Gee, if we can’t get the farmers to rotate their crops, maybe we can get them to rotate their chemicals. The Illinois Natural History Survey Reports (February 1991) notes that entomologists have long advised farmers that the best way to control corn rootworms is not to plant corn on the same land year after year, but instead to plant another crop such as soybeans) every other year or so. However, “several million acres of corn in Illinois are grown annually as continuous monocultures.” As a result corn rootworms show up for dinner, and the poisonous soil insecticides used against them become progressively less effective because soil microbes break them down faster each year. So if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. One survey research entomologist has spent five years confirming that “the rotation of [the pesticide] fonofos with either carbofuran or terbufos slowed the development of enhanced biodegradation and improved the control of corn rootworms.”

Wanted: one bilingual Korean environmentalist, to be on call at any hour of the day or night. From Natural Area Notes (Winter 1990): “In Sand Ridge Prairie, a 25-year-old, 70-acre nature preserve [near Calumet City], the illegal collecting of bracken/fern (Pteridium aquilinum) fiddleheads by Chicago-area Asians (especially Koreans) is a continuing problem facing steward John Purcell. John confiscated four bags this year of the young, unfolding leaflets, but neighbors told him that a lot of harvesting was going 7on at night by flashlight. When approached, the poachers often (pretend they?) speak no English.”

“One little boy couldn’t count to ten, but he could count in craps,” says Chicago dance teacher Sydni Knox, interviewed by Terry Brennan in Chicago Dance Coalition (Spring 1991). “So that’s the way he learned. I’d get down next to him on the floor. He’d roll a four and a three, and shout ‘Seven!’ I’d ask him how he knew it was seven, that seven was a four and a three, and we went from there. Starting to learn is the most difficult.” As is learning how to deal with peer pressure: “The boys get harassed by the other boys, if they know they are going to a dance class, or to anything like a class. You can’t use the word ‘class.'”

“Go out on any street corner where you see the brothers hanging out and drinking wine,” Vietnam veteran and Veteran’s Resource Center counselor Earnest Webb advises those looking for Chicago’s casualties of war. “Ask how many of them are Vietnam vets, and I bet you that most of them will put down their wine bottles and raise their hands” (Chicago Reporter, January 1991).

What you could have done on Valentine’s Day if you’d only known: attended the Chicago Botanic Garden’s evening lecture on flower reproduction, entitled “Sex and Violets.”

Where baseballs come from. Investing for a Better World (January 15) reports that Figgie International abruptly closed its Haiti subsidiary that had been manufacturing major-league baseballs for the past 20 years because of an “unstable” manufacturing environment: “It seems that workers had been complaining about the low pay of 13 cents per ball made, the fact that no pay was forthcoming if daily quotas weren’t met, and the 5:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. workdays. Two years ago, the workers staged a strike and 36 were fired. Rather than meet employees’ demands, Figgie moved this baseball unit to Costa Rica.” Holy cow.

Dept. of utter confusion, from Chicago Challenge: Workforce Development (February) “Based on estimates by the Chicago Literacy Coordinating Center, less than 10 percent of those who need services currently receive them. However, there is no set of standards to assess who needs services.”

Huh? Donald Boyd, campaign consultant for aldermanic primary candidate Doreathear Washington, on negative campaigning in the First Ward: “Chicago politics is renowned as a beast within itself. You don’t get this in school; you have to come to school” (Near West Gazette, February 7).

Whatever you say, Ross. “My biggest problem [during 71 days in Saudi Arabia] was keeping sand out of my tape recorders,” Westwood One radio correspondent Ross Simpson tells the house organ Station Breaks (February/March 1991). “An Army soldier advised me to put them in pantyhose as he was doing with his electronics equipment. So, my expense account reflects six pairs of sheer, black pantyhose!”

Four aldermen failed to vote on more than 50 of the 180 contested City Council roll calls between April 1989 and November 1990, according to the Citizens Information Service: Victor Vrdolyak (10th), William Henry (24th), Theris Gabinski (32nd), and Sheneather Butler (27th). Gabinski was reelected with 79 percent of the primary vote, and Vrdolyak retired. Henry and Butler are in trouble: both finished second in their wards, with well under 40 percent of the vote.

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