4 years, hundreds of stories: Best of City


Daily file photo by Ciara McCarthy

The fatal shooting of Dajae Coleman, 14, set off a city-wide discussion on gun violence during the fall of 2012. The Evanston Township High School freshman was killed in a case of mistaken identity, according to police.

1. ‘Brothel law’ strains town-gown trust

No one has ever been evicted for violating the city’s so-called “brothel law,” a rule barring more than three unrelated individuals for living together, but ongoing threats that officials would begin enforcing the law has remained a point of contention between Northwestern students and city government. While aldermen have stated their concerns are for the safety of those living in cramped conditions, students voiced concerns they were being unfairly targeted in a housing market that made living with no more than two other people impractical and expensive. In May 2013, aldermen discussed a plan to change the rules to allow up to six unrelated people as long as there are an equal number of bedrooms as tenants and the landlord applies for a safety permit.

2. Listserv message about rowdy students goes viral

NU and Evanston hit the national spotlight in fall 2010 after an email to off-campus students listed numerous complaints from city residents following an evening of intense partying by NU students. Dean of Students Burgwell Howard shared photos and chastised students for “being rude, urinating and vomiting on people’s property.” The email was picked up by various media outlets, including Gawker, garnering attention from far beyond the NU community.

3. Evanston teen shot, killed near ETHS

Fourteen-year-old Dajae Coleman was killed during fall 2012 in a shooting while walking home with his friends, spawning a city-wide discussion of violence in Evanston. The Evanston Township High School freshman was remembered for his leadership at school and in his community. Coleman’s mother was later invited to the President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address along with other individuals whose lives had been affected by gun violence.

4. After 36 years, The Keg tapped for good

A year after Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl pulled its liquor license, downtown bar The Keg of Evanston dropped its final appeals and closed its doors permanently in spring 2013. The embattled Evanston watering hole, notorious for allowing underage college and high school students enter, and city officials cited safety concerns in their decision to shut the business down. Still, NU students and alumni who remembered The Keg’s brighter days mourned the loss of what was once named among the best American college bars.

5. NU demolishes Prentice hospital

After two years of debate over whether the Prentice Women’s Hospital in downtown Chicago was eligible for landmark status, NU received a permit and began demolition on the abandoned building in spring 2013. Preservationists hoped to preserve the building, designed by famous Chicago architect Bertrand Goldberg, but the Commission on Chicago Landmarks twice rejected landmark protection for the hospital. The University plans to build a biomedical research facility in its place.