Good Sunday morning, Evanston!

Several hundred people slipped on their boogie shoes in James Park outside the Levy Senior Center for Disco in the Park to kick off the weekend. Our amazing photographer Richard Cahan was there to capture the fun and the spirit. Above, Matthew Kessler-McMunn (in red, holding onto son Isadore) said: “I feel most connected to other people when I’m moving around.”

Speaking of moving around, our reporters have been doing just that this week. In case you missed any of their important stories, here’s a roundup from the RoundTable this past week.

Credit: Heidi Randhava

More than 130 juried artists from around the country are showcasing original work throughout the weekend at the ninth annual Evanston Art & Big Fork Festival on the streets of downtown Evanston. Hosted by Amdur Productions and the City of Evanston, the festival’s last day will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, rain or shine.

Credit: Alex Harrison

Police called a news conference Wednesday to read a news release about a 17-year-old Sauk Village boy charged in the July 25 shooting in a backyard on Fowler Avenue. A 13-year-old girl who was shot in the neck and remains hospitalized with a “serious spinal cord injury” was not the intended target, police said. But they took no questions and would not reveal much else.

Credit: Bob Seidenberg

Evanston finally has a new permanent City Manager: Luke Stowe. The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to appoint the city’s former Chief Information Officer, who joined the Evanston payroll in 2012. He is Evanston’s 10th City Manager, with a salary of $250,000 a year. The hiring ends a nearly two-year search.

City News

Credit: Debbie-Marie Brown

New sidewalk markers honor Evanston’s first Black resident and Black hospital. Evanston learned more about its history this weekend and commemorated it in concrete as Shorefront Legacy Center founder Morris “Dino” Robinson unveiled markers designating two more African American Heritage Sites. Evanston’s program has now unveiled four out of eight planned sidewalk markers throughout the city.

Crowded field vying for Second Ward vacancy. Mayor Daniel Biss disclosed Tuesday that 12 people had applied to fill the vacant Second Ward City Council seat. One candidate has already withdrawn, leaving 11 looking to fill the seat left open when Council Member Peter Braithwaite resigned in mid-July.

City appoints Sarah Flax interim community development director. Flax started this week after the departure of outgoing Community Development Director Johanna Nyden. Flax joined the city in 2006 as the Community Development Block Grants administrator, and has served as housing and grants manager since 2017.

Library trustees approve new priorities to use with search for new director. The Evanston Library Board is hoping to avoid the issues that city officials had in their multiple searches for a city manager as it conducts its first search in 11 years for a new library director. Meeting this week, the board honed in on its priorities for a new director as well as what type of search it plans to undertake.

Family Focus seeks federal funds for welcoming center. Family Focus is hoping to build on its work in childhood development and whole-family support in its next project – a Latinx welcoming center at its building at 2010 Dewey Ave. The agency is seeking $477,831 from the city’s ARPA funds.

Evanston’s Guaranteed Income Program: The basics. Evanston is launching a Guaranteed Income Pilot Program that will randomly select 150 eligible applicants to receive $500 a month for a year – no strings attached – on a prepaid debit card to those who qualify.

Ninth Ward meeting explains participatory budgeting and guaranteed income pilot. Northwestern Professor Matt Easterday urged people to join the city’s new participatory budgeting process. And Ninth Ward Council member Juan Geracaris explained the city’s Guaranteed Income Pilot Program, which is accepting applications through Aug. 29.

City may tap $500,000 from ARPA allocation to match low-income solar grant. City staffers are proposing to allocate $500,000 of Evanston’s American Rescue Plan Act funds to provide residential solar panels for low-income residents. The funds would match congressional grant awarded to the city earlier this year.

Vote for the Downtown Evanston Farmers’ Market. The Downtown Evanston Farmers’ Market is in a competition run by the American Farmland Trust and Farmers’ Market Coalition, with cash prizes and – perhaps more importantly – community pride at stake. Voting runs through Sept. 19.

Public Safety and Health

Highland Park Hospital: Strength in tragedy, and the preparation that came first. Sarah Farley, head of emergency preparedness and management at Highland Park Hospital, talked with the RoundTable about the events of July 4th, specifically what it was like inside the hospital that day, dealing with the aftermath of a massacre in which a gunman killed seven people and wounded dozens more.

COVID-19 Aug. 18 update: Cook County drops to ‘medium’ risk, Evanston remains at ‘low’ risk. The total number of new cases of COVID-19 in Evanston was 74 for the week ending Aug. 17, compared to 107 for the week ending Aug. 11, a decrease of 31%. The seven-day average of new cases in the state decreased by 15%; hospitalizations decreased by 14%.

Civilian response envisioned for lower-priority 911 calls. The city is considering partnering with two national nonprofits to build a community responder system for less urgent 911 calls, members of Evanston’s Human Services Committee discussed Wednesday. The two proposed agreements were introduced by Fifth Ward Council Member Bobby Burns.

Evanston Police warn about traffic camera ticket scam. The department is warning people about a traffic camera ticket scam: Several citizens have reported receiving emails notifying them they were issued a “Moving Violation Recorded by Traffic Camera.” The email specifically states the violation was recorded by a traffic camera in Evanston – but there are no traffic cameras in Evanston.


Credit: Richard Cahan

Praying for a good school year. A few dozen clergy members and faithful prayed for Evanston Township High School students, teachers and staff on Monday morning at the start of the school year. The organizing groups, Pray4Peace Evanston and Positive Presence, plan to pray at District 65 schools as they start class this week.

District 65 tentative FY’23 budget puts $153.3 million to operating expenses, plus $20.7 million for Fifth Ward school. The RoundTable’s Larry Gavin takes a close look at the District 65 budget, gains and losses as one budget year closes and another budget is proposed. Twenty-six teaching positions will be eliminated in FY’23, yet 46.3 new positions will be added. Supt. Devon Horton said 90% of the new positions were added for safety or equity.

Art & Life

Credit: Amber Danielle Photography

They Do: ‘It felt like a match made in heaven.’ Elizabeth Krupin shares the love story of Roshena Clarke and Chris McNeil, who were wed July 2 at the Evanston Ecology Center. The two knew each other in their teens and then reconnected about 3½ years ago.

Credit: Gay Riseborough

There is a message attached to Attached. The RoundTable’s Gay Riseborough writes the eighth installment in her series on public art in Evanston created by women, telling us about Janet Austin’s fascinating sculpture in Burnham Shores Park along the city’s lakefront.

Bird alive! Architecture saving avian lives. Columnist Betsy Bird writes that collisions with glass may kill as many as 1 billion birds in the U.S. per year. That’s a lot of birds, and, as it happens, it’s preventable – just look at the new Robert Crown Community Center.

American Legion celebration makes first post-COVID appearance. The American Legion Post 42 knows the recipe for a perfect summer picnic: great location, delicious food and people to enjoy it. Then add games, live music and laughter. The event drew about 150 members and guests this past weekend to the Post 42 Patio and grounds of Canal Shores Golf Course.

Curt’s Cafe mural project elevates dreams and aspirations. Curt’s Cafe held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of its new mural, created by local artist Sholo Beverly. Students from the nonprofit’s workforce training program assisted, and embedded beneath the mural’s swirls of vivid colors and striking imagery are handprints and words of inspiration the students painted.

Review: Zorro is a musical tale of adventure. The regional premiere of Zorro: The Musical, a production of Music Theater Works, has a lot going for it, according to our reviewer Cissy Lacks. Zorro‘s final run is today at 2 p.m.

Credit: Christine Candelario

Week in photos: Aug. 11 – Aug. 18. Thanks for sending these pictures along to the RoundTable, and we ask you to keep ’em coming! Send your Evanston photos to, and we’ll share them with the community.

Credit: Will Allen

The Art of Making Art: Will Allen. Will Allen is a college student with a part-time summer job, but arts columnist Jean Cunningham says his passion is creating – and selling – self-designed steel sculpture. His works run the gamut from purely artistic to functional, and from small enough for an office to large enough for the yard.

Evanston Rules: Rose waits for no one. The 14th episode of the Evanston Rules podcast features retired educator Rose Johnson. Her experiences as a teacher, school board member, parent and community activist have been a driving force for her truth while living in Evanston.

Dear Gabby: I love posting about my kids. Is that so bad? This week’s Dear Gabby column features queries about kids on Facebook, changing a pet’s name and turning down an invitation from an old friend.

Public Square

Les Jacobson: History in the making. Our RoundTable columnist recounts meeting famed historian David McCullough, who died this month. McCullough believed studying history was not an idle pastime – it was critical, he insisted, for understanding today.

Peggy Tarr: Honoring Maya Angelou. Our RoundTable columnist talks about the woman whose birth name was Marguerite Annie Johnson, but became known to the world as Maya Angelou, author, artist, dancer and civil rights advocate.

Message from the mayor: Time to get to work! After the vote to appoint Luke Stowe as City Manager, Mayor Daniel Biss sent out a community letter acknowledging an internal hire was not the initial plan and adding, “I wanted to take a moment to explain how we got here and why I strongly believe this is the right choice for our community.”


Credit: Richard Cahan

It’s time for football. RoundTable photographer Rich Cahan captures the anticipation of high school football season in this photo essay, which includes the Wildkits football teams, cheerleading squad and marching band. The first game of the regular season is Friday, Sept. 2, at Libertyville.

Credit: MOD club team

ETHS girls volleyball: New coach hopes to reverse losing trend. Paris McFall, named the new head girls coach at Evanston Township High School, is out to change the culture for a Wildkit program that hasn’t had a winning season since 2014 and hasn’t been very competitive in one of the toughest conferences in the state, the Central Suburban League.

Rank and File | USA women surprise, men disappoint at Chess Olympiad. Chess columnist Keith Holzmueller looks at a game from the 44th Chess Olympiad, a global team competition in Chennai, India, that ended Aug. 10 and was filled with upsets. The USA women upset the expected champs in the last round.

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Alex Harrison

Alex Harrison joins the RoundTable for the summer in between his undergraduate and graduate studies at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.