Evanston RoundTable

Good Sunday morning, Evanston!

The “Sturgeon Moon,” the final supermoon of 2022, drew observers to Evanston beaches Friday – and RoundTable photographers Richard Cahan (that’s his photo above) and Joerg Metzner were there too.

Before the moon rose Friday, the day also saw some major Evanston news: The City Council announced its intent to appoint interim City Manager Luke Stowe to the position permanently, bringing an end to nearly a year of failed external searches since Erika Storlie departed in October 2021. The appointment vote is scheduled for a special council meeting at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 16.

Credit: Duncan Agnew

On Saturday, District 65, ETHS, the City of Evanston and other organizations came together for the third annual End of Summer Fest at James Park. Billed as a celebration (for parents, at least) of the beginning of the school year, parents and students enjoyed burgers and hot dogs, music and even a bouncy castle as dozens of local nonprofits showcased resources for students and their families.

And now, in case you missed any of the most important Evanston stories last week, here’s a roundup of our RoundTable coverage:

City News

Northwestern names University of Oregon’s Schill as next president. Northwestern University announced Thursday that Michael Schill (above), current president of the University of Oregon, will take office as Northwestern’s 17th president this fall. Schill has also served as dean at the law schools of the University of Chicago and UCLA. His selection came a month after the previous president-elect, University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank, stepped down after a cancer diagnosis.

Credit: Wendi Kromash

Council passes resolution supporting reproductive health care. Thanks to a resolution approved unanimously by the City Council, Evanston will wage its own response to the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down Roe v. Wade, with city departments directed to explore ways to support and protect individuals seeking reproductive health care, including abortions.

City OKs paying out $3.45 million in reparations. Even as the City Council agreed to the disbursement, former Fifth Ward Council Member Robin Rue Simmons said the city needs to look beyond the current funding mechanism for the $10 million program. The effort had been expected to tap tax money from three cannabis dispensaries in Evanston, but the state has so far licensed only one.

Credit: Richard Cahan

City to close two more beaches for the season due to limited staffing. Starting Monday, Aug. 15, only Clark and Lee Street beaches will be open to swimmers for the remainder of the summer season due to a shortage of lifeguards, many of whom are heading back to school. To make up for the lack of staff, Evanston’s Lighthouse and South Boulevard beaches will close.

Evanston budget on track for surplus. City budget revenues were looking “pretty stable, pretty strong” at the midyear mark, the city’s top financial officer told City Council members at their Aug. 8 meeting. Council members are not slated to begin discussing the 2023 budget for several weeks, but talk of a property tax hike or staff and program cuts did not make it into the normally cautious presentation.

Should Evanston still limit the number of unrelated co-habitants? Currently, Evanston has an ordinance in place forbidding more than three unrelated people to rent and live together. But the city may change its definition of a family unit or alter the cap on the number of unrelated individuals who can rent an apartment or house together, Council Member Clare Kelly (1st Ward) said during a Thursday meeting of the Planning and Development Housing subcommittee.

Credit: Found Kitchen

With restaurant’s closure in two months, Found owner is grateful for community’s support. The contemporary American restaurant at 1631 Chicago Ave., which opened in November 2012, has maintained a standout identity. Amy Morton told the RoundTable she credits its success to the “soul of the restaurant,” which came from the community that formed in the “quirky, windy, old space.”

City pursuing traffic solutions as Poplar Avenue to get narrower. Senior Project Manager Chris Venatta came to a special Seventh Ward meeting Tuesday to talk about the Poplar Avenue Improvement Project. The city will repave the street from Livingston Street to the north to the dead end past Colfax Street to the south, skipping the intersection with Central Street in the middle.

Experts give advice to small Evanston landlords. Hosted by the city’s Housing & Grants Division, a webinar for small landlords held Wednesday came shortly after the new small landlord task force opened a survey to gather input for its landlord assistance program. The program will use federal ARPA funds to provide some financial relief from the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 update as of Aug. 11: Evanston moves to ‘low’ level of community risk, Cook County stays in ‘high’ level. The total number of new COVID-19 cases in Evanston was 119 for the week ending Aug. 10, compared with 163 for the week ending Aug. 4, a decrease of 27%. The seven-day average of new cases in the state decreased by 4.7%; hospitalizations, though, increased by 6.3%.

City partners with Northwestern to launch guaranteed income pilot program. The program will provide 150 households in Evanston with direct monthly financial assistance for one year. Once a month for a year, participants will each receive $500 loaded onto a prepaid debit card to spend as they see fit. The program is funded largely by Northwestern University and the City of Evanston, including $700,000 in federal funds.

Public Health and Safety

Credit: Bob Seidenberg

With police staffing a daily ‘high-wire act,’ EPD temporarily reassigns popular unit. Following an EPD news release that announced the reassignment of Community Policing Unit officers, reporter Bob Seidenberg sat down with interim Police Chief Richard Eddington to discuss the decision and delve into Evanston’s ongoing shortage of police officers.

Early morning fire breaks out in park building on Central Street. The Evanston Fire Department was assisted by neighboring departments Friday morning in response to a report of flames coming from the roof of a public building in Bent Park. No civilian or firefighter injuries were reported, and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Credit: Richard Cahan

Fire displaces resident of Dempster apartment building. A first-floor kitchen fire at the Claridge apartment building caused no injuries but displaced one resident Monday afternoon. Photographer Richard Cahan captured the scene (above) as residents waited for firefighters to finish clearing the building of smoke and debris.


District 65 101: Everything you need to know before the first day of school. Local middle and elementary schools start again on Wednesday, Aug. 24, but first, families have to sift through paperwork, including student fees, meal applications, health forms and more. Here’s a full guide from the RoundTable with resources and dates to keep in mind to ensure you start the year on the right foot.

District 65 announces school board vacancy. District 65 board member Marquise Weatherspoon (above) resigned from her position effective Aug. 8, the district announced in a Tuesday news release. To fill the vacancy, the board requires a candidate to be a citizen of the United States, at least 18 years of age, a registered voter, and a resident of the State of Illinois and Evanston/Skokie School District 65 for at least one year.

Contract gives ETHS teachers raises, extended parental leave. Teachers will now receive 12 weeks of guaranteed, paid parental leave, and a total salary boost of more than 5% this year and next year. The agreement will also create a new Racial Equity Committee with representation from educators and administrators of color.

City considering razing Fleetwood-Jourdain to build new rec center with District 65. The City of Evanston and Evanston/Skokie School District 65 are considering a “clean slate” approach for building the new Fifth Ward school on Foster Field. City Council approved a memorandum of understanding between the city and District 65 Monday night, clearing the way for the district’s architectural firm to begin the design process in earnest.

Art & Life

Credit: Family photo

Carl Parker, 1964-2022. Friends and family members filled Evanston’s Second Baptist Church on July 15 to remember and celebrate his life. A lifelong Evanstonian, Carl was widely known for having a smile that welcomed even strangers into his heart.

Credit: Ozzie Ramsay

Saxophonist helps archive Evanston’s Black musicians. For the past few years, Evanston-raised saxophonist, bandleader and composer Chris Greene has been helping his childhood friend Morris “Dino” Robinson Jr., archive records of other prominent Black musicians who, like himself, were reared in Evanston.

Credit: Ethan Ravi

From non-runner to marathon runner to running-store owner. Matthew Abitbol, owner of the Commonwealth Running Co. at 1631 Sherman Ave., said he never imagined himself as a runner prior to 2008. He shared his journey with the RoundTable, which includes running 85 marathons and polling 250 runners to find the store’s name.

Interview with Peter C. Baker, author of Planes. The local author told the RoundTable about his debut work, what he has in development, and what makes the Brothers K coffeehouse his favorite place to work. He said Planes had been in development for over a decade, over “many different iterations, with different narrators and different characters,” until the pandemic gave him a sudden abundance of time to sharpen the story’s focus.

Credit: Duncan Agnew

The Baha’i House of Worship is ‘place of service to humanity.’ Reporter Duncan Agnew spoke with George Davis, director of the Baha’i Temple in neighboring Wilmette, which was the second Baha’i Temple ever built and the only one in North America. Davis shared the story of the Baha’i faith, which dates back to the mid-19th century, as well as the temple itself, which attracts an estimated quarter million visitors annually.

Credit: Jeremy Damato

Concert review: Lucinda Williams at Out of Space. A stellar line up of top bill artists headlined the weekend for the Out of Space concert series at Canal Shores last weekend. On the heels of Elvis Costello’s sold-out show on Friday, the Saturday night show saw Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter and Americana legend Lucinda Williams take the stage and deliver a highly satisfying set of crowd favorites.

Blues legend Buddy Guy closes out Canal Shores concert series. Guy finished the Out of Space concert series in a blaze of blues, with Todd Mohr from Big Head Todd and the Monsters opening. Organizers estimated that the four-day event attracted a total of 14,000 people in its fifth season at Canal Shores Golf Course.

Credit: Heidi Randhava

Week in photos: Aug. 1-8. We have a bevy of beautiful and interesting pictures. From this Somewhere-Over-the-Rainbow themed baby shower to honor Tiffany Rice (ETHS ’99) and Rashid Barrett, who are awaiting the birth of their son, Ziggy, to some lovely nature shots. This was the week of Aug. 1-8 (and a few days in July) in pictures.

It’s not your mother’s dorm room. Gone are the days when a mold-free shower caddy and a fresh pair of flip flops were the only luxuries required for communal living. Dorm room outfitting has expanded in scope and sophistication and become big business – U.S. college students and their families will spend roughly $10 billion on dorm or apartment furnishings this year alone.

Dear Gabby: Clueless, insensitive, narcissistic conversational bloodsucking. Gabby gives advice on dealing with wealth-flaunting friends, always being the one to make plans and whether to keep vibrant paint colors when selling your house.

Evanston Symphony pops concert to help celebrate Wilmette’s 150th anniversary. Led by ESO Music Director Lawrence Eckerling, the orchestra will perform its second annual Pops Concert at Gillson Park’s Wallace Bowl in Wilmette. The hourlong event will begin at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 24 and is free to the public.

Bookends & Beginnings’ Top 10 July bestsellers. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller was the top-seller on the bookstore’s July bestseller list.

Public Square

Credit: Rob Natke drawing

Eye on Evanston: Thoughts on Design | Design Concepts for the Lincoln Street Bridge. With the Central Street bridge’s completion on the horizon, design columnist Jack Weiss takes a look at eight concepts for replacing the Lincoln Street bridge that were cooked up by Design Evanston members and invited guests at a July 14 meeting.


Credit: Wendi Kromash

Special Olympics volunteers working to defy expectations. Reporter Wendi Kromash interviews Lisa Kaya-Noble and Kurt Noble, volunteers with Special Olympics programs in Evanston and Special Olympics Illinois and hosts of the podcast “Amazing Individuals.”

ETHS adding rowing club to sports team lineup. The team’s inaugural season will kick off on Aug. 15 with two weeks of introduction and training. Head coach Lucinda Ruiz said the team is partnering with Northwestern University to borrow equipment, and the team will practice on the North Shore Channel with watercraft housed in the Skokie Park District’s Dammrich Rowing Center.

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Alex Harrison reports on local government, public safety, developments, town-gown relations and more for the RoundTable. He graduated from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in June...