Aloha Evanston, and good Sunday morning!
We thought it’d be nice to start this week’s newsletter with Richard Cahan’s “At This Time” photo from 7:44 p.m. Saturday, July 30. Hawaiian dancer Giselle Aduna teaches hula to kids at Family Luau Night at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center. About two dozen young people – almost all girls – jumped up on stage when volunteers were requested to learn some steps. Why a luau? “It’s the summertime,” said Marchelle Bonner, program coordinator at the center. “Who doesn’t love grass skirts, leis and flowers?”
Today’s weather is forecast to be sunny with a high of 80 degrees, so be sure to get out there and enjoy the last day of July! And now, in case you missed any of the most important local news, here’s a roundup of the top stories from the RoundTable this past week:
Carol Mitten, the current City Administrator of Urbana, Ill., and Evanston City Council’s only current candidate for City Manager, answered submitted questions at a town hall Thursday night. Many questions focused on government transparency, why she wants to work in Evanston and her track record in Urbana. Many residents had strong reactions to the town hall, both in the council chambers and in virtual watch parties at Fifth and Eighth ward meetings.
A 13-year-old girl was shot in the neck Monday night at a backyard party on Fowler Avenue. Police told reporters Tuesday that the shooter fired “at least 10 rounds” over the backyard’s fence, and that “our preliminary investigation shows that the victim was not the target.” A GoFundMe for the girl’s family was created Thursday afternoon, and by early this morning it had raised $18,551 from 270 donations.
Two relatively unusual but highly dangerous diseases have been detected in Evanston recently. As of Friday, July 22, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported three cases of monkeypox within Evanston, out of 238 across the state (those are monkeypox virions at left in the electron microscope above). And on July 8 a batch of mosquitoes collected from a trap in Evanston tested positive for the West Nile virus. Ike Ogbo, Evanston’s Director of Health and Human Services, shared information on the diseases’ risks and the city’s plans with the RoundTable.
Checking in with Council member Juan Geracaris. Reporter Alex Harrison profiles the Ninth Ward Council member, who was appointed in February to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Cicely Fleming. Born in Argentina, he’s the first Latinx member of the City Council and has lived in Evanston for 29 years.
Evanston Pour adds a caffeine kick to Main-Dempster Mile. The area’s diverse selection of culinary delights got a little richer this year with the opening of Evanston Pour, 528 Dempster St., in late February. One part local coffee hub, one part European wine bar, Evanston Pour has the welcoming atmosphere of a neighborhood Cheers.
Man charged in July 14 slaying being held without bond. Khiyran Monroe, a 20-year-old Evanston resident, turned himself in to police Monday after investigators executed a search warrant and told his attorney they had “probable cause for an arrest” in the killing of Servando Hamros on July 14 near the canal. The Cook County State’s Attorney charged Monroe with first degree murder on Tuesday, and a bond hearing was held Wednesday. Monroe’s next court appearance will be Aug. 16.
Block Party, a ‘thank you’ to the Fifth Ward, was a big hit. Connections for the Homeless brought a double dose of community camaraderie to the Fifth Ward Saturday, July 23, with a two-part block party attended by several hundred people. Parents and children turned out to Foster Field from noon to 4 p.m. for Family Fest, enjoying free catered food, face painting and live gospel music. Then from 7 to 11 p.m. adults gathered at Double Clutch Brewing Co. for live bands and food trucks.
With office occupancy down, Downtown Evanston seeks a new market. Downtown business is turning more toward entertainment and social spaces with a major boost expected from the impending reopening of the Church Street Plaza movie theater by AMC. Downtown Evanston, the nonprofit organization that conducts marketing for the downtown business district, is rolling out a new branding campaign and helping to develop of a comprehensive recovery plan for all 10 of Evanston’s business districts.
New Dollop coffee house offers a blend of beverages and convenience. At the newest Dollop coffee house that opened recently in the Albion building downtown, customers can get a steaming cappuccino with a fluffy doughnut, or they can grab a clove of garlic and a bottle of Advil. Dollop General Store & Cafe at 1508 Sherman Ave. is the latest iteration of the established coffee house chain, which includes 15 locations in the Chicagoland area.
First Ward proposal gets heated response from residents. City officials and representatives from Chicago-based Horizon Realty Group met Tuesday, July 26, with First Ward residents for a tumultuous online discussion about the Legacy Evanston, proposed for 1621-1631 Chicago Ave. Horizon is seeking to build an 18-story mixed-used residential building with 7,159 square feet of ground floor commercial space, 180 units – 18 of which would be deemed affordable housing – and 57 parking spaces.
Staff proposes modernizing plan for buildings considered ‘heart of city operations’. Evanston’s Service Center, which holds the Public Works, Fleet Management, Parking Management and other city departments, is in need of major renovation according to city staff at the July 25 City Council meeting. Modernization plans include building rehab and a possible expansion or replacement of another building that houses major equipment and also serves as a parking deck for employees.
Committee OKs funding source for program that will honor legacy businesses. The city’s Economic Development Committee voted at its Wednesday, July 27 meeting to allocate up to $100,000 to help retain longstanding Evanston businesses. Proposed by First Ward Council member Clare Kelly, the program would establish a Legacy Business Registry and could include a dedicated website, business guide and official city recognition to call attention to the businesses.
COVID-19 update as of July 28: Cook County remains in ‘high’ community risk level, Evanston stays in ‘medium’ risk level. The total number of new cases of COVID-19 in Evanston was 172 for the week ending July 27, compared with 167 for the week ending July 21, an increase of 3%. The seven-day average of new cases in the state increased by 9.9%; hospitalizations stayed about the same.
Council OKs $500,000 in COVID-relief funds to retain child care employees. The allocation passed unanimously at the Monday, July 25 City Council meeting. Premium bonus payments, estimated between $600 and $1,200, will be given to employees working in-person at Evanston child care facilities with children up to the age of 5.
Art & Life
Review: ‘The Mamalogues’ delivers heartfelt comedy at Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre. Wendi Kromash reviews Lisa Thompson’s satirical comedy, writing that “much of the dialogue is universally relatable regardless of one’s gender, success at procreation, ethnicity and age.” The show runs through Aug. 7 at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre in the Noyes Cultural Arts Center.
Review: ‘Cowboy Bob,’ a theater workshop based on a true story. Kromash also reviews a theatre workshop about the true story of a cross-dressing bank robber in Texas who successfully robbed four banks before being killed by police. She writes that watching the minimalist production “is like watching a painter paint on a blank canvas or a sculptor unlock a figure trapped in marble. It permits the viewer to watch the creative process in real time, which can be messy, confusing and filled with questions.”
A place for Evanston families who have lost a child. The support group Life Without My Child has been meeting every month since 2019, and met July 24 the families’ surviving children. Founder Jamie Lynn Harris said, “I wanted to get the kids involved. … Now we can open a different channel to see what their feelings and thoughts are.”
They do: Long-distance love finds its way home. Elizabeth Handler Krupkin shares the love story of Anna Hamrick and Teddy Keenan, who were married on June 25 at the Chicago Illuminating Co. The couple began their relationship separated by 843 miles while they attended different schools, still finding time to see each other every five or six weeks on trips home to Evanston.
Evanston Dimension | Ask the historians: Victor Gaskets ‘ghost sign’. After receiving numerous photographs of the “ghost sign” exposed during demolition to make way for the new Northlight Theatre, Kris Hartzell takes a deep historical dive into the history of the World War II-era Victor Gaskets Co. the the eponymous firm the sign advertised.
The store that will last forever. The front wall of the curious little store at 1243 Chicago Ave. just south of Evanston SPACE, has been razed. But the building is not gone forever: A large percentage of the material that went into the store will be recycled. Richard Cahan explores the uses these materials may fill in the future.
Workshoppe Chicago brings international stories to Evanston homes. Whether it’s hand-woven baskets from California or decadent Turkish towels, co-owners Nicole Petsos and Vivian Afrik want to explain to you how and where each artisan piece they sell was created. That’s the business they are busy building, Workshoppe Chicago, which will officially launch Sept. 10.
Letter to the editor: City manager vs. strong mayor. Colin Baenziger, an executive recruiter for local governments, shares his own insights in response to the article “City Government 101: Pros and cons of council-manager government” by RoundTable reporter Alex Harrison.
Martin Russell Hurtig, 1929–2022. Sixty-year Evanston resident Martin Hurtig died peacefully in his home on July 23 at the age of 92. He was a prolific abstract painter, printmaker and sculptor, and was a professor emeritus in the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois at Chicago. A memorial service was held July 28 at the Evanston Art Center.
Mayor Daniel Biss: Reflecting over the past two weeks. Evanston’s mayor reflects on the two recent shootings on McCormick Boulevard and Fowler Avenue, worrying that “in a country awash in guns, in a society with a completely startling and unacceptable level of violence, our collective capacities for shock and outrage are diminished.”
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