Monday, August 31, 2009

SIUC Surge and Why It Won't Work

This is emblematic of what is wrong with SIUC. Once you start having declining sales/students, you can't price cut your way out of the difficulty since someone else can always go lower. Does SIUC think the universities in the states the administration is targeting are going to just stand quietly by and let SIUC poach their students? Nope, they will either cut prices as well or increase the quality of their offerings to keep students. From the administration, all I am hearing is cuts, both in staff and price, nothing about improving the quality of the offering.

Sure, there are instances throughout the campus of individual units increasing the quality of their offerings but no indication of a defining focus or vision from the top.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

American's Best Inn Shut Down

The city has shut down the America's Best Inn on the east side of town for violations involving leaky pipes and insect infestations. There's a hearing on Sept. 8th for the owners to show they have fixed the problems. My bet is, we'll see a number of complaints, inspections, closures and re-openings for several years, until the building deteriorates beyond the point of repair, much like the Horizon Inn.

Update: Here're the reviews DaveX refers to in the comments.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

SIUC Grant Award

SIUC has won a grant to train additional researchers in the field of watershed science. Looks like it should bring about $3 million in grant money to the university and attract around 20 top PhD candidates. Good job(s).

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

This is interesting. The Center for Neighborhood Technology is producing maps comparing overall greenhouse gases produced by a region to greenhouse gases emissions per household. Nothing for southern Illinois, since downstate doesn't exist when most organizaitons look at Illinois, but here's St. Louis.

Friday, August 28, 2009

SIUC a Failure

At least in the eyes of the Sierra Club, it is.

Edit: Ed points out that here is the link to the actual SC post listing the three worst schools, along with comments from people defending them

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fat Patties

Latest on Fat Patties is that Lance Jack is appealing his third denial of a liquor license to the State Liquor Control Commission again. His appeal comes up before the commission the middle of September.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Eagles Having Problems

Seems membership at the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Eagles has been dropping over the last 5 years. I can see why the Illinois smoking ban might hurt their numbers, as well as the decision to not allow video poker in town (thought I've been told you can still find it at a couple of places) but don't see how an increase in the minimum wage would affect membership. I can see how the Eagles might not be able to give away as much money because they have to pay higher wages, but not how it would affect membership.

Notes from Pickle's Alley

Here's a comparison of dining hours between EIU and SIUC.
Area seniors weigh in on freeze in social security benefits. They don't like it.
Cole (and others) are collecting signatures to get on the primary ballot.
High speed rail for Carbondale?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


For the benefits of those new to town, the C'dale police have considerately posted info about the city's alcohol code, sound amplification regulations, parking restrictions, and bike regulations on its website. Yep, if I'm a new student in Carbondale, the city police website is the first place I'm going to familiarize myself with.

Library Sale

Looks like there will be an "emergency book sale" at the C'dale Public Library this Saturday (Friday if you're a "Friend" of the Library) to help pay for repairs to the air conditioning system.

Textbook Rental

The DE takes a look at textbook rental in today's paper. Needless to say, 710 Bookstore doesn't think it's a very good idea, nor does the University bookstore because, after all, SIUC is a research university and needs to change textbooks frequently. Of course, SEMO has a textbook rental program and manages to change textbooks every couple of years or so without any problem.

I did like this particular quote from Core Curriculum director James Allen, regarding lowering textbook costs:

“We have not come to this just recently. We’ve been working on it for about 10 years,” Allen said.

And maybe sometime in the next 10 years, something will actually happen.

If I recall correctly, SIUC at one time did offer a textbook rental program but it was eventually discontinued some years ago.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Poshard's Contract Extended

Overlooked the notice of the Board of Trustee's extending Chancellor Poshard's contract for another five years in last week's news. we've got Dr. Poshard to kick around for awhile longer. He does have strong ties to the area and a man can live extremely well here on the hair less than $400,000 a year he's receiving. Hat tip to A. Keith for pointing it out.


Gary Metro (I guess, there's no credit listed) has an editorial in today's Southern reminding us of the importance of SIUC to Carbondale and the southern Illinois region. He is right. Without SIUC, as I've noted before. Carbondale would be a town about the size of Murphysboro. Nope, scratch that. Murphysboro's the county seat, which automatically draws traffic. Carbondale would probably be more like DeSoto, Elkville or Caseyville without SIUC.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Cash for Clunkers

Looks like the cash for clunkers program did very well for auto dealers here in southern Illinois. However, the fact that the success of the program was so woefully unanticipated gives me pause for concern about the health care debate. If the administration so greatly underestimated the length of time until the money appropriated for the program ran out,how does that impact their credibility on time frames or costs in relation to health care?

Friday, August 21, 2009

West Cherry Crime Again

Not content with the armed robbery of a couple weeks ago, Carbondale's highly energetic criminal class visited West Cherry yet again.

Jewel of India Open

At its new location in the old Corner Diner at the corner of College and Illinois. Looks like the drive through location is still open too.

Crime Meeting

People are getting concerned about C'dale crime again. Targeted towards the Arbor District but I don't imagine anyone getting turned away:

You are invited to a neighborhood meeting Wednesday, September 2nd at 7 PM to discuss what we can do to assure a safe neighborhood. Police Chief O’Guinn and City Manager Allen Gill and will be attending the meeting.

The meeting will be at the First Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, 310 S. University Avenue.

Please invite new and old student residents.

Block Neighborhood Watch Captains please talk to new residents in your area about joining the watch program.

Questions and suggestions contact Sandy Litecky, 203 2527 or

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Buying Local

Apropos of the post on bookstores. The Economist once again reminds everyone that buying from locally own merchants is the best way to stimulate the local economy. Though the gap has closed some, for every $100 you spend $13 at Barnes and Noble stays in the local economy. Spend that same $100 at 710, Book Worm or Book World and $25 to $30 stays here in local wages and purchases from other stores (When the original study was done in 2002, about $45 stayed locally and it was a study focusing on the Austin economy; more recent studies appear to be national).

Monday, August 17, 2009

Garden Fundraiser

Community Conservation Botanical Garden of Southern Illinois (CCBGSI) will offer live herb and wildflower packages as door prizes during the upcoming Owner Appreciation Day on Saturday, August 22 at Carbondale’s Neighborhood Co-op (1815 W. Main Street) in Murdale Shopping Center. There will be a suggested minimum donation per chance. The value of each package, donated by Fragrant Fields of Dongola, will greatly exceed the suggested donation. Money raised will go towards establishing a garden dedicated to conserving and increasing numbers of southern Illinois native plant ecotypes and especially rare, threatened and endangered species and populations. The garden will also work to identify best organic gardening techniques for the region, offer opportunities for public and K-12 education, and interact with interested individuals and departments at all institutions of higher education in the region. The garden will serve as a 5-star economic, conservation and beautification engine serving all of southern Illinois and will work on local environmental issues and promote well being for our region. CCBGSI is a 501(c)(3) project under the Shawnee Resource Conservation and Development Council.

For more information on the garden and how to make a tax exempt donation please contact, or call (618) 993-5396 x 6.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Smells of Carbondale

Brian has memories of Carbondale brought on by the smell of Jose Curevo

More Shooty

Geez, they're not even waiting until nighttime to shoot weapons in downtown. One of the commentors even identifies a couple of the local gangs (no guarantee of reliability at all, of course):

" What, is there some type of feud between Wall street boys and Jackmobb? (Two of your various local Gangs, eastside variety. ) Im sure this will be solved .snark. Watch me not hold my breath.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


I was amused by the "damned with faint praise" treatment 710 Bookstore, University Bookstore and Saluki Bookstore got on the SIUC Undergraduate Admissions blog. Given the amount of support for student activities all three bookstores give the university, it's not real good PR to post messages on the official Undergraduate Admissions blog telling people to go to Amazon and for the best prices on books but that local stores might have comparable prices, especially given how much support SIUC gets from Amazon and,

Friday, August 14, 2009


According to this, Memorial Hospital pulled down the century old First Baptist Church to put in a garden. I could understand buying the property and pulling it down to expand the hospital and its services and that's what I thought was happening, but to pull down one of the oldest structures in Carbondale at a time when one of the cornerstones of the comprehesive plan under development by the city is to maintain older structures within the city, looks counterproductive to me. And to replace it with a garden, when more open space is the last thing Carbondale needs in downtown.


Haven't been by there myself, but according to this, Tequila's has moved into the the spot formerly occupied by Mi Pueblito behind the Murdale Shopping Center.

Undergraduate Admissions Blog

Looks like SIUC's Undergraduate Admissions office has started blogging about starting student life in Carbondale. Posts have talked about summer in C'dale, buying text books and the admissions process.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Poplar and Cherry Robbery

Apparently there was a robbery near the corner of Poplar and Cherry the evening of August 6. Two men threatened a man walking down Cherry with a gun, stealing his cell phone. When the victim and others gave chase, the fleeing pair fired a shot at their pursuers, then ditched the gun and cell phone. Thanks to information from the people chasing them, Carbondale Police arrested the pair as they headed down East 13. This info was gleaned from the Arbor District mailing list because there's not much mention of it anywhere else.

Interestingly, despite the fact that a shot was fired in a residential area, as of this writing, there is no mention of the incident on the Carbondale Police website. A notice was sent out to local meda and that was considered sufficient publicity of the incident. We can get notice of grants and scholarships fine, even a shoplifting incident that took place over a week ago, but a shooting, nope.


If you see lots of people kissing around the Town Square Pavilion this Saturday afternoon, here's why.


Must be a slow news day at the Southern.


Interesting piece on Wal-Mart ran on Fresh Air today. The take away point I picked up is that Wal-mart saves the average family that shops there $2000 per year. However, the items that family buys at Wal-Mart only make up about 20% of the family's purchases. Wal-mart has no effect on the other 80%, which consists of major expenses such as utilities, rent or morgage, insurance, etc. and may even have a negative effect because the company's efforts to keep prices low means it keeps wages low, making it harder for its massive number of employees to afford that 80% of their budget.

However, Wal-Mart is one of the few retailers to do well in the current economy, mainly through cheap food and flat screen TVs.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Health Care

Swung by Rep. Costello's office to pass along my two cents on health care reform this morning. Interesting experience. You can't get into the office unless you know the passcode or press a button and stand in front of a monitor, I guess to make sure you're not packin'.

The woman in the office said that they were only taking a limited amount of info from drop-ins: name, address and whether you supported or opposed health care reform. They will the mail out info. She also mentioned they'd been getting a lot of phone calls on the topic, with calls splitting about even. However, the people who were calling in opposed to reform were a lot more abusive than the people who supported it. She specifically mentioned a woman who called in twice just before I came who abused Costello's staffer verbally, reminded her that she was" a public servant and you work for me" (I'm certain the Costello staffer had forgotten that and was quite glad the woman reminded her. Not sure what bearing the comment had on the conversation though), and refused to leave a name when the staffer asked for one so she could pass the comment along to Rep. Costello.

For a good round up of reform questions and answers, at a meeting where violence didn't break out, take a look this summary from Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill's meeting

Same Guys?

Another mugging, this time on N. Illinois out by The Crossings trailer park. Five young black males jumped a man walking on North Illinois about 2:30 in the morning, stealing his wallet. By my count, that's about 3 incidents involving a similar group in less than two weeks.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Grad Job Pros[ects

Looks like SIUC graduates will be doing fine, as long as their degree is in a technical field. I notice the reporter didn't interview anyone who graduated with a liberal arts degree, where job prospects are much poorer. If they don't find jobs in a few months, I guess they could sue the univeristy like this woman did to her alma mater.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Congressman Costello a No-show

Depending on your point a view, Jerry Costello is either a) wanting to keep the discussion of health care reform on a more civil level by only having phone meetings about the topic or b) hiding from the public so he doesn't have to answer to them for doing the bidding of his evil masters in Washington.

Me, I think anyone who goes to one of these town hall meetings to yell at their congressperson instead of talking with them is doing the bidding of their own set of evil masters.

Co-Op Minutes

Here're the minutes from the most recent meeting of the Neighborhood Food Co-op board, if you're so inclined to peruse them.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Forclosure Rates

This is interesting. The maps shows Jackson County has an extremely low foreclosure rate. With about 28,350 households in the county, the rate is only 1 in 9,450. Compare that to the rates in the collar counties of Chicago. Look at Kane County. 172,000 households with a whopping foreclosure rate of 1 in 310. Or Will County. 230,000 households with a foreclosure rate of 1 in 283.

Faster growing area up there than here but looks like much more of the building ther ewas heavily debt funded.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Just received the following email from our esteemed representative Jerry Costello on the future of PAYGO:

s you may know, H.R. 2920, the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2009 (PAYGO), was recently passed in the House of Representatives with my strong support. This legislation re-establishes the principles of fiscal responsibility that are necessary to return to a balanced federal budget.
Balancing the budget was my number one priority as a member of the House Budget Committee during the 1990s. Later that decade, during the Clinton administration, we achieved that goal. PAYGO principles – which dictate that any federal spending or tax cuts must be offset to not increase the deficit, were an important part of that effort. Unfortunately, the PAYGO provisions were allowed to expire by the Bush administration and record deficits and a doubling of our national debt followed.
Returning to the premise that to spend a dollar you must save one elsewhere is just common sense. It is a budget principle followed by responsible families everyday and is evident in the sharp increase in the nation’s savings rate over the last year.
H.R. 2920 has been sent to the Senate where it is currently before the Budget Committee. I am hopeful that PAYGO will become law and that we can begin the work of restoring fiscal responsibility. We must not continue to create debt that will be a burden on future generations.
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.


Jerry F. Costello
12th District of Illinois

Budget Roundup

The Capitol Fax has a good round up of who's taking hits under the budget from around the state. SIUC comes in for special mention.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

More Crime

Good grief, first it's a shotgun in downtown, now it's a mugging at the corner of W. Main and Oakland. Wonder if it's the same group? Both reports describe the attackers as 4-5 young black males.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

More Competition for Cole

Looks like Mayor Cole has a second competitor in the race for the nomination for Lieutenant Governor. By my count, that makes two Republicans and one Democrat seeking th epost. If hte Greens have anyone nominated yet, I haven't heard it.

Body Found

WSIL is reporting the body of Kenneth Weirer was found on West Walkup near Oakland around 2 this morning.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Daylight Crime

How in the blazes do you walk around downtown Carbondale at 10 in the morning, carrying a shotgun and not have someone both calling the police about it?

More Stimulus Money

Sound like this is money coming from the state rather than the federal government, but it looks like C'dale will get about $20,000 to improve the energy efficiency of its school cafeterias, increase low income particpation in school meals and, oh yeah, make the meals taste better.