Thursday, December 31, 2015

Delinquent Taxes

Flipping through Wednesday's Southern Illinoisan and happened to glance at the delinquent tax list and noticed the name Fisher appearing over and over. It appears that Lindsay and Henry Fisher are arrears in real estate taxes on over 3 dozen properties. They are in good company though, as other companies such as Timberline Landscape Design, Yardshapes, Alumni Investments and Tom Cat Hill also owe taxes. Even Green Earth Inc. owes $25.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

East on Walnut

Walking on Walnut just before Christmas, I noticed, once again, the sidewalks running from houses out to the street, indicating that, at one time, parking was available on both sides of Walnut, Main Street too. People could leave their house and walk out to the street where their car waited. If I recall correctly, both streets were made one way back in the 1980s, with the promise that on street parking would remain. There are spots of on-street parking found on Walnut but not many and none on Main Street.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Volunteers Wanted

If you would like to help out families displaced by the flooding, volunteers are cooking chicken and dumplings tomorrow for displaced families, volunteers, and  emergency workers. From an email I received:

On Tuesday December 29, we will be cooking chicken and dumplings at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Murphysboro and delivering them to volunteers, emergency workers, and displaced families. 

Food donations will be accepted at the KC Hall Monday between 6:00 and 7:00 pm and Tuesday after 7:00 am. We need volunteers to cook, clean, and deliver meals starting at 9:00 am.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Merging Tourism and Main Street Boards

I think the city has floated the idea of merging Carbondale Main Street and the Carbondale Convention and Tourism Bureau as a cost saving measure. I say "I think" because in the article, the mayor refers to merging the boards of the two organizations, which would not save the city any money at all, since the board members are unpaid. I know, since I sit on the CMS board and sat on the CTB board for a couple of years. If any board member ever got paid a dime, I never heard of it.

Merging the two organizations doesn't make much sense either, unless you want both to operate out of the same office as the purpose of each organization, while similar, different enough that it requires the attention of a full time director to accomplish. CMS purpose is to drive business in downtown Carbondale and draw traffic to that area which the CCTB's purpose is to draw people to the community at large, specifically to put "heads in beds" at local hotels and bed and breakfasts. Both organizations currently have pretty small staffs, maybe 3 in each case including the director and CMS, especially, relies heavily on volunteers to accomplish its goals.

Now, another part of the proposal, moving each organization out of its present offices and into city hall makes more sense. From what I have heard, I would expect to see the CTB move out of its office at the corner of Marion and Illinois and into the Civic Center sometime in 2016. Its current location is pretty energy inefficient and the organization could see significant cost savings by the move. 

From what I have heard, there is also interest in the CMS offices as a retail location and, since the Old Train Depot is owned by the city, if someone were to make an offer on the location, I imagine the city would want to move CMS to different offices to get another business into downtown.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Council OKs Liquor Store

Last night city council decided to OK the transfer of the liquor license from Pick's Liquors to the new American Tap Liquors opening next year on S. Illioins, next to El Grecos's and about 15 yards from Old Town Liquor. While I was happy to see the city step away from past attempts to micromanage business in Carbondale (the decision a couple of years ago to not allow another personal loan office to open up comes to mind) and am glad to see another business open in downtown Carbondale, from a marketing viewpoint, it is not a good location for two reasons:

1. As Navreet Kang pointed out, the clustering effect does not work for all types of products. It works best for shopping goods such as clothing, shoes and cars, hence you typically find businesses selling those products located near each other, as people move from business before making a decision. For liquor, people tend to select a store, then make their purchase from the offerings in that store, rather than going to multiple stores to make a decision.

2. The location is poor for upscale liquors and a "fine dining" establishment such as Gundala plans to put in the back as the businesses, with a few exceptions,  in that area cater heavily to students. The lack of convenient parking weights against it as well.

I hope I am wrong and that both American Tap and Old Town Liquor both thrive, as more business is usually welcome in downtown.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Community Garden

The area on which the long demolished Tuscan Lodge building use to stand, at the corner of Jackson and Washington, now hosts a community garden.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Graduation

This weekend is fall graduation for SIUC students so expect to see increased traffic in town and lots of people driving the wrong way on the one way streets.

It's always easy to tell when graduation rolls about as the street sweepers are out in full force. You may remember during the Cole administration that the street sweepers were mothballed as a cost saving measure and only brought out the week before classes started and graduation. Since then, they have been used on a weekly basis but never more than one at a time. I saw a couple of them out this week, making sure the town looks good for incoming parents and outgoing graduates

Sidetracks Moving (Sometime)

As discussed in this article in the Southern, Sidetracks will move across the street into the old Gatsby's location sometime in the next year or so. The property on which the bar sits is owned by the railroad, which notified the bar a year or so ago that it would not renew the lease, as the bar building sits too close to the railway tracks to comply with modern safety standards. Sidetracks has slowly moved fixtures and supplies into the old Gatsby's building this year but it appears the process will speed up.

The city will purchase the property from the railroad and demolish the building, adding more parking to the south end of Illinois Avenue and providing easier access to the parking already there.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Parking Meters Covered

The city has plastic bagged the downtown meters for the holiday season and will leave them bagged until after the first of the year. Helps with the stores located around the square, not so much with those further south, especially since the "entertainment district is located further south on Illinois. Still , 'tis a nice gesture.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Shoeshine Shop


Washington Street Shoe Shine recently opened on N. Washington, about half a block north of the Town Square, in the location previously occupied by an urban wear shop and the Greyhoud Bus station. According to the sign in the window, prices start at $6.50

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Monday Closings

Walking around the Town Square area Monday afternoon, I realized how many businesses there closed on Mondays. Mary Lou's has closed on Sunday and Monday for decades but I noted Aban Kitchen, DayShift, Cristado's and Bella Sara all closed on Monday, with a couple closed on Sunday as well. I can understand the desire for a small business person, especially if you are the only one staffing your business, maybe with one part time person, but in today's always open economy, I found that number of businesses, located so closely together, all closed on the same day surprising.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Overpass

Drove over and back to Marion yesterday and found myself wondering just why IDOT is building an overpass over Hwy 13 east of Carterville, just before the River Radio and WSIL 3 TV stations. It's not as if that area is highly trafficked. If IDOT really wanted to make the area safer, how about an overpass or even a traffic light at the intersection just east of Carterville, where there have been a number of accidents over the year's.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The State of the City Is.....

I dunno, but you can find out next Tuesday at the annual State of the City speech:

  Carbondale Mayor Mike Henry will present his first “State of the City Address” as part of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce’s regular monthly membership luncheon at 11:30 a.m., Tuesday, Dec.15 at the Carbondale Civic Center.
     The mayor is expected to reflect on his first few months in office and to address current and planned developments for the city. The event is open to the public, but lunch reservations are required. The event is $15 for Chamber members and those RSVP and $20 at the door. A portion of ticket sales will go toward scholarships for Carbondale Community High School students who choose to attend Southern Illinois University.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Parking Downtown

I know I talk a lot about downtown parking but the perceived lack of parking in downtown Carbondale is one of the biggest problems the area has. Customers don't want to shop where they cannot park conveniently, and conveniently is generally defined as within sight of the front door of the business.

One thing I would like to see done, but 'twould take the cooporation of both the city and IDOT is turning the turn lane in the 100-200 block of West Main into free on-street parking, with a 1-2 hour limit. This would really help places like Thai Taste and La Unica Bakery, who often have customers wanting to pop in for a few minutes to pick up an order or purchase some baked goods. Currently Thai Taste has to rely on customers parking across the street while La Unica has a small parking area behind the building that it shares with Triphammer Tattoo. Convenient parking in front of both businesses would truly help them do even better.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Mike Bost Survey Email

Received an email from Rep. Mike Bost's office this morning. One of the things it contains was the results of a survey Rep. Bost conducted of constituents last week about admitting Syrian refugees:

For our most recent survey, I asked if you believed the United States should stop the flow of unscreened Syrian refugees across our borders.  Your response to this question was an overwhelming “yes” at 85 percent and just 11 percent of you answered “no.”  As I have mentioned previously, I couldn’t agree more – that’s why I voted to stop Syrian and Iraqi refugees from coming to America until there is an upgraded screening process in place that ensures we can identify individuals who pose a threat.

The point that bugged me about the original survey was the term "unscreened", indicating  that refugees from Syria would be admitted to the US with no screening, which is not true. 

However, no one wants unscreened refugees entering the country. Given the biased wording of the question, it surprised me that 11% actually responded "no".

Friday, December 4, 2015

American Tap Liquors

Looks as if the LAB voted not to support the proposed American Tap Liquors establishment, which is tentatively planned for the long vacant American Tap sit on South Illinois. Likely the location of Old Town Liquors only 2 doors away played a large part in the decision.

The principals of American Tap Liquors argued that the "cluster effect" , the grouping of similar businesses near each other as you often see with clothing stores in a mall and car dealerships, would increase the sales of both businesses. However, the cluster effect only works if you have stores with similar but not identical products.Clothing stores and auto dealerships work because each offer similar products but with enough differences that customers will move from store to store. unless American Tap Liquors goes after a really high end audience, unlikely in a collage town, especially in the downtown area, you wind up with two stores, thirty feet apart, selling the same products. Both are going to carry Budweiser and Coors, with the only difference the price. Given that situation, one of the stores would not last very long.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Shawnee Parkway

In case you are interested, here is a link to the project that won't die, the Shawnee Parkway. The hope is to run a 4 lane highway from Paducah to Cape Girardeau, cutting transit time through the region and reducing wear on Highway 146. Of course, running the Parkway through the area means significantly disturbing the Cache River wetlands 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

American Tap Liquors

This looks as if it could get interesting. There is a request before the Liquor Advisory Board for the transfer of a liquor license from Pick's Liquors, which recently closed its East Grand location, American Tap Liquors, which, according to the meeting agenda, plans to open on the old American Tap location at 518 S. Illinois Avenue, less than a dozen yards from the current location of Old Town Liquors.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Road Closing

Road Closing for the rest of the week. From the city:

Due to water main construction, Cedarview Street (between East Main Street and East Walnut Street) will be closed to traffic from 7:00 A.M. through 6:00 P.M from Monday, November 30, 2015 through Friday, December 4, 2015. 

State Leaders Meeting

Using the term "leaders" a bit sarcastically, as the governor and the heads of the state legislature have not met in about 6 months, Governor Rauner and the 4 legislative heads are scheduled to meet tomorrow. Given the seriousness of the situation, one would think they could have managed to meet monthly or even weekly, instead of debating the issues under consideration thorugh the media rather than in person.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Gas Prices

Gas prices down about 74 cents from this time last year, just in time to encourage more people to drive for Thanksgiving. What really amazed me though was that gas prices are lower in Illinois than in Missouri or Indiana, at least the border counties.

Monday, November 23, 2015

New Business at the Armoury

Looks as if another business  plans to move into the old National Guard Armory, joining Alpha Rentals and Armory Hobbies. From an email sent out by the city:


Pursuant to Title 15, Section 2.17.11, any increase in the size, location, or amount of signage in an NB, Neighborhood Business, district must be approved by City Council and sent out via the Neighborhood Notification Program no less than 15 days prior to City Council review of the modification.

CrossFit Henosis, to be located at the Old National Guard Armory (500 North Oakland Avenue), has submitted plans for two architectural signs and one minor directional sign. This item will be on the City Council Agenda for December 8, 2015. The proposed plans are available for public review in the Planning Services Office.

Please direct any questions to Travis Taylor, Planner (618-457-3233).

Thursday, November 19, 2015

ABC Unveiling Party

Still time to make this:

Though the America’s Best Communities Prize Competition, Carbondale Main Street, the City of Carbondale and Connect SI have created a revitalization plan utilizing Carbondale’s new resource, Gigabit fiber.  Contracting with Sandel & Associates, including individuals involved in the original Google Fiber initiative in Kansas City, the “Carbondale ABC Grant Writing team”, has crafted a flashy “Playbook” while leveraging big ideas from community members.
An upcoming Unveiling Party will showcase hundreds of copies of the “Playbook”, an inspiring video presentation and remarks from City officials and the Carbondale ABC Team, followed by a champagne toast.  The event will be at Carbondale Community Art’s new gallery space at 304 West Walnut in Carbondale.  The celebration will begin at 6pm, with formal remarks at 6:30pm.  The Unveiling Party will close at 8pm.
We will be asking the question, “Who’s Our Next Champion”, and empowering someone to take the reigns on just one part of the “Playbook”.  If community members are interested in learning more, the event and participation in the process is open to anyone!
The Party will feature complimentary appetizers and champagne.
The “ABC” Prize Competition has awarded Carbondale Main Street with $50,000 so far.  The non-profit organization is now in the running for the next round of funding, where they could win $100,000 for downtown and community development implementation.
The America’s Best Communities Competition is funded by Frontier Communications, Dish Network, CoBank, and The Weather Channel, but was initiated by Frontier as a way to spur economic and community development in the rural areas they serve.  The winner of the entire competition will win a prize of $3 million to execute their plans for improvement.
For more information about the Carbondale ABC campaign, follow them on Twitter @carbondale4abc, or contact Carbondale Main Street at (618) 529-8040.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

In God We Trust

Yeah, police departments are just asking for trouble. Hopefully, Carbondale doesn't decide putting In God We Trust stickers on police vehicles

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Real Estate Taxes

Paid the last of this year's real estate taxes yesterday and always find it interesting to see where the money goes:
1.6%     Jackson County
.28%    Carbondale Township
.35%    Carbondale City
.49%    Carbondale Park District
.24%    Southern Illinois Airport
.035%  Mosquito Abatement
3.83%  School #95
2.39%   School #165
.59%     Logan College
.11%    Carbondale Road and Bridge
.34%    Carbondale Public Library
.37%    Special Service Area (only paid by those with property downtown)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Axe Monkey Ribbon Cutting

The Chamber of Commerce will host a ribbon cutting and Grand Opening ceremony for the Axe Monkey on Wednesday Nov. 18 at 11 a.m.:

The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce will hold a Ribbon Cutting ceremony for the grand opening of The Axe Monkey, 11a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 18. The new business is located in the University Plaza shopping center at 606 S. Illinois Ave., Suite 3 in Downtown Carbondale.
The Axe Monkey features guitars and other instruments as well as accessories and gifts. The store also offers fretted instrument repair by co-owner Nate Silkwood, a certified Galloup School of Guitar Building and Professional Guitar Repair craftsman and technician. Additionally, The Axe Monkey has practice rooms available for hourly rental.
Following the ribbon cutting, store owners will offer tours and refreshments. Representatives of the Chamber, City and business will participate in the ceremony. The event is open to the public.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Walk the Line Shoes

Long shuttered downtown business Walk the Line Shoes recently reopened, likely to take advantage of the traffic generated by the Evolve complex, as well as neighboring women's boutiques Dare to Be... and Katina's.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Insomnia Cookies


Insomnia Cookies has been open in one of the retail storefronts in the Evolve apartment complex since the beginning of the semester. The store doesn't do a lot of walk in traffic, from what I understand, as the company's business model focuses on late night delivery of fresh cookies.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Memorial Hospital Parking

One of the  complaints about downtown Carbondale is the lack of free parking. I happened to notice that the parking garage on the north side of the Memorial Hospital campus has several signs on it offering free parking. Since it says that patients and visitors are to park on the first floor and the edifice has several levels, I would assume that means the upper levels are free for people visiting downtown to use.

While a very nice gesture, it fails to address what people actually want when they complain about the lack of parking in downtown. What people actually mean is that they want free parking located conveniently to the place they want to visit.  SIUC has a similar problem as people, especially students, have complained about the lack of parking on campus for a couple of decades, ignoring the acres of parking available south of the Arena. It takes more walking or scheduling to use the Arena parking and then get to the main campus than most people willingly invest.

Same problem with Memorial Hospital. Though not as far away, it is still about 3 blocks away from the C'dale square and several more from other businesses on S. Illinois. Your average downtown shopper is not going to park and walk a minimum of three blocks to get to stores. Far easier to go to the mall or one of the spots on the east or west side of town with ample parking.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Scam

Once again, if you ever get a phone call or email or letter telling you that you have won a big prize but need to send money in order for the prize to clear the account, don't. Especially if, as in this local case, the scammer tells you to destroy your receipts in order to avoid paying taxes. Legitimate sweepstakes NEVER require you to pay money to receive your winnings and would NEVER assist you in avoiding taxes.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Dairy Queen

Just a quick heads up that if you want some delicious Dairy Queen treats, today is the last day to get any from the Carbondale DQ until next year.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Book Sale

The Carbondale Public Library will hold one of its book sales tomorrow and Monday and for those with an interest in such things, offer a rare opportunity to see the inside of the old Brush School building

Thursday, November 5, 2015

End License Caps

The Southern makes a good point regarding getting rid of liquor license caps. A better idea than the caps would be an open number of licenses, with new ones issued on an as needed basis.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Halloween

Halloween, as has been noted elsewhere, was a comparatively quiet event this year. I took a walk through downtown about 9 p.m. and saw a number of people out in costume but no larger numbers than on a typical Saturday night. Of course, from what I understand, big numbers don't hit the Strip until 10 p.m. or later in the evening.

A drive through downtown on Sunday morning showed no sign of any damages. In fact the streets and sidewalks were surprisingly clean. I saw very little litter remaining at about 10 a.m. so either revelers did a good job picking up after themselves or clean up crews were out early. I'd bet on the latter.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Empty Bowls

From a press release sent out by the Neighborhood Food Co-op

The Neighborhood Co-op Grocery and the SIU School of Art and Design, Southern Clay Works are joining to create an event to give back to the community. The Empty Bowls event “art for your table” and “food for the community.”  All sales of the bowls will be donated to the Good Samaritan House of Carbondale. In 2014, the Empty Bowls event raised over $2300 for the Good Samaritan House, with Southern Clay Works selling 246 bowls! 
Empty Bowls takes place on Saturday, November 21, 2015 from 11am - 2pm at the Neighborhood Co-op Grocery. Mike Heath, Executive Director of the Good Samaritan Ministries says: 
”Empty Bowls has been a very successful event that helps feed the hungry while, at the same time, offering a very enjoyable experience allowing the general public to participate in an opportunity to obtain some very attractive “original” art pieces that they can personally use or complete their holiday shopping list.  It is definitely a win-win situation for both the hungry as well as the Carbondale community.” 

The hand made bowls are being crafted by students and faculty at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Pattie Chalmers, Associate Professor of Ceramics at the School of Art and Design states:
“My idea with this project is to combine a lesson in community participation with a lesson about the hand made objects and most importantly give a little assistance to individuals in need.”

The Co-op will fill the bowls at no extra charge with a plant based, Carrot Ginger soup. The soup can be enjoyed on site in our community room, while supplies last.  SIU students of the School of Art and Design’s Ceramic Program will be on hand to wash bowls and serve soup. A family friendly event, everyone is welcome!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Varsity Center Liquor License

Looks as if the Varsity Center for the Arts is requesting a change in the type of liquor license it has. From the LAB agenda for this Thursday:

Approval of minutes from September 3, 2015 3. Consideration of a request to reclassify an existing liquor license from a Class B2 (On-premises consumption of all liquors) to a Class J license (Public Arts Venue) for Varsity Center for the Arts at 418 South Illinois Avenue

4. Discussion of a proposed Liquor Code classification for Movie Theaters

Friday, October 30, 2015

University Open in Spring

Good to know that SIUC will be open next spring. Sad commentary on the state of the budget that Dunn found it necessary to make such an announcement

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Jen's Joe

Jen's Joe, familiar to those who patronize the Murdale Farmer's Market and several locations around C'dale, has opened their own shop in the Julia Building at the corner of Walnut and University. The shop, which opened in partnership with EClaire's Salon and shares the same space and hours, serves one hot coffee offering a day and the company's merchandise, including the only locally roasted coffee, during business hours.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

New Downtown Businesses


Two women's clothing boutiques opened this fall in the literal shadow of the Evolve Apartments. Both target college age women, which apparently a good chunk of the residents of Evolve are as most of the members of one sorority have moved onto a floor in the complex. Dare to Be..., the shop closest to Illinois Avenue, opened at the start of the semester and, from what I have heard, sold through most of its initial stock within the first week or so of business.

Katina's Boutique only opened about two weeks ago and I have not heard how business has been there.

Dare to Be...has posted a video on YouTube showing off their fashions and the young women wearing them, as well as several S. Illinois streetscapes.



Haunted Carbondale--Oakland Cemetary

Oakland Cemetary, located alongside the railroad tracks on the northwest edge of Carbondale, has long had a reputation for hauntings, with strange critters lurking in the woods along side the grounds and a mausoleum with a door prone to opening on occasion.  The most consistent sightings, however, are of balls of light seen floating along the abandoned railway abutting the north side of the cemetery, possibly related to the train wreck  there in the 1880s. If you do pay a visit there, please remember that the cemetery grounds close at dusk.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Pumpkin Display


In case you are looking for something Halloweeeny to do Wednesday night, check out the architectural pumpkin display at the Buckministrer Fuller  Dome Home. From the press release:

A unique Architecture Jack-o-lantern Display will bring Halloween beauty, warmth and whimsy to the steps of the Buckminster Fuller Geodesic Dome Home at 407 S. Forest on Wednesday, October 28, 6:30 until 8:00 p.m. SIUC Architecture students will present 70 different architectures from around the world carved into lighted pumpkins. This stunning display for all ages is not to be missed!
 Costumes are welcome, but optional.  For more information: Jon Davey 618 559 8931 jdavey@siu.edu

Downtown Parking


I talk about downtown parking quite a bit so wanted to post about the work  on the public parking behind Reema's Indian Cuisine. The top photo gives an overall view of the Evolve apartments and the Mill Street and University Ave. intersection. The bottom photo shows the work the city is doing upgrading the parking area behind Reema's. From what I understand, in exchange for the easement across Reema's property,  the city will perform maintenance on the parking on Reema's property as well. Unfortunately, access to this parking from the north end is more difficult, as drivers have to steer around the Sidetrack's building or make a 90 degree turn into an alley to access it.

Monday, October 26, 2015

EClaire Salon Moved


EClaire has moved from its location on the first floor of the Island Building to the Julia Building at the corner of Walnut and University. Primary reason for the move, I would guess in the much larger and non-metered parking space the salon shares with CCA and the First Christian Church. The recent removal of the meters in the much reduced parking area in front of Quatro's and Jerry's, coupled with the increased towing of non-customers, likely made it much harder on EClair's attract customers at the old location.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Unofficial Halloween

According to this article in the Southern, Unofficial Halloween came and went with no noticeable disruption to the city, expect in local business cash registers. I spoke to a couple of people I know who work at Memorial Hospital and they said no noticeable increase in patients beyond a normal weekend night, save for maybe a dozen DUI brought in. I saw quite a few people in costume walking in the Arbor District in costume on during that weekend but no notable crowds early in the evening, though the Daily Egyptian indicates downtown was quite crowded later in the evening.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

More on the Shawnee Parkway

Citizens for Southermost Illinois sent out this email with more info about the proposed Shawnee Parkway, which would replace the now dormant I 66 Corridor. Most of it is general but spending $4.5 million on a study just seems an abhorent waste of money:

Government Waste: $4.5 million dollars just to study a feasible route. In 2011, Cape Girardeau initiated receipt of a federal grant to study the purpose and need for a multi-lane highway primarily to serve the trucking industry between Cape Girardeau, MO and Paducah, KY.
Loss of Private and Public Land: Acquired through eminent domain, thousands of acres of farm and forest land, as well as private residences will be removed from the tax rolls. This will not only impact private and public land, but could result in restricted drainage and increase flooding.
Drain to Local Economy: Business and jobs continue to be lost in the area and the addition of another multi-lane highway will add to this exodus. Local businesses owners have indicated that the proposed highway will detrimentally impact their operation by taking potential customers away from the area.
Incompatibility with Tourism & Outdoor Recreation: The biologically rich and diverse environment of Southernmost Illinois has made it a destination with a reputation for high quality outdoor recreation experiences such as hunting, fishing, bird watching, canoeing, hiking, nature photography and much more. The environmental and aesthetic impacts of this proposed highway will have dire consequences for the natural resource and agri-tourism-based recreation and economy of the region.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Downtown Development

The development of the old American Tap location is coming along. From what I understand, the plan to put apartments above the retail space failed to work out but I was surprised at how quickly the build in is coming along.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Chief of Police Bloomington Illinois

The police chief of Bloomington Illinois, Brendan Heffner, received about $130,000 as an annual salary upon his hiring in 2013 with a city population of about 79,000 at the time. This is more than, as a reader of the blog noted, several state governors make.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Grubbs' Contract

According to an article in today's Carbondale Times, the city renegotiated Chief Jeff Grubbs' contract with the city as police chief. According to the Times, which you will have to pick up (for free) around town, the new contract eliminates the annual housing allowance Grubbs was to receive to cover expenses of moving into town to comply with Carbondale's ordinances regarding city residence for top level employees.

However, and there had to be a "however", the new contract now increases Grubbs pay to $125,700 from the previous base of 108,000. Under the previous contract, base pay plus housing allowance, by my calculations, came to $123,000, meaning that the renegotiated contract will cost the city an extra $2700 per year.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Haunted Carbondale- Hundley House

For those interested in such things and given the season, here is a nice write up on the history of the Hundley House murders and hauntings.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Road Closure

For those of you that use Charles Road, a notice from the city:

TRAFFIC CLOSURE ON CHARLES ROAD
BEFORE THE INTERSECTION OF ROUTE 51
                                                                                           
Due to wastewater collection system repairs, Charles Road before the intersection of Route 51, will be closed starting on Monday, October 19, 2015 at 7:00 a.m. and will remain in place until Friday, October 23, 2015 at 5:00 p.m.

The City apologizes for any inconvenience that this closure may cause and urges all vehicular traffic to use alternate routes during this time period.

If you have any questions, please call Sean Pickford, City of Carbondale Civil Engineer III at 457-3270.

New Contract

City council will vote on an amended contract for Chief Jeff Grubbs at the next meeting. No indication in the store as to what is in it. Usually, contracts for city officials are worked out between the hire and city manager but enough people raised questions about the contract negotiated between departed city manager Kevin Baity and Chief Grubbs that I imagine the city council wanted imput on it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Aban Kitchen Open

Aban Kitchen, located in the old Mary Lou's location on Illinois, opened Labor Day and has been doing quite well it seems, especially with carry out. Closed on Sunday, open 1 to 10 p.m. the rest of the week, save for Friday when they open at 2 p.m. They have both a breakfast menu with items such as Mogulgul and Shukshooka and a dinner menu with items running a bit higher. Items on both menus are offered all day though. Reviews of the food have been quite good

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Live On Main Concert

Saw in the Southern today that I underestimated the number of attendees at last Friday's Live on Main concert (which should technically be called Live on Illinois but why quibble). According to today's paper, estimated attendance was somewhere in the neighborhood of 5000 people or not quite double my estimate of 3000.  Congratulations to the organizers on a well put together event.

Parking Lot

Learned today that the Verizon parking lot, which I have suggested on several occasions,the city buy to expand parking for the Civic Center and City Hall, has been sold to the First Christian Church just across Monroe to the north. The church plans to sell off the gravel lot it currently uses and will share the Verizon lot with Carbondale Community Arts as well as businesses located in the Julia Building, both of which abut the lot on the south side.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Convention Hotel

Assuming it gets built, the new Hyatt will be a nice addition to downtown but what Carbondale could really use is a hotel with convention facilities. We have not had one with enough space to host a convention since the old Holiday Inn on East Main was shuttered several years ago for all sorts of violations. The Holiday Inn out by Reeds Station Road does have some meeting space but not nearly enough to host a convention of any reasonable size. I looked at it several years ago for an event I was hosted that I expected to draw about 150 to 200 people and could not see any way to fit that number into what the Holiday Inn had available.

Now Carbondale does have plenty of meeting space, both at the Civic Center and at SIUC, but neither has a hotel attached. People attending multi-day events at either have to take lodging elsewhere and arrange for transportation to the facility, not a great selling point when trying to pitch Carbondale as a location to host a large event over multiple days. Like anyone else convention attendees want to travel as little as possible from where they are staying to the meeting facility and Carbondale really does not have a facility to handle such an event.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Live On Main Concert


Stopped by the Live on Main concert tonight that featured Lydia Loveless and starred Jason Isbell. S. Illinois was blocked from the intersection of S. Illinois and West Elm back to the intersection of Illinois and College. The photo, taking about 8:15, is from just south of Hangar 9 looking north to the stage. The crowd, which I estimated at 2000 to 3000 but the people working the gates will have much more accurate numbers, filled S. Illinois from West Cherry, where the state sat, to just past Pagliai's Pizza. However, the area fenced off for the crowd reached back to Old Town Liquors and that section was comparatively empty, though it may have filled after I left.

Crowd looked pretty orderly, likely due to people getting patted down as they entered the concert area and the strong showing of security people around the venue. I did hear reports of a number of rude drunks driving around downtown though, so am hoping no incidents occurred.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Verizon parking

Wondering if the city has looked any further into either leasing or buying the parking space from Verizon that sits at the corner of University and Marion. It would add some much needed parking to downtown, especially with the loss of the spots south of PKs to the proposed Hyatt Suites project.

Additionally,as it is across the street from the civic center, acquiring the space would provide additional parking for civic center events. A shortage of parking at the civic center, especially for major events has been a problem for a number of years.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Live On Main

It looks as if the Live on Main Concert on Friday night will cause surprisingly little disruption to downtown traffic as only traffic northbound on Hwy 51 will have to detour around the stage area between W. College and W. Elm

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

City Council Meeting

Agenda for tomorrow night's city council meeting. Given that it is a closed meeting to discuss employees, dollars to doughnuts the city manager position will come up:

WELCOME - Visitors are always welcome to all meetings of the City Council. If you wish to address the Council concerning an item which is listed on the printed Agenda, please raise your hand when that item is introduced for discussion. 1. Roll Call 2. Citizen’s Comments and Questions 3. Closed Meeting Closed Meeting to Discuss the Appointment, Employment, Performance, or Dismissal of Specific Employees of the Public Body 4. Return to Open Session Possible Action Relating to the Appointment, Employment, Performance, or Dismissal of Specific Employees of the Public Body 

I66 Corridor

According to this, the proposed I66 Corridor, running a 4 lane interstate across southern Illinois to connect Paducah and  Cape Girardeau smack through the Cache River wetland region, has been cancelled.

Of course, IDOT, never one to give up on a bad idea, witness the Marion interchange and widening of Highway 13 from Marion to Carbondale, has now come up with the Shawnee Parkway project.  Tell you what, before building anymore highways that only a few people really want, how about we get the rest of Illinois highways and bridges up to snuff. For example, you could start with a couple of the bridges along 127 between 146 and old 13.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Downtown Hyatt

I gather the proposed downtown Hyatt on S. Illinois will prove more useful to the community than I thought. It appears we have a number of visitors in Carbondale who plan to arrive by train or bus and contact the Convention and Tourism Bureau asking for directions to a hotel or motel within walking distance of the station. Needless to say, there are no motels within walking distance of the Amtrak station so anyone arriving in Carbondale has to arrange for a taxi or other transportation to lodging.  Having the Hyatt in downtown and only a block away will alleviate that difficulty.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Ding Dong Baity's Gone

It appears the now shuttered Pony is happy to see the departure of city manager Kevin Baity as the above is what is showing on the marquee outside the establishment.

Press Conference On Baity Resignation

Just got back from a quickly called press conference featuring Mayor Mike Henry with a little more detail about Kevin Baity's resignation.  From what Henry said, the split is amicable and no negative material will appear in Baity's file, the city council decided it wanted to move in a "different direction", one that was not a good fit for Baity. The mayor mentioned the term "business friendly' several times so apparently that will be a focus of the city for the next year.

Assistant City Manager Gary Williams is now "acting" city manager for the foreseeable future, while the city solicits applications for the position. The city will rely on word of mouth to generate applications it appears, as the mayor said the position will not be posted online. Baity is currently on a paid leave of absence as the city negotiations the terms of separation with him. Under the current agreement, if the city terminated Baity, he would receive 6 months severance pay but, according to the mayor, this is one of the points under negotiation.

Not sure if it means anything but Mayor Henry met with Chief Grubbs just prior to the press conference, but did not see the Chief present at the conference.

City Manager Stepping Down

Kevin Baity announced today that he will step down as Carbondale City Manager effective Oct 1,  The City Council has a closed session last night. Typically council only goes into closed session to discuss issues pertaining to real estate or employment issues, so I imagine Baity's resignation/termination was the topic of discussion. IF the council terminated Baity's contract, he receives six month's pay as severance and does not have to pay back the money received to fund is master's studies at SIUC. Not sure what the contract says if he resigns

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Carbondale Park District Reaches 75

...years old that is. Com celebrate this Saturday at Crispus Attucks Park on North Wall Street.

On Saturday, October 3, 2015, the Carbondale Park District will be celebrating their 75th anniversary!  The public is invited to attend this celebration from 1:00 P.M. - 3:00 P.M. at Crispus Attucks Park at 701 N. Wall Street in Carbondale.  This is a free event and will feature music, games, crafts, and inflatables for kids.  For questions regarding this event, please contact the Carbondale Park District at 529-4147.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Noah's Lounge

Noah's Lounge on West Jackson (north side of the Carbondale Square), doesn't keep to posted hours but when it is open, traffic looks pretty strong, especially Friday and Saturday nights. The business usually has a line outside waiting to get in and uses a rope line to control the crowds.

Monday, September 28, 2015

New Business at Sweets Drive

The Sweets Drive area east of Carbondale keeps adding new businesses

The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce will hold a Ribbon Cutting ceremony as part of the grand opening of Thee Irish Barbers’ Own at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015.

The owners of Thee Irish Barbers’ Own describe the business as “the purveyor of the most durable, the very fine and the hand-picked.” The store features outdoor living and leisure products including mowers, chainsaws, log splitters, grills and smokers and wood-fired hot tubs.  Thee Irish Barbers’ Own is located at 2145 Sweets Drive in Carbondale in the former Southern Illinois Motorsports building.

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

Saturday, September 26, 2015

City Funding

Found it interesting that the city was able to come up with the extra $20,000 per year for Chief Grubb's salary, covering both his salary increase and the stipend covering the expense of him maintaining a residence in the city as well as his home outside it, given that council, citing lack of funds, has raised sales and property taxes 4 times over the past decade or so, sales taxes 3 times and property taxes once by my count.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Grubbs Gets Stipend

According to this article from the Southern, as part of his contract, Chief Grubbs will receive a $15000 stipend to cover costs of renting or purchasing property within the city limits and will continue to receive the stipend until such time as city council revises the ordinance  to extend the residency requirement.

I hope Chief Grubbs will do a bang up job as a chief, justifying the retroactive payraise and and the stipend. However, 'twould also could be viewed as Carbondale is such an undesirable place to live that you have to pay the police chief to move here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Prescription Drug Takeback

The C'dale Police Department will collect unwanted prescription drugs this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

On September 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Carbondale Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its tenth opportunity in five years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.  Bring your pills for disposal to the Carbondale Police Department at 501 S. Washington St Carbondale IL.  (The DEA cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps, only pills or patches.)  The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Last September, Americans turned in 309 tons (over 617,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at nearly 5,500 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,000 of its state and local law enforcement partners.  When those results are combined with what was collected in its eight previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 4.8 million pounds—more than 2,400 tons—of pills. 
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue.  Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.  Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Mo' Wallace Closed

Saw in the Daily Egyptian that Mo' Wallace BBQ closed last week due to declining sales. The move to the East Main location likely hurt the business since the comparatively isolated spot eliminated the potential for foot and walk by traffic, while car traffic was limited to those heading west on Main Street. Although Mo'Wallace' s was local, anyone wanting BBQ coming from the east side of down could easily drive to Murphysboro for nationally famous 17th Street or would pass by Bandana's, which offered much easier access than did Mo' Wallace

Friday, September 18, 2015

Video Poker and Slot Machine Growth

Good story on WSIU this morning about the growth of video slot machines in Illinois. Not sure how many of the 21000 are located in Carbondale but, given that 3 establishments devoted to them have opened in the last year within the city limits, know more about the impact of them on the state's economic is a good idea.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Downtown Hilton

According to Wednesday's Carbondale Times, plans are moving ahead slowly on the 85 room 4 to 5 story Hilton going in just south of PKs. The city sold the parking lot there to the developers for $75,000. No idea what this means for the habituates of PKs but hopefully the new owners will continue to use the space for parking until ground breaking for the facility actually takes place.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Chief Grubbs

The city sent out a press release today announcing the appointment of Jeff Grubbs as Police Chief after holding the position open for 13 months.  I see no mention in the release regarding the requirement that the chief, as with other top officials, live within the Carbondale city limits. I did catch part of the press conference though, and when Chief Grubbs was questioned about the residency requirement, he was pretty non-committal, saying only that he met the requirement and that he wanted to move on past it. I hope that doesn't mean that he and the city did something cutesy allowing him to meet the letter of the law but not its spirit as that would be a really lousy image to set. The city has turned a blind eye to other officials living outside the city limits in the past, excusing them due to their being in the process of selling their home and relocating to Carbondale, a process that conveniently took years to complete.

Carbondale City Manager Kevin Baity has announced the selection of Jeff Grubbs as the Police Chief for the City of Carbondale. “Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for the City of Carbondale and more particularly for the Carbondale Police Department. Thirteen months ago I announced Jeff Grubbs as the Interim Police Chief. This was not the first time that Jeff was called upon to serve in this capacity. In 2008 following the retirement of Chief Robert Ledbetter, Jeff served for six months in the same capacity. One might say Jeff has earned his experience as Chief during times of turmoil and uncertainty” said Kevin Baity, City Manager.

Carbondale's newest Police Chief has over 25 years of experience including 11 years at the executive command level. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, holds both Bachelors and Masters degrees from Southern Illinois University, has served as a Deputy Chief for over 8 years, has served as a canine handler, a special response team leader, has worked for four other southern Illinois police units, and has received numerous awards of distinction from his peers and other law enforcement agencies. 

Police Chief Jeff Grubbs was selected after the City conducted a national search this summer for the position of Police Chief. Applications where received from candidates from within the United States as well as from two foreign countries.  The candidates were evaluated based on several categories. These included experience working in an ethnically diverse community, working in a town/gown community, managing budgets and grants, having a minimum number of overall years of law enforcement experience as well as a minimum of five years of command staff experience, and having an educational background specifically pertaining to law enforcement.

Four candidates were selected from the applicant pool and offered interviews. A panel was selected consisting of Dr. Deborah McCoy from the City of Carbondale, Harvey Welch representing the Carbondale Board of Police and Fire Commissioners and Ben Newman, Public Safety Director for Southern Illinois University. At the end of the interview session, the panel made a recommendation based on their individual assessment and judgement.  “ I am pleased to say the recommendation was unanimous. The recommendation, together with my personal evaluation has led to today's announcement.”   Police Chief Jeff Grubbs will begin his appointment immediately.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Police Chief Announcement

From a press release sent out by the city today:

The City of Carbondale is scheduling a Press Conference for Tuesday, September 15, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. to announce the new Chief of Police. The Press Conference will be held in Room 103 of the Carbondale Civic Center. The new Police Chief will be available following the press conference for interviews and to answer questions.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Parking

Really hope that the city comes up with the funds to purchase the now for sale Verizon parking lotjust west of the civic center parking lot. The civic center parking gets really tight when events are going on there and the city owning that lot would free up some much needed space. there.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Interim Chancellor Appointed

William Colwell has been approved the interim chancellor at SIUC. Colwell currently works at Bowling Green University but was formerly an associate dean in the College of Education and Human Services at SIUC. The BOT still needs to approve his appointment but likely they will. Interesting that the university decided to go outside to find an interim chancellor as th elast few have all come from within.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Southern Illinois Activist

Found the Southern Illinois Activist page while poking around. Apparently whomever started it got inspired by the Carbondale Slut Walk of a few years ago, made half a dozen posts and lost interest in the project.  Still, the Resource Page could be useful to any activists in the area.

SIUC Drop in Enrollment

As the Southern reported, SIUC enrollment dropped about 4%, continuing a decline the university has seen since the early 90s, when it peaked at just over 24,000 students. Attendance is now about 30% off that point, but each year's drop has only been about 3-4%, not enough to cause concern on their own. It's only when you look at the cumulative total that the number becomes worrying.

A chunk of the problem is the lack of what George H. W. Bush called the "vision thing". With the possible exception of Walter Wendler, none of the chancellors at the university since Delyte Morris, has had a strong vision for where the university should go

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Aban Kitchen

Aban Kitchen, located in the old Mary Lou's location and serving Mediterranean cooking, had a soft opening on Labor Day. The OPEN sign has been on the last couple of days and at least a few diners have eaten there.  Still has a "Help Wanted" sign in the front door though.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Highway Funding

Received Rep. Mike Bost's regular email regarding his work for the district and one point caught my attention. He asked in a past email what should be done to fund the county's below average transportation infrastructure and 70% of respondents voted against the most obvious option, raising the gas tax, which from a rational view makes sense, no one ever wants to raise taxes on themselves, we want to raise taxes on the other fellow.I don't think the most popular option, cutting funding for highway beautification and bike paths, will bring in anywhere near the billions needed to repair roads and bridges.  From the email:

When Congress returns after the holiday, one of the many issues we will be taking up will be the Transportation Bill and the Highway Trust Fund.  
Recently, I asked you to give me your feedback on this issue.  When asked if you would be in favor of raising the gas tax to help pay for our nation’s roads and infrastructure projects, almost 70 percent of you said ‘no.’ The second question I asked you is what other methods you would support to shore up the Highway Trust Fund, and about 30 percent of you said we should eliminate funding for highway beautification projects and bike trails. Thank you for participating!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Fire Chief Retires

From the city:

After more than 35 years of service to the City of Carbondale, Fire Chief John Michalesko has announced his retirement effective September 11, 2015. "It has been an honor and privilege to serve the citizens of Carbondale from the beginning as a fire fighter up through the ranks to that of Fire Chief," Michalesko states.

Carbondale City Manager Kevin Baity has named Assistant Fire Chief Steve McBride to serve as the Interim Fire Chief. He will continue his current command staff duties and attend to the immediate needs of the role of Interim Fire Chief until the vacancy can be permanently filled.  

City Manager Baity announced that the new Fire Chief will be promoted from within and there are two well qualified Assistant Fire Chiefs who have indicated a desire to seek the position, Assistant Chiefs Ted Lomax and Doug Biggs. Between them they have a combined 50 plus years of firefighting experience and 24 years of command staff experience. He further stated, “ Last week I met with Chief Michalesko and the three Assistant Chiefs and discussed the selection process. Due to this being an in-house selection, the process and timeline for announcement should be rather quick. I anticipate naming a new Fire Chief in October. " 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Parking Inspector

Heard a rumor that the city has hired another parking meter inspector to handle meter reading late afternoon and early evening. Currently, though posted otherwise, the city stops checking meters about 4:30 during the week and not at all on Saturday. Haring another meter reader would allow the city to capture those extra hours, though I don't know if the amount collected would cover the cost of the additional reader's wages.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

C'dale Vaping

Vaping has hit Carbondale big time, at least judging by the number of shops that have opened int he past year catering to users of e-cigarettes. We have 618 Vape on East Grand, Vape INC opening soon in the Eastgate Plaza, and The Vape Shop (oldest of the four) and Whisper Vape on the west side of town. From what I hear, all are doing quite well. Though cigarette usage is down nationwide, vaping is enjoying double digit growth.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Liquor Advisory Board Meeting

The LAB has a meeting this Thursday next week. A pretty light agenda though, mainly a Fair Days request for the upcoming Carbondale Music Coalition's downtown concert. Also, John Alexander who owns Sidetracks will speak to the LAB. From what I understand, the 99 year lease the owner of the building has on the railroad property on which the Sidetracks building stands will not be renewed when it expires next year, as the railroad wishes to demolish the building since it sits too close to the tracks for today's safety standards, meaning Sidetracks will need to relocate:

Application for a Class F1 liquor license (temporary sales of beer and wine only) for Carbondale Tourism and the Live on Main Concert on Friday, October 9, 2015 to be held on South Illinois Avenue between Elm and College Streets


 Discussion with Mr. John Alexander of Sidetracks

. Liquor Advisory Board Comments


. Citizens’ Comments


Monday, August 31, 2015

Downtown Free Parking

The city has put "Free Parking" bags on meters in the parking lots in downtown, though onstreet meters still require payment. I was bemused to see that someone has torn off a number of the bags from meters in the Town Square lot. Cannot see a reason why someone would oppose free parking.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Axe Monkey

Axe Monkey recently opened in downtown Carbondale in University Plaza, next to Printing Plant. The business offers rehearsal space and guitar repair by a certified graduate of the Galloup School of Guitar Building and Professional Guitar Repair. Should be an addition welcomed by Carbondale musicians.

Parking

Haven't heard of much difficulty with parking after Evolve opened last week so hopefully my fears are overblown. Still, access to the parking behind the storefronts lining the east of S. Illinois needs improvement. The city has an easement to access it  through Reema's from the south, but access from the north end is blocked by Sidetracks.  Access could be improved by eliminating Friendship Park at the intersection of Illinois and Mill, as the city could probably create another 40 spaces there plus offer direct access to the row of parking behind Reema's , but advocates of green space in the downtown area would likely oppose that.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Musical and Boozy Weekend

Looks like 'twil be a weekend of music and alcohol.  PK's, Carbondale's oldest bar, celebrates 60 years this Saturday, Wanda Jackson performs at Turley Park with 11 other bands opening for her and the DuQuoin State Fair opens its gates.

Oh, and Solar Bear takes place at Pinch Penny Pub. Haven't heard as much about it as January's Polar Bear but a lot of students look forward to the event as a kick off to the fall semester.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

60 Years of PK's

The Southern has a gallery of photos of Carbondale's PK's collected over the years, which it posted in honor of the bar's 60 years in business.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sen. Mark Kirk Meeting

In case you would like to express your satisfaction, dissatisfaction or have a problem, Senator Kirk's staff will be at Rep. Mike Bost's office tomorrow from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.


I wanted to make you aware that my staff will hold mobile office hours in your area tomorrow, August 26th at U.S. Congressman Mike Bost's (R-Ill.-12) office located at 300 East Main Street, Hunter Building - Suite 4, Carbondale, Illinois 62901. They will be available from 8:30 am - 1:30 pm to assist you with any problems you may be experiencing with the federal government, including Veterans Affairs, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, student loans, and immigration.
I look forward to addressing your concerns and making the federal government work better for you and all the people of Illinois.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Traffic

Traffic does not appear nearly as heavy as it  has during past fall semester starts. Usually I see 4-6 cars turning the wrong direction onto Illinois, Walnut, Main or University by this time of the month and so far none. Here's hoping that trend continues

Friday, August 21, 2015

New Store

It appears a few new businesses moving into downtown. I understand an upscale baby and toddler store will locate in the empty Paul Hampton Photography space next to Dayshift on the town square. Wonder how upscale the babies you can buy there are?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Greyhound Relocating

Starting tomorrow, Greyhound will load and unload at the downtown Amtrak station.  That has to make travelers more comfortable than getting picked up and dropped off at an abandoned gas station. 

Greyhound Lines, Inc. today announced it will start operations from a new location in Carbondale, Ill. Beginning Friday, Aug. 21, Greyhound customers can conveniently board at 401 S. Illinois Avenue at the Carbondale Amtrak station, less than two miles from the former location at 905 E. Main Street.
            “Greyhound is excited to continue serving the Carbondale community from this new location,” said Deborah Laney, area manager, Greyhound Lines, Inc. “We hope to better serve the Carbondale community by centralizing transportation services in this town. We are thankful to Amtrak and the City of Carbondale for their efforts to make this a reality.”
From the Amtrak station in Carbondale, Greyhound offers three daily schedules to destinations including Champaign, Ill., Atlanta and St. Louis, with connections to more than 3,800 locations in the United States. This location is only a bus stop and tickets must be purchased online. For ticket information, call 1-800-231-2222.

Buffalo Wild Wings Ribbon Cutting

Buffalo Wild Wings will hold a ribbon cutting to celebrate the recent remodeling of the restaurant tomorrow morning.  No word if wings will be served at the ceremony:

The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce will hold a Ribbon Cutting at Buffalo Wild Wings at 11 a.m., Friday, Aug. 21. The ceremony is in celebration of the restaurant’s recent remodeling

Monday, August 17, 2015

Monte Alegre Winery

For those wanting to visit a winery and not make the trip down the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail. Monte Alegre Winery is located within the C'dale city limits, just west of Reed Station Road. You will have to make it past the construction on Reed Station Road however.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Still No Budget

As Illinois Issues points out, we still don't have a budget and have no sign of one on the horizon. The governor's last proposal relies on projections that show little evidence of coming to pass while the legislature's does not include funding to cover its spending

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Aban Kitchen

Aban Kitchen, specializing in Mediterranean cuisine (no idea what part of the Mediterranean they refer to) will open in the old Mary Lou's location. The sign says "Opening Soon" but I have been told they would open in about two weeks, several times this summer.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Mill Street Traffic Light

Getting reports of problems with the light directing traffic from West Mill onto University. Apparently the light is staying red so long that cars running it. I recevied an email from one driverwho said he timed it Saturday night after seeing cars give up waiting for it to change and the light stayed red for over 10 minutes before he gave up waiting and pulled through.

I know there has been resurfacing on West Mill for the past few weeks and wonder if some adjustments were made to the timing of the lights there that has not been reset.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Day of Music

Just received this.  More music coming to Carbondale on top of the Jason Isbell show in October:



Saturday, August 29th from 1pm to 10pm Carbondale Main Street will be hosting a day of music featuring Wanda Jackson, the Queen of Rockabilly at Lenus Turley Park. Jackson will be headlining the show with local bands taking the stage throughout the day. The festival will also feature local artists and other community vendors.

With a career spanning seven decades, Wanda Jackson is known as the Queen of Rockabilly. She has made numerous appearances on the Billboard Top 100 and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. Other performers include; The Swamp Tigers, William Feigns, Secondary Modern, Hans Predator, Flowers of Evil, Thee Mistakes, Greta Matthews, Arlin Peebles, Matt McGuire and Girls Rock Carbondale.

General admission tickets are $10 and are on sale now at Carbondale Main Street offices, Plaza Records and on EventJoy at http://bit.ly/1M8eDd4. VIP tickets are also available for $13 and include a limited edition mixed cassette tape with music from all of the local musicians. Tickets will be available the day of the show for $12.

There are five Golden Tickets mixed in with the regular general admission tickets. If you purchase a ticket and the sales person pulls out a Golden Ticket, your admission is free!