Evanston RoundTable

Good Sunday morning, Evanston.

Police are investigating to determine whether there are any additional victims after a recording device was discovered last week in a washroom used by employees at the downtown Whole Foods store, 1640 Chicago Ave.

On April 1, Sergeant Kenneth Carter said that an employee at the store had been charged with one count of unlawful video recording after one victim was identified from footage on the recording device.

On April 3, Rachel Malish of Whole Foods Market’s Global Public Relations emailed the RoundTable: “We are deeply troubled by this information and working in full cooperation with law enforcement in their investigation. This individual is no longer employed by Whole Foods Market and will not be allowed in any of our stores.”

Northlight hopes to break ground in summer 2023. (Northlight rendering)

Northlight Theatre will go before Evanston’s City Council on April 11 to ask for $2 million of the $43 million Evanston will receive from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

Northlight has bold plans to build a state-of-the-art, 300-seat theater and complex in Evanston at 1012-16 Church St., just west of the Metra tracks – a project expected to total $26 million.

An economic impact study has estimated the financial boost from a new theater, but Ruben Carrazana, an actor and new Community Engagement Manager, discussed Northlight’s nonfinancial benefits: He told of several community partnership programs, all led by experienced teaching artists.

Kate Clark, 11, and her prepared poem. (Photo by Sam Stroozas)

A small group gathered Friday evening at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center for Word Salad, an open mic night where writers could read selections of their poetry and prose. Six writers took to the mic to share their pieces.

Eleven-year-old Kate Clark read what she said is her best poem, In the Life of a Rose. She has written five poems total, even one about kittens at the request of her friend. It was her first time reading in front of anyone besides her friends and family, but she said she was not too nervous.


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

City News

Northwestern Medicine will expand across from the new AMC Theaters. (Photo by Richard Cahan)

Seeing both challenges and opportunities, Downtown Evanston leaders seek a ‘reboot.’ Like commercial districts across the nation, downtown Evanston has lost commuters and other consumers, leading to dramatic drops in sales, retail closures and vacant office spaces. But business leaders see signs for optimism.

William “Bill” Logan, Jr. and his family (Photo by Heidi Randhava) Credit: Heidi Randhava

‘My heart is filled with joy’: Council approves honorary street name for William ‘Bill’ Logan Jr. Council members voted 7-0 in favor of a resolution that designated a portion of McDaniel Avenue in honor of the city’s first Black Police Chief for his service to the community.

Rebeca Mendoza speaks at the event. (Photo by Adina Keeling)

Networking event brings women together, celebrates website’s launch. Thursday might have marked the end of Women’s History Month, but it also saw the launch of a new website created to uplift women in the Evanston community. 

Susan Holtzclaw receives her second vaccine dose. (RoundTable file photo) Credit: Evan Girard

Health officials prepare for possible uptick in COVID-19 cases from ‘stealth’ omicron subvariant. The CDC announced Tuesday that the COVID-19 omicron subvariant BA.2 had officially become the dominant form of the virus in the country.

COVID-19 update as of March 31: Seven-day average of new cases in Evanston dropped slightly in last week. New COVID-19 cases in the state, suburban Cook County and Chicago increased slightly in the last week, while new cases in Evanston showed a slight decline.

Irwin Weil (Photo by Nurbek Matzhani, CC BY-SA 4.0 Creative Commons license)

NU Slavic expert on Ukraine war: Russian friends are ‘upset and angry.’ Irwin Weil remains in close touch with his friends in Russia, and what he hears is gloomy. “Of course they can’t say it in so many words,” says the Professor Emeritus of Slavic Languages and Literature at Northwestern University.

(RoundTable file photo) Credit: RoundTable file photo

Staffing proposal would cut the service time officers from other departments need before joining shorthanded EPD. With the Police Department facing its greatest staff drain in years, city officials are considering reducing the service time officers from another municipality must serve before transferring to Evanston’s force.

March 28 City Council meeting. (Image via City of Evanston livestream)

City approves $900,000 for mental health ‘Living Room.’ Each year, approximately one in five U.S. adults experience mental, behavioral or emotional disorders, and one in 20 experience serious mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. In an 8-0 vote, council members at the March 28 City Council meeting approved spending up to $900,000 in ARPA funds to establish a mental health “Living Room” in Evanston.

 Mario Borha, Program Chair of Oakton Community College’s Emory Williams Academy for Black Men. (Photo provided by Oakton Community College)

Oakton launches academy exclusively for Black male students. Oakton Community College has launched the Emory Williams Academy for Black Men, open to all first-year Oakton students who self-identify as male and as Black. Mario Borha, Program Chair of the academy, said Oakton wasn’t “where they needed to be” in terms of helping Black male students.

An Evanston lead service line replacement. (City of Evanston photo) Credit: City of Evanston

City discusses workforce development program to replace lead pipes. Under a mandate in the Illinois Lead Service Line Replacement and Notification Act, Evanston must now replace, not repair, lead water pipes. A new program would train community members as apprentices to carry out the work.

Omar Brown (Submitted photo)

NorthShore HealthSystem appoints Brown to Board of Directors. Omar Brown, Senior Vice President and People and Culture Officer of the Big Ten Conference, has been appointed to NorthShore University HealthSystem’s Board of Directors.

Sergeant Joseph Bush (EPD photo)

EPD sergeant graduates from Northwestern police school. On Sergeant Joseph Bush of the Evanston Police Department recently graduated from the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety’s School of Police Staff and Command Class No. 507.

When is it OK to use a leaf blower? As a reminder, backpack-mounted or hand-held gas-powered leaf blowers are allowed for use between March 30 and May 15, with restrictions on specific days and hours.


Schools

Principal Marcus Campbell (Screenshot via ETHS YouTube)

Student and parent panels interview Principal Campbell for ETHS superintendent job. The District 202 board has named current Principal and Assistant Superintendent Marcus Campbell as the top candidate to replace Eric Witherspoon as the school’s superintendent.

Illinois State Board of Education (Screenshot via ISBE.net)

Illinois State Board of Education considers changes to standardized testing. In an effort to improve state assessments for elementary and middle-school students, the Illinois State Board of Education is considering a wide range of potential updates to its current testing system.

The new Trulee high-rise at Ridge Avenue. (RoundTable photo)

School districts get share of Fifth Ward TIF revenues in final IGA. Evanston City Council members have approved an intergovernmental agreement with school districts 65 and 202 assuring them a slice of the revenues from the one major development in the newly established Five Fifths Tax Increment Financing District.

Analysis: Projections of student enrollment at District 65 leave much uncertainty. Projections commissioned by District 65 and those done internally by the district leave a great deal of uncertainty about what enrollment will look like in the future.


Art & Life

Laura Soskin (Photo by Meike Zuiderweg)

Elegance returns to Central and Prairie. At 1925 Central St., a new business has moved in. Laura Soskin, an interior designer from Wilmette with 30 years in the field, has opened Gallery 1925 to show and share her collection of antique objets d’art and accessories.

Asparagus (Photo by Julie Chernoff)

Asparagus is springing up all over. Spring has finally sprung, and writer Julie Chernoff just can’t wait to take advantage of all the tender, thin asparagus spears cropping up in the markets. Who could resist?

Evanston Fire Explorers participate in live fire training. (Submitted photo)

Teens learn the ins and outs of firefighting through the Fire Explorer Program. The Evanston Fire Department will host an informational meeting for community members to learn more about its Fire Explorer Program at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 6 at the Evanston Fire Department Headquarters.

Morris “Dino” Robinson’s honorary street. (Photo by Heidi Randhava)

Here’s the history of some Fifth Ward street names. Ridge Avenue, which runs through what is now the city’s Fifth Ward, is the oldest street in Evanston, according to a 1906 Evanston history book.

Jeffrey Albaugh (NorthShore University Health System photo)

Levy Lecture: Relationships and intimacy during COVID-19. Dr. Jeffrey Albaugh returned to the Levy Lecture Series on March 22 to discuss issues pertaining to relationships and intimacy while facing illness or the threat of illness.

Rank and File | U.S. Grandmaster Nakamura qualifies for World Championship Tournament. U.S. Grandmaster Hideki Nakamura has won the last automatic qualifying spot in the Candidates Tournament to select the challenger to Magnus Carlsen in the 2023 World Chess Championship.

Evanston’s own Seabiscuit. (RoundTable photo)

The Lighthouse Keeper sees … a mystery horse standing in a field in Evanston. A search – admittedly cursory – for information about this installation yielded no results. Can readers shed light where the Lighthouse Keeper cannot?

The week in photos: March 21-28. Noah Eisfelder’s Lone Tree photo won the Friends of Lovelace Park photo contest. Noah received a $50 gift certificate to Curt’s Café on Central Street.

An example of a rainwater downspout garden. (Submitted photo)

Green tip: Downspout water makes gardening easy. Imagine your downspout supplying all the water your garden needs spring through fall, drought or deluge. Voila, you have an easy-to-make rain garden. 

New exhibit brings Caribbean folklore and traditions to Noyes Art Gallery. The Noyes Second Floor Art Gallery presents “AREÍTO: Allusions of Sacred Geometry and Disapora,” by Yanira Collado, through May 18.


Public Square

A bookmark with a painting of a tree brought some solace to a grieving postal clerk.

Peggy Tarr: Art and hearts together. While out of town, I had to go to a post office. As I filled out a form a couple of windows down from a female clerk, I overheard her tell a customer that she had lost a sister and a niece.

An open letter to the District 202 Board of Education. Former District 65 Superintendent Paul Goren writes, “I have observed Dr. Campbell from my multiple perspectives and can think of no one better nationally to assume this important role in our community.”


Sports

ETHS girls softball: Wildkits drop two in debut. Things can only get better for the ETHS softball squad. The Kits made their season debut Saturday and dropped a doubleheader by lopsided scores of 11-0 and 13-0 at Loyola Academy.

ETHS boys baseball: Wildkits suffer second straight baseball loss. There’s plenty of time for Evanston to make up for back-to-back losses to a pair of Chicago Public Schools teams that will likely be a part of the same Illinois High School Association Class 4A sectional tournament complex again this year.

ETHS girls soccer: Seniors set the tone for unbeaten squad. With a roster that includes 14 seniors, Evanston Township High School girls soccer coach Stacy Salgado never worries about team leadership.


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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...