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Evanston RoundTable

Good Thursday morning, Evanston.

The tranquil lake scene above was captured by reader Dickelle Fonda while kayaking off Dempster Street on a recent morning. Send your photos to news@evanstonroundtable.com for a chance to be included in this newsletter.

Credit: City of Evanston YouTube

In a nearly hourlong State of the City address on Tuesday, Mayor Daniel Biss addressed issues like public safety and economic challenges, and praised City Council’s approval of the Margarita Inn shelter. He also touted major appointments, including Schenita Stewart as police chief and Luke Stowe as city manager. Biss said he loves being mayor, but “it feels lonely sometimes, because sometimes I feel like I’m just surrounded by anger, surrounded by combat.”

The former King Home at 1555 Oak Ave., a building long dedicated to senior living, is set to become an apartment hotel after City Council granted owner Cameel Halim’s zoning request. Council Member Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th Ward) said it will operate “as essentially a hotel,” an extended-stay property under Wyndham’s Hawthorn brand. “We are working hard to open this coming October,” Halim said.

School Resource Officers Loyce Spells (left) and Grace Carmichael (right) talk to the board on Monday, March 13, alongside EPD Chief Schenita Stewart (center).
Credit: ETHS YouTube

At a Tuesday community meeting, ETHS and city leaders exchanged ideas on how to improve youth outreach and prevent violence. “We really stress that every kid can connect with at least one adult,” Superintendent Marcus Campbell said. School resource officer Loyce Spells (at left above) will drop police duties to become safety director, while Anthony King, currently co-chair of student services, is taking on a newly created role: restorative practice coordinator.

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More RoundTable reads

As Illinois celebrates Craft Beer Week, the folks at Evanston’s Sketchbook Brewing are also celebrating something else: a bronze medal at the World Beer Cup, awarded to Beer for the Soul, a collaboration with Soul & Smoke barbecue.

The ETHS baseball team made history Wednesday with an 11-1 trouncing of Niles North in the state playoffs. The Wildkits (29-7) have broken the school record for the most wins in a season. The regional title game is Saturday.

Credit: City of Evanston packet

New food on Foster: Evanston’s Land Use Commission on Wednesday backed a permit for a new combined convenience store and deli at 831 Foster St. (storefront with red stripe in photo), next to the Foster CTA station.

“It lasts just a few weeks – but how these annual blooms sanctify and endow this time of year with their sublime beauty and rich aroma,” writes columist Les Jacobson, reflecting on the fever dream of lilac season.

The McGaw YMCA won a $100,000 grant to renovate and expand the dining hall at Camp Echo in Fremont, Michigan. “We’re trying to bring more people together, so we need a bigger table,” said Bernard Rocca, the camp’s executive director.

Evanston/Skokie School District 65 named Narishea Parham as the new director of the Joseph E. Hill Early Childhood Center. Parham, currently assistant principal at Dewey Elementary School, succeeds the retiring Sharon Sprague.

Around the web

Schill, NU administrators talk collegiate athletics at Faculty Assembly. Speaking on Ryan Field, the university president called the current stadium an “eyesore” and said that “we expect that the approval will come” from the city.

Full-day kindergarten will be required in Illinois public schools by 2027 under bill headed to governor’s desk. Gov. JB Pritzker is expected to sign the legislation, which will allow half-day kindergarten to be offered as an option.

NW Side residents express support and disapproval of plan to house immigrant families at Wilbur Wright College. The college’s gym could house up to 400 asylum-seekers through Aug. 1.

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Duncan Agnew covers Evanston public schools, affordable housing, City Hall and more for the RoundTable. He also writes long-form investigations, features and the morning email newsletter three times a...