Facts we could have gotten through the day without: According to Gillette, the “average North Atlantic male”–whatever that is–“generates an average of 27.5 feet of facial hair in his lifetime.”

“If they want to call it bribery, that’s fine with me. It’s bribery, but it’s open bribery…. It’s just something you can’t turn down.” So says Martinsville mayor Truman Dean of the $800,000 “no-strings” state grant his downstate town got to keep up its interest in hosting a “low-level” radioactive waste dump. Reports Bill Kemp in Illinois Times (February 1-7), “State money paid for new sidewalks, a new police patrol car, new doors on the township firehouse, a new roof on the aging high school, and funding for a night police patrolman. The [state] Department of Nuclear Safety also paid for college scholarships for high school graduates and got the Martinsville school district out of debt.”

The CTA’s busiest station, according to agency figures, is 95th and State, with a “monthly circulation” of 1,192,200. Runners-up are Washington/State subway (936,000), Washington/Dearborn subway (849,800), Chicago and State (616,800), Jackson/State subway (587,200), State and Lake (534,800), Adams and Wabash (527,700), Howard (503,600), and Jefferson Park (501,000). The quietest? Paulina, on the Ravenswood line, with just 24,200 customers a month.

Down-home Bible study, from U.S. Catholic’s Kenneth Guentert (March 1990): “If I were going to have a beer with one of the prophets, I’d pick Amos.”

Dept. of soreheads. From a survey recently conducted by the Forest Preserve District of Will County: “Three percent of respondents indicated they would like less picnicking or ski trails, and six percent wanted to see a reduction in camping or canoeing opportunities.”

“The county board president’s race hasn’t caught on,” says Gerald Strom, UIC political scientist, describing a random telephone survey of 447 adult Chicagoans done February 1 to 4. One-third of those polled weren’t sure they would vote, and another third weren’t sure for whom they would vote. Says Strom, “I haven’t seen a poll like this in years.” But 65 percent did agree that Cook County Hospital should provide abortions.

Hey, was that a great decade or what? Pat Quinn reminds us that Commonwealth Edison chairman James O’Connor’s salary rose from $207,089 in 1980 to $491,767 in 1988.

“There are probably no more people using drugs in this neighborhood than there are among those working in the Sears Tower,” Harrison Police District commander Charles Ramsey tells the Chicago Reporter (February 1990). “The difference is here they have no money. So they find someone to rob.”

Big-time radio. From the Chicago Headline Club News (February 1990): “Headline Club secretary Steve Rynkiewicz of the Sun-Times and SPJ [Society of Professional Journalists] national president Carolyn Carlson talked about conflicts of interest Jan. 16 on a WBEZ-FM program moderated by Carolyn Grisko. The program was extended a half-hour when the next guests failed to show up.”

“For over a century, the Chicago area has been the center of America’s confectionery industry,” writes Tom Andreoli in Chicago Enterprise (February 1990). “Even today, the region accounts for nearly one in 10 candy-making jobs nationwide. And while the local sector has shown a substantial [30 percent] loss in employment over the past decade, the pace here has not been as dramatic as elsewhere in the country.” The relatively low skill requirements and relatively high pay (Chicago average: $10/hour) make these jobs the city would like to keep.

“The homeowner deduction is a government subsidy that goes primarily to the affluent,” report Peter Dreier and John Atlas in the Washington Monthly (February 1990). “Over 78 percent of the foregone tax revenue goes to the 15.1 percent of taxpayers who earn over $50,000…. For example, Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller of West Virginia will receive a tax subsidy worth about $233,000 per year just on his $15.3 million Washington mansion. This amount would provide rent subsidies for about 5,000 low-income tenants–roughly the size of the homeless population in the nation’s capital.”

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