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… that Evanston resident Andrew Fisher went cross-country skiing along the lakeshore a couple of weeks ago. He writes that when he made it to Clark Square Park, “I skied out to the lakeshore and witnessed the most interesting spectacle of my trip. From both the huge splashes from last Sunday’s blizzard with the northeast wind off Lake Michigan creating huge waves, and the frigid temperature since, so much ice had accumulated on a tree that a branch was pulled all the way to the ground.”
… that through March 3 ComEd crews will be working Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Maple between Hamlin and Emerson, replacing the mainline cable. Parking will be prohibited and modified traffic patterns will be established by the three access manholes while the ComEd crews are working. Normal parking and traffic patterns will be permitted when the crews are not present. Anyone with questions or concerns may call 1-800-334-7661 and reference the ComEd Maple Ave job in Evanston, Ken Neuendank, foreman.
… that through Aug. 31, Nicor Gas will replace gas mains in south central Evanston – in the area bordered by Main, Asbury, Oakton and Dodge. The subcontractors are United Meters Inc. and NPL Construction. NPL will begin to install the new gas mains and services on April 6. The project will involve replacing approximately 22,000 feet of old, low-pressure cast iron gas main with new, high-pressure plastic pipe gas main, and replacing 500 gas service lines, including new gas meters and regulators, according to the City. “While work is in progress, excavations will be brought up and maintained level with the existing parkway and street surface. Permanent landscaping and pavement restoration will be completed on a continuous basis until the end of the project,” the City says. Dan Kellogg is Nicor’s project supervisor: 630-816-5645.
… that the City has given a one-year contract to Otis Elevator Corporation of Lombard to maintain the elevators in the Civic Center, the Service Center and the Maple Avenue and Church Street parking garages.
… that the City is looking for a tenant for 633 Howard St. The police outpost currently in that location will move a block or so farther west. The City had previously negotiated with a coffee roaster to open a coffee shop and coffee-roasting business, but before the lease was signed, he decided he wished to focus solely on coffee roasting. So the City has purchased a new spot for the police outpost and needs to lease this one.
… that the City has extended its contract with Lake Erie Diving of Painesville, Ohio, by 110 days – to July 31. For a change, this change order does not involve an increase of charges, just an extension of time. This project includes, according to the City, “the installation of a heating system on the 48-inch intake and new chlorine feed equipment for the mussel-control system.” And that is a bit of a story: The company, under a contract approved nearly a year ago, was to remove three high-density polyethylene pipelines and a heavy steel chain inside the 48-inch intake. These pipelines were part of the original zebra mussel control system installed in 1988 and were used to transport chlorine solution to the end of the intakes. The contractor was initially unsuccessful in removing them, so the City approved about $15,000 for the company to televise “the entire length of the intake to accurately determine the existing conditions. … Because the televising determined that the existing pipelines were intact, the contractor was able to pull them out through the shorewell …” Weather being what it was, the work was not wholly completed, and the contractor will return in the spring to finish the job.
… that the City’s vehicle fleet is an inaugural member of the B20 Club, a club that recognizes fleets using blends of B20 biodiesel or higher. Sponsored by the Illinois Soybean Association and the American Lung Association in Illinois, the B20 Club rewards fleets for taking the initiative to use B20 fuel. Biodiesel, according to the U.S. Energy Department, is “a domestically produced, renewable fuel that can be manufactured from new and used vegetable oils, animal fats, and recycled restaurant grease. Biodiesel’s physical properties are similar to those of petroleum diesel, but it is a cleaner-burning alternative. Using biodiesel in place of petroleum diesel significantly reduces emissions of toxic air pollutants.” There are several blends of biodiesel: B100, pure, or 100%; B20, 20% biodiesel 80% petroleum diesel, on down to B5 and B2. The Illinois Soybean Association touts biodiesel as “10 times less toxic than table salt, biodegrades as fast as dextrose, adheres to health effects testing requirements of the Clean Air Act, generates 5.54 units of renewable energy for every unit of fossil energy used to produce it, results in 78.5 percent fewer CO2 emissions from production and use than petroleum diesel and is labeled a ‘Clean Air Choice’ by the American Lung Association.”
Speaking of conservation, sustainability comes to mind, and with it, a bleak outlook from the board members of The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists: On Jan. 22 they pushed the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock to 11:57 p.m. Scientific American reports that this is the “first time the hand have moved in three years; since 2012, the clock had been fixed at 5 minutes to symbolic doom, midnight.” The magazine story continues that the Bulletin “doesn’t use the clock to make any real doomsday predictions. Rather, the clock is a visual metaphor to warn the public about how close the world is to a potentially civilization-ending catastrophe.”
… that a recent visitor to Evanston complained about the difficulty in reading parking meter information in the dark. Because the meters are not self-lit, it is difficult to read the times when the meters are active and thus know how much money to put in.
… that city schools in Wadsworth, Ohio, have come up with the idea of “blizzard bags,” which they call “an online alternative to make-up days.” A blizzard bag seems to be a set of lessons or work that a student completes outside of class – each bag or section containing enough challenge and information to be considered a full day of school – after snow days have already been used up. Students have a certain amount of time – say, three weeks – to complete the work. Although that may mean some additional work, it keeps the school district from adding on extra days at the end of the school year, and the Ohio department of education has approved it.
From our readers: TG: What is the story behind the unfinished museum building at 1560 Oak, next to the Margarita Inn? Following complaints and many months as a neighborhood eyesore, the broken fence, ruptured sidewalk and dirt front yard have been cleaned up – but the building now seems to be a permanent construction site, or perhaps the location of the world’s first chain link fence museum. Is there anyone who can investigate what is going on? Meanwhile I suggest we write to the Fourth Ward Alderman, Don Wilson, and the City Manager, to see if we can get any answers. — Peter Gann
From TG: Mark Muenzer, the City’s Economic Development director provided the following information: “The Museum of Time and Glass continues their build-out and we have been informed that they hope to open in the Spring.” Ald. Wilson added that interior work is being done in the cold weather. TG would suggest that the owners are taking their time because it is a museum of …
TG: What happened to Pret a Manger? — Janet Lutz
From TG: The British-owned food-to-go place with the French name closed quite recently but still has eight locations in Chicago and more than 300 worldwide. Maybe it was Pret a Porter.
The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that Seventh Ward Alderman Jane Grover did a great job of channeling Joni Mitchell when she referred to the Ladd Arboretum as a “tree museum.” Maybe she was helped by the fact that so many people objected to the “paving” of the path there.