Evanston RoundTable

Good Sunday morning, Evanston.

Happy Fourth of July weekend! We hope you’re ready for a day off tomorrow full of sun, barbecue, fireworks and family.

The festivities kick off Monday with family games in parks across the city, then the award-winning parade down Central Street begins at 2 p.m. Children 10 and under are also invited to take part in the half-mile Evanston 4th of July Kids Fun Run. Participants can register online or on race day from noon to 12:30 p.m. The run begins at 12:45 p.m. at Ackerman Park, Central Street and McDaniel Avenue.

The Haitian Community Organization will host a festival at James Park from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., as well. At night, the Palatine Concert Band will perform from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at Arrington Lakefront Lagoon at Dawes Park, located at Sheridan Road and Church Street. Lakefront fireworks set to music will begin at approximately 9:30 p.m.

Credit: Richard Cahan

This year’s Independence Day celebrations across Evanston will be the first live, in-person Fourth of July festivities in three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it was hardly a sure thing, said Hillary Bean, Parade Director and Vice President of Evanston Fourth of July Association, the all-volunteer non-profit group that works throughout the year to put the event together.

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

City News

Town halls planned as Evanston tackles ward remapping. The city is inviting residents to participate online in virtual town hall sessions tentatively planned for July 13 in English and July 20 in Spanish, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., to discuss local redistricting efforts.

Second Ward Council Member to step down after 10 years. City Council Member Peter Braithwaite of Evanston’s Second Ward announced Monday he will step down from his seat, ending more than 10 years representing one of the City’s most diverse wards. He said his resignation will take effect at the July 11 City Council meeting.

Interim City Manager Kelley Gandurski announces resignation. Evanston interim City Manager Kelley Gandurski announced Tuesday morning she will resign as of July 11 for a new job at Elrod Friedman, a land use and government law firm serving the public and private sectors, according to a news release from the city.

On the front line of democracy: Election Judges. The RoundTable’s Richard Cahan spent Election Day photographing and listening to some of the people who dedicated their time and talents to ensure the process was smooth, the count was accurate and our fundamental democratic right of voting was ensured.

Fifth ward debates ranked-choice voting, discusses city manager search. Council member Bobby Burns told his Fifth Ward constituents during his June 30 ward meeting about the difficulties of hiring a city manager, and he also outlined ranked-choice voting, which the City Council will discuss at its next meeting July 11.

2022 Illinois and Cook County primary election results. Gov. J.B. Pritzker will run against Republican state Senator Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) in November’s gubernatorial race. The incumbent Democratic governor sailed to an easy primary victory Tuesday, June 28, while Bailey beat out venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan and Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin.

Primary election turnout low, but mail-in ballots will have the final word. Far fewer Evanston voters turned out for the 2022 primaries than in past years, according to data published by the Cook County Clerk’s office. As of Wednesday evening, a total of 12,642 ballots had been counted out of 50,297 registered voters in Evanston, making the turnout a bit more than 25%.

Schakowsky says ‘no whining,’ urges voting and organizing post-Roe. The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has unleashed “a momentum for people power” that will “change the dynamic” and increase voter turnout in favor of pro-choice candidates, said U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D.-IL.) in an exclusive RoundTable interview.

Despite beach’s comeback, lifeguard shortage sank Greenwood for the swim season. Evanston officials threw something of a blanket over the first day of summer, announcing last week that Greenwood Street Beach would be closed for the remainder of the 2022 season.

City to spend nearly $1.7 million on properties for affordable housing. Evanston City Council members agreed Monday to buy a set of blighted west side residential properties, giving the city control of the site to develop affordable housing in the future.


State committee holds hearing on youth mental health. Over the last several years, schools and mental health clinics have documented how the COVID-19 pandemic, gun violence, the widespread use of social media among children and more have contributed to higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation among young people nationwide.

Art & Life

Bachelor behind bars: Northwestern prison program provides ‘priceless’ education. A group of Northwestern students living in Crest Hill, Illinois, dedicate most of their time to completing assignments and studying for rigorous classes. Now working towards a bachelor’s degree, they are much like their Evanston counterparts, but with one key difference: this group will graduate behind bars.

Midnight Sun brings the funk to its Starlight debut in Baker Park. The Midnight Sun set ablaze the Starlight crowd of more than 400 at Baker Park in Evanston in the evening hours on Tuesday. People danced, listened, swayed and sang to the 10-piece ensemble, who call themselves masters of deep-cut soul and funk and were founded in 1976.

Freitas Johnson’s ‘chairs’ are made for conversation. Conversations: Here & Now is a sculptural installation in bronze by Evanston’s own, internationally known Indira Freitas Johnson. Her seven unique bronze chairs, sometimes referred to as The Chairs, stand on a large colored cement slab at the northwest corner of Raymond Park, Chicago Avenue and Grove Street in Evanston.

The Art of Making Art: Annie Zirin. Zirin is a weaver and artist who creates functional items including table runners, scarfs and decorative wall items. Her art background is in painting, but she was drawn to textiles, and today she creates colorful, highly textured works using the ancient art of weaving.

Levy Lecture: Quilts, community and literature by Black women. At the final Levy Lecture for 2022 – and the 100th lecture overall – Tracy Vaughn-Manley shared her scholarship and research on the intersection of quilts, community and Black women’s literature in post-Civil Rights America.

Who owns the alley plants? Dear Gabby, I walk my dogs down many alleyways, and I often see some very pretty plants that either happen to grow along the outside of peoples’ fences or were purposely planted there. As a new gardener, I always wonder if it would be unethical for me to come out into the alley with a trowel and dig up some of these plants to transplant into my backyard.

Public Square

Mayor Daniel Biss invites residents to a town hall discussion at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 12 at the Morton Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave. about the city manager search. Evanston RoundTable’s Executive Editor Tracy Quattrocki will moderate. Submit questions in advance online (or in person at the meeting). Those who prefer remote participation can watch live on City Channel 16 or on the city’s YouTube channel.

Letter to the editor: We are now missing a fundamental human right. “Without alternatives in reproductive health for pregnant people, the rights of people to participate in decisions about their own healthcare and family planning are stolen from them,” Rev. Eileen Wiviott, senior minister at the Unitarian Church of Evanston, writes in the RoundTable.

Letter to the editor: Thank you for supporting humane horse bills. The Humane Society Legislative Fund and our supporters in the Chicago area and nationwide are so grateful to U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky for her extraordinary leadership on two essential bills to end inhumane horse slaughter and the deliberate infliction of severe pain on the legs and hooves of some show horses, writes the Fund’s president Sara Amundsen.

Letter to the editor: Please, stop the ‘Ender’ graffiti. “This is a simple request to the individual(s) graffitiing the entirety of Evanston with ‘Ender.’ Please stop; your childish antics and toddler-like drawings are polluting our built environment, and costing the people of Evanston time and money,” Sarah Connelly writes in the RoundTable.


Credit: Northwestern Athletics

The shortstop behind Northwestern’s trip to the College World Series. A key figure in Northwestern’s 45-13 season and journey all the way to Oklahoma City for the College World Series this spring was Maeve Nelson, a 2018 graduate of Oak Park and River Forest High School. Nelson batted .279 with 12 home runs and 42 RBI this season.

Credit: Evan Girard

Evanston Rules honors Doria Dee Johnson with charity golf tourney for scholarship funds. Before her tragic death in 2018, Evanstonian Doria Dee Johnson built a phenomenal legacy of activism, teaching and curating. On June 10, Evanston Rules hosts and childhood friends Laurice Bell and Ron Whitmore held the inaugural Doria Dee Johnson Scholarship golf outing at the Canal Shores Course.

City honors Special Olympics athletes. The Evanston athletes participating in the Special Olympics and their family members gathered Monday evening at the Morton Civic Center for a double celebration: a congratulatory dinner sponsored by the Department of Parks and Recreation followed by public recognition from Mayor Daniel Biss during the City Council meeting.

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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...