Chicago, Chicago, that pesticide town... A recent state study of composted grass clippings, leaves, and brush from around Illinois found that "the levels of pesticides were, overall, consistently higher in the Chicago metropolitan area samples. It appears that homeowners and other landscape generators in heavily urbanized areas apply more pesticides than their downstate counterparts" (UIC Solid Waste Management Newsletter, December).
Just wait till 2492. "Only Oxford and Cambridge presses are larger, but they have 500 years on us," says University of Chicago Press director Morris Philipson, noting that U. of C. is the largest university press in the United States: $30 million gross sales, 300 books a year (University of Chicago Chronicle, December 10).
Get these people off the coasts! The upscale firm Backroads, of Berkeley, California--which bills itself as "the world's #1 active travel company" featuring bicycling vacations--offers a total of one bicycle ride in the midwest (through southeastern Minnesota).
Percentage of women in metropolitan Chicago: 51.4. Percentage of foundation dollars granted to programs targeting women and girls in 1990, according to Shortsighted, a recent report from Chicago Women in Philanthropy: 1.4. Only 6 of 47 area grantors directed 10 percent or more of their funding to women (in order): the Chicago Foundation for Women (100), the Sophia Fund (98.9), the Chicago Resource Center (52.4), the Crossroads Fund (12.9), the Chicago Bar Foundation (11.1), and the New Prospect Foundation (10).
The Loop office glut: in the public interest. "When the real estate agent showed me this space last spring, I took one look at the building and lobby [203 N. LaSalle] and told them it was ridiculous, don't even waste my time or theirs by going up," writes state ACLU executive director Jay Miller in the Illinios Brief (Fall). "Knowing that rents in buildings like these run $30 or $40 a square foot, I could not believe that they could get us in for under $10, which is less than the building's operating expenses." The ACLU was able to increase its office space by 50 percent while cutting its total rent by 10 percent.
"Now that we've done it [won a presidential election], where do we go from here?" asks Marian H. Neudel in New Patriot (January-February). "I suspect most of us feel rather like the dog who has actually caught the car he was chasing, and doesn't quite know what to do with it."
Caution: construction area ahead. Please indicate your gratitude to the semis as they pass. Amount of damage heavy trucks do to Illinois streets and highways every year: $128 million. Annual user fees they pay: $40 million ("The Effects of Increased Truck Size and Weight in Illinois," by John Semmens, cited in Intellectual Ammunition, November/December).
Kids, don't try this at home! "Nematodes include some fairly large worms, like the roundworm parasite of man," writes Illinois Department of Conservation biologist John Schwegman, "but for the most part are small microscopic animals of soil. They are present in such vast numbers on and in the soil that it is said that if everything but nematodes was removed, you still could see the outline of the land in nematodes."
Statistics we could have lived without. Maid to Order on North Michigan reports that over its 21 years of existence its employees have cleaned "in excess of three hundred thousand toilets."
"Ironically, [DuPage Republican] Pate Philip could become the best friend Chicago school reformers ever had," writes Jim Nowlan in Tax Facts (November). "He could attach strings to funding for Chicago schools to force changes that have been blocked thus far because of turf and patronage issues internal to Chicago politics."
"Students aren't the only ones who can feel anonymous in huge schools," writes Dan Weissmann in Catalyst (December). "'I was at one of these school events,' says Clemente's [principal Louis] Geraldi, 'and two teachers saw each other. And one said to the other, "Oh, I know you from . . . college! What are you doing now?" "I'm working here." "Really?
How long've you been here?" "Five years. How long have you been here?" "Seven years." "Where do you work?" "Well, I'm on the eighth floor. Where do you work?" "I'm in the basement." And,' concludes Geraldi, 'they'd never met each other!'"
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Carl Kock.