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January 25, 2005 - Image 3

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-01-25

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The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - 3

Elderly discuss
their efforts for
social change
" Elders of the community will share
their personal experiences with student
activists at a panel discussion tonight
from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Hussey Room of
the Michigan League.
Panelists participating in this dialogue
will address their involvement in vari-
ous social, political and civic issues of
the past and how the ambitions of their
generation contributed to social change.
The discussion is free and refreshments
will be served.
Michigan Union
holds Winterfest
this afternoon
Winterfest 2005 takes place today
from 4 to 8 p.m. on the second floor of
the Michigan Union.
The festival, which showcases
more than 150 student groups and
University departments, provides a
forum for members of the campus
community to be introduced to the
unique goals of the many organiza-
tions and campaigns on campus.
For more information, contact the
Office of Student Activities and Leader-
ship at 763-5900 or salead@umich.edu
Orchestra to play
at Hill Auditorium
- A University Philharmonic Orchestra
concert, featuring conductor Andrew
George, will be held tonight at 8 p.m. in
Hill Auditorium.
The program. sponsored by the
School of Music, will include a perfor-
mance by the University's 2005 Con-
certo winner Jeremy Benhammou.
Fire alarm goes
off in East Quad
due to burnt food
A fire alarm was intentionally set off
in East Quad Residence Hall early Mon-
day morning, according to Department
of Public Safety reports. The smoke
was caused by burnt food, and no other
problems were found.
Man hospitalized
after injuring
himself at Union
A subject was escorted to the Univer-
sity Hospital after injuring himself at
the Michigan Union Sunday morning,
Department of Public Safety said.
Person arrested

for trespassing
near C.C. Little
DPS arrested a subject for trespass-
ing outside of the C.C. Little Building
on Sunday night. DPS said they released
the subject pending authorization of a
In Daily History
Study finds that
Americans worry
more than before
Jan. 25, 1979 - According to a
survey conducted by the Universi-
ty's Institute for Social Research,
Americans reported having more
worries since the study had last been
conducted in 1957.
The percentage of respondents
reporting regular worrying had
grown from 32 percent to 51 per-
cent among Americans aged 20- to
29. The 30- to 39-year-old age group
fared almost the same as the young-
er group, with the percentage rising

Labor unions may
push ballot measure

LANSING (AP) - Labor unions pushing for
an increase in the state's minimum wage may
go to the voters to raise the rate if the Repub-
lican-controlled state Legislature doesn't take
up the issue.
Leaders of the AFL-CIO of Michigan and
Service Employees International Union said
yesterday they would prefer to see lawmakers
approve a package of bills proposed by House
and Senate Democrats to increase the mini-
mum wage from $5.15 to $7.15 over two years.
But they have not ruled out getting the issue on
the 2006 general election ballot.
"This has to be done one way or another,"
state AFL-CIO president Mark Gaffney said
during a Capitol news conference to officially
announce the proposed legislation.
Vaughn Thompson, director of the SEIU
Michigan State Council, said voters would
sign off on an increase in the minimum wage
because it hasn't gone up since 1997 when the
federal government set it at its current level.
Supporters of a higher minimum wage would
have to collect 254,206 petition signatures
from Michigan voters to get an initiative on
next year's ballot.
A ballot measure may be the only way to
increase the minimum wage in Michigan
because Republican leaders in the House and
Senate do not appear willing to sign off on the
Democrats' plan.
GOP House Speaker Craig DeRoche of Novi
argued that it would increase labor costs and
force employers to cut jobs and increase prices
as the state's economy continues to struggle.
"I think that the voters very clearly would
understand that this is a job-killing proposal
and that this is going to create a worse econom-
ic environment in Michigan, not a better one,"

he said during a news conference in his Capitol
A number of business groups also plan to
fight the Democrats' minimum wage proposal,
including the Detroit Regional Chamber, Small
Business Association of Michigan and the
Michigan Restaurant Association.
However, Republican Senate Majority Leader
Ken Sikkema of Wyoming did not immediately
dismiss the proposal.
Spokesman Ari Adler said supporters must
show that the higher minimum wage would cre-
ate jobs.
"I wouldn't say that it's dead on arrival, but
it's in need of serious life support," Adler said.
"It will go to a committee and we will consider
it. We're willing to listen to both sides."
There is not much time for lawmakers to
debate the Democrats' proposal. The first 50-
cent increase in the minimum wage is set for
July 1 under their plan.
Gaffney said he and other union leaders
will monitor legislative action on the proposed
increase before deciding whether to go ahead
with a ballot measure. He said they also will
look at the campaigns of successful minimum
wage ballot proposals in the states of Florida
and Nevada.
Voters in Florida and Nevada voted over-
whelmingly in November to increase the mini-
mum wage by $1 in both states.
Measures in both states also tied future min-
imum wage increases to the rate of inflation.
Florida's higher minimum wage is scheduled
to take effect May 2.
Voters in Nevada have to vote again on the
proposal in 2006 because measures to change
that state's constitution must be passed twice
by voters.

Teacher gets life in prison for killing

PONTIAC (AP) - An elementary school
teacher who hacked her husband to death with a
hatchet was sentenced Monday to life in prison
without the possibility of parole.
Before she was sentenced, Nancy Seaman read
a statement in which she called the jury's guilty
verdict "a miscarriage of justice" and a "tragic
mistake." She said she would appeal.
"I did not intend or plan to kill my husband,"
Seaman said.
Prosecutors said Seaman argued with her hus-
band, Robert, last Mother's Day, went to Home
Depot to buy a hatchet, returned to their Farm-
ington Hills home and killed him with it. Police
found Robert Seaman's body in his wife's sport
utility vehicle a few days later.

Nancy Seaman claimed that she bought the
hatchet for yard work and that the couple got
into an argument the next morning in which
her husband of 31 years menaced her with a
steak knife. She said she grabbed the nearest
thing to defend herself.
"I fought like my life depended on it because
it did," Seaman said Monday. "If I didn't kill
him, he would have killed me. That's how it
usually ends for abused women."
Oakland County Circuit Court Judge John
McDonald called the case "the most troubling, tragic
and sad" he had seen in his 12 years on the bench.
He refuted Seaman's accusations that the jury
was inattentive and had concluded she was guilty
before the trial even started.;

"If I didn't kill him, he would of killed me."
- Nancy Seamen
Former teacher who will now be serving life in prison for killing her husband

"I don't doubt for a minute that you were
physically and emotionally abused. I don't
think the jury doubted it," McDonald said.
But he said the jurors did not believe the abuse
was so severe that it excused killing her husband.He
encouraged her to work for the cause of encourag-
ing battered woman to leave their abusers "before
it's too late."

"I feel pity for you, and I feel pity for your fam-
ily," the judge said.
Prosecutors said Seaman took elaborate steps
to cover up her crime, wrapping the body in a tarp
and painting the walls and bleaching the floor of
the garage where the killing took place. She also
shoplifted another hatchet and returned it to
Home Depot with her original receipt.

Michigan native
returns to help
run Iraqi elections

SOUTHGATE (AP) - John Gattorn
has surveyed human rights abuses in
Iraq, delivered aid to Liberia and regis-
tered voters in Bosnia. He has studied
art in Egypt and monitored an election
in East Timor.
But this month, his work brought him
much closer to home. The Detroit-born
Gattorn is running the Iraqi election
effort in Michigan, supervising 500
election workers in the giant warehouse
where several thousand Iraqis were
expected to register and vote. Between
constant cell phone calls, Gattorn orga-
nizes security guards and fields ques-
tions on Iraqi election law. He says it is
the toughest job he has ever had.
"I've never been given a three-week
time frame to set up an election in my
life, and that is beyond a challenge,"
said Gattorn, 35, who lives in Washing-
ton, D.C., and is on leave from his job
as manager of aid to Liberia at the U.S.
Agency for International Development.
Iraqis eligible to vote have until today
to register. Voting is scheduled to begin
Friday and last through Sunday.
Gattorn, who grew up in Grosse
Pointe Shores, planned to become an art
historian specializing in ancient Egypt
when he entered the University of Colo-
rado. But his focus changed after spend-
ing his junior year in Cairo during the
Persian Gulf War.
When he returned to the United
States, Gattorn studied foreign policy
and Arabic. Later, he earned a master's
degree in international communica-
tions from American University while
researching human rights violations at
Amnesty International.
Gattorn worked his first international
election in Bosnia in 1997, when the
Organization for Security and Coopera-
tion in Europe - which was running the
election - hired him to register voters.
The next year, he worked with OSCE on
an election in Kosovo, setting up polling
places in 65 villages and advising politi-

ple, that Iraq decided to allow people
outside the country to vote as long as
their fathers are Iraqi. When election
workers ask him how far away politi-
cal signs can be posted from the polling
site, he knows it is exactly 100 meters.
"Elections are a science. You can't
just set the rules and regulations at the
convenience of your environment," Gat-
torn said. "That's just been hard for peo-
ple to understand.... My only answer is,
'The electoral law of Iraq says so.' "
Although he is not of Middle East-
ern descent, Gattorn was no stranger
to Michigan's Arab-American commu-
nity. After college, he spent two years
supervising youth programs at the Arab
Community Center for Economic and
Social Services in Dearborn.
Gattorn also gained some familiarity
with Iraq in 2003, when he was part of
a USAID team that went to Iraq after
the U.S. invasion. The team, which was
based in northern Iraq for six months,
confirmed the existence of former dicta-
tor Saddam Hussein's mass graves.
But Gattorn knew little about Mich-
igan's Iraqi community when he was
hired in December to run the election by
the Swiss-based International Organi-
zation for Migration. Working out of his
rental car, he organized a meeting with
the Network of Iraqi American Organi-
zations, a Michigan-based coalition of
19 groups that immediately committed
Abdulrasul al-Hayder, an Iraqi from
Detroit who helped Gattorn organize
the election, said Gattorn is a good lis-
tener who has earned the respect of the
"He is straight, determined and
focused on the central issues," al-Hay-
der said. "He doesn't like to lose time or
effort in side things. He goes directly to
the center of any matter."
Not everything has gone perfectly.
Many Iraqis were disappointed with the
Southgate location, which is far from the


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