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The Levee Blog archives

Archived Levee Blog for Sept. 21, 2005 - Dec. 31, 2005

June 22, 2006:  I'm back. Please send anything you want posted. Letters to the Editor, photos, recipes, announcements, etc. Sorry for the long delay in updating. I still have to complete the slideshow of Ms. Herbert's art exhibit. And WKRO dj, Scott Porche, is ready to get the Entertainment section shaking:) More later....Carla

April 19, 2006:  As many of you know, I have been away for over a month. I'm trying to get caught up with the updating. If you visit the different sections of this site, you will find numerous new articles. I still have the Minutes to add (thanks DeBran) and many documents the residents want posted online. Most have to do with the Council v. Mayor debate. I will scan and post them as soon as possible. // I have been working on a large image gallery of the recent Cairo schools art show. It was a wonderful show. Very impressive. Ms. Herbert is one of the finest art instructors I've known (and I majored in Fine Art in college.) The assignments Ms. Herbert requires of her students are challenging & relate to their other coursework. Ms. Herbert is an asset to the Cairo school district.// Please visit the Cairo Gate Classifieds section, as there are several ads posted.

March 8, 2006:  Attorney Michael O'Shea passed away this morning. He was the acting City Attorney for Cairo. He helped me when I moved here, refusing to accept a dime and was a big fan of this website. He was tickled to see Cairo on the WWW. His death is a great loss for Cairo.

March 2, 2006:  Message In A Basket is a new flower shop at 617 N. 4th Street, Vienna. Visit their website at // Town & Country Cleaners announces their opening in Mounds, IL. It's located in the Jackson Hewitt building at 704 S. Blanche. Hours are 8:00AM - 6:00PM M-F and 9:00AM - 3:00PM on Saturdays. Phone is 745-6100. // A circus is coming to Cairo at Box Park on April 29! The Cairo Rotary Club is sponsoring it. I'll have more info for you soon. // On March 9th there will be an Art Show at the Cairo Community Education Center (former junior high). // Diversified Rehab in Mounds is having a website built. I'll post the address once it's up & running.

March 1, 2006:  The City Council meeting was disruptive last night. I may share my notes here, if I have time. A reporter with the Chicago Tribune was in attendance. // The EPA is here today checking out the abandoned hospital. // A former CHS asst. basketball coach was charged with inciting a riot at the Massac County game two years ago. // The dog pound in Cairo is past capacity. Please consider adopting from the pound. There are four to a pen and three litters in the center aisle. The only solution I can think of is to contact the University of Illinois Veterinary School to see if they could come here twice a year to spay or neuter pets for free.

February 23, 2006:  I had a hectic week. Sorry the site hasn't been updated. I'm working on it now. // The administrators in the Cairo School District cut the football program. Just what we needed, one less activity for kids on a Friday night. Read up on it on the Port of Cairo Message Board. More on that later. I have to do some updating.

February 17, 2006:  Sorry for the slow loading page. Too many banner ads, due to the Primary coming up. I'll update tomorrow night & get some images off this page. -- Carla

February 14, 2006:  The Cairo City Council meets tonight at 5:30PM at City Hall. It's Valentine's Day, so expect lots of love.

February 12, 2006:  ELECTION NEWS! All candidates in Alexander County will be participating in a Speaker's Forum on Monday, February 13, 2006 at 7:00 P.M. at the Mescher Gym (the old Cairo Junior High; now the Cairo Community Education Center). Another session will be held at the Olive Branch Community Center on February 20 at 7:00 P.M. Both sessions are sponsored by the Concerned Citizens for the Recovery of Cairo.

February 9, 2006:  Shawnee Community College is hosting the Southern Illinois Extreme Talent Contest on Friday and Saturday, February 10 and 11 in the SCC Educational Center located on the main campus near Ullin. The Friday evening contest will feature performers age 14 and under, while the Saturday performance features entertainers age 15 and older. Both shows will begin at 7 p.m. Admission is $5 at the door. For more info, contact John Windings, at 618-634-3206. // Cairo City Hall is not abiding by the Freedom of Information Act, according to an article in the Southeast Missourian. The newspaper requested numerous documents, including: city ordinances governing the operation, powers, responsibilities and pay of council, etc., list of city employees and their salaries, invoices for metal detectors used to screen visitors to city council meetings and any threatening letters that justified the use of searches at those meetings. Sounds like the SE Missourian is going to make this city get back on track...or else! Oh, I think the article said someone from Atty. General Lisa Madigan's office is doing inquiries, as well. While we have the AG's attention, why not send an email to her, requesting that she send a mediator to end this madness. Here's the link to the Attorney General's email form: This website is getting close to 4,000 visitors a month now. Imagine if we all emailed for help!? Read the full story from the SE Missourian: // I have been thinking about doing a FOIA request myself, in order to gain access to the police reports.

February 8, 2006:  View a photo gallery of Captain Magic Valentino of the Harlem Swish at Bennett School. Captain Magic Valentino (Valentino Willis) spoke to students about avoiding drugs, alcohol and cigarettes as part of the Dare program. I have a couple precious videos of teachers failing to perform Valentino's routines, but they are 15MB each. If a teacher wants one, I can burn a CD. They are very funny!

February 7, 2006:  The SE Missourian reported that First National Bank in Cairo sent a letter, signed by bank president Jay Manus, to Mayor Farris and the city council, informing them that the city accounts are frozen. The city council will meet today to consider borrowing $136,000 in anticipation of future tax revenue in order to meet current obligations. The city is 110 days late on payments totaling $3,123.76 for one loan and 45 days late paying $14,221.80 on a second obligation. See: // Since moving here last summer, I noticed that a rumor persists that Cairo is filled with AIDs. I checked the stats at the State's Dept. of Health website and discovered that there has only been one new case of AIDs in Alexander county since 1999. I also learned that gonorrhea and chlamydia are at nearly epidemic rates! Read up on the Port of Cairo message board. // This is National Burn Awareness Week. Please visit It is also Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week. Visit:

February 3, 2006:  WSIU's Black History Month programming can be found here: // I heard the liquor stores in town are closed. Update: they are open:) // Today is National Wear Red Day to inform people that heart disease is the number one killer of women. Read more at

February 2, 2006:  Cairo wants musicians! Read more in Entertainment. // My son was at Nonny's about noon today when a reporter offered him a hamburger if he'd talk about Cairo. He declined the offer. Oh, he said everyone at Nonny's was offered the deal. // Lots of broken windows and slashed tires in Cairo this past week. // My daughter told me a Harlem Globetrotter will be at an assembly at Bennett School at 1:00PM today. // The state police report is finished regarding the death of Demetrius Flowers. The news reports state that Mr. Flowers died when he was attempting to get the attention of those on staff at the station, but he was ignored. Three Cairo Police Dept. personnel were fired as a result. // According to the weekly Citizen newspaper, a transloading facility is in the works for downtown Cairo, near CGB Waterfront. If you've been following this blog and the Port of Cairo Message Board, you know I've been hoping for an intermodal transportation hub for a long time. Never, did I imagine that it would be located in the downtown area. The residents have few places to access the river. Cairo is surrounded by two rivers, the Mississippi and Ohio, but we are surrounded by a 60 foot flood wall on one side and an earthen levee on the other. The dilapidated downtown is our access point for the riverfront. All over the country cities are realizing the value of their riverfronts. Restaurants and boardwalks are being built to host tourists and allow street vendors to trade their wares. People want to see and feel the river. They want to fish off piers and watch the sun rise and set from the riverfront. I envisioned a park and pier at the foot of 8th Street, not semi-trucks and noise. There are much more suitable locations for a transloading facility. A facility that will be large enough to lease space & offer transfer facilities to many companies. I was told the facility will incorporate rail, river and highways, which an intermodal hub should. The 4th Street location only has direct access to the river. The north end of town has access to the river, rail lines, the highway and an airport, which could be used for cargo, someday. Why 4th Street!? Another problem with that location, is that it's almost the exact spot where Lewis and Clark set up camp.

January 24, 2006:  Two women are planning a book on closed Catholic high schools in southern Illinois. "They know of schools in Aviston, Breese, Cairo, Carlyle, Herrin, Mascoutah, Ruma, St. Libory and Waterloo but think there may be more." Anyone with information is asked to call 632-5245 or send an e-mail to From the Belleville News-Democrat, Jan. 21. // The Southern Illinoisan gave Cairo city officials a big "Thumbs Down" in an editorial yesterday. // Julia Schubert, Computer Solution, was polled at random and a DeKalb, IL newspaper quoted her (out of the 800 polled) in a story about Gov. Blagojevich.

January 22, 2006:  The Southern Illinoisan and Southeast Missourian covered the meeting yesterday of city officials and those wanting more information about the death of Demetrius Flowers. The following info is derived from those press accounts: It was revealed by City Attorney Michael O'Shea that Flowers was not elevated and did not have a broken neck typical of a hanging victim. Mayor Farris said he had hoped to deliver a copy of the videotape from the jail cell to the Flowers family, but the Illinois State Police refused to release it. After Flowers' death, two pairs of shoes were found. One pair was in the police locker, but another pair was in Flowers' cell. Addressing Arby Davis, Demetrius' father, Farris said, "I can't even fathom what it would be like 30 days later to have no closure on your son." Click on the previous links to read the full articles.

January 21, 2006:  The Cairo Junior High School Lady Colts beat Christopher last night, 40-38 and advance to the semi-finals on January 23 at 7:15 when they play Pope County.

January 18, 2006:  A meeting organized by the family of Demetrius Flowers will be held at 1 p.m. Jan. 21 at the Holy City Church of God in Christ at 18th Street and Martin Luther King Avenue. "It is the second meeting organized by the family to keep the death and the need for answers before the public, said Melinda Flowers, sister of Demetrius Flowers." - from the Southeast Missourian. // I missed this article from Tuesday, January 10, "Business, not peace, spurs Cairo council to stop its boycott," by Rudi Keller, Southeast Missourian.

January 16, 2006:  Robert Swenson, Associate Professor and Architect in the School of Architecture at Southern Illinois University wants you to know about the new Southern Illinois History and Culture website hosted at Shawnee Community College. The site is under development, but there is already much info there. // The sinking of the Sultana on April 27, 1865 was unknown to me until today. The Sultana was a ship, filled way past capacity, transporting POW's returning to the north at the close of the Civil War. The ship was bound for Cairo, but sunk seven miles outside of Memphis. More died than in the sinking of the Titanic. Read pages at and // Take a virtual reality trip to Camel Rock in Shawnee National Forest at Zola Van's website. // Also learned today about Miller Grove, a village founded by freed slaves. Visit Passport in Time, a project of the USDA Forest Service, has openings for a May 812 activity in an area around Lusk Creek in Illinois. // Former County Commissioner Chairman Andy Clarke is informing us about local politics on the Port of Cairo message board. Please join in the discussion. All political parties welcome!

January 11, 2006:  The council meeting was a little bumpy, but the next one will be fine. Maybe both sides will agree to a mediator stepping in for a little guidance. Both sides want Cairo to prosper, so there's a common ground. A mediator can resolve communication lapses. Non-binding arbitration is what it's called, I think. But, I'm thinking of something very informal, yet done by an expert in the field of mediation. The city will be fine. And, Cairo will prosper. She's going through a lengthy rough spot:) // Channel 12 (aka Live! Late breaking! ...) added a short bit about Stace England after their Cairo council coverage. Stace was interviewed on Commercial Avenue (great PR). I'm guessing the early edition of the news tomorrow morning will have a longer segment about Stace. Get up early & watch it! // I'm taking some time off. There's a great newspaper up north that I've been neglecting & I'm close to getting canned (I need the job), so I will not be updating here for a few days (at least). Unless there's something urgent to post. But then kick me out. Cairo is addicting. I heard it's something in the water. You can watch me update for that paper here, if you get bored. (Yikes! I haven't updated there since Nov. 28th! Oh boy. My boss is going to be very upset.) // Remember! Don't pay attention to the press coverage! Cairo will be fine.

January 10, 2006:  The boycott has ended and council members will attend tonight's meeting. That's very good news. I hope those in power will focus on jobs.

January 9, 2006:  UPDATE: Bobby Mayberry is going to help me understand the importance of GIS. It is used for 9-1-1 services. Maybe he'll send an article explaining it, so you can read up on it, too. Think I was a little crabby last night. // In a December 22, 2005 press release, Congressman Jerry Costello (D-IL) announced that several Delta Regional Authority (DRA) grants have been awarded in Southern Illinois. The funds will be used for economic development projects. "These projects will promote economic development in the region," said Costello. " improve the quality of life of the citizens of Southern Illinois." One of the organizations to receive funds is the Southern Five Regional Planning & Development Commission in Ullin (check the date on their newsletter!). The $100,000.00 grant will be used to create a regional GIS database to provide uniform data and capabilities to a five county region. I suppose that's a good thing...getting $100,000.00 for economic development projects. and explain what GIS is. GIS is a method of mapping information. Take satellite images, land elevations, Census data, crime statistics, lead levels in children, number of AIDS cases in white males over the age of 60, water tables...any data you can find about a geographic location, then input the figures and images into a database & you have created a map using GIS. Kind of like one-stop shopping for statistics and geological info and images. I think that's what GIS is:) Costello says it has something to do with improving the economy. Hear that sucking sound? That's the $100,000.00. Kidding! It's not a complete waste; part of it may offset the salaries of government workers who are paid to improve the economy. I have an idea, let's ask Congressman Costello what GIS is and how it will create jobs for Cairo.

January 7, 2006:  There is a very informative article in the Southeast Missourian regarding the meeting held by the Cairo City Council members who are boycotting Mayor Farris. Read it at // According to the Southern Illinoisan, Illinois State Police suspect homicide in the death of 23-year-old Trea Hannah, of Anna, found Wednesday in a burned-out vehicle in Pulaski County. He was last seen in the vehicle, a white 1993 Mercury Tracer, Dec. 29 in the Union-Pulaski County area. Tags are 819 6695. Contact the State police at (618) 845-3740 or the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office at (618) 748-9124 if you have any information.

January 6, 2006:  Today's Southeast Missourian covered the controversy surrounding the City Council and Mayor Farris. Visit: // There's a meeting today at noon of the Council Members who refuse to attend regularly scheduled council meetings. Only one council member attended the Special Called Meeting yesterday regarding the $500,000 sewer grant. // A few people have inquired about advertising rates at Cairo Gate. There's a page which explains rates here: // I'm updating today. Sorry for the long delay.

January 5, 2006:  The SIDEZ Annual Public Input Meeting & Resource Fair has been rescheduled for Jan. 12. It was rescheduled due to inclement weather. Contact Donna Raynalds at (618) 745-6307 for more info. // Found this online last night, "Some sports predictions for 2006," By Mike Murphy, For the Marion Daily. "Johnston City and Carterville will continue to be at the top in Black Diamond football but look for some changes in '06 its only a matter of time till Cairo drops the sport, " said Murphy. Drop football in Cairo? Why not BUILD the program instead? // Regarding the sewer grant for Cairo and today's Special Called Meeting (to be held at noon at City Hall), the Southeast Missourian interviewed Council member Bobby Whitaker. "Accepting the grant would be a good idea, Whitaker said, but it would be difficult if not impossible for the city to provide matching funds." See: He makes a good we have the funds to match the grant? // I missed the interview about Cairo Gate on KFVS. I saw a short clip on the 10:00 PM news last night, but I heard the longer interview was on this morning's newscast. And, there is no midnight newscast. Sorry! I was nervous and got the broadcast times wrong.

January 4, 2006:  KFVS, Channel 12, in Cape Girardeau, interviewed me about It'll be on the 10:00 P.M and 12:00 A.M. // Tomorrow at noon there will be a Special Called Meeting of the Cairo City Council. If the council members don't have a majority vote, Cairo stands to lose a $500,000 grant for sewer improvements. Something like that. Thank you, Channel 12, for that info. Those council members better be there. We can't stand to lose that kind of money for infrastructure! The sewer grant story will be on Channel 12, as well. BTW, Channel 12 interviewed Julia Schubert at The Computer Solution about the sewer grant. // SIDEZ wants you to know that the Annual Community Input Meeting has been rescheduled for January 12. More info will be posted tonight about that.

January 1, 2006:  I'm very upset with the Cairo Police Department. Here's just one reason why.

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