Evanston RoundTable
Kristi Bachmann (left), the Trap, Neuter, Return Director at the Evanston Animal Shelter, and Nancy Maize, the Shelter’s Feline Director, work to rescue cats from a fire that broke out at a residence in the 1300 block of Dewey Avenue on Aug. 16. (Photo courtesy of Evanston Animal Shelter)

Good morning, Evanston.

Evanston Fire Department officials initially reported that as many as 15 cats were rescued in a structure fire in the 1300 block of Dewey Avenue on Aug. 16, but the number has climbed since then.

As of Aug. 18, the number stood at 34, reported Vicky Pasenko, Executive Director of the Evanston Animal Shelter, located at 2310 Oakton St.

Shelter volunteers, meanwhile, have been in full response mode, seeing to the cats’ aftermath medical care and finding them homes.

“A couple of people from my team were there until 10:30 last night, rescuing cats from that place,” Pasenko said the day after the fire. The volunteers went back the next day and found more, pulling animals from the rubble, she said.

Students talked with friends on a warm, sunny first day of school. (Photo by Heidi Randhava)

Tuesday marked the first day of in-person school at ETHS after more than a year. A sense of optimism and energy permeated the air that afternoon, as students flowed out the doors of Evanston Township High School on the first full day of the school year. The sight of students talking with friends as they emerged from the building, many of them stopping to chat with Superintendent Eric Witherspoon, was both familiar and new.

“Although it was a little hard at first, it was definitely easier just being around all these people. Teachers were nice, friends were helpful. It was just a good environment,” an ETHS sophomore told the RoundTable.

“It was confusing, but it went pretty well,” said another sophomore.

We’re excited to introduce Woof!, a new column dedicated to all things canine, written by Lyon H. Reedy, a longtime Evanstonian who has spent most of his life trying to be some dog’s best friend.

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

Kelley Gandurski (City photo)

Evanston City Council announces intent to appoint Kelley Gandurski as Interim City Manager. The Evanston City Council intends to appoint Deputy City Manager Kelley Gandurski as Interim City Manager as the City undertakes a community-informed, nationwide search to recruit and hire its next city manager. The City Council expects to vote on Gandurski’s appointment at its next meeting on Monday, Sept. 13. 

Plan Commission sends Chicago Avenue proposal to Council. Members of the Evanston Plan Commission on Aug. 12 unanimously approved a proposal asking for a number of variances for a planned development at 1012 Chicago Ave., between Main and Greenleaf streets.  

Hearing Aug. 19 on Rottweiler attack. The victim’s screams pierced the early morning calm on July 30. A woman in her mid-50s, who was walking her dog at 6:30 a.m. near the 1200 block of Forest Avenue, was approached by three dogs who had left their owner’s fenced-in backyard through an unlocked gate. One of the dogs, a black Rottweiler, attempted to mate with the woman’s dog, said Commander Ryan Glew of the Evanston Police Department.

COVID-19 update on Aug. 19: Nine new cases in Evanston, 3,180 in the State. Federal officials issued a statement indicating that a booster shot will be needed “to maximize protection” of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and likely the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Crumbling concrete. Evanston officials could only congratulate themselves on their good fortune in 2014 when the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) announced it would be giving the City $750,000 toward construction of a state-of-the-art “green” parking lot behind the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center, where most government offices were then housed. The grant was to go with $500,000 the City pledged to chip in to transform a basic asphalt lot into a sustainable lot with plantings and rain gardens to catch water runoff.

A City Council Committee rejected a recommendation of the City’s Preservation Commission that the Second Church of Christ, Scientist building and lot at 2715 Hurd Ave., be designated a local landmark. The building is across the street from Willard Elementary School in the City’s Sixth Ward. (RoundTable photo)

Move to designate church a landmark fails to make it off Council Committee floor. Members of a City Council Committee denied a request Aug. 9 that the Second Church of Christ, Scientist building and lot at 2715 Hurd Ave., be designated a local landmark. Council member Melissa Wynne observed that unlike other cases, “where the argument to landmark a building seemed very strong, this one seemed to me to be not as strong, and the arguments in opposition to it were striking.” 

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Arts & Life

Dancers at the 2019 Taste of Armenia (Photo by Gary Rejebian)

Taste of Armenia returns to downtown Evanston. Gary Rejebian, who is both an active member of and festival cultural chairman for St. James Armenian Church, 816 Clark St., called his church community’s efforts at staying active during the COVID-19 pandemic “a very long road.” Like many religious organizations, St. James adapted its service-schedule according to prescribed safety protocols. “But what people don’t easily see is that all the stuff around community life is what gets interrupted,” Rejebian said.

Hecky’s Mac and Cheese (Photo by Steve Lemieux-Jordon
Evanston Photographic Studios)

Beyond the blue box: In search of Evanston’s finest macaroni and cheese. We’ve all been there. The potluck buffet is laden with mysterious meats, sad wilted salads, strange spreads and dips of unknown origin and then suddenly you spot it – the golden bubbly glow of that familiar cheddar-topped casserole, like a beacon welcoming you home. There, you think. There is something good to eat. Because, let’s face it. Even when macaroni and cheese isn’t great, it’s always really good.

Once a mother bear, always a mother bear. Dear Gabby, When I was in high school, I had a very good friend who had an after-school special kind of transformation from “awkward teen” to “gorgeous girl” overnight. In the process, she got a lot of attention from our male classmates. It went to her head and she started taking advantage of our friendship.

Madeline Baxter (right) with other Camp Kesem counselors at summer camp.

Camp Kesem brings care and support to families with cancer. Madeline Baxter was just a teenager when both of her parents were battling cancer. It was a very emotional time for Baxter, a Northwestern University student, who today turned her own challenges into a major support for kids watching their parents struggle with a cancer diagnosis. She became the co-director for Camp Kesem, which supports children from families struggling with a cancer diagnosis. 

Legacy Panel featuring former Evanston Mayor Lorraine Morton. (Photo by Gay Riseborough)

Byline Bank teaches about local Black legacy. Byline Bank is using a traveling art exhibit to educate Evanston about people and organizations who have contributed to the development of the local Black community. “Legacies, Profiles on the North Shore” is on display at the bank’s Benson Avenue and Church Street location. Large graphic panels profile contemporary and historic Black individuals as well as organizations and institutions important in the development of the community here.

Suffrage and Women’s Equality Day tours at the Willard House. In honor of the ratification of the 19th Amendment in August 1920, the Frances Willard House Museum has special suffrage themed tours on Women’s Equality Day, Thursday, Aug. 26 at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Highlights from the museum collection that tell the suffrage story will be featured, as well as Rightfully Hers, a visiting pop-up display from the National Archives that ties the national suffrage story to today.

From left: Head Basketball Coach Mike Ellis, ETHS Senior Accountant and Assistant Varsity Coach Rudy Meo, and freshman Basketball Coach Jetter Gibson look at the new street sign at Church St. and Dodge Ave. (Photo by Heidi Randhava)

‘Black Lives Matter Way’ street sign ceremony honors an inclusive movement. The portion of Dodge Avenue between Church Street and Lake Street was officially designated as “Black Lives Matter Way” at a recognition ceremony on Aug. 14. Close to 50 community members of all ages gathered at the intersection of Church Street and Dodge Avenue for the unveiling of the new street sign.

College students gather at Bob’s Pizza on Tuesday nights (Photo by Adina Keeling)

Thanks to Tuesday Night Trivia, Bob’s Pizza is ‘the hottest joint in Evanston.’ On Tuesday evenings, groups of Northwestern students hurry down Sherman and Chicago Avenue to snag a table at Bob’s Pizza. The restaurant hosts Trivia Night every Tuesday at 8 p.m., and while players are busy scribbling answers onto note cards, servers supply steaming pizzas and $10 pitchers of beer, a favorite among the college students. “Bob’s Trivia is kind of the hottest joint in Evanston these days,” Northwestern student Sarika Rao said. 

Evanston hosts Vintage Garage (Photo by Adina Keeling)

Vintage Garage moves to Evanston, bringing with it 75 sellers. Shoppers at the Aug. 15 Vintage Garage saw no shortage of leather jackets, patterned button-downs, old electronics and retro home decor. The vintage market attracted 75 vendors, who sold everything from Christmas decorations to leather cowboy boots.

Public Square

Nancy E. Anderson: My kids are getting married and my feelings are…complicated. I have five children. I gave birth to two of them and acquired three by marriage. In the last nine months, one of my children has gotten married and two have gotten engaged. While engagements and weddings symbolize hope and optimism, things we so desperately need in this epoch of uncertainty, I find myself confronting a host of disparate feelings about these events.

Les Jacobson: The centennial column. This was supposed to have been about my 100th column, a milestone worthy of some celebration and reflection. I started writing my bi-weekly column for the RoundTable in the fall of 2017, so 26 columns a year would mean hitting 100 roughly in the late summer of 2021. In other words, now.

Mayor Daniel Biss: An update on COVID-19. During a few wonderful weeks back in June and early July, it seemed COVID-19 might finally be in retreat. The City reported zero new COVID-19 cases for 18 of 20 consecutive days back then, which, together with the resumption of many activities that had been on hiatus, led many to breathe a sigh of relief after an incredibly difficult 15 months.

Peggy Tarr: Humanitarianism in song. When looking at the month of August in the Human Rights Watch Planner, I read that the 19th was designated as World Humanitarian Day (WHD).  It was designated (as such) by the UN General Assembly in 2008. A theme is chosen each year. The focus for 2021 is the climate and “meaningful actions.” WHD is: “A global celebration of people helping people.”

Henry Wilkins’ open letter to the District 65 School Board. Dear School District 65 Board and Administration, On behalf of STEM School Evanston’s Board, the hundreds of supporters, families, advisors and volunteers who advocated for our vision to open a Community School located in Evanston’s Central Core, we would like to thank the School District 65 Board and Administration for hearing our call to restore a public school to the Central Core.


Derek Guimond goes up for a spike in the Nea Salamina Famagusta vs Anorthosis match in 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Derek Guimond)

ETHS grad gives volleyball players an opportunity to compete overseas. After graduating from college, ETHS alum Derek Guimond (Class of 2011) thought it was the “end of the road” for his volleyball career. But, when he received a scholarship to the University of Essex in the U.K., he found a way to continue playing volleyball while getting his M.B.A. Because of this positive experience, Guimond decided he wanted to give others the same opportunity to continue playing volleyball after college. 

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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...