Saturday, July 30, 2016

Beverage and Tax Forum

In case you want to air your views regarding the recently passed, and somewhat controversial, food and beverage tax, the Chamber of Commerce will host a forum at Pagliai's Pizza next Thursday at 1 p.m.   Seems it would have been more effect to air those views prior to the tax being passed but, as I have noted before, only one local business, Lance Jack of Fat Patties, attended the council meeting to make his views known:

The Carbondale Chamber will hold an open forum to discuss the current Carbondale food and beverage tax increase on Thursday, August 4, 2016 at 1 p.m. at Paglaia's Pizza, located at 509 S. Illinois Ave. in Carbondale.  

Friday, July 29, 2016

Hotel Construction Starts

Construction on the downtown Hilton Home2 Suites finally started this week with machines tearing up the parking lot and destruction of the two buildings remaining on the site scheduled for next month. Target date for the hotel's opening is July of next year, approximately a month before August's eclipse, which is projected to draw 20,000 to 50,000 people to the area.

Paw Prints

It's paw print painting time again.  Please drive carefully through town this Sunday morning as two crews will be out painting and repainting pawprints on Carbondale streets:

The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce’s Saluki Pride Committee will be re-painting the Saluki Paw Prints on roadways leading to the Southern Illinois Campus on two upcoming Sunday mornings, July 31 and Aug. 7. The large Paw Prints (6 feet in length) are a way that the Carbondale business community shows Saluki Pride and welcomes students to the area.
Hundreds of Paw Prints will be painted on Routes 13 and 51, Mill Street, Giant City Road, Grand Ave. and other Carbondale streets as well as in the driveways and parking lots of sponsoring businesses. The purchase of Paw Prints by businesses funds the roadway painting projects, all of which is done by teams of volunteers and SIU student-athletes.
Efforts on each of the Sunday mornings will involve two painting crews, working from approximately 6 a.m. to noon. Media may learn where a crew is by reaching out to Chamber staff members:
Sunday, July 31 call Chamber Executive Director Les O’Dell - (618) 203-3312
Sunday, Aug. 7 call Chamber Assistant Director Ashley Bullock - (618) 889-4212

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Good Bye Noah's Lounge

Noah's Lounge, which up until this spring attracted fairly large crowds on weekend evenings to the north side of the square, has quietly shuttered its doors and slipped off into the night. The  "For Rent" sign has been in the window for the past couple of weeks.

The Lounge's posted hours said it opened at 4 p.m. daily but those opening times were sporadic at best with the "Open" sign often not coming on in the evening until after dark, usually on Friday and Saturday nights.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Fringe: The Salon

In case you missed it, another hair salon has opened in Carbondale. Fringe:  The Salon is located in the old Design Gallery space at 112 N. Illinois and advertises itself as Carbondale's first CHI and Biosilk exclusive salon, which I guess is a good thing. By my count, that makes at least 6 hair salons in the downtown area or more salons than bars.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Chuckin' Clouds Opens

The newest addition to Carbondale's collection of vape shops just opened on the ground floor of the Island Building at 715 S. University, about half a block south of Bully Juice Vapor. Chuckin' Clouds is a franchise operation with franchisees currently operating in Cape, Paducah, Poplar Bluff and at least 3 stores in Arkansas. The operation does not appear tightly controlled though, as each of the stores, from the pictures on the website, uses the franchisee's own design of the store logo, rather than a consistent logo design ala McDonald's

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Eat Local and Win

Summer program from the Chamber of Commerce:

   Dining out in Carbondale is a little bit more tasty this summer thanks to a program of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce. “Eat Local and Win,” a summer dining passport program looks to reward diners for enjoying meals in Carbondale restaurants now through the end of August.
                Patrons of 16 area eateries can earn punches on a special dining passport every time they visit a new restaurant and spend at least $7. The more punches they earn, the greater their odds of winning gift cards to participating restaurants. This is the second year the Chamber has organized the Eat Local and Win program.         
                With just five visits to participating restaurants, participants can turn in their passports and get a single entry in the end-of-summer drawing. Ten or more punches give diners three entries in the contest. Three entrants will each receive a $25 gift card from a restaurant, one participant will receive gift cards from five restaurants totaling $125 and the contest’s grand prize winner will win eight gift cards with a total value of $200.
                The passport punch cards are available at the Chamber office, online at or at participating restaurants, which include Cool Spoons, Cristaudo’s Bakery, Fat Bottom Betty’s, Fat Patties, Giant City Lodge, Global Gourmet, Gloria Jean’s, Hunan, Longbranch CafĂ©, Mary Lou’s Grill, Neighborhood Co-op, Pagliai’s Pizza and Pasta, S&B’s Burger Joint, Tequila’s, Thai Taste and Underground Barrel Room.
                More information on the Eat Local and Win program, which runs through Aug. 31, is available by calling the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce at (618) 549-2146.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Sabor De Mel Moving

According to the signs posted, Carbondale's popular Brazilian restaurant Sabor de Mel will soon move across the street into the space occupied recently by Cafe Melange. Likely a good move as the restaurant does not have much space in its current location.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Community Outreach

Looks like some community outreach going on at the Barrett, Twomey building today. There are a couple of young ladies there washing the graffiti off the wall while a group of onlookers including police and tv cameras, watch. These were not the same people who sprayed the graffiti as the video shows at least one male figure doing the spraying.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Restaurants Want Food & Beverage Tax Repealed

Well, of course they do. Rather amusing to read this since, except for Lance Jack of Fat Pattie's, none of them thought the important enough to show up to the council meeting when council originally passes. Jack was the only restaurant owner concerned enough about the effect to say anything at the time.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Ribbon Cutting

From the Chamber of Commerce:

The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce will hold a Ribbon Cutting at 4:30 p.m., Thursday, July 21 at Heartland Regional Urgent Care in Carbondale. The event will include an opportunity to tour the facility and meet the center’s medical staff.

Heartland Regional Urgent Care offers patients a skilled medical team when needs require immediate attention. No appointment is necessary and the facility offers expanded hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily and on-site laboratory services are available.

The center is located in the Office Place complex at 2250 Reed Station Parkway, Suite 305 behind Golden Corral in Carbondale. Heartland Regional Urgent Care is a department of Heartland Regional Medical Center.

Representatives of the Chamber, City and business will participate in the ceremony. The event is open to the public.

Dollar General

I thought we might be getting a convenience store/gas station at the intersection of Old and New Hwy 51 south of Carbondale, especially since I remember the concern about zoning in the area a few years ago. However, Dollar General has decided the spot is a good location for their third store in Carbondale. I guess the plan is to capitalize on traffic coming into town from the south. Truly a example of an isolated store as the nearest businesses are over half a mile away.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Electric Aggregation Scammer

Apparently there is at least one company in the area switching customers from one utility aggregator to another without permission. Realgy spoke with an Amerin customer in Carbondale, asked to see their bill, and soon after the customer received a notice from Realgy that they were now the customer's energy provider with a 24 month contract.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Wednesday Night Protest March

About 11:30 Wednesday night, a group of about 30 protestors marched throughout downtown. According to this story in the Southern, they were not affiliated with the Black Lives Matter group and the signs they carried suggested general protest rather than a focus on the recent deaths.

Police presence was much more evident at this protest than at Sunday's, with police cars blocking cross traffic from Main as the marchers made their way north on Illinois, as well as police following the march as well, keeping cars from trying to make their way through the marchers.

As far as I know, no vandalism after this march, aside from a peace sign chalked on a light post.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Sunday Night BLM March

A reader of the blog sent me their eyewitness description of Sunday night's BLM march. With their permission, the email is copied below:

Sunday evening, June 10, we were driving downtown when we saw a small group gathering at the Town Square Pavillion. Everyone seemed fixed on their cell phones. There were no marked police cars. At around 9-9:30 PM a small group of masked white protesters sauntered up with large signs: “Disobey” and “When they say peace they mean obedience”. 30+ protesters melted into a group from the people lounging around the Pavillion. 

The masked protesters led off, with the largely white group following behind, chanting “Black Lives Matter”! while holding placards aloft.

The original leadership appeared to be drawn from the Anarchists and Occupy groups that congregate at the Flyover next to WDBX, some residents of the NE and a smattering of students. It was about 90% white at the beginning. Women, often in shorts in the warm summer evening, appeared to outnumber men.  The average age was in the 20s.  A number of the protesters walked their dogs. Most of the whites wore black.

The group turned east on Jackson and then North on Washington, moving at a good pace while chanting, “No Justice, No Peace”, “Black Lives Matter” and “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot”. Several of the protesters set off fireworks, the flares arcing over the houses in the NE landing with a loud boom.They passed startled gatherings of African Americans who were bar-b-cueing in their yards.  After - church groups relaxing in the pleasant summer night stood up as they passed by. Families stood in doorways and peered from windows. One particularly ardent demonstrator, a middle aged black man, had gotten far out front of the main group, shouting “Black Lives Matter” at the top of his lungs. He went due East on Chestnut at Robert Stalls Ave, his voice cutting through the night. The Masked marchers, however, decided to head North at Stalls. A few minutes later the errant demonstrator came wordlessly back up Chestnut hurrying to catch up.

Ultimately the group, now joined by excited black youngsters on bicycles, had grown to perhaps 60 marchers - a majority of whom were African American. They made their way back to Marion St. and turned south with no police presence in sight. They crossed Main against the light, continued to Walnut where they turned West, spread out across the thoroughfare blocking oncoming traffic. Our thought was that the possibility of road rage was very high and a police presence would ensure that no one plowed into the marchers. As it turned out,  drivers were forgiving. 

The march went on.

There appeared to have been some reordering of the march as young black men appeared at the leading edge of the march as they turned South onto Illinois, “Taking the Strip". The whites were relegated to the middle of the crowd. Marchers invited spectators to join as they passed  the Dairy Queen with its crowds  perched on the curbs slurping Blizzards and Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Mash. This was a particularly good evening for the DQ crowd as Illinois Ave. lit up with AgitProp. No one joined.

We last saw them moving South on Illinois.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Sunday Night Graffitti

According to one Carbondale police officer with which I spoke, at least 4 places got hit with graffiti during the Black Lives Matter march

 Priority Sports building on Illinois

And the clean up of the Barrett building

Also tagged during the night were the police station and a house near St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. Video of the marchers shows a crowd of about 50 or so people walking down the center of Main Street, blocking traffic. One marcher can been seen spray painting the sides of the Barrett building, then hurrying to catch up with the crowd.

Monday, July 11, 2016


About  50 Black Lives Matter  protesters marched through Carbondale Friday night. Another 2 dozen or so protested at the intersection of Main and University from about 1 until 3 Sunday afternoon.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Bike Focused City

Given how bike focused Carbondale  is, it has been rather surprising how long it has taken for the city to add the additional bike racks that have gone up around the downtown area in recent months and to provide bike paths throughout the city.  We have a national bike round that brings cyclists from across the country through the city and the cycling economy is strong enough to support not 2 by 3 bike shops, all located within less than 2 blocks of one another.

Under the Cole and Fritzler administrations, city budgets were either too tight or it was determined available money needed to go for other products so it is nice to see available money now going into making Carbondale a more bike friendly city.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

New Publisher at the Southern

Well, that happened quickly and quietly. Craig Roberts has been named the new publisher of the Southern Illinoisan, replacing John Pheifer, who left the company. From the sound of things, expect even less emphasis on the print version of the paper and a greater push for the digital version.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Bike Path

The city's plans to improve bike access in the city are moving along. This part of the planned bike path runs between Main and Walnut parallel to the railroad tracks and will eventually link the town square with the university.

Monday, July 4, 2016

AmerExit of 1776

Assuming no bad storms today, celebrate Independence Day with readings from the founders of the US at the Carbondale Town Square from noon to 3.

Fireworks Rescheduled

Just received the following email from City Manager Gary Williams announcing that, due to bad weather, Carbondale fireworks will take place tomorrow night:

Due to bad weather being forecast for the evening of July 4th,
the Carbondale Fireworks Show is being rescheduled
for Tuesday, July 5th at 9:00 PM at the Carbondale Super Block.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Bright Spot

Keep Carbondale Beautiful has named a house on Elm Street a "Bright Spot". From the press release:

Carbondale’s Elm Street could be considered a Bright Street, with enthusiastic gardeners occupying most of the homes between Poplar and James.  Nevertheless, the Sloboda home at 705 West Elm stands out right now, with an explosion of blanket flowers and purple coneflowers across the front sidewalk.  Chief gardener Stacey Sloboda (Paul does the mowing) credits the previous owners, especially Caryl Cox, for creating the gardens, which Stacey has maintained and grown into.

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.