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Hungry yet? Gourmet chef Robert Burcenski of Tallgrass Restaurant and the Public Landing in Lockport, describing his experience in the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois' Preservation Brief (June): "Historic restoration, like the pumpkin, sadly has been a long neglected community resource. Here is a recipe for a delicious building--the Norton Building--a building made from Limestone, Virgin Timbers, Bricks, Mortar, Concrete and Steel, and served on Limestone Bedrock. This particularly delicious type of building rarely appears in American cookbooks, yet is far less expensive to make than a shopping center, and infinitely more elegant. Substantial yet lite--every eyeful is a poem. This is the kind of building you might see in the very best of European cities and it is one that you cannot duplicate or even improve upon because it was originally created in 1848 when there was no skimping on time, ingredients, or quality."

"People become involved in helping the river when they get to know the river," according to the River Reporter (Summer), newsletter of the Friends of the Chicago River--and canoeing is one of the best ways. "It's one thing to read about what lives in the river, it's another to see a foot-long goldfish feeding, or a snapping turtle floating, or a bullfrog splashing into the water....It's one thing to hear about the pockets of native vegetation along the river's banks, and another to see a carpet of trout lilies blooming in LaBagh Woods in early spring."

Boycott, don't divest--that's the documented advice Southern Illinois University's Wallace Davidson III offers to anticorporate activists in a recent issue of Business and Society. In 35 divestiture campaigns mentioned in major newspapers from 1969 through 1991, Davidson and colleagues found that the target companies' stock prices were not hurt. Four of the 35 said they would change, but 3 announced they would stay the course. By contrast, out of 59 boycott targets, 20 agreed to change, and none dug in their heels. Not coincidentally, the boycotts did hurt their stock prices.

"If the church would forget about AIDS altogether and just focus on human rights concerns, we would be a long way toward ending this epidemic," Harvard's Dr. Jonathan Mann said on a recent visit to Chicago. Carol Reese, executive director of the AIDS Pastoral Care Network, writes in the Spirit (Summer) that she relayed that challenge to a colleague, who replied, "I have more hope for a cure."

Do all man-made chemicals cause cancer if you eat enough of them? Nope--but half of the American public believes so, according to a National Opinion Research Center survey of scientific and environmental knowledge (University of Chicago Magazine, June). Even more curiously, one-third of those polled believe that all radioactive substances are man-made.

At least New Agers are environmentally sound--they're recycling stereotypes. (1) From publicity for The Dream Encyclopedia: "If you dream of...a rabbit, you may unexpectedly pull off a big deal like a magician pulling a rabbit out of his hat, or you may soon learn of a pregnancy." Then again, maybe you'll be running for your life, pursued by a large dog. (2) From publicity for Native Wisdom for White Minds: "Primal cultures are essentially much alike."

"Chicago is growing increasingly anti-family," complains James Ylisela Jr. in Illinois Issues (August). "To stay in town with kids, you have to be rich enough to buy education and security; poor enough to have no real options; or in-between enough to be forever searching for that safer neighborhood and better school. Those of us in this third category are like the base stealer in a close ball game: one foot on the carpet, leaning toward second, ready to take off at the first opportunity."

As others see us. From the new book Great Gay & Lesbian Places to Live: "Chicago is open in certain areas and is not as mid-western conservative as some would think."

The two faces of "sustainable development": Good business as usual? People in Chattanooga aren't afraid of "sustainability" anymore, Missy Crutchfield tells Carl Vogel in The Neighborhood Works (August/September). "You don't have to give up everything and live in the woods. People find their quality of life is improved--they're healthier; the air is cleaner; Chattanooga has grown; businesses are doing well." Or no business as usual? But according to Steve Perkins of Chicago's Center for Neighborhood Technology, that's not all there is to it. "In the market ideology, the temptation is to see sustainability as buying 100 percent post-consumer recycled toilet paper. And, though it is important to do that, it fails to address the limits of the market, namely externalities. The challenge of moving to a systemic change has only begun, and it will be a challenge with a capital C."

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

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