Some events in life tend to put others in their proper perspective. As stunned and disappointed as I was on April 7 by the Apathetic Republic of Evanston’s low turnout for the City’s open mayoral race, this feeling drifted away later in the week as I learned the likely timing of my son’s deployment to Afghanistan.
What a rollercoaster week it was. I never fathomed that Evanston voters this year, given a four-way mayor’s race for an open seat and competitive races in six of nine wards, would choose to take Election Day off and stay home. Only 22 percent of registered voters bothered to exercise their franchise, compared to 82 percent just last November in the federal election. A very disappointing effort by our people, who apparently aren’t as interested in change and politics as some had hoped.
As stunned and numb as I was by the voter inertia, it all seemed to slide away later in the week when I talked with my son, Cooper, 18, who is training with a Marine unit at
While I spent the last six months going door to door in
I visited Cooper this past week at
So we took him off base to nearby
Cooper will soon spend weeks at 29 Palms, a God-forsaken place in
Cooper is looking forward to his service and defending his country, as he talks about wanting to go to college in three years, when his commitment is complete. Not a day will go by between now and then when I won’t have Cooper’s essence playing like a movie in the screen of my consciousness. My plan will be to stay busy, do good work and serve the public. Just not through
My plan will be to offer my consulting services pro bono to the Evanston Community Development Corporation as a green energy/jobs consultant, and to try to mentor young people at
Former Mayoral Candidate
Buy Local at
The First Lady’s organic vegetable garden at the White House reflects
“Local” produce, in accord with an often-used definition, must come from distances less than a day’s drive away. The Evanston Farmers’ Market is certainly local, with farmers from
Early in the season the Market boasts abundant fresh herbs, leafy greens, mushrooms and flowers, says Ms. Dean, with strawberries and tomatoes soon to follow. The fall brings a wonderful assortment of root vegetables, squash and apples. In addition to fruits and vegetables, customers can purchase a variety of flowers, cheeses, meats and bakery items. Local artists also sell their work through the “Home Grown Artists” program – a tradition the City Council voted to make a permanent part of the Evanston Farmers’ Market in 2008.
Cooking demonstrations and tastings by the
We’re Cookin’ were new to the Market last year, and will be back again this year on ten Saturdays. Now We’re Cookin’ uses produce fresh from the market in their demonstrations, and will take orders for their cookbook on using fresh produce, says owner Nell Funk. Their final event of the season, on Oct. 31, will be a hands-on cooking demonstration for kids and families, held in collaboration with Purple Asparagus.
When shopping at the Farmers’ Market, customers may bring their own bags or buy sturdy canvas bags sold at the market. Coupons for seniors are available through the Commission on Aging during normal business hours in room G600 of the
The Farmers’ Market is a very popular attraction, bringing over a thousand visitors on an average Saturday. “It’s a very busy market,” says Ms. Dean.
Bring your canvas bag and your appetite for fresh, locally grown food to the intersection of
this spring, summer andfall. Hours are For more details, go to www.cityofevanston.org/enjoy/market.
— Emily Updegraff
Taxis Need a
Over the course of the past three months from January 2009, my husband and I,
I contacted the City’s Parking Services division to inquire about designated parking spaces that would be more appropriate for commercial taxi usage than residential parking streets. The response from the City (both prompt and courteous) was that, according to Ordinance 10-4-14-5(D), “The operator of a taxicab while for hire shall not stand or park such vehicle upon any street at any place other than in a taxicab stand so designated as provided herein. This provision shall not prevent the operator of a taxicab from temporarily stopping in accordance with other stopping or parking regulations at any place for the purpose of and while actually engaged in the expeditious loading or unloading of passengers.”
In addition, Steve O’Sullivan, the License and Measures Inspector for the City, was asked to contact the various taxi companies licensed by the City and express concerns regarding drivers not conforming to City ordinances.
I firmly believe and support the rights of commercial taxi companies and their drivers to perform their duties. What I would like the City to consider is the establishment of some additional restricted commercial parking spaces/taxi stands for these operators in commercially designated zones. It is evident that taxi drivers are seeking other parking areas in the residential districts due to the dearth of currently designated commercial zones closer to the downtown
I urge the City to seek out appropriately zoned locations within
–Sabrina K. Pasztor
Fire Station Mural
For John Macsai:
I can’t believe you wrote about Fire Station #5 and didn’t mention the fabulous etched glass mural that has been installed across the upper windows over the bays. It is a fine example of the work of the Evanston Public Art Committee and a great addition to the building and streetscape.
— Gay Riseborough
I’m writing to voice concern over what I feel to be unconstitutional ticketing and towing practices by the City of
Where I live, on west Central, there is signage regarding snow emergencies. This signage states parking isn’t allowed after two inches of snow, from until
It provides the phone number of the
I discovered the following about snow emergencies. The City declares an emergency at , based upon the forecast for that evening. The City then notifies police and towing contractors to get their engines ready for a lucrative night of revenue raising,
to begin promptly at . But there are a few problems which violate the due process rights of citizens.
First, in spite of declaring an emergency at , he City waits to update the message until A high-ranking
Second, and most unbelievable, the City begins towing at , regardless of conditions. Apparently, a forecast of snow, equals fallen snow to the revenue collectors. Regardless of where snow falls, in
You can go to sleep in compliance with the signage and phone message and still awake to no snow, a missing car and hundreds of dollars in new debt.
Third, at my hearing, the hearing officer asked for evidence to support my claim that snow hadn’t fallen. I stated I’d return with evidence and was granted a continuance. On the return, I came prepared with supportive weather data. But the second officer refused to consider it, even after I explained that I was instructed by the first officer to bring it. She said, “I a.m. not interested in your evidence. I find you guilty.”
Fourth, while awaiting my case, I heard over a dozen citizens state they would agree to pay their parking violation, but came to fight towing charges. Each claimed their vehicle had never been towed. The City had written tickets as though a tow did occur and charged for it. The hearing officer looked in the “towing log” and each time admitted, that towing had not actually occurred at their address and dismissed that portion of their tickets.
What a surprise!
Finally, when I made a FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] request to the City for a document which would verify their notification practices, (a memo mentioned by that high-ranking official) the request was denied. This memo verified the devious delay of nearly 5.5 hours between the internal and public notice. Then I filed an appeal with the City Manager’s office which was ignored, contrary to policy. No answers to my letters or calls were received.
What a civics lesson to witness this pattern of purposeful and dishonest behavior by this administration in the name of collecting revenue.
Clearly the calculation has been made that most citizens will not, or cannot afford time off to fight these false tickets. People simply pay the piper and write it off as a cost of living here.
What I saw in
There were unemployed, sick and elderly on walkers and canes, one woman even rolling her oxygen tank, all inconvenienced, but appearing at this imitation court, feeling aggravated and abused. But present to fight against what they knew to be unfair and wrong.
The ends do not justify the means. And what’s happening here for many is a steady erosion of trust in their public servants.
This is a serious and egregious long term threat to any civilized society.
Consequently, I chose to file an appeal in the real court system of
Sometimes a small voice can be heard singing before the chorus and just maybe, sometimes, a broken system can be reformed.
Sincerely, Barry A. Rustin,
Support Funding Source for Dental Care
Thousands of low-income children and adults in
Under an amendment to HB 388, revenues generated from a 5 percent statewide soft-drink sales tax would fund dental clinics in underserved areas and increase funding for Medicaid dental coverage.
On average, each American drinks 53 gallons of soda a year, and the consumption of soft drinks in general has increased 500 percent in the past 50 years. Soft drinks have no nutritional value and pose many oral and overall health risks, including enamel loss and obesity.
By taking advantage of a 50 percent federal match, this increase in sales tax will generate as much as $91 million for oral-health-care programs.
Enough to help millions of children and adults gain access to much needed dental services.
HB 388 will help end a lot of needless suffering among the most vulnerable Illinoisans. I urge you to tell your legislator to support this bill. The future of healthy smiles depends on it.
–Lauri Frichtl, Executive Director, Illinois Head Start Association
D65 2009-10 Calendar
While it may seem like a simple task, putting together the annual District 65 school calendar is no easy feat. It takes striking a delicate balance between state laws, union contracts, and the sometimes competing interests of many key stakeholders.
But after careful consideration of these variables, the 2009-2010 calendar was approved on April 20.
The calendar – which was developed with input from the educators and parents who serve on the D65 Calendar Committee – seeks to maximize uninterrupted learning for students (with 20 full five-day weeks of school compared to only 17 in this year’s calendar) as well as provide quality professional-development time for teachers. And, in response to the ongoing awareness-building and organizing efforts of ParentsWork, it includes the following features that will ensure more scheduling consistency for parents juggling work and caring for school-age children:
* Fewer days off at the beginning of the school year, thanks to permission from the Illinois State Board of Education to hold class on Columbus Day.
* Consolidation of teacher training into seven half-day “school improvement days” (vs. the current mix of half days and hour-early dismissals) to be held on the first Wednesday of the month.
* A new format for fall conferences that will allow for more evening appointment times to better accommodate parents’ work schedules.
Also, if you have ever wondered what happens on all those early release days, do not miss the presentation materials in the Board packet on the District’s current and future professional development activities.
— Rhonda Present, Founder and Director of Parents Work
Dumpsters Are Not Always A “Green” Choice
This is in response to a letter from Michael Molinaro in your April 15 issue urging the return of neighborhood Dumpster Days. In my experience, the dumpsters were a very poor choice from an ecological standpoint. While they have been a quick solution for some, the long term effects of those dumpsters on overly taxed landfills was hardly a “green” approach for our City to endorse.
I am encouraging our citizens to take advantage of www.freecycle.org, which you can access through www.yahoo.com/egroups to find homes for your unwanted stuff. Just carefully read the guidelines.
Even small amounts of left-over paint can be used by theater groups painting sets, for example.
Also, many of my neighbors used the dumpsters for large amounts of landscaping materials, which was in clear violation of their intended use.
The people of
— Fury Gold