Evanston RoundTable
Students leave ETHS on the last day of in-person instruction. (Photo by Adina Keeling)

Good Sunday morning, Evanston.

Evanston Township High School reported a record 129 new COVID-19 positive test results among students and 11 new positive cases among staff for the week ending Friday, Dec. 17, according to the school’s COVID-19 dashboard. There are 143 students and 13 staff members currently in quarantine.

The update came just one day after Superintendent Eric Witherspoon announced a suspension of all in-person learning and in-person activities for the remaining school days prior to winter break.

Witherspoon described the shift to remote learning for the rest of the semester as an “adaptive pause” that “is intended to reduce the transmission of COVID while allowing students to continue instruction remotely with their teachers and during their regular schedules.” 


Police officers seen outside ETHS during Thursday’s lockdown. (Photo by Adina Keeling)

Evanston Police Department Commander Ryan Glew told the RoundTable that police have charged three 16-year-old male students at Evanston Township High School in connection with Thursday’s lockdown.

According to police statements and a message to the community from Superintendent Witherspoon, an ETHS school resource officer apprehended eight students allegedly smoking cannabis in a bathroom on Thursday. While searching their backpacks, the officer found two loaded handguns and marijuana. The discovery of two guns triggered the lockdown.


In case you missed any of the most important news last week, here’s a roundup of top stories from the RoundTable this past week.

City News

Albany Care’s day room, which is one of the few rooms residents have to spend time in outside of their bedrooms. (Photo provided)

Inside Albany Care: Daily calls to police; residents report neglect. The Evanston Police Department received 113 nonemergency and 911 calls over a recent 10-week period from Albany Care, an Evanston mental health facility that treats individuals with mental illnesses.

Friday evening house fire displaces four residents on Madison Street. At approximately 8:20 p.m. Friday evening, Evanston firefighters responded to the 1400 block of Madison Street in response to the report of a multi-residential structure fire.

Proposal to impose access fee on private lakefront properties brings a wave of reactions. Eighth Ward Council member Devon Reid proposed that the city assess a fee on 42 properties that cut off access to the lakefront.

Bloomberg Philanthropies recognizes Evanston for using data to improve lives

City manager search down to finalists, candidates to visit soon: council members offer updates.

Moran Center releases panel recording on restorative justice

U.S., international reparations leaders meet in Evanston to exchange ideas. Much of the weekend symposium was focused on the Evanston Reparations Initiative – Evanston’s local reparations are the most structured municipal program in the country. But the meeting also featured robust conversations about different ways to achieve reparations elsewhere.

City Council backs 1900 Sherman high-rise for seniors, with market-rate apartments to help pay for construction of 51 affordable units. Anyone who associates residential buildings for older adults as functional but dressed up in institutionally drab tones may be surprised by the 16-story, 152-unit high-rise that will be located near downtown Evanston.

City panel allocates $1.2 million in federal grants for housing, infrastructure projects.

Honorary street to pay tribute to Judge Lionel Jean-Baptiste’s contributions to the city


Schools

District 65’s attempt to ramp up 2021 summer learning met with low enrollment. After a year of mostly remote learning due to COVID-19, School District 65 expanded its summer learning programs in 2021, but far fewer families opted to participate than anticipated.

ETHS School Board discusses coach complaints, police on campus in wide-ranging meeting. Superintendent Eric Witherspoon opened with a statement that “ETHS could have done better” in handling complaints of harassment against color guard coach Lorenzo Medrano.

Latest test data reported on ETHS student SAT scores.


Art & Life

Tapville Social. (Photo by Sam Stroozas)

Tapville blends technology and hospitality on Grove Street. New restaurant Tapville Social kicked off its official opening weekend with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday at 810 Grove St. Tony Studnicka, director of operations, says Tapville’s unusual “tap wall” sets it apart from other restaurants.

Blown-glass ornaments at Gracie’s. (Photo by Nancy McLaughlin)

Weird, wonderful gifts for all from local stores. The pandemic may not be over, but it’s time to show that grinchy old omicron variant who’s boss by doing some shopping, the good old-fashioned in-person kind.

Levy Lecture: Pearl Harbor 80 years later. The Levy Lecture Series featured a webinar presentation by historian Robert Watson that focused on the prelude, buildup, motivations, execution, aftermath and impact of Japan’s surprise attack on the Pearl Harbor.

First Night Evanston to mark 25th anniversary with virtual New Year’s Eve variety show on Dec. 31

Colorful nativity scene with star at 1523 Oakton

The Lighthouse Keeper sees… that, as we approach the winter solstice, the shorter days have inspired some very creative light displays. Consider bundling up and going for a walk or drive through Evanston on your own scavenger hunt.

Kalpana Waikar. Photo by Sam Stroozas.

Inspired Indian Cooking spices up Dempster Street. For years, people have been asking Kalpana Waikar how to make Indian food. In 2019, Waikar launched her subscription boxes for Inspired Indian Cooking and two years later, she debuted her store at 812 Dempster St.

At This Time: 8:16 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 16. Bob Kimmerle met friends for an early morning breakfast, and was photographed crossing Raymond Park on his way home. Bob, who is 83, uses the cane he bought for his wife, Anita, who died more than two years ago.

Not one more holiday letter, please! Dear Gabby, If I get one more “my-children-are-wonderful, my-spouse-just-got-promoted, we-traveled-to-Montenegro, aren’t-these-hard-times-hard?” holiday letters, I am going to scream.

Rank and File | World Chess Championship: Carlsen breaks down Nepomniachtchi. The championship match started with a series of draws but Magnus Carlsen’s play became steadier as the match went on, and in the end he met the expectations of most fans, defeating challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi by a score of 7.5-3.5 to retain his World Champion title.

Kwanzaa Festival and Storytelling event set for Dec. 26

Last week in photos


Public Square

ADUs could add affordable housing in Evanston. (City of Evanston photo)

Eye on Evanston: Thoughts on Design | Why do we need ADUs? Have you ever walked down an entire alley in Evanston? It often goes: garage, garage, garage, parking pad, garage, garage, then a house! These backyard houses are better known as “accessory dwelling units,” or ADUs. 

Oliver Brown Leopold. Oliver Brown Leopold passed away on Dec. 9 of an apparent suicide. Oliver was an extraordinary person who accomplished more than seems possible in his 19 years.

Message from the mayor on ETHS lockdown.

Jonathan Baum: Please keep SROs at ETHS.


Sports

Fourth quarter rally falls short at Team Rose Shootout. Close didn’t count for Evanston’s basketball team this time. Less than 24 hours after eking out an overtime win over Glenbrook North, the Wildkits saw a fourth quarter rally fall short Saturday at the 12th annual Team Rose Shootout.


In the United States, 25% of newspapers have ceased operation, and 2,000 community newspapers have closed in the past 15 years. The vacuum created when local journalism declines poses a serious threat to democracy. Our democracy relies on a free press to educate the public.

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Adina Keeling

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...