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Sirens to return for snow warning

Evanston aldermen voted tonight to bring back the sirens as a snow emergency warning in the city.

The sirens had been stilled for several years after city officials were told national emergency management officials advise against using the sirens — intended primarily for warning of tornadoes or other disaster situations — to announce parking regulations.

But after aldermen were told tonight that there were not actual regulations to prevent the use of the sirens, they voted 7-1 to bring them back.

The only dissenting vote came from Ald. Edmund Moran, 6th Ward, who said residents of his ward who live near Fire Station #5, the location of one of the sirens, had objected to the disturbance they caused.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said, "People in my ward are tired of getting towed and ticketed. The only problem now with snow removal is notification. Public works does a spectacular job of clearing the streets. We towed over 1,000 cars during the last storm. There's no reason that should happen."

Public Works Director David Jennings said he was concerned that all the city's current information says that the sirens are not used for snow warnings.

But Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, said she'd rather get the calls about why the sirens are being used than what she said was almost 250 calls from people in her ward who got tickets or were towed during the last storm.

Mr. Jennings said that depending on how much snow arrives overnight and tomorrow, it may be necessary to declare a snow emergency tomorrow night.

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