Happy Friday morning, Evanston.

We’re looking forward to a beautiful weekend. But we start the day with a health message in our At This Time picture, showing Danyang Chen getting a monkeypox vaccine yesterday. “It makes me feel safer,” said the Northwestern University doctorate student. But it’s not just a feeling, it’s a fact. Nationally, monkeypox cases have largely plummeted since an August peak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The drop is attributed to vaccines and education. Unvaccinated people still have 14 times the risk of monkeypox compared to vaccinated people. Now, on to the other news from a very busy yesterday.

More than 30 residents came to the Parks and Recreation Board meeting last night to ask for dedicated pickleball courts in town. But while the majority of speakers were pro-pickleball, the head of the Evanston Community Tennis Association brought up the disrepair of the city’s tennis courts and the president of the Haitian Community Organization talked about equity and ensuring pickleball and park programs better serve the Black community.

The Equity and Empowerment Commission took a strong stance in support of gender equity during its meeting last night. It is recommending that all of the city’s ordinances remove gendered pronouns, such as “he” and “she,” and use gender-neutral pronouns “they,” “them” and “their.” This was arrived at as part of the debate over updating the city’s public nudity ordinance. However, the recommendation would impact on all of the city’s ordinances. 

Credit: Bob Seidenberg

At a First Ward meeting on Thursday night, Council member Clare Kelly (above) reiterated her support for increased city contributions to police and firefighter funds in the hope of reaching 100% funding by the state’s 2040 target date. “I’m a big advocate of fully funding our police and fire pension,” Kelly said. “I don’t think we have to necessarily increase our levy to do so.”

Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

Credit: Bob Seidenberg

Library board seeking 3.9% tax increase. Interim Executive Library Director Heather Norborg laid out the library’s rationale for the proposed increase in a presentation at a special City Council meeting on the budget Oct. 17. The budget process has a way to go: the city has scheduled four public hearings before the final vote in November.

COVID-19 update as of Oct. 20: Both Evanston and Cook County remain at ‘low’ risk. In Illinois, the seven-day average of new cases was 1,978 on Oct. 20, up from 1,501 in the prior week, a 31% increase. In Evanston, the seven-day average of new cases was 12.9 on Oct. 19, up from 10.9 in the prior week, an 18% increase.

Evanston Arts Council picks new leaders; Coordinator resigns from part-time position. The council’s new chair is Melissa Raman Molitor (above), an adjunct associate professor at the School of the Art Institute. She is a socially engaged mixed-media artist, educator and art therapist and founder of Kids Create Change, a nonprofit that encourages young people to explore identity. Rosie Roche, the city’s new part-time cultural arts coordinator, announced her retirement to take up another post.

Margaret Fisher Soffin: 1946-2022. Born in Hyde Park to Irene and Leroy Fisher, Margaret graduated from New Trier High School in 1965 and Michigan State University in 1969. She lived in East Lansing, Michigan, until 1999, when she moved back to Chicago.

Letter to the editor: Election 2022 – vote yes on forest preserve referendum. “At a modest cost to tax payers, the referendum will provide critical funds for the Cook County Forest Preserves to continue to provide benefits to us and all future generations,” the executive committee of Evanston’s League of Women Voters Executive Committee writes.

Credit: Nicole Jacob Marks

ETHS field hockey: Wildkit rally falls short in season-ending loss. A fourth-quarter Evanston rally fell short, and host Loyola Academy scored a 2-1 victory in the sectional semifinals of the Illinois High School Association state tournament.

Music Institute of Chicago presents Jazz favorite Tammy McCann on Oct. 29. Music Institute of Chicago Artist-in-Residence and Chicago jazz favorite Tammy McCann returns to Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29 with Yes, Mahalia!, an homage to gospel pioneer and Chicago legend Mahalia Jackson.

Evanston Fire Department to host Emergency Preparedness Fair this weekend. The fair will start in the main lobby of the Robert Crown Community Center at 10 a.m. this Saturday and Sunday. Representatives from the City of Evanston, social service agencies, non-governmental organizations, local businesses and faith-based communities will be in attendance. Register at this link.

Picturing Evanston. A numbers game freshly painted at Dawes Elementary School on Oakton Street and Dodge Avenue. (Photo by Joerg Metzner)

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Around the web

CTA avoids service cuts, fare hikes under proposed $1.8 billion budget. Mostly thanks to federal pandemic relief funds, the CTA does not plan to make any service cuts or increase ride fares in 2023. The agency is still struggling to recover from COVID-19, though, as it deals with an increase in crime and painfully unreliable buses and trains for customers.

Ken Griffin’s millions could flip Illinois Supreme Court on abortion and unions. Democrats are hanging on to a narrow 4-3 majority on the state Supreme Court for the moment, but billionaire and Republican megadonor Ken Griffin has set his sights on flipping Illinois’ highest judicial power to the right this November.

Evanston group for fair zoning launches community outreach initiative. Local community organization Joining Forces for Affordable Housing is digging into Evanston’s zoning laws and how they have historically discriminated against affordable housing efforts and upheld racial inequities. Now, the group is surveying residents to learn more about public opinion toward affordable housing developments and local zoning laws.

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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...