Haven Middle School. Credit: Adina Keeling

Good Sunday morning, Evanston.

According to a late Friday afternoon email from Superintendent Devon Horton to District 65 families, parents at Kingsley Elementary School reported finding three nooses hanging from trees in the area between Kingsley and Haven Middle School. The nooses were accompanied by “notes in support of Haven educators,” Horton wrote in his message.

“This is a hate crime and a deliberate and specific incidence of an outwardly racist act. It resounds with a tone of hate and hurt that will impact members of our entire community, namely Black and African American students, staff, and families who have experienced generations of harm,” Horton said in his email.

Earlier Friday afternoon, hundreds of Haven students had staged a peaceful sit-in protesting involuntary teacher transfers to new schools. An anonymous staff member called the Evanston Police Department for support during the protest, and EPD told the RoundTable that no criminal activity was found at the time.

“We’re not sure if this is related to the protest today. There is no indication that it is, but [the nooses were] pointed out to our officers,” EPD Sgt. Ken Carter said.


John Fournier, Assistant City Administrator, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Credit: City of Evanston

The Evanston City Council intends to appoint John Fournier as the next Evanston city manager, according to a Friday written statement from city spokesperson Jessie Mayo. Contract negotiations are underway and a decision is expected in the coming weeks. 

Fournier is the Assistant City Administrator of Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he helped lead a commitment to multimodal transportation infrastructure and alternative energy initiatives to meet the pressing challenges posed by global climate change. Before Ann Arbor, Fournier worked for the city of Pittsburgh.


Over the last seven days Evanston has reported 397 new confirmed COVID-19 cases. According to the CDC, coupled with other metrics this puts Evanston at a high COVID-19 community risk level.

The City’s Health and Human Services Department is reminding residents of the importance of following the CDC’s mitigation recommendations, including wearing a mask when indoors, testing and staying up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.


The RoundTable’s Spring Membership Drive is on!

Did you know that the Evanston RoundTable is a nonprofit newsroom? We depend on the community’s support to power our growing coverage of Evanston’s city government, schools, arts and cultural scene and the local economy.

If you already are a member of the RoundTable – thanks for your support! If you’re not, become a member during our Spring Membership Drive!


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

Evanston-based nonprofit Connections for the Homeless began using the Margarita Inn as a shelter two years ago. Credit: Adina Keeling

Commissioners torn over Margarita Inn zoning decision. Members of Evanston’s Land Use Commission could not reach a decision Wednesday regarding the Margarita Inn, 1566 Oak Ave., and its designation as a “rooming house.” Neighbors argued that the facility, managed by local nonprofit Connections for the Homeless, does not match the zoning definition of a rooming house and better aligns with the definition for a transitional shelter.

Credit: City of Evanston

City asks for community input on next police chief. Community members are invited to participate in a town hall conversation at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 18, at the Robert Crown Community Center to provide feedback about the selection of Evanston’s next police chief.

Police investigate shooting that injured 20-year-old woman. At 9:10 p.m. Tuesday, May 10, Evanston Police responded to the 1800 block of Madison Street for a report of a person shot. On arrival officers discovered a 20-year-old Evanston woman with injuries to her face.

Evanston will look at remapping ward boundaries after the 2020 Census showed a large population deviation between some wards. Credit: City of Evanston

After census shows imbalances, city may see new ward boundaries. After learning of a deviation in population of more than 20% between some wards, members of a city redistricting committee recommended on May 10 that Evanston move forward on a remapping effort.

Proposed wheel tax increase would help pay for climate initiatives. At the April 11 City Council Administration and Public Works Committee meeting, Council Member Devon Reid, 8th Ward, proposed a $5 increase above the current $85 fee. The extra funds would support initiatives to lower the city’s carbon emissions, part of the Climate Action Resilience Plan.

Skilled tradesmen and unskilled volunteers with Rebuilding Together North Suburban Chicago working to build a new porch. Credit: Rebuilding Together NSC

Nonprofit to donate $20,000 in repairs to some reparations recipients. The city has begun dispensing $25,000 housing grants to the 16 beneficiaries of the restorative housing program. And now, some of those who chose to use their money for home repairs will be able to get work done from a local nonprofit, Rebuilding Together North Suburban Chicago, without touching their grant.

An Evanston lead service line replacement, as seen in a city presentation. Credit: City of Evanston

Lead service line work could open up job opportunities for Evanston residents. Six Evanston residents will be hired as part of the city’s effort to replace leaking or broken lead service lines under a workforce development program approved May 9 by the Evanston City Council.

Community invited to review final concept plan for new skate park on May 17. The City of Evanston invites community members to attend an upcoming virtual public meeting to review the final concept plan for a new Evanston skate park planned for the east end of Twiggs Park. 

COVID-19 update as of May 12: Evanston’s weekly cases per 100,000 jump to 536. The City of Evanston has determined that Evanston is at a “high” risk community level based on its number of cases per 100,000 people and local hospitalization rates. Chicago, suburban Cook County and Illinois are all in the “medium” risk community level.

A panoramic view shows the model of a renovated room at the McGaw Men’s Residence. Credit: Wendi Kromash

McGaw YMCA reveals plans to update 92-year-old Men’s Residence. The McGaw YMCA showcased a model room for its updated Men’s Residence, an important component of its capital campaign to raise $12.6 million for the renovation of the 156 single room occupancy units at 1000 Grove St.

Shabad Kaur Khalsa, with husband Shiva Singh Khalsa, holds a sign riffing off the historic “Don’t tread on me” flag. Credit: Wendi Kromash

Skokie abortion rights rally offers messages of inspiration, anger. More than 250 people gathered May 7 on the Skokie Village Green to support abortion rights in a rally co-sponsored by the Democratic Party of Evanston. 


Schools

District 65 Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Andalib Khelghati speaks at the May 9 Curriculum & Policy Committee meeting. Credit: District 65 YouTube

District 65 to lose 52 teachers through attrition. At Monday’s Curriculum and Policy Committee meeting, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Andalib Khelghati said the district is set to lose 52 educators at the end of this year through resignations, retirements, leaves of absence and non-renewals. 

District 65 students show significant declines in math achievement during the pandemic. District 65 student achievement has declined in math during the last two years – the COVID-19 years – but remained relatively constant in reading. This is consistent with national trends. Nationwide, the pandemic has had an impact on student learning.

ETHS Principal and incoming Superintendent Marcus Campbell addresses board members May 9. Credit: District 202 YouTube

Metal detectors not viable at ETHS, says Campbell. After outside consultants reviewed the Evanston Township High School building’s safety and security, school officials have decided not to install metal detectors or a weapons detection system at the entrances, said Principal and incoming Superintendent Marcus Campbell at Monday’s meeting of the District 202 School Board.

ETHS appoints new Principal and HR chief, promoting from within. Evanston Township High School District 202 on Tuesday announced the appointment of Taya Kinzie as Assistant Superintendent and Principal, and Scott Bramley as Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources.

This balloon formation on Lazier Field celebrated the Class of 2022’s last day of school. Credit: Duncan Agnew

Graduating ETHS students celebrate inaugural Senior Send-Off. For the first time, Evanston Township High School threw a Senior Send-Off party for the graduating class. Students from the pandemic-slammed Class of 2022 met on Lazier Field Thursday, their last day of class, so they could celebrate in style, with a DJ, food trucks and tents set up for yearbook signing and eating.

Christopher Rufo appeared on Fox News to discuss what he called District 65’s “radical gender lessons.” Credit: Mediaite

Conservative activist targets District 65 LGBTQ+ curriculum. Christopher Rufo, a conservative activist and writer with a large online following, recently published an article arguing that District 65’s gender identity curriculum offers proof that liberal towns and states are teaching “college-level queer theory” to the youngest students.

ETHS School Board President Pat Savage-Williams speaks at the May 9 meeting. Credit: District 202 YouTube

Savage-Williams re-elected ETHS board president. Evanston Township High School District 202 board members unanimously re-elected President Pat Savage-Williams and Vice President Monique Parsons to the same positions for the next year at Monday night’s board meeting. Savage-Williams has now served as the board president for seven consecutive years, since May 2015.

ETHS Foundation raised more than $3 million in donations in one year. During fiscal year 2021 alone – from July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021 – the foundation raised more than $3 million in donations and committed more than $1.7 million in grants and scholarships to ETHS.


Spring has finally sprung and at the RoundTable our thoughts have turned to romance. In the coming weeks we’ll be launching “They Do,” a new column that will feature local folks tying the knot. Getting married? Know someone getting married? We want all the details so we can tell the story, from that fateful first meeting to the magical matrimonial event. To be considered for inclusion in “They Do,” please submit your name, address and the date of your wedding to News@EvanstonRoundTable.com.


Business

A hairstylist blows out a client’s hair at Hair Science salon. Credit: Debbie-Marie Brown

Hair Science salon kicks off monthly pop-ups to aid local businesses. Annie Britt, the 43-year-old owner of Hair Science salon, has been in her own space as a hairstylist since 2014. Now she’s looking to leverage that space to help other local business owners get established too.


Arts & Life

Evanston SPACE talent booker Jake Samuels (left) talks with RoundTable reporter Doug Holt. Credit: Debbie-Marie Brown

Q&A: SPACE talent booker discusses finding acts for a venue that ‘feels like Evanston’. The RoundTable recently sat down with Jake Samuels, 38, who books talent for Evanston SPACE, the live music venue at 1245 Chicago Ave. SPACE, which shares a front door and ownership with Union Pizzeria, puts on 350 shows a year, plus outdoor shows in Evanston known as Out of SPACE.

Architect Charles H. Markel designed the home at 305 Barton Ave., an Italian Renaissance design. Credit: Adina Keeling

History center spotlights Oakton district in this year’s walk, which isn’t just for Mother’s Day. The historic district is a “hidden gem” and remains unexplored by many community residents, said Eden Juron Pearlmann, Executive Director at the Evanston History Center. The center selected the neighborhood for the 2022 edition of its annual Mother’s Day Walk, a popular 47-year-old tradition and the organization’s biggest fundraiser.  

Credit: Mike Roche Credit: Mike Roche

The week in photos: May 2-9. A white-throated sparrow and a downy woodpecker made an appearance at the North Shore Channel. Mike Roche photographed both birds near the 17th and 18th holes of the Canal Shores Golf Course, a location “ideal for spotting small birds,” he wrote to the RoundTable.

The folklore group Ochin Pakhi will perform at Fleetwood-Jourdain this Sunday. Credit: Evanston In-School Music Association

‘Taste of Bengal and Bangladesh’ at free community concert today. The Evanston In-School Music Association will offer a taste of the music of Bengal and Bangladesh with the 10-member folklore ensemble Ochin Pakhi. The performance will take place at Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center on Sunday, May 15 at 3 p.m.

Dear Gabby: Sharing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Dear Gabby, my aunt sent me some wonderful treats from overseas, and I’d rather give my kids the clothes off my back than the soft, pillowy English muffins shipped all the way from the UK. Does not sharing such luxuries make me a bad parent? Or do we all deserve some indulgences? 

Composer Zhou Tian. Credit: Harley Seeley

Evanston Symphony work celebrates transcontinental railroad. On May 22, the Evanston Symphony Orchestra will perform Transcend, a piece by Chinese-American composer Zhou Tian that was commissioned to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the 1869 completion of the transcontinental railroad. Favorite works by Dvorak and Tchaikovsky round out the program.

Rank and File | Evanston students return to in-person competition at K-8 Chess Championships. After two years of online competition, Evanston chess players from kindergarten through eighth grade returned to in-person competition at last month’s Evanston Scholastic Chess Championships. The tournament was organized by Evanston Scholastic Chess, a nonprofit that serves chess players in grades K-8.


Public Square

Steve Winwood

Les Jacobson: The unsung genius of Steve Winwood. “May 12 is Steve Winwood’s 74th birthday, making it the perfect day to celebrate the British music icon’s unique talents as composer, producer, arranger, singer and multi-instrumentalist,” columnist Les Jacobson writes.

Peggy Tarr: In the month of May. “Many of the titles of the days/weeks/months encourage/help folks to acknowledge and appreciate the contributions and history of certain groups,” columnist Peggy Tarr writes.

Letter to the editor: Pioneering in a new age of journalism. “You folks are migrating from a world whose foundations were built on typewriters, Linotypes, printing presses, subscription revenues and advertising, to one built on something new that you guys either understand or are figuring out,” Richard Miller writes to the RoundTable.

Letter to the editor: Hiring yet another consultant company. “Has the city of Evanston considered how much revenue would need to be generated at its 1.25% portion of the sales tax to recoup the proposed $245,000 consultant fee to generate more business downtown?” Sigrid Pilgrim asks.


Sports

Del Morris represents Evanston Hockey at a Fourth of July parade. Credit: Evanston Hockey

Evanston Hockey director breaks sport’s color line: ‘I hope my presence helps build diversity’. In 1985, 5-year-old Del Morris took a sports camp field trip to the Robert Crown ice rink and discovered an interesting activity called “ice skating.” He has gone on to break racial barriers in hockey as a coach and director, as well as inspire a new generation of young Black players in Evanston.

ETHS girls water polo: Kits end drought, sink New Trier and win CSL South title. The top-seeded Wildkits downed New Trier 8-6 in the title match of the season-ending tournament to earn the first conference title for the girls program since 2005, ending a 17-year drought.

Abrielle Artley (center) hurdles to victory. Credit: Tameeka McFarlane Credit: Tameeka McFarlane

ETHS girls track: Wildkits race to sectional title. Bumps in the road aren’t enough to slow down the members of the Evanston girls track team. The Wildkits proved that again, in convincing fashion, and captured their first Illinois High School Association Class 3A sectional meet championship since 2014 on Wednesday at Deerfield.

ETHS boys track: Ellis beats the heat, claims two CSL South sprint titles. Senior sprinter Vorn Ellis turned in a couple of state qualifying times on his way to individual titles in the 400-meter and 200-meter dashes and also anchored Evanston’s relay to a victory in the 1600 in a courageous display of stamina that earned him a trip to the emergency room at the end of a long, hot night.

ETHS girls badminton: Singles, doubles teams win two before bowing out at state. Evanston’s three seniors earned top 32 finishes at the Illinois High School Association state badminton tournament held at Hinsdale South High School on Friday.

ETHS softball: Kit girls break loose for first softball victory. The Wildkits pounded out 22 hits and ended an 0-16 season skid by demolishing visiting Lake Forest 24-4. Freshman Delilah Liston led the attack with a 4-for-4 performance, driving in three runs, and classmate Maya Nelson added three hits in the slaughter rule triumph.

ETHS baseball: Hawks blank Kits 4-0, grab lead in CSL South. In a matchup of two teams seeded 1-2 in the Class 4A Loyola Academy sectional tournament complex, Maine South blanked the Wildkits 4-0 Tuesday at ETHS and moved one game ahead of the losers in the loss column in the CSL South standings.


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Duncan Agnew

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...