Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Knows for news

The blogvine sez that Karen Binder is coming in to fill the Managing Editor position for The Southern Illinoisan (under the Editor) but with Bennett leaving, looks like she'll be on double-duty. Karen used to worked at the SI, as a reporter, and also headed PR for a (now defunct?) Illinois wine growers group. She is the wife of Steve Binder, who is returning to The Southern to reclaim his post at the Southern Business Journal, after about a year and a half in Champaign doing the same type of business journal thing. So The Binders will be running The Illusion soon.

In other News news, John Homan, who was running the SBJ since Binder's departure, has been made the Williamson County Editor. . . . (and I'm the Williamson County Blogitor.)

And Jason Lee is also leaving, a job free-lancing with the Chicago Tribune, is the word in the newsroom . . . and Kristen Cates, the current Murphysboro/Jackson County reporter, is beating a drum to take over the Carbondale beat when Jason departs.

And we still don't know why Bennett bolted without a word to his faithful bloggees.

But the RSS feed for the Marion Daily Republican has been added to the aggregator at Shawnee Net.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Gift of Blog

Carbondale can use a few more bloggers, especially since Southern Illinoisan editor James L. Bennett has departed for browner pastures, in Arizona. The blog he started has been changed from "Bennett's Blog" to "The Editor's Blog," but nothing about his departure. No permanent replacement has been named, although Flipside editor Cara Recine (RAY chin-ay) is filling in.

It's odd that he left without saying anything -- like his SI blogging counterpart Jim Muir, who has (apparently) retired from blogging.... forever waiting for "the Greenies". But Paul Klee's Dawg Blog has found a capable replacement in Rob Crow.

Won't any one else "step up"? There are now at least two ways to get the word out, blogging style. In addition to joining this "team blog," you can create a free account on the Shawnee Net portal, where you can post to the Carbondale Bytelife blog, or start your own. If you have questions, please contact me.

Meanwhile, only a few people have entered the Town Square contest to win $100 gift certificate(s). An ad currently running in the Carbondale Times directs readers to the On The Square web site for details. The chances of winning are pretty good, if you enter now.

The chances of improving your life are also good -- if you start blogging regularly in the new year.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Pro Bono

I watched the Prayer Breakfast speech by the rock musician, humanitarian, Bono as recommended by Peter the Great, so I understand better what makes both men tick: messiah complexes. ;-)

But who wouldn't want to "save the world" or save a university if (s)he could? Even Marketing Dept. Chairman Terry Clark would like to save a piece of it -- its advertising message. . . the Carbondale university's "story."

I've seen the spots created by Terry and his team of students before final edits. I'm sure whatever superior qualities the final product shows is due in large measure to the half-hour we spent together in his office that day. ;-)

Summarizing the message: (1. "take a good class at SIUC" and 2. "conveniently enjoy the natural resources") scored a bullseye with, the bloggers' friend, SIU President Glenn Poshard. The important part is #2. That's what makes SIUC special. And the message makes total sense. Besides good classes, the accessibility of "nature" here in Southern Illinois is unparalleled among other Illinois state universities.

In the same SI article that mentions Clark's Marketing (Clark'eting), Caleb Hale reports on an independent evaluation of the university's goals and realities came down pretty hard on how things were. The report, by the marketing consulting firm of
SimpsonScarborough, gives SIUC a reality check, saying essentially, SIUC can't have it both ways. Research-centered or Student-centered. Choose one and run.

But it sounds like interim Chancellor John Dunn thinks SIUC can have it both ways, by moving the goal posts, in defining what makes a top university.

Let Caleb Hale explain:
The question of the hour, however, is will the university continue seeking a top 75 spot among research institutions?

Interim Chancellor Dunn said it may not be a question of whether it does it but how it does it.

"Do you change the goal or do you change the matrix of how that goal is being assessed?" Dunn said. "If you're in the top 75, what is the marker of knowing when you're in the top 75?

"For instance, right now we have an institute [of] American Philosophy that, on anybody's list, is certainly no worse than in the top five; the school of art and design would be in the top 45 . . . .

"I think what this report is also telling us is we have to speak with much greater pride of the things we are already doing very well and that have clearly already put us in the top 75."

Dunn said SIUC will always be a research university, but it will be a "student-centered, responsive research university." (boldface added)

So getting back to marketing. . . . Why not have a student-centered marketing campaign? Use student talent to help create the product, as Professor Clark has done. Have them all produce spots with the same message: SIU at Carbondale combines excellent academics (and athletics) with accessible outdoor recreation, at an affordable price -- with the same tag line, or catchy phrase, that "says it all." An Admissions web log might be a good idea, as well..... Something on MySpace, maybe. A hip-hop version of the school song? Fresh as all outdoors.

As a media maven, I'd be happy to produce a 30-second video promotion for SIUC pro magnum bonum, free of charge.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Where were you the night the Dawgs fell to Indiana?

Did you get caught up with Saluki fever yesterday, Bloggee? I know that you did. Too bad about the loss to Indiana, but the team looked pretty good on national television -- with Jamaal Tatum showing that he wants to play after graduation.

I saw the game at Buffalo Wings, which my daughter described as "Mugsy's magnified" but more like The Cellar magnified. The Cellar is one of Carbondale's best tv bars. A great place to watch a game with friends and fellow fans. Play a game of shuffleboard while you're there. Mugsy's has a shuffleboard table, too, but didn't notice one at Buffa'Wings.

One guy who really got into the game is "greydawg" over at Saluki Hoops, though he doesn't say where he viewed it.

Of course, many of you didn't see the game at all -- especially if you don't have cable and don't like smoky places -- or couldn't care less about sports. It doesn't matter. It was just a game. There'll be another one on Wednesday night, vs. Central Michigan, which the Salukis will win.

And speaking of games. . . .

Over at "On The Square Online" there's a contest to say what year ABC Liquors was established at its current location on Washington St.

$100 in gift certificates from Town Square businesses are offered to someone who guesses correctly. More details are in that blog.

Fine Print Hint: Ike was on top (but not yet selling cars). Winning entries must be emailed, or received by 12/28.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Seen On The Square

The Carbondale Town Square promotional spot I did with sculpture/film maker Dan Johnson is currently "on the air" on MediaCom in Carbondale, Benton, Duquoin. I'm not entirely happy with the visuals, but the music makes it -- about a minute of Grant Morgan's "Seezin' the Moment" from Guitars Between the Rivers, 1.

A print ad will be in the Dec. 20 issue of Carbondale Times, too, with the same message as the video. Be There ... On The Square.

To get people to watch the video (and be persuaded by the message) there's a contest to win $100 in gift certificates from local restaurants and businesses in the Town Square district.

Winner will be selected from correct answers to the question:

"What year was ABC Liquors established in its current building on Washington St."

The answer to the question appears in the scrolling text on "Be ... On The Square" cable spot. The On The Square blog has more details. . . . And even if you don't have MediaCom cable, you can view the entire commercial online. (35 meg .avi file) . . . and if you don't have 45 minutes or whatever to download the file, there's a shorter clip (only 2.3 meg).

Of course, anyone can learn the answer some other way. . . . By asking someone at City Hall, or ABC Liquor Mart. I am simply trying to drive traffic to the "Be There ... On The Square" video spot. . . to "get the message out" -- because there are more good restaurants and cool gift shops in that district than any comparably-sized area in Southern Illinois, with Kaleidoscope, Art Lovers Trading Company, Carbondale Trophy, and even Dillinger's Feed. (A Christmas trophy? Why not? I plan to give trophies to everyone on my list this year. And perhaps some quality dog food from Dillinger's for that special bitch.)

Another look at Town Square
Despite the many improvements made by Carbondale Main Street, the town center area still lacks a compelling visual symbol. It's nice to see those dancing, turning statues (pictured above) in front of the Town Square Pavilion, lit up at night.

But the dancing due will be taken down in January, and we'll be back to a Picnic Shelter for a centerpiece. Some better visual attraction is necessary on that Pavilion property. A train station perhaps? First, let's get rid of those power lines underground.

How about a geodesic dome picnic shelter? An open one, like they have on campus lake. Then a new Town Square promotion could be developed on the theme: Be There. On the Tetrahedron.

Whatever shape it is, I'd like to do another promotion for Town Square, including businesses that weren't in the first spot, such as.

Arthur Agency, Don Camilla Mexican Grocery, Big Boys Q, the Design Consultants, Fredericks Hair Styling, Carbondale Trophy Company, the geographical research firm, Big Muddy Independent Media Center, WDBX, D's Quick Stop place, Tropicana, King Beef, Barrett, Morris, Broom attorneys, Mary Lou's, the Sachi Japanese restaurant, the Tattoo shop....

All in 60 seconds.

Can it be done? With the right music, absolutely!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

No smoking law - the easy compromise.

Turns out you can pass a no smoking law today in Carbondale. All you need to do is not enforce it on the bars. Yes, I know that then the law wouldn't be perfect. It will fix the problem for 80 or 95% of the people.

After the restaurant thing goes down, you can come back in a year or two and pick up the bars. They wouldn't stand a chance.

Worth thinking about. I sure wouldn't miss the smokers when I'm eating out.

Sheila came by and told me my blog entry was wrong yesterday.

I was reading the paper and riding the StarTrak bike at the REC Center yesterday (as I do most weekdays) and Sheila came by and told me I was wrong about my last entry about liquor laws in Carbondale. She pointed out that the law matching the state law was never brought before the City Council. I assured her I hated being wrong and would look into it. She didn't say anything about attacking Brad at every meeting, so I assume she agreed with that part? ;)

So in a hair splitting that only a lawyer would attempt, Sheila is right the council didn't formally vote on changing the liquor laws to matching everyone else in the state. The city council did discuss this idea and in discussion decided to change the law to its current form. There was a vote for that. The current law that Sheila helped pass creates the conflict for the mayor having dual roles. Brad followed the law that Sheila voted for and Sheila attacked him for doing what the law says the mayor should do.

I'm not sure why anyone would complain about my little blog when I was 99% right and only messed up a procedural issue? The entry was right. Sheila is attacking Brad at council meetings because he is following laws that she helped pass.

Maybe this is the difference between lawyers and engineer's views of the world?

Pre-recorded message

Only seven candidates have submitted petitions to run for Mayor or City Council. Although she hasn't filed yet, non-candidate Jessica Davis phoned my house the other night to ask for my vote. According to City Clerk Vaught (quoted somewhere) until you file, you're not a candidate. Did I mention it was a recorded message? . . . A lengthy one about Smoke-Free Carbondale, and how Carbondale City Council voted it down, and how she supports it, so vote for her.

Is Davis serious or just blowing smoke? Does she think she will be elected based on her opinions? Is this what "official" candidate Councilwoman Sheila Simon thinks, as well? According to Peter the Great, Sheila's platform is based on Integrity, Responsibility and Opportunity. He wonders if she(la) alone can claim those attributes.

I was wondering the same thing. For instance, Mayor Brad Cole has the integrity to accept responsibility for the opportunities he has helped to create for residents of the City of Carbondale, for housing and business development, the arts, bicyclists, teenagers, and more.

Take the "Smoke-Free Carbondale" initiative that is so important to pre-recorded non-candidate, Davis. As Mayor, Brad Cole proposed a financial incentive for public dining establishments with liquor licenses to voluntarily become smoke free -- by waiving the liquor license fee. He says 14 businesses have taken the City up on the offer. So non-candidate Davis can hardly accuse Cole of being against Smoke-Free environment. . . .

And candidate Sheila Simon voted in favor of the Smoke-Free initiative.

So Davis' statements were not only unwanted, they were misleading.

She might want to try podcasting. Or blogging. People read or listen to those media voluntarily.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Dave's new Shawnee Portal is pretty cool

I just clicked through and looked at it. It is a dash board of Southern Illinois news and blogging. I think it shows great promise.

Personally, I think there is a business out there for local coverage via the internet. Selling local ads and doing a great job doing what no Lee Enterprise paper will do. Need to add obituaries and court reports to really make it go, but that isn't very hard.

Might work better in a different town, Lee hasn't had enough time to really destroy the Southern Illinoisan yet. If you look at other towns that have had Lee ownership for a long time, their paper's really suck. I suspect that is what Southern Illinois has to look forward to as the pull all the workers out of the paper and profits back to corporate.

I have been wondering if a City Council meeting will break out at the cat fight?

I have been watching the reports of the Carbondale City Council meetings of late and I'm kind of confused. It looks like Sheila Simon's campaign strategy is to attack Brad Cole on every issue regardless if there is anything to attack him about. I wonder if she thinks that the people of Carbondale want someone who attacks like that, if she thinks it is the only way to win an election with a successful mayor or if she hates Brad so much she just has no self control?

Really confused about the NOE liquor thing. Months ago Brad proposed that the Carbondale switch the liquor laws to match the state's laws. It was voted down, OK fine. Last meeting Sheila attacked him for following the rules that she voted not to change. Does she not want him to follow the law? I guess she just wants to pick a fight.

Are they voting on CVS rezoning tomorrow? The dominoes look like if CVS moves, we get a Super Kroger's on the west side in that space. The city gets to clean up a bunch of subpar properties and about 6 houses get a neighbor they don't want. But, when you live on Oakland and 13, you have at least 2 strikes against you. I'm wondering what Sheila will do at this meeting to attack Brad?

Was this part of her ethic's platform? I thought maybe Dave would cover her deal this morning and tell us what was up, but guess we will have to wait until tomorrow instead.

Under Construction

SIUC News Service reports that Morris Library renovation project is on schedule. "As areas are completed during the coming year, [Library Dean David] Carlson said library staff will re-occupy them and open those to the pubic," writes Tim Crosby.

(Heh, heh . . . Tim wrote "pubic." Perhaps a "Clarence Thomas Reading Room" is planned for the 6th or 7th floors?)

Also under contruction, Shawnee Net - News & Views. . . .Where all the local news that's fit to "aggregate" is compiled via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) and made available to you, the reading pubic. This technology soon will revolutionize the newspaper industry, according to the Blog Maverick.

Also, under contruction, a 60 second promotional spot for Town Square, with music, images and visual text, a list of businesses and the message: Be There, On the Square.

Also under contruction, this blog. . . . So far, only three or four of the bloggers listed at top have posted anything. Who will be next?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Conflict of Interest...

Okay, here’s the sequence of events:

At the 21 November Carbondale City Council meeting, Mike Heck (President of the Carbondale Park District Board but speaking for himself) encouraged Councilmen (councilpeople? Ugh.) Wissmann and Haynes to abstain from the Carbondale Clean Indoor Air Act (otherwise known as the smoking ban) because of a supposed conflict of interest. Mr. Wissmann declined to abstain, but Mr. Haynes was convinced to.

At the 5 December Carbondale City Council meeting, no one mentioned conflict of interest between Wissmann’s job as part-owner and editor of the Nightlife and Carbondale’s Halloween policy.

In the 7 December Daily Egyptian, the editorial staff wrote what I consider an asinine and insinuating editorial questioning Wissmann for not abstaining from the smoking ban vote and for pushing a Halloween policy that might secondarily or tertiarily (is that a word?) benefit his newspaper.

In the 8 December Daily Egyptian, there appeared a letter I wrote in response to the aforementioned foolish editorial. It’s purty decent, if you ask me (if you don’t follow any of the other links, follow this one; it’s kinda the whole point here. I’d repost it in full, but Dave wants these things kept short).

On...hey, it’s still December 8th, isn’t it? Things move fast. Well, today, after the letter was published, I got a couple of emails from Councilmen Fritzler and Wissmann correcting me about a couple of things in my letter, and in the sprit of full disclosure and honesty, I’ll list the corrections here, so the world can see.

First, Joel (Fritzler) rightly pointed out that no one “requires” council members to actually hold real jobs. I knew this, of course; it was a poor choice of wording. Second, Joel informed me that Haynes no longer managed Kroger West; he’s at a different Kroger’s now. I didn’t know that. Third, Chris (Wissmann) told me that he doesn’t own part of Thomas Publishing, as I thought and implied he did. He only owns part of the Nightlife. Last—no one pointed this out to me, but I caught it myself; I implied that the DE used the word “recused” in their editorial, but I was inexcusably sloppy on this one; they did no such thing.

One more thing: Joel pointed out to me that my arbitrary example about Kroger West and rezoning actually had a fortuitous ring of truth, having to do with Kroger, CVS, and the proposed Murphysboro Wal*Mart. Does anyone have any more info on this?

Thinking outside The Square

Working on the television commercial for Town Square to be broadcast on MediaCom in several cities has made me more aware of how strong a retail area the district is, and how much stronger it can be.

The big square area, where the pavilion is, needs work. Some visual center. The Pavilion should have a name or signage of some kind. As is, it's just a pleasant open space with a shelter and plenty of parking, and the train tracks cutting the square in half.

Why doesn't the City move the Amtrak station THERE? It would free up the space on Illinois Ave. for commercial development. Remember: the Amtrak Station where it is currently located (across the street from the vacant Varsity Theater) was only intended to be there temporarily.

The fact is, downtown Carbondale business has paid a heavy price through the City of Carbondale's "Redevelopment" in the 70s and 80s, by the attrition in the number of commercial spaces for lease and the overpass on Mill-inois; not to mention all the parking meters,

Thursday, December 07, 2006

How many cars does it take to fill the parking spots on Town Square?

282, Bloggee, . . . . which breaks down to 243 spots in the four public parking lots near the Pavilion area, and 39 on-street spaces. I'm learning many things writing a television commercial for the Town Square. . . . Too much to put into a one-minute spot. But the text will be posted to the On The Square blog, when it's complete. The commercial will run 105 times on MediaCom cable from December 13-24.

Now I must find a word to rhyme with 282.

Monday, December 04, 2006

I was shopping at Shawnee Trails today and heard something interesting

Every year I find a few good Christmas presents at Shawnee Trails and I was doing the tour today. I was looking at their nice selection of messenger bags today and was looking at some of those nice North Face windstopper gloves for the Mrs.

I was kind of pleased to hear about the new Dick's coming to town, but after talking to Rick the owner of Shawnee Trails, now I'm not so sure. I really sounds like Dicks is a great big box store, lots of inventory, sale prices, nationwide buying power, you know the drill. Rick points out that Dick's is going to directly complete against 7 existing businesses and many of them are locally owned.

Let's do a list -
Shawnee Trails
All 3 bike shops (though the bikes on the website really stink, more like Walmart)
Outdoor Store
Hibert's in the Mall
Forgot the last one.

I guess the barn door is open and the horses gone on the big box store issue, but it is always sad when yet another set of local businesses have big box land in their turf.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Kat in the House; Glenn at The Glove

The first Friday in December was very eventful, Bloggee -- even without the excited anticipation of Saturday's Saluki athletics contests.

First, Kathleen Shaffner had her art show at Art Lover's Trading Company gallery, and many people came, including Sheila Simon's campaign manager, Tom Redmond, who said his candidate would not be blogging, or authorizing a blog, during her campaign.

As a blogger, this is hard to understand, since she(ila) never expressed an opinion in her old blog that could get her into trouble. Mostly "this is happening, what do you think?" which is fine, but not so controversial as to be off-limits in a mayoral campaign, where issues should be discussed, and voters informed.

At the end of the evening, Kathleen gave a command performance of a couple of tunes she sang while a member of the 'locally legendary' acoustic trio For Healing Purposes Only. I captured a minute or two of video (view .mpeg file).

Afterwards, I traveled a short distance down Washington Street to the second semi-annual "Art Over Easy" Art Auction at the Glove Factory-Surplus Gallery. It was fantastic! So much diverse art, good food, and SPACE!

This is the second year the auction was done -- or rather Dunn, as in Linda Dunn, wife of the interim Chancellor (a regular guy, who goes to the Farmer's Market in shorts. Why don't they just give him the job, instead of wasting $100,000 to "search" for a replacement for Walter Wendler. That's alot of money. Can't the search committee just go to Monster.Com? Or find someone within the university? or within the ranks of the local blogging community, someone like, say, oh, I don't know . . . Peter the Great?).

I should have asked my new adminstrator friend, SIU President Glenn Poshard and his wife, Jo, who were given a special award in recognition of their "art advocacy." (That's Glenn in the tie with a guy whose name I didn't ask.)

Now that's a way to insure a big crowd. Great art. Great food. Great people. Great cause. Great idea!

As it turned out President Poshard may also deserve a special award for "blogging advocacy." He told me he believes that blogging is the next level of journalism. He's right, but so few people realize this. A visionary, he must be.

U2 YouTube

Leading local Libertarian and National Guardsman, Jim Syler is "incensed." in his latest post to his 21 Days blog, because Green Day and U2 got it terribly wrong in their new video, The Saints are Coming. Jim explains why, with links to his own Katrina cleanup photos.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Center leaves Center

A recent email query from an SIU Engineering student and a fellow blogger:
"I'm a reader of your blogs. Could you please write about the closing down of Sylvan Learning Center and Prometric Testing Center from Carbondale?"
This is what I found out: The Sylvan center moved to Carterville. Many stores in that University Place Center (next to the University 8 Theaters) are moving, because the owner reneged on his original promise and allowed Barnes & Noble to open in front blocking the front view from the road, according to a Great Clips employee. Great Clips has also moved from there to inside Kroger East.

The local Sylvan website does not show the new location.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Can Dawgs Survive a Bear Market?

If you're not already following it, there is quite a bit of talk around the local online forums and blogs about the upcoming SIU vs. Montana Grizzlies game on Saturday in Missoula. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm eagerly anticipating this contest. This game has all the makings of a classic gridiron battle. The Grizzlies venue is said to be one of the most impressive in all of college football, not just I-AA. Check out this pic. McAndrew it is not.

Our Salukis will be in for a real challenge on Saturday ...temperatures in the low 20's, crowd noise (from a throng of 24,000 screaming fans - and at least one transplanted Saluki Fan) reaching decibel-levels unknown, and a Grizzlies line they affectionately call the "ton of fun." This is a fitting contest to showcase one of the last collegiate battles for a true star in the making - Arkee Whitlock. Did I mention he's a Payton Award Finalist? If you haven't paid much attention to his exploits in the past at SIU (stranded on a deserted island somewhere), then you might want to watch this, and then check this young man out on Saturday. He's special.

On TheSouthern.com, there appears to me more Grizzly fans than Dawg fans weighing in, when you scan the comments. I'm impressed with the level of decorum the vast majority of Montana fans have displayed ...nice folks. None of them think we have a sliver of a chance to win, but they're nice about it. Deceived, but nice.

We'll be watching the game on our 52" at home, with family and friends, after having been mugged by Mediacom to the tune of $21.95 to get the game. Ouch. Talk about unnecessary roughness. Had I thought about it soon enough, I should have purchased some Moose Drool to commemorate the event.

Okay, I know that there are those who could care less about SIU football, or any football for that matter but man ... this is gonna be epic. The game is hard to come by on TV around Carbondale, from what I've been told, but I'd bet that there's a place or two in town with DirectTV or Dish Network that'll be showing it. BWW would be my guess, for one. Otherwise, we're starting the festivities at the house around noon ... :)

Go Dawgs and best of luck to the Grizzlies!

All I want for Christmas is a Bluetooth

I hate to be negative, but this photo is more appealing with inverted colors . . . finally getting my broken bicuspid tooth fixed.

I want to thank everyone who contributed to my "Tooth in Advertising" appeal in the old Carbondaley Dispatch.

Thanks to her, I raised enough money to buy a tube of toothpaste before my visit to the dentist yesterday in Murphysboro, Dr. Michael B. Clay -- a graduate of SIU Dental School.

He has a web site, and I told him I would give him a plug: Great job, Doc. . . . You got me good and numb, and I could watch CNN while you did your thing with the other patients. I will certainly be returning to S.I. Cosmetic Dentistry to have a permanent crown installed in a couple of weeks.

Mexican takeout

Two more Mexican restaurants have opened for business in recent months. . . . One over by Turley Park, and one across the street from Gatsby's.

Haven't tried either, but visited Adelitas yesterday, while waiting for my "Don Davo" burrito (bean, cheese, tomato, cilantro, onion) to be cooked across the street at Don Taco. . . . And I meet Maria who cooks at Adelitas. The menu looks authentic. I told her I would post it on the web in a few days. If this link is active, then the menu's up.

The restaurant near Turley has been "opening soon" for ages. . . . but I hear it finally did, so I will check that one out, next time I'm on a stroll on the West Side of town.

If you eat at Don Taco, be sure to try the "Horchata" or "Jamaica" beverages. Both are non-carbonated, and both delicious. Horchata is sweet rice drink, while Jamaica (pronounced "Ha-Mika") is obtained from the Hibiscus sabdariffa flower. (LaBamba serves horchata, too. In my opinion, if a restaurant doesn't serve Horchata, it isn't truly Mexican.)

So, what's your favorite Mexican restaurant, Bloggee? (Not counting Tres Hombres, which is in a class by itself).

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What about the Varsity?

I ran into Bob Streit (the "Lawrence Olivier of Southern Illinois") at a First Friday event last month -- the guy who used to head up the "SAVE" organization, devoted to saving the Varsity, (a Hugh Muldoon production), and while he's gone on to fix up property in other places -- most notably a yoga studio on Graham Street -- the Varsity building is steadily deteriorating. Another winter will make it worse.

Mayor Cole has tried to find a buyer, without success. Seems like no one is interested the "venerable venue" (quoting myself here). ;-) It can't be used as a first-run theater (by terms of the sale agreement with Kerasotes Theaters, which is too cheap to put a marquee of movies showing at the new "Showplace Theaters" behind the mall.)

So what can be done about the Varsity? Any suggestions? Can this blog spark some renewed activity? "V is for Varsity" is one of the chapters in my 'blook'-in-progress. Hate to end on a down note. Could saving the Varsity become an "issue" in the upcoming election?

Any (realistic) suggestions? I think the sale price was half a million dollars.

Went to the Southern Glass Works sale yesterday

Nice stuff, but smaller then previous years. I'm guessing they put a lot of effort into making pumpkins for their earlier sale. Best Christmas ornaments going though, if you want something original.

Tonight they are running the glass sale again (808 S. Forest, first house South of Mill on Forest) and the pottery sale is in the breezeway of Wham too. The big craft sale is coming up at the Student Center, but it looks like we are going to be having some cold weather by them.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Cole brings Dick's to 'Dale

Large Sporting Goods franchise moving into old K-Mart building (photo?). It'll be in The Southern tomorrow, but you heard it here first (unless you heard it somewhere else), courtesy of a press release sent out from the Mayor's office to all the media. (Yes, Bloggy. This is media.)

The new business sounds like a good fit for Carbondale. To my knowledge there isn't another sporting goods place in town. Maybe in the mall, but the mall doesn't count. ;-)

Dick's Sporting Goods, the leading online sporting goods retailer.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Fred's is dead

Reported in The Southern Illinoisan: Fred's Dance Barn closing, Dec. 9: Owner Barrett Rochman said "negative media attention following a highly publicized shooting near Fred's Dance Barn property in January was a major factor in a steep attendance decline that ultimately led to the decision to close," reports Ashley Wiehle.

As many know, Barrett is a prominent figure in the Carbondale community. Some might say "legendary." Back in the 60's he was known as "Mr Sandwich." He was reported to be the "Mr. X" who was going to save the Varsity Theater a few years ago. He's also a major benefactor of amateur softball. But his biggest contribution to the region is probably the Blue Sky Vineyard, the crowning jewel in the string of fine Southern Illinois wineries.

My guess is that if Barrett didn't have his hands full with this venture, he might have found a way to capitalize of the shooting in Fred's parking lot. . . . 300 yards from the building, he points out. Er rather, to minimize the damage through positive PR, and not lose any business.

But Fred's is not dead yet, not for two more weeks.
Until then, the club will be open every night, and "there will be special events and giveaways," Rochman said.

Dosey dough, Bloggee.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Halloween? What 'Strip'?

Reports Jason Lee in The Southern Ilinoisan: Illinois Ave. Bars forced to close over Halloween: "Carbondale should continue forcing bars on 'the Strip' to close during Halloween because it's 'in the interest of public safety' to prevent street parties during the holiday, a report by City Staff suggests."

Strip? What "Strip"? That was decimated years ago. And finished off with the intersection from hell at "Mi'llinois Aves."

The original Halloween party was (i think) 1977, after a Bob Dylan concert. I was there. Spontaneous, peaceful and fun. Not a bunch of itinerant, vandalizing drunks. It did get pretty destructive though, and the City was wise to curb it when they did. Now, however, things have changed. I think the city could safely open the street again. It might be interesting to read the audio recording of the City Council discussion. The City has done a good job of making these available. For instance, you can download and listen to the Council discussion of the Clean Air ordinance and the Report and Recommendations on "Holloween." I wonder if Doherty reads all 27 pages. I'll let you know.

The good annual art sales are coming up.

On November 28th, the student glass and pottery students will do holding their annual art sale. Generally, the quality if very high and prices are low.

I don't have a postcard for the pottery, but I think the sale is in the Wham Hall breezeway and starts at 5 pm or 6 pm (I'll come and fix this later) on the 29th.

The Southern Glass Works sale is on Nov. 28th and 29th, 5:00 to 9:00 pm. Location is 808 S. Forest Ave.

The Student Center Craft Sale is on the 30th, 1st and 2nd. There is a picture of the poster here.

See you there.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Cull de Sack

One for the journalists: Is there Life after Carbondale for former Southern Illinoisan Carbondale-beat reporter Nicole Sack, who recently moved West? Writing for The Californian/North County Times, her recent by-lines show she's still got it. Those breezy leads, those shapely, informative paragraphs.:
  • A world record 'shoe-in' -- a barefoot woman's shoe collection makes the Guinness Book of World Records. "It has been said that you can never have too many shoes. You can, however, have more shoes than anyone else in the world. . . . "
  • $150 million business park in the pipeline - "Developments come in all sizes. This one could be called super-sized. . . "
  • Two named to city management: "It will be musical chairs in the Temecula City manager's office during the coming weeks . . . ."

Her replacement on the Carbondale beat, Jason Lee (not that Jason Lee), is more straightforward in his leads. No cutesy stuff, but he gets his facts straight.

Scouting for Food: "Food pantries in Southern Illinois will be well stocked for the winter thanks to the efforts of thousands of area scouts during Saturday's Scouting for Food drive."

Endorsement Boosts Whitney's Campaign: "Green Party candidate Rich Whitney received his first major newspaper endorsement Tuesday morning in his run for governor, a sign that his third-party campaign has built momentum outside Southern Illinois."

Compare their Veterans Day stories:

"Communities throughout Southern Illinois saluted veterans Saturday for their service and sacrifice to the country.

In Murphysboro, American Legion Post 127 hosted a ceremony to rededicate the city's recently restored Veterans Monument in Riverside Park."
"Charles Anderson of Murrieta doesn't like to tell the grizzly stories from his service in the Marines during World War II.

He doesn't like the tales of death, the burning hillsides and crushing military force. Anderson, 82, will tell you the thing he remembers most about his three-year tour in the South Pacific from 1943-46 was that he was always wet."
Maybe the question should not be "is there life for Nicole after the Carbondale beat," but rather, "Is there life on the Carbondale beat after Nicole?"

Whassup with the Faculty Union?

I got a tip to go to http://www.thesouthern.com/ and vote on the question of whether it was right to reassign Walter Wendler. I voted and it's 50/50 right now.

It was also requested that I "pass this along," so I went to http://www.siucfa.org and was redirected to http://www.ieanea.org/local/siucfa/.

Does this mean the SIUCFA no longer has the wherewithall to support its own domain? Does it mean it has surrendered editorial control of the site to IEA/NEA?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Altgeld Hall renovation

I’ve been reading about whether SIU should build or improve existing classrooms and facilities. I’m not a financial or business person so I don’t know how much it would cost either way or where the money comes from. I’m relating what I experienced during my student years compared to what I’m experiencing right now in Altgeld Hall.

I was a music ed. student at SIU from fall 1966 until I finished on campus winter quarter of 1970 and spent nearly 5 days a week in Altgeld Hall during most of that period. The place was dismal, cramped, had no storage, sound blasted through the walls of neighboring practice rooms, etc. I sang in Choral Union about 5 or so years ago and sat in what looked like the same folding chairs in the choir room that looked exactly the same as it had in 1970. This semester I’ve been singing in the Choral Union in the newly renovated Altgeld. I recently sang in a choir which recorded a CD with SIU orchestra personnel and faculty in the huge, state of the art recording studio. Every time I walk through the halls and sit in the new acoustically correct choir room I just shake my head in awe. Dr. Bob Weiss, director of the School of Music, gave me a tour of the facility after my recent move to Carbondale. The comparison of the building before and after the renovation is like night and day. I’m sure that in its current state it would tip the scale in favor of SIU for potential music students. Pre-renovation, the building would have been a good reason to go elsewhere.

I found a site about the Altgeld reno that has a video of the dedication ceremony and a video of Dr. Wendler using the renovation to plug his Southern 150 plan at the time. If money can be found for such a huge improvement of ancient Altgeld Hall, can’t it be found to improve many existing campus buildings and classrooms as well? Would it be more cost effective than building new places?

Have to wonder what the SIU students are smoking?

Letter: Thanks for the insight - Letter to the Editor

It is amazing that there are students at SIUC who think it is going the right way. I have to wonder that "move toward excellence" this student is talking about? New football stadium? Little brick wall signs outside of campus? He can't be talking about academic standards can he?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Why doesn't CVS build on one of the 4 TIF corners?

Commission votes 'no' to Arbor District rezoning:
"The Carbondale Planning Commission unanimously decided not to recommend to the City Council the proposed rezoning of 2.44 acres in the Arbor District from a residential to a planned business district at its Wednesday meeting. The rezoning was proposed to accommodate a new CVS/pharmacy on the corner of Oakland and Main streets.

After the meeting, Sandy Litecky, president of the Arbor District Board, said she was very pleased with the commission's ruling.

'We've all worked very hard for this,' Litecky said."
The Arbor District site tells their story.

What's interesting is that Rolf Schilling the real estate agent is also selling the property at Walnut & Washington: The SE corner of the TIF District 'Four Corners'. CVS could locate on one of the corners.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Good, better, best?

After the first mud-rasslin' match that had people asking for their money back (aka, the gubernatorial race), the race for Carbondale strikes me as having one key quality that so many races lack anymore: The candidates are solid, qualified contenders.

Mayor Cole has done a pretty remarkable job running a city. He's made some tough decisions (razing American Tap comes to mind). He's showed he has the capability to listen to community input - anyone sitting through marathon council sessions that ultimately spared the Eurma C. Hayes Child Care Center can attest to that. He's also been progressive in his ideas, including encouraging smoke-free bars by providing a monetary incentive but not making a move to clear the smokers out. He's a Republican even we lefties can appreciate, and he's got what seems to be a pretty solid constituent base eager to see him back in the city hall.

Sheila Simon, on the other hand, has consistently been one of the most thoughtful members of the city council. She makes solid decisions, explains her rationale and is willing to ask city staff and community members for their input when presented with a problem. While Cole has the incumbent status rolling behind him, she's got the last name of a bow-tied legend and has done much to live up to it.

Although she's admittedly a newbie and not one of the race's heavy hitters, Jessica Davis seems to have some solid ideas on how to get things done. Anyone who's willing to tackle a book with a topic as sweeping as violence, war and death in the United States can't be too quick to shy away from a challenge, right?

I'm curious to see if the race turns ugly. With so many qualifications under their respective belts, it's going to be hard for Cole and Simon especially to push themselves much farther up.

Nominating petitions available

On April 17, 2007, the City of Carbondale will hold an election to select a Mayor and three City Council Members for four-year terms. Information and petition forms are now available in the City Clerk’s Office

This election is for the seats presently held by Mayor Brad Cole and City Council Members Sheila Simon, Steven Haynes and Lance Jack. (The City Council seats of Corene McDaniel, Chris Wissmann and Joel Fritzler expire in 2009.)

Signed nominating petitions must be submitted to the City Clerk's Office between December 11 and December 18. If three or more candidates file for the position of Mayor, and/or seven or more candidates file for the three City Council positions, a primary election will be held on Tuesday, February 27, 2007.

The City Clerk's Office is located in Room 165 of City Hall. 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.

Lodge reprieve & Pool reprise

Veteran reporter Linda Rush reports in The Southern Illinoisan: "The Carbondale Park District Board voted unanimously Monday night to dismiss its court petition to sell Hickory Lodge, a property that had been donated to the district years ago by the Martin family and had been the district's office until 2004, when park operations were moved to the LIFE Community Center.

It also heard and saw a presentation indicating public support for an outdoor swimming pool for the community."

Peter the Great has some nasty things to say about this meeting in his newly revived and renamed blog, Gregorian Rants. At least I think they were nasty, 'cause he says he's gonna post the nasty stuff there and "Carbondale news" in this blog. Personally, I don't see a problem with this blog being nasty, as long as its truthful.

Congratulations to Ed VanAwken and the others who worked so hard to save the property from being sold. Some people have come up with ideas, but they aren't really market-driven, but grant-driven (correct me if I'm wrong someone. I plan to contact Kris Schachel and Michael Heck about the situation for a future post to this blog.)

Can anyone in reading distance of this blog come up with a feasible plan for Hickory Lodge? One that wouldn't be a financial drain on taxpayers?

Speaking of which, Peter is absolutely right about the Pool being a waste of time and energy... and money too. The problem is where they want to build it, and the scale. But we'll get into all that later.

See what Peter has to say.

Standing O

Mayor Brad Cole delivered his 4th Annual State of the City Speech yesterday, recounting the City's progress, and his ideas for the future. When he announced his intention to seek re-election most of the people in the room rose from their seats and applauded. The media table remained seated, as did about 20% of the room, including (I imagine) mayoral candidate Sheila Simon, sitting in back.

All the other Council members were present, too, except for Joel Fritzler and Lance Jack, the latter probably working at Harbaugh's which he helps run (arguably the best all-around independently owned breakfast-lunch restaurant in The 'Dale, although Mary Lou's restaurant has its own loyal fans-- especially among the bisquits and gravy crowd).

The crowd pictured here had dined on Great Boars of Fire barbecue with salad and sides, only minutes before the standing O which may have aided their digestion.

Unfortunately the anticipated "Bloggers Convention" failed to materialize. I found only Cindy (winner of the Name that Blog! contest) standing by the door. An avid music lover, and occasional amateur performer, whose MySpace blog recounts her life in retirement, and includes a photo. Shawn (the Beer Philos'pher) was there, too, but we didn't hook up. And Peter and the shadow man could not attend due to circumstances beyond their control.

The mayor spoke for about an hour . . . Besides his big announcement, the audience also applauded his intention to crack down on school truancy, and his statement that "it helps to have Faith on your side" (an allusion to his secretary, Faith Johnson). Also, the Mayor's promise to continue to waive the City's portion of the property tax had people putting their hands together counting their money, after the applause.

One of the things that hasn't been much noticed before, is how much the Mayor promotes art in our community. Each table had placed in the center three colorful artistic tiles, created by local school children. . . . In his speech, Cole told us that thousands of these will decorate the upstairs' hallway in City Hall

Since I've been helping out with the Mayor's web site, I won't say too much in favor of "Hizzoner" -- I'll let his accomplishments speak for themselves -- or rather the accomplishments of many people, including the City Council. But will the Mayor's 2007 Plan pass muster with Mister Peter Gregory? With candidate Ms. Sheila Simon? With Dr. Jessica Davis?

How about you, Bloggee? Will you give Mayor Cole's announcement a "standing O'" or a sitting 'no'?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Guest Column in today's DE - Here is the building message.

Column: Help, the university is crumbling - Columns This is good reading.

Here is the problem with Saluki Way when viewed from the outside. The University's buildings are crumbling and there doesn't appear that SIU's leadership cares. Maybe they know that eventually the state will cough up the money?

It is hard to believe that $100M or $250M is going to magically fall out of the sky for maintenance of SIUC's buildings without any planning, but what do I know?

A little news from my little world. The game is back on.

I missed the Mayor's speech because I was in Nashville, TN having my bad ear looked at, sounds (no pun intended) like I missed a good one. If you didn't already know it, ear infections stink.

The pamphlet Brad handed out is online, need to read it to see where he is going. Sheila should take note, a written plan is very helpful.

I have had many people asking me to continue posting my larger essays somewhere, so I'm going to fire up my old blog and do the big stuff there. I have renamed it to "Gregorian Rants" (thanks to Shawn for the name upgrade and to our host Dave for kicking off a contest). I'm planning on doing Carbondale News over here and the meaner stuff over there. I don't think the other bloggers here want to take the kind of heat that might come down from some of my finer posts? Most of you have jobs right?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Long Way Away

Greetings from Rabun County, Georgia,* where I'm on a "buying trip" for Art Lovers Trading Company. On the road for 9 hours yesterday, I had time to think about this blog and some changes (improvements) that it needs.
  1. the name . . . . Chosen on a whim, in moments. This entire blog was first set up in five minutes, a practical offshoot of a post lamenting the passing of Peter Gregory's blog. But I think the name sounds too techie. Currently, I favor "New Carbondaley Dispatch" (or Carbondale Dispatch, without the "y") but am open to other suggestions. A practical advantage of that name is it gives this blog instant longevity, since the Dispatch just completed its fourth year of publication. I think this is important. It would make this blog one of the longest-running local blogs in the U.S.
  2. the content. . . . Should be local focus. The new format (using Drupal instead of Blogger) will permit easy categorization of posts. Suggested categories: Business, Academia (SIU), City Hall, Arts & Entertainment (includes Music), Local Schools, Local Organizations.
  3. the look. . . Drupal offers different "skins" for the blogs appearance. The current Blogger template is "Minima" and it looks it. ;-)
  4. the bloggers. . . . So far this blog has six people "signed on" . . . and a few more invitations have been sent out. Political ideology is not a factor; but independent (non-ideological) thinking is. Ideally, about 10 local bloggers will be chiming in weekly. . . . We shall see.

This blog is still a long way from where it should be. Your thoughts and suggestions are welcome. I will make the appropriate changes when I get back to town. The Drupal version should be "good to go" later in the week.

See you in th' e-hood.

* Besides being home to two of my cousins, Rabun County is also home to the Foxfire project.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Both feet in.

So this is blogging..and my first foray out into the blogosphere.
Dave, thanks for the invite - and the pseudonym priviliges. If you can take up the bloggers cross for so many years with the Dispatch, it's about time you got some additional eyes and ears.

I graduated from SIUC one year ago and decided that Carbondale was a place that could keep me for a bit longer. The university churns out far more students per year than the area can employ, so I count myself among the fortunate ones who is still able to take day trips to the Shawnee while earning a living.

Coming from a town of less than 300 people further upstate, Carbondale was a culture shock for me - hard for city folk to imagine, no doubt. The university town atmosphere is a mellow, semi-cultured one, and for that I'm grateful. Carbondale has nearly all the amenities a girl like me needs - independent bookstores, hipster music stores, a great live music scene and a coffeehouse that allows smoking inside its doors.

I can't imagine Carbondale is wanting for anything...is it? What do we need here (physically, not philosophically - healthcare can be tackled on a previous visit ;) ) that we don't have?

Dave, I promise my posts won't all be written by Hayley Mills, but my plan is to wade in with both feet instead of diving.

Trader George Bush - warning Political joke

As President Bush gets off the helicopter in front of the White House, he is carrying a baby pig under each arm. The Marine guard snaps to attention, salutes, and says: "Nice pigs, sir."

The President replies: "These are not pigs, these are authentic Arkansas Razorback Hogs. I got one for Vice-President Cheney, and I got one for Defense Secretary Rumsfeld."

The Marine again snaps to attention, salutes, and says, "Nice trade, sir."

Thursday, November 09, 2006

This changes everything! ... or nothing at all.

Okay, lemme sum up ... the Dems have taken the House, they'll most assuredly be taking the Senate, Donald Rumsfeld has "resigned," Walter Wendler has been "reassigned," and Britney and KFed are divorcing ... our world is officially rocked.

With all the changes that are afoot, it will be interesting to see if the result, at least on a national level, will be a new spirit of cooperation and compromise, or if the schoolyard bickering will only escalate ... I foresee the latter. Call me jaded.

Despite the fact that both Pres. Bush and Speaker-Elect Pelosi have put on their "nice faces" for each other (post-election, obviously) and offer sound bites that point toward an optimism about the working relationship between the now divided branches of our government, I don't buy it for a minute. Mark my words, we're in for two long years of the sound of our governmental gears grinding to an ideological halt. But look on the bright side, at least we have 'American Idol' coming up to divert our attention from those pesky issues like stem cell research, border security, and the war in Iraq!

All of these events only serve to further my suspicion that the Left and the Right are just not "wired" to play nice with each other ... at least not those players who get the lion's share of the press. If you think about it, the squeaky wheels on both sides of the fence tend to be the more polarizing figures - These figures, I suspect, don't represent the views, in toto, of most Americans. Most Americans, I'd wager, are caught somewhere in the middle.

The law of non-contradiction tells us that something cannot be both true and false at the same time and in the same relationship. Thanks Aristotle! The left thinks they've got it, the right thinks they do ... either one of 'em is woefully misguided, or they're both misguided. Regardless, it all comes down to how dogmatic we're gonna be about our own particular slant on things, I think.

Where does that leave us? It leaves us with a choice to make. Yep, another one. Now that the local elections are essentially over, what are we gonna do with our time? Try to create an environment conducive to an honest dialogue between disparate viewpoints, or continue the vitriolic rants that so often ensue from getting all "hopped-up" about an issue, an individual, or an idea ... Time will tell. We're passionate people, we human beings. Most of the time, everything reverts to finger-pointing and name-calling at the end of the day. If we're also rational, them we have the choice to keep our passions in check and let reason rule the day.

Or, we could all just go have a beer ... First round is on me.

Why fire him now - a little note on Wendler's "removal"

Wendler ousted - Campus from the DE.

The best reason to remove Wendler now is to allow formation of a search committee now. This allows you to find someone to start by next Fall and put this behind you. If you wait to can him until May or August, you have another whole year doing the search. Timing wise, this is the right thing for SIU.

Now that Wendler is out, can we start calling it SIU again now? Can it be "S"outhern Illinois again too? I'm sick of "Southern" and "southern Illinois". When did Southern Illinois stop being a region of the United States? When did SIU change its name? There is a university called "Southern" already.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Give Dunn a Chance

Now that the autocrat Wendler has finally "returned to his first love of teaching," I have hope that Interim John Dunn will understand the difference between leading and ruling. I dearly hope that Dr. Dunn will embrace Pres. Poshard's desire for greater shared governance. Wendler did everything he could to undermine it.

One big difference between the two: Wendler wouldn't even wear a mortarboard for commencement - it would have dented his coiffure. On the other hand, Dunn can be seen in the summer at Saturday morning Farmer's Market unshaven, in sandals, cut-off shorts, and a ratty T-shirt - talking to other citizens in similar attire (designed to get there before the good produce was gone and before it got too hot). That reassures me that he's a human who's not afraid to be seen as such - instead of a ridiculous caricature.

Now, can Dunn explain to the faculty's satisfaction why he behaved as he did with regard to faculty promotion and tenure decisions? I am hoping that I am right that he was simply following Wendler's orders. I like John Dunn and I hope he can restore a sense of community during his service in this position.

OK, I'm good for one more post - Wendler given the hook at SIUC

In the best news that I have heard for sometime, Uncle Walt has been shown the door by Glenn Poshard. Here is the best version I could find in 10 minutes from the press. The DE's version isn't bad, but they missed the key quote from Poshard that the AP reporter picked up.
"We're the only public university in the state losing students," Poshard said. "We have to turn this around."
Two down and about 10 more to go. There might be hope after all?

Drupal is not a medicine for colds

Before we all get too settled in here at "blogspot" we should investigate other blogging formats that can organize our posts by category. Apparently the new "Blogger Beta" will do that . . . but NOT for team blogs. This morning I spoke with the James Throgmorton, "ScientistSuperstar" dude about setting the blog up with a Drupal platform blog. "Community Plumbing" . . . I love that.

Drupal is very powerful, offering many other features besides categorizing posts. More than we'll ever need probably, but it's free so what the heck. Mr. T wants me to give him a Plan for this blog, so he can customize the set-up I guess.

I will attempt to develop something and pass it around for suggestions and improvements.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Vote ...Vote ... Vote!

What is today? A little foggy and dreary, yes, but it’s also Election Day. Please make every effort to get out to your respective polling places and cast your vote. Polls are open until 7pm, so work shouldn’t be an excuse. Whether you’re right or left, red or blue, or somewhere in between I imagine we can all agree that the right … no, the duty to vote is one we should all take very seriously. If you don’t, it’s not only the day that’s foggy and dreary. It’s you.

This message brought to you by the non-partisan reform committee for better blogging in Carbondale … or something like that.

Monday, November 06, 2006

More Power to Carbondale?

WSIL TV reports: Carbondale Wants Control of Power:
"CARBONDALE, Ill -- In less than two months, Ameren customers could see a 40 to 50 percent jump in the cost of power. Local lawmakers have been fighting to extend the rate freeze, but so far to no avail. The city of Carbondale unveiled a plan at Tuesday's council meeting to side step the rate increase. The city wants to control power distribution within the city's limits. Carbondale Mayor Brad Cole says it's time take action, 'if someone has a better idea we will entertain it, but we have to start thinking outside the box a little.'

You need power lines to get electricity to residents, poles to hold lines, and a sub station like this to distribute the power. Ameren controls and maintains all three within Carbondale city limits. The goal of the city is to take control of the power infrastructure, ' it's kind of a unique idea, definitely out side the bounds of ordinary thought process of how to deal with the ameren increase' Cole said.

. . . The city is set to file Eminent Domain paperwork against Ameren. By [Illinois S]tate law, the city would first make an offer to the company for the power system. If an agreement isn't reached, a judge would make the final ruling. Cole says this could be the beginning of things to come, 'if we are successful, I think a lot of other cities may follow behind us and that would be a good thing.'

Cole says right now Ameren charges around 8 cents per kilowatt hour, the city could buy the same power for 5 cents from generation plants or a contracted supplier. Those savings would be passed on to taxpayers, 'if it doesn't work that's fine, but we aren't hearing any solutions and I think people will be adversely affected if we don't do something about this rate increase' Cole said.

Other local communities like Metropolis and McCleansboro run their own power systems. Metropolis Mayor Billy McDaniel says the operation runs well and energy costs are kept in check."

Mayor Cole shares his thoughts on the matter to City Council, posted on his web site.

Sounds like a good idea. The Daily Egyptian editorial is behind it, see Our Word: Fight for Power.

Can someone shed further light on the subject?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Carbondale: home to nicotine addicts

My attitude toward accommodating smoking in public places is changing. As a former smoker (25 years worth), I have thought that reasonable accommodations would be possible for smokers.

Now I am thinking about reasonable accommodations for non-smokers. I quit in 1997 and developed asthma a few years later, in my late forties. If I inhale too much 2nd hand smoke, I get a respiratory attack during the night that absolutely ruins me for the following day.

Today, after being forced out of Pinch Penny by the smoke, I had supper at Quatro's. Although I was not bothered by smoke there, I was dismayed to witness three consecutive groups of young people come in and ask in a panicky way, "Can we smoke here? Where can we smoke?" One wild-eyed young man even followed up with, "Do you have matches?

My God, this has become insane. I will soon be huddling in the cold with my beer. During two recent visits, 99% of Pinch Penny patrons and employees had a weed burning when I walked in.

My lungs are burning. Guess I'll have to give up pub life.

CMCMA alumni protest with vigor

Peter Gregory's blog had a last entry about revolt among the alumni of the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts. I found out that the number signatories has grown to 306 at last count. I think it started at half that.

The protestors actually have their own Internet domain now and the public can download the relevant letter and signatories, as well as view press coverage of the issue. Interested parties (and all academic people should be interested) should visit http://www.siualumniprotest.com/

Fish or Get Off the Pot

I love to mix these things up and it was either that or "S*** or cut bait." Am I a wiseacre? Is the bear Catholic?

Okay, a real point here: the rumor mill has been grinding for far too long, people are spending too much time trying to figure out what lies ahead for SIUC and, instead of focusing on what's best for the University, they are hunkered down in CYA mode.

Pres. Poshard, we need to hear something soon about your plans for changes in SIUC's administration. We can't hold our collective breath forever. We need an end to the fearfulness and a green light to think creatively - without being punished - about what we can do to help our University.

Restaurant missed

Be patient I'll get the hang of this.

I still rue the selling of Murphy's - to someone who turned it into a restaurant I do not need. If I want what Spinoni's has to offer, I have other places to go where I am familiar with their food and like it.

However, there is no place to go to get a real burger, a NY strip steak, or that fabulous French Onion soup. Or how about some beef stew on a cold blustery evening?

If I were a venture capitalist, I'd be looking for a competent restaurateur to recreate Murphy's and much of its comfort-food menu.

I like Quatro's, but I can't eat there all the time.

There - a post. Not very controversial but we've got to start somewhere.

Carbondale Bytelife

Carbondale Bytelife

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Thoughts on Who, What, and How many

How many bloggers does it take for a group blog? So far, four local bloggers have accepted my invitation to join the team for Carbondale Bytelife.

Who these people are, I'll leave to them to reveal. More invitations are being sent. If you have observant friends who aren't afraid to put their fingers to the keypad, ask them to write Bytelife for an invitation to join the team.

Contributors can use a pseudonym, but must be known to at least one other blog team member, who can vouch for you. Since none of the contributors have ever met, it appears the only thing we all have in common is Carbondale residence, and appreciation for Peter Gregory's blog.
I'd like to see the spirit of Peter's outspoken "Carbondale-Illinois Business and SIU Comments" blog continue. Outspoken and honest, even when wrong.

Ideally, 10-12 people would be signed up to contribute to this blog (balanced between Cole supporters and Simon supporters, or first come first served?).

Anyone needing a quick blogger "tutorial" can get one from yours truly.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Group Blog?

This is the first post in group blog for Carbondale, Illinois, contributed to by local bloggers. Perhaps a new name and design will be chosen. This was done about 5 minutes.