Good Thursday morning, Evanston.

January isn’t typically beach weather, but this hasn’t been a typical January. Barbara Smith plays with her dog Nelly on Wednesday at Lee Street Beach. Smith told RoundTable photographer Richard Cahan that she wished the city’s dog beach was still open. It closed Dec. 21, but the city plans to reopen the beach this spring and issue dog beach passes. 

Hope you’re enjoying the relative warmth while it lasts. Now, on to other news.

In an apparent rebuke to the off-duty police officer who drew his gun on a homeless man in the Evanston Public Library earlier this month, the top library official said Wednesday that there is no exception to the library’s firearms ban for anyone working as a safety monitor. As of now and until further notice, when any library employee is performing library work, “they will not be armed,” said interim Executive Director Heather Norborg.

Credit: Screenshot

Two members of the Evanston community were killed in car accidents in the early days of the new year. Renuka Desai, a 70-year-old mother of two, worked at District 65. She was walking across Howard Street when she was hit by a vehicle Jan. 5. Sara Saenz, a 52-year-old mother of four, had been seeking a position as a nanny. She died in a traffic crash in Rogers Park on Jan. 9.

Credit: Pisgah/ Housing Opportunity Development Corporation

The city’s Housing & Community Development Committee on Tuesday recommended providing $4 million in financing to a nonprofit developer to create 44 affordable housing units at 1805-15 Church St., just east of Dodge Avenue. The plan would use $3 million from the West Evanston tax increment financing district, and Paul Zalmezak, the city’s economic development manager, warned committee members that “we are going to really have this TIF tapped out.”

COVID-19 by the numbers: Seven new cases and no new deaths were reported Tuesday, Jan. 17, the last day the city updated totals. The seven-day average is 11.4 cases per day.

Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

Credit: Zentli

There’s no outdoor sign yet, but Zentli, a Mexican restaurant at 1813 Dempster St., is officially open after a two-year wait. The location was once Curt’s Cafe South, but art by co-owner Alfonso “Piloto” Nieves Ruiz has transformed the space.

Credit: submitted

District 65 School Board Policy Committee’s Wednesday meeting presented the district’s new goals to measure progress on the district’s five-year strategic plan. RoundTable co-founder Larry Gavin takes a closer look at three of the reading goals and in a second story reports on plans for a new K-5 reading curriculum.

Check your pockets: Someone who stopped into the 7-Eleven at 847 N. Dodge Ave. and bought a lottery ticket is a newly minted millionaire.

Credit: Wendi Kromash

Northwestern University undergrads are preparing to sing, act and dance their way through Matilda the Musical. The production – led by director Lucy Harrington (left), with Morgan Barber (center) as Matilda and Rachel Schmaier as community producer – is this year’s Dolphin Show, America’s largest student-produced musical.

Credit: Heidi Randhava

Letter to the editor: The Rev. Michael C.R. Nabors is weighing in on the Ryan Field debate: “The project is an incredible opportunity for the Evanston community, and Black and brown people in Evanston, to partner and collaborate with the university.”

Credit: Library of Congress

How America marked the day in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. caught the attention of longtime RoundTable columnist Peggy Tarr: Student celebrations, a tragic shooting and an encouraging heart transplant meeting.

The Evanston Chamber of Commerce has announced its 2023 annual award winners. Check out this year’s recipients, set to be honored next month.

The Medill School of Journalism, in partnership with the News Literacy Project, is hosting a free eventTrust issues: How Chicago news outlets build credibility in their communities at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24 at the McCormick Foundation Center Forum, 1870 Campus Drive.

Credit: Joerg Metzner

Picturing Evanston: This photo can be filed under “Curious Fence Posts of Evanston.” Was or is this home of a golfer on Cleveland Street? (Photo by Joerg Metzner)

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Around the web

Proposed bike trail brings promise, peril to the 5th Ward. The Evanston Transit Alliance proposes a bike trail to connect the North Shore Channel Trail to other trails north of Evanston by punching a hole through the Metra embankment.

Raven and Dove owner — aka the Porcelain Doctor — calls it a career after 45 years in Wilmette, Evanston. Randi Schwartz operated her gift shop and repair business for four decades in Wilmette before relocating to Evanston in 2018.

Feinberg physicians release paper on lack of diversity in OB-GYN research. Feinberg OB-GYN physicians found that there is insufficient representation of racial and ethnic minority groups in obstetrics and gynecology trials.

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Gina Castro

Gina Castro is a Racial Justice fellow for the RoundTable. She recently earned a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism where she studied investigative reporting....