Sunday, December 31, 2023

Bath and Body Works

 Spoke with an employee at the Bath and Body works in University Mall today. Apparently the plan is, at least for the forseeable future, to keep both locations open. I guess the one on the north side of 13 will feed on traffic going to University Place while the University Mall location relies on the diminshed traffic going there.

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Underpass

 It is far too late to fix now but one of the biggest mistakes Carbondale made was to forego the opportunity of putting a convenient underpass in downtown, unlike the monstrosity at the intersection of University, Mill and Illinois. The plan was, as I understand it, to put underpasses on Walnut and Main, allowing traffic to continue moving even when a train passes through town. This would have avoided having the 2 fire stations the city has maintained for decades.

Planning and funding for the underpasses had been secured but opposition mounted from downtown businesses who objected to the distruption of downtown traffic, and hence business, necessary to put in the underpasses. They managed to delay the start of contruction long enough that the funding eventiually got pulled, leaving the city with only the Pleasent Hill overpass for decades. If the city had managed to build these, traffic flow would have been much smoother in downtown with far less traffic backup

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Downtown At Christmas

 After Christmas dinner at St. Francis Xavier, I took a drive through downtown Carbondale about 9 pm. PKs was open, as well as Old Town Liquors, ABC Liquor and at least one of the smoke shops on S. Illinois. Handful of people on the sidewalk out in front of PKs so probabaly a pretty good crowd inside. No foot traffic that I could see elsewhere in downtown.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

CMS Opening

 From an email sent out by Carbondale Main Street. The Executive Director position is still open and pays $40,000-$50,000 a year

Carbondale Main Street seeks a new Executive Director, who manages the day-to-day affairs of the non-profit organization and serves as the organization's spokesperson. The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors and is supervised by the Board President on a day-to-day basis.
 
The Executive Director is responsible for facilitating and managing projects that achieve the organization’s goals and works  closely with the City of Carbondale. The Executive  Director is imaginative, promotes excellence in neighborhood revitalization through historic preservation and good business practices.
 
This is an exempt, professional management position; regular full-time 40 hours a week, with frequent evenings and weekends. Work hours are flexible. This job is based at the Carbondale Main Street office and the Executive Director is expected to work on site or in the corridor at least four days a week.
 
The salary range is $45,000 to $50,000.  Three-month probationary period. Benefits include: a stipend of $3,000 from CMS for health insurance of the employee's choice. Twelve paid  holidays, and fifteen paid time off days for the first two calendar years, according to the current Personnel Policy.
 
Qualified applicants should submit the following materials, gathered together as one PDF document:
 

  • Cover Letter with phone, email address and your salary requirements.
  • Personal Resume/CV
  • Three (3) Work References with name, email address and phone number for each
  • Two (2) brief (1 to 4 pages) samples of your writing (a grant application, an article, or
  • report, or press release, etc.) that you have completed for your current or previous employers.

 
Send materials electronically to Board President and Search Committee member, Adam Fletcher.  Send all materials to Adam at apply4carbondalemainstreet@gmail.com.  Application Deadline Friday January 19, 2024, at 5PM Central time.
 
For a complete job description visit https://carbondalemainstreet.com/executive-director-application/

Friday, December 22, 2023

Sports

 Caught SIU President Dan Mahoney on WSIU this morning talking about campus free speech but I was interested by what he had to say about the new $100 million investment in sports facilites on campus. As I have pointed out, he said that although sports can be a big component of student life during their time at college, not a lot of students, save athletes, come to campus because of the sports progams. Of course, top tier colleges with massively funded sports programs may get more PR and attention from students considering a college but a university like SIUC or SIUE, that does not get invited to play in Bowls regularly will rarely get national metion.

I have taught at SEMO for two decades and make it a point to survey my students as to why they chose the school. The only ones that ever mentioned sports were those that came on a scholarship. Overwhelmingly, the reasons were location, price, major offered, finacial aid. Never the sports program

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Christmas Lights

 Time for my annual complaint about the lack of Christmas decorations in Carbondale. I drove through the north side of Carbondale last night and and maybe 10% of the houses had some form of exterior Christmas lighting. S. Glenview has some pretty nice lighting but even their they are pretty sparce. I have not driven the Tower Road area yet though so am not sure as to the lighting situation there.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Grants

 The Fuller Dome was one of five Southern Illinois recipients of Landmark Illinois grants awarded last week. The amount per grant averages $5300 per location but I think I heard that the Fuller Dome received about $1500.

Monday, December 18, 2023

$100 Million

 SUC plans to spend $100 million over the next decade on building and upgrading the following facilities

Priorities during the Salukis Unleashed initiative include the following construction: 

Basketball practice facility, which not only benefits men's and women's basketball, but will allow volleyball to regularly play in the Banterra Center

Indoor football practice facility and new locker room space for both the home and away teams

Enhanced baseball clubhouse and training facility, including an indoor hitting facility

New stadium for Saluki Women's Soccer

Golf practice facility

Upgrades to Lingle Hall, Banterra Center, Charlotte West Stadium, and Shea Natatorium

Funny, I thought the 20+ million spent on Saluki Stadium and Banterra Arena was supposed to bring massive numbers of new students to campus.

Meanwhile, if too many people try to use their computers in Quigly Hall, circuit breakers trip on the electric system and the univeristy keeps rehiring SIUC faculty retirees because it is cheaper than bringing on new staff and the retirees already have benefits from their retirement plan.


Sunday, December 17, 2023

State of the City

 The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce will sponsor the Mayor's annual State of the City speech this Tuesday at noon. There is a luncheon as well which does cost money but you can attend and listen to the speech for free.  I am betting that the state of the city is "good", maybe "great"  but good at the very least.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Parking Lot

 From what I have heard, Hilton has bought the property on the southeast corner of Walnut and University, planing to knock down the buildings there and expand parking. If true, this means Horstman's Cleaners, SI Pawn and Sew A Lot will have to find new locations. Also say good bye to the recently completed train mural on the side of the SI Pawn building.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Univeristy Mall

 Drove by the University Mall tonight and Ross Dress for Less was the only light on in the whoe facility. Both the entrances were dark about 7:45 and no cards in the parking lot save for those parked in from of Ross. Want to take a walk through sometime before Christmas and see if there are any stores still remaining open in the place.

Update:  Well, duh. University Mall now closes at  7p.m. so of course everything was dark

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Landlords

 Watched some last night's city council meeting and noticed a couple of things

1. residents of the city were annoyed about the city cutting down a number of dying trees in Evergreen Park. Apparently they thought the people who have worked in the field were not  able to make good judgement and determine which trees were able to be saved and which needed to get removed. One point city government did bring up was that Evergreen Park has been under the auspices of the Carbondale Park District until last May so any complaints about upkeep of trees in many of the parks through out the city should rightly be directed towards the CPD.

2. It appears the city plans to put in more stringent regulations of landlords, which brought both renters and landlords out, with renters saying there are too many "bad" landlords in town and the landlords says that "good" landlords should not be punished and the city should enforce the regulations on the books already. Funny that we never hear the "good" landlords pushing the city to do something about the "bad" ones until the city starts looking at rental regulations. I remember the hue and cry when the city started taxing prental property owners several years ago to fund rental inspectors. If I recall correctly, we have so much residential rental property in Carbondalt that it is almost impossible to inspect a unit more than once every couple of years.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Fast Food Format

 I would be willing to bet that, should any more fast food locations come to Carbondale or get extensively remodeled, they will follow the format of the west side Burger King, with drive through and window service only  Caught on yesterday's 1A that drive through service at fast foods restaurants has increased by 30% since 2020 while inside dining has dropped by 50% over the same period. Since inside dining service is "customer space", it does not provide any direct revenue for the business. 

Getting rid of inside dining space is actually a return to the early days of the drive-in, though not the drive through. Customers would park in front of the restaurant, walk up to the service window and place their order to take back to eat in the car. What goes around comes around.

Monday, December 11, 2023

Veo Scooters

 We should see Veo Scooters vanishing from streets and sidewalks pretty soon. If I remember correctly, the company pulled them all off the city streets after the end of Fall semester and brought them back out around March or April.

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Liquor Licenses

 Looks as if Chalky's, just off New Era Road, which shut down last November, is seeking to reopen and applying for a renewed liquor license at next week's city council meeting. Same for Stix, which shut down last November and appearenty will open back up under new ownership should the license get approved.

Friday, December 8, 2023

Central Christian Church

 Central Christal Church, out of Mount Vernon,  is opening another location in the vactated CVS space next to Legacy Fitness on the west side of town. After all, that is what Carbondale needs, yet another church. Well, that and more apartments. According to the signage, services start in March of 2024

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Home Rentals

 If you are interested in investing in property in Carbondale, nearly all of Home Rentals' properties are up for sale. apparent;y the company managed to negotiate with the bank holding its mortgages to avoid forclosure but its financial status is likely dicey, to say the least.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

CMS Director

 It looks as if Carbondale Main Street is looking for a new Executive Director. Pay is around $50,000 per year with paid holidays and time off, along with a $3000 stipend for health insuance.

Monday, December 4, 2023

N. 51 closed

 Highway 51 north was closed between Dillinger and Willow. Vehicle crash with injuries has the road closed. Two SIUC students killed and another person seriously injured

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Lights Fantastic Parade

 Parade got over suprizingly quickly this year and crowds did not appear as heavy as in past years. Everything was cleared out by a bit after 8 p.m. I did hear preliminary attendance figures were 20,000 attendees, making it the largest crowd in years.

We normally make the store bathrooms available to parade atendees and usually have a dozen or so people take advantage of the offer. This year only 2-3 did. People did get an early start on the Cookie Walk as we had people stopping by storly after three. We did have plenty of cookies and cider left over as I heard a couple of other locations did as well.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Cookie Walk

 Here is a map of this afternoon's cookie walk locations and the street closures for the Lights Fantastic parade, courtesy of the City of Carbondale. Mill Street will close at 3 pm and the rest of the streets will close at 3 p.m and reopen around 8 p.m.

Friday, December 1, 2023

Papa John's

 According to the company website and a post on Facebook, Papa John's Pizza will be reopening in its long shuttered location at 602 East Grand Avenue this Saturday, just in time for the Lights Fantastic Parade. Store hours will be 9:30 am to about 2 a.m. with free pizza between 4 and 7 p.m. on Saturday to celebrate the grand reopening.

Electric Larry's Closing

Electric Larry's will close its storefront at the end of the month and move all product online. Currently the storefront is only open Saturday and Sunday. They may be doing pop up sales in the location until the lease expires in August of 2024

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Thrift Shop


 The North Illinois Thrift Shop is having a 75% off sale this week, with pandas and chipmunks on the corner of Illinois and Main to advertise it.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Big Chill Sign

 The old Dairy Queen sign in downtown Carbondale has been replaced with a brand spankin' new Big Chill neon sign. The plan is to light it up for the first time this Saturday, before the Lights Fantastic parade starts.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Bed Bath and Beyond

 According to this, empty Bed Bath and Beyond stores are hot commodities on the rental market with landlords charging up to 50% more for the space. there has not been a lot of large retail space built since 2008 so these spaces are a hot commodity. Not sure how quickly it willl rent in Carbondale, given that the Macy's location has sat empty for a couple of years.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Christmas Lights

The city has very efficiently moved from Halloween to Christmas. Driving home the night before Thanksgiving, I noticed the Halloween street banners had been replaced with Lights Fantastic ones and all of the downtown Christmas lighting had been installed.
After past Lights Fantastic parades , some of the floats have been left for viewing along New Era Road and on the grounds of the Park District's Hickory Lodge. It is likely too late to do so this year but maybe next year the floats could be left in the Washington Street Event space. Power has been installed there, in order to run the stage shows so it could be run to the floats and, after the Lights Fantastic parade, that space, both the grassy area and lot, sit pretty empty so why not put them to some use duirng the holiday season?

Friday, November 24, 2023

Black Friday Traffic

 Was out driving around this morning and did not see significant amounts of Black Friday traffic. Of course, I did not go into any stores nor did I venture to the east side of town, where most of the chains are located, which spend the most money trying to get people into stores for Black Friday. 

Oh and this weekend is not the busiest sales day of the year. That honor now goes to the saturday before Christmas, when everyone is doing their last minute shopping.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Wendy's Really Closed

 The windows at the Wendy's on East Walnut are papered over and all of the exterior signage is gone. In addition a UHaul truck was packed in front of the entrance so imagine items are getting removed from the building.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Bucky Murals

 By my count there are at least 4 murals celebrating or referencing Buckminister Fuller. There is the geodesic dome mural on the side of my building at 207 West Main Street and one on the rear of the buidling 5 doors further to the west. You have to drive the alley that runs paralled on the south side of West Main to see it.

There is one on the rear of the 301 Artspace building on West Walnut and anotehr one ont he back of a housing unit on South Washington that is visible from the railroad tracks or parking lot abuting them. 

That's a lot of Fuller memoraliazation apearing within the past couple of years.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Asian Massage

 It looks as if asian massage spas are the new payday loan or vape shops in town. I counted 5 of them in town this evening, assuming there is one still in University Mall. One on the west side, one out by Reed Station Road, one on East Main just past the Square and a relatively new one in Eastgate Shopping Center.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Wendy's Closed

 Carbondale Wendy's has closed. According to the company website, the closure is temporary but when you do a search on the main website with the 62901 zip code, the closest Wendys to show up is in Herrin, which does not bode well for the future of the Carbondale location

Lights Fantastic

 The annual Lights Fantastic parade takes place Dec 2 with street closure starting at 5 p.m. and probably re-opening about 8 p.m. Illinois, Main and Walnut are all expected to close with detours around the downtown area.

The annual cookie walk through downtown will take place that afternoon and I would expect the annual chili supper in the civic center as well.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Town Square Parking Lot

 In order to control some of the problems in the Town Square parking lot the city has been occasionally blocking entrances and exits to the lot late at night. Not sure how effective it has been and the crowd that gathers there apparently has moved across the street onto the sidewalk in front of ABC Liquors.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Stix

 Stix is trying to reopen yet again. According to this, the current holder of the liquor license no longer has any connection with the business. The new applicant, Greg Knoob, has either owned or been associated with several bars in Carbondale over th eyears, including previous incarnations of Stix as well as Levels. Based on past experience, city staff recommended denial of the license application.

Stix' status remains up in the air as the Liquor Control Commission canceled its meeting last night, due to the applicant not being able to attend.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Practice Pad

 The Practice Pad has moved from its location on the west side of the Square next to Fringe to the empty Carbondale Tourism location on the south side of the Square. Several years ago, the Practice Pad moved from what is now the Cellar beer garden annex to the west side location so almost a homecoming.

Monday, November 13, 2023

Town Square

Police are still getting way too many calls to the north side of the town square parking area. The number of people drinking and partying there is such that the police get called an average of once a night and have scheduled extral patrols for the area. 

Thursday, November 9, 2023

BigLots Closing

 Heard that the Carbondale BigLots is closing in the near future. Apparently the landlord opted not to renew the lease, hoping to land a tenant that would be willing to absorb a sizable rent increase, which given the rental market in Carbondale, was probably not the wisest move. BigLots hopes to relocate to the empty Bed Bath and Beyond location or, barring that, a spot in Marion.

Not sure why local landlords still think that busineses are beating the bushes to relocate to Carbondale. That retail space put in behind the IHOP still sits empty 5 years later.

Northwest Historical District

 Appears the Preservation Commission is looking into the creation of a Northwest Historic District for Carbondale. I assume that would be the near Northwest encompassing houses in the area of Memorial Hospital, some of which date back to the early 1900s.

Monday, November 6, 2023

Fire

 Fire near the corner of Sycamore and Oakland. Would be willing to bet it is the 2 story apartment just west of the intersection on the south side. It had sustained some fire damage a couple of weeks ago and was just waiting for someone to come finish the job.

Fire department had it under control after a couple of hours.

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Taste Bud's Snacks

 Taste Bud's Snacks quietly opened last September at 1400 West Main. Have not stopped in but it appears to deal in exitic candy, at least exotic for this area, such as Japanese Kit Kats and Lay's chips, as well as Ramune soda and retro style candies such as Chick o' Sticks.

I have seen other stores like this, such as Grandpa Joe's ,do pretty well so glad to see a similar operation open in Carbondale

Saturday, November 4, 2023

SauSea's Buffet

 Replacing the now shuttered Golden Corral, SauSea's Seafood on S. Illinois has added a buffet to their offerings. Right now, ony things like macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, spaghetti and meatloaf on it, no seafood, which is rather surprising for a place that focuses on seafood. Restaurant says seafood will come later.

Update:  according to the restaurant's Facebook page, the buffet set up will only happen occasionally and will be announced in advance.

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Rage Room

 I hear a rage room will open in downtown Carbondale sometime in the near future, likely in one of the empty storefronts near Trax. Rage rooms, for those not familiar, are busises which allow people to work off anger and frustration by breaking things such as plates, cups, electronics equiptment, etc. You break it but you don't have to buy it and the owner cleans up after you.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Halloween

 If you have an hour or so, this is an interesting listen on the history of Halloween, especailly the rise of modern Halloween celebrations. Trick or treating, as practiced today, arose as a bribe for children, especially boys, to not commit acts of vandalism during the holdiay. During WW2, due to sugar rationing and the subsequent lack of treats to give out, trick or treating died out, only to get revitalized by its appearance in 1950s Peanuts' Halloween strips and Halloween themed sitcom episodes.

In the 1960s, costume manufacturers like Ben Cooper introduced commercially made costumes, replacing homemade ones and candy manufacturers produced snack size candies, which edged out apples and popcorn balls.

Adults got involved more in the holiday when Coors, looking for a holiday that it could claim, seized on Halloween and enlisted horror host Elvira as spokesperson. The brand saw sales shoot up when her standee appeared in stores and other brands soon rushed into capitalize.

Although haunted houses had been a Hallween staple since the early 1970s, they were primarily run by non-for profit organizations. 1978's Halloween proved there was a demand for scarey movies and then more scary entertainment in general, setting the stage for today's more commercial haunted house attractions and all of the Halloween activities taking place during October.

Monday, October 30, 2023

Halloween

 Trick or Treating in Carbondale runs for 5 to 7 p.m. tomorrow. S. Glenview is the most popular place in Carbondale to trick or treat as shown by so many kids running around there that the city shuts down the street for the duration of trick or treating and Carbondale Police department focuses their Pumpkin Patrol activities on that area.

House Decorating Contest

 From an email sent out by the city:  


House Decorating Contest! We didn’t want to let Halloween slip by without recognizing all the spooky, wacky, wild decorations of our city’s homes and businesses! If you’ve been feeling great pride in your scary d├ęcor this month, share pictures of your outdoor Halloween decorations with the City of Carbondale to be entered into our Halloween Decorating Contest! There will be two categories: Residential and Business. The winner in both categories will receive a $100 gift card. ( entries must be within city limits.) To submit an entry, email pictures of your display to contest@explorecarbondale.com along with your name, address, and a telephone number to reach you at. Entries will be judged on creativity, scare factor, and originality. All entries must be submitted by Monday, October 30, 2023.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Carbondale Halloween

Trick or Treat on Main Street numbers looked down from last year, likely due to the drizzle and projected thunderstorms. The weather caused the Live on Washington concert to move to Buckwater Brewery and it looks as if they decided on Friday to do so as there was no sign of any stage construction at the Washington Street concert venue on Friday or Saturday.

Downtown traffic was lighter Saturday night than Friday night with more parking available and no lines to get into any of the bars, at least not when I drove through about 10:30. Most of the costume traffic had moved from Illinois Avenue on Friday night to University Avenue last night. Several of the fraternity houses had well attended parties with costumed party goers spilling out from the house onto the lawn, in spite of the weather. 

Friday, October 27, 2023

Carbondale Halloween

 Plenty of events taking place tomorrow for Halloween. If rain occurs and storms get bad, the Downtown Carndy Walk will be canceled and the Live at Washington and Main event will move inside Buckwater Brewworks 

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Shoe Dept.

 Just heard that the Shoe Dept. shoestore in Univeristy Mall closed down Oct. 15. some of the staff had said the store was moving to another location in town, like Ulta Beauty and Old Navy, but apparently not. One more large empty space in the mall. Still not as bad as marions Illinois Centre Mall, but getting close.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Bucky Home Visitors Center

 This is pretty cool. Mighty Buildings will 3D form a building to serve as the Visitors Center for the Buckminster Fuller Dome Home. Not sure when the building will be installed but likely sometime in 2024

Parking

 Drove through Downtown Friday, Satruday and Sunday nights and it was certainly nice to see parking packed and a line out the door at Trax. Wish there had been more lines at other bars but I guess the city will take what it can get. 

No costumes that I saw but I figure they will be out in force this weekend, though I certainly have not seen much advertising for this weekend's activities. There is even a Carbondale Halloween t-shirt available but, again, have not seen any way to purchase one yet.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Homecoming

 South Dakota State beats SIUC 17-10. given South Dakota's reputation, I am not surpised the team won, I am pleasently suprised that it was only by a touchdown and an extra point. 

Parking in downtown is packed tonight. It is possible to find a space on the side streets but the lots south of Main Street are all filled.  Lots of Saluki wear on the streets. No costumes though. Guess that will be next weeke.d

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Pumpkin Patrol

 Carbondale Police are looking for volunters to help out with the 2023 Pumpkin Patrol from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on October 31. From what I hear, most of the Patrol will monitor the S. Glenview Avenue area, which gets so many trick or treaters that the city shuts the street down during trick or treating hours.

Openings

 Both the west side Burger King and Newby's Pizza are now open. Burger King is in its old location in the Schnuck's parking lot, only with a new format of walk up and drive through only. There are a couple of outside tables though.

Newby's is the former Carbondale Primo's Pizza and is located in the long closed Wiffle Boy's Pizza location on East Walmart. There is still a Primo's Pizza located in Energy and I hear the East Park location may reopen as another restaurant or business.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Break-In Arrest

 Break in  to a business in the 400 block of North Illinois last Saturday night. Burglar tripped an alarm and police found him still on the premises when they arrived.. Maybe it was a silent alarm becasue if I was engaged in extralegal activity in a building and an alarm started blaring, I would not stay around waiting for the police to arrive.

Monday, October 16, 2023

Concert

 Stopped by the last Off the Rails concert of the year toward the end of the night to catch the Modern Day Saints playing. Not sure if it was the band choices or the chill in the air but attenance was pretty light for the last few songs. I counted roughly 60 people there. One of the food truck vendors said attendance, and sales, had been comparatively light all evening. Attendnace had been much heavier at approxiately the same time at the previous two concerts.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Eclipse

 Well looks as if the "ring of fire" eclipse viewing was a bust as clouds covered Carbondale all day.

However, you can still attend the final "Off the Rails" concert of the year at the Washington Street event space. Concert goes on until about 10 tonight. Maybe sometime next year the planned stage will be installed but I would be willing to bet not until 2025 after the multi modal transport center is completed.

Friday, October 13, 2023

Eclipse

 In case you want to watch the partial "ring of fire" eclipse tomorrow, SIUC will host events at Saluki Stadium from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Did not keep your glasses from the 2017 eclipse?  SIUC Will have free glasses available

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Evolve

 One of the big selling points for bringing Evolve into downtown Carbondale was the number of students/residents it would bring into the area and with them an increased level of consumption. Unfortunately, this has not happened.  The strip of shops just north of Evolve and above Trax is completely empty and University Plaza sits half empty. Save for Insomnia Cookies, the retail space on the ground floor of the Evolve complex has never had a tenant.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Old High School

 City Council voted to acquire the deed to the old high school building on N. Springer Street from whatever limbo it is in and demolish the building as a safety hazard. Council looked at rehabing the building but would likely cost well over $2 million to do so. An inspection would run $25,000 to $30,000 by itself. Given that water comes into the building during rains, ceilings have collapsed in some areas and a number of windows are broken, rehabilitating the structure, built in 1922, does not appear feasible. 

This is indicative of a problem with older buildings I have noticed in Carbondale over the years. Structures get ignored by their owners or the city, with maintenance continually put off,until the building has deteriorated so much that it is too costly to rehabilitate and the only option is to raze it. This happened with the old Johnson Hotel on North Illinois, the Tuscan Lodge at the corner of Jackson and Washington and the Bank Building/Opera House at the corner of Main and Washington, as well as the Southern Recycling and Peerless Laundry buildings on South Washington. True all of them were in unsalvagable shape by the time of demolition but owners also let them run down instead of maintaining them.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Insurance

 I was speaking with an insurance agent this morning, having some questions about some upgrades to equiptment and mentioned wanting to look for a better deal on home insurance. They told me this is not the time to go looking for it. Two insurance companies in northing Illinois are currently not writing new home insurance policies and Farmers just laid off about 23,000 employees, about 11% of its workform. The storm damage around the coasts is partially to blame but it also appears that the damage caused by the derecho earlier this year also hit a number of Illinois insurers quite hard.

Sunday, October 8, 2023

Entrances

 The city has spent time and effort to increase the attractiveness of the east side entrance to the city but has really ignored the other three points of the compass. of course, the amount of traffic coming in past Wal-mart is about 4 times that coming in from the other three sides. If I recall correctly, there are about 20,000 cars passing Wal-mart every day and only about 7000 heading to and from Murphysboro, with about the same coming in from the south and even fewer from the north side.

Friday, October 6, 2023

Haunt

 Haunt is a 2019 horror movie set in where else, Carbondale Illinois. Unfortuately for us, the film was shot in Kentucky, so nothing in the film looks like Carbondale at all. Even the establishing shot of "campus housing" shows a street of older homes that looks like something you would find in Champaign around the U of I campus.

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Heritage Motel

 I really wish the city or a local organization would approach the Heritage Motel about repairing its sign. It is an icoic 1960s style sign and deserves a long life but is slowly falling apart.

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Primo's Pizza

 Primo's Pizza will shutter its East Park location in Carbondale sometime later this year and move into the old Wiffle Boy's Pizza location on East Main. Long time residents will remember this as the location of  TCBY back in the late 1990s early 2000s. Indoor dining space will be significantly reduced so not sure how much inside dining will be available.

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

17thStreet BBQ Marion

 17th Street BBQ is closing its Marion location and I cannot find any current references to the Las Vegas location the restaurant had. It appears that the orginization is retrenching operations and focusing on the Murphysboro businesses.

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Stix

 Apparently Stix has closed down again for the forseeable future.According to a post on the bar's Facebook page, it closed the weekend of Sept 14 and will not be reopening, at least not under the current ownership

Friday, September 29, 2023

Traditional American Food

 Had someone asking for suggestions for food today and was hard pressed to think of any local place that serves traditional "American" food such as burgers, steak, chicken, eggs, etc. The only places I could direct them to were Mary Lou's,  Harbaughs, Dale's Burger Shack and Giant City Lodge. Am I missing any places in Carbondale that are not chains?

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Primo's

 From what I have heard, Primo's Pizza is moving out of its Park Street location into the old Wiffle Boy's Pizza location on East Main. No information as to when the move will take place though but likely later this fall

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

West Side Burger King

 After months, the west side of Carbondale will no longer be devoid of fast food. The replacement Burger King, which is a "test format" store, with drive through and walk up but no inside dining, is scheuled to open between October 10 and 15 (yes,of this year. Sheesh!)

Monday, September 25, 2023

Jennifer Fuller

 Appears that Jennifer Fuller has moved on from WSIU. I have not heard her on the radio or Capitol View in weeks and she no longer appears on the station's staff list.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Stix

Drove through downtown after the Off the Rails Concert ended (Did not attend the concert but I was working late) and noticed that, while there was a decent amount of foot traffic in the Hangar 9 and Trax area, Stix was closed. I have not heard if they got hit with any citations or maybe they were opening even later than 10 in the evening. still, since I have seen a line out the door earlier in the semester, it seems stranges to see the place shuttered on a Saturday night.

Friday, September 22, 2023

Quigley Hall

 According to faculty who work in the building, the electrical system in Quigly Hall is woefully out of date. At the time the bulding was contructed, engineering design was done on paper and fashion merchandising primarily relied on sewing machines. Now both colleges use computers and CAD, which draw a lot more power, straining the outdated electrical system. In addition, the HVAC system is so old that faculty need fans and air conditiong units during the spring and summer and heaters during the winter, adding more stress to the system. . It is amazing they do not have more electrical outages in the building than they do.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Quatro's Owner Found Dead

 According to this, Quatro's owner Blake Morrison, who purchased the restaurant last yearfrom longtime owner Steve Payne, was found dead while on a cruise with friends through the Bahamas.  Morrison was found Wednesday morning lying near the pool deck on the ship. Quatro's will continue to operate while family decides what to do.

clorox Shortage

 The current shortage of Clorox wipes and other products is not due to an outbreak of viruses or FOMO or even supply shortages but a cyberattack upon the company. Who the heck cyberattacks a cleaning products company?

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

SIUC Infrastructure

 SIUC really needs funding dedicated to repairing its current infrastructure. From what I have heard, and correct me if I am wrong, there are fewer than a dozen maintenance people on staff to make repairs to HVAC systems, electrical systems, etc. For a campus the size of SIUC that is woefully understaffed. Some if the equiptment is so old, maintenance cannot find parts for them from regular sources and are forced to look for them on sites like eBay.

I did read that the state is directing funding to the university but I also read it was for new buildings. Unless the administration plants to replace obsolete buildings like Graul, the money needs to go into upgrading current facilites.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Enrollment Up

 I guess any improvement is good but SIUC is making waaaay too much out of an increase in enrollement of 230 students. The univeristy for years has positioned small decreases as evicende that its new programs are "turning the tide" and the univeristy is about to "turn the corner". If those miniscule decreases didn't matter, than a 2.3% increase shouldn't either. Of course, since it is the most positive news about enrollment in a decade, I cannot blame the administration for trumpeting it but before they break their arm by patting themselves on the back, let's see what numbers are like in Fall of 2024.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Too Much Open Space

 I was talking with another retailer and we both agreed that downtown Carbondale, among other problems, has too much open space. Not green space, which would be fine, but parking space, which is rather suprising given the compaints I have seen about the lack of parking in downtown. I think more the complaint is the lack of "free" parking in downtown. 

The north end of the Strip is separated from the south end but a large stretch of parking. Walk past Old Town Liquors and you have Big Chill nee Dairy Queen sitting alone in the middle of a comparatively large parking area before getting to the Varsity Center. On the other side of the street, one you pass Pag's Pizza, there is parking, then the Amtrak Station, then more parking before reaching Walnut.

Once Booby's reopens, that will help matters some as it will help pull customers from the south end towards the north, but that is still a whole lot of empty space for potential customers to walk past.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Spirit Halloween

 You can tell Halloween is slowly getting closer when the seasonal Spirit Halloween opens up, this year in the empty Bed Bath and Beyond. Incidentally, Unofficial Halloween will take place Oct 28, the same day as most of the city's Official Halloween events.

Friday, September 15, 2023

Big Chill

Should be getting a new neon sign for downtown's Big Chill, to replace the removed Dairy Queen sign. The new one uses font very similar, though not identical, to the removed sign. Plans are to have it in place by October.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Blocko's Closing

 According to this Facebook post from the owner, Blocko's Restaurant will close permanently this Sunday. No details as to why although the owner did say the past week since the shooting was terrible.

Harold's Reopening

 Harold's Chicken has been closed for a few months but the reopening will take place at noon on Sept . 20  . Given the amount of excitment the chain generated when it opened in Carbondale, I was rather suprised to see it close so quickly. Heard there were staffing problems but that is second hand. Anyway, glad to see them opening again.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Blocko's Update

 Carbondale police have arrested a male juvenile for the shooting at Blocko's restaurant on Sept 2 and are seeking another juvenile in conjuction with the shooting but he has not been located yet. The victim is still in hospital but stable and Blocko's has reopened.

Stabbing

 If it bleeds, it leads. Stabbing yesterday afternoon in the 100 block of East Jackson on the north side of the square. The victim's injuries were serious but not life threatening and they were transported to hospital. The attacker fled the scene and was later arrested on East Grand Avenue and charged with domestic batter. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Fight

Last Saturday night, after a basketball game in the old high school complex some 300 kids started a fight in the parking area. Police arrived and the fight quickly ended with little to no co-operation with the police. There was rumor of at least one knife used during the fight but authorities found no weapons or injuries. One person did contact police with an injury afterward with a minor injury but no medical attention needed.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Missing Person

 Update:  Jan Borowitz was found safely in a wooded area near her home shortly after 11 am. this moning. Somewhat dehydrated but otherwise OK


From the Williamson County Sheriff's Office:

Missing Senior Citizen

Williamson County, Illinois - The Williamson County Sherriff’s Office is asking for help from the public in locating a missing senior citizen. 

Janet Borowitz, 81, has not been seen since Saturday, September 9, 2023, at approximately 10:30am. 

Borowitz is believed to have walked away from her residence in the 5000 block of Bald Eagle Lane, Carbondale, Illinois, which is located in rural Williamson County. 

Borowitz is described as 5’ 0”tall and weighing 100 pounds; she has blue eyes and blonde hair.

Anyone who knows Borowitz’s whereabouts is asked to call the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office at 618-997-6541. 


From her daughter in law Becky Borowitz Facebook page


"For anyone waiting to help… the authorities have a procedure in place so we are not sending folks into the woods.

But, I can assign roads to check.

My mother in-law’s wearing a long sleeve, off white shirt, black tennis shoes, and black pants. She is very small in weight and height. In this picture she is smiling. I would assume she is not smiling and may appear distressed.

Please keep your eyes open in these areas…

If you live in these areas, please check your property, barns, porches, sheds, out buildings. She has been gone since Saturday and probably hasn’t had anything to drink or eat.

Little Grassy Campground

Boskeydell

148

146

Smaller roads along Grassy Road

Giant City Park

Smaller drives on Boskeydell Road (west of Giant City School)

Giant City Road

Spillway Road

Rocky Comfort Road

Devil’s Kitchen Campground

Giant City Campground

She likes Barnes & Noble"

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Chango's

 According to the owner of Sal's Bistro, adjoining restaurant Chango's should reopen about the middle of September. I see they already have a fresh coat of paint on the building.  I know several people who will be very happen when this occurs.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

SIUC Enrollment Up

 SIUC enrollment up about 2.3% or 252 more students, over fall 2022, at least so far. I have heard second hand that a number of students dropped out of the university this past weekend, maybe enough to wipe out that increase. I certainly hope not and, while I am certainly glad to see any increase, this 2.3% increase is comparable to the small decreases the unviversity saw in numbers over the past 30 years. Every year since 1990, student numbers dropped a tiny percentage, statitically tiny but it certainly added up over three decades. 

If the administration sees 2.5% increases in student numbers over the next three years or so, it has reason to pat itself on the back but a 2.3% increase is just staunching the bleedling, It will take 2-4 more years of similar numbers before SIUC can say its strategy to increase enrollment has worked.

Monday, September 4, 2023

Paul Simon Public Policy Institute 25 Anniversary

 The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and has two events scheduled one at the end of this month in Chicago and one at the end of October here in Carbondale. Mildly bemusing that the Chicago event is scheduled on  a Friday night, when generally people are planning for things to do for the weekend. with drinks provided before the event and refreshments afterward. Meanwhile, Carbondale's event gets scheduled for Monday night, a weeknight on which a lot of people do not want to go out as they have to go to work or class on the following day.

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Stop Lights

 Really wish the city would change the left turn lights on the stop lights in town to only yellow and green, no red. I can see being cautious (yellow) when making a left hand turn across oncoming traffic but having to sit there while the light is red when there is no oncoming traffic seems a waste of both time and gasoline. State law does say that turning left on red onto a one way street is legal, although city government may pass ordinances making doing so illegal

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Bloko's Temporarily Closed

 According to this post from the Carbondale Police there was a shooting at Bloko's on S. Illinois this afternoon about 4:20 with one person shot and critically injured enough to require hospitalization. A post on Facebook says the injured person was the restaurant's owner and the release from the police says the victim and alleged shooter knew each other. 

Edited to correct Bloko's spelling

Friday, September 1, 2023

Golden Corral

 Appears the Carbondale Golden Corral is not temporarily closed as I posted earlier this week. According to the company website, the location has "permanently closed". That happened pretty quickly. I guess the company used the excuse of the sewer leakage and HVAC problems as a reason to shutter the doors and then, after that was doen, post that the restaurant would not reopen.

That leaves only one buffet style restaurant in Carbondale Qin Guan. 

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Tom's Place Becomes Big Nate's

 Glad to see that Big Nate's now has a permament location but somewhat torn about the name change as both of them have strong brands. Tom's Place has almost a century of brand name recognition in the region and Big Nate's has about 5 years, although 40 years of experience cooking and Tom's Place chef Blake Squibb will remain on the staff.  Since the menu is shifting away from what Tom's Place was known for the past 20 years, the name change is probably a good idea.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Global Gormet

 Global Gourmet has temporarily closed until Sept 6th. The owner is traveling and tasting in Europe.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Golden Corral Temporarily Closed

According to the sign on the building the east side Golden Corral has termporarily closed for remodeling and will reopen sometime in September. The business had a lot of problems with is HVAC system last week during the heat and sewer problems in the Reeds Station Road area did not help matters. I heard several reports of the odor of sewage in the restaurant as well as throughout the area.

Cannibis

 Appears the legalisation of cannibis , at least at the local and state levels, has really taken off in Carbondale. I had people tell me that, as they walked around last weekend's parties, there was enough marijuana smoke hanging in the air that they got a serious contact high and case of the munchies. 

Dunno if it is any safer to have people smoke and drive than it is to have them drink and drive, though.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Mural

 Cool mural but not sure how it relates to Carbondale or Southern Illinois? The others that have gone up have either referenced SIUC directly, Buckminister Fuller or illustrated Carbondale's relationship with the rail industry or the historical importance of Woodlawn Cemetary. The owl, located on the back of Slabz Skatepark, is striking but how, if at all, does it tie into Carbonale.  sure the building owner can paint whatever they want on it, within reason,  but most mural projects tangentally relate to the community. Maybe I am missing the point of the mural. If so, could someone clarify it for me?

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Solar Bear 2

 Good crowd for a Solar Bear party on West College yesterday afternoon and there was another one in the 500 block of S. University last night. No major problems for the police from what I have heard. They did have to break up the S. Univeristy house party and use pepper spray on the crowd over at Levels.

When I drove through the area about 9:30 p.m., things were comparatively quiet. No crowds on College or Univeristy or over on Grand, though lots of cars in the Levels parking lot. People walking around on S. Illinois and lots of cars parked but no lines waiting to get into bars. Of course, that may have changed later in the evening.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Solar Bear

 Solar Bear takes place today. Most of the activity should concentrate around the Levels' nightclub over on East Grand behind the old Pinch Penny Pub location. I have not seen much activity today as I have in past years but I have heard Carbondale police are anticipating a busy night.

Off the Rails Concert

 I read some people complaining that the Joslyn and the Sweet Compression took place the week before move in started at SIUC, hence students would not be in the city in great numbers to attend. Those folks failed to look at the Off the Rails concert schedule as Laura Jane Grace and the Copyrights will  perform tonight starting at 7 p.m.

According to the schedule, barring rain, we can expect a concert in the Washington Street venue every other Saturday through October. 

Friday, August 25, 2023

Walker's Bluff

 Walker's Bluff Casino opened today. I drove out there a few weeks ago to take a look  and the complex sits in the middle of the countryside. One has to make a special trip to go there as there is no other draw in the area. A few years ago, the lack of casinos in Illinois might have made Walker's Bluff a reasonable proposition but today, most casinos are struggling from the competition. I assume the owners have made an analysis and determined that the operation will prove profitable but, unless southern Illinois works more to make itself more of a tourist destination, I do not think Walker's Bluff will prove strong enough to pull in visitors on its own.  Given than, I really hope I am wrong. 

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Accident

 Someone lost control of their car in the Old Train Depot parking lot this afternoon. The ran over a parking meter and bench and ended up elevated with the nose of his car pressed against the Depot wall. The driver kept rocking the car back and forth trying to free it but only wound up blowing a tire and ripping out the gas line. Police and fire departments were on the scene as of 5 p.m. today.

Mail Fraud

 I read in the news that theft of mailbox master keys are on the rise throughout the nation. According to this press release, a group of four men stole a master key and were using it to open collection boxes throughout the city. Primarily they stole checks, likely governmental, altered them and deposited them into their own accounts.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Sesquicentennial Anniversary

 Stuck my head in briefly at the Sesquicentennial Anniversary celebration this afternoon and was happy to see close to 300 people sitting and listening to the speakers. Also grabbed a copy of the new Historic Bike Tour brochure laying out historic spots around the community with a bike route to visit each of them. Hopefully copies will be racked someplace in the civic center.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Missing Adult Located

Raeann Ashley was last seen in Carbondale on August 11 in the 400 block of E. College and was reported missing on August 18th . She has been found somewhere by another law enforcement agency, which likely indicates she was found outside of Carbondale. 

Carbondale CommUNITY Sesquicentennial Anniversary

 tomorrow at 3 p.m. at the Civic Center. Not sure why the organizers decided to have it at 3 pm when a good chunk of potential attendees are still at work and most kids are still in school, or getting out at that time. This would have been a great event to get kids to attnend.

Maybe the organizers have  worked out something with the schools to bring kidsthere as an after school event. If so, I have not heard of it.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Solar Bear

 From what I have heard, Solar Bear will return to Carbondale this Saturday, August 26, now sponsored by Levels, the bar back behind what used to be Copper Dragon. 

For those not familiar with Solar Bear, it is a day long booze fest with drink specials at local bars, primarily Pinch Penney in the past, with house parties throughout the town. A few times it got so bad that SIUC set up hydration stations and medical check up points near the intersection of Grand and Wall.

Given the 96 F/ 35 C temperatures expected this weekend, I worry we will see some students suffering from heatstroke unless they are very careful.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Wrong Way

 With the number of new comers to Carbondale and the number of one way streets in the city, I expect a number of them to drive the wrong way on Main, Walnut, Illinois and University. Local residents ought to expect this and drive more defensively on those steets, at least until the end of the month.

Friday, August 18, 2023

Preservation Commission

 The Carbondale Preservation Commission meets this Monday at 5:30 p.m. in room 103 of the civic Center.  However, according to the agenda, there is no business before it save an election.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Don Luna

 The South 51 section of Carbondale now has another food option beyond McDonald's and what you can find at the two convenience stores there. Don Luna has opened a Carbondale location in the old Arnold's Market building. Drive through only and the hours appear to be 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Chango's

 From what I have heard, the downtown Chango's location will reopen late August or early September. It will be nice for Sal's bistroy to not have to share the building with an empty space.

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Off the Rails 2

 Got to the Off the Rails Concert about 9:30 last night and figure there were still about 200 people there listening. There were also about 6 food trucks there and about 10 or so craft vendors. The ones that I spoke with said they had seen steady but not stellar business and felt that the heat and mugginess had kept larger crowds away.

Given there was also a concert at the Varsity Center and at least one other musical event in town, it looked like a pretty good turnout

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Off The Rails Concert

 The first fall Off the Rails Concert starts tonight at 7 p.m. and runs until 10 p.m. Takes place in the Washington Street Event venue, aka the grassy area along Walnut Street next to the railroad tracks.  Eventually the plan is to put a permanent stage at the south end of the space, meaning no longer having assemble and dismantle a stage for each performance.  Last time I checked, the plan was to get the stage built sometime in 2024 or 2025.  Doubt the city can get it in place in time for next year's eclipse. 

Friday, August 11, 2023

Buckminister Fuller

 I know I say this every so often but I really wish SIUC and the city would do more to promote their conncection to Bucky Fuller. He is arguably one of the greatest futurists of the 20th century and spent more time assoicated with SIUC than any other institution with which he was affiliated. There are the dome shelters on campus, the Fuller Dome NFP restoring Fuller's home in Carbondale, the geodesic structure next to Gaia house, a mural in the alley behind La Unica Bakery and another privately owned dome behind the west side SIUC Credit Union. We really could use more honoring the man and drawing attention to his residency here.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Mural Ordinance Change

 According to city ordinance, any murals painted on walls in the city could be graphics only, no text. The murals painted under the auspices of Artspace 304 on the walls of SI Pawn and The Wellness Center both were in violation of this ordinance, so Tuesday night the city coucil passed an amendment to the ordinance allowing text in murals, thus once again proving the adage that "it is better to beg forgiveness than ask permission."

SIH

 Given the number of house demolishions along West Oak and South Almond, I would expect SIH to build upon those properties sometime in the next year or so. 

All of the houses, save one, along West Oak between Poplar and University have been demolished, including the reportedly haunted "Rain House" and the one time but extensively renovated home of Gen John H. Logan. In addition, all of the houses along West Oak between Poplar and Almond and the houses on N. Almond between Main and Oak are gone. I had not realized how much demonlition had taken place in the area until I happened to bike through there this week. Just a lot of empty lots, which I expect SIH will expand its campus onto within the next couple of years which, since SIH is a not for profit, means more property taken off the tax rolls.

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

24 Hour Restaurants

 I was reading in the Southern Illinois Eats group on Facebook a complaint about the lack of 24 hour restaurants in Carbondale. I think the latest any place stays open is Taco Bell until 3 p.m. and then only the drive through.

If I remember correctly, the last two 24 hour restaurants we had here were Denny's , which shut down back in 2020, with the building now razed, and The Corner Diner, which closed at least 15 years ago. Towards the end of its run, the primary late night customers at the Corner Diner were SIUC students that came there after Morris Library closed for the night. They would order a cup of coffee, which came with free refills and settle in to do homework for a few hours. Similarly, late night customers at Denny's would order a  light meal and sit there for hours. Hence why no businesses, save gas stations, stay open all night. It is just not profitable. Wal-mart, Kroger and Schnucks all tried the 24 hour model for a few years and gave it up. 

The business has to pay people to work there, in the case of a restaurant at least 3, a waiter, cook and someone to clean. That is a significant amount of payroll for not much business. Couple that with the fact that they would get the customers looking for something to eat after an evening of bar hopping and it is just not worth the money and hassle.

A convenience store, with only 1-2 people there over night, that doesn't have to wait on and cook for people, can be profitable. So can a 24 hour restaurant near a highway interchange with lots of traffice. There are just not enough late night customers in Carbondale, currently, to justify a 24 diner.

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Glenn Poshard Signings

 Glenn Poshard and author Carl Walworth will sign copies of Poshard's recently published biography "Son of Southern Illinois at three different locations on Wednesday August 9th. You can meet the pair and pick up a copy of the book at the Harrisburg District Library from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.; noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Herrin City Library; 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Stinson Memorial Library in Anna and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Varsity Theater in Carbondale.

Monday, August 7, 2023

150th Anniversary

 The city will celebrate the 150th anniversary of its incorporation on August 30th at 3 p.m. In anticpation of the event, the city has commissioned Kendal Bell to paint a celebration mural on the windows of the Civic Center/City Hall.

Would have been nice to see a series of events taking place leading up to the anniversary date. Would reallylike to see the city and SIUC do something like that leading up to next year's Eclipse.

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Movie Series

 the Varsity Center for the Arts wrapped up its summer movie series this past Saturday. Nice to see films playing in the venue again. Here is hoping they can make this a biannual or even quarterly event.

Saturday, August 5, 2023

IG Owner Passes Away

 From the Arbor District mailing list

"We learned yesterday that Rosli (Li) Habibullah and his wife Guillerma (Gemma) Habibullah died in a traffic accident that occurred on Wednesday, between here and Champaign where their daughter, Mona, lives. You probably know Li, even if you did not know his name: he was the owner of International Grocery in the Murdale Shopping Center. Gemma was retired from teaching math at St. Piux X High School in Festus, MO, and serving as an adjunct faculty member at Saint Louis University (SLU)."

From what I have heard, the store is continuing to operate.

Friday, August 4, 2023

Heat Island Study

The  Greater Egypt Regional Planning and Development Commission with assistance from the City of Carbondale is conducting a heat island study of Carbondale and are asking for people to complete the survey. You can take the desktop version here.

I would just hope that something happens as a result of the survey and it does not just get tossed on a back shelf

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Evolve

 Evolve Apartments opened its doors officially on August 5th back in 2015 after razing the 710 Bookstore complex and wiping out most of the parking on the south end of the Strip. 

Despite space for about 4 retail storefronts on the ground floor, only one, Insomnia Cookies, has managed to open and stay in business. No other business has ever ever opened a location in the space. In addition, the four storefronts in the strip above Trax have see, by my estimation, at least a dozen businesses open to feed on customers generated by the apartment complex next door. None has lasted longer than a year.

From what I have heard, occupancy has never reached more than about 65%. The walls do not do much to block sound from other residents and, unless it has been fixed, there were some questions about if the wiring was up to code at the time the building opened.

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Another One Gone

 SIUC has a problem keeping athletic staff as the football defensive coach resigned today. No indication this was due to any questionable activity on the coach's part, as has been the case with some other resignations. In the past, the University had a problem with staff sexually harassing athletes, complaints getting filed and no action or investigation undertaken

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

150 Year Celebration

 Carbondale celebrates 150 years since its incorporation on August 23. From the description, it looks as if there will be candles and speeches. Maybe cake if we are lucky.

Monday, July 31, 2023

Police Cameras

Apparently the police department has an entire bank of cameras in the station monitoring various street intersections  and other locations in town. However, they are not regularly monitored by humans and only reviewed if a crime is committed and within view of one of the cameras.

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Paw Prints

 If you have noticed the paw prints on the main streets and a number of piece of private property, those are a fund raising and civic project of the Saluki Pride Committee of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce. Each summer, recruits volunteer to spend 2 Sunday mornings painting prints on east and west 13 and north and south 51 as well as side streets such as Giant City Road and East Grand Avenue. All of the street pawprints point towards the SIUC campus, while the ones on private property point wherever the property owner wants. Getting a print painted in your driveway costs $100 with the money going to pay for the ones on the streets and to help fund the Chamber's Saluki Stay Scholarship.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Lloyd Rich

If you would like to attend the funeral of one of Carbondale's more colorful characters, a funeral mass for Lloyd Rich will take place at the Newman Center on August 5th at 10 a.m. Rich was indigent so donations to help cover the cost of the funeral are accepted at the Newman Center and St. Francis Xavier offices. 

Friday, July 28, 2023

Stop lights

 Maybe it is just me but the stop lights on University and Illinois at Walnut and Main Streets  certainly seem to have annoyingly callibrated timers. it appears that during the day, the lights count down and then change as soon as the timer reaches 0. At night, they count down, then the red "hand of warning" appears and cars have to sit there for another 1-2 minutes. Just set the times to have the same duration both day and night as there is traffic on both 13 and 51.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Church Fire

Appears last February's fire at the Walnut Street Baptist Church was arson. This afternoon, Carbondale Police arrested Ramil Mize as a suspect. No motive given and the investigation is ongoing.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Saluki Way Tax

 The Saluki Way tax is due to expire in 2027 but waiting until then to push the council not to renew it is a bad idea. Unless residents want to keep a sales tax higher than 93% of the rest of the state's municipalities, they need to start letting the current members of the council know they do not want any resolutions passed keeping the tax.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Broken Glass

 If you are driving the alley that runs behind Castle Perilous, La Unica, Electric Larrys and Indigo Lounge, be careful as there are a couple of broken beer bottles in the road behind Indigo. Unfortunately, the city sweeper never makes it down those, or any of the alleys in Carbondale, so I play to get out there tomorrow afternoon when I get back to town and sweep it up.

I can see the city not wanting the sweeper to try to negotiate the alleys in downtown or in residential areas as they can be tough to navigate. Still makes it hard when some one decides to break glass or otherwise spread garbage. The city has been pretty good about clearning up gravel piling up around the speed bumps back there and fixing potholes when called to its attention.

Monday, July 24, 2023

Eclipse Preparation

 Maybe there is work done behind the scenes but it doe not seem as if either Carbondale or SIUC are doing much to prepare for next years eclipse. This was spraked by hearing a list of eclipse themed activities taking place soon in Cape Girardeau on WSIU this morning. Nothing similar that I have heard for Carbondale. When I drove through Perryvill Mo a couple of weekends ago, the city had a large sign posted in their park "Eclipse Viewing Site".Carbondale and SIUC are at the epicenter of the eclipse so how hard would it be to put up a similar sign near Saluki Stadium to build awareness of the event.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Lloyd Rich

Lloyd Rich, also known to locals as "TimeLloyd", passed away this last Sunday. Not sure as to what the cause was but he had been in ill health for a number of years. Rich was a Carbondale fixture since at least the 1990s when I moved to town. Recognizable by his floppy hat, Tom Baker Dr. Who style scarf and omnipresent bicycle, Rich could ususally be counted upon to put in an appearance at most outdoor Carbondale events for years. If you ever attended the Lights Fantastic parade and saw a man pedaling a bicycle festooned with Christmas lights, that was Lloyd.

Rich loved Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and the Dr. Who tv series, hence the nickname he used, "TimeLloyd" and annually for years he posted notices inviting people to Intergalatic Picnics with a reminder to "bring your towel". He was also an early user of SIUC's computer system, back when the university allowed non-students to access and store material on its drives. Someo

In the last decade, he had a couple of serious bike accidents, which curtailed his bike use, meaning he relied on public transport or the kindness of friends to get around. Until the COVID 19 pandemic started, he remained a fixture at mass at St. Francis Xavier and the Newman Center, as well as the Thankgiving and Christmas dinners hosted by them. The last time I saw him a year or two ago, he was wheelchair bound.

With his passing, Carbondale has lost as unique a personality as Tanner was.  In fact, some years ago, someone made a pack of cards featuring Carbondale personalities including Tanner, former Mayor Brad Cole and Rich. 
Farewell TimeLloyd, say Hi to The Doctor, and So Long and Thanks for All the Fish.

Friday, July 21, 2023

Saluki Way Tax

 From what I am hearing, the city council already plans to keep the Saluki Way tax in place when it expires later this decade. Passing a resolution doing so will likely be all that will be necessary to do as that is what the council did when the sales tax increase to pay off bonds issued to pay for new roofing on the high school expired. Unlike the initial vote to increase the sales tax, which attracted large crowds for a council meeting, the resolution to keep the roof tax part of the sales tax passed very quietly with only a few people in attendance.

Carbondale's sales tax is currently 9.75%, higher than 93% of cities and counties in the state. At least we are not as high as Chicago, which is 10.25%

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Boys and Girls Club

 According to this, after 20 years the Boys and Girls Club of Southern Illinois will close up shop this Friday. Until 2021, it was the Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale then changed its name and opened up a facility in Marion. No details in the release but I would guess that there was not enough funding coming in to support both facilities and trying to keep them open drained enough resources that it proved infeasible to keep both open. Otherwise I could see shuttering the Marion location and consolidating operations back to Carbondale.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Geologic Odditites

 Geologic Oddities had its grand opening last Saturday at 606 South Illinois Ave. Gift shop primarily focusing on rocks and crystals. Closed Monday and Tuesday, open noon to 8 the rest of the week.

Monday, July 17, 2023

Shooting

 Shooting on South Lewis Lane yesterday morning shortly before 6 p.m. Victim was treated and released and police are still  looking for the shooter. From the sound of it, the victim could or would not identify the person that shot them.

Also a knifing on S. Poplar last Friday afternoon about 12:30.  Again the victim was injured but not seriously enough to require hospitalition and the suspected assailant has been arrested. The two were meeting to complete a transaction set up on social media, when one pulled  a knife on the other. Once again, indicating it is a good reason to complete transactions such as this in a"safe space" such as the lobby of the Carbondale Public Safety Department, aka the Police Department. 

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Saluki Gymnastics

 In case you were wondering, Saluki Gymnastics moved out of its old location in Eastgate Shopping Center, awhile back. Now located in the vacated CVS pharmacy next to Legacy Fitness.

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Booby's

 Appears that the reopening Booby's plans to make live music a focus of the restaurant with the new stage the owners are installing. By my calculations, once Booby's reopens, every storefront save two along the strety of S. Illinois between Walnut and W. College will have a business in it.  Chango's still sits empty since they decamped for Marion and there is still an empty spot between Bombay Olive and Artistic Minds Tattoo. 

Friday, July 14, 2023

Marberry Arboretum

 In case you have been worndering what has been going on at Marberry Arboretum, here is the answer:  bathrooms. The CPD got a grant for the Arboretum and has been cleaning up the damage done by the derecho of over a decade ago and redoing the parking lot, as well as installing bathrooms.

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Town Square Sales Taxes

 Looked at the business located on the Carbondale square and realized that over half of them do not collect any sales taxes. South side of the square is empty save for the train depot, which houses the offices of Carbondale Main Street and the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, both of which are not for profits that don't sell anything. 

The west side of the square consists of offices, Fringe, Practice Pad and the Rainbow Cafe. Practice Pad may sell some musical equiptment but its primary business is music lessons.. Services in Illinois do not collect sales taxes.

North and east sides have two restaurants, 2 groceries, ABC Liquors, Hair Brains and Arthur Agency. The first five do collect sales taxes but the last two do not. That is a lot of places in downtown not generating any sales tax revenue.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Mural

 Another mural completed, this one just west of Woodlawn Cemetary on the side of the Wellness Center. Features Calvin Scott playing the trumpet, as he does at every Memorial Day celebration at Woodlawn. The cameos are John A Logan on the right and Daniel Brush on the left.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Church Vandalism

 Man wallking through the parking lot at St. Francis Xavier Church one afternoon last week decided, for whatever reason, to pick up a rock and wing it through a church window. Happily a staff member saw the man break the window and got Carbondale police there before he left the area.

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Big Chill

 The renamed and revamped Dairy Queen, now named "Wazo's Big Chill" reopened this past Friday and crowds have been good so far. Both times I drove by there were people sitting on the wall along S. Illinois and a line of people at the window. 

I expect Big Chill to do much better than the relaunch of El Greco some years ago. Despite the long lines of people waiting to get into El Greco when it announced it was closing, and then again when it re-opened, there was never enough demand for the restaurant's menu to keep customers coming back multiple times. Ditto for Mississippi Flyway. Despite the lamentations upon its closure, people did not eat there often enough to keep it open.

Dairy Queen/Big Chill does not have that problem. The restaurant did not close because of lack of demand but because the franchisor yanked the license. The DQ's biggest problem was always finding enough staff to operate. Barring a major change in the menu, (Blizzards will have to have a different name as that is a DQ trademark), Big Chill should remain successful.

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Peeping Tom

 Carbondale Police are looking for a male with tan skin and a chubby face in his early 20s, who has been seen peering through the window of a house on West College and another on North Springer on the nights of June 29th and July 5. The decription of the man in both cases is similar enough that it is likely the same person. In the case of the North Springer incident, residents of the house saw the man looking through a window on the second floor, while the West college sighting was through a ground floor window.

Friday, July 7, 2023

Vandal Arrested

 41 year old Dustin Randolph of Marion was arrested today in Carterville on charges of vandalizing several law firms in Carbondale the last week of June.

Randolph was charged with throwing rocks and chunks of concrete through the windows of 4 different law firms and a retail business between June 27 and June 30.

City Flag

 Might be time to update the city flag. Just looking at it does not indicate what the symbols on it mean. According to the city code, "The City flag shall consist of the Corporate Seal in gold, black and white on a white background."

The items on the city seal are a railroad track and spike, a lamp symbolizing education, a cross commemorating the first Memorial Day observance, along with cotton boles with the black coloring honoring the importance of coal to the region.

As I have read elsewhere, seals go on offical docutments. Flags should be simpler and not need to have the name of the community on it.

Thursday, July 6, 2023

PR Position Open

 In case you are looking for a job, the City of Carbondale has a Public Relations officer position open. Former PR officer Roni LeForge-Croxwell resigned her office to take a position as the Egyptian Electric Communications Co-ordinator, starting, well, yesterday. Initial application deadline is 4 p.m. July7th 

Restaurants on Vacation

 The following resaurants/food places are currently closed for vacation.

Thai Taste-reopens July 7th

La Unica Bakery -reopens July 10

Mary Lou's - reopens July 11

Electric Larry's was closed today as well but no indication that they will close for the entire week.

DQ Reopening

 The Downtown Dairy Queen will reopen tomorrow as the "Big Chill".  Hours are 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Hoping they get a new neon sign on the roof to replace the old one.

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Fireworks

 Man, the (illegal) fireworks were loud and abundant this year. I starting hearing loud explosions in the downtown area around 6  p.m. and saw a number of aerial displays on north side of town on the way home. Several groups apparently did not have suitable places to shoot them off around their house as they had set up their boomies in the street. I heard some fireworks shot off were powerful enough to shatter a window over on Rawlings. Apparently there was no concern by the celebrants regarding the fact that the city has only had an inch of rain in the past two month. I did hear the sirens of several emergency vehicles but no reports of any fires, thank goodness.

Last year, I remember driving home through a haze of smoke but fewer aerial displays. This year, more displays but less neighborhood smoke. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Declaration of Independence

Read the Declaration of Independence on Facebook Live this afternoon. Interview Interview and a snippet of the reading appeared on Wsil 3 this evening at 5 and 6. Hope to recruit others to particpate in the reading next year. Hopefully the mayor, ED of the Chamber of Commerce and a few council members and civic leaders and community members.

Monday, July 3, 2023

Brown Bag Concerts

 Here is the schedule for July's Brown Bag Concerts which take place at noon in the Town Square Pavillion. Still wonder why they do not host these in the evening when it is generally cooler and arrange for a food truck or two to set up.

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Law Firm Damages

 Someone has been wandering the street the past few nights chucking rocks and concrete chunks through law office windows including the front door of the Barrett, Twomey et. al. offices at the corner of Main and Illinois. Since 4 of the five buildings vandalized housed law offices, I would assume the culprit has a grudge against lawyers or the legal system.

Friday, June 30, 2023

Electric Scooters

 In case a refresher course is needed, here is the Carbondale code regarding the use of bicycles and electric scooters on sidewalks. Basically ride in the street and/or bike lanes except when unsafe. If on the sidewalk, riders on wheeled vehicles give the right of way to pedestrians

City does need to talk with Veo about doing  a better job of collecting the scooters from around town and returning them to parking hubs. Maybe the new multi-modal transit station will incorporat a scooter hub!

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Carbondale Tourism

The Carbondale Tourism office is shuttering June 30th, according to a post on its Facebook page. Since Carbondale's budget runs July 1 to June 30, I imagine tomorrow is when this year's funding runs out. Earlier this year, the city council voted to transfer tourism funding to Southernmost Illinois Tourism, which promotes tourism for most of southern Illinois, including the Shawnee National Forest. 

with a budget of $170,000, it was always rather difficult for Carbondale Tourism to make much of an impact drawing business and convention activity to the city. I estimate about a quarter to a third of the funding went for salaries and rent, not leaving much for promotional activities.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Turley Park Playground

 Crews finishing up work on the new fixtures at Turley Park playground. Ribbon cutting is this Thursday at 9 a.m.

\Nice to see work like this getting done around town. Maybe Attucks Park for the next project?


Monday, June 26, 2023

Railroad Crossings

 Illinois Central Railroad shut down and repaired the East College rail crossing last week. The shut down caused a lot less disruption than did the Walnut and Main Street closures but it needed it as badly as the other two did. Not sure if there are any plans to repair the other crossings but the other three do not need repair nearly as badly as those three did.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

House Fire

House Fire at the corner of North Oakland and West Willow, about 10 a.m. this morning. Police, fire and ambulances all present with traffic on both streets at the intersection blocked off.
 

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Fireworks

 Looks as if Carbondale's Fourth of July fireworks display will take place south of the Bantera Center on the SIUC campus. Spectators are advised to park in Banterra Center parking lots 18 and 56. Overflow parking will be directed to lot 89, north of the Banterra Center. Roads will start to close in the area about 6 p.m.

Big Chill

 According to this FB post, the shuttered Dairy Queen will be reopening under the name Big Chill. Likely looking at re-opening before the fall semester at SIUC begins

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Tom's Place Closing

 After over a century in DeSoto, Tom's Place will be closing on July 1. The restaurant announced on its Facebook page today that, after over 100 years open and operating the past 25 years under the ownership of MaryJane and Lasse Sorensen, the couple has decided to close the business. They feel that the past three years have proved stressful and they have neither the energy nor the health to continue operating, but hope that someone may take over operations in the future.