Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Opportunity Returns?
That's what state officials are billing the governor's speech for later this afternoon. Actually they didn't use the question mark, that's my addition. To be honest I've never quite anticipated a governor's speech as much as this one. I hope to be pleasantly surprised, I just don't expect it.

The Southern Illinoisan has another story today leaking a slough of projects that will be included. So far we've heard about the expansion of Route 13 to six lanes from Marion to Carbondale, the promotion of a Southern Illinois Golf Trail and the promise of more agri-tourism (think wine tastings and shrimp festivals). Today's story includes $2.1 million for planning and a feasibility study of SIU's goal of a major Transportation Education Center (a project ironically once opposed by Larry Woolard as a state senator because it would eliminate Southern's campus in Williamson County and move the operation to the Southern Illinois Airport. Woolard was right on this issue).

Today's story also mentions "the creation of a curriculum to teach college students, and eventually high school students, about how to work in and manage tourism-related businesses." This was discussed somewhat last week at a workforce training meeting over at Southeastern Illinois College. While a trained workforce is important for the tourism industry in Southern Illinois, some have wondered if we should actually try to get more tourists first, so we would actually have the jobs.

No mention of the Old Slave House has been made so far, nor of any project that would boost the fortunes of the economically struggling counties along the Ohio River. The governor's supposed to start in 2 hours 18 minutes. If he's true to form we will find out sometime in the next four or five hours what he's proposing.