Lightning apparently caused Commonwealth Edison’s Byron I nuclear power plant to shut down July 29 and July 31, according to the antinuclear Sinnissippi Alliance for the Environment. “This happened once before in 1985,” says SAFE spokesman Stanley Campbell, calling for the plant to be made more lightning-proof. “The utility assured us that it couldn’t happen again. I personally think this proves that God doesn’t like Byron any more than we do.”

“A manufacturer in the Lincoln Park area just sold an industrial building for $25 per square foot to a residential/commercial developer instead of selling it to another manufacturer for $4 per square foot,” says Carl Bufalini in the NORBIC Network (September 1987), newsletter of the North Business Industrial Council. He is uncomfortable with this manifestation of free enterprise: “The much discussed service sector jobs (also known as McJobs) generally are too low-paying to be substitutes for more substantial industrial jobs, which generate 3.2 support jobs for every industrial job. Without effective solutions to the shortage of appropriate industrial space on the North Side, Chicago’s population could become increasingly economically polarized. The city’s future viability depends on a varied and integrated economy that includes a local middle-class.”

“Most young white families never even consider living in the city,” notes a group of researchers assembled by the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities. “The aggregate cost of this [suburban] syndrome for white workers is very high and is the cumulative sum of daily commuting costs, mutiple car ownership, more expensive housing and isolation from the rich variety of cultural and recreational opportunities found in a great urban center.” Nevertheless, “The strength of the color line in the housing market excludes white demand for the affordable black and Hispanic neighborhoods near downtown–except in that small fraction of cases where gentrification produces a belief that the neighborhood will eventually be dominated by middle and high income whites.”

When will glasnost reach the Big Apple? Harper’s (September 1987) “Index” notes that Pravda receives 2,000 letters to the editor each day; the New York Times gets–400.

The four most dangerous questions in a job interview (and what to do about them), according to Chicago outplacement executive James E. Challenger: “Tell me about yourself” (cite specific examples of accomplishments from your last job), “What don’t you do well?” (never say anything negative about yourself), “What did you think about your last boss?” (never say anything negative about him or her, either), and “What would be an ideal job for you?” (“Describe the job you are applying for insofar as possible,” advises Challenger.)

Feeds them what? The Wheaton-based Senior Citizen Project is seeking volunteers willing to “Adopt-a-Needy-Senior,” i.e. one with an income under $500 a month and living in Du Page County. According to the group’s September 1987 press release, “Sponsoring a senior is a commitment to donating $25 a month in order to feed a senior citizen. Twenty-five dollars a month is $300 a year and this feeds one senior for the whole year.”

Illinois birds suffer when forests are cut down–and not just Illinois forests, writes Illinois Natural History Survey ornithologist Scott K. Robinson in the Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin (September 1987). “Most of ‘our’ birds winter in a surprisingly small section . . . from southern Mexico to northern South America and in the Caribbean. In winter, migrants pack into areas much smaller than their breeding ranges, often less than a fifth the area. Therefore, clearing a square mile of tropical forest is equivalent to clearing five or more square miles of forest in North America. If tropical deforestation continues at its current rate, the time will come when some species such as the wood thrush will decline regardless of what happens [here] on their breeding grounds.”

“In the last decade, women have made significant gains in the judiciary but blacks have not,” writes Patricia Haller in Chicago Lawyer (September 1987). The Cook County Circuit Court remains 90 percent white and 91 percent male: “Among its 354 full and associate judges, there are only 35 blacks, three hispanics, and 32 women.”

Take a good look at your next Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner box. The 17-year-old image thereon may be the world’s most frequently reproduced commercial photograph, according to the photographer, William Jennings, who currently serves as staff photographer of the Chicago Historical Society. Kraft’s national sales development manager says three and a half billion reproductions is “a very good estimate.” Muses Jennings, “3.5 billion packages, end to end, would circle the Earth more than a dozen times, or reach to the moon. A hundred million tons of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.”

Seymour Hersh’s advice to the next president, from a recent ACLU-sponsored program on secret deals and clandestine wars? As reported in the Brief (Summer 1987): “He or she should secretly abolish covert operations.”

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