Evanston RoundTable
Supermoon rising over the lake on May 26. (Photo by Pete De Jong)

Good morning, Evanston.

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

City News

Council Approves Plan for Three Free Beach Days Per Week This Season. Evanston residents will be able to use the City’s beaches for free on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays this coming beach season, with City Council members looking at making all beaches free in 2022.

Retail Representative Calls Proposed Hazard Pay Ordinance a ‘Slap in the Face’ to Some Stores. A State retail merchant’s representative urged Evanston Council Members to vote no to a proposal that would mandate hazard pay for employees at larger “Big Box” stores during COVID-19.

Evanston Officials Break Down Guidelines for Use of ‘Once-in-a-Generation’ Stimulus Funds. What would it be like to go to sleep one night and wake up the next day with more than $21.5 million deposited in your account? And what if you knew an equal amount was going to be deposited in your account next year, bringing the grand total to $43,173,654? That’s essentially the experience of the City, receiving the first batch of federal stimulus funds from the U.S. Treasury last week.

‘Five-Fifths TIF’ Heading Toward Approval. Approval could come in the next few weeks for another tax-increment financing (TIF) district in west-central Evanston. This proposed TIF is located primarily in the City’s Fifth Ward and is called the Five-Fifths TIF; it lies just north of the current West Evanston TIF.

COVID-19 Update on May 28: ­­­­­­­­­­­­One New Case in Evanston, 982 in the State. As of May 24, 83% of Evanston residents 12 and older have received at least one vaccine dose, and 67% are fully vaccinated, the City said.

Evanston Skateboarders Push for Bigger Role on City Skate Parks Planned at James and Twiggs Parks. Evanston skateboarders on May 25 were not turning handflips over City recreation officials’ decision to build a temporary skate park at James Park’s west end before installing a permanent one.

Northwestern Rock Chipped and Damaged for Unconfirmed Reasons. Unknown individuals damaged the Northwestern University Rock on May 27. The front of the Rock, which displayed the message “Free Palestine,” remained intact.

Evanston Plaza Sold, Valli to Stay. Azzuri of Evanston, the owner of Evanston Plaza, Dempster Street at Dodge Avenue, has sold the property. The purchaser, BI Evanston, LLC, paid $36,180,000, and the City received $325,620.00 in transfer-tax revenues.

Harley Clarke Mansion Booked for Next 40 Years. Artists Book House, led by Evanston Township High School alum and award-winning author Audrey Niffenegger, received City Council approval earlier this month to lease the Harley Clarke mansion for 40 years.

Citizens Network of Protection Holds Session on Body-Worn Cameras. Videos from police officers’ body-worn cameras are used as evidence not only in court cases but also in complaints against a police officer. Some even have value as training videos, said Evanston Police Commander Ryan Glew in a May 18 remote presentation to the local group Citizens Network of Protection.


The RoundTable Congratulates the ETHS Class of 2021. You made it! It was a tough year by any measure. Nevertheless you persisted – or, to borrow from the great Chicago songwriter Curtis Mayfield, you kept on keeping on.

Author, Brother, and Principal Dr. Michael Allen Fights for Equity and Leads with Love. In his sophomore year at Valparaiso University, Michael Allen thrived. He played on the football team, performed well in his classes, and loved being a college student. One evening, Mr. Allen called his younger brother, Gilbert, to brag about his success in school. During that call, he learned his brother was failing his classes and on the brink of dropping out of high school.

Legacy of School Segregation, Part II, Visions for a Community School in the Fifth Ward. Henry Wilkins, founder of STEM School Evanston, summarized the group’s vision for a new STEM school in the Fifth Ward. District 65’s Sarita Smith said, “The goal is to have the school in the Fifth Ward.” She said, though, from District 65’s perspective, all options were on the table, and community input would be a key factor.

ETHS Student Newspaper Wins 32 Awards in State Journalism Contest. Evanston Township High School’s student-produced newspaper The Evanstonian won 32 awards, including best overall publication for schools with more than 2,600 students, in the annual contest held by the Illinois Journalism Education Association.

Arts & Life

One Helluva Wardrobe. Dear Gabby, We have a moral dilemma. My husband and I recently moved to a new home and bought some of the furniture from the previous owner before she moved out. The furniture is beautiful and antique. Here’s where it gets sticky. While disassembling and moving one of the pieces of the wardrobe, an envelope dropped out. It had been hidden between the middle of the wardrobe and the decorative top cover. Inside was $11,000 in $100 bills! 

Evanston City Hall, 1942, just a few years before its demolition. (Photograph, Evanston History Center)

Evanston Dimensions | Ask the Historians. After our last column, Libby Hill submitted the following question for historians at the Evanston History Center: In the 1950s, several City departments were run out of red brick two-story buildings on what I think was Maple. One was the Health Department. Perhaps simultaneously, perhaps following those buildings, City offices were in a grey limestone-looking building south of the Post Office, before moving to today’s Civic Center. EHC answers her question with a brief history of Evanston’s government locations.

Poppy Days Are Here Again. In anticipation of Memorial Day, veterans of VFW Snell Post 7146 and its auxiliary are selling poppies. The red poppy is a symbol of World War I, because poppies sprang up on many of the battle sites in France and Belgium.

New Anthology of Black Authors Has Evanston Provenance. The latest edition of Chicago Quarterly Review is out with a new collection of work by Black American authors. The issue has a strong Evanston connection.

Blue Skies, Red Lanterns, and Fluttering Koi Mark ASAPIA Heritage Month Arts Festival. The Evanston ASAPIA Heritage Month Arts Festival was held under blue skies and festive red lanterns on May 22 at Fountain Square in downtown Evanston.

Public Square

Les Jacobson: Henry Kisor: A Life of Achievements. Longtime Evanston resident and renowned journalist and author Henry Kisor knows a thing or two about challenges. At 3½ he lost his hearing after an almost-fatal bout of meningitis. “For many parents,” Mr. Kisor wrote in “What’s That Pig Outdoors: A Memoir of Deafness,” published in 1990, “the verdict of deafness is like a death sentence for their child.”

Charles Wilkinson: Pandemic 101. Trying to make sense out of all we’ve been through for well over a year now is like wanting an answer to a very human question: “Why, God?” 

Peggy Tarr: Memorial Day Then and Now. As most people know, Memorial Day occurs this year on Monday, May 31. Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, was/is a holiday to commemorate those who died while serving in the United States military. 


Whatley Captures CSL South Shot Put Title. One look at the weather – and at the calendar – was all it took Thursday to convince Evanston girls head track coach Fenny Gunter to use caution when it came to the number of entries the Wildkits had at the Central Suburban League South division championship meet.

Frosh Goodwill Goes Deep Three times in Softball Loss. Freshman Serafina Goodwill blasted a school record three home runs in one game Thursday against Glenbrook North, but that wasn’t enough to tame the Spartans in a Central Suburban League South division contest.

Lennon Helps ETHS Hold on for 13-11 Win Over Trevians. No matter how much success she has in the circle for Evanston’s softball program, odds are that Lexi Lennon won’t forget her first varsity win. Not because it came against arch-rival New Trier, but because the freshman pitcher has plenty of bruises to show for it.

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