Friday, March 31, 2017

City Council Elections

If you haven't had much time to familiarize yourself with the candidates for next week's City Council elections, last Wednesday's Carbondale Times has 3 pages worth of interviews with the four candidates, as well as an article on the candidates for Highway Commissioner. Copies are still available in finer newspaper racks around town

 Meanwhile, I haven't seen much on local elections, expect for the 4 page insert listing all of the candidates for regional elections, in the Southern, though I see a piece on the school board elections in Pickneyville in the March 31 issue..

Saluki Funder

Given the current state of state finances and how they have impacted SIUC, it's not surprising to see that SIUC has set up a crowdfunding site for special projects on campus. Named Saluki Funder, there are a total of 10 projects listed on the site, 3 of which have already funded , 1 that failed to fund and 6 more still seeking funds, including the SIUC Food Pantry, which just launched a campaign

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Eclipse Hotel Bookings

Sat in on the city's presentation/talk regarding preparations for the upcoming eclipse. On thing I find interesting is that no one has any real idea regarding how many people will show up for the event. I heard figures from 5000 to 50,000 to 100,000 tossed around. One figure I found interesting was that roughly 90% of the hotel rooms in town, excluding the new Hilton, are booked. Rooms are still available at the Holiday Inn, Days Inn and America's Best Inn. Normal occupancy rates in Carbondale during the summer are around 55% so, based on that, we should expect about a 40% bump in population during the 3 days of the eclipse festival.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

AirBnB Regulations

The city expects use of sites like AirBnb and HomeAway to skyrocket later this summer as the eclipse gets closer and the 500+ motel rooms in Carbondale get booked, so it sent out this reminder that householders using those sites and renting their rooms out for less than 30 days need to get a permit:

With vacation season right around the corner, the City of Carbondale wants to remind residents about new regulations for Vacation Rental Units.
The ordinance, passed by City Council in December, requires residents to obtain a license through the City’s Development Services Department when transient guests are staying at a Vacation Rental Unit for less than 30 consecutive days.
Some of these units are being listed on popular websites like Airbnb, Vacation Rentals by Owner and
Applications are available online at

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

City Council Candidates

We have 4 candidates running for city council in a very quiet election taking place next week. If you would like to find out more about their platforms, here are links to their Facebook and or web pages, if the campaign has one:

Jeff Doherty

Jessica Bradshaw

Carolin Harvey

Lee Fronabarger

I could not find anything on Carolin Harvey's positions, so if anyone has a link to a source for them please send it to me.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Bost Statement

Here is Rep. Mike Bost's statement regarding the postponement/collapse of the vote on the ACHA. Would like to point out that it took over a year of crossing the country and talking to people before enough support was generated for the ACA to pass. The congress wanted to pass this act with just of two weeks of discussion:

U.S Representative Mike Bost (IL-12) released the following statement regarding the decision to postpone a vote on the American Health Care Act in Congress:
“Today’s decision to postpone the vote does not dismiss the fact that Obamacare is broken. This law has led to higher costs, fewer choices, and less access to the quality care that people need. These trends just aren’t sustainable. The American Health Care Act was to be the first step in a multi-step process to fix our health care system. I am hopeful that the White House and Congress will continue working to find solutions that restore health care decisions to patients and their doctors and not the bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.”

Friday, March 24, 2017

Terri Bryant Survey

In case you are interested in giving feedback to her, our State Representative Terri Bryant has a survey posted on her website soliciting feedback from constituents. Some of the questions do reflect just a wee bit of bias.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Police on St. Patrick's Weekend

Carbondale Police reported no arrests for DUI during their stepped up enforcement over the St. Patrick's Day weekend, though several people did get arrested for not wearing their seatbelts, driving while using a cell phone and speeding.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Tree Sale

Want to reforest your lawn. Keep Carbondale Beautiful will sell  native trees and shrubs at the arena this weekend. Just avoid Sweet Gums.

 Keep Carbondale Beautiful will be selling 43 kinds of native trees and shrubs in the SIU Arena Parking Lot, outside the Southern Illinois Home and Garden Expo on Saturday March 25 and Sunday March 26.  Among the highlights are natives that can go from wet to dry – esp. Blackgum, Bald Cypress, and Buttonbush; and plants that provide food, mostly for wildlife, like Chokeberry, Hazelnut, and Elderberry.  There will be seven types of oak, two magnolia, and two viburnum.
Most of the plants come from Forrest-Keeling Nursery, outside of St. Louis.  Others come from Tabor Nursery, south of Carbondale.  All are native to this area and thus are more likely to thrive and to provide food and habitat for wildlife.
The sale is outside the Home Show; no ticket is needed.  The public is invited to use this opportunity to learn more about native plants.  For more information, go to <> or contact KCB at 618-525-5525.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Uber and Lyft

Both Uber and Lyft, seeking to expand their market share, have come to Carbondale and the city council has responded by requiring those wanting to drive for either company to get permits and undergo a background check. Both companies have fought similar regulation in larger markets so will be interesting to see if they choose to comply with the regulations, fight them or abandon Carbondale as a market :

Individuals looking to drive for a transportation network company (TNC) in Carbondale can now pick up an application in the City Clerk’s Office.
Applicants must provide a copy of their Illinois driver’s license, proof of insurance coverage meeting the state requirements outlined in 625 ILCS 57/1 et seq. and pay $45 for a criminal history check.
In addition, a vehicle safety inspection form signed by a City-certified ASE-approved mechanic must be submitted at the time of application. A registry of approved ASE-certified mechanics is available in the Clerk’s Office.
Once those requirements have been met, the City Clerk will issue qualified drivers a TNC license and a vehicle sticker valid through the end of the year. Both items must be present in the vehicle at all times.
Applications are available online at

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Mike Bost Town Hall

For those of you who missed Rep. Mike Bost's telephone town hall last Wednesday night, his office has posted it here. Runs about an hour.

Rep. Bost has also posted a form where you can give feedback or your experience with the Affordable Care Act, which is its real name, not Obamacare. I have read incidents where people have in one breath called for the repeal of Obamacare, while in the next breath saying how much the ACA helped them.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

City Council Forum

In case you feel like listening to and quizzing the candidates for city council, the Arbor District will sponsor a forum with them tomorrow at 3 p.m.  Seems like a lot less interest in this election than the last one, perhaps because we don't have a mayor on the ballot:

A reminder that we will be sponsoring a forum for city council candidates on Sunday. Please join us if you can. 

Here are the details:

3:00pm, Sunday March 19, 2017
First Christian Church
306 W Monroe St.
Carbondale, IL 62901

Friday, March 17, 2017

Water Bill Changes

The city is dropping the postcard format for its water and sewage bill in favor of a envelope format, which will include a self-addressed envelope for returning the bill and payment. A bit more expensive format but will probably increase the numbers of people who pay on time as now they will be able to easily drop a check in the mail as compared to having to make the trip to city hall or one of the other payment points. You can also play your bill online at the city website as noted in the press release but doubt that the same people who forget to come to the office to pay their bill will remember to go to the website. The press release is below:

The next time a Carbondale resident receives a water bill in the mail, it may look a little different.  
Water bills will now come in a letter format, folded and in a sealed envelope as opposed to the old postcard format. Customers will receive a pre-addressed envelope with their bill. However, a stamp will still be required.
The City hopes the new format will help cut down on a number of delivery issues.
Payments can still be made at City Hall, online at, by mail or at select area banks (First Southern Bank, First Bank, First Mid-Illinois Bank & Trust and The Bank of Carbondale).

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Mike Bost Town Hall

Representative Mike Bost hosted a telephone town hall meeting that lasted an hour earlier this evening. Makes it easier to not face crowds of unhappy constituents and allows screening of the questions, as well as the opportunity to cut off the questioner should the questioner get obstreperous on the phone:

   Ineed to hear from you! To give as many constituents as possible the opportunity to share your concerns regarding issues before the United States Congress and the federal government, I will be hosting a tele-town hall meeting at 6:15pm CT on Wednesday, March 15. I will provide an update on health care reform, the economy, immigration, veterans, and any other issues you would like to talk about.  I look forward to taking as many questions as our hour together allows. Sign up on my website HERE.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

For Rent Signs

In another sign of the declining student population, I have seen farm more "For Rent" signs around town that in past semesters. Usually, retail properties are gone or the landlords have given up this late in the semester but the same signed have been out in front of a number of properties since December. For the first time that I recall, there are For Rent signs in the yard in all three of the four-square style houses in the 200 block of West Walnut. I have seen 1 sign there int he past but never signs in the yards of all three at the same time.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Downtown Design Standards

If the proposed design standards for downtown building get approved by city council, the Evolve building, as currently designed, would not have been built as the standards require  any floors above the second to be set back further than the first 2 floors.. The exterior siding would likely not have passed muster either.

Additionally, any new building going into the primary downtown area would have to be two stories tall. Already established buildings would, of course, be grandfathered in.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Phone Scam

Someone is working a scam in the area in the name of the fire department:

The Carbondale Fire Department wants to warn residents about a possible impersonation scam circulating throughout the community.
A resident recently reported receiving a call from a person who claimed to work for the Carbondale Fire Department. The caller wanted to know if the resident had a smoke detector, fire extinguisher and escape plan.
Residents are reminded that firefighters do not call homeowners and try to sell them anything.
If you receive a call like this, contact the Carbondale Police Department at (618) 457-3200. Never give out any personal information over the phone such as credit or debit card number. When in doubt, hang up. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Sen. Schimpf Telephone Town Hall

In an amusing coincidence after this morning's post regarding the Mike Bost op-ed, I received a robo-call this evening from State Senator Paul Schimpf inviting me to join in on a telephone town hall. Rather, I received a robo-call telling me he was sorry he had not been able to reach me to join his town hall and that he was still available via phone and email.  I would have happily joined in on the call had Sen. Schimpf but his robo software decided I wasn't there when I picked up the phone.

Mike Bost Op Ed

Geez, two posts on Rep. Mike Bost in a week. Rep. Bost has taken some heat for opting to not host open meetings with his constituents, choosing instead to have either meetings with smaller groups and organizations or to host a "telephone town hall". In an op-ed in today's Southern, he defends the practice because of all those disruptive people coming out to face to face open meetings.

However, I found this line in the piece especially striking:  "We don’t limit those calls to only Republicans or only supporters."

He is making it sound like a point of pride that he allows people who aren't his supporters on these calls. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

City Council Meeting

City council meets tonight. Should be interesting given the discussion about inflatables and air walkers.

Monday, March 6, 2017

City Council Candidate Conclave

Elections for city council are coming up sooner than you'd think and the Arbor District will host a forum with the announced candidates on March 19th:

The Arbor District Neighborhood Association will be holding a City Council Candidate Forum at the end of March and would like you to invite you to attend.

3:00pm, Sunday March 19, 2017
First Christian Church 
306 W Monroe St.
Carbondale, IL 62901

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Mike Bost Survey Results

Received an email from Rep. Mike Bost today and found these survey results intersting

Most of the respondents to a particular question want to see more jobs and the economy grow faster while they second largest number wanted to see reformed/improved health care. No interest in repealing the ACA, just wanting it improved.

Also I found interesting that the largest number of people wanted Bost and Congress to focus on some other topic than the ones listed.

Friday, March 3, 2017

New and Moving Businesses

New unnamed Japanese restaurant moving into the old Show-Me's building on East Main.

Don Taco moving about a block east from its current East Grand location to a new building getting built on the site of the now demolished Capp's Law Firm building.

El Sol moving into the old Fujiyama Steak House location on Giant City Road.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Inflatables Regulations

The city is proposing allowing the use of inflatables and air dancers for advertising by businesses throughout the city, except, of course, for some reason, for the downtown business district. This is a good move, except, of course (and you knew there was going to be another "of course") for the time limit. Businesses will only be able to use inflatables and air dancers to promote their business  for 2 48 hour periods or one 96 hour period per year. This pretty much guarantees no business in their right mind will spend the money to invest in something it can only use 4 days a year.

Carbondale has a pretty undeserved reputation as a city unfriendly to business. Enacting an ordinance with this short a time frame on the used of an advertising tool does not help mitigate that image. If the city must put a time limit, make it 90 or 120 days in order to justify businesses investing in them, though even better would be no time limit at all.