Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Roofers Arrested

Looks like the C'dale Police have arrested 7 roofers in recent days for operating within the city without having the necessary license:

In response to complaints and concerns, the City of Carbondale Police Department, the City of Carbondale Building and Neighborhood Services Division, and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation conducted compliance checks in Carbondale on roofing contractors. Investigators met with contractors and determined if they were properly licensed in the State of Illinois.

As a result of the compliance detail, investigators arrested the following seven people and charged them Licensure Requirement 225 ILCS 335/9(1) Class A Misdemeanor. Each person posted bond and was released pending court:

Bryan L. Adams (Adams Const.) – Marion, Il

Robert M. Gunter (Gemini) – Royalton, Il

Thomas R. Norris (N & S Const.) – Christopher, Il

Brian F. Kennedy (Brian Kennedy Const.) – Pomona, Il

David M. Mitchell (Mitchell Exteriors) – Murphysboro, Il

Jonathan E. Gille (Property Clean) – Herrin, Il

Charles L. Hardy (H&D Contractors) – Equality, Il

The goal of the compliance check is to ensure quality services for the citizens of Carbondale by licensed contractors. All persons and companies doing roofing work in the City of Carbondale must be registered as a roofing contractor with the City’s Building and Neighborhood Services Division. Roofing repairs should be made by qualified roofing contractors who are licensed by the State of Illinois.

Homeowners and contractors are required to contact the City of Carbondale before initiating repairs to properties to determine if the extent of repairs will require a building permit. Replacement of shingles and minor repairs do not require a permit. A building permit will be required for roofs that require structural repairs or new roof decking and sheathing.

Persons and companies doing plumbing work must be licensed by the State of Illinois as a Plumbing Contractor. Persons or companies doing electrical work must be licensed by a municipality within the State of Illinois as well as registered with the City. The Building and Neighborhood Services Division maintains a list of licensed roofers and electricians that are registered with the City.

For information on how to become registered or licensed as a roofer, a plumber or an electrician or for a listing of registered roofers and electricians contact the Building and Neighborhood Services Division at (618) 457-3237.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Jerry C. on the Economy

Email from Jerry C., trying to make sure no one runs against him based on the economy or the budget:

I have been hearing from many constituents about two topics related to our economy and the federal budget. The first is requests for federal assistance to deal with the economic downturn, particularly the need to further extend unemployment benefits and prevent the impending layoffs of thousands of teachers nationwide. The other is increased federal spending and the size of the federal deficit and debt.

These are critically important issues, and I understand and share the concern for both. Many economists agree that the stimulus legislation that the Congress passed last year is responsible for stabilizing our economy, and the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office credits it with saving or creating 2.8 million jobs while cutting taxes for 98% of American families. At the same time, this bill increased the federal deficit.

Much of the stimulus spending has gone directly to state governments, many of which are in economic crisis. In Illinois, the stimulus bill has kept school districts and universities operating, and in our area has been particularly important for Southern Illinois University. While we have seen some economic improvement in recent months – including three straight quarters of economic growth and the addition of over 900,000 jobs since December 2009 – unemployment remains too high. Millions of Americans are out of work and depend on federal unemployment benefits to provide basic needs for their families.

Meanwhile, our deficit has continued to increase at an alarming rate. In addition to the stimulus bill, Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) spending and the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other things, contributed to the increase in the deficit. While it is expected that the deficit will be reduced drastically in coming years, falling to $533 billion by 2013, that is still a significant number, particularly when you remember that we achieved a balanced federal budget during the second term of the Clinton administration. There is general concern that high deficits will lead to inflation in the near term, and our $13 trillion national debt is a serious burden on future generations.

As you may know, I voted against the TARP legislation (bank bailout) and opposed the Iraq War, which has cost close to $1 trillion. I voted for the stimulus bill because, given the severity of the economic downturn, it was necessary to strengthen our economy, and I believe it has accomplished that goal. However, I am concerned about significant additional federal spending to support state governments. Like the federal government, the states are going to have to make tough budget decisions.

At the federal level, we are being asked to support people who are out of work and in great need, while keeping a close watch on federal spending. These are not easy decisions, and I will continue to evaluate legislation with these competing interests in mind. Moving forward, we may not be able to provide as much assistance to people and the states as many would like, and we may not in the short term be able to fully offset the cost of all federal spending. But working together, we can continue to chart a course that builds on our economic recovery and helps those in great need while beginning to address our long-term economic problems.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Chicago Gun Law

Courtesy of the Capitol Fax, the Supreme Court just ruled Chicago's ban on hand gun possession a violation of the Second Amendment

Bike Bloggers

Had a couple of distance bicyclists come through Carbondale recently. The King Brothers are biking to raise money to fight MS, while D-Spin is a Irish cyclist riding to raise money for the Mid-Western Cancer Foundation (that's mid-western Ireland).

Update: Must be the time for biking bloggers as here's another one. No charity apparently involved though.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

LAB Meeting

The Liquor Advisory Board meets next Thursday, July 1. The two things aon the agenda are applications for Class A1 liquor licenses by Chartwell's for both the SIUC (unnamed) Arena and football stadium.

Email From Chief O'Guinn

Police Chief Jody O'Guinn recently sent this email out to the Arbor District email list:

During the recent interview of a burglary arrestee, the individual divulged that he committed over 18 burglaries. In many of the burglaries, which were during daylight hours when residents were not at home, he simply entered through an unlocked door or broke into the residence. Using his girlfriend as a lookout, he would carry out belongings and place them in a vehicle, all while neighbors were watching and waving at him as if he lived there.

This is disturbing to me. First, that some neighbors don’t really pay attention to who lives in the houses next to them and second, if they do, they don’t report a suspicious person or suspicious activity in their neighborhoods. Finally, some of the burglaries were not even reported to the police. We generated the reports after contacting the victims that the offender identified, to verify that there had indeed been a burglary. It is very difficult to forecast trends without accurate information.

Please encourage residents in your Emails to report suspicious persons and suspicious activity immediately, so that we may have the opportunity to respond and investigate. It is one way that the citizen’s can help us decrease the amount of burglaries that are occurring, by identifying those who are brazen enough to commit these crimes during daylight hours.

As always, thank you for all that you do to assist in making our City a safer place to live, work and raise our families.

With every best wish,
Jody O'Guinn

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

City Council Meeting

Got to city council meeting about a hour late but apparently didn't miss much as Mayor Cole commented the first hour had been spent listening to comments by council and citizens about the comprehensive plan the city was adopting. The major concern of those citizens commenting was the concept of mixed use, fearing that an owner occupied house could have an auxiliary building the owner could rent out, but that a later owner would bend the code and rent both structures. The general consensus among council was that this could be looked at later and fixed in the zoning ordinances. Also raised by citizens was the feeling that the comprehensive plan lacked an overarching vision on moving Carbondale from a railroad town to a true university town. At this point, the mayor made an interesting comment that he hope the current occupants of Anthony Hall proved easier to work with than the revolving door of recent years. The comprehesive plan got approved unanimously, the first of several unanimous votes.

Next on the agenda was accepting the low bid of Contegra Construction for the new Public Safety Center on S. Washington, planned to open in March 2011. Councilman Haynes raised questions about enforcement of affirmative action regulations in the building and Councilman Jack requested the soon to be build west side fire station strive to come close to LEED compliance, which was not sought in the case of the public safety center. Again, an unanimous vote approved this.

Finally, the council voted, unanimously again, to approve the sale of bonds funding the public safety station. Mayor Cole made a point to note the city's rating on the bonds is AA-, which is higher than the state of Illinois' bond rating. This got the city an interest rate of 3.268%, saving the city several million in interest. According to the company assisting the city in issuing the bonds, the major reason for the high bond rating is the city's excellent financial management. Meeting recessed to go into closed session at 9:15.

Morning Coversation

Good discussion on WSIU's Morning Conversation this morning on Illinois politics, esp. the upcoming elections and why Rich Whitney is probably a spoiler for Pat Quinn's chances for election to a full term as governor.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Perceptions of Downtown

Found interesting the perceptions of downtown shown in the comments on the Southern's article about the closing of the Stadium Grille. Several comments related to the high rate of crime in the downtown area and the likelihood of getting mugged in the parking lot. This perception is not borne out by crime statistics from the Carbondale Police website. While I only looked at the last 30 days, it appears you are as likely to have property stolen if you are at University Mall as you are in downtown and neither location shows any reports of muggings, though there is one aggravated battery report from downtown and none at the Mall.

Other Simon Sightings

Had my attention called to a couple of other Sheila Simon Sightings. Once at the Susan Barnes' Dance recital last month and a more overtly political one up in Bloomington

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cole' Travels

Councilman Joel Fritzler likes to tweak Mayor Cole about his travel expenses during city council meetings every so often. Enough so that I got curious and asked to see the Mayor's travel vouchers for the past year. Turns out Springfield and Washington DC are the top two destinations for the Mayor, mainly to jawbone the state legislature and as part of his duties as a board member of the National League of Cities. I thought he traveled to foreign climes quite a bit more than he apparently does, as there's only one record of an overseas trip on city business, to Taiwan earlier this month:

6/12-16, 2009 Providence RI US Conference of Mayors Annual Meeting—City Livability Awards presentation.

6/17-20, 2009 Washington DC/Tampa Fl NLC Finance Committee Meeting/ All-America Cities Awards Competition

7/9-11, 2009 Denver CO National League of Cities BOD Meeting

9/15-17, 2009 Washington DC Mississippi Delta Grassroots Caucus Annual Legislative Conference

9/24-24, 2009 Chicago IL Illinois Municipal League 96th Annual Conference

11/10-14, 2009 San Antonio, TX NLC 200 Congress of Cities and Exposition

12/4-5, 2009 Chicago IL IML Winter Board Meeting

1/15/2010 Peoria IL Annual meeting, Illinois Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

2/8-9, 2010 Springfield IL Meetings with State Legislative Leaders

3/9/2010 Springfield IL Pension Fairness for Illinois Communities—Legislative Hearings/Negotiations

3/11/2010 Springfield IL Pension Fairness for Illinois Communities—Legislative Negotiations

3/13-17, 2010 Washington DC NLC Congressional Conference & BOD Meetings

3/24-25. 2010 Springfield IL Meeting with state officials re. budget cuts/IML executive committee meeting.

4/1-2, 2010 Little Rock AR Mississippi Delta Grassroots Caucus Annual Conference

4/14. 2010 Springfield IL IML Legislative Day and Spring BOD Meeting

4/15-17, 2010 Washington DC Legislative meetings for federal funds.

4/2-23, 2010 Springfield IL Pension Fairness for Illinois Communities—Legislative Negotiations.

4/26-27, 2010 Chicago IL Chicago Global Cities Forum

5/3, 2010 Springfield IL Pension Fairness for Illinois Communities—Legislative Negotiations.

5/23-25, 2010 Las Vegas NV International Council of Shopping Centers Conference

5/25-27, 2010 Springfield IL Legislative meetings.

6/8-10, 2010 Washington DC NLC Finance Committee Meeting.

6/12-17,2010 Taiwan City Taiwan Sister City Visit and Ceremony.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Walk the Line

Walk the Line Shoes should re-open sometime in August. Kim's, the owner, health is improved and the store will open sporadically over the next couple of months as she prepares to go back to regular hours about the time school starts this fall.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sustainability Commission

C'dales Sustainability Commission meets tomorrow night at 6 p.m. in room 103 of the Civic Center. On the agenda:

Status update on the Koppers Wood Treating Site (how long is it gonna take to clean that place up)

Goats and chickens, what's the status of the ordinance permitting them in the city.

Program to promote reusable bags at businesses

Plan to reduce the city's costs for street lighting

Review of the new proposed Comprehensive Plan

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Liquor Control Commission

The LCC meets the evening of June 22 in the Civic Center. Only thing on the agenda is the renewal of currently held liquor licenses, unless someone wants to agitate for Lance Jack getting one for Fat Patties.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Wal-Mart U

Interesting article on the deal Wal-Mart struck with online educator American Public University. According to the article, Wal-Mart employees will receive a 15% discount from APU but the course costs are still significantly higher than a community college like John A. Logan. A good counterpoint is this article by Andy Kroll on the problems with for-profit colleges

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Simon Sighting

Haven't heard much from Sheila Simon since her ascendancy to the Lt. Gov. candidacy so glad to see Gov Quinn putting her to work. From the Governor's weekend schedule:

At 1:30 p.m., Saturday, June 12, Lt. Gov. Nominee Sheila Simon will attend the Metropolis Annual Superman Days Celebration, Market St., between 6th and 10th Sts., Metropolis.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Valle Out

Looks like two weeks was enough time for new Chancellor Cheng to deceide that three years was enough time for VC for Enrollment Management Victoria Valle to get enrollment numbers up, something at which she's consistently failed, though the university has been on the verge of turning the numbers around, oh, every semester for the past decade. I see the university still sees salvation in going after out of state students, despite the fact that those states have universities that go after the same students as well. Have't checked recently but the last I heard, SIUC made really anemic attempts to recruit students from the southern Illinois region.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Jerry Costello on Border Control

Rep. Constello is outraged about President Calderon's speech to Congress, a speech Rep. Costello didn't both to attend (and let's keep dumping money into the border fence, which hasn't had much effect):

I have heard from many constituents about the remarks by Mexican President Felipe Calderon during his recent address before a joint session of Congress. During his speech, President Calderon touched upon a number of controversial issues, and I wanted to update you to share my thoughts on this event.
I did not attend the speech, and I was outraged when I read President Calderon’s remarks lecturing Congress on immigration, gun control and other topics. I believe that Mexico needs to address its own very serious problems before lecturing any other country – let alone the United States.
Regarding immigration, I strongly support measures to control our borders, including building the border fence and using our active duty, Reserve and National Guard troops to patrol our borders. Only after we secure our borders can we address the other aspects of reform. Much remains to be done, but we are seeing signs of progress regarding border control; the Department of Homeland Security reported the number of illegal immigrants dropped by 1 million people from 2008 to 2009, the largest decrease in 30 years.

North Marion Closed

'tis the season for roaaaaaad work, fa la la la la la la la la. According to this press release from the city, North. Marion, between Fisher and Dillinger, will close June 14 until maybe August 21:

The Jackson County Highway Department has announced that it will be closing Marion Street between Fisher Street and Dillinger Road starting on Monday, June 14, due to culvert replacement work by the County. The road may be closed up to August 21, 2010. Motorists are asked to seek alternate routes during this time.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Not Dead Yet

Apparently the complete demise of Stadium Grille has not occurred yet, as their catering wagon is set up on Market Street at the Superman Celebration in Metropolis Il.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Police Station

Sat in on the opening of bids for building the new police station this afternoon. About 2 dozen people in attendance: police officers, city staff and contractors, it looked to my admittedly inexperienced eye. The city received 9 bids, including one delivered by a gentleman at a run, to make the 3 p.m. deadline. In order, the were:

Hector Construction $7,056,000
Morgan Commercial Structures $7,686,000
S. M. Watson $7,265,500
Volker Construction $7,310,000
Schimpf Construction $7,315,000
Faber McGee Commercial Construction $, 085,000
C. Rallow Contracting $7,147,000
River City Construction $7,034,000
Contegra $7,020,000

No bid has been accepted yet. It's my understanding the city will turn them over to the architects to look over and make sure they comply with the plan the architects drew up. I overhead one local contractor commenting they had no idea who the low bidder, Contegra, was.

Stadium Grille Closed

Just got an email that the Stadium Grille on East Main closed its doors on the 7th. I'd never ate there and the word I'd heard was that the food ranged from very good to "eh". They were a strong supporter of downtown Carbondale, having particpated in several fundrasiers for various downtown events and had invested a lot of money in building the place. Hat tip to Lauren for the info.

Always did wonder why their architect designed the building the way they did, with the main entrance facing the west side rather than the street, where most traffic was. If you drove by on East Main, the building didn't make nearly as much impact as it would have with the front facing the north.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Comprehensive Plan

The Planning Commission voted last week to accept the recommendations of the Comprehensive Plan committee regarding the revisions to the comprehensive plan. Next step, the plan goes before the City Council on June 22 for a final vote.

The vote certainly didn't take very long as the Commission had adjourned by the time I got there about 7:30.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

DUI Stops

Maybe it's me but 6 stops for DUI in CArbondale in a month long period doesn't seem like very many, especially when the purpose of the grant is to reduce alcohol consumption through highly visible enforcement:

The enforcement period began on Friday April 23, 2010 and ended on Sunday May 30, 2010. During the time period officers involved in the grant worked a total of 97.1 hours and logged 467 miles driven on patrol. Officers made 68 traffic stops, issued 54 tickets and 23 written warnings. Of the tickets issued, six were for Driving Under the Influence (DUI).

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bass Club

The Saluki Bassers has grown to become, with 30 members, one of the largest RSOs at SIUC and arguably the largest fishing club in the state. Good for them, but way down in terms of the size of Registered Student Organizations at SIUC from 20 years ago.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cheng in Murphysboro

Doesn't say much good about the housing market in Carbondale, does it, when the new Chancellor opts to live at the Stone Center until her new house is built in Murphysboro?

Bald Knob Cross

In the minor controversy over the grant from the state. the Friends of Bald Knob Cross are now advancing that argument that Bald Knob Cross is a major tourist attraction in southern Illinois, attracting upwards of 500 people during a summer weekend, and that the grant was sought and approved based on that function of the cross, rather than its religious significance. Interesting way to look at it since, in my experience at least, most religious sites, while they certainly appreciate any money generated by tourism, emphasize the religious aspect of the site over the secular one and are somewhat put out when you look at their church, temple, etc. as a tourist attraction. You can listen to the interview here.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


In case you're really civic minded (or really bored), the Planning Commission (PC, get it?) will meet tomorrow night at 7 p.m. in room 108 at the Civic Center. The main item on the agenda is a review and discussion of the city's comprehensive plan (CP, get.... oh never mind)