Pioneer Press

Suburban division of the Chicago Tribune

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 plan to require large grocers to pay workers additional $6 per hour hazard pay: ‘We have a concern for our frontline workers’

“We’ve found ourselves back in a predicament where we have a … concern for our frontline workers,” Reid said. “I think we should adopt this [hazard pay bill] or a version of it for future emergencies where our workers are putting themselves in increased hazard.” A hazard pay ordinance was proposed to the City Council in May 2021 but failed on a 2-7 vote at the June 14 council meeting. The measure proposed now would require large grocery retailers to give an additional $6 per hour on top of work

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

Honorable Lionel Jean-Baptiste Way to be dedicated in Evanston in recognition of judge, former alderman

Jean-Baptiste, born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, immigrated to the United States at the age of 14. He graduated from Princeton University in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a certificate in African-American history. He later received a law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1990 and practiced law for 20 years. Jean-Baptiste was elected as alderman of the 2nd ward for the city of Evanston in 2001. He served on the City Council for 10 years and in 2011 became the first

Cicely Fleming announces resignation from Evanston City Council

In a newsletter sent to residents of her ward and in an announcement during a special City Council meeting, Fleming said that the passing of her mother and strains on her time contributed to her decision. She also wrote of an “unhealthy work culture” on the council. “The expectation of residents, requirement of my time, unhealthy work culture of city hall and unproductive tension on the dais (sic) have negatively impacted me,” she wrote in her letter. “My mother was a fighter, but she also want

Northwestern University names Rebecca M. Blank as next president; noted economist will be first woman to hold role

Blank is a well-known economic researcher on poverty and low-income labor markets, according to a news release announcing the move. She most recently was the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Blank will begin her role with Northwestern next summer. “I am honored and delighted to accept the job as Northwestern’s next president,” Blank said in the news release. “Northwestern is a school that I have known and admired for years. Its reputation as a top-rated educational and researc

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 City Council holds off on appointing interim city manager

City Council members expressed concern that they were not given the proper five-day notice to look over the contract and consider it fully. “This is a very weighty moment in Evanston history, with a lot of transition,” said Ald. Clare Kelly. “I ask that we hold this so that we as a council have the appropriate time to weigh in that we should have had.” The current city manager, Erika Storlie, is set to leave Oct. 8 following a separation agreement approved on Aug. 12. According to city documen

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

Northwestern University to create technology accelerator in downtown Evanston with help from state funds, private donation

The accelerator, set to be located at 1801 Maple Ave., will provide space for startup companies led by Northwestern personnel in health, life sciences and related fields, according to a news release. The space is intended to be collaborative in nature between the university and the city of Evanston. “I think it’s wonderful for the community,” said Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss. “I think it’s a real step forward for Northwestern themselves, and I think it really aligns with our vision of economic o

Evanston City Council approves separation agreement with city manager, interim manager appointed

While the majority of City Council agreed to the separation, some members believed that the agreement needed to be more clear on the circumstances regarding Storlie’s resignation. “I think that this particular separation agreement is not as clear as it could be to ensure that we are going to be as forthcoming as we should be to our residents regarding what happened at the lakefront,” said Ald. Devon Reid. “What you’re doing is not transparent,” she said. “What you’re doing offering the opportu

North Shore restaurant owners say industry labor shortage is being felt locally: ‘I hope that people will come back to it’

Nationally, there is some positive news as the number of food service workers has steadily risen from March of this year to July, according to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wages are also increasing nationally for nonsupervisory employees in the industry, rising from an average of $14.57 in March of this year to $15.41 in July, according to federal numbers. Restaurant owners and operators in suburban Cook County have also felt the effects the pandemic on their businesses. Many say they

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 delays vote on city manager separation agreement

The proposed agreement comes weeks after WBEZ uncovered allegations of sexual misconduct among lifeguards at lakefront beaches. Elected officials in Evanston have voiced their displeasure over a delay in alerting them to the allegations. Council members adjourned the meeting for one hour and 40 minutes to discuss the proposed separation package in executive session. Those sessions are closed to the public. Mayor Daniel Biss said more time needs to be given to allow proper discussion and that t

Evanston changes restrictions for vendors at city’s parks and beaches

The changes in the approved ordinance allow pushcart food operators to set up within 100 feet of beaches and parks and requires vendors to use their own waste receptacles that are also easily accessible to customers. “This is a very low barrier for entry as far as opening and operating a business,” said Ald. Devon Reid. “We’re not talking about building new structures on the lakefront. These are people who will have human-powered pushcarts.” The item passed 6-3. Some council members were conce

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