News Watch's blog

School assignment plan could face challenge

Evanston/Skokie School District 65's plan to assure racial balance in school assignments could be placed at risk, depending on the outcome of two cases before the U.S. Supreme Court this term.The Evanston Review reports that the justices seemed unsympathetic to the plans challenged in Seattle, Wash. and Louisville, Ky. during oral arguments, and District 65 board member Jonathan Baum, a civil rights attorney, says those plans are very similar to the one in use in Evanston.Mr.

Solucient future still up in air

The future of Solucient, the health care information business headquartered in downtown Evanston, is still uncertain.The company was acquired last fall by Ann Arbor, Mich., based Thomson Medstat, and the Ann Arbor Business Review today reports officials there are saying they still haven't decided whether to move Solucient's operations out of Evanston.

Wilmette: Only good ash is a dead ash

Officials in Wilmette have vowed to destroy all 2,900 ash trees on public property there over the next six years as a way of combatting the spread of the emerald ash borer beetle. But the Chicago Tribune reports that Evanston, which has about 4,000 public ash trees, has decided to take a more measured approach.

Whither the Civic Center?

With Evanston's aldermen scheduled to discuss plans for the Civic Center again Jan. 10, the Chicago Tribune reports this morning that the Friends of the Civic Center have gathered "dozens" of petition signatures calling for a referendum urging that the city rehab the existing building rather than move.

Commute from Milwaukee?

Business leaders in Milwaukee are pitching an extension of commuter rail service that now runs from Chicago, through Evanston, to Kenosha so it would continue on into downtown Milwaukee.The column pushing the idea in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinal omits a price tag for the project, but says it would be funded with "millions of federal dollars" and would generate billions in increased real estate values along the tracks.

College towns hit schools for budget help

In a move that should sound familiar to Evanstonians, officials in State College, Pa., are seeking more financial help from Penn State University to pay for municipal services.Penn State already pays nearly $775,000 a year in impact fees to communities that surround the campus under an agreement that was negotiated over a decade ago.The Daily Collegian at Penn State surveyed the town-gown fee situation at several Big 10 schools.