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Illinois leads the way in mumps, according to the state Department of Public Health. So far in 1987, Illinois has recorded 1,002 cases of the resurgent disease -- 39 percent of all U.S. cases -- compared to just 292 in all of 1985. "Although mumps is not considered a serious disease," says IDPH, "complications can cause hearing loss, sterility, encephalitis or death." Sure hope I don't catch any serious diseases.

When Fumi Apantaku arrived in Chicago from Nigeria in 1981, reports Valerie J. Phillips in the Chicago Reporter (April 1987), "there were days she wanted to converse with someone from Nigeria so badly that she would search the phone book for people with African surnames." She could have tried taking a cab: Nigerians and Ghanaians, the most numerous Africans in Chicago, make up 0.1 percent of the population but an estimated 6.7 percent of licensed cabbies.

A Taste of Recycling? Second Ward alderman Bobby Rush has introduced ordinances to mandate recycling at all city-sponsored outdoor summer events.

Take lots of calcium supplements and you could wind up with vomiting, diarrhea, tingling limbs, and disorientation -- symptoms of metal poisoning -- say Drs. Badi M. Boulos and Alfred W. von Smolinski of the University of Illinois at Chicago. They've found that calcium pills made from bonemeal contain chromium and zinc contaminants, and those from dolomite contain arsenic, lead, copper, and other toxic metals.

The art processor. "Digitalization of images is an artist's dream," says University of Illinois art professor Byron Sletten. "It's the equivalent of a word processor, a fast and efficient way of pushing images around. . . . Since images can be stored and recalled, there's not as much at stake working on a computer piece as on a traditional painting. . . . [I] can afford to take more chances."

"There are already more stadiums than teams to fill them," according to Robert A. Baade and Diane Carol Bast of Chicago's Heartland Institute, "and fully one-third of the sixty largest metropolitan areas in the country have plans for new stadiums." No wonder taxpayers must pay, and pay, and pay, for the ego boost of keeping a team in their city.

That makes at least 11 percent confessed criminals, right? The Chicago Area Transportation Study asked over 1,500 people at the 1987 Chicago Auto Show whether they approve of Illinois' mandatory seat belt law. Sixty-four percent said they approved of the law -- but only 53 percent claimed they use seat belts themselves.

We pay them $33,961 a year to come up with ideas like this? The Illinois Women's Advocate (March 1987) reports that four Illinois state representatives have seen fit to sponsor legislation that would "deny public aid benefits to people without a high school diploma."

"Our society is retreating from public responsibility," says Loyola University sociologist Kirsten Gronbjerg, one of the authors of a recent report on human services spending in Chicago. In Chicago and Cook County, government spending for human services dropped 14 percent from 1981 to 1984 (adjusted for inflation). The state did not make up for the federal cuts, but actually exceeded them. Employment, training, and health care -- areas that would be top priority if we really wanted to put people back on their feet -- were especially hard hit. But Social Security and Medicare, which largely benefit the middle class, got more money. Overall, concludes Gronbjerg, government spending has not declined . . . except the spending directed to those who need it most.

Gosh, we made a mistake. Could you put that electric chair into reverse? "Two black men convicted of a double murder and armed robbery in Chicago were found innocent last month after having served nine years in prison, four years of which were on death row," writes Forrest Martin in the ACLU publication the Brief (February 1987). "Only after five trials were the two defendants, Perry Cobb and Darby Tillis, found innocent of killing and robbing two white men."

"Executives at small and privately-held companies are most incensed over insider trading," according to a recent poll of more than 200 top Chicago executives sponsored by Michigan Avenue National Bank. Sixty-nine percent of executives whose firms sell $5-10 million a year believe the government isn't doing enough to stop stock-market manipulation based on inside information. But only 33 percent of execs at companies selling over $20 million feel the same way.

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

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