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Yes, there are a lot of potholes in Carbondale. Here's how the city is fixing them.

CARBONDALE — Street crews in Carbondale have been busy for several weeks fixing large potholes on major thoroughfares in the city.

“We have a crew out every day,” Robert Hardin, Maintenance and Environmental Services manager for Carbondale, said.

He said most times crews aren’t fixing small holes in the rain, because it makes it more difficult, but for larger holes, crews are working rain or shine.

Hardin said when the pavement gets hot and cold, it begins to move, and when moisture from the elements penetrates the pavement, it will start to pop out of place at the weak points. He said some of the potholes in Carbondale have been patched several times, and those patches can still crack because it isn’t as good as a full concrete repair.

Repairs crews were on Pleasant Hill Road and Giant City Road Monday filling large potholes as a first priority. Hardin said the city works in a moving operation. There is a truck pulling a trailer, which cleans out of the hole, uses a torch to warm up the hole and remove moisture, and then fill it with a hot patch and seal it.

A compactor will cause the asphalt to bind together when it is placed on the hole. Hardin says it all happens pretty quickly, and will harden within an hour. Once the patch is placed, even within seconds, it is safe to drive over.

While the city is working continuously to fill as many potholes as it can, it is important to be vigilant while driving. The speed and size of the car are big factors when it comes to the amount of damage that can be done to a vehicle by hitting a pothole.

Hardin said a smaller car with small tires doesn’t need to be moving very fast to damage a rim, but a large truck with large tires can absorb more impact. However, he said it is important to use good judgement when driving on roads with potholes.

“If there is a bad pothole, call the city office,” he said. “If we know there are potholes, we will go out and assess them and if they need patched, we go out and do it immediately.”

The city’s Maintenance and Environmental Services can be reached at 618-457-3275.

breaking featured
Special Olympics 50th anniversary
Special Olympics turns 50 this year. Did you know it has roots in Southern Illinois?

CARBONDALE — Eunice Kennedy Shriver is often credited for founding Special Olympics and the first games on Soldier Field on July 20, 1968, but she did not work alone. She enlisted the help of one Southern Illinois resident who was experienced in working with the intellectually disabled in the field of recreation, the late Dr. William H. Freeberg.



Special Olympics Illinois will kick off the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics, and will honor Freeberg’s involvement, at a daylong celebration beginning at 10 a.m. Friday at Touch of Nature Environmental Center in Makanda.

“In the opening ceremonies, we will honor the legacy of Dr. Wililam Freeberg,” Patrick Jones, marketing and publicity coordinator for Touch of Nature, said.

In addition, Sledgefoot will be renamed Burke Lounge in honor of Justice Anne Burke.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. will be Change the Game Day. The event will include all sorts of Touch of Nature and Special Olympics activities, including climbing wall, arts activities, team-based activities, sports and backyard games.

Gala in the Woods will begin at 6 p.m. with guest speakers to include Freeberg’s granddaughter, Brittany Freeberg, and Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke. Proceeds from the event will go to Touch of Nature and Special Olympics in Southern Illinois.

“It is safe to say it really did begin right here at Touch of Nature and Southern Illinois University,” Jones said.


Freeberg, fifth from the right, poses for a photo with colleagues in the Sledgefoot Lounge at Touch of Nature Environmental Center in Makanda. The lounge will be renamed in Freeberg's honor on Friday during a ceremony celebrating his role in the founding of Special Olympics.

To understand Freeberg’s involvement in Special Olympics, Jones said you have to look back to his childhood.

Freeberg grew up in an orphanage and became concerned about people he felt were “left behind” by society, like those with intellectual disabilities in the 1940s.

He graduated from SIU and went on to graduate from Indiana University with the first doctorate in recreation awarded in the nation.

He returned to SIU in 1949 to establish a specialization in recreation. SIU president Delyte Morris and Freeberg negotiated leases on land on the western shore of Little Grassy Lake and, in 1950, what was known as the Little Grassy Lake Campus was created. It would later be named Touch of Nature Environmental Center.

“He (Freeberg) started camp for children and adults with disabilities in 1951 at Little Grassy Lake Campus,” Jones said.

In 1952, Freeberg established the first college-level curriculum on outdoor education and recreation. In 1954, he was chosen to chair the new department of recreation and outdoor education and charged with overseeing a camping program at Little Grassy Lake Campus.

He, along with others, established an association for the intellectually disabled, according to Special Olympics Illinois. Because they found no outdoor recreation programs or facilities for them, Freeberg hosted a residential camp at Little Grassy for those with intellectual disabilities.

Shriver also ran a camp for persons with intellectual disabilities in her backyard. In 1961, she traveled to Carbondale to visit Freeberg’s camp.


Eunice Kennedy Shriver speaks during the first Special Olympics games in 1968 at Soldier Field in Chicago.

“On Oct. 24, 1964, Sargent Shriver sent a request, a telegram, to Dr. Morris asking him to loan Dr. Freeberg to the Kennedy Foundation,” Jones said.

The telegram said, according to Special Olympics Illinois: “I respectfully request SIU lend services of Dr. William Freeberg full-time to Kennedy Foundation for three months for purpose of coordinating Foundation’s nationwide recreation program for the intellectually disabled. Foundation will reimburse Dr. Freeberg’s salary and expenses. Recreation program involves expanding university community and institutional recreation services for intellectually disabled and training of professionals. Dr. Freeberg only man in country with sufficient grasp and knowledge of problem to carry out this most important and vital program. -- Sargent Shriver, Executive Director, Kennedy Foundation”

Morris agreed, and Freeberg started conducting workshops for recreation professionals from around the country on techniques for working with people with disabilities.

Chicago Park District sent 10 representatives in 1965, including a young teacher named Anne McGlone Burke, who now serves as a justice on Illinois Supreme Court. When she returned to Chicago, Burke developed the idea of a track meet for people with disabilities.

With Freeberg’s encouragement and guidance, the event began to form. Soon, funding was needed.

Freeberg asked the Kennedy Foundation to fund a program and petitioned the International Olympic Committee for permission to use the name “Olympics.”

On July 20, 1968, the vision became a reality as the first Special Olympics were held at Soldier Field in Chicago. The event drew 1,000 athletes from 26 states and Canada, as well as celebrities like Blackhawk Stan Makita, Olympian Rafer Johnson and astronaut James Lovell.


Astronaut Jim Lovell poses with a Special Olympics athlete at the first Special Olympics games on July 20, 1968, in Soldier Field in Chicago.

Today, 4.9 million athletes from 172 countries participate in Special Olympics.

Editor's note: This story was updated to correct Brittany Freeberg's name and information about renaming of Sledgefoot Lounge. 


Participants prepare to race in May 2014 during the Special Olympics Illinois Southern Area 15 spring games at SIU. Special Olympics is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

US vs. China: a 'slap-fight,' not a trade war. So far (copy)

WASHINGTON — First, the United States imposed a tax on Chinese steel and aluminum. Then, China counterpunched Monday by raising import duties on a $3 billion list of U.S. pork, apples and other products.

The government of President Xi Jinping said it was responding to a U.S. tariff hike on steel and aluminum. But that is just one facet of sprawling tensions with Washington, Europe and Japan over a state-led economic model they complain hampers market access, protects Chinese companies and subsidizes exports in violation of Beijing's free-trade commitments.

Forecasters say the impact of Monday's move should be limited, but investors worry the global recovery might be set back if other governments respond by raising import barriers.

On Wall Street, the stock market buckled on the prospect of an all-out trade war between the world's two biggest economies. But it hasn't come to that — not yet, anyway.

"We're in a trade slap-fight right now," not a trade war, said Derek Scissors, resident scholar and China specialist at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

China is a relatively insignificant supplier of steel and aluminum to the United States. And the $3 billion in U.S. products that Beijing targeted Monday amount to barely 2 percent of American goods exported to China.

But the dispute could escalate, and quickly. Already, in a separate move, the United States is drawing up a list of about $50 billion in Chinese imports to tax in an effort to punish Beijing for stealing American technology or forcing U.S. companies to hand over trade secrets.

China could respond by targeting American commercial interests uniquely dependent on the Chinese market: the aircraft giant Boeing, for example, and soybean farmers.

The possibility that the U.S. and China will descend into a full-blown trade war knocked the Dow Jones industrial average down as much as 758 points in afternoon trading. The Dow recovered some ground and finished down 458.92 points, or 1.9 percent, at 23,644.19.

For weeks, in fact, President Donald Trump's aggressive trade actions have depressed the stock market.

But many trade analysts suggested that the Wall Street sell-off may be an overreaction.

China's swift but measured retaliation to the U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs is meant to show "that it will not be pushed around but that it does not want a trade war," said Amanda DeBusk, chair of the international trade department at the law firm Hughes Hubbard & Reed. "It is possible for the countries to pull back from the brink."

"It seems to be pretty measured and proportional," agreed Wendy Cutler, a former U.S. trade official who is now vice president at the Asia Society Policy Institute. "They didn't seem to overreach, and they didn't hit our big-ticket items like planes and soybeans."

Even if China's tariffs don't have a huge impact on America's $20 trillion economy, they will bring pain to specific communities.

Take Marathon County in Wisconsin, where 140 local families grow ginseng, a root that is used in herbal remedies and is popular in Asia. Around $30 million — or 85 percent — of the area's ginseng production went to China as exports or gifts. The county, which gave Trump nearly 57 percent of its vote in 2016, holds an international ginseng festival in September, crowning a Ginseng Queen and drawing visitors from China and Taiwan.

China's new 15 percent tariff on ginseng is "definitely going to hit the growers hard if this happens," said Jackie Fett, executive director of the Ginseng Board of Wisconsin. "It is the livelihood of many people. ... We're still holding on to a little bit of hope" that the tariffs can be reversed.

Jim Schumacher, co-owner of Schumacher Ginseng in Marathon, Wisconsin, said the 15 percent tax will hurt: "You've got to be price-competitive, even if you have the top-quality product. We're definitely concerned. We hope something can be resolved."

Trump campaigned on a promise to overhaul American trade policy. In his view, what he calls flawed trade agreements and sharp-elbowed practices by China and other trading partners are in part responsible for America's gaping trade deficit — $566 billion last year. The deficit in the trade of goods with China last year hit a record $375 billion.

In his first year in office, Trump's talk was tougher than his actions on trade. But he has gradually grown more aggressive. In January, he slapped tariffs on imported solar panels and washing machines. Last month, he imposed duties on steel and aluminum imports — but spared most major economies except China and Japan.

Now he is moving toward steep tariffs to pressure Beijing into treating U.S. technology companies more fairly. In the meantime, his administration has lost two voices that cautioned against protectionist trade policies: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and White House economic adviser Gary Cohn.

SIU cancels show, 2 Southern Illinois bars forced to close after Chicago PD warns about rap group

CARBONDALE — Warnings from the Chicago Police Department about a rap group from Chicago that was scheduled to perform in Southern Illinois this past weekend caused two law enforcement departments and a university to cancel shows at three different venues Friday.

The rap group FBG Duck was originally booked to play at the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Student Center on March 30, but a call from the Chicago Police Department to the Southern Illinois University Public Safety Department informed the college about the group’s violent history, according to Carbondale Mayor Mike Henry.

Henry said Chicago Police told SIU the group was dangerous — they allegedly come heavily armed with firearms, they sell drugs, and many are members of the south-side Chicago gang Gangster Disciples. Henry said there are known members of the Black Disciples in Carbondale, and the two gangs are rivals.

SIU canceled its event and the message from SIU was relayed to Carbondale authorities. Henry said the act was then booked at Club 262 in Carterville.

Club 262 owner Sabrina Gavin-Smith told The Southern Monday that she booked the group for an after-party when they were finished at SIU. She said she didn’t know much about the group before Friday other than it usually brings a large crowd.

On Friday, while club staff were preparing the venue for the weekend festivities, several Williamson County Sheriff’s Office vehicles appeared and presented her with the information about the group. She was also informed that the Sheriff’s Office shared the same information with the Williamson County Liquor Commission and ordered the club be shut down until Tuesday.

“I understood where they were coming from,” Gavin-Smith said. “I just didn’t like the way they went about it.”

She said she wishes the police would have allowed her to cancel the show and go another route, which she said she would have. Instead, she felt like she was punished as a business owner. She said there was a completely different party scheduled on Saturday that had nothing to do with that group.

“Had I known that guy or saw his videos before then, I would have never booked him,” she said. “It didn’t seem like they (Sheriff’s Office) cared that I still had a business to run.”

After the event was shut down in Williamson County, Henry said the city was fearful the show would get rescheduled in Carbondale. This is when the city went to speak with Hollywood Lounge owner Bobby McBride.

McBride told the city on Thursday the group did reach out to him and he agreed to host the show, Henry said. Henry said authorities informed McBride about the history of the group and urged him to cancel. Henry said McBride called the city at about noon that Friday to inform them he had cancelled the show. The city was still concerned because the show had gained a lot of traction on social media.

“Our fear was that these guys would show up anyway and take over the bar,” Henry told The Southern. “They had also posted (on social media) that somebody in Carbondale was going to 'smoke it' this weekend, meaning somebody was going to die.”

Henry said the liquor commission decided the only way to really stop the potential violence and to help McBride was to close the bar. He said the city manager polled the other liquor commissioners — members of the Carbondale City Council — and once he reached three yes votes, along with the mayor’s vote, it was enough to sign the order.

The order was signed at about 2 p.m. Friday and closed the bar until noon on Monday.

“We were really fearful they would show up anyway,” Henry said.

He said he was acting legally in his role as liquor commissioner for the city, and in accordance with the city code, saying it was a welfare and a public safety issue with the group coming to town.

Henry said the city doesn’t have anything against rap groups playing in Carbondale and praised the April 28 Ice Cube show set for SIU Arena, but this particular group could have caused problems.

“This group is volatile,” Henry said.

The Southern reached out to McBride for comment, but did not receive a return call by press time.