Monday, April 23, 2018

New WDBX Manager

After the controversy that resulted in previous station manager Dave Armstrong resigning, the WDBX Board has hired a new station manager. Hopefully, he has as long a tenure as Armstrong did

Friday, April 20, 2018

Movies

Nice to see movies shown at the downtown Varsity Theater again. It appears the plan is to screen older "classic" movies Friday nights for the foreseeable future.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Re-orgainzation

I would be a whole lot happier with the Chancellor's  proposed reorganization of the departments and colleges at SIUC if he could point to some places where this style of restructuring has proved successful in the past. So far, all I ever here is that we show do this. I guess someone has got to be first but before undergoing such a drastic restructuring, shouldn't the university try other things first. like maybe a strong effort at promoting itself? 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Saturday Cleanup

Spring cleanup of Carbondale this Saturday (assuming it doesn't snow):





What:  Please come together to beautify the Arbor District this Saturday!  
When: Saturday April 21 at 10am til noon
Where: Meet at the entrance  of the Catholic Church
Why:  Meet your neighbors! Feel good about doing something as a community! Make the neighborhood look better! Have fun! Get some fresh air!  

Monday, April 16, 2018

Saluki Gymnastics

Noticed that Southern Illinois Gymnastics, in the Eastgate Plaza complex, changed its name to Saluki Gymnastics. On the plus side, it reflects that Carbondale is the home of SIUC and the Salukis. On the downside, now they have to explain what  a Saluki is.

Friday, April 13, 2018

TIGER Grants

Carbondale applied for  a TIGER grant awhile back to fund the proposed downtown multi-modal transport center, planned to replace the current Amtrak station. Unfortunately, the city did not receive one. Illinois did get two grants in this region though, one to help fund expansion to I-57 and one received in conjunction with Indiana  that will replace a pair of rail bridges crossing the Wabash River.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Halloween

Apparently the city, having decided to embrace Halloween, has decided to embrace both present and past Halloweens and is seeking memorabilia of Carbondale Halloween's past. It appears they are only looking for photos of old Halloween items, not the items themselves.

The City of Carbondale needs your help tracking down old Halloween memorabilia.

We are looking for old t-shirts and posters to promote the return of Halloween.

Email your pictures with the words “Halloween” in the subject line to afox@explorecarbondale.com. You can also post your pictures and ideas on social media using the hashtag #HalloweenInCarbondale.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

City Press Conference

Seems the city is pretty concerned about the proposed shift of some $5 million in funding from SIUC to SIUE as there is a press conference at City Hall on the topic at 1 p.m. today. I can see why. Pulling $5 million directly out of the Carbondale economy would, if I remember the multiplier correctly affect an additional $35-$40 million in the region. A quick search of Google did not give me any figures as to how large the overall economy is down here but it is probably not large enough to absorb a $35 million or even a $5 million loss with no effect. I can see the justification in total number of students as the two universities approach parity in numbers, however, SIUC does issue doctorates and has a strong research tradition, which should account for something.

The City of Carbondale will hold a press conference on Wednesday, April 11 at 1 p.m. in Room 103 of the Carbondale Civic Center.

Carbondale Mayor John “Mike” Henry will be joined by regional leaders to discuss the recent funding proposal by the Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees, and the economic impact it could have on the region’s economy. 

If you have questions or would like more information, contact Carbondale Public Relations Officer Amy Fox at (618) 559-1939.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Clean Up Carbondale

If you want to help with the city's spring cleaning Keep Carbondale Beautiful is looking for volunteers on April 21:

 Carbondale’s Annual Spring Cleanup and Recycling Day will be on April 21, and Keep Carbondale Beautiful is putting out the call for public participation.
KCB is looking for suggestions of “blight spots” that need attention.  The public is asked to call or email the locations. KCB Executive Director Sarah Heyer noted, “After last weekend’s Big Event, a lot of litter has been picked up in the central part of town. That should free us to get to spots that are further afield.  But we need help identifying those locations.” The general public can also help by providing their used two-handled shopping bags for individuals to carry so that everyone participates.  Larger bags will be provided.
KCB is also recruiting volunteers from the community to help with the cleanup.  Pre-registration is encouraged (go to keepcb.org) and increases points in the contest.  Start time is 9 am.  City crews pick up the bags, and volunteers from the Rotary Club of Carbondale weigh them. Prizes are given in several categories for the most litter collected.  T-shirts are distributed and lunch is provided, with the help of Arnold’s Market and others.
Critical to success is support from local businesses, as event sponsors and as donors of food, supplies, or prizes.  This year’s sponsors include Burkdell Mulch, Burris Disposal Service, CIMCO, Southern Recycling Center.  In-kind support comes from Silkworm, SIUC, the City of Carbondale, and the Carbondale Park District.
For more information, check the website at keepcb.org, call Keep Carbondale Beautiful at (618)525-5525 or email keepcb1326@gmail.com.  

Monday, April 9, 2018

Culver's Ground Breaking

In case you want to join the city and Chamber of Commerce in welcoming Culver's to Carbondale, groundbreaking takes place today at 11 a.m. at the intersection of Reeds Station Road and East 13. No idea if Butter Burgers will be offered:

 Culvers, a popular midwestern fast food chain is coming to Carbondale in summer 2018, and is celebrating with a groundbreaking ceremony Monday, April 9, 2018.
Carbondale Chamber of Commerce Interim Director Jennifer Olson and Carbondale Economic Development Director Steve Mitchell will kick off the ceremonies. “We’re always happy to welcome a new business to our community” says Olson. “There’s been a lot of excitement for Culver’s to come to Carbondale.”
The groundbreaking will be held at 1525 Reed Station Road at 11:00 a.m. on April 9. The event will include photo opportunities as well as gift bags.
The restaurant specializes in burgers made with beef and dairy from the Midwest and frozen custard. Culver’s first opened in 1984 in Sauk City, Wisconsin. Currently, they have over 650 restaurants across the United States.
The Carbondale City Council voted to approve Culver’s site plan on March 13, 2018. The restaurant will be located at the intersection of Reed Station Road and Route 13.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Letter to BOT

In case you would like to read it, here is the transcript of the letter sent on April 5 by the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce to the SIUC Board of Trustees regarding the proposed shift of $5 million in funding from SIUC to SIUE:

Dear Members of the Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees,
It has come to our attention that a resolution that would shift financial resources from the Carbondale to the Edwardsville campus will be considered at the April 12, 2018 board meeting. Under Resolution GG-1, $5.1 million would be reallocated to Edwardsville in FY19 and a reallocation would continue annually for four years

. Our concern is two-fold. First and foremost, the initial reduction of $5.1 million dollars is just a few months away. In addition to the immediate cut, the shift to enrollment-based funding sets a precedent for continued reallocation in the future.

While we understand SIU’s overriding priority is to provide a quality institution of learning, we cannot overlook the fact that SIUC serves as an economic engine for southern Illinois. “For every $1 appropriated by the state to SIUC, it generates roughly $7.72 of economic activity annually in Illinois.” * The translation is that the initial $5.1 million reduction would have a negative economic impact more than $39 million. Our business community cannot afford any further decline of SIUC.

 Second, the funding model is decades old. Why take this action now? Just as the businesses we represent have had to make tough economic decisions, so has SIUC. SIUC is doing what is takes to grow enrollment, and therefore, revenue. Attendance at the most recent open house on the Carbondale campus was quite high. The administration and all departments have taken steps to reduce costs and eliminate duplication. SIUC has reduced its budget by more than $31 million since 2014, including the reduction of 500 employees.

SIUC is on course for enrollment growth in fall of 2019 and on target to end this fiscal year with a balanced budget. Remaining faculty and staff are committed to providing a quality education and the revitalization of SIUC.

We respectfully request that you give SIUC, and the region it impacts, time. Time, so that we might reap the results and rewards of the work currently in process. We assure you that this administration and business community are committed to seeing SIUC restored to its former glory.

2018 Board of Directors, Carbondale Chamber of Commerce

Pharmacy

From what I hear, the remodeling of the old gas station, Mexican grocery, doughnut shop on the west side of Carbondale is to make it suitable for hosting a Medigap or some other form of pharmacy.  Better use of the facility than as either a gas station or doughnut shop, as a pharmacy is more of a destination location than either of the other two.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

DQ Helping El Greco

In case you hadn't heard, El Greco's recently re-opened under new management and the downtown Dairy Queen has a sign up offering 15% off the purchase their when you show a receipt from El Greco's 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

News Democrat on Hollywood Lounge

The Bellevue News Democrat got the headline wrong in its story on last weekend's bar closures. Only one Carbondale bar closed because of the FBG Duck show, the other bar was located in Carterville. Media mistakes like that do not help Carbondale's image.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

More on Hollywood Lounge

Caught an interview with Mayor Mike Henry and  City Manager Gary Williams regarding the Hollywood Lounge license suspension. From what they said, and an article in today's Southern, someone at SIUC had booked the rapper FBG Duck to perform at the Student Center on March 30. However, it appears that FBG Duck is a bit enamored of guns, at least from his Facebook page, and a member of the Gangster Disciples to boot, so someone at SIUC canceled the space. The promoter also booked FBG Duck for an afterparty show at Club 262 in Carterville, which caused the Williamson County Liquor Commission to pull the club's liquor license until today, causing cancellation of the performance.

Carbondale Police meanwhile, contacted venues in Carbondale that had the space to host the performance to find out if the promoter had tried to rebook there. Hollywood Lounge had  been contacted and had booked the performance but after talking with the police decided to cancel the show. Due to worries that the performers and entourage might show up at Hollywood anyhow and the amount of attention the show received on social media, and with the implied consent of owner Bobby McBride, Mayor Henry, with the agreement of a majority of the Liquor Control Commission, suspended the establishment's liquor license until Monday.

The weekend passed peacefully so closing the establishments may have worked. Of course, there may not have been any problems anyhow. Carbondale Police and the Mayor may have overreacted. We will never know. However, if a shooting or other criminal activity tied into the the performance had occurred and the police had not taken preemptive action, they would probably have gotten castigated for not doing anything to prevent it.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Hollywood Lounge Permit Suspended

Mayor Henry, acting in his capacity as chair of the Liquor Control Commission, temporarily suspended the liquor license for the Hollywood Lounge, on the north side of the town square, from last Friday until noon today. According to the reports, the reason for the suspension was the booking of a "musical group from Chicago whose events have a history of violence". I did a quick search but cannot find any mention of which group was coming so assume the advertising for the group was through word of mouth (Hollywood Lounge's FB page has not been updated since 2016 and the website looks a placeholder).

Friday, March 30, 2018

StreetScape

In case you want to know more about the next stage of the downtown Streetscape project, be at City Hall on April 4 from 4 to 6 p.m.:

The City of Carbondale will host an open house on Wednesday, April 4 to present the plans to the public for the second phase of the Illinois Avenue Streetscape Improvements Project. 

This project is a continuation of the improvements of the sidewalks, streetlights and related improvements completed last summer along Illinois Avenue. The second phase will begin where the first phase ended, at Cherry Street, and will continue to Monroe Street on the north side of City Hall.

Plans will be on display from 4 to 6 p.m. in Room 103 of the Carbondale Civic Center. Community members are invited to view the plans and provide comments about the work. In addition, City officials will be on hand to answer questions.

Similar to last summer, work on the project is expected to begin immediately after Southern Illinois University Commencement in May and conclude in August.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

14%

That's the amount of staff the Carbondale city hall has cut in the past year, mainly through attrition and opting not to refill empty positions. Cist staff is moving the duties of those positions into other jobs in the hierarchy.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Square Lights

I see the Christmas lights on the light poles around the square finally came down. I had hoped the city would leave them up year round, as they were white rather than Christmas colors and brightened up the Square markedly. With them down, the Square is measurably darker. Maybe next year the city will decide to leave them up year round.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

SIUC Outreach

Was listening to an interview with SIU President Randy Dun on WSIU this morning and he commented that SIUE, while down slightly, has taken nowhere near the hit that SIUC has in terms of enrollment. While I would attribute some of that to the ease of access that SIUE has to the metro-east area, I agree with him that SIUC's outreach has sorely laced over the last few decades. I see billboards in southern Illinois advertising SIUE, John A. Logan, Rend Lake, even SEMO but very little for SIUC,

Monday, March 26, 2018

New Kroger Hours

Looks as if the 24 hour thing for Kroger hasn't worked out as the store will start closing at 1 a.m. on April 1. Doubt if Wal-mart will follow suit but Schnucks might.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Dona Camilla Grocery

Noticed that Dona Camilla Grocery, on the north side of the square, has reduced its hours to the point that it only opens on the weekend. Sign in the window says that the kitchen has closed as well. Shame that they did not do better business as I had heard several people speak highly of the food there.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Evergreen Park

For some reason, the gates to the eastern (main) entrance to Evergreen Park were closed last week and Monday. Cars could still enter the park through the western entrance and visitors could walk to the playground area. No signs posted and have not heard any reason as to why these gates were closed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Voting

Don't forget to vote today. Caught on the news this morning that more people early voted this year in Illinois than voted in total in 2014.

Carbondale Solutions

Following up from yesterday's post, here is a list of proposed solutions advanced at last January's meeting, attended by, among others, SIUC's Chancellor and his wife, the head of SIUC's faculty association as well as local elected officials, city officials, doctors, lawyers, advertising executives, bankers, realtors, landlords, teachers, neighborhood and union activists:


·         Reassert that which is special about SIUC
o   have special programs [earth systems/sustainability/global values/communicators/diversity]
o   e-energize the renowned Rehab Institute and the John Dewey Center and elevate Buckminster Fuller’s legacy
o   revitalize campus life
o   adopt a common reader program at university (integrate with community issues?) – a  key book assigned to all incoming students for discussion and thought
·         Advertising and media
o   Focus on stories, unique programs (weekly column in the Southern on SIUC good news)
·         Recruit international students
·         Work on issues of structural racism which may discourage minorities, international students
·         Create permanent body to facilitate town/gown relations
·         Make the community welcoming to all – international, minorities, students
o   Home stay/adopt a student
o   Invite international students “home for the holidays”
o   International friends groups
o   Educate police about cultural difference of international students
o   Build a campaign of residents greeting students they encounter
o   Religious institution outreach
o   Assimilate students into the community (and not just for foreign students)
o   Create website/portal with employment/volunteer opportunities in the community for students – a place that students can post skills and residents can find workers to do yard work, house cleaning, etc. as well as volunteers for community groups. (“Help wanted” “Help offered”)
o   Create greater interaction between city officers, institutions and students
o   Seek fewer arrests, create more work/service opportunities for student arrests instead of monetary fines
·         Recognize that Carbondale is first and foremost a university town
·         Promote cooperation between university and town following the model of eclipse week
·         Community response to media to counter negative media reports
·         Market SIU as equivalent to U of I (not Eastern or Western)
·         Build on change already happening in elementary schools (new superintendent)
o   Publicize great students and achievement in K-12 schools
o   Build on ties (Spanish immersion program) between K-12 schools and SIUC
o   Community volunteerism in K12 schools
o   Bring local/regional students to campus early and often
o   Create collaboration between SIUC and CES 95 to address achievement gap between more affluent and poorer children
·         Use community to fill seats at university events – offer free tickets when stadium not full
·         Establish artists program (model of Providence RI, Paducah, Ky)
·         Enhance community attractiveness to students and residents with shared facilities that encourage interaction
o   Dog park
o   Skate Park




Monday, March 19, 2018

Carbondale Concerns

At a recent meeting to discuss concerns and solutions for the problems assailing SIUC and Carbondale, these were brought up as some of the concerns the attendees had:


·         SIU has “lost its appeal” and community is losing $ as a result
·         Faculty and staff diminishing rapidly along with students
·         Decline in international students
·         Decline in minority students
·         Need for university identity not to be found in athletics but activism
·         Decline in commercial, residential real estate (lack of new home construction)
·         SIH does not bank locally
·         K-12 schools (low rating, bad reputation of primary schools)
·         Budget impasse (lack of interest by state in local issues)
·         Need for Southern and other media to balance good news with negative reporting
·         Needs of elderly
·         Need to create worldly, informed, non-violent, educated student/citizens
If you have others, post them in the comments.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Temporary Train Schedule

Message from the city:

Illini Train 392 will operate 30 minutes later at all Amtrak stations on the route beginning March 22. Saturday and Sunday routes will operate as normal. Work is expected to be complete by May 4.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

SIUC Towers Closing

SIUC has announced plans to close the east side towers this summer and move all residents there to Thompson Point. I assume this will not include the new apartments built on the north side of E. Grand a couple of years ago but still, that means the university expects a significant drop in on-campus residency, if all the students from that area will fit into the Thompson Point complex

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Toys R. Us

Toys R Us announced they are closing some 200 locations and may declare bankruptcy. As of yesterday, employees at the Marion TRU had no idea if the store was on the list to close.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Meet The Mayor (and Chancellor)

If you want the opportunity to buttonhole the Mayor about the downtown beautification program or Carbondale sales taxes or to ask the Chancellor about the plan to end departments at SIUC, here is your opportunity:

The City of Carbondale and the Southern Illinois University Student Center are happy to bring back “Meet the Mayor and Chancellor” on campus. 
Carbondale Mayor John “Mike” Henry and SIU Chancellor Carlo Montemagno will be at Starbucks, located on the first floor of the Student Center, on March 16 from 11 a.m. to noon.
This is an opportunity for students and members of the community to talk to the Mayor and Chancellor over coffee.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Hundley House

From what I have heard, Hundley House did not sell at February's foreclosure sale. Apparently the bank wants to recoup as much of the mortgage money as possible, which is in excess of $300,000. The bank will probably finish negotiating the terms of the foreclosure and, once it is finalized, put the place back out on the market to get whatever it can for it, starting close to the total and working down. Given that property taxes run around $9000 annually on the place, I think it will have to come down significantly before it sells.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

New Construction

As was noted in the comments to Monday's post, there is significant renovation going on at buildings on both ends of town. The long closed Doctor Donuts building at the corner of New Era and Hwy 13 is getting worked on as is the old Veach Short Stop at the other end of town behind University Mall.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Kevin Lucas

Just received this press release from local musician Kevin Lucas:

"Africa" by Kevin Lucas just won a 'Silver Medal' in the 2018 Global Music Awards in the "Instrumentalist" category.  The GMA's receive thousands of submissions worldwide every year.  This is Kevin's 43rd music industry award or nomination from 9 different organizations since 2014.  Along with the new award, this is Kevin's first with a new name and concept reinventing himself as an artist called "The Kevin Lucas Experience".   The song is a remake of the 1980s mega hit by Toto, arranged by Kevin Lucas and Jeff Moore, Professor of Percussion and Dean of Fine Arts at University of Central Florida in Orlando.  The remake features international celebrity flute player Wouter Kellerman. Wouter is a Grammy Award Winner and Number 1 Billboard Artist.  The song and music video were produced on 3 continents: Africa, India, and North America.  The video was filmed at Misunderstudio in Murphysboro, IL by Dan Johnson and in South Africa.  Africa was mixed by Grammy Award Winning producer Ricky Kej in India, and also by Mike Lesceslius at Misunderstudio.  The song also features Dave Gross from Seattle (Hammond B3, synthesizer, and percussion), Jerome Lawrence from Maryland (bass), and Alek Razdan from Massachusetts (saxophone).  The Carbondale Science Center let Kevin use their PVC pipe marimba made by SIU School of Engineering students for the video and song.

"I am extremely proud of everybody involved in this project, especially all of the local artists.  It really says a lot for what we have here in Southern Illinois! Wouter Kellerman was also just added to the video and its so amazing having footage of him in South Africa edited with local Misunderstudio footage.  This was a very complex and exciting project that was integrated internationally", said Lucas.  Kevin also said "The name change was recommended by my great friend, music artist, and attorney Valerie Giglio from Boston.  She thought the new name really fits what I currently do both live and in the studio.  And I also feel that 'Africa' is also a reinvention of myself as an artist.  It is so different than anything I have ever done.  It has really surprised people!"  Kevin will also be doing another local homeless benefit concert for the Carbondale Good Samaritan House in late April, so stay tuned for upcoming information!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Townships

I was walking by the Carbondale Township office and got to wondering why do we still have townships? I can see the municipality serving a purpose a century or so ago, when travel was much more difficult and a trip to the county seat would take an entire day or even longer but today with the ease of travel, it just seems like an extra level of bureaucracy that has to be paid for. 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Design Charrette

The city and Carbondale Main Street will host an open forum to discuss how to best utilize the S. Washington space for future events. This was were most of the Shadowfest Concerts were held and the city would like to turn it into more of a permanent event and concert venue:

Carbondale Main Street is partnering with the City of Carbondale and Southern Illinois University Architecture to host a design charrette from 2-6pm on Tuesday March 6, focusing on the Washington Street event venue (a venue utilized at Shadow Fest and other recent events).

 "We are looking for community input on how the space will be used, how a permanent stage might work, and what would be beneficial assets to have in this space for the community to use”, says Meghan Cole, Executive Director for Carbondale Main Street. “The City of Carbondale has demonstrated a readiness to invest in this downtown event venue, and we are happy to help get community support and impact the development of this venue”.

“The School of Architecture, its faculty and students look forward to engaging community members in this participatory community event for the betterment of our City. This is a great opportunity to embrace what our creative design community can accomplish together”, says Craig Anz, Architect and Faculty at SIUC. Dr. Anz is also the Vice President of Carbondale Main Street. Students and faculty from SIU Architecture will be on hand, with Carbondale Main Street and City of Carbondale staff, to help gain community support. Anyone interested in providing feedback is urged to attend the charrette, have a snack, and learn about plans for the venue. To learn more, call the Main Street Downtown Design Center at 618-529-8040.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

SIUC USG President Impeached

SIUC's USG apparently fairly quietly impeached its president earlier this month. In a case of he said, she said, the impeached president says it was the university's doing and related to his company One Race. The newly installed president says he was removed for not attending meetings and failing to maintain office hours. Looking at the minutes of meetings for fall semester, I don't see any indications that he had missed any meetings, though.

Murphysboro Motel

I see construction on the new Holiday Inn in Murphysboro at the intersection of 13 and 127 should start this summer. Given the speed at which Carbondale's Hilton has gotten constructed, maybe they will get finished at the same time.

I do wonder if there is enough demand for a second motel in Murphysboro. We could use one or two more in Carbondale, as the lack of lodging space has proven a major obstacle in recruiting conferences and sporting events to come here. Last time I checked, the city had roughly 500 rooms available, not counting AirB&B and similar lodging, for people coming in for a high school sports tournament or professional conference to rent. the lack of lodging for attendees at large events is  a major reason Carbondale does not attract large conferences and sports tournaments. We have quality facilities to host them but not enough places for them to stay.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Bost Meeting

One thing I found interesting at last week's meeting with Rep. Bost was that, instead of a staff member, a representative of the US Chamber of Commerce accompanied him and took notes on topics and questions that came up. Granted the US Chamber of Commerce was a strong supporter of the tax cut but still strance to have a staffer from the organization there sittle next to the representative.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Funding Cuts

It looks as if they city council will cut funding to various civic organizations by 5% or about 18,000 in total. I can see the point of view of the council members who said that the decline in student attendance at SIUC has affected city sales tax revenue and that the city needed to cut its own budgets and it needs to spread the cuts around so that no one takes a huge hit. I tend to agree with Councilman Jeff Dougherty who opined that the $18,000 was so comparatively small that the city should be able to come up with the money in order to keep supporting these organizations in their work at last year's funding. although no one likes to see their own funding cut, I would be if city staff looked ahrd, they could find $18,00 to trim from something in order to fully fund these organizations.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Bost Meeting

Sat in on the Mike Bost meeting discussing tax cuts/reform at the Civic Center this afternoon. Was rather surprised at how many of the businesses attending saying the cuts had helped their business, given that we really haven't seen them implemented yet. Infrastructure investment was a major topic as well. A couple of bankers asked about the tax benefits credit unions get compared to traditional banks and I asked if there were any plans to address the exemption online retailers get from collecting sales taxes if they did not have a physical location in the state. A couple of forlorn looking protesters stood outside the Civic Center as I left. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

For Rent Signs

Seeing  quite a few For Rent and For Sale signs in the Arbor District and areas close to S. Illinois and S. University, even in front of  houses that I have never seen a For Rent sign in front of before. There are a couple of houses on West Cherry right around the corner from Dairy Queen that I have never seen with a For Rent sign. Given the amount of new rental property that has come into Carbondale on the south side of town and at Evolve, coupled with the decline of the student population, I guess I should not be surprised that students are opting for new properties instead of 50+ year old houses into which the landlords put minimal money to maintain.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Stephens Calls for Montemagno To Step Down

In case you missed the column in the Wednesday Carbondale Times, available for free in finer newspaper racks around town, Murphysboro mayor Will Stephens calls for Chancellor Carlos Montemagno to step down, citing a lack of confidence by members of the region in his ability to lead SIUC. The major reason Stephens cites is the recent incident of nepotism on campus, when jobs were made after Monetmagno's hiring for his daughter and son-in-law. Although Monetmagno has denied asking for the university to provide jobs for them, they did get jobs and not jobs that were advertised to the general public. Doubtful it will cause him to resign or for the BoD to call for his resignation, as Glenn Poshard committed "accidental plagiarism" a decade ago and remained in his position.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Saudi Student Numbers Decline

International student attendance as a whole at SIUC  has declined over the past couple of decades. I remember hearing that, during, the 1990s, SIUC has the second largest number of Indian students in the US. In the last decade, the number of students from Saudi Arabia has dropped from just over 600 to under 200, with a number of those looking to transfer to other universities.

A major problem is the desirability, from a financial viewpoint of international students. Many international students pay full tuition rates at the institutions they attend. During the 1950s through the 1980s, SIUC actively recruited international students, one of only a few universities to do so. Over the past couple of decades, as competition for these students from other universities increased, the numbers coming to SUIC decreased.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Historic Park Committee

In case you are so inclined, here is the agenda for the Historic Park Advisory Committee Meeting tonight at the Civic Center at 6 p.m.


Introductions and roll call
Special reports: None
New business:
Old business:
Master plan schedule submissions (5 year)
Maintaining the Facebook Page for the Park
Continue discussion of Kiosks and historical information to be used/included.
Private/Public partnerships:
Update of outreach to John A. Logan College and the Construction Technologies Program Update on partnering progress.
Duplicated SIU-C Student Landscaping Submissions for Display and Public Input.
Possible local, county, state, federal assistance
General Comments
Adjournment

Friday, February 9, 2018

Tuition Hike

I see the Board of Trustees approved a 2% tuition hike for SIUC as well as increasing costs for residence halls, on-campus housing and meal plans. Funny, when I am losing customers, raising my prices is not the first thing that comes to mind.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Hundley House Sale

According to yesterday's Carbondale Times, Hundley House will be sold to the highest bidder at a foreclosure sale on February 26. Current asking price is $327,900

Before the Flood

Free showing of Before the Flood tonight in Morris Library:

I hope you will join us this Thursday, 2/8/18, the two-part Shawnee Sierra Club program: 

--The 7 pm screening of climate activist and actor Leonardo DiCaprio's film "Before the Flood" in SIU Morris Library's Guyon Auditorium
AND 
--The 6:15 pm tabling of student environmental and social justice groups starting in the Rotunda (just outside the auditorium). 

BOTH PARTS OF THIS PROGRAM ARE FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. 
REFRESHMENTS WILL BE SERVED.

In "Before the Flood," a 2016 film by Academy Award-winning director Fisher Stevens, actor Leonardo DiCaprio travels to five continents to talk with climate scientists and political leaders and give us an up-close understanding of climate change and the activism needed to protect our Planet. In DiCaprio's own words: "This documentary shows how interconnected the fate of all humanity is-but also the power we all possess as individuals to build a better future for our planet."

During the pre-screening portion of this event, you will have a chance to meet environmental student leaders and find out about activities and projects of five student groups: the Geography Club; SENSE (Students Embracing Nature, Sustainability & the Environment); the Society of American Foresters; Define American; and Green Fund Campus Lake Eco-Recreation Projects Group.

We very much hope to see you at this important event. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to let me know.

Jane Cogie, Chair & Membership Chair
Shawnee Group of the Sierra Club

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Police Survey

Carbondale Police Department has sent out a survey regarding satisfaction with the department:

The City of Carbondale Police Department is requesting your assistance.  In an effort to provide the best police service possible, we would like you to rate your level of satisfaction regarding interactions you may have had with a member of the police department. We would also like for you to share with us your level of safety and other general concerns regarding your neighborhood. By completing this short survey, “It is my hope, you will help us improve the quality of our service and find more ways to continue to place a higher emphasis on improving the safety of our residential neighborhoods,” said Police Chief Jeff Grubbs.
 
To complete the survey, please visit, https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DWHY65L                     
 
 
Jeffrey M. Grubbs
Chief of Police
City of Carbondale Police Department
501 South Washington Street
Carbondale, Illinois 62901
(618) 457-3200 ext. 423
SIU ’91, MPA ’00 – FBI National Academy 235th Session

Monday, February 5, 2018

Declines at SIUC

From an email I received and posted with permission:

1. Not one new house built in Carbondale in 2017
2. SIUC attendance down another 8.8%
3.Current attendance at SIUC around 13,300, down over 10,000 from its peak in 1990
4. Faculty numbers  down from around 1640 in 2007 to around 900 or so today

This isn't just at SIUC, it is a statewide problem. The problem is pretty dramatic at SIUC though and it affects those of us who live here as SIUC is the primary economic engine of the city. wE have seen an estimated $1.3 billion loss to southern Illinois as a result of the declines at SIUC

Friday, February 2, 2018

Warming Station

The city has announced the Civic Center will remain open from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights to provide shelter from the below zero overnight temperatures for those who have no place to go to get warm.

Attendance Down

Caught on WSIL this morning that Spring attendance at SIUC will come in at 13,300, down another 8% from Spring 2017 and down over 10,000 students from its peak back in 1990. Going to take quite a bit of work to get university numbers back to that level and I still haven't heard any good explanations as to how the proposed reorganization will accomplish this. Re-organizations generally work to make operations run more smoothly. That, as far as I can tell, is not the problem here, except maybe in recruiting. the university appears to run fairly well, it is just not attracting students at a level to replace those that graduate.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Street Bar

According to the LAB agenda for tomorrow night (the committee that the city is looking at modifying), the liquor license for the Street Bar (located in the old Pony building) will transfer from an individual to a corporation. Safer for them, as corporations find it easier to limit liability than do individuals. From the agenda:

Application to transfer a Class B2 license (On premises consumption – all alcoholic liquors) from Danny Terry, an individual, d/b/a Street Bar, to S&D Ventures of Southern Illinois, LLC, d/b/a Street Bar, at 213 East Main Street 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

El Greco Reopening

Not sure when it is happening but I have had two different people tell me today that someone at Herrin Hospital purchased El Greco and will reopen it sometime later this year.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Meet the Candidates

Tomorrow night's "Meet the Democratic Candidates for Governor" event is sold out, or at least all of the tickets for the free event are gone. However, the event will stream live on several Facebook pages, including the Carbondale Times, Benton News and Daily Register

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Meet The Mayor Schedule

In case you want to meet Mayor Mike Henry or City Manager Gary Williams, here is the Meet the Mayor schedule for the rest of the year.  From the city's press release:

Sessions will be held every month on Thursday. Times will alternate between 8:30-9:30 a.m. and 1:30-2:30 p.m. Citizens will have the opportunity to talk to Carbondale Mayor John “Mike” Henry and Carbondale City Manager Gary Williams at various eateries throughout the city.
The locations will be as follows: 
Date                            Location                                  Time                           
·         February 1                   Panera                                     8:30-9:30 a.m.
·         March 1                       Italian Village                         1:30-2:30 p.m.
·         April 5                         Kroger Starbucks                    8:30-9:30 a.m.
·         May 3                          Bandana’s                               1:30-2:30 p.m.
·         June 7                          Denny’s                                   8:30-9:30 a.m.
·         July 12                         Longbranch                             1:30-2:30 p.m.
·         August 2                     Dunkin’ Donuts                      8:30-9:30 a.m.
·         September 6                El Paisano                               1:30-2:30 p.m.
·         October 4                    Cristaudo’s                              8:30-9:30 a.m.
·         November 1                Hunan                                     1:30-2:30 p.m.
·         December 13               Jen’s Joe                                  8:30-9:30 a.m.