Friday, March 30, 2018


In case you want to know more about the next stage of the downtown Streetscape project, be at City Hall on April 4 from 4 to 6 p.m.:

The City of Carbondale will host an open house on Wednesday, April 4 to present the plans to the public for the second phase of the Illinois Avenue Streetscape Improvements Project. 

This project is a continuation of the improvements of the sidewalks, streetlights and related improvements completed last summer along Illinois Avenue. The second phase will begin where the first phase ended, at Cherry Street, and will continue to Monroe Street on the north side of City Hall.

Plans will be on display from 4 to 6 p.m. in Room 103 of the Carbondale Civic Center. Community members are invited to view the plans and provide comments about the work. In addition, City officials will be on hand to answer questions.

Similar to last summer, work on the project is expected to begin immediately after Southern Illinois University Commencement in May and conclude in August.

Thursday, March 29, 2018


That's the amount of staff the Carbondale city hall has cut in the past year, mainly through attrition and opting not to refill empty positions. Cist staff is moving the duties of those positions into other jobs in the hierarchy.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Square Lights

I see the Christmas lights on the light poles around the square finally came down. I had hoped the city would leave them up year round, as they were white rather than Christmas colors and brightened up the Square markedly. With them down, the Square is measurably darker. Maybe next year the city will decide to leave them up year round.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

SIUC Outreach

Was listening to an interview with SIU President Randy Dun on WSIU this morning and he commented that SIUE, while down slightly, has taken nowhere near the hit that SIUC has in terms of enrollment. While I would attribute some of that to the ease of access that SIUE has to the metro-east area, I agree with him that SIUC's outreach has sorely laced over the last few decades. I see billboards in southern Illinois advertising SIUE, John A. Logan, Rend Lake, even SEMO but very little for SIUC,

Monday, March 26, 2018

New Kroger Hours

Looks as if the 24 hour thing for Kroger hasn't worked out as the store will start closing at 1 a.m. on April 1. Doubt if Wal-mart will follow suit but Schnucks might.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Dona Camilla Grocery

Noticed that Dona Camilla Grocery, on the north side of the square, has reduced its hours to the point that it only opens on the weekend. Sign in the window says that the kitchen has closed as well. Shame that they did not do better business as I had heard several people speak highly of the food there.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Evergreen Park

For some reason, the gates to the eastern (main) entrance to Evergreen Park were closed last week and Monday. Cars could still enter the park through the western entrance and visitors could walk to the playground area. No signs posted and have not heard any reason as to why these gates were closed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


Don't forget to vote today. Caught on the news this morning that more people early voted this year in Illinois than voted in total in 2014.

Carbondale Solutions

Following up from yesterday's post, here is a list of proposed solutions advanced at last January's meeting, attended by, among others, SIUC's Chancellor and his wife, the head of SIUC's faculty association as well as local elected officials, city officials, doctors, lawyers, advertising executives, bankers, realtors, landlords, teachers, neighborhood and union activists:

·         Reassert that which is special about SIUC
o   have special programs [earth systems/sustainability/global values/communicators/diversity]
o   e-energize the renowned Rehab Institute and the John Dewey Center and elevate Buckminster Fuller’s legacy
o   revitalize campus life
o   adopt a common reader program at university (integrate with community issues?) – a  key book assigned to all incoming students for discussion and thought
·         Advertising and media
o   Focus on stories, unique programs (weekly column in the Southern on SIUC good news)
·         Recruit international students
·         Work on issues of structural racism which may discourage minorities, international students
·         Create permanent body to facilitate town/gown relations
·         Make the community welcoming to all – international, minorities, students
o   Home stay/adopt a student
o   Invite international students “home for the holidays”
o   International friends groups
o   Educate police about cultural difference of international students
o   Build a campaign of residents greeting students they encounter
o   Religious institution outreach
o   Assimilate students into the community (and not just for foreign students)
o   Create website/portal with employment/volunteer opportunities in the community for students – a place that students can post skills and residents can find workers to do yard work, house cleaning, etc. as well as volunteers for community groups. (“Help wanted” “Help offered”)
o   Create greater interaction between city officers, institutions and students
o   Seek fewer arrests, create more work/service opportunities for student arrests instead of monetary fines
·         Recognize that Carbondale is first and foremost a university town
·         Promote cooperation between university and town following the model of eclipse week
·         Community response to media to counter negative media reports
·         Market SIU as equivalent to U of I (not Eastern or Western)
·         Build on change already happening in elementary schools (new superintendent)
o   Publicize great students and achievement in K-12 schools
o   Build on ties (Spanish immersion program) between K-12 schools and SIUC
o   Community volunteerism in K12 schools
o   Bring local/regional students to campus early and often
o   Create collaboration between SIUC and CES 95 to address achievement gap between more affluent and poorer children
·         Use community to fill seats at university events – offer free tickets when stadium not full
·         Establish artists program (model of Providence RI, Paducah, Ky)
·         Enhance community attractiveness to students and residents with shared facilities that encourage interaction
o   Dog park
o   Skate Park

Monday, March 19, 2018

Carbondale Concerns

At a recent meeting to discuss concerns and solutions for the problems assailing SIUC and Carbondale, these were brought up as some of the concerns the attendees had:

·         SIU has “lost its appeal” and community is losing $ as a result
·         Faculty and staff diminishing rapidly along with students
·         Decline in international students
·         Decline in minority students
·         Need for university identity not to be found in athletics but activism
·         Decline in commercial, residential real estate (lack of new home construction)
·         SIH does not bank locally
·         K-12 schools (low rating, bad reputation of primary schools)
·         Budget impasse (lack of interest by state in local issues)
·         Need for Southern and other media to balance good news with negative reporting
·         Needs of elderly
·         Need to create worldly, informed, non-violent, educated student/citizens
If you have others, post them in the comments.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Temporary Train Schedule

Message from the city:

Illini Train 392 will operate 30 minutes later at all Amtrak stations on the route beginning March 22. Saturday and Sunday routes will operate as normal. Work is expected to be complete by May 4.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

SIUC Towers Closing

SIUC has announced plans to close the east side towers this summer and move all residents there to Thompson Point. I assume this will not include the new apartments built on the north side of E. Grand a couple of years ago but still, that means the university expects a significant drop in on-campus residency, if all the students from that area will fit into the Thompson Point complex

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Toys R. Us

Toys R Us announced they are closing some 200 locations and may declare bankruptcy. As of yesterday, employees at the Marion TRU had no idea if the store was on the list to close.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Meet The Mayor (and Chancellor)

If you want the opportunity to buttonhole the Mayor about the downtown beautification program or Carbondale sales taxes or to ask the Chancellor about the plan to end departments at SIUC, here is your opportunity:

The City of Carbondale and the Southern Illinois University Student Center are happy to bring back “Meet the Mayor and Chancellor” on campus. 
Carbondale Mayor John “Mike” Henry and SIU Chancellor Carlo Montemagno will be at Starbucks, located on the first floor of the Student Center, on March 16 from 11 a.m. to noon.
This is an opportunity for students and members of the community to talk to the Mayor and Chancellor over coffee.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Hundley House

From what I have heard, Hundley House did not sell at February's foreclosure sale. Apparently the bank wants to recoup as much of the mortgage money as possible, which is in excess of $300,000. The bank will probably finish negotiating the terms of the foreclosure and, once it is finalized, put the place back out on the market to get whatever it can for it, starting close to the total and working down. Given that property taxes run around $9000 annually on the place, I think it will have to come down significantly before it sells.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

New Construction

As was noted in the comments to Monday's post, there is significant renovation going on at buildings on both ends of town. The long closed Doctor Donuts building at the corner of New Era and Hwy 13 is getting worked on as is the old Veach Short Stop at the other end of town behind University Mall.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Kevin Lucas

Just received this press release from local musician Kevin Lucas:

"Africa" by Kevin Lucas just won a 'Silver Medal' in the 2018 Global Music Awards in the "Instrumentalist" category.  The GMA's receive thousands of submissions worldwide every year.  This is Kevin's 43rd music industry award or nomination from 9 different organizations since 2014.  Along with the new award, this is Kevin's first with a new name and concept reinventing himself as an artist called "The Kevin Lucas Experience".   The song is a remake of the 1980s mega hit by Toto, arranged by Kevin Lucas and Jeff Moore, Professor of Percussion and Dean of Fine Arts at University of Central Florida in Orlando.  The remake features international celebrity flute player Wouter Kellerman. Wouter is a Grammy Award Winner and Number 1 Billboard Artist.  The song and music video were produced on 3 continents: Africa, India, and North America.  The video was filmed at Misunderstudio in Murphysboro, IL by Dan Johnson and in South Africa.  Africa was mixed by Grammy Award Winning producer Ricky Kej in India, and also by Mike Lesceslius at Misunderstudio.  The song also features Dave Gross from Seattle (Hammond B3, synthesizer, and percussion), Jerome Lawrence from Maryland (bass), and Alek Razdan from Massachusetts (saxophone).  The Carbondale Science Center let Kevin use their PVC pipe marimba made by SIU School of Engineering students for the video and song.

"I am extremely proud of everybody involved in this project, especially all of the local artists.  It really says a lot for what we have here in Southern Illinois! Wouter Kellerman was also just added to the video and its so amazing having footage of him in South Africa edited with local Misunderstudio footage.  This was a very complex and exciting project that was integrated internationally", said Lucas.  Kevin also said "The name change was recommended by my great friend, music artist, and attorney Valerie Giglio from Boston.  She thought the new name really fits what I currently do both live and in the studio.  And I also feel that 'Africa' is also a reinvention of myself as an artist.  It is so different than anything I have ever done.  It has really surprised people!"  Kevin will also be doing another local homeless benefit concert for the Carbondale Good Samaritan House in late April, so stay tuned for upcoming information!

Monday, March 5, 2018


I was walking by the Carbondale Township office and got to wondering why do we still have townships? I can see the municipality serving a purpose a century or so ago, when travel was much more difficult and a trip to the county seat would take an entire day or even longer but today with the ease of travel, it just seems like an extra level of bureaucracy that has to be paid for. 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Design Charrette

The city and Carbondale Main Street will host an open forum to discuss how to best utilize the S. Washington space for future events. This was were most of the Shadowfest Concerts were held and the city would like to turn it into more of a permanent event and concert venue:

Carbondale Main Street is partnering with the City of Carbondale and Southern Illinois University Architecture to host a design charrette from 2-6pm on Tuesday March 6, focusing on the Washington Street event venue (a venue utilized at Shadow Fest and other recent events).

 "We are looking for community input on how the space will be used, how a permanent stage might work, and what would be beneficial assets to have in this space for the community to use”, says Meghan Cole, Executive Director for Carbondale Main Street. “The City of Carbondale has demonstrated a readiness to invest in this downtown event venue, and we are happy to help get community support and impact the development of this venue”.

“The School of Architecture, its faculty and students look forward to engaging community members in this participatory community event for the betterment of our City. This is a great opportunity to embrace what our creative design community can accomplish together”, says Craig Anz, Architect and Faculty at SIUC. Dr. Anz is also the Vice President of Carbondale Main Street. Students and faculty from SIU Architecture will be on hand, with Carbondale Main Street and City of Carbondale staff, to help gain community support. Anyone interested in providing feedback is urged to attend the charrette, have a snack, and learn about plans for the venue. To learn more, call the Main Street Downtown Design Center at 618-529-8040.