The undead at Zion. Commonwealth Edison cut costs by closing its Zion nuclear plant. In a recent press release, David Kraft of the Evanston-based Nuclear Energy Information Service asks the follow-up: “If ComEd couldn’t invest enough money and resources to keep the plant open and safe, what is their incentive to invest the resources necessary to keep the plant closed and safe, when they will not be receiving any revenues from generating electricity at Zion?”

“In my very long term River vision, formal education programs [about the Chicago River’s role in our lives] don’t exist,” writes Friends of the Chicago River executive director Laurene von Klan in the “River Reporter” (Winter). “They will be replaced by an understanding of people’s relationship with the River that is woven into our culture. There will be annual River celebrations with canoe parades and fishing contests. Every home will have a sink stopper that says, ‘The River starts here.'”

A hole you could drive a new BMW through. Burney Simpson in the Chicago Reporter (November): “Municipal bonds, the engine that fuels the city’s massive efforts to repair, rebuild and grow”–and that are distributed by no-bid contracts that keep the most lucrative deals in white hands–“are untouched by Mayor Richard M. Daley’s proposals to end clout and political favoritism in city contracts.”

Breathe deep(er). “The 1996 air quality levels are the best on record for all six criteria pollutants”–carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide–reports the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in its 24th annual report on air pollution trends. “In fact, all the years in the 1990s have had better air quality than all the years in the 1980s.”

Just what Chicago needs. According to a recent press release, the University of Illinois at Chicago has received a $2.6 million grant to develop a police exchange program with Poland and Russia.

Conservatives against the Promise Keepers? That’s what omnivorous reader Martin Marty (Context, January 15) found in an article by Florence King in the November 10 National Review: “When will we learn that religion does not a conservative make, nor atheism a liberal? Like all people driven by emotion, PK could be swung like a lariat; the Right is in trouble if we think that 700,000 weeping men is good news in an era that is already close to rule by hysteria.”

“In 1995, multimillionaire households made up 2% of Chicago area households,” according to Pierre deVise’s recent analysis of 1995 census data. “They share the area’s total household wealth 50/50 with the remaining 98% of households.” Hey, fair is fair.

Another reason to keep it short: February is Canned Food Month.

No endowed professorship of environmental management? Or corporate ethics? According to Fortune (February 2), Dean and Rosemarie Buntrock of suburban Hinsdale are the 19th-most generous U.S. philanthropists of 1997 (Ted Turner ranked first and Bill Gates fourth). The founder of Waste Management gave a $26 million “bricks and mortar” gift to Saint Olaf, a small Minnesota Lutheran college.

“On December 9, Chicago’s cab drivers, not a very well-organized group since ‘deregulation,’ shut down the city’s cab service for one day,” reflects an anonymous article in Substance (January). “Like teachers, cabbies are being ordered by Chicago’s Yup Leaders to risk their lives. Like teachers, the cabbies were facing ‘reconstitution’ (in the case of $750 fines) if they didn’t comply meekly. Although the Mayor and his team of City Hall spin doctors tried to claim the one-day strike was ‘racist,’ most of the cabbies who stayed home during Christmas shopping season were black or members of other minority groups. Like the Chicago Teachers Union, the majority of people who work the streets driving cabs are not white. Better than anyone else, they know how bad things have gotten across most of the city, especially in those neighborhoods where crack and gangs have been allowed to take over while the police are constantly pressured to provide good PR to City Hall.”

Please don’t draw any conclusions. From a recent announcement of the seventh annual meeting of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics: “The Annual Meeting is a chance to meet practitioners, professionals, and scholars who share your concerns in ethics. The Ethics in the Accounting Professions mini-conference has been cancelled.”

You have been warned. “Employers with union contracts should seize the moment,” urges management-side labor lawyer Richard Wessels in his firm’s “Client Alert” newsletter (February). “Labor organizations are at their weakest point in memory. The Teamsters are riddled with politics, near bankruptcy and approaching collapse. Impending mergers are signs of weakness, not strength. If you have been considering aggressive strategies, get on with it!”