Friday, August 31, 2018

Student Protests

As usual, SIUC took a pretty heavy handed approach to student protest and activism and generated a lot of controversy and blowback as a result. I understand the administration would rather the students sit down and shut up but there are always a few who will not. Coach Kill also made a analogy about football, which is just fine if you have a pretty straightforward objective, like winning a game. The things the students are protesting and that people are objecting to are a lot more complicated:

Kill said the country should act more like a football team.
“They all have to work together to win. That’s beautiful,” he said, adding that if they can’t all work together then they’ve got the same problem the country has.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

tonight At the Varsity

Following up on yesterday's post, tonight at 7 p.m. at the Varsity Center is a panel on seeking solutions for Southern Illinois. Rather surprised that no one from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute is on the panel. Wonder if anyone will make note of the return southern Illinois gets on its taxes? The region received about $2.50 from the state for every $1 in taxes sent to Springfield

 President and CEO of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, Jennifer Olson, is a panelist for NPR Illinois' Election 2018: Seeking Solutions forum on Thursday, August 30 at the Varsity Center in Carbondale.
Olson will be joined by fellow panelists Dr. Kyle L. Harfst, Executive Director of the Office of Economic and Regional Development and Matt Donkin, Superintendent of Frankfort Schools District 168.
The forum will focus on Southern Illinois' access to healthcare, education, and economic opportunities. Panelists will comment on the issues Southern Illinois faces and discuss how to improve the region's access to vital services.
"It is important for those that are voted into office to understand the barriers to economic opportunity and what can be done to improve access in Southern Illinois," Jennifer Olson said of the event.
Topics will also include the impact of population loss in Illinois on state finances. The panel will answer questions from the moderator, NPR Illinois News Director Sean Crawford, and audience members.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the forum begins at 7:00 p.m. The program will run live on NPR Illinois and NPR Illinois' Facebook from 6 p.m. -7 p.m.
For more information, contact the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce at 618-549-2146 or

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

SIUC Problems

Last weeks' episode of State Week in Review touched on the problems SIUC and SIUE are having in allocating funding and SIUC's drop in attendance by 10,000. Interestingly, at least to me, the only reason posited for the decline was the overall drop in population in Southern Illinois. While I agree with that, I would argue, and have before, that SIUC has lost its focus and no longer promotes itself as a top tier institution, instead focusing on the athletic department and its sports teams as a means of drawing national attention. Develop an institution like that that attracted Buckminster Fuller and the Four Horsemen and students will come

Monday, August 27, 2018

Solar Bear Weekend

couple of good sized House parties on West Walnut on Saturday celebrating Solar Bear. Couple of hundred students floating around the two houses on Saturday afternoon. Someone had considerately strung up Caution tape running from the house to the street, indicating to the party goers just how far west they should venture during the festivities. Saw a couple of girls out cleaning up trash as well.

Another house at 505 West Main had orange caution fence circling its property, again to indicate to attendees where the boundaries were.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Solar Bear

Just a heads up that the Solar Bear celebration is this weekend. According to my postal worker, West Maple is already pretty much impassible due to the number of cars parked along it. From the looks of it, a couple of houses in the 500 and 800 blocks of West Main expect a lot of visitors as well, since they have orange security fence set up around their yards.

Friday, August 24, 2018

History of Samuel Dunaway

Always wondered about the origins of the two story yellow house at 409 West Main, across from Memorial Hospital. Here is a history of Samuel Dunaway, who built it in 1881.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

City Lot Closed

The metered parking lot at City Hall is closed today for what looks like sealing and striping. Probably, given the increased traffic and need for parking in downtown, not the best day to choose to do it.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Streetscape Ribbon cutting

The city in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce, will hold a ribbon cutting at 11 a.m. next Monday to celebrate the completing of phase 2 of the Downtown Streetscape project. The ceremony will take place in front of City Hall. The next phase of the project, completing the work along Illinois between Main and Marion, will go on hold for a year or so while the city focuses on other projects and decides what do to with the awning that extends almost to the street in front of Priority Sports and The Door. I doubt, given the design of the streetscape as it has been implemented so far, that the awning will remain in its current state.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Keeper's Quarters

Keeper's Quarters restaurant is moving from its location on West Main to the shuttered Kaya Restaurant location on South Illinois. Glad to see another business moving into that section of downtown. The north end of Illinois Ave, has almost no empty space available but the south end has at least 10 storefronts sitting empty.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Culvers and Freddies

Carbondale has two chains moving into the area, both renowned for their frozen deserts. While I don't begrudge them moving it, it will certainly make things harder for the local operations Cool Spoons and Scoopz. I heard one local commenting today about how having Freddies coming into town will make it harder for Culver's and how someone should have warned Culver's. I wonder how much concern he had for Cool Spoons and Scoopz when Culver's moved in?

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

City Website

The city update its website and it is much easier to use. However, and there had to be a however, why in the world is a picture of Garden of the Gods featured on the homepage? Why not something representative of Carbondale, say like Shryock Auditorium or the Arena, something showing off the university.  Or maybe South Illinois, with a view of the streetscaping, or the Varsity Theater?

If you want a natural theme, how about Campus Lake, or Cedar Lake or even Giant City? Or if you really want to go iconic, how about a shot of Boo Rochman "Castle" Park out on Giant City Road?  All of those represent Carbondale far better than an state park an hour away from the city.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Southern Illinois Taxes

For those people pushing to separate downstate Illinois from the rest of the state, meaning Chicago, I hope they are willing to forego the subsidies this region gets from the state. Southern Illinois receives about $2.81 in money from the state for every $1 in taxes sent to Springfield. Here's the full report from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

City Council Agenda

Here is next Tuesday's City Council Agenda, just in case you have a mind to peruse it:

3. Consent Agenda of the City Council
3.1 Approval of Minutes from the City Council Meeting of July 24, 2018
 3.2 Approval of Warrant for the Period Ending: 07/16/2018 for the FY 2019 Warrant 1334 in the Total Amount of $946,811.49
3.3 Approval of Wells Fargo Warrant for the Period Ending 06/30/2018 FY 2019 Warrant # WF 06/2018 in the amount of $130,791.79
 3.4 Reappointments to Boards and Commissions
 3.5 Adoption of the 2019 Calendar of City Council Meetings
 3.6 A Resolution Approving the Final BPL Development Plan for Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers at 500 North Giant City Road
3.7 Approval of Consent Agenda Items 4. General Business of the City Council
4.1 Discussion of Allowing Natural Burials in Oakland Cemetery
4.2 Ordinance Amending Title Five, Chapter Ten of the Carbondale Revised Code as it Relates to Permits for City-Owned Event Venues
4.3 An Ordinance Amending Title Five, Chapter Nine, of the Carbondale Revised Code as it Relates to Consumer Installment Loan Businesses
4.4 An Ordinance Amending Title Five, Chapter Seventeen, of the Carbondale Revised Code as it Relates to Vacation Rental Units and Hosting Platforms

Friday, August 10, 2018

Huffman Harker Funeral Home

The Huffman Harker Funeral Home  at the intersection of Oak and  University, just north of the Memorial Hospital complex, has been demolished this week. I assume after it became Huffman Harker Walker funeral home, with facilities on South Poplar, the owners decided they didn't need two buildings anymore.

Thursday, August 9, 2018


As long as the city is having so much work down downtown, maybe it could have the post with the signs for Station Carbondale, Carbondale Main Street and the Chamber of Commerce turned 45 degrees. The signs for the three locations are clearly visible to anyone heading west on Marion Street but invisible to anyone heading north on Illinois until they are parallel to them.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Downtown Streetscape

According to the Mayor, the downtown street scape development should be substantially completed by the time SIUC starts classes, which would meet the terms of the contract. Hopefully that means the south entrance to the old depot parking lot gets reopened by Friday as easy of parking is reduced by having it closed off.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Railway Crossing Closures

Just in time for back to school and students returning to the University, the railroad has announced a series of crossing closures in downtown Carbondale. Expect driving in downtown to get more messed up than usual the first week of classes. From the city:

Drivers should expect delays in the coming days due to railroad crossing repairs by Canadian National Railroad.
The following locations, between Illinois Avenue and Washington Street, will be closed to vehicle traffic during repairs:
  • College Street will be closed starting at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, August 8 until Thursday, August 9 at 3 p.m.
  • Jackson Street will be closed starting at 7 a.m. on Monday, August 13 until Tuesday, August 14 at 3 p.m.
  • Oak Street will be closed starting at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, August 15 until Thursday, August 16 at 3 p.m.
Drivers are asked to use alternate routes during these affected times.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Invest in the Local Economy

, shop at the Murdale Farmers Market (and other local farmers markets). For every $100 you spend at a farmers's market, according to the Farmers Market Coalition, so they may be a bit biased, $62 stays in the local enocomy. Compare that with spending money on food at Schnuck's, Kroger or Wal-Mart, where, if you spend $100, $17-$20 stays locally.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Olive Branch Program Students

Of the 70 students from China visiting Carbondale this week through the Olive Branch program, 20 of them, according to the University, have committed to attending SIUC starting in the fall of 2019

Thursday, August 2, 2018

PK's Mural

PK's, going along with the downtown improvements, is getting a large Black and White mural with the store logo and  "open 365 days a year" on the south side of the building. The format reminded me of the Jack Daniels label design.