Snow Update for Dec. 28 Submitted by the City of Evanston

For all of you street parkers, no worry now:

Submitted by the City of Evanston

The snow last night, December 27, dumped 5” on the north side of Evanston and ½” on the south side of Evanston. This is one of the freak things about lake effect snow*. There were no snow parking bans issued. All main roads are clear and work has begun in side streets and will continue all day. The City of Evanston’s Public Works Department will have crews working overnight to do additional clean up if necessary. Extra crews will be added to the North side areas impacted the most. There are several streets that were too narrow for the large city trucks to get down last night that will be plowed this morning.

Residents, landlords and business owners are reminded to keep all sidewalks and common areas clear of snow and ice. Update to follow as needed. In the event of a declaration of a snow route parking ban or snow emergency, the city will issue it on the city’s website and send out a notice via its list serves, text message alerts, Facebook, Twitter, AM1650 and cable channel 16. To learn more about snow removal operations in the City of Evanston or how you can sign up for email or text message alerts, visit or call 3-1-1.

*Lake effect snows occur when a mass of sufficiently cold air moves over a body of warmer water, creating an unstable temperature profile in the atmosphere. As a result, clouds build over the lake and eventually develop into snow showers and squalls as they move downwind. The intensity of lake effect snow is increased when higher elevations downwind of the lake force the cold, snow-producing air to rise even further. More on lake effect snow here>>>

One Book’ plans dinners, panels, film screening for free

Submitted by Northwestern News on Thursday, December 20, 2012, at 6:43 am

Who says there’s no such thing as a free meal? Dinner/discussions are among the free events presented in January by Northwestern University’s One Book One Northwestern initiative.

There’ll also be a panel featuring three well-known authors and a screening of an award-winning film written and produced by 2012-13 One Book One Northwestern author Alex Kotlowitz.

Kotlowitz’s book, Never a City so Real, provides an introduction to the Chicago — but less as a tour of the place and more a chronicle of its soul. Through a collection of vignettes about Chicago’s diverse people and neighborhoods, the book gives readers a much richer understanding of the city.

Details of the free and public events follow. Because table space is limited, advance online reservations for the Jan. 10 and Jan. 14 light dinner/discussions are required..

Jan. 10, “A Chicago Storybook,” dinner/discussion with artist Robert Guinan, 5:30 to 7 p.m., Dittmar Gallery, Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, Northwestern University Evanston campus.

Guinan is among the Chicagoans profiled in Kotlowitz’s “Never a City So Real,” this year’s One Book selection. An artist who has gained greater recognition in Europe than at home and the subject of two documentary films, Guinan will talk about the city that has inspired his work for more than five decades. Reservations required.

Jan. 14, “From Al Capone to the Latin Kings: Violent Crime in Chicago,” a dinner/discussion, 5:30 to 7 p.m., Dittmar Gallery, Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, Evanston.

Northwestern School of Law faculty member Leigh Bienen will moderate a discussion about Chicago crime as it relates to two chapters of “Never a City So Real.” Bienen, author of “Crimes of the Century,” is the director of the online Chicago Historical Homicide Project that analyzes decades of Chicago crime data. Reservations required.

Jan. 24, “Writers’ Panel on Language and Identity,” 7 p.m., McCormick Tribune Forum, 1870 Campus Drive, Evanston.

Three award-winning authors with ties to Chicago –Ana Castillo, Aleksandar Hemon and Bich Minh Nguyen — will discuss issues of language and identity in their own work and in literature generally. Writer, Northwestern Center for the Writing Arts director and Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences Professor Reginald Gibbons will moderate the discussion.

Jan. 29, Screening of “The Interrupters,” followed by a talk with author-turned-screenwriter Alex Kotlowitz and Eddie Bocanegra, one of the film’s violence intervention workers starring in the film, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Room 107 of Harris Hall, 1881 Sheridan Road, Northwestern’s Evanston campus.

Kotlowitz co-produced this award-winning film about three members of Ceasefire, a Chicago group that works on the street level to prevent violence. Bocanegra, a former Ceasefire anti-violence worker, will talk about the group’s often heroic efforts to prevent violence before it erupts.

Kotlowitz teaches journalism at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Communication. The One Book One Northwestern is a community reading program sponsored by the Office of the President that engages the campus in conversations around the One Book selection for an entire academic year.

For a listing of upcoming One Book One Northwestern events, visit the One Book website or call (847) 467-2294.

Evanston ‘brainiest’ town its size in state

A  new analysis of census data asserts that Evanston has more brainpower than any town its size in Illinois.

The study by American City Business Journals looks at educational attainment as reported by the U.S. Census and combines that with average earnings data for each level of education to create an index number that permits ranking communities.

It says that Evanston ranks 9th among the 483 communities nationwide with between 50,000 and 99,999 residents with an index score of 27.205. Oak Park came in 10th nationally in that size category with an index score of 27.447.

The top ranked town nationwide in Evanston’s size class was Bethesda, Md., with a score of 38.303.

Others in the top 10 included the Boston suburbs Brookline and Newton Mass., Palo Alto, Cupertino and Davis California, Chapel Hill, N.C., and Boulder, Col.

All the top-ranked small cities on the list tend to be either the home of or located adjacent to major universities.

The rankings were split by population class because of the tendancy of smaller communities to have more homogeneous populations.

For example, in the smallest population category, 1,000 to 9,999 residents, top finisher Chevy Chase Village, Md., had an index score of 47.378 and 10th place Glencoe, Ill. came in at 40.699 — higher than any community in Evanston’s size ranking.

Ann Arbor, Mich., was the top community in the over 100,000 population list, scoring 32.406.

Put all towns, regardless of size, into a single list, and Evanston ranks 280th, coming in 18th within Illinois behind a collection of much smaller towns towns mostly in the north and western suburbs of Chicago.

The census data shows that, among Evanston residents at least 25 years of age, 6 percent lack a high school diploma, 11 percent have no more than a high school education, 17 percent have some college but less than a bachelor’s degree, 29 percent finished their education with a bachelor’s degree and 37 percent have a graduate or professional degree.

Reported by Evanston Now

Evanston Gun Buyback Set for Dec. 15

12/14/2012 11:47:00 AM
Evanston Gun Buyback Set for Dec. 15
Submitted by the City of Evanston

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Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl announced in November that the City of Evanston will be teaming up with several community organizations to co-sponsor a gun buyback program for Evanston residents. The gun buyback event will be held from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday, December 15, 2012 at Christ Temple Missionary Baptist Church located at 1711 Simpson St. in Evanston.

Guns must be unloaded, in operational condition and participants must have proof of Evanston residency. Examples of proof of residency include a piece of mail, Evanston Public Library card, student ID or a government-issued ID.

This is an amnesty-based buyback program and no police enforcement action will be taken as a result of someone turning in a firearm. Participants are encouraged to bring in ammunition, ammunition clips, and magazines, but kept separate from the weapon at all times. Weapons should be transported in the trunk of a vehicle or in an inaccessible area of a van or pickup truck.

There is a two gun limit and participants in the buyback program will receive $100 cash for each firearm. The program will operate on a first come, first served basis and will end at the designated time or when all funds are exhausted.

If an Evanston resident wishes to participate in the gun buyback program, but is unfamiliar or uncomfortable with handling a firearm, they can call 3-1-1 for assistance and an officer will come out to the residence to retrieve the firearm. Amnesty will still apply for this type of request.

If a participant wishes to receive a receipt indicating that the weapon is no longer in their possession for record keeping purposes, they will then be asked for additional information.

In addition to their organizational efforts and $1,000 contribution to the program, the Evanston Community Foundation has established a fund to accept residents’ contributions in support of the program at or by mail to: Evanston Community Foundation, 1007 Church St. Suite 108 Evanston, IL 60201.

“I would like to thank the Evanston Community Foundation for their efforts in helping organize this important community event along with their generous financial support,” said Mayor Tisdahl. “I would also like to thank Evanston resident Carolyn Murray for suggesting the idea, Northwestern University, the Cherry Family Foundation and NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) Evanston Hospital for their help and most generous financial support that will go far in removing dangerous weapons off our streets and protecting our innocent youth from gun violence.”

“There is no instant or single solution to the problem of gun violence, nor any way to undo the losses we have already suffered. The Foundation has responded to the Mayor’s request for assistance in the hope that our community can decrease residents’ access to guns in moments of anger or fear and that we can demonstrate our shared resolve to prevent violence,” said Sara Schastok, President and CEO of the Evanston Community Foundation.

Northwestern University has donated $10,000, NorthShore Evanston Hospital has donated $1,000 and the Cherry Family Foundation has donated $5,000 to the program.

“We’re pleased to partner with the City of Evanston, the Evanston Community Foundation and others to provide funding for this program,” said Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro. “We appreciate Mayor Tisdahl’s leadership and the work of the Evanston Police Department in their efforts to help keep Evanston safe for everyone, including members of the Northwestern community.”

“We are committed to demonstrating our leadership to preserve and improve human life,” explained Douglas Silverstein, President of NorthShore Evanston Hospital. “In an effort to extend NorthShore’s mission, we applaud and support the City of Evanston’s continuing efforts to prevent violence and ensure a safe community environment for all citizens.”

“The Cherry Family Foundation is responding to the Mayor’s call for the reduction of weapons in order to reduce the potential of violence in the City of Evanston,” said David Cherry.

Firearms are a potential hazard in any home. Firearms can be stolen, used in an accidental shooting or a suicide. When guns are used in criminal attacks, the outcomes are often irreversible and fatal.

Guns are often used to settle disputes. Settling disputes with guns can have a devastating impact on communities and innocent victims. The access and availability of firearms is associated with an increased risk of suicide in the home

Winning the Real Estate Game in Evanston in a Tough Market

Purchasing a home in Illinois is one of the best investments you can make; but like so much else in life, timing is everything.

Recent talk about subprime mortgages, falling property values, foreclosures and slow real estate markets are keeping more than a few homeowners up at night. The cure for those heebie jeebies is to get informed.

There are tons of tools available to help you realistically calculate how much you can afford to borrow (either for a purchase or a refinance), and how much it will impact your budget. You can also search listings to see what homes in your area have been selling for.

If you’re trying to sell, keep in mind that little problems which seem familiar and trifling to you can be big turn-offs for prospective buyers:

  • Icky smells (cigarettes, pets, food): Invest in a good air filter or air freshener, open windows, whatever it takes.
  • Dirty kitchens and bathrooms: Really tackle these two areas to get them sparkling.
  • Dark rooms: Turn on lights, open curtains,
  • Dirty carpet: Consider having carpets professionally cleaned.
  • Cluttered rooms and closets: Rent a temporary storage unit (or a good friend’s basement) to stash your beer mug collection.
  • Barking dogs: send them to a friend or relative’s house while your home is being shown.
  • A damp basement: Keep a dehumidifier going.
  • Poorly maintained front yard: spend some time mowing, trimming and pulling weeds. Add a pot or two of colorful flowers near the front door to create a welcoming feel.
  • Weathered or peeling front door: a fresh coat of paint and new hardware is an inexpensive boost that really pays off.

For buyers, lower prices make it tempting to purchase a home right now. But if the “subprime mess” taught us anything, it’s that many people who felt pressured into buying a home with little or no money down are now feeling the sting of inflating mortgage payments. Take a breath and carefully assess if buying is right for you; in some cases, renting makes more financial sense. Find great rentals here.

And while selling or buying a place on your own may appear to save you a few bucks in commissions, a good real estate agent can greatly simplify the process, saving you more time and money in the end (not to mention, sanity).

Remember, the real estate game is best played over the long haul. So trust time to be on your side!

Music Institute of Chicago Relocates Headquarters to Downtown Evanston


The City of Evanston says

The Music Institute of Chicago is moving several of its signature programs to downtown Evanston. The Music Institute’s administrative headquarters, the Institute for Therapy through the Arts, Musical Theater and World Music programs will relocate to the Evanston Galleria building at 1702 Sherman Avenue. The new space, expected to be ready for occupancy in July 2013, will replace facilities on Green Bay Road in Wilmette and Dempster Street in Evanston. With design services provided by the Evanston-based architectural firm Behles & Behles, the Sherman Avenue facility will include a black box theater with flexible seating for 150 as well as creative arts therapy studios and administrative offices.

Music Institute President and CEO Mark George stated, “The Music Institute is very pleased to expand its presence in Evanston, especially during the 150th anniversary celebration of the city’s founding. Our new space, near the corner of Sherman Avenue and Church Street, will render our programming more accessible to many more people.”
Evanston is already home to Nichols Concert Hall, an award-winning Music Institute performance and education center at 1490 Chicago Avenue that reaches more than 15,000 people each year.

Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl commented, “The Music Institute of Chicago and its renowned music education programs are a tremendous asset to our citizens. We are pleased to welcome them to downtown Evanston.”

George added, “Evanston is an arts-friendly city. I am truly appreciative of the assistance we received from the City of Evanston’s Economic Development Division. The Music Institute of Chicago plans to be in Evanston for a very long time.”

Carolyn Dellutri, executive director of the marketing and services organization Downtown Evanston, echoed these positive sentiments: “The Music Institute is a terrific addition to the downtown Evanston community. I look forward to a long and prosperous partnership.”

Our Lady of the Angels School Fire December 1, 1958


54 Years ago one of the worst schools occurred in Chicago. Dec 1st is the anniversary

On December 1, 1958, tragedy struck in the Archdiocese of Chicago which would reverberate across the country and affect Catholic and non-Catholics alike. On a day which will live in the hearts and minds of Chicagoans, 92 children and three sisters lost their lives and over a hundred other children lay injured.

Originally founded by the Irish, Our Lady of the Angels grew to be one of the largest parishes in the Archdiocese of Chicago by the 1950s. At the time of the fire, school enrollment had reached 1632 students, under the care of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and nine lay teachers.

 It was a cold Monday and school was almost over for the day when a fifth grade teacher, Pearl Tristano, sent two boys from her class to take the garbage to the boiler room incinerator at about 2:25 p.m. On their return a few moments later, they reported the smell of smoke. Tristano spoke with a fellow teacher, Dorothy Coughlan, who then went to report the smoke to Sr. Mary St. Florence Casey, principal of the school. Sr. Mary St. Florence, substituting for an ill teacher, could not be found. By the time Coughlan returned to her class, the smell of smoke was worse and smoke was now visible in the hallways. Tristano and Coughlan decided to disobey school policy and lead the children out of the building as the smoke reached the children’s head level.

The school janitor, James Raymond, noticed smoke coming from the rear of the school shortly after the first report by Tristano’s students. He told the school housekeeper, Norma Mahoney to call the fire department. She made the call at 2:42, the first of fifteen calls received by the fire department before 3:00. She gave the incorrect address for the school which delayed some firefighters from reaching the scene.

After ensuring her students were safe in the parish church, Pearl Tristano returned to the school and set off the fire alarm at 2:43. The alarm only sounded in the school and was not connected with the fire department.

By the time the smoke was first detected, the fire had probably been smoldering for more than ten minutes in the cardboard trash drums in the boiler room. The fire soon spread to the paper and wooden chairs stored at the base of the stairs nearby. Heat caused a basement level window to shatter in the stairwell, feeding the flames. The stairwells acted as chimneys as the hot gases and smoke rose through the building, entering the second floor classrooms through the ventilation grills.

Some teachers were able to lead their students out of the school, such as Sisters Davidis Devine and Adrienne Carolan. Others had their students remain at their desks and pray. Eventually, students ran to the windows looking for an escape. The first student jumped from the upper story at 2:44. One of the pastor’s assistants, Rev. Joseph Ognibene, carried several students to safety and was burned in the process.

A nation was shocked as the death toll mounted. Newspapers ran images of the small victims carried from the smoldering ruins. Some children who survived the fire died later from their injuries. Others were killed in their desperate jump to safety from the second floor windows. The final tally was 92 students and three sisters dead and over a hundred injured.

The three sisters were returned to Our Lady of the Angels in simple coffins to be waked in the convent. On December 5, then Archbishop Albert Meyer and Francis Cardinal Spellman, from New York, officiated at the funeral for 27 children at the Northwest Armory. The Archdiocese of Chicago established a fund to care for the survivors and their expenses. Students attended other schools in the area until Our Lady of the Angels was rebuilt and reopened for the 1960-1961 school year.

On December 10, the official investigation began. A sixteen member panel determined, at the formal inquest, that the fire may have been started by a student smoking in the basement stairwell. The fire did point out flaws which contributed to the death toll. Buildings erected before 1949 were not required to meet the Municipal Code of 1949. The school suffered from open stairwells, ineffective and blocked doors on the second floor, ceilings with combustible tiles, no automatic sprinkler system, and a fire alarm system that was not connected to the fire department. The Our Lady of the Angels School fire changed building and safety codes across the country. It showed the need for all schools to have fire drills, automatic sprinkler systems, and fire safety doors.

In the end, 55 girls, 37 boys, and three sisters died in the Our Lady of the Angels School fire. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.