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September 03, 1997 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-09-03

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Source of
Nottled
fater
uestioned
sday
The sketch on the ocean-blue labels
w'rapped around bottles of Aquafina
rinking water looks just like a snow-
capped mountain range.
But the water, which is bottled by
lpsi-Cola Co. and has rocketed up the
sp es charts of an industry whose overall
sples are exploding, does not come from
a mountain spring at all. It's not even
a country well or a flowing stream.
:.It filtered tap water from 11 cities
aross the country - including
11ouston, Wichita, Kan., and Fresno,
Calif. - whose supplies may not
sjpring to mind as the most pristine or
rfreshing.
< As the public's passion for bottled
ter continues to heat up, a debate
y.the sources of the more than 3 mil-
lion gallons sold last year in the United
s has taken center stage.
The water merchants, ranging from
Pepsi-Cola and Perrier to a Georgia
landowner who adds clove and licorice
flavoring, look for ways to make the
water seem special and increase sales at
the same time.
'They argue about the value and pop-
ularity of minerals, the merits of
reverse osmosis and ozonation, the
advantages of having one water source
fveral, and the challenges of rising
duction.
Competitors complain that Pepsi-
Cola is misleading consumers with the
mountain sketch on bottles of "puri-
fied" Aquafina. The leading brands are
also keeping a close eye on the fast
growth of newcomer Dannon, which
pIays up its brand name (same as the
yogurt) rather than its sources.
.Neighbors of a Great Bear spring in
nsylvania charge that Perrier, which
s that regional brand and several
others, including Poland Spring and
Deer Park, plans to expand production
somuch that their trout streams and
wells could dry up.
,People here see this bottled water as
aJi)ury for yuppies vs. something they
ne4 to flush their toilets and take a
sle r, said Jerry Centofanti, regional
prigmm manager for water supply man-
ment at the Pennsylvania Department
-nvironmental Protection.
,Some bottlers say many of the "natur-
al spring waters" are not all that natural
beeause the water is trucked around and
there=-shot with ozone and ultraviolet
light'to kill bacteria before it is bottled.
he trick for bottlers is to sell their
bpads in a wide area - possibly the
wfle nation - without drowning in
high transportation expenses that can
f lceed the cost of the water itself,
o ,n as little as a few cents per bottle.
.S. sales of bottled water, including
wator cooler jugs, shot up 8 percent last
yearzo 3.1 million gallons, or 11.7 gal-
lons, a person, according to the
Beverage Marketing Corp. of New
York. That includes a nearly 25 percent
jump for plastic bottles holding 1.5
liters and less.
!It fits in with today's healthier
lifestyles," said Gary Hemphill, vice

digent of - Beverage Marketing,
a ng that bottled water has increas-
ingly become an alternative not just to
tap, water but also to soft drinks.
' The sales and per capita consump-
timn4evels for bottled water have more
thawtdoubled over the past 10 years -
faster growth than any other beverage
category except iced teas and sports
drinks. The industry even managed to
o ercome the discovery in 1990 that
es of cancer-causing benzene had
been found in some bottles of Perrier
sparkling water. Perrier temporarily
haltI bottling at a plant in France and
launched a worldwide recall.

The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 3, 1997 - 9A

Llama day

Tobacco companies boost
prices seven cents per pack

Raise in prices
expected to cover
legal settlements
NEW YORK (AP) - Major tobacco
companies raised wholesale cigarette
prices about 7 cents per pack yesterday
in what analysts saw as a down payment
on the smoking suit settlements that
would cost the industry billions of dol-
lars.
The increase was the second this
year, following a rise of about 5 cents a
pack in March. The latest increase
amounts to a rise of about 7.5 percent
in the wholesale price of cigarettes,
which should translate into a 4 percent
increase at retail.
Analysts said the latest increase
should cover the first-year costs of
legal settlements reached with the
states of Mississippi and Florida over
the states' claims to recover Medicaid
payments made to treat sick smokers.
They said the industry's quick move
to match the biggest cigarette maker,
Philip Morris USA, in raising prices
may be intended to encourage
Congress to approve a broader nation-
al legal settlement reached in June.

The White House is reviewing that
proposed $368.5 billion settlement
plan reached with a majority of state
attorneys general and various anti-
smoking activists.
Higher tobacco prices could reduce
demand for cigarettes by youngsters,
backers of the agreement say. But crit-
ics have called the settlement too gen-
erous to the tobacco industry and say it
is unfair to have current smokers
shouldering the costs.
The 7.5 percent wholesale price
increase would be the biggest in percent-
age terms since a 12 percent rise in late
1988, according to industry analyst Gary
Black of Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.
Black said it would generate about
$1.6 billion in extra revenue in the first
year, which he said would more than
offset the first-year payments required
under the settlements the industry has
struck under an $11.3 billion deal with
Florida and a $3.6 billion agreement
with Mississippi.
Black said if the national settlement
were approved, tobacco prices would
have to be raised 40 cents per pack to
meet the first year costs and an addition-
al 35 cents per pack over the next five
years.

Philip Morris, which makes the top-
selling Marlboro brand, told whole-
salers Friday that it was boosting prices
by $3.50 for every 1,000 cigarettes
,effective on orders the day after Labor
Day. There are 20 cigarettes to a pack.
Rivals R.J. Reynolds Tobacco,
maker of Winston and Camels, and
Brown & Williamson Tobacco, which
sells Kool, Carlton and Lucky Strikes,
followed suit.
Philip Morrs spokesperson Brendan
McCormick declined to say what
caused the increase. Reynolds
spokesperson Maura Ellis cited "our
increased costs of doing business" but
declined to elaborate.
Tom Fitzgerald, a spokesperson for
Brown & Williamson, said the recent
Florida and Mississippi settlements as
well as other factors played a role in the
price hike.
David Adelman, a tobacco analyst for
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, said raising
prices in increments could make it easier
for smokers to get used to higher prices
without driving them to quit because of a
large one-time boost. He said gradual
increases also could discourage vendors
from hoarding cigarettes in anticipation
of a big price jump.

AP PHOTO
Handlers helped Floyd and Pat Zopfl control a team of eight ponies and 64
llamas pulling a wagon through downtown Janesville, Wi during Monday's
Labor Day parade, setting a world record.
Couple iled in
bounty hunter o

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PHOENIX (AP) - Bounty hunters
wearing black ski masks and looking
for a bail jumper kicked in the front
door of a house, held children at gun-
point and shot a young couple to death
in a case of mistaken identity, police
said.
Three of the bounty hunters were in
custody Monday, including one who
has been charged with second-degree
murder and two hospitalized with gun-
shot wounds. Police were looking for
four others.
Investigators said they don't believe
the bail jumper was in the house and
may never have lived there..
"It's still a mystery why they went to
that house," said police Sgt. Mike
Torres.
The shootings have focused renewed
attention on Arizona laws that allow
bounty hunters to break down doors
and use guns to bring bail jumpers back
to jail. They don't need a court order or
warrant. They don't even need a license
to do what they do, police said.
"Whatever force necessary," said
Linda Ownbey of Liberty Bail Bonds,
the state's largest bail business. "It's
spelled out in the contract that people
have to sign."
In Sunday's shooting, the bounty
hunters were looking for an out-of-state
bail jumper who owed a California
bond company $25,000. Police said one
bounty hunter held a woman and her

three children at gunpoint while others
kicked down the door to the couple's
bedroom.
Killed were Chris Foote, 23, and his
21-year-old girlfriend, Spring Wright.
Police said Foote apparently managed
to shoot two of the bounty hunters with
a handgun before he died.
Luisa Sharrah, who lived in the
house, said she woke up to find two
men straddling her and tying her hands
with white cords.
"I was in bed with my two girls ...
then these two guys beat me in the head
with a Mag-Lite," she told The Arizona
Republic. "I kept screaming at them,
'What the hell do you want?"'
Sharrah said one bounty hunter held
her and her children - ages 12, 11, and
6 - at gunpoint.
The gunmen kicked down a door in
the home and were met by a volley of
bullets from Foote's gun, she said, but
the bounty hunters shot back.
David Brackney, 45, and Michael
Sanders, 40, were hospitalized in stable
condition with gunshot wounds to their
arms. Both had worn body armor.
Torres said they would likely be arrest-
ed and charged upon release from the
hospital.
Late Sunday, police arrested
Brackney's son, 20-year-old Matthew
Brackney, at a residence about a mile
from the shooting site. He was booked
on two counts of second-degree murder.

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