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January 11, 2006 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-01-11

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NEWS

The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 11, 2006 - 3

r ON CAMPUS
Student musicians
t compete at Hill
The School of Music will be host-
ing the second of three finals for its
Concerto Competition at Hill Audi-
torium today. The contest, which
begins at 4 p.m., will feature gradu-
ate student performers, who will play
works that last less than 20 minutes.
Admission is free.
Meeting to be
held for orientation
leader hopefuls
The Office of New Student Programs
will be holding a mass meeting for pro-
spective orientation leaders at the Kuen-
zel room in the Michigan Union tonight
from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Philosophers to
host discussion
on vegetarianism
The Undergraduate Philosophy Club
will be holding a discussion on the topic
of vegetarianism in Angell Hall room
2271 from 9 to 10 p.m. Free pizza will
be served.
NOTES
Hospital staffer
bounces checks
A University Hospital staff member
wrote bad checks in order to pay for park-
ing at the University Hospitals main park-
ing structure on Monday, the Department
of Public Safety reported.
Burn victim
escorted from
Mosher Jordan
University Hospital emergency room
admitted a burn patient Monday who was
driven to the Hospital by DPS. The victim
had been burned with scalding water in
Mosher-Jordan Residence Hall.
Vandals strike
Fresh Air Camp
A caller reported damage to a door at
the University's Fresh Air Camp - an
ecology-oriented teaching facility former-
ly operated as a youth camp - at around
10:45 am. Monday, DPS reported.
Subject turned
over to DPS
The Ann Arbor Police Department
found a subject on Washtenaw Avenue
with an outstanding DPS arrest war-
rant for a nonviolent crime at around
3:30 p.m. Monday.

THIS DAY
In Daily History
Drinking age
battle brewing
Jan. 11, 1978 - Since 1972, 18-
year-olds have been allowed to pur-
chase and consume alcohol. But two
new pieces of legislation proposed
by Mayor James DeSana (D-Wyan-
dotte), which have passed in the
State Senate and are currently being
debated in the House, would raise
the age to 19.
The legislation is a response to a
group of state high school principals
who are worried about drinking in
schools.
"We need a separation, and age
is the thing that does it," said Paul
Meyers, the principal of Ann Arbor
Huron High School. "Nineteen is
not high enough. They should make
it 20. A lot of (recent) graduates
keep contact with their high school,
and therefore can provide liquor for
underage students."
In contrast, Charlene Eisenlohr, a
counselor at Huron, said the one-year
hike would be effective.
"One year doesn't seem like a big
difference, but it's such a crucial
time," she said. "Most of our seniors

Teen dropouts, pregnancies, arrests down

Study shows Michigan high
school dropout rate has been
halved in past decade
LANSING (AP) - Fewer teens are being
arrested, dropping out of school and having babies,
according to a new report that questions whether
those trends can continue as more children enter
the state's foster care system and leave as adults.
The number of teen arrests and high school drop-
outs fell by half while the number of teenagers hav-
ing children fell by nearly one-third between the
mid-1990s and 2004, according to the latest Kids
Count in Michigan report to be released today.
Jane Zehnder-Merrell, senior research associate
for the Lansing-based advocacy group Michigan
League for Human Services, said the state has seen
improvements among its teenage population. But
she is worried there are not enough resources avail-
able to older teens leaving the foster care system
and juvenile justice facilities.
"It has become a bigger issue because people
used to be able to get a job and make a decent

living without a high skill level and that's no
longer the case," Zehnder-Merrell said in a tele-
phone interview.
Michele Corey, community advocacy director for
Michigan's Children, said programs and services
set up to support young people leaving foster care
or the juvenile justice program have been reduced
because tax cuts have curtailed state revenue.
Officials from the Department of Human Ser-
vices, however, argue that they have increased
the emphasis on preparing young people for life
after foster care with a number of initiatives,
including a voucher worth up to $5,000 a year
for college expenses.
The state also has received funding from some
nonprofit organizations to offer services to young
people leaving foster care, such as classes to teach
them how to balance a checkbook, pay rent and get
a job, said Mary Chaliman, manager of the foster
care program.
More importantly, she said,, the department
wants to build relationships for young people.
"What we are really trying to drive home is
that these youths have a real connection to a per-

son they can turn to for support," Chaliman said.
"We want to make sure these kids develop a sup-
port system ... that can help them with real-life
experiences."
Later this month, DHS Director Marianne
Udow and Supreme Court Justice Maura Cor-
rigan will be announcing a new statewide task
force charged with coming up with ways to put
foster children into permanent family situa-
tions and help those left in the system transi-
tion to adult life.
Since 2002, the state has closed an average
436 foster care cases a year because the individ-
uals involved were between 18 and 21, accord-
ing to the department's most recent data. At
the end of December, there were nearly 19,000
children in Michigan's foster care program.
Zehnder-Merrell, Corey and other advo-
cates for low-income children and families
are worried about whether the state will be
able to handle an increasing number of chil-
dren entering the foster care system because
of abuse and neglect.
The number of confirmed cases of abuse and

neglect increased by 43 percent between the
1994-95 fiscal year and the 2003-04 budget year,
going from about 21,160 to 29,740, the Kids Count
report said.
"It's very troubling when we look at the mid-
1990s versus now and to see an increase in abuse
and neglect. It shows we have not been making
intervention when we can for our most needy
families," Zehnder-Merrell said.
That increase has meant more children placed
in care outside their homes.
The number of children removed from their birth
families and placed in foster care increased from
nearly 18,600 children in the 1995 budget year to
19,800 in the 2004 fiscal year, the report said.
The Department of Human Services will need
to bulk up the number of its caseworkers by 20
percent to meet the national recommended stan-
dard of 15 cases per worker, Corey said.
DHS workers, however, are seeing their number
of cases increase from 19 to 20 under a new order
that redistributes cases to cover a few hundred
vacancies left open, said Jim Nye, DHS deputy
director in charge of field services.

Consumers
could see lower
MPG ratings

EPA proposes testing
changes that would
more accurately reflect
fuel economy
WASHINGTON (AP) - Consum-
ers may be in for a different kind of
sticker shock starting with 2008 model
cars, trucks and SUVs.
Fuel economy ratings on the stick-
ers of new models would drop an aver-
age of 10 percent to 20 percent in city
driving for most 2008 models, and 5
percent to 15 percent in highway driv-
ing, under testing changes the Environ-
mental Protection Agency proposed
yesterday.
Gas-electric hybrids will be more
affected, with ratings for city driv-
ing decreasing an average of 20 per-
cent to 30 percent. Those models are
due to appear in showrooms in the
fall of 2007.
EPA's new fuel economy estimates
will include vehicle-specific data from
tests designed to reflect more accurate-
ly high-speed driving, rapid accelera-
tion, use of air conditioning and cold
temperatures, the agency said.
EPA'Administrator Stephen John-
son said the agency intends "to
empower consumers with the most
accurate information possible about
a vehicle's fuel economy," includ-
ing more details about the effects of
"power-hungry accessories" used to
lower windows, adjust seats, even play
DVDs while driving.
"They can be confident those esti-
mates more closely reflect real-world
conditions," Johnson said.
Congress ordered the changes in its
energy bill last year, responding to con-
sumer complaints that the fuel economy
they get is often less than advertised. It

is the first time EPA has revised its fuel
economy ratings in 20 years.
EPA said it also plans to redesign
the stickers so they are more consum-
er-friendly.
Despite the lower ratings overall,
Johnson said the test results will not
be used to gauge whether automakers
comply with the law requiring the U.S.
fleet have an average fuel economy of
27.5 miles per gallon for cars and 21
mpg for light trucks.
That's because the Corporate Aver-
age Fuel Economy program run by the
Transportation Department uses sepa-
rate requirements to determine vehi-
cles' fuel economy, he said.
"It's obvious that the driving world
has changed a lot since 1985," said
Johnson, who noted that 20 years ago
he proudly drove a full-size coupe Pon-
tiac Catalina back and forth to work.
"My car really would not match up to
today's vehicles."
Fred Webber, president of the Alli-
ance of Automobile Manufacturers,
said the industry supports EPA's pro-
posal and helps the agency adjust the
new vehicle window stickers. But he,
like the agency, cautioned that real-
world conditions will vary from driver
to driver.
"Mileage varies due to weather, road
conditions, obeying the posted speed
limits, tire inflation and other vehicle-
maintenance conditions," Webber said.
Joining EPA in making the
announcement was the American
Automobile Association, which pushed
for improvements.
"Consumers want to know that
the information they see on a gov-
ernment-sanctioned label reasonably
reflects what they will experience on
the road," said AAA President Rob-
ert Darbelnet.

State wins approval for environment sensitivity

Michigan's foresting policies
recognized as environmentally
sustainable
TRAVERSE CITY (AP) - Michigan has
won a seal of approval from two independent
monitoring groups for environmentally sen-
sitive management of its 3.9 million acres of
state forest.
The Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the
Forest Stewardship Council recently granted
Michigan certification after inspecting its wood-
lands and reviewing its policies in areas such as
timber harvesting and protecting wildlife habi-
tat and water quality.
"It confirms what we've said before, that
we are managing the state forest in a sustain-
able manner," Lynne Boyd, forest management
division chief with the Department of Natural
Resources, said yesterday.
Certification is about more than just a good
reputation. A growing number of corporate buy-
ers of paper and other forest products, includ-

ing Home Depot Inc. and Time Warner Inc., are
prodding suppliers to obtain wood from certi-
fied forests.
"It ensures a market for Michigan's timber,
which keeps us competitive on a national and
worldwide basis," Boyd said. "Without certi-
fication we could and ultimately would lose
our market."
Kevin Korpi, executive director of the
Michigan Forest Products Council, said cer-
tification is "tremendously important" for the
industry, which - along with forest-based
tourism and recreation - provides 150,000
jobs and pumps $9 billion annually into the
state economy.
Marvin Roberson, a forest specialist with the
Sierra Club, said he was skeptical that the DNR
merited certification but would withhold judg-
ment until studying the two groups' reports.
"We identified a number of major deficien-
cies when we went through the standards,
given our familiarity with the department's
operations," Roberson said.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm ordered the DNR in

2004 to seek certification from both the groups,
and the Legislature voted to require certifica-
tion from one.
The nonprofit Forest Stewardship Council,
an international organization based in Ger-
many, was established in 1993 to encourage
healthier forest management worldwide. The
American Forest & Paper Association created
the Sustainable Forestry Initiative to encourage
responsible practices in the timber industry.
Boyd described the FSC's standards as tougher,
saying they deal more with "the environmental
and social values of timber management" while
the SFI has a narrower "nuts and bolts" focus.
But they overlap enough that the same group
of auditors was able to evaluate the state on
behalf of both programs.
Mike Ferrucci, the SFI's lead auditor, said he
came away impressed.
"Michigan has one of the strongest public
forestry programs I've seen anywhere," said
Ferrucci, a specialist with NSF International
Strategic Registrations, an Ann Arbor-based
company that conducts performance reviews in

a variety of fields.
But certification doesn't equal perfection, said
Robert Hrubes of Emeryville, Calif., the lead
FSC auditor. The inspection team ordered the
state to make improvements in a dozen areas and
offered other nonbinding suggestions, he said.
The state will be audited annually and must seek
recertification every five years.
"Certification is an ongoing relationship,"
Hrubes said. "It's not a one-shot thing."
Among the problem areas was environmen-
tal damage caused by off-road vehicles, Fer-
rucci said, describing ORVs as "probably one
of the toughest challenges, for any public land
manager."
Roberson questioned whether the DNR had
met requirements for determining which areas
are worthy of special protection. Instead of
developing criteria and deciding which places
qualified, the agency simply compiled a list of
existing protected areas, he said. Hrubes said
the DNR had developed a process that will let
citizens nominate other locations with "high
conservation values."

r2 11

Headaches'?
Michigan tead*Paim & Neurological Institute is
conducting an in-clinic research study evaluating an
investigational medication for migraine.
Participants must be 18 to 65 years old and suffer 2 to
6 headaches per month. A total of three clinic visits

I

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