Friday, April 30, 2010

Pagliai's Move

In case you missed it, pagliai's pizza and pasta moved half a block north of its old location, to the old Saluki Bookstore building on S. Illinois. So far the new facility seems to be working well.

Deletions

In case you were wondering about the deleted comments, there were spam attaching itself to the original posts. I haven't deleted any positive, negative, informational or sarcastic posts from the blog.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Party City

No not Carbondale. National party supplies retailer Party City will open in the space next to Dick's Sporting Goods this September,its still another retailer bringing in minimum wage or close to it jobs with an average turnover of close to 300 percent. You can't build a stable economic base solely on increasing your retail offerings.

Carbondale, Illinois -- Mayor Brad Cole announced today that Party City will soon be opening a store in Carbondale, adjacent to Dick’s Sporting Goods at University Place Shopping Center.



“Party City is a leader in the party goods industry and is the country’s premiere holiday specialty retailer.” As the national and state economies continue to struggle, we are very excited to see this new store become a reality, bringing yet another well-known name to invest in Carbondale’s retail market” said Mayor Cole.



The announcement came after representatives of DLC Management Company, the firm that manages University Place Shopping Center on Carbondale’s east side, confirmed that a lease has been signed with the intent of opening the new store by September 2010. With the addition of Party City, the entire former K-mart building will be occupied and completely remodeled. “Our thanks go to DLC Management for their work to make this happen.”



The Party Store will join T.J. Maxx and Chili’s restaurant as the newest additions to University Place Shopping Center. Party City projects a September 2010 opening for their Carbondale location.



Party City has more than 600 stores nationwide and can be found on-line at www.partycity.com.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Jerry Costello on Healthcare

Just got this email from Rep. Costello on the healthcare bill. It's a pretty good summary of the contents:
As you know, Congress recently passed and the President signed into law national health care reform legislation. It is expected that this historic law will lower costs, improve coverage and expand access to health care in the 12th Congressional District by:

* Enhancing current coverage for 376,000 residents with health insurance.
* Providing tax credits and other assistance to up to 177,000 families and 12,800 small businesses to help them afford coverage, as well as protecting 1,700 families from bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs.
* Extending coverage to 28,000 uninsured residents.
* Guaranteeing that 9,000 residents with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage.
* Extending the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund until the year 2026.
* Improving benefits for Medicare recipients in our area, such as free preventive and wellness care, superior primary and coordinated care, and better nursing home care.
* Lowering prescription drug costs. In 2010, the 9,800 Medicare beneficiaries in our area who enter the Medicare Part D coverage gap – the so-called “donut hole” – will receive a $250 rebate. Starting in 2011, seniors in the donut hole will receive a 50% discount on brand-name drugs, and the donut hole will be gradually closed.
* Securing millions of dollars in additional funding for our 97 existing community health centers.
* Allowing 61,000 young adults in the district to remain on their parents’ policies until they turn 26.


MYTHS AND FACTS

It is important that people understand how this new law will affect them, particularly as there are a number of false claims circulating about what this legislation does and does not do. Some of the most deceptive myths about health care reform legislation include:

SENIORS

Myth: Health care reform will hurt seniors by cutting Medicare and using that money to provide coverage to the uninsured.

Fact: Nowhere in health care reform legislation are any benefits for seniors cut or limited. Seniors will keep the same Medicare coverage they have right now, but their costs will go down and coverage will improve.
(Sections 3601 and 3602, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009, P.L. 111-148)

VETERANS

Myth: Health care reform is bad for veterans and members of the armed services because the legislation will not count TRICARE, TRICARE FOR LIFE, or Veterans’ Health Care as “qualified health benefits packages.”

Fact: Health care reform legislation does not change, alter or impact these three health care plans in any way.
(Section 1501, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009, P.L. 111-148; Letter from Tammy Duckworth, Assistant Secretary of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs for the Department of Veterans Affairs)

SMALL BUSINESSES

Myth: All small businesses will be required to provide health insurance to their employees.

Fact: 96% of all businesses are completely exempt from any taxes or requirements because they have fewer than 50 employees.
(Section 1513, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009, P.L. 111-148; U.S. Small Business Administration, "Employer Firms, Establishments, Employment, and Annual Payroll Small Firm Size Classes.")

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS

Myth: Illegal immigrants or undocumented individuals will be able to receive coverage under the new law.

Fact: No one can receive any benefits under this law or purchase health insurance on the exchanges until they prove their citizenship.
(Section 1411, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009, P.L. 111-148)

ABORTION

Myth: The Hyde amendment does not apply to the new law, which means that taxpayer money could be used to pay for abortions.

Fact: The Hyde amendment prohibiting the use of federal funds for abortion applies to the law. In addition, the executive order signed by President Obama and the colloquy on the House floor make it absolutely clear that the Hyde amendment applies and taxpayer money will not be used to pay for abortions.
(Section 1303, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009, P.L. 111-148; Executive Order -- Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's Consistency with Longstanding Restrictions on the Use of Federal Funds for Abortion, signed March 24, 2010);

STATES

Myth: The expansion of Medicaid will bankrupt the states, and in Illinois, the state will have to pay $2 billion over 10 years to provide coverage.

Fact: The expansion of Medicaid will not bankrupt the states because the new law requires states to pay only a small portion of the cost of covering these new enrollees. Illinois' Medicaid program estimates its annual costs at $200 million in 2020, when the phased-in costs of expansion are complete. The state's estimated contribution is $560 million over 10 years, less than 1% of Illinois' current Medicaid spending over 10 years (roughly $60 billion).
(Section 1201, Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, P.L. 111-152; Theresa Eagleson, Medicaid Director, Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, quoted in Graham, Judith. "Health Care Bill's Impact on State Will Be Delayed". Chicago Tribune. 31 March 2010. Web. 15 April 2010)

SPECIAL DEALS

Myth: The legislation is packed with special deals for certain states, such as the Cornhusker Kickback, the Louisiana Purchase and Gator-Aid.

Fact: There are no state-specific deals or earmarks in the health care reform law.
(Section 1102 and Section 1201, The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, P.L. 111-152)

IRS AGENTS

Myth: The IRS is hiring 16,000 new workers to audit taxpayers regarding health insurance. They will have the authority to seize your property and put you in jail if you do not have insurance.

Fact: The legislation does not require the IRS to hire any new workers. According to the IRS Commissioner, the IRS will not harass, audit or pursue individuals to verify that they have insurance. Insurance companies will report back to the IRS if you have insurance and what it costs, just like the bank reports your interest to the IRS now. Furthermore, health care reform legislation explicitly prohibits the IRS from seizing any property or pursuing any criminal charges against uninsured individuals.
(Section 1501 and 1502 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009, P.L. 111-148; Testimony of Douglas Shulman, IRS Commissioner, before the Subcommittee on Oversight of the House Ways and Means Committee, March 25, 2010)

To be certain, health care reform legislation is not perfect. Neither were the bills passed 75 years ago creating Social Security and 45 years ago creating Medicare. Just as adjustments have been made to those programs, changes will need to be made periodically to this one. But most importantly, the United States will join every other developed country in offering health care coverage to its citizens.

For more information about the benefits of health care reform, I encourage you to visit my website at http://costello.house.gov

City Inspectors at Work

In case you're interested, there's a meeting of the building inspection Board of Appeals on the 28 at 5:30 in the Civic Center, room 103. Seems city inspectors issued an "order to vacate" because this place is unfit to live in notice for 614 North Almond and the order is being appealed.

SIU Press

Nice article in the Alton Telegraph on Cleo Caraway, an author published by the SIU Press.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Cardboard Boat Regatta

Despite some doubts as to whether anyone would take it over, the 37th annual Cardboard Boat Regatta takes place this weekend at Campus Lake. Given the about of interest and attention this event draws to Carbondlae on an annual basis, it amazes me that there was any difficulty at all in finding someone to take over running the event. The Regatta is an event made to order for sponsorship by the Convention and Tourism Bureau or the Chamber of Commerce.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pot Still Bad

According to the Illinois Sheriffs Association, or at least the two representatives quoted here. I found this quote especially bemusing:

From small carries to large distributions, local law enforcement make hundreds of cannabis-related arrests each year and plan to continue the fight to keep marijuana off the streets.

"I'm against it," said Perry County Sheriff Keith Kellerman. "They're going to continue to use drugs, so why legalize it?

Oh, I don't know. Maybe if we legalized it, we could have some more control over who has access to it, the same way we do with alcohol and cigarettes? Wonder what would happen to county income if the fines from those hundreds of yearly arrests went away?

We Read Papers

According to this poll from the Paul Simon Institute, the average Southern Illinois registered voter is more likely to get their news from a traditional outlet than is the nation at a whole. Of course, that fact that only registered voters were polled skewed the figures upward, since older citizens are more likely to register to vote and are more likely to get their news through more traditional sources.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Dietz Moving On?

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Dietz is one of two candidates up for the presidency of the University of Central Missouri over in Warrensburg.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Clean Up

Maybe they could get zombies to help with the clean up?

ARBOR DISTRICT END-OF-SEMESTER CLEAN-UP

The Arbor District Neighborhood Association will hold a neighborhood clean-up

Saturday, May 1, 9:00 a.m.

Meet at the Catholic Church Parking Lot, Poplar and Walnut St.

MAKE OUR NEIGHBORHOOD SPIFFY FOR GRADUATION!

Contact: Sandy Litecky (618) 203-2527 or Brian Swoboda (618) 559-5479 for more information

Liquor Code

The blog She Brews Good Ale weighs in on the C'dale liquor code controversy. Wanna guess which side they're on?

Downtown Expands

Looks like downtown Carbondale is getting bigger. The sign in front of the new Walgreen's on the west side, across from Murdale, touts it as new development in "downtown Carbondale", while the sign out in front of Wright (nee Bonnie Owen) Properties, offers a "downtown storefront" for only $600 per month. Last time I checked, which was yesterday, Wright didn't own any business property is what is typically thought of as "downtown Carbondale". Wishful thinking in both cases, maybe?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

May Day

What better way to celebrate May Day and the coming of spring than getting decked out in zombie makeup and staggering up Illinois Avenue at 10 in the morning rather than 2 in the morning:

Zombies will take to the streets of Carbondale on May 1, 2010! The first Carbondale Zombie Walk will start at 10 am at the 710 Parking Lot on the Strip.

Make-up artists are available starting at 8:30 am in the same location and registration will begin at 9:30.

Zombies can pay $10.00 and receive 20% discounts at all zombie-friendly establishments, including Fat Patties, Stadium Grille, and the Longbranch Coffeehouse. They will also be entered into several drawings for great downtown prizes.

Any of the undead who pre-register by April 26 can pay $8 for the same benefits and will receive a Zombie Walk t-shirt.

A showing of Night of the Living Dead will begin at 10:30 am at the Carbondale Elks Club, and prize drawings will be held at different locations throughout the day. A second showing of the film will be held at 6:30 pm that evening at Gatsby’s on the Strip! A cash bar will be available for this showing.

All ages are welcome to participate in this event, although we encourage younger zombies to skip the 8 pm show. The Zombie Walk is brought to you by Zesty Flyers and Carbondale Main Street.

For more information, or to get a registration form, visit www.carbondalemainstreet.com or call 618-529-8040. We’ll see you downtown!

Earth Day Breakfast

Apparently we can only get so much locally grown food as this event is only limited to those invited and you know who you are:

Carbondale, Illinois – In honor of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, Mayor Brad Cole and the City of Carbondale will be marking the occasion by hosting a community discussion on local food production and community farming.

The gathering, part of a larger Global Day of Conversation, will focus on local environmental problems and how to build a green future that will benefit the southern Illinois economy and community development through local foods. A breakfast of locally grown and produced foods will be provided at the event and speakers will share information about specific and relevant topics.

The breakfast is limited to invitees only (i.e., not open to the general public), due to food quantity constraints, but the media is invited and encouraged to attend.

The event will be held at the Carbondale Civic Center, 200 South Illinois Avenue, Carbondale, Illinois, on Thursday, April 22, 2010, and will begin promptly at 7:30 am

Benefit

Via email from Mary O'Hara:

Many of you have heard about a 3-year-old Cobden girl, Delia Kaszbuski, who died this week after being struck by a tractor. Delia’s parents are farmers. They own Clear Creek Farms CSA, part of southern Illinois’ growing local food economy. As you can imagine, they need our help right now. One of the ways you can help the family is to lend a hand in planting their garden . This is going to be on Thursday April 22 at any time you can show up. Their address is 4615 Street, RT. 127 North in Cobden. Their home is the last house before Mt. Glen Road going south on 127 , on the east side of Rt 127. They will be starting about 9 am. Bring a shovel and rake. Please contact me if you need more information or would like to stay in touch with efforts to support the Kaszbuski family. Spread the word. Thank you. Mary O’Hara

City Council Meeting

Got to the city council meeting last night about 8:30. Parking lot and the council chambers were emptier than I'd expected. Apparently most memebers of the community knew which way the wind was blowing regarding the budget as I heard after the meeting that only a few citizens had gotten up to defend funding for their programs.

Councilmen Fritzler and Haynes were the only members to attempt a modification of the budget. Haynes offered three motions pulling money from other areas to continue funding various programs, including a proposal to strip $4000 from the Mayor's travel budget. All failed by votes of 6 to 1. Fritzler proposed funding the soon to be vacant and eliminated developmental services manager position by pulling $102,000 from the Convention and Tourism Bureau's budget. It also lost by a 6 to 1 vote. From council comments, the city appears to pin hopes for some additional funding from expected moneys getting freed up at the state level. The final budget was approved by a 6 to 1 vote with Joel Fritzler the lone dissenter.

During closing comments, the Mayor noted that no one was happy with the budget. Lance Jack exhorted organizations that had received cuts to seek more private sources of funds and oppered to donate 10% of a day's profits from Fat Patties to the I Can Read program. Joel Fritzler remember everyone about Irish Fest this weekend, then everyone kinda just wandered off.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Financial Workshop

In case you're free around 5 tomorrow, the city is co-sponsoring a workshop on budgeting and saving at the Civic Center. Not that I'm cynical, but I'd be willing to bet that there will be info there for attendees on the financial services the Bank of Carbonate has to offer now that they have a better handle on their finances:


In order to ensure that Carbondale-area residents have all the tools they need to be successful, Bank on Carbondale has partnered with local organizations to provide high-quality financial literacy training. The first of these courses will be held in the Carbondale Civic Center on Wednesday, April 21st at 5:00 p.m. in Room 116/118. The workshop will provide information on proper budgeting and saving for the future.

The City of Carbondale partnered with the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office to bring the nationwide “Bank On” program to Carbondale. The Bank On Initiative helps millions of working families open bank accounts so they can begin saving, build a credit history and invest for their future. So far the program has been very successful in assisting unbanked community members and helping them to prepare for a brighter future.

This workshop is free and open to anyone in the community, but space is limited. To learn more about the workshop or to register, please call 457-3226 or email bankoncarbondale.ci.carbondale.il.us.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Rate Increases

Several rate increase will kick in on July 1, according to the proposed budget. There's the 1/2% sales tax increase adopted last December, a 5% increase in water and sewer rates, a 75 cent refuse fee increase, as well as a 25 cent increase in recycling fees. No cost of living or merit pay increases for city employees not part of bargaining units with multi-year contracts and no further use of unpaid employee furlough days. Zero city property tax levys continue as well.

On and this will be the first year of payments to SIUC for the Saluki Way project.

City Council Meeting

Tomorrow night's city council meeting should prove interesting to put it lightly, give then about 6 jobs are on the line. Here's the agenda as of right now. The adoption of the 2010-2011 budget is the last item on the agenda so hopefully we'll see most of those attending staying around until the end of the meeting.

Once again, I'm not hearing any other proposals for balancing the budget. People don't like this one but it balances the city's finances. If you're opposed to it that's all well and good, but as of now, its the only option on the table. Changing the liquor cap regulations to allow more stores to sell liquor would certainly bring in more sales tax revenue and probably keep a couple of those jobs that are on the line.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Telecommunicaitons Commission

I didn't even know Carbondale had a Telcommunications Commission. In case you want to see what they are up to, or have an hour to fill before the Preservation Commission's meeting, they meet at 6 p.m. on the 19th, somewhere in the Civic Center.

Topics include a public access channel and upcoming FCC rules changes.

Preservation Commission

For those into this sort of thing, the Preservation Commission meets Monday April 19 at 7 p.m. in room 103 at the Civic Center. Items under discussion:

Reports on the Historic Property Bus Tour
Reports on demolition procedures (can you say Stotlar House?)
Historic Preservation Awards presentation on May 4
Work plan for 2010-2011.

West Sycamore Closed

In case you missed the notice, West Sycamore between Glenview and Baine will be closed this Monday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. for water main construction.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Liquor Sales Survey

The C'dale Chamber recently surveyed its members about the possibility of allowing grocery stores and gas stations to sell liquor and beer. 25% of the 344 surveys sent out via email were returned.

One of the questions was poorly worded, asking if you agree with the current restrictions on liquor sales in Carbondale. This could be taken as "No, I think they should be looser" or "No, I think they should be tighter." No wonder 80% of the responders said "No".

The other three question do give a better indication of how those who responded stand on the issue with 77% of respondents saying grocery stores and gas stations should be able to sell beer and wine and 71% saying no limits on the number of retail package liquor licenses available. The split is closer on whether grocery stores and gas stations should be able to sell hard liquor as well, with 54% saying yes and 46% saying no. I believe the results are being sent to the City Council though I'm don't think the Chamber has an official position on the proposal.

SLJ Review

If you haven't caught this already, the St. Louis Journalism Review is moving to the SIUC School of Journalism starting July 1. Name stays the same though.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Protesters

Saw about 20 protesters waiving flags and signs at the intersection of Main and Illinois this afternoon. I gather they were anti-tax as I saw a couple of "No tax" signs along with one woman dressed in colonial garb waving a thirteen star flag, mildly ironic given that, during that era, she wouldn't have the right to vote at all.

Not a very lengthy protest since they were gone by the time I passed the intersection again about 1:30. Sunshine patriots?

Hotheads

Hotheads Hair Salon is moving to the old Mirror Image location at 118 S. Illinois. Grand opening is this Saturday with $5 haircuts $5 polish changes with nail art and $1 eyebrow or lip waxing. All proceeds from the day go to the C'dale Women's Center.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sustainability Commission Meeting

After you complete your taxes, what better way to spend the evening than attending a meeting of the C'dale Sustainably Commission. April 15 at 6 p.m. in Room 103 at the Civic Center On the agenda:

1. Update on the status of the Koppers site
2. Update on the ordinance allowing the keeping of chickens and goats (?) within city limits.
3. Plan to promote reusable shopping bags at local businesses
4. How to reduce the energy costs of city street lighting.

Hazardous Chemical Collection

Free Household Chemical Collection Event

Saturday, May 1, ONLY!

ROUTE 13 W. OF CARBONDALE, AIRPORT RD NORTH ‐ FOLLOW SIGNS

8 AM - 3 PM Southern Illinois Airport


Items Accepted: Paint Motor Oil Mercury Paint Thinner Solvents

Fluorescent Bulbs (includes Compact Fluorescent bulbs - they contain mercury)

Pesticides Antifreeze Thermometers

Insecticides Degreasers Thermostats Herbicides

Lead‐Acid & Rechargeable Batteries Poisons Pool Chemicals

Old Gasoline Adhesives Aerosol Products Polishes


Items NOT Accepted: Explosives Ammunition Fire Extinguishers

Smoke Detectors Propane Tanks Medical Waste

Radioactive Material Alkaline Batteries Fireworks

Tires Electronics Appliances


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tattoo Parlour for Rent

Looks as if Meant 2-B Tattoos (formerly Mike's Dragonmaster Tattoo's) at 217 West Main has finally given up the ghost. There's a big For Rent sign in the window. Looks as if the business never recovered from when the proprietor took a month off last year to go to Amsterdam.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Preservation Commission Meeting

The Work Plan Committee of the Preservation Commission meets next Tuesday at 2 p.m. in Room B at the Civic Center. On the agenda is discussion of demolition procedures and the 2010-2011 work plan. Presumably the demolition procedures discussion is to avoid more cock-ups like the Stotlar House.

Rental Program Inspection Meeting

Each of the city inspectors visits between 2 and 3 units a day and spends about 15-30 minutes on the actual inspection. Last time I checked, the city is inspecting between 250 to 300 units a month.

From a press release sent out by the city:

The City of Carbondale Development Services Department will hold an informational meeting focusing on the Mandatory Rental Housing Inspection Program on WEDNESDAY, April 28, 2010, at 3:00 p.m. in the Carbondale Civic Center. Owners and managers of rental residential properties in Carbondale are encouraged to attend the informational meeting. The meeting will cover a number of topics pertinent to the inspection program and maintenance of the housing stock in Carbondale including the process of registering rental properties, housing code standards, common code violations and safety issues, landlord and tenant responsibilities and programs available to enhance residential neighborhoods.

Mike Pierceall, Development Services Director stated, “The primary objective of the inspection program is to ensure the safety of the occupants of rental properties in the community. This informational meeting provides the opportunity for City staff to interact with rental property owners and to identify ways to work collectively to improve the housing conditions in Carbondale. The City has held similar meetings over the past two years that were widely attended and addressed a number of issues regarding the rental inspection program and overall property maintenance. We see this as a continuation of that effort.”

The City of Carbondale requires owners of residential rental properties located within the corporate limits of Carbondale to register the rental properties with the Building and Neighborhood Services Division on an annual basis. Detailed inspections are conducted on the exterior and interior of rental properties every three years to ensure compliance with health, safety and housing code standards. Inspections are also initiated on a complaint basis or when violations are suspected by City Building and Neighborhood Services Division staff.


For further information on the meeting and the Mandatory Rental Housing Inspection Program contact the City of Carbondale Building & Neighborhood Services Division at 457-3237.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Budget Woes

Here's a major reason Carbondale is in financial trouble: pensions and workers' compensation premiums. According to the proposed budget over the last five years, the amount the city has to fund has increased by:

Fire Pension: 46.82%
Police Pension: 38.55%
Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund: 140.56%
Workers Compensation: 95.98%
Health Insurance: 40.26%

These are all plans the city has to fund by state law, but we're not getting any money from the state to help fund them. Your classic unfunded mandate. Don't look for the increases to let up. The city projects police pension funding to increase by 26% in FY2011

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tour de Carbondale

This sounds pretty cool if you're available the evening of the 26th:

The Preservation Commission of the City of Carbondale will be hosting a tour of historic properties located in the northwest and central areas of Carbondale. The tour will provide an opportunity for citizens to become better acquainted with some of the City’s most historically interesting and architecturally significant homes, buildings and places. Highlights include recent additions to the Carbondale Register of Historic Places, Hickory Lodge and the Varsity Center for the Arts, as well as the Hundley house, the National Guard Armory and several other buildings. Information will be made available on the benefits of designating properties to the National and Local Registers as well as the other historic sites and tours available to the public.

The tour will be on Monday, April 26th, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.. Boarding will begin at 5:45 p.m. at the Carbondale Civic Center/City Hall located at 200 S. Illinois Avenue.

There is no charge for the tour and seating on the bus is limited. For more information or to reserve your seat, contact the Planning Services Division at 457-3248.

City Council Meeting

The parking lot was full at last night's city council meeting. I got there about 8:45 and thought by that time, I'd have missed everything, but no, public comments were still being made. If the half dozen I caught were emblematic of the previous hours worth of comments, the council hear a lot of "The program or position I am speaking about is important, nay vital, to the well-being of Carbondale as a community and eliminating it will lead the city down a dark path, far from the happy shiny place it will remain if you keep the position or program which I am defending." It appears that combining the duties of either the affirmative action or developmental offices into another office sends a very bad message about what sort of community the citizens of Carbondale desire.

You'd think, after a hour and 45 minutes of telling the council how cutting any programs or offices would harm the city, the speakers would want to see the impact of their words. Nope. After citizen comments ended and the council moved on to more mundane topics, fully half the room exited to continue explaining to each other in the hallway why the proposed city budget is bad.

Meanwhile the city moved on to other things, like approving the old Animal Crackers building at the corner of Walnut and Illinois at a cost of $70,000 and demolishing it, after further testing for asbestos, for a further cost of $32,000, handled by May's Trucking, a minority owned company that did a lot of work for the city during the derecho last year. Councilman Hayes did ask the source of the money for the purchase and was told from the parking fund, which apparently has plenty of money for the purchase. The plan is to put a parking lot there to serve the planned intermodal transport station that would serve as a hub for both trains and community buses.

Moving on to council comments, all of the council members noted three things:

1. None of them liked the measures proposed in the budget.
2. All of them were disappointed that the people who spoke didn't stay around to listen to council responses.
3. None of the citizens who spoke addressed where the funding would come from to pay for the program/office they defended. I noticed that as well. I didn't hear any speaker propose a souce of money to save the defneded office with.

All of the council members, with the exception of Hayes, indicated they would likely support the budget as presented. Hayes defended the programs and offices housed at the Eurma Hayes Center and said he would want to come back and look at those programs slated for cutting.

Councilman Fritzler, during his comments, made the only proposal of alternatives to cutting the offices, suggesting that the city transfer money generated from the hotel/motel tax to the general fund, somehting I didn't know you could do. Apparently, since Carbondale is a home rule community, we have the ability to do this written into the city code and Fritzler suggested taking $100,000 from the HM tax fund, since we generated about $600,000 a year in hotel taxes. Fritzlers other suggestion was a favorite of his, cutting the amount spent by the mayor on travel, to which Mayor Cole responded that the new TJ Maxx was coming as a result of the traveling the mayor had done. Somehouw, I don't think Fritzler was convinced.

Councilman Jack commented that he was disappointed in the number of people who had contacted him and the council about the budget before the meeting, noting that he had gotten surprisingly few calls about with, with which Mayor Cole concurred. Jack then left himself wide open by asking how many people had tried to call him. Three hands immediately shot up, saying they had called and left messages which Jack had not returned. Jack immediatly backpedaled saying he would get back to them.

Both Wissmann and Mayor Cole pointed out a contributing factor to the city's financial problems was the recently announced cutting of $500,000 in payments from the state to the city and the lack of action by the state on pensions. The mayor then commented that over a dozen or so positions have been or will be cut in the past year and that several of the programs eyed for elimination wouldn't be needed if the schools worked more closely with the city so the extra educational programs funded in part by the city weren't needed. He then closed the meeting at 10:14.

Standoff on Springer Street

The 2 and a half hour standoff between C'dale police and James Jamison ended peaceably Monday when Jamison surrendered to officers after they acquired a search warrant and entered the home.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

West Mill

Looks like traffic on West Mill will be slowed for the next couple of weeks:

Patching work has begun on West Mill Street between Oakland Avenue and South University Avenue. This work will be ongoing as weather permits and is currently expected to be complete by April 23rd, 2010. Motorists should expect delays and seek alternate routes as traffic will be periodically reduced to one lane in either direction.

Also, beginning on Tuesday, April 6, 2010, West Mill Street will be closed to eastbound traffic from Oakland Avenue to Poplar Street, westbound traffic will be permitted. Eastbound traffic will be detoured via South Oakland Avenue, West Walnut Street, and South Poplar Street. Please keep in mind that both Elizabeth Street and Forest Avenue will be closed to traffic south of West Mill Street.

Once work is complete in the eastbound lanes of West Mill Street, work will begin in the westbound lanes. More specific information will be released as it becomes available.

During this time City crews will also be patching streets at various locations throughout Carbondale. The City of Carbondale urges motorists to use caution in all work zones and use alternate routes if possible. For more information please call the City Manager’s Office at 457-3226.

Bank on Carbondale

Mayor Brad Cole formally launched Bank On Carbondale today, aiming to sign up Carbondale-area residents for free and low-cost bank accounts. The City of Carbondale partnered with the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office to bring the nationwide “Bank On” program to Carbondale. The Bank On initiative helps millions of working families open bank accounts so they can begin saving, build a credit history and invest for their future.

There is an estimated 368,600 households in the state of Illinois with no checking or savings account – including 50% of low to moderate income African-Americans. Hundreds of Carbondale households currently rely on check-cashers, payday lenders and pawn shops to cash checks, to pay bills, and borrow money. Unbanked families, who are already struggling to make ends meet, are paying up to $75 a month to cash payroll checks, relying on pawnshops that charge high interest rates for loans, and unsafely storing cash in their homes.

“Bank On Carbondale will help our residents get a fresh start on building a stronger financial future. Because of Old National Bank’s commitment to impacting lives and strengthening communities, we are now helping create these programs in nearly a dozen cities and towns. We’re especially proud to partner with Mayor Cole and our community’s financial institutions and community organizations in launching Bank on Carbondale,” stated Jeff Speith, the President of Old National Bank in Carbondale.

Banks and credit unions, many of which already have starter or second chance account products, will benefit from the consolidated marketing and new customer base. Most unbanked households already have financial profiles that are acceptable to banks and credit unions. Almost all unbanked individuals have a steady job, 64% of unbanked individuals work full-time and 25% work part time.

"The Bank of Carbondale has worked to serve the unbanked in our community. We believe the Bank On Carbondale program will be a benefit to those individuals currently not utilizing a financial institution," Robert Bleyer, the President of The Bank of Carbondale, said.

Bank On Carbondale partners will identify people who lack accounts, don’t have Social Security numbers, or have negative (but not fraudulent) credit histories. Bank on Carbondale partners accept alternative identification including: Mexican Matricula Consular or Guatemalan Consular identification card, ITIN, or foreign passport.

The San Francisco Treasurer’s Office launched the first Bank On program in 2006. Bank On San Francisco has already opened accounts – with an average balance of almost $1,000 – for over 31,000 residents, almost 40 percent of its unbanked population. Carbondale is one of more than 50 cities to duplicate the city program, while Illinois and California are the first two statewide campaigns to date.

“The people in Carbondale who have the least amount of money are spending the most on banking. Our goal is to help people save money for a better future,” said Mayor Brad Cole.

Bank On Carbondale also provides free financial education courses to help community members gain the tools they need to make the most out of their accounts and start saving for the future. The first of these courses will be held in the Civic Center on Wednesday, April 21, at 5 pm in Room 116/118. The workshop is free to all community members, but space is limited.

For more information on Bank On Carbondale or to reserve a space at one of our financial education workshops, visit www.explorecarbondale.com/bankoncarbondale or call (618) 457-3226.

Bank On Carbondale Partners

Financial institutions offering free or low-cost accounts:
The Bank of Carbondale
Banterra Bank
First Southern Bank
Old National Bank
Regions Bank
SIU Credit Union

Financial education partners offering free money management classes:
Alpha Kappa Psi

Outreach partners who can answer questions and offer referrals to Bank On Carbondale participants:
Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale
Carbondale Chamber of Commerce
Carbondale Main Street
United Way of Southern Illinois

T. J . Maxx

In case you missed it, TJ Maxx is coming to C'dale, locating next to Dick's Sporting Goods. Be interesting to see if another off-price chain can make it where Goody's was unable to do so. Of course, Goody's closing was the result of the entire chain declaring bankruptcy, whereas TJ Maxx's financials appear strong..


Carbondale, Illinois – Mayor Brad Cole announced today that T.J.Maxx will soon be opening a store in Carbondale, adjacent to Dick’s Sporting Goods at University Place Shopping Center.

“As the national and state economies continue to struggle, we are very excited to see this new store become a reality, bringing yet another well-known name to invest in Carbondale’s retail market” said Mayor Cole. “We have had an open dialogue with T.J.Maxx for several years, trying to find the right fit for them, and our thanks go to DLC Management for their work to make this happen.”

The announcement came after representatives of DLC Management Company, the firm that manages University Place Shopping Center on Carbondale’s east side, confirmed that a lease has been signed with the intent of opening the new store by September 2010.

T.J.Maxx will join Chili’s restaurant as the newest additions to University Place Shopping Center; Chili’s projects an August 2010 opening for its Carbondale location.

T.J.Maxx has more than 800 stores nationwide and can be found on-line at www.tjmaxx.com.

Monday, April 5, 2010

SIUC Article

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an article on Glenn Poshard's lobbying of the state for the funding SIUC is supposed to receive. However, the full article is for subscribers only.

More Cuts

In the FY 2010-2011 city budget, six more positions are on the chopping block. From the Arbor District email:

The proposal to cut 6 additional positions in various departments. These include:

1. **Eliminate one Deputy Police Chief (and other reorganization of the Police Department)

2. **Eliminate the Community Relations Officer position, consolidating Affirmative Action/EEO duties with the Director of Administrative Services, contracting for mandated AA/EEO data. Numerous protests have occurred regarding the proposed elimination of this position that is currently occupied by Marilyn James.

3. **Merge the Assistant City Manager (Kevin Baity) and Director of Development Services (Mike Pearceall) positions. Development Services has already lost several positions in Planning and in Neighborhood Services. This division does a great deal of work that directly affects neighborhoods. The Assistant City Manager also does economic development.

4. **Eliminate two support positions, one in Purchasing and Risk Management, and one shared by Development Services and Administrative Services.

5. **Eliminate City Forester position, replacing with contract professional.

Also, development of community green spaces, funding for which was one of the selling points for the Saluki Way sales tax, will be postponed until 2013. Apparently, we can keep making payments to fund the borrowing for Saluki Way but not bike paths and green spaces within the community.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Days of May

Rich Davis, a DE staffer at the time the SIUC campus shut down during the May 1970 riots, briefly writes about his memories of the time. His fondest memories: Gus Bode and Spudnuts. And why don't we see Gus Bode in the DE anymore anyhow?

Farmer's Market

Some nice photos of the fist C'dale Farmers Market of the season on the Local Matters blog.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Animal Crackers Building

Interesting. On the agenda for this Tuesday's city council meeting, a resolution authorizing the City Manger to purchase the Animal Crackers building downtown and bid out a contract for its demolition. Hope the price won't be nearly as high as it was when the city bought and demolished the dilapidated American Tap building.

No mention in the agenda of any vote on a change in the city's liquor license code.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Stotlar House Update

While there's no sign of any repair work being done on the building, there are also no earthmoving or any other demolition machines in the yard either. It's been over a month since the city imposed stay of demolition expired so I guess no activity is a good thing.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Green Party and Simon

Amusing that Rich Whitney first compliments Sheila Simon for her selection at the Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor, then in the next paragraph slams the party for selecting her rather than Art Turner, who came in second in the actual primary, saying that choosing her takes for granted the African American vote.

Of course, as the Archpundit points out, the Democratic party is running three black candidates for statewide offices versus the Green Party's one. You can justifiable criticize Simon for not running for the office during the primary, or for having little experience in elected office, but to bring race into it is just silly.