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April 20, 2005 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-04-20

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Nation receives 'D-'
for traffic signals

NEWS

A study found that it would
cost $965 million per year to fix
the inefficiency of the system
WASHINGTON (AP) - Backed up at a
traffic light? Frustrated when you hit a red
light only a block after driving through a
green? Odds are, those traffic signals may
need some work.
A report card issued last Wednesday gives the
nation an overall grade of a D-minus for traffic
signal operation. The study said the inefficiency
leads to frustration and unnecessary delays for
motorists, wasted fuel and more air pollution,
as vehicles constantly stop and go.
"Everyone knows the traffic signals turn
red, yellow and green," said Shelley Row of the
Washington-based Institute of Transportation
Engineers. "It's not about them changing colors.
It's about them operating efficiently."
The report card, prepared by a coalition of
transportation groups, was based on self-assess-
ment surveys filled out last fall by 378 traffic
agencies in 49 states.
It measured the way traffic agencies man-

age their systems, review traffic signal timing,
maintain an inventory of traffic data and pro-
vide adequate staffing.
Among the findings:
68 percent said they either have no docu-
mented management plan for their traffic signal
operation or they simply respond to problem
intersections as they happen.
71 percent don't have staff to monitor traf-
fic before and after normal working hours.
* 57 percent said they don't conduct routine
reviews of traffic signals within three years or
they only address problems as they arise.
The report card describes a widespread inad-
equacy of resources for the monitoring and
coordinating of traffic signals. It concludes that
the nation's system could receive an "A" grade
for $965 million a year.
It also contends that the improvements could lead
to less time battling traffic and reductions in fuel
consumption and harmful emissions from vehicles.
Many communities have not completed a
systemwide retiming of their traffic lights in a
decade, said Phil Tarnoff, director of the Center for
Advanced Transportation Technology at the Uni-
versity of Maryland.

*

HOUSING
Continued from page 1
agreed to share the expenses of renting one
housing unit, each of them is actually responsible
for the total.
"It's not that person A owes $100 a month, it's
that person A potentially owes $400 a month and
so does B and so does C and so does D. As long as
everyone is paying it's fine, but if any one of those
people drop out, the remaining persons are liable,"
Lewis said.
Other terms he said can be tricky for students
are "prep fee" and "cleaning fee," because students
are often unaware of what each entails - and
knowing what the terms mean can prevent being
ripped-off. A landlord cannot charge a tenant a
cleaning fee that would be used to clean the house
before his move-in date because Ann Arbor's city
code requires landlords to clean housing units
before tenants move in. On the other hand, it is
legal for a landlord to charge a cleaning fee in
advance for cleaning that will done after a tenant's
lease expires. This cleaning fee, however, cannot

be deducted from the security deposit.
As for the use of prep fees, Lewis stresses that
the lessee needs to ask the landlord exactly what
this fee is going to cover.
"Some of them are outrageous," said Lewis, who
said the fee is legal when applied toward the costs
of certain procedures like background checks.
Even if a tenant and landlord make it through
the year without too many troubles, the security
deposit can pose it's own set of issues. Many stu-
dents agree that this can be a grueling process
in which landlords often make unreasonable or
unwarranted deductions.
Lewis suggests the best way to avoid these
deductions is to thoroughly fill out the checklist
given to tenants during move-in.
"Probably one of the most important steps in
keeping your deposit at the end of your lease is
writing a very good security deposit checklist at
the beginning of your lease and documenting the
condition of the apartment when you move in,"
Lewis said. "Tenants need to go room by room
and be as picky as they can be. Don't ignore little
things," said Lewis, who recommended tenants

take incoming and outgoing photos as additional
evidence.
These checklists can be compared to those made
by the landlord during move-out, distinguishing
any prior damage from damage caused by the cur-
rent lessee. By law, a landlord cannot charge for
damage due to natural wear and tear on the unit,
Lewis said, adding that is also illegal to charge for
cleaning required after move-out.
"I have watched landlords try and nickel-and-
dime those deposits," he said. "I have seen some
that charge $5 for replacing a burnt-out light bulb."
Beyond the concern of unwarranted deductions,
some students are worried their landlords may
never refund their security deposits at all.
LSA junior Wajeeha Shuttari has been unsuc-
cessful at getting her security deposit back. Shut-
tari and her former roommates, whose lease ended
last August, have yet to get their $1,200 security
deposit from their former landlord. A few weeks
ago, she called the landlord - who leases an
apartment in Tower Plaza but is not affiliated with'
the company - to ask for the deposit but said her
landlord brushed her concern aside, leaving her

frustrated and without the deposit.
One of the factors she said played a part in
the debacle is that she and her roommates never
received a copy of the lease, preventing her from
knowing what the lease said about security deposit
return policies like forwarding her deposit to her
new address.
"I want students to make sure they have a copy
of the lease," Shuttari advised.
To better ensure the security deposit return
runs smoothly, Lewis said students must provide
an address where the deposit can be sent to the
tenant upon moving out. This must be completed
within four days of moving out of the housing
unit. Once this phase is complete, the landlord
has 30 days to either return the security deposit
or send a written statement explaining why he
is deducting money from the deposit. If a tenant
receives a list of deductions, he then has seven
days to respond with objections. If there are
objections, the landlord then has a total of 45 days
from the date of moving out to either sue the ten-
ant in small claims court or reach an agreement
with the tenant, Lewis said.

Lewis added that students frequently think they
cannot pay the last month's rent and instead rely
on the security deposit to cover the rent. This is
not a strictly legitimate practice unless the landlord
agrees to this, although most do not because they
want to have the full security deposit in case they
need to make repairs to the apartment that would
be deducted from the deposit.
Students often do not realize they are allowed to
withhold rent if the landlord fails to make housing
repairs after he has been notified in writing and
given a reasonable amount of time to fix the prob-
lem, Lewis said. The tenant is not obligated to pay
full rent if the documented repairs are not made.
Lewis warns this may not be as easy as it seems.
Landlords who contest the claims can sue the ten-
ant in court, where a judge will decide who is at
fault and if withholding rent was warranted.
If the tenant does not want to withhold rent, he
can deduct the repair, which is when the tenant
tells the landlord in advance that he will make the
minor repairs himself and then bills the landlord
for the repairs or deducts the cost of the repairs
from his rent.

PORN
Continued from page 1.
pay you for photos which are required,
but we may pay for video if we like
what we see."
Posts on the site's Yahoo Group state
that the models' pictures will be funneled
to other pornography sites and that models
will earn a 15-percent commission after
the completion of nine videos. It goes on
to say that the website is "a good opportu-
nity to build up your resume for those who
are serious about making a career out of
the industry."
Department of Public Safety spokes-
woman Diane Brown said the minimum
charge for engaging in sex or pornogra-
phy in public places would be indecent
exposure, which could qualify as a mis-
demeanor with up to one year in jail and
a $1,000 fine.
Ward's claim that he was filming in
dorms also violates University residence
hall policies. Before videotaping in resi-
dence halls for commercial purposes,
students must go through an approval
process. The Housing lease also prohibits
students from running a commercial busi-

ness out of their dorm rooms.
Peterson stressed that the University is
most concerned with the often negative.
emotional and psychological implications
of participating in pornography.
"People in this business can make a lot
of promises; some might not be able to fol-
low through -even financially," Peterson
said. " We don't want people to be exploit-
ed. Problems of fame and fortune might
not materialize, since the person just wants
to make a quick buck off of you."
A website proprietor posted a response
to Detroit Local 4's coverage of the story
on wwwmidwestxbois.com.
"Please keep in mind these are adults
we are speaking of," the proprietor
wrote. "They are capable of making
their own decisions."
Frederic MacDonald-Dennis, direc-
tor of the University's Office of LGBT
Affairs, sent an e-mail like the Universi-
ty's to the LGBT community.
"We fully support your rights to do
with your bodies as you choose," Mac-
Donald-Dennis wrote. "However, we do
strongly encourage you to think carefully
about how your images may be used by
people who do not have your best inter-

ests in mind."
The spokespeople of various universi-
ties across the state said they had been
notified of the "College Campus Inva-
sion Tour" but had not found evidence
that filming had actually taken place on
their campuses.
The website states that every Saturday
in April the pornography producers will
be holding appointments at EMU.
EMU spokesman Ward Mullens said he
does not believe MidwestXBois has been
conducting meetings on the EMU cam-
pus because no one has requested rooms
or put up flyers recruiting models. But he
maintains it is possible the university has
missed something because of the large
size of the campus.
GVSU spokeswoman Mary Eileen
Lyon said the GVSU administration is
aware of the situation but has found no
evidence of it.
"We made inquiries, everyone said no,
and that's where we sit at the moment,"
she said. "It sounded like some other cam-
puses were a little busier than we were."
The Yahoo group says some of the
models also come from Illinois, Ohio
and Indiana.

CHARITY
Continued from page 3
Lauren Rueber, a Kinesiology
senior and co-director of Greek
Week.
"I think it's the most reward-
ing aspect of the week."
Another highlight was "Mr.
Greek Week" - a mock beauty
pageant for fraternity members.
Lisa Wood, an LSA senior and
philanthropy chair for Alpha
Delta Phi, said the event raised
about $4,000.
Greek Week culminated with
the "Sing and Variety" show, in
which different teams performed
song-and-dance routines after
long months of practice.
"All the teams worked for
months on end to put together a
truly fantastic musical and dance
competition," Krasnov said.
Lindsay Fediuk, an LSA
junior and spokeswoman for
the Panhellenic Association,
said she was proud of the Greek
community and its involvement

in philanthropy.
"It was great to see everybody
wearing their letters, proud to be
Greek and working for a philan-
thropic cause," she said.
Travis Foley, co-director of
the Greek Week steering com-
mittee, said much of the money
raised was due to the time and
effort of individual houses and
that many donations came from
local businesses, including Big
Ten Burrito, STA Travel and
Buffalo Wild Wings. Sponsors
also included Apple Computer
and the Necto.
The funds raised this year will
be distributed to several chari-
ties, including the Coach Carr
Fund, which funds patient care
at the University Cancer Center,
the Camp Heartland, the Make-
a-Wish Foundation, a group that
tries to enrich the lives of termi-
nally ill children and the Cancer
Wellness Community, which
will open in Ann Arbor next year
and will help prevent, detect and
treat cancer.

INTERNSH IPS
Continued from page 3
Despite the growing job market,
Teicher said competition was intense
for available positions.
Engineering sophomore Crystal
Miranda experienced similar dif-
ficulty when applying for chemical
engineering positions this summer.
"I got a lot of interviews, but (no
one) wanted me," she said. It took
10 applications before Miranda final-
ly found an internship at appliance
manufacturer Whirlpool.

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Trash Codes for the City of Ann Arbor
1. Place refuse & recycling at curb by 7 a.m. on the weekly
pickup day or the day before. Check online map for day
2. agallrefuse. All trash must be contained in plastic trash
bags at the curb, up to 50pounds/bag. Don't block dunpsters.
3. Prepay $30 for each two cubic yards of bulky items at
the curb, such as sofas, mattresses, computers, furniture4
Phone the City's Call Center (734) 994-2807 during business
hours to arrangefor bulkpickups. Visa and MasterCard are
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