Friday, March 30, 2012

Cool Spoons 2

According to an ad in yesterday's DE, and the comment on this post,  Cool Spoons has overcome their delays and is now open for your yogurt consumption pleasure.

Open House

The Public Safety Center will have its official unveiling tomorrow with an open house.  Hopefully nothing happens to the roof this time.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Quinn vs. Poshard

The Capital Fax has a rundown on the kerfluffel between Gov. Quinn and SIUC President Poshard.  The comments split roughly 50/50 between Poshard standing up to Quinn's meddling and SIUC needing more oversight as a result of Pohsard's ineffectiveness.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Carbondale Convention and Tourism Bureau

The Carbondale Times has done a fine job these past weeks covering the embattled Convention and Tourism Bureau. See here and here, almost all of which has been ignored by the Southern Illinoisan.  Unfortunately, the site runs about a week late posting stories so this week's article on the vote expanding the number of seats on the CCTB board doesn't appear on the site.  According to the article, at last Monday's meeting, the board voted to almost double in size the number of members appointed by the CCTB to it.

 According to this, the size of the board was 16 members.  According to the Times article, in recent years it totaled 15.  Now it apparently totals 23, with all of the past members, who were appointed by Mayor Brad Cole, elected to the newly created seats, with the exception of Councilman Chris Wissmann.  According to the Times article, Mayor Fritzler had planned to replace all of the city appointed board members with new people.  At last count, I heard Mayor Fritzler has 10 people applying for the 8 spots available. 

Rather a foolish move on the board's part. While it helps preserve Executive Director Debbie Moore's position at the Bureau, since it would take a majority vote of the board to remover her and the members appointed to the new seats all appeared in support of her performance at council meetings, it gives more impetus to calls for an audit, which councilwoman Jane Adams has pushed for already.  It will likely also result in more money cut from the funds provided by the city to the CCTB, which accounts for about 80% of the CCTB's financial support already.

Schnucks for Rent?

Noticed a "For Rent" sign out along Hwy 13 in front of Schnucks last night.  As far as I know, Schnucks is not closing and the other two spaces in the building, Great Clips and Check into Cash, are still there, so makes me wonder what space is for rent?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New Basketball Coach?

KFVS12 says the new basketball coach is Barry Hinson, director of Men's Basketball Operations at the University of Kansas

Main Street Madness Winner

From Carbondale Main Street:

The Main Street Madness competition has finally come to a close.  The last round of the competition was between two of Carbondale’s most popular restaurants, Mary Lou’s and Quatro’s.  A record number of votes came in this week leaving Mary Lou’s slightly behind our 1st Annual Main Street Madness winner Quatro’s Deep Pan Pizza!

Main Street Madness was a bracket style competition between eight of Carbondale’s most popular eateries. The community was encouraged to vote for their favorites each week for a chance to win gift certificates to participating restaurants.

On Monday April 2, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. Carbondale Main Street will be having an award ceremony for this years’ winner at Quatro’s (218 W. Freeman St.). Here we will be presenting them with a traveling trophy to recognize that their business is the favorite among Main Street Madness voters.
WDBX and Carbondale Main Street would like to thank each business that participated in this promotional event for downtown eateries in Carbondale.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Cool Spoons

Cool Spoons, the second frozen yogurt place opening in town, has apparently run into equipment problems and has pushed their opening back to sometime in April.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Open House

From the City:

Mayor Joel Fritzler invites you to attend the Dedication and Open House for the new City of Carbondale Public Safety Center on Saturday, March 31, 2012. The Dedication Ceremony will be conducted at 10:00 a.m. and facility tours will be available from 10:15 a.m. until 12:00 p.m.

The Carbondale Public Safety Center is a 32,000 square foot 2-story brick structure on the site of the former Lincoln Middle School on Washington Street. The building faces Washington Street, with a staff entrance and parking lot in the rear, entering from Marion Street. The architectural style is similar to the Carbondale City Hall. The facility was designed to meet the present and future needs of the Police Department.

The Carbondale Public Safety Center is located at 501 South Washington Street. The public is welcome to attend. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Phone Scam

Carbondale Police are reporting a series of phone calls targeting older residents, telling them they have won money or a car and asking them to wire money to cover taxes or other fees.  In a number of cases, the caller knew the resident's date of birth and address.  The police recommend looking at this website for education on common scams.

Award Winning Hotel

Just noticed that the Carbondale Holiday Inn came in second for the Priority Club Torchbearer award this year. The award is based on guest satisfaction responses and 116 hotels were selected for the award, out of the 4400+ properties in the chain.  I won't ever stay there, since I live in Carbondale but it's still pretty cool. 

The conference area is fairly small though.  I looked at it about a year ago to see if it was large enough to host a 200 person event but couldn't fit enough tables into the facility.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Subway Moving

Have heard that the Subway located in University Plaza is moving to the Larry's Pit BBQ location, also on East Main but a little closer to downtown, and, more importantly for their purposes, with drive through capability. The current University Plaza location done not allow for drive through, which is becoming almost essential for any fast food place these days.

Though this probably seemed like a good idea at the time of the negotiations, I have to wonder if the franchise owner is having second thoughts, now that Chill Yogurt has moved into the same strip mall, as the two businesses would have had synergy.  Stop in at Subway for a sub, then walk a few feet down the sidewalk to get a frozen yogurt., though I expect the drive up access will far outweigh the additional sales generated by the proximity to Chill Yogurt.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Weber Interviewed

Though Chancellor Cheng would neither confirm nor deny that SUIC is interviewing recently fired U of I coach (and former SIUC coach) Bruce Weber, both the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the Southern Illinoisan say he has been offered the basketball coaching position here.  Whether he is willing to take the pay cut to come back here is another question.  His contract called for about $1.3 million per year at U of I, while Chuck Lowrey made "only" about $750,000 at SIUC.  Chancellor Cheng indicated on WSIU's Morning Conversation today that the next coach would receive significantly less than Lowrey's contract.

Given that some locals are still pushing for a renegotiation of the city's tax agreement with the University for the Arena remodel and the university still pleading financial straits in its last negotiation over faculty and staff salaries, I can't see the next coach getting anywhere near Lowrey's level of compensation without stirring up that kettle of fish again.

Crime Stoppers Dinner

Carbondale Crime Stoppers organization will have a spaghetti dinner fundraiser this Thursday night , 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the C'dale Middle School.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Meetings, We've Got Meetings

City Council meets at 7 pm. tomorrow night. Doesn't look as if there is much on the agenda, mainly the approval or denial of re-zoning requests. Then tomorrow night, for those of you that can't get enough of civicness, the Planning Commission meets.  No indication, as of Monday morning, as to what is on the agenda.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Frozen Yogurt Fiesta

Chill Yogurt opened their doors today in the University Place strip mall. Cool Spoons, over on N. Giant City Road, was supposed to open their doors March 1, but according to their Facebook page, that has been put off until March 19.

I have to wonder if there is enough demand for two frozen yogurt places in the city, especially given that we haven't had one here for several years since TCBYogurt closed their doors a number of years ago.  These do both appear to have more upscale offerings than TCBYdid, more on the order of Pinkberry (careful, website plays annoying music as soon as the page opens).  That said, both businesses chose pretty good locations as the east side of town offers more potential customers than the west or downtown.

Police Meeting on Teen Drinking

It appears the teen drinking problem is serious enough that the Carbondale Police have scheduled a meeting to discuss it.  April 3, 5:30 p.m. in the Student Health Center Auditorium

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Farmer's Market

According to the recent post on Facebook, the Murdale Farmers Market will open March 31, about a week earlier than normal.  Appears the warmer than average winter has encouraged early growth enough that spring greens and herbs are already available.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Leady's Feed Store

Noticed that the Leady's Feed Store building, at the intersection of Hwy 127 and Old Rte. 13, has been razed.  No indication as to why or signs of construction.  The old building looked in pretty bad shape from the outside, so hopefully they are replacing it with a newer structure.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

CCC Lunch Presentation

Attended the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce's monthly lunch  because I wanted to hear what the Illinois Chamber of Commerce President Doug Whitely had to say about the state's economy.  Interestingly he focused more on the economic condition of the city than he did the state.  Apparently he has more than a passing interest in Carbondale's economy as he attended SIUC about 40 years ago and was pretty impressed with the growth of  the east side of town, with the number of motels and other businesses that have gone in there.  The downtown area, less so, as he commented that it still looked much like it did when he attended SIUC back in the early 70s.  From the way he put it, I figure that is a bad thing. 

He further discussed what he feels are the two economic engines that either do or could drive further economic growth:  the university and tourism.  I've commented before that Carbondale needs to push itself as a tourist gateway more, however Whitely doesn't believe tourism is viable as a means of developing strong economic growth, saying instead that Carbondale ought to focus on developing a highly trained workforce, as that is what Illinois, and other, manufacturers need now.  He complimented John A. Logan for its training programs and I was rather surprised to hear one of the few positive mentions of labor unions I have ever heard come from a business leader, as he mentioned them as a source of skilled labor. Little mention of tort reform or Illinois as a high tax state, which are both common themes in columns of Whitely's I have read, though he did discuss the need for workman's compensation reform.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Larry's Pit BBQ

Looks as if something is moving into the old Larry's Pit BBQ building behind the Super 8 Motel on the east side of town.  H & L Construction doing  interior renovation, juding from the number of construction vehicles parked outside.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Oakland Avenue Auto Shop

Does not appear to be any movement on this.  There is no sign the business plans to move.  The business is still open and doing quite well apparently with anywhere from 2 to 6 cars under repair, or at least inside the building, at any given time.  I inquired about the status of the business at city hall a week ago and it appears that determining if it needs to move because of improper zoning is currently in a holding pattern.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Weber In?

Apparently rumors are floating about that U of I may release Bruce Weber after the end of the season and that, if so, SIUC may recruit him to take over the basketball program here.

Whoever is hired, they won't get anything like the money that Lowrey received, given that attendance at basketball games has dropped over 50% since the high of 7743 back in 2007, indicating that Saluki fans are comparatively fickle, willing to come out in support of the team when it does well but abandoning it in droves after 4 losing seasons.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Lowery Out

According to this report, Chris Lowrey was fired this morning at basketball coach at SIUC. With 2 years still remaining on his contract, I have to wonder, given the cash strapped status of the university, where are they going to come up with the $1.5 million needed to buy him out of the contract. Makes me wonder if there is some sort of performance clause buried in it, though I haven't heard any mention of one.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Westboro Baptist Church

Blog post from the lovely folks at Westboro Baptist Church, thanking God for the tornado that struck Harrisburg.  Looks like a group has already formed to protest the WBC this Saturday at 3 p.m.