Monday, February 28, 2011
A large number of these empty lots are owned by people who do not live in Carbondale. They have either moved away or inherited them from relatives. The property is paid for, so aside from maintenance and property taxes, they have no costs associated with them. The owners can therefore sit on them, waiting to sell to someone willing to meet their price, and in most cases, that price is way too high for a prospective purchaser.
According to the person I spoke with, who is in a position to know, owners are asking $10,000 to $15,000 for lots the city estimates a value of $1500 to $2000. Demanding a price premium of 10 times the estimated value of your property is not going to entice any buyers, but since the owner has only minimal costs associated with it, there's no incentive for them to reduce the price.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Carbondale HR Commission Non-Violent Carbondale Project (now there's a mouthful) meets March 3 at 5 p.m. in room 103 of the Civic Center.
The Housing and Neighborhood Action Group Wed. March 2 at 5 p.m. someplace in the Civic Center (my guess would be room 103).
The Liquor Advisory Board meets Monday Feb 28 at 5:30, with nothing apparently on the agenda.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Meeting started with an update on the Koppers wood treating site cleanup, which is progressing glacially slowly, mainly due to continued revisions in the plan by the EPA. Then the commission moved on to the fun stuff, the chickens.
One local landlord showed up to argue against the ordinance, saying that the provision not allowing renters to keep chickens discriminated against renters and that chickens should be treated like dogs and required to get re-licensed every year, rather than the one time license proposed in the ordinance. When the commission asked if she would be OK with changing the ordinance to allow renters to keep chickens with landlords having the ability to say "No Chickens" as they can with pets, I found that renters abuse landlords horribly, as she indicated that, despite her policies, renters brought pets into her properties all the time and it was almost impossible to get them out once they did and she expected the same thing to happen with chickens. Both provisions remained in the ordinance, however, and it passed. The commission will send it on to city council, hopefully to appear on the March 22 agenda.
The meeting ended with after a discussion of bike paths and trails in Carbondale. Beatty mentioned several grants the city had applied for, however many of them required matching funds, which the city does not have available, despite the $500,000 included in the Saluki Way tax proposal. The commission decided to look furthen into sources of funding for bike paths and the feasibility of creating one running along the railroad tracks from North Oak to the University.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
7:55: Results for precincts 2, 6, 12, 26 &27 trickling in.
8:13 Results from all precincts except those at the Civic Center and SIUC Student Center coming in.
8:26 Looks like either Ritzel or Haynes will not move on to the general election. With 100% of the precincts reporting (but not counted), Maroney and Fritzler are within 1/2% of each other for the lead, while Ritzel trails Haynes by 3/4 of a percent.
8:29 with 100% of the precincts reporting, here are city council primary election results:
DONALD MONTYNONPARTI 926 18.97%
JANE ADAMSNONPARTISA 766 15.69%
LEE M. FRONABARGERNO 177 3.63%
JOHN HOLTNONPARTISAN 294 6.02%
HUGH RICHARD WILLIAM 117 2.40%
JERROLD HENNRICHNONP 112 2.29%
JESSICA BRADSHAWNONP 366 7.50%
JANET ELIZABETH DONO 207 4.24%
EARL CZAJKOWSKINONPA 52 1.07%
CRAIG ANZNONPARTISAN 109 2.23%
TOM GRANTNONPARTISAN 466 9.55%
CANDLE WESTER-MITTAN 155 3.18%
MICHAEL C. RILEYNONP 182 3.73%
MONTANA GOODMANNONP 76 1.56%
LANCE D. JACKNONPART 465 9.53%
R. RICK JACKSONNONPA 396 8.11%
Write-in Votes 15 0.31%
8:31And here are the mayoral results:
GEORGE MARONEYNONPAR 478 25.51%
SAM GOLDMANNONPARTIS 334 17.82%
JOEL FRITZLERNONPART 467 24.92%
BRENT RITZELNONPARTI 291 15.53%
STEVEN N. HAYNESNONP 304 16.22%
8:34 Looks like Brent Ritzel will not move onto the general election for mayor and:
JERROLD HENNRICHNONP 112 2.29%
EARL CZAJKOWSKINONPA 52 1.07%
CRAIG ANZNONPARTISAN 109 2.23%
MONTANA GOODMANNONP 76 1.56%
are out of the city council race. That's all folks.
Monday, February 21, 2011
The owners of the property adjoining his testified against the rezoning, saying they were willing to live with the existing cabins but opposed any additional. They had problems with cabin renters wandering over on to their property and, while the renters were always polite when told they were trespassing, still found it perturbing. Also, they felt the turnoff onto their and Egert's properties from Springer Ridge Road was already dangerous and the additional traffic generated by the new cabins would increase the hazard.
After listening to both sides and questioning them (a lot of questions coming from commission member Lance Jack to Carol Burns, one of the adjacent property owners, regarding her reasoning for opposing the rezoning, which would make it more difficult for Egert to run his rental business), the commission voted on two separate motions, one rezoning the property for the three existing cabins, which was approved, and one rezoning it for the three existing and three proposed, which was defeated. The question then moves onto the city council next month, with no guarantee that council will follow the commission's recommendations.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Hours of operation are 11-2 and 4 p.m. to 2 a.m, with only appetizers served after 10 p.m. Specialty of the house is wings with an assortment of hot sauces. Christopher says his hot sauce selection will start where Buffalo Wild Wings ends. One of the cooks at the Icebox is the former owner of the Spotlight, a good chef but not a great businessman. The other staff consists of 3 additional cooks, 4 waitresses and 5 security. SIUC RSOs will be able to rent out part of the restaurant for events for $900, fro 10 p.m to 2 a.m., with only people with an SIUC ID allowed to attend and no liquor (or even gum) allowed. Customers will have to park in the limited parking at the restaurant or city parking lots. He plans on stationing one security person by the Verison/ Frontier parking lot to direct customers to park in an approved parking space.
Regarding the murder that took in the Verizon parking lot place after an event at the Icebox, Kirkwood says it took place after a wing eating contest at the restaurant and that a number of participants in the fight were people who had not been allowed entry into the restaurant. I have heard from other sources that the event was extensively advertised throughout Carbondale via Facebook, Twitter and flyers. According to him, a number of people had parked cars in the Verizon and when trucks showed up to tow them, tempers flared and the fight broke out, involving both people exiting the restaurant and those who had not gained admission. Since the fight was not on his property, he told his security not to get involved and called the police immediately.
Since the night of the murder, he has run approximately 8 more events, all from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. with no fights and only one argument between a couple of women. The police have showed up during most of those events but have not cited the business for any violations, at least none that I have found reported by the Carbondale Police. The events have been pretty quiet as I have only noticed one taking place about 2 weeks ago.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Don Monty's main qualification is his 35 years of service as a city employee, ending as Asst. City manager. He doesn't offer any specific programs to solve Carbondale's problems, referring to the Comprehensive Plan as a guide.
Candle Wester-Mittan has only lived in C'dale for 4 years, employed in the SIUC Law Library. Her interest in local/regional politics dates to back last year's election. She believes she brings "a new voice and new perspectives", wanting to positively contribute to the community. No specific recommendations, though.
Lee Fronabarger has been active in the community for a number of years, currently on the Planning commission and on advisory boards for a number of civic organizations. He actually makes specific proposals, calling for the relaxation of Carbondale liquor ordinances.and insituting foot and bike patrols by police in certain parts of town.
Mike Riley manages the local Sherwin-Williams store since 2004. He believes the town is a good place to raise a family and would like to focus on encouraging alternative modes of transportation, i.e. making the city more bike friendly. He also advocates beautification of the Strip and is the only candidate to drop Spanish into his essay.
Montana Goodman has lived in the 'dale for 1 year and is the only SIUC student running. Originally planning to stay for only 1 semester, she now doesn't expect to "leave anytime soon". She wishes to bring the student point of view to the council and would encourage the city to offer internships to SIUC and JALC students.
Hugh Williams, along with John Holt, is running because he feels the city has not shown enough fiscal responsibility in past actions. Two things Williams especially wants to accomplish are repealing the recently instituted property tax and giving the Human Relations Commission subpoena power, empowering it to investigate misconduct by city employees.
As mentioned above, John Holt is not happy with the city's spending, believes the city is business and development unfriendly and that the council has passed ordinances "where the council abdicates it power to the mayor to make deals on its behalf" and has made too many decisions with a 4-3 council vote, rather than striving for consensus.
Another ex-city employee, Tom Grant (former building inspector and division manager) wants to ensure the city continues to provide a high level of services and seek out tenants for the under-utilized industrial park properties, utilizing the student population in the process. Grant also wants to implement and incorporate renewable energy systems and green roofing downtown to continue the "Cool Cities Initiative".
Jane Adams, much like Fronabarger, has been active in the community for a number of years and is retired from SIUC. Adams believes, like Don Monty, that the Comprehensive Plan serves as a good guidepost for the future of the community. Among other items, she wishes to create a non-profit housing redevelopment corporation to renovate and build affordable housing, relax restrictions on beer and alcohol sales, and develop parks, including dog and skateboard parks.
Jerrold Hennrich is a student at SIUC and serves in the Illinois National Guard. He has lived in the city since 2005 and finds it "a wonderful place to live" and has a "sense of duty to the community". His essay doesn't cite any specific proposals, aside from cleaning up and maintaining the Strip.
Janet Donoghue works as the development director for the Fuller Dome. She says that a number of her friends wished to put down roots in the community but, due to the lack of jobs, had to leave the area, so economic development and livability are high on her agenda. As an active organizer in the community and a mother of a young child, she feels she brings a unique perspective to city problems.
Craig Anz is a professor of architecture at SIUC and active with the Hickory Lodge Task Force and on the board of Carbondale Main Street. He doesn't advance any specific proposals, calling for more empowerment and involvement by city residents in bettering downtown.
Finally, Jessica Bradshaw, works at SIUC and is active in a number of civic organizations s well, including CAPSOIL and Non-violent Carbondale. She wishes to make Carbondale a more livable and sustainable community by revitalizng downtown and supporting local non-profit organizations such as I Can Read and Keep Carbondale Clean. Like Adams, she would like to see the community create a dog park, however, Bradshaw advocates converting the old football field on the west side of town into one.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Yep, that whole strategy of increasing rent to cause a video store to close down to re-rent the location for more worked so for Hollywood Video on C'dales West side
Sunday, February 13, 2011
On the Icebox Bar and Grill front, they now have a sign up on the awing in front of the building No indication as to what the next step is though.
Friday, February 11, 2011
The Johnny B's Pro Lube on the West Side has had a "closed for remodeling" sign up for over a month now. Given that there has been no sign of said remodeling taking place, I'd bet a "closed" sign is much more appropriate.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
The council then passed a series of resolutions commending Danny Piquard, Charles Vaught and Janet Vaught (yes, they are married) on their service to the city and congratulating them on retirement.
The new order of business, consideration of community and economic development organization funding requests should have been pretty short, since it typically just acknowledges that the city has received these requests, with the actual presentations occurring at the March council meeting. Someone forgot to tell the organizations that though, as Randy Osborne from the Boys and Girls Club launched into a full fledged presentation, complete with letters of support from the community.
After this, 90% of the orgnazations that had submitted funding requests made a presentation to the councils, cumulating in a 15 minute long presentation from Attucks Community Services that the mayor finally interrupted, asking why the organization sought $153,000 in funding when it still owed the city two months in rent and had only received $35,000 in rent and cash last year. The presentation then descended into a mild argument between the Attucks representative and the mayor regarding what what appropriate for discussion during the presentation. Under prodding from Councilmen Haynes and McDaniel who pointed out Mayor Cole planned to direct $150,000 to the school systems for a summer math and reading tutoring program, the mayor agreed to revisit funding for Attucks and the I CAN READ program, both of which had been zeroed out in the proposed funding budget.
Council went into closed session about 9 p.m.
February 10, 7:30PM- "Everything You Should Know About Bats" at the Carbondale Township meeting room, 217 E. Main St. George Feldhamer, Zoology Professor and Director of the SIU Environmental Studies Program, will give us this illustrated talk. Learn about the life history of bats, the importance of bats to humans and our ecosystems, and the threats that bats are facing now. Professor Feldhamer is curator of the mammal collection at SIUC and has 33 years of experience teaching upper-division courses in mammalogy and game management. His research has focused exclusively on mammalian populations, ecology, and management; biology of introduced deer; and endangered species of rodents and bats.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
The League of Women Voters is sponsoring two "Meet and Greet" events this week - Wednesday for City Council candidates; Thursday for Mayoral candidates.
Sixteen people are seeking election to 3 City Council seats, and 5 people are seeking election to Mayor. It's a crowded field!
City Council Candidates
Wednesday, Feb. 9, 7:00-8:30 p.m. at the Civic Center. (Candidates will be seated at tables. Voters may meet/speak individually to as many candidates as they wish.)
Thurs., Feb. 10, 7:00-8:30 p.m. Eurma Hayes Center, 441 E. Willow. (Candidates will be seated at tables. Voters may meet/speak individually to as many candidates as they wish.)
Monday, February 7, 2011
Friday, February 4, 2011
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Saluki Way tax--When asked if they would look for ways to repeal it, everyone except Fritzler said they supported keeping it, with Haynes and Goldman pointing to the 400 construction jobs the complex brought to the community and the increase sales in restaurants on game nights. Ritzel appeared to support it but was was lukewarm at best. Maroney came out strongest: "It's a done deal. Get over it."
All five candidates supported eliminating restrictions on liquor sales by grocery stores, saying that the current restrictions held back free enterprise.
None of the other responses really made a strong point. Since it was held at the Boys and Girls Club, a couple of the questions dealt with the city and education. All of the cnadidates pointed out that, while they as mayor would support education, the school system was separate from the city and there wasn't really much they could do about Carbondale schools.
All of the candidates made much of their managerial, business and experience in government. Fritzler appeared to notice the emphasis on business experience in the other candidate's opening statements as he played up his more in his closing statement.
Saw city council candidates Jane Adams and Don Monty in the audience and had the opportunity to speak with Tommy Hamilton, who is running for a seat on District 95's school board. He wants to see more parental and community involvement in the schools and apparently has been quite active with the school system as a parent.
Things got a little more interesting during the quarterly reports from the fire and police departments. Seems the fire department has made a dozen checks of the Cali/Copper Dragon/Pinch Penny area during the past quarter, much higher than other bars in the city. Additionally, Chief O'Guinn reported that Pinch Penny has had 84 alcohol related arrests during the past half year, four times more than any other bar in the city and well on their way to passing the 119 arrests there during the previous year.
This struck the LAB as so significant they they will send a letter requesting the owners of Pinch Penny to appear before the Board to explain the high numbers of arrests and their plans for reducing the nunber of infractions.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
In response to how to solve Carbondale's revenue shortfalls, he proposes placing a tax on plastic and paper shopping bags and utilizing the Comprehensive Plan to increase efficiencies and reduce wast in city operations. His other responses alll relect those in the first question as he desires increasing the quality of life for residents as well as making the community more sustainable. His plan for accomplishing this derived extensively from further implementation of the Carbondale Comprehensive Plan.