This is an example of how Fountain Square can be beautified without water.Ephemeral Art By Marwen Students at the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve

… that kids had a good time at the straw-bale maze in downtown Evanston the last weekend of October. But even that was not as big a hit as was the heavy machinery.

… that the City has hired Alpha Paintworks to paint many fire hydrants in Central Evanston. The job entails sandblasting the prior coats of paint from the hydrants, putting on a primer and then finishing them off with red paint. Weather permitting, the job will be done by Nov. 15. The City requests residents to remove any plantings or decorations around fire hydrants if they wish to preserve them, because “the contractor will make no effort to protect plantings located around fire hydrants included in this contract.” The City also reminds residents that the “primary purpose of fire hydrants is to provide a ready supply of water in the event of a fire. For this reason, hydrants should never be blocked, hidden or decorated in any way by plantings or other features, as this jeopardizes the ability of the Fire Department to quickly access hydrants in an emergency.”

… that there has been some mixup in the wheel-tax applications mailed out recently to residents. In some cases, residents in a two-car family received one proper application, with correct information, but the second application, mailed to the correct address, had somone else’s name and a different VIN number on the application. The City says its is re-mailing 3,900 applications.   
… that ranked what it considered the top places for liberals, for conservatives and for centrists to live. Evanston was named fifth-best for liberals, behind Berkeley, California; Hoboken, New Jersey; Somerville, Massachusetts; and Boulder, Colorado. It was not even on the radar screen for centrists or conservatives, whose top three places are, respectively, Spokane Valley, Washington; Bend, Oregon; and Indio, California; Alabaster, Alabama; Crestview, Florida; and Clinton, Utah.
The ranking criteria, according to, were the 2012 Presidential Vote, the ideology of congressional representatives, registered voters and consumer habits. Livability says it “asked Experian Marketing Services to help us create a basket of goods – one restaurant, one automotive brand, one magazine, one retailer and one TV show – that are heavily favored by one end of the political spectrum or another. Then, we backtracked and found areas where people use those goods and services to a high degree. For example, we found that liberals like Subaru cars way more than conservatives do, so we looked for areas where lots of people drive Subarus. That gave us a pretty good sense of the political leanings of each town.”

… that the newest public art installation, at Davis and Oak, is called “Geocommunetrics: An Intersection of Evanstons.” Jason Brown, aka “The Zip Code Kid,” together with other local artists will work on this piece, which is said to pay “tribute to the three Evanston zip codes.” It will be composed of brown (representing land and zip code 60201), blue (representing Lake Michigan and 60202), green (representing wilderness and 60203); and orange, “which serves as the common thread that weaves our community together.” Apparently there’s nothing for 60204, the “theoretical” or “virtual” zip code – mail boxes at the Post Office.

This display in the photo above aims to showcase how all public areas can be transformed into a point of interest through art, even during a business’s development stage.” Readers will remember there was a pretty awful fire there in late 2013, taking out two restaurants, Pine Yard and Taco Diablo, and a nail salon. Taco Diablo is going to return – across the street. No word about the other two.  

… that here’s a piece of trivia to throw into the share-the-road mix. This was passed along to TG but without attribution: Skateboarders are considered pedestrians and do not have to stop at stop signs.  

… that the City will have a five-year contract with ThyssenKrupp Elevator Corporation  of Lombard to maintain the elevators at the Sherman Avenue garage. ThyssenKrupp installed the elevators and has apparently maintained them to the City’s satisfaction over the past seven years.

… that a few more businesses are coming to the City: 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria to 812 Church; Beth’s Little Bake Shop to 1814 Central; and Doc Popcorn to 1613 Sherman. And the Shell Station on Oakton near McCormick has got a license to sell packaged liquor. The City’s perhaps inartfully worded summary says, “This license will permit Company to retail sale on the premises specified of alcoholic liquor in original packaging only for consumption off the premises until midnight.” Does this mean that after midnight the liquor can be consumed on the premises?

… that TG neglected to mention the name of Michael Schroeder, who was in the last issue with those marvelous giant pumpkins.

… that NU scientists Daniel A. Dombeck and Mark E. J. Sheffield have discovered how neurons in the brain might allow some experiences to be remembered while others are forgotten. According to information from NU, “If you want to remember something about your environment, you better involve your dendrites.” Their study was published last week in the journal “Nature.” This could be important to RT readers for several reasons, one of which relates to another study. This one appeared last week in the New York Times by Pam Belluck with the headline “To Improve a Memory, Consider Chocolate.” Ms. Belluck’s story reported on a study funded in part by NIH and by the Mars Company, (Snickering is permitted here) found that chocolate – rather, cocoa flavanols – improve memory by stimulating dendrites. And just think of all that Halloween
candy ….

… that the City is holding a meeting tonight a 7 p.m. at Erie Evanston/Skokie Health Center, 1285 Hartrey, to dicuss planned bike improvements for Church Street/ETHS and Mason Park.

The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that, since everyone has been asked to contribute a bit toward Fountain Square re-visioning, and since traffic configurations are involved, TG offers the following re-vision: 1) Take the water feature out of Fountain Square. In the future – possibly the next few decades – water is going to be too precious to be used simply as décor. There could be “dry” fountains, perhaps a rock-filled pseudo-stream bed (as there is or at least once was in the Frank Lloyd Wright house on Harrison), or simply native plantings.  2) Close Davis between Sherman and Orrington to incorporate the small peninsula south of Fountain Square, and enlarge the peninsula a bit at the south end so it becomes a functional traffic circle, allowing U-turns for those who wish to continue east on Davis. This will keep Sherman open. Also on that peninsula, set aside a place for people to sound off – kind of like Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park.  3) Keep the honorary name of Veterans Memorial Plaza but take “Fountain” out of the name. Make it Willard Square or Heavenston or something alluding to our most famous forebear. Keeping the plaza “dry” and naming it for Ms. Willard also evokes Evanston’s WCTU connections.