Saturday, May 25, 2024

City Council Agenda

 The city council will meet Tuesday night. Here is  a copy of the agenda.  Notable items on it include:

Proclamations of June as National Preservation Month and Gun Violence Prevention Month

Announcement of the owners of 206 S. Poplar, 302 N. Poplar, 615 S. Tower Road and 801 East Walnut Street as recipients of Historic Preservation Awards

Presentation of the City Wastewater Treatment Master Plan

Consent agenda including appointments to boards, hiring Kerber, Eck, & Braeckel for audit services for 2024, hiring TWM, Inc for water main replacements, entering into a contract with Placer.ai for access to their location intelligence software (tracking movements in the city through cell phone GPS).

Studying reducing the minimum square footage of a single house from 800 square feet.

Hiring Planning NEXT to update the city Comprehensive Plan.

Adopting the City Wastewater Treatment Master Plan presented earlier in the meeting

Adjournemnt.


Friday, May 24, 2024

StoryWalk

 Green Earth has a Story Walk trail installation  in the Oakland Preserve trail system. each month a new story gets put into the Story Walk boxes. Pretty nice thing for Green Earth to do and yet another thing for families with young children to do in Carbondale.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

S, Lewis Lane

 The section of Lewis Lane just south of Highway 13 Eastbound is closed. Telephone and electric lines down across the street. Closed since about 1 this afternoon but will likely reopen by sunrise tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Rental Committee

 The city is looking for people to serve on a committee to research rental unit housing license planning committee . Looks like there will be 13 people on this committee which is probably about 6 people too many. Here is information if you are interested in serving:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CARBONDALE -


The City of Carbondale is researching rental housing unit licensing. This will be a substantial and important update to the current rental housing regulations. As part of this process, the City Council has directed staff to solicit for interested parties who wish to serve on a rental housing licensing planning committee. If you have a desire in serving on this important committee, please submit a written letter of interest via email to Mayor Carolin Harvey charvey@explorecarbondale.com . Your letter must include your name, address of current residence, reason for interest in the committee, and a detailed description of your background or resume. All inquiries will be confidential until the appointments are made. All letters of interest shall be submitted by June 4, 2024. 

The Rental Housing Licensing Committee will be comprised of the following community members: 

- 4 landlords 

- 4 Carbondale tenants (at least one of whom shall be a full time SIUC undergraduate currently living off campus) 

- One at large citizen. 

These committee members will serve with two Carbondale City Councilpersons and two City staff employees. 

For further information and questions contact the Community Development Manager at 618-457-3251.

Hotworx

 Carbondale now has a Hotworx hot yoga studio open on East Main Street. always glad to see a new business come to Carbondale. Apparently, and someone with more knowledge feel free to correct me, you exercise inside a sauna or sauna like atmosphere, increasing the level of sweating during the exercise. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Multi Modal Transit Center

 Walk through of the city's unfinished multi-modal transit system building. Still pretty much a shell but you can get an idea of what it will look like. From what I understand, both the Chamber of Commerce and Carbondale Main Street will move out of the Old Train Depot into offices in the building and there will be a tourism welcome center as well.

Monday, May 20, 2024

The Natives

 If you are free this Wednesday at noon, The Natives will play the Carbondale Main Street Brown Bag Concert. The show will also stream on the Carbondale Main Street Facebook page if you cannot make the show in person.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Qin Guan

From what I have heard Qin Guan got shut down briefly last week by the Jackson County Health Department. The restaurant got whatever the problem was fixed quickly as it was open for operation again yesterday. 

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Y'all RockFest

 Y'all Rockfest is currently taking place in the Washington Street Entertainment Plaza and runs until 10 tonight. Not sure what bands are playing, but they are audible 2 blocks away

Popeye's

 Looks like Popeye's has reopened, at least partially. There is now a sign in the window saying "Drive through Open". Not sure as to what the hours are though and certainly no inside dining.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Preservation Commission Meeting

 The Preservation Commission meets this Monday at 5:30 in the civic Center. Not much on the agenda, and I mean that. Aside from approving the March Minutes, there is nothing but the Preservation Award Nominees and Selection of Winners. Not even any reports about stuff.

I have no idea who the Preservation Award Nominees even are though I am certain they are listed somewhere.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Poplar Camp Beach

 Poplar Camp Beach opens for the season May 24 and is a "swim at your own risk" facility as lifeguards will not be on duty at all times. This is not just a problem for Poplar Camp Beach. There is a nationwide shortage of lifeguards with roughly a third of public swimming facilities shortening hours due to a lack of lifeguards.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

William Lo

 William Lo, Executive Director of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce and General Manager of New Kahala, was the recipient of the Outstanding Service in Leadership award during the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month ceremony in Chicago today.  If you haven't joined it, check out the Southern Illinois Eats page he moderates on Facebook

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Energy Study

 The city announced today it received a $400,000 grant from the Department of Energy "to  conduct a comprehensive pre-feasibility study of what our community has been calling “The Energy Sovereignty, Security, & Democracy Proposal”, a revenue-positive and replicable rural energy system model that fosters equitable American self-sufficiency and lasting prosperity for our Nation’s recovering energy communities,".

That is good but I cannot help wondering what good a pre-feasibility study will do. Shouldn't it at least look at the feasibility of a rural energy system model. Studies often get done and then tossed on the shelf.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Brown Bag Concerts

 The Carbondale Main Street Brown Bag Concerts feature The McDaniels this Wednesday at Noon. If you cannot catch them in person, CMS will stream the concert live on its Facebook page.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Southern Illinoisan

 Figured since I subscribe to the Southern Illinois digital edition, I ought to start reading it again. The first couple of pages are local news which is pretty good. One of the few places you can find local news. However, checking out the editorial page, oh my gosh. When I got the paper edition of the Southern, the editorial page was somewhat balanced, with one moderately liberal columnist, one moderately conservative columnist and Doonesbury relegated there from the comics page. 

Today the editorial page features two conservative columnists, one of which argued that unions are bad for business and for the economy, and Mallard Filmore, which is kinda like Doonesbury except conservative and lacking Donnesbury's satirical touch (and decent art).

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Zoning Board of Appeals

 The Zoning Board of Appeals has a meeting next Wednesday with two items on the agenda. One deals with a request for a setback variance while the other deals with  structure size in areas zoned low density residential. 

Graduation

 Apparently some people did not realize this is graduation weekend as I had one person ask "Why are there so many cars in the Arena parking lot?" Just a reminder to expecting this week

1. more people than usual driving the wrong way on one way streets

2. really long waiting times at restaurants in town. The parking lot in front of Mary Lou's was packed this morning.

Friday, May 10, 2024

Pride of Little Egypt

 SIUC has launched a NIL (Name Image Likeness) portal for SIUC athletes call the Pride of Little Egypt. Near as I can tell, and I have not paid for access, your $8.99 a month helps support various athletes at SIUC and also allows further access to making offers to them for such things as personal appearances, shout outs on social media, autographs, etc. This is quite different from similar portals I have seen in that those are open to the public with no payment required to enter the portal. The only payment required is that made directly to the athlete. 

Maybe there is more to it, but I have no desire to pay the $8.99 to find out.

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Weather

 From what I have heard, a tornado touched down in the Cedar Lake area last night during the storms. 55 mph winds over in the Harrisburg area.

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Sausea's Closed

 SauSea's Seafood says on their Facebook page they have closed temporarily but no one has been updating the page and there has been no sign of any activity at the restaurant.

Monday, May 6, 2024

Eclipse Traffic

 Caught on the news last week that there was so much traffic in southern Illinois for the eclipse that traffic monitors did not show traffic in Illinois getting back to normal until around 8 p.m. that night. That's a whole lot of people exiting the area.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Intersection

 The intersection at the intersection of West Mill and the South University Ave. cutoff needs more signing to remind people that cars coming from the left no longer stop. There are accidents and near-accidents almost daily there as people turning onto West Mill from South University expect drivers coming from the S. University & S. Illinois & S. Mill intersection to stop at a now non-existent stop sign.

having people stop at the stop sign is also unsafe because the distance between the S. University and West M ill intersection and the 5 way intersection to the east is so short that cars stopping there risk getting hit by those heading south on S. University. 

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Downtown Packed

 Not sure what is going on in downtown tonight, possibly students preparing for finals week. but the civic center parking is filled, street parking is filled and most of the town square parking lot is filled as well.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Zoning Board Of Appeals

 Two items were on the agenda for the Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting today

4. Hearings

ZBA 24-03: Gary Williams is requesting a variance from Section 15-2.10 of the Carbondale

Revised Code, which outlines the City’s setback regulations for new primary structures in the

RR, Rural Residential, zoning district. This request is for the following described property,

which is outside of City limits, but within the City’s mile-and-a-half zoning jurisdiction: 8

Bittersweet Lane, Parcel Number: 19-06-400-014

ZBA 24-04: David Mack is requesting a variance from Section 15-3.4.1 of the Carbondale

Revised Code, which outlines the City’s accessory structure size regulations in an R-1-12,

Low-Density Residential, District for the following described property: 875 North Norwest

Lane, Parcel Number: 15-18-428-013

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Amtrak Parking

 Amtrak Parking will be closed for the next three weeks, due to construction of the multimodal transit station. Free parking is available in the city hall parking lot. Do not park in the Big Chill parking lot as they have a large sign up there warning people not to do so.

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Cricket Building

 Looks as if something is going into the old Cricket location at the corner of Mill and Illinois. Windows are papered over and there are lights on inside. Good. we need more business at that end of town. Heck, we need more business at any end of town.

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Damaged Tires

 There have been a spate of damaged tire reports coming from the area south of West Walnut and East of South Poplar. At least 10 incidents of damaged tires reported between April 10 and April 24. Locations include:

"the 500 blocks of South Rawlings and West Mill Streets, the 600 and 800 blocks of West Walnut Street, the 800 block of West Cherry Street, the 300 and 600 blocks of South James Street, the 100 block of South Forest, and two incidents in the 400  block of West Mill Street."

Carbondale police have increased presence in the area for the time being.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Two-way Streets

 A pair of Springfield streets are shifting from 1 way to two way traffic next month. I do not see that as happening on Walnut and Main and Illinois and University but I would like to see something to slow traffic down more in the Arbor District area of Walnut and Main. Speed limit is 30 mph going through there but cars regularly travel at 40-50 miles. Maybe just putting one of the speed monitor signs up once a month might remind people to slow down. Additional stop signs or lights are not feasible, at least as far as I can tell but something reminding people they are speeding in a residential area would help

Monday, April 22, 2024

Brown Bag Concerts

 Brown Bag Concerts start the first Wednesday in May . From the schedule, it looks as if they will run all summer this year, rather than taking a break during the heat of July

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Quatro's Expansion

 Quatro's is expanding into  the space formerly occupied by Jerry's Flower Shoppe. The business has sold Quatro's merchandise out of the space for several months and has now opened an inside entrance into the area, complete with pizza slice selfie station.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Lightpole

 Dollar General truck wanted to make a turn from Northbound 51 onto west 13 and didn't judge distances very well.  We now have one fewer lightpost on Illinois as the trailer took the entire thing out this afternoon. Traffic cone now sitting on top of the base where the lightpost was earlier this afternoon. apparently the lamp had just been installed earlier this week. 

I saw a truck earlier this week make a turn  from east 13 onto North 51. The trailer cut close enough that it went up on the curb as the truck pulled it along. Truck drivers, at least in these two instances, are making the turns too quickly and misjudging the distance.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Eclipse Numbers

 Most recent numbers I have heard for the eclipse are 3019 in for Salukicon/Eclipsecon at the Student Center, 30,000 on the SIUC campus at one location or another with about 13,000 of those located in Saluki Stadium.  I estimated about 400-500 on the town square and have heard estimates of a total of 40,000 in town. 200,000 came to southern Illinois back in 2017 but I doubt we will see the same numbers when final figures are calculated as this year's eclipse passed over many more populated areas than did the 2017 eclipse

Monday, April 15, 2024

New Business Dean

 SIUC's College of Business and Administration appointed Carbondale native Dr. Marc Morris as the new dean of the college. Morris has been a member of the faculty and administration since 2004. I always prefer to see positions filled internally rather than from outside, as someone who is a member of the faulty has a better understanding of the organization that someone brought in from outside, who does not have an understanding of the dynamics of the organization and will spend months understanding its operations and relationships.

Friday, April 12, 2024

This 'n' That

New restaurant This 'n' That opened in the empty Blocko's location at the intersection of Mill and Illinois. According to the menu, the offerings are sandwiches, seafood, steak and 'meat and two" for entrees. Reviews have been good so far and I have seen decent foot traffic there since the place opened up a week ago.  

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Captain D's

 According to an online post, the Carbondale Captain D's has shuttered. Just not enough business. That leaves the town bereft of a Wendy's Popeye's, Long John Silver's, A&W Root Beer and now Captain D's . Fast food places are fleeing the community.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

UBreakIFix

 According to the sign in its window, The UbreakIFix phone and tablet repair shop on East Grand closed up on March 31 and the company website shows the closest location is now either Manchester Mo or Evansville IN.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Popeye's

 It looks as if Popeye's has given up the ghost. For awhile it appeared the restaurant was opening during daylight hours but for the past few weeks, the chairs have been up on tables every time I have driven past.

Monday, April 8, 2024

Carbondale Eclipse

 A few notes about the eclipse today

1. Two hour wait for a seat at Thai Taste this evening with a line extending out the door

2. Around 50+ people waiting in line to pay or get served at Big Chill Saturday night

3. Comparatively small crowd to watch the eclipse around the Town Square. My estimate was 300-400

4. Governor J. B. Pritzker and an estimated 30,000 people were on SIUC's campus at one location or another. That is about how many came to town back in 2017

5. Traffic seemed to move pretty smoothly as people started exiting the city, but I saw a picture of cars backed up at least half a mile trying to go north on 127.

6. Read people posting on social media asking visitors to leave Southern Illinois now. Are they crazy? This is the busiest I have seen the Strip since, well, 2017. I would love to see more events like this.

7. Eclipse on the Strip performers were good but needed signs telling listeners they were "official" performers and not just somebody who decided to jam on the Strip

8. Read someone wanting to know where the "real" eclipse events were instead of just the "locals with their craft fair". If you are that interested in the "real" eclipse events, well there were lots of them and you should have looked them up and planned which ones you wanted to attend before the day you arrived in Carbondale, instead of asking on social media the day of.

9. Eclipse viewing glasses sold out throughout town on Sunday. Happily, Carbondale Main Street had plenty to give away at the Washington Street Venue.

10 Eclipse t-shirts sold out as well as Eclipse color changing cups.

11. Driving problems on Carbondale' s one way streets started Friday night with numerous drivers turning the wrong way onto a one way street.

12 Although the town square lots filled up, there was plenty of parking just a block or so off the Strip. Visitors to town just did not know where to look 

any other thoughts?

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Downtown Sunday Night

 Got curious as to how downtown looked the night before the Carbondale Eclipse so drove up Illinois after loading out from Salukicon.

Lots of foot traffic on the Strip with a number of stores having their doors propped open. Over 50 people in line at Big Chill though I did not see any lines waiting to get in at any restaurants. Parking was non-existent  on the Square, though there was parking available just a block away but I figure most of those were visitors who did not know where that parking was.

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Hotels Cancelling

Geez, I hope this is not widespread but I have heard reports of at least one hotel in Carbondale cancelling room reservations 3 days before the Eclipse. These were reservations mad a year to a year and half ago when rooms were going for $90 a night. Now that rooms are renting for $400 a night for the eclipse, rooms reserved by families over a year ago are getting canceled and those people are either having to scramble to book rooms at much higher prices or cancelling their trip altogether. 

I figure there will be some lawsuits filed as cancelling reserved rooms without a good reason just to rebook at a higher price is, as far as I know, illegal.

Friday, April 5, 2024

Eclipse Numbers

 Upon reflection, I think we may have fewer people than the 30,000 Carbondale reportedly had in 2017. In 2017, the eclipse path went though fairly low population parts of the country. This year, the path will go through much more densely populated areas including, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Burlington, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and Little Rock. They are far easier to get to than is Carbondale and have much better tourist infrastructure than does Carbondale

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Paducah Eclipse

 Heard today that, despite having a full year, Paducah, which is in the path of the eclipse's totality, only started planning for events a bit over a week ago. Makes me feel a lot better about what Carbondale is doing.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Revised Trash Schedule

 The city of Carbondale is treating Eclipse week like a holiday week. Although city offices will be open as normal, the trash pick up schedule will move to a holiday schedule with pick up dates a day later than normal. I imaging they expect to have a lot of extra trash to collect after all of the events of the weekend. I remember anemic crowds on Friday and Saturday with far more traffic on Sunday and Monday and a flood of traffic out of town on Monday afternoon.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Eclipse Spending

 Caught on the news today that the eclipse is expected to generate about $1.5 billion in revenue, with the lion's share of that going to Texas. That makes sense since three of Texas' largest cities will fall within the eclipse's path. Other states cited as generating lots of revenue were Indiana, New York and Ohio. No mention of Illinois, which makes sense. Despite having arguable the longing period within the eclipse, we are in a comparatively isolated region with low population density and a lack of infrastructure to deal with large numbers of people.

In 2017, it is estimated about 30,000 people came to the Carbondale region. Since this is the last total eclipse until 2050, I expect about 40,000 people to visit the area.

Monday, April 1, 2024

SpringFest

 Vendor event with music in the Washington Street Event space this Saturday and Sunday. I remember this took place in the same area during the last eclipse and was pretty poorly attended, but then, IFRR, it took place on Friday and Saturday. Since most eclipse attendees did not show up until Sunday, primarily locals attended the event. Hope it pulls a bigger crowd this year but it is competing against Eclipsecon at the Student Center and The Shawnee Eclipse Fest at Shawnee Cave.

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Veo

 Had a Veo representative stop by the store this afternoon. He is in town just touching base with the local Veo representatives, There are 200+ scooters in town and Veo has two vans dedicated to collecting and returning to central locations.  apparently it is a profitable operation as Veo has not plans of ending the contract.

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Mike Bost Primary

I thought Rep. Mike Bost would easily win his primary race, even the benefits that an incumbent has. However, it turns out he barely beat Darrin Bailey, 51 to 49%. Voting in the Republican primary in the 12th Congressional District, Illinois largest, split along a line running north to south through Carbondale, with those living west of the line voting for Bost and those east of it choosing Bailey. The two mem did not differ substantially on policy as both support gun rights oppose abortion and criticize southern border policies. The primary difference is how the men positioned themselves with Bost portraying himself as a "governing conservative" while Bailey promised to join the House Freedom Caucus if elected. 

I fear that, in an attempt to regain the support of those who voted against him, Bost may move even further to the right. In recent months, he has voted against short term funding for the government as well as military support for Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan, all of which were supported by the far right.

Friday, March 29, 2024

Banks Closed for Eclipse

 Stopped by Legence Bank this week and the staff happened to mention that the bank, and apparently most banks in Carbondale, will close at 11 a.m. on April 8th for the eclipse and not re-open until the next day. they want to both let the staff see the eclipse and get home without having to deal with all the crowds.  In 2017, Highways 13, 51 and 127 were all backed up for miles as people left town right after the eclipse. I would be willing to bet something similar happens next year.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Carbondale Doomed

 Should Carbondale be flattered that it is the subject of a conspiracy theory (belief?  Very few conspiracies survive enough testing to qualify as theories)?  According to one thought floating around the internet, since Carbondale is in the path of totality again and it has been 6 years, 6 months 6 weeks and 6 days since the last one we are due by a disaster of epic proportions. 

Or, more likely, nothing happens and the conspiracists move onto the next shiny object.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Central Now

 Maybe I am blasĂ© but I do not really think a new church is what Carbondale is looking for. By my count we have at least 20 of them in Carbondale proper and a couple more out on Old Highway 13. All serving a community of about 25,000. That's a lot of churches per capita with none of them paying property taxes

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

We're Number 2

 According to the Niche website, which ranks colleges based on various factors, SIUC is the second best party school in Illinois. UI Urbana Champaign ranks as the top party school. SIUC does not make the top 10 in any of the other categories such as value, best, or student life though.

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Ripp's Pizza

 Looks as if Ripp's Pizza, located in the empty Keeper's Quarters location at the south end of the Strip, has a soft opening this weekend. From what I have heard, they are producing 8 slice personal pan pizzas.

Friday, March 22, 2024

Sound Core

 Looks as if something may be moving into the empty Sound Core location on S. Illinois. Remodeling going on inside the building with rolls of carpet ready to get laid.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Interim City Manager

 Stan Reno, current Chief of Police, has been named interim city manager, replacing Gary Williams when Williams steps down at the end of the month. No word as to whether Reno will maintain his position as Chief while serving as city manager or will the city name an Acting police chief to take over Reno's duties during his time as city manager

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Blocko's

 Looks as if a new business will open in the shuttered Blocko's location at the intersection of Illinois and Mill Streets. Blocko's closed down after the owner was injured in a shooting in the restaurant's parking lot last fall and decided not to reopen after recovering. 

The lights are on in the building, supplies and equipment have been moved in and people are working inside, so hopefully sometime before the end of the semester

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Primary Results

 If you want to look them over, here are the primary results for Jackson County. No surprise that Biden and Trump won their slots, though I was bemused to see that Biden did a bit better than Trump did, taking 90% of the votes compared to 85% for Trump. Not much competition amidst the rest of the. It looks like Darren Baily got stomped by Mike Bost and I expect that to carry throughout the district.  If voting patterns hold through out the rest of the 12th District, I figure Brian Roberts will beat Preston Nelson, who has previously run as both a Republican and Libertarian.

Water Plant

 Got some more information on Carbondale's water plant. It has the capability to treat 8 million gallons of water per day and the city uses an average of about 4 million gallons per day. The most the city ever "produced" was 6.5 million gallons and that was when SIUC's enrollment was much higher. So apparently little to no change of any stress being put on the system

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Eclipse Hotels

 Looks like hotels in Carbondale and the path of the eclipse are 99% sold out the weekend of the eclipse with rooms going for up to $850. The city apparently still has space available at Evergreen Park for $500-$700 for the weekend. and apparently still has space available As the Eclipse gets closer, though, I would expect them to sell out, though not without some grumbling.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Artistic Minds Tattoo

 Artistic Minds Tattoo announced on its Facebook page that the business has purchased the shuttered Chicago Hot Dog location at the intersection of College and Illinois, just across the street from its current location. From the wording of the post, renovations started today with no indication as to when the move will be completed.

Monday, March 11, 2024

Campus Lake

 Obviously, it has been awhile since I have been to Campus Lake. I had no idea the university had razed the facilities at Campus Beach and removed the beach, replacing it with a walkway adjoining the path round the lake allowing the walker to go out over the water. From talking to a few friends, it has been there since at least 2020. Guess I need to get onto campus more often.

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Rip's Pizza

 No indication as to when it will open but the old Keeper's Quarters building (old McDonald's building if you have lived in Carbondale for a long time) on south Illinois has a sign on it announcing Rip's Pizza, baked in brick ovens. Not sure if Carbondale really needs another pizza place but Newby's appears to be doing ok .

Friday, March 8, 2024

Carbondale Eclipse

 Carbondale city government has posted a roundup of events taking place in the city to celebrate the upcoming total eclipse. Looks like a concert featuring the Woodbox Gang on the Sunday night before the Eclipse and then street busking at a number of locations on the day of the Eclipse. wonder if this year will be a replay of 2017 when everyone came into town on the day before the Eclipse and then left immediately after, causing such a traffic jam that it took about 3 hours to get from here to Marion and about 6 hours to take 51 north to the interstate.

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

1 Million Gallons

 That is the amount of water vanishing from the Carbondale water system on a daily basis. At this time of  year, residents of Carbondale use about 3 million gallons of water a day. Measurements from the water purification plant show about 4 million gallons going out daily. No meters in the city show any significant increases and no customers in Carbondale have reported any abnormal increase in the bills so the city has no idea where the water is going. Staff members have spent the last two months looking for the and thought they had found it last month but after patching the leak they discovered, the flow continued.

The city figures one of two things is happening. One million gallons of water escaping per day is either creating a pond or swampy area somewhere in the city, so if you see a large accumulation of water in an area  that normally does not have any, contact the city to let them know. The other likelihood is the leak is close to a sewer drain or stream and the water is flowing into it before getting to any location where it could be measured.

From what I understand, the city can process about 5 million gallons of water per day before straining the purification system so the leak is not currently causing any stress so we are okay during spring, fall and winter. However, Carbondale water use increases to about 4 million gallons per day during the summer, raising the output from the system to levels that are problematical.

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Gary Williams

 City Manager Gary Williams announced he will resign the post effective the end of  March. From the sound of the press release, it sounds as if he has another job opportunity within the area and plans to accept it. Probably not the Executive Director position at Carbondale Main Street, which, as far as I know, is still looking for someone to fill the spot. Meanwhile, the city is considering applications for an interim manager while it looks for someone to fill the position.

During his tenure, off the top of my head, the city saw significant upgrades to the downtown streetscape, construction of the multimodal transit center, transfer of several parks from the Park District to the city and progress on the downtown entertainment plaza. Not bad to list on one's resume.

Monday, March 4, 2024

American Eagle

 According to signs in the window and posts on social media, University Mall's American Eagle Outfitters will close on March 17th. By my count that leaves 8 stores and the theater still open inside the mall and one with outside access only.. That does leave plenty of space for SIH to expand into.

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Veo Scooters

 Veo Scooters are back!  Hurrah?  They do provide a useful form of transportation but I see more people riding them just for fun rather than actually using them to get somewhere.  Much like bicycles, they are only allowed on certain streets and bikeways in the city, which has provided this map to show where they SHOULD be ridden. Of course, where they should be ridden and where they will be ridden are typically different things.

Friday, March 1, 2024

Magickal Hippie

Magickal Hippie opened its new University Mall location yesterday .Center part of the mall near Rue 21 and Maruice's across from Hot Topic, in what was the Renaissance Trading Company location until it shuttered last December.

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Mike's Music

 Mike's Music has moved out of its long time location in the strip on East Main where Plaza Records is located. Fear not, though, as it only moved across the parking lot into the storefront left vacant when Magickal Hippie moved out.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Big Chill Ribbon Cutting

 Wazo's Big Chill will hold a ribbon cutting on March 21st at Noon. Just reopening with a cool new sign and name was not enough. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

City Council Meeting

 Listening to the city council meeting. Democratic Socialists are pushing the council for a vote condemning the actions of Israel in Palestine> Councilman Loos just told them it is not going to happen and that they should devote their energy to something more useful, such as the upcoming proposed landlord regulations. The other council people appear to be trying to not bring it up for a vote without saying so. 

I tend to agree with Loos. Voting to condemn Israel at the city level makes about as much sense as the Saline County Board voting to make the county an immigrant sanctuary free zone.

Voting on a pay raise for the council, which has not had an increase in pay since 1998. All vote yes except Councilman Loos. The pay raise does not go into effect until May of 2025 and no council person may receive a raise during their term of office.

Meeting adjourned about 7:30


Monday, February 26, 2024

Roxanne Conley 2

 According to her family, there will be no funeral but a celebration of life later this spring. I expect to see quite a turnout for that.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Roxanne Conley

 Roxanne Conley passed away early this morning. Aside from being a fantastic wife, mother, sister and daughter, she was active in Carbondale for as long as I knew her. For the past 4+ years she was general manager of G&R Rentals. Before that, she owned Attitude Designs, the local Welcome Wagon franchise, and was the executive director of Carbondale Main Street. In addition, she served on the board of the Carbondale Convention and Tourism Bureau and was active with the BNI WIN group. As active as she was, I have probably forgotten several of her positions in the city over the years.  If you know any I forgot, please post them in the comments.


Thursday, February 22, 2024

Pritzker's State of the State Address

 In case you want to read Gov. Pritzker's State of the State Address, here it is. The tax on groceries is a lot less regressive than the Governor makes it out to be. Wealthier people tend to spend more on groceries so the tax hits them harder than people with lower incomes. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Big Chill

 According to the sign in front, spring is just around the corner. The Big Chill reopenes for the season this Saturday, probably just in time for a deep freeze next week.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Meet the Mayor

 There is another Meet the Mayor event scheduled for 1 p.m. Tomorrow at the East Main Starbucks. Your opportunity to have the ear of the Mayor, at least for an hour.  Wonder if there will be any union activity while she is there?

Monday, February 19, 2024

Parking

 By the time the demoishing gets done, downtown Carbondale will have more parking than it will have buildings, at least south of Walnut. Carbondale and its landlords have a really bad track record of letting buildings run down to the point where it makes more financial sense to demolish the building than to rehabilitate it. Both the Tuscan Lodge and the old bank building on Washington Street come to mind

From what I have heard, the owner of the current house on Walnut getting demolished did not even wait until it had not tenants before starting the process. At least two of the apartments in the building were still occupied when the landlord told them to move as demolition would start shortly. 

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Houses Demolished

 A second of the 3 old foursquare style houses in the 200 block of West Walnut is getting demolished this  week. From what I have heard, Hilton has purchased the row of buildings along that bstretcy of Walnut east of University and will demolish them to add additional parking for the hotel. The buildings housing Horstman's Cleaners, SI Pawn and SewALot are scheduled for demolition as well. Not sure about the Phoenix Cycle building though and removing it without doing some damage to PKs would prove difficult.

Friday, February 16, 2024

The Strip

 Heading north along Illinois Avenue from the intersection of Grand and Illinois up to Main Street, the Strip actually looks in pretty good shape as far as occupancy. There are three empty storefronts in the area where LegalSmile and Harbaugh's Cafe are. Blocko's still sits empty and only one of the storefronts in the Evolve building is occupied. De'lish is empty as is the short lived liquor store next to Bombay Olive and the Chicago Hot Dog across the street. Art Frames and the old Phoenix Cycles location are empty but Phoenix Cycles moving into both the long vacant Petal Patch location and the newly empty Leather World fills up a couple of spots and the only other empty location is the old Sound Core spot.

The real problem, as far as empty storefronts, are the strips perpendicular to Illinois. The stretch behind Trax is completely empty, although there are reports of a rage room opening in that location. Similarly, the storefronts behind Geologic Oddities are also empty as is the Wise Guy's Pizza building adjacent to Sam's Cafe.

Maybe I have missed a few but in general, the Illinois Avenue street scape is in pretty good shape, although there does not seem to be immediate demand for those empty locations. The big problem is the side streets.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Park Survey

 The city is asking residents (and interested parties) to complete a survey regarding perception and use of the parks and other recreational facilities in the city. One focal point is the establishment of new parks and recreation spots. I indicated I would rather see the city spend its resources on maintianing and upgrading the ones already in existance before building new ones, although, given the success of Slabz Skatepark, installing an outdoor one is something the younger residents would appreciate.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

President's Day

 Just a reminder that city offices will close President's Day. That's Next Monday. Which also means trash pickup gets pushed back a day.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Ashley Furrniture

 It looks as if Ashley Furniture is plannning on making Carbondale a hub. There is the main store in the Eastgate Shopping Center and the recently opend Ashley Outlet in the old Saluki Gymnastics building. Additionally, there is signage on the shuttered Ashley Furniture building on East Main indicating it is now an Ashley Furniture distribution center.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Frankie Trumbauer

 I submitted "Frankie Trumbauer Entertainment Plaza" as the name for the downtown entertainment venue. Trumbauer was born in Carbondale in 1901 and spent his career as one of the premier jazz saxaphonists of the 1920s and 1930s. His 1927 recording of "Singing the Blues" was entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1977. I thought about Robbie Stokes or Larry "Big Twist" Nolan but would really like to see part of Carbondale's early musical heritage memorialized

Friday, February 9, 2024

Preservation Commission

 Next meeting of the Preservation Commission is at 5:30 on Feb 12 at Hickory Lodge on West Sycamore. Looks like the only topic on the agenda is discussion about the creation of a Northwest Historic District. Not sure how that would play out given the amount of property SIH has purchased in the West Oak area and the willingness with which the organization is willing to raze the houses in the area. There are at least 2 blocks of empty property where houses stood 2-3 years ago.

Of course, on the flip side the owners of those houses had let them deteriorate over the years, to the point were it was likely cheaper to demolish them than to bring them up to code.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Chancellor

 Appears SIUC's chancellor is looking for new pastures as Austin Lane is a finalist for the presidency of New Mexico State University. From what I have read, his advancement to finalist rests primarily on overseeing the  first growth in SIUC's enrollment in a decade. Of course the growth was fairly small, about 400 students if I remember correctly. I would want to see a few more years of growth before giving credit to his Imagine 2023 plan. One year does not a turnaround make.

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Multimodal Station

 The downtown multimodal station got the roof of one of the towers installed today. I am really looking forward to having the whole thing completed as it will add a block long two story building along Illinois. The number of one story buildings in downtown does not make the streetscape appealing. Most vital downtowns have streets lined with two story buildings, whihc have far more eye appeal tha the number of low slung buildings in downtown. That style of building is generally more modern, quickly build and found at the outskirts of town, rather in downtown.

Monday, February 5, 2024

Minor Vandalism

 Someone had rendered a good part of the bike repair station on N. Springer, in the closed Boys and Girls Club parking lot, useless. Two of the repair tools have been taken and the air hose cut off near the base, rendering the pump useless. Tools can probably be replaced pretty easily but the hose will take more work and expense. I am not sure that is a good location for the station any more. When there were lots of kids on bikes in the area, it likely got a lot of use. Now however, the area does not see much traffic and, unless the Boys and Girls Club reopens, moving it to a new location might be a good idea

Friday, February 2, 2024

Neighborhood Allinace Meeting

 Here is the agenda for tomorrow's Neighborhood Alliance meeting at the Carbondale Public Library

NEIGHBORHOOD ALLIANCE MEETING –


FEB 3 10-12 AT CARBONDALE PUBLIC LIBRary

 10-10:10   INTRO MC Karriem Shariati 

·        Welcome from mayor;

·        HRC umbrella

·        Introduce city council members, if present

o   Jeff Doherty

o   Adam Loos

o   Ginger Rye-Sanders

o   Clare Killman

o   Nancy Maxwell

o   LaCaje Hill

·        Introduce  Eva Fisher PR 


10:10-10:40  Community reports (90 seconds each)

 Black Chamber of Commerce                      Chastity Mays

Carbondale Park District                              Niki Hoesman

Carbondale Public Library                           Jennifer Robertson

Carbondale United                                      Nancy Maxwell

Center for Empowerment and Justice           Jennifer Lampkins

Green Earth                                                Stephanie Eichholz

Keep Carbondale Beautiful                          Mike Baltz

The Warming Center                                   Carmalita Cahill

The Survivor Empowerment Center             Laura Van Abbema

The Rainbow CafĂ© AND                             

the Litter Resource Center                  Claire Hughes

Arbor District                                              Pheral Lamb

Other submitted announcements                  Sarah Heyer

 10:40-11:00  Updates from last year:  (4 minutes each; Q&A after 12)

          Gun violence > Dianah McGreehan

          Heat islands – Kelsey Bowe

          Community development – John Lenzini

          Comprehensive Plan process – Molly Maxwell

          Emergency Management – Ryan Hall (E M Coordinator)

 11:00-11:05 – stand up and stretch in place

11:05-11:10 – Gayle Klam introduces

11:10-11:30 – Energy Sovereignty - Lauren Becker 

11:30-11:55 – Q&A on Energy Sovereignty

11:55-12:00 – Closing

SIUC Attendance

 10525 students at SIUC this Spring, up just over 400 from last year. Student numbers, at least the ones the administration wants to report, are up across the board. Of course, that is still waaaaay down from the 25,000 peak back in the early 1990s.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Water Leak

 From what I have heard, the Carbondale water system has a crack somewhere. A few thousand gallons of water a day are leaking out, causing the Carbondale water towers to empty and necessitating running the water plant 24 hours a day to refill them. Unfortunately no household meter is showing any exceptional amount of water use so the city is looking for water draining into a stream or forming a pond somewher. If you happen to notice water where it normally is not, the city would likely appreciate you contacting them.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Hospital Breakin

 Carbondale Police are looking for a man who broke into restricted office areas of Memorial Hospital last Wednesday night. He entered several offices and left with unspecified items taken from the area. No mask so he should be easily identifiable .

Monday, January 29, 2024

Get Dipped!

 Get Dipped, a bakery and chocolate shop with breakfast and lunch options, opens for business in the 200 block of North Washington this Thursday. They have had a booth at the Winter Farmer's Market at Univeristy Mall since the Market opened for the season. Looks like their normal hours will be Friday 5 a.m.-9 p.m. and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on , Saturday and Sunday

Sunday, January 28, 2024

SIUC Eclipse Rentals

 SIUC is renting rooms in University Hall over the eclipse period for $750 for a 5 day, 4 night period, which works out to $188 a night and come with 2 beds and linens, meals not included.  Parking passes are $25. For that price, one would think the university could throw in a free parking pass per room rented.

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Polar Bear

Polar Bear was certainly quieter this year than in past year's. Typically it was the last weekend of January but this year it took place the first weekend after the SIUC semester started. I remember a customer telling me early afternoon on the 20th that College Street west of University was blocked off but by the time I drove through there in the early evening, all of the students were gone. Seemed a pretty quiet weekend compared to previous Polar Bear events when there were house parties next to Little Caesar's and in various parts of the Arbor District.

Friday, January 26, 2024

PK's

 PK's reopened today with nice new bathroom fixtures and Sean and Jim performing tonight at 10 p.m. glad to see the bar reopened.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Parking

 I do not know what could be done about it but downtown Carbondale has way too much parking, at least visible parking. Parking on the south end of the Strip is hidden behind the buildings on the east side of the street but the further north you go on South Illinois, the fewer storefronts and more parking there is. There is the huge parking lot shared by FirstMid Bank and Bombay Olive, the Big Chill parking lot and the Amtrak parking lot. That much space without businesses really keeps people from walking north on the street. No one wants to walk a block or more past nothing but empty parking spaces.

If I remember correctly, at one time the FirstMid parking lot was a large grassy space, part of the hospital grounds that used to occupy the space but the hospital moved up to West Main and the greensward was paved over partially to keep students from hanging out there. However that was before my time, I could have heard wrong and it could have been done for other reasons. If you have lived here and remember back 40+ years, please let me know.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

PK's

 According to their Facebook Page, Pk's has the bathrooms all brought up to code and will reopen this coming Friday at 4 p.m.  I wonder if this means The Cellar will revert to its regular hours or did it see enough early business to justify opening earlier?

Monday, January 22, 2024

Chirstmas Decor

 Wonder if the city plants to leave the lighted trees and revolving sculpture in the town square.  All of the other Christmas Decorations have been removed save those. Of course, I still see a suprising number of Chirstmas decorations in people's yards. Almost all of them are usually gone by this time of the month.

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Warming Centers

 Carbondale has three warming centers should anyone need them.  The Warming Center on East College and Good Samaritan House on S. Marion are open 24 hours a day, as is the East Main Post Office. Though it it not an offically designated one, I have seen people in there in the evenings. City Hall is open from 8 a.m to 4 p.m. After hours, call the Carbondale Fire Department at 618-985-6082.

Friday, January 19, 2024

Warming Center

 A discussion of what to do with the Warming Center is on the agenda for next Tuesday's City Council meeting. Basically, the 24/7 use by a large number of people has put a lot of stress on the building and it needs a number of repairs, specifically a new HVAC system, a commercial kitchen, renovation of restrooms and showers as well as general accessiblity issues.

A couple of  architectural assessments indicate it would likely be more cost effective to just pull down the whole building and build a new one free from all the structural problems of the current structure. Of course, the problem then becomes where does the money come from for a new code-meeting building?

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Eclipse Campsites

 The cityis offering short term campsites in Evergreen Park for the weekend of the Eclipse.  Prices range from $500 to $800 for the period, which seems a bit steep but I remember the asking prices for hotel rooms during the eclipse weekend last time and I see at least one local hotel asking $700 a night for rooms that weekend.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Signs

 With the money Carbondale is putting into bike paths and lanes in the city, I really wish it would spend some money putting up wayfinding signs. Maybe everyone uses their phones and Google maps to find their way around but there is something to be said for installing a sign to let people know something exists. In general, Google Maps is most helpful in helping find the way to a place you are looking for but not so much in pointing out things that you had no idea existed.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

State of the City

 Finally got around to reading over the State of the City address and came away with a feeling of mild encouragement.

Normally, when I listen to these, the speeches are full of concrete achievements by the city and staff over the past year. Infrastructure, finances, tangible things that can be pointed to. I think the budget has a $24 million surplus but, from the way the Mayor phrased it, I am not sure.

A number of streets were resurfaced during the year, all of which really needed it. The bike path was extended further to New Era Road, with plans to eventually have a bike path extending from Marion to Murphysboro. It would certainly be nice to see more signage around town promoting Carbondale as a bike friendly city. One of the major cross country bike routes passes directly through town on Highway 13 but no signage indicates it.

The multimodal transporation station is coming along nicely and we should see a permanent outdoor entertainment venue at the corner of Washington and Walnut completed later this year. Eva Fisher, the city's relatively new Public Relations person also mentioned the Fuller Dome Home Museum Visitor Center, which should see completetion later this year. Carbondale also started a Shawnee Challenge this month, intended to get more people to visit locations in the Shawnee National Forest. The Carbondale Tourism office, which appears part of the Soutnermost Illinois Tourism organization and replaces the shuttered Cabondale Tourism office, will have an office in the multimodal transportation office

We can expect to see more of the Off the Rails Concerts and 2 weeks worth of Carbondale Halloween activities. Expect to see 75-100 trees and shrubs planted to replace the ones removed from Evergreen Park and more work at the Superblock, making the grounds more accessible, improving the ballfields and adding a new concessions and restroom building.

There was also a good chunk of the presentation devoted to Carbondale's new Violence Prevention Programs Director who stated three goals:  Community Engagement and Support, Data Driven Decision Making, and Prevent/Reduce Gun Violence and Promote Safety. I assume someplace the office has specifics on the goals, including what they will consider success.

Monday, January 15, 2024

Phoenix Cycle Move

 Phoenix Cycle now has signs in their window indicating the business will move cattycorner to the northeast corner of Walnut and Illinois and the closing sale signs are gone from the windows of Leather World so I imagine the move takes place fairly soon. I hope the new location includes expanding into the long shuttered Petal Patch location as well. It would be nice to have both those spots occupied.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Eclipse

 Received an email from Carbondale Main Stree regarding promotions the store is having to tie in with the upcoming eclipse. I sent in a couple of items but it rather bemuses me that the city does not have signage up all over the area promoting Carbondale as a prime viewing spot for the eclipse. I was in Southeast Missiouri this week and saw several signs adventising the Eclipse and, when I was in Indiana just before the end of the eyar, a number of signs promoted various locations along the interstate as prime viewing locations. The city should have had signage up last year touting Carbondale as a prime location. At least something near the Stadium since that is where I expect the center of the viewing to take place.

One thing that did concernment about the survey I received was questions about my hours over the weekend prior to the eclipse. if you remember, the city hosted a festival back in 2017with concerts and other activities that were poorly attended. Comparatively few people came to town until the day before the eclipse and they within an hour or so after it was over, with a traffic jam from here to Marion.

I know the university is hosting Eclipsecon (a renamed Salukicon for the year) at the Student Center the weekend before the Eclipse which generally brings in a couple of thousand people so we may see people in for that and have them stay the extra day for the eclipse.


Thursday, January 11, 2024

West Walnut Businesses

 Two of the three businesses in the Phoenix Cycle building at the corner of Walnut and Illinois have already moved out. Rumor says they have relocated to some of the empty storefronts in West Carbondale, of which there are aplenty

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Shot Spotter

 The city is considering implementing Shot Spotter technology, a system that uses acoustic sensors to detect the sound of gunshots. The company says its technology is 97% accurate but a study by the McArthur Justice Center found over 80% of  ShotSpotter reports were false positives and police found no crime when they responded. A number of cities that implemented ShotSpotter ended their contracts with the company after finding only marginal or no benefit to the technology.

Given Carbondale's size, I would like to see a very thorough discussion of the effectiveness of the technology before implementing it. I estimate to cover Carbondale's 18 square miles, would cost at least $2 million


Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Meet the Mayor

 Carolin Harvey is starting up  Meet the Mayor sessions again with the first session taking place tomorrow at 10 a.m. at the Neighborhood Co-Op. Anytime civic leaders make themselves available to take questions from the public, it helps the city as a whole. Here is hoping that some of the city council members make themselves available as well.

Monday, January 8, 2024

Leather World Closing

 Sign in the window at Leather World, at the intersection of Walnut and Illinois, says the store will be closing. No indication as to when though. Rumor says that Phoenix Cycle will move from its current location to the Leather World site, sometime later this year.

Planned Parenthood Ribbon Cutting

 Planned Parenthood had a very quiet ribbon cutting at its location on 200 N. Emerald Lane today. That makes three places in town for protesters to aggregate.

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Phoenix Cycles 2

 Looks as if Phoenix Cycles is still open but only has about 2 dozen bikes left in stock. I have heard that instead of closing, the business will move cattycorner across the stree to the location where Leather World is now. Leather World does have a "Closing Sale", whereas Phoenix Cycle just had a sale sign.

Saturday, January 6, 2024

Marilyn Halstead Back

 Long time Southern Illinoisan reporter Marilyn Halstead is back at the paper, hired as the new news editor. Guess the new owners decided it was not such a great idea to pitch decades of institutional knowledge. Or maybe, less charitably, they are rehiring terminated staff at lower pay rates?

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Phoenix Cycle

 Looks as if Phoenix Cycle will close or move after the Christmas holidays. The business has been up for sale since 2022 but never heard news of any buyers. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Name That Plaza

 The city got a $2 million grant to build the stage/entertainment plaza at the intersection of Washington and Walnut. You can submit names for the plaza here. The city posted the following questions as inspiration for your suggestion:

Does this name reflect the City of Carbondale? 

Does this name honor an artist who influenced the entertainment scene in Carbondale and beyond? 

Does this name reference a historical site or happening within Carbondale?  

Does this name embrace an abstract thought, feeling, or mindset of Southern Illinois and/or the Carbondale arts & music scene?

Maybe "Poet's Plaza"? At one time, Carbondale was,according to one of the episodes of "Whaddyaknow" recorded at Shryock, known as the "City of Poets", so the name would be a nod to that.

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Magickal Hippie

 Magickal Hippie has decamped from Carbondale for a new location in Marion at 1000 N. Carbon. Apparently, among other things,  had problems with the roof in both of their locations on East Main. I can sympathize with the landlors as roof leaks are very hard to repair but still, if you are renting a property, it is on the landlord to make sure the roof is sound.

Monday, January 1, 2024

PKs Closes Temporarily

 PKs will close tomorrow (Jan 2) for bathroom renovations until the work is complete. No indication as to how long that will take though. In the meantime, The Cellar will open at 1 p.m. to give those lost PKs patrons a bar to belly up to until they can go back to PKs.