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April 21, 2019

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Posted: Thursday, April 18, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Kristin Lems

You are all invited to our Earth Day celebration, "Raising our Voices in Song for Earth Day 2019" on Monday, April 22, 7-9 pm, at the Unitarian Church of Evanston, 1330 Ridge. Talented musicians include jazz piano, folk, congas and a square dance set, and the emcees will be 8th grade environmentalists. Free and open to the public - family friendly!

Posted: Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Charles de los Reyes

In Defense of Density
The City of Evanston and its residents have been leaders in fighting climate change.
In 2018, the City Council approved the Climate Action and Resilience Plan, which calls for the city to become carbon neutral by 2050. Recognized by the plan, a significant part of achieving this goal is increased housing density. Nonetheless, we see significant opposition to dense, high-rise buildings in our City.
I would like to propose we rethink our opposition. First, denser housing allows for direct efficiencies in heating and cooling, as a building can use one HVAC system more efficiently than several single-family homes each needing their own.
Smaller spaces require less heating, and shared walls lose less heat. Most City residents get their electricity from the wind, but heating is primarily produced through natural gas.
Second, increasing density drastically lowers transportation emissions by allowing people to live closer to businesses, schools and work. This encourages the use of public transit as opposed to automobiles.
Counterintuitively, dense housing allows for more open spaces, not fewer, by allowing land to be used more efficiently (how many single-family homes sit empty all day?).
Lastly, dense housing can be built at lower cost than single family homes. With the right incentives and regulations in place, developers can create more affordable housing, giving the residents the opportunity to live and work in a diverse city that is the envy of many others.
Like climate change, housing changes slowly. We have many beautiful neighborhoods with houses still in use from the 19th and early 20th centuries that provide us a living history lesson. That being said, cities evolve whether we like it or not.
Many changes that were once controversial (the lakefill at Northwestern in the 1960s, the end of prohibition here in 1972) are now accepted and enjoyed as a natural part of our City.
I believe that thoughtful modernization of residential zoning, setback requirements and minimum parking requirements should be considered now in order to help reduce our carbon footprint and fight climate change.
Change today can turn us in the right direction toward a better future tomorrow.

Posted: Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Fred J. Wittenberg

Evanston’s Costly Streetlights
It was irritating to read about a possible $80 million cost for updating our street lighting in the April 4 RoundTable.
In residential areas 40 years ago, my wife and I were against replacing the original insufficient Tallmadge lights with the present facsimile, to no avail.
After one repainting, and several light retrofits, we’re still stuck with 80-year-old technology.
It is also disconcerting that City Staff cannot survey the situation themselves without consultants to guide them. All you have to do is look at what Skokie and the City of Chicago have done in this area, and then contact the various lighting manufacturers for their products.
Note that they have combination stainless steel street and walkway lights for neighborhoods, davit arm lights for main routes and even decorative pieces for select placing.
No engineering consultant was ever needed to assist me in my 30 years of public service, as problems were solved in-house.

Posted: Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Ira Kriston

Protect the Open Internet
I am writing to you because I want to protect our open Internet. Two years ago, the FCC under Ajit Pai repealed the Net Neutrality protections that make the Internet an open and free platform to connect and exchange ideas. If we cannot restore these protections, the Internet as we know it could change forever.
Earlier this month, Congress introduced the Save the Internet Act, which will restore the open Internet protections that were repealed by the FCC in 2017. Despite having the support of more than 80% of Americans, many members of Congress are siding with Big Telecom to vote against this bill.
I hope our representatives in Congress vote in favor of this bill. Otherwise we will be forced to hold them accountable at the ballot box in 2020.

Posted: Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Darlene Cannon

Appreciates Coverage
Thank you for covering the community-wide clean-up effort on the grounds of the Harley Clarke mansion. This work was done in cooperation with the Lighthouse Landing Complex Committee and the Greenways Division staff. Thank you to Charles Smith for organizing this wonderful volunteer effort, which included individuals and organizations from throughout Evanston and Evanston Township High School students.

Posted: Saturday, April 13, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Suel Laue

Dear Editor,We are residents of Evanston, who recently got property tax reassessment notices from Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi. North Cook County is targeted for increased assessed valuations (AVs) this year, and some Evanston residents are seeing increases up to 100 percent and more above their past AV.

Mr. Kaegi had campaigned on generally lowering residential assessments, while increasing commercial and retail assessments to bring down past residential over-assessments and inequities.
The Chicago Tribune series on abuses under the past assessor Joe Berrios in which residents were over-assessed.

While property tax bills won’t come until a few months later, many long-term residents are seniors who fear higher taxes will make it hard to continue living in their homes. The County offers a senior freeze exemption to freeze a property tax assessment for one year -- if annual income is not above $65,000, but that level hasn’t kept pace with economic realities.

With a growing economy, costs of everything, especially health care for seniors, have risen sharply in recent years as well as just the cost of living. While seniors got a small COLA increase in their Social Security payments this year, it won’t cover higher property taxes, which already have been going up steadily.

Governor Pritzker is trying to change how taxes are levied in the state (from a flat to a progressive income tax). Also, in his campaign literature Pritzker wrote he will “fight to ensure Illinois gives seniors tools they need to keep living in their community." This is part of what's called "aging in place." The federal government defines "aging in place" as "the ability to live in one's own home safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age or income."

Pritzker could help seniors by working to raise the level of the senior freeze income requirement in Cook County to well above $65,000. If it takes state legislation to do that, it could happen in the current session of the General Assembly. Mr. Kaegi could also work toward this goal. We know that property tax increases are coming for 2020, so we hope that Mr. Kaegi and Governor Pritzker will give seniors trying to pay them some relief in this way.

Sue & Tom Laue
9341 Springfield Ave.
Evanston, IL

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