Ssshh! Over there! I’ve almost got it cornered! Prospectus for an August poetry workshop in north-suburban Winnetka: “This workshop will focus on close scrutiny as a means to pursue a poem in hiding and coax it onto the page.”

“If we would begin to make a few changes, it would be so much easier to be publicly Catholic,” DePaul’s Robert Ludwig tells U.S. Catholic (July). “It would be very different if the church would say that we’re going to ordain women and married people, because it would provide so much more credibility, vitality, and hope for Catholics….Our internal debate on matters of discipline and church structures is distracting us from what is at the core of Catholicism.”

“What has been good about probation?” says Robert Gutter, principal of Wright Elementary School in Humboldt Park (Catalyst, June). “I don’t have to twist my staff’s arms, and I can demand more from them. We know we are all being held accountable.”

Things you never would have believed ten years ago. “Schaumburg’s Town Square is quickly taking shape,” writes Charles Lockwood in Planning (June). “A new 55-foot clock tower, the traditional icon of town squares, is already in place. Dominick’s is open. The shops on the south side of the square are mostly built. And the library, now under construction, is expected to attract one million patrons a year. ‘Town Square will give people a place to gather, give us a place to bump into each other, give us a place to share,’ says Mayor Larson.”

Predictions to file. “Success of the campaign against tobacco would mean open season on the manufacturers of everything from bicycles and swimming pools to paint and pesticides,” argued Joseph Bast in “Heartlander” (June), the monthly newsletter of the libertarian Palatine-based Heartland Institute, just before the proposed settlement between state attorneys general and the industry was announced. “All of these things pose small risks to users who are not careful, in return for large social benefits. Each is more or less legally protected now thanks to the presumption of self-responsibility.”

First-generation college students “need more support than other students,” according to Ernest Pascarella, education professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Among other things, they tend to have kids and jobs, take fewer credit hours, study less, and get less encouragement from friends and family. “The only consistent advantage [they] possess is being certain about what academic field they’re going to major in.”

“When other tragedies occur, after the dead are buried and the site cleaned up, they are usually over,” writes David Kraft of the Evanston-based Nuclear Energy Information Service in a recent press release. “In grim contrast the Chernobyl accident continues to this day, in the ongoing devastation to the health, economy, and genes of millions of people living in Belarus and Ukraine.”

U.S. 1995 recycling rate according to EPA: 27 percent. In 1990: 17. Most recycled items? Lead-acid batteries (70 percent) and office paper (44 percent). Most surprising? “The per capita waste generation rate decreased from 4.4 lbs. per person to 4.3 lbs. per person per day.”

“Just putting a fence around an area, whether it is a national park or a forest preserve, and expecting it to remain the same is simply naive,” Field Museum vice president Peter Crane told a museum symposium on April 12. “In the highly altered habitats that we are almost always dealing with, this simply does not work. Controlling invaders, restoring ecosystems, or managing habitats cannot be passive. It requires effort, ongoing work, and some tough choices about whether to cull animals, undertake tree girdling, apply herbicides or poison, and carry out prescribed burns….To conserve what little is left of our natural heritage, we must recognize that we no longer have self-sustaining ecosystems. These natural communities now require careful, well-planned, and well-documented ecological management. Unless we intervene and bring back ecological processes that are critical to this region, there will be no local oak forests, no carpets of native spring flowers, no specialized butterflies and woodland birds.”