Treetops in the snow (they are dwarf trees).

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… that, counting last week’s nearly 7-inch bundle of flakes, the City’s total snowfall for the season is greater than  five feet – 66.2 inches, according to the City. State climatologist Jim Angel reports that snowfall was “above average for most of the state, except in far southern Illinois,” where amounts ranged from 1 to 6 inches. Chicago reported 33.5 inches of snow through the end of the month, Dr. Angel reports, the third snowiest January on record. But the precipitation total for the entire state in January was just 1.76 inches, compared with the long-term average of 2.12 inches. Cold? Now that’s another story. Last month was the eighth-coldest January on record in Illinois, with a statewide average temperature of 18.2 degrees, 8.1 degrees below the 1981-2010 average of 26.3 degrees, Dr. Angel reports. At O’Hare, the low temperature was zero or below on 13 days in January, and every day of the month it was below freezing.

… that the City will hire CS Geologic LLC to “drill three borings at James Park, install gas probes, perform gas monitoring and gas composition analyses, and prepare a report based on said analyses” as part of the City’s due diligence regarding the water and sewer infrastructure and “gas monitoring of the former landfill site.” Readers may recall that James Park, like Lovelace Park, was once a dump – literally. Hence the name Mt. Trashmore for the hill there.

… that for fiscal year 2014 the City will purchase about a million dollars’ worth of fuel ($950,000) from Palatine Oil Company in Schaumburg. That company won the bid from the Suburban Purchasing Cooperative/Northwest Municipal Conference. Present fuel prices, according to the City, are $2.92/gallon for 87 octane gasoline and $3.41/gallon for bio-diesel.

… that speaking of City vehicles, the City will renew its contract for tire repairs and recapping with Wentworth Tire Service of Bensenville – $25,000 is the contract, representing 77 percent of the amount budgeted for these services. To bad no one knows how to change a tire.

… that the City will purchase about $50,000 of cold patch material from Peter Baker & Son of Lake Bluff. What? Potholes here? According to the City, the material is Unique Pavement Material (UP), “a specific proprietary formulation of cold asphalt that can only be acquired at a limited number of suppliers. The formulation of UPM generally allows Streets and Sanitation employees to fill holes only once per season and has proven to last multiple years in many spots, thus, providing a labor savings to the City.”

… that the Fire Department is replacing an antiquated – that is, 40+ years old –  tone alerting system in each of its facilities. The present system has been in place over 40 years. Chicago Communications LLC of Elmhurst will get the business. For about 220,000, the company will install alerting systems in five fire stations, fire headquarters and the 911 center. Northwestern will pay for the installation of its part of the service at its police dispatch center – about $12,000.

… that at least one member of the City’s snow-removal teams dumped snow from the street onto feeder sidewalks – that is, sidewalks leading to and from the main sidewalks – already cleared by residents. This happened repeatedly in the 900 block of Madison Street, despite neighbor’s protests. Let’s see, the City mandates that residents clear their sidewalks then has City crews dump snow from the street onto the sidewalks? Onto private sidewalks? Onto sidewalks leading to the street or two the house, so that a person with difficulty walking or in a wheelchair will find them impassable? Dan Tomas, who lives in that block, sent email and phone messages to those in charge of Streets and Sanitation but has had no response.

Something does not seem right about this.

… that the City and the Illinois Department of Transportation have agreed upon repairs to 16 street segments here. The work will include street curb replacement, grinding/milling asphalt pavement, street base repair, drainage/utility structure adjustment and final paving, according to the City. The City plans to get bids in March and start construction in May. Of the cost, $1.4 million comes from the motor fuel tax account. Here are the streets: Colfax from Marcy to Central Park; Dartmouth Place from Orrington to Sheridan Road; Darrow  from Foster to Simpson and from Mulford to Kirk; Dobson from Grey to Dodge; Florence from Kirk to the dead end north; Forest from South to Keeney; Fowler from Greenleaf to Dempster; Grant from Ewing to Bennett; Grey from Cleveland to Washington; Hamlin from Maple to Sherman; Hartrey from Grant to Lincoln; Sherman from Madison to Main; Simpson from Green Bay to Wesley; Wade from the dead end west to Wesley; Wesley from Greenleaf to Crain.

… that the City will also partner with IDOT for upgrading the traffic signals on Evanston streets that are also state highways. They will use light-emitting-diode (LED) modules and pedestrian-countdown signals at the intersections. The total project cost is estimated at $571,550, of which the City will be responsible for $25,931.35 or 4.54 percent of the total project cost.

… that the City plans to regulate the locations of clothing-donation boxes, for the primary purposes of ensuring safety with respect to motorist sight-lines, maintaining the desirable appearance of the City and preventing general inconveniences to the general public. Any organization that wishes to set out a donation box must obtain a license from the City and keep the box in good condition. Stay tuned, as the City is still refining this.
 
From our readers: TG: In picking up on the Traffic Guy’s mention and ideas regarding the City’s redesigning its logo, I would urge the powers that be keep the lighthouse as it is a distinctive Evanston landmark, and keep the tree line silhouette as well. Evanston is a tree city in practice, and name. We have a very favorable reputation because our City works hard to maintain and protect our urban forest. Including evergreens in the trees silhouette would be a nice change to any logo makeover.
– Jim LaRochelle

From TG: Thanks, Mr. LaRochelle. As you could probably tell, TG is of the “ain’t broke, don’t fix” school, as,
it seems, are you.

TG: This massive icicle fell from my roof gutter this afternoon. I recommissioned it as Lawn Art in tribute to all Evanstonians, “Buried Alive by the Winter of 2014.”                  – Susanne Simmons

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that City crews have done a phenomenal job of keeping our streets clear – and that means residents have been ultra-phenomenally alert and cooperative. Since Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow earlier this month, folks will have to batten down for six more weeks of winter. Has anyone investigated whether we can sell our snow to, say, California, where the worst drought in decades still rages? Or even offer it free, if they come pick it up?