Wilmette, Community

2021 Rewind: The year’s top stories based on readers of TheRecordNorthShore.org

Apologies in advance if you look at this list and think, “That was this year?”

The difficulties of 2020 carried over into and through 2021, making the 365-day journey feel longer than usual.

The path of the COVID-19 pandemic changed as regularly and sharply as the Chicago weather, but at its end, it was a year that was endured. As we look back at the year that was, positive and uplifting stories make plenty of appearances amid the challenges of 2021.

Here are the 12 most-read stories of 2021 at TheRecordNorthShore.org, as well as the top stories by month:

1. Wilmette police stand by arrest of Chicago sportswriter after charges are dropped (Sept. 16)

An arrest for DUI drew interest in the fall after the charges were dropped against a longtime Chicago media personality, who publicly aired his grievances with the arrest. For this piece, The Record reviewed police reports and dash-cam footage and spoke with involved parties.

2. Winnetka 17-year-old charged with sexual assault (Nov. 8)

While much is left uncovered in this news report, local authorities arrested and charged a teenager in October with multiple counts of rape. Stay tuned to The Record in 2022 for updates in this case.

3. One dead in three-car wreck in Winnetka (Dec. 13)

A tragic car accident on Willow Road claimed the life of a west-suburban woman.

4. A Cinderella story? Murray Bros. may bring Caddyshack restaurant to old Bakers Square site in Wilmette (May 25)

Readers teed off on this story, building excitement around a new restaurant coming to town based on the classic golf comedy “Caddyshack” and from the famed Murray brothers, who are originally from Wilmette.

5. ‘Shot in the dark’ emerges for Loyola Academy’s sidelined tight end James Kyle (Sept. 27)

A profile of football player James Kyle made the rounds in September. Kyle was one of the state’s top recruits before a medical condition put him on the sidelines his junior year. But he became a man with a plan to get back on the field.

6. Owners of Wilmette’s Sofia Steak planning French bistro for downtown Winnetka (Feb. 2)

Restaurant news compelled local readers throughout 2022. The Record broke the news early in the year of Pomeroy. The restaurant is now open and a popular downtown Winnetka option.

7. ‘After 100 years it’s the right time’: New Trier board approves plan to replace Gates Gym with versatile three-story facility (Feb. 16)

Part of a series of stories from Martin Carlino in 2020 and 2021, this article reports the official decision by the high school to raze historic Gates Gymnasium.

8. Police Reports: Kenilworth family finds stranger in their home and petting their dog; CTA employee spit on; and more (Aug. 8)

An unexpected entry on the most-read list, this brief but strange police report caught readers’ attention.

9. Right on Q: Pit & Tap’s Texas-style barbecue opens door in downtown Wilmette (July 9)

In more restaurant news, the long awaited barbecue joint finally opened in July, serving smoked meats from its massive barbecue pit.

10. Wilmette teen motorist faces charge for fleeing scene after killing pedestrian (Aug. 13)

Nearly a month after a fatal hit and run in Lincolnwood, an 18-year-old Wilmette high schooler was taken into police custody. This report contains plenty of details on the investigation, crime and its unusual aftermath.

11. Wilmette teen electrocuted by CTA train tracks in Evanston (June 10)

Samatha Cerrone, 16, was killed in June when she reportedly tripped and fell onto the third rail. If combined with a followup tribute piece on Sam, this story would have been the third most-read story of the year.

12. New restaurants to take over Lincoln and Elm after Little Ricky’s, Cafe Aroma settle eviction lawsuits (March 1)

And even more restaurant news. The dining turnover in downtown Winnetka was more complicated than it seemed, as two longtime restaurants faced eviction for under-paid rent during the pandemic.


CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE TOP PHOTOS OF THE YEAR AT THE RECORD


Gigi Eisen and friends celebrate her 104th birthday in January in Glencoe.

JANUARY

1. At 104, Nioma ‘Gigi’ Eisen celebrates a first: a birthday party inside an igloo during a pandemic

2. Officials recommend renderings, cost for New Trier’s proposed $75-million overhaul of athletic facilities

3. Freeze Frame: ‘Glencoe treasure’ to be featured on ‘The Today Show’

FEBRUARY

1. ‘After 100 years it’s the right time’: New Trier board approves plan to replace Gates Gym with versatile three-story facility

2. Officials link dozens of New Trier COVID cases to ‘large gatherings,’ do not rule out on-campus spread

3. ‘Chicagoese’ viral news segment is latest achievement for Loyola Academy’s very own Mike Lowe

New Trier Green players celebrate their 1-0 overtime state championship victory over Glenbrook North March 22 at a Wisconsin rink.

MARCH

1. Ilan Gibori, director of Glencoe tutoring facility, charged with sexually assaulting a minor

2. Photo Gallery: New Trier Green hockey wins state title in overtime thriller against Glenbrook North

3. 5 of 6 New Trier School Board candidates answer questions from The Record (audio)

APRIL

1. Election Night: Plunkett ‘excited to go forward’ as village president; Voters oust incumbents in Village, Park, Library races

2. Massive barbecue pit from Mesquite, Texas, finds new home in downtown Wilmette

3. 18 years after he helped deliver him in a Wilmette Starbucks bathroom, Griffin Baron meets Jonathan Celner

MAY

1. ComEd fire in Wilmette causes ‘widespread’ power outage to about 5,000

2. A Cinderella story? Murray Bros. may bring Caddyshack restaurant to old Bakers Square site in Wilmette

3. Wilmette officials condemn resident’s ‘anti-Semitic’ window display. But he says he’s protesting anti-Semitism

Samantha Cerrone, of Wilmette, was mourned by friends, family and the community in June.

JUNE

1. Wilmette teen electrocuted by CTA train tracks in Evanston

2. Community mourns death of 16-year-old Samantha Cerrone

3. ‘Storming the Capitol’: Social media posts aid arrest of Kenilworth resident for alleged involvement in Jan. 6 riot

JULY

1. Right on Q: Pit & Tap’s Texas-style barbecue opens door in downtown Wilmette

2. Police arrest man for June 22 solicitation of two minors in Wilmette

3. Wilmette Theatre board implodes amid vital renovations

AUGUST

1. Police Reports: Kenilworth family finds stranger in their home and petting their dog; CTA employee spit on; and more

2. Wilmette teen motorist faces charge for fleeing scene after killing pedestrian

3. Loyola Academy updates mask policy to align with state’s mandate; New Trier board calls special meeting for Aug. 11

Loyola Academy senior James Kyle helps on the sideline, hoping for another chance to get back on it.

SEPTEMBER

1. Wilmette police stand by arrest of Chicago sportswriter after charges are dropped

2. ‘Shot in the dark’ emerges for Loyola Academy’s sidelined tight end James Kyle

3. New Trier’s Cremascoli gets it done on air and ground in commanding victory over Stevenson

OCTOBER

1. In Tribute: Ned Smith leaves lasting legacy in Wilmette and beyond

2. Murray Bros. Caddyshack aims for early 2022 opening for new Wilmette location

3. ‘They played better than us in pretty much every aspect of the game’: Maine South ends New Trier’s season in playoff opener

NOVEMBER

1. Winnetka 17-year-old charged with sexual assault

2. Lockport takes out shorthanded Loyola in semis. Ramblers streak ends at 18 wins.

3. Students push New Trier for more action, resources to combat sexual violence

The “Home Alone” house’s interior was recreated for a special holiday promotion from Airbnb and Disney+.

DECEMBER

1. One dead in three-car wreck in Winnetka

2. Winnetka’s ‘Home Alone’ house available to four lucky guests for one night only

3. Surging COVID leads New Trier High School to suspend intramurals, require post-break testing


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