Snapper Poche (left) and John Fournier are the finalists for Evanston’s City Manager opening. Credit: City of Evanston

Good Sunday morning, Evanston, and happy first day of May.

The city announced Friday afternoon that Snapper Poche, Program Director of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, and John Fournier, Assistant City Administrator in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are the two finalist candidates for the position of City Manager in Evanston.

On Tuesday the city will host a virtual community town hall where each candidate will have a chance to discuss his vision for the future of Evanston and answer questions from residents. One finalist will start the town hall at 6:30 p.m. and the other will follow at 7:30 p.m., according to a Friday news release from the city. Evanstonians can submit questions for the candidates by 5 p.m. Monday.


Haven Middle School. Credit: Adina Keeling Credit: Adina Keeling

During a monthly Fifth Ward meeting on Thursday evening, District 65 Superintendent Devon Horton spoke candidly about the recent behavioral situation at Haven Middle School and identified specific areas where the administration can improve.

Horton said the district owns there have been issues at Haven “for a while.” And he pointed to the new Fifth Ward school – scheduled to open no earlier than the 2024-2025 school year – as an opportunity for students to do better. 

“We see a light at the end of the tunnel. We’re bringing our babies home, they’re coming back to the Fifth Ward school,” Horton said, adding that the district is working to hire a staff that reflects the school’s student population. 


Sketchbook Brewing Co. taproom.

Have a beer on us and support local journalism 

We’re kicking off our Spring Membership Drive with News and Brews, a celebration of local journalism featuring live music and free beer! 

Join us from 7 to 9 p.m. on Monday, May 9, at Sketchbook Brewing Co., 821 Chicago Ave. All attendees will receive two free beers and we’ll have some light refreshments provided by our friends at Firehouse Grill.

RoundTable editors, writers and other contributors will be on hand for the evening, along with members of our board and advisory committee. We’ll also have a short music program featuring performances by RoundTable Racial Justice Fellow Debbie-Marie Brown and Steel String Highway, the alt-country/rock band led by RoundTable VP Mark Miller and friends.

Here’s a huge thanks to our friends at Sketchbook and Firehouse Grill, our event sponsors! Attendance is limited, so RSVP today to reserve your spot


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

City News

Willie Shaw of the Evanston branch of the NAACP joins Thursday morning YWCA’s Stand Against Racism demonstration along Ridge Avenue. Credit: Rich Cahan

YWCA Stand Against Racism returns with post-pandemic vigor. Hundreds of people turned out for the event April 28 along Ridge Avenue. Demonstrators from more than a dozen community organizations and schools held signs like “Honk for Equality,” “Dismantle Racism, Transphobia and Homophobia,” and “No Racists.”

“The fact that you are all here and went through the process is so meaningful,” Council Member Peter Braithwaite told the reparations recipients. Credit: Bob Seidenberg

Evanston honors first reparations recipients – ‘a long overdue redress’ of past wrongs. Evanston officials paid special tribute to the first recipients of grants through the city’s reparations program on April 25, holding a dinner in their honor and expressing hope their participation in the program will serve as a first step in correcting a history of racial discrimination.

Evanston leaders discuss reparations with Northfield temple. Former Evanston Council Member Robin Rue Simmons and Mayor Daniel Biss brought the reparations conversation to Temple Jeremiah in Northfield in a conversation moderated by Rabbi Paul F. Cohen on April 24.

Katherine Gotsick poses in front of cleaning materials outside coLab Evanston at 1880 Oak Ave. Credit: Debbie-Marie Brown

Evanston celebrates Earth Day with neighborhood cleanups. Over Earth Day weekend the RoundTable caught up with volunteers participating in the Main-Dempster Mile Cleanup. This year the cleanup expanded and sent volunteers along Dempster Avenue and Sherman Avenue to Raymond Park, Curry Park, CTA Park and Grey Park.

City declares climate emergency, commits to net zero emissions policy. With a mix of younger and older residents pressing for action, Evanston City Council members approved a resolution Monday night declaring a climate emergency and committing to an immediate mobilization effort to restore climate stability.

Albany Care, 901 Maple Ave. Credit: RoundTable file photo

‘It was headed for disaster,’ says former Albany Care staffer. As the state considers whether to pull the license for Albany Care, a psychiatric rehabilitation clinic just east of Grey Park, a former staff member repeated previous reports about the facility being understaffed and poorly managed, which he said resulted in diminished care for the approximately 300 residents who live there. 

Josh Gilbert, founder and owner of Temperance Beer Co., stands by a brewing tank. Credit: Duncan Agnew

Temperance Beer Co. brews up local business partnerships and community support. In 2013, the brewing industry came to Evanston when Evanston native Josh Gilbert founded Temperance Beer Co. on Dempster Street in a World War II-era building that once housed the Sentinel Radio Corp. Gilbert came up with the name of the brewery as an ode to Evanston’s complicated history with alcohol.

COVID-19 update as of April 28: Seven-day average of new cases puts Evanston in ‘medium’ risk category. New COVID-19 cases in suburban Cook County, Chicago and the state increased again in the last week. New cases in Evanston declined slightly. Cook County remains in the “low” risk level, but Evanston is in the “medium” risk level.

Tom Howard, an Evanston firefighter since 1999, has a master’s of divinity degree with an emphasis on pastoral care. Credit: Wendi Kromash Credit: Wendi Kromash

‘All of us are carrying these burdens’: Evanston firefighter helps colleagues cope with stress. A 2021 study found that firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians had “significantly higher” rates of suicide compared with the general U.S. population, but Tom Howard, a firefighter at Station 3 on Central Street, is committed to leading cultural change around mental health and peer support.

Council gives an earful on proposal to change sound limits. After raising concerns about the standard used and the enforceability of the ordinance, Evanston City Council members have bounced back to committee a proposal to place a decibel limit on loud music or amplified sounds.

In weather crisis, you may be the first responder – so be ready, experts urge. Evanston Fire Department Division Captain Kimberly Kull and several colleagues from inside and outside city government presented information at an April 21 session to help residents prepare for seasonal weather hazards and combat the effects of climate change.


Schools

Speaker Lily Aaron, ETHS senior. Credit: Evan Girard

ETHS students hold walkout to dramatize climate demands. Evanston Township High School students have been demanding that the school hire a full-time sustainability coordinator, and on Monday, April 25, they walked out of school to support and promote their demands.

Evanston Township High School. Credit: RoundTable file photo

ETHS again ranked among top U.S. high schools. U.S. News & World Report published its latest edition of the Best High Schools list on Tuesday, and Evanston Township High School ranked 955th out of more than 24,000 high schools nationwide and No. 41 in the Illinois for 2022. ETHS received an overall score of 94.65 out of 100.


Art & Life

Sculptor Erik Blome works on his giant bust of Chicago founder Jean Baptiste Point du Sable. Credit: Submitted photo

Bust of du Sable coming to Evanston in the fall. A giant bronze head of Jean Baptiste Point du Sable will visit the City of Evanston this fall, to be displayed near the Chase Bank Plaza at Orrington Avenue and Davis Street, before moving on in the spring of 2023.

Artist Sherry Smith sketches inside when the weather doesn’t cooperate. Credit: Submitted photo

The Art of Making Art: Sherry Smith. Urban sketching is the practice of drawing, or drawing and painting, the scene in front of you for the purpose of capturing a moment, a place and a memory. Evanston resident Sherry Smith learned about urban sketching two years ago and fell in love with it.

Vegetable ramen with egg. Credit: Sam Stroozas

Japanese street food comes to Evanston. Penny Mohr and her husband, Chris Mohr, opened Tomo Japanese Street Food in Evanston on April 19, with a line stretching down Sherman Avenue. They have been perfecting their ramen recipe through the years, beginning at the Forum55 Food Hall in Chicago in 2018.

Professor Pier Gabrielle Foreman. Credit: Penn State

NU to host renowned Black history scholar at May events. This Monday and Wednesday, May 2 and 4, Professor Pier Gabrielle Foreman, a renowned scholar, educator and author, will give two public lectures on Northwestern’s campus. She will also lead workshops for faculty and graduate students.

Credit: Mike Roche

The week in photos: April 18-25. In the photo above, Mike Roche captured a lovely spring sight at Perkins Woods right before sunset.

Dear Gabby: Is it OK to let my kids quit? Dear Gabby, I am a single mom, and I was raised in a family that had a strict policy about not quitting things. Now that I have kids who are joining teams and taking piano lessons, I am torn about what to do when their interest inevitably flags.

Brian Wynn comes off the ice at the Robert Crown Community Center. Credit: Aaron Barnhart Credit: Aaron Barnhart

Zamboni driver’s last ride. Friday, April 29, 2:33 p.m. Brian Wynn “spun a doughnut” on his last day as Zamboni driver for the City of Evanston at the Robert Crown Community Center. He learned to drive a Zamboni 19 years ago, at the old Robert Crown center.

The Evanston Lighthouse Rotary Club and the Great Lakes Alliance participate in an Earth Day beach cleanup. Credit: Lighthouse Keeper

The Lighthouse Keeper sees … that members of the Evanston Lighthouse Rotary Club and the Great Lakes Alliance picked up bits of plastic and other trash at Lighthouse Beach as part of Earth Day activities around town.

Rank and File | ETHS ties for 5th at All-Girls Chess Nationals. After a two-year pause during the pandemic, the All-Girls National Chess Championships returned to Chicago. The team of Isabela Maiewski, Lucia Scrimenti and Orlagh Reardon ably represented Evanston Township High School, tying for fifth place in the tournament’s oldest (under 18) age division. 


Public Square

Letter from the Mayor on climate action: Now or never. “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently released their third part of the Sixth Assessment Report, declaring this a ‘now or never’ moment if we are serious about avoiding the truly catastrophic consequences of climate change,” writes Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss.

Official 2013 portrait of first lady Michelle Obama. Credit: Chuck Kennedy/White House photo

Peggy Tarr: April is International Black Women’s Heritage Month. A proclamation for April to be Black Women’s Heritage Month was made in 2016 by the Atlanta City Council. Sha Battle, who led the effort for the proclamation, expanded this April focus to become the International Black Women’s Heritage Month, to include all women of African descent.

Letter to the editor: Community must play a role in City Manager search. “It’s so important that the process to find a new city manager include community priorities and input. Experience shows that our community can play a role in recruiting the best candidates, and perhaps also in deterring them,” writes former Seventh Ward Council member Jane Grover.

Some are concerned about the safety of bird feeders amid the avian flu crisis. Credit: Pixabay

Guest essay: Bird feeders and bird flu. RoundTable contributor Libby Hill discusses the current crisis of avian flu, also known as bird flu. She writes that based on current data and information, if you are feeding only songbirds, it is safe to keep feeding birds.

Letter to the editor: District 65 students, teachers and staff deserve more transparency. “I am a Haven parent and attended the School District 65 board meeting on Monday, April 18. As noted in your reporting of the meeting, the YouTube live feed went down partway through the meeting,” writes Jeannine Martin.


Sports

ETHS baseball: Kits survive scary moment, win suspended game. Hank Liss blasted a three-run home run in the top of the eighth inning, and Evanston’s baseball team survived one of the scariest moments in program history to complete a series sweep of Glenbrook South on Friday with a 7-4 triumph.

ETHS boys gymnastics: Evanston gymnasts claim first CSL title since 1988. The Wildkits relied on the one-two scoring punch of freshman Erik Van Leer and senior Aryeh Lesch and piled up a school record 144.15 points to dominate the eight-team field.

ETHS girls soccer: Viamille’s 3 goals spark Kit girls on Senior Night. Head Coach Stacy Salgado couldn’t start all 13 seniors on the roster, but they all saw significant action in a 5-0 blanking of Maine South that brought the Wildkits one step closer to the program’s possible first conference title since 2016.

ETHS baseball: Liss strikes out 11 in 2-0 triumph over Glenbrook South. Junior Hank Liss pitched a three-hit shutout – his second shutout of the spring – and struck out 11 while dominating the Titans and leading the Wildkits to their 13th victory in 16 outings.

ETHS girls track: Hurdler Artley joins list of relay options for Kits. Junior Abrielle Artley, just a few minutes after placing second in the 300-meter hurdles, ran the leadoff leg on the 1600 relay and helped the Wildkits score an easy victory while breaking four minutes (at 3:59.40) for the first time this spring.


Become a member!

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 and in-depthjournalism, 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.

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...