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Evanston RoundTable

Good Sunday morning, Evanston.

They call him the gnome guy and here are his children – some tiny and plastic, others human. Chris Broch (above with kids Kaia, left, and Crosby) places small figures atop mushrooms in trees Saturday; surprises on a new walking path along the North Shore Channel at Canal Shores Golf Course. (Photo by Richard Cahan)

In case you missed any of the most important news last week, here’s a roundup of the most-read stories from the RoundTable, plus a few new ones.

The Evanston History Center’s Jenny Thompson tells the Margarita Inn’s story: It was constructed in 1927 as a women’s residence, served as a lively community center for decades, then was sold in 1974 and reborn as a hotel. “It seemed criminal to destroy it simply because it had outlived its use,” said new owner Patricia Nichol Barnes. “The answer I thought was to be really creative and to find a new use for it.” Now Connections for the Homeless looks to reinvent the inn again.

District 65 officials and Cordogan Clark architects unveiled the latest designs for the Fifth Ward school at a Thursday meeting. Climate action activists got a big win: Plans include sustainable design elements like solar panels, LED lighting and water-efficient fixtures, and the district has committed to achieving LEED Gold or Silver certification. But residents voiced concerns about parking.

One young man was killed and two boys were wounded Wednesday night at Clark Street Beach. Evanston Police Cmdr. Ryan Glew said officers were called to respond to a report of gunshots around 8:09 p.m. Northwestern University told its students to shelter in place for over an hour, issuing a 9:57 p.m. all-clear message. EPD tweeted that two suspects had run away, eventually fleeing in a vehicle. “The incident does not appear to be a random act,” EPD said.

On Thursday, EPD said the incident began as an argument between two groups that escalated into gunfire, killing Jacquis Irby, 18, of Skokie. Two boys, both 15, were hurt; one remained in critical condition Thursday.

Northwestern also admitted in an emailed statement that the alert it issued warning the university community to shelter in place should have been sent sooner. It plans to review its emergency response process.

Credit: Travis Muir

The ETHS girls soccer team advanced to the championship game of the Lou Malnati’s Deep Dish Classic tournament with a 4-0 over Stevenson. Senior midfielder Adriana Merriam scored a pair of goals and added an assist in Thursday’s game. (On Saturday, the Wildkits fell to Lyons 4-1 in the finals.)

More than 40 people who had crowded into a room at the Morton Civic Center on Wednesday walked out of a meeting with Northwestern and city officials after about an hour of public comments, as university representatives refused to answer questions about Ryan Field. Dave Davis, NU’s executive director of neighborhood and community relations, said the committee meeting was “not the appropriate forum” to discuss the stadium.

The Evanston Thrives economic development draft report recommended moving the farmers market from University Place and Oak Avenue (above) to Fountain Square. But that “would probably just kill the market,” warned Vikki Proctor, president of the Friends of Evanston Farmers Markets. The group, soon to meet with city officials, said the market’s manager and vendors have been left out of talks.

A day later, the City of Evanston emphasized in a statement that “There are no immediate plans to move the Downtown Evanston Farmers’ Market.”

Downtown Evanston is getting some familiar sips and some new dishes: Smoothie chain Jamba, which had a Jamba Juice shop in the Chandler’s Building that closed in 2015, is set to return this fall next to the Sherman Avenue Starbucks. And CM Chicken, a Korean fried chicken chain, is moving forward with construction at 1009 Davis St.

Credit: Jack DeMar

Mensch’s has opened as a pop-up Jewish deli inside Picnic, 1619 Chicago Ave. Featuring open-face bagel sandwiches, the weekend-only restaurant also offers coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice and a selection of traditional Jewish pastries.

City Council has cleared the way for a new development at Church Street and Darrow Avenue. The project by Mt. Pisgah Ministry and the Housing Opportunity Development Corp. involves a four-story building with 33 units of affordable housing and ground-floor retail, plus a new three-story worship space (seen at right above).

The ETHS girls softball team has waited a long time to see a scoreboard like the one above: The 11-1 victory at Niles North on Friday, a slaughter rule contest that only lasted five innings, was the Wildkits’ first win of the season, ending a five-game losing streak.

bakery/marijuana dispensary proposal for 100 Chicago Ave. is one step closer to reality after the Land Use Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to back the project, which requires City Council approval. West Town Bakery and OKAY Cannabis, separate businesses with the same owner, would share an entrance.

Credit: K2 Studio

Evanston SPACE will get more space and Union Pizzeria can expand outdoors after the City Council voted unanimously Monday for a zoning change for the businesses at 1245 Chicago Ave. SPACE will gain a separate entrance, its own restrooms and a lobby bar. The pizzeria will get patio dining.

Evanston Public Library hit a milestone birthday yesterday. On April 15, 1873, Evanstonians voted to fund a free public library. The vote was unanimous: 337 for, none against. The library plans multiple events to celebrate its sesquicentennial.

Evanston Cradle to Career plans to bus 50 parents, local residents and community group members to Springfield on Tuesday for Early Childhood Advocacy Day in support of Gov. JB Pritzker’s Smart Start Illinois plan.

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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...