Monday, December 31, 2007

Changes Tomorrow

Remember, the statewide smoking ban goes into effect tomorrow as does the sales tax increase. Interestingly, I've seen a lot more coverage of the smoking ban than I have the sales tax.

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Shops at University Mall

Ground breaks on this strip mall next week. Mall management says there will be space for 7 stores including a Chipolte's. The other six businesses couldn't be announced at this time. I'd be interested in seeing if mall management can actually fill the space, given the problems with filling the mall proper, plus Central Plaza, with Fujiyama's and Moe's as anchors, is still sitting half empty.


Two Stores Gone

Wilson's Leather Goods and Algoni's Restaurant are both closing up this week. Wilson's doesn't surprise me much since there never seemed that much demand for their high end (for this area) products but Algoni's is surprising given the amount of remodeling that went into the place.

The mall is also in talks to bring someone into the vacated K's Merchandise. I just hope the Mall management doesn't approach the city about a sales tax rebate for whatever business moves in as those sort of subsidies generally prove revenue losers for the community.


Friday, December 28, 2007

New Coach At SIUC

Well that was fast. It took only 15 days to hire Lennon after Coach Kill made his announcement. Makes me wonder if SIUC was expecting this and already had an offer ready for Lennon. It appears the announcement was made in ND last Tuesday (registration required). Looks like he'll get $200,000 a year to take over coaching duties. Meanwhile, Coach Kill is getting $340,000 to take over coaching duties at Northern Illinois. I found this bit from the Fox Valley Villages Sun interesting:

Kill was signed to a five-year, incentive-laden contract with an option for an extension after 24 months. Phillips wouldn't reveal details, but a published report in the Marion (Ill.) Daily Republican, citing a source close to Kill, said he would earn about $340,000 per season. That's up from the $175,000 he earned at Southern.

Kill said demanding more money from SIU would have hurt that school's athletic program.

If I've got this straight, Kill didn't want more than $175,000 because that would hurt the SIU athletic program but offering Lennon $25,000 more won't? Athletic payrollls are strange.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Lights

Is it just me or are there fewer Christmas lights around this year than in past years? I was walking through the Arbor District and West Walnut Street areas last night and could count maybe half a dozen houses with lights on them. The neighborhoods off S. Oakland and Glenview were similarly barren of light.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Investment Opportunity

In case you have some extra money lying around, the Sunset Motel complex on East Main goes on the auction block on January 12. In addition to the hotel, the parcel includes the old "It's in the Bag" building and the Boo's Jr. & Co. bar.. Not sure what would be good there though.

On and by the way MERRY CHRISTMAS!


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Back Door Fundraising

The fundraising letter I just received from WSIU left me both amused and slightly annoyed. You mav have noticed it already and I have seen it on the last couple of letters asking for donations to WSIU but there's a line stating:

In furtherance of the goals of Southern at 150, SIUC and the SIU Foundation retain six percent of all gifts to strengthen the advancement program.

Maybe it's just me, but if I donate money to WSIU, I'd like the money to be used by WSIU and not go to Southern at 150. If I want to donate money to Southern at 150, I'll be glad to send it to them.

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All Better Now.

President Poshard has finished his dissertation after 45 years. Everythings fine now.
Geez, I almsot didn't get my dissertation accepted by the Graduate School 'cause the head of the school at the time thought it was one day late.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

This Isn't Gonna Help SIU Football Any

I read through this article about the search for a new football coach and was really struck by the nonchalant way AD Moccia added on this last bit:

"I think almost all of them have gone with Jerry," Moccia said. "As far as I know, virtually all of the assistant coaches will be going up with Jerry."

The way I understand this, it means the entire program starts over from scratch. Geez. Unless they sign someone really good with some name recognition, why would any player sign a letter of intent to come here?


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Film Night at Muddy Media

This Friday, December 21st,at 7pm, the Muddy Media will be showing the movie, "The Take", produced by Naomi Klein.
The Muddy Media space is at 214 N. Washington St. in Carbondale.
Be there, or be square.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Park Board Update

Not much on the agenda at this month's Park Board meeting. Apparently they approved putting up a sign announcing "Public Welcome" at the front of Hickory Lodge in November. The December meeting was taken up with administrative stuff such as maintenance at Attucks, the tax levy and abatement, as well as setting up a park foundation through which donations to the park district can be directed.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

C'dale Times Plug

If you haven't picked up a copy of the current Carbondale Times, I recommend you do so. Good articles this week on Attucks Community Services and both the most recent City Council and Park Board meetings. Interesting stuff.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Michael Moore's Sicko

Tonight at Muddy Media Center- 214 N. Washington in Carbondale, Sicko will be shown at 7pm.

Those who pay attention may realize that the problem of millions uninsured in this country is being addressed by those in power-under the influence of the insurance companies. The insurance companies think that it is a tragedy that there are 43,000,000+ people in this country who aren't paying $12,000+/year to them. This is an large untapped source of profits and it must stop!

So you have the major Democratic candidates on the national level talking about forcing all people to pay insurance companies. And on a state level, the task force entrusted with finding a way to cover all Illinoisans has, remarkably, come up with the same solution. Coincidence? I think not.

If you think that this isn't your problem, you really need to see Sicko. It concentrates on those who thought they were insured and found out differently when they actually had a problem requiring medical attention.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

He goes!

Well, I guess this question got answered.


Smoking Ban Coming Soon

The statewide smoking ban on public places goes into effect on January 1st but it seems we don't have rules on what is legal and what isn't, according to this story from the Southern. Not even the Jackson Co. Health Department is even sure what the rules are:

Officials from the Jackson County Public Health Department convened and hosted the meeting. After a slideshow presentation, Angie Bailey of the health department began fielding questions.

"We know it's not a perfect law," she said. "The rules and regulations are in the process of being written, but the ban goes into effect Jan. 1."

The rules and regulations Bailey was speaking of are still being drafted at the state level but, until then, the law still applies, said Kim Parker, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Health.

"The distinction between the rules and the law is that the rules explain how the act will be implemented, she said. "The law goes into effect Jan. 1 whether the rules are in place or not."

Right now, it appears the ban only covered enclosed spaces i.e. four walls and ceiling. Beer gardens appear exempt, at least the section of them that is 15 feel away from the enclosed space. I know this is for the benefit of public health but you'd think putting the rules in place sufficiently far ahead of time so that people affected could plan would be a no brainer.

On the other hand, this is the state government that dithered around for months over electric rates, even knowing the date the rate freeze would expire and having plenty of time to prepare.

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Bet Against SIU

I was talking with a friend yesterday who follows sports betting pretty closely. He said that 95% of the bets he saw were for SIUC to lose both of last Saturday's games and for the basketball team to continue the trend, at least for the immediate future.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Improving Educational Performance

Interesting article in this weeks Economist magazine on what it takes to improve educational performance in primary and secondary schools. Pouring money and political energy into them apparently doesn't work. According to the study, what works is moving weaker students into more demanding programs, giving principals the power to control budgets, set incentives and decide whom to hire and how much to pay them, publishing school results and most importantly, hiring high quality teachers. Wonder how that would play here in Carbondale?

Overall top performing country in terms of reading, math and science? Finland, followed by South Korea. the US is way down the list, despite No Child Left Behind.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Man-Tra-con Opens

Man-Tra-Con had its grand opening/open house yesterday evening. The private not for profit is located in the basement/garden level of Old National Bank and helps people who have lost their jobs find or retrain for new ones. If you qualify, Man-Tra-Con will even fund coursework, books and child care at JALC or SIUC. If I recall correctly, they have 5 offices in southern Illinois (this one just moved from the IDES office in Murphysboro) and are working with around 2600 customers. There's even a Job Club that meets regularly Wednesday mornings to discuss issues to those working on finding jobs. It's certainly a worthwhile organization to have in southern Illinois.

I got the 50 cent tour yesterday and it's a really nice setup with individual rooms for job counseling and an open computer area for customers to research job information or practice computer related skills.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Cynthia McKinney Visits

Overlooked in the publicity about the SIUC/Deleware game was the appearance by Green Party presidential candidate (and former Congressional representative) Cynthia McKinney. Apparently she made several appearances around Carbondale over the weekend, including the Student Center and the Town Square. Anyone attend either one of them? I assume attendance was quite a bit less than the 30,000 Oprah pulled to a Barack Obama event.


Playoff Attendance Doubles

Looks like, despite the weather, over 11,000 people "Packed the Mac" on Saturday for the final game of SIUC's football season. Kudos to the people that sat out in the cold drizzle to cheer on the Salukis. Mario Moccia's and the athletic department's full court press to get people out over the week worked.


Sunday, December 9, 2007

Mayor's Christmas Card

For the first time ever, I received a Christmas card from the mayor. Technically, it's an oversized postcard that probably went to all businesses in Carbondale. It features a photo of of a scrimmage by the 1930's football Maroons on one side and a brief history of football fields at SIUC on the other, concluding with a reference to the city's support of the Saluki Way initiative. How do I know it's a Christmas card? It says "Seasons Greetings," of course.

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Saturday, December 8, 2007

Delaware 20 SIUC 17

From Looks like the Salukis got off to an early lead, then remained scoreless until the 4th quarter, while Delaware didn't score anything the first quarter but but successfully ran the ball each of the next three quarters.


Days' Inn Gone

Well, not gone exactly but I noted this morning that the Days' Inn logo on the motel on West Main has been painted over and there's a temporary sign up touting it as the "University Inn" with rooms starting at $39.99

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Friday, December 7, 2007

Football Spam

The SIUC Athletic Department is really pushing to get people out for the game this Saturday. I received this email last night and I haven't been to a game in years:

Dear Saluki Fan,

Do you have plans for this Saturday? Great - then we’ll see you at the Mac!

Be a part of history -- this Sat., Dec. 8, at 3:00 p.m., the Saluki Football team will take on the Blue Hens of Delaware at McAndrew Stadium. It has been 25 years since a game of this magnitude has been held on the SIU campus. Tickets are available by calling 618-453-2000 or online at A win on Saturday earns Southern a trip to play in the National Championship game in Chattanooga on Fri., Dec. 14!

Before the game, join the SIU Alumni Association for a pregame tailgate in Saluki Row. Simply present your membership card to gain entry. Not a member? You can join online at, call 618-453-2408, or at the pregame tailgate. (Please include the code Y8AAEBAAG in the source box if you join online.)

Vote for Coach Kill! Coach Kill has been selected as a Division I-AA finalist for the 2007 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award. Vote once per day between December 5 and December 15, 2007 at If Coach wins, Liberty Mutual will donate $50,000 to his favorite charity and $20,000 to the SIU Alumni Association. Email this link to other Salukis in your address book so they can support Coach too!

Can’t make it to Carbondale, but you’d still like to see the game? Catch the action live on ESPN.
Next stop . . . Chattanooga, Tenn. -- GO DAWGS!

Mario Moccia
Director of Athletics
Saluki Athletics

Michelle Suarez, ’85, ‘04
Interim Executive Director
Alumni Services


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Murdale Farmer's Market to Move?

Front page story in yesterday's Carbondale Times says the Murdale Farmer's Market hasn't gotten a lease signed yet for next year. I've heard discussion about this since mid-November. Given that things start up again at the market in about2 and half months, the market board can't be thrilled with a lack of a sure location. There has been talk for the last couple of years that the landlord has wanted to move the market (One possibility I heard about a year ago involved moving it into the field to the west of the parking lot).

According to the story, the markets' directors want to stay on the west side because their customer base is located in the neighborhoods behind Murdale. The Murdale Shopping center proper doesn't seem too thrilled about having the market move into its lot. While there's plenty of space on the east side, the market's directors would have to do some fast negotiating to get in any of the lots and lots of advertising to let people know about the move.

Moving it to the town square is another possibility, though the parking lots down there don't offer the same ease of access for vendors that the lots on either side of town do. However, negotiations would be much easier as the market would be dealing with the city rather than a private landholder and both Carbondale Mainstreet and the Town Square Coalition would likely work to make the move easier.


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

As Pocatello Goes...

Interesting interview in last week's Carbondale Times with Mayor Cole. I was especially intrigued with his comments about other colleges around the nation picking up and Carbondale's funding of Saluki Way through sales tax revenues. Apparently some one in the city government of Pocatello, Idaho read about Carbondale's tax funding and adapted it to help fund building at Idaho State University. Mayor Cole also says there was a story on about it and several other colleges on the East Coast are looking into it as well. I did a quick search of both ISU's and ESPN's websites but didn't turn up anything. Also shot off an email to Pocatello's city hall but haven't heard anything back from them yet.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Pumping Up Attendance

Looks like SIU sports boosters are actively working to push up attendance numbers for this Saturday's football game. The Chancellor's office is buying a number of tickets to distribute free as are several others in the area. I was just talking to an acquaintance on their way over to the sports office to buy tickets for their entire staff.


Athletic Department Not Happy

According to the Southern, looks like SIU's athletic department is not happy with the way Southern Illinois is responding to the football playoffs. Meanwhile, over on the editorial page, there's a full blow pep talk about how the team deserves support.

Darn the NCAA for making people pay full price for tickets! At least, that's one of the reasons given for the poor turnout.


Monday, December 3, 2007

Kudos to Police and Public Works Departments

Both SIU and Carbondale' police department and public works staff earned their money on Saturday. According to today's DE, SIU officers went on duty around McAndrew Stadium at 9:30 Saturday morning and didn't get off until after 11 that night. Meanwhile, I was told Saturday that Carbondale's PD and public works people worked on planning for Saturday's traffic for two months before the event and had spent the two weeks previous to the event getting signage out and ready.

I didn't hear of any major traffic snafus and downtown was empty less than half an hour after the parade ended.

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Sunday, December 2, 2007

Attendance Figures

I see by the Southern that attendance at the Lights Fantastic parade was at least 10,000 and the football game drew about 6500. Couldn't find figures on attendance at the SIU-Indiana game. Anyone know what they were?

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Saturday, December 1, 2007

Linz Brown Passes Away

Long-time Carbondale resident and community activist Linz Brown passed away suddenly yesterday. From the email sent out by D. Gorton:

It is with deep sadness that we report that Linz Brown has died. Sandy Litecky said that Brad Cole was at the hospital with the family and had called her with the news. Linz was a tireless campaigner for a better community, working long hours to study complicated budget proposals at City Hall. Linz and his wife Rosie were retired from SIU.


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