News from the universities and cities of the Big Ten:
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The University of Michigan says it is receiving a $1.25 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to start an endowed position for a conservation librarian.
The university said Wednesday that the new position will help expand the library's conservation program.
The Ann Arbor school says the library will get $1 million in endowment money from the foundation and will match it through fundraising to create a total $2 million endowment within three years.
The university says the Mellon Foundation also will provide $250,000 to spend on hiring and supporting the conservation librarian for the first three years.
University libraries: http://www.lib.umich.edu
UNL garage, housing project passes planning hurdle
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Lancaster County officials have cleared another step for a housing development project at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission agreed Wednesday that the project is in conformance with the county's land-use plan. The next step will be to work out a redevelopment agreement.
The Lincoln Journal Star (http://bit.ly/To0JuS ) reports UNL is working with a private developer on the project, which will include a 10-story building with 124 apartments, 1,600 parking spaces and ground floor retail.
The project is estimated to cost up to $28 million and qualifies for tax-increment financing.
The university says it wants to open the building by August 2014.
Minnesota state fair will limit smoking in open air spaces
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota State Fair plans to limit open air smoking on its 320-acre property beginning this year.
Smoking has already been prohibited in fair buildings and in entertainment seating areas, such as the grandstand. Smokers could light up in any other outdoor spaces — until now.
Fair spokeswoman Brienna Schuette there will be outdoor designated smoking areas. But, Schuette says how many areas and where they will be located are details that still need to be finalized before the fair begins Aug. 22.
Schuette tells the Star Tribune (http://bit.ly/V7ix90 ) that managers have been studying how other fairs handle smoking. The new policy follows an incident last year in which a 2-year-old girl from Graceville was accidentally poked in the eye and injured by a burning cigarette.
Wider audit ordered of UW System payroll, benefits
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Citing a lack of oversight and a pattern of mismanagement, state legislators have ordered a broader audit of the University of Wisconsin System payroll and benefits processing.
The Joint Legislative Audit Committee ordered an audit by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau. A recent routine audit by the state found the UW System made $33 million in overpayments for health insurance premiums and pension contributions over the past two years.
The state audit also raised questions about the extent of other problems in payroll and benefit processing, including broader concerns about management and oversight that have been raised in previous audits.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/W08wyc ) says the overpayments happened during a transition to a new Human Resource System in 2011. System President Kevin Reilly told lawmakers Tuesday that there were "glitches" when the new processing system went online.
Auditor's error costs Indiana county more than $120,000
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Clerical errors by a southern Indiana county's auditor's office have cost county officials more than $120,000 this year.
The first error cost Monroe County revenue, which county officials sought to make up for by requesting an excess tax levy. But the state never considered that request because instead of entering the lost revenue amount of $120,600 in its tax levy request the county office in Bloomington instead entered "$0."
Auditor Steve Saulter tells The Herald-Times (http://bit.ly/10uGWY8 ) he takes responsibility for the situation but says there's no way for the county to get back the lost funds. Most of the money was meant for the county general fund.
The county council has asked the auditor to implement mandatory reviews of financial documents to avoid future errors.