Northlight Theatre plans to build a $26 million complex on Church Street. (Northlight rendering)

Good Wednesday morning, Evanston.

Evanston City Council members have approved giving $2 million to Northlight Theatre to assist its return to the city, and $1 million to The Aux, a group of entrepreneurs with the dream of creating a Black business hub and wellness center, in the biggest allocations to date of COVID-19 recovery funds to private groups.

Council members spoke of the economic boost the theater’s return to the city would provide and mentioned the organization’s Evanston roots. “While 20 years in Skokie isn’t as bad as 40 years in the desert … I’m looking forward to getting Northlight here to the promised land of Evanston as soon as possible,” said Council Member Jonathan Nieuwsma, 4th Ward.

And establishing The Aux, Second Ward Council Member Peter Braithwaite said later, “checks a lot of boxes.” He cited the group’s plans to incubate startup businesses, boost the Black community and support mental wellness.

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary students protest at Standing Rock in South Dakota. (Photo provided by Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary)

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, located on Northwestern’s campus, is celebrating Earth Day in eco-style this year. It has established the Center for Ecological Regeneration to spread “eco-theological understandings, earth-based religious practices, and cooperative solidarities,” according to its website.

Professor Timothy Eberhart, who has taught ecology and theology for roughly the past 10 years, said the new center will help the seminary support students studying at the intersections of theology, ethics, ministry, social justice and ecological concern.

On April 22 and 23, Garrett will hold a formal celebration of the new center, open to the public.

COVID-19 by the numbers: 24 new cases were reported Monday, April 11, the last day the city updated case totals. The seven-day average is 22 cases per day.

Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

Poet-Tree. (Photo by Sharon Campbell)

The Lighthouse Keeper sees … that Evanstonian Sue Gundlach has found a way to celebrate both Earth Month and Poetry Month. LK also shines a light on the origins of the mysterious Seabiscuit statue that turned up on the Canal Shores Golf Course, plus topics and tidbits from around the city.

ETHS special education team at Monday’s school board meeting. (Screenshot via ETHS YouTube)

ETHS updates how it provides special education; team stresses giving IEP students a voice. At Monday night’s meeting of the Evanston Township High School board, members of the district’s special education team spoke to board members about new updates to special ed programs designed to improve support for students amid the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

At This Time: Tuesday at 7:56 a.m. Michaela D’arrigo takes her golden retrievers for a walk (or the other way around) down Greenwood Street near Hinman Avenue. Billie (center) and Boji are sisters. “We just became empty nesters,” said Michaela, “so these are replacing our kids.” She walks the dogs for 30 minutes three times a day. Warmer weather is making it easier. (Photo by Richard Cahan)

Interim City Manager announces key Parks & Recreation leadership appointments. Interim Parks & Recreation Director Audrey Thompson has been appointed to lead the department on a permanent basis, while Public Works Forestry Supervisor/Arborist Michael Callahan will become assistant director. Tim Carter, program coordinator at the Levy Senior Center, has been promoted to serve as Lakefront Manager.

Picturing Evanston. It’s little details like this unexpected art installation at Prairie Joe’s West gallery, on Prairie Avenue and Central Street that delight and inspire. (Photo by Joerg Metzner)

Charles Wilkinson: Peace, within and all about – a meditation. A poem from our columnist pondering grief, pain and finding inner peace.

Mario Borha is Program Chair of Oakton’s Emory Williams Academy for Black Men. (Photo provided by Oakton Community College)

ETHS partners with Oakton Community College on new initiative. Evanston Township High School and Oakton are joining forces to empower Black men to navigate college and achieve academic and career goals. The Emory Williams Academy for Black Men will open in fall 2022 for 25 students. Information sessions for interested students will be held April 14 at the Robert Crown Community Center and May 4 at ETHS.

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Around the web

Police focus on van renter in Brooklyn subway shooting probe. Law enforcement authorities in New York are searching for the gunman who set off a smoke grenade and shot at least 10 people on a rush-hour subway car Tuesday morning. Police said they were searching for the renter of a van possibly connected to the shooting.

New Noyes Cultural Arts Center installation ‘Areito’ explores Caribbean cultural practices and folkloric traditions. Yanira Collado, a Miami-based artist who once lived in Evanston while studying at the Art Institute of Chicago, returned to set up a Noyes Cultural Arts Center exhibit that tells a visual history of the island of Quisqueya, also known as Hispaniola.

Meat cost 13% more than a year ago in the Chicago area. Produce isn’t far behind. Data released Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the cost of all food in the Chicago area has increased by about 10% compared with a year ago, with meat and produce prices surging the most.

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Duncan Agnew

Duncan Agnew covers Evanston public schools, affordable housing, City Hall and more for the RoundTable. He also writes long-form investigations, features and the morning email newsletter three times a...