Sandhill Cranes in the Evanston skiesPhoto by Esther Williams-Hayes

… that hundreds of Sandhill Cranes took to the skies over Evanston on Dec. 7. Here are some photos taken by Esther Williams-Hays and her daughter, Sara Hays.

… that the CTA Holiday Train will stop at the Evanston Purple Line stations on Dec. 16, 17, and 22.
On Dec. 17, CTA is adding a six-car Elves’ Workshop Train that will directly follow the Holiday Train.

… that, through January, RCN Construction will be installing both aerial and underground cables in public rights of way in areas south of Brummel. Residents can expect underground boring machines and aerial bucket trucks on the streets and in alleys. In some cases, the City says, construction will cause pedestrian and vehicle traffic to be altered. Hours of work are 7 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays and  9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays.  

… that Winter Awareness Week ended Dec.10,  just hours before a big snowfall. By now everyone probably knows first-hand the City’s rules of snow: Pay attention to “Snow Parking” and “No Parking” signs. Even if it looks like the street has been plowed by, say, 10 a.m., cars should not be parked until the time posted on the sign. Plows often swing through a second time, and, well, a sign is a sign. Folks should ensure that the walks in front of their homes are clear and should dig out their local fire hydrants. Landlords are responsible for keeping sidewalks, parking lots and all common areas, including open stairwells, free from all hazardous conditions at all times. Anyone who wishes to report a snow-removal violation may call or text 847-448-4311. Residents who need assistance shoveling their property, or who would like to volunteer to help elderly and disabled neighbors shovel, are encouraged to register online at or by call/text 847-448-4311.

… that the teaser snow of Dec. 4 weighed down some grasses, mushed up a lot of leaves on the ground, and enticed several young and young-at-heart Evanstonians to make snow people.

… that the winter solstice will occur at 4:44 a.m. on Dec. 21.

… that, speaking of winter, the 2017 Special Olympic Polar Plunge on Clark Street Beach will be Feb. 17 and 18.

… that, looking to summer, the City has expanded the parameters – not the physical boundaries – of the downtown farmers’ market, allowing Farmer Cooperative and non-Evanston bread-makers to sell products there. The statute is not exactly clear as to whether this also applies to the indoor market at the Ecology Center. It defines “Evanston Farmers Market” as “A designated space within the City of Evanston in which at regularly prescribed intervals, approved vendors may sell agricultural products and other goods directly to the public in accordance with this Chapter.” This ordinance also includes the disclaimer of which the City’s Law Department is inordinately fond: “That all ordinances, or parts thereof, which are in conflict with this amendment are hereby repealed.” While that seems cautious advice, it also appears to put the onus on the residents to figure out the “conflicting” parts of the City Code.

 … that the Evanston Police Department has reported the results of its safety campaign between Nov. 14 and 27. Police officers issued 58 seat belt citations, issued six child car-seat citations, made two DUI arrests, made three driving-while-license-suspended arrests, issued seven no-proof-of-insurance citations, and 13 speeding citations, made three arrests for having no valid driver’s license, cited one person for possession of open alcohol, and two for possession of cannabis, and issued 44 distracted-driving/cellular phone and 10 miscellaneous citations.

… that the City has postponed the Dec. 15 open house public meeting on the Chicago Avenue corridor. A new date will be announced in January.

From our readers: TG: I’ve been away, and I’ve been avoiding Green Bay anyway during the “reconstruction.” I’ve sent the following emails to Public Works and my alderman (Mark Tendam). What do you think?
 As I hope you know, coming North on Ridge toward Emerson, drivers are given a choice between one straight north option and two left-turn options. Unfortunately, the two left-turn options very quickly turn into one lane for Green Bay and one lane for a full left turn onto Emerson.
Driving this route recently around 3:30, I saw five cars in the left-to-Emerson lane, and four of them actually cut drivers off to go onto Green Bay. I can’t really blame them, since the intersection design and signage are supremely vague.
 What happened? Did the designers not anticipate this problem? Did they anticipate it but throw up their hands because they can’t conceive a solution? Does anybody still employed by the City remember that several years ago, this intersection saw a relatively large number of accidents every year? It seems to be more dangerous now than it was then.
I guess what’s important is creating a solution immediately. That can’t be done until someone reports the problem, hence this email. Please let me know: 1) Have other people reported the problem? When was the first report? 2) When did/will work begin to solve this problem? (If not yet, I hope it starts tomorrow.) 3) When will a solution be implemented? — Philip Barry

From TG:  Mr. Barry, you have just expressed very clearly what TG has been thinking and has heard from others (one of whom said the intersection is “scary”). As you suggested, there is no clear direction for drivers who wish to continue north onto Green Bay – just confusing on-street arrows whose accuracy changes within seconds. While TG understands that having only one Green-Bay-bound lane going north across Emerson is better than having the road go down to one lane just after that, there is a need for clearer information earlier and perhaps additional on-street markings or an overhead sign (on the overpass). But TG thinks that things are bound to get more confusing and perhaps more dangerous as the winter comes on and the markings are obscured by snow, salt and slush.

TG will forward your question to the traffic guys at the City and hopes to hear what you learn from your alderman.

The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that there are lots of things to do and see and hear this holiday season.

Hope everyone enjoyed the tree-lighting last Friday and that shoppers – well, consumers of every kind – will shop Evanston first. Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and Happy Kwanzaa.

May these holidays, and other days, be peaceful.