Evanston RoundTable
Holi Fest on March 26. (Photo by Adina Keeling)

Good Sunday morning, Evanston.

Colorful powder painted the overcast sky on Saturday morning, as families and friends showered each other in dust and danced to Bollywood music in Raymond Park.

This event marked the first Holi Fest organized by Downtown Evanston and the Evanston Association of India. The centuries-old Indian festival celebrates the start of spring while bringing together the community for singing and dancing among clouds of colored powder.  

Anti-panhandling sign (Photo by Sam Stroozas) Credit: Sam Stroozas

It’s hard to miss the anti-panhandling signs adorning stoplights and street signs on the corners of the Main-Dempster Mile, Downtown Evanston and Central Street. Many stores have poster versions of the sign in their windows.

“Have a heart, give smart,” the sign reads. “Panhandling isn’t safe. Donate to social service organizations today.”

Patrick Deignan, Communications Manager for the City Manager’s office, wrote in an email that the signs, 19 in all, are being installed in areas where aggressive panhandling has been observed or reported.

Ryan Field (Northwestern University photo) Credit: Northwestern University

Residents living around Northwestern University’s Ryan Field now have a team in place to share their questions and concerns with university officials as the school moves forward on its multiyear project to rebuild the stadium.

Evanston City Council member Eleanor Revelle, in whose Seventh Ward the stadium is located, announced at the start of her March 23 ward meeting the names of residents – one from Wilmette, the others from Evanston – who will serve on the team.

Bonnie Humphrey, Northwestern’s Director of Design & Facilities Management, said the university is in negotiations to select an architect and hopes to wrap up that process before the end of the month.

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

City News

Members of Evanston’s 311 team. (Photo by Wendi Kromash)

She answered the call on 311. The City of Evanston’s 311 program is a behind-the-scenes workhorse that cuts through a lot of red tape. Anyone who has ever called, texted or chatted with the 311 team to ask about the cause of a siren, report a malfunctioning stoplight or address hundreds of other topics has benefited from the leadership of Sue Pontarelli, 311 Police Service Desk Manager.

City worker Gerald Franklin installs a sign. (Photo by Richard Cahan) Credit: Richard Cahan

Police use foot patrols, promote ‘positive visibility,’ to deal with aggressive panhandling concerns. As the city comes out of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Evanston Police Department says it expects to have a greater presence downtown.

Licensing program ‘no panacea’ to fixing problem rental properties: Activist. Some local housing activists and landlords were critical on March 21 of a city subcommittee’s consideration of a licensing system for rental properties, questioning whether it would be an improvement over what is now in place.

COVID-19 update as of March 24: seven-day average of new cases in Evanston is 12.3, compared to 9.0 one week ago. New COVID-19 cases in the state, suburban Cook County and Chicago increased slightly in the last week.

Volunteer Bill Bailey pumps gas (Photo by Richard Cahan)

Drivers line up for free gas: ‘This is going to help me tremendously’. The intersection of Green Bay Road and Foster Street was the happiest place around for a few hours Thursday morning.

Evanston releases plans for ARPA funds. Last year, Evanston was allocated $43 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding. City staff members developed an ARPA plan that was accepted by the City Council on March 14.

The Mather Credit: Evanston RoundTable

Residents at The Mather and Westminster Place ask for a louder voice in their communities. A group of Evanston residents from The Mather and Westminster Place have been organizing to support a bill that would give them a voice on the boards of those homes.

The Margarita Inn. (Photo by Adina Keeling) Credit: Adina Keeling

From hotel to homeless shelter: A peek into the Margarita Inn. The Margarita Inn remains mostly unchanged since Evanston nonprofit Connections for the Homeless began operating a shelter within the hotel two years ago under an emergency declaration.

From left, Dino Robinson, Sebastian Nalls, Cicely Fleming and Robin Rue Simmons.

One-year anniversary of Evanston’s reparations vote: Reflection, discussion with local newsmakers. One year has passed since the Evanston City Council voted to authorize the restorative housing program, and it’s been more than two months since the first recipients were selected to receive grants.

Andrew Lyon with his girlfriend and her son. (Photo by Andrew Lyon)

Niles North graduate living in Ukraine flees to Germany. Andrew Lyon grew up in Morton Grove, just west of Evanston and Skokie, and he attended Niles North High School in the mid-1990s. He moved to Ukraine in 2017 to be with his girlfriend, and they have fled to Frankfurt.

(Photo by Sam Stroozas)

Loved ones gather in Andersonville at vigil for activist Elise Malary. More than 100 people gathered at the Chicago bookstore Women and Children First Bookstore to host a vigil in remembrance of transgender rights and anti-racism activist Elise Malary.


March 14 District 65 meeting. (Photo by Adina Keeling)

District 65 board extends Superintendent Horton’s contract through 2026. At the most recent District 65 meeting, board members unanimously approved a new performance-based contract for Superintendent Devon Horton that extends his current terms of employment through June 30, 2026. 

African-American Youth Achievement Awards recognize Evanston students. Evanston Township High School virtually hosted the 25th annual African-American Youth Achievement Awards to honor 38 students from Evanston and Skokie public schools.

Art & Life

Daniel Burnett’s mural. (Photo by Daniel Burnett)

New coffeehouse mural explores homelessness. Daniel Burnett began drawing as a child as an outlet for stress. Decades later, his artistic journey has aided him in healing from his father’s death.

Miranda Lyman (Photo by Sam Stroozas)

Nine-year-old activist sells $1 pins to help Ukraine. The two top interests of young Miranda Lyman, who has been working at Secret Treasures Antiques & Collectibles since she was three, are Barbies and social issues. The money raised from the pins will go to care.org for its Ukraine relief fund. So far Miranda has raised $89.

From Holi spring fest to holiday lights, Evanston has full list of special events scheduled for 2022. Evanston will kick off its 2022 Special Events Calendar, which includes a lantern floating ceremony, a film fest and more.

Glenna Goodacre’s Polioplus. (Photo by Gay Riseborough)

To ‘the children of the world’: Glenna Goodacre’s sculpture celebrates Rotary’s battle against polio. At One Rotary Center in downtown Evanston stands a figurative sculpture by well-known artist Glenna Maxey Goodacre (1939-2020). Not one but two plaques accompany the statue.

Chef Donna Lee (Photo via Food Network’s Instagram)

Evanston native wins Food Network’s ‘Chopped.’ Chef Donna Lee never imagined she would participate in a reality cooking show, but then she got an Instagram direct message from “Chopped.”

Fleetwood-Jourdain Theater: Women’s History Month 2022. This month FJT is rebroadcasting several video projects that celebrate women and the group is producing a new video project to be aired later this month.

Gia Clarke, ETHS graduate (photo via Gia Clarke)

Study abroad: As the world awakens, Evanston college students venture beyond borders. Five college juniors from Evanston traveled across the globe to study abroad. We caught up with them to find out if their experiences so far have been worth the effort.

 The WasteShed (Photo by Wendi Kromash)

The WasteShed: A new shopping destination for old stuff. Chicagoland is home to countless educators, do-it-yourselfers and creative people, in addition to those who care about responsible recycling. The WasteShed recycles, repurposes and sells overstock and used creative materials and art supplies. Practically everything in the store has been diverted from a landfill.

Trapdoor Studio gives new artists a platform to shine. Just one block from the Dempster CTA Station sits a small, glass-fronted store that houses Trapdoor Studio, its interior looking like the page of a furniture design catalog.

Max Li’s Trapdoor pop-up contemplates decision-making. The first pop-up exhibition at Trapdoor, “The Eight Excuses for Not Coming,” features works by Max Li, an artist who graduated from University of Chicago in 2021.

Bread pudding. (Photo by Sam Stroozas)

The week in photos: March 14-21. Last week, reporter Sam Stroozas sampled a delicious chocolate bread pudding at Comfort Desserts Reimagined.

Witness the sublime beauty Of Beethoven’s 9th. Resuming its pandemic-interrupted celebration of Beethoven’s 250th anniversary last year, the Evanston Symphony Orchestra and North Shore Choral Society combine forces with four distinguished vocal soloists April 10 to perform the composer’s Symphony No. 9 in D Minor.

“Wedding” (Photo by Yancey Hughes)

The Art of Making Art | Making Photographs. Today, nearly everyone has a camera on their phone and takes some photos, perhaps many, many photos! We are all “photographers” in a basic, definitional sense.

I don’t like my best friend’s wife. Dear Gabby, One of my closest friends from high school – we are now in our 60s – recently married her girlfriend of seven years during COVID.

Omar Brown (left) and Josh Lesnik

Under new management: A growth plan for Canal Shores. The Evanston Wilmette Golf Course Association announced recently that KemperSports was selected to manage the Canal Shores Golf Course. The latest installment of “People You Should Know” features longtime Evanstonian Omar Brown talking with KemperSports President Josh Lesnik about the new relationship.

Public Square

Gratitude large and small. The other morning, RoundTable columnist Les Jacobson watched out his second-story window as two young siblings played with bubble wands, which sparked a reflection on being thankful for those ordinary, everyday occurrences that bring joy.


FAAM teams play at Fleetwood-Jourdain gym. (Photo by Teel Miller/FAAM)

FAAM celebrates a comeback season. It’s the final Saturday in February, and the FAAM faithful have gathered at Fleetwood-Jourdain for the last regular-season games. Playoff berths are at stake, and the crowd can sense it.

ETHS boys track: GBS edges Wildkits for CSL South indoor title. Ever since the Suburban League morphed into the Central Suburban League back in the 1970s, Evanston has dominated the competition – both indoors and outdoors – in boys track. Maybe it’s the end of an era now for Evanston.

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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...