Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Pinch Penny Pub

Drove by Pinch Penny Pub this evening and the parking lot was pretty full. Guess a lot of locals are stopping by one more time before the place shutters tomorrow night. By my count, that leaves fourbars in downtown Carbondale, four if you count Tres Hombres:  Cellar, PK's, Hangar 9 and Trax.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

The Southern Opinion Page

Noticed that the Southern has removed or discontinued its opinion page for the past couple of weeks. Do not not remember seeing any notice from the paper as to why they had dropped it or when/if it would. I rather miss the letters to the editor as some of the screeds published from various letter writers were, unintentionally I am sure, quite humorous.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Downtown Transmodal Center

got to thinking about the planned transmodal center for downtown, given that the plans involve demolishing the building that houses Carbondale Cycle and Family Hair Center. Both businesses have occupied their locations for at least 15 years. Given how difficulty it is to attract business to downtown, I certainly hope the city has plans to help the two businesses relocate to desirable locations.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Pinch Penny Pub

Just a reminder that this is the last weekend EVER to visit Pinch Penny Pub. The 40+ year old bar shutters its doors at the end of the month. There does not appear any New Year's Eve event scheduled at the bar to say "Farewell" though.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Christmas Tree Recycling

If you want to recycle your Christmas tree, the city will accept them from Jan 2 through Jan 31. Strip all of the Christmas decor from them and leave them out on your normal refuse and recycling day. Note that this applies to your live tree only. The only way to recycle artificial trees is to take them one of the thrift shops in town or put them in your trash.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Town Square Lights

Really would like to see the city do something with lighting the town square. The new lamps along Illinois avenue brighten up the streetscape nicely but the square is still very dark. Not inviting at all. The Christmas lights do improve its appearance but they will probably vanish after the first of the year, leaving the square bleak and dark after nightfall again.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Hwy 127

Now if they want to do some work on 127, I would really like to see them add another lane to where 127 and Old Hwy 13 intersect. Lines early in the morning and late afternoon can back up a  quarter mile with people trying to get onto Hwy 13.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Christmas Downtown Parking

Rather sad to see, as I was driving through downtown this afternoon, plenty of parking available on the Town square, while parking was extremely hard to find at Wal-mart and the Highway 13 side of the mall. Of course, the problem with downtown businesses during this season is that most of them around the square are restaurants, which do not see a particular boost in people shopping there for gift purchases.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Hwy 127 Fix

IDOT is working on the lighting situation at the collapsed section of the Hwy 127 just south of Alto Pass. Apparently the lights have a problem changing at a frequency that keeps traffic moving smoothly.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Hwy 127 4 Lane

We will proabably never see a 4 lane Highway 127 connecting Murphysboro to the Interstate or the St. Louis metro region, simply because of the layout of IDOT districts. Although both are part of Region 5, any 4 lane upgrade would have to go through both district 8 and district 9, the border of which crosses through Pickneyville. While District 9, which contains Carbondale, Marion and Murphysboro is comparatively quiet and not needing much roadwork, district 8 covers the bludgeoning Illinois-St. Louis Metro region, which continually needs money directed toward it for new roads. As long as that is the situation, and it is for the foreseeable future, we will not see any money freed up to direct towards a 4 lane expansion of 127 north of Pickneyville.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Let It Glow Winners

The city announced the winners of its Let It Glow lighting contest today. Sadly, no downtown locations won, nor did the tree on West Main. From the press release, The winners are:

The City received 11 entries. All submissions were judged on creativity, use of lights and originality. The contest was open to businesses and residences in city limits.
Residential Winner: Marcia Moore, 1018 South Glenview Drive
Business Winner: Century Assisted Living, 701 South Lewis Lane
Honorable Mentions: Darren Ackerman, 804 W Cherry Street
                                  Garret Cummings, 501 Deer Lake Drive West

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Sales Light

Have talked with a few retailers this holiday season and all of the ones along the Hwy 13 corridor I spoke with say that sales are noticeably softer than they were at this time last December. We have started seeing a pick up in sales in the downtown area but it is running about 4 days later than 2018.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Five Reasons to Shop Local

That is a question brick and mortar stores have to face every year and none more so than during the holidays. Granted, the overwhelming number of purchases are still made in brick and mortar stores  (roughly 90% of retail sales are still made in brick and mortar stores, though this number is projected to increase by 14% by 2021). Given that many customers are motivated by price and stuff really is cheaper generally online and, unfortunately, most of our customers are not autistic enough to willingly spend more at their Friendly Local Game Store, just to keep us in business. We need to give them reasons to spend money at the brick and mortar store, rather than online. So here are 5 good reasons to shop locally:

1. Immediacy—when the customer buys a product at a brick and mortar store, they get to use it immediately. When the exception of digital media and PDFs, everything else purchased online takes time to reach them, anywhere from a day to a month or better.  I was just checking out a Kickstarter produced by a local publisher and backers will not receive the game until next March. Even modeling miniatures with a 3D printer takes several hours to complete

2. Finding New Stuff—Despite the vast amount of products available for sale online, in general customers don’t find new product online. They are 3 times more likely to find a new product that delights them in a physical store than in an online one (and don’t worry a lot about showrooming. According to Harris,  70% of customers webroom while only 45% of them showroom).

3. Reinvestment —More of their money stays in the local community when a customer shops at a local store. If a customer spends $100 at a local store, 68% stays in the local community  while if they shop at a chain store, only 45% stays in the community to generate jobs and, of course, if they buy online, none stays in the local community . In addition,  there is a multiplier effect when that money is spent in the community, meaning that money circulates to other business such as office supply stores, janitorial services etc. . In a smaller community like here in Carbondale or London Kentucky, the multiplier effect is only around 1 or 2 times before the money leaves the community but in a more metropolitan area such as Seattle, St. Louis or Chicago, you are looking at a multiplier of 7 to 10 times. And, of course, the sales taxes go back into such things as sidewalks, police, fire safety, sewers ect.

4.  Stronger Communities—Research shows that the more local businesses a community has, residents have stronger civic ties and are more likely to participate in civic affairs. Economic concentration among businesses leads to a monolithic   local power structure and civic apathy. A larger number of locally owned  businesses is positively correlated with participation in local elections and civic activism, helping to counter the decline in civic engagement in the US over the past several decades.

5. More Jobs—Local businesses create more jobs for local people. Maybe it indicates inefficiency, but local retailers create twice as many jobs as Amazon does for the same amount of revenue. Spending money at the FLGS helps maintain jobs, both there and in the large community.
You and I and every other game (and comic) shop owner know this. The trick is 

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

State of the City Address

Missed the state of the city address this year. From the sound bites I have caught, the primary focus was on the growth of the city, which spent $16 million on downtown streetscaping and developing as well as landing a grant for the long planned multi-modal transport center, to go in where the Amtrak station currently sits. Mayor Henry hopes to put a day care center in there as well. Other highlights:  6 new restaurants and 2 new health facilities, as well as a solar array installed on city buildings that will cut the city's energy costs by $1.5 million over the life of the project.

Monday, December 16, 2019

250,000 Fewer

No, not students at SIUC but that is the number of fewer students starting college this year, compared to last year. According to a story I caught on NPR and WSIU this morning, this is a trend that has continued since 2008:  fewer students enrolling in college nationwide for over a decade. 2 major reasons for the trend:

1. ever increasing price of college
2. continually shrinking unemployment rate. As the unemployment rate drops, typically more high school graduates enter the labor marker or an apprenticeship program in order to start earning rather than attending college, thus putting off earning wages for 4 to 6 years.

Bike Path

Given all the time and money put into constructing a bike path running from the town square to SIUC, it might be a good idea to put up a sign letting cyclists know it is there. I still regularly see bicyclists riding north and south on the sidewalks through downtown. The bike path is certainly a lot safer and faster than dodging traffic in the street or pedestrians on the sidewalk.

Given that the city sought input on wayfinding (putting up directional signs) in the community, it seems putting up a sign directing people to the path makes sense.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Help Wanted

Looks like there are plenty of places looking for help. Thai Taste is still looking for help as is Qin Guan. Burger King and Kroger are interviewing as well. I saw half a dozen help wanted signs around town today. Probably not great jobs but, given the difficulty of staffing today, I imagine they pay more than minimum wage. 

Friday, December 13, 2019

Jason Tanner

Jason Tanner or just "Tanner" has been a Carbondale fixture for well over 20 years. He has been diagnosed with throat cancer and, after a stay at a hospital in St. Louis, is now at a facility in Benton. Extremely ill but able to receive visitors.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Free Parking Rescinded

At Tuesday's city council meeting, the city decided to put an end to its experiment with making parking in downtown free. According to its report, parking usage stayed roughly the same while there was no increase in sales tax collection to offset the costs of maintaining the parking lots. Wish the city would have run the experiment for a full year rather than just 6 months. Also would be nice to know if parking is still free in the elevated parking facility by Memorial Hospital. If so, that would offer an option for employees of downtown businesses to use. Yes, it is not as convenient as getting to park next door to your place of employment but would still allow employees at downtown businesses to park free.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

See Click Fix

If you don't have this app downloaded to your phone and are concerned about city infrastructure, it is a pretty handy app to have. You photograph a problem like a pot hole or light that is out, upload it to the app and send it to the city. I did this with three pot holes last Thursday and by Wednesday afternoon, the city had patched all of them. Great job.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

City council Meeting tonight

On the agenda
Ending the trial of downtown free parking after the first of the year
Presentation on Recreational marijuana establishment in Carbondale
Presentation of survey on sustainability in Carbondale
Presentation on automated refuse collection
Changing the name of the Street Bar to Buckner Brew Works and Whiskey
Approving the transfer of Chili's liquor license

Monday, December 9, 2019

Pag's Not For Sale

Was at Pagliai's Pizza over the weekend and learned that the pizzeria is not for sale. Apparently the owners had put on the market several rental properties they also own and Pag's mistakenly got listed along with them, which is why it got pulled down from online listings so quickly. As far as I know, Hangar 9 and PK's are still up for sale.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Arnold's Closing

Been reading articles and people's posts bemoaning the announced closing of Arnold's Market. It is not as if it was a surprise. Like the Bookworm, the business has been on the market bur the better part of a year. In both cases the owners wanted to retire or move onto something else. They wanted to see the business continue but no one was interested enough to step up and take it on. I happened to catch a piece in today's Southern about a Farm Fresh store that a customer had enough interest in to purchase and work to keep running. The owner of Arnold's has the right to shutter it if they want. If someone else wants to keep it open, they have about another week or so to do so.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Lights Fantastic Parade

Carbondale Police will start blocking off downtown streets for the Lights Fantastic parade at 5 p.m. and will reopen them when the parade ends, typically around 8 p.m. There is a downtown cookie walk from 4 to 6 before the parade

Friday, December 6, 2019

SIUC Recruiting UP

Applications to SIUC are up just over 25% and admitted freshmen for this fall are up just over 20%. Market research told the university it needed to reach out more to high school guidance counselors and it has done so. I remember talking with parents in southern Illinois some years ago who said that the file for SIUC in the guidance counselor's office in southern Illinois high schools consisted of one sheet of paper and that the university made little effort to recruit graduating seniors from the region. The assumption at the university was "these students have lived in the region all of their lives so must be aware of SIUC and our time is better spent recruiting students from elsewhere."

Thursday, December 5, 2019

New Businesses

While it is disheartening that Arnold's Market is closing, we have had a number of new businesses open in downtown Carbondale in the past few months. The strip of 3 retail storefronts on West Walnut behind Phoenix Cycle is fully rented for the first time in several year's as is the group of retail shops in the elevated strip behind what is now Traxx. By my count, that is seven new small businesses that have opened in the past year.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

New SIU President

The SIU BOT will vote to confirm Daniel Mahony as the next President of the university, likely tomorrow. Prior to this he served as president at South Carolina's Winthrop University from 2015 until stepping down to take the SIU position. From his Linked In profile:

Dr. Daniel F. Mahony became Winthrop University's 11th president on July 1, 2015. In his first year Dr. Mahony called fo a campus-wide effort to develop a strategy that would build on Winthrop’s past successes, including its strong reputation, focus on students, and its willingness to adapt to the changing realities of public higher education.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Arnold's Market Closing

According to this post on Facebook, southside staple Arnold's Market will shutter its doors on Dec. 18th. The grocery has been up for sale for a few years now with no takers, much like Bookworm, so the owner decided to close up and retire. Spin off business Arnie's Sandwiches is under new ownership but will have to find a new supply source.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Hidden Gem

College Gazette ranks SIUC as one of the top ten "Hidden Gem" universities in the country based on the quantity of research, progressive attitude toward students and strength in technology and agricultural science programs 

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Solar Project

The city awarded a contract to install solar panels on the roofs of the civic center, waste treatment center and the public safety center (police station). Expected savings to the city are projected at $1.5 million over 25 year. Solar installer Straight Up Solar out of Bloomington IL got the contract for the development of the project

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Black Friday

Avoided the east side of Carbondale on Black Friday, which is where most of the mass merchants congregate. Driving on the west side, traffic seemed no more heavy than a typical Friday morning, though the Murphysboro Wal-mart's lot was packed.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Trash Collection Changes

The city will move to fully automated trash collection starting January 20th. Starting Dec. 16th in order to prepare for the changeover, the city will ask that you place trash bins at least 3 feet from any possible obstruction such as a tree or light pole, face the wheels of the cart away from the street, position trash carts at least 1 foot away from each other and not put anything on the lids.

The cans arrived designed for automatic pickup but the city's refuse trucks apparently were not set up to perform auto pickup until January.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Holiday Shopping Data

According to this survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, over 80% of Americans already started holiday shopping before Thanksgiving, with just over 40% making purchases in October or earlier. The average shopper plans to spend about $1048 in total, with $659 of that going for gifts, $227 on food and decorations and $162 on other holiday spending such as new clothing.

Clothing is the most popular gift item, followed by gift cards in second place and toys in third. Overall, the NRF expects consumers to spend about 3% more than last year.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Handicapped Parking Stings

Police statewide will be checking on people parking in public handicapped parking spaces this weekend, making sure that the person to whom the tag is registered to is in the car and gets out of the car when they have parked in the space.  The person to whom the tag is registered to has to leave the car when it is parked. They cannot sit inside in it while the driver or passenger gets out to run into the store.

Note that this only applies to reserved spaces in public parking lots, such as the town square lots. Spaces on private property, such as in the Kroger or Schunck's parking lots, will only be checked by police if someone calls the police. The law requires private parking lots to provide a certain number of disabled parking spots but does not enforce them.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Pot Sales

City council will take up legal sales of pot in Carbondale at the meeting tonight. Unfortunately, it appears that legalized pot and CBD sales are not proving the pot of money for growers and taxing agencies hoped for. Illegal pot sales are still strong, likely because the taxes imposed still make black market marijuana profitable while CBD production is running into bottlenecks in that there are not enough plants set up to take the raw hemp and convert it into CBD products.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Geese Population Decline

Caught on WSIU over the weekend that the geese population wintering in southern Illinois has dropped by about 99% over the past 20 years. In 1990, roughly 1 million geese came to southern Illinois to winter and support a thriving hunting industry. This year, the expected number looks about 1000.

Primary reasons for the drop are warmer winters, the rise of no-till farming and the floods of 93 and 94. Geese only fly as far south as they need to in order to find open water during the winter and the warmer temperatures make them able to find that further north than here.

No-till farming means more forage left on the ground, compared to prior years when farmers plowed it all under while the 93-94 floods reduced a lot of feed in the area for the geese, causing them to look for other locales, with more food, to winter over.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Retail Space Filled

Always glad to see empty retail space in downtown filling. After several rotations of tenants, the three storefronts behind Phoenix Cycle have occupants. Two are actively open:  an event planner and a hair salon. The third, Quall's Hats and Company has slowly been adding merchandise but no indication as to when it will officially open.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Amtrak Delays

According to a bill just introduced by Sen. Dick Durbin, Amtrak service to Carbondale is reliably unreliable. Trains from Chicago to Carbondale arrive on time only 17% of the time while if you leave Carbondale for Chicago, you will arrive on time only 6% of the time. Last time I took the train from Carbondale to New Orleans a number of years ago, it arrived over an hour late.

According to this article in the Southern, a good chunk of the problem comes from freight trains not yielding the right of way to passenger trains, accounting for a good 60% of the delays

Friday, November 22, 2019

Holiday Lights Contest

Holiday decorations are going up already. Normally I do not see decorations on houses until after Thanksgiving but have already seen some lit homes. The city has announced its second Holiday lights contest.  Winner gets a $50 gift card from Ace Hardware and a yard sign.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Shop Local

Sat in on a presentation by Foodworks today and was reminded once again that shopping local puts back into the community. Paying sales taxes on local purchases is how we fund such services as the police and fire department, street repair, sewage and water and other local governmental functions. also, when you buy from a local business, 40 to 67% percent of what you spend stays in the local community.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Cape Electric

Looks as if Cape Electric on East Walnut may be closing. A quick look inside the windows indicates the interior pretty empty. Will take a closer look tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Patronize Restaurants

I was talking with the owner of one of the local restaurants up for sale. He mentioned a "customer" who called in, wanting to know when they were closing the business so they could pay a visit before it shuttered.  The owner told him they had no plans to close the restaurant (except at regular closing time, of course) and wanted to know if the customer wanted to put in a order or make a reservation. The customer's response:  "Oh no, I just wanted to eat there once more before you closed."

If you want local restaurants to stay open, you need to patronize them. I still remember the owner of Mississippi Flyway saying if they had gotten the business regularly that they did after announcing the restaurant was closing, it could have remained open. Similarly, the first time El Grecos closed, they had lines out the door for the last week. Nice, but it takes regular customers to keep a restaurant open Don't wait until the doors shutter and then wish it had never closed. If you want a restaurant to stay open. eat there.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Empty Rentals

Article in Sunday's Southern looked at the state of rentals in the city. With 70% of housing in Carbondale in rental property, an estimated 30% of that remaining empty is pretty disheartening. A lot of them are up for sale too. A three building complex on East Grand sold for just over $1.5 million last July, Home Rentals appears to have over $9 million in properties listed for sale as a group and the owners of The Quadrangle complex have listed it for $2.6 million

The problem, of course, is that most of these properties were built for a time when the student population at SIUC hit over 24,000. Currently , there are only about 11,700 students enrolled this fall. From what I have heard, the new Evolve building in downtown has never managed more than a 60% occupancy rate and there are rumors of at least 2 more apartment complexes planned for the south side of town in the next couple of years.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Dairy Queen

In case you would like one more fix of Dairy Queen soft serve, today, Nov. 17, is the last day in 2019 to get any as the stand will close for the winter today. The store still has bags of sandwiches and bars on sale and has bags of 6 orange Dilly Bars on special for $4.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Fire Trucks

Expect to hear about another large fire on the west side of town tomorrow. At least 4 fire trucks with sirens headed west on Main street early this afternoon.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Delinquent Real Estate Taxes

In case you missed it, a list of property owners with delinquent real estate taxes appeared in yesterday's issue of the Southern . Maybe not so surprising but several Carbondale rental property owners appeared numerous times on the list, a couple owing well in excess of $50,000

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Transit Hub

Looks as if the plans for the downtown transit hub call for the complex to extend south from Walnut Street to where the Amtrak station currently sits. This means the demolishment of the buildings that have housed Carbondale Cycle and Family Hair Center for years. City has been in negotiation with the owner of the buildings for several years but the recent $14 million grant for the transit complex likely pushed those negotiations along.  Much more of this and the Varsity Center for the Arts will be the only "old" building remaining in downtown Carbondale.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Shop southern Illinois

If you happen to follow the Shop southern Illinois Facebook page, there is a weekly contest running giving away a basket of prizes from various Chambers of Commerce. Like, comment and share each week's post for a chance to win that week's basket

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Snow and Ice

I guess we want to be very careful with buses on the roads these days but it sure does not seem like it takes very much in the way of snow to warrant a complete shutdown of the school systems throughout southern Illinois.

However drivers didn't do very well yesterday, which may account for the caution. State police reporter over 70 accidents due to the weather in southern Illinois

Monday, November 11, 2019

Gas Stations

Had to put gas in the car last night and it got me thinking about the locations of gas stations in Carbondale. Now there are plenty of locations if you travel east to west or vice versa along Highway 13. However, if you travel north to south on 51, once you get past the Pleasant Hill intersection on the south side of town, there is no place to get gas along Highway 51 until you reach DeSoto. South of Pleasant Hill, there is no place to get gas until you reach Anna

If you look at north 51 as it exits  (or enters) Carbondale, the area it runs through is all light industrial with little draw for consumers. It also has the lightest traffic flow of any of the four major entrances to Carbondale

Sunday, November 10, 2019

West Side Restaurants

Since I had a request after the post regarding the razing of the old Westside McDonald's building, here are a list of places of which I know where you can get something to eat on the west side of Carbondale. Except for EZ Street, Burger King and Subway, they are all sit down or carry out locations. Feel free to add any spots I might have missed:

EZ Street
Burger King
Dale's Burger Shack
Pita Alley
Neighborhood Food Co-op
Key West

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Campus Drug Use

According to this article in the current Daily Egyptian, black SIUC students are referred for drug related offenses to SIUC's Student Rights and Responsibilities office twice as often as white students, primarily for the odor of cannabis. 65% of SIUC students identity as white while less than 15% are black. Nationally, black and white Americans use marijuana at about the same rates, so, assuming enforcement was racially neutral, one would expect about 4 times more white students than black referred to the SRR for marijuana use.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Day's Inn Razed

The city is moving right along with tearing down blighted buildings as the flood prone and now abandoned University Inn on East Main is rapidly approaching rubble. Still no confirmed plans as to what will happen to the space, although I have heard talk of turning it into green space in order to avoid problems with future flooding

As far as I can remember, flooding is something that has only plagued the property in recent years. I do not recall any problems with flooding in that location during the 1990s and early part of this century.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Westside McDonald's Razed

The McDonald's building on the west side of Carbondale is getting torn down after closing a couple of years ago.No idea why or what will go in there but from what I have heard, the interior of the building had deteriorated enough during the years closed that there was little likelihood of it reopening as a McDonald's or any other business.

Not that it changes things much, but the only places to get food on the west side of Carbondale now, without getting out of your car, something we Americans are loath to do, are Subway and Burger King.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Police Cars On Main

Heard and saw 4 police cars head west on Main Street shortly before 9 p.m. this evening. I expect we will wake up in in the morning to a story about something requiring police attention on the west side of town tonight. 2 murders in town in the past week has probably made a lot of people concerned about shootings and other violent acts in town.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Pinch Penny Pub closing

The owner of Pinch Penny Pub announced that, assuming the sale goes through, Pinch Penny Pub and the Copper Dragon will close at the end of the year. The bar has been quietly up for sale for the past 2 and a half years, rather like Pagliai's Pizza and Thai Taste but a couple of former SIUC students appear to have made a serious offer.

From the article, it sounds as if the new owners do not plan to continue operating the bar but rather will demolish it for more housing (which Carbondale really does not need) or a hotel, which would help attracting more large multi-day events to town, as well as providing close to campus lodging for parents visiting SIUC students.

Of course, this means that one of the other bars in town will likely start hosting the annual Solar Bear and Polar Bear events as 'twould be a pity to let revenue generators like them die.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Gas Taxes

For all the complaining about higher taxes in Illinois, gas prices are not that much higher than those in Missouri. Here, when I checked over the weekend, gas in Carbondale ran about $2.56 per gallon. Today in Cape it was $2.29 a gallon. Cheaper yes, about 10% so, but probably not enough to make someone make a special trip to Missouri to gas up.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Illinois University Enrollment Declines

SIUC is not the only university in the state of Illinois to post declines in enrollment. Save for UI Champaign and UI at Chicago, every public university in the state posted an enrollment drop. Maybe, instead of looking for outside saviours, SIUC's Board of Trustees ought to look at what those universities are doing and emulate which of their practices SIUC could adopt.

Saturday, November 2, 2019


Rather surprised that Rendleman's Orchards announced a closing date of October 31 this year. Usually it stays open through Thanksgiving, selling and shipping gift boxes. Apparently that didn't bring in enough revenue to justify staying open the extra month after the apple season ended.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Warming Centers

Given the 28 F temperature this morning, getting the Carbondale Warming Center open is a good idea. Looks like it will have significant upgrades, including better insulation and indoor plumbing. Wonder if the civic center will operate as a daytime warming center as well? Never saw it get much use in the past and it seems as if people need heating more at night than during the daytime.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Halloween Concert

Rather impressed with how quickly the Carbondale Halloween committee responded to the inclement weather last Saturday, moving the day's concerts to Hangar 9. Not particular good for the food trucks and other vendors who expected to sell stuff to concert attendees but certainly a boon in sales for the Hangar and hopefully the city allowed the food trucks to relocate to the street in front of the Hangar with minimal paperwork.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Downtown stores

Following up from an earlier post, it looks as iff all 4 storefronts in the elevated strip behind Trax have or will soon be filled. There are currently 2 stores selling clothing, the aforementioned barbershop and sheets of plastic covering the windows of the final one.  I would imagine they are getting a pretty good deal on the rent, given that it is necessary to clime steps to access any of them. No impediment to most people but anyone in a wheelchair cannot get to them. Though I am nowise an expert, I would bet the angle and location of the steps precludes the option of ramps.

Monday, October 28, 2019

New Barber Shop

Did not catch the name of it as I drove by but there is a new barber shop open  just behind Trax and north of Evolve. By my count that makes at least 3 barber shops and 3 hair salons in the downtown area  between Walnut and Grand.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Hundley House

Hundley House, Carbondale's most famous haunted location, is still up for sale. The house went on the market in 2016 but no takers over the past 3 years have caused the price to drop to under $190,000

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Pine Manor

In case you missed it, Pine Manor burnt last night. Bed and Breakfast and conference center just west of Carbondale and South of Highway 13. At least 6 Carbondale fire trucks headed out that way  to help put out the blaze.

I got to walk through the building several years ago. Never realized that such a large and upscale facility existed in Carbondale.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Beer Ordinance

You will be able to take alcoholic beverages in plastic cups throughout the downtown area this Saturday, starting at 11 a..m. and ending at 2 a.m. Sunday. No coolers or stuff in other containers.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Cellar Outdoors Open

The Cellar has completed construction on its outdoor seating and serving area and has a soft open this week. A number of people were sitting on the new patio and wandering inside the new inside seating area. No idea if there will be a formal grand open for the space but sure seems as if people are already aware of it.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

We're #629

Heard a story on WSIU indicating that Carbondale was one of the top 50 cities in the US for migration out of the community so, while poking around on the interwebs to verify it, I found this ranking of universities by Forbes, listing SIUC at 629 on the top colleges' list . The university ranks  #239 in public colleges, #249 in research universities and #158 in the Midwest. Given that there are about 4300 degree granting institutions in the US, that would put SIUC in the top 25%. Not bad.

Monday, October 14, 2019

City Clerk Office Closed

Hope you don't need the city clerk office for anything this week, except for FOIA requests, as the office is closed all this week for training.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Regions Bank

It would appear that SIH Memorial Hospital has purchased the soon to close Regions Bank building on West Main, as well as the building housing Dietrich Insurance next door. I would imagine, based on past activities by the hospital, that both will be razed to make room for new infrastructure or more parking.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Marijuana Sales Legalized

Next year, that is.  City council voted last night to allow recreational sales of marijuana in the city limits whenever the state legalization of sales starts, next September I believe. A additional 2% sales tax will be imposed on sales, pushing the sales tax on it to around 11.75%. mayor says he would like to see the additional tax revenue funneled into some form of social programs.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019


City council supposed to discuss recreational marijuana sales in the city tonight. Mayor is already talking about taxing it and almost all comments at the last council meeting supported it so would bet that, unlike Marion and Murphysboro, Carbondale goes ahead and legalizes retail sales. Does this mean we are not a family friendly city, as that is one of the reasons other communities have given for not legalizing recreational pot? Of course, I bet that those family friendly cities will now start closing up liquor stores and restricting cigarette sales and shuttering video gaming parlours.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Staying In Illinois

Caught on the news this morning that a new survey says 61% of of Illinois residents would like to move somewhere else. primary reasons given were high state taxes, state government and better weather. However when asked if they had taken any specific steps to do so, only 25% of those said they has done something such as looking for a job in a different state or listing their house for sale. Sounds like more of a case of wishful thinking.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Schnuck's To Stop Selling Cigarettes

Schnuck's announced today that the chain, including the store here in Carbondale, will stop selling all tobacco products next year. The company says it will take a hit in profits but sees the move as complementary to its growing focus on wellness. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Employment Fair

The city still has openings for employers at at next week's employment fair. Given the number of "help wanted" signs in town, one would think it would have filled up already. I can easily think of at least 6 places with signs out.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019


This past weekend's Salukicon pulled in right around 2000 people. The university has decided, since it appeals to a younger crowd, to use it as a method of pull that group to campus. High school and community college students could get free passes, which normally cost $10 per day, and a lot of the events drew upon university facilities and departments, especially science and art, for programming. The university also spent quite a bit on the event so hope it proves fruitful. I know at least three of the guests were impressed enough with the convention and the Univeristy's support that they have offered to come back and work with various departments and their students.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Councilman of the Week

Councilman Adam Loos made the Capitol Fax for his stance advocating for legalizing recreational marijuana here. Personally, since Missouri shows no sign of advancing legalization there, I think a well run recreational marijuana shop in East Cape would do gangbusters. People cross the bridge to visit the Pony and stop off for a bit o' grass on the way home, but only use it after you get home since smoking and driving do not mix.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

500 Jobs

According to the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, there are at least 500 jobs unfilled in the healthcare industry in the southern Illinois region south of I 64. They pay an average $45000-$50000 per year and are not just in the medical field but also in maintenance, transportation, administration and security. If you are interested, I would suggest contacting the Carbondale Chamber for more info on which health care operations to contact.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Native Plant Sale

Need some native plants for next spring:

Native Plant Sale on Oct 5 at Town Square

Oaks and magnolias, hydrangeas and chokeberries, flowers and ferns are just some items expected at the fall sale of native trees and plants, held by Green Earth and Keep Carbondale Beautiful, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 5 at Carbondale’s Town Square Pavilion, on the northeast corner of Main Street (Route 13) and Illinois Avenue (Route 51). 

Green Earth and Keep Carbondale Beautiful team up for this fundraiser, with KCB selling native trees and shrubs, and Green Earth selling dozens of other native perennials.  All plants are grown in the area by Southernwood Gardens, Forrest Keeling Nursery, and Tabor Nursery.  Experts will be on hand to advise shoppers on best practices for planting and maintenance.  Trees are $30, shrubs are $20, and most other plants are $5 or $10 each.

Director Sarah Heyer says Keep Carbondale Beautiful appreciates getting advance orders.  “If you know what you want, let me know by Sunday the 29th.  That helps us order the right number of trees and shrubs.  We are ordering 40 different kinds of trees, so I only get a few of each, unless I know there’s a demand for more.”  To push that demand, KCB gives a $5 discount on pre-ordered trees.  Buyers can also special order plants that are not otherwise expected.  “We’re working on a special order for a community garden, and a couple big trees for the City.” More information can be found at keepcb.org or by calling 618-525-5525.  For more information on Green Earth, go to greenearthinc.org or call 618-201-3774.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

National Solar Tour

Local solar energy provider AES Solar will host a stop(s) on the National Solar Tour on October 5, although the stops in the region have yet to be set. From the press release:

"The event, slated for October 5th, showcases the solar technologies your neighbors are using to 1) drastically reduce monthly energy bills, 2) reduce harmful carbon emissions, and 3) enjoy rich tax credits and cash incentives as they improve their property values.

“The ASES National Solar Tour shows families and businesses real-life examples of how their neighbors are harnessing free energy from the sun to generate electricity, warm and cool their homes, heat water, and slash monthly utility bills,” AES Solar founder Aur Beck said."

Monday, September 23, 2019

Hat Shop

Noticed that the hat shop that had advertised as going in the strip of stores behind Trax apparently has changed its mind as the sign is no longer in the window. However, there is a new sign in the store front formerly occupied by Autopsy saying "Hat Shop Coming Soon", so we shall see.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Evergreen lake

Stay out of Evergreen Lake for the immediate future. The long spell of hot dry weather has cause significant algae growth in the lake which could harm people and pets swimming in the lake. Hope we get some rain soon.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

West Main Plot for Sale

It appears the plans to build a gynecology clinic on the plot of land where the late Jeffery Laundromat stood across from Memorial Hospital have fallen through as there is now a For Sale sign on the plot. Unfortunately, it is not a great location for anything due to lack of parking, unless Memorial Hospital wants to pick it up for.....more parking.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Ghost Hunter Coming to SIUC

In case you are interested, received this email from the city. Wonder if they will take him to the various haunted spots on campus:

SPC will be hosting Ghost Hunter Chris Fleming on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 beginning at 6pm in the Student Center Auditorium. This event is open to the community, however the “spirit communication” at the end will be for students to participate in as it is limited to 50 people.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Halloween Concerts

Here is the lineup of concerts for Carbondale Halloween.  Concerts take place in the Washington Street Venue. Not familiar with most of the acts but I know the Jungle Dogs always bring out a good crowd

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Recreational Cannabis Sales

Both Murphysboro and Marion have voted down licensing the sale of recreational cannabis within the city limits. I heard one opponent in Marion say they wanted the city to remain "drug free". Wonder if that means they will target cigarette and alcohol sales next?

Will bet that Carbondale will allow the sale of cannabis in the city limits when it comes up for a vote. After all, council expanded the sales of beer and wine significantly and seems to have no problem with the number of video gaming parlous that have opened in the city.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

West Chautauqua Roundabout

Checked with the city and traffic count at the Chautauqua-McLafferty intersection is 4550 per day, which is a lot busier than I thought. A three vehicle crash took place there in 2013, killing one and sending 5 others to the hospital. This and that lack of visibility of oncoming cars are the main reasons the city decided to put the first roundabout there. The council voted at last Jan. 22nd's meeting to study what could be to improve safety at the intersection and the roundabout is the result

Monday, September 9, 2019

Trick or Treat Hours

Official Carbondale hours for Halloween trick or treating are Oct 31, 5 p.m. -8 p.m. Happily, we have not followed a national trend of designating the last Saturday of the month for Trick or treating. A lot of business, especially, that profit off sales of Halloween merchandise are pushing for the designation of the last Saturday of October as National Trick or Treat Day. Carbondale already does something similar with Trick or Treat on Main Street and Safe Halloween at Murdale and Unofficial Halloween, which always take place on the last Saturday of October and actually give kids two opportunities to run about for candy but I would hate to see 0ct. 31 trick or treating replaced with last Saturday trick or treating

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Roundabout Funding

The city received just over $1.5 million in funding from the state to install a roundabout at the intersection of  Chautauqua and McLafferty on the west side of town, right at the top of the steep hill on West Chautauqua. Not the first place I would think to put a roundabout but limited visibility heading east on Chautauqua up the hill and turning left onto McClafferty could be dangerous, while, at the same time and slowing traffic down at that point would be good.

The city has wanted to test roundabouts for several years now but installing them at places that could really use them, like the 5 way intersection at Illinois, University and Mill would really interfere with traffic flowing through downtown and force the city to implement a roundabout without testing first to figure out the logistics of one. Test one out on a slower traffic section before installing more in higher traffic areas.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Employment Fair

The city will sponsor an Employment fair at the civic center on Wednesday Oct 9th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Various local and regional companies looking to recruit staff will have booths set up to talk with potential employees. Attendees should dress professionally and come with a state ID and resume.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

DuQuoin State Fair

Attendance at grandstand events at the state fair this year was up about 25%, bringing in an extra $97,000 to the fair coffers. Guess that the kerfluffle over Confederate Railroad brought a lot of extra attention to the events at the fair and brought more people out. I had heard of several plans to boycott or otherwise inconvenience fairgoers and it would seem they came to naught.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Enrollment Down

SIUC Chancellor John Dunn announced 10 day enrollment numbers today for SIUC and they do not look good:  11,695. That is less than half when I first came to Carbondale back in 1990 when enrollment peaked at about 24,000

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Railroad Accident

From what I have heard from secondhand sources, a train coming through downtown yesterday afternoon stuck a pedestrian crossing the tracks, killing her. While the police and emergency vehicles investigated the scene, the train naturally remained in place, blocking all crossings in town, leaving the only way to get crosstown through the Mill Street Underpass or Pleasant Hill Overpass.

Apparently the woman had an argument with someone at a restaurant in the northeast area of the square, ran out and failed to notice the oncoming train which hit and killed her. The accident took place just before 6 p.m. and police and emergency personnel were on the scene until about 8 p.m., with the train leaving the scene about 8:15

Monday, September 2, 2019


Best to avoid driving through downtown Carbondale tonight. A freight train hit a pedestrian at the Est Main railroad crossing just before 6 p.m and all of the crossings in downtown are still blocked an hour and a half later. If you are driving east or west through Carbondale, use either the Mill Street Underpass or Pleasant Hill overpass as all other crossings are blocked. Police and ambulances are on the scene and directing traffic away from the area.

Thursday, August 29, 2019


From the PSAs the station has made the past week or so, it appears WSIU will move to an all news/talk format from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. The promos indicate that starting Monday, the station will broadcast 1A at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., Fresh Air at 11 a.m. and Think will replace Fresh Air at 2 p.m. For someone who likes the news, like myself, this is great, but I imagine classical music fans will be disappointed.

I certainly did not hear much discussion about this leading up to the announcement. I would think such a change to the schedule must have been in the works for awhile and wonder why they are doing it. Maybe the listenership drops drastically after the end of Morning Edition and picks up noticeably when Here and Now starts.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Amtrak Renovations

Amtrak will start renovating the train depot next week. No idea as to how long they will take but the station will remain open with access during the renovation period. Just be careful when entering and exiting the station.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

We're Number !

SIUC has the number one ranked university arboretum in the state of Illinois. From what I can tell, that means the university does an outstanding job of maintaining and tracking its trees and woody plants.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Solar Bear

In case you missed it, the annual Solar Bear celebration, consisting primary of college students drinking as much as possible, usually at Pinch Penny Pub. PKs had a Friday night event tied into Solar Bear but the house parties seemed fewer in number. Only one house along West Main and a second along West Cherry hosted parties with any significant number of attendees during the day. The number may ramp up tonight though.

Friday, August 23, 2019

City Council Meeting

The city council will meet this Tuesday night at 6 p.m. Quite a bit on the agenda but most of it comes in the form of a consent agenda, meaning that the items on it all get approved at once. A council member may request that council remove an item from the agenda for individual consideration. A couple of things I noticed on the regular agenda:

discussion of adding another TIF district to the city. Would be interested to know how successful TIF districts 1, 2 and 3 are. My reading generally indicates that giving tax benefits to a company to come into a city has little influence on the decision. The business locates in the city if it makes financial sense to do so and giving it a tax break just gives away money that could go to fund city operations instead.This one, from what I understand, focuses on encouraging residential building and is a relatively new form of TIF in the state.

Publishing the Carbondale Comminique.  Not sure how many people read the print form of the Comminique. Maybe moving to a fully digital format would  save the city some money. Not sure it is would be a significant sum though.t

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Lots of Stores Up for Sale

A lot of stores up for sale in the downtown area. Key West was just announced up for sale and Thai Taste, Pagliai's , Hangar 9, Traxx and PK's are all seeking new owners, although the current owners have said they will keep the businesses open until a buyer is found. Stix  and Reema's closed down earlier this summer and Fat Patties shut its doors last December, though it is still up for sale and a GoFundMe campaign is raising money to reopen the burger restaurant as a co-operative. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2019


According to the city arborist, many of the trees in Carbondale's Historic District (the area bounded by Walnut, Main and Poplar) have reached the end of their lifespan. Ergo the city will replace many of them this fall with smaller trees that blossom and otherwise add visual interest to the area at different times of the year. In addition, while still viable, the Bradford pear trees that were planted years ago are now viewed as invasive and no longer desirable so will likely be removed.

Thursday, August 15, 2019


Looks as if the city will install its first roundabout at the intersection of Chautauqua and Briarwood. The city has looked at roundabouts at various locations for roundabouts in the past but never has gone ahead with the project.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

West Oak Street

From what I have heard, SIH/Memorial Hospital has purchased all of the lots and houses on the stretch of West Oak behind the hospital. I would expect to see all of them knocked down in the next couple of years as the hospital needs more room to expand, probably including knocking down the Rain House. site of a murder and at least one accidental death. 

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Combined City Council/ Park Board Meeting

In case you are free tomorrow night, there is a combined City Council Park Board meeting tomorrow night at the Civic Center, starting at 6 p.m. Looks as if the two groups will devote the major portion of the meeting to a discussion of a merger of the two organizations and what citizens of the community expect of such and what could actually happen. Nothing will likely happen until something is done about the debt load the Park District has on the books as a result of Hickory Ridge Golf Course.

Also on the agenda is a resolution condemning the proposed discharge of waste water by Williamson Energy into the Big Muddy River.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Free Parking

So far the city's experiment with free downtown parking appears to be going well. I have not seen any members of the parking division patrolling the lots and traffic flow in the lots appears as smooth as it was prior to the start of the program. The is costing the city somewhere in the neighborhood of roughly $10,000 per month which was applied to parking lot maintenance, so that money will have to come out of the general fund.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Regions Bank

Regions will consolidate its two Carbondale locations into one at the new location at the corner of Oakland and Main in mid October. Memorial Hospital has already purchased the Regions property on West Main and will likely raze it for either more parking for the facility or adding another building to the Memorial complex. Not sure why the company did not just consolidate the two locations into one. Maybe because the current West Main location is somewhat awkward to access while the East Main location is much smaller.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Steak and Shake Inspection Report

If you would like to read the last health inspection report for the now closed Carbondale Steak and Shake, here you go.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Steak and Shake Closed

The Carbondale Steak and Shake closed without much fanfare. Sign on the door indicates the company is looking for another franchisee to take over but the company has also been having a lot of financial problems

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Chautauqua Road Reopening

To the relief of those living off Tower Road, the city announced that Chautauqua Road will re-open at 5 p.m. today. Bridge repairs didn't take as long as expected. Now if someone will finish resurfacing South Oakland after all the construction there.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

New Clothing Store

TDA Clothing has opened at the west end of the little strip of stores behind Trax. Have not been in from the logo design, I would guess it will focus on urban design clothing,

Friday, July 26, 2019

Friday Night Fair

Friday Night Fair tonight from 6 to 9 pm at the Town Square Pavilion. Really would like to know how much traffic these events draw into downtown. Whenever I walk by them, attendance seems pretty sparse but as long as Carbondale Main Street keeps hosting them and the various organizations continue to show up, they might as well continue.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Planning Commission

The Planning Commission will meet at 6 p.m. On August 7. The following items are on the agenda:

PC 20-01: Judith Jackson is requesting a Special Use Permit for a Day Care Home II, within an R-1-12, Low Density Residential, zoning district at 905 South Valley Road.

PC 20-02: John Deas is requesting the rezoning of a property from R-1-5, Low Density Residential, to an NB, Neighborhood Business, zoning district at 801 North Almond Street.

Interesting to see the application for a rezoning for a neighborhood business in what is currently a residential area.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Pizza Hut

New Pizza Hut opened this week. Carryout and delivery only. Mildly bemused that, instead of using the old building, they built a new one on East Walnut.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Thai Taste

Another downtown business up for sale. The owner of Thai Taste is moving to San Antonio so needs to sell the restaurant and the building.  Staff and management will remain in place so pretty much a turnkey operation.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Sunset Concert

Looks as if the Sunset Concert program is to slowly transition the shows scheduled for Turley Park to the new downtown concert space at Hwy 13 and Washington. There are 2 concerts scheduled for Turley, 2 for the Shryock step and 2 for the S. Washington space. The S. Washington space actually makes the best location for the concert of the three, at least from a logistical point of view. Since it is next to the street, setting up the stage and portapotties is comparatively easy and there is an abundance of nearby parking as well as places to dine more conveniently than either of the other two venues. 

Friday, July 12, 2019

Autopsy Closed

Autopsy, the footwear store located on West Walnut, that shuttered after permit problems with the city regarding events being held there, has completely shut down. The store front is empty, the sign is gone from the front window and there is a "For rent" sign in the space. 

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Legal Smile

Legal Smile Wellness and Fine Glass has opened up in the University Plaza strip at the south end of Illinois, between Captain's Quarters and Kampus Kuts. Not sure exact what the business is but it does have a sign out in front advertising CBD products.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Carbondale Popluation

In case you are interested, here are the numbers for Carbondale' population based on census counts since 1990. We hit a high that correlated with the high point of SIUC's attendance then slowly worked back up, while the university's attendance consistently worked its way down.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Housing Grants

The City of Carbondale is again offering grants to low income families to help rehab their houses and roofs. Eligible applicants can get up to $45,000 to repair their homes and remove health and safety hazards. Applicants can also seek the $!6,500 grant solely for roof repair. Those interested have to turn in their forms by August 23.

I wonder how closely the city vets these applications. I remember one from a couple of years ago that had the neighbors questioning if they met the low income requirements..

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Free Parking

Well, the city started the downtown free parking program yesterday. Bags cover all of the parking meters and there is at least one sign at the entrance to the town square parking lot announcing "3 hour free parking". Not  sure how the city will enforce that as chalking tires has been ruled an unconstitutional violation of the 4th amendment. Likely have a staff member go around the lots, take photos of the license plates, then swing back around in another 3 hours and ticket those cars still in the same spot. Taking photographs of something in a public venue, such as a parking lot, is just fine.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Free Downtown Parking

Just a reminder that the city council starts its experiment with free downtown parking this Monday. From what I hear, the limit is three hours. Not sure how the city will track that as chalking car tires has been ruled an unconstitutional violation of the 4th amendment. Taking photographs of car license plates remains legal though.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Chautauqua Street Closing

The city announced that West Chautauqua will close from Emerald Lane to Tower Road starting July 1 for bridge repairs. Projected date of reopening is July 31.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Rent Cut

I see a sign in the window of the empty strip of stores behind what is now Trax, offering space for $500 per month. Not exactly the most desirable location, given that customers have to climb a flight of steps to get to any of the store fronts located there. Looks as if a hat shop is going in at one end and a clothing boutique at the other but both have been in the "set up" stage since spring semester and I still do not see any movement towards opening going on.

When Carbondale had 10,000 more students and downtown space was at a premium, I could see those locations being desirable. Hair Brains (I think) and B&L Photo both ran there successfully for years. Today though, anything you put between the store and the customer, like a flight of steps, dissuades the customer from coming in.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Captain D's Ribbon Cutting

Captain D's Seafood, which left Carbondale, if I remember correctly, over 20 years ago, will reopen with a ribbon cutting ceremony on July 1 at 10:30 a.m., beating the new Sergio's Cantina which still sits unopened across the street.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Cellar Changes

On the agenda for next week's Liquor Control Commission meeting, a request by long time local bar The Cellar for a change in operations. The agenda does not specify what sort of changes The Cellar is seeking, though.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Reema's Closed

Apparently the move did not work well for Reema's. I stopped by for lunch last week and the doors were shut. Today I learned that the restaurant quietly shut its doors earlier this summer. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Fast Lube Express

happened to drive past the Fast Lube Express, located behind the Woolly Wash on West Main and noticed a sign saying "Closed until Further Notice". By my count, that is at least 3 quick oil change operations that have opened and closed at that location.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Tree Talks

Want to know more about the trees in Carbondale and how to care for the ones in your yard? The city will host tri-annual Tree Talks in the summer, fall and spring, walking tours of Carbondale trees hosted by the City Arborist (Did you know we had one of those? We have an Arboretum as well) the first one takes place in Turley Park this Saturday from 9 to 11. The notice doesn't say where but would bet it starts at the pavilion.

City Council Retreat

No, not that kind of retreat.

The city council will hold a retreat this Wednesday to discuss city issues at the Dayemi Community Center, located on N. Illinois a block north of the town square. From the press release, the public is welcome to attend and listen in to what they are planning, though 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seems an awfully long time. Some of my suggestions: putting into place the commission to discuss merging the Park District with the city, replanting trees along Walnut and Main and making plans to deal with ending the Saluki Sales Tax when it winds down, instead of keeping it in place.

Here is the release:

The Carbondale City Council will hold a day-long Retreat on Wednesday, June 19, 2019, from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. at the Dayemi Community Center located at 218 North Illinois Avenue. The Retreat is intended to encourage the discussion of policy matters in a more informal setting. Public attendance is welcome.

Friday, June 14, 2019


According to this press release from SIUC, Carbondale's fireworks display will move from the Superblock back to the SIUC campus, likely down by the Arena where they took place for a number of years.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Cannabis Science at SIUC

Di you know we had a cannabis science initiative program at SIUC? Neither did I. It appears the university plans to offer a degree in cannabis science starting in 2020.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019


The Sustainability commission wants your ideas on developing a Sustainable Action Plan for Carbondale. From the press release:

The Sustainability Commission is seeking ideas from the community to help develop a Sustainability Action Plan for Carbondale.

Ideas from individuals who live and work in Carbondale will be crucial in helping the City achieve its goals. Specific areas of interest include Energy in Built Infrastructure, Energy in Transportation, Water Use and Green Infrastructure, Food Production and Consumption, and Waste Reduction.

Reaching sustainability and resilience goals requires measurable reductions in the City’s contribution to greenhouse gases and an increase in its ability to withstand the impact of extreme weather events. However, there are many paths to achieve these measurable goals.

A Sustainability Survey is available in the June/July issue of the Carbondale Communique. It can also be accessed on the Sustainability Commission’s web page. Completed surveys can be dropped off at City Hall or sent by email to sustainability@explorecarbondale.com. The deadline to submit ideas is Friday, August 16.

The Sustainability Commission will begin a community conversation in early fall to discuss the creation of Carbondale’s Sustainability Action Plan in more detail.

If you have questions or would like more information, contact the Sustainability Action Plan Subcommittee member, Jane Cogie, at (618) 713-7024.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Green Space

Looks as if the Econo Lodge will be coming down by Halloween. Used to be a very nice Days' Inn about 15 -20 years ago but in recent years has had significant problem with Piles Fork Creek flooding and covering the parking lot and water getting inside the first floor rooms. Rather surprised we have not seen any Piles Fork creek flooding this year, given all the rain the area has received.

Plans are to demolish the building and either leave it as greens space, much as has been done with the demolished Sunset Hotel and Boo Jr. bar. or, if the city can get approval, turn it into a park. Unless parking goes in, the location is not a very good one for a park, as there are no residential areas close by.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Vape Store

In another store closing, just noticed that the Vape Store, which was located in the strip that houses Quatro's and Jerry's Flowers, has emptied its storefront there. The west side location remains open though.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Street Bar Closing

According to this post from its show director, the Street Bar on East Main, Carbondale's only bar focused on a gay clientele,  will close soon. No idea exactly when but all bookings for shows in June have been canceled. Since 1990, at least, the location has housed a gay bar under one name or another, interspersed with short stints as a blues club (The B & S Lounge) and a quasi-strip club/steakhouse (The Pony).

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Associated Lumber

It would appear that Associated Lumber has shut down its Carbondale location on West Willow. The space has been empty for a couple of months and there is a "For Sale" sign on the property.

Monday, June 3, 2019


In case you missed last week's city council meeting, the city council decided, as an experiment to eliminate parking meter charges from July 1 2019 for the next 7 months. From what I understand, people using the downtown parking spaces will only be allowed to park for 3 hours before getting a ticket and no overnight parking will be allowed.

This means the city will forgo the approximate $260000 the meters and tickets generated annually and that went into parking lot maintenance. Money for the maintenance, assuming the program continues, will now come out of the city's general fund.

Friday, May 31, 2019

We're Number 6

For the month of February, the Carbondale-marion region ranked number 6 in the state in terms of job growth, adding about 1200 jobs. The only areas of the state that beat this region were Chicago (of course), Peoria, Lake and Kenosha counties, Elgin and the Rock Island area.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

SIU Arena Naming

In case you missed it, Banterra Bank bought the naming rights to the SIUC Arena for $4 million over the next 10 years, with the possibility of another million if enough people sign up for SIUC credit cards issues by Banterra. I talked with one other banker I know who said that, not only did they not get offered the opportunity to buy the rights to the Arena but were quite glad that SIUC had not approached them as they do not think Banterra will get enough value out of the naming rights to justify a $4 million payment.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Newell House Closing

The Newell House, located at the corner of Main and Washington in downtown Carbondale, announced on its Facebook page that it and the Grotto will shut their doors on June 5th. You still have a week to sample the menu one last time.

Carbondale Memorial Day

Attended the Memorial Day celebration at Woodlawn Cemetery. Arrived about 10;20 and the ceremony only lasted another 15 minutes, just as they were launching the 21 gun salute.

A much shorter ceremony than in past years, it only ran 35 minutes. There were a couple of other changes as well. The VFW Honor Guard had been replaced by one formed from members of the Carbondale Police and Fire Departments. Not sure if they were veterans or not. I only saw one member of the VFW participating in the ceremony, blowing Taps, although other members may have spoke earlier.

The other major change was the elimination of laying of wreaths. In the past, community children, often Scouts, would lay a wreath at various gravesites in the cemetery.  Not this year. Attendance appeared lighter than normal as well.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

TJ's Fine Jewelry

TJ's Fine Jewelry on East Main has morphed again and is now TJ's Fine Jewelry and Repair. Although the press release does not specify, I assume that means jewelry repair. Now that I think about it, I believe that leaves Carbondale with only two jewelers, TJ's and one in the mall. 25 years ago, the community could support four of them, 2 in University Mall and 2 downtown on S. Illinois, Don's Jewelry across from the Amtrak station and one, the name of which escapes me, located where the Carbondale Tourism office is now.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

SIUE Phasing out Nursing Program at Carbondale

Not quite sure why SIUE had a nursing program at SIUC instead of on its own campus but the university is phasing it out. Maybe SIUE does not have a school of medicine and took advantage of the infrastructure at SIUC? Meanwhile, SIUC will start up its own nursing program and transfer current students in SIUE's program over to it. Of course, the transfer program got bollixed  enough, that, according to the article, one student got so much misinformation that she is opting to transfer to another school.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Hot Dog Carts

Looks as if hot dog cards are seeing a resurgence in Carbondale. There is one on the west side of town  in the Westgate Shopping Center parking lot, one downtown parked across from the Civic Center and one in the Lowes parking lot. Guess you would have to try all three of them to find out how each one serves upt its hot dogs.

Thursday, May 16, 2019


It appears the planed re-organization of SIUC is going ahead. I still have never head a good reason for it. Maybe there is one and it is being kept internal. Seems to me the ONLY reason to reorganize the university is to benefit the students. Students come to SIUC to get a degree.They do not particularly care about the department or college is organized. In fact, if they and the university do a good job, how the university is organized should never impact them.

Is the re-organization going to save money, make the university run more efficiently? From everything I have heard, it always sounds as if the upper echelons of SIUC want to reorganize but do not have a reason for doing so.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019


I have heard that on-campus attendance at SIUC  will be less than 10,000 this fall. I remember when that was what the university expected for summer attendance and we would comment on how empty the town felt.

Monday, May 13, 2019

710 Bookstore Closing

It appears moving to another location was not enough to save 7110 Bookstore. After over 50 years in Carbondale, the business announced it would close its doors at the end of the day on May 25.

710 lost its long time location on S. Illinois when the Evolve apartment complex moved into downtown Carbondale. It first moved a few blocks south into the strip of stores occupied by Harbaugh's Cafe and Kampus Cuts, got rid of most of its textbooks and other school supplies and primarily focused on SIUC apparel. Last year, the store moved again to a second floor location on S. Wall but seems to have not been able to draw traffic there either.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

McCarthy Watch

For those interested in the doings of commencement speaker and doctorate recipient Melissa McCarthy, from what I have heard she has dined at the following places:

Fat Bottom Bettys

Kudos to her for eating at local restaurants instead of chains.

Friday, May 10, 2019


Just a reminder that tomorrow is SIUC's graduation, meaning that there will be a lot of people driving through town that are not familiar with Carbondale's system of one way streets. I have already seen a couple of cars driving south on Illinois this week.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Save A Lot

Looks as if discount grocer Save A Lot is having financial difficulties and has put itself up for sale. No indication the company intends to declare bankruptcy, though.

Sunday, May 5, 2019


More downtown parking going in where the Huffman Harker Funeral Home used to stand. Probably purchased and installed by Memorial Hospital since I have not seen a press release from the city indicating it is a Carbondale project.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

State Science Fair

the Illinois Junior Academy State Science Fair will probably bring 500+ plus high school students and their families to town this weekend so expect to see a lot of people driving the wrong way on downtown streets.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Oakland Ave Closed

the city will close Oakland Avenue between Walnut and Freeman for the immediate future for replacement of water mains. We are trading off short term inconvenience for long term infrastructure improvement 

Friday, April 26, 2019

National Bike Month Events

Once again, Carbondale pedals furiously into National Bike Month. Here is a list of the events the city has planned.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Free Parking

City council is considering some form of free parking for downtown. Back in the 1990s, most downtown parking was free. However, in order to avoid paying for a parking sticker, a lot of students would park their cars in downtown and leave them for several hours. Putting in parking meters eliminated that problem. Now, with about 10,000 fewer students, this may be less of a problem.

Apparently a lot of businesses have employees that drive to work and need to park. If they do not get out to their parking space before it expires, they get a ticket.

There is a solution currently of course. Employees or their employer could purchase downtown parking passes for the staff from the city but I do not see a lot of people taking advantage of them. The city could also talk with Memorial Hospital about using the hospital's parking garage. If I recall rightly, the hospital has no objection to people parking on the upper floors of the structure. Of course, after parking there, it is still a good 10-15 minutes walk to downtown.