Don't tap the glass!
The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 8, 2003 - 3A
Software helps visually
impaired Mich. voters
found sleeping in
West Hall lounge
A staff member reported a suspi-
cious-looking man sleeping in the
staff lounge in the left building of
West Hall on Monday.
He was described as a black male
about 20 to 30 years old, 5-foot-10-
inch tall, 185 pounds with a stubble
beard, spiked twist braids in hair
and wearing a black wool skull hat,
tan jacket, blue shirt and brown
DPS was unable to locate the sus-
pect, who was gone by the time of
arrival. He was last seen walking on
South University Avenue toward the
A coffee pot was also reported as
missing last Friday from the student
lounge in West Hall.
A DPS officer discovered racist
graffiti near East Quadrangle on
Tuesday. A unit responded, and was
able to remove all of the graffiti. No
other damage was found, and there
are no suspects.
Two people were found trespass-
ing outside of the C.C. Little sci-
ence building Sunday evening.
Neither were affiliated with the
University, but were arrested and
taken to the DPS station. Both were
Ice that formed during winter
break due to an open window
caused property damage in a North-
wood I apartment, according to a
DPS report Tuesday.
The damage was confined to the
apartment's radiator, and also
,caused frozen pipes, which left
water damage. The estimated cost is
A leaking steam pipe set off
smoke detectors in the Dennison
Building Tuesday. The alarm is now
back in service.
Woman taken to
hospital after pill
A woman was rushed to the Uni-
yersity Hospital emergency room
after an overdose on a small amount
of pills in the Northwood V apart-
The victim was conscious while
being transported to the hospital by
Huron Valley Ambulence. The inci-
dent did not appear to be intention-
al, and was phoned in by a witness.
In Thayer carport
DPS gave a verbal warning to a
56-year-old man trespassing in
Thayer Carport. No report was
filed, and a warrant check was neg-
A male was arrested at the
Ronald McDonald House on Tues-
day after a witness saw him pushing
and possibly choking his girlfriend,
who was staying with him at the
The victim did not sustain serious
Residence hall staff members
reported that a vacuum cleaner was
stolen from Mary Markley Resi-
dence Hall Tuesday from the third
floor, 3300 corridor. There are no
suspects, and the value of the dam-
age is not known.
LANSING (AP) - Ever since he began voting,
Fred Wurtzel has needed someone to help him
read a ballot and mark his choices.
But computer software that reads the list of
Democrats running for president aloud will
enable Wurtzel and others who are visually
impaired to vote privately for the first time,
using the Internet.
Wurtzel demonstrated the software yesterday
during a news conference at the Library of
"I've never yet voted with a totally secret ballot.
This is a groundbreaking event in my life," said
Wurtzel, president of the National Federation of
the Blind of Michigan.
He added that the Michigan Democratic
Party's decision to offer Internet voting and to
set up the special software has made the Feb.
7 presidential caucuses the most accessible
election for the blind in Michigan history.
"The measures taken in this caucus to assist blind
voters and others with disabilities further the Michi-
gan Democratic Party's long-standing commitment
to making voting easier for all voters," said party
Executive Chairman Mark Brewer.
"We hope that future elections in Michigan will
follow the steps taken by the MDP increasing
greater access to all voters."
Visually impaired voters will still need the help
of a sighted person to fill out a ballot application
and to read them their ballot user name and access
code once that information is mailed to them by
the party, Brewer said.
But once they sign onto the party's Internet
voting site, the software gives them verbal
prompts on when to enter their user name and
Continued from Page 1A
have been speaking about Israel's occupation of
the Palestinian territories. Shafi has spoken at
City Council meetings about this issue in the
Hieftje said the resolution was not a response
to these frequent speakers.
He said there were concerns that citizens who
wanted to speak about agenda items were being
turned away since all reserved time slots were
filled.But Shafi added that other important
issues have been brought to the council's atten-
tion via the public commentary section, such as
Mary Bejian, president of the American Civil
Liberties Union chapter in Washtenaw County,
also cited homelessness as an example of the
effective use of the public commentary section.
According to Bejian, the city did not want to
address the issues of homelessness and afford-
able housing in the 1980s.
The city's current stance is that these are
important issues facing the community.
"Citizen activists and homeless people them-
"The measures taken in this
caucus to assist blind voters
and others with disabilities
further the Michigan
Democratic Party's long-
standing commitment to
making voting easier for all
- Mark Brewer
Executive Chairman, Michigan Democratic Party
access code, plus information on their date of
birth and city of birth.
All voters casting their votes over the Internet
will be asked for that information as a security
The ballot then will appear on the screen and
the candidates' names will be read, allowing visu-
ally impaired voters to select one. Voters also will
be able to cast a vote for a write-in candidate or
say they are uncommitted.
Richard Bernstein, a Farmington Hills lawyer
whose vision is impaired, said the party's efforts
show that "what is good for the disabled is good
for the general public."
"This is fantastic for senior citizens," he
said of the new voting method. "It's going to
provide accessibility to people who have trou-
selves spoke during Public Comment time on a
regular basis for years before the city ever put a
proposal to address homelessness on a Council
meeting agenda," she said.
Like Shafi, Bejian said the ACLU doesn't
believe the current policy needs to be changed.
"Citizen input is valuable to council members
and should be enhanced rather than curtailed,"
The Public Commentary-General Time at the
end of City Council meetings would remain the
same under the resolution. There is no limit to
the number of people who can speak at this
time, but speakers are limited to four minutes.
But City Council meetings do not typically
end until 11 p.m. or midnight and few citizens
stay until the Public Commentary-General Time
Lowenstein said citizens who are concerned
about a certain issue can also contact their City
Council ward representatives by letter, e-mail or
Hieftje said he holds office hours from 11
a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fridays. Anyone who calls his
office can have a 15-minute appointment to talk
Aaron Sperling, manager of Soldan's Feeds & Pet Supplies in Bay City, tries to
attract a genetically-modified "glofish", the nation's first genetically engineered
pet that glows in the dark, displayed in an observation container Monday.
Michigan ranks average
in school quality study
LANSING (AP) - Michigan scored with
the national average in a study of school
quality released yesterday, but received a
'D+' for its efforts to improve teacher quali-
The annual Quality Counts report by Edu-
cation Week, funded by the Pew Charitable
Trust, gave each state an overall grade, based
on grades in teacher quality, standards and
accountability, school climate, state spending
for education and equity in spending.
Michigan got a 'B' in standards and
accountability, a 'C' in school climate, a
'B+' for spending and a 'C' for equity in
spending. The overall grade was a 'C+.'
The report said Michigan doesn't offer
performance assessments for new teachers
already in the classroom, which significantly
lowered its grade.
State Superintendent Tom Watkins said the
report card is useful.
He said the state will strive to improve.
This year's Quality Counts report also
focused on states' efforts to educate students
Overall, states are struggling to meet the
requirements under the federal No Child Left
Behind act that students with disabilities
score proficient or higher by the 2013-14
school year, the report said.
On the Michigan Educational Assessment
Program tests taken last school year, 46 per-
cent of fourth-graders with disabilities
scored at the proficient level or above in
reading, compared to 62 percent of general
State licenses cryonics
coipses to continue
LANSING (AP) - The state licensed a Macomb County cryonics lab as
a cemetery yesterday, allowing it to continue freezing corpses in liquid
nitrogen in the hopes that future technological and medical advances will
allow for a second shot at life.
The state Department of Labor and Economic Growth ordered the Cry-
onics Institute, located in Clinton Township, to stop freezing bodies in
The order came after it was discovered the nonprofit organization didn't
have a license. Cryonics Institute president Ben Best said he's happy the
dispute is resolved.
"While we believe that CI's activities are very different from those con-
templated by the Michigan laws governing cemeteries and mortuary sci-
ence, we are ready to become licensed, and to permit oversight by DLEG
staff," Best said in a news release.
State labor department director David Hollister said he's pleased the
institute is a licensed facility, allowing state oversight of its operations.
A state license allows the institute to continue operating as it has, but it
now is subject to audits, inspections and financial reporting.
The institute has agreed to set aside funds in a trust to cover mainte-
It also agreed that the beginning steps of the freezing process will be
done at licensed funeral establishments by licensed morticians. Previously,
the process was conducted by licensed morticians at the institute.
Patients will continue to be stored in liquid nitrogen at Cryonics Insti-
tute's facility. The Cryonics Institute has frozen 50 corpses and has more
than 400 members, the state said.
The body of baseball legend Ted Williams is frozen in a Scottsdale,
Ariz., cryonics lab, which could be one of the only other labs of its kind in
the United States.
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