… that, despite last week’s Arctic preview, today is the first full day of winter. The solstice was yesterday – the shortest day and the longest night of the year. The website infoplease.com explains the solstice thus: “The sun appears at its lowest point in the sky, and its noontime elevation appears to be the same for several days before and after the solstice. Hence the origin of the word “solstice,” which comes from Latin solstitium, from sol, ‘sun’ and –stitium, ‘a stoppage.’”

… that some people were not entirely contented with the snow-removal efforts from that storm. Some patches of streets were not cleared well, leaving long patches of ice. So, where’s the salt?

… that TG erred last time in saying that the pedestrian safety law was enacted in April. Though the legislation was approved by the General Assembly in April, it was not signed into law by Governor Pat Quinn until July.

… that the City has approved the purchase of a dehumidification system for the west filter gallery at the water plant.

… that the CTA holiday train – with thousands of multi-colored lights, red bows, garlands, and red-and-green overhead lighting and hand poles are wrapped to look like candy canes – was scheduled to stop in Evanston on Dec. 16 and 21.

… that we’re getting 11 new vehicles in the fleet, all of which, the City says, “exceed the 2010 E.P.A. emissions standards.” Three of these are “non-pursuit” vehicles and City staff members “conducted a ‘green’ review … to determine if any hybrid or flex fuel option would be feasible. However, the hybrid Chevy Tahoe costs almost twice as much the regular Tahoe, and the staff thought that amount was “prohibitive” (without mentioning long-term cost-savings). The fire chief’s new ride will be a four-wheel-drive Ford Escape hybrid. Final notes about the new vehicle purchases are that “staff will continue to review each fleet purchase with the goal of moving to a greener fleet in the future” and that, since Ford will not be manufacturing Crown Victoria cars after March of next year, we won’t be buying any more of them. 

… that the City will contract with Dueco Incorporated of Waukesha, Wis., to test, repair and certify the vehicle-mounted aerial devices on City vehicles.

… that the cost of replacing davit-arm streetlight fixtures on Dodge between Simpson and Howard has increased by about $80,000. Funding for the replacement of these 112 light fixtures will come from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant.

… that  the City plans to “sell a portion of sewer service, owned by the City of Evanston and located beneath McCormick Boulevard and 2010 Hawthorne Lane, to the “abutting property owner.”

… that the owner of 1932-36 Maple Ave. (at Garnett) is hoping for a special use permit for a multi-family building there, which is zoned B1, business. According to the City, the applicant “proposes two additional units on the ground floor in addition to the 10 units existing on the upper floors.” Apparently the owner hopes to convert the commercial units now on the first floor into residential ones. Lotsa student housing in that area.

… that the City has received word that Google is postponing its announcement of winners in its fiberoptic (“We wanna be like Google”) contest. An e-mail to the City Manager said in part, “We had planned to announce by the end of this year, but the level of interest was incredible – nearly 1,100 communities across the country responded to our announcement – and exceeded our expectations.”

… that, thanks to the Illinois General Assembly, the City can’t promulgate the amount of time that “outdoor political campaign signs” (yard signs, presumably) can remain on residential property. One small step for politicians, one giant step for tackiness.

TG: Would you consider either examining and/or writing about the lack of sidewalk snow removal on the bridges over the North Shore Channel that are in Skokie? Evanston, Lincolnwood and Chicago make an attempt at sidewalk snow removal, but after the Dec. 4 storm these sidewalks in Skokie were engulfed with mini-icebergs and I must walk in the street. The Village of Skokie states that they only plow sidewalks abutting municipal property.
Same goes for clearing the North Shore Channel walking path. Evanston, Lincolnwood and Chicago, do but Skokie does not.

— Daniel Joseph

From TG: Skokie is a little beyond TG’s ken but a phone call or exploratory junket might be in order.

TG: I counted myself as unlucky when my car got towed from in front of my house on a street-cleaning morning after my toddler had been throwing up all night. But I count myself as perturbed and my exorbitant property taxes a crime because the City that was so efficient in removing my car for street cleanup never came back to sweep the streets on any day after that date in October. So now there are piles of leaves in the street covered with ice and snow. I have a friend who has registered EvanstonFail.org. I keep sticking up for my beloved City and have encouraged him not to start this blog, but my argument is very quickly losing its defensibility.

– Beth Brand

From TG: TG sympathizes with both you and your friend. In many ways the City has street cred, but it is hard to defend something as incomprehensible and, well, unconscionable as our street-sweeping notification and enforcement program (TG will not dignify it with the term “policy.”).  However, there’s a new guy at Streets and San and maybe he can straighten out this mess and make street-sweeping a more collaborative and user-friendly deal. 

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that, as most know by now, NU is now a part of the “Legends” division of the Big 10, along with Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Nebraska. The “leaders” division will be composed of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin. So what does 10 plus 2 divided by 2 in fact equal?

Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa
and Happy New Year, everyone.