Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sustainable Foods

Got an email pointing to this site the helps you find local sustainable foods. The Neighborhood Food Co-op gets listed twice, while Arnold's and the Town Square Market, not at all.

Fraternity Track Record

The fraternity sponsoring the party on West Walnut where a shooting took place over the weekend doesn't have a real good track record regarding parties. Back in January of 2006, the same fraternity, Iota Phi Theta, hosted a fund raising party at the now shuttered Fred's Dance Barn that ended with the still unsolved shooting death of Larry Williams. The negative publicity surrounding the shooting was a major factor in the closing of Fred's later that year.

Notes from Pickle's Alley

Bodybuilding competition at SIUC.
Seems like there's a day for everything.
Sheila Simon gets yet more work.
Wedding Banned, the band.
More comments on the DE's pulling of its comments.
Relay for Life raises $76,000
if Carbondale and Marion are critical towns for GM, the company is in a lot worse shape than I though.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

No Crime at SIUC

The Jeanne Cleary Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act mandates that colleges and universities that receive federal financial aid keep and publish information regarding crime statistics on campus and in the immediate area. Three guesses as to what comes up as not found when you click on the crime statistics links of SIUC's website. Apparently we have a crime free campus. The link on SIUC's website describing the Cleary Act itself doesn't even work. Even South Surburban College in Chicago manages to do that, but not SIUC.

Update: Looks like someone at SIUC noticed this and fixed the links as they all work fine now.

Busy Weekend for Criminals

'twas a busy weekend for the criminal idiots in town, what with an aggravated battery on N. Illinois, a shooting in the 300 block of West Walnut. and an arrest for a number of charges. Oh and the back door of my store got tagged Friday night.

And if this guy was as smart as Terry Clark says, they probably wouldn't be after him for murdering his wife

Simon & Garfunkel at SIUC

Got an interesting email from Allan Keith re the recently released S&G CD:

Today I bought the  recently-released album CD titled  "Simon and
Garfunkel -- Live 1969."

This album includes songs performed by them at the SIU Arena in
Carbondale on November 8, 1969.

It is noteworthy that this November 1969 tour was their last tour
together for 13 years.

Also noteworthy is the fact that of the six cities on this tour,
Carbondale is the only small town on the list. All the other cities are
either quite large or at least medium-sized.

The others are: New York's Carnegie Hall, the Long Beach Arena, Toledo,
Detroit, and St. Louis.

Of the 17 songs on the Simon and Garfunkel CD, five were recorded in

They are: "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)," "Mrs.
Robinson" (from the motion picture "The Graduate,") "So Long, Frank
Lloyd Wright," "The Sound of Silence," and "I Am a Rock."

I make brief mention of the Simon and Garfunkel concert in my little
book "SIUC's Days of Dissent: A Memoir of Student Protest." However, I
have to say that, although I was a graduate student at SIUC at the time,
I did not attend the concert. I wish I had done so.

However, we are fortunate that the music lives on in this new CD. I
might also note that the CD includes "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (as
sung in New York) even though their album by that name wasn't released
until January of 1970.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Trustees and ex. Gov. Blago

It would be nice to see them resign but I don't thing that's going to happen. After all, they are shocked, shocked at the amount of chicanery that took place in Gov. Blago' office.

Idiots with Weapons

Police are investigating a shooting that took place on West Walnut Street early this morning and a pair of knifings in the Crossing Trailer Park a couple of hours earlier

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Notes from Pickle's Alley

Richard Archer and energy (and cardboard boats) at SIUC.
C'dale girls get prom gowns.
Now we'll see if reform happens. My guess: No.
The robots is coming, the robots is coming.
New citizens at SIUC.

Clone Crime

If it wasn't for the differences in clothing, all of the criminals described here sound identical. Reminds me of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. All of the turtles are identical, except for the initials on their belts and the color of their eyemasks.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Notes from Pickle's Alley

SIUC has a new women's basketball coach. Notice how they got that done faster than most empty academic positions?
The state police hope to have the Kaiyewi investigation wrapped up next week.
Fr. Vitale discusses his recent visit to Iran this Sunday.
Did you know SIUC has an IRAD? DO you know what an IRAD is? Neither did I.
The SIUC Guitar Ensemble plans its end of the year concert.
Hey, the Irish Festival is going on.
Teachers of Life Long Learning conference coming to SIUC.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Current Crime

Burglary on West Owens
More on the death of quasi-C'dale resident "Toto" Kalyewu

Notes from Pickle's Alley

WDBX started their bi-annual membership drive last Saturday. Join here.
Art Around the Square is coming.
So is Free Comic Book Day.
The Carbondale Regulars website reviews bands that play Carbondale Regularly.
Relay for Life starts Saturday night.
A memorial fund has been set up for Jeff Engelhardt's family.
Salukis sweep Billikins. Film at eleven.

Downtown Developments

From what I hear, the scheduled re-opening date for Hanger 9 is now sometime in October. Also, a developer has purchased the strip of properties running from the old Kopies & More building north to Mill Street. No word on what they're doing with it, but expect to see something there within 2 years.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

More Criminal Stupidity

How dumb to you have to be to force your way into a house where they know you in order to take electronic equiptment? Pretty dumb.

Bucky Fuller and Earth Day

From Allan Keith:

It might be of interest to mention that R. Buckminster Fuller spoke at
SIUC on the eve of the first Earth Day, which was on April 22, 1970.

I mention this speech in my little book, "SIUC's Days of Dissent: A
Memoir of Student Protest."

I attended the speech by Bucky Fuller. He spoke on April 21, 1970 to an
enthusiastic crowd of 500 people in the University School gymnasium.

I remember that the diminutive Mr. Fuller stood on a chair as he spoke
for about two hours.

The focus of the speech was a common theme for Fuller -- the urgent need
for massive and technologically sophisticated forms of recycling. He
said that pollution could be greatly reduced if mankind could recycle
its wastes,

Discharges from smokestacks and
a variety of other wastes, he said, could be transformed into "valuable
energy" and valuable resources.

Allan H. Keith

City Council Meeting

Got there late (about 7:55) to last night's city council meeting so the place was pretty full, though nowise as full as it was for the vote on Saluki Way When I got there, Tommy Glisson was just leaving, apparently after some incident with his cell phone, and Sandy Litecky was finishing her comments to the council. focusing mainly on the perception of high crime rates in Carbondale and how they needed to be addressed.

The meeting then moved onto council comments before the vote and boy, was there a lot of hand wringing and "mea culpa"s from Mary Pohlman, Corene McDaniel and Lance Jack, Councilwoman McDaniel at one point eliciting a chorus of "No's" from the audience when she asked them if they wouldn't do the same thing in her position. A common refrain was that the city manager and staff are professionals, these are their proposals, and we're following their recommendations.

Joel Fritzler broke from the mold, offering a number of proposed cuts of his own, including eliminating trips by the mayor and city manager and cutting funding for events such as Splash Saturday and the yearly fireworks festival, as well as eliminating the proposed 3% funding increase for all social service organizations. Couldn't tell if the redness of the mayor's face was due to sunburn or Councilman Fritzler's proposals, but the mayor did respond in a civil tone justifying the travel, if not the event funding.

Stephen Haynes referred back to his vote on Saluki Way as well as his position on housing during his last campaign but it was hard to tell which way he leaned, though he did thank Fritzler for pointing out potential cuts in the budget and also asked how much the budget wold be out of balance if the Building and Neighborhood manager's position were restored.

The mayor, in closing remarks, also referred back to both Saluki Way, which he voted for, and the rental inspection fee, which he proposed (but then voted against, didn't mention that part in his comments), as examples of things he did that not everyone agreed with but he felt were in the best interests of the city. He then called the vote.

Jack, McDaniel, Mayor Cole and Chris Wissmann voted in favor of the budget, Fritzler, Haynes and Pohlman, against. Immediately after the vote, a good half the room left to go discuss things in the hallway. Fairly quickly, the council voted in favor of an ordinance adopting the pay plan for non-bargaining employees for next year and adjourned about 8:30.

A couple of interesting incidents after the meeting dismissed. A group in the hallway, including Charlie Fanning, D. Gorton and Jane Adams was discussing the meeting, when Lance Jack came up and started berating Fritzler's comments, to which Gorton took umbrage, telling jack to stop butting into other peoples conversations. Also saw Jack a bit later, outside city hall, the center of attention of a group of about 10 people. There were a few hugs among city staffers and quite a bit of head shaking.

Church Vandalism

There's a spate of church vandalism going on in the downtown area. St. Francis Xavier and First Presbyterian had rocks thrown through their windows in March. First Christian Church got burgled around March 1 and someone just shot BBs through the windows at Faith Temple Church of God in Christ.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Blogging the Budget--Water and Sewer Edition

The Water and Sewer Fund summary from page v indicates an expected 5% rate increase in related utilities fees to defray the costs of needed improvements. Planned expenditures include:

--final design and construction of a new $4 million water tower, with financing from the Illinois EPA Revolving Loan Funds

--construction of a storm water equalization basin a the Northwest Wastewater Treatment plant, cost $1 million.

--$40,000 for financial incentives for water and sewer infrastructure in new residential subdivisions.

--shoreline stabilization and erosion control at CedarLake

--new truck and sewer video camera system for identifying location of repairs in problem lines. Cost $385,000.

--professional utility rate study to analyze utility cost of operation, project cost of future capital needs, allocate costs to water and sewer division and recommend rate structures to produce required revenues.

--possible addition of an additional staff person in the Water Plant Central Laboratory

--a number of maintenance and design projects for various water projects throughout the city.

City Council Contacts

In case you want to contact your mayor or city council members before the meeting at 7 tonight, here're their official email address and phone numbers:

Brad Cole
Office 457-3229
Home: 457-42 68

Chris Wissmann
Phone: 549-2653

Corene McDaniel
Phone: 529-1466

Joel Fritzler
Phone: 549-3928

Mary Pohlman
Phone 549-5077

Lance Jack
Phone 521-2990 or 529-3287

Stephen Haynes
Phone: 549-1079
E-mail: shaynes@

Notes from Pickle's Alley

The Wendell Wheeler All Star Classic got played.
Not dead yet.
Mmmmm, pancakes.

Culture, We Got Culture

There's going to be a poetry reading by Alison Townsend in the Video Lounge, 4th floor of the SIUC Student center at 4 this Thursday.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Reform Commission

Given SIUC's history the past couple of years, this is ironic.

Blogging the Budget

The city highlights a number of city goals achieved or in the process thereof on page iv of the budget including:

--Building and Neighborhood Services will implement new computer software and stepped up rental property inspections (once that last position gets filled).
--design work continues on the new police and fire facilities
--repair work moves forward on East Main, West Main and downtown.
--continued improvements on the new city website.
--continued work on an updated Comprehensive Plan
--Police department will continue a number of projects including D. A. R. E., G. R. E. A. T. Citizens Police Academy and domestic violence prevention
--continue the Community Service Office Program
--Fire department will continue fire hydrant testing, smoke detector replacement, and training in NIMS, among other programs.
--though reduced, the housing rehabilitation program will continue
--Building and Neighborhood Services will mount an aggressive approach to removal of condemned structures (despite not having a head)
--a number of local agencies and organizations will continue to receive funding.

Notes from Pickle's Alley

Peter Gregory weighs in on the SIU BOT. Needless to say, he doesn't care much for them.
Yes, 4-H does still exist.
Oh, I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK...
You mean we need someone to tell us we're an American city?
Arrest made in computer thefts.
Need more ammo.
Did you know April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Rental Safety

From what I understand, the apartment where this took place is located in a house that has been subdivided into several apartments. However, there is no key for the tenants to lock the main door so anyone who wants to can wander in at all hours of the day or night. After the robbery, the tenants asked the landlord to install a keyed lock on the main door but the landlord refused. Apparently, the only option now is for the tenants to file a formal request for inspection with the city. You'd think your landlord would want to make his tenants feel safe in his properties.

Notes from Pickle's Alley

Doc Campana had a great visit at SIUC.
Lots of people want Eikenberg's job.
Huh, I thought Morris Library was done. They had a grand opening and everything.
Another buck in Illinois' taxes on cigs?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Notes from Pickle's Alley

SIUC researcher studying the relationships between mice, chipmunks, gypsy moths and ticks.
OSU watershed researcher in Carbondale.
What is this, Researcher Visitation Day at SIUC?
Carbondale has a Fulbright Scholar.
Don't forget to celebrate Record Store Day at Plaza Records and P-mac Music.
The Chamber has a lot of stuff coming up.

Blogging the Budget--Supplemental Budget Message

Late this afternoon (a trick perfected by many politicians who want to avoid much notice by the news media, city manager Allen Gill sent out a supplemental budget message to the mayor and city council members regarding the budget shortfall, outlining cuts in the General Fund budget and increases in pension costs.

The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund will raise the required employer contribution rate form 9.39% to 13.48%. This means the city will have to pay an additional $208,000 to cover all city employee pensions besides police and fire departments. The new rate goes into effect Jan. 1 2010, but the IMRF wants cities to put the new rate into effect as soon as possible to avoid future rate increases. City staff agrees.

Projected sales tax revenues will run about $141,000 less for the coming year.

In order to balance the GF budget, the city staff proposes the following 5 measures. If all 5 are implemented, the General Fund would be balanced:

1. Eliminate 2 Street Dept. maintenance positions, specifically the second street sweeper position and an additional maintenance positon. The two emplyees with the least sniority will be eliminated and given the opportunity to transfer to vacant positions in Refuse and Recycling. This means street sweeping will be done only on special occasions and will limit the number of work crews available for maintenace operations. Total savings: $99,595.

2. Eliminate 1 fire fighter position. Currently, the fire department operates with 3 shifts, 2 with nine menbers and one with 10. The extra position will be eliminated with a retirement scheduled for May. Total savings $77,765.

3. Eliminate part tme law clerk. The person assistes the legal department with research and other legal work. Workload will shift to other staff. Total savings $14,690.

4. Eliminate Building and Neighborhood Service Manager position (this is the one causing all the sqawking). Reports to the Director of Development Services and supervises the Neighborhood Inspectors (Six person team plus supervisor), Building Inspector and Rehabilitation Specialist. Elimination of the position means BNS staff reports directly to the Director of Development Services and the Building Inspector will be called upon more often to run on structural-relasted code concerns. Clerical staff will be relied upon more to handle walk-in service requests, as a code office will be in th eoffice less often. Total savings $87,255.

5. 4-day winter furlough for non-essential employees, December 28-31, 2009. Minimally staff City Hall. More details released later but tentative plans are to keep open only the Revenue Office and certain Finance Department functions, as well as police, fire, water, rewer and refuse departments. Projected savings approximately $70,000.

Total savings to the General Fund if all five of these recommendations is approximately $350,225. The new General Fund Total Expenditures for Fiscal Yeal 2010 would be $19,531,839, leaving the budget in balance.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tuesday Night Council Meeting

This meeting promises to be pretty interesting. I was told that, for the first time ever, someone requested a complete copy of the proposed budget. You can have one too, for only $48 plus change.

Tea Parties

Protest is all well and good but I'd be a little more impressed with the tea party protests if they had been out there during the last 7 years when the debt was increasing and the regulators were letting the banks run willy nilly.

Notes from Pickle's Alley

The Dept of Irish Studies wants to make sure everyone knows about the SI Irishfest.
Tea party at the Town Square Pavilion
The Carbondale Public Library has a book sale this Saturday (Hey, same blog colors)
Hit and run on S. University.
Things better in Springfield since what's his name got impeached.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Criminal Stupidity

Here's a quick overview of recent C'dale crime, courtesy of the Carbondale PD website:

Hit and run at University and Cherry.
5 vs. one robbery on East Campus Drive. One person's been arrested.
Robbery by a friend on West Walnut.
Instrument theft on N. Washington
And this lovely chap is a sex offender who failed to register.

Interfailh Earth Week Events

In case just one Earth Day isn't enough (I thought there were 365 of them):

Saturday, April 18 – 1 p.m. @ Carbondale Town Square Pavilion
Many Faiths, One Earth
Interfaith Earth Week Opening Ceremony
Sowing seeds of faith, compassion, and commitment for the restoration of the earth, individuals from several religious traditions represented in Southern Illinois will share prayers, songs and meditations related to the theme, “Make a World of Difference: Hearing Each Other, Healing the Earth.” Contact: Hugh Muldoon,, 549-1051 / Sam Foskey,, 457-2232.

Monday, April 20 – 7:30 p.m. @ Congregation Beth Jacob, 904 N. Norwest Dr.
Not Just Rhetoric: Interfaith Dialogue as Essential to Global Survival
The Parliament of the World Religions, a major international interfaith organization, will be meeting in Melbourne, Australia, 3-9 December 2009. The theme of this year’s conference will be “Make a World of Difference: Hearing each other, Healing the Earth.” David Christensen will speak about the history of that organization, which had its origin in Chicago in the late 1800s as an effort to bring a religious voice to international concerns. Father Bob Flannery will talk about his own experience at the 2004 Parliament in Barcelona. Key documents from the first World’s Parliament of Religions in 1893, part of Morris Library’s special collections, will be also be highlighted. Discussion will follow these presentations. Contact: Ken Starbuck,, 942-3986.

Tuesday, April 21 – 6 p.m. @ UCM Interfaith Center, 913 S. Illinois Ave.
Talk the Talk *Special Student Event*
An Intercultural Student Dialogue: What Concerns Us Most About the Environment
Students will share their perspectives from different faiths and philosophies on environmental issues they consider to be of critical importance in their countries and the world. Facilitator is Tim Manatt of the Council for a Parliament of the World Religions. This is an invitation-only event in order to facilitate dialogue between SIUC students. Dinner provided. Co-sponsored by SIUC's Intercultural Dialogue Student Association. Contact: Sabri,, 573-639-0722.

Wednesday, April 22 (Earth Day) – 6 p.m. @ First Presbyterian Church, 310 S. University Ave.
The Life of Gaia and the Vision of Gaia House
Multimedia Presentation & Dinner
Gaia, a universal symbol of interfaith unity and ecological harmony, will be explored as well as the vision of the Interfaith Center’s proposed Gaia House, followed by table discussion. A simple supper of soup, bread and fruit will be provided. Contact: Hugh Muldoon,, 549-1051.

Thursday, April 23 – 6 p.m. @ UCM Interfaith Center, 913 S. Illinois Ave.
Candlelit Peace Pilgrimage
Closing ceremony for Interfaith Earth Week
A candlelit walk between the Labyrinth and Peace Pole will begin at the Interfaith Center and will include brief meditations. Contact: Hugh Muldoon,, 549-1051.

Special traveling exhibit – Parliament documents @ Morris Library
A traveling exhibit featuring key documents from the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions will be featured at Interfaith Earth Week events. This historic collection is housed in the Special Collections Research Center of Morris Library, SIUC. For more information, contact or 453-2516.

Notes from Pickle's Alley

Hit and run at University and Cherry.
Salukis beat the Panthers in singles play
Talkin' 'bout a revolution (in energy)
Still looking for the Rams to come train at SIUC.
Saturdays in the park (pavillion)
Alison Joseph of SIUC is doing readings of her poetry, unfortunately she's hundreds of miles from here.
The Emriver Em2 was on display at SIUC yesterday.
Rapper R.O. E. performed at the Theta Xi house. Sound is OK, but the video needs a little (make that a lot) more light.


Was doing some reading last light about exercise and walkable communities. Although they haven't discussed the concept specifically, the focus on increasing foot traffic in downtown C'dale by the Comprehensive Plan Study committee is a walkability issue. Carbondale is, for the most part, not a walkable community. The newer neighborhoods are not designed to encourage foot traffic, nor our shopping districts.

If you want to walk in the newer suburbs in the southwest, you have to walk on the street, as there are no sidewalks. If you want to buy clothing in C'dale, you have to drive as there are no clothing stores to speak of in downtown orthe west side and those on the east side aren't readily accesable by foot. Groceries have the same problem. If you want to buy them and want a large selection rather than specialty foods, you have to go to the east side. Schunck's does serve close by neighborhoods but it's surrounded buy 3 lanes of traffic on three sides.

Downtown, one of the major focuses of the Compresheive Plan committtee, serves students. Students can easly walk to it (most of the property south of cherry and between Unviersity and Poplar is studant rental) and most of the businesses down there target students (bars and cheap restaurants). so downtown right now is in a Catch 22. More people con't dome down there to shop becasue there are no buiensses to attract them and more businesses don't move in there because residents don't come down to shop. It can be turned around but will take years and a focused effort to do so.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Buckminister Fuller (and Free Pizza)

From the Bucky's Dome folks:

RBF Dome NFP, Carbondale’s own R. Buckminster Fuller Dome Home Non-Profit, is excited to launch its first of what is planned to be monthly public gatherings this Wednesday, April 22 at Italian Village (405 S. Washington in Carbondale), starting at 6:00 pm. These public events are an opportunity for Fuller Enthusiasts and Bucky-philes to:

1) meet some of the members of the Bucky Dome Home Board of Directors,
2) receive updates about the Bucky Dome Home restoration project,
3) to hear some presentations about Buckminster Fuller from his friends, colleagues and other comprehensivist experts,
4) to engage in some fantastic conversation with like-minded folks, and
5) to have some free pizza.

Earth Day is the perfect day to launch this monthly series, as Buckminster Fuller, who started writing and speaking about conserving the earth’s resources, sustainability and renewability more than 70 years ago, is considered by many to be the “grandfather of the green movement.” Some of his most enduring quotes include: “How do we make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense of the disadvantage of anyone”; “Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we have been ignorant of their value” and “Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment.”

Hosting the event at Italian Village is a natural fit for the Buckminster Fuller Dome Home Non-Profit, as both Bucky’s Dome Home and Italian Village will be celebrating their 50th Anniversaries next year.. The dome home located at 407 S. Forest Ave. in Carbondale was raised in just seven hours on April 19, 1960.

For this inaugural monthly gathering on Earth Day, Wednesday April 22nd, presentations will be made by:

SIUC Professor Emeritus Mr. Bill Perk, former protegĂ©, colleague and friend of Buckminster Fuller, and also former Chairman of SIUC’s Design Department. Bill, who originally came to SUIC upon Bucky’s urging and recommendation, will be sharing a variety of anecdotes about Carbondale’s own eccentric and brilliant “Man of Tomorrow.” Bill, who was the last owner of the Bucky Dome Home before donating it to the non-for-profit in September 2002, is a RBF Dome NFP Board Member and is also a Buckminster Fuller Institute Advisory Board Member.

Former SIUC Webmaster John Johnson, a retired 20-year veteran of SIUC in information technology, with an international reputation for industrial automation and robotics. John is a Board Member of RBF Dome NFP and will highlight important aspects of Buckminster Fuller’s philosophy.

Also new RBF Dome NFP President Brent Ritzel, a Carbondale native who has recently returned after spending his last 23 years in Chicago and Denver, will be talking about the organization’s new vision for “Carbondale’s top cultural and economic development project, and Carbondale’s future number one tourist attraction.” Back in 1983 Brent constructed what may be the only scale model replica of the dome home ever created, which spent three years on display in the SIU Museum in the mid 1980s.

IlliNOIZE Coming

Courtesy of DaveX:

For the uninitiated, noise music is sometimes thought to originate with John Cage's provocative work, 4'33", which is wholly formed by the incidental sounds pervading an otherwise "silent" listening space. Today, noise music ranges from sine waves at the edge of human hearing to full-on blasts of static and feedback. This Saturday, Southern Illinois's finest noise artists will introduce noise music to the region on a live broadcast at WDBX-FM, hosted by "It's Too Damn Early" DJ DaveX.

The 1st Annual Southern IlliNOISE Summit will be broadcast on WDBX 91.1 FM from 4-6:30 am Saturday, April 18th, with a pre-show warmup of Midwestern noise recordings starting at 3 am.

The line-up includes:

Karthik Kakarala
Aaron Jones, of Maggotapplewonderland
Rick Leipold, Matthew Lee Lind; both of "Gorilla Heritage"
Cosmic Twilight Pimps
Andrew Crook
The Cloud Cuckoo Band
Chaos Kit
James McKain, of Glass Pyramid
...more performers TBA

Grant Let Go

Just received word that Building and Neighborhood Services Manger Tom Grant has been let go. If so, it's not good for either the rental inspection or the neighborhood inspection program as both would probably go on hiatus until another manager is hired. After all, I don't believe those unfilled retail inspection positions have been filled yet.

Update: The Southern has some more details. Cutting Grant's position saves the city about $65, 000 a year and loses some 15 years of experience that the city really could use with the boom in building on the south and west side of the city.

Blood Drives

Several blood drives in town this week and next. Last time I donated, the nurse mentioned that student turnout for drives at SIUC was way down. Apparently DCI Biologicals is so successful at recruiting (and paying) students for blood that they can't donate when the Red Cross hits town. Drives at over at SEMO (where there is no DCI Biological) pull in 3 to 4 times the number of students that an SIUC drive does.

Notes from Pickle's Alley

Carbondale man arrested for DUI. I guess it's news.
On the occasion of the death of the founder of Banned Books Week, cryptozoologist Loren Colemen reminisces about when one of his burned books was read at the Longbranch.
This American Life coming to Carbondale on screeen next week.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

New Hearing for Knoob

Looks like it's not a good idea for the Mayor to serve as sole judge over incidents where he was involved. This isn't the first time the Mayor has accompanied the police on liquor enforcement issues that later came up before the Liquor Control Commission. Last time, however, he abstained from voting.

New Interim Dean

Are there any actual full fledged real and for true Deans and Chancellors at SIUC anymore?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

More Messes at SIUC

SIUC just can't catch a break, can it? From the comments, it sounds as if part of the search committee wants a particular candidate and when it didn't look like things were going their bay, they decided to through a spanner into the works. Of course, that is based upon one anonymous poster relying upon "trusted" sources:

To explain the “mess” that plagued the search committee, let me tell you some of the facts that I heard from trusted sources. The mess started when a group of members of the search committee that Dr. Hughes ( the president of the FA) has a close relation with wanted to hire their man as the permanent dean of engineering regardless of his inferior qualifications comparing with that of very highly qualified candidates. The group faced a problem; the majority of the search committee did not select that candidate as finalist. What to do? Instead of yielding to the majority, the group used their favorite tactic that they have used effectively in the past, disruption, intimidation and blackmail. They initiate a vicious attack against the co-Chairs of the committee accusing them of “dysfunction”. In fact this dysfunction is that the committee did not function as the group wished. The group now hopes that delaying the selection process will force those highly qualified candidates to withdraw their application.

Notes from Pickle's Alley

A Carbondale resident was shot by police and sheriff's officers on I-74 after he charged them with a hunting knife and machete.
Love opens spaces on the Park Board.
Police arrest nets about a kilo of cocaine. The Southern's estimate of the street value is a bit low.
I guess these are different inspectors than the ones inspecting rental properties.
It's not all bad at SIUC. Eight instructors got recognized by their peers for superior teaching.
No Vilsack at Ag Industry Day.

Wiffleboy's Comes to Carbondale

I see that, according to the sign in front of the building, Wiffleboy's Pizza is opening up in C'dale in the now closed Dough Boy's Pizza.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Notes From Pickle's Alley

There's blogs springing up all over the place at SIUC. This one's devoted to energy research.
Margaret Dolan weighs in again on SIUC, SIUE and Glenn Poshard.
I'm not sure what exactly is going on here. I think pharmacists can still say "No" if women want the morning after pill.
Hangar 9 will be rebuilt, eventually.
Theta Xi is happy they made it into the newspaper

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Light blogging for the next couple of days as I will have very limited computer access, plus, as DaveX points out, I have to go grocery shopping.

Blogging the Budget

On page iii of the budget, there's a list of transfers from the General Fund as well as a list of expenditure reductions. A little over a million dollars will be transferred out of the General Fund: $71,567 to the Child Care Services Fund, $919764 to the Debt Service Fund for bond payments and $100,000 to the Local Improvement Fund for Open Space Development. Expenditure reductions include:

--keeping unfilled positions unfilled including a neighborhood inspector (Wasn't the rental inspection fee supposed to pay for that?), planner, public information officer, and a street sweeper operator. Police and fire departments will stay at current levels, the planned increase in police staffing is shelved.
--no new capital fund projects unless funded by grants
--the $60,000 a year the city pays to the Livingston Group is cut in favor of more trips by the Mayor (well, someone's got to do it).
--2 replacement patrol cars instead of four.
--home coversion grants cut from 10 to 6
--Carbondale gets dirty this summer as the Summer Clean Up program gets cut
--Fire department uses online service with City Hall instead of purchasing their onw computer and software
--street and sidewalk repairs are limited to preventive maintenance.

Economic Panel

Sat in on the economic panel presented by the Chamber of Commerce and Forbes Financial Group yesterday. As the article points our Rep. Bost was the most downbeat of the panelists, commenting that the state's financial woes are probably not going to get better until an income tax increase is passed, probably Gov. Quinn's recommendation raising the tax from 3% to 4.5%. He also pointed out that the state's finalcial problems date back to the first time the state failed to fully fund state pensions, back during the Jim Thompson era. The second and subsequent times just got easier.

John Dosier also said that unemployment in C'dale is lower that the rest of the state. The state sits at 8.2% while we only have 5.4% unemployment. A lot of those who are working are still not making enough to put themselves over the poverty line, whihc in Carbondale hovers a bit over 40%

Tim Hirsch of Vogler didn't exactly say what the Southern has him saying. He specifically said Vogler's sales were up 5% for January and February of 2009. No mention of March or first quarter sales figures so sounds to me like he might have been cherry picking figures.

Marcia Simott of Five Star Realty doesn't get any mention in the article but she was relativily upbeat about the realty business in Carbondale, saying we hadn't had a bubble to bust and sales were down about 5% over the past year but with a 3% down payment, you could readily find a 5% morgage with no points.

George Sheffer of True Value kind of rambled when asked what retailers should do. He said there were no booms in the C'dale economy but no lulls either and businesses need to be prepared. Having to get over to the store, I left about then but, according to the article, he did get more specific, saying retailers should not cut back on promotion in times like these.

Oh and newspapers are doing fine. Dennis De Rossett says so.

Interfaith Earth Week

The Interfaith Center is sponsoring a series of events next week focusing on Interfaith Week and Earth Day

Election Night

Was at the Jackson County Courthouse, along with about 50 other people, last night for the last hour until the elections were called. Chris Wissmann, Kevin Clark and Corene McDaniel were all there and I was told the other four candidates had stopped by earlier in the evening but decided not to hang around. Wissmann kept up on results on his laptop, while Clark kept a cell phone pressed to his ear much of the time. McDaniel, with a small group of supporters, spent the time seated in front of the large screeen on which updated results were projected.

When the final results were announced all three candidates congradulated each other (Clark was quite gracious to both Wissmann and McDaniel, a class act) and Brandy Oxford from the DE moved in to interview the two re-elected councilmembers, while Brandon Chapple shot photos.

As an aside, congradulations to Mary Glisson Extrand on getting elected to the Giant City School Board in her first run for public office.

Notes from Pickle's Alley

Want a job? SIUC is looking for a head coach for women's basketball.
Who knew? SIUC has a Dept. of Irish Studies and they're looking for papers.
There was an election yesterday? Looks like 1800 people knew (or cared).
Congrats to the Kevin Lewis Orchestra.
Sherman Allen found not guilty.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Busy Weekend

The criminal element in C'dale certainly had a busy Friday.

On 04-03-09 at 7:08 a.m., the City of Carbondale Police Department received a report of a burglary at California Nails, 1725 W. Main Street. Officers learned that unknown suspects forced entry to the business overnight on 04-02-09 and took two television sets and cash.

On 04-03-09 at 9:15 a.m., the City of Carbondale Police Department received a report of a burglary that occurred at The Barber Shop, 108 E. Oak Street. Officers learned that unknown suspects forced entry to the business overnight on and took two television sets, hair clippers and scissors.

On 04-03-09 at 9:45 a.m., the City of Carbondale Police Department received a report of a vehicle burglary in the 600 block of E. Park Street. Officers learned that someone entered the victim’s locked vehicle and took a black and blue backpack, a 12 piece wrench set and miscellaneous papers.

Blogging the Budget

Looking at the introductory letter from City Manger Allen Gill, the first striking thing is the budget increase about $10.3 million over the 2009 budget. Most of that comes from an increase in budgeted capital improvement expenditures in the Local Improvement Fund and the Waterworks and Sewerage fund. The city plans to spend about $6.7 million for the new police and fire stations, captured within the local improvement fund, and about $4 million for a new water storage facility, captured in the Waterworks fund. The 2010 budgeted expenditures run $52,928,719, with expected revenues of $49,586,153, an increase of $11,478,543 over 2009.

Notes from Pickle's Alley

The DE endorses Clark, Fritzler and Wissmann.
East side businesses took a hit because Ameren screwed up.
SIUC baseball 13th annual Fish Fry this Friday at the Civic Center.
Good Samaritan identified.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Blogging the Budget

I'm looking at the proposed budget for the city of Carbondale for fiscal year 2010 (May 1 2009-April 30 2010). The title page lists the council members and appointed city officials. We then move to a readers guide explaining how the budget is laid out and what the major sections are.


Just got a robocall with SIUC caller ID attacking one of the city council candidates. Whoever programed the robo caller is pretty incompetent as the message kept interrupting itself and starting again. Took about a minute before I realized the call was attacking the candidate rather than praising them and it never did complete the message. Oh, the candidate being attacked: Kevin Clark.

Update: At least I now know who made the call.

Morning Roundup (Notes from Pickle's Alley)

Past SIUC CESL teachers meet up in Denver.
Adrienne is coming to SIUC.
Senator Burris is coming to town, as well.
Yolanda Dean wants your vote tomorrow.
Many local churches raised money for Bald Knob Cross yesterday.
Hopefully not to arrest them, the Jackson County Sheriff's Dept. is looking for a Good Samaritin
Some of SIUC's students had a good time last weekend.
Road to Recovery panel tomorrow at the Civic Center.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Murdale Farmer's Market Open

Looks like the opening of the season for the Murdale Farmer's market got off to a sunny start.

Blogging the Budget

Borrowed a copy of the proposed city budget and have been looking though it. Starting tomorrow, I'll start posting as I work my way through all 250+ pages of it.

Carbondale Housing

Since I'm no longer writing columns (for the foreseeable future) for the Carbondale Times (no acrimony on either side, the editor was just concerned that readers might view this blog as connected to the Times), that leaves me with a couple of columns that I'd like to see the light of day, so here's part of the first on the amount of rental housing in C'dale:

An interesting by-product of the city’s ongoing review of its comprehensive plan is a report put together by Jane Adams, committee member and professor of anthropology at SIUC, on residential property ownership in Carbondale. Since a major focus of the plan revision is housing in Carbondale, she thought an overview of the quantity of rental property in town, as provided by the Jackson County Tax Assessor, would be useful. Dr. Adams put quite a bit of work into the analysis and I found a number of points interesting.

A figure I’ve heard bandied around for the past couple of years is that 70% of properties in Carbondale are renter occupied. There are about 4200 properties with unique addresses in Carbondale (OK, 4164 according to her count if you want to get specific). Of those, the owners of roughly 40% have a mailing address different than the parcel address, indicating the property is likely a rental. While not as bad as 70%, that still means that better than one out of every three properties in Carbondale is not owned by the person that lives there or runs a business out of it. Unfortunately, people who rent don’t have the vested interest in maintaining the property that an owner does. Sure, the renter puts a security deposit down and is generally responsible for wear and tear on the property, but, since most residential leases are on a year to year basis, if the renter doesn’t keep up the property (not a high priority for most college students) and the landlord doesn’t maintain it regularly, the renter moves on at the end of the contract, leaving behind a security deposit (often just a month’s rent) and a more run-down property. The older the property is, the less likely the landlord will willingly invest money to fix the damages, as the repairs serve only to maintain the property, not improve it enough to justify an increase in rent

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Art Around the Square Coming and the C'dale Historic Town Square Coalition are presenting Art Around the Square from 7-10 p.m. on Saturday May 2nd the evening after Carbodnale Main Street's Wine and Art Festival. As of now, looks like there are 26 businesses participating.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Proposed Variance Change

The city is looking at making a modification in the way in which variances are handled for porch modifications. Right now, if you want to repair, extend or add a porch to your house and it extends past the setback from the street, you have to file an application with the city, send certified letters to your neighbors and appear before the zoning board/planning commission to request a variance.

The reason this came up now is that some porches were damaged during the last ice storms and the repairs are getting delayed because of the length of time and cost if the repairs modify the porch in such a way that it extends beyond the pre-existing setback. From what I saw, the city seems willing to make the changes but the planning commission appears hesitant.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Rams in C'dale

The St. Louis Rams are looking at SIUC as a location for one of their training camps sometime in the future. Won't happen until after 2010 as that's the earliest projected date for the rebuilding of McAndrew Stadium

Student fees at SIUC

SIUC students are getting hit with a heck of a lot of new fees if the BOT passes all of them. The DE has its take on which are good and which not. Not surprisingly, it doesn't really care for those going to fund parts of Saluki Way.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Planning Commission Meeting

Tonight's Planning Commission meeting took about half an hour. There was a huge sign up front detailing the steps in the hearing process but it didn't do much good as Commissoner Naveet Kang had to keep explaining what happen when to those waiting to testify.

The main item on the agenda was Donna Reese's request to get a special use exemption for the long closed Family Tree Gift Shop and Garden Supply on S. Illinois she's in the process of purchasing. She plans on starting up a business, maybe used furniture, she's not sure, in the smaller of the property's buildings and turning the old gift shop back into a rental home to help defray the start up costs of the business. Commissioner Barke abstained while the other four members voted to approve and send the request onto the next city council meeting.

Other stuff covered were the report from the housing study commmittee and a text amanedment regarding porch construction. The housing study committee report had several recommendations:

--make it easier to remove non-conforming mobile homes and trailers (i.e. really old ones)
--revisit the housing grant program to encourage building on empty parcels within the city (infills)
--encourage downzoning of areas of the city from high density residental (rentals) to lower density (single family homes)

Corene McDaniel

Had the opportunity to ask councilwoman Corene McDaniel a few questions about the election. Her answers are below:

Why are you running?

I've been on the council for eight years and there are still a few things I'd like to have involvement in. I think we have a little ways to go with economic development. and making sure that small businesses have some help for the city and helping entrepreneurs have some help from the city the city in getting started. I don't think a lot of of people know that there are funds out there to help them. I don't think realistically we can bring factories to Carbondale, so we need to encourage small businesses.

What do you bring to the council?
Experience. I've been there 8 years. I bring a listening ear and people feel like they can talk to me.

What are some of the issues people you talk with are concerned about?
The number one thing on their mind is economic development and where the city is going. Are taxes going to be raised? The recession is affecting Carbondale as much as it is the country and people are concerned. People are also asking about recycling but the number one thing they're concerned about it is the economy and jobs.

Saluki Way was one of the most controversial items to come up before the council. Do people still talk to you about it?

Yes and that was one of the questions asked last night at the (NAACP) forum. I don't think a lot of people realize that the city is only paying SIUC a percentage of the sales tax. If the tax only raises $50,000 a year, that's all SIUC gets. We haven't started making payments on it, the first payment to SIUC isn't made until 2010. Also, though I didn't vote for it because of this, it's providing a lot of jobs for the area. I see it as an investment in SIUC and the city rather than an expense. It's not just paying for the football and basketball stadium but for a student services building and new fire and police stations.

What would you like to see happen in Carbondale over the next two years?

I would like to see us providing jobs. I'd like to see the city providing more jobs so that we have a stronger economic base.

Local TARP

It appears Old National Bank accepted about $100 million in TARP bail out funds last fall and is now repaying them since the bank meets the stress test. It was probably a good idea for the bank to not publicize its acceptance of the funds as banks that took TARP funding are viewed as taking them because of financial problems. There would have been questions about Old National's financial soundness, no matter what the bank said.

Facebook Fans

Found this interesting. The three most popular people or items to 'friend' on Facebook are

Barack Obama