Junk Truck Ordinance Sent To Scrap Heap

By Shawn
 of the Evanston Round table


Just two weeks ago, City Council sat poised to enact a sweeping change to the City’s junk truck ordinance. City Staff requested a suspension of the rules requiring two readings and the new law seemed destined to roar down the tracks.

Then several aldermen found problems in the definitions section and amendments prevented a suspension of the rules. Still, the measure was introduced on the consent agenda.

When it returned to full Council on Aug. 13, it was quickly clear that the problems were larger than just the definitions. “I will be voting against it,” said Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, saying she felt the registration, identification, and fee structure provisions went far beyond the intended, stated purpose of the new law – which was to eliminate overnight parking of overloaded trucks on City streets.

“I want [the junk trucks] to keep doing their valuable service for the City of Evanston,” she said. A new law with restrictions and requirements could easily have the effect of driving trucks out of the City entirely.

“I did not receive a lot of calls [about junk trucks],” said Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward. “But I do receive a lot of complaints about water bills.” [When large items are left with garbage, a special garbage pickup charge can be added to residents’ water bills.] If the City drives junk trucks out of the City, special pick up fees will increase, he said.

The ordinance was supposed to be designed to address parking on City streets, he said, but went far beyond that. Rather than attempt to amend the ordinance on the Council dais, he moved to hold the measure indefinitely.

When asked how long it should be held, Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, jumped in. “Until it gets fixed,” she said. The ordinance may return to a future meeting, but if it does expect a more limited measure that addresses the primary concern it supposedly sought to address in the first place: parking of overloaded trucks

Evanston closes beaches because of rip currents, high waves


Safety concerns from high waves and rip currents have caused Evanston to close its beaches Friday and led to swim advisories at a half-dozen beaches in Chicago.

All six of Evanston’s beaches, including the dog beach at Church Street, are closed Friday, according to a release from the city.

The Chicago Park District reports dangerous waves and high winds today along the lakefront. The National Weather Service has issued a statement saying there is a high risk of rip currents through 10 p.m. Saturday.

The Chicago beaches under a swim advisory are 31st Street, 63rd Street, Calumet, Montrose, Oakwood and Rainbow, according to the Chicago Park District. A swim advisory means caution is advised while swimming, and that water and weather conditions are unpredictable. Restrictions may be implemented and beachgoers should pay attention to flag colors and lifeguards.

Rip currents are powerful channels of water flowing quickly away from shore, according to the weather service. High wave action and dangerous swimming conditions are expected through Saturday at beaches throughout the area, as well as in southwest Michigan and northwest Indiana

Eagle Finds Permanent Home at Evanston Civic Center

Sculpted from a single piece of Vermont marble, the work of art was once exhibited at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair

The eagle that landed recently in Evanston’s Civic Center has had an unusual 55-year flight, ending up back where it started: On public display.

Sculpted from a single piece of Vermont marble, the work of art was once exhibited at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair, but soon made its way into a family’s private collection. It was recently donated to the City of Evanston by residents Charles and Marjorie Benton.

“The eagle was originally intended as public art, and with the Bentons’ gift, it will become public art again,” said Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl.

The bird that was sculpted to appear ready to take flight is now perched in the lobby of Evanston’s Civic Center, greeting visitors as they come and go.

Charles Benton said he and his wife are downsizing from a house into a smaller apartment, and it was time to part with the piece.

“This is the place for our eagle,” Benton said at a July 23 ceremony at the Civic Center to honor the donation.

The sculpture was completed in 1957 by Armenian-born American artist Koren Der Harootian, and was originally displayed at the Contemporaries Gallery in New York City, according a 1958 letter he wrote.

“Although it is quite large, I have tried to express the illusion of a deftly poised bird momentarily alighted and about to take off again,” Der Harootian wrote in the letter.

The gallery director, a friend of Der Harootian’s, died shortly after it was installed and the gallery changed hands. The piece was to be removed, leaving its future uncertain, but a representative of the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair swooped in and offered to include it. The artist agreed, according to his letter, “and the shipping agents for the State Department picked it up and sent it to Brussels.”

While on display there, and with the Fair winding to a close, the eagle’s next home was again uncertain. The visiting former U.S. Sen. William Benton (D-Conn.) inquired what was to become of the piece, and was told it would be moved to U.S. Government general storage.

The former senator offered to pay for shipping in exchange for ownership, and the eagle was moved to his home, where it remained until his death in 1973. Later that decade, it was transferred to Charles and Marjorie Benton’s Evanston home.

After more than 30 years, Charles Benton said he is adjusting to the eagle’s absence.

“It was a very big presence in my bedroom,” he said of the couple’s home overlooking Lake Michigan. “I had a little alcove and it was in front of the window looking out, so I’ve already missed it. But I think many more people will enjoy it where it now is.”

By John P. Huston, Chicago Tribune reporter

August 2, 2012