Friday, November 28, 2014

Endswell Walnut Street Development

It appears that the plans to re-purpose the Walnut Street Baptist Church building as low income apartments have fallen through. From what I understand, Endswell, the company planning the redevelopment, did not succeed in obtaining the tax credits and state financing it sought and, without that funding, the planned housing complex is not financially viable.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ferguson Protests on the Square

Shot of the protesters on the C'dale Town Square last night about 6 p.m. One of the local tv stations, WSIL, I think, had someone broadcasting live from the other side of the street.

Election Candidates

Here are the final candidates for  office for next May's council/Mayor election.

Candidates for Mayor:

L – Jane Adams, 606 West Elm Street
L – John “Mike” Henry, 1210 West Hill Avenue

Candidates for City Council Member:

L – Navreet Kang, 613 South Terrace Drive
L – Adam Loos, 512 West Pecan Street
3 – Angela K. Kaye, 113 North Lark Lane
4 – Rebel Pinkston, 1230 West Short Drive
5 - Tom Grant, 5370 Springer Ridge Road
L - Anna Durrett, 800 ½ West Main Street
L - Lance D. Jack, 1026 North Bridge Street

All Mayoral and City Council candidates run on a non-partisan basis, which means they are not affiliated with a specific political party for the municipal election.  They are also elected at-large rather than from wards, which entitles them to receive votes from all areas of the City. Once the Mayor and Council Members are elected, they represent the entire City and all of its citizens, not just one geographic area or one particular group of people.

The Candidates-elect will take office on May 5, 2015.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ferguson Protests in Carbondale

Saw about 3 dozen people on the Carbondale Town Square about 10 p.m. last night. A few moved out into the road but the overwhelming majority contented themselves with standing on East Main's shoulder and holding signs up for cards. Also saw about a dozen people inside Curbside watching the televised reports.  Streets quiet otherwise, though I did hear that the Carbondale Police Department had called in a number of extra officers just in case. Councilwoman Jane Adams was out and about last night as well but have not heard about any of the other council members.

Another protest is scheduled for 5 p.m. today, also at the Town Square pavilion

Monday, November 24, 2014

Ferguson Verdict Watch

Carbondale is on the list of planned locations for "direct action training" in the wake of the verdict from the grand jury investigating the Ferguson jury. Some forn of action is scheduled for sometime tonight at the Town Square Pavilion. No indication if they will meet prior to the verdict announcement or afterward.

Christmas Lights and Banners

Driving back from St. Louis last night, I notices civic lights up in Redbud, Sparta and Ava. Banners advertising the Lights Fantastic parade have festooned the utility poles in Carbondale for over a week now but I see the city has turned on the lights around the square as well. Oh, well, it is only a week earlier than normal.

Friday, November 21, 2014


Given the comments I have read about the appearance of the east end of Carbondale, especially the stretch of East Main from west of University Mall to Woodlawn Cemetary, I hope the city considers planting trees in the stretches of tree lawn that line both sides of East Main all the way into downtown. The city has put trees along side South Giant City Road, which will certainly improve the appearance of that stretch of street and East Main could certainly use the same treatment. Hopefully the city, or some civic organization such as Keep Carbondale Beautiful, is considering or will look into such a project.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Candidate Update

According to an email from the city clerk's office, no new petitions from candidates have come into the office as of 5 p.m. Thursday.  From what I have heard, none of the candidates for mayor during the last election plan to run again. Brent Ritzel may decide to run again, but secondhand sources say that remains unlikely

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tax Increase

I see the city council is looking at a property tax increase to cover the projected shortfall. I hope that they look at the budget for staff .  From what I have heard, adopted a zero-based budget for city hall staff, making each position justify its existence, would not be a bad idea.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Navreet Kang Announcement

Navreet Kang sent out the following announcing his candidacy for City Council:

Carbondale, Illinois, a city considered the hub of Southern Illinois, is a beautiful town, which I have called home for more than 25 years. I have a Master’s degree in Horticulture from India, as well as an MBA degree from Southern Illinois University. Also  a small business owner myself, and a landlord, I have come to understand what it takes a community to grow. I have been a part of our ONLY community radio station, WDBX 91.1FM, a not-for-profit organization,  both as a volunteer DJ and a financial supporter as well.  I am currently serving as one of the three Executive Directors on the Heterodyne Broadcasting Company’s Board of Directors.
In order to grow Carbondale, we need to not only help current small business owners to grow, but also bring new businesses in order to generate more tax revenues for the city, provide meaningful employment to our residents. These would-be new residents/employees/business owners will not only invest in real estate but generate more revenues for the city government thru increased spending within the city.  In order to keep existing and bring in new businesses, the City will need to offer incentives and above all, look for reasons to accommodate them, rather than not as is perceived today.
We have a lot of old vacant properties within the city of Carbondale, which are not only eyesores, but also a drain on our city’s treasury because the city has to provide services, for which it  receives little to no revenues in real estate taxes. While it may be necessary to go outside of the city limits for certain situations,  I will encourage and look for ways to make these properties viable, and revenue-productive. Growing just outside our city limits puts extra and undue stress and demands on our infrastructure, including water, sewer, fire  and police department resources. By making the properties productive, and revenue-producing, we can eliminate such undue demands on our limited resources. In-fill development for both residential as well as commercial properties is required for the city to make an efficient use of its resources. With my 14 years of experience working on the Carbondale Planning Commission, I will work with the city manager and the council members to encourage the in-fill growth.
Speaking of bringing new people, businesses, and keeping our existing ones, it is ever so important that all the residents of the city as well as the visitors are afforded a safe and secure environment where they do not feel threatened, and would instead love to come to and stay in  Carbondale, thereby increasing our tax revenues.
If I am elected to the City Council, I will strive hard to bring in new businesses, provide incentives to existing local businesses to stay, provide a sustained safe and secure environment in which we all wish to live. I will also work with outside agencies to help improve access to Carbondale both via ground and air, which will further make Carbondale an attractive place to come to. As a Council member, I will encourage the city to work with not only our local Tourism and Convention Bureau but to go outside and network with other such entities to make Carbondale a Tourist destination. Carbondale has so much to offer in and around town that most of it stays best kept secret. As a Council Member, I will make sure that the secret is out, and help our hometown, Carbondale, an welcome place to anybody who would care to come and stay.
Generally speaking, the property taxes in the City are very high compared to just outside the city limits, which if not kept in check, will further encourage the residents to leave the city limits and go outside and build. Property taxes have steadily increased in the past three years, after a few years of not having any city property tax levy. Once elected, I will strive hard to find other ways of funding city expenditures, in addition to looking for efficiencies within, thus eliminating government waste and redundancies.
SIU is a great asset to our city, being the largest employer in the area. Student enrollment has been on the decline except a very slight increase this year. We need to provide a safe and welcome environment to our most precious commodity, the students of SIU, and encourage their involvement in community projects, and harness their exuberance as well as energy and channel into productive citizens. As a Council member, I will work with the University Administration to encourage enrollment, as well as a positive involvement of the students in our community at large.
While there is a large Asian and other minority community in Carbondale, contributing to the city’s tax and revenue base significantly, there is no representation on the city government from this sector. I will help fill that void, and serve not only that particular sector but all residents of Carbondale, thereby bringing more diversity, and build more tolerant environment in  our city. With my business experience, having served as a Commissioner of the Carbondale Park District in the years past, as well as the sitting Commissioner on the Planning Commission as well as the Zoning Board of Appeals for the past 14 years, I will bring all these resources to serve all residents of our great city.  I look forward to working with the City Council, the Mayor, and the general public of Carbondale to make this a better and more economic, culturally-diverse and aesthetically appealing community. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

City Council Candidates

Both Adam Loos and Navreet Kang will appear on the ballot for the three positions open on city council.  Here is Loos' announcement of his candidacy:

CARBONDALE – Adam Loos announced his candidacy for Carbondale City Council Monday morning shortly after filing paperwork at city hall. Mr. Loos currently serves on the city’s Planning Commission, and is President of the Northwest Carbondale Neighborhood Association. Loos previously served on Carbondale’s Sustainability Commission.

 “I have lived in Carbondale for fifteen years. My wife and I own a home in Carbondale, and we are raising our son here. We care about this community and want to see it thrive,” Mr. Loos said in his announcement. “Carbondale has a lot going for it, but it also faces some problems. I want to build on our strengths and overcome our obstacles,” he added.

Loos said his campaign will focus on improving quality of life in Carbondale by improving the city’s downtown and residential neighborhoods and preserving essential city services. Loos also said he wants to encourage small business growth in Carbondale.

Mr. Loos said he is running for city council for two reasons. “First, a lot of people have encouraged me to run. Second, I believe my experience serving on city commissions and working with the Northwest Carbondale Neighborhood Association will help me serve the city and build a government that works for our citizens.”

The council seats currently held by Jane Adams, Corene McDaniel, and Lance Jack are open in 2015. Adams announced on Saturday that she will be a candidate for Mayor in 2015. McDaniel has previously said she will not be a candidate in 2015.

If thirteen or more candidates file for the three council seats, the city will hold a primary election on February 24, 2015, to narrow the field to six. If twelve or fewer candidates file for the three seats, there will be no primary. The general election is April 7, 2015.

Arbor District Letter

The Arbor District plans on presenting presenting the letter below at tomorrow night's city council meeting regarding the uptick in unsolved crimes in the Arbor District area. A number of residents have signed the letter already and members of the Arbor District board are seeking more. Among the concerns are the recent shooting incidents on West Cherry, the rolled car during Unofficial Halloween and, according to a post on Facebook, vandalism this weekend at the First Christian Church.

Dear Mayor Monty and Mr. Baity,

We write as residents of the Arbor District concerned about the recent upsurge of dangerous and
criminal activity that has occurred particularly on and around West Cherry Street, between Ash
and Forest Avenues in the past two months. Two separate shootings last week, along with the
overturned car incident in October, a Rottweiler that has attacked walkers, cars driving at
dangerously high speeds, and a noticeable upswing in large house parties have created a sense of
lawlessness in this neighborhood.

While we have been told that policing in the neighborhood has been stepped up, we don’t see it.
A resident reports being openly dismissed by police when complaints have been called in; and
police responses to those complaints have become perfunctory and yield no results. The
explanation frequently given by city officials that ticketing nuisance offenses doesn’t work
because the recipients simply ignore them seems to say more about the impotence of city
enforcement than it does about the intractability of the problem.

In the recent past, complaints about obnoxious parties would be responded to with officers
entering the house and assessing the situation. We gather that this is no longer standard
procedure. While the violence that we are witnessing may not have a direct relationship to
nuisance issues such as large and loud parties, trash in yards and on the street, underage
drinking, and off-leash dogs, it is all creating an environment of intimidation and chaos. Please be
clear that what we are describing is not a matter of “college kids having a good time.”

Aggression, disrespect, and a sense of impunity are the overriding characteristics.
Right now, a lot of folks – students, children, and long-time residents alike – feel increasingly
unsafe in their own neighborhood. We urge more regular police patrols of this street and the
Arbor District as a whole, and a more serious response to nuisance complaints. In the long-term
we implore the City to enact and enforce policies that meaningfully hold individuals (and where
applicable, landlords) responsible for criminal and nuisance behaviors that occur on their

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Jane Adams Statment

Here's the statement Councilwoman Jane Adams read yesterday while announcing her candidacy for mayor of Carbondale:


Yesterday I met with family, friends, and neighbors in front of City Hall to declare that I am running for Mayor. Here is the statement that I read:

Jane Adams with supporters at City Hall
Today I’m announcing that I will be a candidate for Mayor of Carbondale.

Four years ago I ran for Council because I believed that Carbondale needed vigorous action to renew and revitalize the city, and to encourage reinvestment in our neighborhoods and local business districts.

We need now, more that ever, to create the foundation to “catch the next wave” of innovation.

The only other announced candidate for Mayor has a long and successful history as a businessman. He’s by all accounts a good man. The city had done business with him for many years.

But, he made a perplexing statement regarding the current City Council. He’s quoted as saying that for the past year – that is, since Don Monty took over as acting mayor – it’s been dysfunctional.

My experience as a City Council member is that much of City Hall is increasingly dysfunctional, not the Council.

The city government has had significant cost overruns, especially for the new Fire Station and the Schwartz Street repairs. The City Manager projects employee compensation rising at 4.5% a year. Every year they seek more taxes. Our reserves are projected to decline at an alarming rate.

Additionally, we hear increasing reports of non-responsiveness to residents’ and business peoples’ concerns.

Not all of City Hall is broken. I hear excellent feedback regarding our water and sewer department, which provides outstanding water, responds rapidly to water main breaks and sewer problems, and is planning well for investing in our aging water and sewer lines.

But it’s clear that the City’s management must find ways to lower its costs. It cannot come back to the taxpayers every year – especially when most residents’ and businesses’ incomes are flat.

The City must lower barriers to business and residential development

As you know, my husband and I own a number of rental properties that we’ve restored. We know first hand the difficulties with dealing with the City bureaucracy.

There’s no reason that many of the difficulties that we, and other business owners, experience cannot be overcome. It requires effective management systems, use of up-to-date technologies, and constantly upgrading our staff’s skills, as well as making sure that everyone fully understands why rules exist – and getting rid of those regulations that can’t be justified.

Frankly, the City’s management seems to be complacent about the stumbling blocks that many local entrepreneurs experience from the City. These issues must be addressed if the entrepreneurial energy in this town is to be unlocked.

Advancement of women and minorities

City Hall is also a place where women and African Americans have a very difficult time getting promoted to top positions. We need to build more effective mentoring of all employees so that talent rises to the top.

Revitalize Carbondale

There are a number of initiatives I will pursue to revitalize Carbondale, in collaboration with the City Council.

We need to lead in making Carbondale an attractive place to live and to invest.

Carbondale has two large and growing fiberoptic networks. We have a strong knowledge-based economy with SIU and SIH/Memorial Hospital. As a Gigabit City we need strong City and community leadership to seize the opportunities available to be leaders in developing 21st century industries and services.

Southern Illinois grows wonderful fruits, vegetables, and pastured animals. We need to nurture the local food system with a 12-month farmers market and promotion of value-added manufacturing.

Our aging residential neighborhoods can provide comfortable homes for the people who work here – homes that are close to work and services. We need to implement the suggestions in the Comprehensive Plan as well as find other tools for promoting homeowership and reinvestment in our neighborhoods.

We also need to reduce barriers to new residential subdivisions. The Comprehensive Plan outlined a number of zoning and other initiatives that have, so far, been left on the shelf.

A vigorous citizens’ committee has been planning Downtown development. It must be implemented.

Our city's citizens and investors are on the move. It's vital that City government make this energy work for the entire community.

I look forward to working with the people of Carbondale, the City Council, and the City staff to build a bright future for our town.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Dairy Queen

Just a reminder, for those fans of a Carbondale classic, the Illinois Ave. Dairy Queen closes for the season on Sunday November 16, reopening sometime in February.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Two Candidates for Mayor

John Mike Henry of Henry Printing announced his candidacy for Mayor of Carbondale earlier this week. Councilwoman Jane Adams announced hers this afternoon:

I am formally announcing my decision regarding seeking the office of Mayor of Carbondale on Saturday, November 15 at 1:00 p.m. in front of the Carbondale Civic Center, 200 S. Illinois Avenue (on the Illinois Street side).

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Ribbon Cutting

In case you feel like getting out in the cold this afternoon, there is a double ribbon cutting for Edward Jones' financial advisor Karissa Mooney and Express Employment Professionals at West Park Plaza at 4 p.m. today.

Anti-Fracking Film

 Received this email about a film showing tonight in Morris Library:

The Shawnee Sentinels and the Buckminster Fuller Future Organization will present "Land of Opportunity," an independently produced documentary on fracking for natural gas in Arkansas’ Fayetteville shale, will be shown for FREE at 7 p.m. tonight, Thursday, November 13 in Guyon Auditorium of Morris Library on the SIU Carbondale campus.

This film is highly relevant to the people of Southern Illinois as it focuses on the earthquake swarms that have been linked to gas exploration through high-pressure injection of liquid and wastewater disposal. The film also will discuss water contamination, property rights and conflicts of interest.

The film is the work of and Emily Lane, who will join us immediately following the film via Google Chat for a Question & Answer session. Emily writes: “Arkansas has historically promoted short-term economic gain over economic and environmental sustainability. We live under the boom and bust mentality, and consequently we have seen some profit while others suffer. Residents across the state are increasingly battling against the negative impacts of misguided ‘opportunity.’ We can do better.”

“Land of Opportunity” very much lays bare the future that Southern Illinois could be facing. The Fayetteville Shale sits in North Central Arkansas. It is home to 200,000 people, countless cattle farms and pristine, interwoven waterways, some of which supply their drinking water or irrigate their food. The Fayetteville Shale is also home to 4,500 natural gas wells, which are produced using the unconventional process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

This documentary highlights the link between the fracking process and the Guy/Greenbrier Earthquake Swarm, a rash of 1300+ tremors in Northern Faulkner County that began in late 2010 and culminated in a 4.7 magnitude earthquake in February of 2011. The film explains what triggered the earthquakes, how state officials handled the situation, and what they knew from the beginning.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Veteran's Day

In case you missed them, for Veterans' Day the Carbondale Lions Club, Woodsmen of the World and the City of Carbondale all collaborated on a  display of flags lining Main Street downtown.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Busy Night

Not sure if it was a carry over from the activities on Cherry Street on Saturday but there were groups of young men arguing on the West Main sidewalk last night as well as around the Town Square Pavilion. Also angry men in the Memorial Hospital emergency room, which had a waiting time of up to 7 hours at one point.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Cherry Street Shootings

Two shooting incidents took place on West Cherry early Saturday morning. From what I have read and heard in emails and conversation, they may be connected or at least related to the same party. The first incident took place about 12:15 Saturday morning with, from what I have heard, shots exchanged between two cars heading west on Cherry.

The second took place about 2 a.m. at a house party that had spilled out onto the area of Cherry and Beveridge streets, not unusual in that area, according to residents (The house party, not the shooting). According to an email I received from a reader of the blog, house parties there overflow the house and block the street every weekend and fights are not uncommon.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Ribbon Cutting

In case you feel like welcoming Massie Dental to the community, there is a ribbon cutting this afternoon at 3:30. Free lollipops, maybe?:

The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce will hold a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Massie Dental’s new Carbondale location, 3:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 7. The practice recently opened a Carbondale facility at 200 N. Giant City Road.

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

Thursday, November 6, 2014

AAA Printing Professionals

According to Facebook, AAA Printing Professionals will open mid-November at 219 West Main. The spot housed K&M Printing years ago but has sat closed for about a decade now.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Pole Dancing

As far as I know, there is no law against pole dancing in Carbonale. Ergo I see that everyone's new favorite steakhouse (and the traffic indicates it, the parking lot is full most nights), the Pony, has a sign out front advertising pole dancer Vinya Kiss (I think I spelled that right) appearing Wednesday through Saturday night.

Do have to wonder what effect, if any, that will have on parents bringing their children down for a tour of the campus? I read recently that ex President Glenn Poshard had already recommended giving directions to parents that would take them down to East Grand and bring them into the University via that route, rather that directing them to take Main into downtown, past the less than scenic stretch of businesses lining East Main. Making East Grand the defacto main entrance to the University does avoid that stretch of town

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

City Council Election Petitions Open

Wanna run for city council or even mayor of Carbondale? You can start filing petitions on Nov. 17 through Nov. 24. Councilwoman Jane Adams has said she plans to run for Mayor and I have heard that Lance Jack plans to seek another term on the council, while Navreet Kang will campaign for one of the available three seats.

The Office of the Carbondale City Clerk will be open on Monday, November 17, 2014, through Monday, November 24, 2014, for the purpose of accepting petitions for the 2015 Consolidated Election on April 7, 2015 (or the Primary Election on February 24, 2015, if necessary) for the following offices:

Mayor – one (1) 4-year term and three (3) City Council members – 4-year terms

The dates and times the nominating petitions will be accepted are as follows:
Monday, November 17, 2014 – 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 – 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 – 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, November 20, 2014 – 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Friday, November 21, 2014– 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Monday, November 24, 2014 – 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Petitions for Mayor or City Council member must be filed in the Office of the City Clerk, Carbondale City Hall, 200 South Illinois Avenue, Carbondale, Illinois 62901.
A lottery will be held on December 2, 2014, for all simultaneous filings that are filed at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, November 17, 2014, or that are received in the first mail of Monday, November 17, 2014. Additionally, petitions that are filed between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on November 24, 2014, will be deemed simultaneously filed in accordance with 10 ILCS 5/7-12(6). A lottery for those petitions will also be held on December 2, 2014, in the Office of the City Clerk. Both lotteries are open to members of the public.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Great Carbondale Pumpkin Race

The second annual Great Carbondale Pumpkin Race took place Saturday, Nov. 1. Sponsored by Carbondale Tourism, Carbondale Main Street and the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce. I spotted the executive directors of both Tourism and Main Street there and expect the ED of the Chamber was floating around someplace. The weather was somewhat chilly but about 2 dozen racers turned out. The photo was taken from the hill just north of the Mill Street overpass about 3:45, fifteen minutes before the racing started