Evanston RoundTable
Monarch butterfly, South Boulevard beach (Photo of the week submitted by Mary Jon Girard)

Good morning, Evanston.

The City of Evanston will turn to an outside firm to investigate female lifeguards’ allegations of sexual harassment at Evanston beaches, according to the City’s response, posted on its website July 19. A WBEZ report that aired July 16 described concerns brought forward by more than 50 female lifeguards and beach staff in a petition given to the City in July 2020. In that petition, WBEZ reported, the employees alleged their co-workers engaged in rampant sexual misconduct, often against underage girls.

Several Council Members called for a closed-door meeting with City Manager Erika Storlie and staff in response to the WBEZ report. Entering executive session, both Mayor Daniel Biss and Ninth Ward Council Member Cicely Fleming issued statements expressing the need to investigate the situation further. Read full story.

The Community Alliance for Better Government submitted a statement urging the City to authorize such an investigation: “We are furious on behalf of the women and anyone else affected, and we are frustrated that a culture of sexual harassment, alleged for years by staff of Parks and Rec, led by Lawrence Hemingway, has failed to be curtailed by Human Resources Director Jennifer Lin and City Manager Erika Storlie.” Read full statement.

Here’s a roundup of other top stories from the RoundTable this week.


Not Just a Local Problem: Children Worldwide Are Affected by Isolation and Stress of the Pandemic. An estimated 1.6 billion children in 190 countries – approximately 90% of the world’s children – have been affected by school closings during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, according to UNICEF. The pandemic altered daily life in countless observable ways. Read full story.

Opening District 65 Schools in February as One Way to Address Students’ Mental Health and Social/Emotional Wellbeing. When Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker closed all public schools in the State due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, administrators and teachers in School District 65 quickly implemented remote learning. A spring of remote learning and the following summer gave teams of administrators, teachers, parents and community members time to understand that reopening school buildings necessitated balancing physical safety, academic progress and social/emotional wellbeing. Read full story.

Arts & Life

Coyotes, who remain mostly harmless to humans, bring worry to community. (Photo courtesy of Cook County Urban Coyote Research Project)

Neighborhood Menace or Natural Wonder? Coyote Debate Lives On. You can almost set your calendar by the perennial debate about coyotes in residential neighborhoods. Last May, several Nextdoor.com discussions bubbled over when a coyote openly camped out near a school in Skokie’s Devonshire Park, possibly guarding her den of pups. Read full story.

A colorful mural brightens the wall in 4 Suns Fresh Juice (RoundTable photo)

4 Suns flourishes at Main and Dodge. Immediately upon walking into 4 Suns Fresh Juice, patrons are enveloped by colorful murals, friendly staff and the sweet smell of sandalwood incense. At only seven months old, the juicery is an oasis of wellness, vitality and the creativity of Black artists. On Dec. 4, 2020, Gabrielle J. Walker, a captivating woman with a big heart and ambitious desire to provide for her community, opened 4 Suns. Read full story.

At the national games (Senior Olympics) in Albuquerque in 2019. From left: Ken Mitchell, Lennell Pierce, Thomas Jones, Norman Rose, Don Baker, Herb Spalding, Luther Woods, Dorrance Halverson (Photo Courtesy of Dorrance Halverson)

Levy Center Basketball Reopening Brings Joy to Members. Dorrance Halverson started shooting baskets by himself at the Levy Senior Center shortly after the court was built in 2002. More players began to join in the program the next few years, leading to pickup games at noon. Bob Swedlow joined in 2013 and Chuck Pierret joined in the fun 2 1/2 years ago. But last year COVID-19 hit and the center shut down. Read full story.

Doug Holt (guitar), Jane Holt (vocals), Susan Abraham (guitar and vocals), Max Shapiro (percussion), Jeremy Manier (bass guitar) and Kip Rainey (pedal steel, mandolin, guitar).

Alongside Harold Returns to Stage with ‘Pure Joy’. The evening began with “Silver Lining” by Mt. Joy and ended with “Baba O’Riley” by The Who. In between, the band Alongside Harold played two hours of solid Americana covers “with a twist,” including a mellow version of “Lovesong” by the Cure and a mashup of “I’ve Got a Feeling” and “She Came in through the Bathroom Window” by the Beatles. The Saturday evening concert drew a crowd of almost 350 people on the lawn outside the American Legion Evanston Post 42. Read full story.

‘Women of Distinction’ Puts History In Perspective 127 Years Later. A yearning for justice and dedication to equality in the African American community today mirrors the same hopes and struggles more than a century ago, as reflected in author Lawson A. Scruggs’ book “Women of Distinction,” written in 1893. Progress has been slow, but Dr. Scruggs lauded the efforts of 91 Black women who helped make a difference in keeping this important struggle alive. Read full story.

Levy Lecture with author and documentarian Ava Thompson Greenwell. During the past 15 months, Ava Thompson Greenwell completed the documentary she produced and directed, “Mandela in Chicago,” saw it premier on Chicago’s WTTW-Channel 11, completed and submitted for publication the manuscript for her first book, “Ladies Leading: The Black Women Who Control Television News,” and taught reporting classes at Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism. Read full story.

Squash It. It’s mid-July and summer squashes are starting their slow and steady takeover of every garden in America. We’ve got plump green zucchini encroaching on every other planting already, but the Evanston Farmers’ Market is just gearing up. Read full story.

A Pleasant Sunday Afternoon: Arts at the Francis Willard House. The Frances Willard House Museum will celebrate the reopening of the museum and kick off a new series of public programs, Arts at the Willard House, at 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 25. This outdoor recreation of a 19th century “literary and musical entertainment” will feature storytelling pieces adapted and performed by Fiona Maxwell and American parlor guitar music performed by the Waller and Maxwell Guitar Duo. Read full story.

NU’s summer community events are back. Northwestern will begin hosting lunch breaks and fun family nights again under the stars on the lakefront and Ryan Field. Events include Lunch on the Lake, Summer Cinema and Movie Night at Ryan Field. Read full story.

Public Square

Paul Goren: District 65’s Commitment to Equity – Onward and Upward! I would bet that most, if not all, white families who live in Evanston will say “we moved to Evanston for the diversity.” These families also argue that they embrace the diversity reflected in Evanston’s two public school districts over any other North Shore District. More than ever, now is the time to match the rhetoric of embracing diversity with action and support. Read full statement.

YWCA Evanston/North Shore Letter to the Editor. Dear Editor: YWCA Evanston/North Shore is committed to eliminating racism and empowering women, and we support District 65 administrators and school board’s anti-racism and anti-oppression work. A few years ago, we supported the district’s leadership as they embarked on the process of becoming an anti-racist district. That was a courageous declaration then, and the work to achieve that goal has been considerable and commendable.  Read full letter.

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Adina Keeling is a photojournalist and reporter, covering city news, sustainability, schools, and art. She also investigates mental health systems and environmental injustices in Evanston, and puts together...