Evanston RoundTable

Happy Friday morning, Evanston!

Sometimes life comes at you fast, even if you’re an intrepid photojournalist. That’s what happened to the RoundTable’s Richard Cahan last week, when his 40-year-old trusty vintage bicycle was stolen off the street. “I’m vintage, too, so I was faced with a life decision: give up biking, purchase an electric bike or buy a regular bike,” he writes. Click above to learn how he resolved that two-wheel dilemma.
Now, on to the news of the day:

During its monthly meeting Thursday morning, the Evanston Reparations Committee revealed plans to measure public opinion about its housing grant program for longtime Black residents and their descendants. Northwestern Professor Alvin B. Tillery Jr., who researches American political and social movements, aims to survey 4,000 Evanston residents on their reactions to the reparations program. The committee tentatively scheduled a town hall to discuss reparations on Oct. 22.

Darryl Harvey, a Black children’s author and the founder of the Black Child Book Fair, was initially invited to be a vendor at an upcoming literacy festival organized by Evanston Township High School. But Harvey will no longer participate in the event after meeting with ETHS administrators, he told the RoundTable this week. He said he was excluded because he centers Black stories and characters at his fairs. ETHS officials said they simply could not use the Black Child Book Fair name because the Sept. 17 event is already named the E-Town Community Literacy Fest.

In part one of a four-part series on Asian, South Asian and Pacific Islander histories in Evanston, reporter Hannah Zhihan Jiang tells how Evanston resident Melissa Raman Molitor helped initiate efforts to uncover those stories. In April, Molitor and Jenny Thompson, a historian at the Evanston History Center, agreed to establish the Evanston Placemaking Initiative, a project to research local Asian American history and create living archives of ASPA residents in Evanston.

Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

COVID-19 update as of Sept. 1: Cook County stays in ‘medium’ community risk level, Evanston remains ‘low’ risk. The total number of new cases of COVID-19 in Evanston dropped to 39 for the week ending Aug. 31, compared with 49 for the week ending Aug. 25, a decrease of 20%. The seven-day average of new cases in the State increased by 1%; hospitalizations, however, decreased by 6%.   

One-person strike pops up at Sherman Avenue road work. A single picketer stood in front of an Ozinga concrete mixer parked by Philbrick Park on Monday, holding a union strike sign. But there’s a mystery: Evanston Public Works Director Edgar Cano told the RoundTable that city staff were not aware of the picket, and Ozinga and the union have not responded to requests for comment and information.

Simone Larson: My Reluctant Reader. In the latest installment of our new column from District 65 teacher Simone Larson, she dives into the phenomenon of “reluctant readers,” as she calls them, and the magic of helping a young student discover a love for literature.

Evanston’s new Workforce Development Coordinator opens up opportunities. Back in December, the city created a new workforce development position with the goal of helping locals who were struggling to find career options amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The new job went to Nathan Norman (above), a longtime city staffer who began his career in the youth and young adult division.

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Around the web

Northwestern University brings college to an Illinois women’s prison. Northwestern’s Prison Education Program recently expanded into the Logan Correctional Center, a prison for women in central Illinois. The program is the only degree-conferring academic institute for incarcerated women in Illinois, and one of very few in the entire country.

Chicago Bears to reveal Arlington Heights stadium and ‘entertainment district’ plans next week, reports say. The team announced Thursday afternoon that it would hold a community meeting in the northwest suburb on Sept. 8 to unveil its concept for a new stadium and a surrounding development district. Team representatives reportedly described plans for the former Arlington Park racetrack site as “one of the largest development projects in Illinois state history.”

Red flag laws get little use as shootings, gun deaths soar. Chicago is one of the nation’s gun violence hotspots and a seemingly ideal place to employ Illinois’ “red flag” law that allows police to step in and take firearms away from people who threaten to kill. But amid more than 8,500 shootings resulting in 1,800 deaths since 2020, the law was used there just four times.

Math and reading scores plummet on national test, erasing 20 years of progress. After several decades of steady increases in assessment performance, American 9-year-olds scored significantly lower on national reading and math exams in 2022 than they did before the pandemic, Chalkbeat reports.

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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...