Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Simon tops Cole in primary

Simon tops Cole, while Haynes, Lewin, Pohlmann, Moore, Jack, and Brown are top vote getters in City Council primary.

See the results for yourself.


Election turnout

Should be interesting to see what turnout is like. When I voted about 8 this morning, only 8 people had voted ahead of me. Sheila Simon's campaign headquarters has had people in and out all day but haven't seen any activity in the (presumptive) Cole headquarters and I have no idea where Holder or Davis are waiting out the elections.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Perceptions of Downtown Carbondale

It would sure be nice if people looked at downtown C'dale before commenting about how empty it is. In yesterday's DE, City council candidate Mary Pohlman commented:

"I would hate to see us have a doughnut of a city" and that she hopes to bring businesses back to downtown.

Take a look around downtown. There are three major empty buildings: the Varsity Theater, Sambucca Joes and Cousins. Buyers are looking at Sambucca Joe's, Kerasotes shows no interest in selling or having anyone do anything with the Varsity, and the Cousins/Tuscan Lodge building is in such bad shape that it probably will wind up getting pulled down. Otherwise, 90% of the other buildings are occupied with retail or service providers. A business wanting to move into downtown will not find an open spot easily, unless they want to build. There is open space for building in downtown because the city has done a good job of pulling down buildings that became eyesores, but not so good a job at finding replacements for them yet.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Successful Mayor Candidate Forum Held for Students

A little more than 50 people, predominently students, attended the "Meet the Mayoral Candidates Forum" at the SIU Student Health Center Wednesday night

Not everyone in the audience had an opportunity to be heard or hear enough. Moderator Bill Freivogel wasn’t very consistent in keeping the speakers compliant with time limits for responses to either moderator or audience questions. In addition, he cut the meeting off after only an hour and twenty minutes - right about the time the audience and the speakers really started to attain their “voice” and speak more directly and impassionedly about subjects near and dear to them and the students in attendance.

Despite that, the presentations were interesting. Everyone behaved. There was no name calling or slams against anyone. Very civil.

The surprise of the night might have been Pepper Holder getting his voice at the end of the meeting and capturing the interest of students.

What I came away with from the meeting was the recognition of four very distinct styles of communication that the candidates are using to garner votes and educate the electorate. I will be writing about that phenomena in my Ultimate Answer blog this week and assessing candidate strengths and weaknesses.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Rock Steady Tattoos

Well, that didn't take long. The recently vacated Associated Artist's Gallery space at 715 S. University has been filled by Rock Steady Tattoos. They're not open yet, but at the speed the remodeling is taking place, I'd expect it sometime before the end of the month. That will make four tattoo parlors in the downtown region: Rock Steady, Golgotha Tattoos, Hard Times Tattoos and Dragon Master Tattoos.


Dress shop, not Bus stop

I was going to rent this building on the corner of Elm and Illinois Ave. (next door to The Bike Surgeon) for the new location for Carbondale Greyhound, but an high fashion dress venture beat me to it: "Two Boutique" But I still think the bus office would have been better, since it's across from the Amtrak station.

But what about the bus station? The situation now requires customers to purchase ticket on N. Washington St. where the Big Muddy Independent Media Center is now located, but the BMIC will be moving out, and the bus still stops in front of Amtrak. A better location for the ticket office is needed. But where?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Mayoral Q&A on campus Wednesday

At 7 p.m. on Wednesday in the Student Health Center Auditorium at SIUC, a "Meet the Candidates forum" for students is planned -- where the four current Carbondale mayoral candidates can "weigh in on university-related issues." Moderated Bill Freivogel, interim director of the School of Journalism, and organized by the Daily Egyptian, the Black Affairs Council and Undergraduate Student Government, the public is welcome to attend.

Gleaned from the DE: Mayoral hopefuls set to address student questions

Friday, February 16, 2007

Metro editor

As far away as Mason City, Iowa it's reported
Gary Metro, former editor of the Globe Gazette, has been named editor of the Southern Illinoisan. He currently is senior managing editor of The Times of Northwest Indiana in Munster. All three newspapers are owned by Lee Enterprises Inc.
Apparently a results guy whose newspapers have won awards under his watch, he says "I’m looking forward to leading a newsroom that will pursue hard news and serve as a watchdog for the public. We’ll be tough-minded in our coverage, but we’ll also stress accuracy, honesty and fair play."

I wonder: Does this mean a change in editorial policy for The Southern? Will Mr. Metro be blogger like his predecessor? I doubt it. He doesn't seem to be a writer, although his wife Debbie free-lances.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Murphsyboro Wal-Mart Update

Steve Gough writes
a quick update on our continuing fight, which just gets weirder with age.

Very good news for us! And a little bit of karmic justice, too.

Before I go into details, I'll say that a few of us are more hopeful than ever that we have beaten this Supercenter development. We will likely delay it for at least several months more, perhaps more than a year. Wal-Mart has admitted that it was building too many Supercenters in rural areas, and perhaps we'll knock this one off its list.

And Ken Johnson and Gene Basanta deserve a lot of credit for their work over the past few months. I had very little to do with this.

We need donations, so please send money if you are able.

As most of you know, about a dozen homeowners near the Wal-Mart site have taken Murphysboro to court over the rezoning of the entire annexed area as "highway business." Their case is very strong for a lot of reasons. And this is pretty much our last resort to stop this awful development.

But in late December we got word that the star witness for our side, a professional planner from Springfield, had been diagnosed with cancer and had to immediately undergo therapy that would render him unable to testify in last week's trail. Terrible for him and bad luck for us.

There simply wasn't time to get another expert. Lawyers on our side--Pat McMeen and John Meyers from Springfield--asked for a 6-week delay. But Ed Heller, M'boro's lawyer (and Wal-Mart for all we know) decided to play hardball and asked the Judge Kimmel to deny it. And he did.

Our case really hinged on the planning aspects--traffic, costs to taxpayers for utilities and other sprawl-relating problems--the things I've talked about from the beginning--and so would be weak without this expert.

Our lawyers decided to consider a voluntary withdrawal of the case. This would allow it to be refiled later, but the hitch was that the other side could demand we pay their legal fees, which they say were about $35,000. The good news is that Judge Kimmel denied them that.

And the even better news is that the law allows us to re-file the suit for up to one year. So instead of a reasonable 6-week delay because of our planner's life-threatening illness, Murphysboro and Wal-Mart are now looking at a minimum of several months delay, and months more for an appeal after that.

The Southern got this right, but the Murphysboro American got it dead wrong with a headline that said things were over. In a poorly-informed editorial on Feb 1 The American says that "a handful of people" have delayed this project. I urge you to write the American, which has a good record of publishing letters from both sides, and remind it that the Jackson County Board and thousands of petition signers oppose this Wal-Mart, not just the "handful" that the Murphysboro City Council would have you believe.

On the Murdale Water District front, indeed the FAA got involved (could this thing get any more complicated?) and denied the elevated tower that Wal-Mart and the District wanted to build there because it would be an aviation hazard. All along this thing was fishy--indeed a careful reading of the materials we got through FOIA shows that Wal-Mart's "gift" to the District was nothing more than a cost-reduction move for it.

We recently sent another FOIA request to Murdale and I'll talk about that in another email. I'll say only that if that Supercenter goes in, Murdale ratepayers will likely subsidize it unless we stay on top of things.

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Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Blogging for the Environment

Out of the woods and into the Ethernet they go. Environmental groups are increasingly using tools of the Internet to protect the environment and communicate with other activists and the public.

Joining the list of bloggers for the environment is the Shawnee Group of the Sierra Club in Southern Illinois. As the chair of the group's executive committee put it, "So far, has been easy. I just have to remember my password. Hey, if I can do this, so can you!"


Monday, February 5, 2007

Candidates' Debates Dates

Some other events to mark on the ShawneeNet calendar: Carbondale Candidates Debates: "The first forum will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, February 16 at the Carbondale Civic Center and will feature the city's four mayoral candidates."


Sunday, February 4, 2007

Carbondale Signs US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement

Carbondale has joined the ranks of 393 communities across the US that have signed the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement (MCPA). The communities that have signed the agreement have pledged to undertake three steps to protect the environment: (Read more)

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Thursday, February 1, 2007

Downtown Moves

There's been some movement of busineses in downtown Carbondale. Tonic Headquarters has moved into Mane Effects' location on West Freeman, while Melange Coffeehouse has expanded into the into the space Tonic occupied on S. Illinois. The new paint job on Melange looks pretty sharp. Now if something would go into the old Saluki Bookstore building, which has "Private Property" signs up in the windows, rather than "For Rent" or "For Sale".


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