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Fear of being Baby Richard-ized? Adoptions in Illinois, 1989: 5,803. Last year: 1,961 (from a recent report by PSI Services Inc.).

"The founders of the [National Association of Black Journalists] saw it as an advocacy agency, but over the years it has become more career-oriented," Edward "Buzz" Palmer, former president of the Black Press Institute, tells Salim Muwakkil in In These Times (August 11). "All that black journalists had as a defining ideology was the color issue. Du Bois said that the color line would be the problem of the 20th century. The distribution of wealth will be the problem of the 21st century. Black journalists have no ideological guidance, so they don't even think about the role of black journalism as anything special. It's all just a well-paying job to many of them."

Actually, it would be best if they spent high-pollution days indoors. From a recent press release sent by the National Arborist Association: "At present, the best thing homeowners can do to protect trees from ozone injury is to keep trees in an overall healthy state. This includes protecting trees from wounding, and keeping them well-watered and judiciously fertilized."

The biggest deficit hawk in Illinois' congressional delegation? According to a press release from the Concord Coalition Citizens' Council, it's North Shore Republican John Porter, who tied for the highest score in the entire House of Representatives.

Two years to read three books? That's how long it took Wheaton attorney Richard Bales to plow through the three volumes of handwritten transcripts of the Chicago Board of Police and Fire Commissioners' hearings on the Great Chicago Fire. According to ISBA Bar News (July 15), Bales hopes to present his noncow theory of how the fire started in a book of his own.

Attack of the grammarian. From a recent letter from the Illinois Chamber of Commerce: "Are you interested in continuing to receive this information? If so, to whom's attention should it be sent?"

Let's see, after 797 years of deferred maintenance...The state Historic Preservation Agency reports that the 100-foot-high Monks Mound, an earthen structure built between 900 and 1200 near downstate Collinsville--the "largest prehistoric earthwork in the Western Hemisphere"--will be closed until November for "repairs."

Walkers and bikers again. Several business and community groups oppose the city's proposal to put bike lanes on an eight-mile stretch of Halsted from Archer Avenue to Grace Street, reports the "Chicagoland Bicycle Federation News" (August/September). "In the next few years," says CBF executive director Randy Neufeld, "many streets that currently have a comfortable width for bicycling are going to be redesigned to improve the pedestrian experience. It is important that bike lanes or other space for bikes is routinely considered in the design. Halsted is going to be the model. Let's make it a good one."

"Free-ranging cats can outnumber and compete with native predators," warns the "Bird's-Eye reView" (July-August), published by the National Bird-Feeding Society in suburban Northbrook. And those cats can transmit diseases to humans and animals. "The problem is more than theoretical; densities exceeding 100 free-ranging cats per square mile have been recorded in some parts of rural Wisconsin."

Dubious PR. Did you know that there's a Russell Stover Candies blimp?

Department of Fantastic Coincidences. Percentage of Mexicans among those arrested as undocumented immigrant workers in area Immigration and Naturalization Service raids from January 1996 to June 1997: 92. Percentage of undocumented immigrants in Illinois who are Mexican, according to the INS: 44 ("Chicago Reporter," July/August).

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