Evanston RoundTable

Good snowy Sunday morning, Evanston.

Evanston City Council members will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or otherwise show they tested negative against the virus. Council members could face censure or expulsion from meetings if they don’t comply with the pandemic requirements.

Mayor Daniel Biss recommended the resolution, amending the city’s rules under a proposal to be considered at the Monday, Jan. 24 City Council meeting.


In case you missed any of the most important news last week, here’s a roundup of the top stories from the RoundTable this past week.

City News

Comfort Desserts Reimagined. (Photo by Adina Keeling)

Evanston businesses struggle to keep prices down as inflation soars. Harith Razaa, owner of Comfort Desserts Reimagined at 517 Dempster St., prides himself on his bakery’s low prices and complimentary coffee and tea. However, the cost of Razaa’s ingredients are increasing.

Mayor favors open application process for candidates interested in Ninth Ward council seat. Mayor Daniel Biss is pledging an open process in his appointment of a candidate to fill Cicely Fleming’s position, after she announced in December that she would step down.

Lionel Jean Baptiste. (Photo by Debbie-Marie Brown) Credit: Debbie-Marie Brown

Lionel Jean-Baptiste credits his groundbreaking success in the United States with the qualities of “selflessness” and a “can-do attitude” that he learned during his childhood in Haiti. The Evanston chapter of the League of Women Voters hosted Jean-Baptiste Jan. 18 via Zoom.

Rule change would lift restrictions for Reparations Committee members eligible to receive housing award. The proposal addresses the question whether members of the committee that oversees the city’s reparations process receive benefits from the fund if they qualify?

Reimagining Public Safety panel looks at Minnesota model for reducing police role. The committee met Tuesday evening to discuss public safety efforts in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, and violence prevention efforts in Evanston.

A rendering presented at the Jan. 13 First Ward meeting

Some aren’t ready to close curtain on Varsity Theater for proposed apartment development. A development team is proposing converting the vacant theater building into a 35-unit apartment building.

Walk for Warmth event (Photo by Richard Cahan)

Walk for Warmth: Some 600 march to raise awareness of homelessness in Evanston. Interfaith Action of Evanston led some 600 people and 40 local faith communities on a two-mile walk through downtown Evanston.

Land Use Commission delays decision on music studio. Jim Tullio, owner of Butcher Boy School of Music Production, 1224 Washington St., wants the city to issue a variance allowing him to subdivide and sell a resulting adjacent lot. 


Schools

District 65 seeks input around redrawing school attendance areas. School district attendance maps in Evanston don’t look very different now than they did in 1966, said diversity and leadership consultant Gilo Kewsi Logan.

ETHS administrators on Jan. 18. (Screenshot via ETHS District 202)

ETHS offers context for COVID-19 results, remains committed to in-person learning. School officials provided an overview of the current COVID-19 situation at the high school amid the ongoing surge in cases from the omicron variant. 

Nichols Middle School put in ‘soft lockdown’ after threat found in girls bathroom. The school was briefly placed on a “soft lockdown” Wednesday afternoon after a threatening message was discovered. Students were sent home at the usual time without incident.

ETHS survey invites community input in search for new Superintendent. The Evanston Township High School District 202 Board of Education is beginning the search for the next Superintendent. The board is partnering with Alma Advisory Group to conduct a survey in January and host several focus groups in February to gather feedback and perspectives about their ideas for the future of ETHS.

Evanston schools report record number of COVID-19 cases. For the week ending Jan. 14, Evanston/Skokie School District 65 and Evanston Township High School District 202 reported a combined 593 new positive cases of COVID-19 among students.


Art & Life

The Health and Beauty section. (Photo by Sam Stroozas)

First zero-waste store opens in Evanston. Caring for the environment is all about sustainable growth for Bethany Barbouti, the head of administration and development at Eco & The Flamingo, a zero-waste general store at 1551 Sherman.

Lisa Degliantoni. (Jamie Kelter Davis Photography)

Who made Evanston Made. “She was hard to miss when she landed in town,” says photographer David Sutton about Lisa Degliantoni, the power behind Evanston Made.

Rank and File | ETHS chess shows depth at conference championship. At last weekend’s North Suburban Chess League Conference Championship, the eight-board varsity team tied for second place.

The Lighthouse Keeper sees … that, effective Jan. 1, new parking fees took effect on the lakefront and elsewhere in Evanston. Lakefront parking is free for vehicles registered in Evanston, but nonresidents will be charged.

I don’t feel safe with my close friends. Dear Gabby, My best friend loves to talk about our mutual girlfriends. I have to admit that she is funny and sarcastic. It’s entertaining and weirdly bonding for us, so of course, I join in to some degree. But here’s the thing: I know she must talk about me to them.

The mural at 600 Washington St. (Photo credit: Bernard Friedman)

‘Resolved’ mural by Ben Blount unveiled: ‘Big and bold’ commitment to racial equity. More than 100 Evanston residents gathered Jan. 17 for the unveiling of “Resolved,” a mural at 600 Washington St. created by artist Ben Blount.

Prairie Joe’s West and Art Gallery. (Photo by Sam Stroozas)

Evanston’s smallest art gallery and the reincarnation of Prairie Joe’s Diner. When Prairie Joe’s Diner closed in October, owner Aydin Dincer knew it wasn’t the end. After working for 30 years in the restaurant business, Dincer now had a lot of free time on his hands. By the end of December, he had received his food license for his next endeavor, Prairie Joe’s West and Art Gallery.

Daniel Timbie, ready to surf. (Photo credit: Evan Girard)

The week in photos: Jan. 10 – Jan. 17. The city is a winter wonderland these days, and local photographers captured our icy landscape in these cold-weather shots.


Public Square

Peggy Tarr: Humankind. Sidney Poitier (born 1927) died on Jan. 6. He was a Bahamian-American/African American actor, film director and ambassador to Japan and UNESCO.


Sports

The Wildkits triumph over Niles West Friday night (Photo: Cole Cherkasky)

ETHS boys basketball: Kits shake off sub-par shooting night with 49-33 win. Until the fourth quarter Friday night at Beardsley Gym, neither the Evanston nor Niles West basketball teams were able to score on back-to-back possessions.

ETHS boys basketball: Defense delivers for Kits in neighborhood matchup. The Wildkits ended a two-game losing streak by beating the Ramblers at their own game.

ETHS boys bowling: Wildkits claim first regional title in program history. Evanston’s boys bowling team made history last weekend by capturing the Central Suburban League tournament championship for the first time ever.

ETHS boys basketball: Kits fall short after Irby sparks comeback. Another loss to a state-ranked basketball team isn’t exactly the best situation for anyone to build on. But the learning curve for Evanston freshman Yaris Irby is something Wildkit fans should pay close attention to over the second half of the season.


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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...