“If in summer, you feel a need for a new, exciting experience,” writes Yvonne Henze in Natural Area Notes (June 1988), “let me suggest what I have enjoyed for years. Spend an early morning in a marsh–a crane marsh if you can find one–watching the sun come up and spread over the marsh. It is essential to be there before the first light of dawn. Marvelous! Inspiring! Breathtaking! If you are lucky enough to hear the early morning unison call of a pair of sandhill cranes, add another 100 points to the quality of your experience.”

Good news (sort of): The Chicago Board of Elections reports, “Since December of 1987 to the present, the number of disabled accessible polling places has increased from 48.52 percent to 59.93 per cent.” So if you’re disabled and moving to a new neighborhood, you now have almost a three-in-five chance of being able to vote!

“We may even have to go to Canada to raise corn,” speculates University of Illinois at Chicago ecologist Thomas Poulson. “One of the consequences of a continuing drought will be that the kinds of crops that can be raised successfully in the midwest will be limited. . . . Illinois and other midwestern states may have to switch [from corn and soybeans] to crops that require less water, such as wheat and other grains.”

“Style is Important for the caterer,” writes Michael Kilgore of Gourmet Affairs in the Heartland Herald (April 1988). “Our firm, for example, succeeds partly because we’re known for outstanding food presentation. We’ve built five-foot pyramids of toast surrounded by golden caviar for a group of Egyptologists, constructed Art Deco crudite buildings, and even had anatomically correct birthday cakes carried in by topless waiters and waitresses.”

“This familiar scenario–art ventures forth and yuppies cone tumbling after–has been occuring throughout the River North area,” writes Laurie Palmer in the New Art Examiner (Summer 1988). “It is ironic that the art community ends up victimized by the role it has unwittingly played in this gentrification process–acting first as pioneers, then as bait, and finally as a potential liability to developers.” She says that galleries remaining in one recently sold building are suffering tripled rents, construction disruptions, and a certain indifference from the developer. “Apparently the elevators are going to be made smaller, to adapt from industrial to residential or ‘mixed’ use. When told the proposed dimensions of the new elevators, one dealer exclaimed that they would then be too small to transport art. The reply: “Make your art smaller.”

Looking for Mr. Intellectual. From Nicolette Modaber’s account of placing a personal ad in a suburban newspaper (Today’s Chicago Woman, July 1988): “I showed [a friend] a few letters from my collection. ‘Hey, this one’s cute,’ she remarked at the impish looking stockbroker who sent me his photo. ‘You gonna meet him?'” Modaber replied, “Yeah, I think so. He meets most of the criteria I put in my ad. At least he knows what ‘spiritual’ is. Im tired of getting letters from guys who say ‘I’m not very spiritual but I work out three times a week.'”

“The faculty of the City Colleges of Chicago is aging and not being renewed,” write Michael Kaufman and Richard Lerner in their encyclopedic The Report of the Profile Project: Impressions of an Urban Community College System. “Hiring restrictions in most departments at most campuses over the years have created a situation in which all the members of many departments are tenured. . . . It is not uncommon to find a faculty member who has been teaching for seven, ten, or even fifteen years, and is still seen as the new kid on the block.” They quote one genuinely new kid: “I’m the first new faculty member in my department in 11 years. My department, the administration, I guess, didn’t know . . . what to do with a new faculty member.”

Should we ask what it is? University of Illinois education professor Joe Murphy reports that “only about 15 percent of [Illinois] schools have a stated mission.”

Mike Madigan’s priorities. “We are willing to spend $30,000 or more to cover the cost of neo-natal intensive care for a premature infant born to a low-income family,” writes Jerome Stermer in Voices (Summer 1988), the newsletter of Chicago’s Voices for Illinois Children. “Yet we find state policy-makers reluctant to spend $450 for a full schedule of prenatal care for that same infant’s mother during pregnancy. Even when respected national studies have shown we’re likely to save $3.35 for every $1 we spend during the first year.”

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