Lifestyle Editor Tommy Allen digs deeper in 2012's backyard after being inspired by Viget.org
's re-launch and finds something wonderful buried in our past.
There is a movement afoot in the city of Grand Rapids and these girls are making sure you are paying close attention. Lifestyle Editor Tommy Allen says, "Eyes on the page, please," as he explores in G-Sync the real obscene green.
I didn't write "We the People," but I wish I had. These three words are still very powerful after all these centuries. This week, let's commit plagiarism for a change. Read on...
What happens when you elect the right people? Well, sometimes they work themselves out of a job. Lifestyle Editor Tommy Allen jumps in on Local Prop 1, but also finds a connection to Local Prop 2 as well.
A local initiative on the November election ballot might determine whether you want to continue to call or make Grand Rapids your home. And no, this is not about ArtPrize or the Walker transit vote, but about the city in which you want to live. Lifestyle Editor Tommy Allen investigates and finds that all is not well in the River CIty for some, but it could improve soon as a result of fresh thinking around an old problem.
The Fulton Street Farmers Market has been around since the early 1900s. On May 5, opening day will see a renovated Farmers Market with more space and advanced technology. Development Project Manager Christine Helms-Maletic tells us what's new.
Grand Rapids has spent much of the past century as a manufacturing power house. With the changing global economy, what does the future hold for our community?
In our continuing coverage of Cycling City, a group of cycling advocates takes to the streets of Grand Rapids to assess its "bike friendliness."
Bikes and cars in Grand Rapids, sharing the roads in harmony? Some people have that dream. Come find out what it's all about June 29.
Few people disagree that good mass transit is a key to the vitality of a metropolitan area, and The Rapid is sponsoring a series of articles and videos that promotes conversation about what will serve metro Grand Rapids best.
Like a beacon, Alexander Calderís La Grande Vitesse sculpture calls
hundreds of volunteers to take part in Festival, a West Michigan
tradition in celebrating the arts
The mastermind of Elevator Up, Aaron Scaap questions whether the old
concepts of competition remain true for local software developers who
do work nationally, or even globally
Marie-Claire Camp and others in the metro Grand Rapids region hope to
level the playing field for the disadvantaged by providing them with
computers -- the new necessity for daily living
Jim Osterhaven says it was worthwhile to build a $1.5 million addition
to Superior Foods' refrigerated facility if it means getting fresh
produce from area farms to local restaurants. Here's what Superior
Foods Co. and other local businesses are doing to keep the fresh food
Paul Stansbie thinks the Grand Rapids metro area is more than holding
its own when it comes to hosting visitors: it's taking on larger cities
in the hospitality industry
Tracey Brame juggles a number of roles as an assistant dean at Thomas
M. Cooley Law School, but her favorite: Serving as a model for minority
law school students
A bevy of local organizations are targetting Baby Boomers boost the
quality of life in metro Grand Rapids. See what's ahead for the over 50
With some everday items like a computer, digital camera, and checkbook
-- and a heavy dose of love for apparel -- you too can start your own
fashion design house in Grand Rapids
An infectious disease physician by trade, Roni Devlin is breathing Literary Life into the Wealthy Street corridor.
In the not too distant future, Kristin Salerno may very well be a household name. To a legion of local non-profits, musicians and politicians, she already is.
A city's fashion starts from the top down. Rapid Growth takes a hard look at the continued growth and viability of the West Michigan salon scene.
Beauty is their trade. Meet five of Grand Rapids' hottest stylists.
The mayor has a vision to rebuild West Michigan's urban heart as one of the nation's great cities through youth, education, innovation, transit and sustainability.
Rapid Growth's resident foodie Amy Ruis gives us her picks for eating in the year-gone-by and the year ahead. We even let her pick some in the suburbs.
Who needs Whole Foods? Natural and organic grocery stores are committed to West Michigan's neighborhood revitilization. In some hoods, they're the only grocer on the block.
The final installment of Rapid Growth's guide to shopping local and sustainable this holiday season. This week: How to watch out for your bottom line.
The Schnitz, has been the
off-downtown lunch spot for a decade. It recently underwent an interior renovation to combine its space with the neighboring coffee house. Take a look.
Forty years ago, a diverse group of local citizens and community interests united as the West Michigan Environmental Action Council and changed the world. Today, a new generation celebrates that anniversary and an exciting era of renewed environmental awareness.
Big boxes, asphalt and urban sprawl are great for Black Friday door busters, but for those of us with an eye toward the triple bottom line, the holiday shopping season is a great time to go green and local. Part 1 of 3
WMEAC Executive Director Rachel Hood shares the history of the state's original grassroots environmental group, shows off its gold standard green building and discusses a new era of citizen action.
The results are in for the 19th Annual Neighborhood Business Awards.
In their second careers, Ken and Karen Bryan have found a way to help busy Grand Rapids families make time for healthy, home-cooked meals.
You could call it the Wealthy Theatre neighborhood. Grand Rapids' answer to the Apollo, this iconic local theater has embodied the revival of one of the region's hippest neighborhoods and the growth of the local urban music scene.
Because zen gardens aren't just for people with big backyards: Indoor gardening can make a home, make food safer and more efficient, and maybe even save the world.
Locavore (lok•a•vor): Eating, drinking, living better for you and your community. Amy Ruis, our resident locavore, shows us how.
Local First is launching a new coupon program this fall modeled after a West Coast campaign that produced an 80 percent shift in local shopping behaviors. Sarah Kommer reports.
Clean fresh water and, more specifically, the Great Lakes, is Michigan's most important and strategic natural resource. Will we ever start acting like it?
Whether you want to watch people or water, sip a pint, or take in some fine food, West Michigan has the outdoor patio for you. Rapid Growth Foodie Amy Ruis offers this starter list of al fresco places
Record shops are disappearing in the age of digital downloads. But those that remain are a basic and popular component of any vibrant city. NYC has Finyl Vinyl, Portland has Jackpot, and GR has Vertigo, Corner, and Dodd's
Punching Bee Music, a collective of local artists organized in 2005, aims to promote the health of the local music scene through networking, collaboration, and events. Tune in now
Call them green thumbs or urban farmers, more and more people are digging in Grand Rapids' dirt. But even though growing food locally strengthens communities and builds food security, it takes a committed city to make urban agriculture take off
Mainstream media is filled with stories about West Michigan's foreclosure crisis. But did you read the one about the savvy Grand Rapids nonprofit that rescued 300 mortgages and saved the Kent County community $15 million? Here it is
Green Drinks International, a network based on informal social gatherings for the environmental crowd, counts some 350 local chapters in cities worldwide. And Grand Rapids is now one of 30 members in the U.S. So what are you doing after work on the third Thursday of every month
Grand Rapids' Master Plan calls for a network of superior bike routes that citizens can take safely to school, stores, work, and recreation. So what's taking so long
We shape our public spaces, Winston Churchill once suggested, and thereafter our public spaces shape us. That means a plan and money to upgrade metro GR's underperforming parks is essential to the community's economic, environmental, and cultural vitality. Fortunately, the work already is underway
John Ebers graduated in 2003 from Aquinas College with a degree in sustainable business. Sound like a ticket to oblivion? Think again. Today he has a good-paying job on the cutting edge of the national movement to green the health care industry
Experts predict the United States will generate millions of green collar jobs in the next decade. So it's no wonder that C.A. Frost, the environmental science academy of Grand Rapids Public Schools, is one of the region's more popular educational institutions for young people
Bridget Clark-Whitney initially started the Kids Food Basket as a way to finish her studies and graduate from Aquinas College. Today the grassroots operation counts more than 1,000 volunteers and daily provides more than 1,300 sack lunches to hungry kids in GR. Time to help make the sandwiches
The Green Chauffeur, started by twenty-something entrepreneurs Stephen Knight and Zack Burkum, isn't the first cab company in America to employ gas-saving hybrid vehicles. But it's the first - and only - one in Grand Rapids. Who's your designated driver?
So you think churchy Grand Rapids is too squeaky clean for the ribald humor, suggestive scenery, and gender bending of burlesque? Think again. Meet The Super Happy Funtime players.
If creativity is a key commodity in the knowledge economy, West Michigan needs to attract and retain creative people. An innovate new website targets home grown 17-24 year olds. Spread the word
Even in too often sun-starved West Michigan, solar energy can help electrify the power grid and reduce the region's dependence on fossil fuels. Tom Leonard reports from Rapid Growth's sustainability desk
What, in your opinion, are the three most important moves West Michigan can make to improve life for kids, adults, and elders? Curious minds want to know
Jessica Onan, one of the energetic young leaders of the city's sustainability movement, grew up in Burton Heights, graduated from City High and Aquinas, and today lives in Midtown because, she says, GR is in her heart. She sat down to field a few questions from Rapid Growth.
The print headlines and nightly news casts that shape the public record tend to suggest the city school system spends more time stomping out fires and cockroaches than preparing capable and productive workers. In his 2008 State of Our Schools Address, Superintendent Dr. Bernard Taylor aimed to set the record straight.
In his 2008 State of the City Address, GR Mayor George Heartwell envisioned a city with kids in jobs not jail, wind turbines rather than smokestacks, and streetcars instead of traffic jams. Working together, he said, citizens can make that vision a reality.
Home to more than 70 breweries, Michigan ranks sixth in the nation when it comes to the sheer number of beer makers per state. On February 23, the gang will descend on the frozen tundra of Fifth Third Ballpark for the annual winter beer festival.
Read any article ever run in Rapid Growth - from feature stories to development news to complete sets of neighborhood guides - by accessing our archives. Find the big horizontal photo at the top of this page, click on the green bar below it, and learn more about the latest and greatest on Michigan's West Coast. Or do a quick search in the handy dandy search box!
GRPS is quietly building a new generation of educational facilities to elevate the level of achievement and opportunity for city students in the 21st century. Dr. William DeJong, a nationally recognized expert on school planning and a GR native, explains why the district's timing could not be better.
Sick of the heavy traffic, pushy people, and long check out lines at the big box stores and mega malls? Take some of the stress out of the holiday season, and find that special gift, by shopping the neighborhood business scene. Festivities throughout the city are already underway.
The winners of the 2007 Neighborhood Business Awards were announced last night - Thursday Nov. 8, 2007 - to a packed house at Wealthy Theatre. Deborah Johnson Wood brings you the results from Rapid Growth's development news desk.
If you think Grand Rapids' revival is rocking now, watch what happens when the city lays down some streetcar track. A growing band of developers, bankers, and young professionals say that will take the renaissance to a whole new level.
The czar of leadership talks about developing community trustees, what Gen X wants in the central city, and plugging young people into civic life
Grand Rapids ranked 20th in a recent survey of America's most child-friendly mid-sized cities. Can that score be improved?
Barry and Jackson VanDyke, and their sister Heather Vandyke-Titus, believe in the power of neighborhoods. Thatís why the siblings are committed to improving them
West Michigan's first ever Eat Local Challenge kicks off in one month. Get ready to taste the local difference.
If you believe you can't get something for nothing, you've never been to the Freedom Celebration.
The Fulton Street Farmer's Market is one of the oldest, more abundant, and popular outdoor markets in GR. Grab your grocery bag.
Attending this year's Growing Communities conference is a must if you pay taxes, drive on roads, connect to the Internet, live in a house, or simply like to bike and walk safely around town. Click here to register
The voracious Emerald Ash Borer bug threatens to destroy every ash tree in the city. But it also presents a powerful opportunity to ramp up efforts to green the city and grow the tree canopy, according to Sustainability Correspondent Tom Leonard.
How can Michigan reanimate the attributes that once made it great? By taking the lead in the green economy, according to Rapid Growth correspondent Tom Leonard, who reports from the state's 12th Annual Sustainable Business Forum Conference.
With gas prices, traffic congestion, and other auto costs soaring, GR's counterculture discovers the convenience of a different motorized ride.
Local First is one of two organizations in Michigan - and 50 in the U.S. - promoting the power of neighborhood business. Elissa Sangali, the group's new leader, explains why keeping it local is so important.
How can cities better prepare for the future? Tara Lemmey, CEO of LENSVentures, explains different strategies for innovation and why itís essential for cities, businesses and organization to take the risk.
Some say energy conservation is America's ticket to economic competitiveness, a healthier environment, and global peace. Tom Leonard, Rapid Growth's sustainability correspondent, explores what it really means for our quality of life.
Al Gore's sizable electric bill - and the way in which he pays it - illuminates the sustainability issues surrounding residential energy use, and the 21st century opportunity for Michigan businesses and leadership.
Only one West Michigan high school ranks among the nation's Top 100, according to a recent Newsweek survey. So how do we improve the region's education system and prepare students for a knowledge economy?
Giving students a good education is the key to achieving a sustainable society. But do enough people care?
Ethanol is touted as a renewable energy that will generate jobs, diversify the economy, and help kick America's dependence on foreign oil. But what will it really do for Michigan?
Landlords James Loftus, Dan Brink, and John Sanger have removed toxic lead from more than 40 of their older properties. All three were recently recognized for their commitment to providing Grand Rapids renters with healthy homes.
The City of Grand Rapids by 2019 will spend another $50 million to modernize its sewer system and cleanup the Grand River. But is there a faster, more cost effective way to swim and fish without sewage?
For Gretchen Minnhaar, an organizer of the Chiaroscuro film series, the cinema is about much more than entertainment. Film is a powerful art form that illuminates the world around us.
Urban policy guru Bruce Katz says reinvesting in cities is among the most important thing Great Lakes leaders can do to make their communities more competitive in the global knowledge economy. His think tank's latest report lays out a widely accepted path to 21st century prosperity.
Energy innovation promises to generate jobs, strengthen national security, sustain the environment, and stretch the value of taxpayer dollars, particularly in Michigan. All that's needed is leadership.
They might not be Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google fame. But Mat Nguyen and Mike Harris are building a respectable tech business of their own.
The once empty streets of Philly's Central City District now bustle with new workers, residents, and sidewalk cafes. Phil Levy credits the establishment of a special business improvement district, an idea GR now is looking to expand.
Nearly 21,000 people, a full 10 percent of Grand Rapids' population, were born outside the United States. Meet a few of them who are changing the city's culture and economy for the better.
Unity was the central theme of GR Mayor George Heartwell's 2007 State of the City Address. "If we remain united," he said. "I promise we will make history every single day of the following year."
Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women helped establish 40 new businesses and generated some 270 jobs in 2005. Jennifer Beaumont, who just opened Yoga on the Hill, is one of the group's many successful graduates.
The sustainability movement is commercializing new ideas, generating jobs, and fueling economic expansion from Arizona to Japan. How long before Michigan takes it seriously?
At the close of 2006, Grand Rapids dispatched a small party of civic leaders to learn about mass transit in Portland. They came back with news of a streetcar revolution.
With nearly 60 million blogs on the Internet, G-RAD offers a forum where the contributors all have one thing in common: Grand Rapids
Well, there's no snow on the ground yet. But, like rappers Run DMC caroled, "it's Christmas time and we got the spirit." So we're taking a break for a couple weeks. But we'll be back January 11, 2007 to bring you a new year of stories about growth, investment, and unique stories of urban life on Michigan's west coast.
World-class cities and vibrant neighborhoods don't just happen. They're the product of big dreams, targeted investment, and thoughtful planning. The Sustainability Package is Grand Rapids latest effort to bring those critical elements together.
Health activist Paul Haan has helped secure millions of dollars in public funding and reached out to hundreds of families in Grand Rapids in an effort to eradicate childhood lead poisoning. The plan is working. Now he's targeting radon and other environmental health issues.
Entreprenuers began brewing beer in Grand Rapids before the city became a city. After some ups and downs in the industry, the tradition continues today.
Farmland in west Michigan typically is more valuable for building superstores and subdivisions than growing fruits and vegetables. But, with increasingly more mouths to feed in heavily populated places like China, a growing crop of thinkers questions whether that's the best way to put the region's unique landscape to work in the global economy.
Kent County is becoming more diverse. Asians and Hispanics are moving here, and the result is a more robust economy and a place more interesting to educated, mobile people.
The car is king in Grand Rapids. And road trips and Sunday drives are great American past times. But for daily transit needs, just getting conveniently from point A to point B, there has to be a better way. Is Grand Rapids ready?
Cities - the nerve center of the knowledge economy - must focus on four key factors to compete successfully.
Design and innovation drives economies. West Michigan has the talent, but how do we sell it?
Kimberly Van Dyk's goal is to reenergize urban life in Grand Rapids by putting a vibrant commercial center back into neighborhoods. She sat down to field a few questions from Rapid Growth.
The pursuit of sustainability requires ending subsidies for business-as-usual and instead rewarding innovation.
Architecture. Furniture. Film. Advertising. Grand Rapids area designers are leaders in their industries, and they hold some of the keys to the region's economic success.
They're not World Market or Ikea, but the local thrift shops and salvage yards carry interesting items for the home decorator at a fraction of the cost.
Not only is the sustainability movement for real, Tom Leonard counts six ways it's becoming an inevitable revolution.
Brian and Kathleen Kelly are fortunate to have friends like best-selling author Mitch Albom and rock star Brian Vander Ark. They're leveraging those friendships to raise $100,000 for DeVos Children's Hospital.
Corky Overmyer became Grand Rapids' first 'Sustainability Manager' on July 1, 2006. His charge: reinvent the city.
Throughout its history, the City of Grand Rapids has stood at the forefront of transportation design and innovation. So what's next for Michigan's second largest metro area?
Tired of wood plank roads and muddy walks around town, Grand Rapids embraced horse-drawn street cars near the end of the 19th century. The move set the stage for a monumental transformation from primitive frontier town to modern American city.
Whether it's a $5,000 grant to lift up a neighborhood association or three-quarters of a million dollars to renovate an old building, a determined culture of giving has helped set the stage for Grand Rapids' renaissance.
From a million-dollar high-rise condo unit to luxury lofts, upscale options are adding diversity to the central city's housing market and making the area a stronger and more attractive place to live.
From water-free toilets to rooftop gardens, green design has quickly emerged as the new regional standard for developing sustainable buildings. Columnist Tom Leonard explains why, more and more, developers choose to go green.
'Sustainability' is the word for the new millenium. The term is popping up everywhere. At community meetings. On corporate advertising. In political speeches. But what does it mean? Tom Leonard explains in the first of a series of regular columns exploring what the philosophy of sustainability means for the future of West Michigan.
Grand Rapids likes its meat and potatoes. But a growing number of international grocers are spicing up the city's culinary scene with more international flavor. Now everything from sting ray meat to banana flower is readily available at local markets.
Instead of griping about gas prices and wasting time in traffic jams, a growing number of Grand Rapidians are simply choosing to leave the car at home. They're taking up walking, riding the bus, and other ways to get around town.
Metropolitan Grand Rapids today is considered one of the elite sustainable cities in the United States. So what does that mean?
The Grand Rapids dog park is more than just a place "where the elite with four feet meet," to paraphrase San Francisco cartoonist Phil Frank. It also serves as a community yard for people to unwind and connect with new friends.
While parks and recreation areas fill a need for city folk seeking green spaces, a sense of ownership or belonging is often missing. At the Hillcrest Community Garden, people come together on common ground to prepare the land in the spring, swap growing tips and techniques throughout the season, and clean up in the fall.
With several major institutions of higher education growing in and around Grand Rapids - and a Big Ten university looking for a place to land - thereís definitely a pervasive college culture alive and well and thriving in the city
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