Evanston RoundTable
Closed beach, Lincoln Street beach, Evanston, 1932. In the 1940s, Northwestern University issued a reminder that the Lincoln Street beach was university property, but Evanston had been permitted to operate the beach for public use. (Photo from Evanston History Center Archives)

Good morning, Evanston.

In light of the City’s decision to provide free beach access to residents several days each week, the Evanston History Center examines Evanston’s lakefront through the years in a series called A shifting shoreline.

Evanston’s lakefront, which has long faced problems with erosion, is a site that proves to be constantly shifting, both literally and physically. As white settlers moved into the area, indigenous peoples would be moved away from the shores in appropriation of the land that would later be called Evanston. This was the first act of restriction, and it would be followed by others.

Part 1 of the series details the growing interest in Evanston beaches, as well as initial efforts to restrict access by race. As described in Part 2, regulation of the beaches intensified after the Chicago race riots and in the midst of Prohibition. Part 3 discusses the restrictions the City legalized in response to the growing popularity of Evanston beaches, particularly to Chicagoans.

In case you missed any of the most important news last week, here’s a roundup of the top stories from the RoundTable this past week.

City News

City of Evanston mandates mask in all businesses and indoor public spaces. To reduce the spread of COVID-19 and the highly contagious Delta variant, all individuals two and older, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear a face covering in all businesses and indoor public spaces in Evanston beginning Aug. 27. Cases per week have risen in Evanston, suburban Cook County and Chicago.

In front of the First Presbyterian Church at Chicago and Lake. (RoundTable photo)

Cleanup of downed and damaged trees continues. The City of Evanston’s Forestry Division, as well as private tree and landscape companies, continue to deal with the aftermath of a powerful wind and rainstorm on Aug. 10. Eleven trees were uprooted due to the high winds, and an additional 20 trees needed removal due to extensive damage.

Reimagining Public Safety Committee considers restorative practice circles. Evanston’s Reimagining Public Safety Committee – a group that reevaluates the City’s Police Department policies, functions and funding – is working to build trust with the community. The Moran Center for Youth Advocacy – an organization that provides legal and social services to youth and families in need – proposed the use of restorative practice circles, in which community members and committee members sit in a circle and discuss public safety and the reimagining of Evanston policing. 

Rottweiler’s owner pleads guilty, fined $150. The owner of a Rottweiler that attacked an Evanston woman July 31 was fined $150 at a hearing Aug. 19. The owner, Michael Prendergast, a vascular surgeon, assured the victim and police that the Rottweiler was up-to-date on its rabies vaccinations.

Two rescued, eight boats crash to shore during heroic lakefront rescue. The Evanston Fire Department responded last Tuesday to multiple reports of several overturned sailboats in the lake with swimmers struggling in the water. First-responding companies encountered high winds, heavy rain and sleet conditions along the lakefront, with a total of eight overturned boats in the water and along the beachfront.

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Students leaving King Arts School. (Photo by Bessie Mbadugha)

Excited to be back at King Arts School. As school buses lined up at the curb and parents arrived on foot and bicycle, a palpable sense of anticipation was in the air outside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Literary and Fine Arts School. All eyes were on the front doors. One of the first parents to arrive, Arvin Hutcherson, was excited to hear all about his 5th and 7th graders’ first day back to in-person learning. 

COVID-19 vaccination mandate for all District 65 employees passes with unanimous vote. The District 65 board voted unanimously to support a requirement that all employees provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination by Oct. 15 or submit documentation to the Superintendent for a medical or religious exemption.

Two ETHS teachers honored. Evanston Township High School teacher Eric Brown was recognized by President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden for his commitment to ETHS students as well as his leadership in helping schools across the country navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Brown, a biology teacher in the Science Department at ETHS, plays an active role in making ETHS a safer space for LGBTQ+ students and increasing achievement for students of color.

In addition, ETHS biology teacher Karen Johnson was named a Stellar Educator by the Society for Science and will serve in the organization’s Advocate Program in the coming school year.

Greeting from Supt. Horton to District 65 families. Dear District 65 Families – With much excitement, I want to proudly welcome back all of our students and staff for another school year! It is no secret that our community has responded with an amazing amount of flexibility to a multitude of changes caused by the ongoing pandemic. With each change, we have courageously and seamlessly adjusted to any challenge that arose.

High temperatures did not discourage residents from attending “Back to School – Back to the Future” at Mason Park. (RoundTable photo)

‘Back to School’ event brings together 50-plus community organizations. It was a resource fair, fun fair and back-to-school celebration – all rolled into one nurturing, community-building experience. Evanstonians turned out by the hundreds for “Back to School – Back to the Future” on Aug. 21 at Mason Park. The event was a multi-faceted opportunity to discover resources and enjoy food, music, games and giveaways.

Greeting from Supt. Witherspoon to Wildkits: We still have our humanity It is exciting to have all of you back at ETHS. As you know, ETHS has not been fully opened since March 13, 2020. Welcome freshmen and sophomores. You will have your first full experience of walking these hallways with all your classmates. Welcome juniors. You experienced only seven months in your school during your freshman year. You’re back! And seniors, what can I say? We’ve missed you. 

Art & Life

Credit: Casey Christensen

The Lighthouse Keeper sees … that from Evanston Made to the Art Makers Outpost to the informal association of artists in West Evanston, a lot of talented people live in our town. Local artist Casey Christensen created this torn paper collage (above) for the RoundTable to give this column a look that clearly distinguishes it from the actual structure and Park District adjacent to the City’s northernmost beach. You can see more of her work at thepurplelineart.

My next door neighbor drinks. Dear Gabby, My next door neighbor drinks sometimes, and when she does, she can get angry or overly emotional and sappy. Not sure which is worse. And on any given day, you never know what side of her you will get. The problem for me is that when she’s angry, she says things that make me angry. I’m conflict averse, so I make nice-nice, but then I’m left resenting her and her occasional nasty moods. 

A summer camp and a community for seniors create intergenerational bonds. Staff at Three Crowns retirement community are all too familiar with the sight of children and preteens flooding the facility and bouncing off the walls on hot summer days. Although staff experienced some changes this summer due to COVID-19 precautions, three things stayed the same: children, ice cream and intergenerational friendships. The children were campers at GoodSports Youth Summer Camp, and after camp ended at 1:30 p.m., they poured into the retirement home. 

Ceramic plates (Submitted photo)

The art of making art: Joanna Kramer. “You broke it? I’m so glad you were using it!” As a functional ceramicist, Joanna Kramer makes products that are meant to be used: mugs, vases, bowls and more. When one of her creations leaves her studio, Kramer feels a certain contentment knowing it survived the perilous creation process and that in the days and years to come, the piece will be part of someone’s daily rituals and special celebrations.

Public Square

I walked the length of the Greenleaf Street pilot program. When I discovered the City’s plans to launch a pilot program on Greenleaf Street, limiting traffic and creating space for pedestrians and cyclists, I knew I had to check it out for myself. I always appreciate a good walk, so I called up my friend Suzy Vazquez, and together we strolled the length of Greenleaf Street from McDaniel Avenue to Lake Shore Boulevard, documenting the walk in pictures.


Rebuilding swim team will count on Consiglio. Lily Consiglio’s high school resume includes State-qualifying performances in each of her first three years competing for Evanston, either as an individual or member of a freestyle relay team. Now the Wildkits’ swim standout is aiming to make an even bigger splash as a senior.

Opportunity knocks for next soccer senior class. Players in the Evanston boys soccer program know from past history that no matter how good you are, and what skill level you reach, you’ll usually have to wait until your senior year to get major minutes when it comes to playing time.

Wildkits seeking answers as grid season opens. Evanston Township High School head coach Mike Burzawa is embracing the uncertainty that comes from the fact that the Wildkits, like every other program in Illinois, are coming off a pandemic-induced “half” season last spring and only return a half dozen starters from a team that posted a 3-3 record.

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Adina Keeling

Adina Keeling is a photojournalist and reporter, covering city news, sustainability, schools, and art. She also investigates mental health systems and environmental injustices in Evanston, and puts together...