Friday, June 29, 2018

SIU President Not Exactly Neutral

Good story in the Southern today regarding the trove of emails released detailing communications between SIU President Randy Dunn, SIUE' s Chancellor and the Edwardsville members of the Board of Trustees.  What I found especially interesting what the reprimand from Dunn to SIUC Chancellor Carlos Montemagno for not following the chain of command. I'm not a big fan of Chancellor Montemagno but given how Dunn had left him out of the loop, chastising Montemagno seems a wee bit hypocritical:

I have read your attached memo,” Dunn wrote. “It is misleading at best and insubordinate at worst.”
He admonished Montemagno for sending the memo to the trustees without consulting him. Dunn said he had tried to support Montemagno’s leadership."

City Hall Streetscape

Work is starting on the streetscape in front of city hall

Work along Illinois Avenue, east of Carbondale City Hall, has begun as part of the Illinois Avenue Streetscape Improvements Project.
The contractor is removing existing sidewalk and steps. For your safety, visitors are asked to avoid this area as much as possible. In addition, parking will not be available along Illinois Avenue during contractor working hours
A temporary walkway will be in place until the new sidewalk is constructed. Visitors are encouraged to use the west entrance of City Hall.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Chamber Letter In Support Of Multi Modal Center

The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce sent the letter below to the DOT supporting the city's request for funding for the proposed multi-modal center. Not sure what will come of it due to the lack of any significant funding for infrastructure improvements from the current administration.:

The Honorable Elaine L. Chao, Secretary
United States Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20590
Dear Secretary Chao:
I am writing on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce to express our support of the City of Carbondale's application for the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant for $14.64 million through the U.S. Department of Transportation, for the Southern Illinois Multi-Modal Station (SIMMS) project. This grant will allow the City of Carbondale to complete design and construction and will also help generate much needed economic activity within our region.
In a rural area like Southern Illinois, transportation is often cited as a key impediment to connecting qualified workers with jobs. SIMMS will provide an opportunity to improve public transportation throughout the region and doing so, will provide opportunities to many low-income residents to access jobs, educational opportunities, and healthcare. Collectively, these improvements will improve the quality-of-life for many of our residents.
In addition to the improvements that the SIMMS project will provide for public transportation, this project would be a significant infrastructure investment to our region and would generate many high-quality construction jobs for the area which will generate additional economic impact. As such, we strongly support the use of BUILD funds to help facilitate the development of this critical project for Southern Illinois.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Carbondale Whiners

The Belleville News-Democrat does not have a very charitable take toward the SIUC members on the SIU Board of Trustees. Of course, despite the approaching parity in terms of enrollment, SIUC has far more residential students than does SIUE and also grants doctoral degrees, which SIUE does not, and which require more intensive time commitment from faculty. Granted, I got my doctoral degree from SIUC a number of years ago, but I had to wait several years to enter the program, as there were too many doctoral candidates and not enough faculty available to advise them. Some of the backlog, so to speak, had to clear out of the channel before the program could admit new students.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Kevin Lucas

In case you are free this Saturday. From the press release:

Local musician Kevin Lucas will be hosting a benefit concert for the Good Samaritan House homeless shelter of Carbondale on Saturday, June 30, at 2 PM at Alto Vineyards.  This is the third year that Kevin is hosting this event and every year it has raised more money than previous years.  "This is the kind of thing that builds on itself year after year.  I am extremely excited about this year and Patty Mullen from Good Samaritan has been doing a great job of getting the word out", said Lucas.  With state funding being cut for homeless shelters, it is more important than ever to raise money for them in new and creative ways.

Friday, June 22, 2018

City Council Agenda

Here is the agenda for next Tuesday's city council meeting. In addition, the LCC will vote on renewing Fat Patties liqour license:

7. Consent Agenda of the City Council
 7.1 Approval of the Carbondale City Council Meeting Minutes of June 12, 2018
7.2 Approval of Warrant for the Period Ending: 06/04/2018 for the combined FY 2018 and FY 2019 Warrant 1331 in the Total Amount of $1,132,037.57
 7.3 Award Purchase of Police Vehicles and Ordinance Authorizing a Budget Adjustment to the Police Department FY 2019 Budget
7.4 Award of Purchase of MFT Maintenance Materials for FY2019
7.5 Ordinance Approving a Budget Adjustment to Increase the City Clerk's Budget for Memorial Day Expenses
7.6 Award of Contract for Springer Street Water Main Replacement, CIP No. WS1301, to Dean Bush Construction of Carbondale, Illinois, in the Amount of $457,167.98
7.7 Award of Contract for Oak Street Sanitary Sewer Upgrade (Wall St. to Poplar St.), CIP SA1501, to ACI X of Chester, Illinois, in the amount of $1,188,001.46
 7.8 Appointments and Reappointments to Boards and Commissions
7.9 Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Execute a Project Labor Agreement with the Egyptian Building Trades Council
7.10 Approval of Consent Agenda Items
8. General Business of the City Council
8.1 Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Submit an Application for a BUILD Grant Requesting $14,640,000 in Funding to Construct the Southern Illinois Multi-Modal Station (SIMMS) 8.2 Ordinance Amending Title 5 of the Carbondale Revised Code to Allow Video Gaming in Truck Stops
 8.3 Ordinance Providing for the Regulation of and the Application for Small Wireless Facilities
8.4 Ordinance Adopting a Prevailing Rate of Wages of Laborers, Mechanics, and other Workers Employed in Public Works as Certified by the Illinois Department of Labor

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Reef House for Sale

From an email sent out to the Arbor District mailing list:

Many of you are probably aware that the Reef House on the NE corner of Poplar and Cherry Streets is for sale. Arbor District member Susan Metcalf is the agent for Sosanya Jones, who was recruited by Howard University. It's a wonderful opportunity for her, but a real loss to our neighborhood.

The Reef House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by Jean Sternberg, wife of the founder of the SIU Press (1956), Vernon Sternberg. The house is thought to have been built by A.M. Etherton who built a number of the highly decorated Victorian houses that once dominated Carbondale's architecture. It's small but beautifully restored and upgraded.  It's priced to sell at $89,900.

Jean and Vernon raised their family there. Vernon died of a heart attack apparently from shoveling snow in the historic "blizzard of 1979"; Jean died in 2006 at 86. Jean was an activist, being a founding member of the Humane Society, serving on a number of City boards and commissions during Carbondale's heyday in the late 1960s-early 1970s, and taking a deep history in local and regional history. 

Gary and Susan Edgren bought the house from her estate in 2005 and did a wonderful job restoring it. Their son lived there until 2014 when Sosanya, a new faculty member at SIU, bought it. 

With the Varsity Theater on Illinois, the Reef House on Poplar, and the Bucky Dome on Forest, Cherry Street embodies much of the history of Carbondale.

If you know someone who might be interested, Susan says she's holding an open house this Sunday, 3 to 5 p.m.

South Dakota vs. Wayfair

The Supreme Court ruled in the case of South Dakota vs. Wayfair this morning, a case revisiting the collection of sales taxes by states and local communities.

The SCOTUS Quill decision, back about 1992, in the early days of online retailing, ruled that retailers without a physical presence in a state were not required to collect and remit state and local sales taxes. At that time, online retailing was a minor presence and the taxes lost were pretty small. However as online retailing has grown over the past couple of decades, accounting for about 10-15% of all retail sales, the sales tax revenue loss has impacted states and cities severely. Just ask anyone in management at Carbondale City Hall.

Under the South Dakota law, which was upheld today, any retailer doing more that $100,000 in online sales or with over 200 customers in the state, is required to collect and remit sales tax to the state. This ruling only affects South Dakota but opens the way for other states to enact similar laws or for Congress, under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, to enact some sort of national regulation. Since there is no national sales tax in place, I doubt we will see any national form of sales tax collection put into place though.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

SIUC Medicne SIH Groundbreaking

Good turnout for the groundbreaking for the new SIUC/SIH complex going in on West Oak. I estimated 150 to 200 people there. I imagine that eventually SIH will want to acquire the entire block, pull down the houses there and replace them with either additional medical facilities or rental properties for doctors and staff working at the hospital, or short term rentals for families of patients at the hospital.

Unfortunately, hospitals and universities, because of their focus on the most modern technology and facilities, tend to not consider the effect of their activities on the surrounding neighborhoods. Ergo, most are located on the outskirts of communities or in areas where they can expand without disrupting the surrounding residences.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Celebrate 618

Walked through the Saturday afternoon Celebrate 618 event a couple of times Saturday afternoon and saw very little foot traffic. Good idea but needs more of a draw to get people out on a 90+ degree Saturday afternoon.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Celebrate 618

I haven't heard much about it, but that it certainly no criteria, but the Celebrate 618 festival kicks off tonight by incorporating the Sunset Concerts into the event, then Steak by the Lake tomorrow night and a days' worth of events on Saturday.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Founders Park Design Forum

SIUC Agriculture students' designs for the proposed founders park will be on display in room 108 of the Civic Center from 3 to 7 p.m. It would be nice if the city took advantage of the resources of the University and use one or a combination of the designs but, based on past experience, it will probably outsource the park design.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Most Underrated City in Illinois

Thanks to a reader for pointing this out. According to the Thrillist, Carbondale is the most underrated city in Illinois. Here is what the writer has to say about the town, although he appears to view the city as more of a home base from which to visit other parts of southern Illinois:

The case to be made for visiting Carbondale, and southern Illinois as a whole, is that it’s the polar opposite of the big-shouldered metropolis up north. Carbondale is a Podunk college town with the feel of Bourbon County. Take advantage of the multiple wine trails, Cache River wetlands, and Shawnee National Forest, home to the Garden of the Gods and vistas unmatched anywhere else in the state. Speaking of: Carbondale had a total (if cloud-obscured) view of the 2017 eclipse -- and will also get to see America’s next total eclipse, in 2024.
At night, stop in neighboring Murphysboro for 17 Street Barbecue, where champion pitmaster Mike Mills has been working his cherry and applewood-smoked magic on baby back ribs for more than 20 years. Count on catching a live show at Carbondale’s Hangar 9, a dual-level bar with a musical legacy rooted in bluegrass and rock acts pouring through. The spot is modeled after an old airplane hangar that burned down and rebuilt -- because who needs an airport when you can have a kickass concert venue and beer garden? -- Sean Cooley

Monday, June 11, 2018

Gwen Hunt Passes Away

According to this post on PK's Facebook page,  Gwen Hunt, the boss at PKs for more years than most residents of Carbondale have been alive, passed away Saturday at the age of 84. The bar closed yesterday and most of today in memory of Gwen but the staff figured it would probably annoy her they closed at all so reopened at 4 p.m. today instead of 8 a.m. tomorrow as originally planned.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Hazardous Waste Collection

Jackson County is collecting household hazardous wastes at the SIUC Area parking lot until noon today. Paints, lightbulbs, batteries, etc are accepted, no industrial waste and you have to have an id or utility bill showing you live in the county. Easiest way to get to the collection site is from the Pleasant Hill Road entrance to the Arena lot.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Historic Park Committee Meeting

I think this is a meeting to discuss planning a park behind the public safety nee police station.
 Next Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the city council chambers:

Introductions and roll call Special reports: Update on landscape displays in the Student Center New business: Discussion on setting up a 501 C3 foundation for the park Old business: Master plan schedule submissions (5 year) Maintaining the Facebook Page for the Park Continue discussion of Kiosks and historical information to be used/included. Consensus on landscape elements for the park Private/Public partnerships: Update on partnering progress

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Dunn Update

Randy Dunn may not go on administrative leave after all. At least one member of the BOT doesn't think the executive committee has the power to put him on leave. BOT Chair Amy Sholar says that removing the President is a duty reserved for the entire BOT, not for the Executive Committee and she does not believe it an important enough action to warrant calling the entire BOT into session.  Wanna bet there is more to come?

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Dunn on Administrative Leave

SIU's BOD announced today that SIU President Randy Dunn has been placed on administrative leave and the BOD is looking for an interim President to take his place for the immediate future. Apparently the trustees received some additional information in the past week regarding Dunn that caused them to take this action which appears to have caught Dunn by surprise.  Since I bet Dunn is going on a paid leave of absence, SIU will have to pay salaries for both him and the selected interim at a time with the university is not exactly flush with money.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Fat Pattie's Liquor License

Fat Pattie's liquor license for 2018-2019 comes up before the Liquor Advisory Board this Thursday night. Looks like the only thing on the agenda.

Monday, June 4, 2018

New Chamber CEO

The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce has decided to name its interim executive director as permanent director. From the press release:

The Executive Committee and the Board of Directors of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce have voted to accept the recommendation of the Search Committee to hire Jennifer Olson as the President and CEO of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce.
Ms. Olson has been serving as the Interim Director since March 19. Prior to joining the Chamber, Jennifer had a 15-year career in Commercial Banking, primarily based out of Carbondale. Before banking, Jennifer spent five years as Marketing Director for University Mall.
“We are pleased to have Jennifer lead the Chamber, her Business background combined with her extensive knowledge of Public Relations, Marketing, and Special Events is sure to be an asset,” said Shane Carsrud, Chairman of the Board of Directors.
In addition to the position as President and CEO, Ms. Olson serves on several committees and boards for various organization. Most notable, Delta Regional Authority (DRA) Federal Co-Chairman Chris Caldwell recently asked Jennifer to Chair the Regional Advisory Council to the Delta Leadership Network of the DRA.

Saturday, June 2, 2018


In case you are looking for something to do this weekend, Pridefest kicked off Friday night and continues through Sunday. Events today and Sunday include:

Saturday, June 2nd:
PrideWalk - Carbondale Gaia house to Carbondale Pavilion, 11:00 a.m.
Festival - Carbondale Pavilion, 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., with Mistress of Ceremonies, the Living Legend, Blanche Dubois! Performers Heather Hammers, Laura King Neville, Improv, DJ Keith Hughes, tables, activities and events for all ages.
Drag Queen Bingo: 4:00 - 6:30 p.m., the Varsity
YOUTH PARTY – Doors open at 6 p.m., shows at 7:00 p.m. - 11 pm, Carbondale Gaia House – Laura King Neville, Bad Ghost, drag shows, performance games and prizes. Ages 13-19
BENEFIT CONCERT FOR THE RAINBOW CAFE - Street Bar, 8:00 p.m. - featuring drag artists/ performers, including live bands Sleeping Tapes and Trophy Shop. Mistress of Ceremonies, Jodie Santana.

HIV and STD Screenings, Jackson County Health Department and The Community Action Place Mobile Unit, all day

Sunday, June 3rd:

Special Service at the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship, in conjunction with the Church of the Good Shepherd, CUF 10:30 a.m.
The Ralph Anderson Interfaith Dialogues (subgroup of Carbondale Interfaith Council): "Coming Out in Faith", 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. at Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship.
Film Screening, “Tangerine”, Big Muddy Film Festival, lLongbranch Cafe