Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Hwy 127 Roadwork

In another nod to the upcoming eclipse, IDOT has posted there will be work on Hwy 127 just north of Alto Pass but not starting until the end of the month. Apparently we don't want to risk slowing traffic through southern Illinois this weekend.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Street Closures

Despite rumors, the only street closing during Eclipse Weekend is Washington Street between Main and Walnut. Everything else remains open, unless something happens:

 The City of Carbondale would like to remind eclipse goers that all major roads in Carbondale will remain open during the eclipse.
Washington Street between Main and Walnut Streets will be closed August 19-21 for Shadow Fest.
Route 13, U.S. Highway 51, Illinois Avenue and all other main thoroughfares are planned to be open throughout eclipse weekend.

Pony Hiring

Sign on the long-closed Pony building is advertising someone is hiring managers, bartenders and waitstaff. No indication if they will be hiring dancers though or even if the business will re-open under the Pony name. I have heard it will move to more of a bar and grill with out the dancers.

Monday, August 14, 2017

School Funding

This week's State Week in Review is an interesting listen on the whys and wherefores of the recently vetoed school funding bill. One reason for the Legislature to hold off sending the bill to the Governor for his already announced veto was that, if negotiations had panned out between the two sides, the bill would have only needed an amendment to incorporate any negotiated changes, then the Governor could sign the amended bill. As it stands now, with the veto, there can be no changes to the bill.  If the House overrides his veto, the school funding bill goes into effect as written.

The discussion also points out that, although Gov. Rauner only mentions the funding for Chicago teacher pensions as his reason for vetoing the bill, his amendatory veto also made a lot of changes in the way payments to school systems are calculated. Currently, according to my understanding of the discussion, since they don't generate any funds for schools, TIF districts and property tax caps are not considered when calculating how "rich" a school district is for purposes of calculating state funding. Under Gov. Rauner's changes, the value of TIF districts and total property valuation in excess of caps would be considered when determining funding, meaning that even poor districts would now have access to much more valuation, at least on paper.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Streetscape ribbon cutting

There will be a ribbon cutting to celebrate the completion of the streetscape project along S. Illinois next Friday, August 18 at 4:30 p.m. followed by an "official" cash mob. I am not sure how an official cash mob differs from an unofficial one but certainly the businesses along the strip will happily take people's money, especially after the drop in traffic that the streetscape work caused.  Might be an exaggeration but I heard figures of 80-90% drops in customer traffic along S. Illinois during the construction.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Highway 146

Looks as if the Illinois Department of Transportation is taking local eclipse traffic seriously. There is a small bridge on Highway 146 between Anna Jonesboro and Ware that was scheduled for repair starting at the end of July. Just before then, a new sign went up stating that the starting date for construction had moved back to the end of August. Given that hotel rooms are sold out in Cape Girardeau, I bet the IDOT expects a lot of traffic eclipse weekend from Cape to the Carbondale region.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Connect 2 Compete

Sat in on a presentation by Mediacom today and one of the topics discussed was the company's Connect 2 Compete program. Designed to help lower income families get home internet, qualifying families can participate in the program in Carbondale (or anywhere Mediacom services) for $9.95 per month (plus taxes and fees). Participants receive broadband access at up to 10 Mbps and a Wi-fi modem with no rental fees.

To participate in the program, as I said earlier, you have to have Mediacom internet service, which Carbondale does, have at least one student in grades K-12 living and home and have at least one child qualifying for the National School Lunch Program. Families cannot currently subscribe to Mediacom and have not been a customer in the past 90 days, nor have any outstanding bills with the company.  Broadband internet access for $120 a year sounds like a pretty good deal.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Gigabit Broad Band Coming

If you are free at 2 p.m. tomorrow, there is a discussion of the gigabit broadband (which sounds really good) coming to Carbondale:

The City of Carbondale is excited to announce the arrival of new broadband technology to benefit Carbondale residents.
Mediacom is expanding its network to deliver 1-Gigabit-per-second Internet speeds in Carbondale.
The public is invited to learn more about this new technology on Wednesday, August 9 at 2 p.m. in Room 116 of the Carbondale Civic Center.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Eclipse Clean-Up

In case you have a hankering to help clean up downtown before the estimated 50,000 to 100,000 people descend on it, Keep Carbondale Beautiful is looking for volunteers for the weekend:

Eclipse Clean up #1 

Sponsored by Keep Carbondale Beautiful
Saturday August 12

Time: 9 am
Location: Town Square Pavilion 101 N Illinois
Contact Person and Phone: Sarah Heyer 618 525 5525
Volunteer Responsibilities: get street assignment and supplies; pick up litter
Additional Information: wear closed-toe shoes; bring water bottle; dress for weather

Eclipse Lodging

From what I am hearing, Carbondale has no motel rooms for rent, nor do any of the "collar" communities surrounding the city. The cloeses available motel rooms are located in Paducah and Effingham. SIUC is renting floor space in the Arena and primitive camping sites on local farms, essentially a 15' x15' plot, rent for up to $100 per person for 2 days, maximum 6 people per site.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Arbor District Clean Up

The Arbor District, that part of the city with tree names, will host a clean up and barbecue next Saturday

Greetings Arbor District neighbors and friends!

Next weekend, please come out to help clean-up the Arbor District ahead of the Eclipse.  Afterwards, we'll be having a Barbecue at the home of our newest Arbor District board member, Kate Poulos, to thank everyone for coming out.

Clean-up Starts at 10:00am Saturday - Saint Francis Xavier Church
Meet us Saturday, August 12 at 10:00am at Saint Francis Church in the Poplar Street parking lot, as we do each year.  Grab a bag, break into teams, and we'll choose your streets on the map. Bring your friends and neighbors!

The Arbor District is working in coordination with Keep Carbondale Beautiful who will be providing bags and gloves. You may want to bring your own durable gloves.

BBQ starts at NOON Saturday - 906 W Schwartz Street
Beverages, Brats and Dogs will be provided, but if possible, bring a side dish or dessert to share with your neighbors. Or if you're unable, please come as you are!  We'd love to see you.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Kroger Ribbon Cutting

After spending the summer remodeling and adding on pick up services as well as more in-store dining options, Kroger will have a ribbon cutting at 8 a.m. tomorrow to celebrate. Incidentally, supermarkets setting up operations like this is one reason for the decline of the mid-range restaurant. Fast food and fine dining aren't hurt from supermarket encroachment into their space but it is cutting into fast casual:

The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce will hold a Ribbon Cutting at 8 a.m., Friday, Aug. 4 for the newly renovated Kroger at 501 E. Giant City Rd.

The Ribbon Cutting is part of the grocer’s Grand Re-opening following a $ 6.6 million renovation and remodeling.

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

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Hollywood Lounge Reopening

The Hollywood Lounge, which closed for a couple of weeks when the city pulled its liquor license after a shooting, will reopen tonight with a higher admittance age than any other bar in town. You have to be 30 or older in order to get in. Guess they figure that it is the younger crowd that is more likely to carry a gun and also more likely to use it if they feel they have been insulted or get into an argument.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

City Eclipse Notice

About 20 days until the Great American Eclipse. According to Carbondale Tourism, all the hotels and motels in town are booked up, as is Touch of Nature and Schneider Hall on the SIUC campus. Local farms are now renting out 15' x 15' camping plots on their property for $100 per person, maximum of 6 people per tent. Bald Knob also rented out camping space and has sold out, with people coming in from 19 different states.  Here's the press release the city sent out yesterday:

With thousands expected in Carbondale for the eclipse, the City wants to remind businesses and residents to prepare ahead of time.
To avoid long lines and empty shelves, get your grocery shopping done a week or two in advance. Stock up on emergency supplies like batteries, flashlights and first aid kits.  Plan to pick up prescriptions early to avoid crowds.
Schedule your appointments at the beginning of the week. Traffic will begin picking up on Wednesday, August 16 for SIU move-in and will likely remain busy until the Tuesday after the eclipse.
If you have to drive during eclipse weekend, allow extra time to get to your destination. Traffic will be heavy, so plan accordingly.