Alley-walkers come upon this beautiful gate. RoundTable photo

… that Evanston’s Police Department has been pretty active lately in demonstrating its commitment to making streets safer and holding drivers accountable. From May 18 through May 29 – which of course included the Memorial Day Weekend – the EPD was part of the nationwide seatbelt enforcement campaign, Click It or Ticket. According to the EPD, “Illinois has a 93.8% observed seat belt usage rate, but a disproportionate number of fatalities involve unbelted motorists and passengers. Of the 1,093 traffic deaths in 2017, where restraint use was known, 54% of those killed were not wearing seat belts.” Intensified enforcement over the Memorial Day weekend concentrated on stopping “impaired” drivers with the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. The police set up a roadside safety checkpoint near Dempster/Dodge.

… that the City is inviting residents to subscribe to email or text alerts as to the status of “Evanston’s five public swimming beaches.” By subscribing at – the “Rainout Line” – residents can learn about contamination of the sand, dangerous currents in the lake or menacing weather that may cause one or more beaches to be closed

… that here is a bit of information about a gem of a garden that hundreds of people pass every day but may not know the name of – the Dr. Hill Arts Memorial Garden. Folks in the Dr. Hill Arts District – around Simpson and Ashland – are requesting a single-sided monument sign there. The garden is in the triangle bordered by Noyes, Ashland and Green Bay, at the traffic light there.

… that this gate is a stunning treasure in one of Evanston’s central alleys. TG invites readers to send pix of eye-catching things
in alleys.

… that the City’s Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department has been named a finalist for the National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management for the second consecutive year. The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association, announced the recognition last month.

… that Jennie Atkins of the WARM (Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring program) at the University of Illinois reports that soil temperatures were higher than normal last month, averaging 71 degrees on May 15 at a depth of four inches. This is 6 degrees higher than the long-term average, and soil temperatures have risen an average of 9 degrees since the beginning of May. Soil moisture levels at two inches increased an average of 6% between May 1 and 15, according to WARM. This average blends the 22% drop in southern Illinois as the area experienced warmer, drier weather and the 76% levels in the northern part of the state, where the weather was cooler and wetter.

… that entomologist Matt Bertone of North Carolina State University wrote “A Case Against Killing Spiders” in Earth/Human World last week. An arachnophobe and misarachnist (TG’s own word) will quote some of Dr. Bertone’s article: “I know it may be hard to convince you, but let me try: Don’t kill the next spider you see in your home. Why? Because spiders are an important part of nature and our indoor ecosystem – as well as being fellow organisms in their own right. … Some species even enjoy the great indoors, where they happily live out their lives and make more spiders. These arachnids are usually secretive, and almost all you meet are neither aggressive nor dangerous. And they may be providing services like eating pests – some even eat other spiders. … Although they are generalist predators, apt to eat anything they can catch, spiders regularly capture nuisance pests and even disease-carrying insects – for example, mosquitoes. There’s even a species of jumping spider that prefers to eat blood-filled mosquitoes in African homes. So killing a spider doesn’t just cost the arachnid its life, it may take an important predator out of your home. … Spiders are not out to get you and actually prefer to avoid humans; we are much more dangerous to them than vice versa. Bites from spiders are extremely rare. Although there are a few medically important species like widow spiders and recluses, even their bites are uncommon and rarely cause serious issues. If you truly can’t stand that spider in your house, apartment, garage, or wherever, instead of smashing it, try to capture it and release it outside. It’ll find somewhere else to go, and both parties will be happier with the outcome.” Thank you, Spider Guy

From our readers:
TG: A few points here: First – cars pull up to curb, right-hand door opens, bag of chicken parts or remains of an unhappy meal drop out, car takes off. I see this in South Evanston a lot. Is littering cool again or being taught at home?
Second – Evanston appears to be on the financial ropes (again). Here’s an idea for some revenue: Take down and send back for a refund those stupid speed-monitoring signs. I’ve been behind people who panic-stop when they light up. They should go away.
Third – Hondas in my area seem to be undergoing wheel theft. A Honda Fit on my block lost all four the other night, and an Accord, around three weeks ago. What’s up with this?  – Don Zuckerman

From TG: Thank you, Mr. Zuckerman. TG is with you on the first two but cannot help with the Honda problem.
Are entire wheels being stolen – not merely tires or hubcaps?
As for the littering, TG does not know where folks get the idea that dumping scraps or trash onto roads or parkways is in any way acceptable. TG has seen results of this crude behavior in other parts of Evanston. Maybe next time you see it happening, take a photo and send it to the police. Once someone pays a fine for littering, he or she might find it more convenient to find a trash can.
And TG certainly agrees about those annoying speed-monitoring signs. Right now, it looks like the City just spreads them around the area like they are showing off new toys. Perhaps the traffic guys at the City can provide some information about whether they in fact reduce accidents.

The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that the City really ought to clear up the confusion about “Evanston’s five public swimming beaches.” Aren’t there really six? TG believes that two or three years ago the so-called “Northwestern beach” was declared to be an Evanston – or public, not private – beach.

The reasoning behind its being declared a public beach is that it was created by NU’s action in building up the area. But even though it may be a “public” beach, access is blocked. TG would like to see the City clarify publicly the status of that beach and, if it is truly and in fact a public beach, work with Northwestern immediately to give the public access to the beach this summer. “Access” should be more than admittance by beach token; it should include parking.

… Hope everyone had a nice Memorial Day weekend. Welcome to summer.

Wear orange to Fountain Square on June 2.