Saturday, February 29, 2020

Green spaces

Interesting study on green spaces. Well kept ones reduce crime while ones that communities let get run down attract and increase crime. Good argument for maintaining the park system within Carbondale and, if the CPD cannot provide proper maintenance, having the city take it over.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Lamppost Lights

Glad to see the city has left the lights wrapped around the lightposts on the town square and Main and Walnut streets through the historic district. Makes both areas look much brighter. Now if we could get some lights in the trees on the square, it would look really festive year round

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Candidate Forum

In case you would like to meet the Republican candidates vying for Terri Bryant's seat this fall, they will appear at the Carbondale Civic Center on Tuesday evening. From the press release:

The League of Women Voters of Jackson County is sponsoring a forum for candidates for the Illinois 115th Legislative District.  The event will be held on Tuesday, March 3rd, 7:00 P.M. at the Carbondale Civic Center.  Five candidates are vying for the Republican nomination to the seat currently held by Representative Terri Bryant.  Bryant is running for a seat in the Illinois Senate.  No Democrats have filed for the Illinois 115th seat.

The event provides each candidate with an opportunity to introduce themselves and share their priorities.  Some questions will be provided by the League of Women Voters and voters are invited to remain at the conclusion of the event to meet, greet and speak with candidates individually.

Candidates running for the Republican Illinois 115th Legislative District are:

*John Howard of Texico
*Paul Jacobs of Pomona
*Zachary Meyer of DuQuoin
*Cliff Lindemann (Bluford)
*Johnnie Smith II of Ashley

For more information contact Dorcy Prosser of the League of Women Voters of Jackson County:

Wednesday, February 26, 2020


Hearing that, once Macy's vacates the mall, SIH or another healthcare operation has contacted mall management about leasing the space. That would leave Penny's and the Bed Bath and Beyond as the only retail anchor stores remaining.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Oakland Ave. Construction

According to a post from city manager Gary Williams on the Next Door website, construction will start on South Oakland the first week of March, with the street closed to through traffic from south of West Walnut to West Freeman. Construction will include removal and replacement of the pavement, sidewalks, driveway aprons and storm sewer as well as installation of bike lanes.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Street Repair

Impressed with the city's response rate to pothole reports via See Click Fix. I reported one at the corner of Main and University on Thursday afternoon and the city had patched it by the end of the business day on Friday. Good patching job too. If  you didn't know a hole had been there, with a quick glance you would never know it had been there.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Dairy Queen

Harbinging the arrival of spring and consistently warmer temperatures in the near future, the downtown Dairy Queen opened for the 2020 season this weekend.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Hilton Effect on Buinsess

A comment on yesterday's post has me wondering what effect the downtown Hilton has had on downtown business. Putting in the Hilton caused a couple of downtown businesses to move and converted a section of downtown parking to Hilton patron parking. Granted the lost city parking was seldom more than half filled, save on special occasions but the parking for the Hilton is usually half empty as well. The city says that eliminating paid parking had no increase on sales tax revenue, and hence sales, from the downtown area. Tax revenues generated by the Hilton are certainly larger per person, due to the hotel tax,  than are sales tax revenues from other businesses in downtown but by how much.

It would also be interesting to find out how visitors to the Hilton spend their time in Carbondale. Three reasons often cited for getting a hotel in downtown were for the convenience of parents visiting their children at SIUC , for the convenience of families with patients at Memorial Hospital and for visitors disembarking from the train, who would not need to call a cab or other transit service to get to a hotel.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Downtown Business

Nice to see all three of the storefronts behind Phoenix Cycle occupied. Quall's Hats is directly behind Phoenix Cycle, then Mirror Mirror Hair Salon and lastly and event planning agency, of which I do not remember the name. Unfortunately, due to the Hilton next door, there is no adjacent parking for them, meaning any customers must park across the street (and pay) in the civic center's parking lot or a bit further away, (and also pay) on Illinois Ave. 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

See Click Fix

One problem I notice with using the See Click Fix application on your phone is that, most of the time, you notice problems with streets while you are driving and it is really not that safe to take a photo of the pothole when you just swerved around it. In addition, most people are not likely to park the car and walk back to the hold to get a photo of it and report it. The application works great for less imperative items you might spot while walking around the neighborhood but not so much with street problems.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Park District

Given the attitude that the Park District is taking towards the city, if the article in last Friday's Carbondale Times is any indication, it might be a good idea for the city to hold off on any forth negotiation with the Park District, let the District continue to pile up debt, then see about putting the dissolution of the Park District on the ballot. If Carbondale residents vote to dissolve the Park District, due to its no longer being a financially sound operation, then the city absorbs its functions into the city structure.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Hickory Ridge Golf Course

Given the debt load the Carbondale Park District is carrying, seems like it might be a good idea to sell off or shutter Hickory Ridge Golf Course. There are several other golf courses in the region so I do not see what need Hickory Ridge fulfills, aside from taking up a goodly part of the CPD's budget servicing the debt.

Monday, February 17, 2020

SI Pawn

SI Pawn, at the corner of University and Walnut, has a sign up indicating this is their 20th year in business. Added to that, everything is 20% off but no idea how long the sale will run.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Waterfowl Hunting

Climate change has devastated the waterfowl hunting industry in southern Illinois. The number of ducks taken dropped by 40% from 2017-2018 and the number of geese wintering in southern Illinois numbered only about 1000. Back in the 1990s, the various wildlife refuges in the region wintered over 1 million geese.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Parking Permits

If you plan on getting one of the residential or employee downtown parking permits, you can pick them up in the office where you pay for city water and sewer. Be sure to take an ID and know the license number of the vehicle for which you are getting the permit as the permits are not transferable between vehicles. The process takes about 5 minutes and the city even laminates the permit for you.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Daily Egyptian

I was wondering why the DE continued to put out a print edition since, since according to my admittedly unsystematic research, very few if any students read the print paper, instead choosing to peruse it online. The savings would seem to justify closing th eprint operation of the paper but it appears, according to a student reporter I spoke with, if the DE wishes to remain an accredited publication, it must have a print edition as well as an online one

Assault Update

Carbondale police have several leads on the assailants of a couple on West Cherry st.They think the suspects are the same group caught on camera on the town square earlier this week and they may have a confession already.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Crime in Carbondale

5 teens attacked a man and woman on West Cherry St. this past weekend.. Asked for change for a bill and then attacked, knocking the man to the ground.

According to Neighborhood Watch, Carbondale is not a particularly safe city. The crime rate is slightly higher than Illinois as a whole and the site ranks Cdale at 9%, meaning that it considers 91% of cities safer than Carbondale is.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Problem Gambling Symposium

With he growth in video gaming places in the region, this, unfortunately, is probably a useful workshop for the area to host:

Centerstone and the Illinois Council on Problem Gambling (ICPG) have teamed up to put on the Problem and Compulsive Gambling Symposium on Wednesday, March 4 at The Pavilion, 1602 Sioux Drive, Marion. The symposium will feature the ICPG Administrator Bill Johnson speaking about "What is Problem Gambling," and Michelle L Malkin, JD, MS, speaking about "Social, Economic and Criminal Consequences of Gambling."
The event also includes breakfast and lunch provided by Great Boars of Fire Catering, networking, and a proclamation signing by Marion Mayor Mike Absher in honor of Problem Gambling Awareness Month. Everyone is welcome and there is no cost to attend.
Registration and breakfast will be held from 9-10 a.m. The symposium will begin at 10 a.m. and end at 2 p.m.
All attendees must RSVP by Tuesday, February 25 at 4 p.m.

Monday, February 10, 2020

15th Congressional district

Caught on the news this morning that, given the expected population loss Illinois will record in the this year's census, the state will lose one congressional seat. Given the population exodus from he district tant the fact that it is Republican, it is likely that the 15th will be the one to go

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Public Works

In case you were wondering what the Carbondale Public Works department is responsible for, here is a list:
City Engineering
Street maintenance
Water treatment and distribution
Sewage collection and Treatment
Solid Wast Collection and disposal
Cedar Lake
Municipal rental property
Equipment and Building Maintenance

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Jason Tanner Passes Away

In case you missed the story, Jason Tanner passed away of throat cancer last Tuesday shortly after midnight. This Facebook page is posting stories and memories of Tanner as well as raising money to cover his funeral expenses. If enough money is raised, the extra funds will go towards a memorial bench located in the downtown area.

Funeral Services are scheduled for Monday Feb. 7th at Walker Funeral Home and 17 bands will play at a a pair of memorials/benefits at PKs and Lost Cross on Feb 15th and 16th.

Friday, February 7, 2020

NeighborHood Alliance Meeting

In case you are free tomorrow, Feb 8th, the Neighborhood Alliance meets at First United Methodist Church.  Doors open at 9:30 a.m.

Saturday, February 8, 2020  Doors open at 9:30
First United Methodist Church, 214 W Main St

                ----- schedule -----

9:30 a.m. Registration and Refreshments;
Literature available on tables

10:00 - 10:15 Welcome, Introductions

10:15 – 11:15 CES 95 Panel Discussion -  
Stephanie Esters - Communications Director
Carla Ehlers- Parrish School Principal
Sheila James - Pre-K Coordinator
Robby Clark-Stokes - Thomas School Principal
Cortney Hale - Middle School Teacher
Latasha Schraeder - Asst. Supt. of Pupil Services

11:15 - 12:00 Community Reports – updates from …
            Neighborhoods, City, Organizations (see over)

12:00 - Chili Lunch – Potluck offerings

Sponsored by the Neighborhood Action Group
Carbondale Conversations for Community Action
A Study Circles Program of the Human Relations Commission

2020 City Budget breakdown

The city budget for FY 2020 is $56,799,078 of that

5.7% goes for developmental Service
7.46% Fire Department
18.06%  Police Department
25.94% Public Works
13.38% Community Investments
2.67% Community Services
5.97% Debt Service
12.15% General Government
2.29% Finance Department
6.41% Other Financing Uses

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Illinois Ozarks

Maybe you knew this but I did not.  Given the amount of flat land between the two ranges, I always though that the name "Illinois Ozarks" was just another name used for the Shawnee Hills because of their proximity to the Missouri Ozarks. Turns out I am wrong. The two sets of hills are part of one eroded tableland and the flat area between the two is due to the meandering and flooding of the Mississippi River. If the Mississippi did not run there, the Ozarks would run continuously from Indiana to Oklahoma

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Saluki Tax

The Saluki Tax or percentage of the city sales tax will expire in a year or two. If residents of the city want to get rid of it, now is the time to lobby the city council to do so. The last time a portion of the city sales tax expired, a portion used to retire the bonds passe to pay for school roofing, council figured in the additional revenue into the following year's budget and  found it easier to pass an ordinance maintaining the tax rather than letting it expire, as it was supposed to, and debating the merits of reinstating that portion of the sales tax.

One of the selling points for any increase in a city sales tax has been that it is only for a limited period of years and will expire once that time elapses. Allowing any portion of the sales tax to expire has not happened, at least as far as I can recall.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Thai Taste Reopened

Looks as if Thai Taste reopened today. The closed due to death sign was gone this afternoon and the Open sign is on now.

Arbor District Meeting

If you live in the Arbor District or have an interest in what goes on there, the District Association  has its annual meeting next Sunday at 2 p.m. in the meeting room at the Carbondale Public Library. Given that city may designate the District a TIF district, ti would be interesting to see how the Association plans to approach it.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Marijuana Dispensary

Had the first person I can remember ask me where a marijuana retailer was in Carbondale. he seemed a bit surprised when I told him he would have to drive east of Carterville to find one as no have applied for a license yet in Carbondale and I think Murphysboro has voted, so far, not to authorize any within their city limits. Given the lines I have seen waiting to get into the Harbor, often half a block long on the weekend, I imagine we should see a marijuana shop apply for a license sometime this year, likely by the end of summer.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Quall's Hats and Company

Quall's on West Walnuthas an opening date of Feb 10th posted in their window. Looks as if the focus is men's hats and most of the brands listed in their window are men's. The nod to women's styles is a notice of "women's hats" in the window. Certainly hope they do well and entice more clothing shops to locate downtown to entice customers to visit the area for more than restaurants and bars.

Thai Taste Temporary Closed

Thai Taste closed yesterday and apparently will remain closed for a few days. The sign in the window says the head chef passed away unexpectedly and the management and staff need some time to deal with the loss and look for a new head chef.