Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Closure Extended

The Governor announced today that closure of all non-essential businesses, and the seating area in all restaurants and bars, will extend until April 30th. If we had enough test kits to test everyone for COVID-19, we would not have to do this. Since we cannot tell who carries and who does not carry the virus and, since it is highly communicable, we all need to stay apart as much as possible. A test allowing us to know who does have it would mean a lot of businesses could reopen, since we would know who has the virus and they could self quarantine.

Monday, March 30, 2020

SBA Disaster Assistance

If you run a small business and want to apply for one of the SBA's Small Business disaster loans, here is the link to the application. It is fairly quick to fill out, about 15 minutes or less, but expect to have to supply more documentation when the SBA contacts you about moving further with the application. The total you can apply for it up to $10,000 and much of it will be forgiven if used for payroll, rent and utilities. 

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Why Soap and Water

Why wash your hands with both soap and water? I always knew you should but here is why. The soap acts as a surfactant that releases the grip that organisms, like viruses, have on your hands. The water then washes it, along with other grime, down the drain. Of course, then it is a good idea to turn off the faucet with a tissue, since you likely left organisms on it when you turned it on. Touching it again allows them to jump back onto your hands for another go-round.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Rstaurant Status

From the Southern Illinois Eats Facebook page, here is a list of the known current status of assorted Carbondale restaurants

Arnies (EXTENDED delivery & curbside)
Aban's Kitchen (delivery & pickup)
Changos (delivery)
Quatros (delivery & pickup)
Dales Burger Shack (curbside & delivery)
Pita Alley (pick-up)
Hunan (curbside & delivery)
Blend Tea & Crepe (pick-up & delivery)
Cool Spoons (curbside)
Sam's Cafe (pick up & delivery)
Primos (curbside & delivery)
Paglias (curbside & delivery)
Don Taco & Don Sol (curbside & delivery)
Buffalo Wild Wings (delivery)
Mac N Dogs inside keywest (pick-up and delivery)
SI Meatballs (mobile)
Sunny Street Cafe (curbside & delivery)
Culver's (drive thru)
Golden Corral (curbside)
Sergio's (pick-up & delivery)
Chili's (curbside & delivery)
Bandana's BBQ (pick-up)
Dairy Queen (TEMP CLOSURE)
Tres Hombres (TEMP CLOSURE)
Midland Inn (TEMP CLOSURE)
Underground Public house (TEMP CLOSURE)
Keepers Quarters (TEMP CLOSURE)
Cristaudos (TEMP CLOSURE)
Flame Steakhouse(TEMP CLOSURE)
Yamato Steakhouse (STATUS UNSURE)
Larry's House of Cakes (TEMP CLOSURE)
S & B Burger Joint (CLOSED)
Longbranch (TEMP CLOSURE)

Friday, March 27, 2020

Fresh Foods

Apparently, last week, a lot of people were worried about running out of more than just toilet paper and hand sanitizer. I was talking with some of the staff at Fresh Foods and they had a number of customers spending over $100 on their purchases of fruits and vegetables. Sales this week are back to close to normal though.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Tax Dates Extended

The city extended the due date for payment of certain taxes by about a month. Most businesses, mine included, combine tax collected with regular revenues and then remit the collected sales taxes to the appropriate entity on the due date. Instead of treating the money as a pass through and put into a separate account, which requires additional bookkeeping steps, business lump them all into one account and then remit collected taxes out of that account.

Unfortunately, businesses then forget that is not their money but was collected as a use tax, spend it and then have to worry about coming up with the money by the due date. Unusually, the business just pulls the owed taxes out of general revenue but now there is a situation where a lot of businesses, especially restaurants, collected taxes the first half of the month, used that money, and then had much lower revenues coming in for the past two weeks, while expenses such as rent and payroll still need paying. hence the push back of the date with the hope that businesses will, once they reopen, generate enough revenue to pay the tax collected.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Warming Center Remaining Open

From the Carbondale Warming Center's Facebook page:

The Carbondale Warming Center has served 177 individuals and provided 2171 nights to homeless men women and children this winter season. Last week board members made the conscious decision to stay open despite the knowledge that all other homeless shelters in Jackson County and all surrounding counties closing to the public, that it would be adding to a public crises to close as well. So not only has the Warming Center stayed open we have started operating on a 24 hour basis since Sunday evening. The initial plan was to stay open through the evenings until April 1st. Our new goal is to stay open 24 hours a day for the duration of the Governor’s Shelter in place order. In order to do that, the Center needs monetary donations and food donations. If we cannot attain more funding, the Center will have to close before the Governor’s shelter in place order expires.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Saluki Cares Fundraiser

The SIU Foundation is running a fundraiser to help cash strapped SIU students. Primarily, the funds raised will go to help fund technology purchases for students who cannot afford them, housing and the Saluki Food Pantry. It is rather appalling that the university has a food pantry for students, but this is a trend that has unfortunately become much more common on college campuses in recent years.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Liquor Stores

It appears that, under the definition of essential businesses, liquor stores qualify. Although they have different hours than under normal conditions, every liquor store I have passed by in Carbondale has been open for business. Shoe stores and music stores, not considered essential, liquor is.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Sales Tax

Illinois sales tax was due this past Friday. For those of you not familiar with how tax collection works, businesses in Illinois collect (not charge, stores do not charge sales tax, they collect it on behalf of the state), sales tax on products, not services, purchased in the state and then remit the money to the state by the 20th of each month. If businesses turn in the money late, the state charges them interest and late fees. However, the state has announced it will waive interest and fees on this month's, and likely next month's, sales tax remittance.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Downtown Carbondale

Drove through downtown this afternoon and it was pretty quiet. Saw that a few businesses had already closed but the majority affected under the shelter in place order remained open until the 5 p.m. deadline. New Kahala has delivery and curbside pickup. Del Sol has delivery and inside pickup. Traffic was actually typical for a Saturday afternoon in downtown Carbondale, pretty light. I imagine we will see pretty light traffic on Monday though and for the next couple of week.s

Friday, March 20, 2020

Illinois Shutdown

In case you missed it, the Governor declared today that all non-essential businesses must close. Except for the banks, that will leave downtown Carbondale pretty desolate. Restaurants will still be able to remain open for delivery and pickup but no inside dining until the, nor any groups meeting outside of more than 10 people. While the chains likely have enough of a cash cushion to keep going after the shutdown ends, the question is how many of Carbondale's small business have enough cash on hand to survive without foot traffic.While delivery and pickup are fine, few non-restaurants have a business model set up to rely on them for steady cash flow.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

SIUC Commencement

SIUC announced it will not hold a traditional commencement ceremony this spring. The university is considering whether to delay the ceremony until later, hold a virtual event or explore some other form of celebration. This will be another huge hit to the Carbondale economy as we typically see thousands of family members stream into town that weekend, filling up the hotels and swarming the restaurants. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Covid-19 Reports

Two local reports of Covid-19, one in Williamson County and one in Jackson County The Jackson County case has self quarantined and is recovering. From what I have heard, it is an upper level administration at SIUC that tested positively for it but have not seen confirmation.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

S & B's Burger Joint Closing

According to this Facebook post, S&B's Burger Joint is closing effective today. I would gather that the chain felt this location was not profitable enough to shutter dine in dining and rely solely on delivery and pickup for the duration of the shutdown.

Monday, March 16, 2020

City Hall Closure

Hope the city reconsiders closing city hall and the civic center, at least the publicly accessible sections of it. As far as I know, the building houses the only publicly available lavatories in the downtown area. Given how concerned the country is now with hand washing and self care, keeping a location open where anyone who needs to can wash their hands sounds like a pretty good idea.

Of course, given the current situation, I imagine most businesses would not begrudge anyone who asks using their restroom facilities. However, since all of the restaurants in downtown have to close their dining facilities and most of the businesses in downtown are restaurants, that cuts down the number of restrooms dramatically.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Governor Orders All Bars and Restaurants to Close Seating Areas

Governor Pritzker announced this afternoon that all restaurants and bars in the state would only be allowed to offer takeout and delivery. No seated dining. Imagine what this will do to operations like Yamato and Fujiyama, as well as Golden Corral and Qin Guan. All four can offer carry-out but much of what you go to Yamato and Fujiyama is the show at the table and when I go to Qin Guan, I go there to sample a variety of different dishes, not to fill up a container for take out.

Also wonder what the state has in place to compensate restaurants and bars for lost sales. 

Saturday, March 14, 2020

City Hall Closed

The city announced yesterday afternoon that City Hall will remain closed to the public until March 31, except on Tuesday, Election Day, as the civic center is a polling place. Offices will remain open but only accessible by phone or email and bills can be paid via the city website, by mail or through the dropbox on the west side of the building. The city will waive late fees for bills due during this period as it realizes paying might prove difficult for some people.

I can see canceling events at the civic center and town square pavilion, due to the desire to minimize large groups of people but shuttering the entire building doesn't make much sense. After all, it isn't like large crowds of people wander the halls. Security pass codes keep anyone from the upper floors  so the only places readily accessible are the ballrooms and the revenue office.

Friday, March 13, 2020

All Illinois Schools Closing

Well that ramped up fast. Governor. Pritzker announced this afternoon that all Illinois schools, public and private, would close from March 17 through March 20 in the expectation that doing so will slow the spread of COVID-19. Couple that with all events cancelled that would draw more than 1000 people and you are going to have a lot of people at loose ends for the next couple of week.s

Thursday, March 12, 2020

SEMO Extends Spring Break

Southeast Missouri State University followed in SIUC 's steps today and extended its spring break, more or less until March 27. Classes will resume on March 23 but online only or through alternate methods, whatever those might be.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Spring Break Extended

SIUC announced this evening the university would extend spring break until March 23 and use the extra  time to move classes online or to other formats "until further notice".

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Census Kick Off

Carbondale City Government really wants to make sure the city tops 25,000 residents in this year's census, otherwise it likely loses home rule status, hence the census kick off event on March 25 at Carbondale Middle School.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Tax Sales

Contacting the city to see if there is a place to find out what properties are being auctioned off for lack of payment of property taxes. The city ought to have some place on the website that lists properties like this. When I find it, will post it. If you happen to know where one is located, post in the comments.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Old Fire Station

Still no word on what is happening with the fire station on the west side of Carbondale at the intersection of Oakland and Walnut. When it sold, for $32,000 less than a competing bid, the proposed plan was to open "studio space and a tasting room". For the last two years, though, no activity and, as far as I can tell, no permits have been sought for any development of the property.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

West Sycamore

Finally figured out why West Sycamore has been torn up for a few months. Looks as if the city is replacing older water mains and drains with non-corrosive PVC pipe. They did this along North Springer last year and ripped up the street for a couple of months but got it back to normal fairly quickly. If the same happens along West Sycamore, I would expect the street back to normal by late April

Friday, March 6, 2020

Census Invitation

You should expect to receive your invitation in the mail  to respond to the US Census between March 12 and 20th. About 112 million of the invitations will have a phone number or web address to which to respond . About 31 million of the letters will include a paper form to fill out instead.

Thursday, March 5, 2020


Wreck on West Main street in the 200 block about 10:30 pm the night of march 4. Car was heading west on Main at about 80 miles per hour when it clipped the rear end of a car parked at a red light at the interaction of Main and Illinois. The speeding car spun 180 degrees and skidded onto the sidewalk, striking buildings on the south side of the street. Broken windows and some building damage and the driver was hospitalized.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020


Apparently the concern about COVID-19 is really mushrooming. People are selling face masks on Amazon for $150+ for a packet of 50. Two weeks ago the same pack cost only $15 and, from what I understand, they do very little to protect you.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Candidate Forum

Since there is no Democratic candidate for Terri Bryant's seat, which is is giving up to run for State Senate,  one of the five men at tonight's candidate forum for the Republican primary  will be the next representative for the 115th district in the state legislature. If you want to listen to their positions, the forum starts at 7 p.m. tonight at the Civic Center

Monday, March 2, 2020

LAB Meeting

If you want to know what is going on in the local bars and how well they police themselves, sit in on the LAB meeting this Thursday night at 5:30 p.m. at the Civic Center. Aside from the 2nd Quarter reports, there will also be a discussion of a report regarding underage persons inside Levels.

Sunday, March 1, 2020


Carbondale is really pushing for an accurate census count since the city fears a low one will push our officially recognized population below 25,000. If the city gets below that level, home rule status is in danger. If Carbondale loses home rule status, a lot of the city's autonomy from the state gets lost.