Crime level has dropped since 2005 at EMU

Crime level has dropped


Margaret Leary’s biography

Margaret A. Leary

1056 Newport Road

Ann Arbor, MI 48103

734-764-4468;; October, 2011




B.A. political science, Cornell University, 1964

M.A. library science, University of Minnesota, 1966

J.D., William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul, MN, 1973

Currently enrolled in Eastern Michigan University’s program for an M.A. in Creative Writing

Professional Experience:

Cataloger, University of Minnesota Walter Library, 1965-68.

Head Cataloger, University of Minnesota Law Library, 1968-1970

Head Cataloger, William Mitchell College of Law, 1970-1972

Lawyer under supervision, Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis, 1972-1973

Assistant/Associate Director, University of Michigan Law Library, 1973-1984

Consultant to Nottingham University (England) Law School; Northwestern University Libraries; Melbourne University Law School.

Director, University of Michigan Law Library, 1984-2011. Retired in August 2011.

Taught Advanced Legal Research course, 1987-2011

Service Experience

Trustee, William Mitchell College of Law, 1993-2002

Member, City of Ann Arbor Planning commission, 1994-2003

Board member and President, Huron Valley Habitat for Humanity, 1994-2002

Member, Executive Committee, Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 2000-2010.

Foster parent, 1982-1985

Elected as Trustee, Ann Arbor District Library, 2004-current; President 2006-2008, 2011

Served on 15 accreditation teams for the American Bar Association Section on Legal Education, fact-gathering site visits to U.S. law schools including Yale and Georgetown.


Articles about law librarianship in numerous professional journals, including Law Library Journal.

Short pieces in the local monthly newspaper, The Ann Arbor Observer (on a cat with nine lives who  moved into a retirement community for people with memory disorders; about William Cook’s wife Ida who died in Ann Arbor; about earthworms as an invasive species).

Giving It All Away: William W. Cook and His Michigan Law Quadrangle, University of Michigan Press, 2011.

Current Research Projects

  1. White-tailed deer in Washtenaw County, Michigan (causes, consequences, range of responses) Will pitch to local papers, at least.
  2. The Mackay Companies (telegraph and cable companies which provided the only competition to Western Union from 1895-1920; WWC worked for them) Will pitch to business history academic journals.
  3. Hyperparathyroidism (little diagnosed, probably present in 2-3% of population, easily fixed medical condition that has serious life-threatening consequences) Will pitch to magazines.

Discovering William Cook: Ten Sources for Researching the Life of a Lawyer


This article is from Law Library Journal vol. 100, no. 1. It won the 2009 American Association of Law Libraries “Call for Papers” Award.

Ypsi City Council hears Rec Center Proposal

Council hears proposal

The Ypsilanti City Council held a working session last Monday and heard a proposal from the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Department to put a recreation center fronting on Michigan Avenue and the Huron River on the 12 acres at the northwest corner of the 38 acre Water Street site.

My biography of William W. Cook is now published!


After more than five years of intense research and writing (while working full time and also having a life), my book is out: GIVING IT ALL AWAY: THE STORY OF WILLIAM W. COOK AND HIS MICHIGAN LAW QUADRANGLE, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 2011.

It’s available for $25 from Amazon:

You can also read a brief biography of Cook, with a list of all his publications, court cases, and books in his personal library, here:

Cook Covecover final frontonlyr 6×9-1


Welcome to my blog LearyJournalism, created just for my Advanced Reporting class at Eastern Michigan University. It will contain more than my work for that class, however. Stay connected and watch the site grow.



Troops coming home


Last Friday, President Obama announced that the rest of our 39,000 troops in Iraq will be home by the holidays.

“Over the next two months, our troops in Iraq—tens of thousands of them—will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home. The last American soldiers will cross the border out of Iraq—with their heads held high, proud of their success, and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops. That is how America’s military efforts in Iraq will end,” said the statement on the White House website.

“But this moment represents more than an accomplishment for the President. It marks a monumental change of focus for our military and a fundamental shift in the way that our nation will engage in the world,” the statement continued.

What might be the impact of the withdrawal in Iraq, and on EMU, in the opinion of EMU faculty and staff?

Mansoor Moaddel, EMU Professor of Sociology, has done extensive surveys of Iraqi opinion, testified before Congress, and advised U.S. officials, according to his resume. Asked what he thought the general impact of the troop withdrawal would be on Iraq, he said:

“It is hard to tell. One thing may be clear, the withdrawal of the U.S. troops may take the attention span of politicians and political activists away from the reality of foreign presence and shift toward focusing on more concrete issues facing Iraqis: political corruption, poverty, technical issues, the needs to rebuild the country, etc. It may even provide a better context for building relationship between the U.S. and Iraq based on equality and mutual benefits. The majority of Iraqi politicians and political activists are pragmatists. They prefer having close relationships with technologically and economically advanced superpower like the U.S. than with the Islamic regime in Tehran.”

In response to a question about the impact of the presence, and then the withdrawal of, U.S. troops on Iraqi opinion about the U.S., he said:

“Unfortunately, the United States is not popular among Iraqi Arabs (it has been popular among Iraqi Kurds, however). The US troop’s withdrawal will not make this attitude worse. It may even result in Iraqi rethinking that the presence of Americans was not all bad.”

Professor Moaddel also speculated that the State of Michigan would be wise to “plan to see how the Iraqis living in Michigan can play a role in forging cultural, economic, and educational ties with Iraqis, particularly with the Kurdish section of Iraq, which is politically much more stable than the rest of the country.”
A survey by EMU’s Veteran Services department at shows that 501 of 536 respondents were from Michigan and the rest from 16 other states. Eighty were dependents of veterans, 186 were from the Army, 107 from the Marines, 86 from the Navy, 73 from the Air Force,  and 4 from the Coast Guard.

EMU was named, in August, 2010, one of the country’s top “military friendly” schools by GI Jobs magazine for 2011, according to a University Press Release. “The magazine’s list recognizes the 15 percent of schools that best serve veterans nationwide,” the release continued.

At the time, Bernice Lindke, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management at EMU said, “We are profoundly grateful to the men and women who serve our country, and want to provide them with as helpful and welcoming an environment as possible.”The University welcomes veterans as new or returning students, and has a website with extensive information for those prospective students,, to help them obtain all the benefits they have earned through their service.

EMU also has an active veterans student organization,

Colonel Michael C. Wise, Professor of Military Science, sees no impact by the troop withdrawal on the EMU ROTC program. “We train leaders for today’s Army; we do not train for specific war situations. We might use the history of our involvement in Iraq for teaching purposes. We might discuss ‘what will come next’ in class. The last person who wants to go to war is a soldier. That’s a cliché because it is true.”

Colonel Wise said that EMU’s Army Reserve Officer Training Corp program has about 100 cadets; most but not all of whom will become officers in the Army. Over the last ten years, any officer deployed would have gone to either Iraq or Afghanistan, or both. Therefore, perhaps half the EMU ROTC graduates who became officers could have gone to Iraq.

Colonel Wise was in Baghdad to support strategic communications in  2006 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has also served in Germany, Bosnia and the U.S. At EMU, he teaches military ethics, military law, and management.

 EASTERN ECHO, Thursday October 27, 2011 p. 3

Youths skip vaccines


Published in the EMU EASTERN ECHO Monday November 7, 2011 p. 2



By Margaret A. Leary


Children need flu vaccinations even more than adults, yet in Michigan the rate of pediatric vaccinations is the fifth lowest in the nation, putting the state’s children at risk of severe illness and even death, according to information released last month by the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH).

To add to the danger, flu has arrived a month early in Washtenaw County, with a confirmed case of influenza B in Ypsilanti among the first in the state, according to the Washtenaw County Health Department, which also reported no hospitalizations or deaths yet for the 2011-2012 flu season.

“Everyone 6 months and older should get flu vaccine every year. This means you. This season, protect yourself – and those around you – by getting vaccinated,” the Health Department advises.

The MDCH’s concern about pediatric influenza led it to hold a press conference on the subject last month.

“Michigan ranks 5th from the bottom in flu vaccination coverage in children 6 months through 4 years; a little more than half (51.2%) of kids in this age group were vaccinated during the 2010-11 flu season. The national average was 63.6%,” according to MDCH.

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), states that there were 115 influenza-associated pediatric deaths reported nationwide from September 2010 through August 2011. Six deaths were Michigan children.

Angela Minicuci, Public Information Officer for the MDCH described the effect of flu on a child: “This report [from the CDC] underscores the fact that young age in itself is a risk factor, and being a healthy child does not necessarily mean that child can withstand a bout of the flu. Forty-six percent of children who died were younger than 5 years of age and 29 percent were younger than 2 years. The other half of the children who died did have medical conditions that predisposed them to being at a greater risk of flu complications.”

Assistant Professor of Nursing Laurie Blondy, a certified pediatric nurse practitioner who has a J.D., Ph.D., and two nursing degrees, explained why it is so important to vaccinate children:

“Influenza may initially look like a cold, but it’s often worse in terms of the range of symptoms and severity. Children with influenza can easily miss a week or more of school, since they may feel quite ill and are contagious until the fever and cough have resolved. This can have major impacts academically for the child, and financially for working parents. In addition, younger children are especially at risk for complications, such as ear infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, and dehydration. “

Professor Blondy also commented on the significance of adult actions for the health of children:

“Influenza is spread through respiratory secretions so coughing and sneezing without appropriately covering your mouth, and poor hand washing when you are ill with influenza, can contribute to the spread of the virus. If people have been vaccinated against influenza, they are less likely to come down with this illness, and therefore also less likely to spread it to others. “

When asked for an opinion about why more parents don’t vaccinate their children against influenza, she said:

“I’d venture to guess that one of the biggest barriers is a lack of understanding of just how serious the influenza virus can be in children, as well as a lack of understanding regarding the risks and benefits of the vaccine.”

Ms. Minicuci also commented on the low rate of vaccinations: “Unfortunately, we do not know why Michigan’s rate is so much lower which is why it’s important to educate Michiganders about the necessity to vaccine children to protect them.”

She added:

“Many residents may not know that the vaccine is available to them which is why MDCH is drawing attention to this need. There is not a shortage of vaccines this year and many local health departments, pharmacies, and health care clinics across the state can provide the vaccine. We want to raise awareness with parents and healthcare providers that this age group needs to be protected with the flu vaccine, in addition to the other vaccines that they receive at this vulnerable age.”

The MDCH’s MI FluFocus  website reported on November 3 that nationally, “influenza activity remained low in the United States” but that “Maine has confirmed a second human case of swine-origin novel H3N2 flu virus with 2009 H1N1 genetic material.”

Pertussis, or whooping cough, is also of great concern to the Washtenaw Health Department, which says that “in 2010 pertussis was at a record high with 233 cases reported in Washtenaw County residents. In 2011, as of July 12, twenty-one cases have been reported which is still above normal levels. The total number of cases for 2009 was 84, which had been the highest number seen in years.”

Snow Health Center offers flu vaccines for $30, with the option of either live intranasal (for healthy children) or inactivated (by injection); and a combine tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis vaccine for $55,  according to their website. Nurses at Snow give vaccinations Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 – 11 a.m. This Wednesday, November 9th, vaccinations will also be given from 5  – 7 p.m. Call 734-487-1122 for more information.

The 2010-11 seasonal flu vaccine, used throughout the state, now covers the 2009 H1N1 similar strain, so that a separate H1N1 (swine) flu vaccine is not needed, according to Ms. Minicuci.

St. Joseph Mercy—Ann Arbor Hospital, at 5301 McAuley Drive, offers flu shots in its pharmacies, one in the Reichert Building, the other in the Main Tower. For more information, call 734-712-3456.

The Washtenaw County Public Health Department also offers flu shots for $20. Schedule an appointment by calling 734-544-6700.






Invasive earthworms


Eco-Hero or Menace?

Digging into red wigglers at the MRF

On a sunny Saturday last winter, my friend Roberta and I headed out to the city’s Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) on Platt for a workshop on using earthworms to turn household garbage into garden compost. The setting was perfect: a classroom that overlooked the mostly automated process of recycling the city’s paper, glass, plastic, and metal trash.

The City of Ann Arbor sponsored the workshop, and staffers were on hand to oversee registration and payment. Our $25 bought a worm bin, a spray bottle, a couple cups of compost, a spatula, and a squirmy mass of Eisenia fetida, commonly known as red wigglers, or compost worms. Our instructor was Sarah Archer, CEO of Iris Waste Diversion Specialists, LLC.

Archer showed us how to make bedding from strips of newspaper, dampen it, then place a clump of worm-filled compost on top of the bedding and close the bin. Back home, we’d add fruit and vegetable scraps and eggshells, which our worms would then “vermicompost.” What could be more ecologically correct?

Yet a shadow hung over the day. When I had invited another friend, Pat, to join us, she declined for lack of time, adding, “You know that earthworms are an invasive species, don’t you?”

No, I didn’t know, and I almost didn’t believe her. But Pat is a news writer and wouldn’t be wrong about a fact. Curious, I researched it myself.

Thanks to my employer, the University of Michigan, I had instant access to two e-books: Biological Invasions Belowground and Earthworm Invasion, collections of scholarly papers published in 2006. With horror I read about the devastation earthworms have caused in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania, other parts of northern Europe, Russia, South America, Puerto Rico, and Taiwan—all safely remote.

I started to relax, but too soon. The next paper outlined earthworm-induced “forest decline syndrome” in Minnesota. At the University of Minnesota Duluth, professor Cindy Hale and her colleagues have documented dramatic changes in native hardwood forest ecosystems due to earthworms. Victims include native understory plant species—including varieties of fern, trillium, uvularia, and viola—and tree seedlings themselves. These losses open the way for invasive species such as buckthorn and garlic mustard.

Both buckthorn and garlic mustard are officially classified as invasive in Ann Arbor. Major avenues for the introduction of invasive earthworms, I learned, are the fish-bait and horticultural industries—and vermicomposting.

But how could earthworms be “invasive”?

Briefly put, the Wisconsin Glaciations some 21,000 years ago covered the upper Midwest and northeastern United States, killing all native earthworms and leaving those areas completely earthworm-free for millennia. The north woods adapted to life without earthworms; then settlers reintroduced them.

Worms harm forests that evolved without them in several ways. Those that hang out in the forest duff eat the layers of leaves and needles covering the ground, creating bare soil and removing nutrients needed by native plants, including tree seedlings, that would otherwise grow there. The worms that tunnel downward disturb and mix the natural layers of soil; those that tunnel horizontally change the flow of moisture. Together, they render hostile the conditions formerly friendly to native woodland plants.

I had always thought the plentiful Lumbricus terrestris (night crawlers) squiggling in my soil were a sign of my gardening skill. Earthworms were my friends, loosening clay and leaving behind nutritious droppings. Yet Minnesota has designated earthworms (along with the emerald ash borer, gypsy moth, and mute swan) as invasive, and has an active “Contain those crawlers!” program.

The only published study of Michigan earthworms I could find was done in the western Upper Peninsula, in the Ottawa National Forest, which is dominated by sugar maples. That study compared earthworm communities in wilderness and non-wilderness sites within the ONF. It found that all the non-wilderness sites contained one to five species of exotic earthworms, while only half the wilderness sites had exotic earthworms, all of them a single species.

I got in touch with Cindy Hale in Duluth and asked whether the same problems she identified in Minnesota—drastic declines in native hardwood forests—were likely to occur in Michigan. She said: “The short answer is that the same issues that are going on in Minnesota are going on elsewhere.”

Seeking an expert closer to home, I found Jasmine Crumsey, a U-M grad student in ecology and evolutionary biology. Crumsey has researched earthworms at the U-M Biological Station in Pellston—they’re less abundant there than in Minnesota, she told me, because Michigan’s sandier soil is less hospitable—but she was not aware of any studies of earthworms closer to Ann Arbor.

So what does all this mean for Ann Arborites? Using red wigglers to compost garbage probably won’t hurt the local ecosystem, especially if they are not let loose outdoors. And there seems no need to remove the earthworms in your yard and garden (were that even possible) unless your property abuts a pristine hardwood forest. However, to the extent that local stands of hardwoods are adversely affected by earthworms, the conditions for invasives like buckthorn and garlic mustard improve, making it easier for invasives to spread to your yard and our parks.


 waited until near the end of the vermicomposting workshop to ask Archer whether earthworms are a harmful invasive species. Her answer: Yes, they are, but only in Minnesota. And anyway, the red wigglers in our worm bins are not known to survive cold winters outside a compost pile.

Unlike Minnesota, the city of Ann ­Arbor does not list earthworms as an invasive species. I asked Dave Borneman, Natural Area Preservation Manager for the city, if that is likely to change. “We have recently been trying to figure out how to deal with the problem here in Ann Arbor, but as of yet have no official policy on earthworms,” he said.

Though skeptical, I brought my red wigglers home. I fed them. I went on a couple of trips and forgot about them. When I finally went to the basement to check them, alas, they were dead on the concrete floor.

Apparently I had put too much moisture in the bedding, causing my arguably invasive worms to flee. When I found them they were odor free, crispy, and easy to vacuum up.

—Margaret A. Leary

ANN ARBOR OBSERVER, August, 2011, p. 20