The person who allegedly stole the ambulance blazed into the Dempster/Chicago intersection with the siren on, crashing into about five vehicles.

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… that last week someone allegedly stole a private medical car (ambulance) in Rogers Park and headed north. He knocked into a car on Chicago Avenue south of Main Street, then plowed through the intersection at Dempster, taking about five other vehicles into the crash. A few people were hurt but police said last week none appeared to have life-threatening injuries. The man has been charged with three felonies, three misdemeanors and two “petty offenses,” according to the police, and will appear in court next week.

… that the City Council has approved two honorary street names: The portion of Emerson Street between Dewey and Jackson avenues will be called “Leon Robinson Street.” Closer to downtown, the segment of Davis between Orrington and Chicago will be called “Giordano Dance Street.” City policy dictates that the request for an honorary designation must originate with an alderman, and each alderman is allowed one such request to be approved each year. The street segment is one block long, and the sign remains up for ten years.

… that the City is ordering more wheeled recycling carts for the Tuesday route, which won the Evanston CAN Recycle contest. TG also hears that others may get those nice big carts by the end of the year or next year. We’re getting with this order nearly 4,000 of the 95-gallon carts, about 6,000 of the 65-gallon carts and 500 of the 35-gallon carts. Now, if we can compost, reuse, recycle, etc., maybe we can start using small garbage carts.

… that the Lake Street resurfacing project between McDaniel and Elmwood is getting closer to reality. Council recently approved about $550,000 from the capital improvement funds for the project and the City is expecting about $1.2 in federal funds, which should cover the costs of the $1.8 million project.

… that other street-resurfacing projects got the go-ahead at the March 23 City Council meeting: Ashland from Mulford to the dead end north of Kirk; Bennett from Central to Hartzell; Brown from Emerson to Simpson; Davis from Dewey to Florence; Foster from Hartrey to Dodge; Hastings from Harrison to Central; Jackson from Lincoln to Central; Lincolnwood from Elgin/Golf to Payne; Mulford from Dodge to Dewey; Oak from Dempster to Lake; Simpson from Elgin/Golf to McDaniel and South from Florence to Wesley. The following street segments will get the deluxe treatment (water main improvements and resurfacing): Greenleaf from Hinman to Lakeshore; Lakeside Court from Isabella to the north end; Park from Gross Point to Central Park and Ridge from Noyes to Central. These projects entail a lot of work, such as putting up the fences and the temporary tree-protectors, marking temporary traffic patterns, marking the pavement, fixing the curbs (and any driveways disturbed), then trying to repair the damage.

… that the City is going to purchase asphalt from Orange Crush, located in Skokie. Because the company is so close to Evanston, the asphalt stays hotter and makes a good paving job, according to the City folks. Sounds like this is for pothole repair.

… that, further from home – out in space, to be precise – astronaut Michael Barratt, who earned his M.D. from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, blasted off to the International Space Station last week with a white-and-purple Northwestern banner, which he requested from the University to “honor my past involvement in your school.” He plans to unfurl it in the space station, photograph it in space and then return it to the University after the flight. 

… that summer is on the horizon: Council just approved the long list of special events for this summer.

… that March 22 was World Water Day. Some Evanston restaurants asked their customers to chip in to help prevent a world-wide catastrophe from water shortages.

… that the threat of at least one local catastrophe could be receding: A team of researchers from Northwestern and Purdue think the New Madrid fault may be shutting down, thus posing less of a threat of a major earthquake. “The New Madrid fault system does not behave as earthquake hazard models assume,” according to the report compiled by a team that analyzed the fault motion for eight years using global positioning system measurements. They found the motion to be much less than expected, given the 500- to 1,000-year repeat cycle for major earthquakes on that fault. The last large earthquakes in the New Madrid seismic zone were magnitude 7-7.5 events in 1811 and 1812, changing, as many of you know, the course of the Mississippi River. The New Madrid (to be pronounced in a distinctly Midwestern fashion and not like Chicago’s rival for the Olympics) fault system includes parts of Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Arkansas and Kentucky. Eric Calais of Purdue and Seth Stein of NU headed the team, which determined that the ground surrounding the fault system is moving at a rate of less than 0.2 millimeters per year and there is likely no motion. A paper detailing the work was published by the journal Science.

“The slower the ground moves, the longer it takes until the next earthquake, and if it stops moving, the fault could be shutting down,” Prof. Stein said. “We can’t tell whether the recent cluster of big earthquakes in the New Madrid is coming to an end. But the longer the GPS data keep showing no motion, the more likely it seems.” There’s no disaster movie in those statistics.

The Traffic Guy thinks …

  Snow is no sooner gone than we’re worried about where we can park. Today is the day summer-parking regulations take effect. Make way for the sweepers that will, we hope, make some headway on Winter’s detritus. Also for the spring: yard-waste pickups (beginning April 6) and leaf-blowers (at least though May 15).

… on the cheerful side, folks at the RT saw a female pileated woodpecker on Florence Avenue last week.

… that people should consider visiting the observatory at Northwestern on April 2, 3, 4 or 5 for “100 Hours of Astronomy,” – a worldwide effort to encourage telescope sky gazing, part of the International Year of Astronomy. Galileo first looked through a telescope 400 years ago. NU reps say, “The public is invited to follow in Galileo’s footsteps Saturday, April 4, and look through Northwestern University’s powerful and historic Alvan Clark telescope at the Dearborn Observatory, 2131 Tech Drive, Evanston campus. The free special event will be held from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m., rain or shine. Visitors will be able to see the waxing gibbous [more than half-full] moon and Saturn, weather permitting. The dome of the Dearborn Observatory is not heated; visitors should dress appropriately.” And if you can’t make it, the  observatory is open to the public every Friday from 9 to 11 p.m., beginning April 3. The first hour is by reservation only for groups; the second hour is for walk-ins, based on space availability. The observatory is available other evenings for private viewings. Call 847- 491-7650 for reservations.

… since this paper went to press while it was still March, TG wonders whether the month went out like a lamb or a …