The City File | City File | Chicago Reader

News & Politics » City File

The City File



Why your friend wants a goat ($120) or a hive of bees ($30) for the holidays. Heifer Project International (876-9991) "sells" these and other live animals year-round, but especially at this season: "The twist is, whatever animal you buy is actually delivered to a poor family in Africa, Asia, Latin America or here in the United States in the name of the person on your shopping list."

Last word on the election, from James Krohe Jr. in Illinois Times (November 19-24): "The seriousness of the people's mood compared to 1988 was entirely a matter of their wanting to be told lies about jobs rather than be told lies about race."

Why Mold-Tech found it easier to grow on West Fullerton than in Elk Grove Village, according to Tony Hernandez in Greater North, Pulaski Business Times (September-October): "When their workforce expanded, the company found it did not even have to advertise for most positions. To this day, when a manufacturing position opens up, they simply post a notice in the employee lounge and the word spreads through the neighborhood."

"Critics of the shopping center...resent these places because, for them, they represent the privatization of our cities and the commodification of life," writes Robert Bruegmann in Inland Architect (November/December). "They apparently believe that public life must be lived on a publicly owned sidewalk or in a publicly owned park where there is no admission charge or price tag. They cannot conceive of the fact that for many Americans, shopping at the mall or meeting in its parking lot might well be one of the most important parts of public life and represent activities that greatly transcend the buying of merchandise. In fact, the Grand Boulevard Plaza [at 55th and the Dan Ryan] suggests that in some communities, it is only in privately operated places that safe and nonviolent public interaction has much of a chance to happen at all."

Newly discovered languages. On the tenth anniversary of the Trivial Pursuit board game, Parker Brothers boasts in a press release that it has versions in French, German, Dutch, Flemish, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Greek, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Danish, Japanese, Arabic--and "Mexican."

"How do we make Columbus a language arts and math activity?" asks Loyola University's Diane Schiller, who heads the "Partners in Learning" teacher-training program. "We do the math by using coordinate geometry, which will require the students to use longitude and latitude measurements to plot each of Columbus' four voyages. Then we'll have a writing activity to go along with that, and also a readers' theater where the students will interpret the reading and turn the story into a drama." Hmmm...and then we can review our addition skills by adding the number of Indians Columbus killed, the number taken back to Spain, and the number who died from European diseases.

Dept. of books that might more appropriately have been published in Berlin in 1936 Instead. Dust-jacket copy for Chosen People From the Caucausus, just published by Third World Press on South Cottage Grove: "Does the wrath, jealousy and intolerance of Jehovah reflect the psychology of the highly Neanderthaloid and aggressive people who created Him?"

Seven farms a day, every day, for more than 30 years. Number of Illinois farms in 1954, according to the Department of Commerce's 1992 Census of Agriculture: 175,543. In 1987: 88,786.

"People fall off and get back on, over and over," Jody Raphael of the Chicago Commons job-training center on North Hamlin tells a Northern Illinois University gathering. "All of the participants are dropouts and many are teen parents." Most are women in their 20s on welfare. "They lack job-related competencies. Many are very slow to learn and slow to complete tasks as basic as taking phone messages. We try to give them generic job training and build up their competencies, then give them on-site work, and finally, place them in off-site businesses." She estimates that 75 percent finish the program, but usually not in one try. And because funding is based on the number of successful job placements, the agency's incentive is to let the participants with the most problems go.

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

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →