Friday, January 30, 2015

Christmas Lights

Have noticed a lot more Christmas lights and decorations still up, over a month past the holiday. Spotted a lighted Nativity scene this morning on 127, there are several houses with lights still on them in the West Sycamore and West Walnut area and a number of places still have Christmas wreaths on windows, doors and walls. I just do not remember this amount of outside Christmas decor remaining up so long past even Epiphany in past years.

I am happy to see the lights still up around the Carbondale square. The center of the square gets pretty dark and unwelcoming after nightfall so anything that adds a bit of brightness to the area is welcome.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Daily Egyptian Ceasing to Do Its Own Printing

After almost half a century, SIUC's Daily Egyptian will stop doing its own printing on an in-house press and will outsource  print runs to another company. A combination of economies of scale and a drop off in advertising combined to make this happen. It is just not cost effective for a student run news paper to do its own printing on its own presses, since it has little other printing to do on them. The Southern and Thomas Publishing have other print jobs to run, aside from the paper, thus allowing them to spead the cost of the presses across a larger number of print jobs. The DE doesn't have that.

The Daily Egyptian also suffers from a drop in advertising. Looking through the pages of the latest edition shows a paucity of ads that one would expect to find in a student targeted paper.  The local movie theaters pulled their advertising years ago, even telling the paper that it ought to run their showtimes as a public service.

More detrimental is the lack of advertising from the local bars. Years ago, the DE was filled with ads promoting the local drinking establishments and the bands or other entertainment. The closest today's paper has is one ad from Blue Sky Vineyards and one from the Egyptian Hookah Cafe.

It is not that the local bars are not advertising. The Carbondale Nightlife is full of ads for them. They just aren't advertising in the DE.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mike Henry Posters

Mayoral Candidate Mike Henry has a couple of big posters in the windows of the Julia Building at the corner of Walnut and University. Given that roughly 14,000 cars pass the location on a regular basis, the rent for the office is probably a good investment.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


The new apartments Home Rentals (Lindsay Fisher's company) are putting up on West Monroe Street, just east of the library, are coming along nicely. I'd expect them ready to rent by this summer and imagine they will rent, since new apartments seem to fill fairly well. It is the older and somewhat dilapidated buildings that have problems filling.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Poorest County in Illinois

The comparative poverty of Jackson County made the headlines in the Southern today. As the article pointed out, we have a lot of students here, who often have income levels below $10,000 and do not need much more because their living expenses are covered by university tuition and housing fees.

Another factor to remember is that it is comparatively cheap to living in Jackson County. According to Poverty in America's Living Wage Calculator, a living wage for one adult in Jackson County is only $7.48, meaning a single adult could make minimum wage and still live decently well.  Of course, add a child to the mix and your expenses and needed income skyrocket.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Fire at Old Drver's Junction

The Old Dover's Junction building, which has stood for a number of years at the intersection of 127 and 146 east of Anna/Jonesboro burned today. Still smoldering late this afternoon when I shot this photo. No idea what caused it but certainly does not look like a controlled burn.

Furlough Wages Repaid

Another legacy of the Rita Cheng era, SIUC's board voted yesterday not to appeal the ruling that the university bargained in bad faith with employees and will repay the $1.7 million it owes employees that it furloughed in violation of the contract with them.

Probably a good move, given the amount mounting an appeal would cost that this makes 0-2 in decisions against the university,this time by an unanimous decision from the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board. No need to spend more money and make it 0-3.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Domino's Ribbon Cutting

New location for Domino's Pizza on East Grand with a ribbon cutting today at 11:30. I bet there will be free pizza:

Ribbon Cutting for Domino's Pizza

Name: Ribbon Cutting for Domino's Pizza
Date: January 21, 2015
Time: 11:30 AM - 12:00 PM CST
Event Description:
Help us celebrate the new location of Domino's Pizza with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, January 21, 2015.

Domino's Pizza
887 E. Grand Ave.
Date/Time Information:
Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at 11:30 a.m.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Caught a presentation on the Jackson County CEO program for the local high school today and one of the things the presenter, Curtis Baird, mentioned in passing is something I have commented on at one time or another:  the lack of high quality clothing stores in Carbondale.

There are plenty of places to buy clothing in Carbondale, ranging from Goodwill to Wal-mart to Kohls to Macy's but if you want really high quality material, you have to got to St. Louis or shop online. Same thing if you want a high quality business suit. I have had people tell me they don't buy any clothes in Carbondale.

Of course, opening up an independent clothing (or shoe) store here had probabilities stacked against it. First, people already think of the chains first when they think about clothes shopping, ergo an independent store would have to try to capture mind share from the already dominant section.

Second, the market in Carbondale is very limited for an independent clothing store. Most of the people living in Carbondale are quite happy with the selection of clothing offered by the chains and the number of people who would patronize a higher end store is quite limited.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Downtown Signage

I was walking up Illinois Avenue and noticed again how poorly designed for current traffic most of the signs along the street are. The majority of them lie flat against the building front, meaning that a potential customer does not see them until they are almost directly in front of the sign. 

This is fine for foot traffic since pedestrians have plenty of time to alter their movement once they see a sign. However automobiles are another matter altogether since the driver only had a couple of seconds to react once they see a sign. Having the sign flush against the building means that the driver is almost right in front of it before seeing it. Using brackets to stick the sign out from the side of the building may increase sign clutter in downtown but also would give the store greater visibility to automotive traffic.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Police Video

This video of a member of the Carbondale Police Department sleeping in his official car in St. Francis Xavier's parking lot has been shared over 500 times on Facebook as of about 9 p.m. tonight. I saw the car parked in the lot as I was leaving a meeting at the church this morning. Though he was just monitoring traffic on S. Poplar though.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Hair Care Central

After noticing that VIP Barbers would open soon in the recently vacated Illusions space, I started thinking about the number of hair care establishments in downtown Carbondale. By my count, we have about 12. Since we have just under 30 restaurants in the downtown area, we have just over one hair care salon for every 3 restaurants in downtown. That's an awful lot of places to get your hair cut or styled.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Pizza Hut Closed

Drove by the Pizza Hut on East Main today and noticed "Closed" posted on the marquee.  Sorry to see this as Pizza Hut has been servicing Carbondale from that location for longer than I have lived here. Apparently sales have slacked off for several months now and the home office decided to finally pull the plus.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

New Barber Shop

Looks like a new barber shop will open in the West Walnut location recently vacated by Illusions Barbering. I see a sign in the window announcing V. I. P. Barber opening soon.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Area's Greatest Challenge

Caught this morning's Talk of the Town with Gary Williams interviewing Jeff Doherty from Jackson Growth Alliance and found Doherty's response to Williams' question about the greatest challenge the area faces. Doherty's response:  Illinois.

Between the amount of money owed various businesses and organizations by the state, the possibility of a 20% funding cut to SIUC and the pension liabilities the state still owes and has imposed upon local municipalities, I think he has a point.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Street Closure

 Just a heads up from the city.  Cedarview will be closed this Monday for work on the water mains:

Due to water main construction, Cedarview Street (between East Walnut and Lynda Street) will be closed to traffic on Monday, January 12, 2015 from 8:00 A.M. until 5:00 P.M.
The City apologizes for any inconvenience that this closure may cause and urges all vehicular traffic to use alternate routes during this time period.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Neighborhood Alliance Meeting

In case you are looking for something to do on the 17th:

The Annual Carbondale Neighborhood Alliance Meeting will be held at the First United Methodist Church located at 214 West Main Street, on Saturday morning January 17th.  The meeting starts at 9:30 with registration, coffee, and informational displays.  Neighborhood  and community organizations and city commissions will provide information helpful to neighborhood groupsMayoral and City Council candidates have been invited to attend the meeting and will be introduced at noon for an informal meet-and-greet  chili luncheon.  The annual meeting is organized by the Carbondale Neighborhood Action Group, which meets monthly to explore ways to improve Carbondale neighborhoods as well as provide disaster preparedness training for neighborhoods.
For further information contact: Mary O’Hara at 713-0820 or or Sarah Heyer 549-5230

Shop Local and Win Results

The Chamber of Commerce announced the winners of their Shop Local and Win contest today. $34,000 in cards turned in was on a par with last year's contest. Fewer of the participating stores appeared to push it this year though. I heard of several shoppers who had to ask stores to punch their cards and I know when I made purchases at some of the participating stores, they never offered to punch my card either. I know they were busy during the holidays but if you pay to participate in an event like this, one would think they would make sure to take advantage of it:

With each purchase at a participating Carbondale business, shoppers earned punches on a special program card. By filling the card with $250 in punches and turning in the completed card at the Chamber of Commerce office at 131 S. Illinois Ave., shoppers were eligible for weekly gift card drawings of $25 and for shopping sprees of $500, $250 and $100. Participants could fill as many cards as they wished.
The program this year was a great success. Punch cards representing nearly $35,000 were turned in for the drawings. The winners of the $25 weekly drawings were Kathryn Sime of Carbondale, Keith Thompson of Herrin, Sheliee Summers of Thompsonville and Gina Raney of Murphysboro. The $100 shopping spree winner was Mary Avery of Makanda. Betty Enrietto of Marion won the $250 shopping spree. Finally, the winner of our $500 dollar shopping spree was Anita Reagan of Murphysboro! Shopping spree winners were able to choose gift cards from participating 2015 Shop Local and Win businesses. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Brad Cole Running

Former Mayor Brad Cole is running for an open seat on the Carbondale High School Board of Education. I guess once you start running for office, the taste of it never goes away.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Chamber Board

For those interested in such things, here's the recently elected and returning members of the Board of directors for the C'dale Chamber of Commerce. Bug one of them if you have comments about the direction of the city. Hey, they asked to be on the board so they asked for it.:

Mike Henry
Owner, Henry Printing

Jim Jacobs
Owner, Jacobs Air Conditioning & Heating

Brad Weiss
Owner, Furniture King

They Join

Darren Berger
The Bank of Carbondale

Daniel Booth
Carbondale Community High School

Todd Darnstaedt, Past President
Today's Technology

Steve Falat, President
River Radio

Ronda Gaertner, Treasurer
Payne Gaertner & Associates

Melissa Lewis, President Elect
Murray Patterson Group of Wells Fargo Advisors

T.J. Martin
TJ's Fine Jewelry

Angela Povolish

Marcia Sinnott
Five Star Realty

Jason Thomas
Thomas Publishing

Kevin Baity
City of Carbondale

Kevin Bame/Matt Baughman
Southern Illinois University

Jeff Doherty
Jackson Growth Alliance

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Farmer's Market In Carbondale

It looks as if another farmer's market will open in Carbondale this year. From the RPFM Carbondale Facebook page:

The deal is made and the location is secured. Most folks guessed correct on the final location.. The South side of the building and parking lot of where The Auto Shop is on 317 East Main Street This will be a year round market and will run rain or shine since if its raining we can open the big door and everyone can set up inside the 30' x 60' portion of the building. A sign will be going up on the board where the other businesses in the building signs are sometime befor April. As I said in an earlier post this will also be the home office of the Regional Producer Farmers Market. Open Market Days will be Thursdays from 3pm-7pm and Saturdays From 2PM - 6pm. The Seasonal Vendors will also be able to set up and sell on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Seasonal Vendors are guaranteed one of the 14 indoor stalls/displays and will be a farmers market Wednesday through Saturday. The advertising will begin in March as will Vendor sign up. Folks this is a great location with easy in and out access for market visitors, a very near downtown C'dale location, room for 14 outdoor vendors and 14 indoor Vendors (Possibly a few more), open 4 days per week and will function sort of like a co-op except the people producing the food will be the one there selling the food. We will have a limited number of tables and tents available for those who don't have them and I am going to be building market stalls on wheels/casters that can be rolled in and out of the building, for those that wish to use them. Now its getting real 

Carbondale Main Street sponsored a Wednesday afternoon farmer's market on the town square for a couple of years but could not get sufficient vendors to attain critical mass so as to make it self sustaining. Here's hoping the Regional Producers Farmers Market does so.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Seasonal Parking

Downtown free seasonal parking ended yesterday. From what I understand, city employees will unbag the parking meters on Monday. So long downtown free parking, you were nice while you lasted.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Egyptian Corner Supports Jane Adams

Interesting to see that whoever owns the Egyptian Corner has come out in favor of Jane Adams . The stores' street sign advertises Gyros, Shawarma and "Jane Adams for Mayor". First sign endorsing any candidate I have seen.