Monday, October 31, 2016

Quiet Halloween

Took a walk through downtown Carbondale this weekend and pretty quiet for Halloween. People out in costumes walking the Strip but no trouble that I saw, though still problems with littering. Actual Halloween night pretty quiet in downtown as well, though I did see one "buffalo chicken" heading for The Cellar.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Halloween in the Arbor District

From an email sent out by the Arbor District:

On Halloween night, Monday October 31, come to the Buckminster Fuller/Ann Hewlett Fuller Geodesic Dome Home at 407 S. Forest Street in Carbondale. There will be treats and many, many lighted Jack-o-lanterns, each beautifully carved with the image of an architectural site.  This apparition appeals to all ages.

Visit us between the witching hours of 6 and 7:30 p.m., and trick or treat through the rest of the Arbor District with its atmospheric vintage homes.

This will be a night to remember!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Haunted Carbondale

From a press release from Keep Carbondale Beautiful:

Carbondale.  The decorations at 406 North Poplar Street are attracting attention and have earned the home of Kris and Dorothy Schachel a Bright Spot Award from Keep Carbondale Beautiful.  Dorothy is the artist in residence. Window designs were measured on graph paper and carefully cut to fit. 
The spider in front is more than a product of her imagination: her research indicated that spiders have four to six eyes, so she used four ping-pong balls and painted them with fingernail polish to get the right color and irridescence.  The legs are made of PVC pipe and designed so the body has a slight bounce.  Their favorite compliment:  "We been waiting all month to trick-or-treat this house." 
The Keep Carbondale Beautiful, Inc., Board selects businesses or residences to receive the Bright Spot Award for enhancing the beauty of our community by means of revitalization of property, new construction, plantings and beautification, upkeep and maintenance, or rehabilitation.
If you would like to nominate a business or residence to receive the Award, please call the Keep Carbondale Beautiful office at 525-5525 or email  Archives of some past Bright Spot Award winners may be found at

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Hundley House

Found this short documentary on the history of Hundley House

Blatant pitch: if you would like to go inside Hundley House this Friday night, join me for the last Haunted Carbondale tour of the year. Leaving from Castle Perilous Games & Books at 7 p.m.  Wear comfortable shoes and clothing suitable for the weather.  $10 per person with children under 6 and well behaved pets free.  Half of your fee goes to the Humane Society of Southern Illinois. Email castleperilousgames

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Sales Tax Increase

There's a county wide 1% sales tax on the ballot this election day to help fund school building repairs and help reduce property taxes that would normally be collected to fund the school districts. Instead, money from the sales tax would replace that normally collected from property taxes.

Adding the proposed 1% sales tax to Carbondale's existing sale tax would push the city's sales taxes to among the highest in the state, around 10%. About 70% of the revenue from the tax, which would generate an estimated $5.4 million for Jackson County schools, would come from Carbondale.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Retail Space in Downtown

Given the number of people that the Evolve complex was supposed to bring to downtown, there is certainly a lot of empty retail space there. The 4 space strip mall just north of Evolve sits completely empty and, with the movement of the Printing Plant to the old Tantastic just south and the planned exit of Axe Monkey to a new location, the strip just north of what is now the Printing Plant will be empty save for Sun Nails. The whole "Let's put an apartment complex smack in the middle of downtown in order to bring students there" idea doesn't appear working so far.

Monday, October 24, 2016

SIUC Homecoming Parade

Walked with the Saluki Pride float during last Saturday's parade and noted how comparatively few people watched the parade this year compared to prior years. There were stretched with only a few people and a long segment on S. University with almost no one.  I heard from a few people later in the day that they did not realize the time had been pushed back to 10 a.m. from 11 and wonder if there were a large number of people who had missed the announcements over the past few weeks regarding the earlier than normal start time.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Haunted Carbondale

A pretty thorough look at Carbondale's iconic Hundley House and the 1928 murders, still unsolved, that left the building haunted.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Free Downtown Parking

At least for the foreseeable future. The city currently has no plans to make the recently installed parking lot where the Animal Cracks building stood at one time into a paid lot, making this almost the only place a driver can park downtown without having to put a quarter in the meter.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Pumpkin Race

From Carbondale Main Street:

The Rotary Club of Carbondale Breakfast, together with Carbondale Main Street and the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, will host their Fourth Annual Carbondale Pumpkin Race on October 29, 2016. The Pumpkin Race will start at 2pm at the Mill Street Underpass in downtown Carbondale with registration beginning at 1pm.

Participation is free and racers of all ages can get help constructing their pumpkins through the Science Center on October 23rd from 12-2pm by calling 618-529-5431. Prizes will be awarded in a variety of race classes and categories for pumpkins that complete the course.

New elements have been added this year to keep the event fresh and exciting. 2016 Olympic hammer thrower and SIUC graduate, DeAnna Price will be wielding the Mallet-O-Justice and smashing any “Cheater Pumpkins” that don’t follow race regulations. Mayer Branding is hosting a special Grand Prix for more serious racers with a $20 entry fee and a $500 grand prize.

All race proceeds benefit Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale. More information can be found at We look forward to seeing you downtown!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Unofficial Halloween, the Aftermath

Took a drive through downtown Carbondale yesterday morning to see the results of the weekend's Unofficial Halloween revelries and they were surprisingly absent. No broken windows or other damage and little trash littering the ground.  I only saw one overflowing trash can in front of Stix, though there may have been more, as well as a few dozen Styrofoam containers littering the street there as well.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Unofficial Hallween

Walked through downtown Carbondale last night about 10 p.m.on the second night of Unofficial Halloween and was happy at the number of costumed folk I saw wandering S. Illinois Avenue, primarily between Mill and Cherry Streets. There was actually a line waiting to get into Stix but that was the most crowded spot I saw. Carbondale Police were out as well with cars parked on the Town Square, as well as further south on Illinois

Friday, October 14, 2016

Carbondale Zombie Walk

In case you happen to pass through Carbondale late tomorrow afternoon, the annual Carbondale Zombie Walk starts at Gaia House at the corner of University and Grand at 4 p.m. and slowly staggers its way to the Town Square.

By the way, Unoffical Halloween is scheduled for this weekend as well.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Birger's Pub License Transfer

Caught a few minutes of the LCC discussion regarding the transfer of the B2 liquor license from Shaun's Place to Birger's Pub last Tuesday night. Although the LCC approved the transfer, setting it up for final approval by the City Council, council members expressed some concern over the lack of information regarding operations of the Pub. Specifically, questions were raised about who would handle money at the Pub, were the bartender and manager the same and how would receipts be tracked.

Under the license, at least 51% of the revenue generated by the Pub mist come from liquor sales. A couple of council people wondered how the monies from liquor sales and video gaming would be tracked. The Birger's Pub representative pointed out that the video game terminals automatically transmitted their receipts to the state on a regular basis, so the city could request that information and compare total receipts to video gaming one. The transfer passed, with only two LCC members voting against.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Downtown Design Charrette

In case you want to add some input to any proposed downtown redesign, there will be a discussion at the Old Train Depot next Wednesday, October 19th from 4 p.m to 7 p.m. According to what I have been told, participants are welcome to come in and give input anytime during those hours.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Jeffery Laundromat Demolition

Demolishing the old Jeffery Laundromat to make place for a new ob/gyn clinic. Expect to have the building removed in about a week or so.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Shaun's Place Now Birger's Pub

According to this item from the upcoming Liquor Control Commission's agenda, what was going to be called Shaun's Place on the ground floor of the Newel Building will now have its name and ownership changed to Birger's Pub. Shaun's Place never did get off the ground and Birger's Pub is still undergoing rennovations:

Attached is an application from GLH Capital Enterprise, Inc., d/b/a Birger’s Pub, for the transfer of an existing Class B2 liquor license currently held by Shaun Kocel, an individual, d/b/a Shaun’s Place at 201 East Main Street #1-B. Included is a notarized letter from Mr. Kocel, owner of Shaun’s Place, authorizing the transfer. This item was previously on the September 20 agenda but was pulled as the applicant did not receive timely notice of the meeting.

Liquor Code provisions: There is a cap of 20 on Class B1 and B2 liquor licenses, but as this is a transfer of an existing B2 license, there will be no change in the number currently issued. Class B2 licenses shall authorize the retail sale of all alcoholic liquors, by the drink, for consumption on the premises only, subject to the terms, conditions, and restrictions of this and all other pertinent sections of this code. The holder of a B2 license shall not allow any person under the minimum entry age to enter into or remain upon the premises for which the license is held.

Transfers of Licenses:

A. A license shall be a purely personal privilege and shall not constitute property. Nothing in this title shall be construed to grant a right to transfer or accept the transfer of any license. Applicants for the transfer of an existing liquor license shall follow the procedures for issuance of a new liquor license as contained in the Liquor Code.

B. The local liquor control commission, upon receipt of written application and a transfer fee in the amount of one hundred dollars ($100.00), may authorize the transfer of any license issued under this chapter.

C. If the applicant seeks to transfer the license to a new location, the proposed location must comply with all rules, regulations, city ordinances and state statutes applicable to the operation and maintenance of a licensed premises.

D. The transfer of a license issued hereunder from one person to another may only be made in the case of a bona fide sale or transfer for valuable consideration of the business, and upon the determination by the local liquor control commission that the purchaser possesses the qualifications as required of an applicant for the original license.

E.  No transfer shall be effective and no new license shall be issued until the former license is submitted to the office of the city clerk and all monies due the city have been paid.

Liquor Advisory Board Review: This application was reviewed by the Liquor Advisory Board at the meeting of September 1, 2016. While a motion for the approval of the application was received, there was no second. There were no subsequent motions and this matter has been forwarded to the Commission for their consideration. 

Outstanding Items: The $100 transfer fee has been paid and the criminal history check did not reveal anything which would preclude the applicant from holding a liquor license. All other items remain outstanding.

Friday, October 7, 2016

S&B's Video Gaming

According to this agenda item from the upcoming LCC meeting, S & B's Burger Joint is applying for a video gaming license for its University Mall location.  Can't a restaurant just serve food anymore?

Attached is an application for video gaming terminal permit stickers from Eateries, Inc. d/b/a S&B's Burger Joint at 1237 East Main Street. The applicant has provided a copy of their Illinois Gaming Establishment License. S&B's Burger Joint holds an A2 liquor license which authorizes a restaurant to sell all alcoholic liquors by the drink.

Section 2-4-17 of the Carbondale Revised Code requires Local Liquor Control Commission approval for the addition of the gaming machines as the liquor license renewal application considered by the Commission did not include any reference to video gaming.

Benches Removed Due to Long Term Occupiers

There have been a small group, 2-4, of people hanging out and sleeping on two of the benches on the Town Square for over a month. Last week the city took action and removed the two benches. Undeterred, the group has now moved over and occupied the benches near the fountain across from ABC Liquor. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Jeffery Laundromat Coming Down

Demolishment started on longtime downtown Carbondale landmark and more recent eyesore Jeffery Laundromat. The one-time thriving business, with its iconic neon sign, has gotten increasingly dilapidated over the past decade and the property has been purchased with plans to remove the building and replace it with a ob-gyn clinic conveniently across the street from Memorial Hospital.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

New Economic Development Director

Steve Mitchell has taken over Gary Williams' old job.  From the city:

The City of Carbondale would like to announce that Steve Mitchell has been named Economic Development Director, effective October 3, 2016.  Mr. Mitchell was born and raised in Southern Illinois and earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Management and a Master’s of Business Administration from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.  Before accepting his new role with the City, Mr. Mitchell served as the Technology & Communications Manager for the Management, Training & Consulting Corporation in Marion, IL, a position he had held since 1997.  Throughout his professional career, Mr. Mitchell has sought to integrate his education, his background in technology and his passion for economic development to bring opportunity to the citizens and businesses of Southern Illinois.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Signs, Signs...

Looks like we have to a couple of signs coming and going in downtown, though it appears that they have to have approval from the Certificate of Appropriateness committee:

) Certificate of Appropriateness for removal of a sign at Dona Camilla Mexican located at 100 West Jackson Street.

b) Certificate of Appropriateness for installation of sign at the Old Railroad Passenger Depot located at 111, 121, and 131 South Illinois Avenue. 

IHOP Now Open

It would appear the new IHOP had a soft opening today. I understand that the new Marion IHOP opened today as well.