Evanston RoundTable
The hotel lobby has not changed significantly since Connections for the Homeless began operating a shelter at the Margarita Inn. (Photo by Adina Keeling)

Good Wednesday morning, Evanston.

The Margarita Inn remains mostly unchanged since Evanston nonprofit Connections for the Homeless began operating a shelter within the hotel two years ago under an emergency declaration. Officials for the organization plan to apply for a special-use permit to take over the hotel permanently.

Connections for the Homeless Director of Development Nia Tavoularis gave the RoundTable a tour of the building. She said a rumor has circulated that the hotel’s interior had been stripped to the bones.

But the building at 1566 Oak Ave., maintains much of its former charm. Last year, the inn served 187 people, 68% of them Evanstonians. 


(Graphic courtesy City of Evanston)

A gas giveaway Thursday at the Mobil station at 1950 Green Bay Road has the Evanston Police Department warning of anticipated heavy traffic in the area of Green Bay and Foster Street throughout the morning of March 24 as drivers line up for up to $50 in free gas.

The Evanston Mobil station is one of 50 Chicago-area gas stations participating in the giveaway funded by Chicago businessman Willie Wilson. Drivers who are not participating in the event are encouraged to avoid the area Thursday and use alternate routes, if possible. The event begins at 7 a.m. and will last until funding is exhausted. 


COVID-19 by the numbers: Nine cases were reported Monday, March 21, the last day the city updated case totals. The seven-day average is 12 cases per day.


Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

ETHS grad Gia Clarke visits the Trevi Fountain in Rome. (Photo courtesy of Gia Clarke)

Study abroad: As the world awakens, Evanston college students venture beyond borders. The pandemic shut down international student programs in March 2020, but anecdotal evidence suggests that participation in these study-abroad plans is finally back on the upswing. Here are the stories of five college juniors from Evanston who are studying outside the U.S.

At This Time: Tuesday at 5:25 p.m. Linda Foster swings her metal detector through Raymond Park in search of buried treasure. She ordered the detector at the start of the pandemic two years ago and usually searches with her husband. “It was the best thing we did.” Since then, she has turned up 19th-century coins, pocket watches – and many tin cans in Evanston. On a trip to Italy, she and her husband uncovered money dating back to 1585. “It was a thrill because we were the first people in almost 500 years to touch the coin.” (Photo by Richard Cahan)

The sign for Evanston’s new gallery, the Trapdoor Studio. (Photo provided)

Trapdoor Studio gives new artists a platform to shine. Just one block from the Dempster CTA Station sits a small, glass-fronted store that houses Trapdoor Studio, its interior looking like the page of a furniture design catalog.

A multimedia sculpture by Max Li now on view at Trapdoor Studio. (Photo provided)

Max Li’s Trapdoor pop-up contemplates decision-making. The first pop-up exhibition at Trapdoor, “The Eight Excuses for Not Coming,” features eight works by Max Li, an artist who graduated from University of Chicago in 2021.

The WasteShed at 1245 Hartrey Ave. (Photo by Wendi Kromash)

The WasteShed: A new shopping destination for old stuff. The WasteShed, a nonprofit store that recycles, repurposes and sells overstock and used creative materials and art supplies, was established by Eleanor Ray in Humboldt Park in 2014. Last November, she opened an Evanston store.

Fleetwood-Jourdain Theater: Women’s History Month 2022. This month, FJT is rebroadcasting several video projects that celebrate women, and the group is producing a new video project to be aired later this month.

Picturing Evanston. Free chairs and stuff at Florence Avenue and Greenleaf Street. (Photo by Joerg Metzner)

Community Blood Drive at the Levy Senior Center. The Levy Senior Center will host a blood drive on Wednesday, March 30, from noon to 5 p.m.


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Around the web

COVID cases tick up as omicron BA.2 spreads in Chicago, but no need for ‘alarm,’ top doc says. Coronavirus cases in Chicago are rising slightly as BA.2, an omicron subvariant, has caused surges in Europe and China, takes hold across the country, but hospitalizations and deaths in Chicago currently remain low.

A third of trans youth are at risk of losing gender-affirming care, study says. Fifteen U.S. states have enacted or are considering laws that prevent trans youth from accessing gender-affirming health care, which could affect as many as 54,000 transitioning transgender youth between the ages of 13 and 17.

It’s 70 degrees warmer than normal in eastern Antarctica. Scientists are flabbergasted. Last week, temperatures in some parts of Antarctica rose between 50 and 90 degrees above typical averages for this time of year, an event that experts called “completely unprecedented.”


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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...