Evanston RoundTable
Kush Hookah Lounge is at 3327 Dempster St. in Skokie., just outside Evanston’s boundaries. Credit: Bob Seidenberg

Good Tuesday morning, Evanston.

At the April 27 meeting of the city’s Economic Development Committee, Council Member Devon Reid, 8th Ward, advocated for the repeal of a ban on hookah lounges in Evanston. He suggested a cultural bias was at play with the city prohibiting the lounges, which are allowed in neighboring towns, including Skokie.

Alcohol is not prohibited in Evanston and is “flowing through many livers” there, Reid said.

“Culturally, particularly within the Muslim community, our Muslim brothers and sisters, it is not permitted by their religion to consume alcohol,” he said at the meeting, suggesting that hookah lounges could be an alternative social gathering place for them.

In discussion, several committee members acknowledged fielding requests from people interested in opening hookah lounges, but some on the panel expressed more interest in legalizing cannabis lounges.

Aydin Dincer works on a painting at his shop and gallery, Prairie Joe’s West. Credit: Ned Schaub

Shoppers and diners from Evanston and nearby suburbs flocked to Central Street’s Ready. Set. Spring! event Saturday. Despite rain in the morning and overcast skies, many shops’ doors were still wide open, with shoppers flowing in and out.

Some who came said they had been watching the weather forecasts closely, timing their trip to Central Street to walk between the rain showers. When the sun came out around midday, the street was noticeably busier, and some who stopped to speak with the RoundTable expressed delight with the day.

Sketchbook Brewing taproom.

Have a beer on us and support local journalism 

We’re kicking off our Spring Membership Drive with News and Brews, a celebration of local journalism featuring live music and free beer! 

Join us from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, May 9, at Sketchbook Brewing Co., 821 Chicago Ave. All attendees will receive two free beers and we’ll have some light refreshments provided by our friends at Firehouse Grill.

RoundTable editors, writers and other contributors will be on hand for the evening, along with members of our board and advisory committee. We’ll also have a short music program featuring performances by RoundTable Racial Justice Fellow Debbie-Marie Brown and Steel String Highway, the alt-country/rock band led by RoundTable VP Mark Miller and friends.

Here’s a huge thanks to our friends at Sketchbook and Firehouse Grill, our event sponsors! Attendance is limited, so RSVP today to reserve your spot

COVID-19 by the numbers: 30 new cases were reported Sunday, May 1, the last day the city updated totals. The seven-day average is 33 cases per day.

Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

YWCA CEO Karen Singer
YWCA Evanston/North Shore CEO Karen Singer. Credit: YWCA Evanston/North Shore

CEO Karen Singer to retire from YWCA Evanston/North Shore. After serving nearly two decades, Singer announced plans to retire from leading YWCA Evanston/North Shore. She will continue to serve as Chief Executive Officer until her successor is hired.

At This Time: Monday at 2:45 p.m. A day after National Decision Day, Evanston Township High School seniors show their new school colors. They are (from left): Jacklynn Okereke (Harvard), Lily Anderson (Tennessee), Jeremiah Gary (San Francisco), Keanna English (Jackson State), Faith Brown (Michigan State), Tami Schneiderman (Indiana), Michelle Ogungbemi (Illinois), Noa Polish (Scripps) and Maya Wallace (Michigan). “I thought the application part was going to be stressful, but deciding where to go was super stressful,” said Wallace. Nine hundred seniors will graduate this year and about 76% are off to college. (Photo by Richard Cahan)

A Peculiar Inheritance features a large cast of Northwestern students. Credit: Justin Barbin

Theater review: Waa-Mu’s A Peculiar Inheritance is fun, funny, clever. The 91st annual Waa-Mu Show, A Peculiar Inheritance, opened to a vocal and enthusiastic crowd Friday at Northwestern’s Cahn Auditorium. The arc of the storyline is inventive and winning, and the cast is terrific as they sing, dance and act with spirit and believability. 

YMCA preschoolers take a walk. Credit: Susy Schultz Credit: Susy Schultz

The week in photos: April 25-May 2. From a tow rope of cute preschoolers to the planting of new trees at Lovelace Park, check out our collection of photos from around Evanston. (And if you snap something while you’re out and about this week, be sure to submit your photo to news@evanstonroundtable.com)

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Rangoli supplies. Credit: Wendi Kromash

Rangoli workshop at EPL brightens rainy day. Bindu Reddy, the organizer and champion behind the nonprofit Evanston Association of Indians, introduced her students to the art of rangoli, a word that comes from the Sanskrit “rangavalli” and means “rows of color.”

From left: Trudy Roeber (Miranda), Sadie Corey (Prospera) and Adrian Maslov (Ferdinand) in Mudlark Theater’s production of The Tempest. Credit: Allen Rein

Mudlark actors work their magic on “The Tempest.” The Mudlark Theater cast displayed aspiration, commitment, creativity and fellowship this past weekend as they debuted a version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, adapted by Mudlark Director Andrew Biliter.

Picturing Evanston. This blue brick wall on Prairie Avenue and Central Street seems to be watching the neighborhood. (Photo by Joerg Metzner)

Northwestern’s Chicago campus briefly on lockdown for ‘active threat’. Northwestern University sent out an AlertNU email warning the Chicago campus community to shelter in place Monday afternoon, but an all-clear message was issued a few minutes later. A suspect reportedly fled from a police traffic stop into a building on the downtown Chicago campus before being taken into custody.

Annual Mother’s Day House Walk will feature Oakton Historic District. The 47th Annual Mother’s Day House Walk will be a House Walk-By and will feature a week of programming, beginning Saturday, May 7. For the first time in the walk’s 47-year history, participants will explore the Oakton Historic District.

Join our team: The Evanston RoundTable is growing! Check out our jobs page for opportunities in editorial and development.

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Many of you have made a financial gift to the RoundTable in the past year and we are so grateful for your support. If you have not yet done so, please consider joining this community of supporters!

Around the web

Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows. Politico reports that the Supreme Court has voted to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, according to an initial draft majority opinion by Justice Samuel Alito obtained by the publication. At least a dozen states have trigger laws in place that immediately ban all abortions if Roe is overturned.

Virus mutations aren’t slowing down. New omicron subvariant proves it. According to the CDC, the new subvariant, known as BA.2.12.1, is 25% more transmissible than the BA.2 “stealth” subvariant of omicron and is causing most of the new COVID-19 cases in the northeastern U.S.

Known to be toxic for a century, lead still poisons thousands of Midwestern kids. Lead-based paint, water pipes and other household products are still commonly found in homes and apartment buildings across the Midwest, causing dangerous levels of lead in the blood of thousands of children.

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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...