Evanston RoundTable

Good Wednesday morning, Evanston.

‘Twas days before Christmas, and all through the lot, just a few trees were standing; act fast or get naught. Ryan Fritz, whose family owns the Windy City Garden Center, told photographer Richard Cahan that the Green Bay Road spot has about 100 trees left – out of 1,300 first delivered around Thanksgiving. Trees are pricier this year, though Fritz said he’s bargaining on the taller ones.

Here’s something you may not bargain for: The RoundTable’s news report is free for all, no paywall. (Though your support is key!) Now, here are our latest stories:

Credit: Duncan Agnew

The filing period ended Monday, Dec. 19, and 11 candidates are running for Evanston school board posts (current District 65 board shown above). Five candidates – two incumbents and three challengers – filed for three spots on the District 65 board, and six hopefuls – four incumbents, two rivals – are vying for four seats in Evanston Township High School District 202. Election Day is April 4.

Joseph E. Hill Education Center in Evanston
Credit: Adina Keeling

Superintendent Devon Horton introduced five-year goals for District 65 at the Dec. 19 board meeting and defended the decision to lower the bar used to measure students’ college readiness in reading. “It would really be malpractice for us to use one set of goals, one goal, and say, ‘Here’s how we’re performing,’” Horton said. “While we know academics and standardized testing is a hallmark of our education system, there are other ways.”

How are Evanston’s five active Tax Increment Financing districts faring? There’s no single answer. Some have been relatively quiet while others have a lot of projects bubbling. And then there’s the recently created Five-Fifths TIF, where there are questions about how TIF revenues will be used, particularly with talk of the city building a new community center in that area.

Support the RoundTable

The RoundTable’s fall NewsMatch campaign is ongoing. Through Dec. 31, all donations to the RoundTable are being matched by generous national and local partners – plus all donors are entered in our weekly raffle drawings!

Congratulations to Jeff, last week’s winner of the two books written by Evanston RoundTable authors. And the raffle prize this week is a gift certificate for one pound of chocolates from Evanston-based Belgian Chocolatier Piron. Thank you to Belgian Chocolatier Piron Inc. for this generous gift during the holiday season. The last day to donate to the RoundTable to be automatically entered to win this raffle is Saturday, Dec. 24. 

COVID-19 by the numbers: 21 new cases and no new deaths were reported Monday, Dec. 19, the last day the city updated totals. The seven-day average is 20.29 cases per day.

Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

“If like me you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (the cutesy acronym of which is SAD), you know that lack of sun is the equivalent of lack of sleep or (worse) lack of chocolate,” writes columnist Les Jacobson. He sings the Gray Day Blues, but also offers ideas on how to chase them away.

Credit: Zin Haze Productions

The RoundTable sat down with Evanston native and ETHS grad Kweku Collins (at right above, with co-star Sadie Sink), to talk about his debut film role in Dear Zoe and his journey in music. As a kid, “music was the main thing that I was into,” he told Olivia Landon. “So then through high school, I was starting to experiment with rapping over beats and and trying to make my own beats.”

Evanston PD squad cars
Credit: Evanston Police Department

The Evanston Police Department has launched a new system to self-report some nonemergency crimes, including lost property, theft, telephone harassment and lost drivers’ licenses. The P2C – Police to Citizen – system is all online.

Book review: Set partially in Evanston, The Accidental Archivist by Angela Bier is “a fascinating study, rich in painstaking detail about family interactions, insights into local customs and the history of this part of the Midwest,” writes critic Wendi Kromash.

Credit: Submitted

Despite the winter break, Northwestern University sophomore baseball player Alex Calarco (right) is not slowing down; he’s training and getting advice from his veteran brother Anthony (left). “I just really want to prove myself,” said Alex, who grew up in Wilmette.

The Music Institute of Chicago will host a free concert to celebrate the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at 3 p.m. Jan. 15 at Nichols Concert Hall, 1460 Chicago Ave. The event, co-curated by Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre Artistic Director Tim Rhoze, features the premiere of a A Stone of Hope (Martin’s Song) by Ephraim Champion.

Credit: Joerg Metzner

Picturing Evanston. Cairns, piles of stones to mark a spot, go back into prehistory in Eurasia. But this contemporary cairn stands at Lee Street Beach on the shores of Lake Michigan. (Photo by Joerg Metzner)

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From day one, it’s been the RoundTable’s mission to bring you unbiased, in-depth reporting about the Evanston community. But we need your help to continue investing in high-quality journalism, reporting news that strengthens and enlightens our community, encourages civic engagement and bolsters our democracy. Please join our community of readers and become a member today.

Around the web

Illinois gets $253.7 million in federal funding to bring internet access to underserved communities. The money, which comes from the American Rescue Plan’s Capital Projects Fund, will connect 87,613 households and businesses, representing around 25% of areas in Illinois without high-speed internet.

Body of Missing Northwestern Doctoral Student Peter Salvino Found in Lake Michigan. A body recovered in Lake Michigan near Diversey Harbor early Tuesday evening has been identified as that of the 25-year-old doctoral student.

A landmark law to address mass incarceration has not yet gained traction with Cook County prosecutors. Last March, State Attorney Kim Foxx asked judges for new sentences for three people behind bars. None of the three people were re-sentenced, as judges remain skeptical of the new law.

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Prior to joining the RoundTable, Manan Bhavnani covered business and technology for the International Business Times, with a focus on mergers, earnings and governance. He is a double Medill graduate, with...