Evanston RoundTable

Good Sunday morning, Evanston.

Over the last year, the RoundTable brought you everything from an investigation of alleged abuse of Evanston lifeguards to analysis of our city’s lead pipes, changes in District 65 curriculum and a feature on the oldest Black-owned barbership in town.

Today, we’re looking back on some of the notable in-depth articles that we published in 2021.

Credit: photo submitted

After lifeguards complained of abuse, Evanston official called it ‘doubtful’ anyone would apologize. The RoundTable obtained public records through a Freedom of Information Act request that revealed why the city’s female lifeguards grew so frustrated with the official response to their allegations of sexual harassment and abuse.

Will the new TIF hasten or control gentrification in the Fifth Ward? With the Evanston City Council’s Oct. 25 approval of a tax-increment financing (TIF) district on the city’s central west side, it appears to have taken the gamble that progress for an area that has been economically marginalized can come without gentrification that would displace residents of this historically Black but already changing area.

Inside Albany Care: Daily calls to police; residents report neglect. The Evanston Police Department received 113 non-emergency and 911 calls over a 10-week period from Albany Care, an Evanston mental health facility that treats individuals with mental illnesses. Most of the calls regarded missing persons, battery and theft, reflecting safety concerns voiced by neighbors of the facility.

Fake court orders containing hate messages sent to local restaurants

Florida condo collapse sparks building safety questions in Evanston

Evanston’s lead pipes are everywhere, and could become a significant health risk. In Evanston, 78% of all water service lines are made of lead, and an additional 8% are made of copper with lead soldering holding the pipes together. The city’s pipes won’t be replaced for decades. Part 2 in the series explores what homeowners should know.

With Changeover, Big Contrasts Between 80th and 81st Evanston City Councils

Schools

ETHS student board member Barbara Tomaradze. (Screenshot)

Documents detail how ETHS staff cleared coach of wrongdoing after students’ complaints. The RoundTable acquired public emails and documents that revealed Evanston Township High School students’ specific allegations of inappropriate touching and comments by Color Guard Coach Lorenzo Medrano last March, as well as the process in which school officials cleared him of the accusations.

The original Foster School, circa 1905. (Shorefront Legacy Center)

Fifth Ward STEM school plan promises equity. The Fifth Ward of Evanston, the historic heart of the Black community in the west-central part of the City dating to the days of redlining, has not had a District 65 neighborhood school since Foster School was converted to a magnet in 1967 as part of the District’s then-novel desegregation plan.

School District 65 to consider new assignment system, new school boundaries, new school in Fifth Ward

Since the 2017 school referendum, new construction has enabled District 65 to significantly increase its property tax levies

District 65 implements new math curriculum, eliminates geometry and separate accelerated classes

Art & Life

Evanston Bathing Beach. (Photo from Evanston History Center Archives)

A shifting shoreline: The history of Evanston’s beaches. Beaches today are widely viewed as sites of recreation, relaxing places where land meets sea. But the history of these sites is nothing if not natural. A three-part series by the Evanston History Center revealed physical and symbolic changes over the years. The series also explored safety at the beaches, and policies designed to control access.

Doug Haight (left) and Chris. (RoundTable photo) Credit: Debbie-Marie Brown

See My Story: Portrait series of Evanston’s homeless citizens. In September, local photographer Doug Haight constructed an exhibit of 21 intimate, life-size portrait photos of homeless citizens in Evanston.

Gigi Giles (RoundTable photo) Credit: Debbie-Marie Brown

The legacy of Marshall Giles: Ebony Barbershop and iKandi Hair Studio. Ebony Barbershop, smack dab at the corner of Dodge Avenue and Church Street, is both the oldest and youngest Black-owned barbershop in Evanston.

Catholic archdiocese may consolidate Evanston parishes

Lincolnwood School ’62 grads reunite to celebrate their teacher, Dr. John Hillebrand

Photo by Sam Stroozas.

‘Ice Cream Cats’ rescued from house fire await new homes, but 5 euthanized at Chicago shelter


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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...