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animal shelter, thank you

home : community forum May 25, 2016


Posted: Thursday, May 19, 2016
Community forum entry by: Daniel Biss, State Senator

I want to extend a sincere thank you to the residents of Evanston and elsewhere in the 9th Senate District who turned out April 26 for a vigorous discussion about the Illinois budget.
A standing-room-only crowd gathered at the Evanston Civic Center to hear three experts – Therese McGuire from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Bill Stafford from the Oakton Community College Board, and Mark Weiner, CEO of CJE SeniorLife – discuss the consequences of the state budget stalemate and how it is damaging education and human services throughout Illinois.
I appreciated the thoughtful questions and feedback from those in attendance, and I encourage them to continue sharing their opinions with those they elected to represent them in Springfield. It is vital that the people of the 9th District and all of Illinois continue to be engaged and vocal about the role and function – or dysfunction, as the case may be – of government at all levels.
While the current situation in state government is obviously unacceptable and harmful to our state, I am heartened by the passion and engagement that was on display during our April 26 discussion. It is only by rising up in one voice and demanding different behavior that we can hope to see better and fairer outcomes.
For those who were unable to attend the event, I invite you to share your questions or concerns by calling my office in Skokie at 847-568-1250 or emailing me at

Posted: Thursday, May 19, 2016
Community forum entry by: Cordelia Maloney

I saw your article about the possible city loan to Dave Glatt for a new restaurant on Noyes. I was happy to see the article as the sudden closing of the old place was very sad.
I looked at the agenda for the council meeting on the 9th and didn’t see an item about the loan. I may have missed it, but wondered if you know when it is scheduled. I doubt I’m the only one, but I'd like to be there to show support for the city’s action in granting the loan – and support for Dave and his family – who have contributed enormously to Evanston in so many ways.
Ed. Note: Mr. Glatt has withdrawn his request for City funding.

Posted: Thursday, May 19, 2016
Community forum entry by: Dolores Ayala, Marie Balthazar, Jean-Marie Freise, Janet Kirby, Laurel O’Sullivan, and Jim Young

We are ETHS parents whose trust and confidence has been shaken by the administration’s incomplete and delayed response to a series of recent thefts from the boys’ gym lockers caught on video by students. These thefts are particularly disturbing because of the history of unsolved thefts at ETHS. Also, they were committed by at least one member of the school’s safety staff and students’ attempts to report their suspicions about safety staff were met with disbelief and in some instances, repercussions.
As parents we share the students’ frustration and outrage. The administration waited a week before sending a disappointingly incomplete email informing us of the incident. At the May 9 school board meeting, we delivered our concerns and were again disappointed by Dr. Witherspoon’s response as it lacked any sense of personal accountability and instead focused on defending his employees while “normalizing” locker thefts as “common.”
At the center of our frustration is disbelief over the lack of accountability over the years. In 2009, a group of parents met with Dr. Witherspoon to address the problem of gym locker thefts. Policies were left in place that appeared to invite continued abuse. For example students were mandated to use a lock to which safety personnel had a master key. In addition, there was no avenue open for students to report a theft that did not lead directly to the department where the problem originated, and recently, when student writers for the Evanstonian wanted to write an investigative article on the subject, they were directed not to by administration.
Contrary to School Board President Pat Savage-Williams’s comment in the Evanston Review, we do not believe that “all” members of the Safety Department are responsible, and we are not trying to “ throw them all under the bus because of what two people have done.” Yet, we emphatically do not believe that this is a case of a “couple of bad apples.” It is the culture of tolerance and lack of accountability that has led to the present situation.
For this reason we are requesting the administration to:
• Conduct an outside, independent investigation by an unbiased party.
• To issue a formal, written report upon completion to be shared publicly.
• To ensure that future allegations of theft will be gathered in a more systematic and comprehensive manner.
• To establish a safe, secure forum for students who are victims of theft to have their voices heard.
When a public institution, like ETHS, loses the trust of students and parents, the repercussions are felt throughout the community. We look forward to a response from the administration that will restore confidence in its leadership.

Posted: Thursday, May 19, 2016
Community forum entry by: William Graham

Regarding the recent loss of revenue to the city as a result of the “Chicken and Waffles” fiasco, money that could better be used for road repairs and lowering the tax burden of residents.
How is it that the City Attorney is unable to collect from the owners/operators of the defunct Evanston establishment, while these same owner/operators have restaurants in other cities that are open for business?
He says “Their lawyers have no intention of paying anything to Evanston” and the attorney is “a challenge” and uncooperative.
I see that the good news is that the new owner/operator of a restaurant on that property has not asked for any “City of Evanston assistance to date.”

Posted: Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Community forum entry by: Paul Goren, District 65 Superintendent

Dear Community Members:

At the Board of Education meeting on Monday, we had an engaging and focused conversation on the achievement of our black students, the opportunity gaps that exist, and the importance of addressing the concerns and frustrations of our community with urgency and dispatch. I acknowledge the frustrations that exist and recognize the call for urgent action. In order to truly make a difference and maintain our commitment to improvement, we know that we will not be able to solve these issues overnight. All of this work takes sustained commitment, in our schools and across our community, with citizens, educators, and organizations dedicated to improving the lives of young people and their families.
As Superintendent, I want to reiterate my support for our talented educators. I have deep confidence in our District 65 team – teachers, administrators, specialists, support staff – to do everything we can to teach, support, and engage Black students and all young people in Evanston and Skokie, regardless of race or economic background. The data presented Monday were sobering. As District 65 educators and professionals we must challenge ourselves to look at the data, and to examine our policies, practices and beliefs, so that we can work together to find solutions. I am committed to giving teachers the support they need to continue this demanding and important work.
Our continued implementation of the district’s strategic plan – with a focus on kindergarten readiness, literacy instruction (especially in K-3), work on school climate and culture, culturally relevant teaching, hiring processes that help to diversify our staff, and district financial sustainability – is an important part of the work ahead. I am also committed to expanding our work on school climate and culture by engaging in equity and diversity training that will be sustained in the years to come. In May, I will convene an Equity Leadership Team with District 65 staff representatives from each school. This team will work on the development of an equity statement, a district equity policy, and further training on how to eliminate the racial predictability of achievement.
The objectives for Monday’s meeting were to foster a dialogue that was transparent, asset-based, solution-focused, and collaborative. We have taken a hard look at the data. I recognize the tremendous assets we are working with – in our students, families and community – and in our committed and talented educators. I have unwavering support for the educators who work in District 65 and remain truly grateful for their hard work and continued dedication day-in and day-out. I am confident that we can work together to support the success of all students.
Several weeks ago, noted author and advocate Bryan Stevenson spoke to an overflow crowd at ETHS. He stated that the work of change has to start with getting proximate. With proximity – a true sense of the challenges people face and the seemingly impossible ways of proceeding – we as humans become uncomfortable. Yet, when we combine proximity and discomfort with optimism and high expectations, we set the stage to truly make a difference.
We will do this work, together.

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