Thursday, June 30, 2011

New BBQ Restaurant

Mo Wallace BBQ and More slipped in under the Radar.  According to the menu, the focus is on smoked BBQ chicken, turkey and beef (as well as BBQ spaghetti), along with appropriate sides.  Bit of a problem for them is that  the restaurant is located at 216 N. Washington, one of the sites scheduled for demolition that the Certificate of Appropriateness committee is  evaluating tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Proposed Property Demolition

Apparently there is a request to demolish a pair of properties at 216 and 220 N. Washington.  The Certificate of Appropriateness subcommittee of the Preservation Commission (the same group that bollixed the Stotlar House demolition) will meet at the N. Washington location at 10 a.m. this Friday to discuss the demolition proposal.

Fat Patties Licensed

Lance Jack  got the liquor license for his Fat Patties' restaurant renewed last night by a vote of 5-1, with Mayor Fritzler the lone "no" vote. This comment by Jack struck me though:

Jack said getting a license from the state and digging out of a financial hole were his next steps.
"For two years now I have been operating on a less-than-ideal business platform," he said.
Jack said he has taken a loss on his business and taken out loans to stay afloat

Beer and liquor should be a secondary product for the restaurant. If they were going to be an important part of the restaurant's business plan, Jack should have made arrangements to get the license before ever opening Fat Patties.  If the primary product, burgers and sides, is not enough to make the business profitable and was the revenue generator in the original business plan, I'd have serious concerns about the long term viability of the restaurant.

Update:  Councilwoman Jane Adams has posted her comments on last night's vote.

Show Me the Money Tour

Several SIUC faculty and staff organizations will host a tour of campus buildings this Friday, starting at noon.  Each stop will focus on the building's relationship to the university's mission and its place in campus funding.  Needless to say, since the Graduate Assistants Union and Faculty Association are among the sponsors and have a tense relationship with the university at best, I'd bet the speakers indicate that the ways in which the university spends its money is not the best use of available funding.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lance Jack Liquor License

In case you would like to see the city council get moderately frazzled, Lance Jack will apply for his umpteenth time for a liquor license for Fat Patties tonight at 7 at the Civic Center.  Last time the City Council split 3/3, which meant no license.  Hopefully one person has changed their mind since then, as it appears the community really doesn't care if Jack votes on the Liquor Control Commission or not.  They voted him into office knowing he had a liquor license, that it would come up for renewal and that he would have to recuse himself from any liquor decisions.  Yeah, it makes it harder on the council to pass any liquor related issues, or easier to keep liquor licenses from being issued by the city, depending on your point of view, but that's what the voters of Carbondale wanted.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Poshard Turns Down Scholarship

Because of the controversy kicked up over the weekend, Maddie Poshard has decided to turn down the scholarship she received to SIUC.  I feel sorry for the poor kid, but, for a politician, her grandfather is pretty politically tone deaf.  With the difficulties that SIUC has suffered over the past couple of years, the administration needs to be as squeaky clean as possible and neither he nor Chancellor Cheng seem to realize this.

Maddie Poshard and SIUC

Here's the original story from the Tribune regarding President Poshard's granddaughter receiving a Presidential/Chanellor scholarship to SIUC this fall, which covers both her tuition and room and board, totaling approximately $20,000.  An important thing to note, as President Poshard pointed out in an interview with WSIU this morning, is that she also applied to, and received scholarships from, Xavier University and St. Louis University, as well as SIUC.  Those schools, however, cost about $50,000 per year, of which the scholarship would only cover approximately the same amount as the full scholarship as she is receiving from SIUC.

The reporter also notes that a current faculty member's (whom is not identified) daughter also received the scholarship this year and children of other faculty and staff members have won it in the past.

If she wasn't President Poshard's granddaughter, of course, there would be no story in this at all.  To avoid problems such as this in the future, perhaps the applications should have the student's name removed from them in the future, so that they earn the scholarship based solely upon merit, rather than any family connections.

D's Quick Stop

In case you missed it, the best place in Carbondale for catfish burned over the weekend.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bath Salts, Incense, Etc.

In case you were wondering why the council voted to ban the sale of "bath salts" within city limits earlier this month, Business Week has a good article on the explosive growth in the production and sale of synthetic drugs, marketed as bath sales, incense and even toilet bowl cleaner.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Road Changes

Affecting traffic around the new public safety building.  From the city clerk's office:

Beginning at 5:00 am on Monday, June 27, 2011, the following traffic changes will occur in the City of Carbondale:

  • College Street between Washington and Wall Streets will be two way traffic and on-street parking will be eliminated
  • Logan Street between College and Mill Streets will become one way southbound with parking on the west side only
  • Graham Street between College and Mill Streets will become one way northbound with parking on the east side only and
  • A four-way stop will be created at the intersection of College and Marion Streets

This action was authorized by the Carbondale City Council, Ordinance 2011-06.



Lance Jack's Liquor License

Lance Jack failed to get the liquor license for Fat Patties renewed at this week's city council meeting, so there will  be a special meeting of the Liquor Control Commission this Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Civic Center.  The Liquor Advisory Board had recommended that all businesses applying for renewal of their licenses, including Fat Patties, be approved.  It appears that Jack, as a result of his position on the city council, was the only license holder not renewed.  Even Kevin Kirkwood's (who had been the target or recent police activity) Icebox Bar and Grille got a license renewal without any difficulty.

Councilwoman Adams points out that the city attorney sees no legal difficulty with Jack serving on city council, he just cannot serve on the Liquor Control Commission:

I have been advised by the City Attorney that he sees no legal problem with Jack serving on Council, though he cannot serve on the Liquor Control Commission. State law, I understand, forbids any liquor license holder from being a liquor commissioner.

Knowing his position, the people of Carbondale elected him to another term on the city council.  it appears they are not concerned with his inability to serve as a LCC member and feel what he has to offer as a council member outweighs being one member short on the LCC.   If there is no other reason for Fat Patties not getting its license renewed, the LAB needs to go ahead and approve it.

Package Liquor Sales

Reading over the ordinance that failed to get a second at last Tuesday's city council meeting, ti does appear to address most of the problems that have concerned the city regarding increasing the number of package liquor licenses.  Councilwoman Jane Adams comments here on her reasons for not seconding the motion and The Southern adds its editorial thoughts here.

I agree with both Adams and the Southern  More time needs to be devoted to addressing concerns that council members and other members of the community raised regarding the proposed ordinance.  The sustainability commission has worked on an ordinance allowing people to keep chickens within the city limits and for over six months and that still hasn't come up for a vote.  Changing the liquor ordinance only became an issue last year and, as near as I can tell, this ordinance has only been in development for about a month.  Liquor sales are certainly a much more important issue for the city to deal with than chickens are.

The current package liquor stores have enjoyed a city sanctioned oligopoly for at least two decades and that needs to change.  However, the current businesses have also been operating legally under that legal structure and contributing to the city's economy for that long as well.  Immediately changing the ordinance without giving them time to adjust to the new legal environment would put at least one of them out of business, as liquor sales in the city quickly becomes saturated with the addition of at least 5 new participants (along with every gas station in town) to the market.  Go back and do further revisions to the ordinance to address concerns about hours and ages.  The current eight holders of package liquor licenses will know that the change is coming and adjust their business models to adapt to it (or go out of business).

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Liquor License Caps Remain

Missed teh city council meeting last night so did not get to see the reaction when no one seconded Frontabarger's motion to raise the city liquor license cap. I think that is the first time, at least that I recall, that a motion has died in council for lack of a second.

From the article, I can't tell if Mayor Fritzler was truyly suprised on just disengenious with his comment regarding council members commenting on the issue during council comments:

"If you didn't want to discuss it when it was an agenda item, why discuss it now?" Fritzler said.

Givne the described reaction of the crowd attending, of course the council members are going to want to explain their reasoning for the lack of a second of the measure.  Unless there has been a lot of behind the scenes negotiting regarding this, which from the way things turned out I doubt, there needs to be a lot more more put into crafting this ordinance, as putting it into place will affect the financal well being of a number ol long time Carbondale businesses.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Liquor Ordinances on Agenda

Wow, looks like Mayor Fritzler was serious about lifting the restrictions on local liquor sales.  I do have to wonder how much disccussion there has been with the rest of the council about this before it gets brought up.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Southern on Kirkwood

As a reader pointed out, the Southern has been silent on any of the current goings on regarding the raid of Kevin Kirkwood's home for a purported recording of a conversation between he and Brad Cole.  The last mention I found regarding Kirkwood and the Icebox was this story dated mid-May

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Kirkwood Raided

Carbondale Police raided the home of Kevin Kirkwood, owner of the Icebox Bar & Grill, in a search for a recording Kirkwood says he made of a conversation he had with former C'dale mayor Brad Cole, regarding Kirkwood's attempts to obtain a liquor license for the restaurant.  Under Illinois law, it is illegal to record a conversation without the knowldege of all parties concerned, so if Kirkwood did record the conversation with Cole, he is looking at a felony charge.  That probably accounts for his backtracking in the June 7th story, where he says it was a mental recording:

I’m saying I did not (record the conversation),” Kirkwood said. “I have a mental recording of every conversation that I have, especially dealing with this liquor license situation.

This bit from the story is also quite interesting, as Kirkwood claims he was originally contacted by the C'dale police seeking the recording as evidence in a corruption investigation of Brad Cole:

Kirkwood said shortly after the article was published, two officers showed up at his barbershop, Illusions, and gave the impression they needed his help. He said Lt. Stan Reno told him an investigation was being conducted on Cole for corruption and they needed his assistance. Kirkwood said he received a phone call a few days later from Reno in which the lieutenant asked for an SD card that contained the recording.
“I told them, ‘I don’t know where it’s at. I can’t find it,’ because in all actuality, there wasn’t a real recording of me and Brad talking,” Kirkwood said.

If this is true, it's the first I've heard of  any investigation of Brad Cole's activities while mayor.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cristaudo's

According to a post on their Facebook page, Cristaudo's is currently doing catering and plans to have the storefront re-opened in the old Kaleidoscope location in early July.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cold Case Updates

The C'dale Police Department has posted a list of the four unsolved homicides currently in the department files. They are  calling attention to the case of Connie Cole-Holmes, found dead in her Carbondale home fifteen years ago today.  It does say something thing about the effectiveness of the Police Department that there are only four unsolved homicides in the city.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Commission Meetings

Looks like a plethora of Carbondale commission meetings this week. One of your taxing bodies, the Carbondale Park District board meets tonight at 6 p.m. in room 108 of the Civic Center.  Then the Planning Commission meets Wednesday at 7 p.m., also in the Civic Center.  Looks like the main item on that agenda is Home Rental's request to rezone property on West Monroe from Professional Administrative to Medium Density Residential (AKA Student Housing).

The Sustainability Commission meets at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Civic Center with bike trails, recycling and the Kopper's plant cleanup likely on the agenda.  Finally, to wrap up the week, the board for Carbondale Community High School meets at 7 p.m. in the CCHS Cafeteria.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Night Festival

Stopped by to check and see how the Friday Night Festivals have been doing and was rather surprised to find out quite well. While not at Sunset Concert levels, the FNFs attract about 15 vendors plus 2 food vendors weekly and between 200 and 300 attendees or a regular basis

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Council Meeting

Missed the meeting last night, only getting there in time to talk with Councilman Lance Jack and council candidate Mike Riler afterward (and to get told by city manager Allen Gill that he could not discuss the circumstances regarding Beth Ponce's resignation/administrative leave).  The C'dale Times covered the council but spent all of its space discussing procedural problems during the meeting and the time  spent by Brent Ritzel and Pricilla Pimentel chiding the council for its choice of Lee Fronabarger as the replacement for Joel Fritzler.  Mayor Fritzler's plan to move citizen comments to the end of the meeting lasted all of about five minutes as council decided to put them on the agenda earlier, allowing Ritzel and Pimentel to have their say and not have to sit through the entire meeting.


The Southern, meanwhile, skipped over the Fronabarger discussion, focusing instead on the votes to ban the sale of  bath sales aka synthetic cocaine within city limits and to appoint the city manager as the hearing officer for the Liquor Control Commission.  Both passed, albeit with lots of discussion.

After the meeting,  Mike Riley indicated he planned to attended council meetings on a regular basis in the future, likely setting himself up for another run two years hence, whilst Jack said his attention, for the foreseeable future, was focused on acquiring his long sought liquor license for Fat Pattie's.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

Council on Fronabarger

Emailed the city council members asking for their reasoning on the choice for Lee Fronabarger to serve out the remainder of Joel Fritzler's term.  No response from Lance Jack or Corine McDaniels.  Responses from Wissmann and Fritzler were pretty short indicating that the council had discussed the candidates and come to consensus on Fronabarger.

Adams and Monty gave more detailed responses.  Both felt that they had a strong pool of candidates to choose from but the major factors they felt distinguished Fronabarger were twofold:

1.  his service on numerous city committees, both citing his current service on the city's Planning Commission giving him insight into both city and business needs.

2.  his experience and involvement in writing the recently adopted city comprehensive plan.  As the comprehensive plan became an issue in the mayoral election, with various candidates either viewing the plan as an idealistic starting point (Mahoney) or blueprint for future city action (Ritzel), Adams and Monty both felt that Fronabarger's work with the plan would be valuable as the council works to improve the quality of life in Carbondale.

In response to a followup question about lobbying for candidates for the position, no council member reported contact by any member of the community to argue for the appointment of any of the seven people to applied for the position, though several did mention the topic arising in the course of other conversation.  The closest to any active advocating for any council replacement was a letter received by the council for someone who ultimately did not submit an application for the post.