Who was the runner-up? Friends of Downtown recently gave awards in eight categories for outstanding achievements, including “Best Continued Scent” given to the Blommer Chocolate Company for “their magnificent contribution to the sensory experience of downtown.”

“Too much of the nation’s scientific agenda is set by movie stars and rock-and-roll musicians,” complains Alan Schriesheim, director of Argonne National Laboratory (Roads & Bridges, September), citing the public-service ads that denounce Styrofoam on environmental grounds: “A study in Science magazine compared Styrofoam cups with paper cups. Compared to manufacturing a Styrofoam cup, making a paper cup consumes 28% more nonrenewable petroleum, 12 times as much steam, 36 times as much chemical input, and twice as much cooling water. In addition, making the paper cup produces three times as much air pollution, at least 10 times as much water. pollution and 580 times as much waste water. What’s more, Styrofoam cups are completely recyclable, while paper cups are not. And finally, paper cups cost three times as much. This example points out the complexities behind technological decisions.”

Will 1 percent of my purchases go toward paying free-lance writers’ bills? The Chicago-based socialist biweekly In These Times is now (March 22) advertising an “In These Times MasterCard” (issued by MBNA America; 17.9 percent annual interest). No word yet on how Working Assets’ Visa market share will be affected.

“The mayor’s record on the fairness issue is decidedly mixed,” says IIT political scientist William Grimshaw, contributor to a new edition of the book Chicago’s Future. “He retained Black commissioners in several agencies critical to Black interests and he brought in Blacks from outside Chicago to head the Park District and the Economic Development Commission.” On the other hand, according to Grimshaw, Daley reduced the percentage of black people in top policy positions by 25 percent, while increasing the white share by 21 percent.

Why Illnois may lose its (“free”) lunch. A U.S. Department of Education study has found that Illinois ranks 48th out of 50 states in per capita education spending compared to per capita income. Michael Selinker and Debra Shore explain in Catalyst (February) what this could mean for Chapter 1 funding for students in poverty: “States with few resources that spend a great deal on education have higher fiscal efforts than resource-rich states that don’t spend much on education. The latter description fits Illinois. If half of federal Chapter 1 funds were tied to this ratio [as has been proposed], Illinois would lose $23 million a year, a drop of close to 13 percent, according to [consultant] calculations using 1988-89 data.” And the state public-school honchos are saying, well, you asked for it. Deputy state education superintendent Al Ramirez: “I think the current situation in Illinois is so immoral and so unfair that this might shame us into doing something about it.”

I have seen the future and it’s around 5200 north. Sociologist Phil Nyden in Loyola Magazine (Fall): “The Edgewater and Uptown of the 1990s may well be our clear window on urban communities of the 21st century. Wherever American urban communities are headed, Edgewater and Uptown will get there first.”

Dept. of inadequate consolation. “In 1981, when Natalie Murawski walked into her first course in Moraine Valley [Community College]’s Electronics Program, she was admittedly intimidated by the fact that she was the class’s lone female,” reports the MVCC publication Applause! Applause! “Bob Lewis, who taught the course, attempted to console her by noting that he, too, was in the minority as the only teacher in the class. This, said Natalie, did not reassure her.”

1991 income of Second Harvest, the national food-bank network on South Michigan: $506 million. Percentage of that amount devoted to program spending, according to Money (December): 99.9 (Second Harvest Update, Winter).

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Carl Kock.