Saturday, November 29, 2008

Champaign vs. Carbondale

I'm up in Champaign for the weekend and went walking through the downtown area last night. Much livelier compared to downtown Carbondale but I was struck buy how much the local food places rely on student custom. 10 p.m. on Friday night, Thanksgiving weekend and a good 80% of the walk in fast Italian, Chinese, burger etc. joints were closed, compared to about 20% of those in Carbondale.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday Morning Sales

Had a friend who went over to Target this morning but gave up when she saw the line stretched around the entire building. When I left town around 9, Kohl's lot was still filled but there was a noticeable amount of space around Best Buy, Wal-mat and University Mall. Nationwide, sales appear strong but no certainty they will continue.

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Friday Notes

Got passed by a number of cars this morning heading north to watch DuQuoin play for the State Championship

Traffic was bad at the local malls and big boxes but nowhere as bad as this.

After this interview, Gov. Palin ought to fire who ever handles her public relations.

The Newman Center served about 850 meals yesterday.

Maybe Senator Davis?

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Bald Knob Cross

Swung by Bald Knob Cross yesterday afternoon and, while the grass has been kept up and the welcome center is in good shape from the outside, the cross itself is in pretty bad shape. All of the lights that used to illuminate it are broken out and I counted 19 of the ceramic panels covering it either missing or about to fall out. The view was spectacular as always, though.

I stopped at the coffee and gift shop that opened last year on the road leading to the Cross and the owner says the Friends of the Cross group has raised a remarkable amount of money towards repairing the Cross but can't spend any of it because of the ongoing civil suits.


Happy Thanksgiving

If you want to take to time to read through the comments, there's lot of back and forth here on the Tri- Co school system.

15 % increase is use of local food pantries compared to '07. The Murphuysboro Red Devils will be doing something to help out at their game on the 12th.

Guess its possible to get lower than this but it would be hard. Several years ago someone broke into the votive offering box at St. Francis Xavier so there used to be a note on it asking people to leave the offering in the church office.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Morning Notes

Increasing expectations that Gov. Ryan will get pardoned.

No place to go for Thanksgiving in southern Illinois? Here's a roundup of locations offering dinner.

Along with the rest of the economy, Internet retailing is cratering.

Driving somewhere for Thanksgiving? There're fewer people on the road this year. It's still the deadliest holiday for driving.

In a effort to fill McAndrew Staduim for the playoff game this Saturday, the Chancellor's office is giving away 500 free student tickets.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Humane Society

Saw this article in the Southern on Sunday. The JC Humane Society is really undervolunteered. We have a Pennies for Pets can on the counter at the store and it's been months since anyone has come in to pick up the money. I've called a couple of times to get someone in to get it but no luck. Some strange operational decisions as well. We used to get sent pictures of pets up for adoption and would post them up. Then we got a note telling us we wouldn't get any more pictures. Called up to find out why and was told they were going to rely on the picture board the Society had up at Wal-mart. I guess they felt it was more effiecient to only have to put pictures up in one location.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Shelnut Apratments

Noticed the Egyptian One Hour Photo Lab, in the 400 block of West Main, finished its remodeling and has reopened as the J. Hugh Shelnut Apartments. Not sure how they will compete with the raft of new development going up over on South Washington and on the southside of town. Compare to the other complexes that have one up in the past year, the Shelnut is small, only about a dozen units, and one story. Parking may be a bit of a probem also, as I don't see any direct access off of West Main.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Hat In the Ring

As was mentioned in the comments, 2007 C'dale mayoral candidate Jessica Davis has submitted a letter of interest to Gov. Blago in the Senate seat left open by President-elect Barack Obama's resignation. I'm doubtful she has the connections at the state level to secure the position but her press release does indicate plans, if not appointed to the seat, to run for it in 2010. it would be cool if she got the position since, with the exception of Sen. Durbin, every other state leader hails from Chicago or its suburbs. Really unlikely, but cool.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Steve & Barry's Closing

Low end clothing retailer Steve & Barry's is set to close all of its stores this week. No word on when the Carbondale store will close or what will happen to it but the Cape Girardeau store is set to close Thursday. I really found this quote from the liquidator rather silly:

JG Resources chief executive officer Jim Grimwade believes Steve & Barry's closure will have a positive effect on the economy.

"Reselling these fixtures and equipment to other retailers and business owners who are expanding or remodeling gives me a positive outlook," Grimwade said. "Of course, we are truly sorry about these store closings, but we know that selling this equipment to other business owners at a fraction of the cost of new will help fuel the local economy's growth. It could also help retailers create new jobs by cutting costs from their bottom line."

Yep, we're shutting down a major retail outlet but stores in the area can get fixtures cheap. Sounds like a great trade-off to me.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Maybe They'll Get It Right This Time?

According to today's DE, yet another search committee is looking for yet another chancellor. The twist this time is that the committee is all in-house SIUC faculty and staff, since paying $100 grand to outside search firms worked so well in the past. One member of the committee has already said what they are looking for in the next chancellor:

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Parking Lot Death

According to this posting from the C'dale Police Departments website, police found 60 year old James Burklow dead last Thursday morning near the old Bowen Gym on West High Street. According to what I've heard second hand, he was found one of the classrooms and suicide is suspected but not confirmed.

Edited to reflect the post in the comments.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Packlite Gone

During my wanderings around downtown yesterday, I noticed that Packlite Outdoor Equipment has vacated its retail outlet location in the Campus Shopping Center, in the space that housed the Rosetta Stone Bookstore. I noticed they were there during the C'dale Pig Out but don't get into that area as much as I used to so don't really know when the store shut down.

I also noticed Ragwear is still shut down, though racks of clothing still fill their old space and I see their webstite still places one store at the West Freeman location.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Kaleidescope Closing

Front page story in the Carbondale Times but little mention in the Southern or the DE. After 40+ years located across from what is now the Civic Center on S. Illinois, Kaleidoscope owner Caroloyn Tschomakoff has decided to close the store. I've heard talk off and on for the past couple of years that Tschomakoff wanted to sell the store but apparently the right buyer never materialized. There are big "Going Out of Business" signs in the windows and a clearance sale started Tuesday that will continue until everything is gone.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Holidays with the Stage Company

From an email I received:

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New Jobs

Carbondale has landed 180 new jobs in the customer service field with employer National Electronics Warranty, providing customer support to customers of Direct TV. Hiring starts in January with the jobs starting at $9.75 an hour (no benefits I bet). As far as pay, it's pretty good if you're a single adult and will support a couple with no children reasonably well. It's certainly above poverty wages for the county and about $2 more than the minimum wage. However, according to this, an adult with one child willhave difficulty making ends meet on this and a small family will need both parents to work.

BTW, I think that's Mayor Cole's head poking up from behind Mitch Carroll.

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Can't Pronounce This...

but congratulations to SIUC on becoming the second university in the country to offer a degree in it.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gas Under $2 a Gallon

Both Kroger and Egyptian Corner have unleaded at $1.99, reflecting oil prices under $60 a barrel. What surprises me is that gas in Cape Girardeau is usually 10 to 20 cents a gallon cheaper than Carbondale and the stations there have it priced at $194-$1.99 a gallon as well.

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Planner to Depart

City Planner Rob Keehn is departing C'dale at the end of the month. Interesting to see that the most notable thing about his tenure he recalled was the housing boom the city has seen over the past few years, the same boom the city ended last summer with a moratorium while it studies the situation.


Friday, November 7, 2008

From Waiter to President-Elect

In only 5 years


Further Roadblocks to IDOT Move

Via the Capitol Fax, a lawsuit now threatens the planned move of IDOT jobs to Harrisburg:

Opponents of a plan to relocate 150 state transportation jobs from Springfield to southern Illinois will be in court Monday trying prevent the state from spending money on the move.

Springfield attorney Don Craven is asking the court to issue a preliminary injunction that would temporarily prevent Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes or Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias from allocating any money in connection with the move.

The prohibition would remain in place until Attorney General Lisa Madigan acts on the Blagojevich administration's plan to buy half of a former Wal-Mart building in Harrisburg to house the Illinois Department of Transportation Division of Traffic Safety. Madigan must sign off on the purchase before it can take place.

Gov. Blago has asked the court for permission to hire an outside attorney to represent the state in the move since, according to him, AG Amy Madigan would have a conflict of interest in representing the state in the lawsuit.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

McGowen Clinic Sold (or Rented)

It looks like the McGowan Clinic building at the corner of College and S. Illinois is off the market. I drove by late this afternoon and saw extensive remodeling going on inside. Good. One more empty building gone from the strip. Now if something would happen with the Saluki II Bookstore and Lance Jack's rumored burger joint....


Almost Like Halloween

Haven't seen the Strip this crowded since the city started enforcing its no loitering law several years ago. A lot of students filled the sidewalk after the election was called for Obama. The Southern has video on its main page.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

WSIU Confuses Me

WSIU makes some interesting programming choices. Largest turnout for an election in decades, history making first whether Obama or McCain gets elected, so what does the station decided to do? Run the regularly scheduled Radio Reader instead. Oh well, off goes WSIU, on goes the stream from the NPR website.

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Geez, it's only 12:30 and I've already gotten an email from the local Obama for America organization inviting me to an Obama victory party at Buffalo Wild Wings at 7;30 tonight.

Local turnout looks to bee the best it's been in years. I voted about 6:50 this morning and there was already a short line, about 4 people in front of me. I can't remember the last time I've had to wait in line to vote in Carbondale. Some early confusion among voters though, as a couple of them found there were trying to vote at the wrong precinct and couldn't figure out what th eright one was.


Monday, November 3, 2008

How Much for that Obama in the Window?

If you want to see people putting their money wheer their mouths are, look at this (Ireland based) site. You can sell off all of your shares of the winning candidate tomorrow for a buck a share, shares in the losing candidate are worth nothing. Obama shares have increased by about.7 cents since 8 this morning while McCain has dropped by about 1.5 cents.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

It's McCain!

Yep, finally, after keeping ups in suspense for weeks, the Southern has thrown its weight behind McCain. Uh, Mr. Editor, announcing your support for McCain TWO DAYS before the election. Rather like showing up to the party when all the guests are leaving. You're there, but it's too late for anyone to care. Heck, the Tribune announced their endorsement 2 weeks ago, giving people some time to think about what the editorial said.

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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Quiet Halloween

Halloween was extremely quiet this year. Despite the Trick or Treat on Main Street that I had seen mentioned in the paper, I had zero trick or treaters come to the store. Looking at the CMS' website, I see no such event listed, as the schedule jumps from the Chili Cook off to Lights Fantastic, so guess the metnion I saw of it was wrong.

I heard from people who came for the store's party that they number of trick or treaters visiting them was markedly down from last year. However, as I drove through town earlier in the evening, I noticed a number of churches set up for "trunk or treat" so we may be seeing a shift of behavior from gathering candy by visiting strangers houses and gathering candy that may have been tampered with to gathering candy in a more controlled and structured environment. Also much less chance of getting hit by a car as the kids run from house to house.


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