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Evanston RoundTable

Good Sunday morning, Evanston!

First- and second-graders huddle Saturday at an NFL-style combine held by the Evanston Jr. Wildkits at ETHS’ Willie May Field House. Seventy-three kids got their first taste of organized football. “We are trying to develop kids,” said coach Leonard English (left). “We are not playing in the Super Bowl.” (Photo by Richard Cahan)

If you missed any of the most important news last week, here’s a roundup of the most-read stories from the RoundTable, with a few new ones thrown in for good measure.

Early voting for the city’s consolidated election began March 20 and runs through April 3; Election Day is April 4. What follows is some of our extensive coverage of the Second and Ninth ward races and District 65 and 202 candidates.

Credit: Richard Cahan

We sent questionnaires to those running in the Second and Ninth Wards as well as those running for the school boards at District 65 and ETHS. Read what the candidates have to say in their own words, lightly edited for clarity.

The RoundTable also has covered candidate forums for the District 65 school board, the District 202 school board, the Second Ward and the Ninth Ward.

man sits on panel
Credit: Gina Castro

Mayor Daniel Biss’ decision to endorse Council Members Krissie Harris and Juan Geracaris in the Second and Ninth Ward races has been criticized by some residents. But Biss’ two immediate predecessors as mayor say there is precedent.

In the school board contests, five unions representing teachers and staff at District 65 endorsed three candidates running for the school board. And the ETHS teachers union endorsed three candidates in the District 202 race.

Note to readers: As a nonprofit the RoundTable does not issue endorsements nor publish others’ endorsements. We may, however, report endorsements by a group or public figure as news.

Second Ward Council Member Krissie Harris said she has returned two $6,000 campaign contributions from donors with ties to the Ryan family, which is funding much of Northwestern’s planned $800 million new football stadium. Harris told the RoundTable she was never contacted by anyone connected to the Ryans.

For the most part, the City Council and mayor have been silent on Northwestern University’s proposal to build a new Ryan Field. The RoundTable asked Mayor Daniel Biss as well as all council members and ward candidates about any connections to Northwestern and their stadium views. Here’s what they said.

Also last week, Northwestern announced it selected a construction manager for the project. And all three Evanston neighborhood representatives on the Stadium Project Working Group released a guest essay critical of the university’s outreach.

Evanston RoundTable co-founder Mary Helt Gavin has been named to the board of directors of the Northern Illinois News Association. Gavin aided the RoundTable’s transition to a nonprofit and continues to contribute and edit stories.

The RoundTable also is pleased to announce it has been chosen to participate in the Advancing Democracy Fellowship. Twenty newsrooms across the U.S. will train to shift the news narrative from problems to potential solutions identified by local communities.

Columnist Les Jacobson talks with ETHS pitcher and center fielder Hank Liss, and sits in the stands with Liss’ supportive family. “In baseball, no one cries,” he writes, “and no one does it alone.” Plus view more ETHS baseball coverage from Mike Kellams: photos from the Wildkits’ Friday win over Ridgewood to wrap up their 3-1 opening season home stand at Rocky Miller Park.

The Evanston Police Department issued an update Thursday on the March 17 case that led to schools across the city being placed on soft lockdowns. EPD said that though the person involved has not been found, authorities do not believe he poses a danger to the public. Police said the person is “in need of care.”

The Evanston Land Use Commission on Wednesday unanimously refused to back changing the city’s Clean Air Ordinance to allow cannabis consumption lounges. The city has received no applications for any lounge, but two new marijuana businesses are under discussion, including a dispensary-bakery on Howard Street.

A daylong Starbucks strike, part of a coordinated effort across the country, brought business to a near-standstill Wednesday at the coffee shop on Main Street. The store attempted to stay open as baristas participated in the strike outside.

The city’s Housing and Community Development Committee voted to move forward on three proposed affordable housing ordinances suggested by the Equity and Empowerment Commission. One of the ideas, to require owners to maintain the original unit counts of buildings with two to four units, received some pushback.

Credit: Evan Girard

Supporters of Evanston Township High School packed Sketchbook Brewing Company’s Skokie Taproom & Brewery Friday night for “WILD for ETHS,” the ETHS Foundation’s annual fundraiser. View our album of photos from Evan Girard.

The Chessmen Club of the North Shore’s 65th Anniversary and Community Service Awards Gala on March 18 celebrated the group’s long history of investing in youth, assisting vulnerable seniors and honoring community service leaders.

An Evanston fairy tale: Cissy Lacks (seated above, with her dog Casper, and, behind her, Neo Marin) tells the story of The Elderly Lady and the Shoemaker’s Son. Take some time to read this lovely story about their road to Happily Ever After.

Photos from our readers

Surf’s up in this image from reader Laurel Covert. Send your photos of people, places and events around town to news@evanstonroundtable.com for a chance to be included in this newsletter.

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From day one, it’s been the RoundTable’s mission to bring you unbiased, in-depth reporting about the Evanston community. But we need your help to continue investing in high-quality and in-depth journalism, reporting news that strengthens and enlightens our community, encourages civic engagement and bolsters our democracy. Please join our community of readers and become a member today.

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Gina Castro

Gina Castro is a Racial Justice fellow for the RoundTable. She recently earned a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism where she studied investigative reporting....