Periodicals not to turn your back on: The Grappler, “Illinois’ Only Wrestling Newspaper,” promises to “make the excitement of wrestling jump off the page.”

Dueling headlines, October 22, 1987. Tribune: “City pupils take step up in tests.” Sun-Times: “Few gains shown by city’s pupils.”

Bring on the real school reform, says the Teacher Action Caucus of the CTU. “Simply having Chicago’s children in school is not enough. Our children are receiving a poor education because our schools have been stripped to the bones. . . . The mindless pressure to ‘open the school doors’ during the strike is now reflected in an equally mindless silence about what goes on once school is in session.”

Hey, lighten up, willya? “When I assign a book to my students, they tell me it is too negative, too depressing,” writes John Snider in North Country Anvil (reprinted in the Utne Reader, November/December 1987). “One student asked, ‘Do we have to read about what happened to the American Indians? It’s so awful.’ Such intolerance of reality cuts across ideological lines: The right labels as cynical anything that runs down America; liberals cannot stand scowling of any sort; and the left considers it heresy to criticize the masses.” And nonideological locals want to protect their own: “At the college where I teach, one of my fellow instructors spends three weeks telling her students why they should remember what they have read. . . . I am labeled cynical because I call attention to this sad state of affairs. I remind people of what they know but do not want to remember.”

The Washington administration is hiring more Latinos–but not enough more, according to figures in Latino (September 1987). Ever since April 1983, each of the city’s ten largest departments has been hiring a larger percentage of Latinos than had worked there before. But no department yet approaches “the 15 to 20 percent goals that would reflect today’s Latino population in the city. . . . At this pace it would take six to nine years” to get there.

The most common commute in Chicagoland by far is from one suburb to another–1.4 out of 3.1 million trips in 1980, according to Transportation Facts (September 1987).

With budding entrepreneurs like this, we have nothing to fear from the Japanese. The Wall Street Journal (October 12, 1987) reminds us that last year’s winner of the national intercollegiate business-plan competition was a student at the College of Lake County in Grayslake, who devised–“a business plan for a Roaring ’20s gangster museum.”

New hope for the Evil Empire. Jerry Falwell’s Liberty Report rarely reports on any developments in Communist countries without adding a few disparaging comments. But its October 1987 issue leaves off the editorializing for once to print a straight story describing the “World’s Toughest AIDS Law,” under which an AIDS victim in the USSR can get five years in prison for having sex. Reverend Falwell, meet Mr. Gorbachev. I’m sure you’ll find you have a lot in common.

Arabic, Assyrian, Chinese, English, Greek, Gujarati, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Italian, Khmer, Korean, Laotian, Polish, Romanian, Spanish, Urdu, and Vietnamese are the 17 languages in which forms are available at Chicago public schools for verifying pre-1982 student enrollment under the new immigration law.

The U.S. medical center best prepared for the future is Chicago’s Rush-Presbyterian, according to a Rand Corporation study reported in Chicago Enterprise (October 1987). Besides its mammoth west-side complex, R-P has diversified into smaller north-side and north-suburban hospitals and clinics, Anchor HMO and two other prepaid insurance programs, and a for-profit subsidiary. “With its overall workforce now numbering 8,000, Rush-Presbyterian ranks among Illinois’ top 25 employers.”

Now there’s language even the City Council can understand. “I call for . . . a saturation campaign about AIDS,” Paul Varnell of the Illinois Gay and Lesbian Task Force told the City Council Committee on Health earlier this fall (Windy City Times, October 8). “The alternative is death–and what is worse than death, a lot of expense.”

“With the increased popularity of aerobic dancing, we have seen a dramatic rise in the number of aerobic related injuries,” writes SportsMedicine Chicago’s Joseph Griffin in SportsInjury Forum (September 1987). “According to the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, 30% to 70% of all people participating in aerobics classes sustain some type of injury.” Body part most commonly injured by aerobic dance instructors: the shin. So far as we know, there is no CouchPotatoInjury Forum.

Of every eight prisoners in the Cook County Jail on any given day, the number (according to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority) who have been convicted and sentenced for a crime: one.

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