Evanston RoundTable
Nichols Middle School in March. Credit: Duncan Agnew Credit: Duncan Agnew

Good Friday morning, Evanston.

A Nichols Middle School student, one of multiple students allegedly involved in a sexual assault on another student, became physically aggressive and injured a district staff member during a police investigation at the school Thursday, Principal Marcus J. Wright wrote in an email to the Nichols community.

The student “became extremely verbally upset” during a conversation with District 65 administrators about the alleged sexual assault, and Evanston Police Department officers eventually put the student in handcuffs “to prevent any further injury to school staff and police officers,” according to Wright’s email.

The alleged sexual assault “did involve other Nichols students,” but the incident occurred off-campus outside of regular school hours and is still under investigation by Evanston police, Wright wrote.

Reparatiions Committee Chair Peter Braithwaite at a January meeting. Credit: Richard Cahan Credit: Richard Cahan

Evanston’s Reparations Committee wants to increase the current reparations fund by $2.6 million, but members are still debating how to go about it.

So far, the $10 million city reparations commitment has been funded via the use-based cannabis tax, which according to city data has only collected $400,000 thus far, enough to pay for 16 individual housing grants. The city is seeking an additional $2.6 million to support the remaining 106 beneficiaries in the “ancestor” category.

“We are all very conscious and aware of the fact of a sense of urgency, particularly with our ancestry group. So we’re pushing the envelope,” said City Reparations Committee Chair Peter Braithwaite, council member for the Second Ward.

Buffalo grass and purple coneflowers. Credit: Leslie Shad Credit: Leslie Shad

Leslie Shad, co-founder of Natural Habitat Evanston, did not expect “No-Mow May” to gain much traction here. 

The environmental initiative asks residents to set aside their lawnmowers for the month and let grass and flowers grow naturally, creating a habitat in which birds, bees and butterflies thrive. 

After a recent New York Times article detailed the initiative’s success in Appleton, Wisconsin, Shad noticed a growing interest in “No-Mow May” among Evanstonians. “There were a lot of people who said, ‘Why don’t we do that here?’” she said. “So then I got kind of excited.” 

Sketchbook Brewing Co. taproom.

Have a beer on us and support local journalism 

We’re kicking off our Spring Membership Drive with News and Brews, a free celebration of local journalism featuring live music and complimentary beer! 

Join us from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, May 9, at Sketchbook Brewing Co., 821 Chicago Ave. All attendees will receive two free beers and we’ll have some light refreshments provided by our friends at Firehouse Grill.

RoundTable editors, writers and other contributors will be on hand for the evening, along with members of our board and advisory committee. We’ll also have a short music program featuring performances by RoundTable Racial Justice Fellow Debbie-Marie Brown and Steel String Highway, the alt-country/rock band led by RoundTable VP Mark Miller and friends.

Here’s a huge thanks to our friends at Sketchbook and Firehouse Grill, our event sponsors! Attendance is limited, so RSVP today to your spot

COVID-19 by the numbers: 55 new cases were reported Wednesday, May 4, the last day the city updated totals. The seven-day average is 43.6 cases per day.

Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

The ETHS Japan Bowl students, with teacher Margaret O’Connell (second from left). Credit: Wendi Kromash Credit: Wendi Kromash

Three ETHS seniors capture first place at Illinois Japan Bowl. An ETHS team won first place in the Illinois Japan Bowl, a competition with questions on Japanese language, recent history, culture and day-to-day living. The ETHS trio beat 49 other teams in the statewide competition.

COVID-19 update: Seven-day average of new cases in Evanston jumps 41%. The new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people metric puts Evanston, Chicago, suburban Cook County and Illinois as a whole in the “middle” risk level. And the actual number of new cases could be three times the number being reported.

Downtown Evanston Credit: Bob Seidenberg Credit: Bob Seidenberg

Committee recommends hiring firm to study reviving city’s business districts. Evanston officials support hiring a Philadelphia firm to conduct a $245,000, seven-month study of the city’s business districts. The consultant would suggest ways the city can realign itself in the economic aftermath of COVID-19.

The Farmers’ Market begins this Saturday. Credit: Kristin Brown Credit: Kristin Brown

The Weekender: The RoundTable Roundup. The Evanston History Center is hosting its 47th annual Mother’s Day House Walk this weekend, and in addition there are plenty of other things to check out around town this weekend.

Credit: RoundTable file photo Credit: Evanston RoundTable

Districts 65 and 202 to discuss special education services for private, home schooled students. Evanston’s school districts will hold a virtual meeting to talk about the districts’ plans for providing special education services for students with disabilities who attend private schools and home schools.

Fire Station 5. Credit: EFD Credit: City of Evanston Fire Department

Fire Station 5 car wash will support youth training program. A car wash event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Fire Station 5, 2830 Central St., will raise funds for the Evanston Fire Department’s Explorer Post, which provides youth with Emergency Medical Services and fire suppression training and ride-along opportunities.

ETHS girls track: Whatley falls short in bid to repeat as CSL shot put champ. Senior Olivia Whatley fell short in her bid to repeat as conference shot put champion at the Evanston track, but did earn runner-up honors in both the shot and discus, accounting for most of the points as ETHS finished last in the six-team field with 25 points.

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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.

Around the web

Evanston Police Department had an increased level of resignations in 2021. Here’s what the future looks like. Cmdr. Ryan Glew said EPD’s high resignation rate is due to officers taking “lateral opportunities” at other police departments.

Fluctuating lake water levels, increasing storms cause increasingly overwhelmed stormwater systems in Evanston. The overall water increase is expected to lead to overflow in Evanston’s drainage systems and increase erosion on the lakefront.

Chicago mayor criticized for launching canned water brand amid lead crisis. Launch of Chicagwa met with criticism that the city hasn’t done enough to help thousands of residents drinking lake water through lead pipes.

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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...