The community-policing motel. Tom Dennehy writes about a recent CAPS meeting for police beats 1133 and 1134 in West Garfield Park (“Neighborhoods,” September): “Although officers were present from both beats, not all of them were awake.”

The new Dewey decimal system. “The Write News,” an on-line newsletter, announced in the July 17 issue that had launched five monthly newsletters: “the current…offerings are alchemy (mind/body/spirit), romantica (romance), virago (women’s studies), tractor beam (science fiction), and business class.” The August 28 issue announced a new Web site,, which it labeled a “new community and resource for booklovers” interested in the following genres: “mystery, romance, literary fiction, computer books, fantasy/sf, horror, cookbooks and nonfiction.”

A safe bet: more casinos equal more bankruptcies. That’s the word from a careful comparison of eight counties that have casinos and eight otherwise similar counties that don’t, published in the Journal of Socio-Economics (May). Five of the eight casino counties–including Illinois’ Peoria, Tazewell, and Madison counties–showed significant increases in bankruptcies per capita after the casino arrived. On a more ominous but less conclusive note, the authors–an economist and two professors of criminal justice–point out that the communities with the biggest increase in bankruptcies had hosted casino gambling the longest.

Fear and loathing in Chicago. “Perceptions of juvenile crime are based on feelings of anger and fear,” reports the Chicago Council on Urban Affairs on its survey of 1,500 adults (“One City,” Spring/Summer). “For instance, in a focus group conducted to prepare for this survey, participants argued that juvenile crime is increasing ‘in spite of what the statistics say.'”

It’s the poverty, stupid. According to Illinois State Board of Education figures presented at a September 7 meeting by R. Eden Martin of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, 68 percent of elementary students in high-poverty Chicago elementary schools failed to meet state reading standards, while 64 percent of those in high-poverty schools outside Chicago failed to do so.

“Even as scholars were writing books implicating Christianity in European imperialism, the number of believers began growing rapidly throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America,” according to an editorial in the International Bulletin of Missionary Research (April), quoted by Martin Marty in “Context” (September 15). “Perhaps if historians in the ’60s and ’70s had been studying Christianity as a people’s movement rather than a political one, they might have noticed that growth among the grass roots did not mirror the criticisms of intellectual elites.”

Take a number. According to the suburban Hammond, Indiana, Times (September 1), “Some environmentalists in the [Indiana Dunes] region, including Tom Anderson, executive director of the Save the Dunes Council, want park officials to limit the number of visitors in order to minimize negative impacts on the existing parks.”

Where the action isn’t. Chicago-based journalist David Moberg recently introduced readers of the liberal journal American Prospect (September 11) to the newfound activism of local “central labor councils.” In Cleveland, for instance, “the central labor council has brought together unions, politicians, clergy, and community groups to demonstrate at factory gates–and in the home neighborhoods of company executives–to publicize the abusive labor practices of a number of local employers.” The article also highlights demonstrations and political activities in Milwaukee, Atlanta, Moline, Las Vegas, Silicon Valley, Seattle, and Los Angeles. Chicago is not mentioned.

In 1986 the Pacific Garden Mission slept 125 people a night, according to the “Near West/South Gazette” (September 1). In 1999, as the Chicago Public Schools sought to muscle it out of the South Loop, it slept 1,000. Former board member David Saulnier says, “The homeless look for an area where there are people with money, people with extra clothing, and people with kind hearts. The mission can far better serve the homeless here than in the suburbs where there is no public transportation. It is here where we are so desperately needed.”