Charcoal cops. The Chicago Park District has hired 30 park rangers whose bicycle-patrol duties include explaining to picnickers not to barbecue under trees and not to dump hot coals next to them.

Proof that the state budget shortage is a hoax. In May the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation fined three Chicago barbers a total of $700 and placed their licenses “on probation” for “permitting employees to practice prior to licensure.”

MCMC Wants You! Now that peace seems to have broken out, the 16-year-old Midwest Committee for Military Counseling (939-3349) is seeking money from supporters of its peace-and-justice-oriented counseling program for those considering enlistment, those in the service, and veterans. According to a recent appeal,

“The Peace Development Fund, RESIST, and various congregations help, but YOU are the backbone of our support. The Crossroads Fund, the Illinois Lawyers Trust Fund, Ben & Jerry’s, both MacArthurs have all decided that they couldn’t afford to help. Can You? Without you, we’ll have to close up.”

“Many people challenge the idea of single-sex education because ‘socially’ it is an unnatural setting,” writes Jennifer Kimbrough in Communique, the newsletter of Good Counsel High School. “‘Women must learn to cope and work with men for the rest of their lives–why separate them at such a crucial time in their lives?’ This is just the point! Women will have and do have the opportunity to socialize with the opposite sex for the rest of their lives. Men are everywhere you go!”

Were you a first-grader or third-grader in Oak Park public schools or Chicago’s Saint Pius or Notre Dame parochial schools in 1976-77? If so, UIC psychologist L. Rowell Huesmann will pay $50 for the privilege of talking to you. He’s trying to follow up on a 15-year-old study to find out how children’s TV viewing affects “the kind of people they become as adults.” So be prepared to fake it.

“Sometimes a soda fountain can be an equalizer,” writes Jerry DeMuth in the Chicago Industrial Bulletin (July/August), “a joyous hands-on experience for even the wealthy who normally hire someone else to Éwork for them. When [American Soda Fountain president Robert] Schy installed a soda fountain in the home of the president of Beam Distillery, the official stayed home that day to watch the installation. ‘He even held my tools for me,’ Schy remembers with a smile.” American Soda Fountain now installs more fountains in homes than in stores.

You don’t want to move to the suburbs–they’re too dangerous. According to a Metro Chicago Information Center poll, 10 percent of north-side residents doubt that the park closest to their home is safe during the day; 15 percent of those surveyed in far-west suburban Kane County said the same.

“As I study the problem more and more, I think the placenta does a better job of protecting the child than we do as a society.” So says Dr. Ira Chasnoff, quoted in Reason (August/September) on crack babies: “Their average developmental functioning level is normal. They are no different from other children growing up. They are not the retarded imbeciles people talk about.”

“The Loop’s pre-1920s buildings are themselves solutions to problems that no longer exist,” writes James Krohe Jr. in Inland Architect (July/August). “In a Loop office market that automatically dismisses space in any building more than 10 years old as Class ‘B,’ most of the Loop’s century-old buildings are as much an artifact of a vanished age as are the tunnels. Vintage Loop buildings face a more devastating flood these days: the flood of office space resulting from the building binge of the 1980s. The one advantage they enjoyed, their lower rental rates…lessens as Class ‘A’ buildings sweeten lease deals to fill their floors.”

“In 1990 there were [at least] 1,608,000 artists in the United States,” writes Montana painter Karen Kitchel in the New Art Examiner (June/Summer). “In spite of the persistent fiction that the ‘boonies’ are somehow barren of ‘serious’ artists, such artists are living all over the place. Whether native ‘provincials’ or escaped New Yorkers, we can name many nationally known artists who choose to make their lives outside New York. If you can’t come up with a list on your own, you need to get out more.”

Why University of Chicago biochemist John Westley likes teaching biology to nonscience majors: “The students areÉnot afraid to ask really fundamental questions. Science students are afraid to ask those questions because they think they are supposed to know the answers already” (U. of C. Chronicle, May 28).

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