Paul Wilson worked in facilities management at the Civic Center, where he maintained city buildings for 25 years. Credit: Provided by Paul Wilson

Good Wednesday morning, Evanston.

If you’ve attended a Fourth of July celebration at Evanston’s lakefront in the past 25 years, you might be familiar with Paul Wilson, the event’s official host. This year he’s grand marshal of the parade.

Wilson is also one of the city’s inaugural beneficiaries of a $25,000 restorative housing grant in a program that’s the first step in Evanston’s effort to make amends for historical anti-Black city practices.

“I was given a number [correlated to an application number],” he said. “And my daughter came one day and said, ‘Dad, I think your number’s been picked … You’re one of the 16.’”

A small crowd gathers around a pond connected to Arrington Lagoon. Credit: Adina Keeling

Glowing lanterns floated in the Arrington Lagoon on Tuesday, evening, in a ceremony to recognize the community’s many losses in the past two years while uplifting the spirits and heritage of many those who came to celebrate culture. 

“May these lanterns that we light be a blessing, a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, to the ability for us to continue to go on but not unchanged, not unmarked, not unmarred,” said the Rev. Michael Woolf of Lake Street Church.

COVID-19 by the numbers: 23 new cases were reported Monday, May 30, the last day the city updated totals. The seven-day average is 44.6 cases per day.

Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

At This Time: Tuesday at 8:29 p.m. Evanston celebrates its first Lantern Floating Ceremony. Candles were used to celebrate and memorialize life, said organizer Melissa Raman Molitor. “We thought this would be a really great opportunity to bring the community together to honor our losses over the past two years,” she said. More than 100 people attended lantern-making workshops and then set the small lights sailing on the Arrington Lagoon near Lake Michigan. The event concluded Asian, South Asian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. (Photo by Richard Cahan)

Alyson Mann, health and fitness manager at the McGaw YMCA. Credit: Sam Stroozas

LA Fitness closing and COVID shifts alter Evanston health-club landscape. According to city Economic Development Manager Paul Zalmezak, the Evanston location of LA Fitness shut down in April due to low sales of new memberships as well as the high cost of doing business in Evanston. Other local health clubs have reported an increase in membership since then.

Rachel Blakes and Lewon Johnson in Home. Credit: Submitted

Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre summer season opens with Home. The cast includes Tuesdai B. Perry, Rachel Blakes and Lewon Johnson. Together they unfold the stories, composed by playwright Samm-Art Williams, which are like poetry for the soul and visually breathtaking.

Rank and File | A future World Champion? RoundTable chess expert and columnist Keith Holzmueller dives into the play of Indian Grandmaster Rameshbabu “Pragg” Praggnanandhaa, a 16-year-old phenom who recently defeated reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen in rapid tournament play.

Evanston Public Library Summer Reading Challenge begins. Participants get a free book and a Bingo-style card full of different reading-based activities to complete. Once you get a “Bingo,” you can pick up a prize and enter a raffle. Drop by to pick up your card.

Letter to the Editor: We need more City Council accountability. “In the light of yet another City of Evanston snafu (not accommodating City Manager-elect John Fournier’s request to restructure his contract), how are we supposed to keep individual council members accountable if nobody knows what they’re supposed to do?” asks longtime Evanston resident Debbie Hillman.

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Around the web

Cook County has confirmed a record 1,920 fatal overdoses last year. According to a WBEZ Chicago analysis, the county saw a record number of drug overdose deaths fueled by the opioid crisis during the second calendar year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The overdoses hit middle-aged Black men the hardest.

U.S. marks Memorial Day weekend with at least 12 mass shootings. Since the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers on May 24, at least 15 mass shootings have occurred across the United States. Chicago experienced its most violent Memorial Day weekend in five years, with nine people killed and 42 injured in shootings.

Northwestern softball team outlasts Arizona State to advance to Women’s College World Series. NU will face defending champion Oklahoma Thursday in Oklahoma City.

Egypt unearths trove of artifacts, 250 mummies in ancient necropolis. Archaeologists in Egypt have reportedly uncovered 250 sarcophagi with well-preserved mummies and 150 bronze statues, some dating back 2,500 years. Excavators discovered the artifacts at the site of an ancient burial ground outside Cairo.

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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...