Words you will not hear uttered by any candidate for governor during the next seven months. Illinois Department of Corrections Director Kenneth McGinnis on the already grossly overcrowded state prisons (25,865 adults in space for 18,734 as of March 30, with a net increase of almost 100 a week): “Obviously, there are not enough construction dollars available to build our way out of the predicament . . . ”
In need of a housekeeper. The International Collection of Soybean Arthropods, housed at the state Natural History Survey offices in Champaign, “contains more than 150,000 identified and approximately 50,000 unsorted and unidentified specimens” (INHS Reports, December-January).
“As is obvious to anyone who looks below the surface, there is a direct correlation between the loss of industrial jobs in communities like South Chicago, Englewood, and Garfield Park and the growth of poverty,” writes Dan Swinney, executive director of the Midwest Center for Labor Research on West Diversey, in a recent fund-raising letter. “In those communities, there was a 35% to 50% loss of manufacturing jobs between 1979 and 1986 and a dramatic increase in applications for public aid.” MCLR has set up a for-profit subsidiary, Chicago Focus, to help keep firms in business here; it has a special commitment to working with employees and with women, African American, and Latino entrepreneurs.
Ahoy, Captain! Sixteen oak trees sighted, 15 miles northeast of Calumet Harbor! Discovered on the bottom by salvage operator Alan Olson and his associates last summer, the prehistoric grove apparently was killed and submerged by a rising lake between 8,020 and 8,480 years ago. The find will give geologists new data on the ancient history of Lake Michigan water levels (The Helm, Winter 1990).
U.S. representatives Charles Hayes and Cardiss Collins are the only Illinois representatives to cosponsor the Peace Tax Fund bill, which would allow taxpayers conscientiously opposed to war to direct the share of their tax dollars applied to current military expenditures (35.8 percent) to constructive uses.
When is an earthquake most dangerous in southern Illinois? Probably on Friday nights between November and March. The governor’s Earthquake Preparedness Task Force quotes Richard Trowbridge, Emergency Services and Disaster Agency coordinator for southeastern Illinois’ Lawrence County: “Both high schools in the county are multistory, masonry construction. The potential for injury resulting from a major earthquake during a basketball game at either of these facilities is immense. We could not adequately handle this situation.”
Cough! According to a survey of nearly 400 Illinois firms by the Management Association of Illinois, only 7.7 percent do not allow smoking anywhere, though more than half restrict smoking.
Saving the Loop from itself. “How might the symbolic integrity of the Loop be preserved?” asks Philip Bess in Inland Architect (March/ April 1990). “One scenario might be to permit virtual laissez-faire downtown commercial development, but restrict it to the area bordered by Congress Parkway to the south, the Chicago River to the west and north, and the eastern half of Wabash to the east (thereby saving the Michigan Avenue/Grant Park ‘wall’). Within this area, let the city allocate open space, perhaps retain its existing government buildings, and provide bonus provisions…to subsidize a mix of street-front retail activities. These constraints excepted, kiss institutional presence and historic preservation goodbye, and just let the Loop be the Loop–parking garages on top of churches and all. In conjunction with this, however, dramatically down-zone everything south of Congress, west and north of the Chicago River, and east of Michigan Avenue, thereby relieving both the Loop and the rest of the city of the problems attendant to unregulated high-rise development.”
One sheet every four seconds. If you’ve put anything on paper lately that you’re extremely ashamed of, you can buy a “personal paper shredder” from Hammacher Schlemmer for only $229.50.
Still more unaffirmative action. Women as a percentage of the total workforce: 47. Women as a percentage of Standard & Poor’s 500 companies’ board members: 6. Women as a percentage of S & P 500 companies’ executive officers: 3 (Investing for a Better World, February 15).
“A powerful class of itinerant professional vandals is now pillaging the country and laying it waste,” writes Wendell Berry in Utne Reader (May/June 1990), reprinted from his book Home Economics. “Their vandalism is not called by that name because of its enormous profitability (to some) and the grandeur of its scale. If one wrecks a private home, that is vandalism, but if, to build a nuclear power plant, one destroys good farmland, disrupts a local community, and jeopardizes lives, homes, and properties within an area of several thousand square miles, that is industrial progress.”
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Carl Kock.