Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Chamber of Commerce Board Members

New members of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors

Carbondale Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman Darren Berger has announced the results of the annual election for members of the organization's Board of Directors. Elected representatives who will begin their three-year terms in January are:
Tena Bennett
Director
SIU Student Center
Tena Bennett is the Director of the Student Center at Southern Illinois University where she oversees the facility and dining operations as well as a variety of programming efforts.  A resident of Carterville, she has lived in the community for 11 years and worked at SIU in various roles within Student Affairs.  Tena currently is a member of the Chamber's Ambassadors Committee and is pursuing her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration at SIU.
Jeremy Clow
Founder and CEO
Saluki Craft

A resident for over six years now, Jeremy Clow grew up in Effingham, IL before coming to Carbondale in 2011 to attend SIU. He graduated from SIU in 2015 with a Bachelors in Architecture and again in 2016 with a Masters. Jeremy is the founder and current CEO of Saluki Craft Co. established in April of 2014. He strives for partnerships with fellow businesses and promotes all economic development in Carbondale, especially the downtown. He is a block captain for Carbondale Main Street and served for two years on the Downtown Advisory Committee. Proud to be a Saluki, he continues to support various programs at SIU: sponsoring "Start Seeing Pink" at the Student Center, Sunset Concerts, various design affiliated RSOs, and most importantly Touch of Nature Environmental Center. 
Jolene Falat
Assistant Vice-President and Branch Manager
First Mid-Illinois Bank and Trust
Jolene Falat is the Assistant Vice-President & Branch Manager of First Mid-Illinois Bank and Trust in Carbondale. Prior to moving to the Carbondale Branch she was AVP/Branch Manager of the Murphysboro branch for 7 years. While in Murphysboro, Jolene served on the Murphysboro Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, serving as its President in 2015. She was also the Treasurer of the Board of the Science Center of Southern Illinois from 2012-2014. Since relocating to the Carbondale branch in late 2015, she has served as the Chairperson of the "Chef Clash in the Arena" (formerly "100 Men Who Cook") annual fundraising event that benefits several local charities. Jolene attended the University of Illinois and completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Mid-Continent University. 
Diane Hood
Manager
The Furniture King
Diane Hood is the manager of The Furniture King in Carbondale. She and her husband, Estus, have been Southern Illinois residents for 30 years. Diane serves on the board of directors for the Women's Center, the Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale, the Carbondale Community High School Foundation, the SIH Foundation and the NAACP. She is active in Toys for Tots and was named the 2016 Carbondale Citizen of the Year.
Jim Jacobs
Owner
Jacobs Air Conditioning and Heating

Jim Jacobs is the owner of Jacobs Air Conditioning & Heating, a Carbondale-based company established in March 2000 and moved the firm into it's current facility in Carbondale's Bi-Centennial Industrial Park in 2005. He is an active member of the Carbondale Chamber for the past 12 years, serving on the Ambassadors Committee and the Board of Directors. Jim is married to Deann, his wonderful wife of 30 years and they reside in rural Carbondale. He is also the proud father of two sons & three daughters. Jim is a member of Vine church, enjoys exercising, golfing & outdoor activities. Jim has been re-elected for his second term on the Board of Directors.


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

City Slogan

Only caught the last 5 minutes or so of the State of the City address, which could be boiled down to "Shop local and be nice to each other". Will have to watch the entirety later. The new city slogan, however, is "All Ways Open". Not great but certainly better than Cape Girardeau's "Where The River Turns a Thousand Tales", which led to a short-lived storytelling festival

State of the City

Mayor Henry will give the State of the City address starting shortly after noon today at the Civic Center.  I bet the state of the city will be "good"

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Payday Loan

Apparently Carbondale can have too many payday loan places. The one located across E. Main from Vogler Ford has shut down. Signs in the window indicate it has relocated to Mount Vernon.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Rendleman Orchards

Rendleman Orchards, in Alto Pass, will close for the season on December 17. It would appear they have quite a few apples left as their remaining stock was half price when I stopped in earlier this week.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

State of the City

The Mayor will give the annual State of the City address during the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce lunch on Dec. 12. According to the city, if you just want to attend and not eat, you can do at no cost:

The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce will host the 2017 State of the City Address on Tuesday, December 12 during their monthly luncheon.
Carbondale Mayor John “Mike” Henry will unveil the City’s new logo and branding. He will also highlight the City’s progress and accomplishments over the last year as well as discuss plans for 2018.
Lunch will begin at noon in the Carbondale Civic Center located at 200 S. Illinois Avenue. Tickets for the event are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Reservations can be made by calling (618) 549-2146.
Proceeds from the event will go toward the Mayor’s Scholarship Fund which provides scholarships for Carbondale Community High School students attending Southern Illinois University.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Clean Streets

Took a walk down Illinois after the Lights Fantastic Parade Saturday night and was amazed at the lack of trash on the street. Given the thousands of people that watched the parade, I had expected to see a lot more garbage but either the city did an exemplary job of cleaning up after the parade finished or that many people were exceedingly litter conscious during the event.

Friday, December 1, 2017

But Will They Use Them?

SIUC Design students have completed landscaping designs for downtown Carbondale and those designs will be on display in the Old Train Depot tomorrow evening from 4 p.m to 8 p.m. There have been a number of designs done by SIUC students displayed over the years and never have used any of the concepts developed. Given that we have the resources of a university here, it seems a shame for the city not to make better use of it. From the email:

The Carbondale Founders Park Committee will display student design proposals for landscaping elements on Saturday, December 2 at the Carbondale Civic Center.

The SIU Landscape Design & Architecture class has completed conceptual drawings for the "Founders Park" property located behind the police station. Design proposals will be on display during the Lights Fantastic Parade from 4-8 p.m.

Everyone is encouraged to come and see what the students have envisioned for a future outdoor recreation space. Public comments are welcome.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Sabor De Mel Closing

Brazilian restaurant Sabor De Mel will close after Sunday. Apparently the customer base was not large enough to support the size of the new location into which it moved this year. I would also hazard that the lack of convenient parking didn't help. The closest parking is located across the street and is reserved for businesses in the University Plaza strip. Sabol's parking was located behind the building without ready access to the front of the building.

Reema's Indian Cuisine, located further south on the Strip, will move into the location.

Flag Raising Ceremony

There will be a flag raising ceremony at noon  to kick off the celebration of Illinois bicentennial next Monday. Mayor Henry will raise the Illinois Bicentennial flag on the flagpole in front of the Civic Center on the date that Illinois joined the US 200 years ago.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Lights Fantastic Road Closures

The city has sent out the following press release regarding street closures for this Saturday's Lights Fantastic parade:

The 27th Annual Lights Fantastic Parade returns to downtown Carbondale on Saturday, December 2.

The parade will begin promptly at 6 p.m. along Mill Street and will travel north on Illinois Avenue to Town Square.

Parade goers are encouraged to arrive early to avoid road closures and detours along Illinois Route 13 and U.S. Highway 51 from 5-8 p.m.


West Bus Service and Jackson County Mass Transit will provide rides to the parade from Murdale Shopping Center, University Mall, SIU Arena and Student Center. Buses will pick up passengers every 15 minutes between 4-6 p.m. Buses will return passengers following the parade.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Attempted Robbery in Arbor District

Received this email from the Arbor district last night:

The Arbor District received notification from Carbondale Police today about crime activity in our neighborhood late last night.  The crime we're reporting here is not ordinary, and therefore the police wanted us to be aware and remain vigilant.  PLEASE REPORT ANY SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY TO THE POLICE IMMEDIATELY.

Carbondale Police now has a heavier presence in our neighborhood of both plain clothes and uniformed officers.  A big thank you goes to the Carbondale Police for their concern for our neighborhood's awareness and active outreach about this crime.


Auto Burglary/Armed Robbery Investigation

On 11/27 at 12:36 am, officers responded to the 600 block of West Elm Street in reference to the report of an armed robbery.  The victim reported he had been inside his residence when his roommate told him a male suspect appeared at the door of the residence advising a car door was open in the driveway. He went outside to investigate, and was approached by a male wearing a ski mask, armed with a black revolver. The male demanded the victim’s phone and wallet and the victim complied. 

The suspect was last seen running south on South Hayes from West Cherry Street. The suspect is described as a thin black male around 5’08” tall, wearing black pants, a black hooded sweatshirt and a ski mask. The suspect was described as a black male in his early 20s who was either bald or had a very close cut hair style. The suspect wore dark clothing, including a sweatshirt with a possible school logo on the left chest area.

The investigation into this incident is continuing. 

The investigation into this incident is continuing and anyone who may have information about this incident is encouraged to contact the police department at 618-457-3200 or Crime Stoppers at 618-549-COPS (2677).

Monday, November 27, 2017

Tree LIghting Ceremony

The city will host its first Tree Lighting Ceremony tonight at 5 p.m. in front of city hall/civic center. Come by and see if we have a Clark Griswold style event.


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Stabbing

Carbondale police responded to a reported stabbing just after midnight this morning. Since the victim's girlfriend, who lived in the apartment as well, is the alleged killer, I would bet some sort of domestic dispute.

Re-zoning

In case you want to put in your two cents regarding the rezoning of the now closed fire station on Oakland Avenue, the Zoning Commission will discuss it on Nov. 29 at 6:30 p.m. in the Civic Center. Given the bit of controversy there was over the sale of the property, I figure a few people might show up with questions. From the press release:

Public Hearings PC 18-09- John Deas and Alison Smith are requesting a rezoning from an R-1-8, Low Density Residential, to an NB, Neighborhood Business, District as well as a Special Use Permit for a tasting room, classified as a drinking place with alcoholic beverages, at 300 South Oakland Avenue.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Police Car Struck

This happened Monday evening around 5 p.m. How are you so distracted that you don't notice a police vehicle with lights and siren crossing the intersection ahead of you? Of course, anyone who has navigated the Mill Street and University intersection knows how annoying it can be to get through.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Varughese Trial Starts

Haven't heard much about the Pravin Varughese case in recent months. The trial started quietly earlier this month with the prosecution turning over to Gaege Bethune's attorneys a number of social media posts, giving evidence to Bethune's state of mind at the time of the death.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Tree LIghting

The city hopes to start a new annual tradition with its tree lighting ceremony scheduled for Nov. 27. From the email:

The City of Carbondale is kicking off the Lights Fantastic Parade a few days early with a special Community Tree Lighting Ceremony on Monday, November 27.
The ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. in front of City Hall located at 200 S. Illinois Avenue.
The tree, donated by George Sheffer of Murdale True Value, will be lit every night at 5 p.m. throughout the holiday season.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Trash Can Recycling

In case you hadn't noticed, everyone with trash pick up in Carbondale will receive nifty new trash cans. So, the question becomes, what to do with the old ones? One option is to keep it as a souvenir of trash days past but that is probably not practical. There are two options you could choose:

1.  Leave your old trash can at the curb. The city will pick it up and toss it in  a landfill. Gets it out of your house but rather wasteful

2. Drop it off behind Hickory Lodge for someone else who might need a trash can. They have a spot marked in the back corner for trash can recycling

From the email sent out by the city:

Carbondale residents who find themselves with unneeded trash cans following the new trash cart rollout have several options to choose from.
Residents can keep their old can and use it for other purposes; pass it on to someone who needs it; bring it to Southern Recycling (wheels and metal must be removed); or make a note on it asking City workers to take it to the landfill.
If you would like to give your trash can a new home, a site has been set up by Keep Carbondale Beautiful behind Hickory Lodge at 1115 W. Sycamore Street for “Trash Can Give Away.” Residents can leave cans in the back corner of the parking lot, next to the shed. Anyone in need of a free trash can is invited to come take one.

Friday, November 17, 2017

SIUC Reorganization

Inside Higher Education doesn't appear particularly impressed with the Chancellor's planned reorganization of the University either. The article notes there are concerns with negation of college operating papers as well as a one size fits all approach to the restructuring. In addition, with the elimination of department chairs, their duties would fall upon current faculty members, increasing their workload as service activities, which is required of all faculty members are part of their terms of employment.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Police Arrest Staples Robber

Looks as if the local Staples was robbed last week, by a chap who had committed a similar robbery recently in Rolla, MO. Carbondale police, working with Rolla authorities, identified the suspect and arrested him at a Carbondale mote.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Dog Park Site

Not surprisingly, the Carbondale Park Board opted not to select the property on which their offices sit for the new Carbondale Dog Park. Instead it will be by the LIFE Community Center on W. Sunset Drive.  so the ground of Hickory Lodge will still sit nicely landscaped and generally unused. Would be nice to see events held on the property, such as community gatherings or concerts, since they don't seem to get much use otherwise. Maybe there are events there and I just never hear of them.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Chancellor on Reorganization

Chancellor Montemagno spoke on WSIU this morning regarding the proposed re-organization of the university and I am still not certain how the reorganization will attract more students. Students come for programs and degrees. The quality of the program and how well it meets their needs and interests is what they look for. I still haven't heard how this reorganization will address that.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Dairy Queen Closed for the Season

Hope you got your fill of Dairy Queen soft serve (not technically ice cream or even ice milk) as the downtown DQ closed for the season yesterday. Saw a few hardy souls trekking to the walk up window for a few more Blizzards and Pecan Mudslides but that it is until typically sometime in February.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Trash Cans

The city received the new trash cans it decided to start using and has been delivering to houses this week. This batch got dropped off about 10 p.m. Friday night. No idea why the city wanted to deliver them that late but saw the truck dropping them off on Springer late Thursday afternoon and on Oakland Friday night.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Walnut and Main Trees

The city cut down a number of the trees along West Walnut and Main streets in last spring, due to disease and rot. Now that all of the street scapes and trees along S. Illinois have been replanted and upgraded, maybe focus will turn to replacing the removed trees along Walnut and Main.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

City Council Meeting

Tuesday night's city council meeting clocked in at right about an hour.  Not much on the agenda but what was was rather important.:

1.  Carbondale Junior Sports requested a partnership or discussion with the city and the Park Board to upgrade the Superblock complex so it could host regional softball and baseball tournaments. The Superblock  fields are not at the level to host tournaments, which CJS says the city loses to Marion and St. Louis. A number of coaches  have expressed willingness to come to events here if the facilities get an upgrade with  better landscaping and signage. CJS would also need an upgraded concession stand, as that is where the bulk of tournament money would be made to support future events. City representatives will further discuss with CJS next week.

2. SSA tax hearing held. Every 5 years, the SSA tax that funds Carbondale Main Street, 48 cents per $100 of assessed property value, comes up for reauthorization. This was that time. 1 person got up to oppose it because they wanted to see taxes start to go down. 3 others, including me and the Main Street manger got up to support it. Council voted unanimously to reauthorize.

3. Discussion of Public Library property tax levy. Not put to a vote tonight but council seems in favor, noting that the library's funding has not increased for the past two years.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Taxes on the Agenda

City council meets at 7  p.m. tonight. Two tax authorizations on the agenda. One would reauthorize the downtown SSA property tax that funds the Carbondale Main Street program for another 5 years.  City council has to reauthorize it every 5 years. The other tax would increase the property tax to fund the Carbondale Public Library. This tax would increase library funding by about $15000. If my understanding is correct though, the city council doesn't have much say over this increase. Since the library board operates independently of the city, as do  a number of other community boards, it votes on property tax increases and council pro forma approves them. If my interpretation is incorrect, please let me know in the comments.

Sunday Night Downtown

I had heard a comment that most of the restaurants in downtown Carbondale were closing up on Sunday nights so took a stroll down Illinois Ave. last Sunday night to take a look. Heading down the street about 7:30 p.m., I found 4 of them closed:  EL Greco's, Sam's Cafe, Wise Guys' Pizza and Fat Patties'. Chango's appeared open as there were staff inside but they looked like they were mopping and the interior seemed pretty dark. Stix was closed but then, the hours sign indicated they didn't open at all on Sunday.

Pagliai's, Bombay Olive, Reema's, Jimmy John's , Sabor De Mel and Dairy Queen were all open

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Veterans Day

Veteran's Day event at across the street from the Newell House Building at 11 a.m. next Friday. From an email sent out by the city:

Southern Illinois University and VFW Post 2605 are teaming up to host a Veterans Day Ceremony to honor the brave men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
The event will be held at Veterans Memorial Plaza (corner of Washington and E. Main Streets) at 11 a.m. on Friday, November 10.
There will be opening remarks by SIU President Randy Dunn, a keynote address by SIU Chancellor Carlo Montemagno and a proclamation by Carbondale Mayor John “Mike” Henry.
If you have questions or would like more information about this event, contact Southern Illinois University Army ROTC Office Manager Tammy Sanders at (618) 453-5786.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Schwartz Building

The Schwartz Building, located at the corner of Main and University, finally sold after several years. Met the new owner briefly as we was moving a large truckload of materials into the building. At least 2 tenants remain in the building but no idea what he plans for the rest of the office space.

Gold Diggers For Sale

Noticed a "For Sale or Rent" sign adorning the recently closed Gold Diggers building (formerly the Blue Martin and the Social House). Whomever goes in there next will have to compete with the recently opened Street Bar in the old Pony/Club Traz location.

Thought it would be rather hard to fail with a business based on video poker and other gaming machines but guess I was wrong. Most of the other locations in Carbondale have a much smaller footprint than the Gold Diggers location does.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Haunted Carbondale Hundley House

One of the local papers, in this case the Daily Egyptian, makes its annual trek to Hundley House with a look at the 1928 murder and attendant haunting. Remember that Trick or Treating in Carbondale is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. tonight.

Monday, October 30, 2017

City Survey

The city makes grants available for rehabilitation of older homes in the community and is surveying residents to find out which area of the city it should target for the next block of available rehabilitation grants. However, if someone comes to your door over the next month asking you to fill out a survey, probably not a bad idea to ask them for identification.  From the press release.

In an effort to continue to bring grant funding to the community, the City of Carbondale will be conducting a housing survey in northeast Carbondale to help determine a target area for future rehabilitation grants.
City staff will be conducting door-to-door surveys from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. now through November.
The survey will consist of demographics and economic and housing-related questions that are required by the state for housing rehabilitation assistance. Surveys will take approximately five minutes to complete.
All of the information gathered will be used solely for statistical analysis and will be kept confidential in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974 (Public Law 93-579). Residents are encouraged to participate.
If you would like more information about this program or to be added to a mailing list for future housing grants, contact Carbondale Senior Planner Travis Taylor at (618) 457-3233 or ttaylor@explorecarbondale.com.

Dog Park

Friends of Carbondale Dog Parks sent out the following email for supporters to copy and paste and edit to send onto the Carbondale Park Board.

Dear Commissioners,
 I support the request by the Friends of Carbondale Dog Parks to establish a dog park at Hickory Lodge.
IN YOUR LETTER, STATE ONE OR A FEW REASONS YOU WANT THE DOG PARK SITED AT HICKORY LODGE. HERE ARE SOME OF THE REASONS IT WAS OUR FIRST CHOICE.
 Hickory Lodge is easy for me to get to [walking].
It’s easy for people throughout Carbondale to get to.
It’s centrally located.
All kinds of people live within walking distance.
It has a great parking lot.
It’s a very short walk from the parking lot to the site of the proposed dog park (especially important for people with limited mobility).
It’s a centrally located park that should be used as a park, not just the Park District headquarters.
It's a big, beautiful, empty, unused lot intended for community use, and building our dog park there will generate a lot of community use. 
It will help stabilize the neighborhood by making it more attractive to long-term residents – homeowners and long-term renters.
It was donated by the Martin family to be used as a public park facility, and it should be used for that purpose, not just the Park District headquarters.
The 2007 Hickory Lodge Task Force envisioned the Lodge and grounds as a multi-use community center. A dog park furthers this goal, contributing to making it a welcoming park for people in Carbondale and the larger region.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Trick or Treat on Main Street

Trick or Treat on Main Street takes place tomorrow from noon to 2 p.m. 19 locations in downtown will give away candy and other treats, followed by the Great Carbondale Pumpkin Race at the Mill Street underpass at 2 p.m.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Dairy Queen Last Day

Less than a month for you to get your fill of delicious Dairy Queen products from the iconic downtown Carbondale DQ before it closes for the season.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Haunted Carbondale SIUC

A story from the Daily Egyptian's archives, looking at several hauntings on the SIUC campus. There are a few other stories on campus that are not covered here, but I haven't heard any new ones in several years.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Dog Park

Putting a dog park in Carbondale on the Hickory Lodge/Carbondale Park District office grounds make quite a bit of sense, The offices are what gets use on the property, not the grounds, and the grounds are fairly spacious, giving plenty of room for dogs and their owners to run around. Turley and Attucks Parks get much more use by the human population of Carbondale, who might not care too much for having a lot of dogs running about. Meanwhile, the Hickory Lodge  is comparatively isolated and, as far as I can tell, gets very little use.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Founders Park

Did you know the city was looking into establishing a Founder's Park?  Me either but there will a meeting to discuss one this Monday at 6 p.m. at the Old Train Depot.  I think the plan is to locate it in the green space behind the public safety/police station. Here is the agenda:

Discussion regarding type of entity to create for the management of the park.
Old business: Continue discussion of Kiosks and historical information to be used/included.
 Update on metal fence parts for panels.
 Update of outreach to John A. Logan College and the Construction Technologies Program.
Private/Public partnerships:
Duplicating student submissions for display and public input.
Possible local, county, state, federal assistance

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Commission Openings

Apparently since the city council cannot recruit enough people to sit on various commissions and boards from the city proper, the council voted to expand the region from which people can get recruited to a mile and a half outside the city limits. Maybe it's due to the fact that the city ignores most of the support boards it has established over the years and only pays attention to those that directly impact city operations, like planning and the LCC. I have sat on the Sustainability Commission since Joel Fritzler appointed me. I think my term expired several years ago but I never heard anything from the city regarding either reapplying or getting re-appointed so I just keep showing up for meetings. I will happily re-apply if I ever get a notice from the city one way or the other. If the city wants people to apply for seats on its boards and commissions, it needs to make potential recruits aware that it views the assorted commissions and boards as important and not afterthoughts.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Haunted Carbondale

It's that time of the year when we start paying attention to ghosties and ghoulies and long legged beasties and things that go bump in the night so figured I would start with the city's two main cemeteries:  Oakland Cemetery and Woodlawn Cemetery.  As far as I know, there are no ghostly legends associated with Woodlawn Cemetery but there is the above ground sarcophagus located there, which has a number of stories circulating about why it sits there.

Oakland Cemetery is far more active with balls of light floating along the abandoned railbed along the north side of the cemetery and a mausoleum that reportedly unlocks by itself.

Just remember, these are cemeteries so treat them with respect and remember that you can legally only be in them during daylight hours.

Curbside Open

Although there are no hours posted, Curbside has reopened with hours from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. or so. Hopefully they will get the correct hours up on the door soon.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Bike Path

Rather bemusing that we have a bike path running from the town square clear to campus and yet bicyclists continue to ride on the sidewalk on University and Illinois. Perhaps installing signage directing them to the path might get them off of the heavily trafficked roads through downtown.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

More on Signpost

While talking with a friend about the new signpost installed on the town square with signs for the Chamber of Commerce, Carbondale Main Street and Station Carbondale Museum, we both realized that the direction the signboards point mean they are only readily visible to someone driving east on Marion Street (the street heading away from the sign in the picture). Someone driving north on Illinois would not see them until the car pulled abreast of the sign, making it likely they would drive past the entrance to the lot. Hopefully, it is possible to turn the signs 90 degrees and maybe even add arrows to them to better direct people to the appropriate offices (and maybe even an additional sign pointing to the Carbondale Tourism office across the street). Just a thought.

Friday, October 13, 2017

DE and Chancellor's Plan

Apparently new Chancellor Carlo Montemagno got a bit annoyed with the DE for relegating his speech on his vision for the university to page 15 of  the Sept 27 issue. At any rate the reorganization plan made it to the front page of the Oct 4 issue so I would guess word got back to the DE editorial staff.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Signpost

Saw this signpost going up on the Town Square last week and took it for a piece of downtown artwork but this week signs appeared on it for Main Street, the Chamber of Commerce and Station Carbondale. Of course, people will still keep asking if they can purchase train tickets there, even though the Amtrak station moved 2 blocks south back in 1984

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Homecoming Windows

The window painting contest sponsored by the SIU Alumni Assoication was not really well publicized this year. Date to enter was last Thursday with photos and judging earlier this week, Monday I think. More notice and publicity in advance would probably generate a lot more participation next year, especially with the renewed focus, I hope, on the interrelationship between Carbondale and the University. It would really revitalize the whole community if SIUC could get attendance up to something approaching 1990s levels again.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Meet the Mayor AND Chancellor

Meet both the mayor and SIUC's new Chancellor next Monday at the SIUC Student Center's Starbucks from 11 a.m. to noon. Talk with them over coffee but I doubt if they are buying. From the city's press release:

The City of Carbondale and the Southern Illinois University Student Center will host “Meet the Mayor and Chancellor” on Monday, October 16.
SIU Chancellor Carlo Montemagno and Carbondale Mayor John “Mike” Henry will be at the SIU Student Center Starbucks from 11 a.m.-noon.
This is an opportunity for students and members of the community to talk to the Mayor and Chancellor over coffee.

Friday, October 6, 2017

A&W Rootbeer

From the signage and repainting, it appears that the Long John Silver's out by Wal-mart is transitioning into a A&W Rootbeer fast food restaurant. No idea when the new location will open.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

New Business

Ribbon cutting for Manny's Spirits-Food-Gaming this Friday at 4:30. Is it just me or do we now have an awful lot of "gaming" parlours in Carbondale now? I know we have already seen one close (Gold Diggers). We should be reaching saturation point soon.

The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce will hold a Ribbon Cutting at 4:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 6 for Manny's Spirits-Food-Gaming.

Manny's is located at 801 N. Giant City Road, and it attached to the Best Western Saluki Inn. The Ribbon Cutting is part of the establishment's grand opening celebration and will feature a reception and appetizers

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

Monday, October 2, 2017

Fire Department Open House

At the West Side building this Saturday:

The Carbondale Fire Department will host an Open House on Saturday, October 7 at Fire Station #2 (401 N. Glenview Drive) from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
This is an opportunity for the community to tour the fire station, meet firefighters, learn more about department services and ask questions.
There will also be activities for kids, including a special appearance by the Fire Department’s mascot Sparky.
The Fire Department will also be selling t-shirts during the Open House to raise awareness for breast cancer. T-shirts are $20 and are available in a variety of sizes.
The Open House will kick off National Fire Prevention Week October 8-14. This year’s theme is “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!”
If you have questions or would like more information, contact the Carbondale Fire Department Administrative Office at (618) 457-3234.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

City Council Meeting

City council meeting taking place next Tuesday. Here's the agenda:

2.1 Approval of the City Council Meeting Minutes of September 19, 2017 2.2 Approval of Warrant for the Period Ending: 09/11/2017 FY 2018 Warrant 1312 in the Amount of $1,386,970.69 2.3 Approval of the Purchase of Lights and Poles for the Drainways/Greenways Path from Springfield Electric of Carbondale Illinois in the amount of $30,004.35 2.4 Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Execute an Engineering Agreement with Thouvenot, Wade & Moerchen, Inc. (TWM) of Swansea, IL in the Amount of $125,300 for the Design of the Northwest Pedestrian and Bicycle Path (OS1704) 2.5 Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Execute an Engineering Agreement with RJN Group in the Amount of $160,400 for Continued Work on the City's Sanitary Sewer Inflow and Infiltration Study (SA1301) 2.6 Approve an Obligation Retirement Resolution for the 2006 Street Improvement Program Bonds Payment of $450,000 from State Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) Funds 2.7 Resolution to Approve the Name of City-Owned Property as Founders Park and to Place a Sign on Said Property 2.8 Approval of Consent Agenda Items 3. General Business of the City Council 3.1 Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Submit an Application for TIGER Funding for a Multi-Modal Station 3.2 Discussion of Community Investment Project (CIP) priorities for the Local Improvement Fund Budget 4. Council Comments for the City Council 4.1 An opportunity for City Council members to offer general comments 5. Executive Session 5.1 Vote to Enter into Executive Session 5.2 Approval of Closed Meeting Minutes; Declaring if the Need for Confidentiality Still Exists in Whole or in Part for Closing Meeting Minutes; and Authorizing the Destruction of Audio Recordings for Closed Meetings Conducted More Than 18 Months Ago

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Curbside

Looks as if Curbside in the 200 block of West Main may be re-opening soon. The restaurant shuttered after losing its liquor license temporarily a few years back, planning to reopen when the license was re-instated. It never did and the place has remained dark for a couple of years.

However there have been signs of life and people inside for the past month and a new sign appeared on the door this week. No indication as to when the restaurant might open its doors though.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Chancellor's Speech

In case you missed the Chancellor's speech yesterday on his vision for SIUC, you can read it here. Given how important the University is to Carbondale and southern Illinois, if you are a resident of the region, you really should 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Job Multiplier Effect

According to research by Enrico Moretti of UC-Berkley, Carbondale would do better to pursue high tech jobs rather than traditional manufacturing job. Each high tech job added to a community raises local employment by 5 jobs, whereas added a straight manufacturing job adds 1.6 jobs to the community. That is not to say don't go after manufacturing operations but it would appear developing Carbondale's high tech infrastructure would prove a better investment in generating jobs in the city, as well as giving graduating students a reason to remain here, rather than decamping for Houston or San Francisco or Atlanta.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Email Regarding Fire House Sale

The following email was sent out to people on the Arbor District email list. Posted with permission:

Here's a update on Tuesday night's rather infuriating Carbondale City Council meeting from Board VP Dave Johnson. 

Despite many objections from residents of the Arbor District and other citizens, the City Council voted 6-1 to sell the old Fire Station to John Deas and Allison Smith, who plan to turn it into a mixed use property with an Art Gallery, artists' workshops, and a beer tasting room. This means that the proposal by Josh Klarer and his father to build a restaurant with brew pub is off. 

The fundamental objection we raised to this was the failure by the City Council to elicit any input from any citizens of Carbondale, including immediate neighbors and the Arbor District. We in the Arbor District had long made it clear that we hoped to play a role in the decision about what to do about the property--but we weren't the only ones to speak up tonight. Some of the most eloquent testimony came, in fact, from a neighbor who doesn't belong to the district, but lives next door to the affected property. She made it very clear that no one from the council had contacted her about the decision--and she herself did far more to survey her neighbors than anyone from the city did, and discovered that none of them had heard anything about the proposal from the city until after the proposal to sell to Deas and Smith had been put on the council agenda. She, like many other speakers, both from within the Arbor District and without (including former council members Don Monty and Lee Fronaberger), called for the council to step back, let both sides make their case, and take input from all interested citizens. 

Some at the meeting spoke in favor of the Deas/Smith proposal—more, in fact, than explicitly spoke in favor of the Klarer proposal. Most I know in the neighborhood favor the Klarer proposal, but no one I know in the Arbor District thinks the art gallery project is a bad proposal in itself, or that Deas and Smith did anything wrong. Our fundamental point was about process. The city shouldn't make decisions about what to do about public property without consulting with the public.

Perhaps the most striking thing at the meeting is that no one on the city council, to my recollection, defended their failure to consult with neighbors about this proposal. The position of those on the council who voted against us, inasmuch as I understand it, was this. The process the city used was legal (which is debatable, but I don't claim to understand the nuances of Illinois' open meeting law); it may not be a good process, but it is our usual way of doing business (this may be true, but there are other precedents for more open processes); we authorized the city manager to make a deal; he made a deal, and we shouldn't walk away from it. And it would somehow be unfair to Deas and Smith to back out now. 

But Illinois open meetings law explicitly forbids the council from making decisions in closed session. So the council was completely free to step back and reconsider the process. The city could not legally make any binding promises to Deas and Smith before tonight's meeting, so the only harm Deas and Smith would have suffered would have been a week of thinking they had a tentative deal in place. And for all we know the final decision may have been in favor of Deas and Smith even had the process been restarted. 

Some on the city council clearly resented their decision being questioned in the press and social media. To my mind the council lost any right to complain about arguments in social media and the press when it failed to seek public discussion in other forms. This whole thing would not have been argued out on TV and the newspaper--or at least wouldn't have been argued there with the same vehemence--if the city had bothered to ask citizens what they thought in the first place. 

Mayor Henry at one point blew up and asked why the Arbor District felt it had the right to oppose something outside its borders. We lay claim to both sides of the streets around our perimeter, as a matter of fact, and have had dues paying members on the "outside" sides of the border streets. But the larger point is that the city did zero consultation with any citizens of Carbondale about this. This isn't just about the Arbor District. Henry's quick anger obviously reflected longtime enmity between him and some in the district. He later tried to apologize, but continued to mischaracterize the Arbor District's position: we were not insisting on having our way by getting Klarer's proposal approved, as we made very clear. We did strongly argue for citizen involvement in city decision making--as did many other citizens from outside our neighborhood.

Henry also said at one point that he would allow no discussion of any proposal other than the one under consideration (the Deas/Smith proposal), He later relented, and allowed both Klarers to speak about their proposal. Deas and Smith also spoke about their proposal. So the merits of the two plans were briefly discussed--but the debate was utterly irrelevant, as it turns out, as the Council had already made up its mind. It was a "Public Hearing" where the decision had already been made in private and nothing the council heard would change anything. 

My own snap analysis was that six members of the council chose to stick together--not to backtrack on the decision they'd implicitly made in closed session—rather than to admit they erred and retreat in the face of outcry from a pretty large number of Carbondalians. That is, they chose loyalty to the city council over loyalty to the people they are supposed to represent. 

The sole member of the city council to vote in opposition to the sale was Navreet Kang. He made the process argument, and also argued that the sale was financially irresponsible given that the Klarers offered more money and would bring in more tax revenue. To my mind he is to be commended for his vote. 

Members who voted to go forward with the decision made in closed session without any public input were Mayor Mike Henry, and council members Jessica Bradshaw, Brad Doherty, Tom Grant, Carolin Harvey, and Adam Loos. 

Dave Johnson, for the Arbor District

Thursday, September 21, 2017

New Car Wash

New car wash going in just south of the intersection of Giant City Road and Hwy 13. Given that the Dirtbuster Carwashes just sold and the old car wash at the intersection of 13 and Sycamore has been demolished, I wonder if there is enough demand for another one in town. I can think of 4 in Carbondale offhand, the two Dirtbusters, on on East Walnut and one on the southside at the intersection of Pleasant Hill Road and Hwy 51. Given that this new wash will only be about 4 blocks north of the eastside Dirtbusters, I cannot see demand for both washes in that area.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Carbondale Crime Rate

Despite its reputation as a high crime community, the crime rate in Carbondale has actually declined abut 25% over the last decade. The number of auto thefts held steady in the low 30s but every other crime tracked has seen slight to significant declines

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Fire Station

The old fire station at the corner of Oakland and Walnut was due to get approved for sale at tonight's city council meeting. The city wanted $82,000 for it and that amount was offered by Joshua Klarer who wanted to open a restaurant and microbrewery in the location. However, unless something changes, the city has opted to accept a bid of $50000 from John Deas and Allison Smith who plan to open studio space and a tasting room at the location.

The city cited the residential nature of the neighborhood, which has hosted a fire station there for decades, and the difficulty of access to parking, only available from off Walnut Street, which doesn't seem to bother any of the restaurants located on South Illinois, also a one way street.

I have no problem with the "secrecy" with which the discussions were held, though more input from the community might have been helpful. As the mayor points out, such decisions should be made without undue influence and council members should vote in private. My major concern is that, in a time when sales tax revenues in the city are down, the city has opted to take a facility that, if the restaurant opened, would generate sales tax revenues, while artist studios will not. Given that, due to budget needs,  the city voted to extend a sales tax due to sunset this year, an extra $32,000 in city coffers might be helpful. Additionally, if the city might have to suit Klarer's needs, as stated in the article, why are those spaces not equally suitable for Deas and Smith's studio?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Thai Taste Reopens

Thai Taste reopened for business last Saturday at lunch time after closing for 2 days while repairs were made from an accident wherein a car, doing a 180 after getting clipped on the rear end, smashed into the restaurant's north wall. Repairs to a smashed drainpipe were completed Friday and, while Tyvik still covers the hole in the wall, the restaurant reopeend with a clean bill of health Saturday.

Friday, September 15, 2017

True Value Hardware Sold

To Cotton Hardware out of Columbia IL

An anchor of the Carbondale retail sector will soon be changing hands. George Sheffer, who, along with his wife Diane, has owned Murdale True Value for more than 35 years, has announced plans to sell the store to Cotton Hardware effective Dec. 1.

“We appreciate so much all of our customers and friends from Carbondale and throughout Southern Illinois, and especially all of our team members,” Sheffer said. “We have so much to be thankful for.”

Under his leadership, Murdale True Value has grown to one of the flagship stores in the True Value organization and is often used as an example for other stores to follow. The store has won numerous honors both nationally and locally, including being named the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Year for 2016. Murdale True Value has been an active supporter of community and charitable causes including Southern Illinois Athletics, the Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale, St. Francis Animal Care and many others. Sheffer said that new ownership has expressed a desire for the store to continue community involvement.

“Cotton Hardware cares about their communities. They are very locally-focused,” he said.

Sheffer, who has owned Murdale True Value since 1985, added that current employees will continue with the store following the sale.

“Utmost in our thought process was our team members here – to make sure they continued to have good jobs and are able to support their families. Everything will be the same here,” he explained.

The Sheffers will continue through the ownership transition – a process expected to last two months. He added that he will remain in Carbondale.

“This is our home,” he said. “We will still be living in Carbondale and will remain active in the community.”

Columbia Illinois -based Cotton Hardware owns ten other retail locations. The Carbondale store will be the first to include a locksmith service, appliance department and rental.

The Cotton family stated, “We are looking forward to working with the great residents and businesses in the Southern Illinois Region. Giving back and supporting the local community has always been a cornerstone of our business model. It is our intention to continue the great service and support that you have come to expect for Murdale. We are truly blessed to be a part of your community.”

Sheffer said the coming months for him will be a time of reflection and appreciation to the community. 

“All of our great customers have made everything possible,” Sheffer said. “We will be forever grateful to all of them.”

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Trick or Treat Hours

Mayor announced hours for Trick or Treating in Carbondale this year. Happily, we are continuing to do trick or treating on actual Halloween rather than pushing it to the last Saturday in October as some places have done. Halloween belongs on October 31, not on a weekend night:

 Carbondale Mayor John “Mike” Henry is excited to announce trick-or-treat hours for Halloween.
Kids can trick-or-treat throughout Carbondale on Tuesday, October 31 from 5-8 p.m.
Residents wishing to hand out candy to “trick-or-treaters” should light up their porches and driveways.
“Trick-or-treaters” are encouraged to wear reflective tape or clothing and have their parents check their candy for potentially harmful objects.
Mayor Henry and members of the City Council ask for the cooperation of all residents in making this a happy and safe occasion for our community.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Accident

Accident at the corner of Main and Illinois tonight about 7 p.m. From the video, it appears the car in the photo got clipped by another car heading north on Illinois, spun around and went through the wall of Thai Taste. At least one person in the hospital and Thai Taste has closed for the rest of the evening. Very hard to serve customers with a 15' hole in the wall.

We're Number 86, We're Number 86

Alarms.org compiled a ranking of the top 100 safest colleges and universities in the US and SIUC came in at #86. The ranking is based upon statistics gathered from the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting and the National Center for Education Statistics. Colleges that made the list reported both low levels of crime both off and on campus. Take that, reputation of Carbondale as an unsafe city.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Turning The Corner

One of the terms I kept hearing people use during the after-eclipse forum was "turning the corner", as in the eclipse traffic helped downtown turn the corner towards revitalization. We shall see but SIUC's administration has used the same phrase to describe university enrollment and strategy for almost two decades now and the only result I have seen is the continuing decline in enrollment. While I was happy to see the traffic and emphasis on downtown prior to the eclipse, it looks still to early to say if downtown has "turned the corner" yet or not.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Drones in Carbondale

Attended a presentation on drones today and apparently it is illegal to fly a drone within 5 miles of an airport without authorization from the FCC, which means that almost all of Carbondale is off limits. Most of Carbondale, except for a small swath along the southeast edge by the Dunn Richmond Center, is within 5 miles of Southern Illinois Airport and therefore covered by the ban.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

SIUC Down Again

Attendance for the fall semester dropped below 15000 students , although the administration, working to put a positive spin on it, pointed out that this class has a higher average GPA than last year's class and that SIUC was attracting more transfer students. That is all well and good, but the institution still has fewer students than last year and no amount of spin will change that. I hope, with the new chancellor, Carbondale will see some long term strategies put into place to turn around this decline. Maybe, instead of going after students from the collar states, the university should work harder to make it the first choice of seniors in the southern Illinois region?

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Another Eclipse Session

The city will host another listening session for feedback about eclipse events and handling at the Civic Center on Sept. 13 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Some things I hope they incorporate sooner than 7 years from now:
1.  Annual welcome back concert for students the Saturday before SIUC open
2. More open container weekends, with significant police presence
3. Planning for the next eclipse starting NOW.