If this is Rocky, can Bullwinkle be far behind?

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… that as of March 15 it will be illegal to use cell phones while driving in Evanston unless the driver/talker is using a hands-free devise or there is an emergency. This measure, approved by City Council last week, is another part of the effort by elected officials at both city and state levels to eliminate distracted driving.

… that the City of Evanston had some snow last week. This is a picture of what happened to cars whose drivers ignored or were unaware of the snow emergency. 

… that the City will purchase a new boiler for Robert Crown Center. We’re also in the process of purchasing chemicals for water treatment for this year and 5,000 new 65-gallon rolling garbage carts.

… that, coming this spring, southbound traffic on Sheridan from Main Street to South Boulevard will switch from the west lane to the east lane during the next phase of Sheridan Road construction. 

… that Feb. 20 is “shredding day” at First Bank & Trust on Church Street. Actually, it’s more like a “shredding lunch,” since it’s from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the machines will munch your documents.

… that the CTA cuts were felt almost immediately last week. They went into effect the day before the big snow. Some folks will now be driving, thus adding to the congestion on the roads and pollution in the air; some will just be stranded, with few or no options for getting to work. Let’s hope the CTA comes up with a good and quick fix.

… that folks on the Site Plan and Appearance Review Committee apparently liked the revised proposed placement sites for the newest AT&T eyesores, or VRADs. Here is a brief recap of the info printed here last month: 909 Foster – on AT&T easement just east, boxes on poles (called a “significant improvement” to the originally proposed site); alley behind 1617 Chicago Ave. (now adjacent to a dense blank wall); alley behind 1712 Sherman Ave. (AT&T will provide bollards to prevent interference with truck traffic); AT&T easement between 1510 Church and 1633 Florence  (now on a new pole); alley behind 1711 Darrow  (site moved from the parkway to a dead-end alley); alley behind 719 Main Street and City parking lot; alley behind 1019 Hull Terrace rather than a parkway of Oakton School; west of 200 Ridge by the CTA rather than on a parkway on Brummel; the new site has a “large piece of parkway for screening” and it is “significantly set back, away from residential property.” The location of another VRAD, to be somewhere in the alley of 1706-10 Sherman, will be determined at the SPARC meeting where the next five are determined. NB: The Fifth Ward alderman, Delores Holmes, has requested that no VRADs be placed in that ward. 

… that the RTA is adding its support to a bill from the Illinois House’s mass transit committee that would amend the “Free Rides for Seniors” program to one that allows seniors at or below certain income-levels to ride free and other seniors to ride at reduced fares.

… that folks who join the Arbor Day Foundation this month will receive 10 blue spruce trees. These 6-12-inch trees, given away as part of the Foundation’s “Trees for America” campaign, are promised to be shipped postpaid at the right time for planting between March 1 and May 31 with enclosed planting instructions. They are also guaranteed to grow, or they will be replaced free of charge. To join, you have to send a $10 contribution to Ten Free Colorado Blue Spruce Trees, Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Avenue, Nebraska City, NE 68410, by Feb. 26, or go to www.arborday.org/February.

From our readers: TG: We came across this adorable little guy (gal?) perched on the hanging seed block in my front yard a few nights ago as the temperature hovered around zero. He continued to chow down for nearly half an hour as we gaped, gawked and snapped flash photos a few feet away. I’ve seen flying squirrels over in southwest Michigan, but never in these parts. Can anyone confirm that this is truly a new inhabitant, or perhaps an
escaped sugar glider from a local pet store? Thanks.                    – Linda Bechtle

From TG: Perhaps one of our readers can help. Does anyone recognize
this type of animal, or the animal itself in the photo?

TG: I wanted to share a cool picture of a hawk in my backyard being watched by pigeons.  – Dave Shane

From TG: Thanks.

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that the Stop the Boxes folks have done an amazing job at saving our parkways from the VRADs. Maybe they can get AT&T to reassess the locations of those that have already been installed and try to get some semblance of normalcy restored to our parkways.

… that, while it’s a good thing to try to discourage distracted driving, it would be another good thing to discourage mindless shooting in this town. Seems we have the political will to keep such dangerous things as cell phones out of the hands of young adults, but where is the backbone on keeping intentionally dangerous things, such as loaded firearms, out of their hands?

TG understands the Heller decision, but aren’t our City officials watching the fallout? TG also hopes that council members will watch for the Heller 2 Supreme Court decision.

… that when politicians start talking about “transparency,” it’s time for the rest of us to get out the Windex.