Good Sunday morning, Evanston!

Kids in the Evanston Children’s Choir pause at their final rehearsal before tonight’s concert. The free holiday show – the choir’s first in three years – starts at 7 p.m. at St. Nicholas Catholic Church, 806 Ridge Ave. The choir, along with the Pope John XXIII school choir, will perform 17 songs. “You’re going to hear something you love,” choir director Gary Geiger promised photographer Richard Cahan, including music for Kwanzaa and Hanukkah, which begins tonight at sundown.

Young voices raised in song, school leaders voicing safety concerns, a City Council voice that likely won’t be heard on a key vote – here’s a roundup of the most-read stories from the RoundTable this past week, plus a few new ones.

For those of you subscribed to this Sunday wrap-up and not the RoundTable’s daily newsletters as well, this will be the final regular newsletter of 2022. We will send out shorter newsletters on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1, but our next regular Sunday edition will be emailed Jan. 8. (If you’d like to receive more news from the RoundTable, consider signing up for our free daily newsletter.)

Now, on to the news:

Safety concerns: Evanston Township High School leaders and board members spoke about urgent public safety concerns for some young Black students. “There are students where if we don’t intervene, it’s a matter of life or death,” said board Vice President Monique Parsons, who is also the McGaw YMCA president.

Lockdown anniversary: A year ago Friday, ETHS went into a lockdown after a school resource officer found loaded handguns in two backpacks. Spurred by that event, The Evanstonian, the ETHS student newspaper, published a special issue on safety. Read what students have to say. Also last week, Superintendent Marcus Campbell said ETHS is again considering a weapons detection system.

Credit: Wendi Kromash

12 days of gift ideas: It’s not just Christmas – Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are right around the corner too. Not sure what to get your true love, and all of your other favorite people? From partridges to drummers drumming, we have gift ideas for young and old alike, and every single suggestion is available right here in Evanston. 

Body identified: Evanston Police identified the person found dead Saturday, Dec. 10, at the Holiday Inn on Sherman Avenue as Nyasia Jennings, a 15-year-old girl from Chicago. “Jennings had been reported as a missing runaway prior to her death,” a Monday police news release said. The investigation is ongoing.

Credit: Bob Seidenberg / Evanston RoundTable

Fifth Ward library? Add Evanston Public Library to the list of groups with an interest in the Fifth Ward school and possible changes to Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center. And don’t forget Family Focus. The Fifth Ward Foster Campus is proving to be a puzzle, with lots of opinions, limited space and a ticking debt clock for District 65.

Shelter recusal? City Council Member Devon Reid, 8th Ward, will likely have to recuse himself from the vote on whether to allow a shelter at the Margarita Inn. Connections for the Homeless is applying for a special use permit and Reid recently utilized one of Connections’ programs distributing eviction prevention funds.

Budget passes: The Evanston City Council on Monday unanimously approved a $395 million budget for 2023 that will put public safety pensions on a 100% funding track, tapping $4.49 million in reserves to fund the move. The Finance & Budget Committee chair was later scolded for an email opposed to the plan.

Credit: Michael Kellams/

Win in OT: Evanston’s boys basketball team probably won’t beat many foes from the 3-point line this season. But that’s what happened Friday night in Wilmette, behind a guy who most foes don’t believe can beat them from beyond the arc. Prince Adams led the ‘Kits in a 54-52 overtime victory at Loyola Academy.

Credit: Michael Kellams/

Lopsided loss: State-ranked Loyola Academy outscored Evanston’s girls 20-1 in the third quarter Friday night and pulled away to win a 55-33 game in Wilmette. Evanston’s leading scorer, junior Zuri Ransom, was absent after a concussion. But coach Brittanny Johnson said her squad needs to come to play, no matter what.

Credit: Susy Schultz

Holiday celebration: The Evanston Symphony Orchestra’s annual holiday concert proceeded from sleighs to bells to dreidels to waltzes to marches, as the orchestra shared the stage with the Evanston Dance Ensemble, Chicago Ballet Arts, Evanston Children’s Choir, North Shore Choral Society and the Evanston Symphony Holiday Gospel Choir. Check out photos and video of the spirited and tuneful event.

$25 or less: Sure, you could top a vehicle from the Autobarn with a giant red bow, just like in those car commercials. But what if you need to buy a present and price frankly is an object? Shopping local doesn’t have to mean shopping expensive. Scroll through this list of finds: 24 great Evanston gift ideas, all priced at $25 or less.

Support the RoundTable

Credit: Susy Schultz

See another side of Evanston history in the newly released RoundTable book, Encountering Evanston History. Written by founders Mary and Larry Gavin (above) and a host of current and former reporters and columnists, it provides a lively look at Evanston’s past, from Indigenous people living on the lakeshore to the coming of settlers and the community’s growth into a modern city. Sales of the book benefit the RoundTable; find out more and order at the official website.

The RoundTable’s fall NewsMatch campaign is ongoing. Through Dec. 31, all donations to the RoundTable are being matched by generous national and local partners, so please support Evanston’s nonprofit newsroom and donate today!

Week in review

For more Evanston news beyond the RoundTable’s most-read and latest stories, here’s a look back at our daily newsletters from the past week. Click on these headlines for even more of our award-winning local coverage.

Monday: Holiday performances, budget issues and more Evanston news

Tuesday: City Council adopts $395 million budget

Wednesday: “Life or death” safety concerns for some Black ETHS students

Thursday: Pension funding debate roils Finance & Budget panel

Friday: One year since ETHS gun lockdown, students examine safety

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