Evanston RoundTable
Sara Haghdoosti and her son presented hand-crafted thank you cards to Evanston’s first responders. (Photo by Heidi Randhava)

Good morning, Evanston.

More than 100 people gathered early Saturday morning for a 9/11 memorial ceremony held by the Evanston Fire and Police Departments to honor the brave men and women who lost their lives 20 years ago on Sept. 11, 2001.

Many of those who attended the service, held at Fireman’s Park, said they remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news of the terror attacks in New York City. Some who attended the ceremony were too young to have personal memories of the day; others were not yet born. They all came to express their gratitude for the first responders who ran toward danger instead of away from it – 343 firefighters died trying to save the lives of people they did not know.

The area near Ashland Avenue and Simpson Street, part of a proposed TIF district, includes several thriving businesses, including Soul & Smoke, Evanston Imprintables, Double Clutch and Rex’s Place. (RoundTable photo)

One group came with documentation, one with determination.

When the Sept. 9 meeting ended two hours later, it appeared that neither the small group of residents nor the City representatives had moved from their positions regarding Evanston’s newest proposed tax-increment financing (TIF) district.

The area in the proposed TIF district ranges from the Morton Civic Center – minus adjacent Ingraham Park – to the new high-rise at Emerson Street and Green Bay Road, north to Central Street and west to include Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, Foster Field, the Weissbourd-Holmes Family Focus building, and surrounding properties – 284 tax parcels in all.

The major issue – gentrification – is neither new nor resolved. To some, development and improvement guided by the principles and processes offered by a TIF district would provide more protection for an area than would piecemeal development.

Both sides, however, appear to agree that market forces and the sudden desirability of an area can change its character and spur increases in property values, which almost always results in increased property taxes.

North Shore Century
Bicyclists during the 2015 North Shore Century. The event returns Sunday, Sept. 19, after being canceled in 2020 because of COVID-19. (Evanston Bike Club photo)

Scores of bicycles turning onlookers’ heads: Check. Scenic views: Check. Impressive amounts of endurance: Check.

The Evanston Bike Club will host the 36th annual North Shore Century ride on Sunday, Sept. 19, after canceling last year’s event because of COVID-19. The event attracts about 2,000 amateur cyclists of all levels as they bike through scenic neighborhoods.

Riders choose from the Classic Century (100 miles), Metric Century (62 miles, or 100 kilometers), Half Century (50 miles) and Quarter Century (25 miles). The Classic Century – for those with iron lungs – meanders all the way to Wisconsin, and all rides conclude at Dawes Park in Evanston.

The North Shore Century also enlists almost 200 volunteers, who provide everything from food at stops along each route to communication vans that support riders. There also is a charitable component to the event.

Riders can register through Sept. 19 at evanstonbikeclub.org/nsc.

For those who have misplaced their vaccine cards, there are ways to replace it. (Photo by Nancy McLaughlin)

Believe it or not, there might be a slight downside to vaccine cards. Too flimsy to ride solo in pants pockets, too large to fit in most wallets, the card floats precariously in backpacks, glove boxes and handbags until, all too often, it mysteriously disappears. The good news is you can replace it.

For those vaccinated in Evanston, the City’s Health & Human Services Department can provide a replacement card to be picked up or mailed to an individual by emailing vaccines@cityofevanston.org.

There are also ways for those who were vaccinated elsewhere to obtain a replacement card, and an Evanston official recommends keeping a photo of the card on one’s phone.

ETHS band outdoors
In observance of COVID-19 safety guidelines, the 110 members of the Evanston Township High School marching band continue to practice outdoors. (Photo by Judy Chiss)

As schools try to rise to the challenges brought on by COVID-19, teachers and students involved in music education have additional layers of safety to which they must adhere.

The protocols employed by school districts and other local organizations include singing while masked, frequent sanitizing of instruments and outdoor rehearsals – even during the winter.

“COVID has changed the way instruction takes place, but the singing goes on,” said Lauren Sklar, founder of the Evanston-based Youth Chorus of the North Shore. “People frequently experience comfort from group singing. It tends to make them feel optimistic and more connected to others. Singing with the students is the highlight of my weeks, but safety is primary.”

Not content to simply accept political division in the United States as indefinite, two Evanston Township High School students hope their new project begins the healing process. Lucas Zerega and Elijah Platnick have created Debatable, a website they hope draws Americans into discussions about abortion access, healthcare, immigration and more.

“We thought it could be useful to help people solve some of the problems our country is facing,” Zerega said.

Zerega and Platnick said they hope to launch the site in the coming weeks.

City News

COVID-19 update on Sept. 9: 7 new cases in Evanston, 4,741 in Illinois. President Joe Biden on Sept. 9 announced a broad plan “to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by increasing the share of the workforce that is vaccinated in businesses all across America.” Meanwhile, the weekly number of new cases per 100,000 people in Illinois declined from 231 to 211 for the week ending Sept. 9, a 9% decrease from the previous week. 

Taste of Evanston to fund affordable housing efforts. The Evanston Lighthouse Rotary Club’s seventh annual Taste of Evanston festival is set for 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19, and will feature 30 of the City’s restaurants, wine shops and breweries on the great lawn of the Charles Gates Dawes House. Tickets are $90 can be purchased at tasteofevanston.org and include all food and beverages.

Library launches community listening series. The Evanston Public Library is beginning a 10-session listening and sharing series to engage the communities it serves, build community relationships and advance its equity, diversity and inclusion efforts. These video conference sessions are open to public participation and planned throughout the final four months of 2021. Evanstonians can register online here.

City Council panel backs changes to weekly police newsletter. A committee on Sept. 7 provided direction for future editions of the Evanston Police Department newsletter, titled “In the Squad Room.” The panel recommended that the EPD seek to rotate civilian resident authors. Another recommendation was that the newsletter should not publish the names or physical descriptions of people who are arrested or convicted of crimes.

NorthShore University HealthSystem to merge with Edward-Elmhurst Health. NorthShore University HealthSystem and Edward-Elmhurst Health have announced their intention to merge the two healthcare systems under a new parent system, pending regulatory approval.

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Kits, Cats and Kids: Evanston’s annual back-to-school event celebrated its ten-year anniversary at a new location- Evanston Township High School. The RoundTable’s Debbie-Marie Brown was there to capture the highlights in this video.

ETHS to sponsor COVID-19 vaccine clinic for students and staff. Evanston Township High School will hold a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the school on Sept. 14 (dose 1) and Oct. 5 (dose 2). This event is open to all current ETHS students with a school ID as well as all district staff who have not yet been vaccinated.

Arts & Life

Jeff Yang (Submitted photo)

Musician creates unique concert experiences that involve sight and smell. A new not-for-profit is setting out to engage all five senses with its symbiosis of artistic mediums. In the Realm of Senses will use music, visual art, literature, theater, dance gastronomy and olfactory art to stir up personal artistic excitement across boundaries. It was created by violinist Jeff Yang, who owns and operates Chicago Strings, 1642 Orrington Ave.

Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre to present “Twilight: Los Angeles 1992.” Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre is reopening its doors to present “Twilight: Los Angeles 1992” by Anna Deavere Smith. The play will run through Sept. 26 at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes St., and focuses on what transpired in the wake of the Rodney King verdict in 1992.

If only we could choose our families! In this week’s Dear Gabby column, the RoundTable’s advice columnist addresses political differences within one’s family, an elderly mother who refuses to surrender her car keys and a man whose well-meaning but off-key singing might be turning off his neighbors.

Out of Space concert
The Out of Space concert series brought summer to an unofficial close on Labor Day weekend at Temperance Beer Co. in Evanston. (Photo by Patrick Romanowski) Credit: Patrick Romanowski

Review: Out of Space concert ends summer on high – and loud – note. From rap to Southern rock to deep funk, Evanston’s Out of Space concert proved for a third year it could put on a first-class summer show.


ETHS football: Wildkits suffer worst home defeat since 2016. Previously winless Palatine couldn’t do anything wrong and humbled the host Wildkits 43-0 at Lazier Field on Sept. 10. It was the worst home defeat for ETHS since a 52-7 loss to Maine South in 2016. Evanston fell to 1-2 and will be on the road Friday, Sept. 17, against Fremd.

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