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April 15, 1998 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-04-15

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LOCAL/STATE

Michigan Daily - Wednesday, April 15, 1998 - 5

*STD rates high among
Michigan teen-agers

Cuttin', it up

DETROIT (AP) - The highest rates
of chlamydia and gonorrhea in Michigan
last year were found among those aged
15-19, even though state records show
the overall rates for most sexually trans-
mitted diseases fell statewide.
"It's a serious problem," said Mark
Wilson, program director for sexually
transmitted disease prevention at the
Detroit Department of Health.
"You're dealing with attitudes in a lot
of these cases. Young people of today
have the attitude that they have the
world ahead of them and it's not going
to happen to me."
Nearly three-fourths of the state's
reported cases of chlamydia - an
inflammation that can lead to death or
sterility if untreated - and more than half
of the cases of gonorrhea involved young
adults under age 25, the state Department
of Community Health reports.
Chlamydia - a parasite -- can lead to
infertility and tubal pregnancies.
Gonorrhea causes painful, burning urina-

tion and a puss-like discharge from the
urethra or vagina.
Michigan educators say parents need
to accept some responsibility for teach-
ing teens about the risks of sexually
transmitted diseases, The Detroit News
reported in a story yesterday.
Nationally, teens make up about one-
quarter of the 12 million reported cases
of sexually transmitted diseases, includ-
ing HIV and herpes, each year. That
means one out of four sexually active
teens will become infected with some
type of disease each year because of
risky behavior, the newspaper reported.
The Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention announced last month that it
is starting its most intense effort yet to
combat sexually transmitted diseases.
Over the next year, the agency will
encourage states to work with parents,
schools and local television stations to
start prevention programs. It will pursue
a nationwide effort to eliminate syphilis
and expand testing for chlamydia, which

has no symptoms in most women.
Health officials attribute the soaring
rates among Michigan teen-agers to a
number of factors: Ignorance, easy trans-
mission of some sexually transmitted dis-
eases, stealthy symptoms or reluctance to
get treatment, the News reported.
In the study of I1 states by
Advocates for Youth, a national teen
health organization, only Georgia fared
worse than Michigan in providing ser-
vices and teaching young people about
topics such as teen pregnancy and sex-
ually transmitted diseases.
The survey studied state policies in
10 areas including health education in
schools, school-based health care and
programs for youths outside of school.
Michigan fell short in three areas:
sex education for runaway, homeless
and delinquent youths; support ser-
vices for young gays and lesbians;
and access to confidential health ser-
vices such as HIV testing, counseling
and treatment.

ALLISON CANTER/Daily
Betty Lemmer and her granddaughter Mandy Lemmer construct origami yesterday at the Ann Arbor Public
Library.

Student causes severe dorm fire at
Northwestern Michigan College

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - A student at
Northwestern Michigan College has been charged
with setting a fire that severely damaged a dormi-
tory and injured nine residents; one resident of
the dorm was injured critically.
Michael Sheffer of Royal Oak, was arraigned yes-
terday in District Court on a charge of arson of a
dwelling house, a felony punishable by up to 20 years
in prison.
He was jailed on $50,000 bond and requested a
court-appointed lawyer for his preliminary hearing,
scheduled for April 21.
Sheffer told investigators he lit a piece of paper in
the lounge area of East Hall, then left for a late-night
walk with friends, Grand Traverse County Prosecutor
Dennis LaBelle said.
"He claims that someone dared him to light the

paper ... horsing around, according to him," LaBelle
said.
Meanwhile, 21-year-old Matthew Wooten remained
in critical but stable condition at Blodgett Hospital
Regional Burn Center in Grand Rapids, hospital
spokesman Bruce Rossman said.
Wooten's face, hands and back were burned in the
fire, which broke out about 2:30 a.m. Monday in the
lounge area of the residence hall.
The other injured students were treated for smoke
inhalation, said Kathleen Guy, spokesperson for the
3,800-student community college.
LaBelle said Sheffer, a first-year student, had
been partying with friends before igniting the
paper.
Sheffer claims he laid the burning paper on a table,
but another student found it on a couch and "thought

she had extinguished it," LaBelle said.
The flames and smoke apparently spread quickly,
tripping several alarms.
Some residents told the Traverse City Record-Eacle
they didn't take the alarms seriously at first because
pranksters sometimes set them off
Wooten was in his room at the time. Trying to find
his way out through the heavy smoke, he ended up in
a hallway leading to the lounge and "literally walked
into the fire" LaBelle said.
Wooten then cut himself trying to break a win-
dow.
lie was pulled to safety by Selena Somers, a resi-
dent assistant who heard his screams. Guy said.
East Hall, opened in 1967. consists of two wings,
each with 60 rooms. Officials planned to reopen one
wing this week.

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Owen proposes to take away
.drop-outs' driver's licenses

AA/EOE

LANSING (AP) - Democratic gubernatorial candidate
Larry Owen wants to give students a choice:
Stay in school, or hand over your car keys.
The East Lansing lawyer yesterday unveiled his plan to
take away the driver's licenses of students who seriously mis-
behave or drop out of school.
"A lack of respect is a major problem in our schools," he
said. With 26,000 dropouts last year, not keeping students in
school could have serious repercussions for their future and
for the state's, he said.
East Kentwood High School Principal Joe Beel said he
HARRISON
Continued from Page 1
Associate Vice President for University Relations Lisa
Baker said no discussion has taken place in connection
with the replacement of Harrison.
'H e's a finalist in this search, but he's still (at the University),"
Baker said. "It would be premature to speculate."
Hartford President Humphrey Tonkin announced that he
would step down from his position this past July to return
to teaching and spend more time with his family. Tonkin
will finish his presidential term June 30.
His departure follows a decade-long term during which he
improved the school's financial situation by eliminating a siz-
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thought the idea had promise.
"It is amazing what a significant thing that driver's license
is," he said. "I wouldn't be opposed to seeing something like
that, anything that would motivate kids to be here and to do
well while they're here."
But Jackson Northwest High School Principal Erik Bergh
said he isn't sure misbehaving students will be deterred by the
threat of a lost license.
"I've seen students who have had all kinds of driver's
license sanctions put on them tell me they were driving
anyway," Bergh said.
able budget deficit.
Hartford recently started a S150-million fund-raising cam-
paign to be spread across 10 years. Tonkin said he wants the
new president to be able to shape the campaign.
"We weren't getting as much income as we had hoped. This
is also a chance to build our alumni base," said Tom Jones.
director of media relations for the University of H artford.
The presidential search committee is chaired by Peter Eio,
vice chair of the University of Hartford Board of Regents and
president of LEGO Systems, Inc.
The search committee will seek input from all of the
University's constituencies - including faculty and staff, stu-
dents, alumni and others in order to establish the criteria used
to select a new president.
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