Ironwood Daily Globe from Ironwood, Michigan on June 24, 1998 · Page 4
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June 24, 1998

Ironwood Daily Globe from Ironwood, Michigan · Page 4

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Ironwood, Michigan
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Wednesday, June 24, 1998
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Page 4
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THE DAILY GLOBE, Ironwood, Ml — win. lose & DREW inion Wednesday. June 24, 1998 Page 6 Almanac fit Datebook June 24, 1998 JLI Today is the 175th day 0/1998 and the 4th day of summer TODAY'S HISTORY: On this day in 1509, Henry VIII was 'crowned king of England. On this day in 1947, pilot Kenneth Arnold of Boise, Idaho, reported niru> UFOs over'Mou'nt. Rainier. Wash: On this day in 19-18, New York governor Thomas E. Dewey was nominated for president''at-the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, Pu. TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS: Henry'Ward Beecher (J813-IM'7>..clergyman: Jack Dempsey (1895-1983), boxer: Norman. Cousins (1915-1990), editor-writer; John Ciardi U916-1966), poet-critic-; Billy Casper (1931-), golf great, is fi~; Mick Fleetwood (1942-), musician, is 56; Michele Lee (1942-i, singer-actress, is 56; Jeff Beck (1944-). musician, is S-J. Sister responds to editorial about brother's traffic death .- In the June 15 edition of The Ironwood Daily Globe, an editorial was printed that originally appeared in the Petoskey News Review. ~ ~~ This editorial found its-way from the Lower Peninsula up to the hometown newspaper of my parents/The subject matter was about my brother's death and the •lawsuit that stemmed from that accident. Letter (The editorial) indicated the "Michigan Legislature needs to take n look at the issue of police chases before the taxpayers are robbed by those looking for extra bucks." I take the personal affront to that statement; this is not a firiv- ilous lawsuit. I respect his/her right to express the opinion and would fight for that right, but this person, obviously ia not informed as to the fact* of this case. This ia why. On June 17, 1988, my brother, John, was killed in an automobile accident on his way to work at 8:40 a.m. on Jefferson Avenue in Detroit. He was hit broadside by an automobile being driven by a 14-year-old boy, running from the police. The police were following this boy at speeds of over 85 miles per hour in a residential area of the city, on a one-way street which emptied onto Jefferson Avenue, during the .peak of morning rush-hour traffic. The officers observed this car roll through a stop, sign a mile and a half earlier and gave chase. One block before the impact, the officers put on their lights and siren to go through a busy intersection and then shut them ofT, continuing their chase. They were behind the car when it struck my brother's Bronco, and were there to catch the passenger, who jumped out of the car. On a warm June morning, my brother lost his life because he didn't hear or see anything coming. Wa3 this accident the boy's fault? Yes. Was he found partially responsible? Yes. Were the police at fault during this chase? Yea. My parents and my siblings are not parties to the lawsuit that ensued. My sister-in-law, on behalf of my brother's estate, is the plaintiff. The trial was held about seven years ago at the circuit court level in Wayne County. My sister-in-law won the case against the City of Detroit, and the verdict was rendered by a racially find economically diverse jury, which found the police were partially responsible for this accident. As in any wrongful death lawsuit, the damages to be awarded are monetary. You cannot give back the life of a deceased person. The award was based on the projected earnings my brother would have earned over the course of his working lifetime until age 65, and based upon the previous year's income. My brother was only 34 years old at the time of hi* death. The jury award did not include anything else to his wife or daughter — nothing for the loss of companionship, marital relations or parental relation*. She has not received a penny to date. The City of Detroit then ap- •In Their Opinion- Court rulings could gouge taxpayers It's hard to imagine that two police officers chasing an illegal driver can he responsible for the driver's action, Yet the Michigan Supremo Court biiHicnliy unid polico can ho rcspoimililu for injurion cmisod during high- speed chases'— even when someone is struck by those being chased, not the police. The ruling, written by Justice Marilyn Kelly, will cost taxpayers thousands of dollars as a result, because they erode the doctrine of sovereign immunity. , According to The Detroit News, one case involved a lawsuit brought by the family of John Rogers, a lawyer who was killed by a stolen car driven by a 14-year-old. The youth ran a stop sign while being chased by police. The second case involved Deborah Ewing, who was seriously injured in 1990 after her van was broadsided by a stolen truck. While Detroit police had the truck driver under surveillance, they did not try to apprehend the driver until he got behind the wheel. "The doctrine of immunity was created to shield government from civil lawsuits that might interfere with government's official duties. In these cases, the police were attempting to apprehend people they believed were breaking the law. Yet because the police used reasonable discretion on how they might apprehend the suspects, the court ruled the police weren't protected. The court reasoned that if there had been high-speed chases, the police would have been protected. However, since the police weren't involved in hot pursuit at the time, the immunity wasn't the same. As The Detroit News pointed out in its recent editorial, this ruling is part of a growing trend. The Michigan Court of Appeals recently ruled that cities now can be held accountable for damage caused by sewer line backups, regardless of whether negligence can be demonstrated. The Michigan Legislature needs to address these issues before taxpayers across the state are robbed by those looking for extra bucks. You can probably imagine what the highways and streets would be like if all errant drivers knew that police wouldn't chase them if they engaged in a high- speed chase. C'mon now... —PRTOSKEY NEWS-REVIEW pealed that decision to the Court of Appeals, which lowered their percentage of fault by 20 percent. That decision was appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court, which this year upheld the circuit court's verdict. It ruled police officers pursuing susp«cts on roadways can be held liable for death and injury to bystanders caused during the chase. It also declared that an officer attempting to apprehend a fleeing suspect cannot be liable for damage* from a chase unless the officer did something to cause harm unrelated to the arrest. The Supreme Court recognizes that policing IB dangerous work and occasionally innocent bystanders get hurt. Officers need the latitude to do their work without fear of being sued. The Supreme Court recognizes this and struck the right balance in giving the police necessary leeway,' while also putting them on notice they cannot be absolutely reckless. The City of Detroit is now appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court. The City of Detroit i* the one appealing the case and dragging it out. This case could have been nettled during the circuit court proceeding. As time marche* on, the interest keeps accruing on the award. So far this decade, more than 2,400 people have been killed in My parents lost a precious son, and my brothers and I lost a wonderful brother. He had many friends, was full of life, and a productive member of society. He was an innocent victim and did nothing to contribute to this accident. It is a terrible tragedy, but is one that happens every single day to other families such as ours. I want to. be. very, clear we are not against police officers and police chases. We have many, many good friends who are police-officers, both in the inner city and in our rural towns. We support them and agree there is a need . for them to apprehend offenders who may run from them. This issue is a hotiy-debatcd subject and I believe this case is impacting the procedures of police chaaes and the Legislature should reform the hiw ^statewide 'to provide strict guidelines. Some police pursuits are necessary to maintain law and order. It's the way pursuits are conducted and the kinds of suspects who are pursued that arc being • debated. In this particular-case, the two officers involved did not use good discretion or judgement, did not follow police manuals, training and procedures, and were conducting a high-speed pursuit without lights or did not know until after the accident of the age of the young man or that the car was not his. Contrary to the (editorial) writer's statement, these police officers were not attempting to apprehend people they believed were breaking the law. The only law "broken" at the time of the initiation of the chase was a misdemeanor traffic violation of rolling through a stop sign. For the writer of this editorial to insinuate that families such as ours are "looking for extra bucks" is an insult. We are all blue-collar, hard-working taxpayers. If anyone is costing the taxpayers in this case, it's the City of Detroit, for their appeals are continuing every time they lose a decision.. If the author of the editorial thinks that we should just bury our loved one and be done with it, he is mistaken; and I assure you that if it was his loved {• i . .. .. ~ . , . . *»u»»- T V M 11*4*1, 11 IV r* l»i» ItlO 1U*UU police chases in the US. At least- one who Wfla mulilated nnd kll[ed 110 people have died this decade because of police chases on Michigan roads. That ranks the state sixth in the nation in deaths from police chaaes. My brother left a young widow and an unborn child. My sister- in-law has to go on without her young husband. My niece never got to know her daddy. in a similar accident, he would have something entirely different to say. Nancy (Rogers) Obrndovich, Iron Mountain DAILY Gary Lamberg Andy Hill Editor/General Manager Managing Editor Ralph Ansami News Editor In Out Opinion Value of forests understood here Gifibrd Pinchot is credited with being America's first forester. A major national forest in Washington state bears his name as a living testament to his contribution to American forestry practices. .".-''. •..;.•'• According to Pinchot, "To start with I had to learn something about the people, the country and the trees. And of the three, the first was the most important." Managing forests on the Gogebic Range, or anywhere else, must start with Understanding and educating people about forestry. Gogebic County Forester Richard Bolen understands this idea. He has built a county forest program around educating people who make their livings directly from the forest and the rest of the public on sustainable forestry. In the June Western Upper Peninsula Forest Improvement District newsletter, Bolen discusses sustainable forestry as an important part of the development for our region. "The paradox of life is that we must take from life to live. However, we must also put something back, be it seed in a field or a seedling in a forest. "We have many lessons of the past in which great civilizations have fallen by failing to live suatainably within their economic and ecological means," wrote Bolen. .''•'•.•• He advocates policies for the forest that are socially acceptable, economically feasible and biologically possible. His stewardship of the Gogebic County Forest for the last 20 years has already paid dividends for the county in increased timber revenues and a program that will produce high-value hardwood and mixed species harvests for many years. The key is getting people to understand and make informed choices about managing forestlands. Keeping the public informed about sustainable forestry will play a major role in the proper use of our forest resources. Given the importance of our forests to our local economy and lifestyle, we have a vested interest in learning as much aa we can. The future of our economy may well depend on making informed forest management choic- Legislation aimed at historic preservation By MALCOLM JOHNSON AP Writer LANSING, Mich. (AP) — As Michigan moves toward the 21st century, many state residents feel the best way to prepare for the future is to preserve the past. But it takes money to maintain an old home, or protect an aged building from the wrecking ball. Now, legislation to provide amall tax breaks for someone who wants to preserve a time-worn structure' is moving through the Capitol. Capital Focus "I think it's wonderful. We can use everything we can get," enthused Judy Peters of Marshall. She's president of the Marshall Historical Society and co-chairwoman of the National Historic Landmark District in the town known for its well-preserved Victorian-era homes and other old .buildings. . "People have always been aware of history in Marshall," sho said. "We have people in town who are much more aware of their (buildings') historic integrity." Sen. John Schwarz, R-Battle Creek, whose own city has worked to preserve old buildings, is the sponsor of the tax-break legislation and a supporter of historic preservation. "When we preserve one of these sites, we preserve a portion of our history," Schwarz said. "Historic rehabilitation and preservation benefit both our state and our local communities. Preservation efforts create jobs, stimulate retail snlea, return formerly derelict properties to the tax roles and help create new tourist venues." The bills would allow qualifying people to claim a credit against the state income tax or Single Business Tax for the rehabilitation of a historic structure. The credit would be equal to 25 percent of capita! expenditures. The historic structure or site would generally have to be within a historic district as designated by the National Register of Historic Places, the State Register of Historic Sites or a local government that established a historic district.. Doonesbury BY GARRY TRUDEAU uxxour, SHANK! UXX.OUT SHANK!

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