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“Despite the abundance of local produce [around Chicago], little of it actually is available to restaurants and cooks,” according to a profile of chef Michael Foley in the premiere issue of Midwest Living (April 1987), a kind of Better Homes & Gardens for the heartland. “Local purveyors tend to ship their products to canners instead of marketing them fresh. One year, Michael says, Michigan farmers sold almost their entire berry crop to California canning companies, while few fresh berries crossed the state line.”

The leaders are out of step, judging from the evidence in the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations’ most recent (1986) nationwide opinion poll. Seventy-eight percent of foreign policy leaders favors U.S. military aid to other nations; only 36 percent of the general public does. Sixty-seven percent of leaders would use U.S. troops if North Korea invaded South Korea; only 28 percent of the public would. Forty-nine percent of the public believes it is “very important” to strengthen the United Nations, but only 23 percent of the leaders thinks so. Isn’t democracy grand?

“The schools are not working well in most Hispanic communities,” writes Gary Orfield in the University of Chicago’s American Journal of Education (November 1986), “and very serious signs of educational failure are becoming evident even as jobs for people without education are rapidly disappearing.” In particular, adds M. Beatriz Arias, “the increasing segregation of Hispanic students in central cities has contributed to limiting access to English language development, college preparatory, and advanced placement curriculum.”

School sports for the new age: CPS Winners (March 1987) reports that Peterson Elementary School and Bogan High School won the citywide stock market competition. Given the (hypothetical) sum of $100,000, the Bogan team “bought” stocks in September and “earned” $33,000 by December. For this feat, the five-member team won a plaque and $25 (real).

“Just what the hell is this business of your being involved in the ACLU?” When a Fortune 500 company took over the small, profitable firm of which Harvey Gittler was vice president of manufacturing, a senior executive asked him that question. “The conservative executives . . . had trouble understanding that one could be politically active in other than Republican politics, and still be an effective and responsible leader,” writes Gittler in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, reprinted in Civil Liberties (Winter 1987). Meanwhile, the Illinois Institute of Technology has set up a mentor program in which its undergraduate business students meet with business executives. As one exec explains, students “don’t understand corporate culture.” We can only hope they don’t learn too much.

You can’t please everyone, writes Deacon James W. Dunham in the SHARE/food Reporter (February 28, 1987), and that even goes for the low-cost self-help regional food distribution program he heads, an outreach of the Chicago Archdiocese. “On any given item we’ll get raves about how good it was, and someone else will rave about how bad it was. 97% of the participants love the Kiwifruit; 3% hate it. 97% think the chicken thighs are marvelous; 3% can’t stand them. . . . One participant cut slices off of the frozen roll of Irish Stew, fried them, and complained that it was the worst sausage she ever tasted!”

Illinois, you put me in an inventive state. States with the most patents issued per million residents are Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Minnesota. According to Illinois Economic Report (February 1987), Illinois and Michigan are tied for sixth, with 242 patents issued per million residents during 1985.

And you thought higher education in Texas was all football. “My students learned valuable lessons the day Roger Horchow visited and distributed pictures and writeups of 20 products that had been included in past Horchow catalogs,” writes Leonard Berry — who is something called Foley’s/Federated Professor of Retailing and Marketing Studies at Texas A&M — in the Zale Retailing Issues Letter (March 1987). “Ten products had been winners and 10 had been losers. Horchow first invited the students to try and pick the winners from the losers, and then he told them which products had actually done well and which products had done poorly, explaining the reasons for each product’s performance.”

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