Friday, March 30, 2007

Hospitality Law, April 1, 2007, Vol. 22, No. 4

Copyright 2007 LRP Publications

All Rights Reserved

Hospitality Law

April 1, 2007

SECTION: Vol. 22 No. 4

HEADLINE: Jack in the Box not negligent in employee injury claim


Court found restaurant did not owe duty to warn of obvious danger

A restaurant chain with procedures to prevent workplace injury proved in court that it was not negligent for failing to warn a driver of the obvious danger posed by jumping into a trailer. Jack in the Box Inc. v. Skiles, No. 05-0911 (Texas 02/09/07).

Wade Skiles was a tractor-trailer driver employed by Jack in the Box for 24 years. His job duties included the transport and delivery of food products to various Jack in the Box restaurants. The company's trailers are equipped with automatic lift gates that assist drivers in loading and unloading food product, and the drivers are instructed that if they encounter any problems with the lift gate, they must call the company's independent service center and report the malfunction. The driver is expected to wait for a maintenance person to arrive and make the necessary repairs.

When Skiles arrived for a delivery at a Jack in the Box restaurant in Seguin, Texas, and attempted to lower the lift gate, the gate would not operate. He told the restaurant manager about the problem, but the manager responded that the restaurant was out of hamburger meat and that it was the "lunch rush." Skiles reported the problem to a supervisor at the Jack in the Box distribution center. He told the supervisor he was going to use a ladder to climb over the non-functioning lift gate so he could get to the food supplies needed by the restaurant. According to Skiles, the supervisor's response was, "good," although the supervisor said he does not have a clear recollection of that conversation. Skiles obtained the ladder from the restaurant and used it to climb over the lift gate and jump into the back of the trailer. When he landed, he said both of his knees "popped" and were injured. Upon completing his other scheduled deliveries, Skiles returned to the company distribution center and filed an employee injury claim form.

Because Jack in the Box is not a workers' compensation subscriber, Skiles brought a negligence action against the company. Jack in the Box moved for summary judgment, which the trial court granted without stating the grounds for its decision. Skiles appealed the judgment to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The appeals court reversed the prior court's decision and remanded the case for trial in the Supreme Court of Texas. Jack in the Box argued that there was no evidence it owed and breached a duty to warn Skiles of an obviously dangerous condition. The supreme court agreed with the company, reversed the case, and rendered a take-nothing judgment in favor of Jack in the Box.

Listen carefully, evaluate processes when handling complaints

Workplace harassment happens every day. Although management cannot always prevent harassment, a thorough and prompt investigation by an HR manager in response to a complaint can help mitigate the damage done by unprofessional behavior.

Susan Brecher, the director for curriculum and training design at Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations, said it's crucial that HR directors listen carefully to all employee complaints.

"As a complaint handler, you always have to tell yourself, 'I'm not the talker; I'm the listener,'" she said.

Brecher recommended using these four steps for handling complaints:

* Intake. Brecher said three-quarters of handling complaints is intake - ensuring that probing questions are asked and the proper information is gathered.

* Review the concern. Investigate the issues and look to policies for guidelines.

* Resolve it. Try to find a solution that satisfies the complaining party and is also in the best interest of the company.

* Evaluate. "It's useless if you're not constantly evaluating the process to see if it's working ... and be prepared to do something about it if it's not," Brecher said.

Make sure arbitration agreement is fair

To create a mandatory arbitration agreement for your nonunion hotel or restaurant, employers should:

* Hire a good lawyer. Ensure that your attorney has experience putting together a mandatory arbitration agreement that will hold up if challenged.

* Check to see if you qualify. As long as your primary business is not related to the transportation industry, you can qualify.

* Make sure the agreement is fair. Employees and employers should have the same opportunity for discovery as they would be granted in a court of law.

* See that it is voluntary. The courts have generally held that employers can require an employee to sign an arbitration agreement as a condition of employment because an employee can always find other employment.

* Provide a choice of arbitrator.

Business Wire, March 28, 2007, Wednesday

Copyright 2007 Business Wire, Inc.

Business Wire

March 28, 2007 Wednesday 1:00 PM GMT

DISTRIBUTION: Business Editors

HEADLINE: Brizel to Assume EVP/General Counsel Role at Saks Incorporated



Retailer Saks Incorporated (NYSE: SKS)(the "Company") today announced that Michael Brizel will join the Company on April 16th and will assume the post of Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Saks Incorporated on May 7, 2007.

Brizel is an attorney with extensive experience in such areas as human resources law, corporate and commercial matters, and litigation management. He has served in a variety of positions of increasing responsibility with The Reader's Digest Association, Inc. since 1989, including Senior Vice President and General Counsel, a position he has held since 2002. Brizel gained previous experience with General Foods Corporation and the law firm of Summit, Rovins and Feldesman. He received his law degree from Cornell Law School and a B.S. from Cornell University in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

Brizel will be based in New York and will report to Steve Sadove, Chief Executive Officer. The Company is in the process of consolidating a number of its executive functions into the existing Saks Fifth Avenue home offices in New York City from Birmingham, Alabama. This process is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2007. In October 2006, following the sale of the remaining portion of the Company's department store business, the Company announced that Charles Hansen, who is based in Birmingham and is the Company's current Executive Vice President and General Counsel, intended to terminate his employment effective May 4, 2007, which will occur as scheduled.

Saks Incorporated currently operates Saks Fifth Avenue, which consists of 54 Saks Fifth Avenue stores, 49 Saks Off 5th stores, The Company also operates Club Libby Lu specialty stores.

CONTACT: Saks Incorporated

Julia Bentley, (865) 981-6243


USA TODAY, March 28, 2007, Wednesday

Copyright 2007 Gannett Company, Inc.

All Rights Reserved


March 28, 2007 Wednesday



HEADLINE: Princeton leads in grade deflation;

Policy of reining in rampant A's scores low with some

BYLINE: Laura Bruno


Jennifer Mickel, a Princeton University senior, can't help but look around a class of 10 students and think, "Just three of us can get A's."

Since Princeton took the lead among Ivy League schools to formally adopt a grade-deflation policy three years ago -- limiting A's to an average 35% across departments -- students say the pressure to score the scarcer A has intensified. Students say they now eye competitive classmates warily and shy away from classes perceived as difficult.

"It used to be that you'd let someone copy your notes if they were sick," says Mickel, 21, of Monroe, La. "Now, if someone misses classes, you'd probably still let them, but you're also thinking: 'Gee, you might get the A while I don't.'."

There is no quota in individual courses, despite what students think, says Dean of the College Nancy Malkiel. Still, the policy has made an A slightly more elusive. In the first two years, A's, (A-plus, A, A-minus), accounted for 41% of undergrad grades, down from 47% the two previous years.

Though a typical Princeton overachiever might blanch at the mere mention of a B, the university is sticking by its policy, Malkiel says. Students' employment and graduate school placements actually have improved the past two years, she says.

Princeton, which set a third consecutive record for admission applications this year, doesn't mind taking the lonely stand against grade inflation, she adds. "What we're after here is real culture change, and culture change doesn't come easily. We are comfortable taking the lead."

Grade inflation, well documented at many schools, is most pronounced in the Ivy League, according to an American Academy of Arts and Sciences 2002 study. For example, in 1966, 22% of all grades given to Harvard undergraduates were A's. That grew to 46% in 1996, the study found.

Princeton's grade spike became alarming in the last decade, Malkiel says. The policy, supported by a faculty vote, returns grades to early 1990s levels. "By grading in a more discriminating fashion, faculty members are able to give clearer signals about whether a student's work is inadequate, ordinary, good or excellent," Malkiel says.

Staying ahead of the curve

Other universities have talked about curbing grade inflation, but none is known to have gone as far as Princeton. Some, such as Columbia University, have tried unsuccessfully to curb the upward spiral by posting average course grades on transcripts. Others, including Harvard, Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania, have not-so-subtly pressured professors by circulating class averages. Harvard declined to comment; a Dartmouth spokeswoman said there were no plans to alter grading policies.

At Cornell, a well-intentioned grade-awareness effort backfired. Class averages are posted online, which students use to search for classes where the median grade is an A. Those courses have grown in popularity, says Ronald Ehrenberg, director of Cornell's Higher Education Research Institute.

Professors resistant to lowering grades often point out that student quality has risen over the same time period and they should have discretion to dole out grades as they see fit, Ehrenberg says. That's why Princeton continues to stand alone on the subject, he says: Attempting an institution-wide policy will be met with resistance.

"It's not surprising there has been no movement to follow Princeton's lead," says Stuart Rojstaczer, a retired Duke professor whose often-cited 2002 study found grade inflation at most universities. "The leadership just isn't there elsewhere."

Harvey Mansfield Jr., a Harvard government professor, has tried on his own to draw attention to the problem by giving his students two grades -- one that's officially reported for transcripts and another, lower, that reflects what he feels they truly earned.

"I remember when a B was an honors grade -- today a B-minus is a slap in the face," Mansfield says. "I still give two grades. When I stop, that's when you'll know we've started to make progress."

Watching the bubble deflate

Deans at Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania say they are interested in Princeton's policy, though it may be too soon to tell if it works.

"The rest of us are watching the Princeton experiment with interest," says Dennis DeTurck, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. "If this really takes root, and I'm hoping it does, then it's something we can use."

Some Princeton students have asked, if the policy is so great, why haven't others followed their lead, says Alex Lenahan, a senior politics major.

Lenahan, 22, of Piedmont, Calif., a recent past student government president, let students vent this fall in a survey that elicited 2,180 responses from a student body of 4,700. Nearly 70% said the policy had a negative effect.

In 68 pages of anonymous comments, students said they avoid classes where they're less confident of getting a good grade or drop out if highly competitive students enroll. They also griped about the policy putting them at a disadvantage with their peers at other Ivy League schools when applying to graduate schools or for jobs.

"It's difficult for me to believe that a B-plus at Princeton would ever be viewed as the same as an A at Harvard or Yale," says Lenahan, who still calls Princeton the best college in the country.

Princeton undergrads may take heart from Merrill Lynch's director of campus recruiting, Connie Thanasoulis. "I'm not in the least bit concerned about the chances for those at Princeton in comparison with any other Ivy League student," she says.

"I have never seen the quality of students that I've seen this year," she says. "I'm impressed."

Laura Bruno reports daily for The Daily Record in Morristown, N.J.

GRAPHIC: GRAPHIC, B/W, Julie Snider, USA TODAY, Source: Stuart Rojstaczer, (LINE GRAPH)

US Fed News, March 27, 2007, Tuesday

Copyright 2007 HT Media Ltd.

All Rights Reserved

US Fed News

March 27, 2007 Tuesday 10:14 PM EST





The National Labor Relations Board issued the following press release:

National Labor Relations Board's General Counsel Ronald Meisburg today announced the appointment of Barnett Horowitz as Resident Officer in the Agency's Albany, NY Resident Office, part of the Buffalo, NY Regional Office (Region 3). In his new position, Mr. Horowitz will assist Regional Director Helen Marsh in enforcing the National Labor Relations Act in all of upstate New York except for Westchester, Dutchess, Putnam and Rockland Counties. The Albany Resident Office primarily serves the population of the eastern portion of New York.

The NLRB administers and enforces the National Labor Relations Act. In enforcing this law, the NLRB conducts secret-ballot elections to determine whether employees desire union representation and investigates, prosecutes and remedies unfair labor practices committed by employers and unions.

In announcing the appointment, General Counsel Meisburg stated:

Barney, in his 31-year career, has distinguished himself by processing a prodigious number of cases, including many of the Region's more challenging and complex assignments. Well regarded by Region 3's community of practitioners, his knowledge of the law and analytical skills, not to mention his enthusiasm, will be a great asset in his new position of Resident Officer.

Mr. Horowitz, a native of Mt. Vernon, NY, began his career with the NLRB in July 1975 as a Field Examiner in the Milwaukee, WI Regional Office (Region 30). He transferred to the Albany Resident Office in 1977. He earned a B.S. degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell in 1972 and an M.S. in Industrial Relations from the University of Wisconsin in 1975. He is currently vice president of the Capital District Chapter of the Labor and Employment Relations Association.

US States News, March 23, 2007, Friday

Copyright 2007 HT Media Ltd.

All Rights Reserved

US States News

March 23, 2007 Friday 1:01 AM EST


BYLINE: US States News



The Cornell University College of Industrial and Labor Relations issued the following news release:

Lowell Turner, Professor and Chair, International and Comparative Labor and Daniel Cornfield, Professor of Sociology at Vanderbilt University, have co-edited a book on urban coalition building and innovative union strategies for labor movement revitalization. The new book includes several chapters by ILR graduate students along with chapters by numerous other experts on urban politics and labor. The following is an excerpt from the publisher.

Labor in the New Urban Battlegrounds examines a diverse array of innovative strategies for revitalizing the labor movement by forming alliances outside the workplace with a variety of community groups, social movements, and faith-based organizations, particularly those that address civil rights, immigrant rights, and consumer concerns. This book presents case studies of issues-such as living wages, community development corporations, and local politics-around which urban coalitions are built in "union towns" (New York City, Boston, Buffalo, and Seattle), "frontier cities" (Los Angeles, Miami, San Jose, and Nashville), and European cities (London, Frankfurt, and Hamburg).

Introducing the role of urban social context in the field of labor revitalization, the editors have chosen cases with different outcomes-cities in which strong coalitions have enabled new union influence are contrasted with those in which such coalition building has been thwarted.

As they survey the successes and failures of the new urban labor movement, the editors and contributors conclude that actor choice, strategic innovation, coalition building, and the urban context of labor organizing are key elements in the revitalization of the labor movement and the renewal of democracy.

This book will allow the labor leaders of the future to learn from the recent experiences of their peers throughout the United States and Europe.


* Ron Applegate, Cornell University

* Barbara Byrd, University of Oregon

* William Canak, Middle Tennessee State University

* Daniel B. Cornfield, Vanderbilt University

* Benjamin Day, Mass-Care: The Massachusetts Campaign for Single Payer Health Care

* Peter Evans, University of California, Berkeley

* Lou Jean Fleron, Cornell University

* Ian Greer, Cornell University and Leeds University

* Marco Hauptmeier, Cornell University

* nJane Holgate, London Metropolitan University

* Otto Jacobi, Laboratorium Europa

* Heiwon Kwon, Cornell University

* Stephanie Luce, University of Massachusetts-Amherst

* Bruce Nissen, Florida International University

* David Reynolds, Wayne State University

* Nari Rhee, University of California, Berkeley

* Monica Russo, SEIU

* Julie A. Sadler, University of Delaware

* Jefferey M. Sellers, University of Southern California

* Lowell Turner, Cornell University

* Jane Wills, University of London


"As multinational corporations dominate more aspects of our daily lives, it is critical that we develop global strategies for solving local problems. This important new book does just that. By comparing local union organizing campaigns from around the world, this talented group of labor researchers makes a unique contribution to our understanding of the global labor movement."-Bruce Raynor, General President, UNITE HERE!

KCPW (NPR affiliate in Salt Lake City, Utah), March 14, 2007 Wednesday

KCPW (NPR affiliate in Salt Lake City, Utah)
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Midday Utah

LISTEN at the URL above

American corporate executives spend several hundred million dollars a year on "union avoidance" lawyers and consultants to keep their companies union free. That's according to a recent article in the Christian Science Monitor, which also claims that the AFL-CIO's chief organizer sees a growing interest in the U.S. for union representation. On the phone to talk about the state of unions today, their possible rise in the future, and the Employee Free Choice Act is Kate Bronfenbrenner, a Professor and Director of Labor Education Research at Cornell University. She is a former organizer and business agent with the United Woodcutters Association in Mississippi, and her books include Organizing to Win: New Research on Union Strategies.

Monday, March 26, 2007

PrimeNewswire, March 23, 2007, Friday

Copyright 2007 PrimeNewsWire, Inc.

All Rights Reserved


March 23, 2007 Friday 6:15 AM EST


HEADLINE: MEDirect Latino Inc. Elects Ruben Jose King-Shaw Jr., Robert Webb, Daniel Gordon, and Robert Lautz to Board of Directors;

Company Adds Independent Directors to Advise Management On Short- and Long-Term Growth Strategies


POMPANO BEACH, Fla., March 23, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- MEDirect Latino Inc. (Pink Sheets:MLTO) (, the first national provider of direct-to-consumer Medicare reimbursed medical products focused exclusively on chronic diseases afflicting the Hispanic community, today announced that Mr. Ruben Jose King-Shaw Jr., Mr. Daniel "Dan" Gordon, Mr. Robert Webb and Mr. Robert Lautz are joining the Company's current Board of Directors: Ms. Debra L. Towsley, Mr. Charles W. Hansen III and Mr. Raymond J. Talarico.

Ruben Jose King-Shaw Jr. currently serves as Chairman and CEO of Mansa Equity Partners, Inc., a health care private equity investment and advisory firm with offices in Carlisle, MA and Tallahassee, FL. Mr. King-Shaw has advised governments and companies throughout the United States, Caribbean, South Africa and Latin America on matters of business development and strategy, mergers and acquisitions, and health care policy.

Mr. King-Shaw served in the George W. Bush Administration from 2001 to 2003 where he led many of President Bush and HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson's government-sponsored health care initiatives as Deputy Administrator and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Ruben also served as Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury, where he led the Administration's Health Coverage Tax Credit policies to assist the uninsured. Ruben was also a member of the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health and a major spokesperson and policy advisor for the Administration on the topics of health care disparities, Medicare and Medicaid reform, prescription drug policy, rural and immigrant labor healthcare and commercial insurance market reform.

Mr. King-Shaw remains active in public service. New York Governor George Pataki appointed Mr. King-Shaw to the New York State Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century in May of 2005. The Commission is charged by the Legislature to submit a plan to redesign the State's hospital and nursing home system. Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney appointed Mr. King Shaw to the University Of Massachusetts Board Of Trustees in September of 2005, where he chairs the UMass Board's Committee on Academic and Student Affairs. Mr. King-Shaw is a member of the Cornell University Council and the Advisory Council at Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Abbott Laboratories named Mr. King-Shaw to their Health Policy Board in 2005. In addition, Mr. King-Shaw is a director of both the Scripps Florida Funding Corporation and the Florida Education Foundation.

Prior to joining the George W. Bush Administration, Mr. King-Shaw was the Secretary of the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). The Agency is responsible for Florida's Medicaid, Health Quality Assurance, facility regulation, intergovernmental transfers and managed care regulation activities. He was appointed to head the Agency by Governor Jeb Bush on December 30, 1998.

Robert Webb is the CEO of Health Solutions Group, an operating unit of UnitedHealth Group which coordinates network-based health and well-being services on behalf of mid-sized and small employers, as well as individual and families. Previously, Mr. Webb worked in private equity as a partner with One Equity Partners, and, prior to that, Equity Group Investments. He holds an MBA from The Kellogg School at Northwestern University, and Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota.

Daniel "Dan" Gordon was appointed to the Board of Commissioners of the North Broward Hospital District by Governor Jeb Bush in 2005. The NBHD has provided service for more than 50 years as a community health system offering a full spectrum of healthcare services. One of the 10 largest public health systems in the United States, the NBHD encompasses more than 30 healthcare facilities, including Broward General Medical Center, North Broward Medical Center, Imperial Point Medical Center, Coral Springs Medical Center, Chris Evert Children's Hospital and Weston Regional HealthPark. Commissioner Gordon was born in Miami and raised in Broward County, Florida. He graduated from Pompano Beach High School and earned an associate degree from Broward Junior College (now Broward Community College). He received his Bachelor of Business Administration from Florida Atlantic University.

Commissioner Gordon is a Certified Property Casualty Underwriter with Bateman, Gordon and Sands insurance agency in Pompano Beach, Florida. He is past president of the Greater Pompano Beach Chamber of Commerce, the Pompano Economic Group and the Pompano Beach Rotary. He is president of the First Presbyterian Church Foundation in Pompano Beach.

Robert Lautz is a co-founder and Managing Director of St. Cloud Capital, a Los Angeles based private investment firm. Mr. Lautz was formerly the Chairman of, the nation's leading Internet-based sales mechanism for bank foreclosed properties. Prior to that, Mr. Lautz served as the CEO of ListingLink, the original Internet-based residential property multiple listing services. Mr. Lautz formed and served as Chairman and CEO of Indenet, Inc., a NASDAQ listed private satellite-based network that delivered digital advertisements and programming to the 3000+ national broadcast and cable television networks. Mr. Lautz also owned and operated Peerless Capital, a venture capital business which invested in various management led leveraged buyouts and private equity transactions. Mr. Lautz has extensive experience serving on the board of directors of both private and public companies. Mr. Lautz earned a Master's degree from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird), and a B.S. in Business Administration from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

In announcing the new Directors to MEDirect Latino's Board, Chairman and Executive Vice President, Mr. Raymond Talarico stated, "We are indeed fortunate to have individuals of such high caliber join our Board. We look forward to the wide range of knowledge and diverse experience each member has to offer the Company and our shareholders. MEDirect is a young company which at times has been challenged to effectively manage our explosive growth. Each new board member, through their involvement as founders, operators, executive officers and consultants to a wide variety of businesses and government agencies has dealt extensively with issues related to healthcare, valuation, strategy, growth and corporate governance and thereby will significantly strengthen MEDirect's strategic platform. We are honored that individuals of such high quality and experience, who believe in the Company's vision, are joining with our existing management board members to steward our plan and broaden our expectations for MEDirect Latino well into the future."

Pursuant to the filing requirements of Section 14(c) of the Exchange Act of 1934, as Amended, the Company has completed a filing of an Information Statement setting forth the Election of four additional directors to the Company's Board. The Directors were elected pursuant to consent of the majority of the Shareholders and all of the Directors dated March 22, 2007.

The following link contains the Company's complete 14C filing:


MEDirect Latino (Pink Sheets:MLTO) ( is the first national provider of direct-to-consumer Medicare reimbursed medical products focused exclusively on chronic diseases afflicting the Hispanic community. MEDirect Latino is rapidly growing and uniquely positioned to service the Hispanic community in the United States and Puerto Rico. MEDirect is the only company currently positioned to serve the U.S. Hispanic healthcare market as a direct-to-consumer Medicare provider on an authentically national level. Type II diabetes was targeted because of its unique status within the Medicare reimbursement regime and due to its high degree of correlation to other chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease. These and other conditions represent considerable future market potential, MEDirect will scale its model by leveraging its existing client base and infrastructure in introducing new products and services to existing customers as they are identified.

The MEDirect Latino Inc. logo is available at

Safe Harbor Disclosure: This press release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the federal securities laws, commonly identified by such terms as "believes," "looking ahead," "anticipates," "estimates" and other terms with similar meaning. Although the Company believes that the assumptions upon which its forward-looking statements are based are reasonable, it can give no assurance that these assumptions will prove to be correct. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company's projections and expectations are disclosed in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All forward-looking statements in this press release are expressly qualified by such cautionary statements and by reference to the underlying assumptions.


MEDirect Latino Inc.

Jacqueline Gogin

(954) 321-3540

2101 West Atlantic Blvd, Suite 101

Pompano Beach, Florida 33069

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS, March 22, 2007, Thursday



March 22, 2007 Thursday



HEADLINE: Little things add up Duncanville: Baseball coach wants to see team do better with basics

BYLINE: From Staff Reports


Duncanville baseball coach Bob Rombach is looking for a few clutch hits and for his team to make the routine plays

Duncanville got a little of both in Tuesday's 2-1 victory over Arlington. But Rombach wants more.

Duncanville has left the tying or winning run on base in the seventh inning in losses to Highland Park, Southlake Carroll, South Garland and Fort Worth Southwest. That's the difference between a 10-5 record and Duncanville's 6-9 record.

Duncanville (2-1 in District 8-5A) made seven errors in its lone district loss, a 6-3 defeat to Arlington Lamar. All of the runs Lamar scored were unearned.

"It's a predicament we've been in," Rombach said. "Most of the teams we've played have made the routine play, which isn't common in high school."

Todd Wills


Richardson Pearce off to strong start

Richardson Pearce is having a breakthrough softball season. At 15-6, the team has won more games than it did each of the last five seasons.

First-year coach Nicholas Raya said much of the credit goes to sophomore pitcher Allison Schmidt and seniors Rachael Grimes and Cortney Immel. Schmidt has won her last three games, with 34 strikeouts and two earned runs allowed.

"Cortney is the team leader," Raya said. "She's the girl who gets the girls motivated and pumped up. And Rachael makes our offense go. She's one of the best hitters in the area."

Grimes, a first baseman, is batting .450. Immel plays third base. Raya starts five sophomores and one freshman, Nicole Aaron.

Dave Lance


Former Highland Park player commits to Cornell

Locke Jillson, who graduated from Highland Park in 2006, said he has orally committed to play hockey for Cornell starting in the 2008-09 season. The center/right wing has been playing for the Dallas Stars midget major AAA travel team, and he plans to play junior hockey next season.

Cornell has produced several NHL players, including Hall of Famer Ken Dryden and former Stars standout Joe Nieuwendyk. Cornell has won two national titles and made 16 trips to the NCAA tournament.

But academics were a big reason Jillson picked Cornell over fellow Division I hockey powers North Dakota, Denver and Colorado College. Jillson hopes to study in Cornell's industrial and labor relations program, and he thinks that could help him land an internship in an NHL front office down the road.

Greg Riddle

GRAPHIC: PHOTO(S): (FILE 2006) Locke Jillson scored eight points in the playoffs for Highland Park last year and was named to the All-Area second team.

Inside Bay Area (California), March 22, 2007, Thursday

Copyright 2007 MediaNews Group, Inc. and ANG Newspapers

All Rights Reserved

Inside Bay Area (California)

March 22, 2007 Thursday


HEADLINE: CSU professors OK 2-day strikes



California State University professors announced Wednesday they will strike at all 23 CSU campuses if they don't reach a contract agreement with administrators this month.

Union leaders said 94 percent of voting members approved the strike, which they said would be the largest higher-education walkout in U.S. history. About 11,000 of the 23-campus system's 24,000 faculty members belong to the union, and about 8,100 voted this month.

Professors have criticized the university's raises for administrators, saying faculty salaries lag far behind those at other schools. The 417,000-student university said it has proposed 24 percent pay hikes, while the union says the proposal works out to 14 or 15 percent increases for most instructors.

"We don't want to strike, but we will," said John Travis, president of the California Faculty Association and a professor at Humboldt State University. "We are a faculty that is fed up, and we are a faculty that is ready to walk out."

The rolling two-day strikes would occur in April and May and would be designed to minimize the effects on students, union leaders said. Most students would miss only a day of classes during the strikes, they said.

The union said it could not yet provide dates for the walkouts, but that it would warn students in advance.

At California State University, East Bay, in Hayward, several students said that they support their instructors. Some have vowed to shut down the two-campus university during a strike. "I'm happy and excited that faculty are taking a stand for themselves and their students," said student Lili Marquez. "When faculty suffer, we suffer."

Student Brandon Soublet said he wasn't surprised by the vote results.

"I expected it because faculty have been working on this for so long," he said. "It's great they're standing up for what they need."

Administrators at the Concord and Hayward campuses said they would decide over the next few days what to do if the faculty strikes. University officials promised that students would be able to use libraries and other facilities during walkouts.

"This is uncharted territory we're in," said CSUEB spokesman Kim Huggett. "But we're preparing the best that we can."

At the smaller Concord campus, Dean Peter Wilson said he hoped a strike would be isolated to Hayward.

"For the first time since I arrived here, I hope they forget about Concord," joked Wilson, who has pushed for more faculty involvement at Concord.

Administrators said they were working on reaching a settlement on salary raises before Sunday, after which an independent fact-finder's report will be made public. Chancellor Charles Reed said he was doing what he could to avoid a strike.

"We hope that today's announcement does not signal a predetermined outcome on behalf of the faculty union," he said in a written statement. "That would be a disservice to faculty and students alike."

The vote followed two years of contract negotiations, and the announcement came as Reed appeared in Sacramento to answer legislators' questions about executive perks. Several lawmakers have criticized the CSU administration for raising student fees 10 percent while offering perks and bonuses to executives.

In a written statement, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he remained optimistic the two sides would reach an agreement and avert a strike.

"Faculty and administrators," he said, "must work together in good faith so that our students ... do not become the unintended victims of a looming strike."

Education and labor experts said they could not remember a large-scale strike among faculty members in the United States. The CSU system is among the nation's largest university system.

"It would be very, very significant if the strike was well-attended, because it would have a real impact on learning," said Ronald Ehrenberg, a higher-education economics expert at Cornell University. But "if there's a lot of student outrage, then it's not helpful to the union."

At some campuses, the strikes would occur close to the end of the school year. Union leaders said they did not expect the actions to prevent students from completing their classes.

"Faculty get sick all the time, and that's never stopped a student from graduating," said Tom McCoy, a CSUEB professor who leads his school's union chapter.

Staff writer Kristofer Noceda contributed to this report.

The News-Messenger (Fremont, Ohio), March 22, 2007, Thursday

Copyright 2007 The News-Messenger (Fremont, OH)

All Rights Reserved

The News-Messenger (Fremont, Ohio)

March 22, 2007 Thursday


HEADLINE: Four named to United Way Board of Trustees

BYLINE: NM reports


News-Messenger reports

The United Way of Sandusky County has announced the following new members have joined the United Way Board of Trustees:

n John Christman is the market president at First Financial Bank in Clyde. He has a bachelor of business administration from Kent State University and attended the University of Wisconsin's School for Bank Administration.

Locally, he serves on the finance committee of the Chamber of Commerce and the Memorial Hospital Foundation and is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Fremont.

He has an extensive background in the United Way arena serving as a board member and officer with the Bucyrus Area United Way, the Heart of Florida United Way and the United Way of Marion County in Florida.

n David Pollick is the health commissioner for Sandusky County. He has a master's degree from the University of Toledo and a post graduate diploma in health executives development from Cornell University.

Locally, he is active serving as a member of Health Partners, the Northwest Ohio Health Commissioners Governance Board, past chair of the Family and Children First Council, CHPA Board Prevention Partnership serving as a member and served on the American Health Planning Board in Washington, D.C.

n Dinah Dwyer has a long term relationship with the United Way of Sandusky County, especially in the area of serving as an allocations volunteer for many, many years. Dwyer is employed at the Whirlpool Corporation - Clyde Division in the human resources department.

She has a master of business administration and human resource certificate from Cornell University. She has been active with Leadership Sandusky County and is a member of the Optimist Club of Bellevue.

n Tonya Fields is an assistant supervisor with Style Crest Enterprises and comes with a commitment to the United Way, having served on Style Crest's Campaign for several years. She has been active with Style Crest's community projects. She is also an ISO auditor and first aid responder.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale), March 21, 2007, Wednesday

Copyright 2007 South Florida Sun-Sentinel

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale)

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News

March 21, 2007 Wednesday


HEADLINE: Ivy League schools drawing more black immigrant students

BYLINE: Alva James-Johnson, South Florida Sun-Sentinel


Mar. 21--Javeste Dulcio and her friends have a joke about black students at Cornell University. If you ask them where they're from and they say "America," the next question is: "Really, where are you from?"

That's because a large percentage of black students on campus hail from immigrant homes, said Dulcio, a Miramar resident now studying industrial and labor relations as a junior at Cornell.

Now Dulcio, the U.S.-born daughter of an African-American mother and Haitian father, has statistics to prove it.

A recent study in the American Journal of Education found that black students with immigrant parents accounted for 13 percent of U.S. blacks between the ages of 18 and 19. But the immigrant offspring made up 27 percent of black freshmen at elite colleges and universities and 41 percent at Ivy League schools such as Cornell.

The study, conducted by researchers at Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania, defined immigrant students as those with at least one parent born abroad. It is an analysis of data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Freshmen, which surveyed 1,051 blacks, 998 Asians, 959 whites and 916 Latinos. The study followed the students from 2000 to 2003.

Unlike Latinos and Asians on elite college campuses, who generally reflected the demographic composition of their respective populations, the study found that "black immigrants were over-represented relative to their share in the African-American population."

Once on campus, the students from black immigrant families and their native black counterparts performed roughly at the same level, the study found.

Among immigrant black students at elite colleges and universities, 21 percent came from families that originated in Jamaica, 17 percent Nigeria, 9 percent Haiti, 7 percent Trinidad and Tobago, and 6 percent Ghana.

Such students benefited from affirmative action programs at U.S. colleges that originally sought to address generations of discrimination against blacks in higher education, researchers said. The programs also became an educational ticket for immigrants, women and disabled students, according to the study. The study reached no definitive conclusion on the reasons why children from black immigrant families enrolled at higher levels.

In South Florida, which has one of the most diverse black populations in the country, reaction to the findings was mixed. Some critics questioned whether some selective colleges and universities were favoring immigrant students over African-Americans in their admissions policies.

Andrea Owes, president of the Urban League of Broward County's Young Black Professional Network, said there's a general perception in the United States that blacks from other countries are more motivated than African-Americans. That could lead colleges to discriminate, she said.

Randy Fleischer, a civil rights attorney in Davie, said immigrant minorities might be enrolling at top colleges in higher numbers because they've had fewer experiences with discrimination and are more trusting of white institutions.

"Native minorities may not apply to many private universities because they have a preconception that they will suffer discrimination," he said. "Immigrant minorities do not have that same preconception and could be more open to applying to those same universities, unconcerned about the effects of discrimination."

Dianna Sanderson, a graduate of Boyd Anderson High School in Lauderdale Lakes, said many African-American students at her high school were more interested in historically black colleges than Ivy League schools because of family tradition.

"Their mother may have gone to Spelman, so they're going to Spelman, or a parent went to Clark Atlanta, so they want to go to Clark Atlanta," said Sanderson, born to Jamaican parents. "The kids in homes where education is valued, they're going to college whether they're African-American, Caribbean or Asian, but where they go is a personal choice."

The study's data showed relatively few socio-economic differences between students from immigrant families and other black students.

Students from black immigrant families were more likely to come from two-parent homes, attend private schools and live in integrated neighborhoods, the study found. But the percentage differences were not great enough to be a significant factor in the admissions statistics, according to researchers.

The most significant difference was that fathers of black immigrant children were far more likely to have graduated from college and hold advanced degrees than their native counterparts.

But once on campus, the advantages from high parental education appeared to be erased, researchers said.

"Whatever processes are operating on college campuses to depress academic performance below that of whites with similar characteristic, they function for immigrants as well as natives," the study said.

Alva James-Johnson can be reached at or 954-356-4546.

Copyright (c) 2007, South Florida Sun-Sentinel Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News. For reprints, email, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.

National Journal's CongressDaily, March 19, 2007, Monday

Copyright 2007 National Journal Group, Inc.

National Journal's CongressDaily

March 19, 2007 Monday 19:00 pm Eastern Time



HEADLINE: Dems Strengthen Union Ties While Stressing Moderation


Organized labor's clout in Congress has skyrocketed since Democrats assumed control, even as union membership hovers at around 7 percent of the private sector workforce, the lowest in modern history. Since January, the House has passed labor's No. 1 priority, a "card-check" bill that would make it easier for unions to organize, and it has approved prevailing wage requirements for federal contractors working on water projects. The House and Senate approved a measure allowing Transportation Security Administration workers to form unions. Sources say labor's new heft also is contributing to shifts on immigration legislation, and the relatively small International Association of Fire Fighters legislative conference received national attention with visits from high-profile Republican and Democratic presidential candidates. "It's remarkable, I think, that they would disproportionately influence [Congress] compared to their membership," said Jefferson Cowie, associate professor of labor history at Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations. "It's their political due. . . . They give a ton of money, of course, to Democrats, and they never really received anything." Since the Taft-Hartley labor law passed in 1947, he added, "Labor law reform has been their No. 1 priority, and it never happens."

International Association of Fire Fighters spokesman Jeff Zack said the union's success in attracting Republicans and Democrats to its legislative conference reflected the union's reputation for moderation. About one-third of IAFF's endorsements go to Republicans, and at least as many members vote Republican. But, Zack added, IAFF has had trouble in Republican-controlled Congresses getting action on even narrowly tailored union issues relating just to firefighters. "Democrats are more supportive of worker rights and worker issues," he said. For Zack, it is not a surprise that long-simmering labor issues are being placed at center stage since Democrats assumed control. "Labor does an overwhelming amount of the work that needs to be done every election year to get Democrats elected," he said. "Democrats know where their bread is buttered." Union-endorsed Republicans are not off the hook, Zack said. "We have built friendships with a number of Republicans in the past decade. . . . Now, those friendships are going to be tested."

Business lobbyists and Republicans engaged in rebuffing union successes say that Democratic leaders may be more dedicated to strictly union issues than rank-and-file members and that the legislative successes may not play well with the electorate at large. One Republican staffer described the House's swift action on the card-check bill as "ripping off a Band-Aid" by passing a bill quickly and early that could hurt Democratic efforts to show the new majority is governing from the middle. With President Bush's veto threat hanging over the card-check bill, Cornell's Cowie said, some Democrats might view supporting it as a free vote. If a Democrat wins the White House in 2008, he said, "then the vote will have actual consequences." The potential of a Democratic White House is prompting businesses to continue communicating with Democrats who voted in favor of it, according to a business lobbyist. Business, the lobbyist said, is delivering the message: "After November '08, there might not be a veto threat. ... This bill is not going to go away."

-- by Fawn Johnson

Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), March 17, 2007, Saturday

Copyright 2007 Star Tribune

All Rights Reserved

Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN)

March 17, 2007 Saturday

Metro Edition


LENGTH: 2122 words

HEADLINE: Back in the day, it was easier to pay;

As higher-education costs continue to skyrocket, sticker-shocked Minnesota families scramble to cope

BYLINE: Norman Draper, Staff Writer


When Lois Johnson graduated from Augsburg College in 1968, tuition and fees were $1,400. How things have changed. Tuition and fees for her son, Aaron, a current Augsburg student, are $22,900 a year.

Thousands of Minnesota families are facing that sticker shock as financial-aid packages arrive in the mail. In the span of a generation, the cost for Minnesotans to go to college has soared far beyond the rate of inflation. Minnesota kids - more than the national average - are going deeply into debt to pay for the education that is now considered a prerequisite for getting a good job and making good money.

As college bills pile up, pressure is building to contain costs. Congress is currently considering lowering student-loan rates. In Minnesota the Legislature is considering several bills to limit college cost increases.

For a closer look at the situation, the Star Tribune talked to five families where parents and children attended the same college. They illustrate the tradeoffs being made as college costs shoot into the stratosphere.

Lois and Bruce Johnson, both retired teachers, have decided to foot most of the bill for their children.

"We've seen tuition rise yearly since we started paying for it," Bruce said. "It would be nice if [the costs] were less ... but we still feel it's important that we do our part."

Statistics kept by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education show steep increases for the state's colleges. The average cost of undergraduate tuition and fees at the University of Minnesota climbed from $522 a year in 1971 to the current $9,432. Four-year MnSCU universities went from $379 a year to $5,656. Private colleges jumped from $1,671 to $24,744. Even when adjusted for inflation, those costs are about three times what they were in 1971. That doesn't include room and board costs. Those have generally risen more slowly, though still often above the rate of inflation.

Income has risen, but ...

Family income has risen over those years, too, but not enough to absorb the rise in college costs. A report issued last year by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education showed that a public, four-year college or university siphoned off 26 percent of the average Minnesota family's annual income, compared with 19 percent in 1992.

Higher costs translate into more student loans. Minnesota students are especially prone to taking on debt. Office of Higher Education statistics show that 49 percent of Minnesota college students took out loans in 2003-04, compared with 35 percent nationwide.

Mikki Tuohy, a freshman at Winona State University, is already thousands of dollars in debt for college, with more debt looming on the horizon.

"We told our kids from the beginning that they are going to pay for their own college," said her mother, Mary, a 1986 Winona State graduate.

Mikki reaped about $2,000 in scholarships, and took out loans to pay the remaining $12,000 bill. She figures that she'll have to work full time this summer to pay off at least one semester's cost and reduce next year's borrowing. Now, she worries that if the debt piles up too high, she may have to change her career plans.

"I want to be a teacher as much as I can," she said. "But if something happens and I can't pay for things, I will have to look for another job."

Why is tuition so high?

Many families facing these five-digit dilemmas wonder why tuition has risen so high so fast.

For public colleges, the answer has a lot to do with state spending priorities. Both in Minnesota and nationwide, the state contribution to higher education is dropping as both a percentage of the state colleges' and universities' budgets, and as a percentage of state spending. For instance, in 1967, 17.3 percent of the state's general-fund budget went to higher education. By this year, that had shrunk to 8.9 percent.

At the same time, the pressure for colleges to spend more is increasing. At larger universities, getting and keeping faculty "stars" requires higher salaries and such costly benefits as bigger laboratories and other resources.

"Yes, absolutely, the cost of retaining and getting faculty are a cost driver here," said Richard Pfutzenreuter, U vice president and chief financial officer. Even now, Pfutzenreuter said, a U professor being recruited by another university is asking for an additional $120,000 in salary and $300,000 a year for five years in research support as the price for staying. In such high-profile fields as biomedical research, getting coveted professors can be "million-dollar deals," he said.

Beyond that, colleges large and small are spending money on amenities that help attract the best and brightest students: recreation facilities, single dorm rooms, wireless computer connections. In the classroom, technology upgrades at the U cost $1.5 million a year, Pfutzenreuter said.

"Our students of today aren't the same ones that came to school with a suitcase and alarm clock," said Larry Christenson, director of residential life for St. Cloud State University.

Ronald Ehrenberg, director of the Cornell University Higher Education Research Institute in Ithaca, N.Y., said many private colleges have gotten sucked into "an arms race of spending, in which each institution wants to be the very best it can, competing for students, for faculty, for research grants. ... It's fueled by the U.S. News and World Report rankings, in which how much a university spends is part of the rankings."

Some observers question whether colleges have the will to keep a lid on costs.

"I don't think colleges have collectively developed their muscle for cutting costs," said James Boyle, president of the Arlington, Va.-based College Parents of America.

For instance, in 2002, the U instituted a minimum wage of $12 an hour for about 1,000 employees that cost about $2.9 million a year. Then-President Mark Yudof "felt it was the right thing to do," Pfutzenreuter said. And the Board of Regents had little hesitation last December about boosting President Robert Bruininks' salary by nearly $39,000, to $423,000 for 2007-08.

That's not to say colleges don't trim their budgets. In 2004, after a bad year at the Legislature, the U laid off nearly 500 employees and froze wages, Pfutzenreuter said.

Colleges are still in demand

And while rising college costs are creating difficulties, today's students and parents are willing to pay the price. Applications at the U of M Twin Cities campus for the freshman class hit a record 24,658 last year, the fifth consecutive year such a record has been set. In 1996, 6,239 students applied for admission to Winona State University. Last year, that figure soared to 8,186.

While many students will work or borrow for their education, there are limits to the sacrifices they'll make.

Anne Auger, 54, of White Bear Lake, went to White Bear Lake's Century College back in 1970 when it was Lakewood Community College, and has some thoughts about how things have changed.

"We didn't go buy and download tunes on an iPod; we didn't own one. I would say out of everybody I went to school with, nobody had a new car; we all drove Flintstonemobiles. ... We had to sacrifice. ... When they sacrifice, they give up designer clothes, and partying out at bars, and department-store makeup."

And how does daughter Lindsay, a part-time student at Century, reflect that?

"I had a total of four pairs of shoes," Anne Auger said. "And my daughter has the whole bottom of an 11-foot closet filled with shoes, and overflowing out of the shoe bag that hangs off the bedroom door. She probably has jeans that cost $250. My God!"

Lindsay, 25, who wants to go on to a four-year school, responded that she's cut back a lot on her shopping.

"When you talk about paying $10,000 to $15,000 for a year of school, the $1,000 in a six-month period that I spend on coffee, clothes, and shoes wouldn't help me much with school."

`Typical student is doing fine.'

Some researchers argue that a college education is so fundamental to making a decent living these days that the rising price tag is still worth it.

"Yes, it has gotten more expensive, definitely," said Sandy Baum, senior policy analyst for the College Board and a professor of economics at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. "However, it's also true that the income differential between high-school graduates and college graduates is greater."

It's important to remember, Baum said, that students mired in bottomless debt are in the minority. "The typical student is doing just fine," she said. Financial aid, tax credits and generous merit awards for top-performing kids mean there can be big gaps between a college's sticker price and what actually gets paid.

"We're not in a crisis situation," she said.

But college costs are certainly creating pressure for 18-year-old St. Cloud State University freshman Nils Badrul, and his dad, Badrul Bakar.

"Oh, man!" exclaimed Nils when told that his grandparents paid the freight for his dad when he went to St. Cloud State. Things have changed. Nils figures his dad gives him about $20 every two weeks to help with incidental expenses. He pays for the rest, which he calculates to be about $11,000 a year. Nils managed to get $5,000 a year in grants, and has to cover the rest with $6,000 in loans. That debt will grow if Nils pursues an M.B.A.

"My parents paid for my education," said Badrul Bakar, from Apple Valley, who entered St. Cloud State in 1983 as a foreign student from Malaysia. "I came out of college with a lot of gratitude for my parents." Back then, Bakar said, attending St. Cloud State only cost "a few hundred dollars a quarter. Wow!" Now, Bakar said, the bill is too high for him to be able to put much of a dent in Nils' bill.

"At this time we have no choice because we can't afford it," he said.

Norman Draper - 612-673-4547


% change

1980 2006 (adjusted)

Tuition and fees at U $1,060 $8,622 232%

Tuition/fees at MNSCU four-year schools $648 $5,251 231%

Tuition and fees at private four-year colleges $3,284 $23,246 189%

New car $7,530 $28,800 56%

Gallon of gas $1.25 $2.40 -22%

White bread (1 lb.) .50 $1.05 -14%

Median home price (Midwest) $51,900 $222,000 75%

Percent change numbers adjusted to account for inflation between 1980 and 2006.

Sources: Minnesota Office of Higher Education, Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Auto Dealers Association and National Association of Realtor


MARY TUOHY, 43, of Albert Lea graduated from Winona State University. Daughter Mikki, 18, is a freshman at Winona State.

Mikki agrees, in theory, with her parents' expectation that she pay for her own college. But she worries that the $12,000 in college loans she's taken out will grow.

"I always feel it's important for students to pay for the education they're getting. I try not to think about it because I'm getting a good education. But it's hard not to think about the money issue."

MARY NELSON, 47, of Winthrop graduated from the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campus. Daughter Brenda, 20, is a junior at the U. Brenda's savings and scholarship money are running out.

"I might actually have to take out a loan for next year," Brenda said. "If there's any way around it, I'll try to find a way around it."

"We'll figure it out," Mary said. "We might help, but it won't be a gift." That means more work on her parents' dairy farm, where Brenda says she already works weekends to pay her cell phone bill.

BADRUL BAKAR, 48, of Apple Valley graduated from St. Cloud State University. Son Nils Badrul, 18, is a freshman at St. Cloud State.

At the rate Nils is borrowing to pay for college, he will be $24,000 in debt when he graduates. Getting the MBA degree he wants will cost him many thousands more.

All these big expenses are making Nils think he might want to work a few years after he graduates from St. Cloud State.

"To get an MBA at the U is about $80,000," Nils said. "Two years at about $40,000 a year."

LOIS and BRUCE JOHNSON, both 60 and from Plymouth, graduated from Augsburg College in Minneapolis. Their oldest daughter, Leah, graduated from Augsburg. Son Thomas attended Augsburg for a year. Son Aaron, 24, is a senior at Augsburg.

Lois Johnson's mom and dad knew what to do when her college bills came due in the mid-'60s: They sold a steer. Lois still needed grant money, loans and a job. Four decades later, Lois and Bruce are footing most of their kids' college costs. Bruce says they "look at it as an investment."