Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Trick or Treating Postponed

In case you missed the announcement, the weather caused the city to postpone Trick or Treating until Friday night.  No idea how this will affect places like University Mall:

Due to the threat of potentially severe weather on Thursday, October 31, official Trick-or-Treat hours have been postponed until Friday, November 1, between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

Notes From Pickle's Alley

Despite the pictures from 20 years ago, Halloween should be safe.

Even though the bars will remain open

And burglars are still active.

But SIUC received a $1.3 million donation.

Haunted Carbondale Oakland Cemetary

Oakland Cemetery, located at the northern end of Oakland Avenue, has a long history of "ghost lights" usually floating along the northern border of the cemetery, above a long abandoned stretch of railroad tracks. Ghosts from a train wreck near the cemetery that took place in 1888 may account for the lights.

However, people have reported seeing similar balls of light floating along the train tracks south of Makanda and east of Boskeydell, with no similar wrecks reported in the area. Similar ghost lights are associated with railway tracks and crossings throughout the country, usually with the story of a decapitated or otherwise killed person associated with them.

T. J.'s Moving

It looks as if TJ's Fine Jewelry will move out of its location in the strip mall near Best Buy on East Main. The sign in front of the closed El Bajio restaurant, also on East Main but closer to downtown, announced that TJ's will open there soon.

The move certainly gives the company more room in terms of how to lay out the business, however it is on a one way street, meaning those heading east will have to make more effort to get to the new location.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Haunted Carbondale--Sunset Haven

Sunset Haven, or Building 207 as it was known officially by SIUC, was the county poor farm during the early part of the last century.  Located on university property, south of Chautauqua Road, Sunset Haven was off limits, though as this video indicates, people still managed to find their way into the building.  Residents who died were buried in unmarked graves in a paupers field near the building and are thought to account for the voices, chains rattling (mentally disturbed residents were sometimes chained to the wall), cold sports and items mysteriously moving, among other phenomena.

It appears that the university razed Sunset Haven quietly, so to speak, last week, likely to prevent other  investigators from exploring the building and injuring themselves.


According to the Carbondale Police's crime map, this past weekend was pretty quiet, with arrests for drugs and alcohol concentrated in the Poplar-University Avenue area and only a few thefts and property crimes reported throughout the city. Though quite a few people hit the streets, the numbers nowise reached those of 2 decades ago.  With Halloween falling on a Thursday this year and classes the following day, it is doubtful the city will see much activity the rest of the week.  The next three years, as Halloween moves to the weekend, will give a much more accurate picture of the effect the ordinance allowing downtown bars to reopen during the holiday will have.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Haunted Carbondale Hundley House

Probably the most famous "haunted house" in Carbondale, the Hundley House still sits on West Main as it has for over a century.  Hundley House is the site of the most famous unsolved murder in Carbonale history,  that of  Luella and J. C. Hundley and is not currently open to the public, save by special arrangement with the owner.

Halloween Weekend

Took a look around downtown last night and this morning after Saturday night's Halloween festivities.  Amazing number of people waiting to get into the Premier Lounge about 10 p.m., nearly half a block long.  Lots of people walking in costume on S. Illinois.  However, much like Friday night, they were mainly between the Mill Street Underpass and Pagliai's Pizza.  Did not see any patrol cars in the area, but did see a couple of officers walking along the sidewalk near W. College.  However, no idea if they were actual officers or costumed partygoers..

It looked as if most of the activity, though, was over on Carbondale's de facto Greek Row, along S. University from West Cherry to Mill street.  After leaving campus some years ago, several fraternities and sororities have located located along the street there and every house last night looked to host a very well attended party.

Saw a few party hosts out cleaning their yards up this morning, but again surprisingly, did not see a lot of trash littering the streets and yadrs.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Unofficial Halloween Night One

Took a walk down S. Illinois about 8 Friday night and then again about 10 p.m.. Though only a few people were out in costume during my earlier jaunt, by 10 p.m. almost everyone I spotted had some form of costume on, with almost all of them between Pagliai's and the Mill Street Underpass.  Not much in the way of police out either, though they had pulled over one car into the Hangar 9's parking lot.  Nor did I see any vans from the local media.

A friend stayed out much later than I did, until about 4 p.m., looking to see if anything would happen but, according to him, everything stayed quiet. The bars closed at 2 p.m. and the streets emptied as everybody headed home. When I drove through downtown about 9 this morning, I was surprised at just how clean the streets had stayed. Either last night's partygoers didn't dump much trash, or the city and local businesses got out really early to clean up.

Of course, the Daily Egyptian's Weekender edition had to lead off with photographs of some of the more dangerous activities from Halloweens past.  Hopefully, no one will attempt to emulate the activities of those students of over a decade ago and the city council won't be tempted to re-instate the ban on Halloween.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Haunted Carbondale--Anthony Hall

A story dating back to the 1960s focuses on the first floor of Anthony Hall on the SIUC campus, which until recently housed most of the administrative offices of the University.

According to the story, a secretary/office worker at the time died of a heart attack while at work in Anthony Hall. Incidentally, admittedly minimal research has not found any evidence of this, but since then, on rare occasions, her figure has been seen, by janitorial staff late in the afternoon or evening, still seated at a desk catching up on long ago paperwork.

I was told by a man who worked in maintenance on campus some years ago that he knew of at least one other worker that had seen her and that several workers had reported a "watched" feeling while in Anthony.

Bob Tyson Memorial Tree Planting

A memorial tree  in honor of the late "Uncle Bob" Tyson will be planted at Evergreen Terrace next Tuesday afternoon.  For those not familiar with Bob Tyson, he was a well known local musician and Sierra Club volunteer who passed away while clearing brush last summer.  As a result, the Shawnee National Forest has announced new policies for volunteers working by themselves in the Forest, including more structured check in rules.

Just today, I received a letter from Randy announcing the Bob Tyson Memorial Tree Planting next Tuesday, October 29th, at 1:30 PM. 
The tree will be planted at the Pine Tree Shelter in Evergreen Park, which is located off of Pleasant HIll Road in Carbondale.

Unofficial Halloween

In case you want to attend any of the Unofficial Halloween events this weekend, here is a list.  It looks as if most of the announced events for this weekend will concentrate in the Pinch Penny Pub complex, allowing the police to focus their attention on that area

Thursday, October 24, 2013

West Sycamore Yet Again

Recieved a call from the city's Public Works department after stopping by to check on the status of West Sycamore last week.  The contractor is supposed to finish up their current project by the end of this week and get back to work on West Sycamore next week.  Projected finish date for street and sidewalk repairs is now by Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fritzler Elected to IML

Received the following press release this afternoon:

Last week, the Illinois Municipal League held its 100th Annual Conference in Chicago. Over 1,500 mayors, council members, and local officials attended and recognized IML’s “Century of Service to Illinois Municipalities.” The IML Conference is the gathering place for education, in-depth working sessions, and learning about new laws and responsibilities for municipalities and municipal officials. It is also where new officers are elected to lead the IML’s 1,124 municipal-membership.
On Saturday, October 19, 2013, the IML membership elected 36 Vice Presidents to take a leadership role within the statewide organization. Mayor Joel Fritzler was elected to serve as one of the Vice Presidents. This is a vital, active Board that carries out the mission of the IML.

The Illinois Municipal League is Illinois’ statewide lobby and education organization whose special interest is the people, so municipalities can have a powerful resource and voice in Springfield. IML’s mission is to keep decision making local.

Mayor Fritzler said, “I am honored to represent Carbondale and Southern Illinois in this statewide organization. Interacting with other elected municipal officials and the Illinois Municipal League will keep me informed of innovation and change taking place in Illinois.”

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Walnut Street Baptist Church

According to the sign, the Walnut Street Baptist Church building and parking lot are for sale.  Unfortunately, due to its location in downtown at the corner of Walnut and University, there is not much that can be done with the building as it currently stands.  Large churches such as this are notoriously hard to repurpose.  My guess is that eventually the city buys it and pulls it down for additional downtown parking.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Hidden Carbondale

If you happen to have a few hours free on the 29th, the Chamber of Commerce has a Hidden Carbondale tour scheduled, promising the opportunity to see things most people will never see and go places most people will never get to go.  Only 20 spaces remaining as of Homecoming weekend.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Giant City Wreck

A large piece of earthmoving equipment slipped of the truck transporting it at the intersection of Giant City and East Main this afternoon.  No one injured but took a few hours to reopen the streets.  A reader of the blog sent along this photo.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

West Sycamore Repairs

Got curious about the repairs on West Sycamore so stopped by the Public Works offices at City Hall.  it appears that the contractor hired to perform the repairs on water mains underneath the street asked for permission to delay work on West Sycamore as he was running out of "working days" on another project.

The city granted permission for the delay but has no idea when the contractor will complete the other project and return to work on West Sycamore.  Best guess is before the end of the year.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Apartment Oversupply

According to this article from the Southern,  Carbondale is seeing roughly a 5% vacancy rate in apartments in town.  I am rather surprised it is not closer to 90%, given the amount of building that has taken place in town over the last few years and the continual slide in enrollment.

I would hazard a guess that the figures ignore the number of retail houses in the area north of West Main and around South Poplar. From what I have heard, students have chosen to abandon a lot of those older properties which landlords have only minimally maintained, preferring to move to brand new properties like the Reserve at Saluki Pointe and G & R Rentals.  In addition, there are the properties that were/are owned by Campus Habitat, which as far as I know are still closed by order of the city, taking a large number of rooms and apartments out of the rental pool.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Neighborhood Business District Advisory Committee

That's a mouthful, isn't it?  Anyhow, from an email sent out by the city:

The Neighborhood Business District Advisory Committee of the Planning Commission will meet on Wednesday October 16, at 6:00p.m., in room 103 in the Civic Center to discuss possible changes to the Neighborhood Business district.  This Committee was formed after the adoption of the new Zoning Ordinance in April 2013.  Members of this Committee include Tom Grant, Navreet Kang, Janet Lilly, and Larue Love.  In contrast to regular Planning Commission meetings, this will be a roundtable discussion to exchanges ideas and hear input from the public. 

Not sure what this committee will actually accomplish since it has no power.  I guess it will just listen to people and pass their comments along to city council.  What I hope will happen is that the NBDAC will do is say to people, "OK, such and such wants to open in your neighborhood.  What do you think about this?"  This would mean that the committee would have to prove quite proactive in contacting residents about issues facing their neighborhood.  Given recent history, I doubt if many people will respond otherwise, until the issue comes before council and the chamber is filled with people complaining about something that is happening in their neighborhood and why didn't I know about it before kinda like the proposed solar array at the old Koppers plant location.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

West Sycamore

West Sycamore is still torn up for about a five block stretch, along with a couple of blocks of sidewalks.  The city stopped work on this prior to IDOT's resurfacing work on West Main and I have seen no sign of work taking up again on it since then. Although drivable, the street is certainly rough, especially on the south side and the sidewalks under repair are nothing but dirt and gravel.

Seems like an awfully long time to put a street repair project on hiatus.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Bike Lane 2

The stretch of road in Carbondale that really needs a bike lane is the 2 block section of Poplar that runs betwix Main and Walnut.  Poplar serves as the major artery of transportation for those living in the near Northwest section of Carbondale to get to SIUC. The residential area north of Main has low enough traffic flow that bicyclists can move along the streets with safety, while Poplar south of Walnut has bike lanes on both sides of the street.

It is only that one short section of the street where both two wheeled and four wheels drivers funnel towards the university that is not relatively safe.  I regularly see bicyclists riding on the sidewalk (illegally) and cars swerving unnervingly close to bicyclists traversing that stretch.

I do not know if regulations regarding the width of roadways would allow part of the street to be marked off as bike lanes.  Widening the street to allow lanes is not an option, as there is very little setback of private property from the street.  Maybe the city could at least paint "sharrows" on the street, as Cape Girardeau has done on some streets.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Bike Lane

Noticed that the recent resurfacing of West Main has included a bike lane on the north side of the street.  Given the number of people I see biking along West Main and cars either swerving or slowing down to avoid them, this is a good addition to the street.

Unfortunately, I am not certain how much use the lane will ultimately prove as it peters out half a block west of the intersection of Main and University, forcing bicyclists to merge back into westbound traffic

Friday, October 4, 2013

Tree Sale

In case you are looking for fall plantings:

A one-day sale of trees and other native perennials will be held on Saturday, October 5 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Carbondale’s Murdale Shopping Center.  Once again, Green Earth and Keep Carbondale Beautiful are teaming up to make it easier for property owners to plant natives, all from Forrest-Keeling Nursery.  Experts will be on hand to advise shoppers on best practices.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Halloween Ball

Looks as if the weekend of October 26 will be quite busy:

The WDBX Halloween Costume Ball will be October 26th, from 7-11pm, at the Garden Grove Event Center (formerly Sportsblast) in Carbondale. Tickets are $30 each, with large group discounts available. The Well Well Wells and Hobo Knife will perform, and we will also have a costume contest with prizes. Tickets are available at Arnold's Market, the Neighborhood Co-Op, Dayshift, Plaza-Wuxtry Records, Navreet Kang Insurance, and online at All proceeds will benefit WDBX 91.1 FM.

Trick or Treat Hours

Looks as if hours for Trick or Treating (or as I used to call it "extortion by the cut") will take place from 5 p.m to 8 p.m. on Oct. 31:

Mayor Joel Fritzler has proclaimed Thursday, October 31, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. as the official "Trick-or-Treat" hours for Carbondale children.
The Mayor is encouraging residents to indicate their willingness to welcome the children by keeping on their porch and exterior lights. He also urges that "Trick-or-Treaters" wear reflective tape or clothing and encourages parents to check all treats for potentially harmful objects.
Mayor Fritzler and the members of the City Council ask for the cooperation of all citizens in making this a happy and safe occasion for our community.

No word yet on when Trick or Treating on main Street, Murdale Shopping Center or at the Mall will take place but I would expect them to take place on Oct. 26th as typically these events take place the Saturday before Halloween  It also appears the group behind "Unofficial Halloween" has set Oct 25 and 26 and the dates for this years events.

It will certainly be intersting to see how the elimination of the requirement that bars on the southern end of Illinois close during Halloween affects turnout.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Both Melange and Club TwoThirteen have reopened in recent weeks, Melange under new management and Club TwoThirteen apparently under the previous management.

It will be interesting to see what each one does differently.  They apparently did not do well enough following their previous marketing strategies to remain viable so doing the same thing again will probably wind up with the same results.  One possible change for Melange would be removing the wall the previous management put up surrounding the patio. While it did block people on the patio from having to see the Strip and the people on it, it also prevented people walking along the Strip from seeing people eating on Melange's patio and enjoying themselves and considering doing it themselves.