Thursday, July 31, 2014

Blue Martin to Social House

The Blue Martin, one of the nicer bars nee' cocktail lounges in Carbondale, has changed ownership and will re-open as the Social House sometime later this summer. The new owner, who purchased the entire Newell House complex is remodeling the interior and has already changed over the sign. Business format still planned to remain similar to Blue Martin.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Carbondale Tourism

According to yesterday's Illinois Tourism Office presentation, tourism in Illinois grew by 4.5 % last year. More locally, the Carbondale Tourism office reported the following:

The team produced over 25 promotional pieces for both Carbondale Tourism and other local organizations, contributed to over 20 events in the area, and scheduled over 45 media placements. As a result, Carbondale Tourism saw responses from over 1,300 visitors, had over 18,600 website visits, provided information to over 2,400 visitors, and contributed to approximately 2,600 over-night stays in Carbondale hotels.

No indication on the Carbondale Tourism website how this compared to 2012 or previous years, though.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Murdale Farmers Market Events

From a PR sent out by the Carbondale Farmers Market:

On Saturday, August 9, the Carbondale Farmers Market on the city’s west end will celebrate National Farmers Week with plenty of freshly picked produce, live local music and fine art made by local talent. Visitors can expect sweet corn, heirloom tomatoes, a wide variety of cherry tomatoes, green beans, potatoes and a whole slew of seasonal summer fruits and vegetables. Aside from fruits and veggies, the market also offers a solid selection of local meats such as grass-fed and -finished beef; bison; pork; and poultry. Folks will also find free-range eggs, locally-grown oyster and shiitake mushrooms and honey. Live music will entertain people as they walk up and down the market thoroughfare while enjoying hot or iced coffee with locally-made baked goods.

Since the USDA declared National Farmers Market Week 15 years ago, the number of farmers markets has more than doubled, from 2,863 markets in 2000 to over 8,000 in 2013.  There are more than 347 farmers markets in Illinois alone. These numbers have continued to rise in 2014 as farmers markets become fresh food mainstays for shoppers across all socio-economic, political, and ethnic ranges. Farmers markets bolster local economies, improve community health, and bring diverse groups of people together through a shared social space. 

The Carbondale Farmers Market was organized in 1975 and currently boasts 27 farming families who sell a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, meats, baked goods and more. Many of these families have been farming for three and four generations. Others have just started. All work hard to grow good food for local markets. People who shop at the Carbondale Farmer’s Market help to support these hardworking family farmers while keeping money circulating in the local economy.

“Farmers markets grow healthy farms, healthy people, and healthy communities” says Pat Stieren, Executive Director of the Illinois Farmers Market Association.  “During a slow economic recovery, farmers markets are stand-out successes in delivering triple bottom line benefits while making entrepreneurship work in communities large and small.  During Farmers Market Week, we invite everyone to celebrate their local farmers markets and enjoy fresh local food from America’s most innovative farmers.”

On Tuesday, August 5, Carbondale Mayor Don Monty will read a proclamation announcing the city’s support of National Farmers week during the city council meeting.

A week earlier on Saturday, August 2, the market will honor its customers during Customer Appreciation Day. The event will feature Chef Bill Connors and crew, who will grill fresh, marinated veggies and meats for folks to sample during Saturday’s market. Chef Bill, the head chef for Southern Illinois University Housing, knows how to feed a crowd and has always been a popular presence at the market. Chef Bill is great at answering questions about how to use and prepare the food that people can get at the market. The market invites all and one to visit and try some of the free grilled food samples on from 8 am to noon on Saturday, August 2.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Koppers Meeting

As requested by the city council, the first meeting of Brightfields Development, regarding the proposed development of the Koppers site, with members of the Carbondale community will take place on July 30 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Eurma C. Hayes Center. Will be interesting to see how many actually show up and of those, how many want to find out more about the project and how many just want to express their opinion. I am betting the majority do not want to find anything out, they just want to express their opinion and have already made up their minds that the project is bad.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Tourism Road Show

 The Carbondale Convention and Tourism office will host the Illinois Office of Tourism on Tuesday the 29th as the IOT talks about Illinois tourism. Apparently the state has record breaking numbers of tourists last year.


The Illinois Office of Tourism (IOT) is making a pit stop in Carbondale on Tuesday, July 29th as part of their 2014 Illinois Road Show.


Representatives from the IOT will stop in various cities across the state to share the recently released 2013 data on the economic and social benefits of the Illinois travel industry.

Carbondale Tourism is thrilled to have Carbondale be selected as the first of three stops through southern Illinois.

The Illinois Road Show media event will start at 9:00am at the Garden Grove Event Center, located at 1215 East Walnut Street in Carbondale, behind The University Mall. IOT Deputy Director Jen Hoelzle will present detailed information on the Illinois 2013 record-breaking tourism numbers.

The general public and businesses affected by travel and tourism are encouraged to attend and learn about the efforts of the state to continue to promote the state of Illinois and our region as destinations for domestic and international travelers.

Don't hesitate to reach out to Carbondale Tourism at (618) 529-4451 with any questions. We look forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Marion Overpass Open

Finally, the overpass on Hwy 13 just west of Marion has opened, making it maybe a little less difficult to navigate the stretch of road.

I still doubt that, given Marion's size, that the city needs 3 exits within such a short distance, especially one that takes cars right past Rent One Park.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Red Tape Blues

Good story in the Economist about the cost of regulation in the US, something like $1.86 trillion a year. Most small businesses complain more about over-regulation than high taxes.  If Carbondale is serious about changing its image to make itself more "business friendly", a good place to start is to work through the revised code and prune regulations, determining which are useful for the well being of the community and which are not.

The problem of course is that you will always find someone to defend every regulation, as no regulation gets passed into law without someone seeing a need for it.

However, there is evidence the city can make changes. Witness the number of new sidewalk signs that have appeared on downtown streets after the regulations affecting them were rewrittten. It took several years to get the rules changes but it did finally happen.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Off Premise Signage

I have wondered for awhile why Kohl's has a off premise sign located along Hwy 13 when the store is located several hundred yards south. According to section of the Carbondale Revised Code, off premises signs are prohibited with no exceptions, unlike moving and temporary signs.

Maybe Kohl's bought the property at the location for the express purpose of erecting a sign? Still, unless the property connects to the Kohl's store property, I would think that would still be considered "off premises". Time for a trip to city hall.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Carbondale Police

As this article points out, Carbondale's police department responds to around 80,000 calls a year and only gets complaints about a dozen or so.We never hear about the successful interactions between police and citizens because they are just that, successful. It is only when there is a problem that it becomes news and thankfully there are comparatively few of those.

I certainly would like seeing foot patrols implemented in the downtown area though. Though research indicates that foot patrols have little effect in a homogeneous society, they do appear effective in communities with greater social and economic stratification.

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Hunting We Will Go

By a vote of 6 to 1, with Jessica Bradshaw the 1, city council last Tuesday voted to allow bowhunting of deer on the city owned property around Cedar Lake, hoping to address the damage caused by the animals overgrazing in the area. No sure why Bradshaw voted against the ordinance but would bet it had to do with the concerns expressed about people getting injured by hunters in the area.

Unfortunately, something needed to get done about the problem as I have heard property owners in the area complain about the damage the Cedar Lake deer did to their property as well as the land around the lake.With no predators to speak of in the area, though cougars are reported to have moved further south in Illinois, the deer population keeps growing and needs reducing. Barring continued car/deer interactions, some form of hunting appears the current best option.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

State Budget and State Constituion

Rather interesting that a strict reading of the Illinois Constitution indicates that it does not require a balanced budget. Rather, what the appropriate section says is that:

The General Assembly by law shall make
appropriations for all expenditures of public funds by the
State. Appropriations for a fiscal year shall not exceed
funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available
during that year.
Ergo, the constitution only requires that the legislature keep spending within funding estimated available for the year. It does not require appropriations to be adjusted for actual funding or to address outstanding bills left over from prior years when actual revenues fell short of estimates.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

LCC and City Council Meetings Tonight wtih Changes Coming

Based on tonight's City Council agenda, it appears some name/business changes are coming to downtown.

It appears that the Premier Lounge, which does not look as if it had done any business in about a year (the last time I saw the place open was May 2013), will change name and ownership to Lounge LLC DBA Noah's Lounge.

Also it looks as if the Underground Barrel Room and Grill will move into the lower level of the Island complex, replacing the now closed Underground Bar and Grill.

There's a whole lot of stuff on the consent agenda, which, knowing our council, will have several items pulled from it for discussion with said items eventually get passed unanimously.

The council is also looking at revising allowing bowhunters to hunt deer on the city owned property around Cedar Lake. Given that the deer are causing substantial damage and eating much of the undergrowth with little in the way of natural predators, allowing hunting there appears a good idea.

Monday, July 14, 2014


Twig Floral Designs has opened in the old Mississippi Flyway location in Murdale Shopping Center. I was rather bemused last Saturday to see the business already had Halloween dedications on display by the front door. I don't know if there is still a florist on the west side of Carbondale but imagine they will compete with the nearby Apple Tree in the area of home decorations, though it looks as if Twig will have much more space to display products than the Apple Tree does.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Fire Station Delay

I do wonder about the delay in the fire station opening and blaming it on problems with ADA compliance.  One would think the architects would have designed dozens if not hundreds of buildings before and would be well versed in ADA regulations. Why would they allow so many (over 30, it appears) infractions of the regulations to get implemented in their design, given the amount of experience they have?

Update:an email from a reader of the blog indicates there was a design mistake incorporated into the building plans by the firm due to its unfamiliarity with a change in the law in 2012.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Interim Chancellor Named

SIU's BOT named Dr. Paul Sarvela as interim chancellor yesterday, with no end date, indicating that the BOT does not plan to rush looking for a new permanent chancellor. Sarvela looks a good choice, from what little I have read about him. With 28 years of service, he should have a very good idea of how SIUC works and obviously has no plans to leave before retirement.

I hope that the BOT decides to pick someone already employed at SIUC to fill the position permanently. the last three chancellors came from outside the university and had to learn about the institution which takes awhile to do. Appointing someone from inside avoids that problem

Monday, July 7, 2014

Firehouse Opening Delay

It appears the city is still trying to correct a number of violations of the ADA at the new westside fire department building. It appears that the architects who designed the building stands in violation of at least 30 parts of the ADA, which have to come into compliance before the Attorney General will sign off on the project.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Water Quality Report

The annual water quality report has gone out and once again, Carbondale's water sources exceed all standards.  In fact, if you hand out around city hall in later summer, you can usually find bottles of Shawnee Mist water from Cedar lake that the city bottles and gives away.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Delish Ribbon Cutting

If you are free at 11:30 this monrning, Delish 7 Spice Grill is having a ribbon cutting:

Name: Ribbon Cutting for Delish 7 Spice Grill
Date: July 2, 2014
Time: 11:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Event Description:
Come along as we celebrate the new location of Delish 7 Spice Grill at 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, July 2, 2014, then stay and enjoy lunch!

Graffiti Blitz

Downtown in the area of Main and Illinois got hit by a graffiti "artist". Besides the two spots in the photo, the alley running between Mary Lou's and the Door, and well as the one behind them, got hit as well.  Looks as if someone even tagged the two mailboxes fixed to the wall outside Mary Lou's .  Pretty brazen.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

City Sales Tax

Just a reminder that city sales tax increased to 8.5% today.

Southern Illinois Unemployment Down

According to today's Southern Illinois Business Journal, unemployment for the Southern Illinois region as a whole is under 10%. A number of counties tip out at 9.9% but this is the first time in years I have seen all of them in single digits.