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LATE FRIDAY UPDATE: The Evanston Police Department said in a news release Friday evening that the area around the 900 block of Michigan Avenue “is secure following an earlier incident involving an emotionally disturbed individual,” though a police spokesman confirmed that officers have not located the person. The incident had caused Evanston schools citywide to be placed on soft lockdowns for hours.

Top o’ the morning to you, Evanston!

The ‘Cats beat Boise State 75-67 Thursday in the men’s NCAA basketball tournament. Recent Northwestern grads Sean Obrochta (center) and Ethan Fore (right) celebrate at Kincade’s Bar & Grill in Chicago. On to the round of 32!

Credit: Gina Castro

The city’s Reparations Committee voted Thursday morning to back direct cash payments as an option for all Black ancestors to receive their $25,000 grants through the Restorative Housing Program. Under the original program, grant money could only go toward home improvements, mortgage assistance or a down payment on a home. It was unclear late Thursday whether the City Council also must vote to approve issuing cash payments, which have been long sought by some residents.

Credit: Pisgah/Housing Opportunity Development Corp.

This week the city’s Planning and Development Committee voted to move forward on a controversial affordable housing development on the corner of Church Street and Darrow Avenue in the Fifth Ward. Under the proposed plan, the apartments would be at the existing site of Mt. Pisgah Ministry, which would move into a new worship center on what is now vacant city-owned land.

Marijuana dispensary operator OKAY Cannabis is planning to open a new combination dispensary-bakery on the ground floor of the Evanston Gateway building at the northeast corner of Chicago Avenue and Howard Street. The new dispensary is projected to open in July, provided it gets the required permits. Evanston has been eager to attract another dispensary, in part because the 3% city tax on recreational cannabis funds the city’s reparations program.

RoundTable weekend roundup

Oracles, Prophets and Dreams: The Newberry Consort performs at 8 p.m. tonight at Nichols Concert Hall. Tickets are $45, or $10 for students with ID.

Candidate forums: The League of Women Voters hosts a discussion with District 65 candidates at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Civic Center, followed by a forum for Ninth Ward council hopefuls at 3 p.m.

Flamenco & Spanish Guitar: Swing by the Palmhouse Evanston for a night with Latin band Guitarra Azul starting at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Storytime with Jacob Grant: The children’s author will be reading from his new book NO FAIR! at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at Booked on Main Street.

More RoundTable reads

Credit: Duncan Agnew

At a Wednesday meeting on Family Focus renovations, a consultant presented a series of configurations for the Fifth Ward site, including HVAC improvements, new programs including STEM classes and the addition of a new auditorium.

The Evanston Fire Department reports that a driver was sent to the hospital in critical condition early Thursday after hitting a light pole and crashing into the Meineke Car Care Center on Green Bay Road. A dog in the car also was hurt.

Weekly COVID-19 update: Evanston remained in the low risk category, and local hospitalizations stayed flat over the past seven days. Coming Sunday: The RoundTable reflects on the three-year anniversary of the initial pandemic lockdown.

ETHS girls soccer crushed Highland Park 6-0 in the team’s season debut Wednesday night at Lazier Field, with junior forward Jocelyn Leigh netting a career high four goals.

The March 11 Cardboard Carnival at Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center featured the creations of about 60 Evanston students who made games using cardboard, everyday material and at least one motorized element.

Evanston’s fourth annual Juneteenth Parade and Celebrations will be June 17-19, 2023. Sponsors are being sought. The Black Business Consortium Evanston Northshore will be bringing back its trolley tour and Expo on June 10.

Two new exhibits, Body Language by Anthony Iacuzzi and Primordial Collection by Dianne Kittle, will be at Evanston’s Perspective Gallery March 30 through April 30.

Picture perfect: 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

A historical tug of war: Politicians, College Board push to alter AP African American Studies course being piloted at ETHS. The student journalists at The Evanstonian look at the controversy over the AP African American Studies course.

At Walgreens, a CEO caught in the Venn diagram of medicine, politics and profits. The Illinois-based drugstore chain is stuck in a political firestorm after a decision to pull abortion pills from 21 states where GOP officials threatened lawsuits.

Small Cheval to replace Depot Nuevo in historic Wilmette building. Sale of depot is pending board approval, with the Mexican restaurant to close by August.

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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...