Evanston RoundTable
Credit: Joerg Metzner

Good Wednesday morning, Evanston.

Joerg Metzner’s picture of the Bennison’s Bakery sign glowing at sunset is just one of the gorgeous photos he and Richard Cahan feature in an “Evanston Scenes” greeting card set that will be sent as a gift to NewsMatch donors who support the RoundTable with a new donation of $150 or more. Give from now through Dec. 31 and generous national and local partners will match your gift to Evanston’s nonprofit newsroom, doubling the contribution.

Thanks for your support. And now on to the news.

The latest Illinois school report cards show student achievement declines at both District 65 and Evanston Township High School. District 65 students lost ground during the pandemic, though they fared better than state averages. At ETHS, the graduation rate is up but SAT scores are down. Both districts continue to struggle with wide opportunity gaps.

Evanston’s City Council members are holding several discussions this week about the proposed 2023 budget, and First Ward Council Member Clare Kelly hosted a meeting with police and fire officials Tuesday night. Their message: Fully fund the pensions now, or it’ll cost a lot more later.

Meanwhile, at a combined Sixth, Seventh and Ninth ward meeting, Council Member Juan Geracaris, 9th Ward, said a proposed city property tax hike has been taken off the table. But the Library Board’s tax levy doesn’t require City Council approval if it stays below a certain threshold, Geracaris said.

COVID-19 by the numbers: Eight new cases and no new deaths were reported on Monday, Oct. 31, the last day the city updated case totals. The seven-day average is 13.4 cases per day.

In case you missed it: Gearing up for next week’s midterm elections? Look no farther than the RoundTable’s full election guide featuring all of the information you need before you head to the polls.

Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

Redistricting dilemmas: The city is drawing new ward boundaries, but the project is turning out to be more difficult than anticipated. Last time the city tried this, 20 years ago, groups came up with 15 different maps, said Fourth Ward Council Member Jonathan Nieuwsma.

Applications to District 65’s magnet schools are down, and officials are looking for ways to improve student recruitment and programming at King Arts and Bessie Rhodes, Evanston’s two magnet schools.

Credit: Ian W. Mitchell

Remember the old Burger King at Orrington Avenue and Clark Street that closed in 2020? Demolition work on the Home of the Whopper began this week. After the rubble is cleared, here’s a look at what’s coming to the corner site.

What to do about the rise of anti-Semitism? Evanston’s example of Black and Jewish unity could be a model, the Rev. Michael Nabors writes.

Credit: Kingsway Preparatory School

In honor of teachers: Third generation Evanston educator Simone Larson writes about the power of a great teacher, and why we remember them even decades later.

Credit: City of Evanston

Evanston police officers normally stick to patrolling the 7.8 square miles of our fair city. But last month seven officers traveled a little farther afield: London.

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Around the web

The Hideout to close after ex-worker alleges toxic environment. The iconic Chicago bar and music venue will shut down next week until at least early 2023 after many artists canceled performances due to a toxic work environment scandal. The owners said they plan to reopen “with new leadership.”

‘Smashing Pumpkins’: Not the band, but a climate-friendly way to get rid of jack-o-lanterns. Households across Chicagoland are done with their pumpkins. But pumpkins release methane as they rot, so smashing, and then composting may be the best option for the environment.

It Could Hit 70 Degrees In Chicago This Week. Get ready for a balmy end of the week, Evanston, with temperatures in the upper 60s that could hit 70, with a chance of blustery winds and rain.

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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...