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.