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… that folks just aren’t heeding the new 25 mph speed limit on Ridge. The City reports that from mid-February, when the speed limit was reduced to 25, and March 9, police had issued 465 tickets.
… that the City is considering extending the existing eruv, located east of the canal, into and around Evanston, even to the beaches. According to the City, “Spiritual leaders of the Jewish faith communities in Evanston” have proposed this expansion. “Under Jewish law, it is forbidden to carry anything from an enclosed ‘private’ domain into an open ‘public’ area on the Sabbath. An eruv, a technical enclosure that surrounds both private and public domains, thus creating a large private domain in which carrying things is permitted on the Sabbath.”
… that, as the weather warms and the new season advances, the City is patch, patch, patching. J.A. Johnson Company of Arlington Heights received a contract extension of $600,000 to mend the ravages of winter on some City streets. The City will purchase $43,000 worth of asphalt from Builders Asphalt of Hillside and $42,000 of concrete from Ozinga, located in Chicago. Landscape Concepts Management, Inc. of Grayslake will maintain the landscaping – such as cutting back old growth, regularly clearing litter and debris, mulching as needed, fertilizing, replacing dead plants by reseeding or replugging, managing or extirpating invasive species and controlling weeds, insects and diseases in the “native planting areas” along the Metra and Green Bay Road between Isabella and Foster. Cleanslate Chicago will have the contract for mowing services in Harbert, Beck, Butler and Twiggs parks – for about $29,000. Also in Harbert Park, the basketball court will be reconstructed, thanks to money from Northwestern’s Good Neighbor Fund.
… that pedestrians may be glad to hear the three crosswalks will be improved, with work starting this week: Dempster at Ashland, west side; South at Forest, east side; and Oakton at Dewey (east leg). This will “improve visibility, calm traffic, and reduce the crossing distance,” accordign to the City. The work, which includes constructing ADA-accessible ramps, extending curbs, relocating drainage structures, making the pavement, installing signs, etc., could be completed by the end of April.
… that, speaking of making things accessible per the Americans with Disabilities Act, the City is working with the CTA to make sure that all of the bus stops on Dodge between Main and Oakton are fully ADA accessible. If improvements are needed, the City says, these could come in the fall.
… that, even with all this spring prep, the status of the Dog Beach is still uncertain. The rising lake waters have inundated the beach north of the Church Street pier, typically designated the Dog Beach, and another suitable beach is yet to be found.
… that aldermen may revisit the idea of putting up a fence on the rooftop of the Sherman Plaza parking Garage. According to the City, there was another recent event at the garage involving a potential suicide that was successfully thwarted with police intervention. In 2014, aldermen discussed enclosing the upper deck of the garage with a fence to prevent anyone from sitting on the walls and possibly falling off or jumping.
… that next year the City will resurface Main Street between Hartrey and the canal, and will also upgrade the sidewalks, pedestrian crosswalks and traffic signals – possibly installing a new one at the east end of the shopping plaza there.
… that as part of the 2018 international “Bach in the Subways” project, March 21-25, musicians from Bach Week Festival will give a free public performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied” (Sing to the Lord a new song), BWV 225, composed around 1727. The performance, from 12:30 to 12:45 p.m. on March 23, will not be subterranean but will be performed in the skylit lobby of the historic Rookery Building, 209 S. LaSalle St. in Chicago.
… that the full moon on March 31 will be a blue moon, that is, the second full moon of the month – and the last blue moon of the year. There has not been a year with two blue moons since 1999, and the next year there will be two will be 2037 – in January and in March.
… that cooler, drier weather in March led to declining soil temperatures and moisture levels, says Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) Program manager at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey. WARM collects hourly and daily weather and soil information at 19 stations across the state. Between March 1 and 14, air temperatures declined from a state average of 45.3 to 36.8 degrees; soil temperatures averaged 8.5 degrees cooler and soil moisture showed a 12% decrease.
… that Fergal Carr, a vice president of Consumer Product at Hearst Newspapers, has found that the average consumer scrolls 300 feet on a mobile device on a daily basis – equivalent to five miles in a year.
… that the estimable Stephen Hawkin died on Einstein’s birthday. What great minds those men had. Speaking of great minds, TG read Dr. Debra Byrd’s blog in Earthsky.org that a “big and hopeful thing” occurred earlier this month, according to the publication of a study of fake news in the journal Science: “The Spread of True and False News Online” by Soroush Vosoughi of MIT, lead author, with co-authors Deb Roy and Sinan Aral. A second article in Science, “The Science of Fake News” by David M. J. Lazer and 15 other social scientists and legal scholars called for more interdisciplinary study of fake news “to reduce the spread of fake news and to address the underlying pathologies it has revealed.” In the abstract to the study, the scholars said they “investigated the differential diffusion of all of the verified true and false news stories distributed on Twitter from 2006 to 2017” – about 126,000 stories tweeted by 3 million people more than 4.5 million times. … Falsehood diffused significantly farther, faster, deeper, and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information, and the effects were more pronounced for false political news than for false news about terrorism, natural disasters, science, urban legends, or financial information. We found that false news was more novel than true news, which suggests that people were more likely to share novel information. Whereas false stories inspired fear, disgust, and surprise in replies, true stories inspired anticipation, sadness, joy, and trust. Contrary to conventional wisdom, robots accelerated the spread of true and false news at the same rate, implying that false news spreads more than the truth because humans, not robots, are more likely to spread it.” And since most people like news that conforms to their own thoughts, ideas, and prejudices, search engines help them find articles to reinforce those thoughts, ideas, and prejudices.
… that on March 30 between 11 a.m. and noon, a helicopter will drop thousands of flour-coated marshmallows over James Park. Kids are encouraged to bring baskets to pick them up, and there will be prizes awarded for marshmallows collected. There will be three separate “drops”: for kids ages 4 and under, ages 5-8 years, and ages 9-12 years. This is a free – and, to TG’s mind – fairly wacky event. TG wonders whether the flour coating will in fact discourage children and pets from gorging themselves on marshmallows fallen into dirt – and visualizes soccer and baseball shoes with marshmallow-studded cleats; and insects and other pests enjoying what remains.
The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that the puff piece above about the marshmallow drop is bizarre, and the drop will occur just before April Fool’s day, but, alas, it is not fake news.
Happy Passover and Happy Easter, everyone.