Evanston RoundTable

Good Friday morning, Evanston.

Thursday evening, Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Superintendent Devon Horton sent a districtwide email to families about the discovery of swastikas and racist messages written on stalls in two bathrooms at Nichols Middle School.

“Our community is still reeling from the hateful act of nooses being hung outside of Haven and Kingsley schools only a few short weeks ago,” Horton wrote. “And now, to find swastikas, a symbol of terror and hatred toward the Jewish community, we are reminded once again that antisemitism, racism, and white supremacy are alive and well within our community.”

Horton wrote that District 65 is conducting an investigation in partnership with the Evanston Police Department. He said the district is working with its mental health team to ensure there is support for students. Nichols also will conduct “an opportunity for reflection, ongoing dialogue, and action,” he wrote.

Nichols student speaker Emerson Singer addresses the audience Thursday. Credit: District 202 YouTube

A day after Haven Middle School graduates crossed the auditorium stage at Evanston Township High School to receive their diplomas, eighth graders from the other two middle schools in Evanston/Skokie School District 65 celebrated their graduation ceremonies Thursday evening.

At the ETHS auditorium, a small string orchestra played the traditional Pomp and Circumstance for Nichols Middle School graduates dressed in shiny red gowns for the occasion, while the eighth graders at Chute Middle School donned their characteristic green as they completed their middle-school years in the Chute auditorium.

Carlis Sutton speaks to City Attorney Nick Cummings at the June 2 Reparations Committee meeting. Credit: Debbie-Marie Brown Credit: Debbie-Marie Brown

Evanston’s reparations program was set to be funded with a user tax on recreational cannabis. But not enough money has come in to keep up with the number of applicants eligible for the first round of grants.

The Reparations Committee is looking for ways to address the funding problem, but at its Thursday, June 2 meeting, several committee members disagreed with City Attorney Nicholas Cummings, who recommended against tapping the city’s general fund, which has a surplus of $20 million, for reparations.

Some committee members at the Morton Civic Center meeting disputed Cummings’ opinion on how to fund the shortfall.

Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

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. The number of new cases in the state dropped by 10%. Hospitalizations, though, increased slightly.

Andrea Tovar sells hand-painted pursues. 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 at the market, the first of 2022, and a small stretch of Sherman Avenue was closed for the event.

Drag Queen Kenzie Coulee performs at Thursday’s event. Credit: Debbie-Marie Brown 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 earlier this week at Evanston’s elegant drag and cannabis event at Palmhouse on Howard Street – the local kickoff to Pride Month.

Miss Coco Sho’nell will return to the Evanston Public Library as part of its Pride Month activities. Credit: Submitted by Evanston Public Library

The Weekender: The Roundtable Roundup. Evanston Pride will be kicking off the monthlong Pride Month celebrations with a Pride Youth Car Parade this Sunday, June 5, that will begin at ETHS and end at Ingraham Park. Check out the parade route and sign up to be in the parade or get your flags and posters ready to support Evanston’s LGBTQIA+ youth!

Protesters hold signs at a 2019 demonstration against gun violence in Brooklyn, New York.

Letter to the Editor: What do we do about youth gun violence? “We know that when young people are connected to – and invested in – their community, they are far more likely to be their best selves. When they are heard, valued, and centered, they are highly motivated to remain in community,” writes Patrick Keenan-Devlin, Executive Director of the James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy.

At This Time: Thursday at 5:16 p.m. Gardeners and Highland Garden Club members celebrate the relandscaping of the club’s garden on Central Street at Stewart Avenue. The new garden has more native plants than the original 1962 plot and will be easier to maintain, said designer Amy Dale. The garden’s centerpiece – sundial or fountain – still needs to be chosen.  Here are (from left) Trini Velasquez, Luis Alberto Garcia, Mario Ortiz, club president Steve Goranson, Judy Herbert, Ann Searles, Roberta Buchanan, and Dale and Susan Rundle. The Highlanders hosts a Backyard Botanicals fundraiser from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday at nearby Independence Park. (Photo by Richard Cahan)

One of the beloved plovers who were Montrose Beach residents for several summers. Credit: Tamima Itani

Monty and Rose: The Evanston connection. RoundTable writer Libby Hill tells the story of how Monty and Rose, two small shorebirds called piping plovers, found their way to Montrose Beach Dunes in Chicago in 2019 as a couple, and their unlikely connection to an Evanston resident.

ETHS wrestling: Joyner, Sanchez named scholarship winners. Evanston senior wrestlers Anthony Joyner and David Sanchez were honored as the first recipients of the Elias George Scholarship Wednesday at the school’s annual senior awards banquet. The scholarship fund was created through the generosity of the Hall of Fame coach’s daughter, Julie Windsor, and honors the legacy of a man who led the ETHS wrestling program from 1958 through 2000.

Picturing Evanston. There is a robot hiding at Hemenway United Methodist Church on Chicago Avenue, north of Main Street – or at least so it seems. (Photo by Joerg Metzner)

ETHS baseball: Simon says no to Wildkits in season-ending loss. Loyola right-hander Roger Simon pitched a two-hit shutout, drove in a run, and even stole home on his way to a 5-0 elimination of the Wildkits at the Loyola Sectional semifinals.

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Around the web

Biden calls for Congress to ban assault weapons, high-capacity magazines. “For God’s sake, how much more carnage are willing to accept?” the president asked during a prime-time television address to the nation Thursday night. Biden expressed support for a ban on assault-style rifles like the AR-15.

Active shooter drills, yes. Cameras, no. Here’s what Illinois mandates for safety in schools. Illinois requires school districts to conduct active shooter drills within the first 90 days of each academic year and to have plans in place for responding to potential threats, but local law enforcement does not have to be involved in those procedures or drills. The state does not mandate security cameras.

Chicago announced its first probable case of monkeypox — here’s what to know about the disease. A man who recently traveled to Europe became the first Chicago-area resident to contract monkeypox, a disease with symptoms including a rash or unusual sores, fever, chills and body aches. Local health authorities said the region is at little risk of a wider outbreak, however.

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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...