Saturday, December 31, 2011

Costello Replacements

Courtesy of the Sierra Club Shawnee Group, here's a list of Democrats and Republicans who have filed for the primary elections for his seat:

Here’s who has filed for the primary in the (new) 12th Congressional district:


O'FALLON, IL 62269
12/23/2011 8:00 AM

12/23/2011 8:00 AM

12/27/2011 8:54 AM

ST. LIBORY, IL 62282
12/23/2011 8:00 AM

12/23/2011 8:00 AM

O'FALLON, IL 62269
12/23/2011 9:31 AM

12/27/2011 1:35 PM

Friday, December 30, 2011

Oakland Avenue Auto Repair

This could make things difficult, given that the business has been open for a couple of weeks now:

Neighborhood Alliance Meeting

Carbondale's 8th annual Neighborhood Alliance Meeting will be Saturday morning, January 14th (2012):  Reports on positive trends in neighborhoods and city-wide projects, plus a special focus on litter and enforcement.  Doors open at 9:30 a.m. Meeting runs from 10 to 12 noon.
More info: Mary O'Hara at 713 0820 or Sarah Heyer at 549-5302 x 386.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

City Manager Position

City council met today in closed session to discuss the candidates for the open city manager position.  According to the city clerk, no decision was made:

The Carbondale City Council met in closed session today to discuss the finalists for the City Manager vacancy. No decision was formalized as a result of the closed session. 

The fact they weren't able to come to a decision today doesn't bode well for acting City Manager Kevin Baity.  He is a known quantity to the council, having worked for the city for a number of years so the fact council hasn't appointed him to the position after this meeting indicates either concerns members of the council must have or that the other candidates have stronger resumes.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bus Routes

The university has announced a couple of changes to the routes for the Saluki Express for the spring.  Unfortunately, neither of the changes add to the number of stops in the downtown area.  Looking at the schedule, it appears that only the Logan Route makes any stops in downtown, at the Amtrak station, and that during the day. At night, however, it's a different story, as the Late Night Route makes multiple stops throughout downtown after dark.

Granted, the university doesn't want students driving back to campus after an evening at the bars, but why not make it as easy to get to downton at other times of the day as SIUC does at night?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Oakland Ave. Auto Repair

Had their grand opening last week and now open for business.  Have heard some concerns about putting an auto repair shop in the center of a residential area so asked interim city manager Kevin Beatty about it.  He gave several reasons for approving the location.  First, the building was already designed such that an auto repair shop could move in with minimal disruption to the location as even the facilities for capturing oil from oil changes had been installed.  it also seems a waste to just leave the building sitting empty when an occupant wanted to make use of it and Beatty says he plans on keeping a close eye on operations there, since part of the agreement is that the business will leave no cars outside.
Finally, Beatty believes that locating the business there follows spirit of the city's comprehensive plan as it moves businesses back into the neighborhoods, ergo someone with auto problems in the near northwest side of the city now has ready access to a garage rather than having to try to get their car to a repair shop some distance away.
Since he is in the neighborhood quite often, Beatty plans to drive by the shop two to three times a week to make certain it remains compliant with the terms of the agreement allowing it to open.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Saline County Fracking

Looks as if fracking is coming to Saline County late in 2012.  Judge Todd Lambert awarded the mineral rights belonging to over 1000 people to Next Energy without their permission since the company says it cannot track down the owners of the rights. royalties for th rights will be held in escrow should the rights-holders turn up.  The company is paying about $75 per acre.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

City Council

Very sparsely attended city council meeting tonight. Only 5 people in the audience, more city staff present than citizens.  Not too much on the agenda though.  Council approved an aerial photographic of the city, for the first time since 2002 and the first one commissions specifically of the city.  Council also voted to authorize funding to upgrade the energy efficiency of the civic center.

during council comments, a planned upgrade in 2012 of city audio visual equipment was mentioned along with the possibility of starting streaming of city council meetings. Council went to closed meeting to conduct the semi-annual review of this year's closed meeting minutes at about 7:50 p.m.

Mary Lou's Move

From what I understand, Mary Lou's expects to open their new, next door location the first week of January.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

New Era Road Day Care

If you live in the vicinity of New Era Road, you might be interested in this agenda item for  Wednesday's planning commission meeting:

PC 12-08, 7:00p.m. Neophansya Robinson is requesting a Special Use to allow a Day Care Home II in the R-1 District at 1170 New Era Road

Saturday, December 17, 2011

City Council Meeting

Next Tuesday evening.  Last one of the year.  From the agenda, unless something pops up, looks as if it will be a short one.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

State of the City

The Southern has a wrap up of yesterday's State of the City Address here. A few things struck me:

1.  New businesses coming in, to the mall and downtown.  here's hoping we get a few more eateries in the mall food court as that place echoes.  Last time I stopped by there, Wise Guy's Pizza and Sam's Cafe had both pulled out, leaving only a chili place there.  Here's hoping the new businesses are not all retailers, as retailers tend to generate only low wage jobs and generally feed off the already existing economic base, rather than grow it.  That said, one retailer I hope comes in, but am not sure has enough business to support it, is a higher end women's wear shop.  Several female professionals in Carbondale and surrounding areas have commented they have to drive to St. Louis or shop online to find quality business wear.

2.  focus on downtown.  Mayor Fritzler said the city needs to focus on downtown and, as a downtown business owner and member of Carbondale Main Street, I agree. As noted in the speech, downtown only has  a few empty storefronts on South Illinois and West Freeman.  However, part of this is due to the propensity of the city and building owners to allow downtown buildings to deteriorate to the point that demolition is the only viable option.  In the past few years, the Tuscan Lodge, Animal Crackers ,Southern Illinois Recycling and a pair of houses at the corner of Mill and Illinois have come down, leaving several blocks of now grass covered land behind.  The Animal Crackers plot is slated for part of a proposed intermodal transportation station but have only heard vague rumors about uses for the others.  It is easy to say you only have a few empty storefronts when several empty buildings have been replaced by empty plots of ground.

3. tourism.  Retired City Manager Allen Gill made a good point when he pointed out that Carbondale could do a much better job of positioning itself as a tourist destination.  No community in southern Illinois has positioned itself as the gateway to Southern Illinois Wine Country and, while Harrisburg has signage up advertising itself as the Gateway to the Shawnee Hills, the community doesn't do much that I have seen to capitalize upon that.  Carbondale could. We already have three fine bike shops in town and easy access to country roads outside of town for cyclists (though in-town cycling routes could stand improvement), lakes nearby for kayaking, canoeing and fishing, terrific areas for hiking and rock-climbing and thousands of acres available for hunting.  While other towns in southern Illinois provide closer access to these areas, only Carbondale and Marion have the infrastructure in place to support an increased tourist population.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Kirkland's Coming

According to a reader of the blog, a Kirklands will soon open up in the University Place strip mall on the east side of town.  The Kirklands' website confirms this as here's a posting for a retail manager position  for a Carbondale location.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gunshots and Arrests

Early last Friday morning, police heard a single gunshot in the 200 block of West Main, followed by a fusillade of them.  Stopping a vehicle seen leaving the area at high speed, C'dale police arrested the four men inside, one on outstanding warrants and 3 on various charges of unlawful use of a weapon. 

The Icebox Bar and Grille, located in the same block, did host an event on Thursday night, but  no indication currently that there is a connection between the two.  However, a murder took place in the parking lot just south of the Icebox in November 2010 involving people attracted by, but not allowed into, an event held at the Icebox the same night.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Liquor Stores' Response

Though I don't shop them, I have been told that the local liquor stores, in response to local grocery stores now selling wine and liquor, have really ramped up their selection of liquors and spirits.  Westroads Liquor, I have heard, has really increased the selection it offers.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Doctor Donuts Defunct?

Looks like Doctor Donuts, located off Hwy 13 on the west side of Carbondale, has closed its doors. The owner, Dr. Srinivas Gaddamm, had big plans for the business, including a chain of franchisees, when it opened earlier this year.  However, the closed sign on the door has been there for a couple of weeks.

I never tried them but heard good things about the doughnuts.  A major problem, from what I see,  was the location,  on the north side of 13.  Most people buying doughnuts purchase them in the morning on the way to work or class. Coming from that side of Carbondale, they are heading east. To get to Dr. Donuts, drivers have to turn at a stoplight and cross the additional two lanes of traffic.  Doughnuts are an impulse item and it's doubtful people wanted to make the extra effort, while on the way to work, to cross traffic to get to the store, pull in, then have to wait at the traffic light again to get back onto 13 to get to work or SIUC on time.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

According to the Southern, SIUC, along with lots of other universities out there, are buying up assorted .xxx domian names to prevent pornographic web companies from purchasing them and using them to direct people doing a search for SIUC to a porno site.  Cost, about $5000.

The porn industry spends a significant amount of money searching for domain names it can use to direct web searchers to adult sites. Especially desirable are once active domain names that, for one reason or another, the owner has allowed to lapse back into the public domain since they still deliver traffic from searchers unaware the original site is no longer active.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

City Council Meeting

City council meeting tonight.  It's a short agenda but an important one as the annual property tax levy is on the agenda. The Carbondale Public Library asked for an increase of $42,578 over last year's levy for the library, or an increase of about 5%. The total levy under consideration if just over $1.7 million, a reduction, if I am reading the ordinance correctly, of about $788,000 from last year.

Also on the agenda is re-authorization of the Downtown Special Service Area for another five years. The SSA generates, though taxing downtown properties, $40,000 for partial funding of Carbondale Main Street.  If approved, this would be the 2nd extension for the SSA.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Evelyn's Open

Evelyn's Restaurant is now open.  Just opened today it appears.  Located in the old Jimmy John's and Express Burrito locations on South Illinois.  They were just hanging a temporary sign announcing hours (11 a.m. to Midnight) about an hour ago and were already seating people.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Lights Fantastic

The city will start closing off streets in downtown about 3 p.m. tomorrow (some parking lots will start closing about 12:30) for the annual Lights Fantastic parade, reopening about 7:30 or soon after the parade ends.  there are a number of concurrent events going on as well:

Pictures with Reindeer (and other vendors) Friendship Plaza 4-7 p.m
Rotary Chili Supper:  Civic Center 4-7 p.m.
Letters to Santa:  Old Passenger Depot 4 -6 p.m
Downtown Cookie Walk::  various stores  4-6 p.m.
Warming Station:  Varsity Center for the Arts 5-6 p.m.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Midas Closed

Looks like the Midas on East Main has "temporarily" closed.  I recall it did this several years ago and reopened after a couple of months.  Here's hoping they reopen quickly this time.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Road Closure

Roadway Patching Work on
West Chautauqua Street
Beginning on Thursday, December 1, 2011 and through Friday, December 2, 2011, West Chautauqua Street will be closed to westbound traffic between Emerald Lane and Tower Road. West bound traffic will be detoured via Glenview Drive to Sunset Drive to Tower Road.  Eastbound traffic on Chautauqua Street will be permitted, however minor delays will be possible. 
The City of Carbondale greatly appreciates motorists cooperation and patience and urges motorists to use caution in all work zones. In order to prevent delays please seek alternate routes during this time period.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Police Auction

Looking to pick up some early Christmas presents?  The C'dale police department might have just what you need at the unclaimed property auction this Saturday at 9 a.m.  Hit the auction, then the downtown cookie walk, then the Lights Fantastic parade.  What a way to spend a day!

Beer Sales

Got curious about the effects of the increased number of beer and wine outlets on Carbondale sales so asked a friend who works for one of the local distributors.  According to them, overall beer and wine sales are up significantly since the change in the ordinance.  Sales are down some at the already existing liquor stores, but not as much as they had expected.  In addition, Carbondale is now pulling in a large amount of business that used to go to Murphysboro and Marion, especially Marion since Marion still does not allow beer and wine sales in supermarkets and discount stores.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday in Downtown

Very quiet in downtown Carbondale early this morning. Took a quick drive through downtown and didn't see any stores open aside from those that normally would be.  Looks as if all the action is out at the malls and east side of town again.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New Business

Place Smart has opened an office in downtown Carbondale on West Freeman, in the strip of stores with B&L Photo and Mane Effects. I've seen a number of flyers posted about town advertising the company's employment and human resources services so it is nice to see they have a physical office, thought you wouldn't know where it was from the website or the flyers.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

More Protesters

Not on campus this time, thank goodness. Saw a group of union workers protesting the new Long John Silver's at the intersection of East 13 and Giant City Road.  I gather, from the signs, that non-union labor was used in the construction of the building.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

New Restaurants

Yesterday's DE has an article looking at several of the restaurants that opened in downtown Carbondale recently.  Most attention paid to Kelly's Irish Boxty House and Blend Tea and Crepe, with mention made of Cristaudo's, Mo Wallace BBQ and Evelyn's.  Downtown Carbondale, according to the article, now boasts over 40 restaurants, more than it looks at first glance.  By the way, the Premier Lounge, north side of the square has a soft opening this weekend.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Right of Way

Checked with the city's planning department regarding IDOT right of way and the state right of way for Highways 51 and 13 does extend from the edge of the street to the edge of the building frontage, in most cases.  In the case of buildings set back from the sidewalk, such as Tantastic and Fat Patties, the right of way stops at the edge of the sidewalk, meaning that tables and signs may be placed in the space between the sidewalk and building front. 

The awnings in front of  The Door and Priority Sports are in violation of the right of way but have been grandfathered in.  No new awnings extending that far out could be built today at other locations and, while repairs on the current ones can be made, under currently regulations, they could not be replaced with similarly extending structures.  Any new ones could only extend out about as far as the awnings on Thai Taste.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Grand Opening

Grand opening of the new Goodwill location at 8:30 tomorrow morning. From the email sent by the Chamber of Commerce:

 Tomorrow 11/17 is the Grand Opening of the new Goodwill location!!! Join us at 8:50am for a Ribbon Cutting. The new Goodwill is located at 1445 E. Main Street in Carbondale. There will be giveaways, food, drinks and of course, shopping!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

More Mexican

Heard that yet another Mexican restaurant will open in the 'dale soon.  El Baquero will open next to the Royal Plaza Motel on the west side of town, within the next month or so.  That makes, by my count, 8 Mexican or Tex/Mex places in town (9 if you count Taco Bell).

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Better Late than Never

No, nothing to do with the strike bu the civic center now has automatic doors.  Seems one of the staff noticed a quadriplegic trying to get one of the power assist doors opened and decided to see if they could be adapted to open automatically rather than at the push of a button.  Turns out all the wiring and sensors to make them automatic had been installed when the doors were put in fifteen years ago , just never hooked up.  An hour's worth of work by an electrician and presto, magic doors.  The civic center staff admits to  feeling amused when they see the looks on peoples' faces when the doors open without the push of a button.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Strike Over?

The Southern says the Faculty Association will call off the strike against SIUC, effective immediately.  No contract signed but enough progress has been made that the Association will advise members to return to work.

Update:  The University's Facebook page has  a letter from Chancellor Cheng posted, confirming the end of the strike.

SIUC Facebook Page

Looks as if the negative publicity SIUC received about deleting comments on its Facebook page  had an effect as comments both supporting the strike and the administration are appearing there now.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Negotiations Continue

SIUC strike negotations ended last night when the administration presented the FA with a revised offer and headed home for the evening.  Negotations were scheduled to start up again at 9;30 this morning.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Negotations Off Again

According to this Facebook page, the administration broke off negotiations with the Faculty Association this evening, meaning at least one more day of striking.

Why the Strike?

hHd the opportunity to talk with a supporter of SIUC's strike (though not an actual striker), trying to get a better understanding why the strikers feel it is important enough for them to strike.  From the conversation, a few factors emerged as underpinning the reasons for the strike, as least for some long time SIUC faculty members:

1) the SIUC 104, fired in the spring of 1974, ostensibly as part of a budget crisis/financial emergency.  However, it turned out that almost all of those fired were among the university's most outspoken opponents to the Vietnam War and many people perceived the university's finances as a convenient peg upon which to hang the removal of a disruptive element.  Some long -time members of the faculty see the current financial situation as the opportunity for the administration to void tenure and terminate a number of long serving ( and higher paid) faculty, replacing them with lower cost term faculty.

2. Last year's furlough days were at least troublesome and possibly in violation of the contract faculty has with the faculty and staff.  At best they were most burdensome on those members of the university making the lease, since originally everyone took 4 furlough days whether they were a vice president or an office manager.  It was only after significant bad PR, including President Poshard,  that Chancellor Cheng and the Vice Chancellors took more.    Compare that to UofI's policy, which spread the pain out, with higher paid administrators taking 10 days furlough while those making less than $30,000 took none.

There are other reasons as well, but those two stood out during the conversation.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Strike News

In case you want a strikers' eye perspective of what is going on at the picket lines, the new Occupy SIUC blog does a pretty good job of posting comments and photos .  The Bit51blog also has a post up on the university's lousy response to negative posts regarding the administrations response to the strike.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


According to this, looks as if bargaining may resume as early as tomorrow, under the auspices of a federal mediator.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Campus Habitat Going?

According to an email received from a blog reader, First Internet Bank out of Indianapolis has taken over ownership of Campus Habitat properties at 716 S. University and 700 West Freeman after Campus Habitat defaulted on the loans.  Councilwoman Jane Adams has more on the saga of Campus Habitat on her blog (scroll down to Sept 20th)

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Looks as if the FA is the only one of the four groups to not reach an agreement before the deadline this morning.  Here is WSIU's report.  The DE has stories here, here and here.  The Southern has stores here, here, here and here.  Here's the Faculty Association's viewpoint and here's a statement from GA United and the Non-Ttenure Track Association, as well as the ACE.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Strike Update

No agreement as of 7:30 this evening.  The following message was posted by the Chancellor on the university's Facebook page about the same time:
Dear Students:

As you know, four campus unions have indicated they would walk off the job tomorrow (Nov. 3) if we cannot reach contract agreements. At this hour, we are continuing to negotiate with the bargaining teams for these unions, and I remain hopeful of a settlement.

In the event any of the unions chooses to strike tomorrow, we are prepared to maintain normal operations across the campus. Your classes will meet as regularly scheduled in their normal locations, and I encourage you to attend all of your classes. We expect a limited number of faculty may walk off the job. All classrooms are being monitored for attendance. In the event your professor or instructor does not show up for class, a University employee will address the class and make arrangements for continuing your coursework.

I will keep you updated on the situation as new information becomes available.


Rita Cheng

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

FA Bargaining Points

In case you are interested. the linkon this page for the List of FA Interests and Issues Presented in Bargaining gives about 11 pages of  points the Faculty Association is negotiating with the administration over. One point I see fairly high on the list is Fair Share or what my Dad calls a union shop.  Employees do not have to belong to the union but have to have an among equivalent to union dues deducted from their salaries that is paid to the union:

Effective partnership between Faculty and Administration—Fair share.  How can we bring the Faculty Association in parity with other unions on campus who have Fair Share provisions?  How can we ensure a strong Faculty to work effectively in partnership with the Administration?