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All shook up. For $54.75, Hammacher Schlemmer will sell you an alarm clock--one that attaches to your pillow and instead of ringing (according to HS's fall supplement) "wakes you by vibrating at 14,000 rpm for 60 seconds." Isn't that the same kind of treatment they offer free in certain jails in Chile?

A tale of two schools, from Kirsten Edstrom of the Chicago Reporter (September 1988): "Earlier this year a woman entered Hubbard Woods Elementary School and shot six children, one fatally, shattering the tranquility of spring in Winnetka. Only 45 minutes later, Evanston Hospital's crisis intervention team arrived to sort through the terrified crowd of students, teachers and parents who clustered on the school's front lawn.

"A week later, Chicago gang members fatally shot Scottie Jackson, a 1987 graduate of the Bradwell Elementary School, 7736 S. Burnham St., because, students said, they were unable to locate their real target, his brother.

"No crisis team came to Bradwell. Returning to school after the funeral, teachers and students at Bradwell were hysterical, crying in the hallways. An 8th grader who saw Jackson die on the sidewalk outside her apartment suffered silently through class, her head on her desk. "Because the school's counselor, Johnnie Dyson, is assigned to Bradwell only two days a week, four days passed before she was notified of the shooting. A week passed before she could meet with teachers."

Did anti-Semitism give us acting mayor Sawyer? This from In These Times associate editor Salim Muwakkil (September 1420): "Although it wasn't widely known, [Mayor Harold] Washington was consistently berated by some blacks for the good relations he maintained with the Jewish community and for his readiness to appoint Jews to key city posts. . . . In fact, one reason black aldermen joined with anti-Washington whites to prevent Evans from becoming acting mayor was to curb Jewish influence in city hall, one of those aldermen revealed to In These Times."

Free cough drops will be available to symphony goers this season, announces the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, in an effort to "enhance the concert-going experience." The freebies come in five flavors and (these people think of everything) silent wax wrappers. And you thought those coughs were part of the concertgoing experience.

The thermometer wasn't the only thing that had a record summer--the Museum of Science and Industry reports that it had nearly 50 percent more visitors this summer than in its previous record year (1987). Nearly two million people passed through its enormous front doors this June, July, and August.

"Build Illinois hasn't done much, if anything, that wouldn't have been done anyway--and done cheaper," writes Don Sevener of the Illinois Times (September 15-21). Governor-for-life James Thompson's well-publicized public-works program was in fact cobbled together from projects either already under way or long on the drawing boards--among them Thorndale Avenue construction in the suburbs, fire alarms at Chicago State University, and site surveys for the superconducting super collider. "All of these projects were planned long before Build Illinois became a slogan."

What's that cut-up Visa card doing in the AIDS quilt? It's there because Visa contributes to that alleged lair of homophobia, the U.S. Olympic Committee. "The U.S. Olympic Committee let groups hold the Senior Olympics, the Special Olympics, even the Rat Olympics and the Crab-Cooking Olympics, explains gay publisher Sasha Alyson of Boston, who mutilated his Visa card in protest and encourages others to do likewise. "But they sued a group calling itself the Gay Olympics. The bigotry is clear."

The Cook County Board eventually will be dissolved, board president George Dunne tells Tom Andreoli of Chicago Enterprise (September 1988). The municipalities and the state will take over its current responsibilities. According to Andreoli, "Cook County government is destined to be a white elephant, Dunne says, because county-controlled land is being annexed by suburban villages. The last 85 square miles of unincorporated county land should be gone by the mid-1990s, he says, and there just isn't a place for a king without a kingdom." No more droit du seigneur?

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Carl Kock.

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