This week we’ve been counting down the stories most read stories by Evanston Now readers as 2018 unfolded, and we’ve finally reached the top five.

Here they are.

5. Cubs player wants to fence off front yard (June 12)

Chicago Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish wants to build a six-foot tall fence across the front yard of his new home at 90 Kedzie St. on the Evanston lakefront.

Front yard fences have generally been prohibited in Evanston since 1999 and, on the few streets where they are permitted, they’re limited to four feet in height.

He eventually won Zoning Board of Appeals approval for a much shorter front fence.

Robert Crayton.

4. Drug dealer denied restaurant permit (Feb. 13)

Aldermen on Evanston’s Planning and Development Committee voted unanimously Monday night to reject a request from a convicted drug dealer to open a carryout restaurant on Simpson Street in the 5th Ward.

Would-be restaurant owner Robert Crayton in 2005 pleaded guilty to selling crack cocaine to a government informant outside Lincolnwood Elementary School where he worked at the time as a janitor.

He’s also currently facing charges of delivering heroin after an arrest last April.

The NU arch.

3. Northwestern announces staff layoffs (July 19)

Northwestern University officials today announced reductions in administrative staffing as a way to help close a projected budget deficit.

University spokesman Al Cubbage said about 80 people, or one percent of the total staff, are being dismissed. No faculty members were hit by the layoffs. Some staff positions that are vacant also are not being filled.

2: Police: NU shooting call was a hoax (March 14)

Evanston police responded to what was reported as a possible shooting incident this afternoon at Northwestern University’s Engelhart Hall graduate dorm.

Police had responded to the building after receiving a call from a man who indicated he’d shot his girlfriend inside the building.

After the campus spent nearly two hours on lock-down, police concluded the call had been a hoax.

Malik Caswell and Julius Francellno (EPD photos).

1. Police: Drug deal led to murder (Jan. 19)

Two 18-year-olds are due in bond court this morning to face first degree murder charges in the shooting death of a 20-year-old man in Evanston earlier this month.

Evanston police say Malik Caswell and Julius Francellno had arranged to meet Yakez Semark in the 1800 block of Hovland Court to purchase marijuana from him late on Thursday night, Feb. 8.

But something went wrong and Francellno and Semark started fighting. Then, police say, Francellno pulled out a gun and fired, hitting Semark once in the chest.

Related stories

The top stories countdown continues (10 through 6) (12/28/18)

Counting down the top stories of 2018 (15 through 11) (12/27/18)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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