“The City’s record on energy conservation is open to question,” writes Mary O’Connell in The Neighborhood Works (June/July 1990). “The Harold Washington Library, for example, is being built all-electric–despite the fact that electrically heated buildings are much less efficient and more expensive to operate.”

Yes, but only at a distance. From a recent survey: “Fifty-three percent of men and women in the Loop see a dentist regularly…”

When the Titanic goes down, make sure I’m in the luxury lifeboat. From our a-great-city-deserves-a-great-yuppie-newspaper file: “Scientists warn that if we continue to cut and burn vast stretches of forestland and consume fossil fuels at our current rate, a so-called ‘greenhouse effect’ will ensue. This could increase the average temperature of the planet by several degrees thereby wreaking havoc with the balance of nature….Though it is less impact-laden than contemplating the world’s coastal cities underwater, it might be interesting to ponder how such a warming would affect your favorite wine” (Chicago Tribune, July 12).

“It is…ironic that the attack upon government funding for the arts is aimed at the work of an artist who was quite successful in the marketplace,” writes Richard Bolton in the New Art Examiner (June 1990). “By the logic of conservatives, Mapplethorpe’s art market success makes him a great popular artist, one that reflects the will of the people, who are said to vote with their wallets.”

The North Shore ain’t what it used to be, according to Northeastern Illinois University geologist Charles Shabica, who probed 70 offshore locations from Evanston up to Fort Sheridan last summer. The Helm (Spring/Summer 1990) reports, “The natural beaches and nearshore sand bars are becoming less effective at protecting the shoreline, highways, homes, and businesses against violent lake storms….Beaches which were once 5 to 10 feet thick in the ’70s now are only 1 to 3 feet thin. Sand bars which extend about 1,500 feet offshore are also thinner. In many areas, powerful storm waves have completely washed away the sand to expose underlying glacial clay.” The reason: the “shore protection” that prevents North Shore bluffs from eroding cuts off the source of replenishment for the beaches and bars.

Berlin is not the only city to lose a wall. Kale Williams writes in the newsletter of Chicago’s Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities: “Between 1978 and 1989, the number of Suburban school districts with 1% or more black students went from 89 to 151.”

Except for salt water. From our press-release file: “The Spirit of Chicago packs all the excitement of an ocean-going deep sea cruise into a 2-3 hour experience on Lake Michigan.”

He held the nails with his teeth and the boards with his feet. “I wanted a boat to take my family on vacation and the only way I could afford one was to build it.” So says professional boatbuilder Michael J. Kiefer, who will offer a seminar in his craft at the Chicago Maritime Museum next winter. “I literally had a boatbuilding book in my left hand and a hammer in my right while wondering where to start and how to proceed” (Chicago Maritime Society President’s Report, Spring 1990).

The sunny sides of the street. Most of the 21 Illinois cities visited by state Natural History Survey tree pathologists last summer had fewer than one-half of a municipal tree per resident, according to the Society for the Illinois Scientific Surveys. And 20 percent of them (the trees, that is) were in poor condition.

What “electronic democracy” is really like. “The constituency for the flag amendment by and large does not read newspapers, in fact does not deal comfortably with the system of fact, logic, and argument that the printed word has made possible,” writes James Krohe Jr. in Illinois Times (June 28-July 4). “The informed know that most of the very few flags that have been burned were burned for the benefit of TV, and most of them were burned to protest flag-burning statutes rather than any U.S. government action–incidents, in short, that hardly constitute an incendiary movement. To the millions of adults who know of the world only what they see on TV, however, the nation is in the grip of an epidemic of symbolic arson. In the disconnected world of the TV newscast, a flag-burning looms as vividly as an earthquake or an assassination; a hundred showings of a stock tape of a flag being burned are remembered as a hundred flags being burned.”

Next: the video screen will sprinkle Chicago River water on you. One downtown health club now offers a new kind of rowing machine: “dramatic on-screen [race] graphics put you in competition to provide a rowing experience that’s more realistic than ever before!”

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