Photo by Mary Mumbrue

… that Spring things came at once last week and, although they were all on April 1, none was a City prank. Street sweeping and yard-waste pickups began, beach tokens went on sale and the dog beach opened. Now, the street-sweeping schedule is admittedly convoluted and at times contrary to the signs along the parkways. That is, a sign may suggest that street-sweeping occurs each Tuesday, for example, but residents know that is not the case – that the operations are less frequent. Nonetheless, ticketing and towing remain City options. By now residents should have received a newsletter outlining the 2015 street sweeping schedule and rules. A printable street sweeping schedule can also be found on the City’s web site at cityofevanston.org/streetsweeping. Residents can also sign up for text or email alerts for street-sweeping in their district. At cityofevanston.org/streetsweeping, residents can enter their mobile number in the right column of the webpage and select their street sweeping district. For email notifications, subscribers can simply click on the link located lower in the column. Text or email notifications will be sent to subscribers one or two days prior to the actual street sweeping day.

… that, on the other two matters, beach tokens are available for purchase at the Civic Center and community centers for $26/Evanston and Skokie residents and $42/non-residents until June 5. The prices go up after that. Daily passes are always available. Dog beach tokens are $60/resident and $120/non-resident; these can be purchased at cityofevanston.org.

… that the City is going to create a schedule for re-grading unpaved alleys, rather than using the haphazard resident-request method used previously. This re-grading is to smooth over winter potholes. Speaking of potholes, does anyone know why there are potholes in the public/private parking lot in the basement of the Best Western? TG has a couple of ideas – that snow and ice gets onto the floor there through the open-air “windows” that abut the alley or that ice/snow masses that accumulate on wheels and bumpers drop off in the garage. Then of course the familiar melting/freezing pattern sets in. Still, it is a bit of a surprise to see potholes in a covered garage.

… that the falcons spotted this year at the Main Library appear to be Nona and Squawker, the pair of peregrine falcons that has nested there for the past 10 years. In a post in March the Library reported one egg so far. The Library reports, “There is an Evanston Peregrine Falcon Watch group for posting and sharing news and observations of the Evanston peregrine falcons.” Readers can go to epl.org to get to the Falcon Watch, the falcon cam and perhaps, for Evanston, all things peregrine.

… that, speaking of Evanston fauna, last week a young coyote was spotted running from the Ecology Center parking lot down Bridge Street and off to Butler park. And also spotted was a beaver swimming in the North Shore Channel (the canal), near there.

… that Nicor Gas reminds homeowners and contractors to call 8-1-1 prior to beginning any digging. Here is the scoop from Nicor: “When making the free call to 8-1-1, homeowners and contractors are connected to JULIE (Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators), which notifies the appropriate utility companies (natural gas, electric, water, sewer, communication) of the intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags or spray paint. Once lines have been accurately marked, digging can begin around marked lines.

… that NU began its first classes in its new Music and Communications building, even though the formal opening will be in the fall.

… that Southern Illinois University in Carbondale reports results of a March 26 poll: “Three-fourths of registered voters in Illinois would support a 3 percent “millionaires’ tax” on income above $1 million, according to the … Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.”

…that, speaking of the sky, the Lyrid meteor shower will be here April 21 and 22.

… that, speaking of the Earth, the U.S. Geological Survey says it expects to award up to $7 million in grants for earthquake hazards research in 2016. The organization is looking to support research “targeted toward improving our understanding of earthquake processes, hazards and risks,” said Bill Leith, USGS Senior Science Advisor for Earthquake and Geologic Hazards. TG hopes that more information on the New Madrid fault will be forth-coming. Readers may know that a series of earth quakes along this Midwestern fault in 1811 and early 1812 were so strong that they changed the course of the Mississippi River.

… that last Saturday’s early morning lunar eclipse was the shortest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century, according to EarthSky.org. The partial umbral eclipse was to begin at 5:16 a.m. and the total eclipse at 6:58 a.m., with the greatest eclipse at 7 and the end at 7:03. EarthSky.org also cautioned that the moon may have set even before the start of the total eclipse, and that was true in Evanston.

… that a post in GlacierHub by Yunziyi Lang reports that the Greenland glacier melt is contributing toward mercury poisoning in the ocean. Scientists studying the issue since 1996 have found “The total annual mercury release varied from 0.71 kg to over 1.57 kg. These are significant amounts of such a highly toxic substance.”

From our readers:
From TG: Kathi Lieb, whose letter to TG appeared in the last issue, received this from James Maiworm of the City’s Public Works department via Alderman Judy Fiske. It answers the question about the blue bristles seen around town: “I believe I have figured out what Ms. Lieb is referring to regarding the plastic things. As a part of our effort to reduce salt usage we have shifted our sidewalk snow-clearing operations to using rotary brooms on our sidewalk equipment.
“One of our broom attachments was losing some of the bristles during the sweeping operations. The operator brought the unit into the shop and adjustments were made. Since the color of the broom bristles was blue I will assume that these must be what Ms. Lieb observed.
We have been able to reduce the amount of salt we use to clear walks and around our centers by using this technique and we believe we now have the problem fixed.” – James Maiworm

The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that the City should pass out all the garbage cart lids to kids of all ages to use to slide down Mt. Trashmore.