Freedom of Speech?


What is happening to Evanston?  We have a reputation in the Chicago area for being the bastion of free speech, public comment, open meetings, unending dialogue and filibuster-type City Council meetings …over just about any topic but especially when it comes to the annual budget.

But now we are told that unless we attended the first community workshop on the budget, we will not be allowed to actively participate in the subsequent meetings. Oh yes, we may come and sit on one side to observe, but we may not speak. Even some City staff people have been told not to attend the meetings.

What’s going on here? And we’re concerned about freedom of speech in … uh … uh … what countries?

Lois Roewade

These Roots Go Deep – Another ‘Oldest’ Tree


We think we have the oldest tree in Evanston, a bur oak on the corner of Pioneer and Lincoln (very close to two other “oldest trees” that are remnants of Evanston’s original oak forest). We have enclosed a letter from Michael Wall of Sunrise Tree Service, which states that our bur oak is “approximately 80 feet tall and a crown spread average of 90 feet” and “estimated to be in the range of 275 to 325 years old.”

–Gloria Callaci

Thanks From The Talking Farm


On behalf of all of us at The Talking Farm, we are grateful for the community support shown at our Oct. 19 benefit.  We were at capacity at Va Pensiero, had close to 100 silent auction items donated and were able to raise over $15,000 to support our projects.

We have been so heartened and inspired by the generosity of people as we move ahead with our mission of rebuilding a vibrant, sustainable and local food system in our community. The impact of our work is visible in the numerous school gardens sprouting all over Evanston, in the establishment of a vibrant community garden at ETHS, in new collaborations with Oakton Community College and Northwestern University, in our first-ever series of food preservation classes this fall, and in exciting progress toward our three-acre organic farm and we couldn’t have done all this without building support within the community.

From the White House to your house, it seems, there’s a growing understanding of the power that nourishing foods, produced sustainably, have to create healthier people, healthier communities and a healthier planet.

Thank you to all the sponsors, attendees, volunteers, silent auction donors, and the whole community for your support. And please visit our Web site at often for program updates, class announcements and volunteer opportunities. We are growing!

–Carole Mark, Benefit Committee Chair and Board Member of The Talking Farm

Teachers Observe American Education Week


The week of Nov. 15-22 is NEA American Education Week.   This event is sponsored by the National Education Association (NEA), the national affiliate of the Illinois Education Association (IEA). NEA has 3.2 million members working to ensure a great public school for every child.  District 65 is fortunate to have more than 800 of these members working in their schools.  The motto for American Education Week is “Public Schools: A Basic Right & Our Responsibility”

The five local IEA/NEA associations that work in District 65 are celebrating this week in several ways.

 Employees, students and families have joined forces to tackle a community food drive as a service project.  More than 60 boxes of food have been collected and will be distributed to food pantries in the Evanston/Skokie area.  

Nov.18 was ESP Day, a day to thank  local Education Support Professional, including secretaries, health clerks, teaching assistants, day-care workers, custodians and maintenance workers, for their invaluable service to our District.  

On Nov. 20 we hosted a reception to honor Audrey Soglin, the new IEA Executive Director.  Audrey started her career with IEA as a teacher in District 65 and also served as the DEC President.

I also want to give a shout out to and outstandingIEA/NEA and DEC member Mary Larson.  Mary arranged and coordinated the vaccination program to ensure that all of the District 65 students had an opportunity to receive the H1N1 vaccine.   

The five local IEA/NEA associations presented each of the District 65 School Board members with an official Dr Seuss “Cat in the Hat” NEA “Read Across America” T-shirt.  

The T-shirts are also a reminder to mark your calendars and join us for the next NEA celebration, on March 2, “Read Across America – Building a Nation of Readers.”

 — Jean Luft, President, District 65 Educators’ Council IEA/NEA