Bike Path Paved In Gold

$1.27 million to renovate the bike path just from Lee Street to Clark Street. Is it going to be paved in gold? I’ve been on that bike path within the last few weeks. Yes, there are a few bumps and cracks along the way, but I can’t believe it would take over a million dollars to repair this short stretch. Who’s reviewing this budget? 

–Lois Roewa

Distracted Driving Is Dangerous
Hopefully, since the City Council has chosen to ignore the issue of distracted driving, the bills before the State and Congress will correct that.  Bills to outlaw texting and handheld phones are a start, but statistics show hands-free phones are almost as bad and certainly reading newspapers, putting on make-up and digging into purses/briefcases should be added.

Since 6000 deaths and 20 percent of accidents in 2008 were caused by distracted drivers, the City must not be collecting or paying any attention to those numbers or they would have done something.

At least until the State or Congress does the City’s work, the City could put up signs warning drivers about the deaths and accidents caused by such behavior.  Once the law is passed, the City should have unmarked police cars observe well-known places where cell phone usage is dangerous [e.g. left turns off of major streets] and ticket the violators.   In Montreal, cars can even be confiscated for offenses.

Certainly lives and the safety of citizens deserve some of the Council’s time –maybe set aside time from funding junk statutes and doling out money to causes that help with re-elections.
— John Fuqua

Frustrated By Ordinance Holdover

Once again the proposed green building ordinance was held by the City Council.  The sustainable community was out maneuvered by the Chamber of Commerce that sent a letter to the City Council members with ambiguous text changes at 4 p.m. on the day of the vote. 

No one from the Environment Board, whose members labored for years on the ordinance, was able to respond, and as the Council (albeit valiantly) tried to modify the text on the floor. Thanks – four months after the first fiasco?  One alderman said the ordinance would put small builders out of business, when in fact last year there were eight – yes, eight –projects that would have fallen under the requirements.

One alderman asked about cost, when this information has been provided over and over, in many forms, dollars +/-$10,000 and percentages, 1.5% of construction cost. 

While not everyone was happy, I think the task force set up at the beginning of the summer had a pretty good compromise ordinance, one that was enforceable and pushed the envelope somewhat but not so much. 

Note that there are two issues in any discussion about adaptive re-use: 1, the definition of interior renovation, and 2, whether adaptive re-use buildings should be exempt to some degree.  But of course all that clarity was lost.

It’s a bummer that we are volunteers and they are paid to be there until 11 p.m.  Luckily, with the Council meetings starting late I was able to have dinner with my kids. Hopefully we will be able to leave some resources on the planet for them.
–Leonard Sciarra

Mighty Oaks: Is This the Oldest Tree in Evanston?

I have a very large oak in my back yard which is enormous.  I was on the Evanston Garden Walk this year and a lot of visitors commented that it must be ‘one of the oldest trees in Evanston.’ 

I would like to submit my tree as a candidate for ‘oldest tree.’
 — Penelope Sachs

Read your story about Evanston’s oldest tree. If the trees on private property are included, I would like to nominate my oak tree for the oldest tree.
I believe it is a white oak, and I have been told by many arborists that it is between 130 and 150 years old. (How they came up with 130 I’ll never know).
Beware because it is producing bags of acorns at this time of year.
— Janice Sachen

Open Letter to Dr. Murphy And D65 School Board Members:
 Since Ms. Geneva Oatman has left the District, we would like to offer our help and support in finding her successor as District 65’s director of special services. While we understand the necessity of appointing an interim director, we hope the District will engage in a nationwide search for a permanent director of special services.
Parents and staff are seeking a more collaborative relationship with the administration in the Special Services Department. 

We encourage the administration to fill this crucial position with a highly qualified and experienced professional. We hope that a key piece of the process will be soliciting parental and staff input through their participation as members of a search committee. This approach would set a tone of collaboration and would garner support for the new director.

 We believe the Director of Special Services should be
•  a visionary with a clear idea of how high quality special education should look now and in the future
• someone with a comprehensive background in special education and knowledge of research-proven methods to address all childhood disabilities.
• deeply knowledgeable about special education laws and regulations, with a commitment to act on all compliance issues to ensure the implementation of all IEPs (Individualized Education Programs.)
• a collaborative leader who takes an accessible, supportive and compassionate approach toward parents and values their full participation in the development of appropriate IEPs.
• someone who understands the importance of providing comprehensive, quality professional development opportunities for teachers
• able to ensure an inclusive and caring culture in all schools in the District
• committed to involving all stakeholders through transparent and collaborative processes.
• ready to recruit and retain qualified special education teachers, therapists and ancillary staff.
• eager to ensure that necessary resources are devoted to the successful education of all children.

School District 65 is a dynamic and caring community. Our children, families and staff deserve someone exceptional to serve as director of special education. We hope you will facilitate a nationwide search in a timely manner.  We stand ready to participate in this important process.
Sign the petition here:
–Marian Casey, Director, Answers for Special Kids