Thursday, July 31, 2008

IDOT Move Efffect on Economy

Caught a brief mention of the economic effect of the IDOT move to Harrisburg on WSIU this morning. Apparently, the move will cost the Springfield economy about $9 million, while adding about $7 million to southern Illinois. You can read more about it here and here.

Not sure if it's related or not, but after last night's rain, my rain gauge showed 3 1/4".

Labels: ,

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sun Nails

Looks like we have a new manicure parlor in town. I noticed Sun nails opened up a couple of weeks ago in the Central Plaza strip mall on Giant City Road.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

IDOT to Harrisburg

Couple of stories on this in both The Southern and the DE. What I found esp. interesting by the comment from a regular poster on the DE's website. If true, it adds more reasons for Gov. Blago's insistence on transferring the IDOT jobs out of Springfield to Harrisburg, besides wanting to support Sen. Forby, who has supported the Gov. in the legislature:

Of course there is a political spin on it to make it look like the governor wants to help out southern Illinois, but not a single word about the building that the current IDOT is in is owned by a friend/business partner of the governor and that he is trying to get out of that overpriced real estate deal so he doesn't get caught in yet another pay to play scam.

I admit I find it hypocritical of the governor that he's willing to force 116 employees to either disrupt their home lives and move to Harrisburg or give up their jobs, while he stays in Chicago rather than moving to Springfield so as not to disrupt his own family's life.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Greyhound Station Moves

Making the whole process much more user friendly, the Greyhound ticket station and bus stop are now united in holy matrimony at the BP station on E. Main. And, as Dave points out, it only took 'em about three years. Just in time too. According to this article, the nation is seeing increases in bus ridership of anywhere between 5 to15% over the past couple of years. And guess what's causing it?

Labels: , ,

Dome Fundraiser

Looks like the folks trying to restore Bucky's Dome have a fundraiser lined up for Aug. 17 starting at noon at the Orlandi Vineyard. Music provided by the Ivas John Band. The event kicks (pops? domes?) off at noon and ends around 6 p.m.


Free Notary Service

I didn't know this until I was in City Hall last week and was watching Channel 16. The City Clerk's office offers a free notary service. City Clerk Janet Vaught says most people coming in to get papers notarized expect to pay for the service and are happily surprised to find out it's free.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

SI Intern pretends to interview the Governor

Aspiring novelist, Laura Chapman is a May graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and currently a Lee News Scholar intern at the Southern Illinoisan. A week or so ago she got to interview the Governor -- quite unexpectedly -- as she describes in her blog, pretending pretentious.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Price Increases

Looks like the new fire station and public safety/police station will be costing a wee bit more than originally estimated. The estimated cost of the fire station, according to the Aug. 2007 city council action sheet was $1.25 million. According to the 2009 Community Investment Plan, available at City Hall, the cost is now projected at $1.875. The police station was estimated at $6.2 million, now it's estimated to run about $7.6 million.

I don't remember if the amount generated by the sales tax increase was projected large enough to cover the additional $2 million now needed for these two projects. I hope so, otherwise I see the money coming out of the already endangered general fund.

Labels: , ,

Varsity Update

Email from Cathy field:

Dear Everyone,

I hope you’re enjoying the good publicity we’ve been getting for the Varsity Center for the Arts. Didn’t you think Jack Langowski—chair of the VCA development board—looked especially dashing on the front page of the Southern Illinoisan today?

Jack mentioned this briefly at the public meeting last night, and it’s not news to most members of the Stage Company and Carbondale Community Arts, but here’s a complete list of the VCA development board members. These are the people who have volunteered their time to guide the development and direction of this important community asset, and we are all very grateful for their efforts:

Armen Asaturian
Mayor Brad Cole
David Coracy
Catherine Field
William C. Hinde
P. Michael Kimmel, Esq.
Dr. John F. Langowski, Jr.
Dr. Peter J. Pirmann
President Glen W. Poshard
Jo Poshard
Dr. Marsha Ryan
Stephen Schauwecker

Dr. Blanche Carlton Sloan

At the Varsity this week, we’re continuing to find areas where a little “light demolition” (Jack’s phrase) is needed. We’re scraping epoxy paint off masonry walls (a zen-like experience once you’re an adept) and chipping linoleum off the terrazzo flooring (not so much). Also, Mike Hanes has folks sorting movie posters and diagramming/inventorying all those hundreds of lightbulbs in the marquee, ultimately to be replaced with newer digital ones.

The builders have been framing out the dressing rooms at the northwest end of the building. General work hours continue to be 9-11 Wednesday & Saturday mornings, and the builders continue to keep to their Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday 9-3 schedule.

You may have seen the salvage workers haul away the old dead boiler from the basement this week, making more space available. Space is good.

Many people have inquired about opportunities to paint, of which there should be plenty. Once the drywallers have been in to mud & tape, we will be needing painters. Most definitely!

Cathy Field


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Steve & Barry's Bankruptcy

Steve & Barry's filed for bankruptcy on July 9th. 172 management positions were cut immediately and the company is considering selling off some or all of its assets to pay off its debt. The company blames it's problems on the economy and, yes, the media, but apparent a bigger problem was the company's reliance on hefty payments from malls to locate there. As the payments from the malls slackened the profits on $6 t-shirts weren't enough to make up the difference. This comment posted by an apparent S&B ex-employee is indicative of the management problems of the company (if true):

The first indication that I had was that the St. Louis area store that I was assigned to train at was a three story, 142,000 square foot space. The ground floor was basically empty with loosely thrown together warehouse space in the corner, and the top floor had been previously used as a sales floor, but the store did not drive enough sales to keep it open. So, of the 142,000 square feet, only about 50,000 were even used.

Secondly, because they had no real way to track inventory, I had to spend a few weeks packging and shipping out truckloads of inventory to other stores, only to have the exact same products show up on our receiving dock the very next day. I was told that this was a weekly occurence, and that I might as well get used to it. You have to sell quite a few t-shirts at $6 each to make up for the $3,000 per truck freight bill.

Labels: ,

Git Sum Update

In response to Davex' s request (plus I like Indian food), I stopped off at Git Sum yesterday afternoon. Had to ask what the hours are (11-8) as they weren't posted anywhere I saw. The menu is limited to about half a dozen entrees, including currys and marsalas, and drinks. Price is $4.99 for a good sized meal, including rice, and everything is packaged to go. Service was fast, I got my food in under 5 minutes. There's no place to sit unless you want to walk over to Friendship Park next door. You do have to get out of the car and walk up to order, as they've sealed shut the drive up window. They do have their menu on the drive up menu board, with a lot more stuff on it than is on the menu by the ordering window, you just can't order from it.

It looks as if word has gotten around about the place as I saw another group going up to the order window as I was leaving.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

State Park Cuts

As this article in the Southern points out, the proposed budget cuts funding for Illinois state parks by bout $14 million, which could severely impact current state parks, which are already underfunded. I know the Old Slave House over by Equality, a state historic property, has been closed since the state acquired it due to lack of funding.

Unfortunately, Americans are visiting our national and state parks less and less. According to this article from the Economist, visits to parks have dropped by 11% since their high point in the early 1990.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

BMX Track

Got curious about the abandoned BMX track behind Evergreen Terrace so asked the Park Board about it Several years ago, some community members interested in having a BMX track in Carbondale approached the board about building one. They raised money for it and built it, with the Park Board agreeing, by contract, to provide the land and maintain it.

Shortly after the park was built, the driving force (and chief fundraiser) behind the track moved out of the area and no-one else stepped up to the plate to keep working on it. Since it was not a high priority for the Park Board at the time, coupled with declining interest in the track, when the contract expired three or 4 years later, the on-site trailer was removed and the park abandoned. The current board is interested in suggestions on what to do with the property but I believe there are minimal funds, if any, available from the Park District to implement any ideas.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Carbondale/Jackson County Income

I was doing some research on Carbondale and found the Census Bureau doesn't think Carbondale deserved to get counted as a single city, or else the city is so large that it dominates the rest of Jackson County. Anyhow, the only quick stats available are for Jackson County, including Murphysboro, as a whole. Populations dropped about 3% since 2000 and non-farm employment has dropped about 3% as well.

The thing I was intersted in was median income. Jackson County's in 2004 was $27.700 for a family of 4, while Illinois' was $47,700, reflecting the impact of the Second City on the state. Jackson County's median income is waaaay below the national median of $47,800, with about 20% of residents living below the national poverty line.

Labels: ,

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Git Sum Indian Restaurant

I see this has opened with out much fanfare in the old Rally's/Sambucca Joe's location on South Illinois across from 710 Bookstore. The banner that was hanging on the side of the building indicates some connection with the Indian restaurant located inside the Horizon Inn. Hope it manages to hang on longer than Glassy Junction did.

Labels: ,

Sales Taxes Short

According to this article in today's Southern, even with this year's sales tax increase, the city is coming up about $440,000 short in projected revenues for fiscal year 2008. While the difference can be made up out of the general fund, the city's pension funds are also underfunded and will reduce the general fund by about $4 million over the next few years. This year's sales tax increase was not designed to add revenue to the general fund, but rather to pay for needed improvements to the city: fire station, police departments, greenway improvements, SIUC sports complex. If the economy keeps heading south, we can expect to see the general fund take major hits to pay for keeping pensions at the mandated level.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, July 19, 2008


If you've noticed the white arrows marking damaged spots on sidewalks over the past couple of months, those spots are slated for repair this summer. Bidding on the repair work should be completed within the next week or so with repairs schedule for completion within five weeks after that. So budgeted sidewalk work for the year should be done by the end of August.

Labels: ,

Friday, July 18, 2008

Prevation Commission Meeting

This Monday Night at 7 p.m. Looks like the Tuscan Lodge is the main thing on the agenda:

1. Roll Call

2. Approval of Minutes - June 16, 2008 (attached)

3. Communication and Reports:

Education and Technical Assistance Committee

• Pamela Hackbart-Dean, Director of Special Collections Research Center at SIUC

4. Old Business:

Tuscan Lodge

5. New Business:

CLG Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2008 (attached)

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

7. Adjournment


Council violates Open Meetings law

What does C'dale's blogging community think of this? According to The Southern Mayor shut off recorder during closed session "for less than a minute. ... Reached by phone, Cole said the city has a strong track record of adhering to the Open Meetings Act and that the infraction is one minor incident.

'This was a self-reported minor infraction and has been fully resolved with the attorney general's office,' he said."

Can't help but wonder what was said during those secret seconds.

Blackwell Thomas reports, "the discussion not recorded pertained to possible litigation concerning Vaught, whose job duties include keeping recordings of city council meetings.

"The mayor believed that this put the city in the untenable position of having a possible litigant having access to all confidential deliberations by the council.'"

Thursday, July 17, 2008


This place is finally open. According to the hours of operation sign on the front door, the Diner is closed Monday and Tuesday, open 11-8 Thursday through Friday, 5-8 on Saturday and 11-3 for after church brunch on Sunday.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tuscan and Horizon Updates

Checked with the city's Tom Grant regarding the status of these two buildings and the demolishing orders for both apparently are on hold. The Horizon was tested for mold last week and the owners of the Tuscan Lodge had obtains the services of an architect to evaluate the building (yet again).

Not sure about the Horizon Inn but I recall the Tuscan Lodge building was evaluated back in the 1990's and the estimate was in excess of six figures, close to seven, to make the building habitable. I remember hearing some talk of a company's plans to purchase the Tuscan building, gut it but maintain the facade, and convert it to offices. Doesn't look as if anything has come of that, though.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Crime of the Week

On 07/02/2008 at 4:41 p.m., the City of Carbondale Police Department responded to 1400 W. Main (Gem and Jewelry) in reference to a report of a theft over $300.00. Upon arrival, officers learned that a white male stole a white gold ring containing three diamonds and fled east from the store on foot. The male was described as being about 35 years old, 508/140, short brown course hair, wearing a black t-shirt with an unknown design. The male spoke with a "Southern Accent".

The City of Carbondale Police is asking anyone who has information about this case to contact the Carbondale Police Department at (618) 457-3200 or the Crime Stoppers line at (618) 549-COPS (2677) where callers can remain anonymous. Anonymous tips can also be made on-line by visiting the City of Carbondale Police website at

Information which leads to an arrest in this case...Or any other case...You may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000...Call 549-COPS...That's 549-2677... And remember...You never have to give your name!


Jack's Burgers

As Dave mentions, Councilman Lance Jack has cut his ties with the Lick Creek General Store (which in turn has cut ties with its website) and is looking to open up a burger place somewhere in downtown C'dale. He's somewhat circumspect as to the locations he's looking at since he's working with partners and nothing's been confirmed yet.

Labels: ,

Monday, July 14, 2008

John Simon Obituaries

Did anyone else notice that the obituaries for John Simon in both the DE and the Southern failed to mention the problems he was having with the university in the last few months of his life? It took a less local source to bring up the dispute he was having with SIUC and that the Ulysses S. Grant Association had voted to sever ties with SIUC in support of Dr. Simon:

In the last months of his life, Mr. Simon was embroiled in a campus controversy when he was accused of verbally harassing three women employed by the Ulysses S. Grant Association and the university library, where the association has its offices. Mr. Simon was the executive director of the association, which seeks financing for historical research and provides research services for the Grant project.

He disputed the accusations, and in support of him, the association’s board voted to sever its ties with Southern Illinois and seek another university partner. A reconciliation that would have allowed Mr. Simon to return to teaching at Southern Illinois was being negotiated at his death, said the association’s president, Chief Justice Frank J. Williams of the Rhode Island Supreme Court.

Labels: ,

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Problems at Steve and Barrys

A reader (thanks Ed) reminded me of the financial difficulties that REALLY discounted clothing chain Steve and Barry's is having. Rudi Keller, business reporter for the SE Misourian, was unable to get any info as to the status of the S&B in Cape Girardeau. This Wall Street Journal article says the company plans to close about a hundred stores and is looking to raise about $40 million is emergency financing to get through the holiday season. This AP article indicates the firm is working with a bankruptcy adviser to negotiate with lenders and evaluate strategies.

If the Carbondale S&B closes, that leaves another huge hole in the mall, since nothing has replaced K's Merchandise yet. I wonder what, if any, incentives S&B got from the city. Anyone know or do I need to contact the city?

Edited to correct my error confusing K's Merchandise and Service Merchandise.

Labels: , ,

Missed Bucky's Birthday Yesterday?

Me too! But you can still help celebrate the birthday of one of the greatest thinkers ever to live in Carbondale by helping to cover the $15,0000 it's going to cost to cover general expenses at the dome this year. Ya know, it wouldn't have been a bad idea for the Dome Crew to have set up a display at the Wine and Art Festival with a dome cake and raised some money that way. People with wine in them tend to get more generous. I saw representatives for WDBX and Obama '08 with tables there earlier in the day (Heads up if you go to the Obama'08 site. He starts talking as soon as you get there).


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Wine and Art Festival

Got to the Carbondale Wine and Art Festival about 9 p.m. in time to help pull down tents and chairs at 10. It was still pretty crowded but the crowd was pretty mellow, with only half a dozen people up dancing to the Ivas John Band. The rest seemed happy to wander from booth to booth, sampling and buying, or sitting at the tables, sipping and chatting. A much more relaxed event than evening at the Carbondale Pig Out.

The artist's pavilion was pretty quiet but then it was getting dark, the time of day when people are wanting to drink wine and listen to music, rather than buy art. The pavilion was a block away from the wine tasting area and I heard a couple of complaints about that. However, since only one artist brought a test and Main Street's limited number of tents were used by the various wineries that also didn't bring their own, the pavilion was the best solution to keep them out of the sun, rather than let them bake on the asphalt all afternoon. I did hear the guy who did the collages, at least, was quite happy with his sales.

I heard attendees were already asking when the next W&A Festival would be and urging Main Street to host one twice a year. Main Street, from what I understand, was hoping for 500-600 attendees. Rough estimates last night, after the staff had been on their feet several hours, were between 800-900. Pretty successful, esp. for an event that relied on WOM and publicity to get the word out, since the ad budget had been spent on promoting the May date for the event.

Labels: , ,

Friday, July 11, 2008

Stage Company and Varsity

The Stage Company STILL wants you:

A busy week, so this must be brief:

1. Come to the Varsity to work. Wednesdays & Saturdays from nine to eleven are the general volunteer work hours; the volunteer building crew works on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, from nine to three.
2. Go to see “The Producers” at McLeod Theater, opening this weekend. Fun is good.
3. The Stage Company’s general membership meeting is Wednesday, July 16, 7:00 at the Mississippi Flyway. We’ve got some voting to do, so y’all come.

Cathy Field

Labels: ,

Summer Youth Work Program

Got someone hanging around the house between the ages of 13 and 22? Then Gov. Blago wants you/him/her to work for the city or providing transportation fo Illinois for the summer. C'dale is one of three cities in southern Illinois participating in the program here's the email:


Family Advocacy Services has been notified by the Governor Blagojevich's staff that Carbondale is one of three southern Illinois cities selected to provide summer employment opportunities to 50 youth. Family Advocacy Services, through its Youth Empowerment Services (Y.E.S.) Center, was designated as the non-profit agency which will oversee this program in Carbondale. The Y.E.S. Center is located at Hopewell Church, 400 E. Main Street in Carbondale.

The Illinois SYWP seeks to provide employment opportunities for youth in underserved communities across the state, as a means of engaging them in positive activities.

During this two-month period, youth will gain community development skills including: leadership training, project management, life skills and other service related experience which impact the quality of community life. The primary focus of this initiative is to institute new opportunities for youth development in Illinois. It is anticipated that this relatively short-term experience will have a long-term, positive affect on the lives participants involved in this initiative to prepare them for the world of work.

Scope of Employment Opportunities

The summer youth employment program will employ youth from ages 13 to 15 years old, 16 to 18 years old, and 19 to 22 years old, who will be placed employments. They will perform duties these duties:

1. Community Service is designed for youth who are 13 to 15 years. Youth in this category will be solely responsible for helping with the development or design of community service projects with their peers. They will pledge to remain positive and display good behavior while they accumulate valuable work experiences. Participants are expected to work ten to 15 hours per week for eight-weeks. At the culmination of this program each person youth will receive a $250 stipend for

their participation and commitment.

2. Community Development Projects are for youth ages 16 to 18 years old, which will perform work experiences including: office and clerical duties, youth-to-youth tutoring, mentoring, community beautification projects, gardening and eight days of life skills training. Participants will be expected to plan, develop and implement projects for eight weeks. Youth in this category will be paid $8 an

hour at 20 hours per week.

3. Transportation Related Career Opportunities Placements are for youth ages 19 to 22 years old who will work perform duties as interns with companies that provide transportation-related services to the Illinois Department of Transportation. The youth will earn $10 per hour for 25 hours per week.

Eligibility Guidelines for Youth Participants

1. To be eligible for the Summer Youth Works Program (SYWP), the family income must be less than 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Level or $63,600 annually for a family of four.

2. SYWP youth must live within the designated community.

3. SYWP youth must be the appropriate age (13 to 22 years of age).

4. SYWP Providers are responsible for reviewing and maintaining records and documentation for criteria eligibility.

Should you choose to participate, I would need to know the number of youth you could hire per age group, the start date and time, and a brief job description for the positions.

The deadline to place youth in these positions is July 17. However, we would like to start as early as next Monday.

Labels: ,

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Varsity Center for the Arts

The wonderful people at CCA and the Stage Company are asking you (Yes, you) to help them plan the future of the "Varsity Center for the Arts" by meeting at the Civic Center at 7 p.m. on July 23. Here's your invitation (Thanks to Roxanne Conley):

Carbondale Community Arts and the Jackson County Stage Company are working together to envision a future Varsity Center for the Arts” that can serve as an anchor for downtown Carbondale and a resource for area civic, art, and cultural entities.

To help determine the community needs and wants, we began by launching an assessment of the space and public access needs (as well as wants, hopes, and dreams) of area artists, presenters and civic organizations through a short survey. Over 95 copies of the survey were distributed throughout our community by e-mail and regular mail.

In addition, a review of all available prior studies and surveys
relating to downtown redevelopment since 1984 was conducted to
determine community support for an arts center in downtown Carbondale.

With these preliminaries completed, we would like to open up the process to everyone in the community: give us your ideas, your hopes, and your dreams in regard to the transformation of the old Varsity Theater into the “Varsity Center for the Arts.”

Please join us Wednesday, July 23
7-9 PM
at the Carbondale Civic Center.

At that time we invite you to share your ideas about how to best enable the “Varsity Center for the Arts” to live up to its name! We hope to also provide updates on progress to date by the Stage Company and the Varsity Center for the Arts.

It’s a time for all of us to come together and plan for our future and the future of downtown


Labels: , ,

Allen Gill

As Dave mentioned, I had the opportunity to speak briefly with new city manger Allen Gill at the the CCoC sponsored reception for him at True Value last night.

I was struck by his interest in downtown C'dale, especially his emphasis on the unique restaurants there. He commented, and I'm paraphrasing, that people expect to see an Appleby's, a McDonald's and a Buffalo Wild Wings in a larger community and eat at them because they are consistent in the quality of the food they provide. However, it's the unique restaurants (and stores), the Harbaugh's, the Tres Hombres, the Mary Lou's and Corner Diner's, of a community that provide food you won't/can't find at Ruby Tuesday's or Lone Star.

Labels: , ,


Interesting thread of comments regarding academic quality at SIUC on the DE's website, though I found some of the language annoying. I understand how obscenities can slip out in heated conversation but when you're typing them out...? Anyhow the last few posts regarding customer service (or lack thereof) at SIUC (and Carbondale as a whole) were pretty sad. Brought to mind a conversation I had with a business owner (long since closed) in town about 15 years ago who commented they liked the students' money but wished the students themselves would go away. Maybe that attitude is why they're a long since closed business?

Hat tip to Peter the Great.

Labels: ,

Noted blogger notes passing of Noted Historian

Moved by the passing of one of C'dale's giants, former local blogger Peter Gregory revives his C'dale biz blog to shed some dark light on the recent passing of noted historian, scholar John Y. Simon.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Power of Rumor

Apparently, the rumor that the now closed Mugsy's was looking into the Crainville Pioneer's Cabin location as a place to relocate to has really hurt the restaurant's business. Heck, I even mentioned the rumor here. According to this article, business at the restaurant has dropped by half since the story started circulating.

Labels: , ,

Image Architects

With the number of businesses suddenly closing in town, I was glad to get the following from a blog reader reminding me there are businesses in Carbondale that have been here for years, decades even, and that sh be here for years to come.

Image Architects (originally Garrison Jones Architects), has been in constant business since 1960. They started in the old Bank of Carbondale Building, which was torn down last year (the Stage Company), moved across to Bening Square and eventually down to their current location at 1118 W Main. Mr. Garrison retired some years ago and sold the firm to John Parkinson and his partner, but Mr. Jones still works there part time in his retirement years. They've done schools and all types of commercial and educational buildings all over southern Illinois.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Rendleman Orchards is now open for the summer fruit season. The sign in front of the store says Peaches are now available but the schedule on the website says not until next week. If you remember, last year we got no peaches due to the freeze, this year looks pretty good.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Horizon Inn Demolishment Order

If you want to stay at the Horizon Inn, better do so quickly as the order to repair or demolish it takes effect at the close of business this Wed. The order was issued last May 12 and, according to this story from the Southern, the roof is collapsing in some places, mold is covering the walls of some rooms, and there's fungus growing from the carpet of others. I've gotten copes of the pictures taken at the time of the inspection and boy does the place look bad: Broken windows, holes in walls, flooded rooms, doors falling off hinges, ceilings collapsing.

The owner is a company called Carbondale Hospitality LLC out of Morris Plains NJ but no indication of how many other holdings, if any, the company has in the C'dale area.

Incidentally, according to another Southern article, the Tuscan Lodge was issued a repair or demolish order at the same time.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, July 6, 2008

This just in--

Pagliai’s is still frakkin' delicious. Pizza is a pretty big deal in my life, and I'm always happy to go out for a slice or three-- hadn't been to Pag's for a while, mostly on account of my extreme happiness with Marcello's Pizza in Chester.

Anyways, my little group ordered a lovely extra-cheese and garlic on the thick 'n crispy... along with a vegetarian special on the chewy thick crust. Great food, nice big drinks, and naturally saved gas by not driving to Chester.

Marcello's still gets my vote for best pizza in Southern Illinois, though-- yummy garlic butter with fresh spinach on a veggie pie sets 'em over the top in my opinion.

So let's talk pizza, 'cause I'm sorta bored with everything in Carbondale closing, etc. Feel free to leave vehement comments about your favorite Southern Illinois pizza (current, historical, whatever) and where to get it. Call out a favorite waitress! Gripe about the bathroom-- it's all game.

(And yes, that's Pizza Head above. Remember him?)

Labels: , , , , , ,

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Wine and Art Fair: Take Two

Carbondale Main Street will (hopefully) sponsor a Wine and Art Fair next Friday from 4 to 10 p.m. The fair was originally scheduled for last May but was canceled the afternoon of the event due to forecasted bad weather. All ten of the Shawnee Wine Trail wineries are scheduled to be there with music by Sharon Clark in the afternoon and the Ivas John Band in the evening.

Labels: , ,

Friday, July 4, 2008

Wanna Buy a Bookstore?

One of the (unnamed) bookstores in downtown is for sale. Rent sounds way too low to be 710 so my guess would be Book World, which just got remodeled with moderate amounts of fanfare last year. From the Carbondale Main Street website:

Business for sale - Bookstore - No Real Estate included.

Remodled Bookstore in business for over 15 years. 1600 sf. All fixtures included (computer excepted). Month to month lease is $1,300. Convenient parking. Steps from Southern Illinois University and a short walk to downtown. Asking $75,000. Contact Chris Sisulak, Cantury 21: (618) 457-3344.


Indian Restaurant Coming downtown

Looks like the Indian restaurant (Jewel of India) that was located in the Horizon Inn on East Main is moving into the Sambucca Joe's/Rally's building across from Attitude Designs. I see the banner that was hanging on the Horizon Inn sign is now on the wall of the Sambucca Joe's building and there's work being done on the inside.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Warehouse Shoes

Doesn't look as if West Freeman is a very inhospitable place for retail right now. I see a For Lease sign in the Warehouse Shoes storefront at 206 West Freeman.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Counterfeit Currency

Just received this email warning about counterfeit $20s circulating in the area:

Carbondale Police Department

Crime of the Week 06-30-08

The City of Carbondale Police Department would like to warn businesses and citizens of counterfeit bills being circulated in the area.

The Carbondale Police Department has received information about businesses receiving counterfeit currency. Between June 28th, 2008 and June 30th , 2008 the Carbondale Police Department received four reports of counterfeit twenty dollar ($20.00) bills. The bills were not copied onto genuine U.S. currency paper, but appeared to be genuine until closer examination of the bills was made. The serial number CF57575993 was on three (3) of the recovered bills and the serial number AA29324704F was on two (2) of the bills.

The Carbondale Police Department encourages citizens and businesses to verify bills they receive to be genuine. The Police Department also requests citizens to be patient with businesses as they verify suspected counterfeit currency. If you receive counterfeit U.S. Currency, immediately contact your local police department.

If you have any information about the counterfeit currency please contact the Carbondale Police Department at (618) 457-3200 or the Crime Stoppers line at (618) 549-COPS (2677) where callers can remain anonymous. Tips can also be made via the internet by visiting


Carbondale Ragwear Closing?

The Ragwear location at 210 West Freeman looks like it may be closing or getting ready to move. Though there's still merchandise inside, the displays are out of the windows and the signs have come down from the door (though the big sign is still on the roof). The big "For Lease" sign in the window is also a pretty good clue the store is leaving the location.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Why The Train Inn?

Got curious as to why the Train Inn was viewed as a historic property and city planner Chris Wallace was kind enough to send me the staff report:

Paul Lewers has submitted the required petition for the nomination of The Train Inn located at 406
East Stoker, to the Carbondale Register of Historic Places.
The Preservation Commission is required to conduct a public hearing to hear testimony from the
owner, staff, other interested parties, expert witnesses and any written comments submitted prior to
or during the hearing. The Commission shall make a Finding of Fact with regard to the criteria for
nomination, the district boundaries, and the design guidelines, and shall also make a
recommendation to the City Council. The nomination is then reviewed by the City Council and
approved by ordinance if the designation is granted.
Attached for the Commission's review are the proposed district boundaries (Exhibit A), the
Preservation District Nomination Form for the property, and photos of the subject property.
The Train Inn located at 406 East Stoker Street is one of the few surviving home’s located in Block
4 of Hester and Stoker’s addition. The subdivision was platted in 1902 by a Mr. George Kennedy,
Jr., and construction of new homes began shortly thereafter. The Train Inn was constructed in 1905
as part of the Arts and Crafts movement. The Arts and Crafts movement was the first phase of the
modern movement (1900-1940) in domestic architecture in the United States. The home is an
excellent example of the Craftsman Style, inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement, which began
in Southern California around 1903 and quickly spread. Due to the age of the home it was certainly
one of the earliest examples of the Craftsman style in Carbondale. According to the owner, around
1960 Southern Illinois University offered each home owner on the block $10,000 for their property.
Mr. Vernon Biggs, the owner at the time, was the only home owner to refuse the offer. Thus leaving
what would become a great example of American architecture.
The home contains wood clapboard siding, an asphalt shingle roof, and the exposed front porch
typically associated with the Craftsman style. On the inside the home maintains the original tongue
and groove walls with a refurbished Mission Style oak staircase. The interior was refinished by
exposing the original interior wood, and refinishing without the use of paint or overlaying material.
A.) Criteria For Designation:
The property satisfies the following criteria for designation (Section 15-2D-1.D of the
Preservation District regulations):
d. Its embodiment of distinguishing characteristics of an architectural and/or landscape
style valuable for the study of a period, type, method of construction or use of
indigenous materials;
f. Its overall embodiment of elements of design, detailing, materials or craftsmanship
which renders it architecturally significant;
h. Its unique location or singular physical characteristics that makes it an established or
familiar visual feature.
B.) Proposed District Boundaries:
The proposed Landmark District includes property commonly referred to as 406 East Stoker
Street, as outlined in Exhibit A.
C.) Recommended Design Standards:
The Nomination and Hardship Review Committee's recommended Design Standards for The
Train Inn at 406 East Stoker Street are as follows:
1. U.S. Secretary of Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation.
2. Architectural Preservation Guidelines (City of Carbondale, 1996)
1) Staff recommends the Preservation Commission accept the Findings of Fact as
described in Parts A, B, and C of the staff report.
2) Staff recommends that the Preservation Commission recommend approval of PD 07-
02, The Train Inn, as a Landmark District on the Carbondale Register of Historic

Labels: ,

Train Inn

In case you're free around 3;30 tomorrow, Paul Lewers is scheduled to receive a plaque recognizing the Train Inn's addition to the Carbondale Registry of Historic Places. Here's the email:

The City of Carbondale Preservation Commission will present Paul Lewers, owner of The Train Inn located at 406 East Stoker Street, a plaque in recognition of The Train Inn's recent designation to the Carbondale Register of Historic Places. The presentation will be held on Wednesday July 2, 2008 at 3:30p.m. at The Train Inn, 406 East Stoker. Everyone is invited to attend.


Tattoo You

In the ever shifting world of Carbondale tattoo parlours, Eternal Arts Tattoo, located in the old Associated Artists Gallery space at 715 S. University is undergoing a name and tattoo artist change to Artistic Minds Tattoo. Looks like there will be a couple of new artists working there, names John and Bruno.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]