Thursday, September 30, 2010

PK's Beer Garden

PK's is in talks with the city about installing a beer garden just south of the building. The plans include closing off the alley that runs along the south side of the bar and turning that entire stretch of alleyway alongside the building into the beer garden. The sidewalk cutout where the alley enters S. Illinois would be closed off and built up, to prevent someone from turning in from S. Illinois and really putting a damper on the festivities. There would also be a build up installed at the west end of the alley as well, forcing anyone driving down it to make a hard left and come out on West Walnut.

Plans are to start on the garden as soon as PKs gets the city's approval.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Art Tiles

Don't know if they are quite masterpieces but I'm sure people, especially their parents , will enjoy seeing them for years to come.

Mayor Brad Cole is pleased to announce the completion and installation of Phase II of the City Hall Tile Project, a thirty foot tile mosaic that lines both sides of the first floor corridor of Carbondale’s City Hall and features miniature masterpieces created by hundreds of students from Carbondale Elementary School District #95.

The Tile Project was inspired during Mayor Cole’s 2005 Sister City Tour, where he saw a similar “homage to the imagination of community children” at Chong-Ming Elementary School in Tainan City, Taiwan. The first phase of the Tile Project was completed in 2007, when a 16 foot tile mosaic was installed on the second floor corridor of City Hall.

The new tiles were painted by first through eight graders at Parrish, Thomas, Lewis and Carbondale Middle School during the fall of 2009. They were then fired at the SIUC School of Art and Design and installed in the first floor corridor under the supervision of City staff.

For visiting officials, members of the public doing business with the City and for City employees who work in the building, the mosaic mural offers a warm and vibrant setting. For the hundreds of students whose works of art now hang permanently in City Hall, the mural offers a source of pride and ownership in their local government.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Street Closures

Starting tomorrow, the Dept of Public Works will be closing streets for a couple of hours to allowing the application of an asphalt sealer to preserve and extend the life of the asphalt of C'dale streets. Streets should only be closed an hour or two. Work starts tomorrow and should be finished by Oct. 2. The money saved by not having to resurface streets for several years way outweighs any inconvenience drivers might suffer.

Beginning on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 the City’s Contractor will begin work on the following streets:

N. Oakland Avenue – Sycamore to Willow
W. Sunset Drive – Parrish Lane to Emerald Lane
W. Freeman Street – Glenview Drive to Emerald Lane
E. Park Street – Wall Street to Brush Hill
E. Oak Street – Illinois Avenue to Wall Street
N. Wall Street – Main Street to Fisher Street

Micro surfacing is a thin slurry pavement preservation process that seals existing asphalt streets and provides a cost effective means of extending the life of the pavement.
There will be periodic street closures and access to or from driveways will be prohibited for short periods of time while the surface material cures - which will typically be between 1 and 2 hours.

The Contractor will be placing door knockers on the doors of the affected residences and businesses to let them know more specific details and dates of street closures. Affected residents will need to move their cars off the street and out of their driveways before work begins on their streets. Once work begins access to or from driveways will be prohibited until surfacing process is complete.

The contractor will only be working on one section of street at a time. Weather permitting, the entire project is currently expected to be completed in 4 days. Work will be ongoing during daylight hours until this project is complete, including weekend days as necessary.

The City of Carbondale appreciates and thanks you for your cooperation and understanding.

Crimestopper's Trivia Night

In case you're not familiar with Crimestoppers, it's a community group that supports the police department by offering a reward for tips leading to an arrest in a local crime. They are hosting a fundrasier Nov. 4 to help keep funding these awards:

Carbondale Crime Stoppers would like to invite you to our 4th Annual Trivia Night held on Thursday, November 4th, 2010 at the Carbondale Elks Club (220 West Jackson Street). Teams will consist of up to 6 (six) players per table. The entry fee is $100.00 per table.

Prizes will be awarded for the following:
1) Best decorated table.
2) Team with the highest score.
3) Team with the lowest score.

All proceeds will help fund Carbondale Crime Stoppers, a not-for-profit organization that helps fight crime in Carbondale. Crime Stoppers is a community program that involves the public, media, SIUC Department of Public Safety, and the City of Carbondale Police Department in the fight against crime. It provides a way for information to flow from citizens to police without having to give your name, address or phone number. Tips that lead to an arrest are eligible for cash rewards of up to $1,000. The money for these rewards comes from this annual fund raiser and donations from public and private organizations.

Monday, September 27, 2010

State Budgeet Proposals

Though he doesn't have a chance of winning, Rich Whitney is the only candidate to have actually proposed a budget that will close the $13 billion budget gap Illinois faces. Unless you really believe there is $13 billion worth of fraud and waste in the budget, cutting the budget isn't going to do it. Brady's plan is pretty non-specific. His proposal to cut the budget by 10% would produce about $3 billion (assuming it gets thorough the legislature), leaving the state still short by $10 billion and Quinn's website doesn't address budget issues much. The closest I could find was this.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Trick or Treat

Looks like Halloween will still be celebrated in C'dale on the actual date this year:

Mayor Cole Sets Trick-Or-Treat Hours for Carbondale

Mayor Brad Cole has proclaimed Sunday, October 31, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. as the official "Trick or Treat" hours for Carbondale children.

The Mayor is encouraging residents to indicate their willingness to welcome the children by keeping on their porch and exterior lights. He also urges that "Trick or Treaters" wear reflective clothing or tape and that parents check all treats for potentially harmful objects.

Mayor Cole and the members of the City Council ask the cooperation of all citizens in making this a happy and safe occasion for our community.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New Business and Carbondale's Economy

While I'm happy to see new businesses such as Party City, Chili's and TJ Maxx coming into the city, it's the locally owned ones, such as the remodeled Pagliai's (which is posting some great sales figures), Hanger 9 (if it ever gets re opened), Walk the Line Shoes (ditto), Blue Fish Liquor and Cigars, Sew A Lot and whatever is going into the old Dragon Master's Tattoo location on West Main, that will do more to help the city's economic base.

According to most studies, more of the money spent at locally owned businesses stays in the local economy. For every $100 you spend at a Carbondale owned store, between $57 to $73 stays in the local economy, due to the store hiring local employees and services, buying from other local suppliers and contributing to local charities.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Liquor Advistory Board

Liquor Advisory Board meeting next Monday (Spet 27) at 7 p.m in the Civic Center. Looks as if Di Maggio's Pizza will move into the empty Godfather's Pizza space on East Walnut. The Hundley House B&B looks as if it's moving a bit upscale as well.

Consideration of an Application for a Class D1 Liquor License for William D. Jones, an
Individual, d/b/a Hundley House, 601 West Main Street

4. Consideration of an Application for a Class A1 Liquor License for DiMaggio’s Pizza of
Jackson County, LLC d/b/a DiMaggio’s Pizza, 1040 East Walnut Street

5. Consideration of Final Reports of the Police Department, Fire Department and Building and
Neighborhood Services for License Year 2009-2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Default Rate

The DE has a good story on the student loan default rate at SIUC. The 4.5 % rate is lower than the national rate of 7% but higher than a number of other Illinois public universties. SIUE, for example, has a default rate 2.9%.

The shocking statistic I saw in the story was the 24.7% default rate among students at John A Logan College. Apparently default rates have ballooned since the recession hit as JALC had rates of "only" 17% as recently as 2007. It's to be expected at both institutions as SIUC has traditionally served lower income students and 2 year colleges such as JALC usually get students who want to complete their first two years at a cheaper institution before transferring tot he more expensive 4 year college.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pumpkin Patrol

From the C'dale Police website:

the City of Carbondale Police Department is looking for volunteers. On Sunday, October 31, 2010, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. the police department will be sponsoring a Halloween safety patrol called "Pumpkin Patrol". The Department has sponsored the Pumpkin Patrol since 1992.

Volunteers wearing orange safety vests and driving vehicles bearing the "Pumpkin Patrol" logo will be patrolling areas of our community where kids go to "trick or treat". Although we strongly encourage adults to accompany children, the volunteers will identify potential hazards to children and provide a place where children can turn if they feel threatened.

If you are interested in being on the "Pumpkin Patrol" contact Officer Randy Mathis at 457-3200 EXT/428.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Preservation Commission

In case you're not commissioned out, the Preservation Commission meets this Monday at 7 p.m. in room 103. On the agenda:

Historic park at Lincoln School Site
SIUC Building 207 aka Sunset Haven Nursing Home
Deteriorating interpretative signs on the C'dale Town Square

Sustainability Commission Meeting

Sat in on last night's C'dale Sustainability Commission, which got off to a late start with members still trickling in at 6:20. Mayoral candidate Brent Ritzel was there as well, actively taking notes on his computer.

No update on the status of the Koppers wood treatment plant cleanup.

The Planning Commission didn't do anything with the proposed chicken/goat ordinance, returning it to the Sustainability Commission. Assistant City Manger Kevin Baity, attending as the city representative, recommended the Commission draft a proposal with what they wanted to see in an ordinance allowing the keeping of chickens and goats within the city limits and turn it over to city staff, who would then draft an actual ordinance for the Committee's approval. The committee voted in favor of this option and appointed a chicken sub-committee.

There was discussion of encouraging the use of reusable bags by Carbondale businesses and shoppers, with several Commission members leaning towards imposing a tax on plastic shopping bags to discourage their use. Commission members will contact communities that have successfully eliminated the use of plastic shopping bags to see how they did so.

The city is looking into the feasibility of replacing incandescent bulbs with more energy efficient lighting and will schedule a presentation in the future. Baity noted that utility companies offer rebates and discounts on LED and CFL bulbs for home use.

Vote on a new chairperson was tabled until October, when both candidates could be present.

Discussion on reducing styrofoam produced no action, except a request for the City to provide figures regarding how much it costs to clean up litter after Friday and Saturday evenings. Baity responded that, though the city makes an extra trash run emptying refuse containers over the weekend; the cleanup of loose litter is the responsibility of the property owner, who can be fined if it is not removed in a timely manner.

The meeting adjourned about 7:05.

Edited to fix the spelling of Brent Ritzel's name as noted in the comments.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Whitney Campaign Cash Strapped

Green Party gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney sent out this email/note to his supporters yesterday, basically saying his campaign is broke, lamenting that Scott Lee Cohen can:

"inundate the airwaves with his radio ads, and coat the streets with his yard signs, whe he has absolutely nothing of substance to say -- while I have plenty of substance to say, and yet am struggling to get my message OUT to where people can HEAR it, or see it."

Whitney aslo put some of the blame on his supporters saying:

Thus far, supporters have not followed through on such basic fundraising efforts as expected. I can't do it all, and you can't wait for the "campaign" to do it all. The campaign is US, collectively. I need people to step up to the plate and take some initiative.

As the Capitol Fax points out, 7 weeks before the election is not the time to deal with budget (or lack of budget) problems.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Possible Administrative Closure

SIU Trustees meet to consider enacting six administrative closure days at SIUC to help cover the budget shortfall. It's interesting just how far news of SIUC's problems is spreadint. This is an AP store but posted on a Galeburg TN media website.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New Businesses

Looks like October will be a banner month for lots of new minimum wage jobs in Carbondale with Chili's, Party City, Walgreen's and T. J. Maxx all opening up new stores. Thee are also a couple of competing Halloween stores in the empty Office Depot and Rex Appliances buildings.

The recently closed Godfather's Pizza is also undergoing interior renovation with a new lease signed for the building as well.

While it's good to see new businesses coming to the city, the sad fact remains that none of these will offer much more than minimum wage jobs. Even at 40 hours a week, take home pay before taxes will run just over $17,000, enough to keep one or two people above the federal poverty level but well below it for a family of four with 1 breadwinner. A single parent family can make it on a minimum wage job, but only by living from paycheck to paycheck. In order for families to live in Carbondale comfortably, the city needs more than the university as a economic base, especially when that economic base is having problems of its own.

Sustainability Commission

The C'dale Sustainability Commission meets this Thursday at 6p.m. in room 103 at the Civic Center. Items on the Agenda:

--update on the former Koppers wood treating site site at of 8/26/10
--status of the chickens and goats ordinance
--status of plan to reduce city's street lighting costs
--status of plan to promote reusable bags at C'dale businesses
--discussion of styrofoam reduction
--election of a new chairperson.

Seems to me a lot of this was on the last agenda as well. The wheels of sustainability grind slowly but they grind exceedingly fine.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ritzel for Mayor?

According to the B(ee)tl(juice) blog, local renewable energy maven Brent Ritzel has announced he's running for mayor of Carbondale. This puts him up there with Councilman Joel Fritzler, who has expressed an interest in running, former city Building and Neighborhood Services manager Tom Grant, who has also expressed some interest in running, and Councilman Steven Haynes, who AFAIK has not expressed any public interest in running, but whose potential candidacy has been mentioned by a few community leaders.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sports Clips

Sports Clips, a hair shop targeted at the sports fan, opened this week, though the story doesn't say where. This comment particularly bemused me:

"In this market, there wasn't anything meeting the needs of or targeting an all-male audience at all"

1. This assumes that all men are intersted in sports. Many are, but that's a pretty sweeping generalization.

2. There are at least three barber shops targeting an all male audience in Carbondale: Johnson's, Blade Kings, and Kampus Kuts. However, they target a black, all-male audience.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Police MAP Results

The C'dale Police released the most recent results of their Mini-Alcohol Enforcement Program (MAEP?), from August 13 through Sept 1, 2010:

The enforcement period began on Friday August 13, 2010 and ended on Wednesday, September 1, 2010. During the time period officers involved in the grant worked a total of 99.8 hours and logged 521 miles driven on patrol. Officers made 103 traffic stops, issued 122 tickets and 16 written warnings. Of the tickets issued, 19 were for Driving Under the Influence (DUI).

For all the complaints I hear about Carbondale Police hovering around, ready to bust anyone and everyone for illicit alcohol consumption, that doesn't seem like a very high number. Maybe that's an average number. Have to check with the city.

Friday, September 10, 2010

SIUE up, SIUC down

Article in the Daily Republican (acutally a story pulled from SIU Media Services) compares the fall enrollment at both campuses. SIUE up about 1.2% whilst SIUC is down about 1.5%.

Transfer students are the one bright point for SIUC. Students are completing their sophomore years or getting Associate degrees elsewhere, then transferring to SIUC. Of course, you can't run a four year institution on the revenue generated by two years worth of students.

This is hardly a new trend. When I attended graduate school at SIUC in the 90's, I often heard from upperclass students that their guidance counselors encouraged them to attend a community college for thier first two years, then transfer to SIUC. Based on a conversation I had yesterday, that is still common among high-school guidance counselors in southern Illinois today.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Rezoning Passes

The proposal by Budslick Management to rezone the old CCHS athletic fields passed City Council by a vote of 6-0 last night.

While I'm glad to see the development, the facility's business strategy is to derive the majority of its revenue from residents relying on Medicaid. Given the economic status of Illinois and the debt level of the federal government, I'm not certain how appropriate of a business model that is.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

City Council Meeting

The City Council meets tonight in ye olde Civic Center at 7 p.m. Main things on the agenda:

approving an ordinance for an encroachment permit for an alley next to East Monroe St.
approving a subdivision on Red Oak Drive.

and the big one;
approving or denying Budslick Management's rezoning request for the old athletic fields off North Oakland Ave.
According to the article in today's DE, Councilman Wissmann leans towards it, while a group of landowners in the area presented the council with a petition against it.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Not with a Bang...

but with a whimper. Got an email yesterday announcing the Downtown Grower's Market, located on the town square, is closing for the year. Apparently their produce growers did not have enough fruits and vegetables available to justify setting up their stands for the rest of the season.

While the crafters and artists were willing to keep setting up, people come to markets like this for the produce, with the crafts impulse purchases until October and November when the Christmas season gets here. My understanding is that Carbondale Main Street plans to discuss how to retool the market for next year, perhaps moving it to a different day (and for those who say it should not have set up Saturday morning against the Murdale Farmer's Market, the attending growers had requested Saturday, since they were not able to get booth space at the Murdale Market).

Friday, September 3, 2010

Saulki Stadium 2

As Shawn points out in the comments, the photo he shot was taken before kickoff. 15,276 people showed up in time for the game, nearly filling the stadium, which officially seats 15,000. BTW the Salukis delivered a royal drubbing to poor Quincy, 70-7.

Non-Violence Seminar

In case you're free the evening of Sept 13, the city is hosting a seminar on non-violent communication (as opposed to violent communication, I guess):

On Monday, September 13, at 6:30 p.m., the Carbondale Human Relations Commission will offer an introduction to non-violent communication entitled “Using Non-Violent Communication for Building Community.” The session will be held in Room 103 of the Carbondale Civic Center and the public is invited. Especially encouraged to attend are those with public, business, civic, religious, and non-profit groups working with programs for community betterment.

Presenter at this session will be Derrick Williams, Ph.D., of the SIUC Student Health Service's Wellness Center. Williams is an experienced presenter with community groups and has initiated local programs focused on male mentoring.

There is no cost for this session; refreshments will be served.

For more information, contact Dr. Deborah McCoy at 549-5302 or Hugh Muldoon at 549-1051.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Saluki Stadium

The Beer Philosopher kindly provides a shot of Saluki Statium during tonight's first ever game in the new confines. Needless to say, it's not exactly burstin' at the seams.

New Business

Sew A Lot looks to be opening in the near future in the space formerly (and briefly) occupied by Magic Signs on West Walnut, just behind Phoenix Cycle. My guess is that they will do alterations and tailoring. Looks like they are still int he remodeling and cleaning process though.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010