Friday, December 30, 2016

Shoplifter at Kohl's

Carbondale Police are asking for help in identifying the chap in the pictures at the link. Apparently concealed merchandise under his jacket and left without paying for it. Sorry, but you don't need anything at Kohls badly enough to steal it.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Home 2 Suites By Hilton

Construction for the Home2 Hilton Suites building is moving along with the outer first floor walls up. Plans are to have it completed just in time for next year's eclipse. Going to be a tight schedule though with the eclipse taking place next August. Local hotels are almost completely booked with the very few remaining rooms asking prices of $500 per night with a 3 night minimum, meaning AirB&B will get lots of use next summer.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Eve Business

I happened to be driving around town the night of Christmas Eve and happened to notice only three types of businesses still open at that hour:  Chinese restaurants, liquor stores, and bars. Even the Casey's , at least the one on Giant City Road, had closed its doors for the night.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Dinner

In case you have no place to dine on Christmas Day, St. Francis Xavier Church at 303 S. Poplar Street will host its annual Community Christmas dinner from noon to 2 p.m. on Christmas Day.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

More Graffitti

The Regions Bank building at the corner of Main and Poplar got vandalized for the second time in a month this week, likely due to the high visibility of the building and the light color of the bricks.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Meet the Mayor

First, there was "Coffee with a Cop", now there is "Meet the Mayor".  Don't think he is buying buy you can meet Mayor Mike Henry on the following dates at the following locations. From the city's press release:

The City of Carbondale is excited to announce that it will begin offering a “Meet the Mayor” Program in 2017.
Sessions will be held on the first Tuesday of every month from 8-9:30 a.m. Citizens will have the opportunity to talk to Carbondale Mayor John “Mike” Henry and Carbondale City Manager Gary Williams over coffee.
The location will be as follows: 
·        1/3      Harbaugh’s
·        2/7      Common Grounds
·        3/7      IHOP
·        4/4      Mary Lou’s
·        5/2      Sunny Street Café
·        6/6      Neighborhood Co-Op
·        7/11    Panera
·        8/1      Longbranch Café & Bakery
·        9/5      Harbaugh’s
·        10/3    Common Grounds
·        11/7    IHOP
·        12/5    Mary Lou’s

Monday, December 19, 2016

A Fine Reason to Shop at Bookworm

From the press release sent out today:

 Customers at Bookworm, a locally owned new- and used-book store in Carbondale’s Eastgate Shopping Center, can now see a portion of their purchase go to support Keep Carbondale Beautiful, it was announced on Sunday.  If a customer references KCB when they make a purchase, one percent of the total will be donated to KCB.  The idea developed when they were asked to play the same game as some giant retailers.

The Executive Director at Keep Carbondale Beautiful had seen the offers:  get your supporters to sign up at one of the corporate retailers where they already do business, and a portion of their purchases would be directed to the not-for-profit.  A certain online store offers to send 0.5% of a purchase price to a customer’s preferred charity. 

There was only one problem.  “I just couldn’t in good conscience encourage people to go online and send more money out of the area, especially when we have our own stores that provide the identical service.”  So she pitched the idea to Bookworm owners Carl and Kelly Rexroad, who even offered to double the percentage.  "As local business owners, we believe in helping community causes. Sarah's idea is another great way for us to give back to the people and organizations who continue to shop locally."

Keep Carbondale Beautiful has been a voice in the “buy local” movement for several years, in sync with Keep America Beautiful’s call “to build and sustain vibrant communities.”  Heyer added, “Bookworm has been very helpful with our Read for the Environment program, which brings books into elementary school classrooms.  I send them a list of books, and they call when they are ready.  I rely on them and am thrilled to formalize our relationship in this way.”

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Southern Illinois Fracking

Illinois Issues and the Southern took a look at the failed promise of fracking in southern Illinois. The permit process got up and running about the same time as the price of oil collaped

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Carbondale Traffic

Got to wondering what auto traffic was like on the main streets in Carbondale, so stopped by the Public Works office, where they were kind enough to pull up the IDOT traffic maps, since Carbondale doesn't track vehicular traffic on its own.

Highest traffic area in town is, not surprisingly, out by the intersection of Highway 13 and Reed Station Road, which sees (and all of these figures are averages) about 26,300 cars pass by per day. Traffic drops off significantly as you get to downtown, where the intersection of 13 and Illinois has about 19,200 cars a day heading west. Highway 51 traffic at that spot heading south is about 9100.

Traffic picks up somewhat as 13 reaches the west side of Carbondale with  about 22,700 cars exiting and entering the town at that point and between 15000 to 16000 cars a day travelling between the 2 cities.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Community Garden

The community garden that has sprouted on the site of the long demolished Tuscan Lodge building has expanded to take up much of the lot.

Monday, December 12, 2016

State Of the City

The State of the City is.....

Find out tomorrow at the Mayor's annual State of the City Address

 The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce will host the 2016 State of the City Address on Tuesday, December 13 during their monthly luncheon.

Carbondale Mayor John “Mike” Henry will highlight the city’s progress and accomplishments over the last year.

Lunch will begin at noon in the Carbondale Civic Center at 200 S. Illinois Avenue. Tickets for the event are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Reservations can be made by calling: (618) 549-2146.

Proceeds from the event will support the Mayor’s Scholarship Fund which provides scholarships for Carbondale Community High School students attending Southern Illinois University.

Hollywood Lounge

The Hollywood Lounge has had a soft opening in its location at the corner of Jackson and Illinois, in the location previously occupied by Noah's Lounge, Big Boys Quin and other businesses that didn't last very long there.  Here's hoping that Hollywood has a longer track record.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Christmas Parking

I realize school ends tomorrow and then SIUC has a week of finals but can the city get the "free parking" bags on the meters already? While I understand the need for meters in downtown in order fund repairs to the parking lots, free parking at this time of year would really help the few retail shops (Carbondale Cycle, Phoenix Cycle, Walk the Line, Nest, Bella Sara and I may have forgot a couple) in downtown.

Most of downtown Carbondale is destination shopping. People either go to a restaurant or a bar or to a stylist. There is not enough product based retailing in downtown to entice people to spend a Saturday afternoon wandering around the downtown area. Customers come in and take care of business at the Civic Center, get their hair done or get something to eat, then leave. Free parking,even for a few weeks, would help them stay in downtown longer.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Benches Replaced

The benches on either side of the railman statue on the Town Square that the city removed last fall to keep people from sleeping on them have been reinstalled. Apparently the advent of colder weather convinced the people who were occupying them to move along and the city returned them, though I really doubt anyone will use them until warmer weather in the spring.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Bully Juice Vapor Is

.... now the Vape Shop. It would appear that Bully Juice Vapor sold out to the Vape Shop as there is now a second Vape Shop in the University Plaza strip mall in downtown Carbondale, where Bully Juice used to be. This puts two vape stores, Chuckin Clouds and the Vape Shop within a block of one another. 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Lights Fantastic 2

From the city:

CARBONDALE – The 26th Annual Lights Fantastic Parade returns to downtown Carbondale on Saturday, December 3.
The parade will begin promptly at 6 p.m. along Mill Street and will travel north on Illinois Avenue to Town Square.
Parade goers are encouraged to arrive early to avoid road closures and detours along Illinois State Highway 13 and U.S. Highway 51 from 5-8 p.m.
West Bus Service will provide rides to the parade from Murdale Shopping Center and the Main Entrance of University Mall. Buses will pick up passengers every 15 minutes between 4:30-6 p.m. Buses will return passengers following the parade.
For a complete list of detours and road closures, visit the Carbondale Lights Fantastic Parade Facebook page or the City’s website:

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Lights Fantastic

Carbondale's annual Lights Fantastic parade takes place this Saturday starting at 6 p.m. Downtown parking on S. Illinois will start closing up about 3 p.m. and detours around downtown will start at 5 p.m. There will be several pre-parade events from 4 to 6 p.m. as well

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Downtown Cameras

Looks as if we will have either a little more security or a little less privacy downtown.  Take your pick. Looks as if they will be installed along South Illinois with the first few going in between College and Cherry Streets, which make sense as most recent activity that has involved police action has taken place in that stretch. from the press release:

The City of Carbondale is installing security cameras downtown as part of a multi-phase safety project. 
The first phase includes cameras that will be placed between College and Cherry Streets with additional phases that will extend along Illinois Avenue. 
“The City of Carbondale continues its focus on revitalizing downtown, and enhancing the experience for our residents and visitors is a major part of that effort.  Improving safety and ensuring that downtown visitors feel safe is fundamental to our revitalization strategy,” said Carbondale City Manager Gary Williams.

Broken Window at Regions

The window at Regions was apparently broken at the same time as the graffiti but was covered with black paper at the time. From what I have heard, it was caused by someone flinging a brick through the window hard enough to send it across the lobby.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Two More City Council Candidates

As of 4 p.m. today 2 more candidates had filed for the open city council seats including one time city manager (I assume) Jeff Doherty:

"The period for filing nominating petitions for three City Council positions ended today at 5:00 p.m. Listed below are the five candidates who have filed for City Council Member. An “L” next to the name of the first three candidates indicates that those candidates will be involved in the Lottery for Ballot Placement to be held on Monday, December 5, at 4:00 p.m. in the City Clerk’s Office.

L - Jessica Bradshaw, 1113 W. Walkup Ave.
          L - Lee M. Fronabarger, 1140 Morningside Dr.
          L - Carolin Harvey, 109 South Tower Road
          4 - Tobias Merriman, 1200 W. Chautauqua Street
          5 - Jeff Doherty, 2918 W. Kent Drive"

No New City Council Candidates

No one has submitted any petitions to run for city council as of earlier today. The city will send out an update indicating if anyone new has registered at 4 p.m. today.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving Vandalism

Proving that stupidity never takes a holiday, the Regions Bank building and the building at the corner of Main and Springer got spray-painted sometime the night the before Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 24, 2016

3 File for City Council

Three current members of the city Council have filed petitions to get on the ballot for the next election. From the press release:

Three candidates have filed their nominating petitions for City Council member. Since these candidates filed at the same time, a lottery for ballot placement will be held on Monday, December 5, at 4:00 p.m. in the City Clerk's Office. Candidates who subsequently file for City Council will appear on the ballot in the order in which their nominating petitions are received. Listed alphabetically below are the three candidates who have simultaneously filed and will be involved in the Lottery:

Jessica Bradshaw, 1113 W. Walkup Ave.
          Lee M. Fronabarger, 1140 Morningside Dr.
          Carolin Harvey, 109 South Tower Road

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Day Dinner

In case you are interested, the American Farm Bureau Federation says that the average Thanksgiving dinner will cost 24 cents less to feed a group of 10 than it would have last year.

If you don't have any place to go on Thanksgiving in Carbondale, the Newman Center will host its annual Thanksgiving dinner for the community from noon to 2 p.m.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


The owner of the building that housed Curbside, and before that Icebox, apparently has finally give up on reopening the business as there is now a (falling off) "For Rent" sign taped to the awning. Under the sign is another name, so apparently someone else planned to open a business in there but never managed to get the door open, just a name painted on the awning.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Gold Diggers

Looks as if the former Blue Martin on East Main Street (next to the still shuttered Pony) will reopen as Gold Diggers, with "Plenty of TV's for every sport, tons of gaming and of course hot girls with even hotter drink specials! "  Quite a transition from the former incarnation as a quiet upscale cocktail lounge.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Life and Style (in Southern Illinois)

Received a copy of the winter edition of the Southern Illinoisan's Life and Style bundled with this morning's copy of the paper and found the amount of focus on areas outside of Southern Illinois bemusing. One article looked at a Florida artist working on statues in Paducah, while another discussed the holiday programming coming to the Carson Center, also in Paducah. Is southern Illinois all out of artists and holiday programming?

However, the capper was the article directing people shopping for holiday gifts to shops in Saint Genevieve and St. Charles.  This time of year accounts for around 40% of retail sales for the year and southern Illinois already has a large problem with shopping leakage, consumers choosing to cross the rivers to shop in Cape Girardeau and Paducah instead of Carbondale or Marion. Southern Illinois has a difficult enough time of it economically without a magazine focusing on the region sending shoppers elsewhere to buy gifts.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Sale Tax Increase

Sales taxes will creep up another percent on July 1 to 9.75%.  on most products in Carbondale, autos, ATVs, boats, unprepared food and drugs exempted. Prepared food is even higher, another 2% due mainly to the influence of the aforementioned sellers of autos, ATVs etc. who feared an extra percent or so tax on them would drive customers to Marion.

What worries me is that, after the Saluki Way tax expires, the city fails to roll the tax back to previous levels. This was promoted to the community as a limited time tax but taxes, save under pressure, have a habit of never regressing once passed.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Lights Fantastic Banners

Banners promoting the Lights Fantastic Parade went up today. I know the parade is less than three weeks away but still, what about Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 14, 2016

Empty Sunday Night

Took a walk through downtown about 8 last night and found it interesting how many restaurants and bars were closed at that hour. Those that weren't only had one or 2 tables of customers. Even Pagliai's, which is normally full on a Sunday evening, was about 3/4 empty. I don't know if it was the cold or the closeness to Thanksgiving but downtown was certainly empty.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Students in Front of Confederate Flag

According to this, the two SIUC students whose picture of them wearing blackface while standing in front of a Confederate flag was not intended as a racist reaction to Trump's election but rather two college kids acting silly. The post on the now deleted Facebook account said the "blackface" was actually a boscia face mask and the Confederate flag was a defaced one. Truth or an excuse they made up when the picture got out?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Campaign Offices Emptying

Noticed that Tammy Duckworth's campaign office on West Walnut had emptied out as of late afternoon today. Sheila Simon's office next door still had lots of material stacked around though, although the signs had come down from the windows.

Never did see any offices for any of the other candidates in Carbondale, though I would bet the local Green operations were located in someone's house.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Jackson County Election Results

You probably already know the national election results but the Southern is kind enough to post the results for Jackson County A few things I found interesting:

For the first time in recent memory, Jackson County voted Republican for President. The Trump/Pence ticket won by 12 points.

Sheila Simon didn't even win in her home county, losing to Paul Schimpf by 45 votes.

People's concerns about "big government" didn't stop them from voting to create the Public Building Commission of Jackson County.

Despite making Carbondale's sales tax among the highest in the state and comparable to the sales tax in DuQuoin, it passed. Here's hoping that all the people living in the county come to shop in Carbondale, rather than driving to lower tax communities like Marion

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Halloween Crackdown Numbers

Looks like a pretty quiet Halloween this year. The police department has posted the numbers for vehicle stops over the holiday and they were pretty low. Now idea what the number of alcohol related infractions were though.

Polling Places

Voting takes place today. In case you don't know where to vote, here is a handy list of polling places in Jackson County.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Building Demolitions

A couple of iconic buildings in Carbondale have gotten demolished in the past month, the Jeffery Laundromat, as mentioned before on the blog, and the Horizon nee, Holiday Inn on East Main Street. The Horizon has sat empty for the better part of the past decade while the city tried to determine who actually owned the property. Apparently there were a number of corporations associated with ownership and it was hard to track down which one to give the demolition order to.  The city has had some interest in the property but not with the mold infested building standing on it. Once it is gone, the city should find it easier to sell the land to a developer.

The nearby BP gas station that has sat empty for the past year or so, following a couple of abortive attempts to re-open it, should also get razed in the near future as Casey's General Stores wants to open at that location but plans to remove the current building and start over again from the ground up.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Solar Educaton

Want to learn more about solar energy? JALC and Advanced Energy Solutions Group will host a series of public meetings on the topic:

John A. Logan College and Advanced Energy Solutions Group are conducting a series of public meetings to educate Illinois residents about smart grid and smart meter technology as well as a bulk buy opportunity for solar power. Six events will be held, all open to the public, and one lucky attendee will win a free SolarWorld 285 watt solar module, valued at $350.

The presentations will provide context about upgrades being made to the state's electric grid and what that means for consumers. Several resources are readily available by visiting the website

In addition, AES Solar invites the public to learn about their current 'Go Solar Southern Illinois' program which offers participants tiered discounts based on how much cumulative solar power will be purchased through the program, which runs until December 10. The goal is to amass 100 kilowatts or more, and then everyone involved will enjoy a 20% discount on their modules, inverters, and racking.

All meetings will offer light complimentary refreshments, and more information is also available at
  • October 29, 9-11 am at JALC West Frankfort extension
  • November 26-8 pm at Design Center, 121 S. Illinois Avenue (train depot), Carbondale
  • November 96-8 pm at Mackie's Pizza, Marion
  • November 166-8 pm at JALC DuQuoin Extension, Room 1
  • November 30, 6-8 pm at Tres Hombres, Carbondale
  • December 66-8 pm at JALC main campus, Carterville

Monday, October 31, 2016

Quiet Halloween

Took a walk through downtown Carbondale this weekend and pretty quiet for Halloween. People out in costumes walking the Strip but no trouble that I saw, though still problems with littering. Actual Halloween night pretty quiet in downtown as well, though I did see one "buffalo chicken" heading for The Cellar.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Halloween in the Arbor District

From an email sent out by the Arbor District:

On Halloween night, Monday October 31, come to the Buckminster Fuller/Ann Hewlett Fuller Geodesic Dome Home at 407 S. Forest Street in Carbondale. There will be treats and many, many lighted Jack-o-lanterns, each beautifully carved with the image of an architectural site.  This apparition appeals to all ages.

Visit us between the witching hours of 6 and 7:30 p.m., and trick or treat through the rest of the Arbor District with its atmospheric vintage homes.

This will be a night to remember!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Haunted Carbondale

From a press release from Keep Carbondale Beautiful:

Carbondale.  The decorations at 406 North Poplar Street are attracting attention and have earned the home of Kris and Dorothy Schachel a Bright Spot Award from Keep Carbondale Beautiful.  Dorothy is the artist in residence. Window designs were measured on graph paper and carefully cut to fit. 
The spider in front is more than a product of her imagination: her research indicated that spiders have four to six eyes, so she used four ping-pong balls and painted them with fingernail polish to get the right color and irridescence.  The legs are made of PVC pipe and designed so the body has a slight bounce.  Their favorite compliment:  "We been waiting all month to trick-or-treat this house." 
The Keep Carbondale Beautiful, Inc., Board selects businesses or residences to receive the Bright Spot Award for enhancing the beauty of our community by means of revitalization of property, new construction, plantings and beautification, upkeep and maintenance, or rehabilitation.
If you would like to nominate a business or residence to receive the Award, please call the Keep Carbondale Beautiful office at 525-5525 or email  Archives of some past Bright Spot Award winners may be found at

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Hundley House

Found this short documentary on the history of Hundley House

Blatant pitch: if you would like to go inside Hundley House this Friday night, join me for the last Haunted Carbondale tour of the year. Leaving from Castle Perilous Games & Books at 7 p.m.  Wear comfortable shoes and clothing suitable for the weather.  $10 per person with children under 6 and well behaved pets free.  Half of your fee goes to the Humane Society of Southern Illinois. Email castleperilousgames

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Sales Tax Increase

There's a county wide 1% sales tax on the ballot this election day to help fund school building repairs and help reduce property taxes that would normally be collected to fund the school districts. Instead, money from the sales tax would replace that normally collected from property taxes.

Adding the proposed 1% sales tax to Carbondale's existing sale tax would push the city's sales taxes to among the highest in the state, around 10%. About 70% of the revenue from the tax, which would generate an estimated $5.4 million for Jackson County schools, would come from Carbondale.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Retail Space in Downtown

Given the number of people that the Evolve complex was supposed to bring to downtown, there is certainly a lot of empty retail space there. The 4 space strip mall just north of Evolve sits completely empty and, with the movement of the Printing Plant to the old Tantastic just south and the planned exit of Axe Monkey to a new location, the strip just north of what is now the Printing Plant will be empty save for Sun Nails. The whole "Let's put an apartment complex smack in the middle of downtown in order to bring students there" idea doesn't appear working so far.

Monday, October 24, 2016

SIUC Homecoming Parade

Walked with the Saluki Pride float during last Saturday's parade and noted how comparatively few people watched the parade this year compared to prior years. There were stretched with only a few people and a long segment on S. University with almost no one.  I heard from a few people later in the day that they did not realize the time had been pushed back to 10 a.m. from 11 and wonder if there were a large number of people who had missed the announcements over the past few weeks regarding the earlier than normal start time.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Haunted Carbondale

A pretty thorough look at Carbondale's iconic Hundley House and the 1928 murders, still unsolved, that left the building haunted.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Free Downtown Parking

At least for the foreseeable future. The city currently has no plans to make the recently installed parking lot where the Animal Cracks building stood at one time into a paid lot, making this almost the only place a driver can park downtown without having to put a quarter in the meter.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Pumpkin Race

From Carbondale Main Street:

The Rotary Club of Carbondale Breakfast, together with Carbondale Main Street and the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, will host their Fourth Annual Carbondale Pumpkin Race on October 29, 2016. The Pumpkin Race will start at 2pm at the Mill Street Underpass in downtown Carbondale with registration beginning at 1pm.

Participation is free and racers of all ages can get help constructing their pumpkins through the Science Center on October 23rd from 12-2pm by calling 618-529-5431. Prizes will be awarded in a variety of race classes and categories for pumpkins that complete the course.

New elements have been added this year to keep the event fresh and exciting. 2016 Olympic hammer thrower and SIUC graduate, DeAnna Price will be wielding the Mallet-O-Justice and smashing any “Cheater Pumpkins” that don’t follow race regulations. Mayer Branding is hosting a special Grand Prix for more serious racers with a $20 entry fee and a $500 grand prize.

All race proceeds benefit Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale. More information can be found at We look forward to seeing you downtown!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Unofficial Halloween, the Aftermath

Took a drive through downtown Carbondale yesterday morning to see the results of the weekend's Unofficial Halloween revelries and they were surprisingly absent. No broken windows or other damage and little trash littering the ground.  I only saw one overflowing trash can in front of Stix, though there may have been more, as well as a few dozen Styrofoam containers littering the street there as well.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Unofficial Hallween

Walked through downtown Carbondale last night about 10 p.m.on the second night of Unofficial Halloween and was happy at the number of costumed folk I saw wandering S. Illinois Avenue, primarily between Mill and Cherry Streets. There was actually a line waiting to get into Stix but that was the most crowded spot I saw. Carbondale Police were out as well with cars parked on the Town Square, as well as further south on Illinois

Friday, October 14, 2016

Carbondale Zombie Walk

In case you happen to pass through Carbondale late tomorrow afternoon, the annual Carbondale Zombie Walk starts at Gaia House at the corner of University and Grand at 4 p.m. and slowly staggers its way to the Town Square.

By the way, Unoffical Halloween is scheduled for this weekend as well.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Birger's Pub License Transfer

Caught a few minutes of the LCC discussion regarding the transfer of the B2 liquor license from Shaun's Place to Birger's Pub last Tuesday night. Although the LCC approved the transfer, setting it up for final approval by the City Council, council members expressed some concern over the lack of information regarding operations of the Pub. Specifically, questions were raised about who would handle money at the Pub, were the bartender and manager the same and how would receipts be tracked.

Under the license, at least 51% of the revenue generated by the Pub mist come from liquor sales. A couple of council people wondered how the monies from liquor sales and video gaming would be tracked. The Birger's Pub representative pointed out that the video game terminals automatically transmitted their receipts to the state on a regular basis, so the city could request that information and compare total receipts to video gaming one. The transfer passed, with only two LCC members voting against.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Downtown Design Charrette

In case you want to add some input to any proposed downtown redesign, there will be a discussion at the Old Train Depot next Wednesday, October 19th from 4 p.m to 7 p.m. According to what I have been told, participants are welcome to come in and give input anytime during those hours.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Jeffery Laundromat Demolition

Demolishing the old Jeffery Laundromat to make place for a new ob/gyn clinic. Expect to have the building removed in about a week or so.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Shaun's Place Now Birger's Pub

According to this item from the upcoming Liquor Control Commission's agenda, what was going to be called Shaun's Place on the ground floor of the Newel Building will now have its name and ownership changed to Birger's Pub. Shaun's Place never did get off the ground and Birger's Pub is still undergoing rennovations:

Attached is an application from GLH Capital Enterprise, Inc., d/b/a Birger’s Pub, for the transfer of an existing Class B2 liquor license currently held by Shaun Kocel, an individual, d/b/a Shaun’s Place at 201 East Main Street #1-B. Included is a notarized letter from Mr. Kocel, owner of Shaun’s Place, authorizing the transfer. This item was previously on the September 20 agenda but was pulled as the applicant did not receive timely notice of the meeting.

Liquor Code provisions: There is a cap of 20 on Class B1 and B2 liquor licenses, but as this is a transfer of an existing B2 license, there will be no change in the number currently issued. Class B2 licenses shall authorize the retail sale of all alcoholic liquors, by the drink, for consumption on the premises only, subject to the terms, conditions, and restrictions of this and all other pertinent sections of this code. The holder of a B2 license shall not allow any person under the minimum entry age to enter into or remain upon the premises for which the license is held.

Transfers of Licenses:

A. A license shall be a purely personal privilege and shall not constitute property. Nothing in this title shall be construed to grant a right to transfer or accept the transfer of any license. Applicants for the transfer of an existing liquor license shall follow the procedures for issuance of a new liquor license as contained in the Liquor Code.

B. The local liquor control commission, upon receipt of written application and a transfer fee in the amount of one hundred dollars ($100.00), may authorize the transfer of any license issued under this chapter.

C. If the applicant seeks to transfer the license to a new location, the proposed location must comply with all rules, regulations, city ordinances and state statutes applicable to the operation and maintenance of a licensed premises.

D. The transfer of a license issued hereunder from one person to another may only be made in the case of a bona fide sale or transfer for valuable consideration of the business, and upon the determination by the local liquor control commission that the purchaser possesses the qualifications as required of an applicant for the original license.

E.  No transfer shall be effective and no new license shall be issued until the former license is submitted to the office of the city clerk and all monies due the city have been paid.

Liquor Advisory Board Review: This application was reviewed by the Liquor Advisory Board at the meeting of September 1, 2016. While a motion for the approval of the application was received, there was no second. There were no subsequent motions and this matter has been forwarded to the Commission for their consideration. 

Outstanding Items: The $100 transfer fee has been paid and the criminal history check did not reveal anything which would preclude the applicant from holding a liquor license. All other items remain outstanding.

Friday, October 7, 2016

S&B's Video Gaming

According to this agenda item from the upcoming LCC meeting, S & B's Burger Joint is applying for a video gaming license for its University Mall location.  Can't a restaurant just serve food anymore?

Attached is an application for video gaming terminal permit stickers from Eateries, Inc. d/b/a S&B's Burger Joint at 1237 East Main Street. The applicant has provided a copy of their Illinois Gaming Establishment License. S&B's Burger Joint holds an A2 liquor license which authorizes a restaurant to sell all alcoholic liquors by the drink.

Section 2-4-17 of the Carbondale Revised Code requires Local Liquor Control Commission approval for the addition of the gaming machines as the liquor license renewal application considered by the Commission did not include any reference to video gaming.

Benches Removed Due to Long Term Occupiers

There have been a small group, 2-4, of people hanging out and sleeping on two of the benches on the Town Square for over a month. Last week the city took action and removed the two benches. Undeterred, the group has now moved over and occupied the benches near the fountain across from ABC Liquor. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Jeffery Laundromat Coming Down

Demolishment started on longtime downtown Carbondale landmark and more recent eyesore Jeffery Laundromat. The one-time thriving business, with its iconic neon sign, has gotten increasingly dilapidated over the past decade and the property has been purchased with plans to remove the building and replace it with a ob-gyn clinic conveniently across the street from Memorial Hospital.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

New Economic Development Director

Steve Mitchell has taken over Gary Williams' old job.  From the city:

The City of Carbondale would like to announce that Steve Mitchell has been named Economic Development Director, effective October 3, 2016.  Mr. Mitchell was born and raised in Southern Illinois and earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Management and a Master’s of Business Administration from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.  Before accepting his new role with the City, Mr. Mitchell served as the Technology & Communications Manager for the Management, Training & Consulting Corporation in Marion, IL, a position he had held since 1997.  Throughout his professional career, Mr. Mitchell has sought to integrate his education, his background in technology and his passion for economic development to bring opportunity to the citizens and businesses of Southern Illinois.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Signs, Signs...

Looks like we have to a couple of signs coming and going in downtown, though it appears that they have to have approval from the Certificate of Appropriateness committee:

) Certificate of Appropriateness for removal of a sign at Dona Camilla Mexican located at 100 West Jackson Street.

b) Certificate of Appropriateness for installation of sign at the Old Railroad Passenger Depot located at 111, 121, and 131 South Illinois Avenue. 

IHOP Now Open

It would appear the new IHOP had a soft opening today. I understand that the new Marion IHOP opened today as well.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Halloween's A Comin'

Mayor Henry sent out the press release below regarding Trick or Treat hours:

"Mayor John M. Henry has proclaimed Monday, October 31, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. as the official "Trick-or-Treat" hours for Carbondale children."

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Oak Street

Apparently one of the things Memorial Hospital would like is for most of the current housing along the north side of West Oak, and adjoining streets, to be razed and replaced with upscale townhouses for hospital employees and possible long term rentals.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Response to SIUC Post

In response to my post last week on my thoughts regarding the reasons for the drop in attendance at SIUC, I received the following email, reposted with permission:

I agree that SIUC grew larger than can be sustained, but I believe you’re considering primarily it’s ability to serve the undergraduate needs of the region, as SEMO does. SEMO offers very few graduate courses, and no PhDs that I’m aware of. It’s a very different animal than SIUC.

SIUC is not only a nationally recognized university, but an internationally recognized one. Its graduate programs - particularly at the doctoral level - bring in a great deal of research money (or did until the previous administrations instituted unacceptably strict line control and other regulations that drove off many of the university’s top grant-generating scholars). These programs contribute a great deal to the region through graduate research and internships in many sectors, from social services to environmental and agricultural issues to new technologies. A primarily undergraduate institution like SEMO has very few of these synergies with the region. 

SIUC is also the only university in the state that has both a law school and a medical school (UIC manages the University of Illinois medical school; UIUC manages the system’s law school). 

While SIU is a regionally focused system, it is the only such system in the state, with campuses in Edwardsville and Carbondale. Edwardsville is more comparable to SEMO as it has few if any doctoral programs and primarily services the region. Carbondale is more comparable to UIUC - although you’re correct in noting that it’s fallen behind its ambitions to achieve something close to parity with the state’s flagship Land Grant university. Nonetheless, UIC is the only regional university in the state that ranks ahead of SIUC in doctoral degrees and, until the revision of Carnegie standings, Carnegie status, which is based largely on the number of doctoral programs and research productivity.

SIUC’s long strong suit for many years has been its environmental and natural resources focus, which crosses departments and colleges. Unfortunately, it lost its leading professor due to the previous administration - he took a chairmanship at another university. Hopefully, once the state gets its act together, the current leadership will be able to rebuild this pioneering multi-disciplinary program, as well as rebuild the universities’ other premier programs and its library. SIUC has a hard-earned global reputation; it shouldn’t squander that.

I expect that SIUC should reduce some of its doctoral offerings in deference to increasing quality, but without doctoral programs, the overall ability of the university to thrive and grow will decline.

Friday, September 23, 2016

New BBQ Place?

Keep hearing rumors of a new BBQ place opening in Carbondale called Carbondale Barbecue or C'dale BBQ. Supposedly in the downtown area but cannot find out any more specifics than that. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

SIUC Attendance Decline

I have said for years, and will still keep saying, that SIUC's problem is that the university is too large for the area to support it. Consider that the entire 13 county area normally referred to as Southern Illinois totals just over 265,000 in population, while the university peaked at about 24,000 back about 1990. Consider that Southeast Missouri State University, which pulls from the equally sparsely populated Bootheel region only has about 12,000 students currently, but has trended upwards over the past 2 decades, compared with SIUC which has slowly trended down over the same time period.

I give the credit for the disparate size of SIUC to the 22 year tenure of Delyte Morris and his single minded focus on growing the university into a nationally recognized institution. He did such a good job that the institution could coast on what he had built, despite the lack of focus that he provided (John Guyon wanted SIUC to become a graduate focused research institution in the 1990s while Walter Wendler shifted the strategy to "Southern at 150" during his tenure). for the next 20 years until inertia finally took over and is slowly bringing back SIUC's size to something more in line with the region it serves.

Can this trend be reversed? Of course. Morris was able to do just that. Unfortunately, in today's academia, Delyte Morrises are few and far between

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Video Gaming Cap

The city council voted last night to cap the number of video gaming/gambling terminals at 100. If the remaining applications are approved , the city would have 94 terminals within city limits.

On one hand, I can understand the city's desire to limit the number of these establishments within the city. Much like vape shops, a surprising number of them have sprung up in the past couple of years and they do not enhance the image of the city such as more upscale retail shops would.

However, they do occupy empty retail space and we are likely would reach a saturation level without the cap. I listened to a presentation on casino gambling on Monday and one of the things brought out was the high level of payout required in order to operate legally within the state. Video terminals, if Illinois is similar to Missouri, are required to pay out an average of 89% of the money taken in, meaning that the establishment, unless it has other revenue sources, operates on an 11% gross margin. Not very big when you consider the expenses, even something as minimal as a video parlour, must cover. I would expect, if the city raised or eliminated the cap on the number of licenses, to see an influx of parlours opening up as people sought to get rich quick on them, followed by a quick shake out as the more poorly operated ones closed.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Birger's Pub

According to the agenda for Tuesday's LCC meeting, it looks as if a new bar, Birger's Place, plans to open in the 200 block of East Main. Reema's Indian Cuisine is also applying for a liquor license to go along with its new patio dining.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Poshard on JALC Board

Making the rounds of collegiate administrations in the area, Glenn Poshard has been named to the BOD of John A. Logan College. My guess is he will serve there for 2-4 years, retire for  a couple of years and then move onto the board of either Rend Lake or Southeastern Illinois College.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Meet the Candidates

No, not Trump, Clinton or Johnson but if you would like to speak with any of the candidates for the state legislature or the House of Representatives, the Carbondale and Murphysboro chambers have you covered. I assume the locations are forthcoming:

 The Carbondale and Murphysboro Chambers of Commerce will hold a series of events to give Jackson County business leaders an opportunity to meet and hear from candidates for legislative offices before the Nov. 8 general election.
                The Chambers are partnering for two “Coffee and Candidates” events to be held at the Carbondale Civic Center. The first, set for Wednesday, Oct. 5 with feature Republican candidates for the state house and Congress. Democratic candidates will be featured on Wednesday, Oct. 12.
                “These are very important races for Southern Illinois businesses,” Carbondale Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bruce Wallace said. “We, as Chambers, are thrilled to provide our members with opportunities to share their concerns with candidates and learn about each of them before casting their ballots.”
                Coffee will be provided at the two events and each candidate will have 30 minutes to present remarks, answer questions and meet voters. The Oct. 5 Coffee and Candidate event will include State Rep. Terri Bryant at 8 a.m.; Paul Schimpf, candidate for State Senate at 8:30 a.m. and Congressman Mike Bost at 9 a.m. The Oct. 12 schedule features candidate for State Representative Marsha Griffin at 8 a.m., State Senate candidate Sheila Simon at 8:30 a.m. and Congressional candidate C.J. Baricevic at 9 a.m.
                While designed for members of both Chambers, the events are open to the public.
                More information on these legislative events is available by calling the Carbondale Chamber at (618) 549-2146 or the Murphysboro Chamber at (618) 684-6421.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Bicycle Survey

The city wants to collect more information on Carbondale residents use of their bicycles. You can access the survey here.