News Watch's blog

First auto race ran through Evanston

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the first automobile race in the U.S. occurred on Nov. 28, 1895, among vehicles that still looked like horse-drawn buggies. Just before 9 a.m. that day, six of what were then called "motocycles" left Chicago's Jackson Park for a 54-mile run to Evanston and back through the snow. Number 5, driven by inventor Frank Duryea, won the race in just over 10 hours.

D65 reworking dual-language program

The District 65 administration wants to open up enrollment in the six elementary schools with two-way immersion language programs to English-speaking students from throughout the district.

Administrators rejected proposals from teachers to use staff resources more efficiently by consolidating the language programs at two schools. The administration said that plan would have required redrawing the district's attendance boundaries.

Schakowsky cruises to victory

Evanstonian Jan Schakowsky has won an easy victory in her race for a fifth term in the 9th U.S. House District. She trounced her Republican challenger, Michael Shannon of Park Ridge, by a wide margin.

With 304 of 364 precincts counted just before dawn Schakowsky had 70 percent of the vote. The totals were 57,305 for Schakowsky to 24,236 for Shannon.

The Sun-Times News Group has reaction to the outcome from the candidates.

Plan Commission eyes west side

Evanston's Plan Commission will take a first look Wednesday night at designs for new zoning to guide redevelopment of portions of the city's west side.
The proposals, developed by city consultants during a series of meetings with neighborhood residents, were previewed by Evanston Now last week, and are the subject of a Chicago Tribune story today.

Aldermen offer referendum rationales

Two Evanston aldermen have offered their takes on why voters should support the referendum to raise the real estate transfer tax 20 percent to fund affordable housing programs.

Alderman Ann Rainey says on her 8th Ward message board that the program would help working families earning about 80 percent of the median income here.

Retirement bonuses irk ETHS parents

Pay boosts granted administrators who announce they are retiring are drawing fire from parents at Evanston Township High School.

Five administrators made use of the provision this year -- which, in addition to the immediate pay increase, also makes the retirees eligible for higher pension benefits for the rest of their lives. Don't speak ill of the dead

Evanston-based, which has built a business with annual revenue estimated at nearly $6 million by posting obituary notices online, reportedly spends 30 percent of its budget screening unflattering comments about the dead from its online guest books.

The New York Times reports the editing job keeps 45 of the company's 75 employees busy.

Charter One expands in Evanston

The signs will be changing soon at the bank branch at Chicago Avenue and Main Street in Evanston.

Charter One Bank, owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland, has agreed to acquire Lisle-based GreatBanc Inc. for $180 million.

GreatBanc traces its roots to Evanston Bank founded in 1914 across the street from the present branch location.