Saturday, May 31, 2008

Read it in The Times? Which Times?

The Carbondale Times free community newspaper staff may not be happy about the new name chosen for News Service web site.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

C'dale on NPR

Morning Edition had a story on the increase in gas and food prices and their effect on individual behaviors. For some reason, the reporter chose Carbondale as the community in which to conduct her interviews. I caught references to Mary Lou's and what I think is the Bike Surgeon, though the location isn't specified. You can listen to the piece here

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Musing on Warrants

I was looking over the warrants approved at last night's city council meeting and noticed a few interesting things:

1. Payment of a little over $500 to city manager candidate Jeff Stonehill. Didn't see one to new city manager Allen Gill but I might have overlooked it.
2. Payment of about $3700 to Majestic Janitorial Services. Glad to see the city pumping some money into the west side.
3. Not much business with Wal-mart. There's a spate of 8 or 9 payments to Wally-world on the second warrant but that's it.
4. The city does a heck of a lot of business with Lowe's. Not hundreds of thousands of dollars worth but easily 10 times the business it does with Rural King, Murdale True Value or Dillinger's.
5. We have a piano? At least the city spent $100 with Groll's Piano Service.
6. The city prefers local to chain restaurants. At least, I don't see any direct payments to chains such as Buffalo Wild Wings or Ruby Tuesdays. I did see purchases from Pagilai's and Tres Hombres.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

All Over but the........

City officials have confirmed what most people have known for several days: Allen Gill will be offered the City Manager position. The Morning Sun article credits him with a lot of the revitalization of Pittsburg through his championing of TIF districts in the community.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Manager Gill

According to this article from the Pittsburg Morning Call, Allen Gill has received an offer from the Carbondale city council and will likely accept it if if the offer is finalized at the May 27th meeting. Unfortuantely, as of tonight, there's no agenda posted on the city's website yet.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Out and About

I'll be out of Carbondale for several days this week so posting here, at least by me, will be pretty sporadic.


Mid-week Farmer's Market

In case you run out of fresh vegetables during the week and don't want to make do with the fine selections at Arnold's Market or the Neighborhood Food Co-op (or Town Square Market, Kroger, Schuncks and Wal-mart), Carbondale Main Street has launched its mid week farmer's market for 2008. Yep, sizewize it doesn't compare to the Murdale market but then it's not trying to complete but complement. This week's offerings (from the website):

this week (5/21): Asparagus, Lettuce, & Tomatoes (the asparagus is sweet, the lettuce is crunchy and tender - and the tomatoes are from a new vendor, so come by and try 'em out!)

Vend or buy at the Mid-week Farmers Market On the Square

Every Wednesday from 4pm to 6 pm - May 14 through September 3

Main Street is seeking vendors for its Mid-week Farmer's market. We are a smaller market and looking to expand. Vendor space is reasonable, and the Historic Town Square is an increasingly busy place.


Stonehill a No Go?

According to breaking news in the SI, Jeff Stonehill won't be taking the C'dale City Manager job. According to the SI article, there's an article in his hometown paper saying he plans on staying put in Middletown but the only article I can find is this one, dated about a week ago, discussing his application.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Arena and Stadium

Must be a slow news week at the Southern. That's the only reason I can see for the two day lovefest focused on the remodeling of McAndrew Stadium and the Arena (which the city apparently gets naming rights to as part of its contribution to Saluki Way). No real news in the store, just a recap of the history and plans for each. Also, no mention that I see of how the fund raising is going.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

No Plans?

Apparently there's no business for the C'dale Planning Commission to conduct as this month's meeting has been canceled.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Oldest Business IN C'dale

'twould be a shame to see the Dillinger Feed Store shut down as, according to my records, it's the oldest currently operating business in Carbondale. Here's my list, as of last year (feel free to make corrections or additions in comments):

2007 years in business

Dillinger's Feed Store 72 years ( 6 years under Alyssa Gullet)

Spires Wholesale - 62 years

PK's 52 years

Mary Lou's 45 years 1962 - 1976 in former location 1976 - present in current location

B and A Travel 44 years (17 under current ownership)
Kaleidoscope 41 years

The Thrift Shop 41 years
710 Bookstore – 40 years

Carbondale Trophy 31 years

Hair Brains 27 years
Hangar 9 27 years

Tres Hombres 25 years

Mane Effects 24 years

NAPA – 17 years

Castle Perilous Games and Books 17 years
Yesteryear Tobacconist 16 years

Tonic Headquarters - 16 years
A Petal Patch Florist 14 years (4 under current ownership)
Melange coffee House - 13 years
Walk the Line 12 years

Longbranch 10 years

Vati Travel 9 years

Saluki Central 7 years
Family Hair Center 6 years
Rag Wear 5 years
Kaya 4 years
Beautiful Creations 4 years

Tantastic 3 years

Blame cut and paste from Word for the strangeness in spacing. You should have seen the arbitrary font size before I cleaned it up.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Dillinger Feed Store Demolishment?

Looks like an application to demolish the Dillinger Feed Store building is on the agenda for the Preservation Commission's meetiing this Monday night. Here's the agenda if you don't feel like clicking on the link:

1. Roll Call

2. Approval of Minutes - April 21, 2008 (attached)

3. Communication and Reports:

Education and Technical Assistance Committee

4. Old Business:

2008 Bus Tour review
5. New Business:

A. Lincoln Middle School Site

B. Dillinger Feed Store Demolition Application

C. Potential review of Preservation Ordinance as it relates to demolitions

6. Comments by the Public, Commission Members or Staff:

7. Adjournment

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Bike to lunch

This afternoon, 12-1, at Town Square Pavilion, Mayor Cole will join bicyclists who rode their bicycles to work, or to the Pavilion, for lunch, prizes from local bicycle shops, and trophies for individuals and the organization who has the most people ride. Lunch will be provided by Global Gourmet. Ride on over if you're in the neighborhood.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Dome Update

From the Bucky's Dome Board of Directors

Update on Fuller Dome repairs

The Board of Directors of RBF Dome, the group working to restore the Buckminster Fuller Dome home at 407 S. Forest, wants residents of the Arbor District to know that repairs of the temporary dome plastic roof and perimeter fence will be taking place in the coming weeks.

The Board has been aware for some time of the need to replace the plastic “skin” on the temporary dome. The outer dome is protecting the Fuller Dome home until sufficient funds are raised to do the restoration work on the former Fuller residence. The strong wind storm on Sunday has necessitated the immediate need for the repair as almost half of the plastic was torn off. Within the next two weeks, assuming the materials can be secured, a new plastic roof will be installed on the protective dome. If any neighboring properties had portions of the old plastic covering blown onto their properties please accept our apology and contact Tom Redmond at 457-0424 if you would like him to clean up any debris.

Work on the Fuller-designed perimeter fence will resume this spring and summer. The City of Carbondale has approved $1500 in its current budget to pay for the stump removal that will allow for the fence restoration to resume. The stump removal will be occurring in the near future. The RBF Board and volunteers will continue to restore additional sections of the fence along Forest and Cherry Streets. In addition, more substantial temporary fencing will be installed as old sections of the original fence are removed for repair and restoration.


Attn: bicyclists and wannabes

In keeping with national bicycle month, tomorrow (Friday) the 6th Annual "Bike 2 Work Day" will take place in Carbondale. This means lunch from 12-1 pm at Town Square Pavilion (rustled up by Global Gourmet this year), with trophy presentations by Mayor Cole, and music by Darby McGrann.

The following day, bicyclists from the Carbondale Bicycle Club, in cooperation with the (Breakfast) Rotary Club of Carbondale, will do the 4th Annual Beautiful Southern Ride. More info on the Ride on the Rotary web site.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

City Manager Choices

Apparently the city council chose which manager candidate, Stonehill or Gill, to make an offer to last Monday night and is now in negotiations over salary and benefits. Due to Illinois' Open Meetings law, the actual vote on the candidate takes place during the next meeting on May 27th.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Jeff Stonehill

Got a copy of city manager applicant Jeff Stonehill's resume/vita, courtesy of Mayor Cole. He's worked as the assistant to the city manager for several small communities in New York, populations ranging from 14,000 to 18,000, before taking the city/borough manager's position at Middletown Borough, PN, pop. 9,000, in 2002.

According to his resume, he oversees 94 employees and a budget of $22 million and is a Credentialed City Manager. Middletown is home to Penn State Harrisburg, which has about 4,000 students, so he has experience in town/gown relations, just not on the scale of SIUC. He might have more accomplishments but the only one of note he cites in his letter of application is getting Middletown designated a Main Street community.

If you're interested in how he might approach his duties, this article discusses the proposed hiring of an architectural firm by the Middletown borough council to advise on renovating a piece of city property and Stonehill's rationale for the hiring.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Saluki II Bookstore

Looks like something may finally be going in the old Saluki II Bookstore across the street from Dairy Queen. There's been a significant amount of construction and remodeling going on inside over the past week. Carbondale Main Street and the city will certainly be glad to see something in the spot after about 2 years of it sitting empty.

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Allen Gill and Eminent Domain

Back in 2004, Allen Gill, one of C'dale's candidates for city manager and city manger for Pittsburg KS, worked to use eminent domain to take property from one developer turned it over to another developer who in turn leased it to Home Depot. The Supreme Court affirmed such a taking was a legal use of eminent domain in 2005. You can read an article about the Pittsburg taking here. Here are some details from the piece:

Mr. Trent, the Kansan, had a special hardship fighting his case: When it was filed, he was serving as a U.S. ambassador with the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. He says the case began after he rejected a "low-ball" offer from Home Depot's developer, then flew to Baghdad. His lawyer tried to fend off the taking, but a state court in Pittsburg let it go forward this spring. Mr. Trent is challenging the compensation. That case is pending.

Allen Gill, Pittsburg's city manager, says Mr. Trent was well compensated, receiving more than $1 million for his property -- a large sum for rural Kansas. He also says Mr. Trent and another owner's opposition blocked a badly needed project that has already sparked other development in town.

"Does the greater good outweigh the inconvenience to the two?" Mr. Gill asks.

In a statement, Atlanta-based Home Depot said the project would bring "good paying jobs and economic development," adding that "the City of Pittsburg identified this site as an area in need of redevelopment, and the Home Depot was receptive to working with the developer who was negotiating with the city."

In 2006, the Kansas legislature enacted a law putting severe restrictions on the use of eminent domain to transfer property to a private developer, as did 26 other states..

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day Bad?

Normally I like to stick to Carbondale stuff but every once in a while the national news offers up a heaping plateful of stupid, like this:

On Wednesday afternoon, the House had just voted, 412 to 0, to pass H. Res. 1113, "Celebrating the role of mothers in the United States and supporting the goals and ideals of Mother's Day," when Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.), rose in protest.

"Mr. Speaker, I move to reconsider the vote," he announced.

Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), who has two young daughters, moved to table Tiahrt's request, setting up a revote. This time, 178 Republicans cast their votes against mothers.


Friday, May 9, 2008

Just a reminder...

The viewing party for Cristopher Cichocki's film "Elemental Shift" is this Saturday morning, 4 a.m., at WDBX-FM.

I can't say enough good things about this film-- I just hope that you'll come see it, whether you're a fan of experimental media or not. The film is appropriate for all ages, and lasts just over an hour. I hope to see you there!

UPDATE: It looks like we also may have a surprise musical guest in-studio, following the screening. Feel free to kick yourself if you miss this.

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IDOT Jobs Coming to Region

According to this story in the Southern, Governor Blago announced yesterday he's moving the Department of Traffic Safety from Springfield to a location in southern Illinois. Unfortunately, he's not creating 150 new jobs as he claims in the article, just shuffling them around. Plus, the current holders have the option to retain them if they are willing to move to the region.

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Thursday, May 8, 2008

City Manager Candidates

The city hosted receptions for the two candidates for the city manager position a Fusion the last couple of nights. Since I didn't get my letter from the mayor until today, I missed last night's reception and went to the planning commission meeting instead. Sheesh, what an exciting time that was. In case you're interested, both rezoning requests were approved and sent on to the city council for final approval or rejection. On, and the moratorium on the building of multi-person dwellings in C'dale was approved at the council meeting on Tuesday. So I missed the opportunity to meet and greet candidate number one, Jeff Stonehill. Apparently, he's the city manager of Middletown PA, a college town similar to Carbondale but smaller.

Bachelor number, I mean candidate number 2 is Allen Gill, currently the city manager of Pittsburgh KS, home of 19,000 very nice people and Pittsburgh State University (good thing they have an S in there, otherwise the university would be referred to as ....). As to why he wants to move here from there, according to councilman Chris Wissmann, he has family in the St. Louis region, especially new grandchildren, and wants to move closer to them. From his vita, Gill looks quite qualified, having working in public administration since 1979, with stints as city manager of Osawatomie, KS, Clinton MO, Ferguson MO. Gill also served as Economic Development Director of O'Fallon IL, and the Executive Director of Belleville Economic Progress over in (you guessed it), Belleville IL.

Looking as his work in Pittsburg (you should be able to pit up the resumes for both candidates at City Hall), Gill had a good working relationship with the university. He also managed a redevelopment effort to create a $36 million commercial development in the city, as well as a downtown redevelopment effort resulting in a $1.7 million streetscape project and and a $400, facade grant program.

BTW, councilman Wissmann commented he was favorably impressed by both men. I forgot to ask councilman Fritzler, on crutches after a soccer (football in the rest of the world) accident what he thought and councilman Jack had just flown in from Brazil, and boy, were his arms tired.

I would assume discussing these two candidates was the reason for the special double-secret closed City Council meeting called by the Mayor yesterday.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Get Your Kicks on I 66

I see this idea is bubbling up again. You'd think with Hastert and Poshard trucking around the state selling people on the idea the infrastructure in the state needs repairing, we wouldn't be looking at more roads to build, especially one through such an ecologically sensitive area as the Cache River wetlands. As for development, look at all the development that's popped up along I24 and I 57. Do we really need to get from Paducah or Cairo to Cape Girardeau that quickly? Or maybe I'm just being grumpy.

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City Council Meeting

As usual, I didn't make tonight's meeting. Anyone have details?


Monday, May 5, 2008

No More Apartments?

Interesting item on tomorrow night's council agenda: a moratorium on building any more medium and high density developments for the next eighteen months. The arguments advanced by the city manager are :

1. There has been a decrease in student enrollment at Southern Illinois University Carbondale in recentyears, thus reducing the number of prospective tenants for rental housing.

2. As prospective tenants gravitate to newer housing developments, it will become harder to fill the older,existing housing in certain neighborhoods. This may lead to a high rate of vacancy, which in turn wouldhave an adverse impact in the neighborhood and on the local economy. A high vacancy rate in aneighborhood creates safety issues and can have a long-term negative impact on the quality of a neighborhood.

3. The City’s Comprehensive Plan is outdated and recent multi-unit housing developments have beenoccurring in areas that were not designated for multi-unit developments when the current ComprehensivePlan was approved in 1997.

4. The large developments place a new demand on the City’s infrastructure. The City must ensure that it canprovide adequate public services to the growing supply of multi-unit housing developments in the community.

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Rebate Checks Arriving

Though technically it's not a rebate check since the money is coming from the government's borrowing approximately $117 billion over the next two years. Yesterday's story in the Southern refers to the rebate as "essentially free money", which of course it isn't, since the money will have to eventually be repaid, with interest which accounts for about 9% of government expenditures.

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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Another New Bar

According to this story in the DE, the principals plan to open a bar called Whiskey Tango at the corner of North Illinois and West Jackson, in the space occupied last by the short-lived Club 51. The bar plans to differentiate itself by offering a wider variety of import beers than other C'dale establishments.

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Friday, May 2, 2008

Planning Commission Meeting

If you're DESPERATELY looking for something to do next Wednesday night, the Planning Commission meets at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center. Looks like the major items on the agenda are a rezoning request for West Murphysboro Road and some requests for Liberty village and the Bittersweet subdivision.

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Free Viewing Party!

Film and music fans, take note-- I'll be hosting a free viewing party for Cristopher Cichocki's "Elemental Shift" Saturday, May 10th at WDBX-FM, from 4 to 6:30 am.

"Elemental Shift" captures a sublime oneness with nature, but can hardly be called still and meditative. Elemental Shift is meticulously edited together, creating an incredibly intense visceral experience. The running time is approximately one hour, and is appropriate for all ages.

This is a chance to see it before the film festivals, and get a look at the work of this talented L.A. area filmmaker.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Wine and Art Fair

If you're looking for something to do tomorrow evening, Carbondale Main Street is sponsoring the first Annual Wine and Art Fair at the Town Square from 4 until 10 p.m. $5 apparently gets you the opportunity to taste wines from all 9 of the Shawnee Wine Trail wineries. It's my understanding that Main Street wanted to have a spring event at the northern end of the Strip to counterbalance the Pig Out at the other end during the fall. Here's hoping it's successful.

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