Evanston RoundTable
Credit: Saul Lieberman

Happy Friday morning, Evanston!

Fall officially starts in less than a week. But there’s something in the air that signals summer is coming to an end and it’s not the crispness of the weather. It’s actually the sounds: the marching bands, the whistles on the football fields as the players run drills and the swish of cheerleader pom-poms in front of a full stadium. Plus the Wildits-Barrington game last night, which students appeared to enjoy (above)!

All of that was happening yesterday during the ‘Kits, ‘Cats and Kids Block Party as the whole community celebrated the start of a new school year at Evanston High School’s Lazier Field. Photographers Richard Cahan and Saul Lieberman, as well as reporter Duncan Agnew, caught it all, including the cheer team members applying a Wildcat temporary tattoo to 4-year-old Sophia Deutschman’s forehead (below), while she was wearing her own cheer outfit, thank you very much!

The celebration was also a big warmup for the ETHS vs. Barrington game last night, which the Wildkits lost 28-14. The Central Suburban League South division season starts a week from today when the Kits face New Trier. The game and party weren’t the only things going on Thursday: it was a day packed with news. So, let’s get to it.

Kevin Brown, the city’s former community services manager who received praise for leading the youth and young adult division’s outreach efforts for those at-risk, filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the City of Evanston. Brown, who was fired by the city in 2019 for letting his employees park in short-term city parking spots and failing to pay parking tickets, alleges the city terminated him on the basis of race and in retaliation for calling out a supervisor’s white privilege.

At Thursday’s One Water Summit in Milwaukee, Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss announced the cost of removing lead pipes and service lines from the city will increase the water rate by 70% unless the federal or state government provides some kind of outside funding. The Mayors Commission on Water Equity is made up of a cluster of mayors of communities that surround the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin. It was established in 2020 in an effort to advocate for water equity.

Credit: RoundTable file photo

The former Burger King at Orrington Avenue and Clark Street is going to be coming down “any day now” to make room for a 10-story, 100,000 sq. ft office building, Downtown Evanston Executive Director Annie Coakley announced Thursday, during a virtual First Ward meeting. She also said the AMC movie theater in the Church Street Plaza is “100% happening.”

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Credit: Joerg Metzner

What’s your favorite Evanston nonprofit? The RoundTable is asking you to pick us!! Please, pick us!! Please? Every year, Realtor Jackie Mack from Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty donates money to Evanston nonprofits. She makes the choice by seeing which nonprofits can get the most community support. The nonprofit with the most votes stands to win $5,000. The RoundTable would love that very generous donation! So, please go to the Commission Mission Voting Page that Mack has set up and vote for the Evanston RoundTable. Thank you.

Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

District 65 rolls out new security initiatives. After announcing plans to hire new safety and security staff members and to use new security software programs over the summer, Evanston/Skokie District 65 gave an update on those efforts to the Personnel, Buildings & Grounds and Finance Committee during its latest afternoon meeting Wednesday, Sept. 14.

John McClelland: A Time-Traveler’s Evanston. Our Evanston Essays series continues with McClelland taking us through time: “The city proposed licensing liquor sales in restaurants, controversial in the home of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. Downtown retail was moving to malls. The saying about on-street parking was, and is, ‘Pull out of a spot, and it’s taken before it gets cold.'”

Books: Local author Elisa A. Schmitz hopes to fire up readers. Schmitz grew up in Puerto Rico, Lebanon and Evanston, and her new book, Become the Fire: Transform Life’s Chaos into Business and Personal Success, shows how to transform obstacles that can block the progress of women and Black, Indigenous and people of color into the unstoppable fuel of fulfillment and success. 

Legacy Business Program to help long-time enterprises survive and succeed. A working group made up of City Council members, city officials and local businesses is pioneering a Legacy Business Program that will provide direct support to Evanston-based businesses and nonprofit organizations that have operated for at least 20 years.

COVID-19 update as of Sept. 15, Cook County stays in ‘medium’ community risk level, Evanston remains in ‘low’ risk level. The total number of new cases of COVID-19 in Evanston was 53 for the week ending Sept. 14, compared to 55 for the week ending Sept. 8, a decrease of 3.6%. The seven-day average of new cases in the state decreased by 2.6%; hospitalizations decreased by 2.9%.

North Shore Century Bike Ride will bring thousands to Evanston this Sunday. More than 2,000 brightly clad bicycle riders, friends and supporters are expected to descend upon Evanston Sunday, Sept. 18, when the Evanston Bicycle Club’s annual North Shore Century bicycle ride gets underway.

Picturing Evanston. Vigil, an installation by Evanston-artist Alice George at 1324 Ashland Ave. It’s a response to the epidemic of violence in the United States. Starting on Aug. 15, George suspended one origami boat for each gun-related fatality in Cook County. (Photo by Joerg Metzner)

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Around the web

Darren Bailey’s tax returns show years of feast – and famine – on the farm. The Republican gubernatorial candidate released his tax returns on Wednesday, and they show a man who reported no taxable income and net losses in 2020 and 2021. Bailey is a state senator and a downstate farmer, and his campaign said his annual income is always closely tied to how his farms perform.

Aldermen, Residents Rip CTA On Ghost Trains And Buses As Agency President Skips Public Hearing. Chicago council members skewered representatives of the Chicago Transit Authority during a hearing held Wednesday, voicing complaints from constituents about late arrivals, ghost trains and consistent delays in transportation. And because the CTA president was a no show for the meeting.

Railroad strike averted: With tentative deal, Metra trains may run as scheduled. After Metra had already canceled some of its scheduled lines for Thursday night, railroad workers and companies reached a late-night deal Wednesday to ensure trains will not stop running this week. Days off for medical care was a key guarantee that the workers won from the freight companies.

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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...