Evanston RoundTable
Nikita, who came to the U.S. from Moldova, waves his American flag. (Photo by Sam Stroozas)

Good Sunday morning, Evanston.

At the first event of its kind at Welsh-Ryan Arena, 484 people from 78 countries were sworn in as U.S. citizens at Northwestern University Friday afternoon. U.S. District Judge Sunil R. Harjani administered the Oath of Allegiance followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Abdulatif Almokdad and his family fled Syria as refugees. “We are very excited,” he said. “It’s the greatest thing to happen in our lives to become a U.S. citizen. We suffered a lot to come here.”

Report details sexual harassment among lakefront staff. (RoundTable photo) Credit: photo submitted

A law firm hired by the City of Evanston to investigate sexual misconduct and harassment in the lifeguard program put together a scathing report that recommends a complete overhaul of the way the city runs the lakefront, and also urges officials to consider discipline of those responsible.

The law firm’s 379-page report, released by the city, goes into painstaking and often shocking detail about allegations against lifeguard supervisors. It blames officials for failing to properly investigate and hold accountable those at fault.

The report is particularly critical of Jennifer Lin, former Human Resources Division Manager, and Lawrence Hemingway, former Parks and Recreation Director, who resigned Monday.


A screenshot shows an image from the Ukrainian government website.

Guest essay: Evanston clergy issue statement opposing violence in Ukraine. Members of the Evanston say they stand “with our brothers and sisters in Ukraine” against the Russian invasion.


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

Evanston to end mask, vaccine mandates on Monday. Mayor Daniel Biss announced the city’s mandates will be lifted Feb. 28, the same day the state’s rules end. His email, sent Wednesday, also answered various questions on pandemic precautions.

COVID-19 update as of Feb. 24: Coronavirus cases in the state dropped by 94% between Jan. 12 and Feb. 24.

Juan Geracaris. (City of Evanston photo)

Mayor picks Juan Geracaris to fill Ninth Ward council seat. If approved by the City Council on Monday, Geracaris would become the first Latino council member.

Council members gathered Wednesday night. (Photo by Duncan Agnew)

City may require licensing for landlords, despite some opposition. City Council members discussed the possibility of creating a licensing requirement for landlords to improve the enforcement of property maintenance requirements.

Northwestern closes building after finding message officials call ‘act of intimidation.’ The multicultural center was closed for days after a message the school categorized as an “act of intimidation” was discovered on a whiteboard.

The property at 1224 Washington St. (Cook County Assessor)

Music school gets panel’s go-ahead to subdivide lot. The Butcher Boy School of Music Production is one step closer to city approval for plans to subdivide its property and stay in business.

Feb. 21 fire on Monroe Street. (City of Evanston photo)

Fire leaves a dozen Evanstonians homeless. A dozen Evanston residents were displaced from an apartment complex in the 1600 block of Monroe Street. The NAACP is collecing aid for victims.

Mayor Daniel Biss speaks at a Nov. 29 conference. (Photo by Duncan Agnew)

Amid concerns about crime, Evanston looks to invest in its youth. The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to more conversations about mental health, crime and violence. 

Street cleaning operations begin on Tuesday. Street cleaning operations will begin on Tuesday, March 1 and run through Dec. 15, weather permitting.

A rendering of the project site for the skate park.

Residents hear about three ideas for new skate park. The city hosted a virtual public meeting to review the initial three concept designs for a new skate park at Twiggs Park.

Credit: City of Evanston photo / City of Evanston

Committee recommends approval for Salvation Army resale shop. Members of the Evanston Design and Project Review committee unanimously backed a permit for a Salvation Army resale store at 2424 Oakton St.


Schools

The Feb. 22 District 65 and District 202 meeting. (Image from ETHS YouTube channel)

District 65 schools to end mask mandate March 7. Evanston/Skokie School District 65 is shifting to a mask-optional policy next week.

ETHS dropping mask mandate Feb. 28. Evanston Township High School District 202 will move to a mask-optional policy on Monday. The ETHS teachers’ union is against the decison.

Taking stock: How the pandemic has impacted student achievement at School District 65. The health crisis has taken a social and emotional toll on students, parents, teachers and staff, and has affected student learning.

District 65 and 202 school boards discuss ‘rebooting’ literacy goal as gap persists. The school boards reviewed statistics showing the districts are falling short on student literacy.

ETHS students, Black History Month Committee. (Photo by Adina Keeling)

Districts 65 and 202 come together for literacy and Black empowerment. ETHS students read books about Black joy and empowerment to second, fourth and fifth graders.

Dawes School student Tomiyah Malone, 9. (Photo by Debbie-Marie Brown)

‘I didn’t know Evanston had this much history’: Fourth graders learn about city’s Black hospital. For 2022 Black History Month, Dawes School is keeping it local, teaching classes on the historic contributions of Black Evanston.

Credit: Adina Keeling

Community groups contribute to vision of Fifth Ward school. The vision for the new Foster School has expanded greatly over time. What began more than two years ago has now evolved into a much bigger, more complex project. 

Micro bits (Photo by Hillary Linden, Dawes School P.E. teacher)

Dawes School’s fifth graders burn calories in computer science class. A new Northwestern University-District 65 collaboration is taking computer science out of the lab – and into the gym.


Art & Life

“The Ballad of Mu Lan” (Justin Barber, photographer)

Theater review: Family, friendship and ‘girl power’ star in ‘The Ballad of Mu Lan.’ Imagine U’s production is a modern update that breathes new life into a classic – but dusty – tale.

Players gather materials to build a treehouse. (Photo by Keren Chookasian)

No treehouse? No problem! When Kate Hunt and her family moved to southeast Evanston in 2012, her kids always asked why they couldn’t build a treehouse in the tree outside of their apartment. Now they can, without even going outside.

‘They serve the community unselfishly’: C&W Market expands help for those in need. Clarence and Wendy Weaver opened C&W Market and Ice Cream Parlor in 2014. Eight years later, C&W has expanded its community efforts through its foundation, workforce development, a soon-to-come food pantry and an ice cream truck.

The Love Family

Cradle premieres Hollywood-produced film about adoption. A movie that captures the joy and poignancy of adoption through the eyes of 10 families served by the Cradle is the centerpiece of its 99th anniversary celebration in Evanston.

Taste-testing ‘hygge’ in downtown Evanston: A review. Our intrepid reporter samples some of the fest’s finer February offerings

Dr. Isabella Garnett with student nurses, c. 1914. (Evanston History Center)

Evanston Dimensions | Brief portraits of pioneering Black Evanston residents. Dr. Isabella Garnett was born in Evanston in 1872. In 1895, she earned a nursing degree from Provident Hospital and Nurses Training School in Chicago. The Evanston History Center writes on her story as well as other stories.

Local events to finish off your Black History Month. On March 9 Northwestern’s Block Museum of Art will be hosting conversation about the NAACP’s exhibition, “An Art Commentary on Lynching.”

(Photo by Gay Riseborough)

Haven School sculptures by Mary Anderson Clark exemplify public artworks by women in Evanston. Four 6-foot-tall figures of Bedford limestone welcome students to the main entrance of Haven School.

Artist makes one-of-a-kind garment with Sew Design Studio. Leland Chakos was having brunch when he saw an advertisement for one of Veronica Brackett’s beginning sewing classes at Sew Design Studio on Green Bay Road. He signed up and began the next step in his artistic career.

(Photo credit: Bea Rashid)

The week in photos: Feb. 14-21. Two little ballerinas drew inspiration from a poster at Dance Center Evanston. 

Benefits of palliative and hospice care explained at Levy Center. For patients and their families, hospice and palliative care offer support and relief. Yet, many people don’t know what they entail or where to find them.


John Nance (Photo: WTTW)

Former Evanston resident featured in PBS special on local segregation. John Nance, a 68-year-old former Evanston resident, was featured in the third installment of “Firsthand,” a PBS documentary series about local segregation.

Bindy Bitterman (Photo: Wendi Kromash)

Bindy’s grand book adventure. As the owner of Eureka! Antiques & Collectibles, Bindy Bitterman was an Evanston doyenne for many years. Now approaching her 91st birthday, she is a first-time children’s book author.

Good friends don’t always make good bosses. Dear Gabby, Some years ago, I accepted a job knowing that a good friend would be my boss. Turns out, good friend didn’t make for good boss.

Female common redpoll eating alder seeds. (Photo: Fran Morel)

The Year of the Redpoll. The redpolls are here! Redpolls are adorable, active, gregarious little finches with heavily streaked sides, forked tails, yellow bills, a black chin and, most importantly, a red forehead, or “poll” as it is called. 

“Lee Street,” Kathy Halper.

The Art of Making Art | 3D views of Evanston life. Kathy Halper’s art is often created within a series, probably is made to hang on a wall, and might include 3D elements created using mixed media and found objects.


Public Square

Les Jacobson: Remembering Mr. Arnelle. Learning to respect and navigate the differences with other people is a crucial life skill. In that respect I was lucky, because I got help from the crossing guard on Webster Avenue.

Letter to the editor: Developers use ‘affordable’ units as Trojan horse for luxury projects. The proposed new luxury development at 1621-31 Chicago Ave. will only exacerbate Evanston’s mismatch between housing need and existing supply.

Letter to the editor: Sticker shock from gas bill. Feeling sticker shock at your Nicor natural gas bill? I am. Last month’s bill seemed extraordinarily high and this month’s was even worse.


Sports

Dejected Wildkits walk to the locker room (Photo by George Pfoertner)

ETHS girls basketball: Buzzer beater ends season for Wildkits. It only took an instant for Caitlin Leyden to beat the buzzer – and break Evanston’s hearts.

ETHS boys basketball: Defense delivers again for Moore as Wildkits win regional crown. On Friday, the Wildkits stifled Glenbrook North 51-36 and claimed the Class 4A regional tournament championship.

ETHS boys track: Kits get the jump on Glenbrook South in first indoor meet. A 1-2-3 finish in the final event of the day – the triple jump – lifted ETHS to a narrow 80-78 victory over Glenbrook South.

ETHS boys swimming: Wildkits send 12 individuals, 3 relays to state. The Wildkits scored their first sectional team championship since 2015 Saturday at Niles North.


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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...