Saturday, January 31, 2004


When it was built in 1958, Murdale Shopping Center was the largest shopping center in the U.S., and Murdale Woolworth's was one of the 7 Wonders of Jackson County, the king of retail outlets. Which makes me wonder . . . what will today's big corporations morph into? Will Carbondale Wal-Mart be absorbed by a yet larger chain called "Morphy's Law?" Be driven out of business by upstart Dollar General, with two stores in Carbondale already. (Downtown could use one too. Right where the Amtrak Station is now. As I recall reading somewhere, the station was never intended to remain at that location, but across the street. With the new TIF District, maybe an "Intermodal Transportation Center" can be built across the tracks, where Southern Recycling used to be. Why not?)

Dollar General is smaller, like the old "Woolworths" with "5 and dime" prices. Another upstart merchandiser Aldi , has stores the size of "Wal-Mart" in Europe, but only one location in Carbondale.

There's "a mini-Wal-Mart" where Discount Den used to be on South Illinois Ave. called Sell it All? The owners also have a sewing business ("Sew it All"), and do custom embroidery, so it all fits.

The owners have a "Big Lots" mentality, but not as much stuff. Maybe they should call it "Small Lots." Bought a pair of reading glasses for $1! Ladies over the age of 25 should check out the dresses. Christmas stuff, too. And dolls. And there's even something for cigarette smokers. So the next time you're having breakfast or lunch at Harbaugh's, or buying a book at Book World, or eating Japanese or Chinese or visiting the Interfaith Center, stop in at "Sell it All." Parking behind the building. You'll find it.

But you won't find Campus Comics, though, because it has moved faster than a speeding bullet to the strip of shops on Main St. East, where Mr. Mike's Music, and Plaza Records welcome your business.

Meanwhile, Tom North at Book World is solid--the best used book store in Southern Illinois--with no plans to move or close.

Passing the loaf

Just had the best breakfast burrito ever at Cristaudo's Bakery where artist-turned-baker-turned-artist Lorenzo Cristaudo is passing the torch to new owner Bill Robbins, who also owns Serendipity Cafe (across the street from Lewis Park) and he was raised in Carbondale. Click on Lorenzo's image to see Bill and him together.

Lorenzo gave me the link to his website--the same as shows up for Google, but it didn't work.

Congressman gives Peace (Coalition) a Chance

Members of the Southern Illinois Peace Coalition will meet with Rep. Jerry Costello in Marion today at to discuss Iraq (profiteering, issue of detainees and human rights), FTAA and CAFTA, Nuclear Weapons and Star Wars, Defense Budget, Patriot Act, Living wage/poverty housing. Folks interested in carpooling will meet at 2:30 pm at Bisani's Coffee Cafe, which reminds me . . .

Busdog's Omnibus Motorcoach Co.

I used to think Bisani's Coffee Cafe was a redundant name for a coffee shop, because the word cafe means coffee in French, but there are quite a few "Coffee Cafes" in the world, so there ya go, except this morning it's Cristaudo's (to check out the report of sale) before going work at Carbondale Greyhound, home of the "$29 Super Friendly Fares" (up to 250 miles).

Bakery sale

Fresh from the oven, Carbondale's doughboy turned glass man: Lorenzo Cristaudo is back in town to close the sale of Cristaudo's Bakery in Murdale Shopping Center to a man named Bill Robbins. No major changes changes are planned. The current staff including Lorenzo's daughter, Rachel, will stay on and work for the new owner. If you are in the bakery in the next few days and see Carbondale's say 'hi'.

Funny thing. Just yesterday someone was saying that Carbondale needs a donut shop downtown. Mmmm, where would it go? Next door to Carbondale Greyhound (where Southern Sisters/Don's Jewelry used to be? where I've been pushing "Good's Value Store")? Nope, too late, because . . .

What this town needs is another tattoo parlor

at 400 S. Illinois Ave. across the street from Amtrak. That makes 4 tattoo parlors Carbondale and no donut shops. What's up with that? The new owner is friendly, and he does a good job. And speaking of good jobs . . .

Windows of opportunity

While in the Communications Building on Thursday, visited the guy who got the job I wouldn't have gotten anyway even if I did apply, but didn't since the office had no windows, but Jack Young is getting the job done and having fun. Someone in the Department should give him a photo or painting of a pleasant outdoor scene, for him to look at when he isn't showing students new windows of opportunity.

And speaking of windows...

Opening soon

The space next to China House on Illinois Ave. (formerly Pita Planet, formerly who knows?) is opening a new BUBBLE TEA store. Someone I know has tried it and it sounds like a fun drink. But now it's just a sign in the window.

And speaking of signs. As anyone who goes there regularly knows, Longbranch Coffee House will be closed until sometime in February 8, and Dar Salaam is moving from its location on Highway 51 South to the old Tokyo Restaurant location on North Illinois Ave., which had been used as a mosque and Sufi community center, which is moving to Dar Salaam's old location south of Arnold's Market, which has undergone some changes of its own.

Friday, January 30, 2004

Newsman Joey Helleny's website.

Still taking it to the hoop

Joining some Southern Illinoisan sports writers, a few Zimmer Radio Group radio personalities Jon E. Quest, Lia Mira, and Kent Zimmer are willing to play in the benefit basketball game at the old CCHS high school gymnasium, along with Darren Kinnard, Channel 3 weekend sports guy. There are a still a few more media people I hope to contact. Although the Wissmann whistled out, someone else at Thomas Publishing (Nightlife, Carbondale Times) might play. Maybe sports writer Chris Barron? Still need to contact the DE as well.

Putting together a squad of former Terrier and Saluki "All Stars" is another matter. Yesterday, in Anthony Hall to see the Chancellor, I rode down an elevator with Seymour Bryson, the Salukis all-time leading scorer and rebounder in 1959. Although his playing days are over, he said he'd attend the game, and had a few more names to suggest. Between his suggestions and those of former Coach John Cherry and others, we should be able to put together a pretty good squad. Refreshments and music are planned for after the game.

Mayor Brad Cole is firm to referee.

Full plate

Yesterday, I spoke with Chancellor Walter Wendler, SIUC Communications director Sue Davis, and Graphics supervisor Jason Bruce -- about the possibility of incorporating the Saluki mascot. I explained to all three that as a teacher and practitioner of the ancient art of print communication, the design did not "cohere," i.e. the words and image don't match up (as explained below). Sue said she would talk to Jason about the possibility of incorporating the dog. No one made any promises, but at least our dawgs were on the table (insert photo of Walter with feet on desk here).

More facts:

a. the name Southern Illinois University Carbondale is too long to fit across the plate legibly.

b. Officially, this university is not permitted to use the name Southern Illinois University without "Carbondale" so it isn't confused with the upstart Edwardsville campus (SIUE), but the overall design leaves unanswered the question: What is a Saluki?

c. Jason spent a lot of time working on the graphic of the Pulliam clock tower and everyone is pleased that it reproduces well in small print.

d. The official Saluki athletics logo (done by a New York firm) --an elongated Saluki that looks more like a dachsund than an Egyptian racing dog. Moreover, the shape doesn't fit, nor would it reproduce well within the limited format of the license plate.

Walter said I should talk to the Alumni Office, as well, and probably Athletics Director Paul Kowalczyk, which I'll try to do today.

Back to the old drawing board

I sympathized with Graphics supervisor Jason Bruce about the difficulty of incorporating the image of a Saluki dog with the clock tower--an otherwise perfectly fine piece of work. I told him I'd try to come up with a design myself. However, we agreed that having a dog urinating on the building probably would not work. (Nor would a King Kong-sized Saluki humping the building.) Sue suggested the possibility of putting the mascot in as a backdrop, but it's gonna be up to Jason and his team to make it happen--even if I manage to come up with a serious design. Maybe the clock tower be scrapped and replaced with an improved version of the current Saluki athletics logo? Maybe IT should be scrapped! Should the Saluki mascot be named "Scrappy?" But seriously folks,

Public Comic #1

Last night I enjoyed the comedy stylings of Josh Jacobs and Steve Hofstetter, a tall dude with red hair and short arms. He's been called an "alcoholic George Carlin," but I'd say "a Jewish Conan O'Brian." Coincidentally, I sat next to Joan Friedenberg and Mark Schneider, professors at SIUC, who made the news last semester when they had a run-in with security-conscious folks in the Student Center when they tried to hold up a sign proclaiming "New trustees for SIU its our only hope." Perhaps the Governor got the message anyway because yesterday G-Rod's people announced his plans to appoint to two new Trustees to the SIU Board in the next two weeks. Of course, these appointments were prompted by retirement and resignation, but still.

Steve and Josh will be coming to SIU in April. Thanks you're a great crowd....
Drive safely to your home page.

Brush with brush with greatness

On the way home from the Comedy Concert, I met up with Janet Hamilton while picking up windshield cleaner (Hawaiian Punch makes excellent soot and grime remover in a pinch). Janet managed a cool second-hand vinyl store, Wuxtry Records, in the 80's, (on Illinois Ave., where the Bike Surgeon is now). Of course, she has a cool celebrity website, including one of my favorite photos of John Lennon.

And if that wasn't enough for one day, while manning the shop at Carbondale Greyhound yesterday afternoon, I encountered a man who has a band that's a "cross between Prince and Queen" (Men Not Gods), who's off to L.A. to do the Jimmy Kimmel Show.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Why traffic is being detoured at Walnut and Illinois

Caleb Hale has the details in The Southern.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Cut-Rate Comedy

Back in the early 80's, I got involved with a weekend coffee house called "Just Desserts." This was before Longbranch, Melange, Cousin Andy's or any of the other non-alcoholic entertainment venues had sprung up in Carbondale.

"Just Desserts" was located on "The Island" (upstairs where Castle Perilous is now), in a space it shared with a Jackson County Arts group. Coffee was provided by Makanda Java, and desserts from Cristaudo's (two decades before Gov. Ryan got his piein').

For entertainment, Carbondale's first (and only?) improv comedy troupe, Cut-Rate Comedy, served up laughs and other acts, like Wil Maring of Shady Mix (then but a teenager of "Will and Vic.") Maring stood out, along with CRC, as the best performers.

The "Cut Rate Comedy" troupe was terrific. Week after week for an entire semester. John Zakhar, Mike Meadows, Todd Alcott, and Lori Thompson stood up and offered lame jokes and healing laughter. Zakhar later opened "John Dough's" coffee/donut shop where Chicago Hot Dogs is now. Meadows moved to Champaign and continued his career. Alcott to Chicago, then New York, where he is an actor/writer. Lori's a deejay in San Francisco.

In the late 80's, I spotted Zakhar on "Anything for Money" (the game show where contestants guess how far unwitting participants will go to help someone out for money. They sure had a lot of game shows in the '80's).

About the same time, Alcott appeared on an edgy Chicago PBS show doing one of his patented intense crazy-guy 5 or 10-minute monologues. In the late nineties he co-wrote the screenplays for the hit movies Antz and Curtain Call, and has a new film Astro Boy, scheduled for 2005 release, according to his bio.

Meadows makes musical instruments and performs in Champaign, it says here: "Guitarist, Instrument maker; Funny, Satirical, Folk music." That's him. Maybe he could come down to Cousin Andy's sometime. Or Yellow Moon.

Lori T. is on the radio in San Francisco, and she remembers her CRC days in her Star 101.3 bio.

I almost forget Randy Rendfeld, another student who performed a few shows with CRC. He's a journalist, putrid poet, and grandfather, according to his website.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Even if SIUC Communications chief Sue Davis agrees that the license plate design should be changed (and Chancellor Wendler agrees, which he may not), the decision would have to be announced in another press conference in response to a petition by students, not in response to a local blog.

As a former university instructor in advertising and public relations, I'm surprised at the confusing images which fail to communicate some very important information:

1. The name of the university
2. What a Saluki is

the phrase Go SIU Salukis will be meaningless to someone reading the phrase behind an alumnus in an Alaskan traffic jam and elsewhere.

Don't get me wrong, artist Jay Bruce's drawing of the the clock tower is well done (note the way it's set off by the keystone), and it reproduces well, but the plate needs a dog in the picture-- a Saluki dog -- to be precise.

Isn't there a "SIU Spirit Club" that can be unleashed on this project?

Monday, January 26, 2004

It's unclear what WSIU-TV's role will be, or where these study circles will take place, but 300 people must sign up by March 1.

5th caller

Just moments ago, I won a free lunch at Harbaugh's Cafe by calling radio station WJPF (1340 AM) at the right time. Making the announcement, Tom Miller had some nice things to say about the Shawnee Network website. Later in the program, Tom interviewed with Illinois Sen. Dave Luechtefeld about setting a limit on malpractice lawsuits. Every morning Tom gives away a free lunch to Harbaugh's (good for 6 months!) and talks to local newsmakers. Tomorrow's guest: SIU Chancellor Walter Wendler.

SIU Plate Special

I'd give a free lunch at Harbaugh's Cafe if Walter Wendler would consider having a contest to redesign the SIU license plate to include a Saluki dog image on the official State of Illinois University License Plate instead of a clock tower.

Opening up the SIU license plate to a university contest will generate more interest in the plate and insure more buyers, which would be a good thing for everyone. So "stop the metalpresses" and call a press conference! Will it take a petition to bring this about? Just about everyone I've spoken to agrees a Saluki dog would be a more positive image for SIU than a clock tower.

A contest would be a good way to generate interest. Look how easy it was to get a petition of 850 for the clock tower design.

Most of the news releases sent out by SIUC News Service conclude with a statement tying in the subject to Southern at 150 goals, like this one for the upcoming George Harrison tribute:

Expanding cultural outreach efforts is among the goals of Southern at 150, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it reaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.

I think a contest like this would accomplish a number of Southern at 150 goals. It definitely is NOT too late to change the design. It will probably have to be changed anyway, since it doesn't meet standard specs. It's hard to believe that this project has been in the works for years. Were any surveys conducted? Was the clock tower picked as the #1 symbol?

C'mon Chancellor Wendler, "Do it for 'pawsterity'!" Yield to "public pressure"! Announce a contest! Someone on your staff can easily put this together. Give students ONE MONTH to come up with a Saluki image. Have reps from Marketing and Graphics (including Sue Davis and Jay Bruce) judge the winner.

As suggested previously in this blog, doing this will create much more "buzz" for the plate, give a clearer message to the plate, and sell more of them -- all good things.

Stroll around the grounds until you feel at home

Andrea Kampwerth reports in the Sunday Southern: Family questions sale of Lodge"Members of the family that donated what is now Hickory Lodge to the Carbondale Park District are displeased with the district's talk of selling the historic home to reduce maintenance costs and raise money."

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Who was Doug Lee?

You're going to have to wait to find out.

Birds and rivers

International film series resumes in the Life Science III auditorium with Winged Migration at 7 p.m. Tonight and Monday night.

Also tomorrow night, Kay Rippelmeyer-Tippy will present a program on the rivers of Southern Illinois, especially the transformation of the Ohio and Mississippi River systems from wild, fertile ecosystems into controlled, dammed, and dredged barge corridors. Sponsored by Shawnee Audubon Society. Monday, January 26 at 7 p.m. at the Carbondale Civic Center. More details about the talk. Everyone is invited (even the people who weren't welcome at the Bad Taste Party) to join the group for dinner before the talk at Pagliai's Pizza at 5:30.

Oops, his Bad

Funny thing happened on the way to last night's 4th Annual Bad Taste party. Someone sent an invitation to the private party in Cobden to a Southern Illinoisan reporter at his SI email address, and the details were dutifully inserted the event in the weekly Flipside! The host naturally freaked out at the thought of dozens of people showing up "off the street," so the venue was moved to an undisclosed location on Norwood Drive in Carbondale.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

New SIU license plate lacks likeness

Two weeks ago, Chancellor Walter Wendler unveiled the new SIUC license plate, but sorry to say, the design gets rated Five Zeros - 00000, this blog's lowest rating.

Despite its simplicity, the elements do not "cohere". The word "university" is not used, and Saluki is unexplained. Why not include an image of the university mascot? Why the clock tower at Pulliam Hall? No offense to graphic director, Jay Bruce, or Sue Davis or anyone on the license plate committee, but a contest might have been a good thing, or a survey? Is this absolutely the best we can do? Take a look at Illinois State University's plate.

To find out if was too late to change the design, I spoke to Jack Sutphen, Administrative Assistant of Vehicles Service, and Patty at Special Plates, Cheryl Glynn. Kim Nehrt (217-785-8234, Creative Director Secy of State Communications (217-524-0581)

Saluki fans of the world unite! It is not too late to have your beloved mascot emblazoned on metal for pawsterity.

Further reading:

625 ILCS 5/ Illinois Vehicle Code.

Collegiate license plates brochure

SIU Saluki License Plate Petition

Caleb and Andrea explain that a proposed Jackson County "Public Safety Tax" will raise the cost of TVs, Appliances and more. "Exempt items include cars and other vehicles of transportation, farm equipment, groceries, drugs and medical appliances."

Friday, January 23, 2004

Who cares?

Donna Haynes cares what happens to the Eurma Hayes Child Care Center in Carbondale, IL, a facility she has directed since the Temptations were on top of the charts and Walt Frazier was "big man on the campus." In 1967 the Center was a charitable effort of local social service groups, such as Church Women United. But in 1975, the City of Carbondale assumed financial responsibility.

Now, with costs rising and funding for the Center in jeopardy, Donna is looking for alternative sources. Not to save her own job, but to save the Center, which serves a valuable function for low-income residents in Carbondale, including parents, the children and the employees. About 70 children per month are served by the Center with about 12 full time and several part-time employees. Donna didn't feel that she could say too much about the City's recently report, because she actually works for the City, under Don Monty and Deborah McCoy.

Given the recent "Tap Flap" might not people who care about providing child care apply "moral pressure" on the City Council to come up with at least that same amount for Eurma Hayes CC? Some matching funds, perhaps? Can EHCC operate profitably on less money? Can it obtain funds from other sources? From private enterprise? Donna Haynes has looked for answers without much luck so far. Would former graduates of the Center contribute money to a fund to "Save the Center"? Will someone form an ad hoc committee to accomplish that? Will anyone act as a voice for the children at next month's Council meeting?

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Another Day, Another...

Met top dog lady, Sarah George, today, about the need for a petition at her Animal Crackers business (and elsewhere) which dog owners can sign if they would be willing to pay $10/mo to have a fenced-in place for their dogs to run with other dogs. (see related blog).

Not even a sneak preview

Attended a very long meeting this afternoon that I promised not to write about for awhile. Nor can I show you a photo of a member of Carbondale City Council necking with an SIUC Associate-Chancellor in a movie theater. Can I?


Previously in this blog, I said I'd accept the word of Brad Cole, Corene McDaniel, Steve Haynes and Chris Wissmann (who sent a detailed defense of his vote, posted here). regarding the questionable property transaction recently approved by Carbondale City Counci. But some people are still upset that the "slumlord" owner of American Tap will be making a huge profit on a building he neglected for years. The Mayor concedes that people are upset mainly because of who the seller is, not the deal itself, which he is confident will benefit the City in the long run, after the property has been cleared and new business construction begins. Shall we turn our attention to

Karbondale Kid Kare

As widely reported earlier this month, the Eurma Hayes Child Care Center may lose its funding from the City when the next fiscal year rolls around in June. Some readers say this issue deserves more attention than a dilapidated building. So that's what I'll do.

V is for Varsity

The word on the street is board members of SAVE will be looking at the Varsity Theater this week, along with some engineers and code inspectors from the City, to make a sober assessment of the cost of overhauling the venerable building for use as an arts center.

Breakfast at TIF District

Yesterday's post "Breakfast at TIF District" got lost somehow. Something about breakfast in a corner booth at Corner Diner with U.S. Senate candidate Nancy Skinner, D-IL, cornering the market on voters in the market for an environment-minded Liberal candidate. Nancy had driven from Murphysboro where she co-hosted a nationally syndicated talk show and chatted with Dale Adkins and helped Nancy Engel with "Trading Post." Skinner was offended that I didn't think she "won" the debate, although she definitely had the best gimmicks, most passion, catchiest phrases, and "a plan you can wrap your arms around." I wondered if she was in the Senate, would she would introduce a bill that Illinoisans could foot massage? (Readers are invited to make up their own punchline.)

The TIF part of the headline occured the day before (Tuesday, 1:35 p.m.) when Joint Review Board Chair Mayor Brad Cole ushered through the fall of the houses of TIF District, and newly elected public member Larry Walton* accepted the honor with aplomb, and all assembled said "aye" to give City Council a non-binding recommendation in favor of the plan. A plan you can pat on the back, and shake hands with.

*This makes Larry "Public Member #1", not to be confused with this blog's "Public Citizen #1".

Obesity costs Illinois billions.

Saluki men beat Illinois State 71-58, to tie school record for best MVC start ever. Stetson Hairston records third, career double-double.

Caleb Hale reports in The Southern Illinoisan: Legislators introduce bills to name the Federal Bldg. after Paul Simon.

On a related note (sorta) Art Garfunkel arrested for pot possession.

It's official: still no web site

Big Muddy IMC (Independent Media Center) is now officially a not-for-profit with a space to be opening next to WDBX on Feb 1st. and a party on Feb 14th to officially open it. Big Muddy IMC prints the monthly Muddy Media paper and has a weekly show on WDBX 91.1 FM every Sat from 8 to 10 am, along with regular independent film showings. But the organization continues to lack web presence for some mystifying reason.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Hoops Dream

Spoke to Kristen Lewis at Zimmer Radio today, who books the stations' basketball team "Zooper Hoopers" for benefit games at local schools. This will be the last year the old-timers will strap on their Chuck T's for charity, so the timing is good. Between them and the Southern Illinoisan sports staff, and WSIL-TV, and me, there should be enough media players, although Prof. Jim Kelly in the SIU School of Journalism has some height, and may join the squad, along with who knows? The media team is not finalized. The Daily Egyptian hasn't been contacted nor has WDBX or WIDB or the Carbondale Times (hey Tom, you play?)

So that leaves the team of Terrier and Saluki *All Stars*, i.e. former players who still live in the area, and don't play for the Timberwolves. As it happens, Karen's dad, Ken Lewis, is a former Terrier player, and he knows a few old-timers still in the area. So does former CCHS coach John Cherry, who promised to get me in touch with a few (probably the same ones.)

The thing is, the Zooper Hoopers would have to play in the first week of March, on a weekday night. (Thursday?) To pull that off, we'd have to have the cooperation of the media -- to give it sufficient publicity. Don't forget, the event will benefit one or both of the not-for-profit community foundations that bought the old CCHS school properties and gymnasiums. How does $5 sound?*

*Answer: it depends if it's coin or paper.

Going to the candidates' debate

Last night's big "debate" between six of the eight Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate was organized by the College Democrats and co-sponsored by some other local organizations. The photo at left includes organizers and debaters (first six from top left (click to enlarge). At right, Southern Illinoisan reporter Caleb Hale interviews Nancy "The Winner" Skinner for his article.
click photo to enlarge

Want to know more? All of the candidates have websites, so (keeping with the tradition of this blog) whichever candidate is the most web savyy will get this blog's endorsement. This should be worth at least one vote to the lucky winner.

Barack Obama * Nancy Skinner * Dan Hynes * Joyce Washington * Gery Chico * Blair Hull

Two candidates did not attend the debate:
Estella Johnson-Hunt and Maria Pappas

They all look like pretty good sites, though I haven't had time to investigate each one. But just yesterday I received an unsolicited email message from Gery Chico, which I told him last night I deleted unread, because I didn't know who he was. Now that I do, I will read what he has to say.

Undoubtedly, Nancy Skinner is the most media savvy candidate, as the co-host of a national radio show. She speaks with passion and panache, tossing off one-liners as if they were baseball caps and stuffed mascots to the crowd. How well did the candidates "talk the talk?" To me, Barack Obama (pictured with the ubiquitous Kevin Clark) was the most impressive, followed by Skinner (a close second), and Gery Chico (a close third). The most compassionate candidate appeared to be Joyce Washington (at right, pointing to fellow schmoopy), who should be put in charge of health care for the entire nation.

Frontrunners Dan Hynes and Blair Hull seem like nice guys. They all do. Hull appeared to possess that quality that Nancy Skinner boasts of: Courage . . . plus a plan. So do Chico and Obama. Don't they all have a plan? But picking up on Nancy's theme of courage, a good question for each candidate in tonight's debate at Northwestern.

What is the most courageous thing you ever did? What act of courage would you attempt to do in the U.S. Senate if you were elected?

Maybe some of them or their people will read this blog and venture a reply.

Check out WJPF's coverage of the Democrat candidate debate. Their Republican is showing.

Also at last night's meeting Bucky Dome wins City support in The Southern.

I was told that last night's City Council meeting would be brief. It was. But according to the Daily Egyptian: Citizen comments ignited the meeting.

That same night, the Southern reports: City Council asked to oppose USA Patriot Act.

Read about the uncertain future of Hickory Lodge in The Southern.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Zooper Hoopers

This morning on WJPF radio, I heard a spot for a squad of Deejay "Zooper Hoopers," offering to play 5 different schools in benefit basketball games. So maybe they'll take on the *All*Star* Squad of former Saluki and/or Terrier players at Bowen Gym. I sent email to Tom Miller to find out. Meanwhile, over the weekend I met one of the coaches of Marion AAU basketball teams, who expressed interest and knew some former players. The Southern Illinoisan sports writers have agreed in principal to play, so how about the Mississippi (formerly Zimmer) Radio group? Let's get it on!

Oh dem Dems

Conflicting with tonight's City Council meeting (which promises to be very brief, as Council gears up for next month's budget hearings), is the Democratic Senatorial Debate in the SIU Student Center. Six of the seven Democrats running in Illinois' March 16 U.S. Senate primary face off in a debate sponsored by the SIUC College Democrats, Egyptian Building and Construction Trades Council, Illinois NOW and the Jackson County Democratic Party.

Already been impressed by the voice and website of radio host Nancy Skinner ("Skinner the Winner"), so I'm curious to see how she stacks up against her opponents. More details about the debate are in the Daily Egyptian. Council will have to carry on without me tonight. I'll watch the replay on videotape tomorrow.

Done deal

Yesterday, I ran into Councilwoman Corene McDaniel at the African-American Museum at its new location in the University Mall, so I asked her why she voted to buy the old American Tap building for such a high price. Earlier in the day--at Krogers--I asked city Councilman Steven Haynes the same question. Both of them were confident that it would turn out to be a good deal for the City in the long run, though neither could be specific. Over the weekend, Councilman Chris Wissmann sent email to point out that the property was located in the city's Enterprise Zone, which encourages new business construction.

So I'll take their word for it. I hope it works out for the best. It probably will. If nothing else, El Grecos and Old Town Liquors could use the extra parking. Maybe the owner of those businesses will go halfsies with the City on a parking lot. Ya never know.

Local Lefties and Righties this A.M. on AM

Jim Syler, Chairman of Southern Illinois Libertarians will be interviewed this morning at 8:25 by Tom Miller on WJPF AM 1020 and WCIL-AM 1340 on the radio along with representatives from the local Green Party and ACLU about the anti-Patriot Act Resolution that these groups, along with the Illinois Peace Coalition, will present to the Carbondale City Council at its meeting tonight, in the hopes of getting it on the February 3rd Council meeting agenda.

Have you seen the major makeover given to WSIL-TV 3? According to The Southern, local news, weather and sports have undergone a major facelift.


The Joint Review Board for the City of Carbondale's Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Redevelopment Project Area No. 1 will meet today at 1:30 p.m. in the Mayor's Conference Room in the City Hall/Civic Center.

Monday, January 19, 2004

What would Martin do?

Today is Martin Luther King Day, intended as a day of service, not recreation, but who among us . . . ? On Friday, four local Peace and Freedom-minded groups issued a press release calling for a resolution by Carbondale City Council against Patriot Act abuse. 200 other cities have made similar resolutions.

So what would Martin do? Or Abraham? or John? Or Dion? Or Brad?

Meanwhile, SIU is off to its best MVC start ever: beating Bradley University 72-62, as Korn led all scorers with 17 points, tying his career high.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Comments appreciated

This afternoon City Councilman and Nightlife Editor Chris Wissmann, posted a helpful comment to Saturday's post "More on Tap." How about it? Will some of you comment? Should City Council put a cork in its plans to buy the Tap? Should I stop popping off?

Sunday Evening Quarterback

I told a City official Friday I felt like "Johnny Come Lately," which is better than not at all, and unavoidable in blog biz at times, since neither Chancellor Wendler nor Mayor Cole consult this blog before making plans or decisions. I'm simply a writer, commenting on things as I see them "after the fact," while offering practical pro-active solutions. (In my opinion, the hardest part about constructive change is admitting you have been wrong, but I could be wrong.)

And I could be wrong about not paying $150,000-plus for the American Tap building from notorious slumlord Donald Dump, and barking up the wrong tree regarding the visually and symbolically inconsistent SIUC license plate. (see below)

"Monday Morning Quarterback," the City official said. Yes, but not exactly, because the things I'm commenting on are not completed (like an NFC Championship game), but ongoing processes, games-in-progress. As far as I know the contract for the property has not yet been signed. Should it be? Must it be?

I'd like to attend next week's Council meeting and ask if Council would reconsider paying an exhorbitant amount of money to the most notorious "slumlord" in Carbondale's history. It's not that he is currently serving time for commiting the heinous crime of predatory sexual assault, it's his record as a property owner, and the inflated price tag.

Mayor Cole says that if the City were to change its mind now Mr. Dump could sue the City, but City Attorney Deborah Nelson wouldn't comment. Although I'm no lawyer, I wanted to be one in 7th grade, and if no Contract has been signed or consideration given, what grounds would there be? What could he sue for?

Hoping to learn answers to these questions tomorrow, Martin Luther King Day. What would Martin do?

Back to Quarterbacks . . .

McNabb McRibbed

Rib injury ends frustrating day for Philadelphia Eagles' Donovan McNabb.

A place that sells Custom Printed Emery Boards

Sunday morning quarterback

As an enterprising youth in Philadelphia in 1960, I sold souvenirs at Philadelphia Eagles games at Franklin Field (two stadiums ago), the year the Eagles beat Lombardi's Green Bay Packers for the Championship--in the days before the American Football Conference or a Super Bowl. Twenty-one years later, as an enterprising middle-aged man, I sold "Eagles have Landed" tee-shirts in New Orleans, the year the Ron Jaworski's team was shot down by quarterback Jim Plunkett's Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl 15 (so I returned home with more tee-shirts than expected, but still made enough to pay for the trip, and a ticket to the game (scalpers were actually selling tickets for less than face value. )

Super Bowl 38 will be in Houston this year. If the Eagles win today, don't I owe it to this blog to attend? Perhaps taking a page from Maggie Flanagan's playbook and sell souvenir nail files, with the motto "Eagles' talons claw Panthers" or something. Sell 'em for a buck. Three for 5 dollars. As these words are being written, there are 14 days, 6 hours, and 33 minutes until kick-off in Houston. Time enough to get 5,000 emory boards imprinted?

If the the team from Philly wins today's Conference Championship Game, I'll find out.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

More on Tap

Yesterday, "Public Citizen #1" met Mayor Brad Cole to question the City's decision to buy the old American Tap building from notorious slumlord, Donald Dump*. Unfortunately City Manager Jeff Doherty was out of his office at the time, and City Attorney Deborah Nelson wouldn't say anything about it without Jeff's permission.

Some interesting facts: The old Bel-Aire Motel property, with excellent access to Highway 13 on both Main St. AND Walnut St. -- a huge piece of property, in the heart of the proposed new TIF district sold for $435,000, for approximately 155,000 square feet.-- a mere $2.80 per sq. ft., while the City is offering to pay tne slum king more than a third of that price -- $150,000 -- for a mere 5,555 sq. ft. -- a whopping $27 per sq. ft. !!!--the richest price per sq. ft. paid for any piece of property in the history of Carbondale real estate--no doubt!

Mayor Cole is confident that a new business will want to build there--in the heart of the Strip, where building costs will not be defrayed by construction friendly enterprise and TIF zones a few blocks away.

The sole dissenting vote on the American Tap deal, Maggie Flanagan, originally supported the acquisition (urging the Mayor to go to Lawrence Correctional Center in Sumner, Illinois, to negotiate) but voted against it when her constituents complained loudly. At the time she cast her vote she said that new building codes might force the owner to make needed repairs, but Cole has told PC#1 that nothing in the new building code would apply. So what's a ethics-minded business community to do?

Should the following two facts be factored-in to the City's decision to pay over-the-top dollar? 1) Mr. Dump is currently serving prison time for predatory sexual assault, and 2) he has a history of allowing properties to detoriate (as the wall in front of The Tap (pictured here) shows.

If the City goes through with the transaction, it will become Carbondale's most expensive (per sq. ft.) parking lot for a long while? When, if ever will the 150 grand be recouped? From a purely business point of view, the purchase seems like a mistake. But I've been wrong before, and don't mind being proven wrong again--if it's for a good cause.

*name changed to protect the guilty.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Party on, dudes

Last night, in keeping with this blog's "30 meetings in 30 days" commitment, I was lucky enough to stumble on a meeting of the Southern Illinois Democratics in Ballroom A, while on my way to a meeting of the local Libertarian Party in the Saline Room, which I was invited to by Jim Syler (pictured at right with Jennifer Caudell.). But the meeting of Democrats was packed with local movers and shakers in the party. Many people spoke at two meetings. Both parties discussed strategies for upcoming elections. Of the two, I'd say the Democrats are better funded because there was no mention of a bake sale in Ballroom A (in fact, the cookies in the back of the room were free) whereas the Libertarians are planning one.

click on photos to enlarge. If you click on the Dems, you'll see the back of many prominent Democratic heads, including up-and-coming the ubiquitous Kevin Clark, Chuck Grace, Lance Jack.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Now Playing at Interfaith

For years, Hugh Muldoon has been feeding peoples' bodies and souls at weekly Sunday night potlucks at the Interfaith Center. Not any more. This week, Hugh and company will introduce a new format: SOUP & TUNES, featuring the musical stylings of Joe Mon with "incredible vegan soup" by Vegan Al. Also, instead of people sitting at long "boardinghouse" tables, like at the Last Supper, diners will sit at tables bistro style, like at the last brunch. As always, you can bring a dish to share. Food is served at 6 p.m.

Tonight meeting of: Southern Illinois Libertarians.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Sleeping on it

Following a short nap, the images I saw this morning inside the old American Tap remain in my mind. It looks much worse inside than out. Will a report result be issued by the four city inspectors? Although he favors the sale, Councilman Chris Wissmann supposes it's "still possible to back out of the deal, IF the sales contract isn't signed by the time the council meets next, AND someone asks to have the matter put on the agenda for the next meeting." I'm curious about how an something gets placed on the agenda, aren't you? According to Nicole Sack in the DE," The city had the property appraised last November by Cecil Appraisal Service. The 5,555-foot property was appraised at an estimated true fair cash market value of $39,000." So why pay $150,000? Add the cost of razing the building. Is there a buyer in the wings? What is the market value for a vacant lot? What is the profitability of a parking lot? Did Council look inside the building before voting to buy it? These and other questions remain to be answered, don't they?

Tale of the Tap

Talk about serendipity . . . returning from Florida this morning, passing by the old American Tap building on Illinois Ave., a team of City inspectors inside giving the building the once over. Two hazardous materials guys, and a couple from neighborhood services.

Meanwhile, Nicole Sack writes in Daily Egyptian: City pays $150,000 for old American Tap building. Mayor Cole: "Everyone in the downtown area that I have talked to has commended us for taking this action. It is something I think all the business owners in the area agree is necessary and is positive to the area."

To SIRSS with love

Dinner Theater this weekend. More details posted . . . .here

Monday, January 12, 2004

Greetings from Sarasota

If anyone is wondering why no new posts lately, I've been Sarasota, Florida. But shortly before leaving an email message from City Councilman Chris Wissmann arrived explaining the wisdom of the City's plan to purchase American Tap for $150,000. He offered some information that I found persuasive, but....Hey, I'm in Sarasota. It seems like I've been away from Carbondale for months, but it's only been three or four days. A lot has happened since then. Last night I went to a Karaoke show at a local bar which probably won't be recognized by the Guiness Book of Records as a public meeting, even though someone sang the lyrics to "Meet me in St. Louis" to the tune of "Lovely Rita Meter Maid." Yesterday and today I attended meetings of MOBSS (The Marlowe Oxford Bacon Shakspere Society), which presented a lifetime achievement award to Sarasota native, Roberta Ballantine.

Meanwhile back in the 'dale

What's up, homes? Has a public member of the Joint Review Board been found? It's supposed to be someone who lives or own property in the proposed TIF District. Aren't Barrett Rochmann or Eric Deutsch available?

Brown Eyes Why Are You Blue?

Because the City Council voted to pay a convicted sex offender a grossly inflated price for a debilitated piece of property? Although I admire Mayor Cole's decisive plan for action, and Council has approved the sale, if no contract has been signed, it still may not be too late to spend the money more wisely! From what Chris Wissmann says,* it might still more make sense to hold the alleged slumlord to strict enforcement of code, and condemn it if necessary. Use the money for a more imaginative and profitable project than creating a vacant lot. What do I know? Until tomorrow afternoon, I'm only some guy in Florida.

*Wissmann rejects that option because the landlord might appeal and the city might lose. I think if the City stands on firm moral and fiscal ground, it will work out for the best. What will the slumlord do with his windfall? Buy more properties and allow them to deteriorate? Don't feed the monster and it will die!But speaking of Mayor Cole, this may be old news but

Mayors of the Best Large City and Best Small City in Illinois meet

According to a press release that just reached my desktop, our own Mayor Brad Cole met with the mayor of Chicago Richard M. Daley of Chicago for an hour last week at Chicago City Hall, beginning "a positive, long-term relationship between the two communities." Brad intends invite his northern big city counterpart here, which sounds like a lot of fun. All the local restaurants that serve 'Chicago-style" anything will have a chance to shine. Hizzoner might even like the CarbonDALEY Dispatch.

Friday, January 09, 2004

New paradigm

Which sounds like paradime, and means pattern or model. The paradigm referred to in the title I call "Coopetition" or "Comperation" -- the spirit of competiting cooperatively and/or cooperating competitively. Like organized sport with different rules. I think there are fancier names for it in science and economics. Searches for these phrases came up with some interesting hits (below).

To me these terms suggest R. Buckminster Fuller's vision of "making the world work for all humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous co-operation without ecological offense or disadvantage of anyone."

I think "blog" technology helps us to accomplish that goal, because it gives the ENTIRE COMMUNITY (or sub-community) the opportunity to communicate with unimpeded spontaneity.

Coincidentally, the Southern Illinoisan has an editorial about regional cooperation, which makes sense, but it stopped short of the logical conclusion: get blogging.

Voice of the Southern: Regional cooperation needed to combat poverty. "Addressing it on a region-basis must become part of the daily dialogue. . . . Southern Illinoisans are known to take care of their own, but . . . many are still suffering and new and creative ways to help them are necessary. The time to start is now."

A Social Services Community Blog would be a good place to start.


Turns of Phrase: Coopetition

From Imitation to Competitive-Cooperation: Ford Foundation and Management Education in Western Europe (1950's-1970's). vol.II

The Cooperative Competition Game

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Dear Bloggy

SIU student Jim Syler, wrote to tell us about the next meeting of the local chapter of the Illinois Libertarian Party, on Thursday, Jan. 15 at 7 p.m. in the Saline Room of the Student Center. (Class bloggercise: what would be the most desirable link(s) to have in the above paragraph?)

Local Web Watch

So what's up with Carbondale Online now? Is it Carbondale Now now? What server problems? Couldn't they just redirect traffic to the new page? If Craig Williams or Patrick, the site administrator, read this blog, maybe one of them will post a comment.

Spoke to Noteworthy Communications guru Kevin Graham today--about the City of Carbondale's new website, which is currently in Beta version, and very close to being finished. Kevin and company are doing less web page developing these days and more of the lucrative and stressfree world of Beautiful Displays, doing business around the globe.

Angst and the man

Tonight's "public meeting" was a private meeting in a public place, with Bruce Camden at Pinch Penny Pub. Bruce is one of the few creative geniuses I have known, and his new CD, Nothing Gained, is chock full of delightful musical licks spanning an array of musical genres. Music critics Chris Wissmann and Jerry Bradley have praised it. Bruce himself calls it a "ham sandwich," but I'd call it a smorgasbord. Listen to one or two of the sample tracks. We were getting together to discuss his current project, a collection of short stories he's been writing over the years. In a few days, I'll have one or two posted on the Shawnee Network website.

Guitars Between the Rivers

Okay, another project for 2004 -- an album of local guitarists. There are some excellent practitioners of the six-stringed craft hereabouts. I'm listening to Bruce's "Don't you wish you was me!" His tribute to Dixieland. Check it out. Or "Jimmy Lee Baker." Anyway, Bruce was agreeable to the idea, as was Robert Russell, Cajun Stomp guitarist, and blistering bluesman.

So that leaves still to ask: The maestro, Bill Carter, who sits in with Majnun and Tawl Paul's band Slappin' Henry Blue (another guy doing business on the internet, which he did for years at Golden Frets.) Robbie Stokes, Soundman and lefty guitarist who can play with the best. And Jimmy Salatino. Zacc Harris, Din Dayemi of Majnun, Jim Pigford of Loko. Grant Morgan of Massive Funk, Darby McGran. The list goes on. Maybe Chris Wissmann or someone else reading this, can name some in the comments below. It'd be cool to have ten or more premier local guitarists doing their strings on a commemorative CD, with profits going to a worthy cause. Speaking of worthy causes...

Basketball Benefit game

Taking shape after speaking with John Cherry, who knew a few more people who might be interested. I call him the "John Wooden of Carbondale" because he coached CCHS Terriers to State a couple of times in the sixties. John is on the Teen Center Board these days, and we might wind up doing TWO BENEFIT GAMES...One for the Foundation for Family, etc. in Bowen Gym and one in the old gym owned by the Teen Center. The second could be a rematch. It's not really that tough a sell, because basketball is like music and players have more fun, so it isn't asking them to "work," but just have fun for few minutes or so. Oh, and Brad Cole said he'd ref!

Brian Peach has a nice summary of Mall business, including why Pasta House was not allowed to auction its property.

MVC Television Package

Men's and women's basketball games to be televised this weekend

That's right: Carbondale, Ohio! Is Mayor Cole is planning to move the entire city to the Buckeye State? Read: News on Carbondale, Ohio.

Keen Centers

This morning driving back from Herrin to Carbondale, listening to WJPF Newswatch, I heard Tom Miller talking to marketing director Steve O'Keefe and Jerry Bechtel, director the Community Health Education Complex at John A. Logan about JALC's top public information officer, Herb Russell wearing a speedo at the Open House this weekend. Herb is lucky there isn't a photo of him on the web (I looked!), or he might have gotten "the old head-switcheroo" on a speedo-wearing hunk.

But the keenest Center around here these days is the Carbondale Community Teen Center, Inc. which Maggie Flanagan describes in an op-ed piece in the Daily Egyptian. Recently about dozen contractors--building, electrical, etc. -- promised to provide free labor for the Center, which someday hopes to have official "Boys and Girls Club of America" status. According to Flanagan, the group is in the 9th step of a 10-step process.

Sycamores fall to Dawgs

67-50. Bryan Turner breaks out of shooting slump with career-high 17 points. Full story in SIU

A meeting's a meeting . . .

Isn't it? Last night's with the Main Street Business Association went pretty well, thanks to Cathy Batsie and Becky Baker, who relished the idea of dinner. The MSBA is another ad hoc organization created through this blog. This one will promote marketing services and a wireless internet network in Carbondale's "Publishing District." New member Patti Rath, the tailor, said "Yes," when asked to name the most powerful word in the English language. The Arthur Agency and Thomas Publishing are expected to join with Shawnee Communications, and Hundley House in the city's first wireless neighborhood. Most of last night's meeting was spent dining and defining terms. Officers will be elected at next month's meeting.

There was another meeting as well, which I had to miss, but the agenda is published online: Carbondale Planning Commission Agenda. According to someone who did attend the meeting, "both items on the agenda were recommended for approval by the Planning Commission. The Dome special use for a home museum was recommended on a unanimous vote and several neighbors testified in support of the project. The City Council will be taking final action on both items at the Council meeting of January 20, 2004."

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Poet Laureate update

Bradley University professor Kevin Stein given the honor in a ceremony at state library last month.

Two updates

According to Jan Morris, a committee of previous "Citzens of the Year" met yesterday afternoon to vote for this year's winner, but the announcement won't be made until the Chamber of Commerce banquet on January 30.

In a related story, Governor Rod's wife was supposed to choose the Illinois State Poet Laureate a couple of weeks ago. Since SIUC poet Rodney Jones was one of two remaining contenders, the result is of local interest. When wished "good luck," Rodney said he wasn't sure which would be the better result--to receive the honor, or not. He said he'd be pleased to write a poem about new highway construction if chosen. Will he versify about Carbondale's own new highway construction, The Intersection from Hell? If so, it should probably have very, very long extended pauses between stanzas.

Comment alley view?

The little "Comment" line at the bottom of each post is for readers to put in their own two cents or three. The number in parentheses (1) indicates how many comments have been made on that topic.

Meetings Day 2

Yesterday's meetings were very eye-opening, since I couldn't take my afternoon nap, or post-dinner snooze, ha ha. . . At 1:30 p.m. I showed up at the Joint Review Board meeting in the Mayor's conference room, where only Steve Sabens, Nancy Stemper, and Richard Grant joined city representatives Brad Cole, Jeremy Hayes, Tom Redmond, and Jeff Doherty, along with consultant Mike Weber, me and Southern Illinoisan reporter Andrea Kampwerth.

The big news from the meeting was that the City FORGOT TO NAME A PUBLIC MEMBER as required by Illinois State TIF Law. Am I shouting? Sorry. It seems that City Manager Jeff Doherty dropped the ball. So now the City must find a member and name him/her before the next meeting in two weeks, then have the member vote on the matter at the same meeting.

Capital ideas

At last night's City Council meeting, waving a book called Capital Homesteading, Bucky Fullerphile Bill Perk chided the City Council for not being more creative economically, and I have to agree.

The City wants to pay a convicted sex offender $150,000, a "premium price', the Mayor admits, for a piece of property worth much less when a private buyer has offered to buy the property for what the owner paid for it, plus 10%. When asked at the meeting by a citizen, neither the Mayor nor the City Manager knew what the assessed value of the property was-- yet they want to pay $150,000 for it! Granted, it's an eyesore, but still . . . as Councilwoman Flanagan (who voted against the purchase) pointed out, it sets a precedent for other property owners to neglect their own properties in the hope of a City buyout, like that tendered to Carbondale's #1 slum lord. Meanwhile . . .

No Kidding

It looks like the City will be saving about $300,000 if (when!) it stops funding the Eurma Hayes Child Care Center in June, despite concerns expressed by Chris Wissmann for the unemployed child care workers.

The Attack of the Code Enforcers

Later I was surprise to hear compassionate Councilman Wissmann call for "attacking" renters and property owners who don't keep their properties looking nice. Since I live across the street from where Chris works, and have a motorcycle on the front porch a bunch of beat-up old blue cars in the driveway, I wonder if Chris has a bazooka trained on "Guitar House."

Body politic

Lance Jack offered his opinion that City employees should be nicer to city residents, even going so far as to kiss an unnamed part of their anatomy. Their foreheads? Hands? Elbows?

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Sycamores at home

This isn't about the forest, but about a forest of bodies on the basketball court tonight that will be missing stripling point guard Jamaal Tatum who was arrested, suspended for one game, so he'll miss tonight's contest vs. Indiana State, tip off at 6:05 p.m. Would that count as a public meeting? Why not?

Two more meetings to attend today, in quest for a Guinness World Record for most public meetings attended in a 30-day stretch of time: the TIF JRB meeting at 1:30 p.m. and City Council meeting tonight (which has a fairly lengthy agenda.)

If you click on the link in two weeks or more from today, it will be a different agenda.

No Kidding

City Manager Jeff Doherty has prepared a report that shows the Eurma Hayes Child Care Center is costing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars, and more on the horizon, unless they cut funding in June. Andrea Kamwerth has the details.

Back to bagels

People have been saying Carbondale needs a world-class bakery, soon it will have one ... outside the University Mall property: Panera Bread, owner of the St. Louis Bread Company. Although the bakery will sell bagels, it will not set up a cart on the Strip from 10 p.m 'til 2 a.m. in competition with bagel guys Winston or JC.

email note

For the past year or so, I've been using an email address "graydoggydog" leftover from my days as "the world's oldest white rapper." Allthough I still may be, I am changing my email address to since Netscape appears to be dysfunctional and AOL is AO-old.

People wonder when I sleep? I was going to try to drive out to WJPF later this morning to photograph WJPF Morning Newswatch host Tom Miller while he interviews Carbondale Mayor Brad Cole. But it's nearly 3 a.m. and what the hay? It's time to hit the hay.

But hey!--I had a nap, so maybe I'll write some nursery rime lyrics for a poem sequence, called

City Ditty

Young king Cole, was a mayory old soul,
and a mayory old soul was he...
He called for no tax,
and he called for new homes,
and he called for no CBDC.

Okay, this merry old soul is calling it a day. Maybe I'll just phone it in to Cole and Miller and on-air later this morning.

Amazing feat

I was thinking that if I attended at least one public meeting a day for 30 consecutive days, it might be a Guinness World Record, like one of my hero David Blaine's stunts, frozen in a block of ice for a several days, or being buried alive--except I will merely be bored to the extreme by hours of public testimony and discussion for an uncalled-for amount of time.

Just for the blog of it, I sent an entry to Guiness Book, although there is no category for attending public meetings... except possibly this one.

Publicy and Privacy

According to an expert on communications guru Marshall McLuhan in What is the Message? blogs are an instance of 'publicy'

"the McLuhan reversal of 'privacy' - that occurs under the intense acceleration of instantaneous communications. Our notion of privacy was created as an artifact of literacy - silent reading lead to private interpretation of ideas that lead to private thoughts that lead to privacy. Blogging is an 'outering' of the private mind in a public way (that in turn leads to the multi-way participation that is again characteristic of multi-way instanteous communictions.) Unlike normal conversation that is essentially private but interactive, and unlike broadcast that is inherently not interactive but public, blogging is interactive, public and, of course, networked - that is to say, interconnected."

Get it? If so, then try this blog's new comment feature! Don't be shy! Add your voice to the Carbondale, Illinois on-line conversation.

Speaking of communications gurus, the blogging community is excited by the entry of cyberspace founding father, John Perry Barlow, into blogospace . . . here.


Went to Human Relations Commission meeting at 6:30 p.m., but no one showed up, so I spoke with developer Carlton Smith for awhile before the 7 p.m. meeting of the Building Appeals Board -- a newly constituted body intended to mediate between petitioning citizens and the City in building and property disputes. Since the man on the agenda couldn't make it either, the meeting was over in fifteen minutes. Before everyone left, Board chair Smith said he hoped to put the Board would help students and citizens be treated fairly by City code enforcement. The next meeting is the first meeting February.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Blogarama - The Blog DirectoryExploring other blogs today, in search of a comment system for this blog. If you're thinking of starting your own, or want to see how other people and organizations do it check out:

Tonight's meetings

Human Relations Commission at City Hall tonight at 6:30 p.m. followed by the Building Board of Appeals regular meeting tonight at 7 p.m. See you there?

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Going Public

Due to the growing responsibility of providing fresh, informative blogs daily to the residents of Shawnee Network, and to further this great blogsperiment in shared public communication, I hereby resolve to attend every single public meeting being held in the month of January, plus some that aren't listed, such as the African-American Museum Board meeting and a Women's Center board meeting and others (unless two are in conflict) and file reports and photos (where permitted) in these pages, so you (dear reader) can stay home and watch television, or surf the web, or read a story to a child, or listen to music, or go out to movie, a ball game, or dinner, or write your own blog.

posted to V4Varsity today.

Dome Zone

Don't forget: meeting Wednesday, Jan. 7 at 7 p.m. to take testimony on the RBF Dome NFP's request for a special use for a home museum in a residential district on Forest St. Anyone is invited to attend the meeting and speak to the topic.

Yesterday, a visit to Illinois' largest state park by far--more than 19,000 acres, about 25 miles away. Snapped more photos than twigs.

Speaking of photos...the Shawnee Network photos page will soon (later today?) have a new look and functionality.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Family Foundation Hoops Benefit Update

At last night's Saluki's game, some Southern Illinoisan sports writers agreed in principal to play, along with the Channel 3 weekend sports guy, in the benefit basketball game for FFEEP to be held in Bowen Gym in the Spring. Hopefully, some players from Thomas Publishing and the Daily Egyptian will also suit up. Local radio stations must be contacted too. WJPF's Tom Miller has the body of a power forward. He might have to put it on former Terrier star, and current coach of the Sophomore team, Joe Hamilton.

Dawgs lose at home

Coming back from a late eight point deficit to tie the game at 54 with four minutes remaining, the team from SIU committed costly turnovers and mental mistakes down the stretch, as Charlotte ended the Salukis' 31-game home winning-streak with a 64-59 win in front of nearly 7,500 at SIU Arena Friday night. More.

Stetson Hairston (left) was the "Go-to Guy of the Game," with 15 points.

Friday, January 02, 2004

Bush touts beef

. . . to reporters, amid mad cow concerns. Next, a commercial for Thickburgers? Why not? In the national interest.

Last but not least

There it is, in black in white in The Southern: REGION STARTS 2004 AS POOREST IN STATE, ranking last in 14 of 17 indicators. The article doesn't say last out of how many. Some teams are last in their own league, but still better than the best teams in other leagues. Go figure.

Joint Review Board 2

Waiting for a reply from City Planner Tom Redmond regarding the composition of the Joint Review Board, I read Illinois Municipal Code on the subject: (65 ILCS 5/11‑74.4‑5) (from Ch. 24, par. 11‑74.4‑5)

(b) Prior to holding a public hearing to approve or amend a redevelopment plan or to designate or add additional parcels of property to a redevelopment project area, the municipality shall convene a joint review board. The board shall consist of a representative selected by each community college district, local elementary school district and high school district or each local community unit school district, park district, library district, township, fire protection district, and county that will have the authority to directly levy taxes on the property within the proposed redevelopment project area at the time that the proposed redevelopment project area is approved, a representative selected by the municipality and a public member. The public member shall first be selected and then the board's chairperson shall be selected by a majority of the board members present and voting.

The JRB will have thirty days to give its recommendation. See entire code.

Guess who's for Regionalism. "There is no single formula to regionalism; it takes many forms."

TIF Joint Review Board

City Planner Tom Redmond announces a Joint Review Board consisting of representatives of certain taxing districts affected by the proposed Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Redevelopment Project Area No. 1 (link to image) will meet on Tuesday, January 6, 2004 at 1:30 p.m. in the Mayor's Conference Room in City Hall.

State Statutes governing tax increment financing require that the municipality requesting a TIF district convene a joint review board to make an advisory, non-binding recommendation on the TIF redevelopment plan and project.

I sent an email to Tom requesting the names of the taxing bodies that will be represented on the board.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Same old, some new

A NEW YEAR BLOGTACULAR! Needs more photos and links. (These things take time.)

Like most media and readers, this blog looks back upon the past year with a mixture of regret and rejoicing. The "War on Terror" brings sadness and resolution. Sadness for the suffering and loss of life, but resolution to bring it to a successful conclusion. (What "successful" means is a question for the peace experts). On a personal note, I regret some "askew" (don't ask me, ask you!) relationships, but rejoice that some have straightened out, and new ones offer hope. Professionally, the situation is about the same. Some ambitious projects suggested in this blog have been accomplished, and some not, while some promising new ones are in development.

Greater Carbondale Market Fair

First of all, I regret that the "Greater Carbondale Market Fair" (in the Old National Bank parking lot), failed to win the approval of Carbondale Main Street. However, since that organization has a big stake (pun intended) in Pig Out in the 710 parking lot, that may explain why the idea was given the cold shoulder roast.

There may be another location for the Market Fair. Main Street has been working on having some folks from the Farmers Market to set up shop in the Parking Lot across the street from Dillinger's Feed Store on Washington St. -- on Wednesdays or some other day(s) than Saturday. (This was where the Saturday Farmers' Market was originally located before it moved to Westown in the eighties(?).)

There is a new Historic Old Town Business Coalition. Meeting Thursday p.m., spearheaded by Elaine and folks at Longbranch, Neighborhood Coop and Dillingers. They did some creative things at the Lights Fantastic weekend. Looking forward to what's next for HOTBC.

Advance to Illinois Avenue

Isn't this headline the message on a "Chance" card in Monopoly? The section of Old National Bank parking lot that fronts Illinois Ave. could still be turned over to retail shop development at a profit to the bank and the other businesses on the strip. A chance meeting with one of the bank's officers confirms that this remains a possibility.

Good's Value Store

hasn't happened due to lack of follow through on my part, though it's still a possibility -- because the city has a need for a place to buy postage stamps, send packages and buy sundries downtown-- and it's still an excellent location, across the street from Amtrak, next door to Greyhound. The building is up for sale.

Does anyone still use the word sundries?

Having a back-drop for the Town Square Pavillion so performers at Brown Bag Concerts and other events will have better sound and visualization. The reason given by Carbondale Main Street is that Big Boy's BBQ and the (coming soon) Mexican Grocery would object because their sign wasn't visible, which isn't true, because I've asked the owners. If it's not the responsibility of CMS to bring about this much needed improvement, then whose?

What else is new?

Bike 2 Work Day. Despite one or two last minute bumps in the road (like my bicycle being stolen the day before) this first-ever (bi?)annual event was a great success, thanks to city government, local businesses and media. Since May is National "Bike to Work Month", the Mayor has agreed to make it a bi-annual event. It even has its own blog.

Maple Street Easter Parade. This will be the first announcement of the MSEP, because until last week, we lacked the approval of the street's most influential denizen, and I don't mean architect Gail White or poet Patty Dickson.

Name that Alley. A variation of Adopt an Alley. This idea would cost the city very little and make the town look even better. I would even consider selling names and signs for the alleys. This blog will suggest some names for alleys and propose the idea to City Council next year. Why not?

Moving the train station, replacing it with shops. Still a good idea, espcially with TIF District redevelopment right across the tracks. Moving Carbondale Main Street and the Chamber of Commerce out of old train station. Turn it over to something that will attract more people. A train museum, perhaps?

Egyptian Key Radio. An idea whose time has come? Stay tuned.

Benefit basketball game at Bowen Gym to benefit FFEEP, the Family Foundation, in the Spring, between an All-Star team of former CCHS and Saluki basketball players, and team of media reporters and their friends. So far, just a few interested people, but Jerry "Elbows of Death" Bradley may yet be lured off the critic's bench. Come to think of it Chris Wissmann's elbows are pretty sharp too.

Dog Park (see Bark to the Future)

POOL -- It looks like this project is still afloat-- a public outdoor swimming pool located on Oakland St. where the old tennis court and practice field is currently located. This will blog may soon have an exciting announcement to make. . . . (about how I saved a bundle on car insurance.)

SAVE (the Varsity)

The story of the closing of the Varsity and subsequent efforts to revive it deserve a fuller explanation than this blog can go into. I feel a new blog coming on....'V' 4 Varsity.

The CCHS boys basketball team beat the Knights of Memphis yesterday afternoon, and played in the tourney title game last night.

Happy New Year!