Evanston RoundTable

Good Sunday morning, Evanston.

After two years of producing a show virtually, rather than in person, the excitement among students is palpable. Waa-Mu is back.

Opening night 2022 is Friday, April 29, at the Cahn Auditorium as “A Peculiar Inheritance” will be entered into the canon as the 91st student-run production of Northwestern’s oldest theatrical tradition.

The Associated Press has called Waa-Mu “the greatest college show in America,” but for those who have seen one of these productions, that description may not be superlative enough.

Karen Danczak Lyons (Photo via EPL YouTube)

The Evanston Public Library announced Friday that, after a decade serving Evanston’s library patrons, Executive Director Karen Danczak Lyons will be stepping down from her post.

Danczak Lyons said that with several initiatives around the library recently completed and new initiatives on the horizon, the timing was right for her transition and for new leadership. Her final day will be June 17.

“I believe that part of being a leader is knowing when to leave and make space for what’s next,” she said. “I am proud of the work we have accomplished together under my leadership, and I want to allow for a smooth transition to ensure our important work continues.”

The members of Friko, all ETHS grads. (Photo by Nando Espinosa Herrera)

Friko, an indie-rock band of ETHS grads, has built a name for itself, performing in Madison, Minneapolis and other spots across the Midwest. Most weekends Friko performs at Chicago venues like the Golden Dagger, the Empty Bottle and Schubas, building up a loyal fanbase.

Friko front man Niko Kapetan has been working to establish a name for himself as a musician ever since he was a student at ETHS – charming friends’ parents to let him set up concerts in their backyards, dropping off letters to the neighboring houses to thank them for putting up with the noise.

Kapetan graduated high school in 2018 but never let go of his dream. Four years later, he stood and watched as the crowd at Chicago’s Beat Kitchen, packed wall to wall, sang along to his lyrics. It was a scene he had long awaited, an affirmation that his music spoke to something bigger than himself.

At This Time: Saturday at 11:14 a.m. Grandmother and grandchild give up their hair for pediatric cancer research. Sixth grader Mahin Goel (right) and grandmother Rita Sanghavi get their heads shaved as Chiaravalle Montessori students raised more than $41,000 this year for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Mahin led the fund drive and Sanghavi helped find sponsors. Hair has always been important to Sanghavi; her late husband once said her long hair was one of the reasons he married her. As for losing it: “I just wanted to help,” she said. (Photo by Richard Cahan)

In case you missed any of the most important news last week, here’s a roundup of recent top stories from the RoundTable.

City News

ETHS Principal Marcus Campbell. (Screenshot via ETHS YouTube)

ETHS board names Campbell next District 202 superintendent. At a special school board meeting held at Evanston Township High School on April 21, the District 202 Board of Education officially announced that current ETHS Principal and Assistant Superintendent Marcus Campbell will succeed Eric Witherspoon as superintendent, effective July 1. He will be the first Black superintendent in the high school’s 139-year history.

COVID-19 update as of April 21: Seven-day average of new cases in Evanston remains flat. New COVID-19 cases in suburban Cook County, Chicago and the state increased again in the last week. New cases in Evanston remained flat.

Evanston Police investigate downtown shooting. Police on April 19 responded to the 1500 block of Sherman Avenue for a person shot. The victim had suffered two gunshot wounds, one to the abdomen and a second to the buttock area. 

Gabby Plotkin addresses the Fountain Square crowd. (Photo by Adina Keeling)

Local Jewish leaders call for Chase Bank to divest from fossil fuels: ‘Move your dough!’ Leaders at Evanston Beth Emet Dayenu Circle and the Makom Solel Lakeside Synagogue in Highland Park organized a climate rally at Fountain Square, across the street from Chase Bank.

Housing subcommittee hits impasse on rental licensing program. Members of a City Council subcommittee have hit an impasse on whether to recommend the city adopt a program requiring licensing for all rental properties and have sent the issue back to a council committee for review.

Zen Leaf Dispensary. (Photo by Duncan Agnew) Credit: Duncan Agnew

Two years later, cannabis legalization in Illinois still faces growing pains. In the spring of 2019, the Democratic-led Illinois legislature voted to legalize the recreational use of cannabis for adults, paving the way for existing medical marijuana dispensaries to begin selling weed to the general population.

The Margarita Inn at 1566 Oak Ave. (Photo by Adina Keeling) Credit: Adina Keeling

Connections for the Homeless addresses concerns about Margarita Inn. Connections for the Homeless executive director Betty Bogg discussed what she said were misconceptions about the nonprofit and its facility in the Margarita Inn.

Susy Schultz, newly appointed RoundTable editor.

The RoundTable expands newsroom leadership team. The Evanston RoundTable announced a major expansion of its newsroom leadership team today with the appointment of Susy Schultz as Editor. Schultz has been a journalist for more than 20 years and spent the last six running nonprofits

‘Tricky’ intersection, lack of sidewalks prompts closer focus on day care center’s traffic plan. Concerns about the intersection of Central Street where it crosses Crawford Avenue – and, almost immediately, Gross Point Road – are complicating Kensington School’s plan for a day care center at 3434 Central St., the present site of Unity Church on the North Shore.

Koi on Easter morning. (Photo by Fred Tanenbaum)

Small kitchen fire breaks out at Koi on Easter morning. The Evanston Fire Department quickly extinguished a small kitchen fire at Koi Fine Asian Cuisine and Lounge on Sunday morning, according to Kimberly Kull, Evanston Fire Department’s Public Information Officer.

Brother of Evanston stabbing victim charged with her murder. On April 18 the Evanston Police Department announced that the brother of stabbing victim Karen Aphour has been charged with the Evanston resident’s murder.


District 65 Superintendent Devon Horton on Tuesday’s Zoom call. (Screenshot)

Haven student: ‘I just want to know when you think I’ll feel safe again’ Haven Middle School Principal Chris Latting hosted an online meeting with parents and District 65 administrators on Tuesday night to address concerns about Haven’s climate and culture in the wake of multiple fights in recent weeks.

District 65 parents at Monday’s School Board meeting. (Photo by Jeannine Martin)

After fights at Haven, District 65 parents rally for safety, transparency, Dozens of parents showed up to Monday night’s District 65 Board meeting to demand a more comprehensive safety protocol in schools and better communication from the district.

District 65 School Board on Monday night. (Screenshot via District 65 YouTube)

School Board elects first Latino president. At the end of Monday evening’s District 65 school board meeting, members elected Sergio Hernandez as the next president of the school board. Hernandez will succeed Anya Tanyavutti, who has served for two years as the district’s first Black female board president.

Art & Life

Rescuer Tanya Ohanian and Roey (Photo by Heidi Randhava)

Doggone runaway captured: Roey is safe. Evanston Animal Shelter Canine Director Tanya Ohanian launched into action after hearing that a frightened labradoodle named Roey had been on the run since April 14. More than 200 people of all ages participated in the ultimately successful search for Roey.

Julie Strauss (Provided photo)

Levy Lecture: Dark money casts shadow over American politics. Julie Strauss, a local lecturer on the three branches of American politics and subcategories related to each, presented a virtual Levy Lecture on April 12 titled “Dark Money: The Money Behind Our Politics.”

The rabbit population surges in the spring. (RoundTable file photo)

Gardener vs. rabbit. If your yard has begun to feel like a bottomless salad bowl for bunnies, you are not alone in your frustration. The rabbit population, which stays at a low hum all winter, explodes in the spring.

Downtown Evanston is blooming with springtime events. Downtown Evanston is launching a “Flower Power” promotion to inspire positive energy and good vibes for the community as the city transitions into spring.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

Marijuana 101: What the heck is 420? The 20th of April, also known as “420,” has become a day to celebrate weed in all of its many forms. But where did the nickname “420” come from?

“Aqua Vita” (Photo by Gay Riseborough)

Fire Station No. 1 goes with the flow of Aqua Vita. Donna Zarbin-Byrne is the creator of the sculptural installation at Evanston’s Fire Station No. 1 at 1332 Emerson St. The artwork was funded by Evanston’s Percent for Art program.

(Photo credit: Camille Blachowicz)

The week in photos: April 11-18. We hope you had a wonderful Easter, Passover or Ramadan, and our fingers are crossed that the weather finally gets the memo that spring has, in fact, sprung.

Evanston Public Library drumming workshop (Photo provided by Jarret Dapier) Credit: Photo provided by Jarret Dapier

Former Evanston teen librarian finds his true calling as a children’s book author. Jarrett Dapier is a former teen librarian at the Evanston and Skokie public libraries whose most recent children’s book was selected as a National Public Radio Best Book of 2021.

Cie Bond’s basement. (Photo by Adina Keeling)

The Art of Making Art: Cie Bond. Cie Bond has two 3-by-6-foot doors covered in white paper in her studio on which she doodles, making marks, small sketches and notes. These lead to the inspiration for her collages.

Eve’s Twin Lover at SPACE. (Photo by Noah Athas) Credit: Noah Athas

Album review: Eve’s Twin Lover’s alluring music is accessible, welcoming. Evanston songwriter Tim Flood and his band, Eve’s Twin Lover, released a new album titled Stop Sending People to Kill Me on April 1. If you were lucky enough to have had a ticket you know how awesome their sound is.

Sex: I’m kinda done with that. Dear Gabby, I’m totally in love with my partner and have never felt more happy or secure in my relationship. We bring out the best in each other and make each other laugh all the time.

Lisa Brennan-Winefield and Keri Brennan-Descoteaux (Submitted photo)

The CBD sisters. Lisa Brennan-Winefield and Keri Brennan-Descoteaux opened Botanica cbd in June 2018. They said they weren’t happy with the drug-driven direction of the health and wellness industry across the country.

Public Square

Mosaic at Grandmother Park. (Photo by Joerg Metzner) Credit: Joerg Metzner

Guest essay: Climate change is an emergency. Let’s act like it. On Monday, April 25, Evanston’s City Council will have an opportunity to join hundreds of other cities in 38 countries in declaring a climate emergency.  By voting “yes,” council members will recognize the urgency of climate threats. 

Guest essay: The past, present and future of Evanston’s Climate Action and Resilience Plan. What better way to mark Earth Month than to renew a commitment to Evanston’s Climate Action and Resilience Plan? 

Yosemite Falls (Photo from Yosemitehikes.com)

Les Jacobson: America the beautiful. I have been feeling grateful lately … especially about our hometown, Evanston, and our nation. We moved from Skokie to our modest two-story red brick home on Lincolnwood Drive over Memorial Day weekend 1983, which means next year we will celebrate four decades here. … It has been a kind of heaven.

Zen Leaf marijuana dispensary on Maple Avenue. (Photo by Duncan Agnew)

Guest essay: It’s 4/20 and I’m feeling late to the party. I volunteered to cover this story: Is there any truth to the rise of middle-aged people, in particular women, using legal cannabis? In a word, yes.

Credit: Adina Keeling

Letter to the editor: Haven records response shocking. There is so much that is disturbing in your impressively researched April 15 article “‘Concerns have been ignored, dismissed, minimized’: Inside the year at Haven,” but there is one revelation that is truly shocking.

Letter to the editor: Where are District 65 leaders? What in the world is going on that the District 65 Superintendent and school board are not responding to this problem? Nor to the District 65 community?

Credit: Screen capture of online press conference

Skokie Alliance responds to mayor’s comments on proposed electoral changes. “As both statistics and testimonials from the community indicate, our current system is biased against new candidates trying to run for Village seats, driving down voter turnout and representative accountability.”


ETHS baseball: Kits finish off Highland Park in suspended game. On April 20, Evanston extended its winning streak to eight games with a 10-7 triumph at Highland Park. The contest began back on April 12 but concluded April 20.

ETHS baseball: Brooks slams door shut on helpless Trevians. Owen Brooks faced seven different New Trier hitters at the end of Tuesday’s Central Suburban League South division showdown in Winnetka. None of them got a good swing against the Evanston right-hander.

ETHS baseball: Lortie leads Wildkits to sixth straight victory. Right-hander Jared Lortie turned in his best performance of the spring Monday at Northwestern University, limiting Maine West to just one earned run in five-plus innings as the Wildkits scored a 10-2 triumph over the Warriors.

ETHS girls track: Artley tops 300 hurdle field at Kankakee Invite. Competing in the 300-meter hurdles, Abrielle Artley bettered the established IHSA state qualifying standard for the second week in a row and won the event at the Kankakee Kays Coed Invitational meet.

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Adina Keeling

Adina Keeling is a photojournalist and reporter, covering city news, sustainability, schools, and art. She also investigates mental health systems and environmental injustices in Evanston, and puts together...