Evanston RoundTable
Credit: Richard Cahan

Good Thursday morning, Evanston.

On Monday, Soul & Smoke barbecue won a $650,000 grant from the City Council to expand its Payne Street restaurant. On Wednesday, the Chicago Tribune named it a best new restaurant, one of only two in the suburbs. Photographer Richard Cahan caught owners Heather Bublick and D’Andre Carter in a celebratory mood.

Now, let’s catch up on more local news.

District 65 scored lower in four of the five categories on the statewide 5Essentials survey in 2022 than it did in 2021. Notably, the district’s scores for “effective leaders” and “collaborative teachers” fell far below state averages. How are those categories assessed? Survey responses from teachers themselves.

The Evanston City Council approved $1.2 million in federal pandemic relief funds for the Rebuilding Exchange this week. The organization is seeking to acquire a site for a new building trades training facility, but it still needs $800,000 more.

Support the RoundTable

As part of our ongoing NewsMatch campaign, from now through Dec. 31, your donation to the RoundTable will be matched by generous national and local partners.

Congratulations to James, the winner of last week’s raffle for RoundTable donors! We are very thankful for all of our supporters and the very kind donations from Soul & Smoke and Northlight Theatre. 

This week’s raffle is two tickets to a Spray Paint And Sip class at Studio W.I.P. This workshop teaches how to work with spray paint and stencil applications, and you can take home your own artwork. All donors to our NewsMatch campaign before Sunday, Nov. 20, will be included in the raffle to win. 

COVID-19 by the numbers: 16 new cases and no new deaths were reported on Tuesday, Nov. 15, the last day the city updated case totals. The seven-day average is 17.6 cases per day.

Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

At a meeting for two-way immersion (TWI) families in District 65 on Tuesday, administrators said no changes will be made to the English-Spanish TWI program or the list of schools where it operates – at least until the new Fifth Ward school opens.

In the latest hospital safety grades released Wednesday by a national nonprofit, NorthShore Evanston was rated a “B” and Ascension Saint Francis a “C.” The ratings are “based exclusively on hospital prevention of medical errors and harms to patients,” according to the Leapfrog Group.

What are your neighbors reading? Check out the top 10 sellers at Bookends & Beginnings during the month of October. One hint: Love wins.

And speaking of books, our friends at Bookends & Beginnings conducted a Q&A with local children’s author Jarrett Dapier. He’s just released his third picture book, The Most Haunted House in America, and has a graphic novel coming out in 2023.

Till is a hard movie to watch, but we still need to see Emmett’s open casket,” Doris Popovich writes in her review of the film chronicling Chicago teen Emmett Till’s life and horrific lynching, and the brave decision by his grieving mother.

Credit: Submitted

In honor of Veterans Day on Nov. 11, Washington Elementary School third graders donated more than 75 pounds of toiletries to Evanston Vet Center. They also decorated tissue boxes with messages to thank veterans.

Come by the Woman’s Club of Evanston on Chicago Avenue this weekend for the 2022 Holiday Bazaar, featuring 50 vendors selling handcrafted goods.

Have a bunch of old holiday string lights in your basement that you don’t need anymore? Drop them off at one of three locations for the city’s annual holiday light recycling program.

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Around the web

Another downtown Evanston hotel faces foreclosure. The 259-room Holiday Inn at 1501 Sherman Ave., hit with a lawsuit over a $20 million loan, is at least the second hotel in downtown Evanston to face foreclosure amid the pandemic.

Opioid deaths in Chicago on pace to reach similar levels as record-setting 2021. In 2021, more than 1,400 people in Chicago died from an opioid overdose, by far the most ever and a 10% increase from 2020. The city recorded 632 opioid deaths in the first six months of 2022.

Jewish graves desecrated with swastikas spark anger, tears — and pity for one with ‘this much hate in their heart’. An unknown vandal painted swastikas on 16 headstones and antisemitic language on dozens of others at the Congregation Am Echod Jewish Cemetery in Waukegan this week.

Workers’ rights amendment wins place in Illinois Constitution. More than 50% of Illinois voters in last week’s midterm elections supported the amendment, which will ensure workers’ right to unionize and collectively bargain.

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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...