Friday, December 14, 2018

Restructuring

From the description of yesterday's SIU Board of Trustees meeting, it appears the plan is to go ahead with the restructuring of the university, despite the lack of support, from what I hear, of most faculty. One of the points mentioned in support of the restructuring is the benefits other universities have seen after undergoing it. I would really like to know which universities have restructured their colleges and departments as is proposed for SIUC. I have heard this mentioned several times but have never heard an actual example cited.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

New Chamber Members

Here's a list of new Chamber of Commerce members for 2018. Nice to see businesses joining:
Christina Pisoni of State Farm
Wild Thyme Books
carGO
Southern Illinois Airport Authority
Olive Branding International Educational Services
Illinois Heartland Library System
Salvation Army of Southern Illinois
Cash Store
Sterling Sofa Company
Panic Room
HomeWise Senior Relocation
C. H. Electrical
Omar's Food Mart
RE/MAX Above and Beyond
Illinois Game 7, LLC

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

VBRO/Homeway

Had a reader of the blog point out that short term rental platform VBRO/Homeway pulled its operations out of the city shortly after the city passed a revision to Title 5, Chapter 17 of the Carbondale Revised Code. VBRO operates similarly to AirBnB, which also operates in Carbondale. Previously, the code required that the owners of short term rental properties collect the sales tax due for the rental and remit it to the city. The revised code moves that obligation to the housing platform, requiring it to collect sales taxes and remit them to the city.

VBRO felt this change in the regulations too onerous, given the size of the Carbondale market and pulled Carbondale listings from its platform after the regulation passed. Currently, AirBnB still lists Carbondale properties on its platform but had indicated it may pull them after the first of the year as well.  The city has indicated this is certainly not the desired outcome and will revisit the ordinance.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Downtown Free Parking

Parking is free for 2 hours in all downtown lots, save the Amtrak lot, now through Jan 6th. I do have to quibble with their definition of it as a "gift" though. Makes it sound as if city government is a separate entity from me. I, and everyone else, pay taxes so that the city can provide me services I want. The government works for me, not the other way around, so it is not giving me anything.

Friday, December 7, 2018

SI Doing Something

Here is a website with a comprehensive proposal to turn around the university. One major problem for SIUC is the 57% drop in funding from the state over the past 20 years. As money from the state has dropped, tuition and fees at SIUC have increased to make up the difference. Universities do not have the PR or the angry parents that cuts to K-12 education generate so there is less of a constituency to argue against cuts to their funding.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Bright Spot Award

From an email from Keep Carbondale Beautiful:

Carbondale, Ill. – Peggy and Andy Polovich’s home at 304 South Oakland has earned a Bright Spot Award from the Keep Carbondale Beautiful board.  Directly in front of the house is a Japanese-style rock garden, inspired by Andy’s two tours of duty in Japan.  Sculptures include one large and several small pagoda statues, plus two cranes and a fish around the pond, shaded by a Japanese maple tree. A Gold Mop Cypress provides a backdrop to the large pagoda.  Along the sidewalk, large pots overflow with lilies and pansies in the summer.   Observers may see the rocks and think, “no need to mow,” but Peggy Polovich warned, “It’s a little more maintenance than I thought.”

The KCB Board selects businesses or residences to receive the Bright Spot Award for enhancing the beauty of our community by means of revitalization of property, new construction, plantings and beautification, upkeep and maintenance, or rehabilitation.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Liquor Advisory Board

The LAB has a meeting this Thursday at 6 p.m. If you have an interest in knowing which bars in town violate city regulations regarding serving alcohol to underage patrons or other violations, this is the meeting to attend as the Board will look at the first quarter's reports. Remember, the city's year runs from July to June or thereabouts so the first quarter just ended. The following is also on the agenda:

Review and Recommendation Regarding Possible Title Two Change in City Code that Would Permit the Delivery of Sealed Alcohol by a Licensed TNC/Taxi Driver

Given the increase of delivery services in Carbondale (CarGo comes to mind), I guess home delivery of alcohol is the next step. Probably makes things safer for people, since we won't have the people planning to consume the alcohol also driving out to pick it up.

Friday, November 30, 2018

City Council Special Meeting

The city council has called a special meeting for this Tuesday evening at 6 p.m., apparently to deal with only one thing:

1. Roll Call
 2. Citizens’ Comments and Questions
 3. Closed Meeting Closed Meeting for the Purposes of Self-Evaluation, Practices and Procedures or Professional Ethics, When Meeting with a Representative of a Statewide Association of Which the Public Body is a Member Pursuant to 5 ILCS 120/2(c)(16)
4. Return to Open Session No Action Following the Return to Open Session Except to Adjourn

Apparently there might have been some problems with a recent meeting of someone on the council with a representative of a statewide organization of which the council is a member and the meeting was called as a refresher course in proper procedures.

Lights Fantastic Road Closures

Carbondale will start closing roads for the Lights Fantastic parade tomorrow starting at 5 p.m. and will reopen them shortly after the parade ends, typically soon after 6 p.m. No indication if cars parked on Illinois Avenue, which comprises the majority of the parade route, will be towed. You can go here for the complete parade route map, parking and shuttle information, as well as a list of most other activities taking place

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Captain D's Returning

Captain D's seafood is (unofficially) returning to Carbondale. The chain left town over a decade ago but is poised to locate a restaurant at the (now razed) location previously occupied by Godfather's and DiMaggio's Pizza. It is a decent high traffic location and Long John Silvers has moved to a much less visible location now out by Wal-mart

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Candidates

Here is the list of candidates for next year's city government election. No primary, thank goodness. We have one mayoral office and 3 city council seats up

The following candidates have filed their nominating petitions for Carbondale Mayor:

1.     Nathan Colombo, 229 South Hunt Road                            9:11 a.m., November 26
2.      John “Mike” Henry, 1210 West Hill Avenue                      1:30 p.m., November 26

The following candidates have filed their nominating petitions for Carbondale City Council Member:
              
Council Candidate Name and Address                                                    Time of Filing/Ballot Order 

1.     Adam Loos, 512 West Pecan Street                                    8:00 a.m., November 19
2.      Mark Chalem, 1004 West Laurel Street                             8:03 a.m., November 19
3.      Navreet S. Kang, 613 South Terrace Drive            8:31 a.m., November 19
4.      Lee M. Fronabarger, 1140 S. Morningside Drive               1:51 p.m., November 19
5.      Thomas Grant, 5370 Springer Ridge Road            4:26 p.m., November 20
6.      Theodore “Ted” Jude Gutierrez, 316 S. Lu Court 2:59 p.m., November 26
7.      Greg Knoob, 3 Pine Lake Drive                                         3:38 p.m., November 26
8.      Jerrold Hennrich, 610 West Sycamore Street                    4:06 p.m., November 26

Monday, November 26, 2018

Nathan Columbo Announces for Mayor

Small business owner and social media marketer (and local comedian) Nathan Columbo announces his campaign for mayor of Carbondale at 12:30 today. Going to make this an interesting campaign. Mayor Mike Henry has the backing of many of the businesspeople in Carbondale whilst Columbo brings much more expertise in promotion, especially social media, and awareness among a  number of the activists in Carbondale.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Black Friday

Drove through the east part of Carbondale late morning on Black Friday and noticed quite a lot of traffic at University Mall, Wal-Mart, Hobby Lobby, Best Buy, etc. Actually I was rather surprised to see empty parking spaces around the back end of University Mall. Even saw most of the parking spaces filled at the Furniture King's location on the east side. Not a lot of traffic for the retailers in the Reed Station Road area and traffic at the Marion mall was pretty pathetic, which is to be expected given that it will close up 2 weeks before Christmas.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Christmas Lights

City got the Christmas lights up early throughout the downtown area. Makes the place look festive but still wish they would hold off until after Christmas. However, given that the Lights Fantastic Parade is the 1st, I can see wanting to get everything up soon. Downtown window decorating has to be done by the 28th if you want it judged.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Why Shop Local

Giving that we are coming into the holiday/shopping season, Why shop local? Well, aside from the fact that it keeps the store in business, here are some other reasons from the Gift Guide of the Nov. 18th Southern Illinoisan newspaper:

1. Your money stays in the local economy. Different studies have different figures but in general, for every $100 you spend, if you spend it at a locally owned store, $65 to $70 stays within the local economy, spent with other local businesses or paid to staff members. $35 to $45 stays within the local economy if you spend it at a chain store and, of course,none stays within the local economy if you spend it online

2.  Your money recirculates in the economy before leaving to help other communities. In a comparatively small town like Carbondale, it will cycle through other businesses 2-3 times but in a large one like St.Louis or Chicago, the same dollar will circulate 7-12 times before cycling out.

3.Local businesses donate more to community based causes and non-profits. According to the Seattle Good Business Network, local businesses donate 250% more locally than do chain stores.

4. Taxes--Though no one really likes to pay them, the fact is that they go to fund the local police and fire departments, sewers and water, street repair, mass transit and other things that make life easier and safer.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Wanna Run for City Council

Filings opened today to submit petitions to get  on the ballot for next year's open city council seats. 2 people have filed already, including one current councilperson. From the press release:

wo (2) candidates have filed their nominating petitions for Carbondale City Council Member. 
              
Council Candidate Name and Address                                                    Time of Filing/Ballot Order 

1.     Adam Loos, 512 West Pecan Street                                    8:00 a.m.
2.      Mark Chalem, 1004 West Laurel Street                             8:03 a.m.

Candidates who subsequently file for Mayor or City Council member will appear on the ballot in the order in which their nominating petitions are received, except that those candidates who file petitions between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on November 26, 2018, will be entered into a lottery for the last place on the ballot.

If five (5) or more candidates file for Mayor and/or thirteen (13) or more candidates file for City Council member, and if no petitions are rejected based on an objection being upheld, or other reasons that a petition(s) cannot be certified to the ballot, a Primary Election will be held on Tuesday, February 26, 2019. The Primary Election will narrow the field to two (2) candidates for Mayor and/or six (6) candidates for City Council member appearing on the April 2 ballot. Ballot placement for the Consolidated Election is determined by the highest number of votes received in the Primary Election.

The period for filing nominating petitions for Mayor and/or City Council extends through 5:00 p.m. on Monday, November 26.  Nomination packets remain available for pick up in the City Clerk's Office, Room 165 of Carbondale City Hall, 200 South Illinois Avenue. 

Friday, November 16, 2018

Circle K Closed and Moved

It looks as if the Circle K station that stands at the corner of Wall and Walnut has closed and that Circle K has taken over the Shell station standing on Walnut a couple of blocks further east. Not sure why they didn't go the other way around since the Wall and Walnut location had two streams of traffic while the new location only has one, unless the owner decided to keep the location with more space.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

TJ. Fine Jewelry Closing

TJ's Fine Jewelry has had "Store closing" signs up for the past month with a Stormtrooper waving at passing cars on occasion. The store's website is offline,, meaning that the only online info is on Google and Yelp. Unfortunately, jewelry stores are not destination stores anymore, as they were in  the 1990s when Carbondale boasted 2 jewelry stores (and a bridal shop) in the downtown area.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Dunaway House Burns

In case you didn't drive West Main Today, the Dunaway House at 409 West Main burnt. Not totally but badly enough that the owner will probably demolish it. Although the fire started on the first floor, most of the visible damage was to the roof and  a chunk of the second floor.

While not the oldest house in Carbondale, the Dunaway did date back to 1881, when it was built for local merchant Samuel Dunaway. Over the years, the exterior had been extensively modified and added to. The building had converted to apartments decades ago.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Neely Hall Reopening

Well, the plan to reopen Neely Hall next fall is good news. Still not back to the glory days of the late 1980s and 1990s, but with University Hall full, moving students to Neely from University Hall makes sense as it allows more flexibility in housing them.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Bookstore

A new bookstore, Wild Thyme, I believe, is seeking a special use permit to put a retail operation in the office building at 705 West Main St. Not a great location for a retail business since t here are no other retailers in the immediate area.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Omar's Food Mart

Omar's Food Mart will host a ribbon cutting celebrating its grand opening November 9 at 11 a.m. Was not sure there was a good location for it but now that the Circle K at the corner of Walnut and Wall has closed and is fenced off, having a second option for drivers to get gas on that side of town looks like a better idea. Currently, if you want to get gas on East Walnut, you have to either stop at the Shell station or the station out at Reed Station Road. Omar's out of the way and drivers wanting to gas up there will have to pull off East Walnut then swing back around to get back on Walnut or continue east on old 13 to pick up Giant City Road. If you are going to do that, you might as well gas up at the Kroger. Will be interesting to see if there is enough demand for food in the neighborhoods to the south of Omar's 

Monday, November 5, 2018

Brightfields Solar Project

Though I did not make it to the city council meeting, from several posts I have seen on Facebook, it appears the council decided to not approve the permit for the Brightfields solar project, meaning the property keeps getting cleaned up and sitting empty.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Numbers

Picked up some numbers from last weekend's events. If you have any additional figures, go ahead and post them in the comments or send 'em as a message.

Attendance at Trump Rally--somewhere between 7000 and 13,000. No appreciable traffic increase or business in Carbondale prior to the event but traffic picked up noticeably on Walnut heading east afterwards. Talked to the owner of one coffee shop in Murphysboro and they were slammed with business on Friday night, as were other coffee shops and restaurants. Apparently the Secret Service really like their coffee. Business was back to normal on Saturday as everyone was at the rally.

Trick or Treat on Main--estimated 200-300 trick or treaters in downtown. Wedding at the civic center took up a lot of parking so it was really tight in downtown between about 11 and 3.

Great Pumpkin Race--did not see it but was told more participants than last year but fewer spectators.

Halloween concert--Walked over about 9:30. The various vendors were doing little to no business at the time, although from what I heard later they were all happy or at least satisfied with sales. Found out that the Washington Street concert area can hold about 12,000 people. I estimated about 500 at the time I went by, all clustered in the grassy area next to the stage. Others estimated the number at over double that, some 1200 to 1300. Reportedly, quite a few people in costume.

Downtown--Drove through Downtown about 10 p.m. and saw what I considered a normal number of people on the strip and comparatively few in costume, significantly less than last year and no lines to get into any of the bars. Maybe most of them were at the concert and things picked up later.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

DQ Season Closing

Last day of the year for the Downtown Dairy Queen will probably be Saturday Nov. 10. At least, I was told today they will shut down for the year in 10 days, so November 10th makes sense. Get your delicious DQ soft serve while you can and remember, you save 10% if you present a recent receipt from a downtown restaurant.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Trick Or Treat Rescheduled

Due to the likelihood of rain tomorrow night, Carbondale has rescheduled the hours for officially sanctioned trick or treating for Tuesday night from 5 to 8. Wonder if the Pumpkin Patrol will arrest kids out collecting candy tomorrow night as well.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Trump Two

In case you missed the opportunity to see President Trump, you have a second opportunity. The President has arranged to book Cape Girardeau's Show Me Center for a rally next Monday night:

We received confirmation earlier today that representatives of President Donald J. Trump’s campaign have again contracted to rent the Show Me Center for a presidential rally next Monday evening, Nov. 5. As was the case for the previously scheduled rally in September that later was canceled, this is not a Southeast Missouri State University event. This is strictly a third-party rental agreement. As such, the Trump campaign will be handling all ticketing, sales of merchandise, and media promotion.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Trump Rally

In case you want to attend, or avoid the Trump Rally tomorrow, here are the plans for the event. The airport shut down at 7 this evening and will reopen about 9 p.m. tomorrow night. Estimated numbers of attendees are somewhere in the 10,000 to 20,000 range.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Trump Promotional Materials

I see a stand selling American and Trump flags and pro-Trump t-shirts has popped up on the frontage road in front on University Mall. Nice to see the entrepreneurial spirit at work.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Open Containers

Don't be surprised to see people carrying open cups of beer around downtown this Saturday. Last month, the council pass an ordinance allowing the carrying (and drinking I would assume) of plastic containers of alcohol in the downtown area from 11 a.m. to midnight this Saturday. You do have to stay in the area bounded by  Jackson and Mill and Washington and University though, so no cups of beer in IV's parking lot.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Rally

Apparently, since the city council decided not to hold a meeting, depriving them of an outlet for their voices, some group decided to hold an anti-Trump  rally outside the civic center about 6 p.m. I saw about 40-50 people clustered there on the sidewalk about 6 p.m. Hopefully, some of them will also go knock on doors and call people for the preferred candidate, as that will prove a lot more helpful

Monday, October 22, 2018

Council Cancellation

It appears the prime reason for cancelling tomorrow night's city council meeting were the plans of several groups and individuals to either disrupt the meeting with protests supporting and opposing  the upcoming visit of President Trump or to spend a lot of time during citizen comments expressing their opinions about the visit. Since none of that has anything to do with council or city business, council decided to avoid the whole situation by canceling the meeting. Next one takes place after the election, but which time President Trump will be long gone.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

City Council Meeting Canceled

Well, this a first. The city sent out a notice that this Tuesday evening's scheduled Liquor Control Commission and City Council meetings are cancelled. First time I remember a regularly scheduled council meeting getting canceled in 20 years and   other people have comments it is the first time in 30+ years they have heard of a council meeting getting canceled. If I were a betting person, I would lay odds it has a lot to do with Pres. Trump's upcoming visit and campaign ralley and Councilman Loos' plan to read a statement at the meeting protesting the visit. Given the lack of support for Loos' original resolution, with two council members pulling their support, I imagine the council sees discretion as the better part of valor, figuring there will be less controversy if Councilman Loos reads his statement into the minutes after the President visits and the election is over.

Of course, I could be completely wrong and there just aren't enough councilpeople in town next Tuesday to have a quorum.  Here is the email from the city:

The Local Liquor Control Commission and Carbondale City Council meetings scheduled for October 23, 2018, have been cancelled. The next regularly scheduled meeting of the City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, November 13, 2018.


Friday, October 19, 2018

Trump May Visit Carbondale

Given the tight race between Bost and Kelly for the House seat, it appears that President Trump is exploring the possibility of staging a campaign rally for Bost on the SIUC campus. Al though a rally in the Fairview Heights/Edwardsville area would draw a larger attendance, holding it at SIUC is much closer to Bosts home town and would probably bring out a larger number of Bost supporters.

Unfortunately, the date selected is the same that scheduled for the Carbondale Halloween event and all of the security needed for a presidential visit would raise hob with the events scheduled for that day. Can you imagine the Carbondale Zombie Walk staggering northward as a presidential motorcade passes by on Illinois? Maybe we will see a few zombie Trumps?

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Infrastructure Suggestions

The city is looking for suggestions/recommendations on infrastructure projects to undertake. Recently, it has done some extensive work on the sidewalks and systems along North Oakland and plans to work on south Oakland in the near future. I would suggest the people who have been protesting the Brightfields' solar array development contact the city about some infrastructure improvements in that area

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Home 2 Hilton Suites Open

After about 2 years, the downtown Hilton finally held a soft open today. First guest are staying in rooms tonight. Not all of the rooms in the building are open to guests as there is still some finishing needed. Official grand opening will be announced later.

Monday, October 15, 2018

SIUC Plans

Chancellor Walter Wendler got forced out and we have not heard anything regarding his "Southern at 150" plan.
 Chancellor Rita Cheng leaves for Arizona and her rebranding plans for SIUC come to a screetching halt.

Given this track record, I imagine the passing of Chancellor Carlos Montemagno will mean the end of the planned restructuring of the university.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Montemagno Dead of Cancer

SIUC Chancellor Carlos Montemagno died of cancer early this morning. Only met him once at a Chamber of Commerce event but he seemed a pretty affable guy, with some ideas for the campus , such as a holiday lighting of the Old Main area, that got lost in the controversy of his planned restructuring of the university. Given that he was the prime mover behind the proposed campus restructuring, I imagine it will go on hiatus until a successor is found and, even then, the new chancellor's ideas for the university will likely vary from what Dr. Montemagno had proposed.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Candidate Forums

Couple of candidate forums coming up locally in the near future. Sadly, no sign of Mike Bost in the near future.

The League of Women Voters of Jackson County is hosting two candidate forums, Oct 16 and 18, for judicial candidates and Jackson County Board candidates. 


On Tuesday, Oct 16, at 7 pm, eight judicial candidates are expected to join a forum  at the SIU Law School Auditorium.  Voters in Jackson County will have to select among eight candidates for four judicial positions. Those in Union County, will select among six candidates and those in Williamson - ten candidates.  That is a good reason to come to the candidates forum.  More info available at https://www.isba.org/judicialevaluations and click on "By County".

Candidates for Jackson County Board will appear on Thursday, Oct 18, at 7pm, at 1410 Walnut St, the Murphysboro town hall (= Davis-McCann Center, entrance on 14th Street).  Come and hear how they stand on various county issues. 

Friday, October 5, 2018

Brightfields

Approval or denial of the controversial Brightfield solar array development at the city council meeting next week. Given that six hours of discussion took place at the planning commission meeting, I would bet this meeting will take equally long.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Ribbon Cuttings

In case you like attending ceremonies, there are a couple of ribbon cuttings taking place this week. Friday Oct 5 at 11 a.m. a cutting will celebrate the new solar installation at Gaia House on South Illinois and then Saturday Oct 6, also at 11 a.m. there is a cutting at the new Family Drug on the far west side of town, located in what was the short lived Doctor Donuts. Family Drug should do a lot better there than Doctor Donuts, since a pharmacy is more of a destination store that a donut shop is. We are willing to make more of an effort to get our prescriptions then we are doughnuts.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Pet Expo

Purrrrfect Pet Expo at the Carbondale Civic center this Saturday.  $3 admission or pet supplies gets you in. All proceeds go to local animal shelters, of which the region has several.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Cinnamon Wheeler-Smith

Cinnamon Wheeler-Smith, executive director of Carbondale Tourism for the past 5+ years, announced that Friday will be her last day. She has taken a position as Operational Triner at WPS Health Solutions

Friday, September 28, 2018

Cave in Rock Ferry

Glad to see the Cave In Rock Ferry will resume year round hours starting next month. By my calculations, it transports about 335 cars per day. Of course, no idea how many of them just take the ferry from one side to the other, turn around and ferry back.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Family Weekend

SIUC Family Weekend is this weekend. However, I have not seen much promotion for it, which is rather surprising. I have received a couple of emails from the Chamber of Commerce and seen one or two social media posts but, given how important the event typically is to the university, I would have expected to have heard a lot more about events taking place.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Free Downtown WiFi

Carbondale announced free Wireless access throughout the downtown region today, stretching from Town Square Pavilion at Main and Illinois south to Friendship Plaza at the corner of Mill and Illinois. No indication how far east or west the signal reaches. When the city last put in downtown wireless several years ago, you could pick it up about half a block east or west of Illinois 

Monday, September 24, 2018

Pritzker Campaign Office

Apparently Carbondale is proving a popular place for campaign offices. J.B. Pritzker's campaign has set up an office in the strip mall next to Sunny Street Cafe. If you are looking for one, a campaign staffer tells me they have some 5000 yard signs just waiting for  you to plunk one in your yard.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Bright Spot Award

From Keep Carbondale Beautiful.  Always glad to see a residence or business in town notice for the effort it/they puts into making the spot more attractive:

Sewer line work in the front yard usually leaves a mess.  But some home-owners turn it into an opportunity.  At 301 Wedgewood, Virginia Gregory put in a unique sculpture and surrounded it with flowers and greenery, earning a Bright Spot Award from the Keep Carbondale Beautiful board.  The sculpture was done by Kathi Borrego, a friend in Oregon, and Greenridge Landscaping did the heavy lifting.   “They put in a ton of work, and a lot of nice landscaping,” in the words of the nominator.  Besides the sewer line mess, Mrs. Gregory had another motivation: “Once you paint the garage door mustard yellow, …. Fortunately, chrysanthemums come in that color.”

The KCB Board selects businesses or residences to receive the Bright Spot Award for enhancing the beauty of our community by means of revitalization of property, new construction, plantings and beautification, upkeep and maintenance, or rehabilitation.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Seeking New HR Commission Head

Appears the Mayor is seeking a new head for the HR Commission. Given how hard it is to find people to want to serve on any commissions in Carbondale, it is interesting that he wants to let one go that wants the job. Of course, the fact that the HR Commission has set up meetings to discuss how to improve Carbondale apparently did not strike some council members as helpful.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Political offices

will less than 60 days until the election, I am seeing more political campaign offices open in Carbondale. Terri Bryant has had one on East Walnut for several weeks and the Democrats now have one in the old Radio Shack space in Murdale Shopping Center. Latest open in a Mike Bost office in the long empty Petal patch location at the intersection of Walnut and Illinois. Bust must be taking this election seriously as this is the first time I have seen a Bost office in Carbondale.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Ribbon Cutting

Short notice but there is a ribbon cutting for the new Sterling Sofa Company on Giant City Road at 11 a.m. tomorrow morning


The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce will hold a ribbon cutting at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, September 13 for the grand opening of Sterling Sofa Company. The retailer is located at 695 N Giant City Road.

Sterling Sofa Company specializes in providing designer styles and comfort for all furnishing needs. Sterling Sofa Company is the sister store to Sterling Mattress Factory.

The ribbon cutting is part of Sterling Sofa Company’s grand opening. Representatives of the Chamber and business will participate in the ceremony and light refreshments will be served. The event is open to the public.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Human Relations Roundtable

In  case you want to contribute your two cents on where Carbondale and SIUC out to go (no, to H**L is not a option), there is a  meeting this Thursday night at 6 p.m. to discuss the matter. A meeting is nice but it will take action in order to make change and, like it or not, that action has to come from the University. Carbondale can make itself as student friendly as possible but until SIUC starts attracting students again, all of the downtown landscaping in the world will not help. Although it will help, students will come here because of the programs the university offers, not because of the stores in downtown or the landscaping. An attractive downtown will convince students (and their parents) that Carbondale is an inviting city in which to live, but if the program is not there, they won't come.

The Carbondale Human Relations Commission will host a roundtable discussion on Thursday, September 13, 2018, at 6:00 p.m. in Room 116 of the Carbondale Civic Center; 200 South Illinois Ave., Carbondale, Illinois.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Remodeling Oakland Avenue

The city has been doing extensive work on N. Oakland for the past month and now it is soliciting comments on the plans for remodeling south Oakland. Doubt very much if the comments will have any effect on the plans but the city is offering the opportunity for comments:

The City of Carbondale will host an open house on Tuesday, September 25 to present the plans and receive comments on the Oakland Avenue Reconstruction Project. This project is partially funded through a grant from the Southern Illinois Metropolitan Planning Organization (SIMPO).

Improvements to rebuild Oakland Avenue from Chautauqua Street to Walnut Street include new concrete pavement with dedicated bicycle lanes, new sidewalks, driveway aprons, storm sewers and appurtenances. In order to accommodate dedicated bicycle lanes in each direction, the existing on-street parking, south of Mill Street, will be removed.

Plans will be on display in Room 103 of the Carbondale Civic Center from 4:30-6 p.m. Community members are invited to view the plans and provide comments about the project. City officials will be on hand to explain the project and answer questions. Construction is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2019.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Human Relations Round Table

The Human Relations Commission, despite some pushback, is going ahead with its plan to host a round table to discuss possible solutions to attract more students and retain young professionals. More power to them, but unless the powers that be in the city act on recommendations, it won't do much good. As the press release notes, a similar meeting was held last January and ideas were proposed there. Haven't heard much about it since:

The Human Relations Commission (HRC) of the City of Carbondale will sponsor a round table discussion on September 13, 2018 at the Carbondale Civic Center (200 N Illinois Ave) from 6:00pm-7:30pm.
 
Our goal is to bring together community members, City and University officials, and students to discuss a proactive way to increase attraction of new students and businesses and retain young professionals in our community.

The HRC understands the challenges our state and region have experienced over the last several years and we want to bring together stakeholders to collaborate and suggest solutions to move our City and University forward.  Everyone will have an opportunity to “sit at the table” to discuss viable solutions. 

This round table forum follows a similar event held in January in which residents, City and University officials, and local business owners were in attendance. 

Friday, September 7, 2018

Doctorates

I see SIUE is arguing that, since it now has more students than SIUC for the first time, it should see increased funding or even more funding than SIUC. However, most of SIUE's students are commuting students, which have a lower foot print than SIUC's overwhelming numbers of residential students. In addition, SIUC offers doctoral degrees, which absorb more resources. It is also hard to justify increasing SIUE's funding, given that it has lost students along with SIUC

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Both Down

Even though both SIUC and SIUC are down in terms of attendance, for the first time, SIUE has exceeded SIUC in terms of total number of students. SIUC does point out that retention rates and average GPA of students are up at the university and that the university is "turning the corner". Of course SIUC has turned the corner so many times under so many different chancellors that I would expect the institution to have gotten back to where it started.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

12% Down

Caught on the news this evening that SIUC fall admission was 12% down from last year with between 12,000 and 13,000 students attending. but the university is "turning the corner" yet again. Retention rates and GPA of incoming students were both up though. 

Friday, August 31, 2018

Student Protests

As usual, SIUC took a pretty heavy handed approach to student protest and activism and generated a lot of controversy and blowback as a result. I understand the administration would rather the students sit down and shut up but there are always a few who will not. Coach Kill also made a analogy about football, which is just fine if you have a pretty straightforward objective, like winning a game. The things the students are protesting and that people are objecting to are a lot more complicated:

Kill said the country should act more like a football team.
“They all have to work together to win. That’s beautiful,” he said, adding that if they can’t all work together then they’ve got the same problem the country has.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

tonight At the Varsity

Following up on yesterday's post, tonight at 7 p.m. at the Varsity Center is a panel on seeking solutions for Southern Illinois. Rather surprised that no one from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute is on the panel. Wonder if anyone will make note of the return southern Illinois gets on its taxes? The region received about $2.50 from the state for every $1 in taxes sent to Springfield

 President and CEO of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, Jennifer Olson, is a panelist for NPR Illinois' Election 2018: Seeking Solutions forum on Thursday, August 30 at the Varsity Center in Carbondale.
Olson will be joined by fellow panelists Dr. Kyle L. Harfst, Executive Director of the Office of Economic and Regional Development and Matt Donkin, Superintendent of Frankfort Schools District 168.
The forum will focus on Southern Illinois' access to healthcare, education, and economic opportunities. Panelists will comment on the issues Southern Illinois faces and discuss how to improve the region's access to vital services.
"It is important for those that are voted into office to understand the barriers to economic opportunity and what can be done to improve access in Southern Illinois," Jennifer Olson said of the event.
Topics will also include the impact of population loss in Illinois on state finances. The panel will answer questions from the moderator, NPR Illinois News Director Sean Crawford, and audience members.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the forum begins at 7:00 p.m. The program will run live on NPR Illinois and NPR Illinois' Facebook from 6 p.m. -7 p.m.
For more information, contact the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce at 618-549-2146 or info.carbondalechamber.com.
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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

SIUC Problems

Last weeks' episode of State Week in Review touched on the problems SIUC and SIUE are having in allocating funding and SIUC's drop in attendance by 10,000. Interestingly, at least to me, the only reason posited for the decline was the overall drop in population in Southern Illinois. While I agree with that, I would argue, and have before, that SIUC has lost its focus and no longer promotes itself as a top tier institution, instead focusing on the athletic department and its sports teams as a means of drawing national attention. Develop an institution like that that attracted Buckminster Fuller and the Four Horsemen and students will come

Monday, August 27, 2018

Solar Bear Weekend



couple of good sized House parties on West Walnut on Saturday celebrating Solar Bear. Couple of hundred students floating around the two houses on Saturday afternoon. Someone had considerately strung up Caution tape running from the house to the street, indicating to the party goers just how far west they should venture during the festivities. Saw a couple of girls out cleaning up trash as well.

Another house at 505 West Main had orange caution fence circling its property, again to indicate to attendees where the boundaries were.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Solar Bear

Just a heads up that the Solar Bear celebration is this weekend. According to my postal worker, West Maple is already pretty much impassible due to the number of cars parked along it. From the looks of it, a couple of houses in the 500 and 800 blocks of West Main expect a lot of visitors as well, since they have orange security fence set up around their yards.

Friday, August 24, 2018

History of Samuel Dunaway

Always wondered about the origins of the two story yellow house at 409 West Main, across from Memorial Hospital. Here is a history of Samuel Dunaway, who built it in 1881.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

City Lot Closed

The metered parking lot at City Hall is closed today for what looks like sealing and striping. Probably, given the increased traffic and need for parking in downtown, not the best day to choose to do it.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Streetscape Ribbon cutting

The city in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce, will hold a ribbon cutting at 11 a.m. next Monday to celebrate the completing of phase 2 of the Downtown Streetscape project. The ceremony will take place in front of City Hall. The next phase of the project, completing the work along Illinois between Main and Marion, will go on hold for a year or so while the city focuses on other projects and decides what do to with the awning that extends almost to the street in front of Priority Sports and The Door. I doubt, given the design of the streetscape as it has been implemented so far, that the awning will remain in its current state.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Keeper's Quarters

Keeper's Quarters restaurant is moving from its location on West Main to the shuttered Kaya Restaurant location on South Illinois. Glad to see another business moving into that section of downtown. The north end of Illinois Ave, has almost no empty space available but the south end has at least 10 storefronts sitting empty.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Culvers and Freddies

Carbondale has two chains moving into the area, both renowned for their frozen deserts. While I don't begrudge them moving it, it will certainly make things harder for the local operations Cool Spoons and Scoopz. I heard one local commenting today about how having Freddies coming into town will make it harder for Culver's and how someone should have warned Culver's. I wonder how much concern he had for Cool Spoons and Scoopz when Culver's moved in?

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

City Website

The city update its website and it is much easier to use. However, and there had to be a however, why in the world is a picture of Garden of the Gods featured on the homepage? Why not something representative of Carbondale, say like Shryock Auditorium or the Arena, something showing off the university.  Or maybe South Illinois, with a view of the streetscaping, or the Varsity Theater?

If you want a natural theme, how about Campus Lake, or Cedar Lake or even Giant City? Or if you really want to go iconic, how about a shot of Boo Rochman "Castle" Park out on Giant City Road?  All of those represent Carbondale far better than an state park an hour away from the city.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Southern Illinois Taxes

For those people pushing to separate downstate Illinois from the rest of the state, meaning Chicago, I hope they are willing to forego the subsidies this region gets from the state. Southern Illinois receives about $2.81 in money from the state for every $1 in taxes sent to Springfield. Here's the full report from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

City Council Agenda

Here is next Tuesday's City Council Agenda, just in case you have a mind to peruse it:

3. Consent Agenda of the City Council
3.1 Approval of Minutes from the City Council Meeting of July 24, 2018
 3.2 Approval of Warrant for the Period Ending: 07/16/2018 for the FY 2019 Warrant 1334 in the Total Amount of $946,811.49
3.3 Approval of Wells Fargo Warrant for the Period Ending 06/30/2018 FY 2019 Warrant # WF 06/2018 in the amount of $130,791.79
 3.4 Reappointments to Boards and Commissions
 3.5 Adoption of the 2019 Calendar of City Council Meetings
 3.6 A Resolution Approving the Final BPL Development Plan for Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers at 500 North Giant City Road
3.7 Approval of Consent Agenda Items 4. General Business of the City Council
4.1 Discussion of Allowing Natural Burials in Oakland Cemetery
4.2 Ordinance Amending Title Five, Chapter Ten of the Carbondale Revised Code as it Relates to Permits for City-Owned Event Venues
4.3 An Ordinance Amending Title Five, Chapter Nine, of the Carbondale Revised Code as it Relates to Consumer Installment Loan Businesses
4.4 An Ordinance Amending Title Five, Chapter Seventeen, of the Carbondale Revised Code as it Relates to Vacation Rental Units and Hosting Platforms

Friday, August 10, 2018

Huffman Harker Funeral Home

The Huffman Harker Funeral Home  at the intersection of Oak and  University, just north of the Memorial Hospital complex, has been demolished this week. I assume after it became Huffman Harker Walker funeral home, with facilities on South Poplar, the owners decided they didn't need two buildings anymore.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Sign

As long as the city is having so much work down downtown, maybe it could have the post with the signs for Station Carbondale, Carbondale Main Street and the Chamber of Commerce turned 45 degrees. The signs for the three locations are clearly visible to anyone heading west on Marion Street but invisible to anyone heading north on Illinois until they are parallel to them.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Downtown Streetscape

According to the Mayor, the downtown street scape development should be substantially completed by the time SIUC starts classes, which would meet the terms of the contract. Hopefully that means the south entrance to the old depot parking lot gets reopened by Friday as easy of parking is reduced by having it closed off.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Railway Crossing Closures

Just in time for back to school and students returning to the University, the railroad has announced a series of crossing closures in downtown Carbondale. Expect driving in downtown to get more messed up than usual the first week of classes. From the city:

Drivers should expect delays in the coming days due to railroad crossing repairs by Canadian National Railroad.
The following locations, between Illinois Avenue and Washington Street, will be closed to vehicle traffic during repairs:
  • College Street will be closed starting at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, August 8 until Thursday, August 9 at 3 p.m.
  • Jackson Street will be closed starting at 7 a.m. on Monday, August 13 until Tuesday, August 14 at 3 p.m.
  • Oak Street will be closed starting at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, August 15 until Thursday, August 16 at 3 p.m.
Drivers are asked to use alternate routes during these affected times.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Invest in the Local Economy

, shop at the Murdale Farmers Market (and other local farmers markets). For every $100 you spend at a farmers's market, according to the Farmers Market Coalition, so they may be a bit biased, $62 stays in the local enocomy. Compare that with spending money on food at Schnuck's, Kroger or Wal-Mart, where, if you spend $100, $17-$20 stays locally.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Olive Branch Program Students

Of the 70 students from China visiting Carbondale this week through the Olive Branch program, 20 of them, according to the University, have committed to attending SIUC starting in the fall of 2019

Thursday, August 2, 2018

PK's Mural

PK's, going along with the downtown improvements, is getting a large Black and White mural with the store logo and  "open 365 days a year" on the south side of the building. The format reminded me of the Jack Daniels label design.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Ashtrays

Phillip Morris and Keep America Beautiful have a program in place to install cigarette receptacles in communities. Here is the email I received on the topic from Keep Carbondale Beautiful:

In partnership with Keep America Beautiful, KAB affiliates and partner organizations have an opportunity to participate in a Philip Morris USA initiative. Philip Morris will place 10,000 litter stands to collect cigarette butts  in communities nationwide and educate adult smokers 21+ on the importance of disposing of their cigarette butts properly.

Adult smokers are being given the opportunity to enter locations (city and zip code) on a map to indicate where they would like to see a litter stand installed. As stands are placed, an interactive map will populate featuring local stories and showing locations that have been selected.

Keep America Beautiful & Philip Morris USA request your help in finding locations to place litter stands to provide opportunities for adult smokers to dispose of their cigarette butts properly.
                                                                                                                                                
Requirements:
·        Install the litter stand(s) in an accessible place (e.g., outside entrance to retail location, or transition point where adult smokers commonly dispose of cigarette butts). Hardware is included to mount each receptacle.
·        Maintain litter stand(s) (e.g., regularly empty cigarette butts into garbage).
Share the GPS coordinates of each litter stand’s location with KAB to include on the interactive map. 

Monday, July 30, 2018

Potential SIUC Students

There are 70 potential SIUC students visiting Carbondale from China this week . The university, Chamber of Commerce and the city have worked putting together a schedule of events to keep them busy and, from talking with a few of the students yesterday, they seem pretty impressed with the school and Carbondale. A couple of them were already talking as if they planned to attend SIUC starting next fall, so that's a good start.

At one time, SIUC was renowned for its outreach to international students and had the 2nd largest number of Indian students in the US. Unfortunately, other universities, over the years, targeted international students as well, pulling a good number of them away from Carbondale.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Erika Harold

Got to hear the Republican candidate for Attorney General this afternoon at the Chamber of Commerce round pies straight talk event. Most of the discussion with Erika Harold focused on combating opiod addiction in Illinois, although there was some discussion of workman's compensation reform and removing some regulations to make the state more business friendly. One topic she is interested in is prison reform, especially stopping using Illinois prisons as holding cells for the mentally ill. She also mentioned the possibility of reinstating work release programs for prisoners, which Gov. Rauner apparently put a halt to and which Chief Grubbs supported reinstating, as he said Carbondale had used them for decades without any problems.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Saltpeter Cave

Noticed work done on the road leading to Saltpeter Cave off Highway 127 today. The fence and gate have been removed from the entrance and gravel has been applied to the road. The cave was a prime concert venue for the region from the 1970s through the early 2000s but was sold about a decade ago and closed to the public since then.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Family Drug Open

The new Family Drug of Carbondale has opened on the north side of the intersection of Hwy 13 and New Era Road. Probably a good location for it since it is a destination store rather than  a convenience one, unlike the doughnut shop that occupied the location for a short period. I believe it is affiliated with one of the hospitals as well, which means business coming from there too.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

No More Straws

A SIUC student is asking local businesses to only offer straws upon request. So far, businesses that have signed on for "Straws Upon Request" include Longbranch, Reemas, Tres Hombres, Quatros and El Greco's. Starbuck's is already phasing them out. Going strawless appears a national movement as there are several dozen communities that have either voluntarily or by ordinance made straws available only on reques.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Walker's Bluff General Store

I see Walker's Bluff has announced they are closing their general store and turning the space into operations, whatever that means.I would assume the store only made money during the times the facility had events and sat empty the rest of the time  costing the business payroll.

Friday, July 13, 2018

One Scalp Collected

Looks as if SIU President Randy Dunn will step down next week, collect a $200,000+ severance package and get hired as a visiting professor at SIUE next January. Plans are to hire retired SIU School of Medicine dean Kevin Dorsey as interim President

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Incoming Freshmen

Just heard that the current projected number of incoming freshmen at SIUC this fall is around 900. Contrast that with just over 2100 in 2016 and just over 1700 last year. Hoping that number shifts higher as actual enrollment date gets closer.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

No Confidence in Dunn

SIUC Faculty Senate cast a vote of no confidence in President Randy Dunn 25-1 with 2 senators abstaining. Of course, I don't think the Senate has much confidence in Chancellor Montemagno so I am not sure who they want running the place. It is also nice that the university is in such good shape that the various organizations can focus on stuff like this.

Dunn should not be focusing on shifting around funds until he gets SIUC stabilized. Nor should Montemagno work on restructuring the university until he accomplishes the same thing. Neither man has shown why either shift funds or restructuring will achieve the objective if increasing SIUC enrollment. 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Dunn and Montemago

Well, it appears we have factions not happy with either President Dunn or Chancellor Montemagno. One faction thinks Dunn wants to split apart SIUC and SIUE with both of them on an equal regional footing. The other faction thinks Montemagno has been sent in to weaken SIUC at the behest of Gov. Rauner (see the letter on page 5 of this week's Carbondale Times) and return it to regional status as well and that Dunn is the only one standing in his way. It would appear that, based on this, SIUC is in trouble no matter who is in charge.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

More Video Terminals

City council voted to allow video poker terminals at truck stops within the city limits. Currently, the only locations to qualify are the Huck's on East Main and the Shell station on the west side of town. No idea if either one will apply for a permit or if they have the additional space they would have to provide for the terminals.
Revenues from the city's terminals have increased by about $25,000 from 2016 to 2017 despite 2 fewer units within city limits. Same number of establishments though and the growth in dollar amount collected indicates the market is not saturated yet.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Lone Star

From what I have heard, another Sergio's Mexican Restaurant will move into the closed and recently sold Lone Star Steakhouse location on East Main.

Friday, June 29, 2018

SIU President Not Exactly Neutral

Good story in the Southern today regarding the trove of emails released detailing communications between SIU President Randy Dunn, SIUE' s Chancellor and the Edwardsville members of the Board of Trustees.  What I found especially interesting what the reprimand from Dunn to SIUC Chancellor Carlos Montemagno for not following the chain of command. I'm not a big fan of Chancellor Montemagno but given how Dunn had left him out of the loop, chastising Montemagno seems a wee bit hypocritical:

I have read your attached memo,” Dunn wrote. “It is misleading at best and insubordinate at worst.”
He admonished Montemagno for sending the memo to the trustees without consulting him. Dunn said he had tried to support Montemagno’s leadership."

City Hall Streetscape

Work is starting on the streetscape in front of city hall

Work along Illinois Avenue, east of Carbondale City Hall, has begun as part of the Illinois Avenue Streetscape Improvements Project.
The contractor is removing existing sidewalk and steps. For your safety, visitors are asked to avoid this area as much as possible. In addition, parking will not be available along Illinois Avenue during contractor working hours
A temporary walkway will be in place until the new sidewalk is constructed. Visitors are encouraged to use the west entrance of City Hall.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Chamber Letter In Support Of Multi Modal Center

The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce sent the letter below to the DOT supporting the city's request for funding for the proposed multi-modal center. Not sure what will come of it due to the lack of any significant funding for infrastructure improvements from the current administration.:

The Honorable Elaine L. Chao, Secretary
United States Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20590
 
Dear Secretary Chao:
 
I am writing on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce to express our support of the City of Carbondale's application for the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant for $14.64 million through the U.S. Department of Transportation, for the Southern Illinois Multi-Modal Station (SIMMS) project. This grant will allow the City of Carbondale to complete design and construction and will also help generate much needed economic activity within our region.
 
In a rural area like Southern Illinois, transportation is often cited as a key impediment to connecting qualified workers with jobs. SIMMS will provide an opportunity to improve public transportation throughout the region and doing so, will provide opportunities to many low-income residents to access jobs, educational opportunities, and healthcare. Collectively, these improvements will improve the quality-of-life for many of our residents.
 
In addition to the improvements that the SIMMS project will provide for public transportation, this project would be a significant infrastructure investment to our region and would generate many high-quality construction jobs for the area which will generate additional economic impact. As such, we strongly support the use of BUILD funds to help facilitate the development of this critical project for Southern Illinois.