Evanston RoundTable

Good Sunday morning, Evanston.

In the past two weeks the RoundTable has heard from several Evanston residents concerned about delays in mail delivery.

Resident Colleen said her condo had not received any deliveries between Jan. 6 and Jan. 12. “I understand it, but it may be an unsolvable dilemma,” she said. “I especially feel bad for people who are awaiting delivery of medications or who don’t receive Social Security payments electronically.”

In a prepared statement, a regional spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service acknowledged there have been problems and that the Postal Service “is not immune to the human impacts of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.”

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

City News

Credit: Richard Cahan

Evanston reparations begin: Random drawing selects 16 Black ‘ancestors’ to receive $25,000 grants. The first 16 recipients of Evanston’s restorative housing program were selected Thursday in a random drawing. Evanston’s Reparations Committee met at Fleetwood-Jourdain Center for the historic drawing, in which 122 applicants were eligible to participate.

Credit: photo provided by City of Evanston

City earns sustainable infrastructure award for 5-million-gallon water reservoir project. The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure honored the City of Evanston with its Envision Verified Award for the Clearwell 9 Replacement Project.

Return of the barnacle. Like it or not, the barnacle is about to return to Evanston after nearly a two-year absence. City officials announced the return of booting starting this month. A vehicle with three or more parking tickets can be immobilized, either through a metal boot placed on a wheel of a car, or a flat plastic device, called a barnacle, placed across the windshield.

City shares ways to celebrate MLK Jr. Day. Watch a melodic collage of multigenerational, multiracial faces and voices delivering a portion of the iconic “I Have A Dream” speech on the Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre website.

COVID-19 update as of Jan. 13: 273 new cases in Evanston, 37,048 in the state. On Wednesday, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, noted there was a dip in the number of new cases in the state but was hesitant to say the latest surge in COVID-19 cases has peaked.

City to forgive remaining balances on lead service line replacement loans. A few dozen Evanston residents who took out interest-free city loans to get rid of lead pipes carrying water to their homes are in luck.

City Council Approves Energy Agreement with MC Squared. The The 30-month agreement is part of the City’s community choice electricity aggregation program, providing a pathway to achieve its renewable energy and carbon neutrality goals.

Tale of Evanston’s two City Manager finalists. Michael Jasso and Daniel Ramos, the two remaining candidates for the city’s top administrative position, fielded a wide range of questions at the Jan. 9 town meeting.


Student safety and mental health at top of mind as ETHS opened its doors again this week. After a two-week hiatus for winter break, Evanston Township High School reopened for in-person instruction on Monday, Jan. 10.

ETHS announced expanded COVID-19 protocols. Superintendent Eric Witherspoon communicated plans for both continued and expanded efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 during the second semester.

Art & Life

Lemon Custard and Black Walnut, the two adopted cats. (Photo provided)

Animal Welfare Board talks possible cat limits, fire rescue adoptions, plans for new shelter. Evanston’s Animal Welfare Board met virtually Jan. 11 to discuss a possible city ordinance limiting feline ownership, plans for a new shelter and an update on the cats rescued from the Dewey Avenue fire.

Megan Wells brings genius of Clara Barton to life at Levy Lecture. The sixth season of the Levy Lecture Series started Jan. 11 as storyteller and actor Megan Wells introduced the audience to the life and times of Clara Barton, widely known as the founder of the American Red Cross.

The Art of Making Art: Russell Muits. Muits paints manhole covers and transfers the wet paint to canvas so he can capture the designs onto prints. His studio is in the back of his car.

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones is keynote speaker at NU’s virtual MLK Dream Week. This year’s keynote speaker is Nikole Hannah-Jones, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and creator of the New York Times’ 1619 Project. Her presentations will be streamed live at noon and 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24.

Eye on Evanston: Thoughts on Design | Designing an ADU. Though accessory dwelling units play a valuable role in the community at large, they ultimately exist to provide people with a healthy, safe home. The second of two articles about ADUs, i.e. coach houses and granny flats, in Evanston.

Irwin Weil on the Russian classics, Putin and Shostakovich. Northwestern’s revered Emeritus Professor of Slavic Language and Literature is still going strong at 93, and when asked by admirers how he has managed to arrive at that esteemed age he always replies, “Enormous patience!” Reading “The Brothers Karamazov” in college changed his life.

Winter Chamber Music Festival celebrates 25 years. The Miró, Ying and Dover Quartets and keyboard performer/lecturer Jeffrey Siegel are featured in performances from January through May.

Jane Durfee on her 100th birthday. (Photo credit: Sharon Durfee)

At 100, Evanston ‘treasure’ Jane Durfee lives life with attitude of gratitude. Jane turned 100 on Dec. 10 and celebrated the milestone with a joyous birthday party attended by close family and friends. 

Studio W.I.P. takes spray paint beyond stereotypes at Evanston art workshops. Anonymous graffiti artist The Guy Who Cares is gaining some local street-art colleagues – Chicago-based Studio W.I.P.

How do I tell my roommate she’s a hoarder? “Dear Gabby, My roommate is a bit of a hoarder, always buying unnecessary decorations, bulky athletic equipment, musical instruments she doesn’t know how to play. She’s entertained by her new purchases for about a week, and then never touches them again,” writes Up to here.

Community-owned food co-op moves forward with building plans. At Wild Onion Market, a sense of community that goes beyond neighborhood lines is set to lead the way, President Jillian Jason says.

Public Square

Robin Rue Simmons. (Photo by Genie Lemieux) Credit: Genie Lemieux

Robin Rue Simmons: ‘Today we take an important step in selecting the first reparations recipients.’ The former 5th Ward alderperson who initiated the city’s historic reparations program writes, “While we boast of our city’s progressive values, we cannot erase our history of anti-Black laws and culture, but we can repair it.”

Letter to the editor: Property owners must shovel snow from sidewalks all the way to street crossings. What good is a mostly snow-free sidewalk if a barrier of icy snow blocks it at the street crossing?


ETHS boys basketball: Noard lifts Glenbrook South over Wildkits in 2nd half. No team has done a better job of defending Cooper Noard than Evanston has in his four years as a starter for Glenbrook South’s basketball team. But Friday night at Beardsley Gymnasium, the GBS star erupted for 12 points in the third quarter to break open a tight contest and lift the state’s No. 3-ranked team to a 56-50 victory over the Wildkits.

ETHS girls basketball: Girls rise to occasion, end losing streak. Coach Brittanny Johnson could have taken the easy way out when COVID-19 issues forced the last-minute cancellation of last Saturday’s scheduled trip to Warren. Instead, she lined up another elite opponent despite the fact that the Wildkits were mired in a four-game losing streak.

ETHS boys basketball: Kits find the answers in fourth quarter comeback. Evanston began a challenging stretch of January games on the right note Tuesday night as seniors Isaiah Moore and Rashawn Bost stepped up to lead the Wildkits past Niles North 51-45 in a Central Suburban League crossover game.

Second quarter spurt puts Kits back on winning track. The Wildkits scored the last 15 points of the first half Saturday – including an 11-point outburst in the final 100 seconds – and pulled away from Chicago Taft for a 70-43 victory.

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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...