Higher education. The University of Illinois’ annual Insect Fear Film Festival in Urbana recently featured the 1957 release The Deadly Mantis, in which, according to U. of I. publicity, “a giant praying mantis becomes a preying mantis, eating much of the U.S. Eastern Seaboard and climbing the Washington Monument before getting caught in the Lincoln Tunnel between New York and New Jersey.”

“Three or four times around the block is the average” for finding a parking space in downtown…Naperville, according to the Du Page County weekly City Star (February 9). How soon will Chicago be able to advertise relief from suburban gridlock?

On what TV news program were 89 percent of the guests men, 92 percent of the guests white, only 5 percent representatives of public-interest groups, and less than 2 percent labor, racial, or ethnic leaders? Why, it’s Ted Koppel’s Nightline between January 1, 1985, and April 30, 1988, according to a recent study by FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting), quoted in the Chicago-based weekly In These Times (February 15-21): “The views of one class, race, and gender dominate Nightline…. By its limited range of guests and topics, Nightline conveys a distorted vision of the domestic political scene, portraying it as free of major conflict and devoid of challenging views.”

Diplomas in five minutes, or we pay! The Progressive (March 1989) reports that $250,000 from Taco Bell has induced the University of Washington at Pulliam to establish “a distinguished professorship of fast-food service.”

Matched teams of black, Latino, and white executives posed as apartment seekers at 25 rental offices in Chicago and suburbs last year, according to the latest newsletter of the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities. Six offices appeared to discriminate against minority applicants. The council has filed federal lawsuits against two, Royalty Management at 7712 W. Belmont and the Doral Plaza, 151 N. Michigan. Two rental agencies, refreshingly, offered equal treatment to all: River City (800 S. Wells) and 1350 N. Lake Shore Drive, a high rise managed by Draper and Kramer.

The simple life. “Nancy Jennings grew up in Phoenix and has fond memories of her carefree young life,” writes Dee Dunheim in Today’s Chicago Woman (February 1989). “‘I was a pom-pom girl, with Capezio shoes, Lanz dresses and a blond ponytail,’ she laughs. ‘Life was so simple then.'”

“Illinois’ air is being used as a giant dumping ground for toxic chemicals,” warn the Chicago Lung Association and Citizens for a Better Environment. In 1987, 483 Illinois factories released more than 11 million pounds of chemicals that are known or suspected carcinogens. Air is the least-regulated medium–and it’s the only dump you have to breathe. The weak state and federal regulations that exist aren’t doing much to stop ozone, according to the Illinois State Public Interest Research Group. “There were 32 days in Illinois last year when federal health standards were exceeded, compared to 16 days in 1987.”

Why the genealogy game is tough. “In Chicago…most of us are descended from Irish or Chinese railroad workers, Italian or Greek fruit peddlers, pig stickers, or at best robber barons and failed army officers sent West to slaughter the Indians,” muses William J. Leahy in Leahy’s Corner (January 1989). “Chicago’s the only city in the world that’s entirely on the wrong side of the tracks.”

“I could see the wave coming,” says Stephen Komie, a Chicago attorney who defends many accused of drunk driving. “The wave” was groups like MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). “I looked at the situation and recognized that these pressure groups were going to create a land-office business in drunken-driving cases,” he tells Student Lawyer’s MaryAnn Dadisman (February 1989). “I realized that once these groups got started they were going to do more to enrich lawyers than just about any other situation facing the criminal justice system.”

26th Ward Alderman Luis Gutierrez’s defection to Daley “makes coalition building a lot more difficult because Louie had become a darling to the progressive community,” 22nd Ward Alderman Jesus Garcia tells the Chicago Reporter’s Jennifer Juarez Robles (February 1989). “In the black community and along the lakefront a lot of progressives thought [Gutierrez] was a marvelous guy. But now a lot of people are going to be doubting how reliable Hispanics are in coalition building.”

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