Evanston RoundTable
A pipe and fixtures in an older Evanston home. (Photo by Adina Keeling)

Good Thursday morning, Evanston.

Evanston city staffers are slowly working to replace the 11,471 lead service lines that carry the city’s drinking water, but they say it’s not an urgent matter. 

Prior to October 28, blood lead level data in Evanston appeared to be reassuring. According to 2018 data provided by the city’s Health and Human Services Department, only 4% of blood tests administered to Evanston children age 6 and under that year showed results exceeding 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL), which at the time was the blood lead reference value used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Illinois Department of Public Health still utilizes 5 µg/dL as a reference level – but two weeks ago, the CDC lowered its value for children ages 1-5 to 3.5 µg/dL.

Read the first installment in the RoundTable’s three-part series – Lead pipes in Evanston: How local government inaction reinforces inequity.


Staffing has proven to be a major challenge for Evanston/Skokie School District 65 this academic year, with the district facing unmet needs for substitute teachers, paraprofessionals and tutors

“Just looking at just what’s happening across the country, we’re anticipating this to be an issue for at least the remainder of the school year,” Superintendent Dr. Devon Horton said. “It’s going to be challenging.”


Vivian Zhu, left, and Maia Roothaan of Cookies for Compost. (Photo by Libby Hall)

As world leaders continue to debate climate policy at the COP26 conference in Glasgow, ETHS senior Maia Roothaan isn’t waiting around to fight climate change at home in the Evanston community.

This past summer, as a student at the University of Iowa’s Creative Writing program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, she applied for a grant from the State Department’s Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund to support a free composting program primarily for low-income Evanston families.


COVID by the numbers: 21 new cases were reported yesterday in Evanston. The seven-day average is seven.


An important note for newsletter subscribers: Some readers have been telling us that they’ve been getting the wrong emails in their inbox — instead of getting just a weekly email, they’re getting a daily email. We’ve updated our preferences page to make sure that it’s easy to choose how often you hear from us.

If you want to change your email preferences, here’s an easy fix: Click on the “Update preferences” link at the bottom of this email, check the box for the newsletters you want, and then save. You can choose to receive the weekday newsletter plus the Sunday edition, or only the Sunday wrap-up. We’ll make sure to send you just the newsletter editions that you select.

Thanks — and we apologize for any confusion this may have caused!


In the United States, 25% of newspapers have ceased operation, and 2,000 community newspapers have closed in the past 15 years. The vacuum created when local journalism declines poses a serious threat to democracy. Our democracy relies on a free press to educate the public.

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Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

​​Pear photo by Julie Chernoff.

Sweet or savory? Pears cross the divide. Julie Chernoff gives you her favorite pear dishes for this fall season before Thanksgiving arrives.

Letter: Advocacy works! After a previous letter to the editor asking for support of part-day early childhood programs receiving the state-offered Childcare Workforce Bonus, those programs are now eligible.

ETHS teachers named Teach Plus 2021-22 Illinois Policy Fellows. ETHS English teachers Angela Sangha-Gadsden and John Phillips were selected by Teach Plus as two of 24 educators to serve as Fellows for its 2021-22 Illinois Policy Fellowship cohort.

Evanston Police announces gun buyback event. On December 4 the Evanston Police Department will partner with the Evanston Community Foundation, Mount Zion Baptist Church and Carolyn Murray to host a gun buyback event.

Levy Senior Center hosts Fran Randall Concert Series. The center is proud to bring the talents of young, award-winning classical musicians to the Levy Senior Center for the Fran Randall Concert Series on Friday, November 12 at 1:30 p.m.  


Around the web

The Chicago Park District’s board president resigns amid the lifeguard abuse scandal. Board President Avis LaVelle stepped down at a press conference Wednesday amid an ongoing investigation into sexual abuse and harassment within the park district.

Civic Center Relocation Feasibility Project sparks discourse among Evanston residents. Evanstonians have mixed feelings about the idea of moving the Civic Center to a new location.


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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...