Friday, September 30, 2011


restaurants, that is.  Kelly's Irish Boxies hopes to open this weekend in the space that Gumby's Pizza used to occupy next to 710 Bookstore.  Meanwhile, C'dale icon and purveyor of countless platters of biscuits and gravy, Mary Lou's, is set to expand into the space next door that most recently house Hothead's styling salon.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Police Department FOIA Officer

Apparently the city/police department is getting quite a bit of heat over the recent shooting with the gun stolen from Chief O'Guinn as it has appointed a representative to handle FOIA requests directed to the police department:

In the interests of streamlining the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process and expediting the requests for information, City Manager Allen Gill has appointed Assistant City Attorney Lenoard “Jamie” Snyder as FOIA Officer for the Police Department.  All future requests for Police Department reports and records are to be directed to Mr. Snyder’s office. As City Prosecutor, Mr. Snyder is very familiar with Police Department record keeping procedures and the critical nature of confidentiality in ongoing criminal investigations. As an attorney, he is also very familiar with FOIA requirements and exemptions. This shift of responsibilities will also help ease the growing workload on the Clerk’s office, so that other FOIA requests can be processed in a timely manner. The City Clerk will continue to be the FOIA Officer for all other requests.

Based on analysis of recent experience with providing adequate response to FOIA requests, City Manager Allen Gill has identified an area where service can be improved.  Most of the perceived delays and lack of response come in regard to requests for Police Department records and reports.  The Open Records Act provides numerous exemptions for police-related documents. Each of these exemptions for police-related records provides specific procedures and requirements for meeting the exemption.  On numerous occasions there have been differences of interpretation between the City Clerk’s office and the Police Department. When these differences come to the City Manager’s attention, Mr. Gill asks the City Attorney to rule on the request and each department is expected to abide by the City Attorney’s ruling.  The City Attorney’s opinion of these rulings must be final, as he is the one who must defend the City if the City is accused of violating FOIA regulations. This is the procedure agreed upon after the new FOIA rules were announced a year ago. Since that time, there has been a dramatic increase in FOIA requests, and this has also contributed to some of the delays.

State law allows for organizations to have more than one FOIA officer. The City had elected until now to have one FOIA officer for the entire organization, so as to centralize record keeping.  Increasing workloads and increasing complexity of requests have caused the City Manager  to reconsider this option. This recommendation has been discussed with Mayor Fritzler and he is in agreement with this proposed change.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Merrily Marching Forward

Civic service union employees at SIUC voted to authorize a strike yesterday.  Dollars to donuts the other two follow along within the next couple of days. 

Update:  Just heard that, with 88% attendance, 92% of the Faculty Association members voted to strike.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Why Strike?

From the Deo Volente blog, Dave Johnson gives his reasons for voting for a strike at SIUC

Fat Patties

Fat Patties now has beer.  The restaurant got every finally set up that week and added three varieties last Thurday:  PBR, Miller Lite and Sam Adams (don't remember which variety).  Lance Jack's plan is to add 3 new beers per week until the restaurant offers a total of twelve, six mass brewed beers and six craft brews.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Strike Vote

Jonathan Bean, history professor at SIUC (and author of the blog FreeU) has posted his reasons for voting planning to vote No in the Faculty Association's upcoming strike vote.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

1 Down

and four to go.  Looks as if the Service Employees International Union has signed a four year contract with small slaary increases each year. that leaves four other unions to go, including the faculty union, which has a strike vote scheduled for the 28th.

I find it hard to work up a lot of sympathy for the faculty union.  Compared to almost every other job in the area, they are quite well paid and the job is hardly as onerous as one of the fruit pickers in the migrant labor camps near Cobden.  The administration must really be abusing SIUC faculty if they feed the need to call a strike vote.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

City Council Meeting

Figured it would be over by the time I arrived about 10 p.m. last night but nope, council was still discussing the solid waste/recycling scheduling issue, with Councilwoman Jane Adams offering an amendment to the ordinance that would limit trash pickup to two cans per household with an additional charge for extra cans.  Councilwoman Corine McDaniels came out strongly against this proposal, arguing that such a limit and charge would be unfair to larger households which would conceivably generate a larger quantity of garbage.  Adams' amendment lost, 6 to 1 if I remember rightly.  Then there was another clarification indicating that 4 apartment multplexes could now participate in the city's recycling program, whereas before no apartments were included.  After this, the original ordinance passed.

The chicken ordinance (allowing Carbondale residents to keep up to six chickens, no roosters) came up next with several members of the Sustainability Commission ready and waiting to promote the ordinance to the council.  Unfortunately, they didn't get the chance as, after some discussion, council decided to send the ordinance to the Planning Commission for evaluation and recommendation regarding what action the council should take.At least a couple of council members argued for a higher chicken tax than the currently proposed one of $5.

Council comments were enlivened by a brief argument between Councilwoman Adams and Councilman Lance Jack, with Adams taking Jack to task for comments he had made regarding the appropriateness of other councilmenbers, Adams included, to vote on liquor issues since they owned shares in the Neighborhood Food Co-op, which will soon sell beer and wine.  Jack retorted that, according to state law, even indirect ownership in an establishment selling liquor was enough to disqualify a member of the council from voting on the issue.  Adams then responded that the city attorney had looked into the issue and had said there was no conflict of interest.  It looked as if the two of them planned to go back and forth on this for several minutes until Mayor Fritzler stepped in and put a halt to the argument, saying that council comments was not the appropriate place for such a discussion.  Council then moved into closed session.

I missed the earlier section of the meeting when the council voted to pull funding for District 95's Summer Math and Reading program but understand that Councilwoman McDaniels and Councilman Chris Wissmann both spoke out in favor of retaining the funding, while Councilwoman Adams, while agreeing the program did show benefits, said the city could not afford funding it at this time.  City funding for the program was then cut, with Adams, Fronabarger, Monty and Fritzler voting in favor of the cut, while Jack, Wissmann and McDaniels voted to retain it.

Notes from Pickles Alley

Council pulled the plug on the summer reading program.  Vote 4 to 3 with Fronenbarger, Adams, Mondy and Fritzler voting to end funding.  Chicken ordinance moved to the Planning Commission.

Chancellor Cheng not happy with faculty union negotiations.  Well, duh!

Second man arrested in connection with the Deaunta Spencer shooting,  which was done with Chief O'Guinn's stolen handgun.

And, to wrap up on a happier note, SIUC employees participated in an univeristywide recognition of service event.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Notes from Pickles Alley

Here's the city's side and the school district's side on the vote tonight on funding next year's summer Math and Reading Program.

The shooting with Chief OGuinn's stolen gun hits the national papers

Guilty plea from the woman who hid her son, often in a crawl space, for two years.

City Council Meeting

Several interesting items on the agenda of what looks like a busy city council meeting tonight including the chicken ordinance, the establishing of a solid waste recycling fee schedule, and the termination of city funding for District 95's Summer Reading and Math Program

Monday, September 19, 2011

Poll Results

Drawing any conclusions from the results of this poll by the Chamber of Commerce is just silly.  I remember getting it about a month ago and thinking the questions were a wee bit biased.  Of the 371 surveys emailed out, only 56 of them were returned.  Of those returned, only 22 of those said owned a home in the city of Carbondale.  If you are targeting businesses that might be affected, a better way to phrase the question would have been "Do you own property in the city of Carbondale?" as the city has a number of absentee landlords who would have responded differently (assuming they responded at all) to that question.

Be that as it may, only 6% of those responding to were actually affected by property taxes and could thus be expected to have a credible response.  Of those people who responded, 44 of them thought taxes too high, more than the total number of people who responded who said they owned a home in the city.  I see why The Southern only devoted a total of 3 sentences to the article.

Preservation Commission

Meets tonight at 7  in Room 103.  Not a lot on the agenda, though there is this cryptic reference under New Business:
413 E James and Thelma Walker (formerly Green St)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

New Restaurants

If things go well, downtown should see a couple of new restaurants open up within the next month or so (not counting Cristado's, which is already running at least 2 months behind the last projected opening date), both on South Illinois.  Kelly's plans to open in the space previously occupied by the late lamented Gumby's (at least, lamented by those who favor realllllllly cheap pizza and breadsticks)  and will offer stuffed potato pancakes.  They already have at least one location in central Illinois, which does quite well from what I hear.

The other place, Evelyn's, plans to open in the space formerly occupied by Express Buritto/La Bamba's and Jimmy Johns and will offer Cajun influenced "comfort food".  Blackened  macaroni and cheese, anyone?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Roof Repairs

Looks as if they are finally getting around to repairing the damage done by the windstorm last April.  Good thing there was no rush about it.  Considering the roof came off in the first windstorm after construction had been completed, I'm glad the repairs won't cost the city anything.:

Public Safety Center Roof Repairs to Begin

Within the next week work will begin on roof repairs at the Public Safety Center. The work will be performed by Contegra Construction, the contractor that built the building.  The repair cost is being paid by Travelers’ Insurance Company, the contractor’s Builders Risk carrier.  Much of the remaining roof will need to be removed as part of the reconstruction process, but the final product will look nearly identical to the original.  The roof structure will be strengthened as part of the reconstruction.  All original warranties will remain in place after reconstruction.  Interior repairs will also be done as the roof work is completed.

This work is being done by Contegra Construction and Travelers’ Insurance Company at no cost to the City.  Some parking areas at the building will be closed during construction, but the Police Department will be fully operational the entire time.  The public is asked to follow directional signs that will be placed on site to direct visitors and to please not enter the construction areas or interfere with workers on site.  All work is expected to be completed in about 12 weeks, weather permitting.

The building was damaged by a violent storm in April of this year.  Other nearby buildings were also damaged, as were other City buildings at Cedar Lake and the Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

SIUC Image

Regarding the comments made about SIUC turning the corner (again) this fall,  I had the opportunity to listen to Chancellor Rita Cheng speak at a meeting about a week or so ago and the topic of the marketing firm the university had hired to help with the university's image and brand came up.  One of the things that came up during the discussion was that the firm had found the university 1) did not have a strong brand and 2) still has a reputation as a party school.

If this is indeed the case, then the university might want to look at hiring another marketing firm as, if the university still has a reputation as a party school over a decade after it started actively taking steps to quash that image, that is the university's brand image.  A brand image is not necessarily something the organization wants to have (would any company in its right mind want the name Enron now), it is how the public perceives it and, if people still view SIUC as a party school, that is the school's brand image, like it or not, and everything the school does will be viewed by the public in the context of that image.  Maybe the marketing firm discussed that in its final report,  but for Chancellor Cheng to make a point of saying that the report indicated no strong brand image for the university, when the second point the firm made indicates that it does, just not a positive one,  makes me wonder about the firm's research and wish I could get a look at the actual report.

Friday, September 9, 2011


The Slutwalk phenomenon, which has it roots in a police officer' comment last January., is coming to Carbondale on Oct 1.  Leaving from the Varsity Center for the Arts at 2 p.m. and I guess, wandering around downtown for an hour or so.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Turning the Corner

Once again, the university is turning the corner in terms of enrollment, though the corner it is is turning is backwards, with enrollment down about 1.1 percent, compared to increased involvements at both SIUE and SEMO.  Hasn't the university been turning the corner for over 10 years now?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

City Council Meeting

City Council meets at 7 tonight.  Here's the agenda. Nothing too controversial on the agenda though this ordinance will allow microbreweries to operate within the city limits.

Rcycling Workshop

The City of Carbondale will host a Recycling Program Workshop for all interested residents. The Workshop will focus on curbside, drop-off, landscape and special waste recycling.  Information about the City’s refuse collection services will also be available.

The Workshop is free and open to the public. The event will be held in the Carbondale Civic Center located at 200 South Illinois Avenue in Room 118 on September 13, 2011 at 6:30 pm. New residents and those with questions about the City’s recycling and refuse collection services are encouraged to attend.

For more information residents may call the City of Carbondale Maintenance and Environmental Services Division at 457-3275.  Information about refuse and recycling services can also be found online at and on the City of Carbondale Web site

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Looks like the folks at SIUC are trying to  work up a tasty solution to the Asian Carp problem.  Florida fisheries are trying the same thing as a solution to their lionfish problem. The difficulty, of course, is creating a perception in diners that both are delicious on the dinner table.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Downtown Music

If you are looking for something to do next weekend and listening to music in a bar is your thing, there will be lots to listen to next weekend.  Looks like 40 some odd bands playing at various venues in downtown Carbondale starting Thursday night and ending Sunday.

Edited to get the dates right.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


An interesting study was released today, indicating that SIUC contributes about $2.3 billion to the state and local economies. Every dollar sent by the state to SIUC generates about $7.72 in economic activity in the state and returns about 41 cents back to the state in tax revenues.  A 700% return on your investment is not shabby.