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January 24, 2006 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-01-24

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NEWS

The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - 3

ON CAMPUS
Festifall's little
* brother, Winterfest,
is tonight in Union
The Michigan Student Assembly will
hold Winterfest 2006 at the Michigan
Union from 4 to 8 pm. today. More than
150 student groups and University depart-
ments will be on hand to talk with stu-
dents and give them information about
their organizations.
Hopwood award
winners to be
announced
The fall term Hopwood Award winners
will be announced today on the fourth
floor of the Rackham Graduate School in
the ampitheatre 3:30 pim.. English Prof.
Alice Fulton will read poetry at the event.
b Frat to host Big
Ten Blood Battle
The Alpha Phi Omega fraternity is
holding a Blood Battle tomorrow. The
University will compete with six other
Big Ten schools to determine who can
collect the most blood. Students can
donate blood at Bursley Residence
Hall today between 2 and 8 p.m.
CRIME
NOTES
Psychiatric patient
Pthrows chair,
causes damage
A subject was rushed to the University
Hospital Emergency Room early Sunday
morning, the Department of Public Safety
reported. The subject threw a chair for
an unknown reason in a seclusion room,
breaking glass. No other damage to the
room was reported.
Student's laptop
stolen in UGLi
A student reported that his Fujitsu laptop
was stolen from his backpack Sunday night
at the Shapiro Undergraduate Library. He
left his backpack unattended on the second
floor and returned to find his laptop miss-
ing. There are currently no suspects.
Asault victim
admitted to hospital
A subject was assaulted in Ann Arbor
on Sunday afternoon. The subject was
admitted to the University Hospital at 5:29
pm. The Ann Arbor Police Department
was contacted and is sending an officer to
meet with the subject.
THIS DAY
In Daily History

Police still have
no suspects in
econ fire
Jan. 24, 1982 - The search for sus-
pects in the Economics Building fire that
took place on Christmas Eve continues,
according to the Ann Arbor Police and
Fire departments. Efforts to salvage
research materials and books are under-
way. The building's fate will remain
undetermined for at least two more
weeks, according to University officials.
Police Chief William Corbett
called for the public's assistance in
r capturing the arsonist on Friday. He
urged anyone with information to
contact the police.
In the meantime, the economics
department faculty and staff have
been relocated to the old St. Joseph
Hospital building on Ingalls Street.
Faculty and staff are upbeat about
their new quarters aside from the
fact that they are no longer on cam-
pus. This has aggravated several stu-
dents who have been forced to walk
a half mile in the cold to meet with
their professors.
In order to minimize professors'
travel time, the department is hop-
ing to relocate several classes to the
Frieze and Modern Languages build-
ings, according to Associate Chairman
Richard Porter.

Ford announces the closing of 14 plants

Thousands ofjobs in
Michigan will be lost as part of
Ford's restructuring efforts
LANSING (AP) - Michigan's Democratic
governor and Republican legislative leaders
renewed their calls to diversify the state's econ-
omy after Ford Motor Co. announced yesterday
it would close the Wixom assembly plant and
13 other facilities.
But the two sides took different approaches
on how to do that.
House Speaker Craig DeRoche of Novi and
Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema of Wyo-
ming, both Republicans, emphasized cutting
more business taxes and getting rid of some
regulatory oversight.
Gov. Jennifer Granholmsaid the state should begin
looking at new uses for the Wixom plant and new
ways to compete for future manufacturing facilities.
"We want to plan for what comes next for the
site and for the workers who are affected," Gra-
nholm said in a telephone interview with The
Associated Press.
More than 1,500 jobs at the Wixom assembly
plant, where the Lincoln Town Car, Lincoln LS
and Ford GT are made, will be cut by 2008.
The Michigan job losses were part of Ford's
overall restructuring effort that will cut up to
30,000 jobs and idle 14 facilities.
DeRoche, whose district includes the Wixom
plant, said it's a good time to review the state's
ability to compete for nonmanufacturing jobs
in a new economy.
"We've got to get back to basics: Cut taxes;
build the roads and infrastructure needed to
move goods and services; provide an educated
and skilled work force; eliminate red tape; and
break down the barriers anchoring Michigan's
economy in last place," he said in a statement.
Sikkema said the state needs to reform K-12
education to put more emphasis on higher edu-

cation, limit government spending and support
small businesses by cutting taxes and improv-
ing the state's regulatory environment.
"We need to show the world we are serious
about change and eliminate this environment of
uncertainty that is turning job providers away
from our state," he said in a news release.
Michigan's unemployment rate continues
to hover well above the national average. The
seasonally adjusted jobless rate for December
was 6.7 percent, up one-tenth of a percent from
November; the U.S. unemployment rate for
December was 4.9 percent.
Granholm said she and other state officials tried
everything they could to keep the Wixom plant open.
"The whole array of tools in our toolbox was
brought out," the governor said. "Every kind of
tax incentive was out on the table but they had
overcapacity issues they had to deal with."
The state also had new laws on the books to
give tax relief to manufacturers hard hit by the
changing economy, but Granholm said tax cuts
aren't the answer to every economic problem.
House Republicans are pushing additional
business tax cuts as one way to help revive the
state's economy. They plan to vote today on
more tax cuts - this time for small businesses.
The measure is expected to pass because the
GOP has a majority in the House.
The legislation, already approved by the
Senate, would cut state taxes in half for 35,000
small businesses. Businesses that pay an alter-
native to the state's main business tax would
see their rate drop from 2 percent to 1 percent
under the bill. The cut would save those busi-
nesses an average of $686 annually.
Granholm has spoken out against the pro-
posed tax cut because the legislation does not
offset the lost revenue, which the nonpartisan
House Fiscal Agency estimated would be about
$21 million for this year's general fund and $29
million for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.

Ford plant worker Steve Mendenhall talks during an interview yesterday In Batavia, Ohio,
about yesterday's announcement that production will cease at Ford's Batavia plant in 2008.

The governor and Democratic U.S. Sen-
ate Debbie Stabenow of Lansing said Ford's
announcement shows that the federal govern-
ment needs to better enforce fair trade laws and
improve the health care system that puts domes-
tic automakers at an economic disadvantage.
"The long-term strategy cannot just be cut-
ting jobs and cutting salaries," Stabenow said.
U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Brighton) listed

other changes the federal government needs to
make to help automakers such as Ford, includ-
ing ending Asian currency manipulation,
which he said puts U.S. workers at a competi-
tive disadvantage.
He also said energy costs need to be brought
under control, health care needs to be made more
affordable for workers and employers, and tort and
pension laws should be changed.

Republicans plan to
reward workers for
healthy behavior

Unhealthy behaviors are
said to add to health care
costs by 25 percent
LANSING (AP) - Senate Republicans
are renewing efforts to reward people for
exercising and not smoking, a move they
say will drive down health care costs.
Legislation unveiled yesterday by state
Sen. Tom George would charge Medicaid
patients less for services if they exercise
regularly and don't smoke, and give state
contracting preferences to businesses that
have employee wellness programs.
Other bills would let health insurers
provide better rates to small businesses
that employ fewer smokers, require ele-
mentary schools to offer physical educa-
tion for 30 minutes at least two days a
week and establish a wellness program
for state employees. Wellness programs
typically offer health screenings, exercise
training and nutrition advice to workers.
George, an anesthesiologist from Por-
tage, said unhealthy behaviors are known
to contribute to at least 25 percent of
health care costs.
"We can't control aging of our popu-
lation," he told reporters. "New medical
technologies that we rely on are gener-
ally beneficial. But we can control our

own behavior."
The Medicaid proposal isn't new. It
stalled in budget negotiations last year, so
Republicans will try to address the issue
outside the budget process, George said.
The senator also proposed bills last
fall that would require insurance com-
panies and health maintenance orga-
nizations to reward people for healthy
behavior, though companies wouldn't
have to buy the insurance coverage.
Hearings will be held on those bills in
the spring, George said.
George said high health care costs con-
tribute to the state's economic troubles.
"Our businesses, schools and local and
state governments cannot keep up with the
rising cost of health care," he said. "We
need comprehensive state policy changes
that will encourage healthy behavior."
Senate Democrats pointed out that one
bill is similar to legislation they intro-
duced a year ago. Sen. Deborah Cherry
(D-Burton) is sponsoring a bill that would
require elementary pupils to take part in
30 minutes of physical activity a day or
135 minutes a week.
Members of Democratic Gov. Jennifer
Granholm's administration have said she
is open to the idea of giving Medicaid
recipients incentives to live healthier, but
they have questioned the logistics.

Warm weather puts the freeze
on winter recreational activities

Businesses that depend
on cold weather are
suffering this winter
ANCHORVILLE (AP) - From
snowmobile and cabin rental compa-
nies to bait shops catering to ice fish-
ing, Michigan businesses that depend
on winter recreation are being hit
hard by this year's warm weather.
Mike Gleason, a 50-year-old cell
phone salesman who lives in Anchorville
on Lake St. Clair's Anchor Bay, said he
normally thinks about snowmobiling
this time of year. But without much snow
this month, he said he has not taken his
snowmobile out of its trailer.
Instead, he said he is looking ahead
to getting back on the water with his
50-foot houseboat.
"I'm waiting for boating season,"
Gleason told The Detroit News for a
story yesterday.
"In the past, we'd go up north a cou-

ple times a month, sometimes every
weekend," he said. "But for the last
couple years, it's been less and less.
The main reason is the conditions.
It's hard to think about snowmobiling
when it's so warm down here."
The average high temperature at
Detroit Metropolitan Airport for
January, through Thursday, was 39.9
degrees. The average high was 30.8
degrees in 2005.
"We were off to a great start, and
then Old Man Winter left us hang-
ing," said Don Reed, vice president
of the Michigan Snowmobile Asso-
ciation, who owns a motel in School-
craft County's Seney Township in the
Upper Peninsula.
It is not unusual to have a week of mild
weather in mid- or late-January, said Bill
Deedler, a weather historian with the
National Weather Service in Oakland
County's White Lake Township.
But Deedler said the warm tem-
peratures this month have been more

than a thaw "because we've been
mild here for a couple weeks."
Without snow and good ice forma-
tion, Oakland County parks have can-
celed cross country skiing lessons,
snowshoe clinics and ice-fishing con-
tests at some locations. The Fridge, a
refrigerated toboggan run in Water-
ford, has closed four days this winter.
On Houghton Lake in the northern
Lower Peninsula, business is down 40
percent at the American Oak Resort,
which rents cabins and snowmobiles.
At the Professional Fishing & Archery
Center in Macomb County's Harrison
Township, weekend days that used to
draw around 200 anglers looking for
bait and tackle for ice fishing instead
have drawn about five to 10 people, said
Steve Jones Jr., son of the owner.
"It's been pretty devastating," said
Gary Towns, a Lake Erie Manage-
ment Unit fisheries supervisor with
the State Department of Natural
Resources.

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