Friday, June 29, 2012

Fireworks Cancelled?

I think this means no sponsored fireworks in Carbondale this Wednesday.  I caught on the news earlier that the Lion's Club would postpost them if less than an inch of rain between now and July 4.

Email Exchange between Fritzler and Adams

The Southern reported the recent flurry of emails betwix city manager Kevin Baity, Mayor Joel Fritzler and Councilwoman Jane Adams.  Here are the actual emails:


I take strong exception to your intemperate note that was sent to the entire Council in clear violation of the Open Meetings Act. The issue of raising the City Manager's spending authority is before us tonight on the Council agenda.

I have no idea what you refer to, or what you intend to accomplish, by stating: "Your bullying and threatening manner has become more and more outlandish to the point of being unbecoming of a city council member." 

Your remarks are absurd.

As a council member it is my responsibility to deal directly with the City Manager on issues before us. In this case, I found serious problems with his assertions and told him so. Apparently this does not go down well with you and the city manager. But I want to know where the people's money goes.

And that's not changing.


Begin forwarded message:

From: Joel Fritzler <>
Subject: Fwd: Agenda item - authorization to increase City Manager's spending limit
Date: June 26, 2012 2:15:15 PM CDT
To: Jane Adams <>, kevin baity <>
Cc: Chris Wissmann <>, Don Monty <>, Lee Fronabarger <>, Corene Mc Daniel <>, Lance Jack <>


As you may now be aware, the city manager in Lombard has a spending limit of $20,000. Your bullying and threatening manner has become more and more outlandish to the point of being unbecoming of a city council member. For example, when you didn't understand the city's health savings plan, you said, "I think that Kevin is trying to pull the wool over our eyes.". I'm at my wits end to understand why you think that everything that you don't understand is a conspiracy or a cover-up. 

Please gather the facts before you jump to conclusions. 

Joel Fritzler, Mayor

Sent from my iPhone

Begin forwarded message:
From: Kevin Baity <>
Date: June 25, 2012 7:24:50 PM CDT
To: Mayor Joel Fritzler <>
Subject: Fwd: Agenda item - authorization to increase City Manager's spending limit
See below.

Kevin Baity 
City of Carbondale

Begin forwarded message:
From: Jane Adams <>
Date: June 25, 2012 7:18:25 PM CDT
To: Kevin Baity <>
Subject: Agenda item - authorization to increase City Manager's spending limit

I have spoken today with authorities in the Village of Lombard and Urbana concerning the spending limits they have established. From these discussions I found that the claims you make to support raising your spending authority are seriously in error. If you do not pull the item from the agenda I will make this a public issue.


Jane Adams

And here's a comment posted on the Southern's website regarding the exchange, which I would bet comes from former CCTB executive director Debbie Moore:

Debbiesliceofpie - June 27, 2012 1:19 pm
Well, maybe Fritzler does see her for what she is. It is too late to save the Carbondale Convention & Tourism Bureau from her lack of knowledge, but maybe Fritzler can save Carbondale.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Campus Beach Facility Gone

As was mentioned in yesterday's blog post, there is quite a bit of construction taking place on campus.  Happened to be at Campus Lake yesterday and saw that the concession stand/shower facility that had stood at Campus Beach for over 20 years had been demolished and cleared away in less than a month. Only a stretch of sale and some concrete remaining.

Monday, June 25, 2012

SIUC Injects Millions

..of dollars.  According to this article in the Southern, the university has spent over $100 million on construction projects since 2012.  Although the article says that money has gone to local contractors, there's no indication how much of it did. 

Why the focus on local contractors?  Money spent locally circulates through the economy, creating more jobs.  According to this, 45% of money spent locally stays within the economy.  Additionally, if you spend $100 on goods and service and spend half locally, it generates another $200 in local income.  If you spend 80% of that $100 locally, it generates $500 in local revenues.

As the largest employer in southern Illinois, it is good to see that Chancellor Chen realizes this and is working to spend SIUC's money locally where feasible.

Friday, June 22, 2012


In case you missed this, Carbondale's July 4th fireworks have moved this year from their long time home near Abe Martin Field on the SIUC campus to the east side of University Mall.

Not sure if fireworks will be a good idea, given the  drought the area (and all of Illinois) is suffering. We have received less than 2 inches of rain over the last 4 weeks and are about 8 inches down from the amount of rain we normally have received by this time of the year.  Even though they are illegal in Illinois, I expect to hear a lot of fireworks going off over the next couple of weeks, with a subsequent increase in calls to the Carbondale Fire Department.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Local Income

Interesting takeaway from this article on the southern Illinois local food movement.  25% of the area's population lives below the federal government's poverty line and manufacturing, typically the source of better paying jobs, does not appear to provide a significant portion of income for families in the region:

...the largest source of personal income in the region comes from public sources such as retirement, disability and unemployment benefits. Government jobs are the second largest source of income, followed by capital income like interest, rent or dividends.About a fourth of the region’s residents live below the federal government’s poverty guidelines...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Small Cities Week

Mayor Fritzler has proclaimed next week Small Cities Week in Carbondale, capitalizing on the overwhelming excitement generated by National Small Cities Month.  Parades?  Fireworks?  A citywide picnic?  Nah, probably just a proclamation read out at the next city council meeting.  Sigh.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Saltpetre Cave for Sale

Saltpetre (or Shawnee) Cave, the natural (more or less) amphitheater off Highway 127, has a For Sale sign out in front of it.  Brush has been cut down in front of it and the long defunct "One Hit Wonder" smoke shop building that sat next to the entrance has been hauled off.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Carbondale Properties and the City

D. Gorton, local landlord and husband of councilwoman Jane Adams, sent  this email to the city regarding problems he is having with a local landlord and what Gorton perceives as the city's lack of concern:  The edited email is published with his permission:

I think that you do not understand what we are arguing for in the neighborhoods. We are asking for a level playing field where code is enforced in the R-1 Districts, something that you ignored in granting the Fisher slumlords the variance on the warehouse on Oakland. I think that you take time with the concerns of  Fisher and don't respond when citizens actually invest their monies in our old neighborhoods. Otherwise how to understand that you were the only city official who did not acknowledge our efforts?

We have had numerous incidents with the Fisher property at 614 W Cherry St. They have pushed trash into our yard. They have parked cars in our yard. And they are over-occupied in contravention to our R-1 zoning. But nothing happens. We have complained bitterly, but your government can't figure out how to issue a ticket. Much less how to stop the slumlord Fisher from devastating our neighborhoods.

What I expect of government is a level playing field. I can compete with any slumlord as long as the terms are the same. Their business model depends on driving out residents, crashing the properties to get lower tax evaluations and for the city to turn a blind eye to their unlawful and illegal overoccupation in R-1 zones; their indifference to maintenance and the knowledge that the city won't enforce its own codes.

If in a year or so you find that Carbondale is still hollowing out with almost no residential development, then look at your indifference to the neighborhoods as a clue.

City Tourism Update

A letter sent out by Mayor Fritzler indicates the liklihood of the city changing its mind and signing a contract to fund the Carbondale Convention and Tourism Bureau is about .000001%. Currently the city is considering 3 options:

1. Bringing the tourism bureau in house as a city office.
2.Deciding what tourism services the city wants and subcontracting out for those services.
3.Issuing a Request for Proposal for an organization to represent the city's tourism interests.

Currently, it appears the city leans towards #2, finding an organization(s) that is a certified tourism bureau and contracting with it/them to perform the desired tourism services.  The advantage of partnering with a certified tourism bureau is that the city would only have to wait a year before applying for state funds.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Transportation Education Center

The Southern editorializes on just this topic.  One aspect of southern Illinois and especially Carbondale it overlooks is the quality of several of the colleges/departments at SIUC.  There is a waiting list for graduates from the aviation and auto technology programs and the mass communication program is considered one of the top programs in the nation.  Hopefully, the new Transportation Eduction Center at Southern Illinois Airport builds on this and draws more businesses to the industrial park to take advantage of the quality of facilities there.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Alto Vinyards

Looks like some major expansion going on at Alto Vineyards.  I would guess some sort of event facility to take advantage of the growing popularity of vineyards as a locations for weddings and receptions. Von Jakob Winery, just north of Alto Pass, is booked almost every weekend during the summer months for a wedding or other event and I imagine that Alto would like to tap into that revenue stream as well.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


According to this story from WSIL, about 300 SIUC employees have submitted resignations for the end of the school year.  That's double the usual number that leave each year.  It appears this group wants to take advantage of the state pension system before it gets changed by the legislature.

Friday, June 8, 2012

More on the CCTB

Interim Carbondale Convention and tourism Bureau director Richard Morris and former board member Sam Goldman asked for the city to sign a new contract with the Bureau, so as to forestall the organization's closing up shop.  If you are interested, here's the CCTB's 990 report for June 1, 2009, through May 30, 2010, essentially the organization's tax return.  Income was $560,000, of which $196,000 went for salaries, compensation and other benefits.  During this period, the CCTB rented office space in a wing of University Mall for a bit over $2500 per month.  While that is certainly not out of line for mall space for a retail operation, a business office such as the CCTB should certainly have been able to find office space for much less for the same amount of space, since the foot traffic provided by the mall is much less important for an office than for a retail store.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Local Food

Interesting article in the Southern on local food. Looks like only a little over .5% of the money spent on food here is spend on food grown locally:

Of the $1.8 billion Southern Illinois residents spend on food each year, $1.7 billion of that is spent on food from far-flung places.”

Of course, it is very hard for us to to grow bananas, kiwis, pineapples, etc. in this region.  Plus, it would be very hard to grow enough food locally during the fall, winter and spring (hardly growing season here), to provide a well balanced diet for residents of the area.   I remember hearing a couple of months back that there are counties in southeastern Illinois that do not have a supermarket within their borders, meaning they had to drive a significant distance to purchase out of season fruits and vegetables, not to mention raw meat.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Energy Consultatation Day

A bit short notice, (I only got a call about it and saw a flyer today, though an email apparently went out from the CCoC last week), but if you want to head about some ways to reduce energy costs, Advanced Energy Solutions and The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce are co-sponsoring a presentation on renewable energy sources and energy conservation techniques.   At the Civic Center tomorrow from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m..  Oh, there are free tea and crepes from Blend, too.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

City Council Meeting

It appears we have a secret agenda for tomorrow's City Council meeting.  Nothing posted on the city website as of 10 p.m. Monday the 4th, save for a notice that the agenda would get posted by June 1.  What are they hiding?  What are they hiding???

Update:  Apparently, council announced at the May meeting that this one was canceled.  No idea why it didn't get pulled off the calendar.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Planning Commission Meeting

The Planning Commission will meet this Wednesday at 7 p.m.  Looks as if the main thing on the agenda is a request from Southern Illinois Healthcare to rezone property located at 112 and 200 North Poplar Street from R-2, Medium Density Residential, to PA, Professional Administrative Office, meaning, I would guess, the hospital would like to knock down a couple of houses it owns so that it can convert them to more modern office buildings.

Hospitals, in general, have a poor track record on historic preservation as they see no purpose in owning structures with uses not central to their primary mission.  They tend to view it more economical to raze older buildings than to spend the money to repurpose them as doing so redirects money that they feel could be better spent serving their patients.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Another Wreck

Seems to be my week for wrecks. This one happened about 8:30 p.m. Friday June the 1st at the corner of Illinois and Main.  No one appears hurt but both cars  are in pretty bad shape.  The police have traffic north on Illinois blocked but it's moving pretty smoothly westbound on Main.  Providing something else for attendees at the Friday Night Festival to watch.