Good Sunday morning, Evanston!

Every Sunday, this RoundTable email begins with the top stories of the previous week, and last week’s news was highlighted by the reparations symposium that brought national figures in the movement to Evanston. In the photo above, the leader of Evanston’s program, Robin Rue Simmons, left, stands next to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, and other panelists at Friday’s Reparations Town Hall at Evanston Township High School. Standing next to Jackson Lee is Areva Martin of CNN and at right is author Nkechi Taifa.

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

Credit: Gina Castro

Federal reparations: Before Friday’s ETHS event, reparations leaders held a news conference to call for President Joe Biden to end a 38-year congressional stalemate and put H.R. 40 in place via executive order, to set up a federal Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans.

Credit: Richard Cahan

Margarita Inn: After a meeting lasting more than four hours, the Land Use Commission backed a Margarita Inn shelter by a 5-3 vote, recommending a special use permit. Ahead of the hearing, the RoundTable’s Richard Cahan spoke with current and former residents of the shelter.

Credit: Richard Cahan

Pensions: Council Member Clare Kelly, 1st Ward, proposed a motion Tuesday night to move forward on 100% funding of police and fire pensions. The measure passed 8-1. The extra $4.49 million needed would be drawn from city reserves and not boost the property tax. A final vote on the issue is scheduled for Dec. 12.

Credit: Duncan Agnew

Fifth Ward school: Many key details about the school remain up in the air: The school’s projected opening has been pushed back at least a year from the original fall 2024 date, and the city and District 65 still must decide what to do with the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center at Foster Field, the school’s planned site.

Credit: Richard Cahan

A day for ‘Dino’: Morris “Dino” Robinson Jr. announced he is stepping back from his role as executive director at Shorefront Legacy Center and the city proclaimed Nov. 28 to be a day in his honor. Above are his mother Margo Robinson, right, and Laurice Bell, Shorefront’s new executive director.

Bookstore aid: Forced to move by rent hikes, Bookends & Beginnings is moving to Orrington Avenue, and the store is seeking $475,606 from the city to cover relocation costs. But the Economic Development Committee had some concerns.

Credit: Evan Girard

Health: Most flu seasons see a mild surge in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a common infection that mainly affects infants and young children. But this fall, surges in flu and RSV among kids have strained the health system across the state and nation. Experts urge parents to take precautions and watch for symptoms.

Voting: While talking to voters on Election Day, RoundTable reporter Gina Castro discovered a stark disparity: Evanston’s Fifth and Eighth wards, the two wards with the largest Black populations, have half the polling places of the city’s other wards. And neither city nor county officials saw the disparity as an issue until they were contacted by the RoundTable.

Guaranteed income: Evanston’s pilot program is underway, giving 150 people $500 a month, and Mayor Daniel Biss wrote a letter to mark the first day: “The guaranteed income movement says that if the problem is that someone doesn’t have enough money, the simplest solution is, believe it or not, to give them some money.”

Credit: City of Evanston

Shooting silence: Eighth Ward residents were upset about a lack of communications from the police about a Nov. 17 shooting. One person was wounded while sitting in a car, but no notices were sent, no posts made and no news release issued.


Sorry, we goofed!

The community’s interest in supporting our work during Triple Match Giving Tuesday earlier this week was sky high. Many of you donated – and thank you for your support! We also know that a few of you encountered some technical glitches. Thankfully, those problems have been resolved.

Donating online is nice and easy – and here’s the best news: Our fall NewsMatch fundraising drive is still on! All donations to the RoundTable are being matched by generous donors, so please give today.


The perfect holiday gift for any Evanstonian: Encountering Evanston History, a book benefiting the Evanston RoundTable Media not-for-profit, features 75 stories from 18 authors. Find out more at the book’s official website.


City News

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America held a town hall meeting on gun violence. “Please don’t think that because your son wasn’t killed in violence that you’re completely disconnected, because you’re not,” said Evanston mother Carolyn Murray, whose 19-year-old son was slain in 2012.

Nov. 29 was the filing deadline for City Council seats representing two Evanston wards. Second Ward candidates are (top row, from left): Darlene Cannon, Patricia Gregory and incumbent Krissie Harris. In the Ninth Ward (bottom row): incumbent Juan Geracaris and Kathy Hayes. The vote will be April 4.

Credit: Manan Bhavnani

Some 30 residents debated possibilities for the proposed expansion of Beck Park during a public meeting Tuesday night. Community members were skeptical whether what they say makes any difference. “The city does what it wants to do,” said one resident.


Public health and safety

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are up slightly in Evanston. The county and the city are both now at a ‘medium’ risk level. Public health experts say COVID-19 is severely underreported. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has health advice.

A final cup of Coffee with the Chief: New Police Chief Schenita Stewart, an Evanston native, wrapped up her series of community engagement events.

Credit: RoundTable file photo

The fall months bring out the largest number of rats in Evanston, Public Health Director Greg Olsen said at a Second Ward meeting Tuesday. He said residents should clean up their property and report stray garbage they see elsewhere to 311.


Business

Minding Our Own Businesses columnist Isabelle Reiniger took a walk on Central Street, visiting Paper Source, Then Again and Blended. One store has remodeled, another just opened and the third is serves up smoothies and positive attitudes.

Credit: Manan Bhavnani

Following a busy Black Friday weekend, Evanston’s holiday shopping outlook remains upbeat. Economic Development Manager Paul Zalmezak said the city’s business districts “reported brisk sales and lots of foot traffic.” And he said the city is well positioned to weather any downturn.

Credit: Manan Bhavnani

Evanston Gateway, a new mixed-income development at Howard Street and Chicago Avenue, is nearing completion after five years in the making. Tag along as we take a hard hat tour of the site of the $12 million project


Art & Life

Some of Evanston’s best chefs have shared the recipes for their favorite holiday comfort foods with the RoundTable. Here’s how to make Smylie Brothers mac and cheese, Union Pizzeria Brussels sprouts and more.

Credit: JoJo Whilden/Universal Pictures

She Said, a film that tells the inspiring story of how two reporters exposed Hollywood sexual predator Harvey Weinstein, “is as compelling as it gets, a must-see,” writes critic Doris Popovich. And one of the reporters is an ETHS grad!

Credit: Submitted

He was a high school star at ETHS in track and cross country who went on to compete in the 1956 Olympics before a career as a coach at the University of Iowa. Theodore Stanley “Ted” Richardson Wheeler died Nov. 17 at the age of 91.

Kick off Hanukkah celebrations with a festive performance by the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation’s own Klezmer band, Heavy Shtetl, at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16. Everyone is welcome.

Evanston theater legends BJ Jones and Mike Nussbaum performed a staged reading of a David Mamet play for a hybrid audience at the Levy Senior Center. The show’s second act was Jones’ update on Northlight Theatre’s plans.

Credit: Coriolis

A joyful noise: In its 35th season, a cappella group Coriolis will perform two holiday concerts, one at St. Mark’s on Dec. 9 and the second at St. Luke’s on Dec. 18.

Another option to get in the seasonal spirit: the annual Evanston Symphony Orchestra holiday concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11, in the ETHS auditorium. And yes, Santa and his elves are expected.

When considering marriage, can buzz-saw snoring be a deal-breaker? Our advice columnist Gabby has thoughts. Take out those ear plugs and listen up.


Public Square

Credit: Northwestern University

Letter to the editor: Evanston residents announce the formation of the nonprofit Most Livable City Association and launch its first campaign – “Field of Schemes” – aimed at raising awareness about Northwestern’s Ryan Field plans.


Sports

Credit: Michael Kellams/thatphotodad.com

Senior guard Dafina Ukaj led the Wildkits in a taut 44-40 victory over Maine South in the Central Suburban League South division basketball opener Tuesday. The win was sweet revenge for a season-ending loss to the Hawks last year.

Credit: Michael Kellams/thatphotodad.com

At Friday’s Central Suburban League South division opener against Glenbrook South High School, the Wildkits held on for a 61-59 victory, putting the team record at 5-0.

Credit: via @WildkitSwimming

The Wildkit boys swim squad has a promising season. “I think we can challenge for a sectional championship again this year and get a lot of state qualifiers, too,” says coach Kevin Auger.

Credit: MetroSquash

Squash has long been perceived as an upper-crust pursuit. But 30 young people involved in Evanston’s MetroSquash program have discovered the game is highly accessible and may unlock doors to academic and professional success.


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Gina Castro

Gina Castro is a Racial Justice fellow for the Evanston RoundTable. She recently earned a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism where she studied investigative...