Mayor Daniel Biss reviews the last year at Friday’s State of the City address.

Good Sunday morning, Evanston.

The state of the city is much sounder than some may think, Mayor Daniel Biss told the crowd gathered for the annual speech Friday, May 20. Biss said it’s been a year of great highs and lows. 

“I’ve been the mayor for a year,” Biss said to the luncheon crowd gathered at the PalmHouse, 619 Howard St. “It has been an incredible education, a remarkable journey. There have been times of real joy and times of real pain in our community. Times of, you’ll be shocked to learn, even great frustration.” 

During his nearly 40-minute speech, Biss hit the highlights – Evanston was recently voted a 2021 “All-America City” by the National Civic League – but didn’t shy away from the deeply serious issues the community faces.

Protesters gathered outside the PalmHouse banquet hall before Biss’ speech. Credit: Robert Seidenberg

Dissatisfied with the announced choice for City Manager, protesters lined up outside the PalmHouse where Mayor Biss was to deliver his State of the City speech at the annual Evanston Chamber Commerce event.

As guests filed in to the $75-a-ticket (for nonmembers) luncheon, members of the Community Alliance for Better Government held signs and talked to officials about the city’s recent announcement of Ann Arbor administrator John Fournier as the council’s choice for City Manager.

Before his speech, Biss stepped outside to speak individually to a number of the protesters.


Katy Wicks dresses the rodeo theme Saturday at Dillo Day. Credit: Wendi Kromash Credit: Wendi Kromash

Neither rain nor mud nor cooler temperatures hindered Saturday’s rodeo-themed Dillo Day music festival, which took over the lakefill behind the Norris University Center on Northwestern’s campus. 

With approximately 10,000 tickets sold and a sizable midday crowd of 5,000 to 6,000 concertgoers, the festival rocked on, despite a 90-minute rain delay.


Meet the photographers who picture Evanston for the RoundTable

Richard Cahan

“I’m from the Evanston RoundTable and I’d like to take your picture. That’s what I tell people. It usually works.”

That’s RoundTable photographer Richard Cahan, explaining how he convinces Evanstonians to pause long enough to be featured in At This Time, his unique daily photo essay on the life of our community.

We’re very proud of the progress we’ve made expanding and enhancing the content of the RoundTable over the past two years – especially our photography.

With our Spring Membership Drive in full swing, we thought you’d like to know more about Richard Cahan and colleague Joerg Metzner, two of the photographers who have been bringing you some of the RoundTable’s best images.

As a nonprofit newsroom, the RoundTable depends on the community’s support to bring you the great work of contributors such as Richard and Joerg. If you have not yet become a member of the RoundTable, won’t you join us today?


In case you missed any of the most important news last week, here’s a roundup of the top stories from the RoundTable.

City News

Credit: Wendi Kromash Credit: Evanston Police Department

‘In the company of heroes’: EPD 2022 Awards Ceremony. Men and women of the Evanston Police Department, plus a few brave civilians, were honored May 19. Each person being honored deserved public recognition for going above and beyond. 

Mayor to proclaim May 23-29 as Violence Prevention Week, June 3 as Gun Violence Prevention Day. Mayor Daniel Biss is set to issue a proclamation that will kick off a week of violence prevention lessons at District 65 schools as well as programming throughout Evanston. 

Olivia Ohlson. Credit: Diversify Golf Instagram account Credit: Diversify Golf Instagram account

Local teen activist tackles lack of diversity in golf. In March, 14-year-old Olivia Ohlson launched Diversify Golf, a new Evanston organization committed to making golf more accessible to young women and people of color.

COVID-19 update as of May 19: Evanston is at middle risk level. Even though the number of new COVID-19 cases in Evanston increased by 14% last week, Evanston has dropped from a high to a medium risk level.

Trisha Connelly (from left), Fortino Leon and Karen Courtright review the list of attributes they would like to see in the city’s next police chief. Credit: Bob Seidenberg Credit: Bob Seidenberg

Responsiveness, equity, community engagement skills: Residents have high hopes for next police chief. City officials – and reporters, for that matter – were out in more force than residents Wednesday, May 18, at a forum on selecting Evanston’s next police chief.

City to begin asphalt pavement sealing, rejuvenation week of May 23. The city will begin sealing and rejuvenating areas of asphalt pavement at 14 locations the week of May 23, weather permitting. The project is estimated to take eight to 12 days to complete.

Ithaca, New York, plans to stop using natural gas for heating and cooking and go all-electric. Credit: PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay Credit: PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay

City considers making Evanston buildings all-electric. Evanston may follow the lead of Ithaca, New York, which made headlines in November 2021 when it voted to electrify all 6,000 homes and buildings within city borders.

The McGaw YMCA at 1000 Grove St. Credit: Evan Girard Credit: Evan Girard

Federal COVID money may help renovate YMCA residences. An Evanston City Council committee voted to recommend using $3 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act money to renovate the YMCA’s Men’s Residence in Evanston, which the Y says hasn’t been updated or renovated in 92 years.

Evanston Division Fire Chief Kimberly Kull. Credit: Wendi Kromash Credit: Wendi Komash

Evanston’s highest-ranking female fire official: A preparedness expert. Evanston Division Fire Chief Kimberly Kull is the highest-ranking woman in the department, responsible for emergency management and logistics, and she is also the Public Information Officer.

Ambitious Wesley Court proposal seeks multiple variances from city. An Evanston developer presented plans on May 17 to the Design & Project Review committee for an ambitious development that would bring housing to a long-unused parcel of land near downtown.

DAPR approves new Beacon Academy arts space. The Evanston Design & Project Review committee unanimously gave its approval for Beacon Academy to lease space at 1026 Davis St. for extra classrooms and performance and exhibition venues.

Snapper Poche (left) and John Fournier. Credit: City of Evanston Credit: City of Evanston

Activists criticize search process for new city manager. With the Evanston City Council still negotiating with its chosen city manager candidate, some local activists are expressing disappointment in the selection process.

 Pastor Michael Nabors. Credit: Duncan Agnew

Evanston NAACP, religious and political leaders rally against racism. More than 100 people showed up in downtown Evanston Monday to raise their voices against racism in light of Saturday’s attack in Buffalo by a white supremacist that killed 10 people and injured three others.

June 2021 Hovland Court block party. Credit: RoundTable file photo Credit: Sarah Parisien

Evanston launching safe summer initiative: My City, Your City, Our City. The city plus a collective of nine community organizations are addressing the complex problem of youth violence with what might seem like a simple solution: To keep kids safe, keep them busy.

Heritage Site Marker #2. Credit: Heidi Randhava Credit: Heidi Randhava

Heritage Sites program unveils inaugural markers on Darrow Avenue. Decades of advocacy, research and planning came to fruition on May 14 when the first two of eight markers of the city’s Heritage Sites Program were unveiled.


Schools

ETHS scholarship recipients Jacklynn Okereke and Timothy Russell. Credit: ETHS

ETHS announces 2022 senior scholarship winners. Evanston Township High School held its annual Senior Scholarships Night on May 11 to celebrate students in the Class of 2022 who were named scholarship recipients through the ETHS Scholarship program. 

District 65 receives $600,000 grant to continue teacher residency program. U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky visited the Joseph E. Hill Education Center on May 9 to present District 65 Superintendent Devon Horton and the CREATE 65 team with a $600,000 check to continue the district’s teacher residency program.

ETHS reinstates mask mandate as COVID-19 cases rise. Evanston Township High School District 202 resumed its face mask requirement, citing the city’s heightened COVID-19 risk level as local cases rise.


Art & Life

Jason Burley leads a demo at Studio W.I.P. Credit: Adina Keeling Credit: Adina Keeling

Organizations join forces for boozy art crawl. Community members flocked to Main and Dempster Streets on a weeknight to sip craft beverages while perusing the work of local artists at the Evanston Arts & Craft Beverage Crawl.

The Mediterranean Mix Up at Picnic restaurant. Credit: Nancy McLaughlin Credit: Nancy McLaughlin

Picnic offers fresh delights for on-the-go salad lovers. With its eco-chic vibe and luxe furnishings, the stylish reception area of the new carry-out restaurant Picnic feels more like a high-end spa than an eatery.

Credit: Tory Bussey

Portrait of an elm: The mother tree in Maple Court. The elm tree in Maple Court is one of the venerable old trees in the City of Evanston. A grand presence in the courtyard of the condominium building at 1115-1133 Maple Avenue, the tree has been known to attract attention along with its four-story height.

Soul & Smoke co-owners Heather Bublick and D’Andre Carter. Credit: Provided by Soul & Smoke Credit: Provided by Soul & Smoke

Soul & Smoke basks in national media attention – and more customers. Since Soul & Smoke hit the national spotlight after being on Good Morning America May 11 for a barbecue competition, it has seen an influx of customers. “We sold a lot of briskets,” said co-owner D’Andre Carter. “Brisket sliders, brisket sandwiches, brisket dinners. You name it: chop brisket, mac and cheese brisket bowls. It was brisket-crazy over the weekend.”

Claudia Renteria. Credit: Photo provided Credit: Photo provided.

Evanston performer finds ‘we are all connected through art.’ Claudia Renteria began her acting career when she was 12. In Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico, Renteria began attending summer school, which included theater class.

Credit: LP Lundy Credit: LP Lundy

The Weekender: The Roundtable Roundup. Looks like a mix of sun and rain in the forecast this weekend. Rain or shine, I’ll be stopping by the Evanston Garden Fair where members of the Lincolnwood Garden Club will be selling plants from their own gardens. 

Diane Korling

Eye on Evanston: Thoughts on Design | An overdue salute to Diane Korling, a founding member of Design Evanston. When Design Evanston published its book Evanston’s Design Heritage in 2020, one important planner was missing from the collection of essays: Diane Korling.

Bookends & Beginnings’ top 10 April bestsellers. No. 1 is Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel, with narratives from the past, present and future overlapping through time travel, the beauty of the North American wilderness and the song of the violin.

Credit: Yancey Hughes

The week in photos: May 9-16. More than 100 community members gathered for the Childcare Network of Evanston’s “Zero to Five K” fundraiser walk on Saturday morning.

Evanston Pour on Dempster. Credit: RoundTable photo

The Lighthouse Keeper sees … that outdoor dining season has begun, with café seating popping up in front of many of Evanstonians’ favorite eating and drinking establishments. 

Eloise Lushina. Credit: Wyatt Boyd Photography Credit: Wyatt Boyd Photography

Former Evanston child actor off to college, ‘balancing who I am as a person now.’ Evanston’s Eloise Lushina, who starred in TV shows and community theater musicals at a young age, has decided to take a hiatus from her acting career to go to college.

Mary Wallace (played by Aja Singletary) and Athena (Mary Tilden). Credit: Michael Brosilow Credit: Michael Brosilow

Theater review: ‘Athena’ is about fencing – and much more. Athena, now playing at the Writers Theatre, is all about fencing. The conversations, though, are about two teenagers making connections that will change their lives.

Credit: James Deeb

The Art of Making Art: James Deeb. When you look at an oil painting by James Deeb, you might be taken with the massive amount of paint he uses to create his unique pieces.

Evanston Public Library accepting submissions for literary magazine. The 10th Ward Lit magazine is a digital literary magazine edited and published by the Evanston Public Library. The magazine looks to showcase the diverse artistic voices of Evanstonians.

Levy Lecture: ‘Chicago by Gaslight’ with Rich Lindberg. Historian and author Rich Lindberg’s virtual Levy Lecture focused on Chicago history from 1880 through 1905, a time known as the Gilded Age.

Do I have to offer to pay? Dear Gabby, I just got a new pair of glasses with new frames a week ago and while many people have remarked on them, my husband hasn’t seemed to notice something brand new that sits on his wife’s nose.

Michael Allen (left) and his younger brother Gilbert Allen. Credit: Judy Chiss Credit: Judy Chiss

Robert Crown hosts literacy carnival – a fun event with a serious purpose. Equity and empowerment were key themes at the local authors’ book fair. The event was the brainchild of three local authors who have recently published books: brothers Michael and Gilbert Allen and Juleya Woodson.

“Duna,” by Deborah Butterfield. Credit: Gay Riseborough Credit: Gay Riseborough

Butterfield’s bronze horse grazes in memory of Evanston philanthropist. Duna is the name of the large, grayish bronze horse set out in 1998 to graze in Oldberg Park, the triangular green tract where Elgin Road, Clark Street and Sherman Avenue come together. 

Gail Hutchison. Credit: J.B. Spector

Gail Hutchison, going to her edge. The sixth episode from Season 2 of Evanston Rules goes deep with Gail Hutchison, a native Evanstonian and powerful yoga and meditation instructor.


Public Square

Rev. Michael Nabors: Letter on Buffalo shooting. The death of completely innocent people engaged in the regular task of shopping at their neighborhood’s local grocery store should compel our nation to lament and repent of its greatest sin.


Sports

ETHS boys track: Kits qualify two relays, four individuals for state finals. Senior Vorn Ellis’ determination and drive produced a first-place finish in the 400-meter dash and he also helped Evanston advance two relays to the state finals following qualifying Thursday at the Glenbrook South Sectional meet. 

ETHS girls soccer: Wildkits boot Von Steuben 11-0, advance to regional finals. Senior Nadia Van den Berg scored two goals and led the Wildkit girls to an 11-0 slaughter of Chicago Von Steuben in the Class 3A regional tournament semifinal at Lazier Field.

ETHS boys gymnastics: Gymnasts rise to occasion with two state medals. Sophomore Xavier Probst turned in the routine of his career and finished second on floor exercise at the Illinois High School Association boys state finals held at Hoffman Estates High School.


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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...