Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Good Reason to Move out of Metropolis

Did you know that Honeywell runs the only conversion plant in the world capable of distilling pure uranium? And it's located in southern Illinois, specifically Metropolis? And the workers have been on strike since June 24 over increases to their health insurance costs, mainly because workers in the field have a high rate of cancer? And that they they offered to work under the old contract while negotiations continued? And Honeywell chose to lock them out, preferring to use hastily trained replacement workers to replace workers with 40 years of experience working with radioactive material? Neither did I.

More on ReZoning

At the next city council meeting, the council is expected to vote on a request by Budslick Management to rezone the old high school track and tennis courts to high density usage, allowing the building of a 72 bed Handicap Living Center on the property. Plans call for the extension of High Street west to allow easier access to the property, which will also increase traffic significantly onto N. Oakland Avenue. This area, except for those organizations occupying the old school buildings, is zoned residential and consists of owner occupied and rental housing.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Stupid Chalk on Campus

Somebody chalked "Kappa Kappa Kappa: whites only" on the sidewalk near Lawson Hall last Thursday night. Stupid thing to do but I thought the response of Father Joseph Brown, director of the Arficana Studies department at SIUC, was a bit hyperbolic:

“We don’t know who put that on the ground … but all I know is if the public space makes me feel uncomfortable, that’s terrorism — I don’t know what other way to put it,” he said. “It’s anonymous, threatening behavior that tells me I’m not safe and should not be comfortable.”

If things that make you uncomfortable get called terrorism, then most of the internet ought to get classified as terrorist as there's plenty of things on there that disturb people, as Brown comments later in the article. Calling something like this "terrorism" inflates the importance of the chalk scrawl and lessens the impact of the word.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

SIUC Numbers

No official numbers out yet for fall enrollment at SIUC, though they are reportedly slightly down. If they were up, I"d bet we'd have seen official numbers a week ago, since SIUE and SEMO didn't seem to have any problem in getting them to the media.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Cache River Symposium

In case you're free on Oct 12, and have an interest in such things, a group of SIUC doctoral students are presenting a symposium on the state of the Cache River watershed, its effect on the region and its future. Given that the area is home to over 100 threatened or endangered species and has been designated a Wetland of International Importance, the research presented could be pretty important to the region.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Animal Crackers/Merlins/Golden Galleon

The building known as all of the above at one time or another is in the process of getting pulled down. Plan is to replace it with more parking lots to service a planned intermodal transportation center, which at least is better than the state of the demolished Tuscan Lodge and Southern Illinois Recycling buildings, which are only grassy lots looking for a buyer.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

That Didn't Take Long

Second day of classes and there's already an attempted sexual assault just about 4 blocks off campus.

Preservation Committee Meeting

There's a demolition request on the table for the house at 406 S. James Street. The Preservation Commission's Certificate of Appropriateness Committee (now that's a mouthful) meets at 2 p.m. today in Conference Room B at the Civic Center to discuss it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

WDBX Board Meeting

Tonight's WDBX board meeting promises to be interesting. From what I have heard, some of the recent changes, such as cutting half an hour from the afternoon shows to make room for Democracy Now and rescheduling others, have upset some people, who plan to make their disagreements known at the board meeting. If you want to catch it, the meeting takes place at 6 p.m. tonight at the Carbondale Township offices.

Monday, August 23, 2010

SIUE Growth

Was talking with a friend who teaches at SIU-Edwardsville and he says the general feeling is that, if current trends at the two universities continue, SIUE will exceed SIUC in student enrollment within 5 to 6 years. When that occurs, the general feeling is the administration will, citing admission trends, push for separation from SIUC and status as an independent institution, something that, according to him, faculty and staff "desperately" want.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dueling Lt. Governors

Sheila Simon and Jason Plummer made their cases for the officeduring Governor's Day at the Duquon State Fair this past Wednesday.

Growers Market Cancelled

I see from the the Carbondale Main Street Facebook page that the downtown Grower's Market was canceled due to rain. Granted we did receive 3" of much needed rain last night but still, the Murdale Farmer's Market and the yard sale at the Arena both went off. If CMS wants to build the downtown market, it needs to take place regularly, regardless of the weather.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bicyclists Again

Bicycists sure do like to blog about their trip. Here's another one that passed through Carbondale, along with some nice photos of the southern Illinois scenery and a couple of nice comments about the unnamed bike shop where he got repairs done.

Buidings Demolished

The two houses that have stood at the corner of W. Mill and S. Illinois for 20 to 30 years are being demolished. From what I understand, plans are to put in a two story commercial building there, with retail space on the first floor and residential space on the second.

A good retail development there will certainly help foot traffic on the south end of the Strip. People who are shopping don't like to walk past large stretches of empty space, which is a major problem on the north end of the Strip. Once you pass Pagliai's and Dairy Queen on foot, ther's no other place to shop or spend time in until you reach Bike Surgeon on the left side of the Strip or Family Hair Center on the right.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Reed Station Closed (again)

The city just sent out a notice that Reed Station Road will be closed for a day or two, starting today:

Reed Station Road will be closed to all traffic from the first driveway north of Old Route 13 (Walnut Street) to Neon Internet’s Driveway. This closure is scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 19th and will be in effect for one to two days depending on the weather. All access to the businesses north of the closure will be from Illinois Route 13. All access to the businesses south of the closure will be from Old Route 13 (Walnut Street).

Whitney Up In Polls

A notice from the Rich Whitney campaign puts him at 11%, still 20 percent behind either Pat Quinn or Bill Brady

Planning Commission

The Planning Commission last night rejected the request to re-zone the old CCHS athletic fields by a vote of 3-2. However, this vote serves only as a recommendation to the city council, which gets the final say.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Let's Have Some Democracy

Packets for those interested in running for City Council become available August 24th. Up for grabs are the mayor's office, as well as the seats of Lance Jack, Steven Haynes, and Mary Pohlman:


In April 2011, the City of Carbondale will hold an election to select a Mayor and three City Council Members for four-year terms. Information and petition forms will be available in the City Clerk’s Office beginning on August 24, 2010.

This election is for the Mayor’s seat presently held by Mayor Brad Cole and for the City Council seats presently held by Council Members Steven Haynes, Lance Jack and Mary Pohlmann. The seats of City Council Members Corene McDaniel, Chris Wissmann and Joel Fritzler expire in 2013.

Signed nominating petitions must be submitted to the City Clerk's Office during the statutory filing period of Monday, November 15, through Monday, November 22, 2010.

If five or more candidates file for the position of Mayor and/or thirteen or more candidates file for the three City Council positions, a primary election will be held on Tuesday, February 22, 2011. The General Election will be held on April 5, 2011. The Mayor and new City Council members will take office on May 3, 2011.

The City Clerk's Office is located in Room 165 of City Hall, 200 S. Illinois Avenue. Office hours are 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Phone inquiries may be addressed to City Clerk Janet Vaught at 457-3280 or e-mail inquiries may be sent to jvaught@ci.carbondale.il.us.

Greener School

Arter the dust up last year when the Sierra Club rated SIUC one of the least green schools in the country, the University makes the Club's top five most improved list this year.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ghost Lab at Hundley House

A van bearing the logo of Discovery Channel's Ghost Lab has been parked in the Hundley House parking lot all day. Three guesses as to what they are there for.

Let's Get Sustainable

C'dales Sustainability Commission meets this Thursday at 6 p.m in the Civic Center. On the agenda: goats and chickens, reducing the city's street lighting cost, an update on the Koppers wood treating plant reclamation, shopping bags and Styrofoam:

Monday, August 16, 2010


According to an email from the Arbor District mailing list, a rezoning request for the property containing the old Carbondale Community High School football, tennis and track fields is on the Planning Commission's agenda for this Wednesday evening.

The property was acquired by Vienna Il.'s Gelco Management about 5 years ago from the school district for $175,000. Subsequently, the company offered the property for sale for $1.9 million, with no improvements to the property, as far as I can tell and no taker, either. The proposed rezoning would take the area from a R 1-8 to a SLF (supportive living facility). Apparently, if the rezoning goes through, the plan is to build a 76 unit apartment complex primarily targeted towards people on Medicaid, Social Security and SSI.

So we're looking at a facility aimed at people on state aid, with Illinois financially unsound, and federal aid, with continued talk about revamping Social Security? Doesn't exactly sound like a great business plan to me. Still, I have no knowledge of the particulars, which I hope come out after the planning commission meeting.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Marion Monument

Marion must be doing very well financially to have the time and money to put into erecting a Ten Commandment monument on public land in the town square, plus fighting the lawsuits that are sure to come about from it. In general, that's just not something you can do on public land. I know if Mayor Cole or any of the city council proposed such a thing, I'd be wanting to know where the money would come from, especially after the last sales tax increase.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hot Dawgs! Opening

Hot Dawgs! will have its grand opening across from Lewis Park (821 East Grand)next Monday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. No indication as to what they are doing for the grand opening though. Do you get fre samples or just the opportunity to be one of the stand's first customers? And I thought they were going to locate at the old Winston's Bagels location in front of Gatsbys?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Still for rent. Price is $!800 per month from what I understand. For that you get the space, name and all the recipes that made the place popular back in the day.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Giant City State Park: The Book

Just got a notice that Arcadia Publishing, a house specializing in books about local history, will release a history of Giant City State Park on August 16.

Two Doves Moving

Two Doves Photography, located in the 200 block of West Main, has big "We're Moving" signs in their windows. No indication as to there they are moving to, though.

Update: According to their blog, Two Doves is moving to the same cornfield that Mr. Tuxedo has moved to.

Stitlgrass Summit

In case you're one of those people who spend a lot of time puttering in their garden:

Please pass the word around that the Wednesday evening session of the stiltgrass summit is open to the general public.

Dr. Les Mehrhoff, retired curator of the University of Connecticut Herbarium, will present a history of Japanese stitlgrass in the United States. His talk is titled:

"Microstegium vimineum: George Ainslie’s Discovery and What It Means to Us"

The presentation is at 6pm on Wednesday at the Student Center Ballrooms at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Immediately following the presentation, there will be a reception and poster session. This evening is open to the general public, no registration is necessary. Of course, everyone is welcome to register and attend the entire two-day meeting. For more information on the stitlgrass summit go to: www.rtrcwma.org/stitlgrass

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Tax Holiday Cost

Illinois Department of Revenue estimates that the long sale tax holiday will cost the state $40 to $60 million. The state is currently $13 billion in the hole. Ergo, Illinois will forgo paying off about 2.5% of its debt so people can pay 5% less for school supplies. Research is inconclusive as to how much or little the holiday will affect state revenues. About a dozen states in all have tax holidays starting this weekend, including Missouri. Georgia and Washington D.C. had them in past years, but due to the affect on state incomes, decided to cancel them this year.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Sex Offender Compliance

Who knew? 33 registered sex offenders living in Carbondale. The police department just checked on them all and only one was found non-compliant, a Mr. Corey Allen who is now wanted for failing to register as a sex offender.

Want to know if you have one living in your neighborhood?. The C'dale map of sex offenders is here.

Human Relations Meeting

In case your interested, the C'dale Human Relations Commission meets next Monday at 6:30 in room 103 at the Civic Center. Here's the agenda:

Carbondale Human Relations Commission
Monday, August 9, 2010
Carbondale Civic Center Room 103
6:30 p.m.
I. Call to Order
II. Approval of Minutes from April 5, 2010 Meeting
III. Announcements
IV. Public Comments
V. Identification of HRC Chair
VI. Membership
VII. Carbondale Conversations for Community Action: Race Relations
VIII. Study Circles Report
A. Housing and Neighborhood
B. Continuing the Dialogue/Education
IX. Illinois Municipal Human Relations Association
X. Other Reports
A. Employee Protection
B. Program Proposal
X. Next Meeting
XI. Adjournment

Sales Tax Holiday

As is usual, the state takes a possibly (maybe) good idea and manages to cock it up. The sales tax holiday starting today waives the states portion of the sales tax collected from today until August 15. Of course, they couldn't make it applicable to everything. Oh, no, that would be too easy. Instead, there's a list of some two hundred items that are exempt from state sales tax over the next week or so. Hopefully, you can open it up as I get a "file corrupted" message when I try.

As the Tribune points out:

Leotards and lunch bags qualify. Sweatbands and paper lunch bags don't. Rainwear and daily agenda books, yes. Umbrellas and dictionaries, no. Computers, data storage devices, printer cartridges and cell phones aren't included. But calculators are. Nursing shoes and orthotic inserts get a break, but ballet shoes and gym shoes don't.

Chain retailers carrying these products shouldn't have much problem adjusting registers to reflect the change in tax on the 200+ items. Independent retailers will have a harder time of it and figuring out how much sales tax needs to go to the state next month will add in additional hassle to the single store operation.

There's also research from the Tax Foundation indicating that people don't spend any more because of the tax holiday, they just shift purchases around. On the other hand, a study done of the Florida tax holiday indicated sales increased by 8%. Guess we'll have to wait and see which happens here.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Student Move In and Trash Pick Up

Since the students are coming back and we make to make the city clean for them and their parents, this notice form the city:

City Offers Student Move-In Services: Special Trash Pick-Up Rules Announced

With SIUC students arriving back on campus and fall classes starting on Monday, August 23rd, the City of Carbondale will again be offering additional services to the public:

  • In addition to established office hours Monday through Friday, the City Water Office will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 14th and on Saturday, August 21st.

  • Free newcomer and visitor information will be available in City Hall, along with free bottled water.

  • Parking meters will be covered to allow free parking on downtown parking lots between Friday, August 13th and Monday, August 30th.

In an effort to keep the City clean of trash and debris, the Refuse and Recycling Division will conduct a Special Refuse Collection Program and provide daily patrols of the City to collect and dispose of refuse from the curbside. Regular patrols will begin on Friday, August 13th and continue through Sunday, August 29th. Patrols will be performed seven days a week as determined to be necessary by City staff.

Within the guidelines of the Special Refuse Collection Program, refuse at curbside will be removed and the property owner of record will be billed based on the time it takes at each location. All collections will be timed and billed to the property owner of record at the City’s Special Pick-up rate which is $13.50 for up to two minutes and $6.75 per minute thereafter, rounded up to the next whole minute. Under this program collection will include:

  • Refuse that is not placed curbside by 8:00 a.m. in an area whose normal refuse collection day is the current day and/or exceeds the typical household collection of three to four cans or bags.

  • Refuse that is placed at the curbside prior to 4:00 p.m. in areas whose normal refuse collection day is the following day and which exceeds the typical household collection of three to four cans or bags.

  • Refuse that is placed at the curbside in areas whose normal collection day is not the following day.

  • All refuse that is placed at the curbside at any time where the property address in question is not a regular customer of City refuse collection.

  • Please note that landscape waste, white goods (household appliances) and tires will not be collected under this program. These items will be collected on a call-in basis only as a part of the City’s existing sticker collection programs by calling the Maintenance and Environmental Services Division at 457-3275.

The Special Refuse Collection Program will be augmented by staff from the Building and Neighborhood Services Division making regular patrols throughout the City and issuing citations as needed. Building and Neighborhood Services Division staff will issue citations to the property owner of record for the following violations:

  • The property in question is not a regular customer of City refuse collection. (Note: To maintain the cleanliness of the City, any refuse set at curbside on property which is not a regular customer of City refuse collection will be collected and the property owner will be billed for the collection in accordance with program guidelines.)

  • The refuse is not properly bagged or neatly stacked for collection at the curbside.

These guidelines have been established in an effort to keep the City free of debris and refuse, as well as to prevent the regular City Refuse and Recycling customer from being penalized for setting their refuse out slightly earlier than permitted by City Ordinance which is 6:00 p.m. on the day prior to the customer’s regular collection day.

For further information contact the Maintenance and Environmental Services Division at 457-3275.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Mr. Tuxedo has move from its Giant City Road location to a small strip mall in a cornfield outside of Carterville. Guess they feel the business is enough of a destination store that people will drive the extra distance to shop there.

The Carbondale Motel 6 is now America's Best Value Inn, advertising even lower prices, which I thought was the whole idea behind a Motel 6.

Looks like Magic Signs on West Walnut is closing or moving. They were cleaning out the space on Monday afternoon and there's a large "For Lease" sign hanging there.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Wanna Buy a Center?

the city just announced it is putting the Eurma C. Haynes Center on the block. Bids are accepted now, with bidding closing the end of September. Imagine this will creat a bit of controversy.

City of Carbondale Issues Request for Proposals for Sale of the Eurma C. Hayes Center

The City of Carbondale is requesting proposals from interested parties for the sale of the Eurma C. Hayes Center located at 441 East Willow Street in Carbondale. The City will accept proposals from all interested parties. Non-profit and for-profit organizations are acceptable, but non-profit organizations are preferred. The building was constructed in 1974 as a community center and priority will be given to entities providing services beneficial to the community and region, in an effort to preserve the facility’s original intent.

The building is a one-story masonry structure, of concrete block and brick. A new roof was recently installed and energy efficient air handlers were recently installed on the HVAC system.

The interior is arranged as offices, classrooms, and a large multi-purpose room. It would be feasible to separate the interior for use by multiple tenants. The total building area is 30,785 square feet and it is currently zoned R-1-5. There are no known environmental restrictions or concerns, as the property lies in an established residential neighborhood. As a City-owned building, there is no property tax currently assessed on the property. Annual utility bills are approximately $48,100. The Fair Market Value on the property has been estimated to be $460,000.

One wing of the building was built to house a child care center. The child care portion of the building contains six classrooms which range in size from 930 square feet to 1,490 square feet. There is also a 533 sq. ft. office area and a small janitorial supply room. There is a commercially equipped kitchen (with adjacent food storage areas) and a 2,400 square foot multi-purpose room. There are three sets of bathrooms in the former child care wing. Each of the classrooms opens directly onto the fenced playground which has modern playground equipment. A paved parking lot is located to the west of the building,

The sale of the property will include equipment and cooking and serving implements in the kitchen. This includes a commercial stove, dishwasher, refrigerator units, freezers, pots and pans, dishes, silverware, etc. The sale does not include equipment, furniture, and materials (books, toys, etc.) in the classrooms in the former child care wing. This includes audio/video equipment, cribs, cots, lockers, chairs, tables, changing tables, etc. Also not included is the furniture in the child care offices: desks, chairs and file cabinets.

The City will provide the building “as is” under current conditions and configuration. If the proposed use would require building modifications or remodeling of the space, to accommodate the proposed use, the purchaser will be responsible for these.

All proposals are to be submitted in writing and must be received by 12:00 noon on September 30, 2010 at the office of the Purchasing/Risk Management Coordinator, City of Carbondale, 200 South Illinois Avenue, P.O. Box 2047, Carbondale, Illinois 62902-2047. No late proposals will be considered.

For further Information and to obtain a copy of the Request for Proposals, contact Allen D. Gill, City Manager at (618) 457-3226. The Request for Proposals is also available on the City’s Web site www.explorecarbondale.com.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Wal-mart Remodeling 2

The Columbus Dispatch has an interesting story on the reasons behind the extensive remodeling at the Carbondale Wal-Mart and the other 230 stores remodeled so far.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Further Melange

According to the Beer Philosopher, due to the number of calls, for the forseeable future, Melange will give up on brunch and open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Now, we'll have to see if the number of people calling equates to the number of people coming in and spending money. Plans are to reduce the number o f menu offerings and reduce the price on some of them, so we'll see if that helps. I've also heard a major complaint is the amount of time it takes to get served, even just a cup of coffee when Melange was a coffee house, so we'll have to see if the staffing improves as well.

Property Taxes

Just got my property tax bill and it's interesting to see where the money goes:
1.30% Jackson County
.000% Jackson County Prior Year adjustment
.227% Carbondale Township
.000% City of Carbondale (still)
.455% Carbondale Park District
.092% Southern Illinois Airport
.032% Mosquito Abatement
3.08% School #95
1.907% School #165
.0541% John A. Logan College
.087% Carbondale Road and Bridge
.269% Carbondale Library

The tax rates for everything is up a fraction of a percent for except the City of Carbondale (still holding steady at zero), the Park District (down from .48776 to .45558) and John A. Logan College (down from .54405 to .54132)