Lifeguard towers lifted … summer ended.Photo by Jannet Chang

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… that USA Today recently rated Evanston as the fifth-best place in the country to live (they ranked 50 cities). The ranking was of cities with a population of more than 65,000. Newton, Mass., Bellvue, Wash., and Pleasanton and Mountain View, Cal., outranked Evanston, but, still, what a compliment. Here’s what the panel said, “More than two-thirds of adults living in Evanston had completed at least a bachelor’s degree, among the highest educational attainment rates in the nation. Younger Evanston residents seem to be on track to get a good education as well. Secondary school students performed above average on math and language arts standardized tests in 2013. Additionally, Northwestern University, one of the nation’s top universities, is based in Evanston.” Plus, they said, Evanston is in Cook County, which (as of 2012) “had 49 museums and 192 libraries … nearly 9,000 restaurants and more than 900 bars – more than any other county in the nation.”

… that Schroeder & Schroeder, Inc. of Skokie will pave the alley north of Leonard and east of Wesley.

… that the City has approved the purchase of five Melville-style benches and 30 Poe-style litter containers from Landscapeform of Kalamazoo – cost, $51,900. TG likes the name “Melville-style” bench and imagines many an Evanston writer sitting there meditating on the next Great American Novel.

… that the City will contract with National Power Rodding Corporation for the 2014 manhole (personhole) lining. The City will pay Standard Equipment Company of Chicago about $40,000 for the emergency repair of a sewer-cleaning vehicle.

… that Insituform Technologies USA, LLC, of Chesterfield, Mo., will receive the $130,000 Cured-in-Place Pipe lining contract B for 2104 sewer repairs and rehab.

… that the City will sell part of its supply of rock salt to School District 65 and School District 202 for $92.95 per ton during the extended winter/bad weather months, Nov. 15 – April 15.  

… that MWRD has given the City a $750,000 grant to reconstruct the parking lot at the Morton Civic Center, and the City will chip in another $500,000.

… that Tier One Training, an indoor recreation facility, will be going in at 1017 Davis. Farther north, Teuber Veterinary Services LLC, will move into 1815 Central.

… that the Police Department participated in Illinois Rail Safety Week last week (Sept. 14-20). This is a State campaign and has the support of the Illinois Truck Enforcement Association, the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and Illinois Operation Lifesaver. The campaign is dedicated to public education and awareness to end collisions, deaths and injuries at places where roadways cross train tracks, station platforms, pedestrian crosswalks at commuter lots and on railroad rights of way. The campaign promoted the three Es: education – increasing awareness about the dangers of rails by educating commuters, bikers and pedestrians to make safe decisions about how and when to cross a track; engineering, that is, promoting engineering research and innovation to improve the safety of railroad crossings; and enforcement, active enforcement of traffic laws relating to crossing signs and signals, as well as trespassing.

… that, speaking of trains, the City voted to support the comments on the proposed rulemaking on rail tank car safety. This was in response to a request from Barrington President Karen Darch. Readers may know that long freight trains now travel through downtown Barrington on a regular basis.

… that, since there is already a story in this issue about rats, TG will impart information from Alex Reshanov posted on the website about skunks, a recent choice of his “Life Form of the Week:” Skunks, he said will “adjust their diets to what is available in a given season or location.” That means in urban areas, trash can be the dining area of choice.  In areas with an ample human population, skunks often find their way into trash. Skunks are active around twilight, though TG has seen them in daylight in Evanston alleys. The smell comes from thiols (sulphur containing chemicals) in the spray, and the spray itself is oily so it clings and seeps and stays on animals, fabric and the like. There are some OTC preparations that get rid of the smell, and Mr. Reshanov  suggest a quarter of a cup of baking soda in a quart of hydrogen peroxide – used quickly.
Few things will eat a skunk – the occasional olfactory-challenged bird of prey or a starving larger mammal. Skunks can live about three years, done in for the most part by cars or rabies.

… that ComEd has hired Asplundh Tree Service to trim trees this month and next. The City terms it “storm-hardening type work with an increased focus on removal of overhanging branches on fast growing, weak wooded species (silver maple, Siberian elm, cottonwood, etc.).” ComEd will also be trimming any trees that are getting too close to the conductors. Any customers with property being worked on will be notified by door cards.
Questions regarding this work should be directed to John Wolters, Vegetation Management, ComEd, at 630-488-9295 or Alison Park at 224-279-7658. The Asplundh field contact is Mark Perez at 773-617-7005.
… that the City reports that its mobile tap water station was brought to 37 events sponsored by the City, Northwestern University and community organizations this year. It provided roughly 200 gallons per event, eliminating the use of about 79,000 12-ounce plastic water bottles.

… that St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Ridge and Grove, is inviting bicyclists at Bike the Ridge to stop in for its worship services, refreshments and bike blessings (on the lawn at 9:30 and noon). They also will have a bike valet for the 10:30 a.m. service.

… that another fast food pizza restaurant is coming: 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza, to 812 Church St.

From our readers: TG: I totally agree that motorists should obey the rules about stopped school buses. I also feel that school bus drivers should be better trained and better monitored. Personal observations: twice this summer, once with children on board,a school bus drove rapidly the wrong way down my one way street. Once a school bus pulled slowly out of the parking lot on Emerson about five car lengths ahead of me, necessitating my slamming on my brakes. If someone had been following me, I would have been in a collision.
I thought school bus drivers were supposed to be good drivers and obey the rules of the road.          – Marilyn Gardner

TG: I think you will like the pix of the new meters on Sherman Ave.
Hopefully the City will come up with new stickers so people will know what it costs to park.  – Sigrid Pilgrim

From TG: Dear Ms. Pilgrim: The City has anticipated your confusion and has “released an informational YouTube video to help users navigate the functional and convenient meters with ease.” The video can be seen at

TG: I was at Dempster Beach on Sept. 17 and saw a crew moving all the lifeguard towers to a secure site to get ready for the winter. “Lifeguard towers lifted … summer ended” is what went through my mind.                   – Jannet Chang

From TG: Thanks, MS. Chang. Your photos always catch one’s interest. That caption is almost a haiku.
Anyone want to submit an “end of summer” or “early fall” haiku?

The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that there is still some resentment about Northwestern’s removing about 200 trees from City property before constructing its visitor center/monstrosity on the lake. About 20-30 of these were “mature” trees. Although the University paid a tree-replacement fee of about $170,000, TG hears that the trees were removed not for a lane for emergency vehicles but to allow a good view from the center. If that’s the case, shame on the architect for not figuring out a way to use that beautiful space that was there before, and shame on NU for hiring an architect with limited imagination. TG hears that the money will be used to develop a bird habitat in the area there but wonders – on whose property? And will that be safe from the purple encroachment?

… and hopes everyone appreciated the equinox on Monday. The days are getting shorter now.

… that it’s again time to Bike the Ridge, this Sunday morning from Church to Howard. Everyone should wear a helmet.