Credit: Richard Cahan

Good Thursday morning, Evanston.

Beardsley Gym at ETHS was in a celebratory mood Wednesday as football players like Gabe Rosen (pictured at center, with teammates), signed letters of intent to play at the next level. From left are Hank Liss, Dylan Groff, Rosen, Charlie Kremin, Flo Feldman and Mac Mettee. Rosen will be taking his talents to Valparaiso University. “He’s so deserving,” Liss said.

After that moment of warmth, onto the very chilly news of the day.

A dangerous winter storm is bearing down on Evanston and the Chicago region this afternoon, with blowing snow, wind gusts up to 55 mph and wind chill temperatures that may hit 30 degrees below zero. A few inches of snow are expected, but the cold and wind are bigger concerns. Here’s what you need to know.

Credit: Courtesy of Corky Siegel and Chris Carter

Make plans for Dec. 31: After two years of virtual events, First Night Evanston is back and in-person this New Year’s Eve. Musician extraordinaire Corky Siegel (left) is the headliner, with “mentalist” Chris Carter joining the lineup at First United Methodist Church. The ETHS-student ensemble Timezone Jazz Combo will kick things off. Audience members must be vaccinated and masks are required. “I don’t want anyone to say they got sick from Corky’s music,” Siegel said. Tickets are $30 in advance, $15 for students.

Support the RoundTable

Time is running out on the RoundTable’s fall NewsMatch campaign. Through Dec. 31, donations to the RoundTable are being matched by generous national and local partners – plus all donors are entered in weekly raffle drawings! (This week’s prize: a gift certificate for a pound of chocolates from Belgian Chocolatier Piron.)

COVID-19 by the numbers: 21 new cases and no new deaths were reported on Tuesday, Dec. 20, the last day the city updated case totals. The seven-day average is 21.3 cases per day.

Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

District 65 is planning a new Fifth Ward school, but it didn’t conduct a referendum to authorize bonds to build it. Instead the district raised $44.3 million through lease certificates. Curious how that works? We have you covered with details of the funding structure.

Credit: City of Evanston

On Sunday, Evanston police arrested Darryl Walton, a 58-year-old Chicago man charged in the Dec. 14 armed robbery of a teenager on a CTA train. The 17-year-old victim was robbed at gunpoint south of the Davis Street Station.

Help for City Council members: The council voted 7-1 last week to pay $68,042 for virtual executive assistants, who work remotely and will help write ward newsletters and maintain the city’s online calendar, among other tasks.

Should there be a Northwest Evanston Historic District? In the latest Eye on Evanston column, Design Evanston’s Jack Weiss examines the benefits of National Register and Local Landmark districts, and the differences between them.

Noted in December: Longtime RoundTable columnist Peggy Tarr takes us on a tour of December’s many holidays and the memories they spark.

ETHS legends: The high school honored seven graduates with the Distinguished Alumni Award at an induction ceremony earlier this month.

Join our team: The Evanston RoundTable is growing! Check out our jobs page for opportunities in editorial.

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From day one, it’s been the RoundTable’s mission to bring you unbiased, in-depth reporting about the Evanston community. But we need your help to continue investing in high-quality and in-depth journalism, reporting news that strengthens and enlightens our community, encourages civic engagement and bolsters our democracy. Please join our community of readers and become a member today.

Around the web

Illinois wins $253.7 million in federal funding to boost internet access in underserved areas. The federal government is sending a quarter billion dollars to the state to help connect more than 85,000 households to high-speed internet.

Judge gives no hints on SAFE-T Act, says he faces ‘monumental task’ to rule on sweeping law by Dec. 28. The highly scrutinized law, which will eliminate cash bail in Illinois, is facing dozens of legal challenges.

Chicago rapper Vic Mensa uses his new cannabis company to bring books to prisons. Mensa sat down with WBEZ Chicago’s Reset to talk about the inspiration for his latest initiative.

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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...