Evanston RoundTable
(Adina Keeling photo)

Good morning, Evanston.

The City of Evanston has retained the services of an outside law firm to conduct an independent investigation of all matters related to recently reported allegations of misconduct by Evanston lakefront staff. The firm will investigate charges brought by more than 50 female lifeguards and beach staff in a petition given to the City in July 2020, asking for City officials to address sexual harassment and other abuses at Evanston’s lakefront.

Evanston law firm Salvatore, Prescott, Porter & Porter will investigate the allegations and the steps taken by the City of Evanston in response, and will provide recommendations for the City moving forward. The firm is founded by female trial lawyers.

(RoundTable photo)

In other City news, pay stations and parking enforcement officers are heading to Evanston’s historically free lakefront with the Evanston City Council’s approval of a pilot a parking program charging non-residents for parking along the area.

With little debate, Council Members voted 6-3 in support of the staff-recommended program to institute the pilot program near or on lots adjacent to the beach area that runs along most of the City’s eastern edge.

The City had been one of the last communities along the lakefront with an ample parking area where visitors could park for free within easy access of the beaches.

The parking fee might keep some non-residents from visiting Evanston beaches. Nelo Nightingale, who spent July 25 at Evanston’s Clark Street Beach, opposes the move, even though as an Evanston resident he would be exempt from paying parking fees.

“I would be upset,” said Nightingale. “That’s why most people come here. Most people are not even from Evanston.They come, they park, they have a good time and they enjoy Evanston. Why are they trying to scare the people out of Evanston?”

Here’s a roundup of other top stories from the RoundTable this week.

City News

This heritage oak tree was cut down earlier this month. (Photo courtesy of Nancy Bradt)

Without protection from the City, Evanston oak trees on private property are in danger. An empty plot of land sits at the intersection of Orrington Avenue and Lincoln Street. This land was the home of three more-than-a-century old oak trees, one of which was recently cut down earlier this month. City officials say they want to be environmental preservationists, yet they continue to fail to put in place the necessary guidelines to block the destruction of valuable trees like these.

Overnight Sewer Rehabilitation Work Planned for Dempster Street at Dodge Avenue, July 28 and 29. The City of Evanston will conduct overnight sewer rehabilitation work on Dempster Street west of Dodge Avenue on Wednesday, July 28 and Thursday, July 29, weather permitting. Work will begin each evening at 6 p.m. and will conclude by 7 a.m. the following day, with all work anticipated to be complete by Friday morning.

City to conduct asphalt pavement patching beginning Aug. 2. Evanston will be patching large areas of asphalt pavement on Gross Point Road, Harrison Street, Oakton Street and Sheridan Road beginning the week of Aug. 2. The work is scheduled to be completed the following week, weather permitting, as part of the 2021 Motor Fuel Tax Street Resurfacing Project. This project will entail removing the top distressed and failing asphalt surface and replacing it with a fresh, smooth asphalt surface coarse material.

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School News

ETHS asks students and staff to submit proof of vaccination. In less than a month, Evanston Township High School will welcome students back to full-time in-person instruction. All students will be asked to provide proof of vaccination by Aug. 5 to allow time for processing before the opening of school on Aug. 16. Staff are asked to submit proof of vaccination by Aug. 2.

Arts & Life

Lana Gas shows off the flamingo painting on her arm at Evanston’s annual Sidewalk Sale Saturday. (Photo by Adina Keeling)

Evanston hosts fifth annual sidewalk sale. Evanston’s annual Sidewalk Sale came alive again this past weekend with a multitude of community activities along with some exceptional deals. Families headed to Fountain Square Saturday to enjoy a live DJ and a variety of activities, including corn hole, Jenga, face painting and henna. Hosted by Downtown Evanston and the Main-Dempster Mile, the event was part of the City’s Sidewalk Sale, which ran from July 22 to July 25.

Grace notes (Submitted photo)

The art of making art: Amy O. Woodbury. Motion. Movement. Space. Amy O. Woodbury was once a contemporary dancer and choreographer where her milieu was motion, movement and space. While in the studio inventing movement, she would sometimes envision images and concepts that she thought would be better expressed as a piece of visual art rather than a dance. Today, as a two-dimensional visual artist, she is tapping into her choreography experience as a way to create motion, movement and space on canvas.

The artist at work. (Submitted photo)

The captivating creativity of Mark Cleveland. The ancient Roman philosopher Seneca reportedly said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Mark Cleveland might be the best embodiment of this maxim as he shares his musical and artistic talents with friends, family and the many strangers he meets in his wide-ranging travels. Many Evanstonians are familiar with Cleveland’s work as a musician, having seen and heard him perform around town.

2021 Starlight Movies in the Park series begins July 31 at Lovelace Park with Soul Surfer. The free outdoor movie series will feature 13 movies on Tuesdays and Saturdays through September at park locations throughout Evanston. All movies will begin at 7 p.m.

When coded beats come alive. Tonight, come and learn how to code a beat in Tunepad using Python. Then have your creation played by a live band. This event was designed to introduce youth to coding or enhance their knowledge in a fun way.

Public Square

The Lighthouse Keeper sees… that Evanston’s Grosse Pointe Lighthouse has had 16 Light Keepers since 1874 and is currently managed by Donald J. Terras, Director of the Lighthouse Park District. In 1934, the lighthouse became the first on the Great Lakes to install a photoelectric device that turned the light on and off, leading to the decommissioning of the lighthouse, and giving responsibility for upkeep to the Park District.  

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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...