accepted.

Residents are warned to be suspicious of vendors and contractors that are not from this area. All vendors should have a permit from the City of Carbondale or Jackson County. City permits may be obtained in the City Clerk’s Office at no fee. Businesses providing tree services or debris removal may also register to assist the City with those tasks. Again, residents are encouraged to ask to see a vendors permit before contracting. Do not pay cash in advance for services and report all concerns to the Carbondale Police Department at (618) 457-3200.

Use caution at intersections where traffic signals my not be working. Traffic from all directions should come to complete stop at each unlit intersection.

City Hall and city services will be open on Monday as usual. The City’s refuse collection and recycling program is operating on the normal schedule.

A boil water order remains in effect for Carbondale until further notice. This affects water provided to all Carbondale residents as well as water customers in the South Highway Water District, Lakeside Water District, Crab Orchard Water District, Buncombe Water District and Southern Illinois University. Boil all water used for human consumption. This will include all water used for drinking , cooking and even water used while brushing your teeth. Additional advisories will be issued as needed.

For general information, contact the City of Carbondale non-emergency line at (618) 549-5021. Information is also available through the City’s radio station at 1620AM.

City Response 2

Check with Councilman Wissmann about the seemingly slow response by the city and found that th ecity is pretty much waiting on AmerenUE. Because of all the downed power lines and not wanting to electroculte city workers, Ameren has to OK an area before the city can go in. Sicne Ameren has spent Saturday and Sunday working on gettin gth epower plant and transmission lines working to bring power into the city, the feeder lines, which are most of the lines in the neighborhoods, weren't worked on until later yesterday Now that Ameren is working in those areas and clearing up donwed lines, the city can now start the clean up.

City Response

As Dave points out, the city's response to the storm has been pretty so-so. From a purely personal viewpoint, I have seen much greater response from Ameren, Verizon and the state police than I have from the city. Heck, I've seen more private tree removal services on the north side than I have city equipment. Mayor Cole announce on the radio this morning that updates on the city's recovery statues would be posted on the Carbondale Police website but those updates didn't start showing up until late this morning and is only assessable by those with power and internet access.

As of right now, 76% of Jackon County and 62% of Williamson county are still without power.

More Storm News

Mark Kittlesons's view on the storm.
Nick Miller comments on the storm, as well.
Commencement went off without too much trouble.
Video of storm damage from KY3
More storm damage video.
Rental properties hard hit.

Notes from Pickle's Alley--Storm Edition

The AP's story.
Lights back on for 28,000 people
Number of deaths caused by the storm up to 6.
One visitor's view of the damage.
More detailed report on what's happening.
Pictures of some of the storm damage.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Storm

In case you missed it in the news. Carbondale and Jackson County got hit with storms Friday with winds between 105 to 120 miles per hour. 80% of the city and county are without power and likely to stay that way until Tuesday. Traffic lights north of Mill Street are still out as of an hour ago, the northern end of Oakland Ave and a number of side streets are impassible and trees are down all over the Arbor District and northwestern area of the city Amerin has about 1300 people in the area, double their usual number. I've heard of only 4 deaths in the storm's entire path and only 1 here in Carbondale so that's good.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Notes from Pickle's Alley

Lots of physicians graduating today.
Historical video of the Varsity coming.
Dave Wilkins visits the Carbondale Train Depot.
Carbondale has great thrift stores.

Budget Cuts

I'm starting to see the effect of Carbondale's budget cuts already. Some of the citizens of our fair city decided it was too much trouble to toss their bottles into one of the numerous dumpsters in the area, instead throwing them to the ground in the alley that runs alongside the store. These being glass bottles, they followed the laws of physics and broke. Now there's glass all along the alley that runs past my store down to city hall.

I swept up the glass in my section of the alley but didn't have time to get to the rest of it so did what I've done in the past when there's been glass in the alley, sent an email to maintenance and public works at City Hall asking them to run a street sweeper down it. The alley isn't on the sweeper's regular schedule but, since glass appears there every month or so, the city has always been good about running it thought when I've called.

Not this time though. Apparently due to budget cuts, the sweeper has been mothballed until further notice. I remember from reading the budget that the sweeper was going to be reserved for "special occasions", which is apparently now interpreted at "no occasions".

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Conflict of Interest

Good grief, you'd think people would understand the concept of indirect conflict of interest. If you're selling insurance to companies that are bidding on contracts with SIUC, you have an interest in the outcome. It doesn't mean you can't sell insurance to those companies, as student trustee Nate Brown states, it means you recuse yourself from the vote when things come up that you have a financial interest in ala Lance Jack. I guess SIUC's definition of indirect interst is about as well-defined as its definition of unintentional plagerism (which is a breach of academic integrity at other places, just not SIUC).

Letter from Jerry

Email from Jerry Costello:

I wanted to drop you a note to update you on legislative matters that may be of interest.
The House Aviation Subcommittee recently held a hearing to examine the oversight of helicopter medical services (HEMS), looking particularly at the safety and medical aspects of the industry. In 2005 I asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review the status of air ambulance safety, and its report was published in 2007. This decade, the HEMS industry has seen dramatic growth, and fatal air ambulance accidents reached an all-time high between October 2007 and December 2008.
The Subcommittee heard testimony from Congressman John Salazar (D-CO) regarding legislation he has introduced regarding air ambulance safety, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), GAO and various stakeholder organizations. Among the concerns raised was FAA implementation of safety improvements recommended by the NTSB, and the balance between DOT and state regulation of the HEMS industry. The latter included a discussion of the perceived impacts of H.R. 978, legislation sponsored by Aviation Subcommittee member Jason Altmire (D-PA), which would expand states’ authority to regulate HEMS operations.
We addressed many important issues in this hearing and we will continue to work on them. Helicopter air ambulance flights can make the difference between life and death for patients, and we need to make their operations as safe as possible and help patients receive the highest quality care. However, the regulatory issues involved here are not easily parsed, so we need to be sure that in our efforts to accomplish this goal we do not create unintended consequences that create additional or different problems. As the GAO found in 2007, more data will help us in this work, and the Subcommittee will continue to work with all involved to address these issues.
If you would like to view the full recap of the hearing, including a webcast, go to the Hearing Archive on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Web site.

You are invited to sign up for future electronic newsletters. Please feel free to forward this message to friends and neighbors you think might be interested in this issue.

Sincerely,

Jerry F. Costello
12th District of Illinois

Notes from Pickle's Alley

James Gaddis to be tried separately.
Celebration of reading and writing at Giant City School.
Plaza Tire doing more repairs in this economy.
Hopefully, much art and wine in downtown this Friday night.
SIUC won't reimburse for trips to Mexico.
The last Weekly Wenger, thanking SIUC for giving him so much to write about for the past two years.
Yeah, they'll shake hands with you when you graduate.

More Churh Crime

This time, it was the Christian Fellowship Church on West Monroe. Nothing of value was taken, apparently.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Letter from Jerry Costello

Jerry Costello sent out this email on the economy:

We all know that, since 2008, we have been mired in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. To stop the downward spiral and reinvigorate our economy, many leading economists, including presidential candidate John McCain’s economic advisor, recommended that the federal government pass an economic stimulus bill. Congress considered this advice and passed H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which was signed into law by President Obama on February 17.
Of course, the recovery has a long way to go. We did not get to this point overnight and the slowdown has spread globally. It will take time to turn the economy around and get it headed in the right direction again. We are, however, starting to see some signs of recovery, according to some of the same economists who recommended the stimulus legislation. Some economists have noted recently that we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Many of you have voiced concern about the cost of the recovery package and I share those concerns. I believed then and still believe that the scope of the economic problems necessitated the significant investment in the recovery solution. Once the economy is stable again we will need to concentrate our efforts at reducing the budget deficit, as we did in the 1990’s, when we saw a substantial deficit turned into a $5.6 trillion surplus by the end of that decade.

You are invited to sign up for future electronic newsletters. Please feel free to forward this message to friends and neighbors you think might be interested in this issue.

Sincerely,

Jerry F. Costello
12th District of Illinois

Notes from Pickle's Alley

First Baptist Church dedicates their new building (and changes their name).
What is SIUC looking for in a chancellor? In a word, diversity (Since competence apparently hasn't worked in the past).
Mexico bad.
If you didn't get enough art last weekend......
Adventures in househunting.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Energy Festival Postponed

The Green Retreat announced today that the Shawnee Energy Festival (warning: automatic voice starts speaking when you land on the page) has been postponed due to the weather

May 2nd

There's a lot going on in town tomorrow.
Arbor District Cleanup (update your website)
Art Around the Square
Free Comic Book Day
Household chemical collection

Notes from Pickle's Alley

Despite everything, SIUC still makes US News list of top colleges.
You can't get swine flu from eating pork. Southern Illinois knows this, someone should tell the rest of the country. While they're at it, give Joe Biden a crash course in flu transmissions.
Alton loses their deputy chief to Carbondale
Teen still missing as of about 11:30 last night.

Rental Inspection Fees

Interesting article on the front page of this week's Carbondale Times (print only so you'll have to pick up a copy somewhere in town). It appears the $35 inspection fee passed last year to fund additional inspectors is generating a lot less money than originally projected. Original projections were collections in excess of $300,000 but the actual money collected is running a bit under $200,000, mainly due to delays in collections and uncertainty regarding who owns which property. Apparently, there's been a spate of transfers of rental properties among Carbondale landlords, with the result that the city is uncertain from whom to collect the fees.