I e f id~igan DaIuj
Ann Arbor Michigan
Tuesday, January 13, 2009~
BULDING A NEW ECONOMY
A SNOWMAN THAT LASTS
New projects at UM
and Michigan State
will create jobs despite
By NICOLE ABER
As the state's auto industry continues
to crumble, public universities in Mich-
igan are creating their own bailout for
the state's deteriorating economy.
Despite the nation's unemployment
rate hitting 7.2 percent in December,
the highest it has been in 16 years, and
Michigan's unemployment rate at 9.6
percent, the highest jobless rate in the
Michigan State University have man-
aged to create thousands of new jobs
with the development of new research
With the $108 million purchase of
the 174-acre Pfizer Inc. research facil-
ity, the University aims to create 2,000
new jobs within the next decade. .
Ann Arbor has a 6 percent unem-
ployment rate, which is the lowest in
Donald Grimes, a University
researcher and Michigan economy
expert, said the Pfizer purchase means
Ann Arbor will likely experience eco-
nomic stimulation in the coming years.
"The reason Ann Arbor is doing
better is that it's got a better mix of
industries in terms of laying people
off," Grimes said. "You have a stron-
ger employment mix in terms of more
stable jobs with jobs at the University,
the health care industry and also some
in information technology."
Grimes said the Pfizer purchase will
provide jobs and opportunities for stu-
dents in the biotechnology field and
people involved in the development of
"It is a very good gamble in terms of
economic growth," Grimes said.
Dr. Jim Woolliscroft, dean of the
University's medical school, said the
development of the Pfizer campus
will promise jobs for scientists and
researchers, and provide space for
University faculty, staff and students
involved with biotechnology.
See UNEMPLOYMENT, Page 7
TH E ANN ARBOR BUBBLE?
National and state unemployment ratesfar
outpace that oftAnn Arbor.
National unemployment rate percentage
State-wide unemployment rate percentage
Ass Arbor asemployment tate percentage
ACADEMICS AND ATHLETICS
SACUA plan could end
eligibility oversight group's
By KYLE SWANSON
Student-athletes may soon be subject to the same
academic eligibility process as non-athletes if a plan
presented yesterday to the Senate Advisory Committee
on University Affairs is approved.
At the moment, the Committee on Academic Per-
formance makes recommendations about whether
student-athletes meet academic requirements to play
sports. Under a seven-point plan proposed by Professor
Ed Rothman, chair of the Athlete Academic Advising,
Committee, the committee would be stripped of these
powers. Instead, each school or college within the Uni-
versity would now be responsible for making eligibility
Under the new plan, the provost would receive the
school's recommendation but would still make the
final decision as to whether an athlete is eligible to play
The recommendation comes at a time when the Ath-
letic Department is being criticized on its practice of
funding trips to bowl games for members of the Com-
mittee on Academic Performance, whose members
See STUDENT-ATHLETES, Page 7
Three University students build a snowman outside of their house near Central Campus
last night. The students planned on taking a photograph of the snowman to send along with
a visitor who was ip town frow Singapore and vianted to rememher the Ann Arhor winter.
They said that despite the snowman's flaws, they were just happy to getan opportunity to
enjoy the snow.
Dominick's owner pi
itches plan to public Lower gas prices
_____won't reduce bills
ew turn out for describe a potential construc-
tion plan that would maintain
ablic forum, the the architectural charm of the
t step in approval "I'm tryingto describe an enve-
.lope n which construction and
or renovations development can take place in
keeping the texture of the neigh-
By LARA ZADE borhood," Barrie said. "That's the
Daily Staff Reporter overarching goal."
Barrie said he was told by the
Casa Dominick's, the popu- Ann Arbor Planning Commission
taurant and caf6 on Monroe to think of the project as part of
a small group of students a larger 50-year plan for the city.
ty residents met last night Barrie added that the timeline
uss plans for renovations to for construction is expected to be
taurant and changes to sur- slow due to tight budgeting and a
ing properties. complicated City Council approv-
roposed expansion to out- al process.
feating at Dominick's and DiVarti currently owns six
to convert some of the sur- properties in the area, but only
ing land into space that two of them, 812 and 814 Monroe
be used for retail property, a St., are used for the restaurant.
d breakfast, a small-grocery DiVarti's plans include an expan-
housing or office space were sion to the second-level of the cur-
ted at the meeting by Rich- rent restaurant and adding a third
Varti, Dominick's owner. level to the building for extra seat-
ugh plans for the chang- ing.
in place, DeVarti hasn't The Dominick's owner also
d a building permit and the presented plans to include a mix
have to be approved by the of outdoor seating and office space
krbor City Council before at 808 Monroe St. and additional
nstruction can begin. restaurant space at 700 Tappan
n Barrie, the architect Ave., which is currently zoned as
proposed projects, said a residential property.
al of the meeting was to 706 Tappan Ave. and 705 Oak-
Architect John Barrie speaks at Dominick's public forum Monday night.
land Ave. are also currently zoned
as residential properties owned
by DiVarti. He said he hopes to
convert those spaces for use as
business or retail properties - a
plan that will be presented to City
Council in the coming months.
For the re-zoning and property
additions to be approved, they
must comply with Ann Arbor's
zoning ordinances, which require
DiVarti to make his six properties
part of a Planned Unit Develop-
ment (PUD). Dominick's current
PUD, which was established in
1977 to join 812 and 814 Monroe St.
as the restaurant, does not include
the other four properties.
Last night's public meeting
See DOMINICK'S, Page 7
Since DTE bought
natural gas in bulk,
utility costs won't
mirror price declines
Despite a 21-percent drop in natu-
ral gas prices during recent months,
students won't see the decline in costs
reflected in heating bills this winter.
According to Scott Simons, a
spokesman for DTE Energy, stu-
dents can expect to see a 10-percent
increase in heating costs compared to
To prepare for the expected
increase in cost, Simons said DTE
stockpiled most of its natural gas
earlier this summer - when the com-
modity was trading at more than $13
per million British thermal units in
July 2008 - a high for the year.
Natural gas ended at $5.54 per
MMBtu when the markets closed
yesterday, but Simons said consum-
ers won'tsee the effectsofthe decline
before the end of the winter season.
"If we had known we would have
waited," Simons said of the recent
drop in price.
University Housing spokesman
Peter Logan said the recent drop in
the cost of natural gas hasn't translat-
ed to a reduction in housingrates yet.
Logan said recommendations and
potential changes to room and board
rates would be passed on to the Divi-
sion of Student Affairs and the Board
of Regents later this spring.
"If we could forecast lower utility
prices for next year, that would be
certainlyreflected in the room rates,"
University Housing works closely
with Business and Finance Division's
Office of Facilities and Operations to
review their expenses as direct con-
sumers of utilities. Last year, Hous-
ing allocated $9 million of its $103
million budget to utilities expenses
in anticipation of higher natural gas
Kim Kiernan, Facilities and Oper-
ations business manager, said the
University didn't lock into any pre-
liminary utility expense rates last
year. Rather, Kiernan said experience
with past market instability caused
Facilities and Operations to use a
conservative utilities model.
"Our policies don't change, but we
are always very forward-thinking,"
Facilities and Operations has
encouraged energy saving through
initiatives like Planet Blue - a Uni-
versity outreach effort targeted at
students, faculty and staff to reduce
"We don't have control over cost,
but we do have control as a campus
community on how we use our ener-
gy," Kiernan said.
Kinesiology sophomore James Bis-
tolarides, who lives with six others in
a house on Benjamin Street, echoed
the sentimentthat heatingcosts have
hit their usual highs for the winter
season. Attributing some of the cost
to poor insulation and an old furnace,
Bistolarides said he has been frus-
trated with high utilities expenses
despite recent improvements in natu-
ral gas prices.
"Our heating bill went from $30
per person to $60," he said. "We keep
nur houseiend dtn te's ridiculouis."
With grant, 'U' to study vets' transition home
$350K will go
programs that help
By STEPHANIE STEINBERG
With active wars in two sepa-
rate countries, an increasing
number of American service men
and women are returning from
combat zones and re-adjusting to
everyday life - a process that can
involve depression and post-trau-
matic stress disorder.
To help veterans re-integrate
into civilian life, the Univer-
sity's Depression Center and
its Department of Psychiatry
received a $350,000 grant from
the Chicago-based McCormick
The gift is a part of the McCor-
mick Foundation's Welcome Back
Veterans program, which aims to
increase awareness of issues vet-
erans face and augment funding
for programs to support them.
Welcome Back Veterans provides
health care to veterans and their
families and assists veterans in
obtaining jobs and establishing
Jane Spinner, the project
director for the Welcome Back
Veterans program through the
Depression Center, said the pro-
gram will provide job-skills
training to veterans so they can
get better jobs after finishing
their military service.
Besides providing jobs and
health care, the center will set up
parenting workshops to help sol-
diers adjust to family life.
"When someone is gone for a
prolonged absence, they come
home and all kinds of dynamics
have changed," Spinner said.
The workshops will teach
families about different stages of
parenting from infant to teenage
As part of the Welcome Back
Veterans program, the Depression
See VETERANS, Page 7
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