A lightening strike damaged a house on Wesley Avenue.

… that work work on the Dodge Avenue protected bike lane was halted on June 30, as were many other construction projects across the state.

… that a lightning strike in last week’s storm caused fire damage to a house on Wesley. In all, fire companies from five areas responded to the alarm. It took about an hour and half to get the fire out, but there were no injuries.

… that at noon tomorrow folks who already signed up will be able to try out the Divvy bikes that will soon find their ways to 10 different stations here.

… that street resurfacing will begin in earnest next week on Brown from Cleveland to Washington; on Crain from Florence to Asbury; on Chicago from Dempster to Grove; and on Ewing from Colfax to Harrison. The City says the project will entail “concrete curb and sidewalk ramp replacement as needed, road base repairs, milling of the existing asphalt surface, and repaving with two layers of new asphalt pavement.” As always, residents should watch for and heed the temporary “No Parking” signs. The City advises, “Street cleaning parking restrictions will be waived for a one-block radius when temporary daytime ‘No Parking’ is in effect. All things being auspicious, the resurfacing projects should be completed by Aug. 19. The general contractor for this project is J.A. Johnson Paving Company of Arlington Heights. Questions during the construction period should be addressed to Resident Engineer Pankaj Chokshi at 224-723-8237. Questions about the project in general should be directed to Dan Manis, P.E., Senior Project Manager, 847-448-8129.

… that, speaking of construction, work on the Ryan Field West Parking Lot has begun. South-half work is expected to be completed by July 29, and north-half work, which begins July 30, should be done by Sept 1. Construction hours are 7 to 7 weekdays and 9 to 5 Saturday. During construction, the City says, “Persons holding City of Evanston permits for Parking Lot 64 (the Ryan Field lot) may park at the meters along Poplar Street at no extra cost, subject to availability.  They may also park in Residential Permit Parking Districts 6 and 7.” But wait – there’s more. The “rehabilitation” of the Isabella Street bridge will begin on July 11. For six weeks – until about Aug. 19, the bridge will be closed to human traffic – cars, bikes, pedestrians, and the like. Presumably, wildlife can sneak across or swim the canal.

… that Evanston is one of eight cities to receive a grant of $85,000 for the Strengthening Inclusive Coordinated Transportation Partnerships program. The City will conduct inclusive transit planning research and analysis over one year with local older adults, people with disabilities, and community partners, including Northwestern University, Pace Bus, Over the Rainbow Association, North Shore Village, Shore Community Services, Housing Options, The Merion, and the Age Friendly Task Force. Working with these community partners, the City will analyze current and future travel demand patterns within Evanston and generate solutions for filling transportation gaps, such as circulator shuttles, on-demand ride services, peer-to-peer van sharing among community groups and living communities, and more.
Sponsors are the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Administration for Community Living, Community Transportation Association of America, Easter Seals, the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, and Westat.

… that, speaking of transportation, Pace and the CTA would like riders to take a survey, as the two agencies conduct a review of current Pace and CTA routes in the North Shore area. The deadline is tomorrow, so interested folks should visit tinyurl.com/pacectanorth.

… that police are ramping up their efforts to make sure drivers are sober. “Don’t even think about drinking and driving this Fourth of July – or you will be arrested,” said Sergeant Tracy Williams, supervisor of the Evanston Police Traffic Unit.  “The ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign means zero tolerance for drunk driving – no excuses.”
In addition to looking for drunk drivers, Evanston police will be stepping up seat belt enforcement, particularly at night when seat belt usage rates are at their lowest. TG assumes the police will also go after those who text or talk (not hands-free) while driving. Police also remind party-givers that they can “be held liable and prosecuted if someone you serve is involved in a drunk driving crash.”

… that, according to GasBuddy.com’s daily survey of 1,437 gas outlets in Chicago, average retail gasoline prices in Chicago fell 8.3 cents per gallon mid-month, $2.76/gallon yesterday, compared to the national average that fell 4.5 cents per gallon then to $2.34/gallon. According to GasBuddy historical data, gasoline prices on June 20 in Chicago have ranged widely over the last five years: $3.24/g in 2015, $4.10/g in 2014, $4.23/g in 2013, $3.83/ gallon in 2012 and $4.05/ gallon in 2011. Areas nearby Chicago and their current gas price climate: Rockford- $2.56/ gallon; Gary- $2.44/ gallon; and South Bend- $2.43/ gallon. The downturn in the price of crude oil has oozed down to gas prices and, Will Speer, GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst says, “No area has seen this impact more pronounced than the Great Lakes states.”

… that the warmer weather has led to warmer and drier soils in Illinois, reports Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) Program manager at the Illinois State Water Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois. Soil temperatures rose 6-9 degrees, on average, across the state the first half of June. Temperatures at 2 inches under bare soil had a state average of 84.4 degrees on June 15, 5.8 degrees above the 2015 average. Temperatures were slightly lower at depths of 4 inches with an average of 82.8 degrees on June 15 or 9.2 degrees above the long-term average.  Under sod, temperatures averaged 73.0 at 4 inches and 71.9 at 8 inches, 5.9 degrees and 5.0 degrees, respectively, above the state’s long-term average. This is detailed information but not necessarily news for Evanston gardeners. Readers should remember to follow the new lawn-watering (not garden-watering) guidelines – odd-numbered properties can water lawns on odd-numbered days, and conversely.

… that the eight Great Lakes states have voted to approve the request by Waukesha, Wis., to divert water from Lake Michigan. The Alliance for the Great Lakes said it believes the conditions adopted by the Great Lakes Compact Council “improved Waukesha’s proposal’s compliance with the Great Lakes Compact.” The group said it will review the final conditions, etc., and also said “Great Lakes advocates will need to be vigilant in making sure that the city of Waukesha and the State of Wisconsin honor the terms of the agreement.”

… that, after four years of fighting a lawsuit brought against the City by the Liberty Justice Center on behalf of Beavers Coffee & Donuts the City has repealed part of its food-truck ordinance that banned food trucks based outside of Evanston from operating in the City. Veteran readers will remember that, nearly 20 years ago, the City banned taxicabs that did not have a bricks-and-mortar presence in Evanston from operating here. Provincialism, it seems, has its limits.

From our readers:
TG: I took this picture last year of the volunteers putting up the flags on Sunday morning before the Fourth of July. Thought that you might like to use this for this year and in appreciation for everything that the volunteers for the Fourth of July Association do.  – Rita Wilkinson

From TG: Thanks, Ms. Wilkinson. TG agrees that much of the work of the Fourth of July Association goes unnoticed or unsung. Some folks still think it’s the City that puts up the flags, organizes the parade and puts on the lakeside concert and fireworks – and raises the money to do it. Not so. The Fourth of July Association is an organization funded for the most part, if not wholly, by private donations.

TG: I was just reading this week’s issue and found a mention by the Traffic Guy of a license plate reading HVNSTN and the tongue in cheek comment that he is pretty sure who the driver is. There are 2 plates: that one and mine, HEVNSTN. The other plate is (or was the last time I saw it) on a white Buick belonging to a couple who live at Hinman and Hamilton. When I saw her car a few years back, I left a note introducing myself. She called to tell me that she found notes for me on her windshield occasionally. And the attribution to Frances Willard doesn’t agree with what Margery Perkins says in Evanstonia is the origin of the term. That’s where I got the idea. In 1984. Also the Facebook page for the ETHS Class of 1984 had a shot of my plate with the comment “Exactly.” Pretty funny. I get about a comment a week from someone either in another car pulling alongside or passing by on a sidewalk. It’s a bit of an IQ test. Some people can’t figure out what it says. – Emily Guthrie

From TG: While the origin of the term “Heavenston” is still unknown, Janet Olson, Assistant University Archivist at the Northwestern University, along with other Evanston/Willard experts, confirm that Miss Willard was indeed known to use the term, but she may not have coined it.

The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that it was either supreme irony or intransigent optimism that convened the U.S.-China Climate-Smart/Low-Carbon Cities Summit in Beijing.

… that folks will be out early tomorrow to put up their chairs along the parade route on Central Street. TG, who is generally there at the legal start (6 a.m.) often sees whole areas staked out well before then.

A happy and safe Fourth of July to all.