Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mayor Cole Walks on the Wild Side

And on the dangerous side of Carbondale, according to the commenters here. Kevlar vest anyone? I think it was a good thing for Mayor Cole to do and I'd like to see him, or other city council members, walk in that area more often to listen to concerns of the residents. It shouldn't take a shooting to get the city's attention.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Rep. Costello Votes NO!

Here's Rep. Costello's reasoning for voting against the bailout

I wanted to share with you the statement I released today following the House vote on the economic bailout bill.

“I voted against this unprecedented bailout because we are moving too quickly to rush this proposal through and have not adequately considered other approaches to solving the problem of bad debt and tight credit. I have not been convinced that it is imperative we act right now, or that this proposal will solve the problem as indicated. In fact, numerous economists insist that the Paulson approach will not work. And I resent being told by the investment bankers in the Bush administration and on Wall Street - the very people that have railed against government oversight in the financial industry for years - that the taxpayers must come to their rescue. What is essential is that Wall Street help pay for any program to heal the economy. $700 billion is too much to ask taxpayers to bear without a requisite sacrifice from the industry that bears much of the responsibility for bringing us to this point. Now that the bill has failed, we should remain calm and proceed to consider other alternatives."


Jerry F. Costello
12th District of Illinois

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Bailout Fails

In case you haven't been following it with baited breath, the $700 billion bailout vote failed in the House today 228 to 205, despite last minute arm twisting by the White House. About 2/3 of Republicans and 40% of Democrats voted against it. House Minority Leader John Boehner blamed the failure on a speech by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying it was so partisan that it"poisoned our conference, casuing a number of memebers we thought we could get to go south". Talk about blowing smoke. Most House memebers wanted the thing to pass, so it looked like they were doing something but didn't want to vote for it, since the American public is so opposed to the bailout.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Planning Commission

In case you find yourself without any paint drying to watch on Wed, the Planning Commission meets at 7 p.m. in the Civic Center. The main things on the agenda are rezoning requests for 110 East Oak and 1100 Black Diamond Drive.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Two Que

As noted in today's Southern, and mentioned in the comments, the new Southern Que joint opened up about3 blocks away from were anther, unknown as of yet, barbeque place will be opening at the corner of Wall and Grand. doubt if two BBQ places will survive that close to one another but we'll see. At least, it's nice to see Larry's getting some competition.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Sounds Like Fired to Me

The DE has more on the Simon affair. Chancellor Goldman say taht Prof. Simon was never relaly fired:

"He was never fired," Goldman said. "You know the line, 'Until the fat lady sings, nothing happens.' Well, until I render a decision, nothing matters really. Then that decision stands."

However, this statement by interim Provost Don Rice sounds pretty clear to me:

In the letter, Rice wrote, "As Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor, I am responsible for making assessments that affect the University as a whole. I understand and accept that you will be disappointed by my decision and, of course, I regret having to communicate the outcome of my review to you. However, please know that I wish you well in your future endeavors."

According to the article, if SIUC's faculty union had not filed a grievance on Prof. Simon's firing within 10 days, Provost Rice's decision would have been final. The references to offers and counteroffers made at the June 10th hearing sure don't sound like "working through a good, amiicable resolution", nor does it indicate there was "no question Simon would continue teaching on campus".

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

TIF property sale pending

Riding to work this morning I noticed this sign that the remaining portion of Southern Bank's TIF District property has been sold, or rather, the sale is 'pending'.

I wonder what business it will be? Anyone care to spill the beans or speculate?
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


It looks like Southern Illinois Acupuncture has moved into the old dentist's office at the corner of Oak and N. University. Nice to see a business involving needles in town that doesn't also involve inks.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Rep Costello on Bailout

Rep. Jerry Costello sent out this email regarding his position on the Bush administriaton's proposal to handle the latest Wall Street mess. If you'd like to call Rep. Costello with your two bits, his local number is 529-3791. FWIW, I like Senator Dodd's proposal, since it provides much more oversight of how the $700 billion would be spend, and called Rep. Costello about it.

I thought you would be interested in seeing the statement I made last Friday, September 19, concerning the proposed legislation to combat the current economic crisis.

“I have participated today in conference calls with Treasury Secretary Paulson, Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke and my colleagues regarding proposals to create a government entity to purchase the bad debt that continues to damage our capital markets and the overall economy. While I support measures taken to insure money market funds, I will reserve judgment on the proposed legislation until we see the details in the coming days.

“I also agree that we must address the immediate problems first, but we cannot lose sight of the fact that there must be accountability in this process. The American people are outraged and don’t understand why their credit rating takes a substantial hit if one mortgage payment is missed, but the CEO and board of an investment bank or a major corporation can bankrupt the company, affecting the entire economy, and walk away with millions in severance payments. If more taxpayer dollars are to be extended, there should be major reform of executive pay, particularly golden parachutes; stronger oversight of our markets and a thorough Justice Department review of the events of the last several years to see if criminal charges are warranted, as happened to officials at Enron. It seems clear that big business has proven incapable of self-regulation, and we must remember that as we consider this legislation.
“More than anything we need a return to basic common sense. Americans are already facing $2.6 trillion in consumer debt. We need to stop offering an endless supply of credit cards and risky home loans to people who cannot afford them. As we move forward, we need to make sure that the safety net that apparently knows no bounds for Wall Street is extended to the rest of the American people.”


Jerry F. Costello
12th District of Illinois

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Wissmann's In

Councilman Chris Wissmann just emailed out the following PR announcing he wants to sit at the council table for another 4 years

Carbondale City Councilman Chris Wissmann Seeks Reelection

For Immediate Release

Carbondale City Councilman Chris Wissmann officially announced his candidacy for reelection today.
Chris Wissmann, elected in 2003 to a two-year term and reelected in 2005 to a full four-year term, has identified several issues where city-council action can continue to move Carbondale in a positive, progressive direction:
Violent crime: The Carbondale City Council, with support from Chris Wissmann, has taken steps to improve public safety by voting to expand and reorganize the police department to better and more quickly respond to criminal activity. The council, led in part by Chris Wissmann, has also voted to increase the monetary rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of perpetrators of unsolved crimes. Chris Wissmann, however, believes that families and neighborhoods can bring to bear enormous influences that could well prevent crime in the first place- by looking after each other and instilling in individuals a sense of personal responsibility to and respect for the community. The city can play a stronger and more proactive role in helping citizens organize neighborhood associations and watch groups, and otherwise empowering them to make their own city safer.
Ameren and energy: As if environmental considerations aren't enough, Chris Wissmann believes that recent, prolonged power outages and Ameren's unjustifiable and painful rate increases require that Carbondale explore incentives to help make promising residential alternative-energy technologies more affordable and widespread.
Job retention and attraction: Between globalization and the information age, the nature of work in the United States is changing, and with broadband-connected home computers the very term "place of employment" is becoming obsolete. As manufacturing jobs leave America, and consolidation in the retail sector results in a decreasing pool of companies available to enter Carbondale, Chris Wissmann believes that the city needs to foster the development of smaller, home-based and service employers. Chris Wissmann cites as a good example the Artist Relocation Project in Paducah, Kentucky, which has transformed a concentration of dangerous slums into a vibrant neighborhood that significantly contributes to that city's economy and great reputation. Pursuing such businesses may require alterations to Carbondale's zoning code and the increased granting of variances and special uses- often controversial in Carbondale, but changes that Chris Wissmann feels our citizens may need to accept if they want better job opportunities in the city.
Comprehensive Plan review and rewrite: While this may not sound like an exciting issue, the next Comprehensive Plan will create a blueprint for how Carbondale changes and grows during the next decade or more. Chris Wissmann believes that the city should consider dropping its suburban-style zoning and explore what is often called the New Urbanism: more walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods with small businesses integrated into residential districts.
SIU enrollment: It is the university's responsibility to expand. Chris Wissmann also believes it is the city's responsibility to create a safe but fun and enriching off-campus environment for students. As a city almost entirely dependent on university students for its economic well-being and cultural enrichment, Chris Wissmann believes that finding ways to assist SIU's growth is in Carbondale's best interests, perhaps by assisting SIU in marketing the community to prospective students.
Government-television programming: Chris Wissmann believes that the city needs to expand programming on its GOV-16 cable-television channel to address and provide information about community issues ranging from home and personal safety to landlord-tenant-neighborhood relations to various city programs. The city can do this by working with SIU professors and students to provide practical learning opportunities while receiving low-cost programming.

If thirteen or more candidates file for the three open City Council positions, a primary will take place Tuesday, February 24, 2009. The Consolidated Election takes place April 7, 2009.
For more information about Chris Wissmann's reelection campaign, please call him at home at (618) 549-2653 or email him at <nightlif@midwest.net>. Please do not call him at his place of work.

First-term Accomplishments:
Yes to new jobs in the TIF district.
Yes to a pioneering antidiscrimination ordinance covering sexual orientation.
Yes to owner-occupied new-home construction incentives.
Yes to preferences for local bidders.
Yes to saving the Eurma Hayes Center's daycare center.
No to Enterprise Zone expansion for low-wage employers.

Second-term Accomplishments
Yes to expanding and reorganizing the police force.
Yes to community-cleanup and summer-jobs programs.
Yes to incentives to convert rental units to owner-occupied homes.
Yes to the rental-property inspection program.
Yes to the city's truancy ordinance.
Yes to strict new animal-control provisions.
No to increases in tow-truck fees.

Chris Wissmann's Campaign Biography
Chris Wissmann, who won election to the Carbondale City Council in April 2003, was born in Carbondale in June 1969 at the old Holden Hospital.
When Chris was born, his father, Jack, was completing his bachelor degree at SIU (his mother, Kay, was a 1962 alumna). The Wissmanns wanted to stay in Carbondale to raise their family- but as with so many others, Jack and Kay could not find decent work opportunities in Carbondale. They were forced to relocate to the Chicago area, then north-central Illinois, to raise Chris and their second son, Aaron.
Chris returned to Carbondale to attend SIU in 1987, and has remained a Carbondale resident ever since. While still a college junior, Chris cofounded the Nightlife newspaper in 1990, which he continues to edit and co-own. Chris earned his radio/television degree in 1991.
All of Chris's immediate family- Chris, his parents, and his brother Aaron- graduated from SIU.
Chris married SIU alum Jesslyn Jobe in 1999. They own their own home on Walkup Avenue, where the happy couple live with their German wire-haired pointer, Cappuccino "Cappy" Latté.
In addition to working to improve the community through his work on the city council and his editorship of Nightlife, Chris serves on the Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale and WIDB boards of directors. He was appointed to the board of the Southern Illinois American Civil Liberties Union in 2003, and has served as a Democrat Precinct Committeeman since 1996.
Chris's primary goal as a Carbondale City Councilman will be to create the opportunities that his parents could not find in Carbondale- jobs with which young families can support themselves. Jobs that allow young families to fulfill the promise offered by an old city slogan: "Carbondale. Make it your home."

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Seems Backwards

Nice to see that Hickory Ridge is doing well, though this seems backwards to me:

So far this year, the district's expenses, including the cost of maintenance, is about $5,000 less than its revenue. Renfro said she sees that gap closing.

"We feel like the projections, over 12 months, the budget will cover expenditures," she said.

Maybe golf course economics is different but if your expenses are $5000 less than revenues, why would you want that gap to close?

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Lance Jack's Burger Bar

Doubt that's the name but catchy isn't it. Anyway, I heard over the weekend that his new place is opening at 701 S. Illinois Ave in the spot occupied for years by Carmen's China House and for months by Adelita's Restaurant. I noticed a banner in front of the building during the Pig Out reading "Hungry? Opening Soon." When I asked about it, I was told it's Jack's new place.

Will it last? Parking is darned inconvenient and you've got lousy visibility coming out of the alley onto S. Illinois. However, Carmen's did well there for twenty years, so it can support a restaurant. Success really depends on if the burgers are good enough to draw traffic to the area and if he stays open late enough to take advantage of the evening bar traffic. Since Rally's/ Zipp's closed many moons ago, there're no places specializing in either good or fast burgers in downtown.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

City Council Members Unsure

According to this article, none of the three city council members up for re-election have decided to run for reelection. I spoke to Councilman Fritzler at the Pig Out over the weekend. and he confirmed that he hadn't decided whether to run again or not. I find it bemusing that he ran for a council position twice before actually making it and now he's thinking about stepping down after only one term.

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Capitalism - Can you Digg it?

One of the Bytelife bloggers' posts is currently headlined on OpEd News, titled "Why Save Capitalism," so I submitted it to DIGG, so others can digg it, too ... http://tiny.cc/3Hp0i.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Rained Out Pig Out

The C'dale Pig Out got off to a wet start yesterday. Josh Plemon and the Lonesome Drifters played their set with not problems and the various tents and BBQ booths looked packed, thought I didn't see many people down dancing while they were playing. Then really nasty storm clouds, which were supposed to head to the south of us, rolled in right over the 710 Boosterstore parking lot about 7:45 and a steady rain started coming down, accompanied by intermittent thunder and lightning.

People stuck it out for awhile, hoping the rain would slack off. I had several of Dennis Stroughmatt & Creole Stomp's fans asking if the band was going to play. All I oculd tell them was the band would still play if the rain quit. However, it kept up until 9:15 or so, and, as the weather reports (the same ones that gave only a 30% chance of rain for the evening) said to expect the rain to continue until about 2 a.m., Main Street decided to call it a night. When I left, John John's BBQ stand was the only vendor open still hoping for a few last customers and there were a few diehards in the beer tent. According to my rain gauge, we got about an inch and a half last night and it looks like it's sprinkling out again, not boding well for today's events. Hopefully, today's weather will be better, thoguth it's sprinkling out slightly as I type this.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Talk Like a Pirate Day

How could I forget? Aaarrr, mateys.

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Pig Out Starts Today

Parking will be in short supply downtown as the annual Carbondale Pig Out closes the 710 parking lot for two days. Expected attendance between 10,000 to 20,000, which is a pretty good sized range. I dont' remember last year's attendance but remember it (and beer consumption) were down from the previous year.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wanna Be a Councilman?

Wissmann's, Fritzler's and McDaniel's seats all come up on the ballot next April. If you want to run, petition forms are available in the City Clerk's office starting today. Now let's shake hands and have a nice clean election:

News Release - For Immediate Release
City of Carbondale, Illinois
City Clerk's Office
September 10, 2008


In April 2009, the City of Carbondale will hold an election to select three City Council Members for four-year terms. Information and petition forms will be available in the City Clerk’s Office beginning on September 16, 2008.
This election is for the seats presently held by Council Members Corene McDaniel, Chris Wissmann and Joel Fritzler. The seats of Mayor Brad Cole and City Council Members Steven Haynes, Lance Jack and Mary Pohlmann expire in 2011. All Council members are elected at-large rather than by wards.
Signed nominating petitions must be submitted to the City Clerk's Office during the statutory filing period of Monday, December 8, through Monday, December 15, 2008. If thirteen or more candidates file for the three City Council positions, a primary election will be held on Tuesday, February 24, 2009. The General Election will be held on April 7, 2009.
The City Clerk's Office is located in Room 165 of City Hall, 200 S. Illinois Avenue. Office hours are 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Phone inquiries may be addressed to City Clerk Janet Vaught at 457-3280 or e-mail inquiries may be sent to jvaught@ci.carbondale.il.us.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

We Made News of the Weird

Found the following in the current News of the Weird:

* Illinois requires all state employees to pass an annual 10-
question, multiple-choice "ethics" test (whose format lends itself to
simplistic answers that, for instance, most college students might
handle easily). In January, state ethics officials declined to accept
the passing grades of 65 Southern Illinois University professors
because they finished "too quickly." Asserted a reviewing state
official, anyone who failed to spend at least 10 minutes on the test
was being unreasonable. [Inside Higher Education, 1-23-08, 5-5-

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

No Conflict

For the first time since the C'dale Pig Out started, it's not on the same weekend as the Murphysboro Apple Festival. Be interesting to see how that affect attendance, since Carbondale Main Street's take on the matter was always that the two events complemented each other rather than conflicted. People would take their families to the Apple Festival during the day, then come to the Pig Out in the evening, I was told. that argument never made much sense to me. If you've spent the day at one festival, you're not likely to go out to another one that evening. We'll see what attendance is like next weekend.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

new banner graphic

Been meaning to replace the old hand writing in notebook graphic to something more "Carbondaley." ... For now, a blow-up of headline from The Southern a couple of years ago. ... I'd like to replace it with a mosaic of many different photos from the local scene: people, places and things from C'dale. If any of you have a favorite local icon of the local you'd like to see in the collage, please post it in a comment. ...

Meanwhile I'm cleaning up the template, ... guess it's time to remove some bloggers' names from the blog roll, some who haven't published here for months, or years. Perhaps some new bloggers will join us. ... Thanks to Scott T. and DaveX for keeping Bytelife biting.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Glad They Changed the Sign

Nice article in the DE on the opening a few weeks ago of the Git Sum restaurant in the old Sambucca Joe's location. I'm glad to see they did paint over the Sambucca Joe's sign as leaving it up was just confusing to customers


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Chancellor Goldman on WSIU

Chancellor Sam Goldman did a 20 minute interview on WSIU this morning. Saluki Way, declining enrollment and the rise of the community college and the Simon affair were all touched on. You can listen to it here.

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Monday, September 8, 2008


Was just reading through the current issue of US News and World Report, the college issue (Sept 1-8). Inside, I found a full page ad for SIUE touting the excellence of their faculty and the university's ranking among the top univeristies in the country, esp. for master's degrees. I thought SIUC was the research university?

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Sunday, September 7, 2008

New BBQ Place Coming

I see there's construction inside the now closed Silver Screen Video and Tanning spot in the strip mall at the corner of Grand and Wall. Sign in the window says the "Family BBQ House" is coming. Didn't see if an estimated opening date was posted.

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Saturday, September 6, 2008

East Side in Transistion

With Aldi's set to move to the west side of C'dale, next to Dick's Sporting Goods, assistant city Manager Kevin Baity sounds a wee bit more concerned than he was a month ago.

Kevin Baity, assistant city manager for economic development, said Friday that the west side's commercial presence is merely in a state of transition.

"We have some businesses that, because of the economy, have closed. Another closed because of the lack of a lease," he said. "And we have a few entities who believe they want to be in the east side such as Aldi, who like to shadow big box stores."

Baity said renovations at the Royal Plaza Inn and developments in the works on the five-acre Mugsy's property are more indicative of what's happening on the west side than empty stores.

"West Side Center (between Subway and Ward Chrysler) is fully occupied and Murdale is 85 to 90 percent occupied," he said. "Kroger and, if it closes, Aldi, when you get looking, those are the only large buildings that are vacant."


Since Kroger West closed in October, Aldi's was one of the last grocery staples on that side of town. Assistant City Manager Kevin Baity said he was concerned the absence of shopping options would lead new residents on the west side to take their business to the new Murphysboro Wal-Mart, which opened in March.

"You hate to see a business leave one section of town and move to another," Baity said. "We just hope that they will work with the realtor of their choice and the city and not put too many restrictions on the building they will be leaving behind."

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9-11 Events

Not only did every candidate in the recent conventions ritually bring up 9-11 to justify ongoing war and repression, the Republicans actually showed a video designed to elicit raw emotions of fear and anger. (And, even more bizarrely, tie in Iran to 9-11! That's a first, as far as I know.)

Now, more than ever, people need to arm themselves with a questioning attitude and a disrespect for official propaganda.

Thursday, Sept. 11th, the Muddy Independent Media Center at 214 N. Washington, will show 9-11 truth videos from noon to 9pm, interspersed, no doubt, with rousing discussions. On Friday, Sept 12th, at 7pm, the usual time for videos, Muddy Media will show "Improbable Collapse", followed by a discussion.

Pastry with the press, Sept. 17

This email went out last week from Chamber of Commerce director Meredith Rhoads,
The Southern Illinoisan cares about the Carbondale community. ... That's why [they] are inviting the public to participate in a Coffee and Conversation session at the Carbondale Civic Center from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17. The Southern Illinoisan will provide free coffee and breakfast pastries and introduce staff members from the newspaper and Web site.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Enrollment Drops Again

While a drop of 310 students is statistically insignificant, it's certainly symptomatic of longer term trends at SIUC. However, of course, it could be someone else's fault.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

SIRIS Classic Vinyl Sale

WSIU Public Broadcasting's Monica Tichenor reminds us about this weekend's SIRIS Classic Vinyl Sale: "... scheduled for Saturday, September 6 from 8am to 7pm at the University Mall."

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Missed This Bit

I missed this brief bit in the DE article on the Simon mess. Makes me wonder what sort of vision Dean Carlson had for the Grant Association and the archives:

Association members first voted to seek a new university to house the Grant works at a May 2 meeting in St. Louis, according to a letter from Williams to Carlson. Williams, who is also chief justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, wrote that Carlson's proposal to create a vision for the future of the project was unrealistic.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

More on Simon Affair

Much like Sarah Palin, more information keeps coming to light regarding the sexual harassment charges against John Simon. Today's DE has a full page story including including disputes between SIUC and the Grant Association over ownership of documents, allegations of inappropriate behivious by Dean of Library Affairs David Carlson and forgery:

The association's attorney, James Williams, wrote to Carlson April 9, raising concerns that someone had forged Simon's signature on payment documents from the association.

"We expect your prompt attention to this matter because someone is signing Dr. Simon's name without his authority," the attorney wrote.

In an April 14 response, Carlson said he asked two association employees if they forged Simon's signature. Both said no, and one indicated that she had watched Simon sign the documents in question.

Harriet Simon said her late husband denied signing the documents. She said he was not satisfied with Carlson's investigation into the matter.

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Monday, September 1, 2008

Free Market in Action

Found this brief article in the NYT interesting. A small meatpacker, Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, wanted to test all of its cows for mad cow disease. The Agriculture Department, at the behest of larger meat packers, sued in federal court to stop the company from doing it. Apparently, the test is quite expensive and, while economically feasible for a small company without many cows, woudl be quite expensive for a larger meat packer, cutting into profits. Rather than competing with Creekstone, who could advertise its beef as "tested Mad Cow Disease free", and maybe take some sales away from them, the large packers opted for the easier route and just got the tests shut down.

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Animal Ordinance on Agenda

Due to a spate of recent injuries in C'dale involving dog bites, the City Council will vote tomorrow night on an amendment to Title 3 Animals of Carbondale Revised Code. The main focus is on dogs declared by the Chief of Police as dangerous or vicious. One change required dogs so delcared to be tethered by the owners. A second, and to my mind more important change as a bit of social policy, raises the dog liscence fee to $5 for neutered dogs and $25 for non neutered ones. It doesn't say, so I wonder if this applies to spayed dogs as well.

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