As we kick off 2022, we’re looking back on 2021 by bringing you some of the most popular stories over the last 12 months. As the COVID-19 pandemic continued to impact the daily lives of local residents and life-saving vaccines became available in early 2021, Evanston also elected a new mayor and saw controversies ranging from a lakefront sexual harassment scandal to fierce debates over reopening public schools for in-person learning. Here are the ten most-read stories that the RoundTable brought to you last year.
1. Evanston’s Downtown Movie Theater Will Not Reopen. After more than 20 years in the community, Evanston Century Theatres at Church Street and Maple Avenue closed its doors for good under the old ownership. (Feb. 22) In September, a developer said it would reopen the theater in early 2022 (Sept. 16).
2. Donna Sokolowski: Why I retired from District 65. A former District 65 elementary school principal wrote about her experiences with poor working conditions and disputes with the district’s central administration. (Dec. 1)
3. ETHS sends students home midday after lockdown, two guns recovered. On the last day of in-person instruction for the fall semester at ETHS, the school went into emergency lockdown after a school resource officer found two loaded handguns and marijuana in the possession of students smoking cannabis in a school bathroom. (Dec. 16)
4. I walked from Evanston to the Bean. RoundTable Reporter Adina Keeling chronicled her adventures on a journey from Evanston to downtown Chicago’s Cloud Gate, affectionately known as the Bean. (June 16)
5. Dear Gabby: Do I say something now, after the fact? Our most-read column of 2021 featured Gabby’s response to a local parent who had an awkward conversation with a friend about their kids. (Oct. 24)
6. ‘The Nazi’s Granddaughter’ Author Silvia Foti Bravely Confronts Truth. A lecture at the Levy Senior Center in June featured author Silvia Foti discussing how a deathbed promise to her late mother led to uncovering a disturbing – and hidden – family history. (July 12)
7. D65 Board Candidates Give Views on Reopening Schools, Structural Deficit and More. RoundTable founders Mary and Larry Gavin broke down where each candidate for the Evanston/Skokie District 65 School Board stood on issues including reopening schools during the pandemic, the district’s Black Lives Matter at School curriculum and more. (March 20)
8. Resources for COVID-19 Tests and Vaccination Signups. In early 2021, we explained how to get tested for COVID-19 in Evanston and where to look online to find a vaccine appointment. (Feb. 1)
9. Unofficial Results: Biss Wins Mayoral Race, Aldermanic Incumbents Lose. Evanston voted overwhelmingly to elect Daniel Biss as the city’s next mayor, while incumbent City Council members Donald Wilson and Ann Rainey lost out to newcomers Jonathan Nieuwsma and Devon Reid. (Feb. 23)
10. Shooting threat reported at Haven Middle School deemed not credible by police. Late on a Thursday evening in December, social media messages warned of a potential shooting threat at Haven Middle School for Friday, Dec. 10. After an initial investigation conducted by the Evanston Police Department, authorities dismissed the threat as not credible. (Dec. 9)