Credit: Adina Keeling Credit: Adina Keeling

Good Thursday morning, Evanston.

The Margarita Inn’s 1974 “rooming house” special use permit is expired, the city’s Land Use Commission decided during its meeting Wednesday. The 9-0 vote was a setback for Connections for the Homeless, which has been running the former hotel as a shelter during the pandemic and is seeking to make the arrangement permanent.

An initial 6-3 commission vote upheld Zoning Administrator Melissa Klotz’s determination that the Margarita Inn is a rooming house under the city’s zoning definition. The unanimous second vote backed the other half of Klotz’s determination, deeming the special use permit expired. 

Connections for the Homeless plans to submit a new special use application, but several local residents spoke during public comment to express concerns about the facility. 

Credit: Elena Ferrarin Credit: Elena Ferrarin

Evanston’s new police chief must understand the city’s multicultural needs, treat all residents equally and with respect, and be focused on lowering crime in the community.

Those were the main themes expressed by a dozen residents who attended a Spanish-language town hall meeting Tuesday night designed to elicit the Latino community’s feedback about the qualities the city’s next police chief should have.

At the session, resident Maria Rosario Mendoza said she wants the new chief to engage directly with residents. “I would like to know that from the beginning, my police chief is having more communication with people.”

Credit: Richard Cahan Credit: Richard Cahan

Mayor Daniel Biss and Council Member Bobby Burns, 5th Ward, cut the ribbon to open the new teen center at the Gibbs-Morrison Cultural Center on Tuesday.

The facility will be open from 6 to 9 p.m. every weekday. It will offer food (hot wings, French fries, pizza, etc.), a gaming center (“No Grand Theft Auto,” said Director of Parks and Recreation Audrey Thompson), and large-screen TVs. Everything is free. The goal is to give Evanston teenagers, ages 13 through 18, a safe place after work or school.

“We’ve got to figure out ways to keep our young people occupied,” said Thompson. To attract them, the park district relied on teenagers. “We asked them. What do you want? Last year, we had ham and turkey sandwiches – and a lot left over.”

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Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

Bud Tinch directs traffic next to Lincoln Elementary School. Credit: Richard Cahan Credit: Richard Cahan

Offloading crossing guard program promises financial, administrative benefits to city. The Evanston City Council has backed a resolution handing off the crossing guard program to the city’s two school districts and local private schools, which will save the city money and remove the administrative headaches that come with running the program.

Heavy traffic anticipated between Green Bay and Foster due to gas discount event this morning. The City of Evanston anticipates heavy traffic in the area of Green Bay Road and Foster Street throughout the morning Thursday, May 26, due to a gas discount event at the Mobil station at 1950 Green Bay Road.

Credit: Lisa Cyee Credit: Lisa Cyee

Evanston’s Umbrella Arts Festival celebrates local Asian, South Asian, Pacific Island American community. Korean pungmul drumming, Indian Bharatanatyam dance and world music blending Indian bhangra and Afro-Caribbean sounds all came to Evanston on May 14 – mixed with a chance to learning various arts, such as Chinese lantern crafting, Japanese paper folding to make books or the colorful art of mandalas.

At This Time: Wednesday at 6:01 p.m. Personal trainer Slater Nelson begins a bootcamp-style exercise class in memory of George Floyd, who was murdered exactly two years ago by a police officer. “As a person of color, I was touched by what happened in Minneapolis and wanted to do something,” said Nelson, who raised more than $3,400 for the George Floyd Memorial Foundation. (Photo by Richard Cahan)

Credit: Sam Stroozas

‘Girls rule’: Teen-led event offers inspiration, empowerment. Nearly 100 girls from around Illinois participated in last weekend’s Girls Who Lead at Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, a day of empowering workshops hosted by the young founder of the Her Rising nonprofit, Cherie Animashaun, a junior at Niles West High School.

Credit: City of Evanston

‘My City, Your City, Our City’ initiative will host safe summer activities for youth and families. Evanston community members can enjoy a variety of free events and activities at parks and community centers throughout the summer as part of the initiative. 

Credit: Friends of the Robert Crown Center Credit: Friends of the Robert Crown Center

Friends of the Robert Crown Center transfers another $600,000 to City of Evanston. The Robert Crown fund-raising group announced Monday that it transferred another $600,000 to the city for the new community center.

Pollard scores a breakthrough victory for ETHS tennis. Finn Pollard scored a breakthrough victory for Evanston’s tennis team Saturday at the Niles North Sectional tournament, scoring a rare win over the New Trier tennis powerhouse. Now the ETHS sophomore could face an even more daunting task.

ETHS girls soccer: Kite flies high, saves sectional win. Evanston goalkeeper Ariel Kite’s leaping one-handed save, plus two more in the last 15 minutes, denied the Trevians and sent the longtime state power to the sidelines.

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Around the web

Reading the signs: Parents advocate for District 65 dyslexia diagnosis, reading support. Some parents say the yearslong lack of phonics-focused reading programs impeded their dyslexic children’s literacy and mental health – and they say a curriculum shift would benefit all students. 

City Council eliminates cannabinoid screenings for city employee applicants. With this rule, recreational use of marijuana will no longer prevent residents from applying to city job postings.

Chicago approves Bally’s $1.7 billion casino in River West. The plan for a casino along the Chicago River passed 41-7, but not before a screaming match between Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez, who accused her of being “more worried about campaign contributions than doing the right thing for the city of Chicago.”

Illinois schools react to Texas shooting with protests, additional security measures. A day after a gunman left 19 students and two teachers dead at a Texas elementary school, officials in the Chicago area are discussing the tragedy in schools here, and students are demanding action on the part of lawmakers.

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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...