Evanston RoundTable
Joseph Sargent took a break from skateboarding to talk to the RoundTable. (Photo by Heidi Randhava)

Good morning, Evanston.

Much of Evanston was watching or listening yesterday when, at 4 p.m., a jury convicted now-fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd last May.

The case took on international meaning as a symbol of injustice at the hands of the State after multiple videos captured the death of Mr. Floyd as a result of then-Officer Chauvin’s kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck, pinning him face-down on the pavement while he was handcuffed for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.

 “‘I can’t breathe.’ Those were George Floyd’s last words. We can’t let those words die with him. We have to keep hearing those words. We must not turn away. … We have a chance to begin to change the trajectory in this country,” said President Joe Biden during a joint appearance with Vice President Kamala Harris soon after the verdict was announced.

Evanston residents shared their thoughts and feelings about the verdict with the RoundTable.

Police Chief Demitrous Cook

And Evanston Police Chief Demitrous Cook reflected on the increased scrutiny facing the police, lessons learned and the importance of making the right decisions and treating people with dignity and respect.

Oakton Street from Asbury Avenue to west City limits

The City of Evanston is seeking community input on improvements to the Oakton Street Corridor, from Asbury Avenue to the North Shore Channel. Community members can learn more about the study and provide feedback by completing an online survey or by attending an upcoming open house, scheduled for 3 to 7 p.m. this Thursday, April 22, at the Crown Community Center.

COVID-19 by the numbers: We are checking in with many sources to keep you updated on COVID-19 cases and vaccine information.

  • Seven new cases were reported yesterday in Evanston; the seven-day average is eight.
  • Northwestern University reported 19 new cases for the seven days ending April 18, down from 44 reported the prior period ending April 11.
  • There were no fatalities reported yesterday. Evanston has lost 116 residents to the pandemic.
  • Our City’s positive test rate for the past seven days is 0.8%; in Illinois it is 3.9%. 
  • The number of cases per 100,000 population over the past seven days is 72 in Evanston and 168 in Illinois.
  • Illinois received 818,400 doses and used 857,700 doses of the vaccine in the past seven days and has about 895,000 doses, about one week’s supply, in inventory. Illinois has used 81% of the 10.2 million doses received to date.
  • Some 3.4 million or 26.8% of total Illinois residents are fully vaccinated, including 462,000 in the past seven days.

Variants: The Illinois Department of Public Health reports 1,585 cases of more infectious COVID-19 variants including 1,141 cases of variant B.1.1.7 (U.K.), 328 cases of P.1 (Brazil) and 97 cases of B.1.427/429 (California). 

Evanston Vax Facts: Some 70% of Evanston residents 16 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 41% are fully vaccinated. Nearly all residents 65 and older have received at least one dose and 84.6% are fully vaccinated.  

Registration for City vaccination clinics is prioritized by age, from oldest to youngest, starting with those 45 and older this week. More details are available on the City’s Vaccine Dashboard.

Vaccination has opened up in Illinois: Everyone 16 and older is eligible for vaccination in the State of Illinois. Given the limited supply of vaccines the City of Evanston is receiving, you may be able to schedule an appointment earlier at vaccination sites in suburban Cook County, the State of Illinois or Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sites. 

The FEMA drive-through site in Gary, Indiana has appointments available all week. The site is located at Roosevelt Park, about a 70-minute drive from Evanston. 

Upcoming Events

Ongoing: North America has lost 30% of its migratory bird population in the last 50 years. Growing native plants and shrubs in your garden can help by offering birds berries to eat, nectar to feed from, insects to eat, and a place to nest. The Evanston Environmental Association and Natural Habitat Evanston are holding a Bird Buzz Native Plant Sale. Order now online and pick up May 22 at the Morton Civic Center.

Butterfly Weed

For a list of upcoming events and meetings, please check the RoundTable calendar.

Elsewhere on the RoundTable Website

COVID-19 Update on April 20: Seven New Cases in Evanston, 2,587 in the State. The risk of community spread is still present. Although the seven-day average of new cases in Evanston, suburban Cook County, Chicago, and the State is trending downward, hospitalizations and the use of ICU beds is continuing to increase on a Statewide basis. In suburban Cook County, Chicago, and the State, the number of new cases per 100,000 in the last seven days is above 150. The Illinois Department of Public Health says that more than 100 cases per 100,000 indicates a risk of “substantial spread.”  

Sheila Arnold as Daisy Bates in her presentation at the Levy Center.

Professional storyteller Sheila Arnold interprets social activist Daisy Bates, head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Arkansas in the 1950s. The premise of the event was a book tour in 1963 by Ms. Bates to promote her memoir, “The Long Shadow of Little Rock.” Wendi Kromash reviews this Levy Lecture Series performance.

Tomorrow is Earth Day

Earth Day Summit Has Potential to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions. In thinking about President Biden’s upcoming Earth Day Summit, Laura Winston is struck by the double meaning of this homophone as both a “peak” and a “meeting.” The future sustainability of our planet requires success on both counts, she observes.

Reduce Carbon Footprint by Shifting to Plant-Based Eating. With Earth Day coming on April 22nd, we have reduced our carbon footprint by curtailing travel and our thermostat. We recycle. But we can do so much more by cutting our consumption of animal meat and milk products, writes Chip Levy.

Around the Web

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