Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Carbondale Circa 1987

A reader of the blog sent this link to a video of random Carbondale locations taken back in 1987. Suprising how many of the buildings are still there, even if the business that occupied them is not.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Mo' Wallace Moves

In case you missed it Mo' Wallace BBQ & More quietly moved from its N. Washington location to 813 East Main at the old Delish location, which in a case of musical restaurants, is now in the old Taste of India location at the corner of S. Illinois and W. College.

Based on the number of 5 star reviews on Yelp, given how easy it is to get 1 and 2 star reviews, if you like BBQ, you should give Mo' Wallace a try.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Upcoming Commission Topics

Here are some of the topics coming up at assorted commission meetings over the next few weeks:

The City of Carbondale Planning Commission will meet on Wednesday October 1, 2014 at 6:00p.m. in room 108 of the Civic Center  to discuss the following item:

PC 15-02, The Planning Commission is requesting to review a possible text amendment in regards to the sale of private vehicles on commercial property, as it relates to Section of the Carbondale Revised Code.

The Downtown Advisory Committee will meet on Wednesday October 1, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. at the SIU Student Health Center located at 374 E Grand Ave. The subject will be the synergies between SIUC, Southern Illinois Healthcare and the near-in  neighborhoods in Carbondale. There is convenient parking directly across the street.

The City of Carbondale Planning Commission will meet on Wednesday October 15, 2014 at 6:00p.m. in room 108 of the Civic Center to discuss the following item:

PC 15-03, South Hill LLC has requested to rezone 900, 910, & 920 East Walnut Street from R-3, High Density Residential to SB, Secondary Business.

The City of Carbondale Zoning Board of Appeals will meet on Wednesday October 15, 2014 immediately after the Planning Commission meeting in room 108 of the Civic Center to discuss the following item:

ZBA 15-05, Paul Hinze, residing at 1500 Mary Nell’s Lane, is requesting a 1,450’ variance from Section of the Carbondale Revised Code, which limits the maximum combined floor area for accessory structures to 800 ft2 in the R-1-15, Low-Density Residential, District.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Though I was sorry to see the old Dillinger Feed Store go, it has been replaced with some rather nice parking spaces.  However, that is a problem in Carbondale, the tendency of landlords to let buildings run down rather than do basic maintenance on them. The Dillinger Feed Store, Stotlar House, Stage Company building, Tuscan Lodge, Merlin's, American Tap, all pulled down with only open grassy spots left in their place, well, except for the Dillinger Feed Store, where, as mentioned above, there is more parking.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Frontier Communications Building

I had the opportunity to take the Hidden Carbondale tour yesterday (well, I had to pay for it so anyone could have had the opportunity) and while there were a number of interesting things I noted (such as Prairie Farms Cottage Cheese and Wal-Mart's Great Value Cottage Cheese both coming out of the same vat), the most interesting was the Frontier Communications building (the old GTE Building north of the Civic Center.

The building sat empty except for the Marketing Director for the local Frontier office, who gave us the tour and unlike all of the other places we toured, he seemed the only person in the entire building and I believe only a dozen or so people work there. An unused call center sits ready for any telemarketing or similar type of operation to move in and start work. From what I understand, the taller building of the two building complex, sits completely empty of staff, filled with offices and desks no longer used.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Back to the 90s

It's almost like the 1990s again. Students taking the Strip, getting into fights and dropping a gun on the street. Well, maybe not the gun part.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Wanna Meet A Candidate?

Luckily, watching little tv means I don't get to see much of the inanity that passes for political commercials these days and ergo have not heard much about the candidates running, though from the amount of paper mail I get, it appears that Bill Kilquist thinks Terri Bryant is a tax avoiding politician.

If you want to actually talk to the candidates, including the Green Party, the Chamber of Commerce will host several meet and greets over the next month:

The Carbondale and Murphysboro Chambers of Commerce will hold a series of receptions to give Jackson County business leaders an opportunity to meet and hear from candidates for legislative offices before the Nov. 4 general election.
                Terri Bryant and Bill Kilquist, both candidates for the 115th Illinois legislative district seat currently held by Mike Bost, U.S. House of Representatives 12th district incumbent William Enyart as well as challengers Mike Bost and Paula Bradshaw will all be the guests of the chambers at upcoming Meet-and-Greet events. At each reception, candidates will have an opportunity to make introductory remarks prior to a time of informal visiting with attendees. The events, which will be held at the Downtown Design Center in the Old Passenger Depot at 121 S. Illinois Ave., will be free.
                “These are very important races for Southern Illinois businesses,” Murphysboro Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bruce Wallace said. “We, as Chambers, are thrilled to provide our members with opportunities to share their concerns with candidates and learn about each of them before casting their ballots.”
                Scheduled Meet-and-Greets:
                Paula Bradshaw, Green Party candidate for Congress, 4 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 2
                Congressman Bill Enyart, Democratic incumbent, 2 p.m., Monday, Oct. 6
                Mike Bost, Republican candidate for Congress, 4 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 8
                Bill Kilquist, Democratic candidate for the Illinois House, 4 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 21
                Terri Bryant, Republican candidate for the Illinois House, 4 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 23
                Additionally, each candidate will be guests on upcoming editions of the “Talk of the Town” radio program, heard at 10 a.m., Monday mornings on WDBX-FM 91.1. The radio program is a joint venture of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce and the City of Carbondale.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

College Athletics Costs

Since we are heading into football season, I thought this report from Moody's Analytics of about a year ago proved interesting. Roughly 90% of college athletic programs do not cover their own costs and require supplementary funding from the college. In addition, the amount of debt taken on to build snazzy new stadiums ties up the funding available for other programs and capital investments leaving other projects cash-strapped.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Vintage Soul Donation

Vintage Soul will be donating over $5000 next week to the Carbondale Underground Network. Apparently we just did not have enough churches in town. From the press release:

In August, Vintage Soul was able to sell lots of furniture to students returning to SIUC as well as community members.  This allowed them to set aside $5,364 to be donated to the Carbondale Underground Network.

On Thursday, September 25th, Vintage Soul will be hosting an Open House and Donation Ceremony where a check will be presented for over $5,000!  Vintage Soul will also have staff on hand to discuss how the business operates, future plans, partnership opportunities, as well as the amazing work the Carbondale Underground Network is doing.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Abbey Ridge Brewery and Taproom

Abbey Ridge Brewery and Taproom opened recently on Cedar Lake Road, just east of Hwy 127.  Maybe if enough microbreweries open in the area, Carbondale Tourism could start promoting the Southern Illinois Beer Trail

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Memorial Hospital

Sat in on the presentation by Memorial Hospital at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon today. Some figures showing the hospital's importance to Carbondale:

2013 payroll $74 million
2014 payroll approximately $82 million

Estimated indirect impact of those payroll figures is approximately double.

$7 million  in charity care to those who cannot afford the hospital services and have no access to Medicare or Medicaid

$34 million in expenses absorbed for those who do have Medicare and Medicaid

144 treated  in the emergency room Labor Day 2014, a new record.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Koppers Report

Here's what Beazer, the company tasked with cleaning up the old Koppers site (where Brightfields hopes to locate its solar production array), has accomplished since the last report:

Items Performed/Completed Since Previous Report:
 On August 4, 2014, Beazer submitted a letter to USEPA addressing USEPA’s suggestion of
groundwater sampling for dioxins/furans as stated in the agency’s July 29, 2014 letter responding to
questions received from the Concerned Carbondale Citizens.

 On August 20, 2014, USEPA provided Beazer with preliminary comments on the July 28, 2014 Human Health Risk Assessment Work Plan.

 Beazer, USEPA and others participated in corrective action coordination conference calls on August 7 and 21, 2014.

 Beazer continued post-construction OMM activities (e.g., DNAPL thickness measurements/removal, CAMU leachate monitoring/removal, Site inspections, etc.).

 Beazer collected approximately 123 gallons of DNAPL from the barrier trench and approximately 38 gallons of DNAPL from recovery well RW-23 during this reporting period. The approximate total
DNAPL volumes collected through August 2014 are 18,444 gallons from the barrier trench and 7,476
gallons from RW-23.

Fat Bottom Betty's

Boondock's Seafood, east of town at the interaction of Hwy 13 Reed Station Road has reincarnated itself as Fat Bottom Betty's, serving  wood fired pizza as well as pasta and burgers.  Not certain how well this will do as, last time I counted, there were at least a dozen places in Carbondale to get pizza and I don't know of a large demand for pizza baked in wood fired ovens.

One thing in their favor is the lack of any other dedicated pizza restaurant on the east side of town. Casey's offers pizza and they are cited as one place to get a pie, especially when you are in a rush. After them, though, you have to drive to Pizza Hut. The questions at hand:  Is Fat Bottom Betty's good enough to draw diners to the outskirts of Carbondale? If so, can they stay in business long enough to get the word out?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Plannin Commission Meeting and Change to Code

Planning Commisison will meet October 1 to discuss a change in regulations regarding the sale of private vehicles on commercial property. Hopefully they will propose changing it so as to allow the sale of private vehicles on commercial property except by a dealership. I can put a "For Sale" sign on the car in my driveway, why not while it is parked on my commercial property?

The City of Carbondale Planning Commission will meet on Wednesday October 1, 2014 at 6:00p.m. in room 108 of the Civic Center  to discuss the following item:
PC 12-02, The Planning Commission is requesting to review a possible text amendment in regards to the sale of private vehicles  on commercial property, as it relates to Section of the Carbondale Revised Code.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

LAB Meeting

Liquor Advisory Board meets at 5:30 today. Not much on the agenda, as you can see.  Most notable thing is New Kahala Fast Foods request, after 20+ years, for a liquor license:

1. Roll Call
2. Approval of Minutes from August 7, 2014
3. Discussion of Proposed Liquor Code Classification for Public Arts Venue
4. Discussion on Approval Process for Class F1 and F2 (Temporary Liquor Licenses) for Established Organizations Holding Recurring Events
5. Discussion of Proposed Liquor Code Classification for Video Gaming Establishments
6. Consideration of a Class A1 Liquor License for Sen Fuy’s Inc. d/b/a New Kahala Fast Foods at 600 East Grand Avenue Suite 3
7. Liquor Advisory Board Comments
8. Citizens’ Comments

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Yard Regulations

Not able to make city council meeting tonight but on the agenda is a discussion of possible regulations regarding maintenance and selection of ground cover and alternative grasses.  No.  Just no.

Friday, September 5, 2014

City Council Meeting

City Council meets next Tuesday. Among other items on the agenda is a proposal to change the city code regarding ground cover and native grasses in gardens planted on the city right of way. Among other concerns is if there should be a list of approved grasses and ground cover and whether or not there should be a registration requirement so that city officials can tell the difference between a native grass garden and someone just letting their grass run wild. My neighbor has had yellow signs in the yard twice so far this summer for allowing grass and weeds to grow in excess of 12".

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Hidden Carbondale Tour

The Chamber of Commerce will host another Hidden Carbondale tour later this month. The last one sold our fairly quickly. Most of the "Hidden" spots involved going inside one business or another in Carbondale, so if seeing how C'dale businesses operate interests you, you should find this tour enjoyable (and hopefully less wet than last year's tour):

Carbondale residents have an opportunity to get an inside look at otherwise unseen parts of the community thanks to a bus tour planned by the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce.
“Hidden Carbondale” is being billed by event organizers as “a field trip for adults,” taking participants to parts of the city they may have never seen before. The event, set for 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 23, includes stops at Carbondale industrial healthcare, communications sites as well as a few surprises. The program includes motorcoach transportation to all destinations and concludes with dinner and custom coffee bar at Cristaudo’s at approximately 7:30 p.m.
The Chamber’s first Hidden Carbondale event, held last year, took participants on visits to the R. Buckminster Fuller Dome, Com-Pac International, Grand River Spirits, the Varsity Theater and Memorial Hospital of Carbondale. All new stops are planned for 2014.
The tour does include significant walking and stairs.
Hidden Carbondale is limited to 50 participants. Reservations are $35 per person, which includes all transportation, dinner and beverage costs. For more information or to reserve space for the Hidden Carbondale program, call the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce at (618) 549-2146.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Freedom Summer Presentation

SIUC sent more students south during Freedom Summer 50 years ago than any other Illinois university. Morris Library had an exhibit on display currently: "50 Summers Ago:  SIU Students in Mississipi" and will host a reception and discussion on the exhibit this Friday, Sept 5 from 3:30 to 5 p.m:

Speakers include Father Joseph A. Brown, professor of Africana Studies, and Jane Adams, Carbondale city council member and professor emeritus of anthropology. Adams chaired the Mississippi Summer Project at SIU and taught in the Freedom School in Harmony, Mississippi.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fall Enrollment at SIUC Up

Fall enrollment at SIUC up slightly, just a bit  over 2%  Total attendance is up 25 people but freshmen enrollment increased about 2.4% and transfers are up 2.3%. Still really too small to consider significant and, after 10 years of steady decline, 'twill need more than 1 year to show that the university has "turned the corner",

Downtown Master Plan Committee Meets

Tomorrow night at 6 p.m. I have heard quite a bit of talk recently about a proposal to make University Avenue a two street and shift Highway 51 over there, rather than have 51 split onto University and Illinois Avenues as it passes through downtown.

From what I have heard from people who have lived here far longer than I, the reason for splitting 51 onto two one way streets was the amount of truck traffic using 51 both north and southbound. Having all those trucks funneled down a single two way street not only damaged the pavement, meaning more frequent street repairs, but also made driving and walking in downtown much more dangerous, since large trucks bore down from both directions. Unless a solution is proposed to deal with those problems, the current street layout is likely best for now.

Both the Endswell development in the Walnut Street Baptist Church building and the Carbondale Flats project will strain downtown parking more. From what I have heard, the research done by Tartan, the Carbondale Flats developer, indicates that the parking developments for that area will be enough to satisfice the needs of Carbondale Flats residents. However, there appears no plan in place for any additional parking for the residents of the building. With Civic Center parking already tight for events, something will need to be done.

Trains, trucks, busses, bikes and automobiles are up for discussion at the next meeting of the Downtown Advisory Committee. Increase parking lots or build parking garages? Two way streets on Illinois and University? Slow down traffic? Close off the street for festivals? Too many trucks? Angle parking in front of businesses?  Bike lanes…what about handicapped?

We’re discussing ANY question or idea you have about the Downtown Carbondale streets. We will share the latest information about developments from IDOT and other agencies. Come at 6:00 p.m. for informal conversation with members of the Committee.

Press are welcome to mingle and interview during the informal gathering at 6:00 p.m.

The theme of transportation modes will be presented by SIUC Sustainability Coordinator Chris Schachel. The issue of traffic flow in the downtown area will be discussed by Carbondale businessman Nathan Colombo. Parking and public safety will be addressed by Meghan Cole, Executive Director of Main Street.

We’re meeting at the old Illinois Central Depot at the corner of Main Street and Illinois Avenue on Wednesday night, September 3. The official meeting starts at 6:30 p.m., but please come early.

In the event that attendance exceeds the allowable occupancy at the Carbondale Main Street Offices, the meeting will relocate across the street in the Civic Center located at 200 South Illinois Avenue.


 Carbondale Downtown Master Plan Advisory Committee
Agenda for Meeting of September 3, 2014 Commencing at 6:30 p.m.
Carbondale Main Street Offices at Old Train Station
Interest Area: Transportation
1. Bring to order
2. Roll Call and member/facilitator introductory remarks
3. City Staff presentation: ongoing transportation projects, actions, and plans
4. Current transportation issues as seen by the theme organizers
a. Transportation modes (Kris Schachel)
b. Flow of traffic in the downtown area (Nathan Columbo)
c. Parking and public safety (Meghan Cole)
5. Comments from the public
6. Brief recess
7. Comments from the committee members
8. Summary of major recommended actions and member selection
9. Approval of minutes
10. Review of mission statement
11. Announcement of next meeting, date, time and location
12. Adjournment
In the event that attendance exceeds the allowable occupancy at the Carbondale Main Street Offices, the meeting will relocate across the street in the Civic Center located at 200 South Illinois Avenue.

Monday, September 1, 2014

New Business Opening (Kinda)

New online business based here in Carbondale will have a ribbon cutting this Saturday.  Hard to call it an opening since the event is taking place in the Old Train Depot building:

The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce will hold a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Classroom and Board, a Carbondale-based online business at 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept.6. The ceremony will be part of an open house and kick-off party for the business, and will be held in the meeting room of the Chamber’s office at 131 S. Illinois Ave.

Classroom and Board is an online source for ready-to-use educational bulletin boards and components for classrooms, university and college residence halls, churches workplaces and more. All of the products can be customized to buyer’s specifications and include free shipping. The company can be found online at www.classroomandboard.com.

Representatives of the Chamber, City and the business will participate in the ceremony. The event is open to the public.