Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Strike Watch

According to this post from the SIUC Faculty  Association, the faculty have gone without a contact 422 days. For supposedly intelligent people, that seems like an awfully long time to not be able to come to some sort of agreement.  On the other hand, looking at the current situation in Congress, maybe not.

Monday, August 29, 2011

New Development

I see there is another office park going in on East Walnut, near the entrance to the SuperBlock and Sports Blast, next to where the Hindu Temple of Southern Illinois will stand eventually.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hangar Nine Video

In case you haven't seen it yet, the Carbondale Times has posted the security cam video of the yahoo trying to steal a TV from the Hangar's patio.  Made CNN yesterday.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

More Problems for SIUC Athletics

If the article is correct regarding what Athletic Director Moccia said during Sambursky's interview for the assistant coach position, then he left SIUC wide open for a sex discrimination lawsuit.  I worked for Wal-mart for several years as an assistant manger back in the 1980s and one of the things drilled into our heads was that you could not ask a woman applying for a job (or a man either for that matter) if they had children or bring the children up in the conversation unless the interviewee brought it up first. You could ask them if there was anything about their current status or lifestyle that would prevent them from performing the duties of their job, but indicating during the interview that you felt that children would prevent an applicant from performing the job, unless the applicant said so, was a no-no.

Looks as if someone else feels this way as well.  Here's what the Southern had to say earlier this month and Channel 12's story as well.  Meanwhile SIUC womens' track and field coach Connie Price-Smith said about the support she gets from the althletic department:

Price-Smith, who has competed and coached at SIU for 14 years, vehemently disagrees with even the suggestion that women don’t have the full support of the administration within Saluki Athletics.
“When I hear it I go, ‘What are you talking about?’” she laughed. “Everybody seems very supportive of what I do. I don’t really recognize, see or hear anything but great support for women’s athletics within our department.”

Monday, August 22, 2011

Green Retreat Closing

Green Retreat, located off Chautauqua Road west of Carbondale, announced on their website they are shuttering the business as of today.

More Beer

At least one of the retailers that received a liquor license at last week's city council meeting has already stocked in beer and wine.  Schuncks has converted the area at the front of the store that used to house their video rental area to beer and wine.  The Neighborhood Food Co-op expects to stock local beer and wine within six to eight weeks.

Arnold's Market is the business I expect to come out the big winner in this.  Consider:  all of the other recent recipients of a liquor license are located very close to Highway 13. Westroads and Schnucks will compete for most of the mass market beer and wine sales on the west side (Neighborhood Food Co-op, I expect, will not stock lines such as Keystone, Bud Lite and Coors, stocking local wines and beers, more in accord with its image but not drawing big crowds).  Meanwhile, Wal-Mart and Kroger will fight for the market share currently dominated by ABC, One Stop, Blue Fish  (assuming they mange to deal with the ownership difficulties) etc.

There is no place to buy liquor in Carbondale south of Wall Street and we have seen a significant growth in housing, especially student, in the Pleasant Hill Road area.  Liquor purchases tend towards the impulsive, i.e. "Let's stop and get a 24 pack on the way home" or "Hey, time for a beer run."  Since convenience plays a big factor in the decision and assuming Arnold's does not follow the Co-op's plan of stocking locally sourced beer but carries widely popular, the store should see a huge influx in sale as students (and others) stop there on the way home or head there when they discover they are low, as opposed to making the trek to the next closest location, Pinch Penny Liquors on E. Wall.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

More on Council Items

Have received a couple of emails and communications regarding yesterday's post.  Apparently the Arbor District did not actually support the request by Home Rentals for the special use permit for W. Monroe but viewed it as pretty much a given that it would go through.  The organization decided to make the best of what they viewed as a bad situation by making certain that the apartments would meet certain standards when built.  I am told that, in the audio of the council meeting, Arbor District representatives make it clear they do not support the special use permit.

Also regarding the Blue Fish transfer, the applicant, Manny Patel, had checked on his transfer application that he had paid his taxes on time, when in face he had not.  Of concern to the council is the fact that he appears to be having difficulty securing a Best Western franchise for the former Ramada Limited motel he owns on Giant City Road, as the Best Western signs have been installed for several weeks but remain covered with blue tarps.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

City Council Items

A couple of items at the last city council meeting haven't gotten much attention.  The transfer of the liquor license for Bluefish Liquor and Cigars from Zach Short aka Short Enterprises to Manish Patel AKA Sunrise Hospitality.  Councilwoman Adams expressed concerns regarding the number of late fees, totaling over $1000, Patel has paid for late payment of the hotel & motel taxes collected by the Ramada Inn, as well as some late taxes owed by Moe's Southwestern Grill, which Patel also owns.  Mayor Fritzler expressed some concerns regarding the comparatively rapid change in owership, given that several changes in zoning were passed through council specifically allowing Blue Fish to open last year.  Council decided to deny the transfer on a 4-2 vote with Adams, Fritzler, Fronabarger and Monty voting to deny.

The other item on the agenda that got most of the attention at council was Home Rentals request for a Special Use permit allowing them to build an apartment building on West Monroe, next to the C'dale Public Library. Most of the people speaking at the meeting spoke in opposition to granting the permit.  Unfortunately, the audio is not posted on the website, but the request was denied.  It was interesting to see that both the Planning commission and the Arbor District Neighborhood Association approved the request before it went to council, where it ran into enough opposition to torpedo it.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Safety Belt Enforcement

C'dale Police announced stepped up enforcement of safety belt use and checking for drunk drivers over the Labor Day weekend.

Morning Coversation with Rita Cheng

Conversation between Jennifer Fuller and Chancellor Cheng on WSIU this morning.  Questions about the new logo and why the university spent $1.5 million hiring a marketing firm out of Chicago when the university has an entire marketing department in the college of business at its disposal.  Cheng's answer was rather vague as to the reasoning but I think the point she wanted to make was that they wanted outside eyes to examine the university's image and develop the new logo and promotional materials.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Planning Commission

For those who were concerned about Home Retails request for a Special Use permit at last night's city council meeting, remember that this requests start with the panning commission, which approves or denies the request, then sends its recommendation onto city council.  The council tends to give a lot of weight to the commission's votes and the meetings generally are sparsely attended.  Tonight's meeting, for example, has a rezoning request from John Mill's on the agenda:

John Mills is requesting to rezone a parcel of land from RR, Rural Residential, to R-1-15, Low Density Residential, for the property located at 1121 West Lake Road.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Building Board of Appeals

Turns out the Board of Appeals meeting was called on account of Campus Habitat appealing the city's notice of intent to close apartments the company owns at 600 and 820 West Freeman.  If Campus Habitat did not get the extension, several apartments in 600 West Freeman and the entirety of 820 West Freeman would close on August 23.  Campus Habitat has fist been notified verbal of problems with the buildings by the city last September and had received written notice in late July.  After a two and a half hour meeting, the Board decided to give Campus Habitat an extension until Sept. 5 to bring the doors in 600 West Freeman up to city specifications. 

The Board then required Campus Habitat to provide it with an action plan for replacing the doors at 820 West Freeman and otherwise bringing the building into compliance with fire and building codes by the time of the Board's next meeting, Sept. 12. Board chairman Campbell Smith said the Board also expected to see substantial compliance with the submitted action plan by the time of the meeting, otherwise the intent to vacate order would be reinstated.  Smith added that the reason for the lengthy extension granted for 820 West Freeman was evidence submitted by Campus Habitat that the 91 doors ordered for the refit were not expected to arrive until Sept 4.  Of course, also according to Campus Habitat, orders for replacement doors did not go to the supplier until August 15 (yes, that was yesterday).

City Council and Special Use Permit

Quite a bit on the city council's agenda tonight.  The item that had attracted the most attention is the request by Home Rentals for a Special Use permit, allowing the company to build an apartment complex at 310 and 312 West Monroe, next to the Carbondale Public Library.  A major reason for opposition is that Home Rentals still has properties damaged in the May 2009 storm that have not been repaired and are deteriorating, so why allow them to build new properties when the company is not maintaining the ones it already owns?

The Public Library has drafted a resolution requesting the Council deny the Special Use permit. Below, from the Arbor District email list, is a portion of the library's resolution:
The Public Library has a strong interest in the property in question; we reaffirm our opposition to the apartments and agree that the library would be willing to take stewardship of the property if, for example, it were donated to the library." 

Board members also noted that if there is to be any hope of renewal in this neighborhood we cannot have more apartments added. We talked about the fact that the property could be maintained as green space, and  could possibly be used to expand library parking, as I will be seeking grant funds to make our annex building (formerly part of Brush school) a more usable and attractive space. Right now, when we have book sales in that building, or large events at the library, our parking lot is completely filled with customers.

In short, if the special use permit passes, there will be yet another apartment complex in Carbondale, where there are already more apartments than the landlords can fill. This is an historic neighborhood, and in my opinion there are better options. We, and our neighbors are very concerned that if an apartment complex is built, the property will not be well maintained. To illustrate this point, I have attached a few examples of what tends to become of Home Rentals' property over the years. " 

According to an email sent out yesterday to the Arbor District list, an anonymous donor has offered to purchase the Monroe Street properties and donate them to the Library for maintenance as a green space next to the facility.  However, they would have to negotiate the purchase from Home Rentals, who has proven loathe in the past to sell any properties it owns, except for significantly more than the appraised value of the property

Monday, August 15, 2011

Building Board of Appeals

Meets tomorrow at 4 pm. in room 103 at the civic center.  Only thing on the agenda is an apppeal of an Order of Intent to Repair or Vacate.  No indication as to whom the order was filed against or who is appealing it.

Free Parking

City announced that parking meters in downtown will be covered today until Friday August 26.  For those who suggest they get removed permanently, the money from them goes back to maintaining the lots and streets in the city.  Would the city see enough of an increase in sales tax revenue collected from customers to offset the funds lost from removing the parking meters?  

The meters in the lot next to Quatros and 710 Bookstore were put in place to eliminate the problem of students parking there to avoid purchasing parking stickers for on-campus parking.  Student cars remained in place for several hours, stopping customers of businesses in the area from using them.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Prerservation Commission

Preservation Commission meets at the Civic Center tomorrow at 7 p.m.  Looks like the main thing on the agenda is a discussion of the Commission's 2011 bus tour of Carbondale properties.

Chicken Ordinance

The revised, yet again, chicken ordinance goes before the Sustainability Commission this Thursday for another vote, before getting sent on to city council.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Ususal Suspects

As expected the five grocery stores that lobbied hardest for a change in the liquor license regulations had their applications before the LAB yesterday.  I don't expect to see a rush for the other three as beer is not part of Save a Lot and Aldi's product mix nationwide and neither Town Square Market nor International Groceries has show much interest. Donna Camilla and the other Mexican grocery (behind Murdale, name escapes me now) may pursue them eventually, if only to offer Mexican beer to their customers.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

Step Two

Looks as if, now that grocery stores can sell beer and wine, the convenience stores are going to start petitioning for another change in the ordinance to allow them to sell them as well.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bike Regulation

The C'dale Police Department would like to remind you about regulations regarding your bike.

Trash Pickup

From an email from the city:
City Special Trash Pick-Up Dates Extended an Extra Week:
Special Refuse Collection Program Begins Monday August 8th

The City of Carbondale is extending the dates for Special Trash Pick-up an extra week. 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 Monday, August 8th and continue through Sunday, August 28th.  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.