The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.cam
Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 7A
. 7-Eleven searches for its place in the A2 community
'eliminating the mom
and pop shops'
By ADAM RUBENFIRE
Students craving for a Slurpee
now need to look no further than
State Street for a Hawaiian Punch
or Coca-Cola frozen treat.
A new 7-Eleven opened early this
month at 318 S. State St. in the retail
space formerly occupied by Ritz
Camera. While some Ann Arbor
residents have expressed concern
about the chain displacing a local
business, the convenience store's
owner, Linda Russ, is striving to
prove its place in the community.
Russ said she hopes the store will
quickly become a part of Ann Arbor
and a place cherished by its resi-
"We're not looking to be an out-
sider chain," Russ said. "We're part
of the city."
Russ said she would like the store
to become a member of the State
Street Association and the Ann
Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber
of Commerce in an effort to cre-
ate more of a community-oriented
"We've had some people come
in and say that we are eliminating
the mom and pop shops," Russ said.
"We're not eliminating anybody."
Diane Keller, president and CEO
of the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Region-
al Chamber of Commerce, said the
new 7-Eleven's chain-store affilia-
tion wouldn't hamper Russ's efforts
to gain membership to the chamber.
"We've got a lot of organizations
that are chains that are members of
the chamber of commerce," Keller
When asked her opinion on the
criticism that 7-Eleven has faced
from local residents, Keller said it's
important to note how chain stores
in the area are able to serve the spe-
cific communities where they're
open for business.
"If a business is conscientious of
the needs of its community, then
that's what counts," Keller said.
Russ said the State Street 7-Elev-
en's main clientele are students. A
study lounge in the upper level of
the store is opening soon and will
have tables, chairs and couches to
seat 47 people. The space will also
feature artwork from University
She added that the lounge will
be cleaned frequently and equipped
with security cameras to ensure
that it remains a safe, clean place to
"No smoking, no drinking, no
sleeping," Russ said.
Since its opening, Russ said busi-
ness has been steadily on the rise as
more students have become aware
"We started offslow in thebegin-
ning," Russ said. "Now we're start-
ing to pick up."
While the store is open 24 hours
a day, Russ said peak hours are
between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. In addi-
tion to the store's student clients,
the store also caters to a variety of
groups in the area, including police
officers, city personnel and con-
struction workers, Russ said.
The store will also begin sell-
ing beer and wine after receiving a
liquor license from the city of Ann
Arbor, Russ said, though she added
that she doesn't know when the
store will receive the license.
Russ said she doesn't view her
store as a competitor to the locally-
owned Diag Party Shoppe, located
several doors down from 7-Eleven
on State Street. The nearby Diag
Party Shoppe is not a member of
the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional
Chamber of Commerce, according
to the chamber's website.
"I don't think we're competing
because we have a different prod-
uct line," Russ said. "Our prices are
Russ said Jerome Kamano,
owner of Diag Party Shoppe, visited
her store recently and commented
on how 7-Eleven's low prices will
affect his business.
"He's already been in here and
did a tour, and asked us to do some
things to work with him," Russ said.
But Russ said she wouldn't make
any accommodations for Kamano.
"We're not going to raise our
prices to match neighbors' prices,"
Russ said. "We have a fair price."
When asked about the interac-
tion with Russ, Kamano said he
The new 7-Eleven on Thursday, Jan.13, 2011. The convenience store is open 24 hours a day.
didn't ask the 7-Eleven owner to
raise prices when he toured the
store, adding that the products are
"Her prices are not cheap,"
Kamano said. "She's very high on a
lot of her items."
Kamano said he instead advised
Russ on ways to safeguard her store
against theft and that he isn't wor-
ried about the competition between
the two stores.
"I was just trying to be nice to
her as a friendly neighbor," Kamano
said. "I'm not mad she's here. If she
wants to pay that $17,000 a month
rent, I'm more than happy."
After visiting 7-Eleven sev-
eral times last week, Art & Design
sophomore Tiffany Hu said she was
impressed with the variety of prod-
ucts the store offers and is looking
forward to the forthcoming lounge.
"It's convenient for students," Hu
Ann Arbor resident Ryan Nisbett
said he isn't happy about another
chain moving in, and that he's wor-
ried about what this will do to busi-
ness for local companies.
"The Diag (Party Shoppe) down
here is probably going to start suf-
fering," Nisbett said.
Fire at Panda Express leads to
r :temporary evacuation of Union
ees of t
00 Model UN Walkowski said.
At the sound of the fire alarm the
rticipants forced two women said they left the build-
ing and waited outside for about an
} leave building hour until they were permitted to
re-enter at about1:15 p.m.
ring conference "All the restaurants had to
get a clearance to open again,"
By DYLAN CINTI Walkowski said.
Daily News Editor As of 2:20 p.m. Saturday after-
noon, all restaurants in the base-
re in the basement of the ment of the Union but Panda
gan Union early Saturday Express had reopened for busi-
oon resulted in the tempo- ness. A Panda Express employee
vacuation of the entire build- at the Union declined to comment.
cording to several sources Several calls to the .Ann
ewed at the scene. Arbor Fire Department were not
fire occurred at about 12:10 returned Saturday. They could
n the Panda Express locat- also not be reached last night.
the restaurant court of the The fire occurred during a four-
according to two employ- day Model United Nations event
the neighboring Wendy's. being held throughout the Union.
two employees - Jen Krell The University of Michigan Model
hristine Walkowski - said United Nations is an annual Uni-
w fire behind the counter of versity-sponsored- conference for
Express followed by a cloud high school students.
ke. According to LSA senior Nick
is was big, and then (there Bourjaily, the secretary general
tons of black smoke," of internal affairs for UMMUN,
the roughly 500 high school par-
ticipants were evacuated from the
Union when the fire took place.
But Bourjaily said it wasn't a big
issue since the conference's par-
ticipants were about to break for
"They all left and waited in
a group; no harm, no one got
injured," he said.
Bruce Crane, a high school
junior from Mattawan High
School in Mattawan, Mich. who
is participating in the conference,
said he was drafting a paper on
illicit trafficking when he heard
the fire alarm.
"We just grabbed our coats and
left," Crane said. "I thought it was
a joke or something."
Also a UMMUN participant,
Kristina Mordarski, a sophomore
at Arts Academy in the Woods in
Fraser, Mich., said the evacuation
was handled well and that nobody
"Everybody was pretty calm,
keeping their heads clear," Mor-
In this Sept. 24, 2010 photo, a Roma child and schoolmates leave their school in Choisy-le-Roi, France.
Gypsies join middle class
* Affirmative action them as ignorant beggars who were
a strain on society.
programs open new "It was always clear to me that
I didn't want to do ordinary work
opportunities somewhere in a factory, getting
up early in the morning, doing the
SKALICA, Slovakia (AP) - The same thing over and over," said
Balazova family lived on nothing Balazova, who has also founded a
but potatoes and rice one month as nonprofit organization that helps
they struggled to pull together the disadvantaged Gypsy children in
money to buy an electric typewriter Skalica, a small town in western
for their teenage daughter. Slovakia.
It was one of many sacrifices that "My parents sacrificed a lot," Bal-
paid off. Today, 31-year-old Zuzana azova said, slipping out of the office
Balazova teaches at a university in she shares with two other instruc-
Slovakia while finishing a doctorate tors at the University of Central
in sociology. Europe to share her story in a quiet
She's among a small but growing room nearby. "I appreciate it and
number of Gypsies who are rising am trying to return something to
into the ranks of an educated middle them now."
class across Europe - offering some Such success comes against
hope that the minority may one day many odds: deeply-rooted anti-
be able to use schooling to break Gypsy stigma, segregated schooling
throughwalls of prejudice thathave in some countries that often con-
kept them in misery for centuries. demns Roma to an inferior educa-
The issue flared this past summer tion, stifling social codes in their
and fall when France stepped up own traditions that discourage con-
an aggressive deportation program tact with the non-Gypsy world.
against Gypsies, or Roma, casting Many of Europe's roughly 8 mil-
. . short of funds to fl
VWorld Food Palestinian territories is to send the
message to the world that we are
Programme lacking in a funding crisis," Sheeran told
the AP. The U.N's front line agency
$3 billion to provide against hunger relies on voluntary
contributions from governments,
funds for food corporations and individuals. The
agency needs about $6 billion this
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) year, but is about $2.8 billion short,
- The World Food Programme is Sheeran said.
nearly $3 billion short this year in "When people are hungry, they
its fight against global hunger, and only have three options - they
the gap is likely to grow if food pric- revolt, they migrate or they die," she
es keep rising, the head of the U.N. said, adding that it's more cost effec-
agency said in an interview Monday. tive to prevent hunger than to deal
Josette Sheeran said the shortfall with its consequences.
amounts to almost half of what the Sheeran said the funding short-
agency needs. fall is likely to grow, since the cur-
Sheeran spoke to The Associated rent figures have not taken into
Press after touring the Palestinian account another food crisis, a possi-
city of Hebron, where she inspected bility raised by the World Bank and
an electronic food voucher project others.
meant to streamline distribution of Hunger has been on the rise
food to the needy. since the financial and food crises of
The system was first tried out in 2008, she said, and more than 1 bil-
the West Bank in 2009 and has since lion people are reduced to one meal
been introduced in several other a day.
places. "If food prices escalate again,
"Part of why I have come to the the most vulnerable in the world
lion Roma still live in extreme pov-
erty and are reviled by mainstream
society. In the French expulsions,
the government rounded up hun-
dreds of Eastern European Roma
and deported them to Romania and
Bulgaria, in a program that attract-
ed worldwide condemnation.
But for some, new opportunities
are opening up, thanks to affirma-
tive action programs in countries
like Hungary, private scholarships,
the determination of people like
Balazova - and the sacrifices of
parents who are themselves some-
There are no hard statistics on
how many Roma across Europe
make it to university because most
countries in central and eastern
Europe, where most Roma live, do
not gather statistics on ethnicity -
still a potentially disruptive force
across much of the region. The
Roma Education Fund says about
25 percent of Roma are still illiter-
ate, and the United Nations says as
much as 50 percent of Roma do not
complete primary school.
will lose the one meal a day they
are having," she said. "If food prices
double, that means one meal every
Sheeran carries with her a red
plastic cup to illustrate how little it
would take to ensure children don't
go to school hungry. It would cost
about one euro to fill that cup once
a day for a week, she said.
The future is at stake, she said.
Children who get at least one daily
meal stay in school and study better.
In the West Bank, about 75,000
school children benefit from the
program. Instead of a cup of food,
they get milk and a date bar made
in Saudi Arabia. The aim is to find
a local producer to help boost the
struggling Palestinian economy,
The West Bank has been a test-
ing ground for the electronic food
voucher, a debit card with which
beneficiaries buy their staples
when they need them at local
stores, rather than having to report
to distribution centers at fixed
Rumors and questions surface as
former Haiti dictator stays in hotel
for returning to
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP)
- From a posh hotel room, Hai-
ti's former dictator Jean-Claude
"Baby Doc" Duvalier greeted old
friends and allies while provid-
ing no public insight into why he
suddenly returned to the country
he fled amid a popular rebellion a
The lack of information left
Haitians to speculate on what the
appearance of the exiled former
president-for-life could mean for
the country, its efforts to build out
of poverty - and what other politi-
cal surprises might be coming
amid an increasingly problematic
The immediate speculation
was on whether the ex-dictator's
return is a mere precursor to a
potentially more epochal event:
a return by the man who helped
lead the movement to topple him,
ex-President Jean-Bertrand Aris-
tide, who has been in South Afri-
can exile since 2004.
Haitian radio repeated rumors
throughout the day that Aristide
was headed for Panama or Cuba,
en route to Port-au-Prince. There
was no immediate indication
those reports were true.
Aristide's attorney in Miami,
Ira Kurzban, said the ousted for-
mer president, who remains popu-
lar in Haiti, wants tQvcome back to
"President Aristide has said he
desires to return to his country.
His position is that he's always had
a right to his return," he said.
U.S. State Department spokes-
man P.J. Crowley was compelled
to say in a Twitter post that "We
are not aware of any plans for for-
mer President Aristide to travel to
Historian Georges Michel said
such an occurrence would over-
shadow Baby Doc's return.
"You have some people excited,
but you have not seen big excite-
ment in the streets like when
(singer) Wyclef (Jean) arrived or
if Aristide would return from his
exile," he said.
Another theory: President
Rene Preval was behind Duva-
lier's return to create a distraction
from the problematic presidential
election in which Preval's chosen
candidate is deadlocked against a
popular carnival singer for a posi-
tion in the second round, which
was supposed to take place the day
Baby Doc arrived.
"They.say on the streets that
Preval created a diversion to divert
the attention" from the rival can-
didates in that race, Michel said,
but he added that he doubted it
"I can predict that the people
will not forget their vote," he said.
If an acceptable second round
doesn't happen, "They will take to
the streets and demand the imme-
diate departure of Preval."
Yet another question many ask
here: Why hasn't Duvalier been
arrested, given Preval's past state-
ments that he would be prosecut-
ed for crimes against the Haitian
people if he ever returned.
Prime Minister Jean-Max
Bellerive said he is aware of the
accusations but that an arrest is
unlikely anytime soon. "We want
to be a government that respects
the law and to arrest somebody
you have to have a judiciary pro-
cess," he said.
Others are insistent. Amnesty
International, Human Rights
Watch, and the generally Aristide-
favoring Institute for Justice and
Democracy in Haiti have said
there is ample evidence and legal
action to arrest him during his
"The information available in
existing legal proceedings and
Mr. Duvalier's 25-year flight from
Haitian justice clearly justify the
immediate issuance and execution
of an arrest warrant," IJDH said in
At the moment, at least, there
are nopending charges against the
former dictator. In fact, National
Police for a time guarded him at
the upscale Hotel Karibe before
withdrawing, leaving security to
hotel guards and a few U.N. peace-
keepers stationed outside.
Few clues came from inside the
refurbished Karibe, a new building
that was badly damaged and then
repaired after the earthquake. Old
allies of the regime in suits and
dress shirts filed into the balcony-
ringed lobby, taking the elevator to
and from Duvalier's room.
Henry Robert Sterlin, a for-
mer ambassador who said he was
speaking on behalf of Duvalier,
portrayed the 59-year-old ex-dic-
tator as merely a concerned elder
statesmen who wanted to see the
effects of the devastating Jan. 12,
2010, earthquake on his homeland.
"He was deeply hurt in his soul
after the earthquake," Sterlin said.
"He wanted to come back to see
how is the actual Haitian situation
of the people and the country."
Duvalier - who assumed power
in 1971 at age 19 following the
death of his father, Francois "Papa
Doc" Duvalier - still has some
support in Haiti and millions are
too young to remember life under
his dictatorship. But his abrupt
return Sunday still sent shock
waves through the country, with
some fearing that his presencewill
bring back the extreme polariza-
tion, and political violence, of the