Monday, April 30, 2018

10,000 People

Still kind of mind boggling to think that Carbondale has lost 10,000 people since I came to town back in 1990, all due to the decline in enrollment at the university. Granted, I also thought that SIUC was much larger than the community or region could reasonably support but the amount of outreach done by the administration over the previous 40 years had really pulled people to Carbondale. I haven't seen that amount of focus from any of the leaders SIUC has had over the past quarter of a century. Even Glenn Poshard, arguably the leader with the closest ties to SIUC, couldn't turn the university around. SIUC doesn't need restructuring, it needs outreach, both to southern Illinois and to the rest of the region

Friday, April 27, 2018

Mall Movie Theater Closing

According to this article in the Southern, the Classic 8 theater in University Mall will close May 10th. Apparently the renovated University Place 8 across the highway has drawn enough traffic that it is no longer profitable to keep both open. That takes the city down to one theater showing first run films and the downtown Varsity showing classic ones.

Cardboard Boat Regatta

The Great Cardboard Boat Regatta returns to its original home, Campus Lake, tomorrow. For the past several years, the lake was too filled with toxic algae to allow people to boat in it, much less sink as most of the cardboard craft are wont to do. Good to see an iconic Carbondale event returning to its original home, in conjunction with the dedication  fo the new/remodeled Becker Boathouse. Now if they can just get Campus Beach open again.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Transportation Center

Carbondale is  working to get funding for the downtown transportation center once again. Need about $18 million to pay for the whole thing, which would move the bus depot to a remodeled train station, along with mass transit and taxi pickup and drop off locations.A centralized location would make it much easier for students arriving and departing from Chicago via Amtrak but no sure if the downtown area could handle the additional traffic.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Wanna Work for SIUC... For FREE?

SIUC is recruiting alumni for a pilot program in which approved alumni join the SIUC graudate faculty as a zero time adjunct status for up to three years. Activities would vary across various academic units (the email doesn't refer to departments) but could include  "service on graduate student thesis committees, teaching specific graduate or undergraduate lectures in one’s area of expertise, service on departmental or university committees, and collaborations on grant proposals and research projects. "

Needless to say, this was not received well by SIUC faculty, so  Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Meera Komarraju   sent out the following:

"This is a proposed pilot project developed in collaboration with the SIU Alumni Association to connect qualified alumni with our students as mentors to enhance – not replace – the work of our faculty.
These alumni might deliver an individual lecture or lead a seminar discussion based on their expertise but would not teach entire courses. They might also participate in service roles such as mentoring students or adding expertise to thesis committees.
The goal is to create a pool of potential, volunteer adjuncts with advanced academic degrees who might contribute as needed for up to three years after their approval. Many departments welcome occasional adjunct faculty who bring special expertise that may add to the student experience and the overall expertise of the faculty. This approach is in compliance with university policy.
The project also engages alumni who are eager to give back to the university; they can serve as mentors, role models and future professional contacts for our graduate students.
The use of adjuncts is not unusual on our campus and in higher education generally. This exploratory project simply fosters the ability of academic programs to identify and connect with potential adjunct faculty already invested in the university. It benefits current faculty, students and alumni."

While the Interim Provost is correct in that the use of adjuncts is not unusual on SIUC's, or any other college campus, and in fact is quite often used when only one course is needed taught (or as a cost savings measure, since adjuncts generally teach on a year to year basis and do not receive all of the benefits full time faculty receive), using unpaid adjuncts on a contract basis certainly is.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


Still not seeing how reorganizing SIUC will help the campus with its main problem:  not getting enough students. Reorganizing is done to make an organization run more efficiently, not to sell more, which is essentially what SIUC or any university does. I just haven't heard any reason or plan as to why students will want to come to the university once it gets restructured.

Monday, April 23, 2018

New WDBX Manager

After the controversy that resulted in previous station manager Dave Armstrong resigning, the WDBX Board has hired a new station manager. Hopefully, he has as long a tenure as Armstrong did

Friday, April 20, 2018


Nice to see movies shown at the downtown Varsity Theater again. It appears the plan is to screen older "classic" movies Friday nights for the foreseeable future.

Thursday, April 19, 2018


I would be a whole lot happier with the Chancellor's  proposed reorganization of the departments and colleges at SIUC if he could point to some places where this style of restructuring has proved successful in the past. So far, all I ever here is that we show do this. I guess someone has got to be first but before undergoing such a drastic restructuring, shouldn't the university try other things first. like maybe a strong effort at promoting itself? 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Saturday Cleanup

Spring cleanup of Carbondale this Saturday (assuming it doesn't snow):

What:  Please come together to beautify the Arbor District this Saturday!  
When: Saturday April 21 at 10am til noon
Where: Meet at the entrance  of the Catholic Church
Why:  Meet your neighbors! Feel good about doing something as a community! Make the neighborhood look better! Have fun! Get some fresh air!  

Monday, April 16, 2018

Saluki Gymnastics

Noticed that Southern Illinois Gymnastics, in the Eastgate Plaza complex, changed its name to Saluki Gymnastics. On the plus side, it reflects that Carbondale is the home of SIUC and the Salukis. On the downside, now they have to explain what  a Saluki is.

Friday, April 13, 2018

TIGER Grants

Carbondale applied for  a TIGER grant awhile back to fund the proposed downtown multi-modal transport center, planned to replace the current Amtrak station. Unfortunately, the city did not receive one. Illinois did get two grants in this region though, one to help fund expansion to I-57 and one received in conjunction with Indiana  that will replace a pair of rail bridges crossing the Wabash River.

Thursday, April 12, 2018


Apparently the city, having decided to embrace Halloween, has decided to embrace both present and past Halloweens and is seeking memorabilia of Carbondale Halloween's past. It appears they are only looking for photos of old Halloween items, not the items themselves.

The City of Carbondale needs your help tracking down old Halloween memorabilia.

We are looking for old t-shirts and posters to promote the return of Halloween.

Email your pictures with the words “Halloween” in the subject line to You can also post your pictures and ideas on social media using the hashtag #HalloweenInCarbondale.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

City Press Conference

Seems the city is pretty concerned about the proposed shift of some $5 million in funding from SIUC to SIUE as there is a press conference at City Hall on the topic at 1 p.m. today. I can see why. Pulling $5 million directly out of the Carbondale economy would, if I remember the multiplier correctly affect an additional $35-$40 million in the region. A quick search of Google did not give me any figures as to how large the overall economy is down here but it is probably not large enough to absorb a $35 million or even a $5 million loss with no effect. I can see the justification in total number of students as the two universities approach parity in numbers, however, SIUC does issue doctorates and has a strong research tradition, which should account for something.

The City of Carbondale will hold a press conference on Wednesday, April 11 at 1 p.m. in Room 103 of the Carbondale Civic Center.

Carbondale Mayor John “Mike” Henry will be joined by regional leaders to discuss the recent funding proposal by the Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees, and the economic impact it could have on the region’s economy. 

If you have questions or would like more information, contact Carbondale Public Relations Officer Amy Fox at (618) 559-1939.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Clean Up Carbondale

If you want to help with the city's spring cleaning Keep Carbondale Beautiful is looking for volunteers on April 21:

 Carbondale’s Annual Spring Cleanup and Recycling Day will be on April 21, and Keep Carbondale Beautiful is putting out the call for public participation.
KCB is looking for suggestions of “blight spots” that need attention.  The public is asked to call or email the locations. KCB Executive Director Sarah Heyer noted, “After last weekend’s Big Event, a lot of litter has been picked up in the central part of town. That should free us to get to spots that are further afield.  But we need help identifying those locations.” The general public can also help by providing their used two-handled shopping bags for individuals to carry so that everyone participates.  Larger bags will be provided.
KCB is also recruiting volunteers from the community to help with the cleanup.  Pre-registration is encouraged (go to and increases points in the contest.  Start time is 9 am.  City crews pick up the bags, and volunteers from the Rotary Club of Carbondale weigh them. Prizes are given in several categories for the most litter collected.  T-shirts are distributed and lunch is provided, with the help of Arnold’s Market and others.
Critical to success is support from local businesses, as event sponsors and as donors of food, supplies, or prizes.  This year’s sponsors include Burkdell Mulch, Burris Disposal Service, CIMCO, Southern Recycling Center.  In-kind support comes from Silkworm, SIUC, the City of Carbondale, and the Carbondale Park District.
For more information, check the website at, call Keep Carbondale Beautiful at (618)525-5525 or email  

Monday, April 9, 2018

Culver's Ground Breaking

In case you want to join the city and Chamber of Commerce in welcoming Culver's to Carbondale, groundbreaking takes place today at 11 a.m. at the intersection of Reeds Station Road and East 13. No idea if Butter Burgers will be offered:

 Culvers, a popular midwestern fast food chain is coming to Carbondale in summer 2018, and is celebrating with a groundbreaking ceremony Monday, April 9, 2018.
Carbondale Chamber of Commerce Interim Director Jennifer Olson and Carbondale Economic Development Director Steve Mitchell will kick off the ceremonies. “We’re always happy to welcome a new business to our community” says Olson. “There’s been a lot of excitement for Culver’s to come to Carbondale.”
The groundbreaking will be held at 1525 Reed Station Road at 11:00 a.m. on April 9. The event will include photo opportunities as well as gift bags.
The restaurant specializes in burgers made with beef and dairy from the Midwest and frozen custard. Culver’s first opened in 1984 in Sauk City, Wisconsin. Currently, they have over 650 restaurants across the United States.
The Carbondale City Council voted to approve Culver’s site plan on March 13, 2018. The restaurant will be located at the intersection of Reed Station Road and Route 13.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Letter to BOT

In case you would like to read it, here is the transcript of the letter sent on April 5 by the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce to the SIUC Board of Trustees regarding the proposed shift of $5 million in funding from SIUC to SIUE:

Dear Members of the Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees,
It has come to our attention that a resolution that would shift financial resources from the Carbondale to the Edwardsville campus will be considered at the April 12, 2018 board meeting. Under Resolution GG-1, $5.1 million would be reallocated to Edwardsville in FY19 and a reallocation would continue annually for four years

. Our concern is two-fold. First and foremost, the initial reduction of $5.1 million dollars is just a few months away. In addition to the immediate cut, the shift to enrollment-based funding sets a precedent for continued reallocation in the future.

While we understand SIU’s overriding priority is to provide a quality institution of learning, we cannot overlook the fact that SIUC serves as an economic engine for southern Illinois. “For every $1 appropriated by the state to SIUC, it generates roughly $7.72 of economic activity annually in Illinois.” * The translation is that the initial $5.1 million reduction would have a negative economic impact more than $39 million. Our business community cannot afford any further decline of SIUC.

 Second, the funding model is decades old. Why take this action now? Just as the businesses we represent have had to make tough economic decisions, so has SIUC. SIUC is doing what is takes to grow enrollment, and therefore, revenue. Attendance at the most recent open house on the Carbondale campus was quite high. The administration and all departments have taken steps to reduce costs and eliminate duplication. SIUC has reduced its budget by more than $31 million since 2014, including the reduction of 500 employees.

SIUC is on course for enrollment growth in fall of 2019 and on target to end this fiscal year with a balanced budget. Remaining faculty and staff are committed to providing a quality education and the revitalization of SIUC.

We respectfully request that you give SIUC, and the region it impacts, time. Time, so that we might reap the results and rewards of the work currently in process. We assure you that this administration and business community are committed to seeing SIUC restored to its former glory.

2018 Board of Directors, Carbondale Chamber of Commerce


From what I hear, the remodeling of the old gas station, Mexican grocery, doughnut shop on the west side of Carbondale is to make it suitable for hosting a Medigap or some other form of pharmacy.  Better use of the facility than as either a gas station or doughnut shop, as a pharmacy is more of a destination location than either of the other two.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

DQ Helping El Greco

In case you hadn't heard, El Greco's recently re-opened under new management and the downtown Dairy Queen has a sign up offering 15% off the purchase their when you show a receipt from El Greco's 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

News Democrat on Hollywood Lounge

The Bellevue News Democrat got the headline wrong in its story on last weekend's bar closures. Only one Carbondale bar closed because of the FBG Duck show, the other bar was located in Carterville. Media mistakes like that do not help Carbondale's image.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

More on Hollywood Lounge

Caught an interview with Mayor Mike Henry and  City Manager Gary Williams regarding the Hollywood Lounge license suspension. From what they said, and an article in today's Southern, someone at SIUC had booked the rapper FBG Duck to perform at the Student Center on March 30. However, it appears that FBG Duck is a bit enamored of guns, at least from his Facebook page, and a member of the Gangster Disciples to boot, so someone at SIUC canceled the space. The promoter also booked FBG Duck for an afterparty show at Club 262 in Carterville, which caused the Williamson County Liquor Commission to pull the club's liquor license until today, causing cancellation of the performance.

Carbondale Police meanwhile, contacted venues in Carbondale that had the space to host the performance to find out if the promoter had tried to rebook there. Hollywood Lounge had  been contacted and had booked the performance but after talking with the police decided to cancel the show. Due to worries that the performers and entourage might show up at Hollywood anyhow and the amount of attention the show received on social media, and with the implied consent of owner Bobby McBride, Mayor Henry, with the agreement of a majority of the Liquor Control Commission, suspended the establishment's liquor license until Monday.

The weekend passed peacefully so closing the establishments may have worked. Of course, there may not have been any problems anyhow. Carbondale Police and the Mayor may have overreacted. We will never know. However, if a shooting or other criminal activity tied into the the performance had occurred and the police had not taken preemptive action, they would probably have gotten castigated for not doing anything to prevent it.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Hollywood Lounge Permit Suspended

Mayor Henry, acting in his capacity as chair of the Liquor Control Commission, temporarily suspended the liquor license for the Hollywood Lounge, on the north side of the town square, from last Friday until noon today. According to the reports, the reason for the suspension was the booking of a "musical group from Chicago whose events have a history of violence". I did a quick search but cannot find any mention of which group was coming so assume the advertising for the group was through word of mouth (Hollywood Lounge's FB page has not been updated since 2016 and the website looks a placeholder).