Evanston RoundTable
City Manager Erika Storlie and Mayor Daniel Biss (RoundTable photo)

Good morning, Evanston.

Evanston City Council Members held off approving a separation agreement between City Manager Erika Storlie and the City after a nearly two-hour executive session on Aug. 9. Speakers demanded that no confidentiality be granted Storlie in the investigation into the allegations of sexual misconduct by lakefront staff, and Mayor Daniel Biss said it is very clear that more time is needed before a decision is made.

Council Members decided to table action on the separation agreement until Aug. 12. Leading up to the Thursday meeting, Biss said, officials would work “as diligently as possible on an agreement to achieve critical goals of transparency, of fairness.

“The stakes are tremendous for the trust between our City government and community,” the Mayor said.


Evanston’s stormy weather last night did not come without consequences. Some 6,000 Evanston residents lost power after the storm knocked down power lines, trees and branches at locations throughout the City.

City of Evanston Forestry crews and the Evanston Fire Department responded to multiple reports of downed trees and coordinated with ComEd, who worked to restore power to homes across the City. City of Evanston Public Works staff, including Traffic and Streets Divisions, also responded to reports of malfunctioning street lights and traffic signals as well as areas of street flooding and potential sewer issues.  


Here’s a roundup of other top stories from the RoundTable this week.

Schools

School District 65’s $150 million tentative operating budget for FY’22 lays out spending to address learning loss. At the Aug. 9 meeting of School District 65’s Finance Committee, Kathy Zalewski, Business Manager, presented a tentative budget for the 2021-2022 school year (FY’22), and presented information estimating how the District will end its current fiscal year, which ended on June 30, 2021 (FY’21). The District is estimating it will close out FY’21 with a surplus of about $3.2 million, which is about $2.9 million more than the surplus budgeted for the year. 


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Art & Life

Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals (Photo by Wendi Kromash)

Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals at Canal Shores. Evanston music lovers were treated to a soulful concert on Saturday evening, Aug. 7, as Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals took to the stage near the first tee at the Canal Shores Golf Course. Spokespeople from Out of Space, who produced the concert, and Canal Shores Golf Course confirmed that attendance was somewhere between 2,600 to 2,700 paid attendees.

Rank and File | Evanston’s Platnick ties for first at U.S. Junior Open. Many Chicago area players took advantage of the move of this year’s U.S. Junior Open from the originally scheduled site in California to Elmhurst University. Players from around the country competed in four age-based sections. Elie Platnick of Evanston and Aidan Carey of Naperville tied for first place in the U21 section, along with Pedro Espinosa of New York.

Art Encounter announces four new members to its Board of Directors. Art Encounter announced the addition of four new board members to its Board of Directors, Meleika Gardner, Gail Kahn, Carrie Kane and Ahadi White.

Evanston Community Foundation announces two new members to its Board of Directors. The Evanston Community Foundation announced the addition of two new board members to its Board of Directors, Laura-Min Proctor and Minya Nance.

Sue Peterson. Sue E. Peterson (nee Bigham), 78, passed away peacefully June 2 at her home in hospice care in the company of her husband of 53 years David, son Mark of Raleigh, N.C. and daughter Carolyn Peterson-Lial of Monroe, Wash following a long struggle with complications from metastatic breast cancer.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony for early childhood program at Beth Emet set for Aug. 12. JCC Chicago invites the community to attend a ribbon cutting at 4 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 12 to celebrate the successful expansion of its Early Childhood program to Beth Emet The Free Synagogue.

Public Square

Lighthouse Keeper sees… that National Lighthouse Day was August 7th … that, speaking of lighthouses, a disclaimer is necessary to clarify that the Evanston RoundTable’s Lighthouse Keeper has no formal relationship with, or responsibility for, the Grosse Pointe Lighthouse. Just as the name RoundTable pays symbolic homage to the legend of King Arthur, welcoming many voices and diverse perspectives, the RoundTable’s Lighthouse Keeper pays homage to Evanston’s iconic symbol.

An open letter to the Mayor, City Council, and Nicholas Cummings about the ‘Independent Investigation’ Report and Erika Storlie’s severance. I am a lawyer. I write this letter sensitive to concerns that each of you, as public servants, might have about attorney-client privilege or litigation risk. Because of those concerns, you might have reasons not to disclose the contents (or some contents) of the “Independent Investigation” Report you have commissioned to uncover facts about sexual misconduct by lakefront staff and the City’s response to it.

Guest Essay: CABG statement on Erika Storlie’s resignation and the independent investigation into sexual misconduct. As a grassroots campaign that represents a wide swath of Evanston, Community Alliance for Better Government (CABG) calls for an open process in pursuit of a City Manager who is committed to dismantling policies, programs and practices that embed favoritism based on race, class, and neighborhood.

Guest Essay: Choose the vaccine or the virus will choose you. Delta. Epsilon. Zeta. Eta. Theta … As the Delta variant continues to spread, we have to realize … we will run out of Greek letters to name the variants that will emerge. Variants are expected. We are also seeing break-through infections in vaccinated people as the Delta variant spreads. This is also expected. 

Sports

Hall’s return boosts Evanston football staff. Hall of Fame coaches he worked with – Chick Cichowski, Dan Mortier, Bob Naughton – all told Denny Hall the same thing: that he’d know it was time to retire the day that going to a football practice became a drudgery. That day hasn’t arrived yet. So Hall will return to the sidelines for the 48th year when football practice starts Monday across Illinois.

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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...