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Evanston RoundTable
Credit: Richard Cahan

Good Monday morning, Evanston.

Yesterday, the city celebrated Lunar New Year with a lion dance along Dempster Street. Richard Cahan snapped this photo of a child feeding fruit to the lion. Tangerines and oranges are symbols of luck and prosperity. The lion spits them back to share the good year with the crowd. View more photos of the celebration from Cahan and Joerg Metzner.

Good luck to you in the Year of the Rabbit. Now, on to today’s local news.

Last week, District 65 released enrollment projections predicting it will drop another 456 students in the next five years. Students who left the district for homeschooling or private school have largely not returned, according to Sarita Smith, manager of Student Assignments. Smith’s memo to the district’s policy committee says the downward trend “has been consistent since 2017 and doesn’t seem to be moving in the other direction anytime soon.” RoundTable co-founder Larry Gavin dives into the data for each school and reports on the district’s planning.

Tonight the city council is expected to debate easing laws regarding alcohol and marijuana possession. Council Members Devon Reid (above) and Bobby Burns are proposing to allow transporting opened but resealed containers of booze or pot in the trunk of a vehicle, so that Evanston’s ordinance would mirror state law. They also seek to allow possession of open containers in some public places. The Evanston Police Department is on board with some of the changes, but not all.

Credit: City of Evanston appraisal report

Another key discussion item for city council tonight will be the demolition of seven units in the Fifth Ward at Emerson Street and Jackson Avenue, with the city set to vote on a $200,000 contract for the project, and possibly amend a city code.

RoundTable Roundup

Monday: Join the Northwestern community for the university’s 2023 MLK Commemoration keynote speech from former NAACP Legal Defense Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill at 5 p.m. at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall.

Monday: Porchlight Music Theatre’s New Faces Sing Broadway series returns at 7:30 p.m. at Evanston SPACE. Single tickets are $37.

Tuesday: Hear from leaders in the Chicago journalism world during a free panel discussion at 5 p.m. at Northwestern’s McCormick Foundation Center. The topic is “How Chicago news outlets build credibility in their communities.”

Wednesday: Attend a Tenant Resources Webinar featuring experts from the Metropolitan Tenants Organization at 6:30 p.m.

COVID-19 by the numbers: 18 new cases and no new deaths were reported on Thursday, Jan. 19, the last day the city updated case totals. The seven-day average is 11.3 cases per day.

More RoundTable reads

Reviewing Northwestern’s 80th annual Dolphin Show, the RoundTable’s Wendi Kromash writes that Matilda the Musical is “fun, funny, imaginative and ultimately rewarding, both in the arc of the story and for the audience.”

Dear Gabby: This week our advice columnist deals with a tricky future daughter-in-law situation, unpleasant lunchmaking and a moral question concerning Covid.

ETHS girls gymnastics celebrated senior night on Thursday, and though the team ultimately lost the meet, Evanston’s coach saw “a lot of positives.” Ella Eovaldi (above) won both the floor exercise and uneven bars individual events.

On Saturday, the ETHS boys wrestling team took home fifth in the league tournament hosted at Beardsley Gym. Senior Darion Coleman finished runner-up in the 170 pound division.

Picturing Evanston. The Apostolic Lighthouse Church of Evanston on Dodge Avenue, south of Dempster Street, one of Evanston’s many small houses of worship. (Photo by Joerg Metzner)

Join our team: The Evanston RoundTable is growing! Check out our jobs page for feature writing 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

Student workers say enough as mental health crisis rises among RAs. A group of Northwestern resident assistants, who supervise campus housing, have demands including adequate compensation, fair work hours and mental health care.

Lin Brehmer, radio legend for decades at WXRT, dies At 68. Brehmer, who became the station’s music director in 1984, died Sunday after a battle with prostate cancer.

New cannabis license process aims to focus on social equity. The state’s new process for obtaining a marijuana dispensary license begins Jan. 30.

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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...