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January 09, 2006 - Image 3

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-01-09

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The Michigan Daily - Monday, January 9, 2006 - 3A

* Free HIV testing
at Office of LGBT
A counselor from the HIV/Aids
Resource Center will be at the Office of
LGBT Affairs from 6 to 7 p.m. today
offering free and anonymous HIV test-
ing. This service will be offered every
Monday for the rest of the semester.
Seattle artist to
share scientific
Jaq Chartier, an artist who explores
scientific methods through experimen-
tation with paint, will give a lecture
today at the Institute for the Humanities
from noon to 1 p.m. The lecture will be
held at 520 of the Rackham Building..
Admission is free.
Suspect urinates
on Church Street
A Department of Public Safety officer
caught a subject urinating at 525 Church
Street at about 1:43 a.m on Saturday, DPS
reported. The subject received a citation.
Drunk passes out
in East Quad
A caller reported at about 1:45 a.m. on
Saturday that an intoxicated person was
locked in a second-floor bathroom in East
Quadrangle and had passed out. The per-
son was cited for an MIP and transported
to the emergency room.
Suspect caught
smoking pot in
Police caught a person smoking mari-
juana in the University Hospital on Satur-
day at about 7:31 am., DPS reported.
T __ T'1 - .1 -- I !T _. -_

Bill would
help with
heating costs

Legislation would
prevent utility shutoffs and
offer energy tax credits
LANSING (AP) - Jean Casler
used the cash she received for
Christmas to help cover her heat-
ing bill last month, but she doesn't
know how she's going to make her
January payment.
"I don't see any way that I am
going to get that money," said Casler,
a 70-year-old Lansing-area resident
who has multiple sclerosis and only
a $620 monthly disability check to
pay her bills.
Casler is among many low-income
people in Michigan who already are
tapping into programs that help pay for
heat, but need more this winter because
of significantly higher fuel rates.
Their plight has prompted a num-
ber of state lawmakers to draw up
legislation that would cover more
low-income residents and give them
more aid, prevent utility shutoffs dur-
ing the winter months and offer tax
credits to people who buy energy
efficient appliances.
House Republicans want to lift
the income requirement to receive
the Home Heating Credit from 110
percent of poverty - $17,699 for a
family of three - to 130 percent, or
Democrats, meanwhile, wantto
ban utilities from shutting off heat
service in the winter because of over-
due bills, give the Michigan Public
Service Commission the ability to
use $5 million of research money to
help people pay heating bills and set
up a database to coordinate volun-
teers available to make homes more
energy efficient.
Protections already are in place
to prevent shutoffs for some utility
customers. Casler, for example, is
enrolled in the Winter Protection Pro-
gram, which allows her to pay a small

portion of her heating bill and avoid
shutoffs from November to March.
She said her monthly bill from Jack-
son-based Consumers Energy is $86,
which she said it still too much.
Although lawmakers are looking
at more measures to make heating
bills affordable, they may not be able
to pass them in time to help people
such as Casler this heating season.
Yet many groups that help people pay
their energy bills said improvements
are needed now.
Kathleen Walgren, executive direc-
tor of The Heat and Warmth Fund, a
nonprofit group that provides emergen-
cy assistance to people facing shutoffs,
said she doesn't think the organization
will have enough money this winter to
get help to everyone who needs it.
The nonprofit organization has
received about $4.5 million from the
Michigan Public Service Commission
to help low-income people cover their
high energy bills and is raising extra
money, Walgren said. Last year, it had
$6.5 million altogether, she said.
While the group's funding is
likely to be close to last year's
levels, heating bills are up by
nearly 50 percent, Walgren said.
Its resources also may be drained
faster than previous years because
more people need help covering
bigger bills, she said.
"We're going to get a lot of angry
customers, people who don'tlike
to be in the situation of having to
ask for help," she said. "People are
confused. They don't know how to
apply and they've never had to do
this before. They're sort of insulted
they have to look for help."
Low-income individuals and
families are not the only ones try-
ing to deal with high energy rates
this winter. Many middle-income
families are making more room in
their budgets for the higher costs
while trying to find ways to use
less energy.

Widows sue over 2003
Afghan helicopter crash

One Michigan man
killed in Nov. 2003 disaster
that killed eight soldiers

MIAMI (AP) - On a cold Janu-
ary day almost two years ago, family
members and friends of five Special
Forces servicemen killed in an Air
Force helicopter crash in Afghanistan
gathered at Arlington National Cem-
etery for their burial, receiving folded
American flags
and honored by "These are
a military flyover

State DNR
pushes Detroit
deer hunting

and a seven-gun

cases to wi

In Daily History
Assembly caves to
regental pressure
Jan. 9, 1979 - Members of the
Michigan Student Assembly may have
voted in December against boycotting
the University's presidential selection
process in hopes of securing the sup-
port of the Board of Regents on other
issues, according to some representa-
tives in the assembly.
Several members, including Vice
President Kate Rubin, said they hoped
the Regents would accept proposals in
December calling for modifications in
the Michigan Union's operation.
Last month the assembly voted
12-10 in favor of naming a student
committee to advise the regents on
presidential candidates. Members
were prepared to boycott the selec-
tion process entirely, arguing that the
regents were excluding them too much
from the decision.
Following the controversial vote,
the Regents tabled their decision in
order to request more information on
the assembly-proposed modifications
to the Union, which called for trans-
ferring supervision of the Union proj-
ect to the Office of Student Services,
under vice president Henry Johnson,
who is in charge of the office.
The proposal also requested chang-
ing the hotel rooms in the Union to
dormitory rooms.
Rubin said the Union issue came
up frequently in the Assembly dur-
ing discussions about the presidential
selection process.
"The issue of the Union was used
as a threat by some assembly mem-
bers," Rubin said, adding that MSA
President Eric Arnson encouraged the
assembly to "act on the presidential
selection process or lose the Union."
Arnson said he could not recall the
exact discussion on the day of the stu-
dent committee vote, but he said he
remembered "there was some concern
about relations with the Regents as a
whole. (The Union resolution) might
have been on people's minds."
Memhrs of the asemblv were torn


State officials worried
that deer will spread
bovine tuberculosis
DETROIT (AP) - Michigan
officials want to encourage hunt-
ing in the Detroit area in an effort
to cut by 54,000 the estimated
116,000 deer in communities
around the city.
Officials also hope to cut by
nearly a third the 868,000 deer
in the southern part of the Lower
New measures to reduce deer
could include more hunting sea-
sons, longer seasons or split sea-
sons with more opening days,
said wildlife habitat biologist Earl
Flegler of the state Department of
Natural Resources.
Other possibilities are increas-
ing the incentives to hunt deer
without antlers - which tend to
be female - and increasing mar-
keting to encourage hunting, The
Detroit News reported yesterday.
State officials are concerned that
deer could spread bovine tubercu-
losis or chronic wasting disease,

ailments that are now limited to
northern Michigan. Other concerns
are that deer feeding could threat-
en the regeneration of foliage
New subdivisions have turned
once-hunted wooded areas into
landscapes that attract deer with
young trees, shrubs and grass.
Once there, the deer invade gar-
dens, eat plants, rummage through
trash, cause car crashes and leave
behind droppings.
Adding to the population is that
the animals' fertility allows them
to grow herds by 50 percent each
year, said Rod Clute, a big game
specialist with the DNR.
"If we harvest a third of the pop-
ulation, they can match that the fol-
lowing year," he said. "Then we're
right back where we started."
Rare 35 years ago, the deer
are now more plentiful in south-
ern Michigan than in the rest of
the state combined, state figures
show. They live in mostly northern
Detroit suburbs but also have been
seen in developed areas in Dear-
born, Auburn Hills and Romulus.
Michigan officials reassess the
deer population every five years.

The service- is not imp
men were memo-
rialized- at the
ceremony by a
chaplain, Col.
David Boyles,
as "five brave young men who gave
their lives not only for their country,
but for friends and family, to keep
them free."
Now, the widows of three of the
men are suing defense contractors for
the wrongful deaths of their husbands
in the 2003 crash, which the Air Force
blamed on engine failure of the MH-
53M Pave Low helicopter caused in
part by failure of auxiliary fuel tanks
to jettison.
While not unheard of, such lawsuits
in wartime are uncommon, and fre-
quently involve sensitive information
about military hardware that the gov-
ernment doesn't want in open court.
"These are difficult cases to win,
but it is not impossible," said Randall
Craft, an attorney with the Holland
& Knight law firm who specializes
in aviation liability issues.
According to an Air Force accident
report, the Pave Low flight dubbed
"Beatle 12" carrying 13 passengers
and crew crashed Nov. 23, 2003, about
five minutes after it lifted off from


Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.
The helicopter, which can carry up to
55 people, was part of a Special Opera-
tions "infiltration" mission in the war
against Taliban and al-Qaida fighters
during Operation Mountain Resolve. The
aircraft was on its third sortie of the day.
A compressor problem caused one
of the two engines on the Pave Low to
stall, leaving it with one engine oper-
ating and far too much weight to carry
in the thin mountain air. The pilots
difficult to jettison
the auxiliary
n, but it tanks with-
out success"
)ssible." and then the
other engine
- Randall Craft, stalled while
' an emergen-
attorney cy landing
was being
attempted, the Air Force concluded.
With all power lost, the helicopter
fell from an altitude of about 200 feet
onto an uneven river bank, rolled over
and burst into flames. Eight people
somehow managed to survive - but
four Air Force personnel and one
Army officer were killed.
Their remains were difficult to
identify and were buried together at
Arlington under a single tombstone
bearing all five names.
Those killed were: Air Force Staff
Sgt. Thomas A Walkup Jr. of Mill-
ville, N.J.; Air Force Maj. Steven
Plumhoff of Neshanic Station, N.J.;
Air Force Tech Sgts. Howard A Wal-
ters of Port Huron, Mich., and Wil-
liam J Kerwood of Houston, Mo.;
and Army Sgt. Maj. Phillip R Albert
of Terryville, Conn.
Walters, Kerwood and Walkup
were all assigned to Hurlburt Field,
Fla. Plumhoff's home base was Kirt-
land Air Force Base, N.M.; Albert
was assigned to Fort Drum, N.Y.
Widows Melissa Walters, Kara

Kerwood and Yvette LaPointe-
Plumhoff have filed lawsuits in fed-
eral court in Miami accusing the
Pave Low's maker, Sikorsky Aircraft
Corp., and two fuel tank installation
and maintenance companies of negli-
gence that led to the crash. The lawsuits
seek an unspecified amount of damages.
None of the women responded to
requests for comment for this article.
The Air Force accident report, which
by law cannot be used as evidence in
civil lawsuits, concluded that there was
"insufficient written guidance" available
to check on the status of the fuel tank jet-
tison system. The lawsuits contend that
Sikorsky, Lear Siegler Services Inc. and
Smiths Aerospace LLC never instructed
maintenance personnel to perform nec-
essary electrical tests to assure the tanks
would drop in an emergency.
"The jettison system was indispens-
able to the ability of the MH-53M crew
to avoid a crash by rapidly reducing the
helicopter's weight in the event one of the
two engines failed during flight," says
one of the lawsuits.
The widows also claim in their lawsuits
that the tank design was faulty because it
had no backup jettison system.
Sikorsky, a unit of defense con-
tractor United Technologies Corp.,
denies that its aircraft or maintenance
schedules were to blame, saying that
the Pave Low and its operation "met
the standards of the state-of-the-art,
scientific knowledge" and that no
red flags had been raised about any
defects in the fuel tanks.
Sikorsky also contends that it had
no control over possible "misuse" of
the helicopter by the Air Force.
Lear Siegler also denied any liabil-
ity. Smiths Aerospace said it has not
yet confirmed whether it actually sup-
plied the tanks on the Pave Low, but
spokeswoman Jennifer Villarreal said
in an e-mail that the company has
begun a review of the tanks and relat-
ed equipment as a result of the crash.

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