Evanston RoundTable
Latinx Staff Caucus facilitates conversations in the Planetarium Courtyard. (Photo by Heidi Randhava)

Good morning, Evanston.

Evanston Township High School hosted an in-person evening Open House on Aug. 30 for parents and students that included sessions within racial affinity spaces, facilitated by the ETHS Latinx Staff Caucus, the Black Staff Caucus and the Asian Middle Eastern Staff Caucus, as well as an anti-racist session facilitated by racial and social justice trainer Christine Saxman.

In interviews with the RoundTable, many parents said they attended the evening Open House to learn more about the activities and opportunities available to their students.

COVID-19 survivor Mahmoud Ajamia and his wife Kristin Brown

Evanston resident Mahmoud Ajamia survived a long bout with COVID-19, but his journey was anything but easy. It included eight weeks in the hospital, mostly in the intensive care unit, and 29 days hooked up to a ventilator during two different spans of time – the first one lasting 10 days, the second 19 days – neither of which he remembers.

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

Evanston Council member Bobby Burns wants the City to look at removing or burying power lines that run overhead in a swatch of the City’s Second and Fifth wards. (RoundTable photo)

Council member sees better alternative to overhead power lines in 2nd and 5th wards. Fifth Ward Council member Bobby Burns would like to see Evanston consider burying the overhead transmission lines that bisect the Second and Fifth wards, opening opportunities to develop the area.

A memorial to Daunte Wright is seen April 21 in Minneapolis. Wright’s death at the hands of police in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, led that city to make changes to its public safety policies. (Photo by Lorie Shaull)

Rethinking police: Evanston public safety changes could follow Minnesota city’s lead. Evanston’s Reimagining Public Safety Committee may draw inspiration from a Minneapolis suburb’s effort to rethink its police department. Representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union involved in the Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, reforms spoke at a Tuesday meeting of the Evanston committee.

Evanston fall bulk trash pickups begin Sept. 17. The City of Evanston will offer residents free removal of up to six cubic yards of bulk garbage this fall as part of its bulk trash pickup program. Fall 2021 bulk trash pickups will take place on Fridays, Sept. 17 through Oct. 8.

COVID-19 Update on Sept. 2: Nine New Cases in Evanston, 4,224 in the State. The number of new COVID-19 cases in Illinois appeared to be flattening last week. At a press conference, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he would be watching the numbers and if the numbers were “not just flattening, but heading down,” he would take action “as we see things improving.”

Former Fifth Ward Alderperson Robin Rue Simmons welcomed participants to the session.  “I’m really happy to be here, excited,” said Rue Simmons. “This is a really special day because we are moving closer to dispersing our first benefits and we have a long road ahead of us.” (RoundTable photo)

Evanston officials lay out guidelines for City’s first reparations program. Stephanie Saunders and her mother bought their house, a Cape Cod style home on Emerson Street, about 21 years ago. They bought it “as is,” and “haven’t been able to afford to really do the full renovation that we’d like to do,” Saunders said.

Northwestern scholar of Black education to study Evanston reparations. The City of Evanston made history and drew international attention in March 2020 when it became the first municipality in the U.S. to agree to pay Black residents reparations, up to $25,000 for those affected by discriminatory housing policies and practices.

Virtual meeting to discuss plans for Evanston animal shelter. The City will host a virtual community meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 9 to discuss plans for a new animal shelter. The City of Evanston, the Evanston Animal Shelter Association and Cook County have formed a partnership to expand the capacity of the shelter.

Evanston resident Kyle Campbell makes a point Aug. 27 at a community session on proposed changes to the City’s leaf blower ordinance. (RoundTable photo)

Residents, landscapers sound off on leaf blower ordinance. Residents called on City officials to move forward on a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers in a community meeting Aug. 27 that also included a give-and-take with landscapers who would be most affected by the move.

Construction crane in downtown Evanston (RoundTable photo)

Florida condo collapse sparks building safety questions in Evanston. The collapse in late June of a 12-story oceanfront high-rise in Surfside, Fla., was more than a thousand miles away from Evanston’s lakefront. But the horror of the event – one of the deadliest building collapses in U.S. history – prompted some Evanston residents to wonder “could this happen here?” 

Beth’s Little Bake Shop installed a to-go window. “I think people are sort of accepting that maybe we’re going to have to live in this flex world for a while,” said Laura Brown, who manages the Central Street business district. (Photo by Jason Merel)

Evanston small businesses navigate pandemic with adaptation, community support. Despite some initial business closures, the Evanston small business community worked its way through a challenging year and a half using fast adaptations and creative pivots.

Reading us on the website? Sign up for the free newsletter and we’ll deliver it direct to your inbox.


Boosterpalooza 9 a two-day hybrid for 2021. Boosterpalooza 9, the annual Evanston Township High School Boosters’ fundraiser, is a two-day event for 2021. “The Boosters support student activities across athletics, student groups, the arts, and other extra-curricular programs,” said Boosterpalooza Co-Chairperson Elizabeth Gallo.

District 65 School Board and administrators move to dismiss federal lawsuit. On Aug. 30, the District 65 School Board and administrators filed a motion to dismiss the complaint that was filed against them by Stacy Deemar in the United States District Court in Chicago on June 29.

District 65 Superintendent named to Illinois inclusive history panel. Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Superintendent Dr. Devon Horton has been appointed to the Illinois Inclusive American History Commission by the Illinois State Board of Education, the district announced Wednesday.

Arts & Life

Don’t talk to me first thing in the morning. Dear Gabby, When I get up in the morning I am rather drowsy, but as often as not, my spouse insists on asking me important and weighty questions just as I am inserting my toothbrush into my mouth.

Joey Feinstein, new Executive Director of Citizens’ Greener Evanston, bikes with his son Moey, who just turned 3. (Submitted photo)

Citizens’ Greener Evanston names first executive director; mapping project wins NU grant. Citizens’ Greener Evanston has named Joey Feinstein as its first Executive Director. Feinstein grew up in Evanston and attended Evanston Township High School.

Jessica the Parrot at Alley Gallery in Evanston. (Photo courtesy of Darren Oberto)

The Evanston Gallery Scene reveals exciting new artists – learn the places and faces. The art gallery business can be risky in normal times. COVID has caused unusually stressful conditions for some gallery owners. Nevertheless, Evanston is still home to a number of art galleries that you should know about and visit if you enjoy looking at original art.

Evanston Symphony Orchestra performs at Gilson Park (Photo by Laura Bennett)

Evanston Symphony strikes a festive note. After more than a year of COVID-enforced silence, the Evanston Symphony Orchestra finally got to perform live on Aug. 30. The audience and musicians loved it.

(Photo by Julie Chernoff)

I say tomato. The tomato: fruit or vegetable? Does it matter? Any way you slice it, tomatoes are delectable. And here in Illinois, late summer is the absolute peak season for these beauties, be they beefsteak, cherry or Roma.

Funkadesi world music group is set to perform Sept. 17 outside the Levy Senior Center in Evanston. (Submitted photo)

Levy Senior Center to host outdoor concert by world music group Funkadesi. Chicago-based world music group Funkadesi will play a free all-ages concert from 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 17 outside the Levy Senior Center in Evanston.

Public Square

Les Jacobson: Moonlight on the Buffalo. I grew up in New York, and I try to get back there at least once a year to see family and friends. On a recent trip, a visit to Ellis Island was particularly memorable.

Peggy Tarr: September 2021. Most of us know that Monday, Sept. 6, is the Labor Day holiday. It is a day to honor the contributions of laborers. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894.


Evanston’s varsity girls volleyball team (Submitted photo)

ETHS spikers step up with victory in home opener. Evanston Township High School’s girls volleyball program showed in the 2021 home opener Wednesday night that it’s ready to put a decade of losing behind it for good.

Libertyville owns line of scrimmage, dumps Kits. Sports clichés have a ring of truth to them and that’s why they become clichés. The theory that you’re never as good as you look when you’re winning – and on the flip side, you’re never as bad as you look when you’re losing – rang true for Evanston’s football team Friday night.

ETHS senior John Leibforth (22) plays in his first varsity home game Aug. 30 at Lazier Field as the Wildkits opened play in the Evanston Invitational tournament with a 2-1 win over Lake Forest Academy. (Submitted photo)

ETHS boys soccer: Versatile athlete leads Kits to 2-1 tourney win. Last year, the coronavirus pandemic gave John Leibforth the rare opportunity to play four sports during the calendar year at Evanston Township High School. He took up cross country and track for the first time, continued as a member of the bowling program and also competed for the junior varsity soccer team.

The ETHS Wildkits scored a 26-6 victory over Indian Trail of Kenosha, Wis., on Aug. 27. (Photo by Becky Kremin)

Evanston finds finishing touch in season opener. The inability to finish off potential victories was all that stood in the way of a perfect season for Evanston’s football team during the pandemic-shortened campaign last spring. Maybe the Wildkits have learned that lesson already in the fall of 2021.


Dr. Harvey James “Skipper” Whitfield died died July 3 at his home in Evanston. He was 81. (Submitted photo)

Dr. Harvey James ‘Skipper’ Whitfield 1940-2021. Dr. Harvey James Whitfield, M.D., biochemist, researcher, educator and psychiatrist, died July 3 at his home in Evanston at the age of 81. The cause was Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Whitfield, known to family and friends as “Skipper,” was born in Chicago on April 10, 1940.

Become a Member!

Evanston local journalism needs your support. Become a champion for our journalists by joining the Roundtable as a Member or a Lead Sponsor. To find out more contact us at news@evanstonroundtable.com.

If you enjoy reading the RoundTable newsletter, please consider joining our community of readers who believe in the value of nonprofit, local journalism. Your support will help us keep the RoundTable free for all readers. Become a member today!

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...