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home : community forum : community forum - submit/review comments May 29, 2017


Posted: Friday, April 21, 2017
Community forum entry by: Steven Cohen

I have some concerns about the Albion Residential project. Prairie Moon is not the only restaurant on that block. By my count, there are 6 others, including Kansaku, the St. Germain Creperie, Cupitol (which just opened last year, etc. While the artist's rendition of the building shows what looks like the older buildings remaining, it is impossible for me to imagine that these places will stay open during the construction. While Prairie Moon seems to have been accommodated, what about the others?

This is one of the hottest restaurant blocks in downtown Evanston. And I think I know why. It is because rents are low, while nearby, retail space in the the newer buildings is at least half-empty. A month doesn't go by without some business closing in one of these buildings. Could it be that the rent is just too high?

I have complained about the 1571 Maple project, but at least that one was built on vacant land. And I don't see where 192 parking spaces are going to fit. 1571 Maple came with an unpleasant surprise of close to a year's loss of access to Elmwood. What unpleasant surprises lurk behind the pretty artist's conception we've been shown of this building. I hope the city will look harder at this project than they did at 1571 Maple.

Posted: Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Community forum entry by: Liz Hansen

Expand TWI to Middle Schoola.The TWI (Two Way Immersion) program is a valuable part of District 65 schools and benefits hundreds of English-speaking and Spanish-speaking kids. But the TWI program has a major gap: the middle school years.
The K-5 TWI program includes bilingual teachers and curricula which help students to flourish in both languages.
As soon as these students hit 6th grade, however, there is a dramatic decrease in Spanish learning options and few bilingual teachers.
Many students who worked hard during grades K-5 to gain or maintain Spanish language fluency lose it during the formative years of grades 6-8.
This lack of Middle School bilingual programming undermines the purpose and effort of the elementary TWI program.
When the idea of a Middle School TWI program was raised to the school board last year, they cited budget woes as the reason to not consider the idea. Now that the referendum has passed, it is time to budget money for a Middle School TWI program in District 65.

Posted: Friday, April 7, 2017
Community forum entry by: Andrew Ross and Bridget Nelson Committee to Save Our Schools

Thank You for Supporting District 65 Schools
We want to thank our diverse group of parents and grandparents, community, faith-based, business and educational leaders and the many other everyday Evanstonians who supported our grassroots effort to save and strengthen our schools by supporting the District 65 referendum.
Passing a referendum is incredibly difficult and time consuming work. It takes plenty of inspiration and perspiration. Since 70% of referendums fail, we never took one vote for granted.
We had hundreds of volunteers who knocked on more than 20,000 doors, put up 2,000 yard signs, made and sent thousands of phone calls and emails, and hosted dozens of events to reach as many of our friends, family, and neighbors as we possibly could.
We voted yes to keep our schools the strong, incredibly special institutions they are by balancing the District’s budget for the next eight years, bringing more innovation and technology to the classrooms, strengthening our core curriculum, continuing investments in enhancing equity, and reducing the achievement gap and investing in long overdue school capital projects.
We want to thank Dr. Goren, all the District’s staff, and the Board for all of its hard work over the past several months during this very difficult process. You were incredibly open and transparent about why it was absolutely vital to place the referendum on the ballot.
Whether you have kids in public elementary and middle schools right now or not, our supporters understood we cannot be the generation who lets our public schools fall apart.
This represents an investment in our kids, our community, and our homes.
But we were also aware that any property tax increase will be a burden for many of our residents. We are committed to working together to find solutions with our elected officials to make sure Evanston continues working for all of us.
Like so many of you, we are incredibly proud to call Evanston home. Proud to be part of such a diverse, engaged, and compassionate community. We know our schools are at the very core of everything we treasure and we know that passing this referendum was critical to protecting our Evanston.
This was a once-in-a-generation ask and a once in a generation, overwhelming response. All we can say, from the very bottom of our hearts, is thank you for believing in all that Evanston is and will be in the future.

Posted: Friday, April 7, 2017
Community forum entry by: Linda Gartz and Vikki Proctor

Protest Defunding Of Great Lakes Restoration
The next time you walk along the lakefront, pause in gratitude for this wondrous system, the Great Lakes. It’s the world’s largest freshwater system and, despite previous administration’s efforts to serve as good stewards, the current Washington administration proposes to defund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Project. The Trump budget cuts the funding to zero. Thankfully, in a bipartisan effort, the eight surrounding states are putting up a fight. And we urge you to join that battle.
Currently, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, with its many projects and annual budget of $300 million, prevents the Asian carp from invading the lakes, prevents nutrient runoff causing algal blooms, rebuilds wetlands where fish spawn, and removes sediments loaded with toxins.
The importance of these regional waters cannot be overstated. They are home to 3,500 species of plants and animals and a stopover region for migrating birds.Their basin habitats provide water filtration, flood control, nutrient cycling, and carbon storage.
It would be impossible to replace the economic advantages of transportation–since 1959 more than 2 billion metric tons of iron, coal, oil, steel, and grains have been shipped through these waters. Additionally, the Great Lakes boast an annual $7 billion fishing industry, draws tourists who spend hundreds of millions each year, and provides rich basin land used in agriculture. This water system must be protected.
Living in Evanston affords us many opportunities to enjoy Lake Michigan. Let’s now show our appreciation by protesting this wrongful action to defund restoration of the Great Lakes. Contact these Illinois representatives to register your concerns:
Representative Jan Schakowsky: 202-225-2111
Senator Dick Durbin: 217-492-4062
Senator Tammy Duckworth: 202-224-2854
If you have contacts in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New York and Pennsylvania, urge them to contact their legislators.

Posted: Friday, April 7, 2017
Community forum entry by: Carolyn Laughlin

D65’s Strategic Plan
With the upcoming vote on the D65 referendum, I took a deeper look at what D65 has produced. The strategic plan includes 56 pages of hopes and dreams. It’s no wonder that I couldn’t find the promised quarterly scorecard on progress against those voluminous goals. We’re apparently no longer keeping track of progress against all those goals. What I did find was relatively recent outcome data on academic progress. Not sterling.
It strikes me that there is an obvious link between the vastness of our strategic plan “goals,” and our lack of satisfactory academic achievement. How can our principals focus on, and be held accountable for, the one element (math and reading achievement) that must improve, with all the noise? If we really care about boosting the achievement of low income/students of color (you choose the label), while maintaining/increasing results for affluent/white students, then we should be clear and focused in our strategic plan. Instead we create unrealistic community expectations, and subsequently diffuse energy and critical accountability by including everything but the kitchen sink.
Zero in on what’s most important, set the bar with each principal, provide the support required, measure results against targets, report out to the Board and community, and hold feet to the fire.

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