Evanston RoundTable

Good Sunday morning, Evanston.

We saw many beautiful smiling faces this weekend: Friday at the launch of the My City, Your City, Our City initiative, held in tandem with the summer’s inaugural First Friday in Mason Park. And Saturday at PEP Fest, a fundraiser for District 65’s PTA Equity Project, with food, games, arts and crafts.

But not all the news was good; we also learned eight months ago, Evanston Township High School officials quietly paid a $225,000 settlement. It went to a student and her mother who had sued over the alleged sexual abuse of the student by ETHS security guards.

Also, Evanston police are investigating two incidents in District 65: About three weeks ago, three nooses were found hanging from a tree near Haven Middle School. And this week, swastikas and racist language were discovered in two Nichols Middle School bathrooms.

Yet that’s not all, as there is more news, sports, arts and business to catch up on. And in case you missed any of it last week, as well as the weekend’s breaking stories, here’s your weekly RoundTable roundup.

Credit: Adina Keeling

Big turnout for PTA Equity Project festival. Families enjoyed arts and crafts, games, shopping and food at PEP Fest, a community-building event that was also a fundraiser for District 65’s PTA Equity Project, which ensures that PTA resources are distributed equitably among schools. 

Credit: Wendi Kromash

At Mason Park Friday, the city’s My City, Your City, Our City initiative began with the summer’s inaugural First Friday event. Everywhere you looked, there were smiles, with many people wearing orange to mark Gun Violence Awareness Day.

Officials at Evanston Township High School District 202 agreed in October 2021 to pay $225,000 to settle a lawsuit filed in 2019 by a student and her mother over the alleged sexual abuse of the girl by security guards, according to court records. The settlement was not made public until a local news outlet sued the district for failing to turn over the documents.

Police Commander Ryan Glew said a staff member at Nichols Middle School reported finding “antisemitic and racist graffiti” in two bathrooms Thursday. The staff member discovered swastikas and racist language, according to Glew. He also said there was “nothing new on the Haven [Middle School] case” where nooses were found three weeks ago.

Credit: Evanston Chamber of Commerce

Evanston officials this week endorsed a proposal that would recognize the special character of longstanding businesses by offering grants to ensure they can remain in the city. Members of the Economic Development Committee backed city staff’s proposed Legacy Business Program at the panel’s May 31 meeting.


City News

Credit: Heidi Randhava

Jennifer’s Edibles: Soul Food with a Twist expands, celebrates five years. There is a spacious new dining room at Jennifer’s Edibles, 1623 Simpson St. A ribbon-cutting marked the reopening and fifth anniversary. A Jazz Brunch Buffet today benefits the nonprofit Jennifer Eason founded to feed people in need.

Credit: Debbie-Marie Brown

An elegant night of cannabis and queens kicks off Pride Month. It was all about Higher Love, music and drag queens at Evanston’s elegant drag and cannabis event at the Palmhouse, 619 Howard St., in the local kickoff to Pride Month. 

COVID-19 update as of June 2: Evanston in “medium” risk category, but Cook County in “high” risk. The total number of new cases of COVID-19 in Evanston was 270 for the week ending June 1, 19% lower than the week ending May 26.

Credit: Adina Keeling

The first Thursday Night Market of the year kicks off. Evanston’s monthly Thursday Night Markets are back, bringing dancing, dining and shopping to Fountain Square.  More than 25 vendors were there to sell at the June 2 opening market.

Evanston may be ready to dump 2014 plastic bag ban, replace it with 10-cent tax. Evanston grocery stores may be allowed to hand out single-use plastic bags again – but a 10-cent tax might be charged on all bags under a new proposal.

Credit: Debbie-Marie Brown

Reparations Committee argues about legal funding streams. Even a city in full support of reparations can run into trouble trying to find legal ways to fund that effort. That was the lesson from June’s Reparations Committee meeting.

Credit: Richard Cahan

Evanston salutes fallen soldiers at Memorial Day service. In 1951, Neil Franke watched as General Douglas MacArthur dedicated Fountain Square and paid tribute to Evanston residents who died while serving their country. In 2022, Franke returned to pay tribute again to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.


Schools

Credit: Kristin Kutzner Huzar

Haven Middle School celebrates first in-person graduation since COVID. Proud families and friends gathered Wednesday in the Evanston Township High School auditorium to celebrate eighth grade graduation for Haven Middle School students, the first in-person school graduation since COVID-19.

Nichols and Chute middle schools hold first in-person graduations since COVID’s start. Almost 24 hours after Haven Middle School graduates crossed the auditorium stage at ETHS to receive their diplomas, eighth-graders at Nichols and Chute middle schools celebrated their own graduations.

Witherspoon shares his final message as ETHS superintendent. After years of leading Evanston Township High School District 202 as superintendent, Eric Witherspoon shared his final message in a video posted Wednesday on YouTube.


Art & Life

Credit: Adina Keeling

Lantern Floating Ceremony honors loss, celebrates heritage and creativity. Glowing lanterns floated on the Arrington Lagoon Tuesday evening to recognize the community’s many losses in the past two years while uplifting spirits and honoring heritage.

Credit: Richard Cahan

Bring your pup to these Evanston restaurants. Good news, Evanston dog lovers! Ten local restaurant patios have been approved for doggie dining this year, and more permits are in the works.

Credit: Jean Cunningham

The Art of Making Art | Marjorie Davidson. Marjorie Davidson is a classically trained pianist who creates landscape oil paintings inspired by her life in the outdoors.


Public Square

Letter to the Editor: What do we do about youth gun violence? “As we prepare for this summer, we recognize the urgency and importance of coming together and providing safe, engaging spaces for youth,” writes Patrick Keenan-Devlin of the James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy.

Credit: Robert Seidenberg

Letter to the Editor: We need more City Council accountability. Debbie Hillman asks where are the Council job descriptions? She writes: “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?”

Credit: Tamima Itani

Monty and Rose: The Evanston connection. In a tribute to the two plovers, Monty and Rose, Lilly Hill gives the Evanston connection to the two birds and writes they “fostered connections between people despite differences in professions, ages and backgrounds. The birds’ value goes well beyond nesting at an iconic Chicago beach: They showed the impact of birds can never be underestimated.” Evanston resident Tamima Itani became the birds’ “spokeperson.”

Rev. Michael Nabors: Letter to the children. In a letter to the 19 children and two adults gunned down in Uvalde, Texas, Rev. Nabors writes: “Your death has left gaping holes in the landscape of our nation, starting with your own families. … If we do not stop the violence, our nation will crumble into shattered and broken pieces of what was once, a grand idea – a Beloved Community.”

Nancy E. Anderson: What makes a marriage work? I’m still not sure. Writes Anderson, “After my first marriage fell apart in the 1990s, I spent months – no, years – pondering relationships, particularly marriage. I wanted to understand what had happened to mine.”


Sports

Credit: Submitted

Beacon Academy’s Julian Aske dashes to 2nd Place at state. In August 2021, Beacon Academy Junior Julian Aske underwent surgery on his knee. He wasn’t even sure if he would run this track season, let alone compete in state competition. But last month he took second place in the 800-meter run at State.

Evanston youth rowing program steers clear of exclusivity. When Evanston Township High School launches its new crew team this fall, many recruits will be ready thanks to North Channel Community Rowing, a free program for Evanston middle schoolers.

ETHS baseball: Simon says no to Wildkits in baseball season-ending loss. The Loyola High School Ramblers shut out the Wildkits 5-0, eliminating the team from the playoffs.

ETHS wrestling: Joyner, Sanchez named scholarship winners. Evanston senior wrestlers Anthony Joyner and David Sanchez were honored as first recipients of the Elias George Scholarship Wednesday at the annual senior awards banquet.


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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...