One partner to go. According to a recent Wendy’s survey, “About 10% of Chicagoland respondents either met their mate or proposed to their sweetheart in a fast food restaurant.”

“Like an unforgiving mirror, Lake County reflects what’s good and what’s bad about metropolitan Chicago. High-tech manufacturing exists side-by-side with shuttered machine shops; sparkling corporate headquarters offer stark contrasts to boarded storefront businesses; and million-dollar estates sprawl within walking distance of wretched public housing units,” writes Tom Andreoli in Chicago Enterprise (March 1989). “Decommissioning [setting aside] thousands of acres west of the tollway reinforces existing racial and economic divisions. Ending the scattered-site housing program does the same thing. Public transportation doesn’t link the jobless to the jobs. And the county’s largest job-training program may not adequately serve unemployed blacks and Hispanics. When all this occurs in one of the wealthiest counties in the nation, it can make for a most unflattering reflection.”

Lotto fever fails to save certain Indiana second-graders. From an Associated Press story that ran in the Michigan City News-Dispatch (April 14): “Munster schoolteacher Karen Jensen said winning means she’ll never have to face another second-grader. ‘I’m going to quit my job, and I’m never going to have any kids,'” she said after traveling to Calumet City to pick up a (nonwinning) Illinois Lotto ticket.

Maybe it’s time to try something else. The state reports that it will have 4,566 more prisoners than it has space for by next year. Says Illinois corrections director Michael Lane, “In all candor, I doubt that the state currently has the financial resources to build prisons fast enough to deal with the problem.”

Reality check from Harper’s “Index” (May 1989): “Sales of licensed California Raisin merchandise in North America last year: $450,000,000. Sales of California raisins in North America last year: $400,000,000.”

What Fort Sheridan is good for, according to Warren DeWalt of the Illinois Audubon Society, quoted in Compass (April 1989): “Public land facing the lake is what Highland Park, Highwood and Lake Forest are most short of. There are 50-foot bluffs overlooking the lake and six ravines with endangered and state-threatened plants. The bluffs contain an excellent example of an eroding bluff natural community which includes ground juniper, bog violet, Canadian buffalo berry and arbor vitae…. Of the six ravines, the northernmost ravine is outstanding. It has small Solomon’s seal, which is an endangered plant in Illinois. We would like to see preserved the bluffs and the beach as well as a buffer to protect both.”

School reforms that don’t. Tougher high school graduation requirements have not forced students to take more rigorous courses, says the Illinois Association of School Boards in its Newsbulletin (March 29). A Rutgers University study of four other states showed that “new” math and science courses are usually relabeled basic or remedial courses. “If they had studied Illinois, they would have found that vocational courses can be fine-tuned to meet math and science requirements, so long as course descriptions contain the right key words and phrases. Apparently, getting more students into advanced academic courses is viable only where students want those courses and the school has the wherewithal to provide them–facts that are easily overlooked in legislating graduation requirements.”

Buy me some sushi and ‘tato skins, I don’t care if our team never wins… This year, according to ARA Services (a stadium food purveyor), in addition to hot dogs and other standbys, “such non-traditional ball park fare as chef salads, sushi and potato skins have been added to the line-up.”

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