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Evanston RoundTable

Good Wednesday morning, Evanston.

Ben Mattson cuts a fence post Tuesday, helping parents Caroline Pittman and Robert Mattson prep their family plot at McCormick Gardens, across from the Ecology Center. “I secretly don’t mind it,” Ben said. (Photo by Richard Cahan)

Activists in Oak Park, just west of Chicago, are advocating for reparations, and RoundTable reporter Gina Castro visited to learn about their vision and how it compares with Evanston’s efforts. An Oak Park task force is pursuing monetary compensation but also seeks institutional apologies and wants more local Black history taught in local schools in the suburb, where Black residents were pushed out of downtown after suspicious fires in the 1920s.

The Starbucks at 1901 Dempster St., which recently started closing down on weekday afternoons because of "safety and security" concerns.
Credit: Duncan Agnew

At a virtual Second Ward meeting Tuesday, Council Member Krissie Harris addressed safety concerns for businesses in the Dempster-Dodge area near ETHS. The Starbucks on that corner had reduced its hours citing “safety and security” issues, and Harris met with police and school officials. “We were actually shocked by some of the information that we found and some of the video footage I saw of behavior, which is unacceptable,” Harris said.

The District 65 Educators’ Council, the union representing about 750 teachers in District 65 schools, elected a new president last week. Trisha Baker, a special education teacher at Nichols Middle School, defeated incumbent Maria Barroso.

COVID-19 by the numbers: 11 new cases and no new deaths were reported on Monday, March 27, the last day the city updated case totals. The seven-day average is 7.3 cases per day. Two deaths were recorded on March 18 and 19, bringing the Evanston total to 166.

More RoundTable reads

Washington Elementary School Assistant Principal Carlos Mendez came forward at a school board committee meeting last week to deny an allegation of inappropriate behavior lodged against him by a parent. Several Washington staff members spoke in support of Mendez, who is on leave while an investigation is conducted.

Debbie Hillman, 1951-2023: Saya Hillman wrote that her mother was “An activist. A connector. A philosopher. An odd duck. A loner. A biker. A planter. A grower. An Evanstonian. A community member. An organizer. A learner. A writer. A DIYer. A self-taught’er. A deep thinker. A deep feeler. With a deep heart.”

Credit: Tom Mulhern

Living a zero waste lifestyle: Evanston residents of all ages joined the Circular Evanston Working Group’s first Waste Less Workshop on March 19. The aim is to keep usable waste out of landfills.

Letter to the editor: Kimball Shinkoskey admires the effort and enthusiasm of athletes in the NCAA basketball tournament (such as Princeton’s Blake Peters, above, an ETHS grad) and asks, “Why don’t we see a similar passion and commitment coming out of our politicians and government leaders today?”

Joseph E. Hill Education Center in Evanston
Credit: Adina Keeling

Those Who Excel: Two individuals and six work teams at District 65 were recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education this year, the district announced Tuesday morning.

The Chicago area celebrates its 50th annual Bach Week Festival April 28-May 14 with five Baroque concerts, including three at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston.

Picturing Evanston: Tunnel vision at Ryan Field on Central Street and Ashland Avenue. (Photo by Joerg Metzner)

Photos from our readers

Credit: Laurel Covert

Laurel Covert snapped this lakefront shot and captioned it “spring trying to break through.” Send your photos of people, places and events around town to news@evanstonroundtable.com for a chance to be included in this newsletter.

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Around the web

New poll shows dead heat between Chicago mayoral candidates. The survey from Northwestern’s Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy found older voters favor Paul Vallas. Crime, police reform and cost of living are key issues.

Highland Park shooting survivor — in Nashville when another massacre unfolded — rips lack of action on guns. “Aren’t you guys tired of covering this?” she asked reporters. “Aren’t you guys tired of being here and having to cover all these mass shootings?”

It could hit the 60s Friday in Chicago — but there’s a chance for snow first. This morning could see some snow showers, but winds bring warmth on Thursday, with p.m. rain, and then Friday may be stormy but with a high near 62.

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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...