Saturday, January 30, 2016

KFC Closed, Panda Express Coming

Missed the local Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise closing. I noticed cars driving through as late as Tuesday night. Panda Express coming into town is a good move on the part of the franchise. It likely noted the number of local Chinese restaurants in town, with no national chain here, indicating a potentially lucrative market for the company. I don't the the arrival of the chain will have too much effect on the current restaurants in town. Chili's arrived with its Americanized Mexican food but we have more Mexican restaurants than ever.

If I remember rightly though, Panda Express planned to come to Carbondale several years ago, planning to locate where the now demolished Gator Tire sat at the east end of University Mall. However, the recession hit and that never materialized.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Polar Bear 2016

In case you missed it, Carbondale's annual winter celebration of alcohol, Polar Bear, takes place this weekend. It appears some of the apartment complexes near the Copper Dragon/Pinch Penny complex hope to minimize damage as they have erected fencing around the grounds.

Unless I have missed something Polar Bear will stay pretty much confined to the Pinch Penny area as I have not seen any ads for "Puck Finch" events held at other bards in Carbondale, as in past years.
There also has not been as much concern, at least publicly, over Polar Bear, as in past years. I have only seen one article in the news about it and nothing from City Hall. From what I understand, the event does fill a lot of hotel rooms in Carbondale while the activity stays confined to a relatively small part of the town.

Downtown Master Plan

Courtesy of Jane Adams, here is a copy of Houseal Lavigne Associates' draft of the downtown master plan for Carbondale. The Downtown Advisory Committee will discuss it next Wednesday night at 6 p.m. at the Civic Center.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Stack'd Solutions

In case you are looking for something to do around noon, there is a ribbon cutting for Stack'd Solutions Friday at 11:30 a.m:

The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce will hold a Ribbon Cutting at 11:30 a.m., Friday, Feb. 5 at Stack’d Supplements. The event will kick-off Stack’d Supplement’s Grand Opening weekend celebration.
Stack’d Supplements is the area’s newest nutritional lifestyle center offering supplements and health products for athletes. The Carbondale store joins a successful Cape Girardeau location. The store is located at 715 N. Giant City Road near Moe’s Southwest Grill.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Alcohol at Sidewalk Cafes

Ah, here's more info on the ordinance under discussion at city council tonight. Currently it is not legal to consume alcoholic drinks at sidewalk tables in the city, though consumption is fine inside. I would assume that, currently, consuming drinks at the tables violates the city ordinances on open consumption of spirits, though why beer gardens are OK is a bit befuddling. Still a change in the ordinance is probably a good move.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Sidewalk Cafe Ordinance

Carbondale's ordinance regarding sidewalk cafes is on the city council agenda for tomorrow. No idea how they will be approaching it. More restaurants are putting chairs and tables out on the sidewalk so wonder if they plan to put limits on the number:

The Carbondale City Council will meet at 7 p.m., tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan. 11 Among items on the agenda is consideration on an amendment to city ordinances on sidewalk cafes.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Jeannie Schuur Autopsy

Hypothermia ruled as the cause of death for Jeanne Schuur last fall. Of course, that doesn't explain how she got from where she was last seen on Modesto Road, just east of Reed Station Road to the Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge several miles away.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Ownership in Carbondale

Was listening to WSIU this evening and caught a few interesting housing  facts:

1. Though the city has a program offering $5000 to anyone converting a rental unit to single family housing, approximately 1200 single family units converted to rental properties in the past few years.

2. Jackson County ranks among the top 15% in the country in ratio of property taxes to median income. We are high, primarily because of the amount of property  owned by SIUC,which is exempt from property taxes.

3. Roughly 75% of Carbondale property is rental, significantly higher than other college communities in the state of Illinois.

Meeting at 1st Methodist Church Saturday morning from 9:30 a.m. to noon to discuss Carbondale housing.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Poorest County in the State

Jackson County is, according to this. I'd have guessed one of the counties south of us. However, our high proportion of poor college students likely has a lot to do with the results.


> County median household income: $32,681
> State median household income: $57,166
> Poverty rate: 32.3%
> Unemployment: 6.6%
Jackson is the poorest county in Illinois. Higher educational attainment typically correlates with higher incomes. However, more than one in three adults in the area have at least a bachelor’s degree, higher than the statewide college attainment rate of 31.9%. As in the poorest counties in most other states, Jackson's poverty rate of 32.3% is more than double the corresponding statewide rate.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Another Town Meeting

From an email:

Carbondale’s annual Neighborhood Alliance Meeting will take place on Saturday, January 23rd, 9:30 a.m. to noon, at First United Methodist Church, 214 W Main Street.  Organized by the Carbondale Neighborhood Action Group, the meeting is open to all who call Carbondale home.  This year’s meeting focuses on two aspects of housing in Carbondale: homelessness, and the nature and issues surrounding Carbondale’s housing market and stock.  A panel consisting of neighborhood representatives, realtors, and City staff will provide an overview of issues and information, followed by discussion and questions from those attending.

The Alliance  meeting begins with a short memorial to members of our community who died in 2016.  This is followed by updates on homelessness, neighborhood groups, and some City Commissions. The remainder of the meeting focuses on Carbondale housing trends from the perspectives of would-be buyers, neighborhood representatives, realtors, and City staff.   Members of the Alliance hope to   initiate an ongoing, community-based discussion on issues surrounding renting and buying a home in Carbondale.  These include financial literacy, lenders in Carbondale, as well as those issues listed in Carbondale’s 2009 Comprehensive Plan: “Historic disinvestment in rental units aimed at a captive student population, recent increase in rental market supply created by new housing options near campus, and an aging housing stock that without rehabilitation is approaching obsolescence.” 

This discussion will begin with presentations by members of neighborhood organizations, realtors, and City staff on the Carbondale housing trends, and it concludes with small-group discussion and identification of housing issues. 

For more information contact Daniel Presley (626)487-9747 or Mary O’Hara (618) 713-0820

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Town Meeting

The town meeting scheduled for tomorrow night could prove useful, but I would be willing to bet the same 20 or so people that show up for all of these sort of events will show up again. Of course people would want to see more events like the Jason Isbell concert. Who wouldn't want to see a free concert by a rising star? The question is:  Who is willing to put in the work to put on the event?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Wreck on West Willow

If you look at the center of the picture, you can see an overturned black SUV blocking traffic in the 400 block of West Willow about 4:45 p.m. on Saturday January 16th. I saw a fire truck and ambulance there and estimated about 6 Carbondale Police cars blocking off the entire street. For those not familiar with the area, this is a borderline residential-industrial area with a speed limit of 30, as you can see on the sign. In order to flip as it did, the SUV likely was travelling at pretty high rate of speed in order to flip as it did

Friday, January 15, 2016

Christmas Decorations

Have noticed, again, the tendency of those who put up Christmas lights and other decorations this year to still have them up, even at this comparatively late date. The one set of lights I would like to see left up are those on the light pole around the Carbondale Town Square. The square gets pretty dark at night and those lights certainly do help brighten it up.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

America's Best Communities Competition

Carbondale did not make it past the quarter-finalist stage in the competition. See the press release below for details:

Semi-finalist winners for America’s Best Communities Prize Competition were announced recently and community leaders were disappointed that Carbondale’s submission was not selected.

Carbondale Main Street, the recipient of a $50,000 grant to create a community revitalization plan, worked together with representatives of the City and ConnectSI to develop a plan that leveraged one of Carbondale’s newest resources, gigabit fiber.  The plan, written in the form of a “playbook”, outlined a broad range of objectives centered around collaboration between the City, the University and the business community and drew heavily upon “community Champions”; energized volunteers with a vested interest in the community who would help lead the efforts.
More than 350 communities nationwide entered the competition after its launch in 2014, and 50 were selected as quarterfinalists in April 2015. Each of the 50 was awarded $50,000 in seed money to develop a Community Revitalization Plan and were paired with a major Corporation that served as a strategic advisor as part of the competition’s Adopt-a-Community Program. From this class of 50 quarterfinalist communities, the fifteen semi-finalists were selected .
Gary Williams, Carbondale’s City Manager, says of the ABC competition, “this experience provided funds to develop a plan that we will continue to explore ways to implement.  We have a valuable plan for our future.”  Meghan Cole, Executive Direct of Carbondale Main Street, echoed that statement, saying, “The Playbook is a document that the team is extremely proud of.  Throughout our journey in this competition, from the beginning, to becoming Quarterfinalists, to now, our team has come together, learned a lot, and helped to make our community better.  We are extremely grateful for this experience.”
The Writing team included Gary Williams, Interim City Manager and Travis Taylor, Planner for the City of Carbondale, Meghan Cole, Executive Director of Carbondale Main Street, and Steven Mitchell, Network Provider Coordinator for Connect SI.  Sandel & Associates were contracted to engage the community and conduct a series of public events to gather input from the community at large.

David Sandel says of the playbook community engagement and planning process, " we believe that the collaborative input from the Carbondale ABC Grant Writing  team, the City of Carbondale, SIU-C and participating residents, business owners, and students was exceptional. Carbondale certainly has a strong platform, the Connecting Carbondale Playbook, from which to execute against their inclusive vision of accelerated growth through innovation, entrepreneurship and high speed Internet access.”
Individuals are still being sought who might serve as community Champions.  Those who are interested in getting involved should contact the Carbondale Main Street office at Carbondale Main Street at (618) 529-8040.  The Carbondale Playbook is available for download on Carbondale Main Street’s website:

Triphammer Tattoo Re-opened

Well, that didn't take long. Triphammer Tattoo reopened in the long vacant space located at 215 West Main, right next to its old location. Much smaller location than the old space and I imagine lower rent as well.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Show Me's Closed

Following up on yesterday's post about the closing of Advance Auto Parts, the Carbondale Show Me's has closed as well. The Carbondale location has been removed from the company's website and the front door has a sign stating it is closed and thanking Carbondale for 10 years of business.

The Cape Girardeau Show Me's closed a few years ago, leaving only about a dozen of the restaurant still scattered throughout the upper Midwest.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Advance Auto Parts

It looks as if the Carbondale Advance Auto Parts on East Walnut has closed down. Windows are papered over and the sign has been removed from the window. In addition, a search at the Advance Auto Parts website gives the closest store as located in Marion,

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Bomb

Longtime Carbondale residents should remember "The Bomb" which stood on the George "Hoot" Gibson property at the corner of East Walnut Street and Giant City Road for well over 50 years. Built by Gibson in his welding shop, the 6' replica bomb stood undisturbed for decades until stolen twice in the last 10 years. Gibson passed away in 1997 and his wife Lucille maintained the bomb at its location until her death in 2012

After her death, the family donated the Carbondale landmark to the Carbondale Preservation commission, which made arrangements to put "The Bomb" on permanent display in the Planning Department's offices on the second floor of the Carbondale City Hall, where it is viewable during office hours.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


I see another Crossfit gym has opened in Carbondale, this time in the old Armory complex at the corner of Oakland and Sycamore. That makes three in town, almost as many as Carbondale has of vape shops and video gaming parlous.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Triphammer Tattoo

It appears that Triphammer Tattoo, located in the 200 block of West Main, plans to relocate in a new location, according to this post on Facebook. The space is empty, save for some fixtures with no indication as to where the new location will be.