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Posted on Sun, Jan 20, 2013 : 7:31 a.m.

Rise & Fall: Ann Arbor's role in U.S. auto production and fire damage in the Ann Arbor region

By Paula Gardner

One is an example of the talent alive and well in the Washtenaw County area, the other is an unfortunate recent trend that is destroying Ann Arbor homes and displacing families.

Here are our picks for Sunday's winner and loser from the news:

Rise: Ann Arbor’s role in U.S. auto production

As the public portion of the North American International Auto Show opens in Detroit, there’s a quiet takeaway for the Ann Arbor area: We’re still playing an active role in this industry. From hybrid-vehicle battery production in Ypsilanti Township to the engineering in York and Superior Townships for Toyota and Hyundai, respectively, to still more supplier engineering, the Ann Arbor region is contributing to the innovation in the industry. And now, with auto production forecast to reach 15 million units per year again, we’re also poised to reap the benefits of the industry’s rebound.

Fall: Fire damage in the Ann Arbor region

We’re seeing a number of devastating fires across the region this winter that, so far, have not resulted in the loss of human life. Yet the emotional toll on the people who have lost their homes to fire remains intense, long after the ashes stop smoldering. From single homes to apartment buildings, the losses have mounted throughout recent months. This is a reminder that smoke detectors do save lives, and that renters insurance can provide a financial safety net to fire victims who face replacing belongings.