Finish school–save a life. Suburban-based Pediatrics magazine (May) reports that a Tennessee study found that children five and younger are 19.4 times more likely to die in a fire if their mother has less than a high school education.

Not always avant-garde. Frank Lloyd Wright’s “omission of a spire from Unity Temple was also consistent with ideas current in Chicago’s architectural culture of the period [90-plus years ago],” writes Joseph Siry in Unity Temple: Frank Lloyd Wright and Architecture for Liberal Religion. “While tall spires had been almost synonymous with the church as architecture in the city from the 1850s to the 1870s, they became much less popular in local Protestant churches from the 1880s, for both stylistic and practical reasons. In 1890, when Wright was working for Adler and Sullivan, Sullivan believed that the spire in an urban church was an anachronistic motif, because it had lost its earlier function as a belfry and had thus become solely ornamental.”

How to reduce personal bankruptcies? Northwestern University economist Ian Domowitz says, “People should be educated on managing their personal finances in high school. Not everyone goes on to college, and there’s no guarantee that a college education will give you all the tools to manage your money. You can get a complete education in the economics department here at Northwestern and never learn to balance your checkbook” (Northwestern Perspective, Winter).

Sid Yates, we hardly knew ye. Illinois’ Ninth Congressional District has the second most expensive House seat so far in 1997-’98, according to a recent Center for Responsive Politics report. Newt Gingrich, who’s running unopposed, has spent almost $3.8 million. The four-way primary on the north side and North Shore cost $3.4 million.

Muzzle those defense lawyers! “Often clients are best served by low-profile defense” rather than publicity campaigns, says University of Chicago law professor David Strauss, defending judges who issue gag orders in high-profile criminal cases. Defense lawyers who try to defend their clients in the media put their colleagues in a tough spot, he notes: “As long as out-of-court advocacy is common, a lawyer who refuses to speak outside the courtroom will risk damaging his or her client’s interests by appearing not fully to believe in the client. If out-of-court statements are allowed, an attorney’s refusal to engage in an out-of-court public relations campaign may be taken to suggest a lack of enthusiasm for the client’s case,” even when it may be in the client’s best interest.

Hm, would you settle for the statue of a cop? In a widely circulated E-mail letter, a disgruntled R.M. Chandler-Burns writes that he watched a May Day parade in Monterrey, Mexico, that was lacking in spirit but did include signs remembering labor heros of the past, including, “Remember the Martyrs of Chicago of 1886!” He asks, “Is the Haymarket riot better known in Monterrey than in Detroit or Dearborn by the workers? If you lived in Chicago, could you take me to the statue of the martyrs?”

Citizen’s arrest. If you see a vehicle spewing sooty black diesel exhaust, you can now call 312-649-3355, a new hot line sponsored by the American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago, the Illinois chapter of the Sierra Club, and the Illinois Public Interest Research Group. A press release from the ALAMC asks that you give a location, company name if apparent, and registration or license number. The state set limits on diesel exhaust in 1992, but they have yet to be enforced; the public-health advocates hope to persuade the state to set up a testing program.

Let’s see, which shall I be tonight, Jekyll or Hyde? University of Illinois College of Law professor Eric Freyfogle writes in Dissent (Spring): “What we choose as consumers is often quite different from what we might choose as citizens and community members. As consumers, interacting with one another through the market, we will probably decide to carve a regional wilderness into individual parcels for cabins and home sites. If we instead came together as citizens, taking the time to consider the wilderness and how we might best use it, to reflect on the claims of future generations and other species, we might well decide to protect it as a nature preserve, using it for recreation but keeping roads few and cabins far away.”