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January 05, 1994 - Image 7

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-01-05

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 5, 1994 - 7

.'U' students celebrate
winter commencement

Council debates city's financial issues

By JUDITH KAFKA
DAILY STAFF REPORTER
Young siblings wearing their best
outfits clamored up and down steps
and ran through aisles. Parents el-
#owed their way to good photo-tak-
ing positions, camcorders in hand.
Crisler Arena's crowd on Sunday,
Dec. 12 was significantly smaller and
quieter than that of a typical basket-
ball game, yet the air was still charged
with the familiar energy and pride.
The 6,000 audience members were
there not to witness athletic prowess,
but to celebrate another of the
University's claims to fame - aca-
iemic achievement. For on this day,
friends and family sat patiently for
more than two hours to watch Winter
Commencement.
From a variety of schools and with
a plethora of degrees, 2,000 students
graduated from the University last
month. They each worked hard to
earn their place in the arena that after-
noon, some graduating ahead of
chedule, some having taken an extra
Memester or so to do other things.
The graduates, some feigning in-
terest while others played with their
tassels, were inundated with words of
advice. From Pulitzer Prize winner
Roger Wilkin's rules of life to Nobel
Prize winner and author Elie Weisel's
reminder about sensitivity, they were
told time and time again of their obli-
ation to give back to a society that

has educated them so well.
Gov. John Engler, honorary de-
gree recipient and keynote speaker,
was introduced as a proponent of
higher education but failed to men-
tion the issue.
The graduates cheered on them-
selves and each other with shouts and
confetti, continuously waving and
gesturing to the crowd.
Messages taped on the traditional
black caps ranged from a basic "Hi
Mom," to "Duke Sucks" to "Go Blue"
spelled phonetically in Hebrew.
LSA graduate Alan Pilukas wore
Rodney Reindeer on top of his head to
"add some levity to the event." Others
donned flowers, scarves or colored
paper to exhibit their individuality.
Some graduates still had school
work to do before finishing their de-
grees, and others harbored concerns
over the lack of potential jobs and
further educational opportunities.
However, graduation exuberance
won out as graduates left the arena.
"I feel amazing!" said SNRE grad
Brian Holt.
His classmate Hiroko Hirahara
agreed, thrilled to be done with school-
ing here in the United States and ready
to return to her native Japan.
While some complained about
Engler's politics or the length of the
ceremony , most agreed that the best
part of graduation was it was over and
they were finished.

1 Council agrees to
loan $25,000 to
support low-income
residences owned by
local YMCA
By JAMES NASH
DAILY STAFF REPORTER
The Ann Arbor City Council took
the first halting steps Monday toward
bailing out a financially troubled af-
fordable housing development owned
by the YMCA.
The council's vote to allocate
nearly $25,000 for the nonprofit insti-
tution came despite protests from three
Republican councilmembers that the
loan payments could encourage other
organizations to seek a fiscal life pre-
server from the city. The 8-3 council
vote will cover the YMCA's mort-
gage payments for December and
January, preventing the group from
defaulting on a low-cost housing de-
velopment at the YMCA building.
The apartments are located across the
street from the Ann Arbor Public Li-
brary.
A long-term solution for the
YMCA's cash-flow crisis was de-
layed until after Jan. 31, when the
council plans to meet with the YMCA
Board of Directors in a study session.
Councilmembers said they plan to
ask YMCA officials about a sharp
increase in expenditures, which
Councilmember Ulrich Stoll (D-3rd
Ward) termed "out of whack."

Before approving $24,942 in
loan payments - a reduction from
the original proposal of $50,000 -
councilmembers debated for more
than an hour where in the city's
budget the funds should be drawn
from.
The final proposal, drafted by
Councilmember Larry Hunter (D- 1st
Ward), splits the allocation between
the city's general fund and a non-
departmental public housing fund.
Republicans Peter Fink (2nd Ward),
Julie Creal and Jane Lumm (4th Ward)
opposed taking the monies from Ann
Arbor's fund balance, a "rainy day"
savings account that now equals about
$4.3 million.
Echoing Fink's statements, Creal
said subtracting the YMCA alloca-
tion from the fund balance would
tarnish the city's budgetprocess. "We
have to live within our means," Creal
said.
Hunter said many councilmembers
"are trying to hold (the YMCA appro-
priation) hostage for philosophical ar-
guments."
He warned that denying the bail-
out may cause the YMCA to default
on a loan that the council agreed to
guarantee in 1988, subjecting the city
to more than $1.6 million in liabili-
ties.
The city's November 1988 loan
guarantee allowed the YMCA to add
three floors to the building's resi-
dence wing, increasing the number of
low-cost rooms by 63.

By JAMES NASH
DAILY STAFF REPORTER
An honest mistake or a deliberate
attempt to impose her political will on
the City Council?
That's the question asked of Ann
Arbor Mayor Ingrid Sheldon, whose
opposition to a wage increase for her-
self and councilmembers is well-
known. But Sheldon, who convened a
panel meeting to consider a wage
proposal 10 days before the deadline
to vote, denies charges of blocking a
decision on a modest salary hike.
The seven-member Local Offic-
ers Compensation Commission,
which meets every two years to pro-
pose salaries for Ann Arbor's 11
elected leaders, in a Dec. 21 meeting
failed to approve a resolution grant-
ing inflation-level raises. Three com-
mission members voted for the pro-
posal, two voted against it. Four votes
are required to pass a resolution.
"I realize there's a lot of frustra-
tion and anger out there about this,"
Sheldon said, "and I am very, very
sorry." Denying political motives, the
Republican mayor said the issue was
"lost in the shuffle."
The commission's chair, however,
disputed Sheldon's claim.
"This seems kind of fishy," said
Kathy Edgren, a commission mem-
ber and a former Democratic
councilmember. "I can't help but think
Mayor Sheldon engineered it this way

so we wouldn't get a fair chance to
vote on it with the number of people
out of town."
The night before the commission
meeting, Sheldon appointed Anne
Blanford Libert to the panel. Libert
was sworn injust prior to the meeting.
She voted against the council wage
hike. "We weren't presented with any-
thing to justify a raise," said Libert,
who on Dec.21 asked to table the vote
to research the issue of mayoral and
council pay.
"I saw a memo from Ingrid
Sheldon, but other than some anec-
dotal evidence from (1 st Ward Demo-
cratic Councilmember) Larry Hunter,
I didn't see anything that would jus-
tify a raise," she said.
A vote on compensation is re-
quired by the end of the year. The
wage increase automatically goes into
effect unless the council rejects it in a
two-thirds vote within 30 days.
In a handwritten memo to the com-
mission, Sheldon noted the council is
giving "serious consideration to mini-
mal if any wage increases to our staff."
She continued, "As elected offi-
cials we should lead the way and not
ask for any either."
Councilmembers annually earn
$8,800 and the mayor $16,500 under
a 1991 compensation increase.
Hunter said the wages relegate
council seats to "people with means
and the retired."

City questions mayor's role In wage increase

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By HOPE CALATI
DAILY NEWS EDITOR
A fallen candle caused a small fire in the Mary Markley
Residence Hall Dec. 15.
No one was injured in the fire and no structural damage
occurred. Smoke and heat harmed the contents of the
room in the 2200 wing, said Lt. Robert Lechtanski of the
Ann Arbor Fire Department.
Cleaning up the damage will cost more than $2,000, said
Alan Levy, public relations director of University Housing.
"It was completely ransacked," said Danny Levin, an
LSA first-year student who lives two rooms down the hall
from the fire-damaged room.
"The bed that the fire started on was completely
damaged," said Levin, adding that the room was covered
by a blanket of blackness.
Markley residents vacated the building for 45 minutes
and returned to a late dinner and smoky hallways.
"I thought it was going to be a wimpy little bit of
smoke, but it was bad," Levin said.
The smoke separation doors at Markley were propped
open during the fire, allowing smoke to spread throughout
the building, said Dennis Hasley, the city's fire marshal.

'I thought it was going to be a
wimpy little bit of smoke, but it was
bad.'
- Danny Levin
LSA first-year student
Hasley said the University is considering changing the
doors in the hall to a model that is propped open with
magnets and closes automatically when a fire alarm is
activated. He said the change would cost $100 per door.
"The students can help us and help themselves tremen-
dously by keeping those doors closed except when they
are passing through them," Hasley said.
Levy said, "I think what we're going to do is use this
as a learning tool.
"We took some pictures of the fire to show what
carelessness can cause."
The Housing Department is discussing the terms of the
lease with the resident whose candle started the fire.
"Burning candles is a violation of the lease," Levy said.

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phone: 663-5800 "

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