Evanston RoundTable

Good Tuesday morning, Evanston.

Above, a look at the joy of hide-and-seek. Devin Lewis, 13, and mom Nataiya Brewton hide from 3-year-old Demetri George outside Lincolnwood Elementary School. Demetri, who was playing the game outside for the first time, isn’t pictured – because he gave up and ran to the nearby playground. (Photo by Richard Cahan)

Now, on to the news.

Credit: Alex Harrison

Evanston’s City Council is back to full strength as sitting council members voted unanimously Monday night to confirm Krissie Harris to fill the Second Ward seat. The city announced Mayor Daniel Biss’ appointment of Harris on Friday, and a number of her family members were in attendance to witness the vote. Harris will serve until a special election is held in spring 2023.

Credit: ETHS District 202 YouTube

Members of the Evanston Township High School Board of Education urged each other and the wider community to work together to combat gun violence at their first meeting of the new school year Monday night. The board also heard a presentation from Evanston Community Health Specialist Kristin Meyer on disparities in health outcomes by census tract in the city, which revealed how a Fifth Ward census tract has the lowest life expectancy of any in the city.

COVID-19 by the numbers: Five new cases and no new deaths were reported Sunday, Sept. 11, the last day the city updated totals. The seven-day average is 7.3 cases per day.

Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

Credit: Evanston History Center

Edwin B. Jourdain Jr.: Laying the foundations for Black political power and a citizen-equal future in Evanston, part 1. The RoundTable is excited to share the first of a two-part series on Edwin B. Jourdain Jr., Evanston’s first Black alderman, written by his son Spencer Jourdain. The elder Jourdain was a journalist and community organizer who won his first election in 1931 to represent the city’s Fifth Ward, and he fought for Black equality throughout his long political career.

Library trustees mull which way to go on budget. Evanston Public Library’s board of trustees spent its Sept. 7 meeting weighing a possible tax hike to cover an extra $800,000 of anticipated personnel costs included in the 2023 Operating Fund Budget. Interim Library Director Heather Norburg said the rise in expenses comes after trimming costs where feasible, “without affecting the levels of engagement, programming and communication that we are currently providing.”

Cook County’s fourth annual Racial Equity Week began Monday, with events planned each day of the week intended to capture diverse perspectives and inspire conversations about the county’s racial equity progress. County Director of Equity and Inclusion Denise Barreto said this year’s theme, “Many People One Goal,” was inspired by the division in the world right now. Most presentations are virtual and recorded, so anyone interested can watch them at a later time.

Letter to the community: Support for the Margarita Inn. Melissa Appelt, Board President of Interfaith Action of Evanston, writes to voice the organization’s support for the establishment of a permanent homeless shelter in the Margarita Inn by Connections for the Homeless: “For the last two years, the Margarita has been a beacon of hope for people in Interfaith Action’s overnight and daytime shelters.”

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Chief Justice Anne Burke announces retirement from Illinois Supreme Court. Burke has served on the Supreme Court since 2006 and as Chief Justice since October 2019, and is the wife of Chicago Alderman Ed Burke (14th Ward), whose long-awaited federal racketeering trial is set for November 2023.

Organizers say Chicago’s food deserts don’t just happen, they’re created. While the common term used to describe areas with low food access (like West Garfield Park in Chicago) is “food desert,” some organizations, such as the Chicago Food Action Policy Council, argue for the use of “food apartheid” instead.

RefugeeOne opens new headquarters in West Ridge as agency nearly doubles to address refugee crisis. The new building comes at a time of rapid expansion for the agency and will allow RefugeeOne, one of Chicago’s premier refugee assistance agencies, to bring all its services under one roof for the first time.

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Alex Harrison reports on local government, public safety, developments, town-gown relations and more for the RoundTable. He graduated from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in June...