Cook County Health System Town Hall Meetings Announced

Open Letter to the Evanston


For the first time, the Cook County Health and Hospitals System is undertaking a comprehensive strategic planning process, with the goal of engaging community stakeholders and bringing long-term improvements to the County health system.

I invite you to attend one of the upcoming town hall meetings for the Cook County Health and Hospitals System: at  6 p.m. on Aug. 13 at Oakton Community College, 1600 E. Golf Road, Des Plaines or at 6 p.m. on Aug. 21 at Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson, Chicago.

               — Larry Suffredin,
                   Cook County Commissioner


Resident Shocked by Impulsive Hawk


I live at Sheridan and Lee and have been enjoying sightings of the hawks that built a nest high in the elm tree across the street.  I’m a little less enthusiastic now.

 I was sitting at my PC Tuesday morning when I heard a huge crash, a rain of glass and a scampering sound.  I thought my cat had knocked over the shelf of glass or something awful and was running away in terror.  Then I saw the broken pane in the living room window and I knew a bird had flown into it.  Sure enough, a hawk was on the window sill across the room.  I thought of calling 911 or the zoo, but reason prevailed.  I closed some doors to keep the cats away, opened the front door wide and shooed the bird out with a broom.  Luckily, as soon as he saw the light from the door he (or she) flew out.  There was no sign of blood or feathers so I guess it wasn’t hurt.

It took me a while to clean up glass shards all over the living room.  I put some cardboard over the broken pane, and the glass man came soon to replace it.  I am so thankful I was home.  Can you imagine the damage a full-grown hawk could do flying around trying to get out?  Or what if it had encountered a cat or been injured? 

Now I see several members of the family perched in the elm in my back yard.  Where is Alfred Hitchcock?

–Cherie Weil



D65’s Reduced Pension Benefits Issue Not Completely Settled


The article “D65 Settles Claim on Reduced Pension Benefits” is factually incorrect. The District has offered a settlement to retirees, but not all retirees are satisfied with the offer.

The offer is a mere fraction of the amount of money that the error on the part of the District has cost the retirees. Dr. Murphy’s assessment that one might lose up to $1,760 a year seems slight, but multiplied over 20 or 30 years is quite significant.

Some retirees will lose 10, 20, even $50,000, depending on how long they receive their pension. Everyone’s benefits are not the same. They are based on years of service to the District. One also needs to mention the lost salary from the year that the teacher forfeited in order to retire early, based on promises of the District.

While some retirees are taking the settlement because financially they cannot risk losing it, some will not and are considering alternative action against the District.

The School District made a gross error that is affecting more than 30 teachers who gave their hearts and souls to the children of District 65, the schools for which they worked, and the community at large.

Teachers entered into a contract that said one thing, and now, four years later, the contract is not what it was purported to be.

We are all saddened by this turn of events.

–Deborah Kaplan


‘Missed Opportunities’ For
Improving James Park


The future of Mount Trashmore in James Park deserves very careful consideration.  The RoundTable article of June 10 mentioned a few ideas for “improving” the park. 

Some of these ideas have been tossed around in the past, such as monitoring the drinking and drug deals on and around the hill.  Sounds good, but let’s face it – sending a private security officer to break up a group of adult drinkers and dealers is at best futile and at worst dangerous.

Emma Garl Smith, who wrote the article about Mt. Trashmore‘s renovation, slyly noted that the meeting held by the City drew a “crowd” of ten citizens. 

Her observation, telling though it was, implied that nobody was really that interested in Stephanie Levine’s plan for the Hill. 

That is very untrue.  Like dozens of other residents of southwest Evanston, I am passionate about and chagrined at the City’s neglect of James Park.  

Like scores of other south Evanstonians, I’ve attended approximately 20 meetings about the park in the 35 years I’ve lived near its southern border.  During the last round of meetings (perhaps 6 or 7 years ago) 50 or so residents/taxpayers made the low-cost, simple request to have native prairie grasses and wildflowers planted along James Park’s western border.  Such landscaping would have cost little to install and less to maintain. 

By now, we could have had a lovely field filled with glorious color – and a laboratory for teaching conservation to Evanston school children.  

Do you see such a garden?  Neither do I. Call that missed opportunity #1.

We requested years ago that trees, not twiglets, be planted in James as well.  

Having spent decades watching youth baseball and playing women’s softball at the park, I know it to be uniquely user-unfriendly.  

The prettiest softball fields and fences cannot stop the gritty dust from blowing all over the park, lodging in your ears and behind your molars on hot, dry days.  

The absence of large shade trees (of course, only twigs were planted) turns the park, and especially the children’s play areas, into an arid, desert-like space. 

On a warm, sunny day the slides and other play equipment are too hot to touch, let alone use.  Appropriately planted trees hold the soil down, as the Israelis discovered 50 years ago.  This was missed opportunity #2.

In other words, those of us who have attended these many meetings realize that our presence merely provides a rubber stamp for the City to execute whatever they already have planned.  

Remember our recycling plant?  Gullible, environmentally conscious Evanston residents approved sacrificing the northwest corner of James Park for the greater ecological good.  

Does anyone think we’d have agreed to losing precious green space to yet another garage for City trucks and other vehicles?   Well, that’s what stands there now. 

So those dozens of us whose suggestions have been ignored at dozens of past meetings about the future of James Park are not stampeding to waste another evening of our lives at yet another such meeting. 

Lop 25 feet off the top of the hill? 

Why not?  We could then call it Foothill Trashmore. 

Post still more signs?  Be my guest. 

People will ignore them, too.

Turn a blind eye to adult drinking and drugging around the hill?  What else is new? 

Convert the kiddie hill into a concert venue? Sure – let those toddlers take their chances on the big hill.

I am so tired of blah blah blah rubber-stamp meetings. Show me some trees  – it’s a park. 

Plant a prairie, Ms. Levine. Doing so should be a landscape architect’s dream. 

Give us South Evanstonians something half as pretty as the plantings along the railroad tracks on

Green Bay Road

– landscaping worthy of what is supposed to be a creative community – and we’ll flock to your meetings.

                                     — Judith Fradin