Good Sunday morning, Evanston!

Yesterday there was an important, albeit not always easy, conversation about who reparations are for, why people oppose them and if reparations are even a solution. The town hall at Second Baptist Church on Saturday was guided by the Rev. Dr. Michael C.R. Nabors and watched over by leaders such as Judge Lionel Jean-Baptiste as well as members of the interfaith community, City Council and the city’s Reparations Committee. “A lifetime of work remains ahead of us,” Robin Rue Simmons, chair of the Reparations Committee, said. “Reparations is a complex process and it requires each of us to participate.” The RoundTable’s Richard Cahan was there to photograph history (above, Nabors and Rue Simmons are flanked by Shorefront Legacy Center founder Dino Robinson and Buddhist teacher Assay Horibe on the left, with Fifth Ward Council member Bobby Burns at right). Look for Gina Castro’s complete coverage later today on our website.

Now, here is the week’s news, highlighting what you, our readers, thought were last week’s top stories (yes, we keep a close eye on which stories get the most views), as well as a few other new stories and ones you might have missed.

Don’t miss the RoundTable’s Evanston’s ballot guide for the 2022 general election. Evanston voters will decide on 64 candidates running for 36 open positions, 61 judges running for retention and three referendums from three different levels of government. This guide will help you be prepared – especially for the judicial vote. Have we got a source for you!

Credit: Heidi Randhava

These two women – Robin Rue Simmons (left), founder and executive director of FirstRepair, and Monique Parsons, president and Chief Executive Officer of McGaw YMCA – were honorees at the Chessmen Club gala, which was powerful, positive and packed last weekend. It was also inspiring, and after the event Rue Simmons wrote this essay to describe what it meant to be in a room full of Evanston’s Black leaders.

The 2023 budget proposal is now officially under debate. When it was presented at Monday’s City Council meeting Mayor Daniel Biss pushed back, saying he would not accept it as it is now. But there are still many meetings to go before the council will vote on the final proposal. Between ward meetings and town halls, you have a chance to add your voice. Here is our original look at the proposal. And First Ward Council Member Clare Kelly has made a case at her ward meeting about what she sees as crucial: increasing police and fire pension fund contributions.

Margaret Fisher Soffin, 75, died peacefully surrounded by her daughters on Oct. 17 in Switzerland. She had a passion for justice, and among her many positions worked at Cabrini Green Legal Aid where she engaged in record expungements, sealing and clemency petitions.

Do you like the work the RoundTable is doing? We know we would love to continue to inform you and elevate the voices in Evanston. But as award-winning author and media critic Margaret Sullivan tells us, survival of community journalism is not a given. Join us at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, for a webinar with her about her latest book, Newsroom Confidential: Lessons (and Worries) from an Ink-Stained Life. This event kicks off our fall NewsMatch fundraising campaign

Credit: Duncan Agnew

At a special meeting last week, the Evanston/Skokie District 65 school board unanimously appointed Mya Wilkins as District 65 board’s newest member to fill the seat formerly held by Anya Tanyavutti.

Credit: Wendi Kromash

Last weekend was the official reopening of the city’s dog beach. Advocates were initially worried that no one with two or four legs would show up, but within 20 minutes of the opening time, more than 40 dogs and their people had gathered to celebrate at the leash-free lakefront space.

Credit: Susy Schultz

Are you all ready for Halloween? Well if you’re not decorating this year, your neighbors are! So, the RoundTable asked readers to send in their favorites, which really is a nice guide Evanston’s haunting Halloween houses. Take a drive with the whole family for a decorations viewing this week.

City News

City asked to add dedicated pickleball courts. Pickleball vs. tennis came up at the Parks and Recreation Board meeting as 30 people showed up to push for permanent pickleball courts. And pickleball equity was also an issue.

Equity and Empowerment Commission strongly supports gender equity in all city ordinances, which might mean a lot of change to language in Evanston if the City Council agrees. And it also recommended several strategies to keep affordable housing, affordable.

Library board seeking 3.9% tax increase. This would be its first increase after three years of flat budgets.

Early plans unveiled for affordable housing site on South Boulevard. The 60-unit, five-story residential building would be or low- and middle-income households on South Boulevard between Chicago and Hinman avenues.

Minding Our Own Businesses. Isabelle Reiniger looks briefly at nine new Evanston businesses opened or opening, including six on the Main-Dempster Mile.

Small landlords could get money toward COVID losses. Evanston landlords who own up to 35 housing units and saw a loss in rental income during the pandemic might get some financial relief soon.

Betty Meckstroth: 1940-2022. A dear soul as well as an expert on gifted children, who co-authored a seminal book on the subject died. “Her cup was full and had endless kindness and love to share. She was like no other.”

Public Safety and Health

COVID-19 Oct. 20 update: Both Evanston and Cook County remain at ‘low’ risk. In Evanston, the seven-day average of new cases was 12.9 on Oct. 19, up from 10.9 in the prior week, an 18% increase.


Last school year, District 65’s per student expenditures ranged from $17,681 to $23,838 per school. The average per student expenditure has increased by 39.6% in the last three-years.

School bus aides may get raise in District 65. A committee is recommending the board increase the hourly rate for bus aides from $13.65 to $15.50, which is more in line with the wage offered by most neighboring school districts.

Art & Life

Credit: Photo provided

Evanston Arts Council picks new leaders; Coordinator resigns from part-time position. The council’s new chair is Melissa Raman Molitor (above), an adjunct associate professor at the School of the Art Institute.

Theater review: ‘Refuge’ is a lyrical, moving tale of crossing the border. Theo Ubique’s production is “a moving performance unlikely to be forgotten and surely not to be missed,” writes theater critic Cissy Lacks.

They Do: Swarming mosquitoes, a bit of whiskey and a sealed deal. Sally McBratney and Francis Jeffrey-Idun met in 2013 as coworkers at Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba in Chicago. The latest love story is part of the RoundTable’s column, “They do.”

The Art of Making Art: Melanie Deal. Deal is a longtime Evanston collage and mixed-media artist. She works primarily with paper and her collages are very controlled in structure and very creative and playful in image.

For Coming Out Day, ‘Gays and Gospel’ celebrates LGBTQ+ influence on church music. National Coming Out Day Oct. 11 was marked at Northwestern University with a tribute to the LGTBQ+ community’s contribution to gospel music and the Black church.

Hundreds rally for abortion rights at Evanston protest. More than 200 people turned out last Sunday, many wearing pink and carrying signs declaring, “Abortion is a healthcare right,” to protest the U.S. Supreme Courts roll back in June of the constitutional right to an abortion.

Public Square

Letter to the editor: Ryan Field concerts are NU cash grab. “Rather than fix the disparity between its economic resources and its historically inadequate financial contributions to Evanston, Northwestern wants to change the conversation,” writes 7th Ward resident David DeCarlo. “But Northwestern has shown its representations shouldn’t be taken at face value.”

Letter to the editor: Election 2022 – votes yes on first preserve referendum. The Evanston’s League of Women Voters executive committee urges people to vote yes on the Cook County Forest Preserve question.

Letter to the editor: Election 2022, mark yes for ranked choice voting. Your vote will matter more is one of five points outlined to urge people to support ranked choice voting.


ETHS boys and girls cross country teams advance to next week’s sectionals. The boys team easily advanced a full squad to next week’s Hoffman Estates Sectional. Also qualifying were the Wildkit girls, who placed fourth in the team standings.

Saul Lieberman photos: After the last game was over. “Am I disappointed with our record? Absolutely!” said ETHS head coach Mike Burzawa. “But I’m not disappointed with the toughness and the character these players showed me.”

ETHS football coach: ‘It was a difficult season … but there was no quit in them.’ Evanston finished 3-6 and will miss out on the Class 8A playoffs for the first time since 2019. 

ETHS field hockey: Wildkit rally falls short in season-ending loss. Evanston ended the season under coach Annie Lesch with a six-game losing skid, but that was more a product of a schedule quirk that found the Wildkits facing the toughest teams on their regular season schedule. 

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Susy Schultz

Susy Schultz is the editor of the Evanston Roundtable. She has been a journalist for more than 20 years, and is the former president of Public Narrative, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching journalists and...