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


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