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Midtown : West Michigan In The News

270 Midtown Articles | Page: | Show All

Outside investors sink $150M in West Michigan properties

West Michigan's commercial properties are catching the eye of out-of-state investors and last year's estimated $150 million in property investment is the proof. One company, alone, has seen its way clear to sink some $40 million into the region's economy.

According to excerpts from the story:

It's a record year in western Michigan for out-of-state investment, which likely surpassed $150 million, estimated Colin Kraay, investment adviser at Grubb & Ellis|Paramount Commerce in Grand Rapids.

In the last days of 2007, the firm negotiated the sale of 17 industrial buildings for $35 million to $40 million to California-based Core Realty Holdings - a return buyer in the region. Core in 2005 purchased several industrial buildings in Kent County and the lakeshore.

Read the complete story here.


One-third of West Michigan companies surveyed plan to hire IT staff in 2008

Although many West Michigan businesses have reduced their workforce in the past year, a recent survey reveals that 52 percent of companies with under 50 employees plan to add technology staff in 2008. That's good news for a region working to attract knowledge workers and spur economic development.

According to excerpts from the story:

Looking for a job in information technology? Want to move to West Michigan? You could be in luck according to the latest staffing survey done by Paragon Recruiting.

The survey shows 36 percent of companies that responded plan to increase their IT staff next year.

Read the complete story here.

 


Grand Rapids tortilla chip company fuels expansion of Detroit food producer

The opportunity to expand to West Michigan clinched the deal for a Detroit-area food producer looking to expand its brand and increase its capacity.

According to excerpts from the story:

Ferndale-based Garden Fresh Gourmet has acquired Grand Rapids-based El Matador Tortilla Chip Co.

The deal was completed on Dec. 5 for an undisclosed price.

Read the complete story here.


Diversification keeps local autoworkers employed making medical devices

The demand for specialty medical devices is growing and West Michigan's workforce is uniquely skilled to meet the challenge. In just one short year, one local auto parts maker has launched a new medical device manufacturing center using the skills and equipment already in place.

According to excerpts from the story:

One West Michigan company is using the downsizing of the auto industry as a way to launch a new type of manufacturing in Kentwood.

Autocam has been manufacturing fuel injectors and power steering units for nearly 25 years. Right now employees are pumping out nearly a million parts a day. From diesel parts, to power steering, to brake components, it takes highly skilled laborers to keep up with that type of production.

Now those same employees will be making joint replacements and specially designed surgical equipment.

Read the complete story here.

 


Holiday shoppers buy local and benefit neighborhood businesses

Recent holiday shopping events around West Michigan indicate that, as organizations like Local First and area business associations tout the economic advantages of shopping at locally owned businesses, shoppers are listening and taking the information to heart. Studies show that a whopping 73 percent of every dollar recirculates in the community, boosting the local economy and creating jobs.

According to excerpts from the story:

Mary Lynn Rickman stopped in at YT Galleria on her way home from work Thursday to look for some final Christmas gifts.

"They have such nice things for gifts that you wouldn't find anywhere else," said Rickman, a 59-year-old Grand Rapids resident.

While she loves the wares offered at the gift shop at 959 Cherry St. SE in Grand Rapids, Rickman also is a believer in supporting local businesses.

Read the complete story here.

 


Cultural diversity is key to West Michigan's economic development strategy

If West Michigan is to compete successfully in the global marketplace, the community must welcome and embrace people from different cultural backgrounds, races, and genders. A local report on diversity provides guidelines for attracting and keeping a diverse array of workers to the region.

According to excerpts from the story:

West Michigan businesses are looking to ways to diversify the region.

A group of Chambers of Commerce released a report today called "strategies for a culturally competent region."

The business leaders say to compete in a global economy, the community has to be able to attract talented people from all races, cultures and genders.

Read the complete story here.


Streetcar proposal rides on study and community input

Investing in modern mass transit is no longer an experiment. Several cities have proven, for example, that spending to build modern streetcar systems can spur economic development that far exceeds the costs of the new infrastructure. Grand Rapids leaders understand that, but they are still conducting a study of the idea before laying the first track. Potential private investment, ridership, development potential, utility impacts, and route destinations are a few of the factors under consideration.

According to excerpts from the story:

The Public Transportation Tomorrow Taskforce and consultants DMJM Harris have been analyzing ridership potential, development potential, possible alignments and destinations for a streetcar system, and have been looking at various factors including alternative corridors, utility impacts, vehicle design and other issues.

The task force has selected a 1.6-mile streetcar alignment that runs along Monroe Avenue from the Sixth Street Bridge south to where Monroe turns into Market Avenue and continuing to south of the U.S. 131 overpass. It turns off at Bartlett Street.

Read the complete story here.


$100K needed for study of Greater Kent County transit needs

As cities across North America invest billions in public transit infrastructure to boost their economy and quality of life, residents in suburban and rural Kent County continue to ask for more transportation options. The regional transit agency has pledged $100,000 for a needs study. But the study will cost twice that amount. The challenge is getting county leaders on board. 

According to excerpts from the story:

Since the creation of The Rapid, the transit authority has contracted with Alpine, Byron, Gaines and Cascade townships for both route and para-transit service, and with Ada Township for para-transit service only.

There's also rudimentary transit service in some of the other townships either through the Hope Network-run North Kent Transit Service or The Rapid's County Connection service.

However, there continue to be requests for bus services from people in outlying areas, Varga said. The Grand Valley Metropolitan Council called a meeting last month with representatives from several area townships to discuss the possibility of expanding Rapid bus service into suburban and rural Kent County.

Read the complete story here.


Grand Rapids metro ranks as one of nation's most affordable housing markets

Although the housing market across the country is in a recession, the Grand Rapids-Wyoming metro area ranks as one of the most affordable housing markets in the US.

According to excerpts from the story:

Indianapolis retained its standing as the most affordable major U.S. housing market for a ninth consecutive quarter in the latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI).

"The third-quarter HOI reading indicates that 42% of all new and existing homes that were sold during the third quarter were affordable to families earning the national median income of $59,000," said NAHB President Brian Catalde. "This reflects a slight improvement in affordability from a year ago, when only 40.4% of homes were within reach of median income-earners."

Read the complete story here.


NY Times touts GVSU classical CD as one of the year's best

After a year of work and study, GVSU's New Music Ensemble launched a landmark CD in October, showcasing one American composer's work. Pre-release gigs in New York and a post-release performance in Manhattan garnered the acclaim of classical musical lovers and critics alike.

According to excerpts from the story:

The talk of doom and gloom for the classical recording industry, or at least its CD wing, proceeds apace. Yet recordings continue to stream out from new sources as well as from major labels in retrenchment or recovery.

The music of Steve Reich has been eminently well served by his own ensemble and, partly as a result, largely dependent on it. For any who may have wondered whether future generations could uphold the standard, this magnificent student performance, hailed by Mr. Reich himself, should provide reassurance.

Read the complete story here.

 


Advocates move Michigan's financial literacy curriculum forward

Businesses reap the benefits of employees who are financially savvy. To that end, advocates of the State Board of Education's mandate that require high schools to teach financial literacy are working to move the concept to include instruction at the elementary school level.

According to excerpts from the story:

Advocates of making personal finance education a requirement in Michigan's public schools are working behind the scenes to advance the effort.

The State Board of Education on Oct. 1 agreed to amend the High School Social Studies Content Expectations.

High schools will have to teach financial literacy but will have flexibility in how to offer it, said David Dieterle, president of the Michigan Council on Economic Education.

Such programs can have tangible benefits to businesses, many of which offer their own financial literacy programs, Dieterle said.

"They've seen the correlation between people who are economically and financially literate," he said. "They make better workers, they make for smarter consumers."

Read the complete story here.


Grand Rapids demands more renewable energy

Keeping with a vision to attain 20 percent of its power from renewable energy sources, the City of Grand Rapids has become the biggest player in Consumers Energy's Green Generation program. The electricity from renewable sources is more costly. But the transition is more than offset by energy conservation and reduced costs in other areas.

According to excerpts from the story:

The City of Grand Rapids has authorized the largest single purchase of Michigan-based renewable energy by enrolling as the largest participant in Consumers Energy's Green Generation program.

The Grand Rapids City Commission yesterday approved a resolution to enroll in the program. Through this action, Grand Rapids has attained its goal of receiving 20 percent of its electric supply from Michigan-based renewable sources by the end of 2008.

Read the complete story here.

 


Grand Rapids debates green energy purchase plan

The City of Grand Rapids stands at the forefront of the campaign to promote energy innovation and renewable fuels in America. Now the city leaders are considering a proposal to become the largest purchaser of green power from Consumers Energy. Ultimately, the move could help promote new jobs, modern businesses, and environmental protection in Michigan.  

According to excerpts from the story:

City commissioners can prove they were not blowing smoke two years ago when they set a goal to buy 20 percent of the city government's electricity from "green" energy sources by the end of 2008.

Commissioners today will consider a plan that will make Grand Rapids' water and sewer utilities the largest customer of Consumers Energy's 2-year-old "Green Generation" program.

If adopted, the city's water and sewer system will spend an extra $166,212 a year for electricity generated by Michigan-based renewable energy sources.

Read the complete story here.


Mayor announces retirement of Grand Rapids City Clerk

After nearly 35 years of dedicated service, one city employee will retire, leaving some mighty big shoes to fill. A statewide search for a replacement is planned.

According to excerpts from the story:

Mayor George Heartwell announced this morning that long-time Grand Rapids City Clerk Terri Hegarty will retire in February 2008.

Hegarty started working for the city of Grand Rapids in August of 1973 and has worked in several different city departments. She was appointed City Clerk in February of 1995. In 2007, she was named Clerk of the Year by the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks.

Read the complete story here.


400 African American actors, artists, and Christian leaders collaborate on audio series

After three years of work, a Grand Rapids-based bible publisher has launched an audio series of the complete Bible as performed by famous African American actors—including Denzel Washington, Alfre Woodard, and Forest Whitaker—backed up by sound effects and original scores.

According to excerpts from the story:

An epic project of literally biblical proportion hits stores nationwide this week.

Featuring an A-Level cast of professional performers and more than 90 hours of story mixed with theatrical-style sound effects and an original orchestral score, Inspired By ... The Bible Experience: The Complete Bible brings both the Old and New Testaments of God's Word to life.

The audio product includes the voices of nearly 400 world-renowned African American actors, artists, and Christian leaders, including Forest Whitaker, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Denzel and Pauletta Washington, Common, Nick Cannon, Angela Bassett, Alfre Woodard and Bishop T.D. Jakes.

Read the complete story here.

 

270 Midtown Articles | Page: | Show All
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