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Credit: Richard Cahan

Good Friday morning, Evanston.

Thirty-six students, chosen from local elementary schools and ETHS, were honored with 2023 African American Youth Achievement Awards Thursday night. Welcoming them on stage was the drum performing group S.O.U.L. Creations.

Now, marching to the drumbeat of more news, here are today’s top Evanston stories:

Credit: Evanston FIre Department

A fire broke out Thursday morning in an apartment building at 930 Judson Ave. Evanston and several neighboring fire departments responded. Firefighters contained the blaze with what EFD Chief Paul Polep called a “very aggressive attack” on the flames. No residents were injured, though two cats died and 13 people were displaced.

Credit: Ellen Galland

The new Robert Crown Community Center has received some good news recently: It won a design honor from the Chicago Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. And an engineering report found the center’s visible first-floor concrete slab cracks are “normal shrinkage cracks” and do not need to be treated.

Chute Middle School teacher Rika Soodek participates in a June demonstration at the school. Credit: Richard Cahan

In a Thursday afternoon update, Evanston Police said the loaded gun brought to Chute Middle School by a 13-year-old student on Monday had been stolen from an unlocked vehicle the night before.

RoundTable weekend roundup

The Bowie Project: Dance to the music of David Bowie, performed by vocalist Paul Marinaro and the Metropolitan Jazz Octet, at 8 p.m. tonight at Studio5.

Hygge Fest: Celebrate the Danish lifestyle with a cup of hot chocolate and ice carving from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday at Fountain Square.

Lark Sparrow Press: The printing shop on Ashland Avenue is hosting a free tour and a talk with Craig Jobson from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

ETHS Jazz Festival: On Saturday the high school is hosting a full day of workshops and performances with Chicago bassist Ethan Philion as the headliner.

Chicken & Biscuits: ETHS Theatre’s winter play is at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $6 for students and seniors and $8 for everyone else.

Mahler 1: The Evanston Symphony Orchestra presents the music of Mozart, Prokofiev and Mahler at its next concert at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall.

More RoundTable reads

Credit: City of Evanston YouTube

About 17 people – half from small businesses – met with city officials Thursday to discuss a proposal to prohibit cashless businesses in Evanston. Hewn Bakery co-owner Julie Matthei (above) and others said going cashless was safer and easier.

Northwestern’s Ryan Field project, public safety and the future of downtown Evanston were topics at Tuesday night’s Fourth Ward meeting hosted by Council Member Jonathan Nieuwsma (right). Residents talked about the operating license being sought by the Margarita Inn homeless shelter.

Nieuwsma explains why he supports the Margarita Inn in a letter to the editor. Mayor Daniel Biss has also issued an open letter backing the project.

Credit: Manan Bhavnani

District 65 held the last of three public meetings Wednesday to discuss the new Fifth Ward school, with attendees questioning funding and parking plans. The Feb. 8 session drew 23 people, making a total of about 68 people who went to the three meetings.

After 2½ hours of comments Wednesday, the Land Use Commission put off a decision on whether to support plans that involve a land swap with the city and building a new church for Mt. Pisgah Ministry and 44 units of affordable housing.

In a letter to the community published Thursday, YWCA Evanston/North Shore officially named Cherese Ledet (above) as its next CEO, starting on March 6. She replaces longtime leader Karen Singer, who is retiring.

Covid update: Local hospitalizations have steadily fallen since mid-January, and Evanston remained in the CDC’s low risk category for local transmission.

This month the Open Studio Project’s Gallery 901 is featuring the works of William Douglas, who has created art to navigate his struggles with mental illness and assist his recovery from a major stroke in 2018.

Donate gently used evening dresses, shoes, jewelry and accessories to Dreams Delivered, a program from The Woman’s Club of Evanston that sponsors a free prom boutique for students in April.

Credit: Kia

“In an effort to combat rising Kia thefts,” the EPD said it is teaming wth Kia America in a steering wheel lock giveaway next week to Evanston residents who own or lease a Kia. Some older Kia models lack an anti-theft “immobilizer” feature.

Picturing Evanston: The oldest building on the Northwestern campus is the Victorian Gothic University Hall, built in 1869 by Gurdon P. Randall. (Photo by Joerg Metzner)

Join our team: Do you like to write? Are you curious about the varied and dynamic life of Evanston? The RoundTable is looking for feature writers to cover human interest stories and produce profiles about our fair city. If you’d like to write, we’d love to hear from you! Email us at news@evanstonroundtable.com.

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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 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

Poll: Chicago voters feel unsafe, unhappy with police relations — and are looking for a candidate to fix it all. Nearly two-thirds of Chicagoans said they feel unsafe, and almost half of survey respondents identified crime as the top issue.

In Focus: Physical accessibility limits students on Northwestern’s Evanston campus. The Daily Northwestern dives into obstacles on the college campus for people using wheelchairs or other mobility-supporting devices.

Paul Vallas’ son is one of 3 police officers who fatally shot a man in Texas in 2022. Vallas, the ex-CPS CEO running for Chicago mayor, said his son was cleared of any misconduct in the case.

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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...