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In good company. Dawn Clark Netsch in Chicago Life (September-October) on the Northwestern law school 1952 class picture: "There are only two faces that stand out. Mine and Harold Washington. He was the only black and I was the only woman graduating that June."

"One year, maybe two weeks before commencement, all the measurements for the caps and gowns were thrown out," UIC garbage-truck driver Rick Towner tells Elaine Belsito in UIC News (August 24). "We'd picked up and were on our way to the landfill. They were trying to get hold of us, but the radio was out of range. We were actually at the dumpsite; they come flying up and say, 'Don't dump that truck!!!' We turned around and came all the way back, went to the engineering building and dumped it inside the dock. Some guy from Admissions and Records jumped in with his suit on. He said, 'I can buy another suit, but I can't get another job that easy.'"

Getting acquainted. Cook County Commissioner Danny Davis on the Nature Conservancy's Mighty Acorns program, which brings urban third- through seventh-graders to the Cook County forest preserves: "We need this program to introduce our children to the rest of the universe" (Natural Area Notes, Fall).

"'Current environmental regulations have created an atmosphere of fear among lenders,'" keeping them away from redevelopment-hungry city locations, according to Jim van der Kloot of the city's Department of the Environment, quoted by Casey Burko in Chicago Enterprise (September/October). "Under the federal Superfund program, for example, which is aimed at cleaning up toxic waste dumps, anyone linked with contaminated property can be held liable for cleanup--including property buyers who had nothing to do with the contamination or banks that find themselves owning contaminated property when a company goes bankrupt. 'This scares the wits out of lenders,' according to van der Kloot."

"What moved [during the World Cup series] were items related to Americana," says Greater North Michigan Avenue Association head Russell Salzman in Illinois Issues (September). "Nike shoes, blue jeans, T-shirts. The out-of-town guests were on a tourist vacation rather than a Chicago shopping spree. We were pleased with the crowds, but you weren't talking about the kind of shopping traffic you get during the radiologists' convention."

The perfect Daley alderman, based on 50 key votes over the past five years, tabulated by David Fremon in Illinois Politics (August): the First Ward's Fred Roti and Ted Mazola, and the 32nd Ward's (and Dan Rostenkowski's) Terry Gabinski. Most anti-Daley: Dorothy Tillman of the Third Ward (she voted with the mayor only 8 percent of the time) and Helen Shiller of the 46th Ward (9 percent).

Health care that's always there--with patients in charge for a change? That's the radical idea of U. of I. economist Earl Grinols. He'd have the government sell health-care vouchers (to be exchanged for insurance or medical care) on a sliding price scale according to household income and medical need--making care available to all, while still encouraging individual consumers to get the most for their vouchers from insurers, hospitals, and doctors. "What's wrong with the health-care market today is that the market doesn't work," he says. Yet he acknowledges that so far his plan is a political orphan. "There is no market. Consumer choice has been locked out of the process that determines health-care prices."

An organic-farming love story, from John Peterson of rural Boone County, in Angelic Organics Farm News (August 17): "Crops grown organically on biologically depleted, minerally deficient soil are honest. They are not overshadowed by fertilizers and insecticides and fungicides that pump conventional crops into an echo of the ideal. This is a first step--the confessional stage. The crops are saying, 'Here we are without our makeup. We've also given up steroids, caffeine and nicotine. Do you still love us?' Consumers usually run."

Parents: Light up or split up if you must, but if you do pay attention! From a recent issue of Pediatrics: "Children who reported that parents spent more time with them and communicated with them more frequently had lower onset rates of using alcohol and tobacco....Living with both parents and parental substance use do not fit into the model; this is consistent with other studies in which the quality of the overall environment and parental attitudes were more important than the number of parents."

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


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November 18
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