I got a notice by e-mail (that's sent to news types all over the country) about a workshop to be held this fall at Hofstra University in New York that will target "suburban poverty,' and I have to admit the phrase was a new one to me.

The notice says that in the first decade of the 21st century, poverty in the suburbs grew nearly five times faster than in the major cities at their center.

Now, it's not like I'm going to go to this workshop--it's probably too highbrow for an old McCook County farm boy like me--but I had no idea about this one.

Some of the problems they plan to talk about have to do with how suburbs are not designed to deal with very low-income people, and how it's hard for residents to get to job training or shelters when they don't have access to mass transit.

They're going to address what they call the "myths" of poverty, and the differences between what the government says is poverty and what poverty really is. And in this day and age, we can probably all understand what organizers say is the growing gap between wages and the cost of living.

So as I said, it's not something I'll be going to, but it will be interesting to see what comes out of it.

"Suburban poverty." Who would have thought?