Saturday, January 31, 2009

Jack Charges Dismissed

In case you missed this from last week, most of the charges against city council member Lance jack, including DUI and possession of marijuana, were dismissed on the 23 because the judge found the arresting officer lacked probable cause. Improper changing of lanes is still bad though and Jack paid a $75 fine.

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It's my 7th Birthday!

Well, not mine exactly-- my radio show's 7th birthday at WDBX. Take a look at my latest playlist, and leave your nicest birthday wishes at Startling Moniker.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Will It Ever End?

The committee tasked with drawing up the new guidelines for SIUC's plagerism policy has been accused of, wait for it, no not yet, almost, yes plagiarism.

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Trash Pickup

In case you didn't catch this on the city's website or in the SI:


Due to the inclement weather and the icy road conditions, the City’s refuse, recycling and bag and bundle collection programs have been SUSPENDED for the remainder of this week. Residents are advised to not set their refuse or recycling containers at curbside this week. Please hold them until next week.

Weather permitting, refuse and recycling will resume normal schedules next week.

Questions may be addressed the Maintenance and Environmental Services Office at 618-457-3275.

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City Website Back Up

Carbondale's website was down from Monday through Thursday morning, plus no-one in the building had external email access which was driving a few offices crazeeee. Apparently, someone (accidentally?) cut one of Verizon's cables which played hob with any commercial user of Verizon broadband throughout southern Illinois.

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Stick a fork in Blago--

He's done. I won't abuse Bytelife readers with my journalist impression; go read the Trib if you're truly interested.

(However, I WILL be abusing listeners tomorrow morning-- tune in early to catch the fun.)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Jerry Costello on the Stimulus

Rep. Costello sent out the following regarding his approval of a particular provision of the stimulus package.


Washington – Congressman Jerry Costello (D-IL) today applauded the House Appropriations Committee’s approval of a “Buy America” provision for the use of U.S. steel as part of the economic stimulus legislation. The economic downturn has hurt the domestic steel industry, resulting in production declines and worker layoffs. In the Metro East, Granite City Steel has been idled and Alton Steel has also laid-off workers.

Costello has been a vocal supporter of this provision and previously urged Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader John Boehner to include the use of U.S. steel for infrastructure projects in the stimulus legislation.
“At a time when our economy is stalled, using American steel to build our infrastructure is the right thing to do and will energize our manufacturing sector and maintain and create jobs in the steel industry,” said Costello.

Costello has been very active on issues affecting the domestic steel industry, including supporting steel tariffs earlier this decade and testifying before the International Trade Commission.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lillina Adams Memorial

Longtime Carbondale resident and activist for progressive causes (over 65 years) Lillian Adams died last Saturday at the age of 96. There will be a Memorial Service for Lillian on February 8 at 2 PM at the Unitarian Fellowship in Carbondale. Her family invites everyone to attend and celebrate her life. Also please visit the Lillian Adams memorial site:


(info courtesy of the Arbor District mailing list)

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Snow Removal

The city's done a great job of cleaning up the streets but it would be a little more useful now for the plows to be clearing off sides streets rather than scraping the edge of Main like the one that just passed me. Main is free of ice and snow except along the edges while there are still dozens of side streets unplowed.

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Governor Blahblabbermouth

The fix is in at the Illinois Senate, and Rod Blagojevich is certain to be our former Governor in a few days. Undaunted G-Rod gave Rachel Maddow an earful last night, including some self-incriminating statements. The entire transcript and damning video clip can be viewed at Maddow's MSNBC website.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Costello on TARP

Rep. Costello sent out the following press release today regarding his stance on the TARP:


Washinton - Congressman Jerry Costello (D-IL) today voted against releasing the remaining $350 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Costello also opposed the original financial bailout legislation that created TARP.

"I voted against the financial bailout because I was concerned that we rushed its consideration without adequately assessing how the money would be used or if there were better ways to proceed. The fact that Secretary Paulson did not use the money as he said it would be used validated my concerns. Now, the very banks that received the bulk of the TARP money are still mired in losses, with billions in bad loans still on their books, and refusing to account for how they have spent it. Given TARP’s poor record to this point, we need to reassess this plan of action, and that is why I voted against releasing the remaining funds.”

You are invited to sign up for future electronic newsletters. Please feel free to forward this message to friends and neighbors you think might be interested in this issue.


Jerry F. Costello
12th District of Illinois

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School Closing List

It's already long and getting longer every time I look at it.

Update: Gotta love SIUC's optimism. 5:30 and they still haven't announced if the school is closing.

Update: 8 p.m and still no word on the website about Wednesday.

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Arbor District Meeting

The Arbor District is hosting a meeting regarding several assaults that have taken place in the area in the past few weeks. Details from the email are below:

An armed robbery was followed several days later by a sexual assault in the same area of our neighborhood.You are invited to a neighborhood meeting Thursday night, Jan 29, 7 PM to discuss what we can do to assure a safe neighborhood. The City Manager Allen Gill and Police Chief Grubbs will be attending the meeting.

The meeting will at St Francis Xavier Church corner of Poplar and Walnut, lower level community room.
Questions and suggestions contact Sandy Litecky, 203 2527 or

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Blagojevich Impeachment Proceedings

WSIU-FM is broadcasting the Blagojevich impeachment proceedings live all day. The quotes from the tapes are amazing stuff. You gotta wonder how he expected to get away with some of the plans he was considering.

Update: Back to classical music while the Senate's at lunch. Testimony resumes when then get back.

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Carbondale Proves Marion Doesn't Know S***

Taking President Obama's recent inaugural speech to heart, particularly the "We will restore science to its rightful place..." line, Carbondale Mayor Brad Cole launched an all-out attack on Marion's well-known "Hub of the Universe" claim.

"As it turns out," Cole said, "there is no center to the universe. My advisers tell me that the Universe we inhabit is homogeneously expanding from all points, rather than radiating from a single center."

Cole acknowledged the futility of explaining this principle, which seems to go against common perceptions, to Marion Mayor Bob Butler.

"You have to remember that this man grew up in an age when the moon was still worshipped as a silver llama whose tears made the land fertile," Cole snorted. "How can I explain the curvature of the Universe to someone clearly using a two-dimensional Hub Model for his cosmological system? It's a fool's errand."

City Councilman Chris Wissmann said Carbondale's up-to-date understanding of cosmological principles would be great for boosting tourism.

"If there's no center, then Carbondale is just as good as anywhere else," he stated. "I hear The Met has a new Babylonian exhibit coming to New York City. That should be great for us. We're hoping to see some of those tourist dollars here in Southern Illinois."

But Marion city officials aren't planning to give up without a fight. Butler said Cole's protest was pure bunk.

"Look at that llama in the sky," Butler shouted as he pointed at the moon. "Whenever I ride in the car, it follows right along with me. If that's not proof, I don't know what is."

(This blog entry was written as part of the 5th Annual Rabbit Hole Day, a blog-holiday in honor of Lewis Carrol. Bloggers are encouraged to write in a different style, or in a fantastical manner, stepping outside our reality for the duration of the day. For more information, see the original post at Scribbles and Lies. Thanks also to Phil Plait, NASA's "Space Place," and Usenet Physics mod Philip Gibbs.

SIUC Closed

Due to bad weather conditions, SIUC will be closed Tuesday, January 27, 2009. For more information, call 618-453-5375 or 866-264-6420.

Monday, January 26, 2009

School Closings

The list of school closings gets longer by the minute. But, by gum, we're not closing SIUC.

Update: SIUC announced it was closing sometime between 10 p.m and 6 a.m.

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Larry Dietz on NPR

Vice Chancellor Larry Dietz was interviewed on NPR's All Things Considered yesterday regarding his recent trip to Iraq as part of the Iraq's government's Study Abroad initiative.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

College Town Statistics

Out of curiosity, I dug up the statistics for some other college towns: Rolla, Mo, Springfield Mo, Columbia, M0, Cape Girardeau Mo, Mattoon Il and Kirksville Mo. With the exception of Kirksville, all of them have poverty levels under 20%. Kirksville is most like Carbondale, in that it is a relatively small rural community, dominated by a college, and without direct interstate access. Not quite as steep as Carbondale, it still has a 30% poverty rate.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Put up or shutup!

Here's your big opportunity, Mr. Anonymous-- the time slot from 2-4 a.m. Saturday mornings at WDBX-FM is now open. This is immediately prior to my own broadcast.

Now is your chance to play Jerry Lee Lewis to my Chuck Berry, and burn up the stage with your amazing knowledge of music, and effortless DJ skills!

I welcome you to try making me look like a complete hack; all you have to do is arrange for a little tryout with the station manager... I understand if you want to back out, so I made up some excuses you can use:

1) I'm sleeping in the Morris Library stacks at that time, and will be locked in.
2) Sorry, that's when the best infomercials are on.
3) My mom won't let me go out after the street lights come on.
4) I'll be raiding Valdemort with my WOW guild, while dressed as a dominatrix Ewok.

(But seriously, WDBX is open to ALL Southern Illinois residents and community members. If you're interested-- even a little-- come on in and talk to Brian!)

SIUC Enrollment Down Again

Looks like enrollment figures will drop about 1.5% from last year's numbers. Freshman and sophomore enrollment was up about 11% but it was more than counterbalanced by a 12.5% drop in upperclass enrollment. Unfortunately, this is part of the long term trend at SIUC:

Enrollment peaked in 1991 at 24,869 students, according to university records. By fall 2007, that number had fallen to 20,983. Enrollment numbers affect everything from faculty and staff salaries to building maintenance.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Books are good

Here's a bit of good news. For the first time since 1982, we're reading more.

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Carbondale Poverty 2

After looking at the figures more and considering some of the comments, something else became apparent. The student population at SIUC has remained pretty constant since the early 90s, fluctuating maybe a couple of hundred students a year or so. However, the Carbondale poverty rate increased by 5% during the period from 1999 to 2007, so whoever was getting poorer, it wasn't the students.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Meet him in St Louis?

Open Casting Call for new George Clooney movie filming in St. Louis:
"Producers for the new George Clooney film 'Up in the Air' are holding an open casting call this weekend at Crestwood Mall. They're looking for everyday St. Louisans who want to be extras in the movie. ...

The casting call is Saturday, January 24, from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. and Sunday, January 25, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Crestwood Mall. The movie begins filming at Lambert Airport on March 3 and goes through the end of April."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sheila Simon on WSIU

Sheila Simon and her daughter, Brennan, were interviewed on WSIU yesterday prior to their leaving for the Obama inauguration. The interview was pretty straightforward except for one exchange that caught my attention. The interviewer, Jennifer Fuller, I think, asks Brennan, how Obama compares to other presidents she's known. there's a little back and forth between mother and daughter about how old she was during Clinton's presidency then Brennan responds the only thing she remembers about Bush was his mistakes. Fuller then responds, and I'm paraphrasing, that history would judge whethere they were good or bad and there are different sides to those issues. It wasn't a question, just a comment and the next question was on a different topic.

The two things that struck me were that
1. Would the comment have been made if Brennan was an adult?
2. What purpose did it serve? It wasn't a follow up question but a comment by the interviewer on a response to the interviewer's question.

No political bias there, more an adult-child bias, but it stood out to me becaue the Morning Coversations seldom have commentary by the interviewer on responses, except in the form of follow up questions

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Watch Inauguration Live on

Let's hope English isn't her first language

Violince? Ugh!

For the full story, click through to WSIL-TV.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Carbondale Poverty

I was doing some reading last night on the Census Bureau's website and found the number of people living below the poverty line in Carbondale stunning. 41% of the C'dale population, as of 1999, the most recent figure, are classified as living in poverty. In Jackson County, it's only 20% and in Williamson and Union counties, only 14%. The county figures are for 2004 so maybe it's due to the Carbondale data being older and things have improved since 1999?

Nope, if anything, they've gotten worse.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Southern Business Journal

I didn't know the Southern was still publishing this. I used to have a subscription to it and, given how hard it can be to get free subscriptions to end, I'm surprised I stopped receiving it (I'm still trying to get Brandweek to stop sending me two copies of each issue.)


SIUC students and locals head to the Inauguration

About a hundred students from Southern Illinois University Carbondale will leave early Monday morning to head to Washington, D.C. for the Inauguration. A lot of them are journalists. Here's an article by SIUC professor Bill Freivogel - a special for the online newspaper St. Louis Beacon .

Related, here's also an article from the Du Quoin Evening Call newspaper from a few days ago saying how Du Quoin will be well represented at the Inauguration.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Candidate Write Ups

Thursday's DE has brief bios of the seven people running for the three available city council seats. Not up on the DE's website right now but well worth your time reading if you can find a copy of the paper.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Robbery on South Forest

According to a report by the C'dale Police Dept., four black males attacked and robbed a 24 year old man near the corner of Schwartz and Forest last night. Apparently, they aren't too concerned about getting caught as the report specifically states they "left walking".

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Jewel of India

I see the Git Sum Indian restaurant on S. Illinois has a new/old name now, since the sign out front now reads "Jewel of India". If memory serves, Jewel of India was the name of the Indian restaurant that operated inside the now closed Horizon/Holiday Inn on East Main. I remember being told at the time Git Sum opened it was run by people connected with the Horizon, this appears to confirm it.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

City Council Meeting

Sat in on most of last night's City Council meeting. Missed the Liquor Control Commission meeting but was told by city council candidate Kevin Clark that Fair Days designations for the Southern Illinois Irish Festival and an A2 liquor license for Spotlight Bar and Grille passed.

Several community members spoke about concerns regarding the proposed annexation of the property on East Park Street, which includes Snider Hill Cemetery. A representative from the Presbyterian Church, which owns part of the property, was particularity concerned since the city and developers had promised a protective buffer from all the development taking place nearby during the past few years. The promised buffer apparently was not provided and now there are problems causing the cemetery to settle and tombstones to fall over.

The consent agenda, items normally passed as a group, had 4 items voted on separately when Councilmen Lance Jack and Steven Haynes had questions about the Snider Hill annexation and utility easements at Prairie Living subdivision, respectively. Councilman Joel Fritzler had questions about two items including payment for some of the mayor's travel expenses (Shades of the last race for mayor.) Mayor Cole appeared mildly irritated when responding to Fritzler's questions, while Fritzler sounded rather hesitant when posing them.

The council moved through general business pretty quickly. The resolution declaring Fair Days for the Southern Illinois Irish Festival passed with only Corene McDaniel voting no because alcohol would be served. I assume this means she'll also vote no when the Sunset Concerts and Main Street Pig Out come up for a similar vote.

The Stadium Grille going in on East Main got approved for a TIF agreement, which will save them about $500,000, according to my notes. In response to a question from the council, the owners said they were indeed using local union contractors and expect to open mid-April. I'd lay money it opens before Lance Jack gets his Fat Patties' place open.

Finally, during council comments, another city council candidate made an appearance as Justin Stofferahn, (yeah, he's on Facebook too) who, along with three companions, all attired in dress shirts and ties, had sat in the back during the entire meeting. I'd thought they were members of a fraternity come to ask the city for funding for some event, but Stofferahn asked the council if the city would implement the findings of the energy audit it was undertaking and if the lobbying group the city hired had produced results worth its fee.

At 8:50, the council retired to closed meeting to discuss sale, purchase or lease of real property and pending or imminent litigation as well as the planned conquest by force of Marion, the Hub of the Universe.

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Jerry Costello on Digital Switch

On February 17, 2009, over the air television broadcasts will be transmitted only in digital formats. Analog-only televisions (those that use an antenna) will not work on or after that date. Owners of analog-only televisions must do one of three things to ensure that their sets work:

  • Buy a TV with a digital tuner.
  • Connect to cable, satellite or other pay service.
  • Purchase a converter box.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is running a converter box program. The NTIA will provide two $40 coupons to help requesting households purchase converter boxes. Applicants must have a U.S. Post Office address and all coupons expire three months after issuance. You can request coupons in one of four ways:
  • Call 1.888.DTV.2009 (1.888.388.2009); deaf or hard of hearing callers may dial 1-877-530-2634 (English/TTY) or 1-866-495-1161 (Spanish/TTY). TTY Service is available from 9 AM - 9 PM Eastern Time Monday through Friday.
  • Complete or download an application at
  • Mail an application to P.O. Box 2000; Portland, OR 97208-2000
  • Fax an application to 1.877.DTV.4ME2 (1.877.388.4632)
As of January 4, 2009, those requesting coupons are being put on a waiting list due to high demand. Congress is working to enact additional funding to make sure all of these requests are met. Please go to the following link for the latest update from the NTIA:
Why is the transition to digital television necessary? Primarily to reclaim portions of the analog spectrum (broadcast channels 52-69, also known as the 700MHZ band) currently occupied by television broadcasters. Digital television uses radio frequency spectrum more efficiently than analog, making space available for other uses, such as emergency communications.
For more information on this issue, visit or call 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322). For information on the converter box program, visit or call 1.888.DTV.2009.

You are invited to sign up for future electronic newsletters. Please feel free to forward this message to friends and neighbors you think might be interested in this issue.


Jerry F. Costello
12th District of Illinois

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Spotlight Bar and Grille

Looks Like the Coal City Diner will have a name change soon as the owner of the Spotlight Bar and Grille applied for and was granted a Class A2 liquor license last night for the same location. It's my understanding that an A2 license requires that at least 51% of the business receipts come from the sale of food.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Club SIN & Mayor Cole

If Mayor Cole was targeting every business he is accused of targeting, he wouldn't have any time for overseeing city operations. And isn't naming your nightclub Club SIN just asking for trouble?

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SIUC Free Speech

Interesting discussion with SIUC Chancellor Sam Goldman on WSUI this morning, talking about FIRE and free speech on the SIUC campus, Saluki Way and enrollment. Listen to it here. The DE's take on the involvement of FIRE is here and the original letter from FIRE is here

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Lee Enterprises Sinking

A reader pointed out that the value of Lee Enterprises, owner of both the St. Louis Post Dispatch and, more importantly for our purposes, the Southern Illinoisan, dropped 97% last year, going from $45 a share about 3 years ago to a whole 44 cents a share as of earlier today, and is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. No announcements of layoffs at the Southern yet, but the PD is cutting another 39 jobs and may not be a "going concern", to quote its accountant, by the end of the year.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

3 Years Not Long Enough

1.1 million people are on the waiting list to get one of the $40 coupons for a converter box so they can still watch TV when it switches from analog to digital on Feb 17. The incoming administration is proposing that the changeover date get pushed back as the NTIA has hit the $1.34 billion cap set by Congress. There are a heck of a lot of unredeemed coupons out there. 47.4 million coupons have been requested and only 18.8 million redeemed over the past three years. Heck, according to Nielson, there were only 14 million households last year relying on broadcast tv and 13 million of them requested coupons:

In January 2008 the Nielsen Company reported that 14.3 million television households relied solely on over-the-air broadcasts. During the past year, 13.1 million over the air households have requested coupons.

It will take an act of Congress to push the date back, and I don't see that as a much of a priority during the first few weeks of the new administration and Congress.

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Tales of The Dale

Gleaned from The Southern: Dede Lingle Ittner, daughter of "Doc" Lingle, legendary SIUC athletic director... retired to C'dale ... became member of the Carbondale Preservation Commission, ... and the rest is history ... oral history, that is. Read Linda Rush's story in The Southern: Saving Carbondale's tales - Project creates special collection of oral histories.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Blago gets the boot!

I'm hammering this shocking news in with an included visual:

I'll admit, I don't fully understand this arcane process of impeachment. Perhaps a kind reader can describe it to me in simple terms. How long does it take before the Governor has to flee the palace?

For extra fun, phrase your answer as a poem.

Also, how is it that I got to "scoop" Scott on this one? After you're done explaining Illinois politricks, please check that Scott is still breathing. Thank you!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

This may hurt a little...

Who am I kidding? This will hurt a lot! This Saturday morning, you can finally fulfill your New Year's resolution to injure yourself in a painful manner with brain-melting, ear-gouging, cranium-tunneling, ever-unfolding


In a broadcast too big for just one show, the infamous sound mongers who bring you "It's Too Damn Early" and "Sweet Action Radio" will be pegging all needles deep in the red for a full three-and-a-half hours. Yes-- you guessed it-- we're doing another


"What," you say? "I don't fully understand your proposition." Allow me to explain, in simple terms. We will be broadcasting the most bestial, absonant sonic creations in existence, with a complete and callous disregard for your sensibilities as a listener. As a helpful DJ, it is my duty to inform you that the aforementioned broadcast will consist solely of


easily the greatest noise artist of all time. The broadcast starts at 3 a.m., and continues until 6:30 a.m. or the transmitter melts-- whichever comes first. So, sharpen your ear buds to a fine point, and join us this Saturday, January 10th on WDBX 91.1 FM.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Modest Mr. Burris

Check out what Roland Burris' tombstone says about him already. (Hat tip to the Daily Show for pointing this out.)


Meet Your Neighbors

The fifth annual Neighborhood Alliance Meeting takes place Sat. Jan 17, at Our Savior Lutheran Church on S. University. Doors open at 9:30 and the meeting runs from 10 to noon. More details here.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Miners' Clerical Error

The Southern Illinois Miners must be doing really well if they can overlook a $250,000 tax payment through clerical error.

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Two Viewpoints on Roland Burris

Stanley Kutler says the Senate has the right not to seat Burris, Miles Mogulescu says it doesn't.

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Monday, January 5, 2009

Dough Boy's Pizza Yet Again

Apparently the Dough Boy's Pizza over in Murphysboro, also a converted Domino's, closed for "Christmas break" as well. I could see some justification for the C'dale closing with all the students gone but doubt very much if enough SIUC students ordered from the Murphysboro location to justify the closure. Add in the talk of a lawsuit by Domino's and I'll be surpised to see either one open again.

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