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'Simpsons' character says he went to SIU

Geoffrey Ritter
Carbondale Times

CARBONDALE — One of SIU’s apparently less-than-distinguished former students showed up on primetime television Sunday evening.

On the Oct. 12 episode of “The Simpsons,” Marge Simpson opens a sandwich shop franchise in Springfield but faces 
difficulty when it comes to finding good employees. That’s when Gil Gunderson, Springfield’s perennially down-on-his-luck sad sack, comes walking in with his resume in hand.

“As you can see, I was just two credits short at Southern Illinois, and I’ve got to be honest with you, Marge, I need this job bad,” Gunderson pleads.

Marge gives Gunderson the job, after which he appears outside the restaurant dressed as a sandwich and passing out flyers for “Two for One Tuesday.”

However, Gunderson seems to be working a few jobs at once, also advertising “Tell You Their Real Names Tuesday” at a local exotic dancer club, as well as the 
location of some luxury condos in Springfield.

Marge soon fires Gunderson, who takes the dismissal in stride.

“I guess I had it coming,” he says. “Can I take some bologna heels?” Marge obliges.

Bill Odenkirk, a veteran writer for the show, penned Sunday’s episode, which was titled “Super Franchise Me.” While Naperville native Odenkirk has no 
direct tie to SIU, his brother, Bob Odenkirk, does. Actor Bob, a comedian now known for his role as attorney Saul Goodman on the show “Breaking Bad,” attended SIU in the 
late 1970s. Perhaps not coincidentally, Bob Odenkirk left SIU just three credits short of graduation, 
according to multiple sources.

Gunshots leave frayed nerves in their wake

Geoffrey Ritter
Weekend Times

CARBONDALE — It was just a few minutes after 6 p.m. Tuesday when Josh Brown and his family arrived at Attucks Park for his 6-year-old son’s flag football game. What happened next remains a source of shock and confusion for many.

“I heard an initial two or three rounds go off,” said Brown, a father of three and a longtime Carbondale resident. “At that point, people were running all over the place. The coaches were confused. It was a bit chaotic.”

Police responded just minutes later to the park on North Wall Street, where they learned a man had fired at least three rounds from a handgun before fleeing north on foot. Although no one was injured, the shots immediately caused panic on the field. A “very hysteric” caller notified police of the incident, according to dispatch records. Coaches and parents got all the children on the ground. 

The number of shots fired remains unknown — Carbondale Police, who found spent and live shell casings in the parking lot, say at least three shots were fired — although Brown says he thought he heard a short series of shots, followed by a pause and then more shots. Police Chief Jeff Grubbs could not be reached for comment on the incident.

A witness at the scene observed the shooter heading north on Wall Street following the incident. He has been described as a black male in his late 20s, standing about 6-foot-1 and weighing about 240 pounds. He reportedly had a stocky build and was wearing a white shirt and dark blue jeans. The handgun he carried was described only as silver in color.

The incident provoked an immediate response from the Carbondale Junior Sports organization, which made arrangements with SIU to play the remainder of the season’s flag football games at the university. On Wednesday and Thursday, children got the unexpected pleasure of playing under Saluki Stadium’s lights.

Brown says some parents previously had expressed concern about the safety of the neighborhood surrounding Attucks Park, and he praised Carbondale Junior Sports for taking such swift action to find a new venue for games.

Brown said that having grown up in Carbondale, he is accustomed to life in the city and the crime that has accompanied it. However, Tuesday’s incident put him and his family in uncomfortable proximity to what seems to be a growing issue.

“I saw a lot of concern from parents before this happened,” Brown said. “The crimes have become more increased in violence. It could have been a very bad situation.”

As of Friday, police had reported no arrests in connection with the incident but were continuing to investigate. To report any information, call Carbondale Police at 618-457-3200.