Local school councils are ethnically representative of the city, but not educationally representative, according to a survey of 1,900 LSC members at 325 schools by the Consortium on Chicago School Research. LSC members are 64 percent “minority,” as are 62 percent of city residents (and 89 percent of Chicago Public Schools students). Some 60 percent of LSC members have had at least some college, compared to only 40 percent of adults citywide (Catalyst, September).

Prairie fires are for the birds. That’s what it looks like to Illinois Natural History Survey ecologist Jeffrey Brawn, quoted in a September press release from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. For instance, rose-breasted grosbeaks nesting in burned-over oak savannas raise significantly more young than those in unburned areas. “Illinois has been a population sink for years,” says Brawn. “What we may be able to do for some species with these burnings is turn a population-sink situation into a population source and have these species become locally self-sustaining.”

Seventeen aldermen voted for a $20,000 aldermanic pay raise in 1996 and against the living wage ($7.60 an hour) for employees of city contractors in 1997, reports Illinois Politics (July/August). They are Burke, Huels, Hansen, Gabinski, Wojcik, Natarus, Rugai, Bernardini, Olivo, Suarez, Mell, Banks, Austin, Dixon, Giles, Burrell, and Beavers.

“Network television and daily newspapers have dramatically reduced their attention to informed discussion of public policy” in recent years, reports Joseph Bast of the Palatine-based Heartland Institute in the “Heartlander” (August). “Five years ago, it was not uncommon for three television crews and seven reporters to cover the release of a Heartland Policy Study. We appeared on the evening news and in the next morning’s newspapers. Today, we often don’t even hold news conferences because so few reporters show up. Newspapers today rely heavily on wire services and syndicated columnists for discussion of public policy issues. Television news is dominated by traffic accidents, violence, and entertainment.”

Do you really want to move there? In the September issue of the Chicago Reporter Danielle Gordon and Natalie Pardo find that “in the suburbs, whites committed about 58 percent of hate crimes, compared to less than 26 percent in Chicago. And whites in Chicago were victims in 22 percent of crimes in 1996, but accounted for only 8.4 percent in the suburbs. . . . Eighty percent of the suburbs with hate crimes had higher rates than Chicago.”

“Why are management expectations higher for the neighborhood fast-food joint than they are for the neighborhood food pantry?” asks Delena Wilkerson in “Flashpoint,” the fall 1997 course schedule of the Support Center of Chicago on North Lawndale. “There is a disturbing consensus in both the private and public sectors that charities and nonprofits are ‘expected’ to fail. . . . Too often, everyone wants to feel ‘warm and fuzzy’ about their volunteer work, and as a result, we have lengthy board meetings encompassing discussion on every aspect of an agency except financial matters.”

Surely somebody must be insulted by this. Former Reagan administration official Murray Weidenbaum has written a new report for the Center for the Study of American Business at Washington University in Saint Louis, “China: A New Force in the Global Marketplace.” Weidenbaum is quoted in a university press release saying that the Chinese are “the original Yankee traders.”

“Illinois is one of 10 states that do not charge entrance fees for access to state parks,” according to state comptroller Loleta Didrickson’s publication “Fiscal Focus” (August)–and it may stay that way for a while. For one thing, most state parks weren’t designed with restricted entrances that make it easy to charge entrance fees. For another, the state Historic Preservation Agency tried an experiment, charging admissions at three downstate historic sites, and found that the charges either significantly reduced attendance or were largely eaten up by the cost of collecting them.