Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Premier Lounge Patio

Excavation work taking place in the space next to the Premier Lounge on North Washington.  I would guess the plan is to put a patio adjoining the bar to provide an area for bar patrons to smoke without having them clutter the sidewalk in front of the Premier. 

If so, this would leave Stix, PK's and the Icebox as the only bars in town without an adjoining outdoor area designed for that purpose.  PK's is working on getting an easement allowing the bar to close off the east end of the alley running just south of the building, making a patio area there, but it is moving very slowly.

Given Illinois state law, it appears almost an imperative for a successful bar to have an outdoor smoking area, preferably covered, for the convenience of their customers.  Both Traz and The Cellar have installed screened off patio areas in the past year.  No idea how their business has been affected but The Cellar has a steady traffic stream during open hours.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day At Woodlawn Cemetary

Some photos from Monday's ceremonies at Woodlawn Cemetery.  Above, the Buffalo Troopers Motorcycle Club, with members from both Chicago and southern Illinois attending, along with a Boy Scout troop leader and member proceed to lay a wreath on the Lewis Sinclair grave in the southwest corner of the cemetery.  People did not like the sun.  The chairs on the left stayed empty save for when the Buffalo Trooper members occupied the first two rows.
 I'd estimate over 200 people attended, with most in the shade.  Members of the local American Legion post  standing back by the flag.
 The local Civil War reenactor group, Co. B, 31st ILL Vol. Infantry (I think),  fires a 21 gun salute.  They stood in the sun in long sleeved woolen uniforms during the entire ceremony.
Taps is played at the end of the ceremony.  Played so well I thought it was a recording at first.

Edited to correct the misidentification of American Legion as VFW.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Oakland Wreck

Couple of people decided drag racing on West Willow at 3 a.m. today was a great idea.  Unfortunately, their reflexes didn't match their speed and they missed the curve where Willow meets Oakland.  One hit the corner of the house and a car parked in the driveway, the other went through the garage window.  One of the drivers went to the hospital with broken body parts, the other to jail.  No one in the house was hurt, though one resident was asleep in the room directly above the car.  2 fire trucks, one ambulance, 3 tow trucks and about six police cars were on the scene for over two hours.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Hampton Inn Bankruptcy

A blog reader pointed out a legal notice on page 3D of the May 24 Southern, announcing that Reed Lodging LLC was filing a complaint for foreclosure against CSP Carbondale Hotel Partners on the property identified as Lot 5 Reed Station Crossing, better known as the Hampton Inn.

I've been wondering about the number of hotels going up in the Reed Station Crossing area.  Three have gone up in the last 6 years, while the population of Carbondale has stayed roughly the same.  Granted, people living in the community aren't the ones using the hotels, but still, I would expect a growth in the population correlating with the number of hotels built.  I have heard comments for several years that one reason Carbondale could not attract larger sports events was the lack of hotel rooms for attendees, but not that they are there, it doesn't appear they are getting filled as tax revenue generated by the hotels has declined approximately 10% over the last fiscal year, compared to 2011.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

New Business

A blog reader tells me that a Family Dollar Store will move into the vacant Hollywood Video store at the corner of Oakland and Main Streets.  Good to see a retailer moving in on that side of town as opposed to the more thriving east side.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Arbor District Crime Meeting

There's a meeting at St. Francis Xavier Church at 7 p.m. tonight in the lower level of Xavier Hall to discuss recent crime in the area.  Though Chief Jody O'Guinn (who will be present, along with city manager Kevin Baity) says the city has not seen an increase in crime over last year, residents of the Arbor District are concerned because of several burglaries that have taken place in the area in the past couple of months.

The Crime Report map for Carbondale doesn't appear to show an outsized number of burglaries and thefts for the Arbor District, though.

Monday, May 21, 2012

New Buisness

According to the sign on the building, a veteran's outpatient clinic is moving into the old Office Depot building behind University Mall.  That means one less place of a Halloween pop up store to set up come this September.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Long Council Meeting

I was wondering, given the relative shortness of last Tuesday's city council agenda, why the public part of the meeting didn't end until almost 10 p.m.  An hour long discussion regarding a special use permit for a home-based dog grooming business explains it.

Seems to me this is a care where the people wanting to start the business should have deferred to the wishes of the neighbors.  They bought homes there expecting the area to remain a residential neighborhood, not expecting someone to want to start up a small business with walk-in traffic across the street, especially a dead end street.

Friday, May 18, 2012

University Comparisons

Responder on Yahoo Answers compares SIUC to other state schools.  Spoiler alert:  SIUC comes in third.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

License Transfer

It appears that Gatsby's had changed ownership or is in the process of doing so.  One of the items on the LCC agenda tonight is a request for transfer of the bar's liquor license.

Liquor Violations

Even with Polar Bear, Pinch Penny Pub managed to come in behind Stix in the number of liquor violations reported by C'dale police for January 1 through March 31. Pinch Penny only had 41, while Stix racked up 58.  Cali's was the only other liquor establishment to break into double digits, with 21. Every other place serving or selling alcohol in C'dale reported fewer than 10 violations, with most reporting 0.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Flushing Fire Hydrants

Your water isn't bad if it comes out discolored, that's just the city flushing out fire hydrants.  Still safe to drink but might want to wait a few hours before doing laundry.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

City Official Salaries

In case you are interested in seeing the entire list of city employees making over $75,000, referenced in today's Southern Illinoisanhere it is.  No real surprises, save for that we have a couple of positions vacant at that level of pay. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Store Closing

Scrubs and More, 207 N. University Ave. has a sign in the window announcing the store's closing and clearance pricing on all merchandise.  It appears that location, in this case,  isn't everything as the store was located right across the street from Memorial Hospital.  The employees there should have been a prime target for the store's merchandise.  However, the store could have relied too much on business derived solely from Memorial, which, while a prime target market for scrubs, may not have proved large enough to support the business long term.

Friday, May 11, 2012


In case you missed my  update on the original post, the building housing the Country Goddess is not for sale.  The people I spoke with about it had the wrong information. Stuff inside the building, yes, that is still for sale until May 28.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Business for Sale

The Country Goddess is either a) for sale, or b) going out of business at the end of the month.  It appears the owner has unsuccessfully tried to sell the business since late last year so now plans to liquidate her inventory and relocate to Florida.  Fixtures went on sale yesterday and inventory is clearance priced until May 28th.

Update:  The statement that the building was for sale was based upon second hand information and is in error.  The building is not for sale, just the inventory.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Open Meetings Act

It appears the Illinois Open Meetings Act does not apply to CCTB meetings (or other tax supported organizations) as long as it is a private not for profit organization that has no direct governmental control:

  • OMA does not apply to private, not-for-profit corporations, even if such corporations administer programs funded primarily by governmental agencies and are required to comply with government regulations, as long as the board of directors and employees of such corporations are free from direct governmental control.

  • Thanks to a couple of readers of the blog for passing this along.

    Friday, May 4, 2012

    Bye Bye Debbie

    It appears the CCTB board met the night after the city ended its contract with the CCTB and fired executive director Debbie Moore. Looks like an olive branch extended towards the city.  However, I have to wonder if, given the support of the CCTB by tax revenues, if meetings such as this are in violation of Illinois' Open Meetings Act, which requires public notice of meetings by any organization supported by tax monies.  Organizations covered by the act include:

     all legislative, executive, administrative or advisory bodies of the
    state, counties, townships, cities, villages, incorporated towns, school districts and all other
    municipal corporations, boards, bureaus, committees or commissions of this State, and any
    subsidiary bodies of any of the foregoing including but not limited to committees and
    subcommittees which are supported in whole or in part by tax revenue, or which expend tax
    revenue, except the General Assembly and committees or commissions thereof

    As has been noted before, most of the funding for the CCTB comes from Carbondale's motel tax, which certainly seems to cover the CCTB and by extension, its governing board.

    According to the Southern's story, Councilman Chris Wissmann, a voting member of the board, was not notified of the meeting, which also appears a violation of the Act.

    Wednesday, May 2, 2012

    Bye Bye CCTB

    City council voted 6-1 last night, with Councilwoman McDaniel the lone opponent, to not renew its contract with the Carbondale Convention and Tourism Bureau, effectively defunding the organization, as the $275,000 provided by the city though its hotel/motel tax was far and away the CCTB's largest source of financial support.

    Up in the air is what happens to the CCTB's facilities and website.  Councilwoman Jane Adams said she would like the city to take over maintenance of the website but Moore argued that the state owns it:

    Councilwoman Jane Adams said she wanted to see the city retain ownership of the bureau’s website. Moore dismissed that notion after the vote, saying the state funds the portal.
    “I will dismantle and destroy that website before I give it to anybody,” Moore said.

    Interesting phrasing Moore uses there, given that in the sentence before, she states the state owns the website.  I guess you can't serve as executive director of something for some 20 years without developing a feeling of ownership.  Still, it was only after the city council starting putting pressure on the CCTB and Moore about how funds were spent that the Bureau's website got any attention and it still looks a work in progress.

    Update:  From what I have heard, there had been active request from constituents to council members about defunding the CCTB and outsourcing tourism activities, causing them, with the exception of McDaniel, to readily approve the cancellation of the contract.

    Update:  Apparently not gone yet, according to the Southern.

    Tuesday, May 1, 2012

    CCTB Coverage.

    As I noted yesterday, the city council votes to enter into a contract with the Carbondale Convention and Tourism Bureau for this year's funding of the Bureau.  Here's an article from the DE on the subject and the Carbondale Times ran this.  Meanwhile, this is the most recent article run on the topic by the Southern Illinoisan.  The Southern's coverage is much more favorable toward the board and the CCTB in general than were the articles in the DE and CT.

    From the Southern, this is the first comment I have read from anyone on the CCTB board regarding the expansion of the number of members on the board:

    Moore and CCTB Board of Directors President Trace Brown said they added to the board because at least 15 seats had to be filled by the end of March, according to CCTB’s bylaws. The move was not made to stack the board against Fritzler’s appointments, they said.
    “I don’t think we were doing anything to go in the backdoor on city council members,” Brown said.

     Moore said CCTB directors chose to expand the board to make reaching a quorum easier. She also said the board has had as many as 36 members during her two decades with the agency.

    I'm not quite sure how expanding the number of  people on the board will make getting to a quorum easier, since now at least 15 people have to show up to conduct business whereas before it was only 8, but maybe the board is privy to some math or attendance numbers of which I am not aware.