The chemicals are still winning. Number of commercial growers of organic fruits and vegetables in Illinois: 113. Number of commercial growers who use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides: 16,783 (Illinois Research, Fall/Winter 1990).

This week only! Special on Tribune-fed beef! The Animals’ Agenda (June) reports that “the University of Illinois is researching ways to make cattle eat old newsprint, which they believe could make up 30-40% of a cow’s diet. To become digestible, the newsprint has to be pretreated with hydrochloric acid and hydrogen peroxide,” but it would sure make a new market for recycled newspapers.

Oh, I think they did better than that. From the Chicago Park District: “Harrison Park won three firsts and meddled in two other events recently…”

“Segregation of kids with disabilities in Chicago is extreme,” says Tom Hehir, associate superintendent of special education for the Chicago Public Schools, interviewed in Independent Life (Spring), the newsletter of Access Living on South Peoria. “At minimum, every school should have the capacity of serving kids with mild to moderate disabilities. We bus kids all over town to get rather ordinary special education services. Kids are not being educated with their natural support groups. They’re not in school with their brothers and sisters, the other kids in their neighborhood. Having the experience of teaching in a regular high school with kids with all types of disabilities coming out of segregated settings, I saw kids grow who would have been kept in a state of dependency had they been segregated.”

Equal wrongs. From the Illinois Secretary of State’s 1990 DUI Fact Book: “Women now comprise 20 percent of those arrested for DUI, up from 12 percent in 1986.”

Zoned out. Coralee Smith Kern, founder and director of the Chicago-based International Association for Home Business, tells Today’s Chicago Woman (May), “Chicago’s 1957 zoning ordinance is the strictest in the country and stipulates that if you use electricity at home to generate income, you’re breaking the law. That means anyone who uses a home computer for work purposes is in violation and could be fined and/or jailed. It’s ridiculous and totally out of date. That’s the bad news. The good news is that no one pays any attention to it and it’s only erratically enforced. Mayor Sawyer even declared ‘Work At Home Day.’ Still, anyone who’s reported does have an inspector come out and visit, and in some instances, cease and desist orders are issued.”

“Throwing out affirmative action will not bring competence back into the workplace,” writes Chicago attorney Marian Henriquez Neudel. “It will only change the gender and color of the incompetence….In an economy which has never even aspired to full employment, most available jobs have several well-qualified candidates on hand….The same goes for admissions to prestigious schools and universities. One of the main events of my freshman orientation week at an Ivy League college was a talk by the Dean of Admissions, who stated that the college could have filled the entire freshman class with perfectly qualified students by selecting only blue-eyed people whose last names began with ‘S’, or would-be chemistry majors, or people born in a single county in upstate New York. Affirmative action, then, is not a matter of substituting for a pure meritocracy….[but] a substitution of one set of arbitrary choices for another.”

The most common con reported to the Cook County state’s attorney’s consumer fraud unit: home-repair fraud.

Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Urdu, and Vietnamese are the Asian languages in which the Chicago Public Library and its branches have significant resources. By this standard, the most cosmopolitan branches are Sulzer Regional (on North Lincoln) and Albany Park (North Kimball); the biggest collection is at the Chinatown branch (South Wentworth), which according to CPL’s Committee on Asian Materials and Services has “the largest circulating Chinese language collection in the Midwest.”

“The public parks established in Chicago in the 1860s were unlike earlier formal gardens in several respects: the parks were for public use; they were designed to imitate the natural landscape; and the designers endeavored to create an idealized version of nature,” writes Deborah Slaton in Inland Architect (May/June), reviewing the underpublicized “Prairie in the City” exhibit at the Chicago Historical Society. “The budding American tradition of naturalism created a palette for the landscape designer’s art; the new public parks in Chicago provided a vast canvas upon which the landscape architect could explore this new medium.”

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