Evanston RoundTable

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

Lead Pipes, Affordable Housing and More: Residents Show Plenty of Interest in Federal Rescue Funds. Forty three million dollars may seem like an awfully big figure, but Evanston residents had a wealth of ideas on where the money could be spent at a town hall meeting June 17.

COVID-19 Update on June 18: No New Cases in Evanston in the Last Eight Days, 102 in the State Today. In the last eight days, the City has reported no new COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents. The average number of new cases per day in the last seven days is thus zero. There has been a total of 2,288 tests administered to Evanston residents in the last seven days.

Council Defers Action on Leaf-Blower Restrictions, Fanning Hot Community Debate. Evanston City Council members held off action June 14 on an issue kicking up hot debate in the community – whether now is the time to place restrictions on noise-emitting gas-powered leaf blowers.

Committee Receptive to Opening Up Beaches and Lakefront Areas to More Food Trucks. The number of restaurants applying for food trucks has remained fairly constant since 2017, except for a drop-off last year, presumably because of COVID-19. One Council member says he thinks there is a real opportunity for growth in that business, which means revenue for the City.

Pay Stations and Parking Tickets May Greet Future Visitors to Evanston’s Lakefront. Parking along Evanston’s lakefront has historically been free for visitors to the area, but that would change under a staff plan that received backing from a City committee June 14.

Council Member’s Hazard-Pay Proposal Fails to Move Forward. An Alderperson’s proposal mandating certain Evanston employees receive hazard pay for work performed during the COVID-19 pandemic will not move forward, with some Council members saying they needed more information to support the legislation.


Girls Play Sports Camp (Photo by Mary Collins)

‘Girls Play Sports’ Talks Empowerment and Gender. Research shows that on average young women are more likely than young men to quit their sport of choice before the age of 14. But Evanston Township High School has reversed this trend, according to recent data. One reason for the strong showing among female athletes at ETHS is the existence of Girls Play Sports (GPS), a program designed to build confidence in young female athletes. Since 2015, the percentage of female athletes at ETHS has topped that of male athletes.

Rank and File | ETHS Places 2nd in Top 8 at Illinois Junior Invitational. The Illinois Youth Invitational, played May 22 and 23, was the first important Illinois chess tournament to be held in person since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020.

District 65 School Board Approves Cordogan Clark to Prepare Master Facilities Plan. On June 14 the District 65 School Board approved Cordogan Clark & Associates to prepare a Master Facilities Plan for the District at a cost of $165,000.

Arts & Life

From the McGaw Y to the NBA: How ETHS Graduate Henry Woo Jr. Made the Leap to Training NBA Players. Henry Woo Jr. was introduced to overseas player (and now NBA player) Khem Birch in 2017. Mr. Woo had never thought of being an NBA trainer, but when he was presented with the opportunity, he decided to go for it.

I Was a Great Parent…Before I Had Children. Dear Gabby,  While I (thought I) brought my children up to be grateful for all their good fortune, I’m finding that they often act like whiny millennials, claiming unfair treatment, bad bosses, “exhaustion,” long work hours, undue demands on their time, and generally being put-upon at work. What I want to say is: buck up, buddy! Be grateful you even have a job! You are in an entry level position, and when your boss says jump, you say how high! Quitcher bitchin’ and Do. Your. Job! It’s so galling! But I listen quietly without too much comment and hope that they either grow out of it or change their last name. But, ugh! Or should I say, ugly!

The Garage Collective offers local performers an archive of the music as well as a space to perform. (Photo by Jojo Wertheimer)

The Garage Collective Cultivates Community Post-COVID. From the outside, the Garage Collective looks like any other garage on a small, quiet south Evanston street. The two-story building is inconspicuous from the outside, but the ascent up the wooden stairs leads to a different universe – a universe with haphazardly strung Christmas lights, a floor-to-ceiling CD collection, and Ferris Bueller smirking from the poster-lined walls.

Donna Washington tells the story of Juneteenth to a Levy Center audience. (Submitted photo)

Storyteller Donna Washington Shares the History of Juneteenth. The esteemed storyteller Donna Washington returned to the Levy Lecture Series on June 8 to explain the history of Juneteenth, a holiday celebrating freedom and marking the end of slavery.

Social Justice

The Five-Fifths TIF Aims to Enhance Black Businesses in the Fifth Ward. The June 3 meeting of the Joint Review Board to consider a recommendation on the Five-Fifths tax-increment financing TIF district attracted nearly twice the typical number of interested residents. They raised questions about the possible developments in the proposed TIF district, opening up the possibilities of robust discussions at the July 12 public hearing and beyond.

A Look at Reparations From Three Faiths. Continuing their covenant to combat racism and confront the truth about their own past histories, two local churches will take the lead at noon on June 20 in a discussion of reparations from the perspectives of Judaism, Buddhism, and Christianity.

Public Square

I walked from Evanston to the Bean. On June 10, I walked from my home in Evanston to the Bean in downtown Chicago. As a California native, I miss going on long hikes, and I’ve had trouble accessing Cook County trails without a car. The 13-mile trek to the Bean felt like the perfect all-day excursion to keep my restlessness at bay, so I forced my friend Payton Miner to join me, and at 11:30 a.m., we began our journey.

Citizens Group Expresses Concern About Lack of Transparency in Cook ‘Resignation’. On June 4, Evanston Police Chief Demitrous Cook was brought into City Manager Erika Storlie’s office and given resignation papers to sign. After initially refusing, Chief Cook ultimately announced his retirement a few days later. As an organization committed to government transparency, responsiveness and racial equity, the Community Alliance for Better Government has grave concerns about how this process was handled and communicated to the public.


ETHS state championship 800-meter relay team, left to right: Jasmine Wright, Rikki Gray, Jacklynn Okereke, and Dawson Wright. This is the first state relay title ETHS has won since 2010-11. (ETHS submitted photo)

Evanston Girls Capture State Relay Championship. Evanston head coach Fenton Gunter was involved in a season-long tug-of-war with his coaching staff when it comes to Jacklynn Okereke’s talents and just exactly where the junior standout could help the Wildkits most this spring. Never bet against Coach Gunter in a tug-of-war – or on the track, either. The veteran coach’s decision to shift Okereke from the hurdles to relay events only paid big dividends Saturday at the Illinois High School Association Class 3A State track and field championships as the Wildkits captured their first State relay championship in 10 years.

Peter Adams-Agresti, Beacon Academy (Photo by James Torres, Beacon Athletic Director)

Beacon Academy Tennis Player Advances to State Finals. The Beacon Academy tennis team tied for eighth place in the Illinois High School Association State championship this past weekend at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights. This historical feat came on the shoulders of junior Peter Adams-Agresti, who advanced all the way to the final match, earning second place in the event.

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