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"A breathtaking and serene piece of architecture which exudes the total integration of structure with the original architectural concepts"--that's how the awards jury of the Structural Engineers Association of Illinois sees 181 W. Madison, which it named the "best structure" of 1991. According to the SEAOI Bulletin (September), the 50-story tower is "the tallest combination concrete core/perimeter steel building in Chicago."

Yo dudes, come to Club Earth, it's got the best atmosphere. Co-op America's 1991 holiday catalog includes the following blurb for P3, an environmental magazine for children: "P3 shows kids that Earth is the coolest, hippest planet to live on, and encourages them to keep it that way."

"Mike told me in no uncertain terms that he did not 'do' books. I asked, 'How about this book?' 'F--- you,' he replied," writes Sawyer Elementary School remedial reading teacher Daniel Peterson in Catalyst (October). "So, we talked instead; session after session we talked. One day, unbeknown to Mike, I hid a tape recorder under the desk and recorded our conversations for several days. Then I transcribed Mike's words and bound the pages in a booklike manner, adding an attractive cover....Mike was fascinated with his own words coming to life on the printed page....Once Mike got over the shock of actually enjoying a reading experience, I proceeded to use his own 'written' words to teach him language arts skills. For example, I explained, 'Mike, in this sentence "F--- " is the first word, so that's why it's capitalized.' I pointed out that 'son of a b----' is not run together as one word. Needless to say, Mike was flabbergasted, but he was learning--and the learning was fun."

Just don't wear anything you really like. "The Basement's followers are almost fanatically devoted to the store," according to Filene's preopening hype. "Members of this 'cult' boast many crazy stories....[such as] a 'bargain attack' where one shopper's fur coat was torn off her back and rushed to the register by another bargain hunter who thought the fur was part of Filene's Basement's spectacular merchandise."

Oh, say, can you si? Old-line machinesters representatives Lipinski and Rostenkowski, whose districts include more Latinos than any others in Illinois, are upholding the machine's traditional standards of openness, to judge from Tom Corfman's research in the Chicago Reporter (September): "Since 1986 U.S. Rep. Dan Rostenkowski (8th) has given more money to the late Mayor Richard J. Daley's boyhood club than he has donated to all local Latino political candidates and community organizations combined. And U.S. Rep. William O. Lipinski (5th) has donated more money to the 23rd Ward Republican organization than he has given to Latino candidates." Even loyal Hispanics don't get anything from Rosty, whose PAC gave Daley running mate city clerk Walter Kozubowski $2,000 in February but gave city treasurer Miriam Santos nothing.

Gee, I hope it's mine. Lieutenant Governor Bob Kustra, lamenting the decline of literacy: "The average person reads only one book from high school graduation until death."

Out of one closet and into another? "Now that I am out of the Church's closet," writes United Church of Christ minister Melanie Morrison of Kalamazoo, Michigan, in the Witness (September), "I find myself tempted to hide in a new one. As I become more involved in working with other lesbians to advocate change, I am hesitant to acknowledge my identity as a Christian. Many lesbians that I respect have left the Church, having experienced double jeopardy at the hands of an institution that has often proclaimed bad news rather than good. . . . I am frequently asked how I can possibly remain identified with Christianity."

"Black leaders need to make it clear that the black middle and upper classes can go nowhere that the black masses can't follow," sociologist Harry Edwards tells Salim Muwakkil in In These Times (September 11-17). "Without his uniform or a bottle of Gatorade at his side, Jordan would have just as much trouble catching a cab in Anycity, USA, as any other brother."

Check one: _ Did job, _ Did not do job, _ Is legally dead. "The city's personnel rules specify that employee performance be reviewed periodically," reports the Illinois Commission on the Future of Public Service, "but the evaluation systems are used sporadically and not linked formally to pay increases or promotions. Some [Chicago] city managers participating in this research were surprised to discover that formal evaluation procedures even existed. Other managers . . . admitted not using the evaluation systems because they considered them useless. And they offered another disturbing explanation: Some supervisors lack the literacy skills necessary to complete the paperwork."

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

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