The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Wednesday, October 24, 20077 - 3A
The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, October 24, 20077 - 3A
Fires force over
Faced with unrelenting winds
whipping wildfires into a frenzy
across Southern California, fire-
fighters conceded defeat on many
fronts yesterday to an unstoppable
force that has chased more than
500,000 people away.
Unless the shrieking Santa
Ana winds subside, and that's not
expected for at least another day,
fire crews say they can do little
more than try to wait it out and
react - tamping out spot fires
and chasing ribbons of airborne
embers to keep new fires from
"If it's this big and blowing with
as much wind as it's got, it'll go
all the way to the ocean before it
stops," said San Diego Fire Capt.
Kirk Humphries. "We can save
some stuff but we can't stop it."
Bush wants missile
shield in Europe
to counter Iran
President Bush said yester-
day that plans for a U.S.-led mis-
sile defense system in Europe are
urgently needed to counter an
emerging threat of attack by Iran.
"If (Iran) chooses to do so, and
the international community does
not take steps to prevent it, it is
possible Iran could have this capa-
bility," Bush said. "And we need to
take it seriously - now."
Bush's latest warning about
Iran's nuclear ambitions came in a
broad defense of his security poli-
cies at the National Defense Uni-
versity and it came not long after
Defense Secretary Robert Gates
told a news conference in the
Czech Republic that the adminis-
tration might delay activating the
proposed missile defense sites until
it has "definitive proof" of a missile
threat from Iran.
Rice orders more
oversight for private
guards in Iraq
Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice yesterday ordered new mea-
sures to improve government over-
sight of private guards who protect
U.S. diplomats in Iraq, including
cultural awareness training for
contractors and a board to investi-
gate any future killings.
The steps, recommended by an
independent review panel she cre-
ated after last month's deadly Bagh-
dad shooting involving Blackwater
USA, also would tighten the State
Department's rules of engagement
and bring them into line with those
of the military.
Iraq deaths decline
for second straight
October is on course to record
the second consecutive decline
in U.S. military and Iraqi civilian
deaths and Americans commanders
say they know why: the U.S. troop
increase and an Iraqi groundswell
against al-Qaida and Shiite militia
Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch points to
what the military calls "Concerned
Citizens" - both Shiites and Sun-
nis who have joined the American
fight. He says he's signed up 20,000
of them in the past four months.
As of yesterday, the Pentagon
reported 28 U.S. military deaths
in October. That's an average of
about 1.2 deaths a day. The toll
on U.S troops hasn't been this
low since March 2006, when 31
soldiers died - an average of one
death a day.
- Compiled from
Daily wire reports
U.S. CA SUA LT IES
Number of American service mem-
bers who have died in the war in
Iraq, according to The Associated
Press. The Department of Defense
identified the following casualties
Navy Seaman Anamarie S.
Camacho, 20, Panama City, Fla.
Navy Seaman Genesia M.
Gresham, 19, Lithonia, Ga..
Budget differences narrowing Leaf fire Causes
Lawmakers have one
week before deadline
LANSING (AP) - Roughly a
half-dozen key areas of disagree-
ment remain among lawmakers
trying to balance the state's bud-
get before next week's deadline
to avoid another potential partial
There's alot of work to be done.
Not a single departmental bud-
get bill for the new fiscal year has
cleared the Legislature.
But both Democrats and
Republicans said yesterday they
were hopeful differences would
be worked out before Oct. 31, the
end of a 30-day budget extension
that now guides Michigan's gov-
Lawmakers need to make more
than $430 million in cuts to bal-
ance the budget, even though
they've already agreed to raise the
state income tax and expand the
sales tax to some services.
Perhaps the biggest area of dis-
agreement is over Medicaid, the
federal-state health program for
low-income people. Some Repub-
licans have proposed ending
Medicaid coverage for 19- and 20-
year-olds and for adults who get
coverage because they take care of
children covered by Medicaid.
But Democrats don't want to
end those benefits. They say it
could further drive up costs for
hospitals that have to take care of
the uninsured, which could raise
health coverage costs for every-
one else. They'd prefer cutting
reimbursement rates for doctors
and others providing Medicaid-
covered health care services.
Differences also remain over
proposed fee increases for state
natural resources and environ-
mental departments, whether
some state social services such as
adoption should be privatized and
how funding for K-12 schools and
universities should be split up.
Money for the arts and zoo
programs, particularly in Detroit,
also could be an issue.
"All of those sticking points
seem to be resolvable," said House
Appropriations Committee Chair-
man George Cushingberry Jr., a
House and Senate leaders con-
tinued meeting late yesterday
afternoon to try and resolve the
remaining issues. The Legislature
has scheduled tentative extra ses-
sions for Friday and Monday in
case they are needed, and some
lawmakers aren't ruling out the
possibility of a weekend session
this Saturday and Sunday to get
the budgets passed.
Neither Democrats or Repub-
licans appear to want another
temporary budget extension like
the one that wasn't signed until a
partial government shutdown had
begun in the early hours of Oct. 1.
Any delay could cause more
cash flow problems for the state,
and Republicans say that avoiding
the cuts through one-time fixes or
accounting maneuvers would leave
them dealing with many of the same
budget problems in a year or less.
"We're not even interested in a
continuation budget at this point,"
said Matt Marsden, a spokesman
for Republican Senate Majority
Leader Mike Bishop of Rochester.
"There is no reason not to get this
Despite the $1.3 billion in tax
increases put in place, the budget
remains tight, making it tough
for lawmakers to figure out how
much money they can set aside to
help the state's lowest-funded K-
12 school districts catch up with
the highest-funded districts. The
gap between the two can run as
high as $5,000 per student.
And some lawmakers want to
separate funding for the University
of Michigan, Wayne State Univer-
sity and Michigan State University
from the state's 12 other universi-
ties, noting they have more of a
role in research.
Nat Sci. building
Small blaze causes no said possible unevenness in the
heating element might have caused
damages or injuries a hot spot, which could have caused
the leaves to catch fire.
Smoke detectors in the lab, 1050
By KYLE SWANSON Kraus, sounded the fire alarm
Daily StaffReporter throughout the building shortly
after 12:30 p.m., forcing everyone
A lab experiment caught fire in in the building to evacuate.
the Edward Henry Kraus Natural Battalion Chief Robert Vogel of
Science Building yesterday after- the Ann Arbor Fire Department
noon, forcing students and staff to said dispatch was notified of the
evacuate the building. . fire at 12:33 p.m. Fire trucks sped
Lab Manager Jim LeMonie, to the scene and police temporar-
who was working in the lab when ily blocked the eastbound lane of
the fire broke out, said he used a North University Avenue.
fire extinguisher to put out the fire Many staff members were out to
before being forced out of the lab by lunch at the time and returned to
smoke. the building to find the fire trucks
Knute Nadelhoffer, professor of and police cars outside.
ecology and evolutionary biology, No serious damage occurred,
said the experiment was routine but Nadelhoffer said the oven
and involved drying leaves in an will not be used for future experi-
oven to test the effects of leaves on ments.
soil content. Nadelhoffer also noted Students and staff were allowed
that the oven is used on a daily basis back into the building shortly after
for a variety of experiments. 1 p.m.
Nadelhoffer and LeMonie were
unsure of the fire's cause, butthey
LANSING (AP) - Despite a
recent wave of school closings
and media, attention about
antibiotic resistant staph
infections in Michigan, the
number of outbreaks across
the state might be lower over-
all this year than in the recent
Michigan county health
departments had reported 15
clusters of the staph infection
nicknamed MRSA to the state
Department of Community
Health this year as of late last
week. There were 52 for all of
2006 and 77 in 2005.
This year's cluster reports
soon could go up, however,
based on recent reports from
school districts, particularly in
southeast Michigan and near
Grand Rapids on the state's
The Michigan Department
of Community Health does not
track individual staph infec-
tion cases. It instead relies on
reports of clusters of incidents
from county health depart-
ments. It could take between
three and 12 incidents to trig-
ger a cluster report, depending
on the county, which makes
it difficult to tell exactly how
many cases there have been.
The staph infection causing
the most concern is methicil-
aureus, or MRSA.
Schools in Walled Lake and
Clawson closed or sent stu-
dents home early late last week
after confirmed staph infec-
tions among their students.
Other southeast Michigan
cases reported either last week
or this week include schools
in Rochester, West Bloomfield
Township, Brandon, Grosse
Pointe, Howell, Utica, Marys-
ville and Madison Heights
(Lamphere), according to a
compilation of reports from the
Detroit Free Press, The Detroit
News and other southeast
Michigan media outlets.
Cases also have been report-
ed on the state's west side,
accordingto The Grand Rapids
Press. School districts affected
include Comstock Park, Byron
Center and East Grand Rapids.
Other locations in Michigan
also have had MRSA reports.
Several other states are report-
ing similar incidents.
Some schools have cleaned
and sanitized their locker
rooms, classrooms and other
facilities to try and guard
against the infection.
While overall numbers
across the state might be down
this year, MRSA outbreaks
may be more prevalentcrecently
than in the past in some pock-
ets of Michigan.
"It makes us all aware that
MRSA is in the environment,
and people need to be aware,"
said T.J. Bucholz, a spokesman
for the Michigan Department
of Community Health.
Part of the growth in media
coverage and school reporting
likely stems from a government
report published this month in
the Journal of the American
Wednesday, October 24
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