Friday, April 28, 2017

Carbondale Times and NIghtlfe Sold

Paddock Publications, a privately held publisher  located in Chicago, announced it had purchased the Carbondale Times, Weekend Times and Nightlife, as well as the commercial printing business of Thomas Publishing. Paddock assumed ownership of the papers yesterday.

This brings to 8 the total number of southern Illinois papers Paddock owns, as it purchased papers located in Eldorado, Harrisburg, DuQuoin, Benton and Marion last summer as well as 4 papers in communities located just south of Springfield.

The motto of the company, according to the website of its flagship publication, the Daily Herald, is "To fear God, tell the truth, and make money"

Thursday, April 27, 2017


It looks as if the new clothing store located at 201 West Walnut is called Autopsy. Either that, or that is the name of one of the brands of clothing it sells.  The shop has a signboard out in front with a list of clothing brands topped by "Autopsy", so would guess that is the store's name.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

City Council Meeting

Sat in on last night's city council meeting for about an hour. Despite the number of cars in the parking lot, not that many people attended the meeting. It looked like more of them were there for the reading meeting down the hall.

The Liquor Control Commission's part of the meeting was pretty uneventful, with Hangar 9 getting warned about an overcrowding incident earlier in the year. No fine and no court costs.

During the meeting proper, council on several things without much argument:

1. Created a Class F3 license allowing 3rd party vendors to sell liquor on SIUC property. The university has control over its own selling of alcohol but the city regulates 3rd party vendors. This new licence is designed to streamline procedures and give the city some imput into campus alcohol sales where warranted.

2.  Adopted the new design standards for downtown. It appears that due to some comments from businesses in downtown, inspectors will have greater leeway in enforcing standards in the "entertainment district" south of West Elm. North of Elm, the standards will be more strictly enforced. I did find out that if a building is destroyed by fire or storm, rebuilding the structure to its original design would not be allowed. The building would have to be rebuilt complying with the new standards. Incidentally, neither Evolve nor the downtown Hilton would meet the new design standards so it is a good thing they were completed/started before the standards were enacted.

3.  Authorized just over a million  to move utility lines to the rear of buildings and install new lighting along Illinois Avenue. Assuming the "perfection fallacy" doesn't kick in, the redesign should be "substantailly completed" by August 10, about 2 weeks before the Carbondale Eclipse. Given that students will hit town right about then and the city will see an additional 5000-50000  people in town in a week and a half, here's hoping downtown is still not under construction during the Eclipse.

I skipped out before the budget discussion but assume that passed as well.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Message from the Mayor

Clean up your property, especially if you are a business, is the word from Mayor Henry. The city wants the city to make a good impression on the thousands or tens of thousands expected to arrive for the eclipse

With less than four months until the solar eclipse, the City of Carbondale is encouraging all businesses to give their properties some extra attention as the community prepares to welcome thousands of visitors.
Improvements include touching up paint, landscaping upgrades, repairing sidewalks and repainting parking lots. 
Carbondale Mayor John “Mike” Henry said, “If we all work together over the next few months, it will make a big difference in how people perceive Carbondale.”
The total solar eclipse will reach its greatest point of totality just south of Carbondale on August 21.
For more information about the solar eclipse, contact Carbondale Tourism at (618) 529-4451 or visit

Monday, April 24, 2017

America's Best Value Inn

Got word from a reader of the blog over the weekend that the owner of the America's Best Value Inn has been served with a nuisance warrant under the new nuisance ordinance.  Fines start to add up if nothing is done.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Police Calls to America's Best Value Inn

According to this story from the WSIL 3 website, Carbondale police have responded to over 200 calls to the America's Best True Value Inn on East Main in the past year. That's a lot of responses. The reviews on Google indicate problems as well, with an average rating of 2.2 and a lot of 1 star ratings.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Carbondale In the 1960s

The Carbondale Civic Center currently is hosting a display of photographs of Carbondale taken during the 1960s. Photos include shots of the Arena under construction, the tear gassing of protesters on University Avenue and an aerial shot of Murdale Shopping Center with undeveloped land to the west and south of it.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


Got an notice about Carbondale's electrical program this week. Unless something changes at city hall , the city will probably renew the contract with Homefield Energy this June. If you don't want to participate and would rather negotiate your own rates, you have until May 5th to opt out.

Rates are pretty good and, if the city opts to stay with the program, they will drop slightly for the period of June 2019 through December 2020.

Another benefit of the program, not that it really matters too much to the average energy consumer, is that 100% of the energy sent to Carbondale comes from renewable sources. I believe, under the last contract, in order to support the region's history of coal mining, several of our surrounding communities opted to go with a percentage of their electricity generated from coal. However, Carbondale being Carbondale, the city chose to go renewable all the way.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Eclipse Hotel Pricing

Still a few hotel rooms available for the Great American Eclipse in Carbondale. Unfortunately, they start at $250 per night and run up to $499 per night with a three night minimum.  Will certainly be interesting to see if we have any rooms left come the Eclipse and what they prices are at the time of the event.

Sunday, April 16, 2017


Strong police presence along N. Oakland last night about 9:30. I counted at least 6 cruisers parked between the 200 and 700 blocks, all with flashers going. Learned later that a delivery driver had been held up in the area by a thief with a gun. Criminal with a gun running through residential area so no wonder the heavy police appearance.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Easter Weekend

Well, it is Easter weekend, which means that most city government offices are shut down as are NGOs such as Main Street, the Chamber of Commerce and the Carbondale Tourism office. On the plus side, this means no parking meter charges in downtown.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Safe and Welcoming City

Was at the standing room only city council meeting for about half an hour last night during discussion of a resolution declaring Carbondale a "safe and welcoming" (not a sanctuary) city. Most of those standing along the wall in the top picture were holding signs supporting the measure, the first time I can remember protestors with signs at a city council meeting.

The bottom picture was taken just after Mayor Mike Henry asked those in attendance who supported the measure to stand to show their support. Well over 3 quarters of those in attendance promptly stood. Two did speak in opposition to the resolution, one expressing concern regarding how it would affect the city's relationship with the federal government and the other bringing up the example of an illegal immigrant who was arrested and released 5 times before committing a murder in San Francisco.

The resolution passed 6 to 1, with only Councilman Navreet Kang in opposition.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

City Council Meeting

Carbondale City Council meets tonight at the civic center. Lots of stuff on the consent agenda and a discussion of the budget during the general meeting. Among the items on the consent agenda:  approval of lighting for downtown streets and funding for a bikeway from Giant City Road to Reed Station Road.

From what I have heard from IDOT, the plan is for a bikeway to extend eventually all the way from Carbondale to Marion along Hwy 13.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Power Poles Moving

Not quite the same thing as moving the power lines underground, in order to make the downtown more attractive, work starts this week on moving power lines from the street front to alleyways behind the buildings along South Illinois. According to a press release from the city, this should take 4-6 weeks, then I would assume West Walnut and West Main as the main focus of the move is to improve the downtown streetscape.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Thoughts on City Council Election

Before the recent council election, I would have bet a steak dinner that Lee Fronabarger would get reelected, showing how good my political prognostication skills are. Hindsight being 20/20 though and looking at the results, I think I see where I went wrong.

About 4200 people voted in the election or just under 17%, In an off year election like this, only the most avid or conscientious voters will turn out.. due to his years of activity in the community and the number or organizations and events with which he has involved himself, he has a pretty broad base of support.

Bradshaw, Harvey, and Doherty, due to their activities and focus all draw support from much narrower bases but the members of those groups are more strongly involved in the areas that each of the three represent, moreso than the average Carbondale resident. The more involved you are in an area or subject, the more likely you are to take action, in this case getting out to vote.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Bike Friendly City Hall

According to this press release, Carbondale City Hall has recognized as a Bronze Level Bike Friendly Business. After reading it, I looking into what it would take to get a business designated as one. The 15 page application proved pretty daunting:

The League of American Bicyclists has named the Carbondale Civic Center/City Hall a Bicycle Friendly Business at the Bronze level.
This award is presented only to businesses who are dedicated to encouraging a more welcoming atmosphere for bicycling employees, customers and the community.
There are currently 1,315 Bicycle Friendly Businesses in 49 states and Washington D.C.
To learn more about the program or to apply, visit

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

LAB Meeting

Not much on tomorrow night's Liquor Advisory Board meeting:

1. Roll Call
2. Discussion regarding proposed amendment to Title Two allowing alcohol sales to occur on university property during university-related events
3. Citizens’ Comments
 4. Board Comments
 5. Adjournment

Allow alcohol sales, more people attend bringing more money with them.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

91.7% In

With 91.7% of the vote in, Harvey still maintains about a 150 vote lead over Bradshaw with Doherty about 50 votes behind her and Fronabarger about 50 votes behind him

City Council Election

With 83% of the votes counted, here are the current standings for city council:

Number of Precincts 24
Precincts Reporting 20 83.3 %
 Times Counted 1256/13795 9.1 %
 Total Votes 2904
JEFF DOHERTY 688 23.69%

Carbondale Township Highway Commissioner

Number of Precincts 23
Precincts Reporting 19 82.6 %
 Times Counted 1483/15672 9.5 %
 Total Votes 1347 BRADLEY H LAM DEM 872 64.74%
 RUSS KRAMER GRN 475 35.26%

Carbondale School District 95

Carbondale ESD 95
Total Number of Precincts 27
Precincts Reporting 21 77.8 %
Times Counted 1395/14907 9.4 %
Total Votes 3887
CARLTON SMITH 636 16.36%
GRANT R MILLER 414 10.65%
GARY K SHEPHERD 502 12.91%

Vandalism at Bowen Gym

Carbondale Police reported a third incident of graffiti spray painted inside Bowen Gym, where the new Southern Illinois Pharaohs basketball team plays. The vandalism took place sometime between Sunday night and Monday afternoon. 

Vote Early, Vote Often (Joke, That's A Joke)

Polling places in Jackson County opened at 6 a.m. today and will close at 7 p.m. Here is a link to locations. If you want to know more about city council candidates, the most recent issues of the Carbondale Times have good profiles of the four of them.

Without a mayor on the ballot, I expect a pretty small turnout. It will surprise me if it breaks 15%, though I was happy to see a 1 person line in front of me when I stopped off to vote about 8 a.m., with three of the voting booths occupied.

Monday, April 3, 2017

We Are Still Excellent

For the 24th year in a row, the city has received a Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting.  I guess that's good. From the press release

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) has awarded the City of Carbondale the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the City’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for fiscal year 2016.

Individual departments or agencies are responsible for meeting the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) requirements for CAFR.

This is the 24th consecutive year the City has received the award.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Bost Poll

Rep, Bost solicited responses regarding support for the Keystone XL pipeline in a poll last week. The responses he received are below. A bare majority, 51%, support building the pipeline, which rather surprised me, given the wording and the focus on energy production in southern Illinois. I would have expected it higher: