Evanston RoundTable
Firefighters at the scene of a fire on Brummel Street. (Evanston Fire Department photo)

Good Friday morning, Evanston.

Here are the latest news and feature stories from around the city.

Noxious, heavy black smoke from a basement fire killed an 87-year old Evanston man Thursday when he went into his home to investigate after seeing smoke and hearing a fire alarm, according to fire department officials.

Kimberly Kull, Evanston Fire Department’s public information officer, said the man and his wife returned home from a shopping trip shortly after noon and heard an alarm and saw smoke seeping from the basement of their house in the 1500 block of Brummel Street. The woman waited outside while the man went downstairs, Kull said.

The Arrington Lagoon building, at the north end of Dawes Park. (Photo by Bob Seidenberg.)

Members of the City’s Economic Development Committee appear ready to uncork beer and wine sales at one spot on Evanston’s lakefront.

At their March 9 meeting, members backed a proposal to invite interest from restaurant operators in opening a small cafe at the Arrington Lagoon building and patio just off the lakefront. The city is encouraging “creative proposals offering seasonal menus and drinks that could run through the beach season or year-round.”

Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

COVID-19 update: New cases in the state continue decline, slight uptick in Evanston. New COVID-19 cases in Illinois have dropped from a seven-day average of 32,501 on Jan. 12 to a seven-day average of 1,146 on March 10, a 96% drop. New cases in Evanston rose slightly.

Wild and Scenic Film Festival, ‘by activists, for activists’. The festival, sponsored by the Evanston Environmental Association, features 12 shorts, each one a gripping film about Mother Earth – her grandeur and her decline, caused by climate change. 

At This Time: Thursday at 4:12 p.m. Lena Kim shows handmade pronoun pins that were just delivered to her niceLena & Friends shop at 1235 Chicago Ave. The resin pins are made by Evanston artist Hannah Williams. People wear them to clearly denote their pronouns – so people don’t have to ask. “I’m non-binary and I go by ‘they,’” Williams said. “A lot of people who work with the public – baristas, teachers and hospital workers – like to wear them to show their identity or show their support. They want to be gendered correctly at their job.” (Photo by Richard Cahan)

Christina Ernst has been helping young Evanston dancers realize their potential for more than two decades. (Photo by Matt Glavin)

A natural risk-taker, Evanston Dance Ensemble’s artistic director preps for 25th anniversary. Christina Ernst joined the then-new Evanston Dance Ensemble in 2000 and now serves as the artistic director of the pre-professional dance company in residence at Dance Center Evanston.

Moran Center to host free legal clinics to help erase evictions. The Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, in partnership with the Evanston Public Library, will hold walk-in legal clinics March 15 and 17 to help people take advantage of a new state law that allows them to remove prior evictions from their record.

Illinois Fire Safety Alliance reminds residents to change their clocks and change their smoke alarms this weekend. Every spring, fire safety experts and the nonprofit Illinois Fire Safety Alliance remind residents about the life-saving habit of checking smoke and carbon monoxide alarms when setting clocks forward for daylight saving time.

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Around the web

A wartime evacuation: How one Chicagoan kept her relatives safe in war-torn Kyiv. A Ukrainian American woman living in Chicago helped her aunt and uncle escape Russia’s war, cross the border into Poland and fly to O’Hare on Wednesday night.

The 2020 census had big undercounts of Black people, Latinos and Native Americans. According to a recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau, the 2020 census overcounted white residents while undercounting Black people, Latinos and Native Americans. Latinos were undercounted at a rate three times higher than in 2010.

With mandates gone, St. Patrick’s Day weekend is an ‘everything goes’ party that bars hope will carry them. “After two years of masks, mandates, limits and closures, Chicago bar owners are banking on this weekend’s St. Patrick’s Day excess to boost their sagging businesses with an influx of pent-up enthusiasm,” Block Club Chicago reports.

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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...