Freelance journalist based in Chicago, IL. Covering the city of Evanston, climate change and the environment.

Law firm issues report on sexual misconduct allegations at Evanston beach, mayor responds with message that states findings are ‘profoundly troubling’

“It describes an institution that, over the course of years, had no idea how to handle serious accusations of pervasive sexual misconduct,” he stated. “Sometimes that system performed half-hearted ‘investigations’ that led to slaps on the wrist. … Sometimes it placed enormous burdens on survivors. Sometimes it hid behind survivors and blamed them for the city’s failures to keep its own employees safe.” “We heard many stories of predatory abuses of power in which men in supervisory roles used th

Juan Geracaris seated as Evanston’s first Latino alderman, a longtime resident and volunteer who plans to be ‘super transparent’ in 9th Ward

Following Cicely Fleming’s resignation from the 9th Ward seat, the city received eight applications for the position, according to a city spokesman. The city then held town hall discussions with all of the candidates before the mayor made his decision. Full City Council approval was needed for the mayor’s appointment to be effective. Mayor Daniel Biss announced his selection of Geracaris Feb 23, stating in a city news release that, “Juan has demonstrated his commitment to making Evanston more a

Evanston considering a ‘living room’ facility to residents in time of mental health crisis

The idea was born out of the alternative emergency response sub-committee that began in summer 2020. The purpose is to find alternate solutions for residents that did not involve police, according to officials. “It does sound like, with a general level of support, that it would be appropriate for the next time to bring a specific proposal for funding,” said Biss. “I certainly would be eager to work with every council member between now and then to figure out what it’s going to take to make sure

Barrington teen with Down syndrome sings national anthem at White Sox game as part of awareness night

Gianni said singing the song made her feel confident. She said she thought her performance was “amazing” and the anthem means so much to her. GiGi Gianni said she can use her condition to connect with people. With Down syndrome, the teen said she also has some other physical limitations – including challenges with being able to sing. Gianni began taking singing lessons when she was 9 years old, her family explained, adding that she had been singing long before then. Her favorite song is the na

Evanston Haitian Community Festival hosts block party to celebrate start of a new school year

Funds from the event at Harbert Payne Park were used to purchase backpacks, folders, pencils and other school supplies for Evanston’s students. The event also serves as a way to bring community members together, organizers said. “We haven’t been able to do anything because of COVID,” said Gerald Daye, founder of the festival. “It’s important that we get together and support the community.” The Haitian Community Festival has been an annual gathering since the 1990s in Evanston as a means for Ha

Evanston officials outline strategy to eliminate emissions in municipal operations by 2035

“It’s very important for us and for our city staff and stakeholders to make sure that we’re walking the walk and we’re demonstrating that we as a municipality can do what we’ll be asking the private sector and community organizations to do as well,” said Jensen. Evanston created a communitywide climate action resilience plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. This plan, according to Jensen, has many different paths toward neutrality, not all of which are focused on emissions. This announcement

Local health officials in Evanston and Skokie report growing COVID-19 numbers

In suburban Cook County, there have been over 257,000 cases of COVID-19 to date and approximately 4,500 related deaths, according to the Cook County Department of Public Health. Additionally, the number of delta variant cases has increased 55.5% in the past two weeks. The number of new cases of the virus being reported has also grown steadily since late June. While the county health department oversees local COVID-19 response in almost all of suburban Cook County, Evanston and Skokie are among

Evanston City Council develops approach for local allocation of federal COVID-19 relief dollars

Evanston City Council members are outlining the steps they will take when deciding how to use the $43 million provided to the city through the federal American Rescue Plan Act. City staff recently conducted three town hall meetings with members of the Evanston community to gather feedback on how the COVID-19 relief funding should be used. In each meeting, community members were asked how the funds should be divided, which areas of the city would most benefit from funding and which areas of the

Glenview residents find love during pandemic: ‘There’s so many difficulties in this world, and here we are’

Both had been married previously and lost their spouses within the last few years. They found each other via, a dating site catered to Jewish singles. Both said that they were able to find companionship and fun together during a time of hardship. “There’s so many difficulties in this world, and here we are,” Dinah said. “We talk about how grateful we are that we found each other against all odds.” Larry Castle’s son signed him up for the dating site to help him find a companion, and

A Day in the Life of an ISEN Researcher

Nikolai Tcyrulnikov is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN). His group, led by ISEN Executive Director Michael R. Wasielewski, focuses on light-driven processes in molecules, such as artificial photosynthesis and quantum information science. Tcyrulnikov is currently studying how organic molecules can be used to create quantum computers. “We’re on the verge of a revolution in information technology and that’s thanks to quantum computers,

Seasonal Climate Models May Help Warn for Malaria Outbreaks in Mozambique

Applying knowledge of climate variability may be a key to predicting public health trends in Mozambique, according to Ryan Harp, a postdoctoral research fellow with the Ubben Program for Carbon and Climate Science at the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN). Harp studied climate and health data in Mozambique to tie patterns of climate variability to increased malaria cases. He recently presented his research at the international Planetary Health Annual Meeting. Harp and

Indigenous researchers call for ethical genomics projects

Navajo geneticist Krystal Tsosie thought she would target her career toward cancer biology. She studied nano- and microparticle research but soon faced a dilemma in her research trajectory. “There are very few Native Americans in STEM fields and in research in general,” said Tsosie, a bioethicist with the Native BioData Consortium. “I felt like if I were to stay in cancer biology, that if one of my inventions or innovations were ever going to go from bench-to-bedside, chances are, unfortunately

Environmental education in Chicago has room to improve, teachers say

Chicago-area educators see increased flooding, intense cold and beach erosion all around their city. They see these issues as paramount to their climate change teaching and better environmental learning. Ayesha Qazi, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago, teaches Advanced Placement environmental science and honors biology at Northside College Preparatory High School in Chicago. She and her students study climate change from a multitude of angles, including the science, poli

Fermilab’s particle acceleration technology gives other projects a leg up

By Emily Little and Marisa Sloan When it comes to big questions about the origins of the universe, scientists are looking to some of its smallest particles for answers. Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory is a 6,800-acre laboratory located less than an hour west of Chicago, Illinois. Its mission is to be the leading center for particle science, a field that revolves around understanding and controlling the most basic building blocks of the universe. Over the years, the tools developed to dr

George Washington High School rallies against their new toxic neighbors

When yet one more industrial facility planned to move operations to the Southeast Side, they likely didn’t think their main opponents would be high schoolers. But the students of George Washington High School weren’t going to back down. After Lincoln Park residents fought for its removal, General Iron, a scrap metal recycling facility responsible for toxic dust and air pollution, plans to move to the Southeast Side of Chicago in early 2021. The new location is only two blocks away from George W

Ready for 100 Coordinator calls for equitable energy transition in Chicago

Clean energy is no small feat for a city like Chicago. It’s not enough to move homes and businesses to renewable power; there must be an equitable transition that addresses systemic discrimination in marginalized communities all over the city. Kyra Woods is the Ready for 100 Coordinator for the Illinois chapter of the Sierra Club. She works to develop partnerships across the city of Chicago to ensure a just and equitable energy transition. In 2017, former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposed a

Resilient Hockettes bounce back during COVID-19

Synchronized skating is all about adjustments. It’s making tiny changes in response to the rhythm of other skaters so that all the choreography works together. This year, teams are making these adjustments on a much larger scale — a pandemic scale. When COVID-19 closed ice rinks in March, the Hockettes junior team, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, didn’t let this halt plans to move forward into the skating season. The coaches and skaters used every possible opportunity to practice together, whethe

Artists and scientists combine forces at Third Coast Disrupted

Seven artists and seven scientists met in 2019 to discuss how to make Chicago aware of climate change in its own backyard. The result was a series of art pieces reflecting the science and the devastation of this crisis. Third Coast Disrupted, an art exhibit at Columbia College, is a science-inspired installation featuring sculptures, collages, paintings and other visual mediums. Sponsored by Terracom, Columbia College Chicago and DePaul University, the exhibit is the culmination of the year-lon