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Evanston RoundTable
Credit: Richard Cahan

Good Sunday morning, Evanston, and to those who celebrate, happy Easter, Passover and Ramadan!

Above, an Easter sunrise service this morning at Clark Street Beach, sponsored by Northwestern’s University Christian Ministry, Lutheran Campus Ministry and Canterbury Northwestern. (Photo by Richard Cahan)

In case you missed any of the most important news last week, here’s a roundup of the most-read pieces from the RoundTable, with a few new ones thrown in for good measure.

Credit: Evanston History Center

Chances are you’ve heard a lot about the Margarita Inn, at 1566 Oak Ave., over the last few years. The former boutique hotel became an emergency homeless shelter in 2020 when the pandemic hit. But its origins go back to 1915, when the Margarita Club began. In part 1 of a 2-part series, the Evanston History Center’s Jenny Thompson tells the club’s story and what it says about how women lived and worked in the first half of the 20th century.

The Human Resources Division manager who the City of Evanston Black Employees Action Group alleged mishandled discrimination complaints has resigned. Megan Fulara submitted her resignation March 3 and took a job at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. Her resignation came seven days before the city hired a consultant to review the HR division. In an email to the RoundTable, Fulara said the consultant “is a highly reputable company and I am glad the City has chosen to partner with them. I look forward to participating as needed.”

Superintendent Devon Horton is leaving after three years at Evanston/Skokie School District 65. On Tuesday, he was named sole finalist for the top post at the DeKalb County School District in Georgia, which has more than 130 schools, 14,000 employees and 92,000 students. In Horton’s application for the job, he said he could start July 1, so District 65 will have to act quickly if it seeks to recruit a new leader for the 2023-2024 academic year.

About 150 of Evanston’s Catholic faithful marked Good Friday by participating in the Neighborhood Way of the Cross. Follow the procession through the streets of Evanston with photos and audio captured by the RoundTable’s Richard Cahan.

Every incumbent on the ballot in Evanston won election Tuesday. In the Second Ward, Krissie Harris (above left, hugging daughter Alexis as son Romell looks on) got 54% of the vote, besting Darlene Cannon and Patricia Gregory. In the Ninth Ward, Juan Geracaris (above right, with wife Danielle and children Rosa and Oscar) won 67% of the vote, defeating Kathy Hayes.

In the District 65 school board race, incumbents Sergio Hernandez Jr. and Mya Wilkins (above left) won reelection along with newcomer Omar Salem. In the ETHS contests, newcomer Leah Piekarz (right) was elected to the board, while incumbents Monique Parsons, Elizabeth Rolewicz and Mirah Anti kept their spots. Here is what winning candidates had to say after their Tuesday victories.

Evanston Township High School is adding a $1.2 million health science center, with labs for career exploration and nursing skills training, in fall 2024. The ETHS Foundation will fund the center, intended to help students get hands-on job experience in the patient care industry. Foundation Executive Director Joanne Bertsche called the facility “basically a simulated hospital.”

How much does the City of Evanston owe Black residents for the discrimination they have endured? Corporation Counsel Nicholas Cummings is trying to calculate a figure – most likely far more than $25,000 a person – to use as evidence for the new cash benefit reparations program. On Thursday, the Reparations Committee (above) discussed details of cash reparations. Also, the city plans to hire a reparations administrator within the next 90 days, which officials hope will speed disbursals.

Guest essay: Sonia Cohen and David DeCarlo of the Most Livable City Association write that if Peter Barris, chair of Northwestern University’s board of trustees, opposed a hotel expansion a mile away from his Martha’s Vineyard vacation home, “surely he can empathize with Evanstonians … who live within blocks of the Ryan Field site.”

The Starbucks at Dempster Street and Dodge Avenue has resumed normal hours after briefly closing in the afternoons due to safety concerns. Security camera footage showing people fighting has been shared with ETHS and the police, but the video, described as “disturbing,” has not been made public, Police Sgt. Chelsea Brown said.

Letter to the editor: The board of the Friends of the Evanston Farmers Market is concerned about a suggestion to move the market to Fountain Square: “Don’t let this poorly designed proposal irreparably ruin one of Evanston’s shining jewels.”

Jürgen Krauss, a finalist in The Great British Bake Off in 2021, will appear at The Newberry Consort’s annual gala May 14 at the Woman’s Club of Evanston. He will make a dessert and play the trombone.

Credit: MLS listing

The Fifth Ward is set to get more affordable housing: The city purchased a house at 1808 Hovland Court to donate to Community Partners for Affordable Housing. “Similar to the boarded-up properties on Jackson and Emerson, it [the property] was creating an eyesore and trash was accumulating, and we were dealing with other issues,” Fifth Ward Council Member Bobby Burns said at a ward meeting.

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From day one, it’s been the RoundTable’s mission to bring you unbiased, in-depth reporting about the Evanston community. But we need your help to continue investing in high-quality and in-depth journalism, reporting news that strengthens and enlightens our community, encourages civic engagement and bolsters our democracy. Please join our community of readers and become a member today.

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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...