Evanston RoundTable
The Bobby Buonauro Clinic gives out free Narcan, a lifesaving naloxone spray that treats opioid overdoses. (Photo by Duncan Agnew)

Happy Friday morning, Evanston.

Nationwide, the opioid crisis has accelerated during the pandemic, killing more Americans than ever. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, more than 100,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the U.S. from April 2020 to April 2021, up 28.5% from the previous 12-month period.

Evanston is far from immune to this fatal opioid surge. In 2019, the city reported 12 overdoses and one death, Evanston Police Commander Ryan Glew said. In 2021, Evanston had 43 overdoses and 14 deaths, according to Glew.

Audrey Thompson. (City of Evanston photo)

On Monday, Audrey Thompson was appointed as the city’s interim Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services. Lawrence Hemingway, the former Director, resigned amid the ongoing investigation into alleged sexual harassment and misconduct among Evanston seasonal lakefront workers.

“We must ensure that all employees feel safe and respected in their work environment,” Thompson said. She has a master’s degree in social work and said in an email interview that she was sexually abused by a family acquaintance as a child and does not take any type of exploitation lightly.

Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

COVID-19 update: Seven-day average of new cases in Evanston drops from peak of 127.7 to 8.4. New coronavirus cases in the state have fallen from a seven-day average of 32,501 on Jan. 12 to a seven-day average of 1,601 on March 3, a 95% drop. Cases in Evanston have continued to drop dramatically.

Alma Advisory Group CEO Monica Santana Rosen speaks to the ETHS School Board March 3. (Screenshot via ETHS YouTube)

Firm hired in ETHS superintendent search calls for ‘visionary, socially conscious leader’. During a special meeting of the Evanston Township High School District 202 board Thursday night, the Alma Advisory Group talked about the ideal profile for the next superintendent, based on feedback from students, teachers, parents and community members.

At This Time: Thursday at 9:27 a.m. Lauren Shapiro volunteers for Inspire Through Flowers, which gave away its 10,000th bouquet to health care workers Thursday. The nonprofit picks up donated flowers and arranges bouquets at the Levy Senior Center. “Everybody deserves a bouquet,” said Christine Costello, one of the founders. (Photo by Richard Cahan)

Curt’s Cafe founder Susan Trieschmann (foreground) is stepping aside as executive director of the Evanston nonprofit. (Photo by Richard Cahan)

‘Fastest 10 years of my life’: Curt’s Cafe founder Susan Trieschmann prepares to depart. In 2012, Trieschmann started Curt’s, which has given hundreds of young people, three-quarters of whom were once incarcerated, guidance and vital job experience.

Jean-vil Joseph, better known as Mr. Man at the Radio La Différence Studio. (Photo provided)

Radio La Différence helps Haitian residents stay connected. Jean-vil Joseph joined Radio La Différence, the Haitian Internet radio station broadcasting from 1900 Asbury Ave., in 2008 to provide news on the music trends in Haiti, and he wasn’t used to having a microphone in front of him.

Water main, bridge work: City to begin two major capital improvement projects. The city will begin rehabilitation of its 30-inch water transmission main next week on Colfax Street, while also working on the final stages of replacing the Central Street Bridge.

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Around the web

Evanston’s elected officials made big promises on public safety. Here are their primary efforts. The Daily Northwestern took a look at the city’s progress on its 2020 promises to change the structure of public safety, writing that “Evanston has yet to transform these discussions into legislative change.”

Living on Blank’s campus. Part three of North by Northwestern’s series on incoming university President Rebecca Blank examines her tumultuous tenure as the chancellor of University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Fire out at key Ukraine nuclear plant, no radiation released. No radiation was released after a Russian attack at Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant in Ukraine and firefighters have put out a blaze at the facility, U.N. and Ukrainian officials said, as Russia continued its invasion despite global condemnation.

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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...