Illinois’ largest predator appears to be flourishing, according to researchers Ed Heske and Marty Miller in the Illinois Natural History Survey’s newsletter Reports (July/August). “As recently as the 1950s, coyotes were considered uncommon in Illinois; now there are probably over 30,000 living in the state,” they write, perhaps because competing predators like gray and red wolves no longer are.

“A person with a disability may encounter a handicap in one environment, but not in another,” according to the Chicago Behavior Consultants, Inc., in its newsletter, the Reinforcer (Summer). “Consider our friend Joe. Joe is totally blind (a disability), but has only that one disabling condition. He works in an office tower in downtown Chicago and travels to work independently using a cane each day via the subway. One morning as the train rolls into the station, the doors open and then pandemonium erupts. A power failure has left the passengers in the subway tunnel in complete darkness. Joe, cane in hand, proceeds along his usual path to the stairs and notices that people are grabbing his arms. He successfully negotiates up the stairs with a crowd right behind him. In this scenario, Joe is disabled, but not handicapped. The sighted passengers are not disabled, but they certainly are handicapped….Their level of skill did not meet the demands of the given environment.”

Life under King Richard II. Why did former 43rd Ward alderman Edwin Eisendrath vote for Mayor Daley’s reapportioned ward map in 1992, a map now being attacked in court by black and Latino interests? He told Robert O’Neill of the Chicago Reporter (May/June) that he voted with the mayor so that his ward would “get the kind of [city] service it deserves and needs.”

Translators provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health at an Uptown town-hall forum on community health in July: Bosnian, Cambodian, Ethiopian, Korean, Laotian, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

“It used to be that an art museum was where one went to see a Monet. Today it is to find out who Monet was,” writes James Krohe Jr. in Illinois Issues (July). “Museums in [the 19th century] brought to visitors things they knew about but had not seen. Today they are more often asked to show visitors things they have seen but know nothing about….A few years ago, the Field Museum surveyed its visitors about the Pacific, which was to be the subject of a major–and controversial–new exhibit. Staff found that while people had heard of the Pacific somewhere, many of them didn’t know there was so much water in it or that it had so many islands. One would not think that explaining that the Pacific has a lot of water in it is the best use of an institution that is home to the West’s pre-eminent experts on Melanesian cultures, but then buying a computer to teach 4-year-olds how to add two and two isn’t very efficient either.”

“It would be much easier for an African-American [advertising] agency to do general market advertising than it would be for a general market agency to do Black advertising,” says Eugene Morris, president of one of the largest local African-American agencies, in N’Digo (June 29-July 12). “That’s because we have to understand White folks in order to be successful.”

Signs we wish we hadn’t seen on vacation: “Screaming Eagle Taxidermy.”

“The essence of our approach is to go straight to work,” writes Jamie Kalven of the Resource Center’s Turn-A-Lot-Around program in Grand Crossing and Grand Boulevard, in Conscious Choice (July/August). “Once a neighborhood group has expressed interest in working with us, we engage the task at hand at the earliest possible moment, with as few preliminary meetings as possible. We seek to set in motion a process by which relationships and an organizing agenda grow out of the medium of shared physical work. We have come to believe that this is a form of community organizing well-suited to addressing conditions in inner city neighborhoods where efforts at renewal must move against a strong undertow of skepticism, distrust, and despair….In a sense, Turn-A-Lot-Around is engaged in community organizing as an artistic process–a matter of altering perceptions. Once it has been cleaned up and restored to productive use, a vacant lot that was an eyesore can be recognized as a fundamental resource.”

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