Thursday, April 30, 2015

IDOT Presentation

 Want to give IDOT some comments about the state of the roads in southern Illinois? You can this coming Tuesday. I am tempted to stop by just to ask them to put in a left turn lane where Highway 127 joins up with Old Highway 13. The line of cars waiting turn there can back up 10-13 cars if the traffic is heavy on Old 13.

The Illinois Department of Transportation, in conjunction with the Illinois Capital Development Board, will be holding a listening sessions at 1 p.m., Tuesday, May 5 at the Carbondale Civic Center to discuss the state’s infrastructure needs and the steps required to make sure the right investments are being made to keep Illinois competitive in a 21st century global economy. The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce is hosting and coordinating the meeting, one in a series around the state. IDOT’s goal is to present Governor Rauner’s office with a comprehensive package of recommendations for consideration this spring.

“With a world-class system of roads, transit systems, airports and railroads, Illinois is rich in transportation infrastructure, but we are at a crossroads. This asset makes us stand out, but it is beginning to deteriorate and in need of reinvestment,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “These meetings with the Capital Development Board are a listening tour to help us rebuild and craft a plan going forward that allows Illinois to continue to serve as the transportation hub of North America and build top-notch state facilities so we can grow our economy and improve our quality of life”

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Sales Tax Increase

The Carbondale sales tax will increase to 8.75% on July 1, equal with Carterville, and among the highest in the state, .25% higher than Marion. Half the money raised by the tax goes into the general fund to help cover budget shortfalls which had, in order to make the tax more palatable to various constituencies, goes into a fund designated for special projects.

I understand the need for increasing the tax to cover the budget shortfall. However I am not thrilled with the special projects fund, since we don't know what special project the money might fund. Who will oversee the fund and disbursement of monies from it?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Bike Parking

City council will take up bike parking as a consent item on tonight's agenda. Looking over the agenda, the new ordinance appears, as I read it, requires businesses to provide bicycle parking, which is just wrong.  If the city wants to encourage bike usage in the city, the city should provide bike parking, removing motor vehicle parking to do so.

Did speak with acting mayor Don Monty about this and the new regulations will only apply to new construction. Already existing businesses such as Mary Lou's and Jimmy John's will not be required to provide parking spaces but whatever goes in at the old American Tap location will. Either provide bike parking on their property or pay for a bike rack for the city to install elsewhere.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Cardboard Boat Regatta Pictures

Lee Fronabarger has a number of pictures from the Cardboard Board Regatta posted on his blog.

Dewey Center

Guest column in the Southern on the proposal to cut the budget of the Center for Dewey Studies at SIUC by half. Seems cutting the budget on a marquee segment of the university is penny wise and pound foolish but then the university did manage to lose the U. S. Grant collection of papers to Mississippi State University several years ago.


For those following the Kopper's site cleanup, here is the latest update on how it is progressing:

Items Performed/Completed Since Previous Report:
 On March 5, 2015, USEPA provided written comments on the Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA)
that was submitted by Beazer on November 26, 2014.
 On March 24, 2015, the Carbondale City Council approved a Special Use Permit for a commercial solar
energy facility at the Site.
 Beazer, USEPA and others participated in corrective action coordination conference calls on March 12
and 26, 2015.
 USEPA and ARCADIS participated on a conference call on March 19 to discuss USEPA comments
related to developing a revised groundwater monitoring program for the Site.
 Beazer continued post-construction OMM activities (e.g., DNAPL thickness measurements/removal,
CAMU leachate monitoring/removal, Site inspections, etc.).
 Beazer collected approximately 87 gallons of DNAPL from the barrier trench and approximately 46
gallons of DNAPL from recovery well RW-23 during this reporting period. The approximate total
DNAPL volumes collected through March 2015 are 19,190 gallons from the barrier trench and 7,673
gallons from RW-23.
Items Anticipated to be Performed/Completed over the Next One to Two Months:
 Beazer, USEPA and others will work on action items from the February 18, 2015 meeting, as
documented in a February 23, 2015 letter from Beazer and as discussed during the March 12, 2015
conference call.
 Beazer will submit a revised HHRA to USEPA.
 USEPA will provide comments on the October 2008 Draft Groundwater Monitoring Plan.
 Beazer and USEPA will participate in a conference call to discuss an ecological risk management
approach for the Site.
 Beazer will propose a draft scope of a monitored natural recovery (MNR) program for residual impacted
sediment areas.
 Beazer, USEPA and others will continue to participate in corrective action coordination conference calls.
Items Anticipated to be Performed/Completed over the Next Two to Six Months:
 Beazer will continue to advance proposed future Site uses, including conservation land use and
commercial solar energy.
 USEPA will conduct a public meeting in Carbondale.
Items that May Cause Delay in Implementing Future Activities and Efforts (if any) to Limit Such
 None.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Murdale Farmer's Market

Stopped by the Murdale Farmer's Market this morning and while things were hopping, I was surprised to find a few empty spaces there. Maybe still too early for some of their vendors to have anything to sell yet but still, the Market is normally cheek to jowl with seller booths.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Downtown Parking

I really wish city council would work on downtown parking ordinances and change the ordinances and signage to bring them into line with actual enforcement. The signs read "Meters Enforced Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m." but the city has no one out checking parking on Saturday and has not done so for so long that residents would complain loudly should the city start enforcing Saturday parking.

If the city wants to bring business downtown, charging parking fees on Saturday is not the way to do it and starting to enforce them after neglecting it for so long would only irritate people. Council needs to change the ordinance and then change the signage.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Gov. Rauner's proposed budget would cut state subsidies to Amtrak by about 40%, meaning routes are on the chopping block. I doubt the City of New Orleans would get cut but one of the two routes stopping in Carbondale would likely go away, making it just a bit harder to funnel students from upstate to SIUC and Carbondale. Given the current attendance at the university, we don't need anything making it harder for students to attend.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Quick Oil Change Service

Looks as if a Valvoline Quick Oil Change Service has opened up in the long closed Johnny B's Quick Oil Change building on the west side of town. Good thing as the only thing the building was really suitable for was a quick oil change service.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Labyrinth Rededication

The Labyrinth Peace Park Restoration Group will have a grand re-opening and ribbon cutting for the Labyrinth Peace Park next Thursday, April 23 at noon.  The Group has erected an open geodesic dome over the labyrinth which sits next to Gaia House at 913 S. Illinois Ave.

The Labyrinth is a unique feature of downtown Carbondale and it is a shame that it doesn't get more attention from the community. Though downtown, it is located at the far south end of the Strip, away from most foot traffic and is somewhat hidden on the grounds of Gaia House. Hopefully the new dome will make it more visable.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Students Protest Against Rauner

2000+ students have signed a petition asking the university to replace Governor Bruce Rauner as graduation speaker, which is likely a fool's errand given the request comes only a few weeks before the scheduled speech, meaning the University would have to find a replacement speaker in a hurry.

Rauner is, like it or not, the chief executive of the state of Illinois for the next four years and therefore the ultimate head of the university system. This area and, Illinois outside of Chicago and the Metro-east St. Louis region, voted for him. That means that much of the state wanted to put him in charge. I do have to wonder how many of those who clicked on the Change. org petition actually voted in the gubernatorial election. Going out to your polling place and casting a vote takes much more time and effort than clicking on a link on a website.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Groundbreaking for the new Heartland Women's Healthcare Center on April 16 at 11 a.m. For those looking for lunch, food will be served

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Wanna Buy a Cup?

Saturday April 25 at the Neighborhood Food Co-op:

Neighborhood Co-op Grocery is proud to be hosting Southern Clay Works Spring Cup Sale on April 25 from 9 am - Noon in front of the Co-op. Southern Clay Works is the registered student organization for ceramics at SIUC. Their ceramics program is highly regarded across the country with many of their graduates going on to successful careers as artists and teachers. This annual fundraiser is extremely popular with the public, so participants are asked to come early to find their favorite cups or mugs, which are all handmade by students and faculty. And, when you buy a mug, the Co-op will fill it with hot, Fair Trade coffee from Equal Exchange, too!

"I have collected many ceramic mugs over the years, all handmade by artists and craftspeople. Each morning when I select a mug for that day's coffee, the one I select is something like a reflection of me and how I am on that day. Really it is a very personal form of expression, the pottery we choose, which is what has driven me to collect so much pottery.", said Lisa Smith of her pottery collection.

Funds generated at the Spring Cup Sale go on to support student research and travel. The coffee has been donated by Neighborhood Co-op Grocery.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Hidden SIU Tour

The Chamber of Commerce announced the 2nd Hidden SIU tour last week. Get a chance to visit campus spots that the average person never gets to:

SIU alumni, staff, students and area residents have an opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at otherwise unseen parts of Southern Illinois University thanks to a tour planned by the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with SIU administrators and staff.
Now in its second year, “Hidden SIU” is billed by event organizers as “a one of a kind field trip,” taking participants to places usually unseen - even by those who have spent years on campus. The event, set for 3:30 p.m., Thursday, April 30, includes stops that will intrigue a variety of people. This year’s event is all new. The 2014 tour included visits to the green roof at the SIU Agriculture Building, visits on to the field at Saluki Stadium, a peak at basketball locker rooms and an opportunity to go inside one of the University’s steam tunnels.
The program includes transportation to all destinations and concludes with a catered meal at approximately 7 p.m. Organizers say the event will include significant walking.
The event is limited to 40 participants. Reservations are $30 per person, which includes all transportation, parking, and dinner costs. For more information or to reserve space as part of the Hidden SIU Tour, call the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce at (618) 549-2146.

Animal House Burns

The house at 209 West Hospital Drive, known locally as "Animal House" burnt yesterday morning and appears a total loss.

Animal House derives its name from its alleged association with John Belushi, who spent some time in Carbondale and at SIUC and  reportedly lived in the house during his time here. Reportedly, the "COLLEGE" shirt Belushi wears in Animal House was printed at the now-closed Gustos Graphics on South Illinois though Belushi's wife disputes this.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Women's Healthcare Groundbreaking

A groundbreaking ceremony will take place next Thursday April 16th at 11 am. This will be the official groundbreaking, as the ground has actually been broken on the location for several weeks now:

Heartland Women's Healthcare is set to break ground at their new Carbondale location, April 16that 11 a.m. The new practice will belocated on the 900 block of East Walnut Streetin a 25,000- square-foot retail and medical complex, Heartland will have 7,000- square -feet for their OB/GYN clinic, the additional space is to include a not yet named national restaurant chain.  The facility will also include an “ultrasound theater with a 50-inch screen, where the mother can bring friends and family to see the baby.
Heartland Women's Healthcareis the leader in Obstetric and Gynecologic care in Southern Illinois, they are a comprehensive practice that oversees the total health of women in all phases of life. Heartland currently has 23 locations which house 28 providers, 16 physicians, 5 nurse midwives, and 6 nurse practitioners. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Liquor Control Commission

The Liquor Control Commission meets next Tuesday night. Not much on the agenda though:

1.         Roll Call

2.         Approval of Minutes from March 24, 2015    

3.         Application for a Class A2 liquor license (Restaurant – All Alcoholic Liquors) for Los Chamas, Inc., d/b/a El Paisano Taqueria, at 100 North Glenview Drive Suite 103

4.         Citizens’ Comments and Questions

5.         Adjournment

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


MerchOp, focusing on t-shirt and other creative printing services, recently opened in Carbondale. Apparently in a secret location though, as the website gives no business address that I could find. Looks to have done quite a bit of work for local bands and other organizations.

Effect of Residency Challenge

I rather think that the challenge to Mike Henry's residency early in the campaign only helped his successful campaign. Whether those who brought the challenge or not had a strong legal case, it remained that, for the average voter, if you lived in Carbondale for the required period of time, you were a resident, no matter where your utility bill might be sent.

Also, the challenge received extensive coverage in the local papers and on tv, both when the charges were filed and when the electoral commission dismissed them, giving the Henry campaign two shots of publicity, while providing comparatively little mention during the same period of his opponent Jane Adams.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Election Results

With 100% of precincts reporting, and only about 10% of the population voting, John "Mike" Henry is Carbondale's next mayor, winning by 25%. Unless something in the counts changes, the new city councilmen are Tom Grant, Adam Loos and Navreet Kang.  Good night.

Carbndl Mayor
Number of Precincts 24
Precincts Reporting 24 100.0 %
Times Counted 2654/11922 22.3 %
Total Votes 2599
JANE ADAMS 979 37.67%
JOHN MIKE HENRY 1620 62.33%

C Carbndl Council
Number of Precincts 24
Precincts Reporting 24 100.0 %
Times Counted 2654/11922 22.3 %
Total Votes 6434
ADAM LOOS 1149 17.86%
NAVREET S. KANG 1087 16.89%
ANGELA K. KAYE 913 14.19%
TOM GRANT 1240 19.27%
LANCE D. JACK 885 13.76%
ANNA DURRETT 690 10.72%

Still More Election Numbers

With 87% of the precincts reporting:

 C Carbndl Mayor
Number of Precincts 24
Precincts Reporting 21 87.5 %
Times Counted 1776/11922 14.9 %
Total Votes 1744
JANE ADAMS 734 42.09%
JOHN MIKE HENRY 1010 57.91%

C Carbndl Council
Number of Precincts 24
Precincts Reporting 21 87.5 %
Times Counted 1776/11922 14.9 %
Total Votes 4285
ADAM LOOS 731 17.06%
NAVREET S. KANG 751 17.53%
ANGELA K. KAYE 607 14.17%
TOM GRANT 801 18.69%
LANCE D. JACK 593 13.84%
ANNA DURRETT 517 12.07%

More Election Numbers

With a third of Carbondale precincts reporting in:

Number of Precincts 24
Precincts Reporting 8 33.3 %
Times Counted 833/11922 7.0 %
Total Votes 816
JANE ADAMS 355 43.50%
JOHN MIKE HENRY 461 56.50%

C Carbndl Council
Number of Precincts 24
Precincts Reporting 8 33.3 %
Times Counted 833/11922 7.0 %
Total Votes 2060
ADAM LOOS 372 18.06%
NAVREET S. KANG 331 16.07%
ANGELA K. KAYE 278 13.50%
TOM GRANT 381 18.50%
LANCE D. JACK 290 14.08%
ANNA DURRETT 286 13.88%

Early Election Numbers

With 8.3% of precincts reporting, here are early results for the Carbondale Elections:

C Carbndl Mayor
Number of Precincts 24
Precincts Reporting 2 8.3 %
Times Counted 46/11922 0.4 %
Total Votes 46
JANE ADAMS 19 41.30%

C Carbndl Council
Number of Precincts 24
Precincts Reporting 2 8.3 %
Times Counted 46/11922 0.4 %
Total Votes 121
ADAM LOOS 16 13.22%
NAVREET S. KANG 24 19.83%
ANGELA K. KAYE 10 8.26%
TOM GRANT 24 19.83%
LANCE D. JACK 19 15.70%
ANNA DURRETT 20 16.53%

Polling Places

Stopped by a couple of the downtown polling places this afternoon. Poll workers at both said that traffic had been steady but not overwhelming. The generally feeling was that turnout was slightly higher than that for the last city election and that they expected traffice to pick up later in the day as people got off work.


Stopped by my polling place this morning to vote on the way into work and was rather surprised by the turnout so far. Though no voters were there when I arrived, the poll workers said 44 people had already voted by the time I got there. Hopefully that means a good turnout.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Bob Grimmer Post

This post on Facebook by Bob Grimmer regarding Jane Adams'campaign has been getting a lot of attention.

Southern for Mike Henry

In case you missed it, The Southern ran an editorial over the weekend saying that while both candidates for mayor had good points and both had indicated they didn't care much for their opponent, the editorial board felt, based on his business experience, Henry the better candidate.

We will find out who the voters prefer on Tuesday.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Saluki Stay Scholarship

The Chamber is now taking applications for this year's Saluki Stay Scholarship:

   The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce is now accepting applications for the 2015 Saluki Stay Scholarship Program, an effort to assist with the retention of students at Southern Illinois University. One of the most unique scholarship programs at SIU, the Saluki Stay scholarship awards five returning students with in-kind gifts ranging from store gift cards and assistance with utility bills to meals in area restaurants. The total value of awards is expected to be nearly $1,500 each.
                To be eligible for the award, students must be enrolled full-time for the fall semester 2015, be juniors or seniors with at least a 2.8 grade point average, have attended SIU for at the last two years and must be employed by a current Carbondale Chamber of Commerce member in good standing. Preference will be given to students with demonstrated financial need. Completed applications are due April 30, 2015. Applications and additional information are available online at or at
                The scholarship program is an effort of the Chamber’s Saluki Pride committee that works to strengthen relationships between Southern Illinois University and Carbondale’s business community. Dozens of Chamber-member businesses have make in-kind or cash donations to make the scholarships possible.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Chamber on Election

The Chamber of Commerce sent out a letter to all members, encouraging them to learn more about the candidates and to vote next Tuesday, but not supporting any candidates.  Very well written letter:

We do not usually reach out to our members with a formal letter, but we feel the importance of the subject requires a unique approach.

Next Tuesday the residents of Carbondale -- many of us, our neighbors, friends and our employees -- have the opportunity to cast ballots in a variety of municipal elections, most importantly the election of three members of the Carbondale City Council and the office of Mayor.

As a member of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, we believe you will agree with us that this is a very pivotal election. Carbondale is at a sort of crossroads: with the University making strides in student recruitment and retention, new developments in downtown and community organizations cooperating more than ever before, it is an exciting time for our community. However, the state's on-going fiscal crisis likely will impact communities all across Illinois, including Carbondale. We believe we need strong leadership for the days ahead.

The Chamber has tried to make you aware of the candidates for council and mayor as well as their positions on many issues, especially those that impact the business sector. We've held a candidate forum, interviewed each candidate on our weekly radio show and have posted candidate questionnaires on our website.

Now it is your turn. Even if you personally do not live within the city limits and cannot cast a ballot, you can have an impact on Tuesday's outcome. We're asking that you Take 5, Take 10, Take 15 and Give 20.

Take 5: Please take five minutes to consider what you desire in those who seek civic leadership positions. Consider the background and character of those you would want to lead us. Think about how these candidates, if elected, will impact your business and the community as a whole.

Take 10: Take 10 minutes to review the questionnaires on our website,, learn more about each of the candidates for mayor and city council and see how their platforms and positions line up with your ideals.

Take 15: Please take 15 minutes to speak to each of your employees who live in Carbondale about the importance of this election, how city government impacts all of our businesses and share with them your insight about the candidates. Your employees look to you for leadership and guidance. You owe it to them and to your business to share how this election may impact all of us.

Give 20: Consider giving each of your employees 20 minutes to go to their respective polling places and cast their votes on April 7. You may even want to provide transportation or a longer lunch break for this purpose. Then thank them for voting.

Thank you for your concern for Carbondale and your membership in the Carbondale Chamber.

Incidentally, I did receive a letter from Mike Henry today. Apparently he is reaching out to all members of the Chamber of Commerce.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Downtown Density

One of the big problems with downtown, and something the comprehensive plan will have to address is the amount of empty space between buildings. Especially in the  area between Walnut and College, you find quit long stretches of sidewalk bordered by parking spaces. while parking is a good and necessary thing (and the lack of which is also a common complaint about downtown), their presence breaks up the flow of foot traffic.

An important feature of a vibrant retail area is a dense business presence so that shoppers can readily move from one store to the next. This is the problem University Mall has with its food court. By locating it on a low traffic wing, it ensured little to no foot traffic in the area. No foot traffic means no pedestrians and no pedestrians means no shoppers.