Friday, November 30, 2007

Heavy Traffic on Saturday

Lots going on tomorrow afternoon and evening. From the City's website:

Saturday will be a busy day in Carbondale. The Saluki football game will begin at 2:30 p.m. The Carbondale Community High School boys basketball team will host East St. Louis at 5:00 p.m., the Lights Fantastic Parade will begin at 6:00 p.m., and the Saluki basketball game will begin at 8:30 p.m.

Beginning at 3:00 p.m., East Mill Street from South Wall Street to South Illinois Avenue and South Washington Street from College Street to Grand Avenue will be closed to accommodate the staging of the parade.

Beginning at 5:30 p.m., Main Street (Illinois Route 13 West) will be closed from Wall Street to University Avenue (U.S. Route 51 South), Walnut Street (Illinois Route 13 East) will be closed from University Avenue (U.S. Route 51 South) to Washington Street, Illinois Avenue (U.S.51 North) will be closed from Mill Street to Oak Street, Jackson Street will be closed from Illinois Avenue (U.S.51 North) to Washington Street, and Washington Street will be closed from Jackson Street to Walnut Street (Illinois Route 13 East).

It is anticipated that all streets will reopen at approximately 7:30 p.m.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Special City Council Meeting

In case you're free around 6 tonight, there's a special City Council meeting at City Hall East, also known as Algoni's Restaurant:


In accordance with the Carbondale Revised Code and the Illinois Open Meetings Act, I hereby call a Special Meeting of the Carbondale City Council for Thursday, November 29, at 6:00 p.m. (dinner at 6:30 p.m.) at Alongi's Restaurant at the University Mall. The purpose of the event is to bring together Members of the City Council in a social atmosphere and to interact with senior-level City staff in an open, casual setting. No formal business will be considered, but due to the nature of the gathering it will be conducted as a Special City Council Meeting. As such, it will be open to the public. General seating will be available, but not for dinner. The function will likely conclude by 8:30 p.m..

City of Carbondale, Illinois
Post Office Box 2047
Carbondale IL 62902-2047
Phone: (618) 457-3229


Lights Fantastic Route

Courtesy of the City Manger, here's the route the Lights Fantastic parade will take this Saturday so be sure to plan your driving around it. Furthermore:

Beginning at 3:00 p.m., East Mill Street from South Wall Street to South Illinois Avenue and South Washington Street from College Street to Grand Avenue will be closed to accommodate the staging of the parade.

Beginning at 5:30 p.m., Main Street (Illinois Route 13 West) will be closed from Wall Street to University Avenue (U.S. Route 51 South), Walnut Street (Illinois Route 13 East) will be closed from University Avenue (U.S. Route 51 South) to Washington Street, Illinois Avenue (U.S.51 North) will be closed from Mill Street to Oak Street, Jackson Street will be closed from Illinois Avenue (U.S.51 North) to Washington Street, and Washington Street will be closed from Jackson Street to Walnut Street (Illinois Route 13 East).

It is anticipated that all streets will reopen at approximately 7:30 p.m.
Changes in the detour route this year involve moving the parade staging area from Grand Avenue to East Mill Street. The parade will begin at the Mill Street Underpass rather than at Grand Avenue as in past years. This move will allow Grand Avenue to remain open and accommodate east and west bound traffic.

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Lawsuit City

Wow, lawsuits galore at SIUC. It appears Murphysboro attorney (and SIUC Law School Professor Emeritus) Darrell Dunham is representing both students.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Cynthia McKinney coming to Carbondale

The Green Party of Illinois has worked hard to place Cynthia McKinney on our primary ballot. Now she is coming to Carbondale to campaign.

We learned yesterday that she will be in Carbondale on Saturday morning, Dec. 8th. Now we have to figure out where we can have her meet the people. Everyone is welcome to come to the Muddy Media space at 214 N. Washington tonight, Nov. 28th, at 6:30pm to help plan venues.

Cynthia was the first African-American woman to be elected a Congressperson in Georgia. She was anti-war, pro environment, pro-civil liberties, and a watchdog over the government. She was re-elected 6 times, but ran afoul of the Bush-Cheney administration, and was targeted with the big money. She lost the 2002 election, came back in 2004, and lost again in 2006. Now she has become a Green, and is running for President of the United States.

If the thought of choosing between two pro-war, pro Patriot Act candidates in 2008 depresses you, get involved in the Green Party.

Varsity Update

Hadn't heard anything on the Varsity Theater for a week or better and I was also curious about the contradictory statements I'd read about who would own the building. According to the email I got back from Mayor Cole yesterday, ownership of the Varsity once negotiations with Kerasotes are completed is still in flux, but it will probably be the city, the Stage Company or (less likely) Carbondale Community Arts.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

SIU Student Turnover

Caught a brief bit from President Poshard on WSIU this morning regarding student turnover. Apparently about a third of all freshmen who enter SIU do not return for their sophomore year. Wonder how much of this is due to the pretty low admission requirements for freshmen? Taking a look at the admission requirements, it looks like an incoming student still only has to have a 2.0 on a 4.0 scale. I remember there was some controversy some years ago when the admission requirements were lowered from a 2.5 to a 2.0. Given that, is it reasonable to expect incoming students that barely evaded a D in their high school coursework to be able to handle the (hopefully) more rigorous coursework of college?


Monday, November 26, 2007

Retail Sales Up

Looks like all the traffic and sales worked. Weekend sales were up about 7% over a year ago with sales the Friday after Thanksgiving up 8.3%. The National Retail Foundation was only expecting a sales increase of about 4%.

It looks like Friday sales here in southern Illinois were good as well.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Lodge decoration Sunday

Ann Knewitz wants people to know that people will be decorating Hickory Lodge for the Holidays Sunday November 25 starting at 1 PM. Ann will be serving chili at her house afterwards. Please join her and Ed Van Awken and the crew, if you can bring outdoor decorations if you have them.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday Traffic

Was driving out by the mall and Wal-Mart this morning and traffic was pretty bad, what with people trying to get the early bird specials, like these, before they were all gone. Glad I stayed out of the stores. Hope you had a good Thanksgiving.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells

Carbondale Main Street is looking for church or other groups interested in caroling in the downtown area on the afternoon of December 1st, prior to the Lights Fantastic parade. Time commitment would be 1/2 to a full hour. If you're interested, call Meghan Cole at 529-8040 or email

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

City Council Meets Tonight

Doesn't look like there's lots on the agenda tonight but here it is. Maybe you'll see something that piques your interest. Looks like they are voting on extending the city manager's contact through his retirement next summer.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Pres. Poshard Speaks Out on Veto

President Poshard has asked for residents of the area to contact their congressional representatives and ask them to override President Bush's veto of the appropriation bill funding Heath and Human Services, labor and Education Departments. The bill as passed would increase funding for Pell Grants and allow SIU to continue funding the McNair Scholars program


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Varsity Infrastructure

According to today's article in the DE, the infrastructure at the Varsity is in pretty good shape. Both the electrical and mechanical systems in the building are described as new from the Kerasotes' family. I understood, though, that the seating from the theater areas was removed, along with other equipment such as sound systems, when the Varsity closed. Can anyone speak to that? Maybe someone who was with SAVE?


Varsity Theater Donation

Contrary to WSIU this morning, the Varsity has been donated to the city and not the Stage Company. I assume there will be negotiations between the city, the Stage Company and Carbondale Community Arts regarding the use of the building. The Stage Company has raised a considerable sum of money of construction of its on building so would hope that fund would now be available to assist in renovation of the Varsity.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Varsity Arts

In his State of City speech to the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce this afternoon, Mayor Brad Cole announced that Kerasotes Theaters is donating the building to the City, which will then work with the Stage Company and other arts organizations to convert the venerable venue into a first-class community arts center.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

State of the City

If you're free at 11:30 on Tuesday, Mayor Cole will give his annual State of the City address at the Civic Center. The Chamber of Commerce expects about 200 people to attend, much as did last year when he announced his re-election campaign. I tried to find a link to the previous speech but the Southern has this huge "Auction Closing" pop-up on the main page that makes it really hard to navigate around. Phooey.

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Friday, November 9, 2007

Scouting for Food

Local Scouts will drop off bags for food collection at houses throughout the city tomorrow with a request to fill them with non-perishable food items and leave them out on your front porch on the 17th. The food goes to local food banks, always a worthy cause that doesn't get much notice the rest of the year.

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CCHS Still Having Problems

Carbondale Community High School is still not meeting the academic yearly progress levels mandated by the No Child Left Behind act. According to a front page article in last week's Carbondale Times, the man reason for the failure to meet the AYP is one of the school's subgroups (I remember hearing from someone that it was the special education subgroup) not meeting the specified levels of reading or math. If one group within the entire school doesn't meet the target, the whole school fails even though 60% of CCHS students overall meet AYP standards.


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Saluki Way Budget Authorized

BOT passed the budget yesterday. I caught this comment by President Poshard:

"In addition, our teams attract fans from well beyond Carbondale, which gives a boost to the local business community. The new football stadium and improvements to the Arena are long overdue and will go a long way toward revitalizing the east side of campus. I also am confident that in addition to helping recruit quality student-athletes, these facilities will help recruit other students who will be impressed by our commitment to moving the entire university forward."

Probably not. The research I've seen indicates that a successful athletic program has little effect on a student's decision to attend a college. Of course, there is only limited research in the area. I've only seen one study but will try to find it again. The remodeling on Morris Library will probably have more of an effect on a student's choice than a new football stadium.

Oh, and I really detest the term student athlete.


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

City Manager Announces Retirement

From the Daily News section of the City of Carbondale's website (thanks to Dave for the catch):

November 6, 2007

City Manager Doherty Announces Retirement Plans

Jeff Doherty, Carbondale City Manager since 1992, announced his retirement today from the City of Carbondale effective June 30, 2008.

"After serving as Carbondale City Manager for 16 years, I will retire from the City of Carbondale and pursue other opportunities", Doherty said. "Announcing my plans at this time provides the City adequate time to recruit a new City Manager and have a smooth transition." Doherty added "I have had the privilege of serving the citizens of Carbondale and no one could be more proud than I have been in being their City Manager. I appreciate the support given to me by the different City Councils over the years and have enjoyed working with two outstanding mayors in Neil Dillard and Brad Cole. I have been blessed with an excellent staff and outstanding employees over the years and we have accomplished a lot for the betterment of Carbondale. But most of all, I am proud that we have had good, honest and fair government in Carbondale."

Jeff Doherty has served as the City Manager in Carbondale, Illinois since 1992. Doherty began his career with the City of Carbondale in 1976 as an Administrative Intern and subsequently held positions in the City's Community Development Department and Railroad Relocation Unit. In 1985, he was appointed Assistant City Manager/Personnel Officer and served in that position until 1988 when he was appointed as the City's Interim City Manager for six months. From 1989 until 1992, Doherty served as Carbondale's Deputy City Manager prior to becoming Carbondale's sixth, and longest serving, City Manager.

Doherty received a bachelor degree in Administration of Justice (1975) and a Master of Public Affairs degree (1982) from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He is also a graduate of the Senior Executive Institute at the University of Virginia (1995).

He is married to Barbara (Vogler). They have two children, Jeffrey, a student at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and Sarah, a senior at Carbondale Community High School.


Rental Inpection Fee Passes

In a 5-2 vote last night, with Mayor Cole and Councilman Haynes voting against, the council passed the originally proposed $35 rental inspection fee. Mayor Cole was in favor of a smaller fee, with a $200 re-inspection fee and it's not clear what Councilman Haynes was in favor of. Only one landlord spoke in opposition to the fee. I especially liked Mr. VanAwken's comment below:

"I though they ought to put a hold on it (the proposal) until they got more citizens participating in the process," he said. More citizen involvement, VanAwken, added, "articulates a vision landlords can buy into."

Seems to me, giving the length of time between proposal and vote, this measure has gotten more citizen particpation than the sales tax increase did.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

City Council Agenda

In case you're free tonight, the City Council meets at 7 p.m. Here's the agenda. Looks like the last item under general business is the rental inspection fee proposal. There are 4 options proposed for the fee proposal: do nothing; implement a flat $35 per unit fee (the original proposal, for those keeping track); implement a $25 per unit fee with an additional $5 per bedroom and waive the fee for the year or two years following a successful inspection and a re-inspection fee if a unit needs inspection more than once; charge $10 per unit per year with a $100 re-inspection fee if a unit is not in compliance. The recommended option for ease of record keeping and a stable revenue stream to cover the costs of the program is still, ta-dah, option 2.

The Chamber of Commerce had a meeting last Thursday to hash out some alternatives to option 2 so I'd guess that options 3 and 4 result from that meeting.

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Monday, November 5, 2007

Stadium Funding

Interesting article in the current issue of Fortune magazine on Florida Gator alumni support. The following bit caught my eye (emphasis mine):

But the really mind-blowing dollars in college sports are going into a facilities-building boom. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, from 2002 to 2007 schools in the nation's six premier athletic conferences raised at least $3.9 billion for stadium expansions, new practice facilities, and such.

In many cases it's the powerhouses expanding to ensure their dominance, such as the $226 million stadium renovation planned at Michigan. Or it's a striver like Oklahoma State putting to use the $165 million pledge by billionaire OSU alumnus T. Boone Pickens. In all cases, it is the schools' boosters who are footing most of the bill.

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Saturday, November 3, 2007

Reserve at Saluki Pointe on South Illinois

The empty spot next to Pagliai's Pizza, home in the past to New Beginnings Church, Cafe Euro, and La Roma's Pizza is now occupied by the leasing office for The Reserve at Saluki Point, a good sized student housing complex going in on the south side of town. Apparently, the lease is only temporary, until The Reserve opens its official leasing office at the apartment complex. In the mean time, maybe the company could apply for a housing grant from Carbondale Main Street to improve the signs on the windows. The Reserve's website only lists one staff member, the community manager, of or those of you looking for jobs, it looks like there'll be a lot of community assistant positions to fill.

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SIUC Master Plan

Now don't get your hopes up. It's the master plan for University land use that dates back to 2001 but is stillthe one apparently being used. You can view a power point presentation here.


Thursday, November 1, 2007

Repair Work at SIUC

According to this story in today's Southern, next year will see some much needed repair work to the roofs on a number of buildings around campus. That would be good since, according to an email send around by a department chairman last August, at least one room had such problems with leaks that students in larger classes would have problems finding dry seats.


Saluki Way Cost

Front page on today's DE is this story on the official cost of the first part of Saluki Way. Apparently, according to the story, planing is further along on the athletic projects than the student services building so that's going to get taken care of first. Aside from the city's $20 million, donations are pretty anemic for the project with about a million in actual donations secured and another $500,000 pledged. Oh, and the $38 million the students are donating.


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