| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Youtube RSS Feed

West Michigan In The News

2229 Articles | Page: | Show All

Van Andel Institute discovery published in Cancer Research

A recent research discovery at Van Andel Institute was recently published in the journal Cancer Research. Institute scientists have identified compounds that slow tumor growth while protecting normal tissue, a treatment strategy with the potential to lead to improved therapies for a number of cancers.

According to the article:

The new report, “Small molecule intramimics of formin auto-inhibition: a new strategy to target the cytoskeletal remodeling machinery in cancer cells,” was carried out at the Van Andel Research Institute in collaboration with scientists from Grand Valley State University and Kalamazoo Valley Community College's Michigan High Throughput Screening Center and published this week in the journal Cancer Research.

Read the rest of the story here.

Davenport University announces new graduate health degree

Davenport University has announced the creation of a new online graduate-level program in health information, set to launch in January.

According to the article:

“Davenport’s College of Health Professions is excited to offer this new and innovative addition to our list of graduate-level programs,” said Karen Daley, health professions dean. “This degree will prepare practitioners for advanced careers and leadership roles related to the information-dependent environment of health care.”

Read the rest of the story here.

LaughFest 2014 headliners announced

LaughFest this week announced that Jay Leno, Lily Tomlin, and Chris Tucker, among many others, will headline the fourth annual Grand Rapids festival to benefit Gilda's Club in March 2014.

According to the article:

LaughFest 2014 will include more than 200 free and ticketed shows, which feature more than 60 artists at more than 40 venues in Grand Rapids, Lowell and Holland.

LaughFest has been a significant fundraiser for Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids, with proceeds from the festival going towards the organizations free cancer, grief and emotional health programs.

Read the rest of the story here.

Calvin College science department uses NSF grant to monitor Plaster Creek

Calvin College has received a $338,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, allowing it to purchase abstate-of-the-art instrument it plans to use to monitor Plaster Creek, a local waterway so contiminated that human contact is not recommended, says biology professor Randall DeJong.

According to the article:

Students and faculty who monitor the creek will be able to conduct tests considerably faster and implement more sample sites because of the instrument, DeJong said.

The highly sensitive instrument uses a process called polymerase chain reaction (PCR) which amplifies DNA molecules and can detect low levels of DNA.

Read the rest of the story here.

John Ball Zoo enjoys third year of record attendance

John Ball Zoo had over 460,000 visitors in its 2013 season, setting an attendance record at the West Side location for the third year in a row. The zoo attributes high attendance to increased community support, new visitor experiences, and sunny summer weather.

According to the article:

“We are delighted to report these numbers, because we started this year behind, due to a colder March and wet April,” said Andy McIntyre, zoo director. “We not only caught up, but ended up surpassing 2012’s attendance.”

Read the rest of the story here.

Founders creates special label for USS Ford christening

Founders Brewing has been asked to create a special label for its pale ale, the beer which will be used to commemorate the christening of the USS Ford on Saturday in Virginia. The Navy's newest aircraft carrier bears the name of the nation's 38th president, Gerald R. Ford, who grew up in Grand Rapids.

According to the article:

During the week, the special labeled pale ale will be on draft at locations in the Newport News area, along with commemorative postcards. It also will be served at a private christening dinner.

Brewery co-founder Dave Engbers, who called Ford a hugely important figure in the Grand Rapids community, said the request for the special label was “one of those things that gives you goosebumps.”

Read the rest of the story here.



GVSU receives Keep Michigan Beautiful award

Grand Valley State University received recognition this fall from Keep Michigan Beautiful for its student-led efforts to increase composting and other sustainability initiatives on campus and in the community. 

According to the article:

Keep Michigan Beautiful is an affiliate of the national organization, Keep America Beautiful, and annually recognizes programs and activities that contribute to environmental clean-up, beautification, site restoration and historical preservation.

The application that was submitted for the award detailed Grand Valley’s efforts in waste minimization, including waste audits, energy reduction competitions, the Eco-Rep Program and the zero-waste football games.

Read the rest of the story here.

Yes! GR Parks millage passes

Grand Rapids voters approved a Yes! GR Parks millage request with 60 percent approval, allowing the city to move forward with plans for maintenance and improved access to its parks. 

According to the article:

Voters by and large embraced the millage that Grand Rapids leaders said they needed to make city parks viable into the future. Voters in the city's second and third wards gave strong support to the millage, but First Ward voters on the city's West Side opposed it by a small margin.

“It makes for a safer, better community,” said Lynne Swets, a Heritage Hill property owner who voted at Westminster Presbyterian Church. “It can only help Grand Rapids. It’s an important part of the growth of our city to have green spaces.”

Read the rest of the story here.

Madcap Coffee among best roasters in nation

Grand Rapids-based Madcap Coffee has earned accolades as one of the top coffee roaster in the nation, according to some of the best-known coffee tasters and writers.

According to the article:

Madcap's known for their meticulous design and a unique varietal series in which they source eight different types of beans from the same farm.

Read the rest of the story here.

KCAD student's fashion design earns a spot in ELLE Magazine

A dress design by Kendall College of Art and Design student Athena Anger has garnered attention from ELLE Magazine and is among the top five entries in the magazine's ELLE x BYCO design challenge.

According to the article:

Anger’s patchwork-color block “Kidney Bean” dress was one of the top five voted by the public earlier this month. Now it is up to ELLE editors to pick a winner from those designs. The winner’s design will be produced by BYCO and made available for sale, with the entire process documented in the January issue of ELLE, according to its website.

Read the rest of the story here.

Amway Grand, JW Marriott ranked among top hotels in Midwest

Both the Amway Grand Hotel and the J.W. Marriott in downtown Grand Rapids rank in the top 10 hotels in the Midwest, according to a recent article in CondeNast.

According to the article:

"The JW Marriott is one of the coolest hotels I have been to. It is ultra modern and very classy, and the views of the river and the city are great."

Read the rest of the story here.

Portrait of local business owner by local photographer to be in DC museum

A portrait by Grand Rapids photographer Steph Harding of Moxie Beauty & Hair Parlor owner Stephanie Strowbridge has won first prize in an international photography competition, FotoDC, and will be exhibited in the nation's capital next month.

According to the article:

The competition culminates with a festival dubbed FotoWeekDC. The festival draws over 40,000 attendees in November to view exhibitions, attend workshops and explore the art of photography.

Read the rest of the story here.

USA Today names Leland second-best sunset spot in country

According to readers of USA Today and 10Best, a travel-focused division of the publication, Leland, Mich. is the second-best spot in the country to watch a sunset. 

According to the article: "The setting is rustic in a way that only an historic fishing village can be."

Read the rest of the story here.

Davenport University recognized for commitment to diversity, inclusion

For the second year in a row, Davenport University has been recognized for its diversity and inclusion efforts in higher education by INSIGHT into Diversity magazine. Three other Michigan universities were also recognized as HEED award recipients.

According to the article:

“Davenport is extremely honored to be a recipient of the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award again this year,” said Dr. Rhae-Ann Booker, Executive Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Davenport University. “We work hard to ensure Davenport University is a community where similarities and differences are respected and celebrated and multiple perspectives and diversity of thought are embraced.”

Read the rest of the story here.

Chicago's Goodman Theatre warmly reviews play penned, set in Grand Rapids

"Smokefall," a new play penned in Grand Rapids by Noah Haidle and set in the city as well, opened last week to warm reviews at Chicago's Goodman Theatre. 

According to the article:

This beautiful thing is like a Michigan-based "Our Town," penned by and for a generation where Emily and George struggle to move out of the basement.

Haidle's characters wander far and wide — through time, actually, since his play ranges backward and forward as it follows three generations of a Grand Rapids family, showing us their past, present and future. At least one character does not age with the ebb and flow of the years.

Read the rest of the story here.

The Hideout Brewing Company reports impressive growth, new bacon-based beers

With an ever-expanding line of creative and collaborative brews, Grand Rapids' The Hideout Brewing Company has seen incredible growth and expansion since January. The brewery heads into the fall with a wide range of interesting beers on tap at their Plainfield Avenue location - and increasingly available on draft around the region.

According to the article:

"The goal is to get bigger and bigger," says Mike Hermann, Operations, Distribution and Supply Manager at The Hideout Brewing Company. "In January we were sending at about three and half barrels worth of beer a month, and this month we're at 113 barrels."

That's an increase of about 3200% in 10 months.

Read the rest of the story here.

GVSU makes Princeton Review's Best Business Schools guide

The Princeton Review has released its list of best business schools for 2014, and Grand Valley State University's Seidman College of Business is on it. 

According to the article:

Grand Valley graduate students in the MBA program said they appreciate their “smart” and “efficient” professors who work diligently to “instill real-world principles” in students and know how to demonstrate solutions to everyday business problems. Students described classes as “cutting-edge” and said professors have real-world experience, which makes a difference in the quality of education they receive at Grand Valley. 

Read the rest of the story here.

Metro Health named one of nation's greenest hospitals

Becker's Healthcare Review has named Wyoming's Metro Health Hospital one of the greenest hospitals in the nation, recognizing its LEED certification and sustainability initiatives.

According to the article:

Metro Health was one of only seven hospitals in Michigan to receive the recognition for its sustainability initiatives.  Becker’s called Metro and other acute-care hospitals on this year’s list “forward-thinking institutions that lead sustainability efforts by example” and “demonstrate how environmental sustainability is a shared responsibility.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Huff Post examines fiscal practices of Grand Rapids, Detroit

In an article entitled "A Tale of Two Cities," the Huffington Post examined the fiscal and strategic planning policies of Grand Rapids, citing its "lean" management techniques as one reason the city has thrived while Detroit has struggled over the last decade.

According to the article:

I can't help but think that if only Detroit had been more strategic and willing to face the issues and make the changes and sacrifices necessary to become more efficient, this "Tale of Two Cities" would have had a happier ending for both cities. There is still time to adopt this framework and make a critical difference.

Read the rest of the story here.

HopCat voted second-greatest beer bar in nation

In its second annual survey, CraftBeer.com readers voted Grand Rapids' HopCat as the second-best beer bar in America. 

According to the article:

CraftBeer.com asked readers to nominate their favorite craft beer bars in the country, and received over 5,000 nominations, a 117 percent increase from last year. The choices were then narrowed down to the 10 most nominated bars in each of the five regions of the country. Over 37,000 votes were cast in total, a 23 percent increase from last year, resulting in the top three overall and regional winners. Voting was conducted from August 19 until August 30.

Read the rest of the story here.

Grand Rapids a top place to retire in U.S.

Grand Rapids is among the ten best U.S. cities in which to live frugally and happily as a retireee, according to AARP The Magazine, which released its picks in its October/November issue.

According to the article, Grand Rapids has a "sense of community," plus great food, beer, hockey, and art in an affordable environment. Read the rest of the article here.



Rockford-based Wolverine Worldwide has great third quarter

Rockford-based shoe and clothing company Wolverine Worldwide has exceeded expectations with $54.4M in earnings in the third quarter of 2013, causing its share price to rise accordingly.

According to the article:

Wolverine Worldwide’s fiscal third-quarter net income climbed 66 percent, as footwear sales improved across many of its brands.

The shoe and clothing company's performance beat analysts' estimates. It also raised its full-year adjusted earnings forecast again on Tuesday, citing its year-to-date performance.

Read the rest of the story here.

ArtPrize 2013: Winners announced, venues report record attendance

ArtPrize 2013 is winding down, but the fifth annual Grand Rapid event saw record crowds at venues even before Top 10 winners were announced last week.

According to the article:

“When you put a frame around something, you see it differently," said David Rosen, president of Kendall College of Art and Design, at the ArtPrize Awards Night on Friday.

"ArtPrize puts a frame around three square miles of Grand Rapids. It attracts the eyes of the world to our little Garden of Eden of creativity.”

The Grand Rapids Art Museum, with three nominees for Juried Awards and one winner -- Shahzia Sikander's "The Last Post" -- had a banner event in attendance with more than 1,700 tour guests and 61 scheduled tour groups.

Read the entire story here.

Billboards in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo generate discussion about religion

A new ad campaign launched this week by the Center for Inquiry-Michigan includes billboards in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and other Michigan cities that encourage readers to consider that 'Millions of Americans are living happily without religion.' They're raising awareness as well as generating both controversy and conversation across the state.

According to the article:

"The main goal is just to help people to know our group is here," said Jennifer Beahan, assistant director of Center for Inquiry-Michigan, in a phone interview. "The point is to help people who aren't religious know there is a community they can be a part of. The second purpose is to help people who don't know a lot of nonreligious people dispel some of the stereotypes."

According to a 2012 Pew survey, 20 percent of Americans are unaffiliated with any religion, with 6 percent describing themselves as atheist or agnostic.

Read the rest of the article here.

Grand Rapids among most-generous cities

Grand Rapids comes in at number 13 in a new ranking of U.S. citites using metrics to measure generosity.

According to the article:

Grand Rapidians have always known their city is rich in philanthropy and generous residents.

Now, we know Grand Rapids ranks No. 13 in the U.S. for generosity — or volunteerism and giving, according to NerdWallet.

Read the rest of the article - and see how other U.S. cities stack up - here.

Art experts weigh in on ArtPrize Top 10

At an ArtPrize "Critical Discourse" event on Monday, three art experts, including New York Magazine's Jerry Saltz, weighed in with their opinions on the pieces that made the 2013 Top 10 list. 

From the article:

Artist Adonna Khare, winner of ArtPrize 2012's First Prize for her drawing "Elephants," and artist and art historian Tamara Fox, of Kendall College of Art and Design, joined Saltz on the three-person panel that discussed the Top 10 at the ArtPrize HUB.

Collectively, the three expressed at least some admiration for all 10 of the works to make the final round of ArtPrize 2013.

Time and again, they nudged nearly every artist to push themselves further.

Read the rest of the story here.

Grand Rapids as Snack City USA

With a plethora of local corporations finding success in the production of snack foods and cereal bars, West Michigan continues to gain a reputation as a hub for snack manufacturing.

According to the article:

The Grand Rapids area churns out billions of cereal and snack food bars a year, along with products such as Cracker Jack, Bear Naked granola, Pop-Tarts, Rice Krispies Treats, Multi Grain Cheerios Peanut Butter cereal, Kashi brand granola and nut bars, Ralston snack mixes and confections under The Hershey Co. brand, such as Zagnut, Reese’s Crispy Crunchy, Mr. Goodbar and Cookies ‘n’ Crème.

Read the rest of the story here.

Local students partner with GVSU for research

Several Whitehall eighth-graders will be learning about environmental sustainability and conducting water quality studies this week aboard a research vessel owned by Grand Valley State University. 

According to the article:

The experience on the vessel provides hands-on experience and brings the excitement of scientific research to the students. The vessel has an onboard laboratory where students analyze water samples from various sites to learn about what factors contribute to water quality. Students will be introduced to the Great Lakes Literacy Principles, and the positive actions they can take to be stewards of the environment. 

Read the whole story here.



Sprout Lab offers support to agribusiness entrepreneurs

Sprout Lab, an organization designed to help agribusiness entrepreneurs develop and implement innovative business solutions, announced a series of workshops scheduled for November and January.

According to the article:

“Sprout Lab is a way to engage problem solvers in the agriculture, natural resource and energy sectors in exploring further commercial development of their ideas,” said Julie Cowie, program manager for Sprout Lab. “Whether someone has an idea or is just looking to network, the workshops offer a concentrated delivery of information where participants will get a portfolio of regional resources.” 

Read the rest of the article here.

ArtPrize juried short list announced

ArtPrize continues to capture the community's attention, and Monday night's announcement of finalists for the Juried Short List created a buzz in the city. Public voting continues this week.

According to the article:

John Yau (2D juror), Hesse McGraw (3D juror) Rashida Bumbray (Time-Based juror), Evan Franch I Gilabert (Best Use of Urban Space juror) and Alice Gray Stites (Best Venue juror) each revealed their top five picks for their respective categories, and discussed how they came to the selections they made.

Read the rest of the article, including jurors' picks in each of the five categories, here.



Local First promotes local food economy with pledge

Local First of Grand Rapids hopes to spur residents to pour thousands of dollars into the local food economy by promoting the 10x10 Pledge this fall. 

According to the article:

The campaign asks people to spend $10 a week on local food sources — for 10 weeks.

Local First is hoping the local food economy will see an injection of $200,000 this year, thanks to The 10x10 Pledge. 

Read the rest of the article here.

MSU attracts researchers along with med students

The MSU College of Human Medicine has attracted over a dozen principal investigators to town along with the medical school, and it plans to recruit more researchers here in the very near future to work in fields such as women's health, Alzheimer's, and a range of neuroscience issues. 

According to the article:

And as the scientists bring their talents – and federal research dollars – to the local health care scene, MSU hopes they will draw yet more researchers.

“People don’t fully appreciate that part of what’s happened here in recent years is that people who were wanted and beloved and successful in places like Harvard and Northwestern are now here in Grand Rapids doing this work,” said Jeffrey Dwyer, senior associate dean for research.

Read the rest of the story here.

Grand Rapids arts group asks community to re-imagine former Grand Rapids Public Museum

Grand Rapids volunteer arts organization Site:Lab has solicited ideas from the community, asking them to re-imagine the vacant building at 54 Jefferson, the former Grand Rapids Public Museum, as a new, permanent and public space. Ideas will be judged by a panel, and prize money will be awarded to top entries.

According to the article:

The project, which opens to the public on Sept. 18, is showcasing at least 33 conceptual renderings that aim to transform the museum into a new, unique public space with a permanent use — rather than remain mostly closed.

From an indoor adventure sports center with climbing walls to a bicycle-friendly pub to something as simple as an indoor/outdoor urban park, the entries in the 54 Jeff competition range from the absurd to perfectly practical proposals for the future use of the facility.

Read the rest of the article here.

Well House celebrates the harvest from its first urban garden

Local nonprofit Well House, which provides safe and affordable housing for the homeless, will celebrate the harvest from its new urban garden with a free block party on Saturday afternoon.

According to the article:

“We’re celebrating the first harvest with our new and expanded urban farming program. We were able to grow food for our tenants, some of our neighbors and sold extra produce at local farm markets,” Tami VandenBerg, executive director of Well House said.  “An urban farm is more than a ‘nice’ thing to do. It provides good, healthy food for people who’ve been without access, some for many years. It provides a skill-building work environment and shows our neighborhood that our yards and open space can be used for community good,” said VandenBerg.

Read the rest of the article here.

Founders Brewing opens expanded taproom, new beer garden

Local brewing behemoth Founders Brewing re-opened an expanded taproom and a new outdoor beer garden this week, boasting more space and an enhanced menu.

According to the article:

The brewery substantially upgraded its taproom space, adding 40 percent more floor space, a larger porch and an outdoor beer garden with an outdoor bar.

The outdoor area has features to help it through at least three seasons, including gas heat and extensions for free-standing heaters, as well as two built-in fireplaces.

Read the entire article here.

ArtPrize returns to Grand Rapids, impacts economy, parking, web traffic and more

As ArtPrize returns to Grand Rapids for its fifth year, it transforms downtown into a giant walkable art exhibition. It also impacts the local economy, parking revenue, cell phone use, Twitter traffic, and transportation in measurable ways. 

According to the article:

The effects of ArtPrize are not to be underestimated. An economic impact study of ArtPrize 2011 determined it added $15.4 million to the local economy, attracted more than 320,000 visitors that year and created the equivalent of 200 new jobs.

Read the rest of the article here.

GVSU tops in the midwest

Grand Valley State University was recently recognized by U.S. News and World Report for excellence.

According to an exerpt from the article:

Grand Valley State University has been ranked 5th in the “Top Public Regional Universities in the Midwest” category by U.S. News & World Report.

Grand Valley was also named as one of the four “Up and Comers” for Midwest universities for having recently made the most promising and innovative changes in the areas of academics, faculty, student life, campus or facilities.

For its prestigious annual Best Colleges 2014 publication, Grand Valley also ranked 41st for “Best in Undergraduate Engineering” programs and 30th for “Best Regional University” in the Midwest.

Read the complete story here.
 

DDA wins award for Arena South plan

The Michigan Chapter of the American Planning Association last week announced that it was awarding its 2013 Planning Excellence Award to the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority. The DDA got the nod based on its excellent use of public outreach during its Arena South vision planning process.

According to an excerpt from the article:

“'The award is a tribute to our highly creative and capable staff and consultant team and the hundreds of citizens that participated to make the Arena South planning process a success,” said Brian Harris, DDA chairman, in a statement. “We are deeply honored by this recognition.'

The process involved creating a steering committee that was comprised of community members and downtown stakeholders and about a half-dozen events, including a Brew and Do and a Walk and Talk through the district, to get input from the public."

Read the rest of the article here.

MSU Med School gears up for expansion

Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon, in Grand Rapids last week, let the community know that they plan to move forward in the next few years with plans to expand their already successful new medical school and research activities at Van Andel Institute in downtown Grand Rapids.

According to exerpts from the article:

Michigan State University plans to invest in building new facilities in downtown Grand Rapids to help grow the school’s medical research programs.

At a meeting of the Grand Rapids Rotary Club Thursday, MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon announced that the first phase of planning for a new biomedical research facility officially starts this week as a cohort of faculty and students from MSU’s Land Policy Institute and School of Planning, Design and Construction are set to kick off several weeks of initial research today.

“The bottom line of this message today is that we are committed to building more research space in this community,” Simon said. “If everything came together perfectly with design and financing and some philanthropic contributions, I think we’re looking at a minimum of two years before any building is complete.”

Read the complete story here.

Spectrum Health performs West Michigan's first heart-lung transplant on Rockford man

Physicians at Spectrum Health have successfully performed the first heart-lung transplant on a 56-year-old Rockford man. The transplant was the first of its kind in West Michigan and the first in Michigan since 1999. Recipient Jeffrey Sargent received the transplant on August 23 and spoke to the press before going home on September 11. Sargent, who suffered from ideopathic pulmonary carciac hypertension, is encouraging others to become organ donors.

According to excerpts from the article:

Sargent, a 56-year-old Rockford man, became emotional Wednesday, Sept. 11, as he spoke about his life-saving transplant, his organ donor and the medical team that performed the rare operation. Fewer than a couple of dozen heart-lung transplants occur each year in the U.S., according to Gift of Life Michigan.

“I was very, very sick. Getting a new lease on life is hard to get your hands around,” Sargent said at a news conference at Spectrum Health’s Meijer Heart & Vascular Institute. “You wrestle with it every day. It has been truly, truly a great ride.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Kendall College, UICA merge

The Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts (UICA) merges with Kendall College of Art and Design to support the struggling arts center. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Both David Eisler, president of Ferris State University, and David Rosen, president of Kendall, understood the importance of a contemporary arts center and moved to support the UICA.

“The UICA sits at the heart of the city,” Rosen said. “That is appropriate, because the heart of our community is its creativity. UICA provides a hub for all who thrive in the creative environment. Any city that wants to be great needs a UICA.”

Read the complete story here

Monroe Center's last building to be restored

Restoration of Monroe Center's last building is about to begin. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

With 616 Development close to finishing its restoration of the Kendall Building at 16 Monroe Center, only one structure now is left to convert on the street. And, as one might guess, Rockford Construction will play a major role in that final transformation.

The construction and development firm joined RDV Corp. to form 55 Ionia Partners LLC for the purpose of turning the vacant Morton House, the last empty and unused structure on Monroe Center, into an apartment complex with 100 market-rate units and ground floor retail.

Read the complete story here

New coworking space for tinkerers

GR Makers and Mutually Human Software are joining forces to create a coworking space for tinkerers. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

GR Makers and Mutually Human Software have teamed up to provide a coworking space for the tinkerers in hardware and the hackers in software to collaborate and encourage craftsmanship. Samuel Bowles, Mutually Human Software's Vice President, and Casey DuBois, GR Makers founder, hope to provide a space that combines the worlds of hardware and software.

Read the complete story here

WiFi planned for Amtrak trains

WiFi service is planned for Michigan Amtrak trains.

According to an excerpt from the article:

The Michigan Department of Transportation is spending about $1 million to install Wi-Fi by January. MDOT anticipates the service will lead to increased ridership and revenues that should more than offset the cost, said spokesman Nick Schirripa.

Read the complete story here.

Open Systems Technologies ranks as a rapidly growing company

Grand Rapids' Open Systems Technologies ranks on the Inc. 500/5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America for the seventh year in a row. 

According to an excerpt from the press release: 

“This achievement puts OST in rarefied company,” shared Eric Schurenberg, Editor in Chief at Inc. Magazine. “The elite group they’ve now joined has, over the years, included companies such as Microsoft, Timberland, Vizio, Intuit, Jamba Juice, Oracle, and Zappos.com.”

See their ranking here

Cigarette counter and greenhouse microcomputer selected as new StartGarden investments

StartGarden has selected a microcomputer for greenhouses and a cigarette pack counter as its two new investments. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The Start Garden team put $5,000 into Pi Garden, an idea to incorporate microcomputers into hydroponics, allowing for a “plug-‘n’-play” environmental control unit for greenhouses.

Read the complete story here

Local breweries rank among top 15

Two West Michigan breweries have ranked onto USA Today's list of the "Top 15 Craft Breweries in the USA."

According to an excerpt from the article:

Founders Brewing Co. ranks No. 4, and Bell's Brewery ranks No. 8 -- out of the more than 2,500 breweries in the U.S.

Read the complete story here

New $3.2M apartment complex for seniors

Citizens for Better Living opens on Delaware St. SW. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Wolverine Building Group recently finished construction of a new three story, 26-unit apartment complex for low-income seniors in Grand Rapids.

Read the complete story here

Restaurant Week begins

Reporter John Gonzalez takes on Restaurant Week!

According to an excerpt from the article:

In yesterday's Top 5 list of things to do this weekend, I said I would be checking out many of 60-plus restaurants participating in Restaurant Week Grand Rapids, which kicks off today and continues through Aug. 24.

Read the complete story here

New projects for East Hills' Tree Huggers

Celebrating three years in business, Angela Topp of eco-friendly Tree Huggers' in East Hills implements new projects. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Topp and her team at Tree Huggers are launching a new service this week. It’s a big project that Topp says seems to be a logical extension of Tree Huggers’ eco-friendly philosophy. Topp will be providing a consulting service for people that want to reduce their carbon footprint but aren’t sure how to go about making those changes.

Read the complete story here

Quilting convention draws 21,000 visitors

QuiltWeek is expected to draw 21,000 visitors next week. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

More than 21,000 people are expected to visit Grand Rapids as part of QuiltWeek, which will be held Aug. 14-17 at DeVos Place.

Read the complete story here

Want to be an ArtPrize volunteer?

ArtPrize is looking for over 1000 for the 2013 event. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

This year, their kickoff event for volunteers on August 14, the "Volunteer Field Camp," invites past and future volunteers to join them to learn more about volunteering while being among the first to sample the brand new Inspired Artist Black IPA from Founders Brewing Company.

Read the complete story here

New coffee shop opens downtown

A new downtown coffee shop combines coffee and art. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Maria Federico and her husband created PaLatté Coffee and Art to marry both their love for painting and of coffee. Both are active in the art community and have particapated in Artprize.

Read the complete story here

What's next for the rapids?

A recent presentation suggested that the riverfront could mean "magic" for GR.

A well-managed riverfront could be pure magic for Grand Rapids.

That was the heart of a presentation given recently at Kendall College of Art and Design by Alex Krieger, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and a principal at NBBJ, a global architecture and planning firm.

Read the complete story

Internet Cat Video Festival coming to ArtPrize

ArtPrize plans to screen the Internet Cat Video Festival. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The idea, in fact, came from Minneapolis and the Walker Art Center. Last summer, some brilliant mind in Minnesota created the first Internet Cat Video Festival -- and more than 10,000 people watched the screening, gaining international attention. #duh #catsruledogsdrool

Read the complete story here

Plans for new residential development in Eastown

Plans for a new, 36-unit residence in Eastown emerge. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The plan Wheeler outlined to MiBiz consists of two buildings. Early designs call for one three-story, 16-unit building at 1415 Wealthy St. and another three-story, 20-unit building at 1400 Wealthy St., which is currently home to CarLovers carwash. 

Read the complete story here

Local beers to help local trees

Local breweries create beers inspired by trees to benefit the local tree canopy. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

To support Friends of Grand Rapids Parks and their Urban Tree-Planting Project, 17 local breweries created tree-inspired beers that they will be selling August 4-10. Purchase of the special beers raises money to increase the tree canopy in every part of the city. 

Read the complete story here

Centre for Plastic Surgery celebrates 30-year anniversary with makeover

The Centre for Plastic Surgery celebrates its thirtieth decade with new digs. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The Grand Rapids surgery, skincare and cosmetics practice is now located in southeast Grand Rapids, at 2060 East Paris Ave. SE.

Read the complete story here

New barbershop opens downtown

Foremost Barbershop opens in downtown Grand Rapids. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Andrew Theile, the owner, recently signed a three-year lease and opened his barbershop last month at the 945-square-foot space, at 152 Fulton St. E.

Read the complete story here

TEDxGrandRapids offers talks online

TEDxGrandRapids has released all the talks from the 2013 event online. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The full-day conference included 14 speakers, all sharing stories of creativity, inspiration and overcoming obstacles to change the world.

Read the complete story here

What will become of Grand Haven's Eagle Ottawa Leather Co. factory site?

Talk of redevelopment surrounds Grand Haven's old Eagle Ottawa Leather Co. factory, currently undergoing demolition. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Now that crews are finally demolishing sections of the factory to clear the site — a project that started earlier this year — any future redevelopment plans could have an easier path to success, sources said, especially given a much improved credit climate.

“It’s going to take a special person to develop it,” said Joy Gaasch, president of the Chamber of Commerce for Grand Haven, Spring Lake and Ferrysburg.


Read the complete story here

Mrs. B's Focaccia being made in Eastown

Chef Michelle Barnes has been operating as Mrs. B's Focaccia out of Eastown's Uptown Kitchen. 

According to an excerpt from the article: 

Barnes has Italian roots and remembers from her earliest years the singing and cooking her family did together in the kitchen.

“We cooked everything, and we were always singing,” says Barnes. In addition to her culinary talents, she practiced medicine for many years, taught cooking lessons, and became a mother and grandmother along the way.

Read the complete story here


Brick Road Pizza adds full-service bar

East Hill's Brick Road Pizza adds a full-service bar. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Talbert’s new 800-square-foot bar seats about 13 people.

It offers a menu of cocktails and 12 brew taps, which are mostly Michigan microbrews, including brewery names like Founders, Dark Horse, New Holland and Perrin.

Read the complete story here

Restaurant proposed for former Rockford museum

The property formerly belonging to the Rockford Area Historical Museum (soon to be housed in the former county building) may become a new restaurant. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The proposal in question, which lays out plans for a restaurant with outdoor seating space overlooking the Rockford Dam, was submitted by local lawyer and entrepreneur Thomas Cronkright, who was given an opportunity to present his proposal to the City Council earlier this week. Cronkright is the founder of numerous businesses, including Jade Clothing, created in 2003 with his wife Julie, and Cronkright Ventures, a commercial real-estate renovation company.

Read the complete story here

Two new residential projects proposal for SE side

Two new residential projects are proposed for two vacant properties on Grand Rapids' SE side. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The second is at 220 Eastern Ave. SE, a three-story vacant building with 8,400 square feet of space. It was built in 1915 and also most recently used by Cherry Street Health Services, as housing for Project Rehab, a substance abuse operation. Cherry Street Apartments wants to convert the building into a dozen rental units, with one one-bedroom and 11 two-bedroom units.

Read the complete story here

UICA hires new full-time curator

Grand Rapids' Urban Insitute for the Contemporary Arts (UICA) has hired Alexander Paschka as its first full-time curator in its 36-year history. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Grand Rapids Art Museum’s Alexander Paschka, a past ArtPrize artist and 5x5 Night winner, joins UICA as exhibitions curator beginning July 29, 2013.

Read the complete story here

Comic book store coming to downtown GR

Comic book and game store Vault of Midnight is opening up a location in downtown Grand Rapids. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The downtown location that formerly housed Van Hoecks Shoes will be renovated and split into two suites, said Curtis Sullivan, Vault of Midnight co-owner.

About 2,500 square feet will be for his comic store, he said, and about 2,000 square feet will be available for other retail.

Read the complete story here

Dirty Girl Mud Run now in GR

A new women's 5K is expanding to include Grand Rapids as a location. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

“It’s a 5K course. It’s non-competitive. It’s for all women. It’s absolutely just a blast and a way for you to get together with your girlfriends and come together for a girls day out,” said Andrea Neukom, Dirty Girl Mud Run marketing director. “It’s about challenging yourself, but only as far as you want to go.”

Read the complete story here

New wine bar to open in Muskegon theatre

The Community Foundation for Muskegon plans to open Smash Wine Bar in the lower level of Muskegon's Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts.

According to an excerpt from the article:

The foundation has hired long-time Muskegon restaurateur David Biesiada to develop and manage the Smash Wine Bar & Bistro in the lower level of the Frauenthal Theater lobby. It is the space that had housed the City Café and most recently the 411 Bistro-Lounge.

Read the complete story here


Wolverine Worldwide has a great day in the stock market

Wolverine Worldwide's stock hit a record high of $60.35 this week.

According to an excerpt from the article:

The Rockford company apparently pleased Wall Street when it raised its full year forecast for adjusted earnings per share to be between $2.60 and $2.75, up from previous expectations of $2.50 to $2.65. The company anticipates full-year revenues of between $2.7 billion and $2.78 billion while analysts expect earnings of $2.69 per share on revenue of $2.74 billion.
 

Read the complete story here

Founders to release a beer for ArtPrize

Founders Brewing Company will release a Black IPA this summer as part of a beer sponsorship with ArtPrize.

According to an excerpt from the article:

ArtPrize’s five-year partnership deal with Founders Brewing Co. will kick off in late August with the release of the first of a series of annual special beers that will benefit the Grand Rapids art competition.

Read the complete story here

Hudsonville Ice Cream releases Pure Michigan flavor

Hudsonville Ice Cream  has selected Double Berry Pie as its 2013 Pure Michigan flavor. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

“Pairing Hudsonville ice cream with Michigan blueberries and strawberries is a great way to get a taste of Pure Michigan agriculture,” said Jamie Clover Adams, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development director. “With June being dairy month, and the kick off of Michigan's fresh fruit season, I thank MEDC and Hudsonville for their ongoing support of the state’s food and agriculture industry.”

Read the complete story here

More bike parking in store for downtown GR

The DDA has approved $41,100 to be spent on additional bike parking downtown. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The funds will be used to install up to 90 new bicycle-parking U-racks and four new on-street parking corrals at various locations throughout downtown.

Read the complete story here

Arena Place releases plans for downtown mixed-used construction project

Arena Place Development LLC has plans for a 20,000-square-foot mixed-use development in downtown Grand Rapids.

According to an excerpt from the article:

The company’s $28 million mixed-use project is the first new construction on its way to approval after the adoption of the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority’s Arena South Visioning Plan. The project calls for a mix of market-rate apartments, ground-floor retail and offices in the area just southwest of Van Andel Arena in downtown Grand Rapids.

Read the complete story here

City Commission meetings will be translated and broadcast in Spanish

Starting in July, City Commission meetings will be translated and broadcast in Spanish. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Live transmission of City Commission meetings in Spanish is scheduled to start in July. There will be three new ways to hear Spanish-language interpretation of the commission’s twice-monthly Committee of the Whole meetings, if the commission approves a funding request.

Read the complete story here

Underwear and ring box cameras are the latest Start Garden Investments

The latest Start Garden investments include a men's underwear club and a camera for ring boxes. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Which would be better? Wearing the best men's underwear on the planet or having a video of the expression on your face the moment you got engaged to be married?

If both those ideas sound appealing, then Start Garden has got it covered. As of last week, both of those ideas -- Underwear Nation and YesCam -- are now Start Garden-funded.

Complete story

Co-working space opens in Holland

Holland gets a new co-working space. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

A new Holland co-working space, Warehaus, hosted its grand opening last month in its chic suite in the Baker Lofts building, at 217 E. 24th St., Holland.

Read the complete story here

Griffins win Calder Cup

The Grand Rapids Griffins take home the Calder Cup. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The Griffins, who took about the longest journey possible in the AHL playoffs, made an encore trip to Syracuse on Tuesday to finally win the Calder Cup with a 5-2 victory against the Crunch in Game 6 of the series and 100 on the season.

Read the complete story here

Harmony's Cavendish Ale featured in Details Magazine

Details selects Harmony Brewing Company's Cavendish Ale as one of summer's "best weird brews."

According to an except from the article:

"Cavendish Ale smells like sweet, earthy pipe smoke, thanks in part to the addition of aged Mexican and Madagascar vanilla beans during fermentation and to the aging of the brew in oak barrels that previously contained cherry bitters."

Read the complete story here

DDA plans outdoor moving screenings

The DDA has purchased a screen to use for outdoor movie showings in city parks. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The inflatable screen, measuring 22 feet high and 40 feet wide, is capable of handling an audience of up to 1,500 persons, said Tim Kelly, a project manager for the DDA.

Read the complete story here

Construction to rebuild Jefferson Ave. begins next week

Construction to rebuild Jefferson Ave. begins next week.

According to an excerpt from the article:

Jefferson Avenue SE will undergo a $1.67 million reconstruction between Fulton and Cherry streets this summer as construction crews will rebuild water and sewer mains, add bicycle lanes and prepare for the Bus Rapid Transit system.

Read the complete story here

Rock the Rapids begins announcing lineup

According to an excerpt from the article:

Rock performers ZZ Top and blues guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd are the first performers to be announced for this summer’s three day music festival at Fifth Third Ballpark.

Read the complete story here

Mercantile Bank donates land to Habitat for Humanity

Mercantile Bank donates three vacant lots in Roosevelt Park to Habitat for Humanity of Kent County. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

“These donations will support Habitat Kent’s mission of providing affordable homeownership opportunities to low-income families,” according to a press release announcing the donation on Friday, May 31.

Read the complete story here

The Kent County Land Bank Authority hard at work

The Kent County Land Bank Authority has a full workload ahead. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The Kent County Land Bank Authority is getting ready to sell five properties, has at least two more listed for sale, and has three renovation projects in the works. All are residences in Grand Rapids.

Read the complete story here

Michigan Film Office releases map of movie locations

The Michigan Film Office has released a map of multiple film locations throughout West Michigan. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The map features seven areas along and near Lake Michigan that have served as sites where movies have been shot. The city of Grand Rapids is on the map, as is the Holland-South Haven area.

In fact, the map shows 10 locales in Grand Rapids that have made it to the silver screen.

Read the complete story here

Wall Street Journal discusses the rapids

Wall Street Journal discusses Grand Rapids' plan to restore the rapids. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

In Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder backed the plan and three-term Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell said he's enthusiastic about the proposal to tear down or modify five dams and use excavators and cranes to install new boulders -- some as large as 10 feet wide -- to mimic white-water conditions on the river last seen in the 19th Century.

Read the complete story here

UICA announces new interim executive director

Grand Rapids' Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts has named Miranda Krajniak as its interim executive director. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Krajniak comes to the UICA from the Saugatuck Center for the Arts, where she served as the manager of education and exhibitions.

She has previously held leadership positions with the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

Read the complete story here

GRCC to become more energy efficient

Grand Rapids Community College is making some changes to become more energy efficient, resulting in an estimated $850,000 in savings over 15 years. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Steam purchased from Veolia Energy Grand Rapids, 156 W. Fulton St., will be used to power campus heating, hot water and air conditioning for nine college buildings, under a 15-year contract approved Monday by GRCC’s board of trustees.

Read the complete story here

Venue app and gunfire detector the latest StartGarden investments

StartGarden's latest investments include a mobile app to buy concessions or merchadise from entertainment venues, and a device that detects indoor gunfire. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The acoustic surveillance system could be used alert a building's residents and local authorities, hopefully saving lives when a gunman is either in a building or on the loose.

Read the complete story here

Report shows $700M increase in Michigan's venture capital industry

The venture capital industry in Michigan experienced a $700 million increase in 2012. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The results contrast the general national trend for venture capital and indicate “that Michigan is a destination where entrepreneurs and those that back them are thriving,” states an annual research report issued today by the Michigan Venture Capital Association.

Read the complete story here

ArtPrize announces jurors for ArtPrize 2013

ArtPrize announces the jurors who will award the juried prizes in ArtPrize 2013. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

“We've invited world renowned experts whose work shares a similar sensibility,” said Kevin Buist, director of artist and cultural relations for ArtPrize.

Read the complete story here

Grand Rapids named Beer City USA again

Grand Rapids is elected Beer City USA for the second year in a row. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Grand Rapids tallied 27,005 votes -- more than 15,000 more than the second-place city Kalamazoo -- in the Examiner's 2013 poll.

Last year’s co-winner, Asheville, N.C., came in third with more than 10,000 votes.

Read the complete story here

Grand Rapids Film Festival runs through the weekend

The Grand Rapids Film Festival continues throughout the weekend.

According to an excerpt from the article: 

Working with a budget of about $75,000, the 4th annual Grand Rapids Film Festival will run from May 15-19, releasing more than 50 hours of screen time for local and internationally made independent films.

Read the complete story here

Restore the Rapids receives federal funding

The Grand River is one of 10 waterway sites in the U.S. to receive federal funding for restoration. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The estimated $27 million effort to restore the rapids in the Grand River has a new supporter: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Urban Waters Federal Partnership. 

The partnership selected the Grand River restoration project along with 10 other urban waterway sites around the country to receive coordination and resources support from more than a dozen different federal agencies. 

Read the complete story here

Ferris receives Governor's Award for historic preservation

Ferris State University recieves the Governor's Award for the historic preservation of the Federal Building. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Ferris State University and five other recipients were presented with 2013 Governor’s Awards for historic preservation at a ceremony in the state capitol rotunda. Burney Johnson, deputy director of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, and State Historic Preservation Officer Brian Conway hosted the event on Wednesday, May 1.
 
Read the complete story here

Grand Rapids Chair Co. receives grant

Grand Rapids Chair Co. receives a $200,000 Michigan Business Development grant for expansion. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Grand Rapids Chair Co., which announced plans this winter to move to a larger manufacturing facility in Byron Center, has been awarded a $200,000 Michigan Business Development performance-based grant, dependent on its commitment to add 50 new employees to its current full-time roster of 93 over the next three years.

Read the complete story here

Upload your photos of GR to The Rapidian's Picturesque gallery

Citizen journalism outlet The Rapidian asks you to upload your favorite photos of GR to their Picturesque gallery. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Whatever it is you'd tell a visitor about Grand Rapids, we're asking you to share your pictures of these great places that make our city truly grand.

Simply upload a photo, give it a title, and share it with your friends and family...

Read the complete story here

Jobs in new energy planned for Muskegon

A new partnership could bring jobs in new energy to Muskegon. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The new Michigan Energy + Technology Center formed by Consumers Energy, Rockford Berge and a number of Michigan alternative energy companies in conjunction with Michigan State University has the potential to be a job creator.

Read the complete story here

GRandjazzFest releases lineup

GRandjazzFest releases the lineup for the 2013 event, taking place in downtown Grand Rapids August 17-18.

According to an excerpt from the article:

Chicago-based guitarist and vocalist Nick Colionne will headline the festival, which is presented by DTE Energy Foundation.

Read the complete story here

The Right Place exceeds goals set in 2008

According to an excerpt from the article:

The plan, which was implemented in 2009 and runs through this year, set goals of achieving $500 million in new capital investment, 5,000 new and retained jobs, and $175 million in new payroll. Instead, capital investment totaled $635 million, 8,654 jobs were created and retained, and there was $302 million in new payroll added from 2009 through the end of last year.
 
Read the complete story here

Grand Rapids implements marijuana decriminalization

The City of Grand Rapids, starting May 1, to begin issuing civil infraction tickets for simple possession of marijuana. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The statement was released after Grand Rapids City Commission met in closed session this morning to discuss ongoing litigation over a voter-approved city charter amendment that seeks to decriminalize marijuana use and possession – meaning that it no longer will be a crime, but rather a ticket payable by a fine ranging from $25 to $100.

Read the complete story here

New boutique hotel opens in Holland

A new boutique hotel opens in Holland's historic Teerman's building. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Teerman Lofts has six, fully furnished suites overlooking the downtown commercial district. There are five one-bedroom suites that sleep up to four starting at $179 per night and one two-bedroom suite that sleeps six for $249 per night. The suites range in size from 600-to 800-square-feet, each with a unique floor plan.
 

Read the complete story here

Grand Rapids one of 10 best cities to get a job

Forbes chooses Grand Rapids as one of the ten best cities in America to get a job. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The human resources firm Adecco Staffing U.S. looked at the U.S. cities with the fullest employment, according to the Department of Labor, as well as internal data around job growth and demand–and then determined which areas are the best for finding a job. The ranking reflects considerations such as: the diversity of industries in the city, the cost of living, the range in size of companies offering employment, and high level of education among its residents. All those factors were weighed equally.

Read the complete story here

Nonprofit The Source receives grant from W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The SOURCE receives a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The SOURCE has received a three-year, $675,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to start a new Duel Generation pilot program, focusing on low income children and parents in Kent County.

Read the complete story here

Kindel Furniture hatches new plan for growth

Kindel Furniture's new growth plan involves high-quality, American-made products. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

While other companies are betting on cheap, mass-produced furniture, Kindel’s executives say they see value in producing one-of-a-kind products built by American craftsmen. The company is on the hunt for other, like-minded brands to broaden its portfolio. 

Read the complete story here

GR's HopCat to open second location in E. Lansing

Grand Rapids' beer bar HopCat to open second location in E. Lansing.

According to an excerpt from the article:

This location will have 100 taps, and BarFly Ventures -- the umbrella company that owns HopCat, Grand Rapids Brewing Co., McFaddens and Stella's Lounge -- expects to create more than 75 jobs when it opens later this summer.

Read the complete story here

Founders heads across the pond

Founders announces distribution of their beer to the U.K.

According to an excerpt from the article:

Founders Brewing Co. continues its rapid international growth, announcing Tuesday the brewery will begin distribution in the United Kingdom in June.

Read the complete story here

Pill Pouch and hunting tree stand are the latest Start Garden investments

Start Garden invests in Pill Pouch and REV, a tree stand for hunters.

According to an excerpt from the article:

The Revolution, or REV, a hunter’s tree stand that has the ability to pivot 270 degrees in a seat that can rotate a full 360 degrees, is one of two product ideas that received funding from Start Garden last week. 

Read the complete story here

2013 looks positive for tourism industry

A study by researchers at MSU indicates growth for Michigan's tourism industry in 2013. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

An annual outlook from MSU projects tourism spending to grow 5.5 percent in 2013 and travel volume to increase 3 percent. This year’s growth will come after a 2012 travel season where travel spending grew by 6 percent and hotels in the state recorded their highest occupancy rate since 2000.

Read the complete story here

Pure Michigan announces best ROI yet in 2012

Pure Michigan generated its best ever ROI in 2012. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The Pure Michigan tourism campaign generated its best return ever in 2012, drawing an estimated 3.8 million people to the state that spent more than $1.1 billion during their stay, according to new research data.
 

Read the complete story here

$54M renovation underway for Mary Free Bed

Mary Free Bed broke ground on a $54 million renovation this Tuesday. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The three existing buildings will be renovated and a new 190,000-square-foot structure be built and in use by the fall of 2014.

Read the complete story here

Lowbrow art gallery, painting business app next recipients of Start Garden funds

Start Garden invests in a lowbrow gallery and a painting business app. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The Start Garden team selected the paint-production app, Paintware CRM, a web based customer relationship management platform that allows users to manage all the aspects of a painting business...

The Start Garden community selected Ice Cream Gallery and Grill, which would serve as a “destination restaurant/gallery/gift shop/ice cream parlor, celebrating Americana and lowbrow art,” writes idea creator Ronnie Edison on his Start Garden page.

Read the complete story here

Grand Rapids and Detroit need to work together

Tom Walsh's editorial in The Detroit Free Press talks about how Grand Rapids and Detroit should work together for a stronger Michigan. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

In a post-recession Michigan, business leaders from Grand Rapids and Detroit realize they must cooperate like never before to survive and grow. Together, they're providing money to fledgling start-ups, helping each other with sister initiatives to recruit and retain young talent, infusing respective city cores with new development and retail, and recognizing they are stronger if East and West are both thriving.

Read the complete story here

The Rapidian offers new specialty internships

The Rapidian offers new, specialty internships to all majors as well as the general public. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Imagine spending your summer keeping tabs on our local breweries and sitting down each week to learn a brewer's story. And then sharing it with your community.

Or imagine visiting with our local farmers. Or nonprofits. Or the wide variety of people that make up our creative class.

Read the complete story here

$4M renovation planned for Cornerstone University building

Cornerstone University has a $4 million renovation planned for the professional and graduate studies building. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The private Christian university’s plan to completely gut, renovate and extend the outdated building will begin this summer -- with hopes of completion by February 2014, said Robert Simpson, Cornerstone associate provost.

Read the complete story here

Eastown's Wilcox Park wins a $50K makeover

Wilcox Park wins a $50,000 makeover through My GR City Points. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Grand Rapids residents had the opportunity to donate their My GR City Points to their favorite park, and thousands of contributors donated more than 4 million points during the contest.

Read the complete story here

VAI scientist receives prestigious honor

George Vande Woude of the Van Andel Institute receives a prestigious honor. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

George Vande Woude,
 the founding research director of the Van Andel Institute, is included in the first group of scientists chosen by the American Association for Cancer Research in its newly formed Fellows of the AACR Academy.

Read the complete story here

City Lights tickets on sale this week

Tickets for Grand Rapids' annual City Lights Music Festival went on sale this Tuesday.

According to an excerpt from the article:

The electronic dance music event will take place July 19 and 20, once again on Calder Plaza in downtown Grand Rapids. Tickets are $25 for a two-day general admission pass for ages 16 and older.

Read the complete story here

Wealthy Street Bakery to open second location

Popular Wealthy Street Bakery plans a second location. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Wealthy Street Bakery, a celebrated local bakery housed at 606 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids, has what will essentially be another Wealthy Street Bakery in the oven.

WSB is getting ready for its first addition to the family by renovating the space at 1200 Hall St. SE in Grand Rapids, with plans to put another bakery in the ground floor and two apartments upstairs.

Read the complete story here

Great Lakes Cider competition in GR

The eighth annual Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition took place in Grand Rapids at the Courtyard Marriott downtown. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The competition, put on by the Great Lakes Cider & Perry Association, has grown to be the second largest hard cider competition in the world. Hard cider producers from across the country and Europe have submitted their products for judging.

Read the complete story here

Michigan's craft beer industry up 20 percent

Michigan's craft beer industry experienced a growth of 20 percent in 2012.
According to an excerpt from the article:

Michigan’s craft beer industry grew by 20 percent in 2012, according to a “state of the industry” report from the Demeter Group Investment Bank of San Francisco.

Michigan added 17 breweries last year and outpaced the average national industry growth rate by 12 percent. New breweries opened in Big Rapids, Grand Rapids, Marquette and Lake Leelanau, for example.

Read the complete story here

Southwest links network with AirTran, more flights for GRR

Southwest Airlines announced this week that it has linked its network with AirTran Airways. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The move means fliers using AirTran in Grand Rapids will, starting April 14, be able to plug into Southwest's larger network, said Phil Johnson, Ford Airport's deputy executive director.

According to Southwest, the network meld means fliers are able to access the carriers' combined 97 locations.

Read the complete story here

Subway, Biggby, salon announced for Tapestry Square on Wealthy

Three new businesses have been announced for the Tapestry Square development on Wealthy St. SE. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Franchise locations for a Biggby Coffee and Subway sandwich shops were announced Tuesday, March 19, for the ground floor of the existing multi-use buildings at the Tapestry Square development on the 100 block of Wealthy.

Also announced was the Chasing Vanity Salon & Spa.

Read the complete story here

Population of Metro Grand Rapids now over 1M

Grand Rapids now boasts a metro area of over one million people.

According to an excerpt from the article:

Recent census data shows that Grand Rapids now consists of a population of more than 1 million in the metro area, which could make it more desirable and competitive in attracting businesses to the area.

Metro Grand Rapids now includes 1,005,648, compared to a 2010 population of 774,160.

Read the complete story here

Muskegon's RC Productions expands to Grand Rapids, gets new name

According to an excerpt from the article:

It’s a month of transition for RC Productions. The Muskegon-based company is now operating under the name RCP Marketing -- and has expanded with a new Grand Rapids location.

It also has launched a new website, rcpmarketing.com, to accompany its transition, growth and new branding.

Read the complete story here

$29M to be invested in Herkimer Apartments

Renovation plans are in store for Divison Avenue's Herkimer Apartments. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Dwelling Place COO Kim Cross said $20 million of that amount is going toward the construction project that will convert all the building’s 122 residences into one-bedroom apartments. The work also will add a new five-story structure called the Herkimer Commerce building to the site and will feature offices and community space.

Read the complete story here

Embassy Suites planned for Monroe North Business District

Suburban Inns has plans for an Embassy Suites in the Monroe North Business District. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The proposed site is on a vacant parcel at the intersection of Monroe Avenue and Newberry and Sixth streets, overlooking the Grand River. The hotel had been in the discussion stages for several years, but financing reportedly fell through during the recession.

Read the complete story here

Muskegon gets first certified Crossfit facility

Kris Maddox opens Muskegon's first certified Crossfit facility.

According to an excerpt form the article: 

Located inside the 2,300-square-foot structure that once housed a heating and cooling business, the gym claims a 25-person membership ranging from pre-teens to adults in their 60s. Crossfit's ranks continue to grow weekly since it debuted, according to Maddox, a father, athletics coach and state prison sergeant.

Read the complete story here

Directory of minority, women-owned businesses published by West Michigan Chambers

Grand Rapids, Holland, Grand Haven, and Muskegon Chambers produce a list of minority- and/or female-owned businesses. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The coalition, made up of chambers of commerce from Grand Rapids, Holland, Grand Haven and Muskegon, published an online version of the directory last week that can be found at http://www.harborhouse.com/digital/minority.htm.

The directory lists businesses that are at least 51 percent minority- or female-owned, both alphabetically and by business category.

Read the complete story here

LINC eyes blighted properties for demolition

LINC and ICCF eye vacant properties for demolition, some to make room for new development. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

More than 40 buildings in Grand Rapids -- including a popular neighborhood taco spot and a historic but vacant South Division movie theater -- are being eyed for demolition this year using state blight elimination funding harnessed by a pair of local nonprofits.

Read the complete story here

Siciliano's Market plans May brew event for Calder Plaza

Siciliano’s Market plans a brew event at the Calder Plaza for this May.

According to an excerpt from the article: 

With the American Homebrewers Association’s national convention coming to town, Siciliano’s Market has announced it will host an AHA Big Brew event on May 4 at downtown Grand Rapids' Calder Plaza.

Read the complete story here.

Start Garden invests in five ideas, totaling $70,000

New mobile apps, a new kind of water board, a landscaping business, and an online butcher shop round out Start Garden's most recent investments. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The three ideas that reached the $20,000 level of funding on Update Night were Marcuski, a new water sport board; Cunable, an e-book retail model allowing for direct publisher-to-public exchange; and Benefit, a mobile commerce platform that combines shopping with charity.

Read the complete story here

Michigan beer invades Chicago

Michigan beer is a hit in nearby Chicago. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Not only are the beers quenching the thirst for good beer in Chicago, the Michigan industry also helps make for an easy weekend getaway from the big city. The Chicago Tribune has run several stories in the past year on Michigan beer, including two recent articles about Grand Rapids brewing in the past six months.
 
Read the complete story here

Get Michigan tomatoes all year long

Mastronardi Produce’s greenhouse in Coldwater produces Michigan tomatoes all year long and makes them available at Meijer stores.

According to an excerpt from the article:

The Coldwater greenhouse is the first of its kind in the Midwest, utilizing unique grow lights, water filtration systems and alternative energy sources that create an internal climate that ensures optimal growing conditions 12 months a year,  according to Meijer.

Read the complete story here

Industrial, retail, and office real estate markets all up in West Michigan

Industrial, office, and retail markets in West Michigan all showed growth in 2012. 

According to an excerpt from the article: 

While the area’s industrial real estate market showed strong signs of activity during the fourth quarter of last year and the office market showed steady and slow growth, Colliers International of West Michigan said the retail market had a banner quarter.

Read the complete story here

Bassmaster event coming to Muskegon

A professional fishing event has been booked for Muskegon and White Lakes in September. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Muskegon Lake and White Lake have been selected by the Bassmaster organization to bring 14 of the nation’s top professional bass fishermen together to compete for a $100,000 total prize payout. The event at Muskegon County’s Heritage Landing will be rebroadcast in a two-hour program in October on ESPN2.

Read the complete story here. 

Holland Hospital named one of top 100 in nation, twice

Holland Hospital named one of the nation's top 100 by Truven Health Analytics. Earlier, Holland Hospital received the same award from Healthgrades. 

According to an except from the article: 

Truven Health Analytics (formerly Thomson Reuters) named the hospital as one of the nation’s top 100 in a report issued Monday, Feb. 25. This is the eighth year the Holland institution received the recognition.

Read the complete story here

Annual Winter Beer Fest this weekend in Grand Rapids

The Annual Winter Beer Festival took 13 minutes to sell out this year.

According to an excerpt from the article:

About 6,000 ticketholders will don hats and long underwear to quaff brews outdoors, up from 5,850 in 2012. Add industry representatives, staff and their guests, and between 7,000 and 8,000 people could be on the grounds.

Read the complete story here

Plans for a new Forest Hills YMCA emerge

The YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids plans to open a new facility in 2014. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids plans to submit a zoning application this week for a permit needed to build a facility on the south side of Leonard Street NE, east of East Beltline Avenue across from Forest Hills Northern High School.

Read the complete story here

Say hello from Grand Rapids with new postcards

Paul Jendrasiak, Josh Depenbrok and Wynnona Francis have created a new line of Grand Rapids postcards. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The trio created a line of postcards displaying prominent and historical landmarks in Grand Rapids. The photographs were taken by Jendrasiak and Depenbrok, and the cards were designed by Francis.

Read the complete story here

TV Show "Cake Boss" turns Haworth chair into a cake

TLC's "Cake Boss" turns a Haworth ToDo chair into a cake. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

With the cameras filming, a life-size, cake-version of Haworth's ToDo chair was created. Toward the end of the design and construction process, Haworth provided the "Cake Boss" bakery with ToDo handles and feet to finish the cake.

Read the complete story here

GRid70 highlighted in coworking space article

A Fast Company article exploring coworking spaces highlights downtown Grand Rapids' GRid70.

According to an excerpt from the article:

At the moment, the world's largest experiment in company-to-company coworking sits at the end of a row of handsome brick warehouses in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Read the complete story here

Story Cafe opening on Westside

The Story Cafe will have its grand opening on Feb. 16, 2013.

According to an excerpt from the article:

The celebration will include free samples throughout the day, live music and storytelling. Since its soft opening, the cafe has featured a full espresso bar and pastries from deBoer Bakery in Holland and artisan chocolates from Confections with Convictions in Kalamazoo. Starting Saturday, the shop will serve soups, sandwiches and smoothies as well.

Read the complete story here

Registration open for Art.Downtown

Registration is now open between now and March 8 for Art.Downtown. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The largest annual event organized by the Avenue for the Arts, it will feature the work of over 300 local artists. More than 30 venues will participate ranging from the UICA and the Old Public Museum to Gaspard Gallery and Craft House (two new galleries on S.Division).

Read the complete story here

Two Grand Rapids companies appear on Fortune 100's list of Best Companies to Work For

Both Plante Moran and Stryker rank on Fortune 100's list of Best Companies to Work For.

According to an excerpt from the article:

Accounting firm Plante Moran, which is headquartered in Southfield and has an office in Grand Rapids, ranks No. 25, while Kalamazoo based medical equipment manufacturer Stryker ranks No. 61.

Read the complete story here

Grand Rapids is home to a top tree advocate

The Alliance for Community Trees has selected a Grand Rapids resident as Volunteer of the Year. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Alliance for Community Trees is honored to announce that Dotti Clune, a volunteer with Michigan-based nonprofit Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, has received its 2012 Volunteer of the Year Award. The award highlights inspirational volunteers in action who have made a contribution to urban forestry by improving community trees and the neighborhoods where they live.

Read the complete story here

Southwest announces air service dates for Grand Rapids

Southwest Airlines has announced it will begin servicing the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Mich. on Aug. 11, 2013. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

At a press conference, airport leaders heralded the highly anticipated news as a step toward increasing competition among airlines and, hopefully, driving down airfares at one of the nation's most expensive airports.

Read the complete story here

Chamber of Commerce adds staff

Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce has added two new employees and promoted three existing staff members. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Andy Johnston has been promoted to Vice President of Government and Corporate Affairs, which includes new responsibilities for developing corporate engagement within the organization and continuing to lead the Chamber’s advocacy efforts.

Read the complete story here

StartGarden invests in three companies this week

StartGarden invests in three companies this week, as opposed to the usual two. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The first idea selected by the Start Garden team is Bike Light Clip. The idea involves a luminous wire that customers can attach around their bike wheel — allowing drivers to see them in the dark.

“It attaches to the spoke nipple as opposed to the spoke, making it transferable from bike to bike,” idea creator John Ferguson writes on his Start Garden page. “It is light and small and does not interfere with cycling performance. It is a safety device and a method of expression. We have, in a way, re-invented the wheel.”
 

Read the complete story here

Law firm Jackson Lewis comes to Grand Rapids

Law firm Jackson Lewis expands to Grand Rapids.

According to an excerpt from the article:

National workplace-focused law firm Jackson Lewis has expanded into Grand Rapids and hired two local attorneys, Timothy J. Ryan and Linda L. Ryan, who will serve as partner and of counsel, respectively.

Read the complete story here

$45,000 to help local youth

The Grand Rapids Community Foundation's Youth Grand Committee will award $45,000 in grants to organizations that help local youth. 

Grand Rapids Community Foundation puts a lot of trust in local youth. This can be seen in the important responsibilities put on the Foundation’s Youth Grant Committee, a group of high school students who annually help award $45,000 in grants.

Read the complete story here


TedxGrandRapids hosts Ideas Worth Sharing

TedxGrandRapids will host ideas worth sharing this weekend at LINC. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The TEDxGR team will be offering on site information sessions at LINC this Saturday, where you will have the opportunity to learn more about TEDxGrandRapids, learn about the application process, and share your ideas with others.
 
LINC Development Center
1167 Madison Avenue SE
10:30am


Read the complete story here

Who Won Local First's Local Motion Awards?

This week, Local First held its annual Local Motion Awards at the Goei Center. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Brewery Vivant received The Triple Bottom Line, Up & Coming Business Award, which is presented to a locally-owned company in business between two and five years that demonstrates a strong commitment to the business practice either through successful outcomes or innovative programs. Previous winners include: Dwelltech Solutions and MadCap Coffee.
 
Read the complete story here

MyGRCityPoints contest will award $50,000 to one local park

A new competition involving MyGRCityPoints could mean a $50,000 for one local park.

According to an excerpt from the article:

Grand Rapids and Friends of Grand Rapids Parks are sponsoring a campaign that lets myGRcitypoints account holders donate points to the city park of their choice.

Read the complete story here

The 'Blue Bridge' to get a makeover

Downtown Grand Rapids' 'Blue Bridge' will remain blue, "but better."

According to an excerpt from the article:

Besides re-painting the bridge, the work also involves installing new lighting underneath it. The lights are expected to reflect off the Grand River and add a new nighttime ambiance to the structure. LED lights that change colors will also be added.

“When we complete the restoration, the bridge will be blue, but better,” said Kristopher Larson, DDA executive director.

Read the complete stoy here

Housing Commission plans 90 Section 8 apartments

Grand Rapids Housing Commission has plans to replace Creston Plaza with 90 new apartments. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Grand Rapids Housing Commission Executive Director Carlos Sanchez wants to replace Creston Plaza — the 100 unit, city owned housing development at 1014 Clancy Ave. NE — with about 90 new apartments targeted for low- and moderate-income residents on the same 12.4-acre site and build the rest about a quarter of a mile southeast of the site.

Read the complete story here

Grand Rapids' first gaming/comic convention

Two fans are planning Grand Rapids' first gaming and comic convention, GrandCon. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Brian W. Lenz and Marc Specter are two passionate fans who are working together to hold the first annual GrandCon 2013. GrandCon 2013 will be held at the Prince Conference Center.

Read the complete story here

Grand Rapids is the 7th happiest city for workers

According to a recent article in Forbes Magazine, Grand Rapids ranks number seven when it comes to the happiest cities for workers. 

View the complete gallery here


GVSU's Michigan Small Business & Development Technology Center receives $3.3 M in funding

GVSU's Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center received $3.3 million in continuation funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

A Grand Rapids-based nonprofit group focused on providing consulting and educational services for businesses throughout Michigan received $3.3 million in “continuation” funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Read the complete story here

Chicago Tribune reports on new GR breweries

The Chicago Tribune reports on Grand Rapids' newest breweries. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

As if Grand Rapids, Mich., weren't already a beer lover's destination, 2012's Beer City USA recently has gained a few more craft breweries and will host major beer events in February.

Read the complete story here

Plainwell Paper in modern times

After five generations of workers and financial hardships, life at Plainfield Paper is now much different. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

So unlike the rest of his family, Moran isn't working with giant machines to create reams of paper. Instead, he's part of a CRA work division doing environmental cleanup on a landfill in New York where toxic sludge was dumped in the 1970s. Moran said he became interested in civil engineering when he toured a cleanup site on the Kalamazoo River with his dad when he was 18.

Read the complete story here

Grand Rapids among 12 sustainable cities

Bill Moyers chooses Grand Rapids as one of 12 cities leading the way in sustainability.

According to an excerpt from the article:

In 2011, when The Daily Beast included Grand Rapids in a slideshow of “America’s dying cities,”Mayor George Heartwell responded with an open letter to editor Tina Brown listing the ways in which he says his city is very much alive.

Read the complete story here

Competitor Magazine names Gazelle Sports a top running store

Competitor Magazine names Gazelle Sports one of America's top running store for the seventh year in a row. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

This year, Gazelle Sports made it into the top four Best Running Stores in America®, and was recently honored at “The Running Event,” an industry-only trade show held in Austin, Texas.

Read the complete story here

Software company Blue Medora receives $1.25M investment

Software company Blue Medora receives $1.25 million investment via Start Garden and Grand Angels. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

"Start Garden is designed to close the funding gap between $0-$500,000 for startup companies," says Rick DeVos, founder of Start Garden. "We're known for providing very early support to projects that are not even considered startups. With the Blue Medora investment, we invested aggressively into seasoned entrepreneurs already working in a space with huge potential that they know very well. It's the aggression to jump on opportunities, whether it's $5,000 or $500,000, which is vital to making our region a great place for entrepreneurs."

Read the complete story here

Asheville man visits fellow Beer City

Adam Reinke, Ashville, NC Beer Master, decides to visit fellow Beer City USA for himself. 

According to an excerpt from the article: 

Unbeknownst to Asheville, Grand Rapids would put forth a huge push to tie the four-time incumbent as Beer City USA for 2012. “Grand Rapids...?” was a common question as the poll ended, which made me realize how Portland must have felt when Asheville tied in 2009 — but that’s another story — and with Grand Rapids on the map, this was place I had to visit!

Read the complete story here. 

GR Culture Pass wins award

GR Culture Pass won the 2012 Arts Destination Marketing Award. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The group won the Arts Destination Marketing Award 2012 in November from the Destination Marketing Association International and Americans for the Arts. The award was presented to Kerri VanderHoff, Cultural Marketing Group 2012 board president and Grand Rapids Art Museum director of marketing, at the annual National Arts Marketing Project conference in Charlotte, N.C.

Read the complete story here

Dutch company opens operations center in West Michigan

A Dutch company moves its North American operations center to West Michigan. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Fabory Group, a Dutch company that supplies bolts, nuts and other fasteners to manufacturers, formally opened its new North American corporate operations center here Tuesday.

Read the complete story here

Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce gets renovated

Michigan's West Coast Chamber of Commerce office in downtown Zeeland receives renovations. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

“We’re putting a whole new face on the offices including paint, carpeting, lighting and ceiling replacement. It will be a new atmosphere for a new era of the chamber,” Michigan West Coast Chamber President Jane Clark said.

Read the complete story here

Literacy Center of Western Michigan to launch directory

The Literacy Center of Western Michigan launches a directory to improve efficiency. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

After almost a year of planning, the Literacy Center of Western Michigan is launching a pilot version of its directory allowing clients to connect to education and literacy resources in West Michigan.

Read the complete story here

Grand Rapids Brewing Co. opens this week

Grand Rapids Brewing Co. opens this week at 1 Ionia SW.

According to an excerpt from the article:

The new brewpub from HopCat owners Mark and Michele Sellers marks a rebirth for a storied beer brand in Grand Rapids. The original Grand Rapids Brewing Co. was shuttered by Prohibition and the second incarnation that opened in 1993 on 28th Street SE closed abruptly in 2011.

Read the complete story here

Old Federal Building receives LEED Gold certification

The Old Federal Building achieves LEED Gold certification.

According to an excerpt from the article:

Transforming the once decaying old federal building into a renovated, energy-efficient structure was a daunting task – even for Ryan Idema, an engineer who’s spent his career infusing buildings with a sustainable design.

Read the complete story here

Russell Block Market means new retail in downtown Muskegon

The Russell Block Market in downtown Muskegon will mean new retail come spring.

According to an excerpt from the article: 

Community leaders and downtown supporters gathered at the Russell Block Market now under construction to celebrate a $125,000 grant to the nonprofit Muskegon Retail Incubator to launch its programing in the developing the retail market.

Read the complete story here

New internships open at The Rapidian

Citizen journalism outlet The Rapidian has new internship opportunities available. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

As The Rapidian continues to grow, we are coming to the realization that part of providing and supporting hyperlocal content is the need to provide educational support in the form of journalism and reporter trainings.

Read the complete story here



Bagger Dave's coming to downtown Grand Rapids

Downtown Grand Rapids will soon get a new Bagger Dave's restaurant. 

According to an except from the article:

Diversified Restaurant Holdings Inc. announced today it plans to open a Bagger Dave's Legendary Burger Tavern on the riverfront at 241 W. Fulton St. sometime in mid-2013.

The new restaurant will be close to the expressway, the B.O.B. and the thousands of students using Grand Valley State University’s downtown campus.

Read the complete story here

Haworth signs contract with U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance

Holland-based furniture company Haworth, Inc. recently signed a multi-year contract with U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

In the past, the contract has yielded sales of more than $40 million for Haworth, a Holland-based office furniture company which reported total sales of $1.38 billion in 2011, a Haworth spokesman said.

Read the complete story here

A look inside the historic McKay Tower

MLive reporter Garrett Ellison gets a sneak peak inside the historic McKay Tower, currently being renovated into a ballroom. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The building, which has more than a dozen bank vaults stashed here and there, is in the midst of an upgrade project being undertaken by it’s new owners, Steadfast Property Holdings Inc., of which Derks is director of operations.

Read the complete story here

West Michigan experiencing drop in unemployment rate

Some West Michigan communities are experiencing a drop in the unemployment rate. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Unemployment rates fell slightly in West Michigan during October while the labor force grew slightly, according to figures released Tuesday, Nov. 27, by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB).

Read the complete story here

GRAM hopes new doors will draw new shoppers

The Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) hopes to draw more shoppers and tourists to their gift shop and lounge with new doors. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The new entrances are aimed at improving access to the gift shop and guest lounge after a recent study by a retail consultant concluded shoppers were not aware they could enter either space without paying admission fees to the museum, according to a request by the museum.

Read the complete story here

LaughFest 2013 announces headliners

Grand Rapids' LaughFest announces the lineup for their third year. LaughFest takes place March 7-17.

According to an excerpt from the article:

Wayne Brady, Lewis Black, Jim Breur, Bill Burr and Joel McHale are among the comedy stars lined up for the upcoming third edition of Gilda’s LaughFest in Grand Rapids.

Read the complete story here

Retail expert predicts possible growth for Grand Rapids' downtown

Retailing consultant Robert Gibbs had promising news as well as critcism for downtown Grand Rapids' retail scene. Gibbs was hired by the DDA to conduct this analysis.

According to an excerpt from the article:

The downtown area could support another 566,400 square feet of retail and restaurant space by 2017, potentially generating up top $205 million in additional sales every year, according to a market analysis prepared by Gibbs Planning Group.

Read the complete story here

New York Times article praises Grand Rapids for growth, urban market development

A New York Times article offers an outsider perspective on Grand Rapids' growth, particularly surrounding the Downtown Market currently under construction. 

According to an excerpt from the article. 

The Downtown Market, in effect, is the newest piece of civic equipment built here since the mid-1990s to leverage the same urban economic trends of the 21st century -- higher education, hospitals and health care, housing, entertainment, transit, and cleaner air and water -- that are reviving most large American cities.

Few small cities, and possibly none in the industrial Midwest, have been nearly as successful. One reason is the distinctive partnerships formed between this city’s redevelopment agencies and wealthy industrialists and philanthropists. Hundreds of millions of private dollars have been raised here to build a downtown that encourages entrepreneurs, develops career-track jobs and attracts new residents.

Read the complete story here

Public Museum to open shipwrecks exhibit

Before the Grand Rapids Public Museum hosts the Titantic in February, a different shipwrecks exhibit will appear.

According to an excerpt from the article:

That companion exhibition, which delves into the secrets and stories of disasters on the Great Lakes, opens Saturday Nov. 10, 2012 -- the 36th anniversary of the 1975 sinking of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald in a storm on Lake Superior.

Read the complete story here

Increase in profits for West Michigan office industry

Things have been good for the office furniture industry in West Michigan.

According to an excerpt from the article:

It was the best quarter since October 2011, according to analyst Michael Dunlap’s quarterly 34th MADA / OFI Trends Survey.

Read the complete story here

Heritage Hill home to be featured on "The Haunting"

The Heritage Hill home of Chris and Kay Gibbons will be featured on "The Haunting," a television show about the supernatural.

According to an excerpt from the article:

The episode is described thusly in a press release: "Chris Gibbons and his family think they’ve finally found their dream house in the grand, historic neighborhood of Heritage Hill. But when Chris starts renovating the house, he kickstarts a family nightmare that nearly drives him to the point of insanity."

Read the complete story here

New cycling event to benefit skin cancer research

A new cycling event, Gran Fondo, will benefit Michigan State University's skin cancer research. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

"The MSU College of Human Medicine Gran Fondo is geared to be a mass, rolling party that appeals to cyclists of all skill levels," said Robert Hughes from Advantage Benefits Group, a Gran Fondo sponsor. "The scenic ride starts and ends at the B.O.B. in downtown Grand Rapids, and offers three route lengths."

Read the complete story here

New authentic Polish restaurant coming to Grand Rapids

Laura Szczepanek plans to open an authentic Polish eatery in Grand Rapids this November. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Szczepanek, who has been catering Polish food since she was “knee high to my Busia” is opening an authentic Polish restaurant in the coming weeks on (where else?) the West Side of Grand Rapids.

Read the complete story here

Grand Rapids brewery donates sales to charity

East Hills' Brewery Vivant will donate a portion of sales to charity.

According to an excerpt from the article:

Brewery Vivant
 is donating 30 percent of the pub’s total sales on Wednesday, Nov. 14, to Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank.

Read the complete story here

Grand Rapids gets its first Tim Horton's

A former KFC on Grand Rapids' West Side will become a Tim Horton's. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Tim Hortons, a fast-casual chain known for it’s doughnuts, breakfast sandwiches and coffee, is planning to end 2012 with up to 20 locations in West Michigan stretching from Battle Creek to the Muskegon area, said company representatives.

Read the complete story here

Restaurant Week donates $18,000 to scholarship fund

Restaurant Week donates $18,000 to Grand Rapids Community College's culinary scholarship fund.

According to an excerpt from the article:

Restaurant Week Grand Rapids on Tuesday, Oct. 23 donated $18,000 to a culinary scholarship fund at Grand Rapids Community College.

Read the complete story here

Fennville pottery studio receives solar energy grant

Dawn Soltysiak's Fennville pottery studio receives a sustainable energy grant.

According to an excerpt from the article:

“I’m a mass consumer of energy, which has always bothered me,” said Soltysiak, who will get a $12,598 REAP grant to cover 25 percent of a new solar energy system. “I want to be as sustainable as possible, so this is awesome.”

Read the complete story here

Allied Business Services in Zeeland named a best employer

Allied Business Services Inc. in Zeeland, Mich. has been named one of the best collections companies for employees.

According to an excerpt from the article:

Allied Business Services Inc. has been named one of the top 31 Best Places to Work in Collections for 2012 by the online collection industry magazinewww.insideArm.com.

Read the complete story here

The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Muskegon Now launch new marketing campaign

The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Muskegon Now to launch new marketing campaign to promote downtown business development in an improved economy. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The two organizations are kicking off their new efforts to sell downtown Muskegon to retail, office and commercial companies and real estate developers with a downtown tour Thursday. It is only one of several efforts being made to jump-start the redevelopment of the former Muskegon Mall property along West Western Avenue from Third to Terrace streets.

Read the complete story here

World's highest LEED rating goes to Grand Rapids office

Catalyst Partners and M Retail Solutions (502 Second St. NW) earn the world's highest LEED rating.

According to an excerpt from the article:

The owners of Catalyst Partners and M Retail Solutions said Monday their 95-year-old office building has earned a LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, with 66 of 69 points awarded.

Read the complete story here

Taqueria bar planned for vacant gas station

Winchester own Paul Lee plans to open a tacqueria bar on Wealthy St. SE in a long vacant gas station. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The new place, a concept he’s holding close some details on, will be located at 665 Wealthy Street SE in a long-vacant auto service station currently used as staff and customer parking for the popular Winchester across the street.

Read the complete story here

West Michigan hotel company gets new president

The Amway Hotel Corporation will welcome Rick Winn as its new president, succeeding the last 25 years' Joseph Tomaselli. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Rick Winn will take the helm of the Amway Hotel Corporation, which runs three premiere hotels in West Michigan: Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, JW Marriott and the Downtown Courtyard by Marriott.

Read the complete story here

Area hospitals will help Grand Rapids' VAI collect samples for expanded biorepository

Two area hospitals have agreed to help Grand Rapids' Van Andel Institute collect samples for their expanded biorepository.

According to an excerpt from the article: 

Saint Mary’s Health Care in Grand Rapids and Mercy Health Partners in Muskegon will collect the specimens – with patient consent – and transfer them to VAI’s program for biospecimen science, officials said Tuesday, Oct. 16.

Read the complete story here

GVSU to offer hourly car rental to students

Grand Valley State University to start offering hourly car rentals to student. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The university on Oct. 15 will launch a partnership with WeCar, a service owned by Enterprise car rental company that allows customers to rent a vehicle by the hour, said 
Tim Thimmesch, vice president for Facilities Services.

Read the complete story here

Quilter's show hosted in Grand Rapids a hit

The American Quilter's Society Show & Contest brought more attendants to Grand Rapids than expected.

According to an excerpt from the article: 

The first American Quilter's Society Show & Contest held at the DeVos Place Convention Center from Aug. 22 to 25 brought more than 21,500 attendees to West Michigan, well outpacing the pre-event estimate of 10,000 to 15,000 attendees, according to Experience Grand Rapids.

Read the complete story here. 

ArtPrize Exhibition Centers show increased attendance

ArtPrize Exhibition Centers show an increased attendance during ArtPrize 2012.

According to an excerpt from the article:

A rough estimate conducted by Grand Valley State University economics students determined as many as 200,000 visits happened during the inaugural ArtPrize.

Read the complete story here

ArtPrize as seen by a first-timer

The Rapidian publishes a thoughtful editorial from a first-time ArtPrize attendee. 

According to an excerpt from the piece:

I had no idea what to expect when ArtPrize started. Ever since I moved here last November I’d heard the event described in a variety of ways: “It’s like a festival,” “It’s amazing,” “It’s terrifying,” “It’s chaos!”

Read the complete stroy here

Wolverine World Wide partners with West Michigan Mountain Bike Alliance on new trail

Rockford's Wolverine World Wide and the West Michigan Mountain Bike Alliance are partnering to create a new multi-use trail.  

According to an excerpt from the article:

The two will officially open an six-mile multi-use trail for mountain biking, hiking and walking this morning. The free, public-access trail in Rockford will bear the moniker of the best-selling outdoor brand: Merrell Biking Trail.

Read the complete story here

Heritage Hill listed a top neighborhood

The American Planning Association has listed Grand Rapids' Heritage Hill as one of 2012's 10 great neighborhoods.

According to an excerpt from the article:

The Washington, D.C.-based organization of city planning professionals today named the Grand Rapids neighborhood one of its Great Places in America. Heritage Hill is among 10 "great neighborhoods" for 2012.

Read the complete story here

ArtPrize winners announced this Friday

ArtPrize 2012 will reach its climax this Friday with the award of $560,000 to winners.

According to an excerpt from the article:

The former Grand Rapids Press building will be the scene where the world’s largest art prize, culminating in $200,000 ArtPrize award, chosen by the people, and the new $100,000 ArtPrize Juried Grand Prize, picked by a panel of critics from more than 1,500 entries, will be given during the fourth annual ArtPrize Awards.

Read the complete story here

Meijer plans to hire 12,000 seasonal employees

Michigan-based Meijer plans to hire 12,000 seasonal workers.

According to an excerpt from the article:

Grand Rapids retailer Meijer Inc. said Tuesday it plans to triple its holiday hiring to 12,000 seasonal employees as it continues to grow in the Midwest.

Meijer's announcement comes after several retailers with a Michigan presence have said they plan to increase seasonal holiday employment this year by as much as 11 percent over last year.

Read the complete story here

Plans emerge for a hostel in Grand Rapids' Midtown

Entrepreneurs Tom Damitio and Matt Knaack are registering as a nonprofit that plans to put a hostel for travelers in Grand Rapids' Midtown neighborhoods.

According to an excerpt from the article:

Ideally, the 20,000-plus square-foot home would have room for 20 to 30 beds would be ideal, they said. Some of the rooms would have congregate sleeping areas while other rooms would offer private or semi-private accommodations.
 
Read the complete story here

Good Morning America meteorologist and Rockford native returns for ArtPrize

Rockford-native Ginger Zee, now a meteorologist for ABC's Good Morning America, will return to her homestate to broadcast live from ArtPrize, as well as to be inducted into the Rockford Public School's Hall of Fame. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

On Saturday and Sunday mornings (from 8-9 a.m.) she will deliver the weather report on ABC's "Good Morning America" in downtown Grand Rapids with ArtPrize -- an international art contest with participants from 56 countries and 45 states -- as the backdrop.

Read the complete story here

Holland pizza shop finally opening after owner's near-death experience

Just as Frank Scimeca was about to open his downtown Holland pizza shop, Crust 54, he fell critically ill. Now recovering, he and his wife plan to celebrate their grand opening next week.

According to an excerpt from the article:

In the past five weeks, Scimeca has survived cardiac arrest, kidney failure, an eight-day induced coma and being on life support in his battle against a staph infection that attacked his kidneys and heart.

He’s now out of the hospital, on his feet, and with wife, Kathy, plan to open Crust54 on Wednesday.

Read the complete story here

Urban Cycling Extravaganza planned for October

A new, family-friendly biking event centered around a five-mile community bike ride is planned for October 13.

According to an excerpt from the article:

The Urban Cycling Extravaganza being held in Gaslight Village on Oct. 13 can bring you up to speed on the latest in urban cycling and allow you to connect with like-minded bicyclists in West Michigan.

Read the complete story here

Two Beards Deli to open in downtown Grand Rapids

Two Beards Deli plans to offer breakfast, lunch and dinner when it opens in downtown Grand Rapids' Heartside neighborhood.

According to an excerpt from the article:

When it opens around the end of October, the menu will feature 100 sandwiches named after famous bearded actors or personalities like Obi Wan Kenobi and The Most Interesting Man in the World.

Read the complete story here

Downtown market project now has a name

The downtown urban market finally has a name, as well as a website.

According to an excerpt from the article:

The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and Grand Action Committee announced Monday that the market, located at 435 Ionia St. SW in Grand Rapids' Heartside district, off of Wealthy St., will be called the Downtown Market or, "DOMA." The project, about 4 years in the making, is set to open Summer 2013. 

Read the complete story here

Michigan's oldest gay bar to change owners

After 40 years, downtown gay bar The Apartment (Michigan's oldest gay bar) is changing hands. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

Lennox and Ladner, dignitaries of sorts in the local GLBT community, are passing the torch to longtime patron Bobby Johnson, who is no stranger to the West Michigan hospitality industry as owner of West Michigan Caterer.

Read the complete story here

Detroit Free Press praises Grand Rapids' whitewater restoration efforts

An article in the Detroit Free Press talks about Grand Rapids' efforts to restore its whitewater rapids as a "model for progress."

According to an excerpt from the article:

It may take five or more years, but it will get done, because Grand Rapids has become a get-it-done kind of place. This is in contrast to Detroit, which too often is a "how do we stop this?" kind of place.

Read the complete story here

Grand Rapids hearing held regarding adding LGBT protections to Michigan's civil rights law

A hearing held in Grand Rapids this week asked for testitmony on both sides of the issue of whether Michigan should include LGBT language in its civil rights laws.

According to an excerpt from the article:

“They’re asking citizens to come forward and say how either having (a local) anti-discrimination policy that protects LGBT individuals, or not having an anti-discrimination policy that affects LGBT individuals, personally affects them,” said Patti Caudill, the city's diversity and inclusion manager.

Read the complete stroy here

Service providers now using ID cards to track services among homeless

Grand Rapids service providers will now use ID cards to track services used by local homeless population.

According to an excerpt from the article:

People receiving agency services will have a card to scan when they enter a shelter, which will allow the case worker on duty to access information about the person, said Cheryl Schuch, executive director of Family Promise.

Read the complete story here

ArtPrize 2012 app now available

The ArtPrize 2012 app is now available for download, including some new features.

According to an excerpt from the article:

Smartphone apps for ArtPrize 2012 include new features designed to help people navigate Grand Rapids, simplify the voting process, and share their opinions on participating installations.

Read the complete story here

Start Garden's downtown HQ to open this week

Start Garden's downtown office at 50 Louis NW will be holding opening festivities this Friday.

According to an excerpt from the article:

DeVos’ vision calls for a flexible work space with a café-feel that will shift into a kind of classroom in the afternoon, but can also host events like the fund’s monthly Update Night, where seeded entrepreneurs give progress reports on their startup and the Start Garden team announces which projects receive additional funding.

Read the complete story here

Vacant Kendall Building home to new 616 Development project

616 Development announces plans to convert a vacant downtown building into apartments. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The founder of 616 Development is confident his $4 million plan to restore the red brick and sandstone building facing downtown’s Civil War Monument will be a success.

“We have a 200-person waiting list for units like this,” said Coppess, whose company manages about 150 rental units in the city.

Read the complete story here

HGTV blogger visits Frederik Meijer Gardens

HGTV blogger Meagan Francis visits Grand Rapids' Frederik Meijer Gardens.

According to an excerpt from the article:

If you’re visiting Michigan, a trip to  Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park is definitely a must. Located a short drive from downtown Grand Rapids on the west side of the state (about 30 miles from Lake Michigan), the park is known as one of the world’s most significant art and nature experiences and has been ranked among the top 100 most-visited art sites worldwide.

Read the complete story here.

First of seven German wind turbine parts arrives in Michigan

The first of seven German wind turbine parts headed for Ithaca, Mich. arrives by boat this week.

According to an excerpt from the article:

The first of seven “salties” with wind turbine parts headed for Ithaca in the middle of Michigan arrived in Muskegon’s port Wednesday evening.

Read the complete story here.

StartGarden's Rick DeVos featured in Inc.

Rick DeVos of Pomegranate Studios (ArtPrize, 5x5 Night, StartGarden) was featured in a recent Inc.com article.

According to an excerpt from the article:

...This year DeVos launched a $15 million investment fund called Start Garden, which will invest $5,000 in each of two business ideas every week. That's more than 100 ideas this year. The goal is to build a bigger start-up ecosystem in Grand Rapids, so that even if many of the ideas fail, at least the area's appetite for entrepreneurship will grow.

Read the complete story here.

New medical complex approved for East Beltline

Spectrum Health Group plans to build a new medical complex at 3 Mile and the East Beltline.

According to an excerpt from the article:

The proposed health center will include a clinic and possible auxiliary businesses, such as a retail pharmacy. It will be similar to and offer services like those at the Spectrum South Pavilion, located on 68th Street and M-6. Spectrum also recently completed construction of a similar complex on Lakewood Boulevard in Holland Township.

Read the complete story here.

Chicago Tribune's travel section highlights GR as beer destination

Josh Noel of The Chicago Tribune visits Grand Rapids to see if it lives up to it's "Beer City USA" reputation.

According to an excerpt from the article:

With a population of 188,000, Michigan's second-largest city boasts breweries that include the world-renowned (Founders); a brew pub specializing in Belgian styles (Brewery Vivant); a tucked-away local haunt (The Hideout); and, of course, HopCat, the third-best beer bar in the world as judged by readers of BeerAdvocate magazine.

Read the complete story here.

Wizard of Oz Club returns to Holland

After a long hiatus, the Wizard of Oz Club will return to Holland this weekend. Holland was the childhood home of Wizard of Oz creator, Frank L. Baum.

According to an excerpt from the article:

From the 1960s through the mid-1980s, the Oz Club convention routinely met in Castle Park, where Baum was known to socialize. Many of the cottages where the convention stayed no longer exist or have since become private, Di Scenna said.


Read the complete story here.

Decriminalization of marijuana will appear on upcoming ballot

Decriminalize GR, a ballot initiative to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana in the city of Grand Rapids, will appear on the ballot this November.

According to an excerpt from the article:

Decriminalize GR last week submitted to the city clerk a petition with more than 10,000 signatures calling for the city charter amendment. The clerk’s office on Monday verified that the at least 6,565 of the signatures – the minimum 5 percent of registered city voters needed to get the proposal on the ballot - were valid.

Read the complete story here.

GVSU professor helps Boston find potholes

GVSU Professor helps the city of Boston find potholes to fix with the development of Street Bump, a new mobile app.

According to an excerpt from the article:

Ed Aboufadel, chair of GVSU’s mathematics department, helped the city of Boston develop a smartphone application known as Street Bump, which alerts the city when a driver runs over a pothole.


Read the complete story here.

Marijuana decriminalization closer to vote in Grand Rapids

Decriminalize GR, a grassroots initiative to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana in the city of Grand Rapids, has exceeded its goal of approximately 6500 signatures, moving it one step closer to the November election.

According to an excerpt from the article:

The group modeled the proposed changes to Grand Rapids’ city charter after Ann Arbor’s. In Ann Arbor, fines for marijuana possession start at just $25 and are not more $100.

Read the complete story here. 

Get married in an old factory?

Brann's Distinctive Catering has plans to turn the Old Waddel Manufacturing Co. building into a new place for wedding receptions. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

The Waddell Banquet Center by Brann’s would occupy about 7,000 square feet on a lower level of the building that previously housed the music venue MXTP, which moved to the stite in 2010 and closed in January. 

Read the complete story here. 

GRPS signs three-year contract with Teresa Weatherall Neal

Teresa Weatherall Neal came on as interim Superintendent, but has now signed a three-year contract with Grand Rapids Public Schools. 

According to an excerpt from the article:

"I can set the district up for what needs to happen over the next three to four years, with regard to reducing the number of schools and programs, so that we can reinvent Grand Rapids Public Schools," said Neal, but she added some hard decisions have to be made.

Read the complete story here

Former Founders head brewer joins Perrin Brewing Co.

Alpine Township's new Perrin Brewing Co. brings Nate Walser, former head brewer of Founders Brewing Co., on board.

According to an excerpt from the article:

Nate Walser, who was head brewer at Founders Brewing Co. during its rise from a brewpub teetering on the edge of bankruptcy to the powerhouse craft brewery it has become, has been acquired by Perrin.
“The sky is the limit around here,” said Walser, who joined Perrin a month ago.

Read the complete story here

Grand Rapids Fire Dept. launches live-fire training

New live-fire training structure gives fire fighters the chance to train in a real-time.

According to an excerpt from MLive:

Off the beaten path along Butterworth Drive SW near the city’s yard waste site, the department has erected a live-fire training structure.

“This is an opportunity to take a firefighter and say ‘Listen, this is what it’s going to do. Now, let me show you,’” said Fox, an acting training lieutenant.

Read the complete story here.

West Michigan's Wolverine Worldwide and Triple Quest provide Dominican Republic with clean water

Rockford's Wolverine Worldwide partnered with Safe Water Team and Good Samaritan Hospital of La Romana, Dominican Republic to provide HydrAid water filters manufactured by Cascade's Triple Quest. 

According to excerpts from MLive:

Wolverine Worldwide, an international footwear maker based in Rockford, has two manufacturing facilities and warehouses in the Dominican Republic. The company teamed up with Good Samaritan Hospital to provide the filters in a region inhabited primarily by sugar cutters and their families.

“When we first arrived in the area, a long line of families formed to sign up for the filters,” said Julie Townsend Zahm, corporate social responsibility analyst for Wolverine Worldwide.


Read the complete story here.

Brewery Vivant joins forces with Colorado brewery

East Hills' Brewery Vivant continues to make headlines. The brewery gave all their profits from this Monday's sales back to their employees, and now have announced they will partner with the Fort Collins, Colo.-based New Belgium Brewing Co. on a new beer, Escoffer.

According to excerpts from the article in MLive:

The beer, a collaboration made possible after Vivant’s recent doubling of production capacity with new fermentation tanks, will be a high-gravity, 9.5 percent alcohol by volume Belgian style amber beer brewed with two yeast strains.

The brewers used house yeast from Vivant for primary fermentation and then aged the beer with a wild yeast from New Belgium called Brettanomyces Bruxellensis. The result will be a dry, “kind of funky” amber beer, said Spaulding.


Read the complete story here.

Filmmaker John Waters among ArtPrize 2012 speakers

ArtPrize announces the lineup for their 2012 speaker series.

According to excerpts from MLive:

Filmmaker John Waters, director of the 1988 film "Hairspray," will open the ArtPrize 2012 speaker series, the first of five who will be in Grand Rapids during the $560,000 competition and exhibition.

Speakers also include conceptual artist Elaine Tin Nyo, and Alison Gass, curator of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University.

Read the complete story here.

Is Michigan lake the best lake in America?

Michigan lake one of the finalists for USA Today poll looking for the best inland lake in America.

According to excerpts from MLive:

Kendra Williams of Midwest Living highlighted Lake Charlevoix as one of the region's best.

"Just east of Lake Michigan, inland Lake Charlevoix offers an idyllic getaway with Boyne City as its artsy, laid-back anchor," she wrote, highlighting creative culture more than water quality. "Local gallery Freshwater Studio holds concert nights and a summer festival to promote the fledgling SoBo arts district."


Read the complete story here.

StartGarden to host first update night this Thursday

Venture capital fund Start Garden will host its first update night this Thursday at the GRAM.

According to an excerpt from MLIve:

Eight startups will get a chance to show the world how far they have (or haven’t) gotten with a $5,000 investment from Rick DeVos’ new venture capital fund Start Garden during the first public update night next month.

Read the complete sotry here.

Grand Haven receives grant for bus upgrades

Grand Haven's Harbor Transit bus system will receive an upgrade thanks to federal grants.

According to an excerpt from MLive:

The funds, announced Monday by the Federal Transit Administration, will help Harbor Transit replace four of its nine 26-foot buses that have exceeded their life expectancy, said Director Tom Manderscheid.


Read the complete story here.

Area establishments to receive award from Wine Spectator magazine

Seven area restaurants will receive an "Award of Excellence" from Wine Spectator magazine for their impeccable wine lists.

According to an excerpt from MLive:

According to the magazine’s website, the wine list awards “recognize restaurants whose wine lists offer interesting selections, are appropriate to their cuisine and appeal to a wide range of wine lovers.”

Read the complete story here.

Solar Power Added to Grand Rapids Water Systems Administration

The Grand Rapids Water Systems Administration gets greener with a new solar panel array.

According to excerpts from the article:

Mayor George Heartwell was in attendance, and referred to the array as “the first of many installations” you’ll see on city buildings in Grand Rapids.
The new system is expected to generate approximately 135,000 Kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean solar energy each year, which will be used to power 25 percent of the building.

Read the complete story here.

W. Michigan Pizza Chain expands to Phoenix

West Michigan-based pizza chain Mr. Scrib's is planning to expand to Phoenix, AZ.

According to excerpt from the article:

Mr. Scrib's, a fast-casual pizza chain based in West Michigan, is planning its first venture out of the Great Lake State with plans to open eight to 10 locations in the Valley over the next 18 months.

Read the complete story here.

GRCC hosts U of M engineering summer program targeting 8th and 9th graders

U of M will bring a summer engineering program targeting 8th and 9th grade students to GRCC.

According to excerpts from the article:

The program targeting 50 eighth and ninth graders is through U-M’s Center for Engineering Diversity and Outreach programs. The goal of university’s diversity programs is to increase the engineering workforce of the state and country by increasing the number of successful, diverse engineering graduates.

Read the complete story here.

Local Entrepreneur Plans Kayak and Canoe Business

Local entrepreneur Matt Clouse is in the planning stages of a business that would allow customers to kayak and canoe the Grand River.

According to excerpts from the article:

Clouse is promoting his enterprise via his website, grandriverkayakandcanoe.com, and his Facebook page.
For $25, Clouse will rent customers a canoe or two kayaks, paddles and safety equipment and pick them up at the Indian Mounds Drive near 28th Street.

Read the complete story here.

Grand Rapids native creates viral ad

Grand Rapids native Caleb Slain is the man behind the viral Microsoft ad for the company's tablet, Surface.

According to an excerpt from the article:

Doors are opening this summer for Grand Rapids native Slain, 22, whose promo video for the new Surface tablet from Microsoft has generated about 6.3 million views on YouTube and has been called “tech porn” in the Los Angeles Times.

Read the complete story here.

Grand Rapids filmmaker will premier feature at Locarno

Grand Rapids filmmaker Joel Potreykus will premiere his film, "Ape," at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland this August.

According to excertps from the article:

In the Filmmakers of the Present sidebar, 15 first or second features -- almost all world premieres -- will compete, including "Ape" by U.S. director Joel Potrykus and "Not In Tel Aviv" by Israel's Nony Geffen.

Read the complete story here.

Wolverine acquistion may mean huge profits

Rockford's Wolverine World Wide's new acquistion may mean their first $1 billion shoe.

According to an exerpt from the article:

For years, outdoor brand Merrell has been seen as the front-runner to become the first Wolverine World Wide Inc. brand to reach $1 billion in sales. But that honor may go instead to Sperry Top-Sider, an old-school boat loafer that morphed into a popular women’s shoe, which will join the Rockford footwear company later this year when a $1.2 billion acquisition of Performance + Lifestyle Group (PLG) is completed.


Read the complete story here.

Founders' Bastard beers finally allowed in Alabama

Founders' Dirty Bastard and Backwoods Bastard are finally allowed in Alabama, despite their naughty names.

According to an excerpt from the article:

Dave Engbers, Founders Brewing Co. vice president, credited media exposure and a groundswell of support from beer lovers in Alabama with helping pressure state alcohol regulators there to reverse a ban on two of the brewery’s beers.

Read the complete story here.

Grand Rapids Society of Brewers prepares Beer City Pale Ale

In response to Grand Rapids sharing this year's Beer City USA title with Asheville, NC, Grand Rapids Society of Brewers plans to cook up Beer City Pale Ale.

According to an excerpt from MLive:

The fruit, or pale ale of their labor, will hit tap handles all over Grand Rapids on Sunday, July 1 when the 10 different West Michigan breweries that collaborated on the project will unveil the "Beer City Pale Ale" at their respective establishments.

Read the complete story here.

VAI continues to make headway on Parkinson's drug

Grand Rapids' Van Andel Institute's new study may lead researchers closer to developing a drug for Parkinson's disease.

According to an excerpt from MLive:

The research focused on a process previously used to explain mad cow disease, in which misfolded proteins travel from sick to healthy cells. In experiments in rat models, the researchers were able to follow the process as the recipient cell allowed the diseased protein, known as alpha-synuclein protein, to pass its outer cell membrane.

Read the complete story here.

From GRCC and GVSU to MSU Med School

A partnership between MSU and GVSU will create a pathway from GRCC to GVSU to MSU medical school.

According to an excerpt from MLive:

Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine and Grand Valley State University are forming a new premedical/medical education program by which Grand Rapids Community College students transferring as undergraduate premedical students to GVSU will have the opportunity to be granted early assurance to the MSU medical school.

Read the complete story here.

You Are Here: a campaign for the environment

West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC) starts a new campaign to help raise money to protect our environment. According to an excerpt from The Rapidian:

West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC) last night publicly announced the You Are Here campaign, an $862,000 fundraising effort and celebration of West Michigan’s natural resources. The campaign will support local initiatives to protect freshwater resources, shape regional priorities around energy, create a new generation of environmental leaders and improve WMEAC facilities.

Read the complete stroy here.

GRPS Interim Superintendant no longer interim

GRPS seeks to make Interim Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal's position more permanent after she was rated "highly effective."

According to excerpts from the article:

On the strength of that evaluation, earning 95 out of potential 100 points, the board dropped the interim from her title and announced plans to pursue a multi-year contract and compensation, $139,000 as interim, more in line with other superintendents in the area

Read the complete story here.

Grand Rapids' Tetra Discoveries awarded federal grant for Alzheimer's drug

Grand Rapids' Tetra Discovery Partners has been awarded a federal grant for the development of a drug for Alzheimer's patients.

According to an excerpt from the article:

Tetra Discovery Partners, a leader in the design of new treatments for major neurological conditions, has been awarded a five-year cooperative agreement by the National Institutes of Health.

Read the complete story here.

Metro Cab of Grand Rapids now fueled by propane

Metro Cab of Grand Rapids cars will now be fuled by propane gas.

According to an excerpt from the article:

The 45-vehicle fleet of Metro Cab of Grand Rapids is running on propane in a move the company said will save it money in the long run and benefit the environment.

Read the complete story here.

The Street lists Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo as top beer vacation spots

Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo make The Street's top ten list of best beer-cation spots.

According to excerpts from the article:

If you’re a beer lover living in Grand Rapids or Kalamazoo, consider yourself on vacation right now.

The Street, an online financial news site, listed the two cities (joined as one for list-making purposes) among the site's “10 Best Vacation Cities for Beer Lovers” feature on Tuesday.

Read the complete story here.

Megabus may offer cheap rides from GR to East Lansing, Detroit and Chicago

Grand Rapids travelers may soon enjoy cheap fares via bus to Chicago, Detroit and East Lansing.

According to an excerpt from MLive:

Megabus, a company whose bright blue, curb-side buses offer fares starting at -- brace yourself -- $1, is looking to set up shop in Grand Rapids, with three daily trips to and from Chicago, East Lansing and Detroit.

Read the complete stroy here.

GRCF awards over $750k in grants to various Grand Rapids organization

The GRCF has appointed over $750k in grants to Dwelling Place, Spectrum Health, ArtPrize and other organizations.

According to excerpts from MLive:

The Grand Rapids Community Foundation's Board of Trustees has approved $764,500 in grants for education, housing, health, art and neighborhood initiatives.

Awards were given to Grand Rapids schools, the Dwelling Place of Grand Rapids, Spectrum Health, the Creston Neighborhood Association and ArtPrize.

Read the complete story here.

90 new jobs in three years thanks to $2.5 M expansion of Altronics Energy

A $2.5 million expansion of a manufacturing company in Byron Township will create a projected 90 jobs in three years.

According to excerpts from MLive:

Altronics Energy was launched three years ago by the family-owned Altron Automation, a Hudsonville-based custom machine tool manufacturer for more than 23 years. The longtime auto supplier responded to the downturn in the industry by making several strategic changes in 2008, expanding into new ventures, including the medical, food and green energy sectors.

Read the complete story here.

Sparkeology receives positive attention at NeoCon

Young furniture startup Sparkeology makes a positive impact at NeoCon in Chicago.

According to excerpts from MLive:

"We're getting everyone aware of who we are," said Robin Hendrick Lane, vice president of marketing and sales. She debuted the company at NeoCon in 2010 before it formally opened.

Last year, Sparkeology took the Best of NeoCon Booth award.

Read the complete story here.

Forbes highlights Michigan's secrets to success

Forbes writer and native Michigander John Linkner writes about the six secrets Michigan has employed to make its recovery.

According to excerpts from the article:

Granted, Michigan’s infamous economic tornado is one for the record books, but historians and journalists alike need to re-sharpen their pencils and take some notes. The Great Lakes State is making a Rocky Balboa-esque recovery, and the world should pay very close attention to the secrets of a state in the midst of a miraculous turnaround.

Read the complete story here.

American Seating will launch new products at NeoCon

American Seating is one of many West Michigan commerical furniture companies preparing to head to NeoCon in Chicago June 11-13.

According to excerpts from the article:

American Seating is introducing a major launch in office furniture with the introduction of Us Chairs at NeoCon 2012 next week at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart.

“Customers expressed a need for a family of chairs that gives continuity across the campus,” said Deb McDermott, American Seating’s vice president of marketing.


Read the complete story here.

Rogers Plaza has new owners

Rogers Plaza has new owners who intend to improve, rather than remove, the mall.

According to excerpts from the article:

The 51-year-old shopping center at 28th Street and Clyde Park Avenue SW, has been purchased by Sun Valley Ltd., a San Antonio, Texas real estate firm.

The sale was announced Tuesday by CBRE|Grand Rapids, the firm that has managed the 400,00-square-foot mall since it went into receivership in early 2009.

Read the complete story here.

Parents of over 5000 Grand Rapids students will receive EBT for healthy food

Parents over 5000 Grand Rapids students will receive $60 per child in EBT to purchase nutritious food this summer. There will be rules to ensure that food purchased with benefits is healthy.

According to an excerpt from the article:

The $60 stipend will be given in June, July and August. Parents were not disqualified if they already receive food stamps or other state assistance.The families of the 2,500 students involved in the program last year were allowed to remain in the program as long as they completed the consent forms.

Read the complete story here.

GRPS' Bobbi Jo Kenyon wins Michigan Teacher of the Year

Ottawa Hills' Bobbi Jo Kenyon was named Michigan Teacher of the Year. She is the first teacher in her district to win this award. 

According to excerpts from MLive:

Kenyon, a ninth grade biology teacher who also oversees the school’s instructional leadership team, has taught at Ottawa Hills for 14 years, is “passionate” about her work and “thrives” when she’s in front of students, said Rodney Lewis, the principal at Ottawa Hills who nominated Kenyon for the award.

Read the complete story here

Basilica of St. Adalbert one of several Historic Preservation Award winners

The Basilica of St. Adalbert, The Pyramid Scheme, others among this year's Historic Preservation Awards winners. 

According to excerpts from MLive:

A century after being built, the copper domes atop the Basilica of St. Adalbert were restored in 2010 to last another 100 years. The $900,000-plus construction project at 701 Fourth St. NW in Grand Rapids was not only “a true testament to the skill and talent of” the builders and to “the perseverance, commitment and love of” the parishioners, but has “assured this wonderful landmark shall adorn our skyline for many generations to come.”

Read the complete story here

Mark Sellers of BarFly Ventures attracts attention across the state

Grand Rapids' entrepreneur Mark Sellers was profiled by the Detroit Free Press. 

According to excerpts from the article:

What do Ayn Rand, Warren Buffett, the Titanic, rock bands, a hedge fund and Michigan craft beer have in common?
All are intertwined with the splendidly erratic career of Mark Sellers.

At age 43, with Sellers presumably only midway through life's journey, more plot twists undoubtedly lie ahead -- but let us begin with the present day, then flash back through the zigs and zags from Michigan to Boston, L.A. and Chicago before returning to his hometown.

Read the complete story here

Grand Rapids shares Beer City USA title with Asheville, NC

After a heated online poll, Grand Rapids and Asheville, NC tie for the honor of "Beer City USA."

According to excerpts from MLive:

Nearly 56,000 votes for 31 cities around the country were cast in the 13-day non-scientific poll, which ended up being a neck-and-neck horse race to the malty end between Grand Rapids, a first-time challenger, and craft brew behemoth Asheville.
 

Read the complete story here

Van Andel Institute makes headway in cancer research

Grand Rapids' Van Andel Institute makes a breakthrough after two years of intensive research. 

According to excerpts from MLive:

An international research effort led by a Van Andel Institute scientist has identified several new genes frequently mutated in bile duct cancer, a deadly form of liver cancer.

Read the complete story here



FastCompany reports on why you should start a business here

FastCompany sat down with StartGarden's Rick Devos and One Second Epic/Universal Mind's Joe Johnston to talk about why you should start a company in Grand Rapids. 

According to excerpts from FastCompany:

Western Michigan still vibrates with the hum of the Motor City and its auto manufacturing cluster, but it is also home to companies such as Perrigo, Herman Miller, Steelcase, and Amway, which flog everything from software to health care products. Demand for “Dragon’s Milk,” among other craft beers from New Holland Brewing Company, was the juice needed to power a $3 million expansion of its existing production plant, while Lacks Enterprises(makers of shiny chrome fittings for cars and appliances) is spending $31.9 million to build a new facility here.

Read the complete story here

Festival of the Arts 2012 poster unveiled

Artists Erwin Erkfitz, Mitchell Hess and Khristiey Menardie-Yokom create this year's unique, layered and wearable poster for Festival of the Arts. 

According to excerpts from MLive:

"From jubilant crowds, to the growing metropolis, from airships, to the parachuting ‘Le Grande Vitesse,’ Erkfitz said, "We used everyone's unique talent to create what I term as one, big hyper-doodle."

Read the complete story here. 

MLive, ExperienceGR host InstaGRam contest

You've only got two more days to submit a photo of Grand Rapids to MLive/ExperienceGR's InstaGRam photo contest.

According to excerpts from MLive:

The contest begins this Saturday, May 5. To enter the contest, take a photo of Grand Rapids with your smartphone and filter it through Instagram. Then upload it with the hashtag #experiencegr.

Read the complete story here

ArtPrize2012 poster revealed

ArtPrize revealed its poster for the 2012 event this week at LaFontsee Gallery in East Hills.

According to excerpts from MLive:

The design of the commemorative poster, created by Square One, will be translated into event signage, apparel, merchandise and more for the $560,000 competition and exhibition opening Sept. 19-Oct. 7 in downtown Grand Rapids.

Read the complete story here

Grand Rapids Ballet Company premieres "Black Swan White Swan"

"Black Swan White Swan," a modern look at ballet classic "Swan Lake," premieres at the Grand Rapids Ballet Company.

According to excerpts from MLive:

Grand Rapids Ballet Company opened its new production of "Black Swan White Swan" on Friday in GRBC's Wege Theatre, the final production of the company's 40th anniversary season.

Read the complete story here

GRPS, arts community to work on International Baccalaureate program

Grand Rapids Public Schools and The Grand Rapids Symphony may work together on a rigorous, educational arts program. 

The Grand Rapids Symphony [Monday] got positive feedback from the school board about joining the arts community in exploring an International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Program (PYP) for pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students.

Read the complete story here

Grand Rapids competing to be named Beer City USA

Grand Rapids is now tied with three-time with Asheville, NC for the title of "Beer City USA."

According to excerpts from MLIVE:

Grand Rapids and Asheville are currently tied in the annual poll hosted by homebrew pioneer Charlie Papazian, which has crowned the North Carolina city as the top American city for craft brewed beer three years in a row.

Read the complete story here.

Grand Rapids is a "Playful City"

Grand Rapids' parks and playgrounds earn the city a Playful City USA designation from KaBOOM!

According to excerpts from MLIVE:

Grand Rapids is one of 213 Playful City USA communities being recognized this year by the Washington, D.C. non-profit KaBOOM! for efforts to increase play opportunities for kids. Two other Michigan communities, Holly and Luther, also made the list.

Read the complete story here.

NewGeography.com survey shows job market growth in Grand Rapids, Grand Haven-Holland

A national survey conducted by NewGeography.com shows considerable improvement in job markets in Grand Rapids, Holland and Grand Haven.

According to excerpts from MLIVE:

A new survey of job growth rates in medium-sized cities ranks the Grand Rapids area as 10th best in the U.S., a 30-place improvement from the survey’s 2011 ranking.

Read the complete story here.

Food truck hearing scheduled for June 12

According to excerpts from MLIVE:

The food truck ruckus will continue next month as elected officials take up the debate. Grand Rapids City Commission this morning decided to hold a June 12 hearing on proposed food-truck regulations.


Read the complete story here.

A Petoskey-themed shoe is in the works

Grand Rapids' Premier will team with Nike to introduce new Petoskey Stone-themed sneaker, "Petoskey Stone Dunk."

According to excerpts from Petoskey News:

The shoe was designed by Premier and Nike for the 11th anniversary of Premier. To pay tribute to the store's Great Lakes roots, the leather of the blue and gray shoe is embossed with Petoskey stones and will feature a tote bag with a Petoskey stone print.

Read the complete story here.

Sausages and vending machines split 5x5 Night winnings

May's 5x5 Night, the last before a break, splits the $5000 prize between Link Love Artisanal Sausage and Fit2eat Vending.

According to excerpts from MLIVE:

Link Love Artisanal Sausage,” an idea submitted by Grand Haven-native Kristen Bergers Fauson received $2,500 from the judges panel, as did “Fit2eat Vending,” an idea submitted by Randy Byrne of Grand Rapids for a vending machine business

that would stock healthy snacks.

Read the complete story here.

Mia and Grace to bring pop-up culture to Muskegon

According to excerpts from MLIVE:

Pop-up retail spaces, in which businesses temporarily open up a store or restaurant, are a growing trend nationwide.
"It's pretty common in bigger cities where chefs will go into a different venue and just take over for the day and do their own food," said Jamie Paquin, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Jeremy.


Read the complete story here.

Grand Rapids' BlueWater Technologies experiences sales growth

BlueWater Technologies' Grand Rapids office is far ahead of their annual sales goal.

According to excerpts from Market Watch:

Continuing its 2011 momentum into 2012 Q1, BlueWater's Grand Rapids office is already at 60-percent of its annual goal for the year.

"Anticipating our rapid growth in 2012, I began growing our team across departments including sales, engineering and project management," said BlueWater Technologies' Regional Vice President Tobi Tungl. "Already this year we've had more business than we did in 2011 and we're still growing. It's an exciting year for BlueWater."


Read the complete story here.

Applied Imaging's John Lowery talks about their success

Michigan's Small Business Person of the Year, John Lowery, talks about Applied Imaging's success.

According to excerpts from MLIVE:

Michigan’s 2012 Small Business Person of the Year says his company has grown in the copying and imaging business. But the company’s future lies beyond paper, said the 56-year-old entrepreneur.

Read the complete story here.

New website follows the growth of small businesses

A new website tracks the job growth of small business in Michigan.

According to excerpts from MLIVE:

The website tracks jobs added by small businesses in Michigan and includes details on where those jobs are being added and what industries are doing the hiring. It touts 3,270 jobs added so far in 2012.

Read the complete story here.

Site36 the new name of former GM plant

Site36 is the name now being used to market the former GM stamping plant in Wyoming to a potential new owner.

According to excerpts from MLIVE:

The 92-acre site that was once home to a General Motors stamping plant will make an ideal home for the next generation of high-tech manufacturing plants, according to officials from the city and The Right Place economic development program.

Read the complete story here.

Two self-service kiosks to appear in City Hall

This summer will see the arrival of two self-service kiosks in City Hall.

According to excerpts from MLIVE:

Grand Rapids City Commission on Tuesday approved a $9,188 purchase of two Zivelo self-service kiosks that are set to arrive this summer. The units initially will be placed inside City Hall, 300 Monroe Ave. NW, and later will be located in other city buildings and public and private locations.

Read the complete story here.

Forbes names Grand Rapids one of the best cities for raising a family

Forbes Magazine lists Grand Rapids as one of the best cities  in which to raise a family.

According to excerpts from Forbes:

What Grand Rapids does have: the distinction of being the best metro area in the country to raise a family in. Income may be relatively low, but the cost of living is even lower. The local school system ranks in the top third in the country. Commuting to work is a breeze. The housing foreclosure mess didn’t leave Grand Rapids unscathed, chopping about 12% off area home values over the past few years.

Read the complete story here.

Grand Rapids to host Jazz festival this summer

Grand Rapids plans to host first annual one-day Jazz festival on August 18.

According to excerpts from MLIVE:

Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority today agreed to contribute $10,000 to the inaugural GRandJazzFest, spearheaded by the city manager’s wife. The one-day event is scheduled from noon to 10 p.m. on Aug. 18.

Read the complete story here.

The 2013 Ford Taurus will contain new technology from Gentex Corp.

Zeeland-based Gentex Corp.'s "SmartBeam" system will debut in certain models of the 2013 Ford Taurus.

According to excerpts from MLIVE:

The company announced its “SmartBeam” system that automatically dims high-beam headlights for oncoming traffic will be available on the Limited and SHO models of the 2013 Ford Taurus.

Read the complete story here.

Ready for School receives $1.9 M grant from W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Ready for School, an organization that works to make sure kindergartners are prepared to begin their education career, receives a $1.9M grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

According to excertps from MLIVE:

The nonprofit organization, located at 100 East 8th St. in Holland, is focused on having 75 percent of kindergarten students ready for school by 2015. The initiative targets approximately 10,000 children in the communities from birth to age 5.

Read the complete story here.

Grand Rapids PGA pro participates in Masters for 17th year

Watermark Country Club's Mark Wilson returns to The Masters as an official for the 17th year.

According to excerpts from MLIVE:

Wilson, 56, head PGA professional at Watermark Country Club in Grand Rapids, is participating as an official at The Masters for the 17th consecutive year. He'll be part of the crew handling all rulings when players tee off Thursday in Augusta, Ga., in the first major championship of the year.

Read the complete story here.

Several companies across Michigan report growth

Indicators from many industries -- staffing, energy, pizza, pills and cars -- indicate economic success statewide.

According to excerpts from MLIVE:

At Kelly Services Inc., business is good -- quite good.

In Michigan alone last year, the global staffing company placed approximately 2,500 more people in positions than it did in 2010, spanning industries and all lines of Kelly’s business: temporary help, temp-to-hire and direct hires.


Read the complete story here.

Grand Rapids one of 20 cities leading the new economy

Grand Rapids is listed as one of 20 cities leading the economic recovery according to a report by The Atlantic.

According to excerpts from The Atlantic:

The recovery following the Great Recession has really been two recoveries -- and there is about to be a third. In the first phase, government stimulus supported stability in state capitals and health care hubs. Cities that avoided the rise in home prices also avoided the crash. In the second recovery, total government shrunk by nearly 300,000 jobs nationwide, and the private sector picked up the pace, led by both well-paying and poorly-paying service sector jobs. Cities with strong manufacturing and knowledge bases have thrived while the feds/eds/meds metros have slipped.

Read the complete story here.

Pro-gay Christian campaign launches this week in Grand Rapids

Gays in Faith Together launches "Gay Christian? Yes!" campaign in West Michigan this week.

According to excerpts from MLIVE:

Organizers of a pro-gay Christian campaign launched yesterday in Grand Rapids said they are working to broaden conversation on the issue — a need, they said, that is illustrated in part by swift reaction from MLive.com readers.

Read the compete story here.

120 New jobs coming to W. Michigan thanks to Lacks Enterprises

Lack Enterprises' new facility will bring 120 jobs to West Michigan.

According to excerpts from MLIVE:

The new plant, which will create 120 new jobs, will make chrome-plated parts for its customers in the automotive and appliance industry, said Jim Green, executive director of human resources for Lacks Enterprises. The 50-year-old plating firm employs about 2,300, mostly in West Michigan, he said.

Read the complete story here.

Experience Grand Rapids to hire customer service ambassadors at GRR

Gerald R. Ford International Airport will soon see customer service ambassadors, complete with iPads, to help travelers find their way around the city.

According to excerpts from MLIVE:

Ford Airport’s Board on Wednesday morning approved a 1-year, $87,500 contract with Experience GR to hire customer service "ambassadors" to patrol the airport terminal building, iPad in hand, to assist travelers with airport questions or in finding hotels, restaurants, local attractions and the like.

Read the complete story here.

Holland gets inked

Until now, Holland has never had a tattoo parlor downtown. Pincushn's Custom Tattoo and Body Piercing will be the first as it moves from 29th and Maple Ave. to a downtown spot near Hope College.

According to excerpts from MLIVE:

Giroux decided to move his shop, Pincushn’s Custom Tattoo and Body Piercing, to the downtown area, becoming the first tattoo shop to open in the city’s central business district. The shop recently reopened at 214 College Ave., between Eighth and Ninth streets and only a couple of blocks away from the Hope College campus.

Read the complete story here.

Ambrose wins March's 5x5 Night

Adam Weiler of Ambrose, an after-school art club based in Holland that makes and sells T-shirts to keep its operation sustainable, wins the $5000 prize at March's 5x5 Night.

According to excerpts from MLIVE:

The investment money will help Weiler open Ambrose as a collaborative, brick-and-mortar design and print lab that would be student-centric but also offer professionals a tactile co-working environment with access to letterpress and screen printing equipment.

Read the complete story here.

Collegiate rowing event to be hosted on Grand River

The Grand River will see some action come late April when it hosts the Mid American Collegiate Rowing Association Championship Regatta.

According to excerpts from MLIVE:

More than a thousand athletes will be converging on Grand Rapids at the end of April to compete on the Grand River in the Mid American Collegiate Rowing Association (MACRA) Championship Regatta, organizers announced today.

Read the complete story here.

LaughFest announces attendance numbers

The second annual LaughFest, hosted by Gilda's Club of Grand Rapids, drew 55,376 attendees over the course of their 10-day festival of laughter.

According to excerpts from MLIVE:

Gilda's LaughFest came to a close Sunday after 10 days. It began March 8 when 607 individuals set a new world record for most people wearing chicken beaks at a single venue.

The festival's attendance figure was announced Tuesday. It eclipsed last year's total of 55,376.

Read the complete story here.

Grand Rapids Awning opens on Plainfield Ave.

Muskegon Awning & Fabrication opens sister company, Grand Rapids Awnings, in Grand Rapids.

According to excerpts from ThomasNet News:

Grand Rapids Awnings, a sister company of Muskegon Awning & Fabrication, has opened at 3150 Plainfield NE, Suite I in Grand Rapids with the city's only awning showroom featuring displays of custom-made awnings, canopies, curtains and covers for homes and businesses.

Read the complete story here.

BALLE 2012 comes to Grand Rapids

May 15-18 brings the 2012 BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) to Grand Rapids with the theme "Real Prosperity Starts Here."

According to excerpts from MLive:

The 2012 BALLE Conference will draw more than 500 entrepreneurs, developers, sustainability experts, and local business, government and community leaders together for a confab to showcase Michigan’s leadership in eco-friendly innovation.

Read the complete story here.

Grand Rapids Named as One of 8 Cities Experiencing Artistic Boom

According to Good, Grand Rapids is on a list with Winnipeg, Austin and Detroit of 8 North American cities "experiencing an artistic boom."

According to an excerpt from Good:

Every year, the Grand Rapids community comes together for ArtPrize, an annual competition that brings together artists from around the world to share and discuss art with the general public. Any property in downtown Grand Rapids can be a venue for an artist, and everyone attending the event can vote for their favorite piece of art.


Read the complete article here.

Meijer Vows to Continue Fighting Hunger

Retail giant Meijer vows to continue its efforts to fight hunger.

According to excerpts from MLive:

The Walker-based retailer made fighting hunger a priority in 2011 and will continue those efforts this year. Last year, the retailer hosted food drives, donated reconditioned tractors from its trucking fleet to food pantries and expanded its food rescue program. The result was the donation of food, money and equipment that provided millions of meals to families across the Midwest.

Read the complete story here.

More Michigan Beer

Two Muskegon home-brewers are gathering investors to open Unruly Brewing Co., a "community brewery" offering craft brews.

According to excerpts from MLive:

Burgeoning home-brewing activities continue to generate development plans for beer-making businesses in Muskegon.
Contributed photoHome brewers Joel Kamp, left, and Chris Carr have plans for a micro-brewery in either the cities of Muskegon or Norton Shores.
 
The latest are business partners Chris Carr and Joel Kamp, who are just as serious as the three young entrepreneurs planning the Unruly Brewing Company, a proposed “community brewery” in Muskegon.

Carr and Kamp don’t have a business name or a location, but they are gathering investors for what could be a $250,000 development of a microbrewery in either the cities of Muskegon or Norton Shores.


Read the complete story here.

Amtrak's Pere Marquette Line Applying for Funding to Upgrade

Amtrak's Grand Rapids-to-Chicago line may be upgrading to high-speed rail if funding is secured.

According to excerpts from MLive:


Upgrades to Amtrak’s Pere Marquette line between Grand Rapids and Chicago could be in the works thanks to a collaborative effort to net millions in highly competitive federal funding.

Amtrak is working with the Michigan Department of Transportation to drum up local support for the project, starting with an application by the harbor town of New Buffalo near the Indiana border for a slice of nearly $500 million in federal TIGER grants.


Read the complete story here.

Calvin College History Professor Wins Fulbright Scholarship

Calvin professor Young Kim recently won a Fulbright Research Grant to study a Palestinian church father who wrote a manual on heresies.

According to excerpts from Calvin College:

Kim has recently landed a Fulbright Research Grant to study Epiphanius—a church father born in Palestine—and write a book about his life and work. “He wrote this large manual that described the beliefs, practices and refutations of 80 heresies,” Kim said. The work is called the Panarion, Greek for “Medicine Chest,” and it cautions against, among many others, the Manichaeans, the Origenists, various ‘Gnostic’ sects and the different derivations of non-Nicene theology.

Read the entire story here.

Michigan Unemployment Rate Hits Lowest Point Since 2008

The Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget reports Michigna unemployment rates are at lowest point since September of 2008.

According to excerpts from MLive:

Michigan's unemployment rate fell to 9 percent in January, marking its lowest point in nearly three and a half years, according to statistics released today by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.
The rate declined from 9.3 percent in December and 10.9 percent in January 2011, the state said.

Read the complete story here.

Grand Rapids a "Cooler Place to Be"

Wolverine Wold Wide Inc. CEO Blake Krueger says ArtPrize, LaughFest an GRid70 make Grand Rapids a "hip, more with it, cooler place to be" during his keynote speech at the 10th annual ICSC West Michigan Alliance Program.

According to excerpts from MLive:

What do ArtPrize, LaughFest and GRid70 have in common?

The international art competition, comedy festival and design hub help make downtown a dynamic urban environment, said Blake Krueger, chief executive of Wolverine World Wide Inc.

“It makes Grand Rapids a hip, more with it, cooler place to be,” said Krueger, in a keynote address to the 10th annual ICSC West Michigan Alliance Program on Tuesday afternoon. “If we are able to attract the kind of talent we need, we are going to have to have a dynamic urban environment.”


Read the complete story here.

MyGRCityPoints Reward Redeemed for Personalized Beer

A Grand Rapids couple cashes in on an interesting recycling incentive offered through MyGRCityPoints: a personalized beer brewed by the masters at East Hills' Brewery Vivant.

According to excerpts from MLive:

For a Christmas gift, Amy Ruis redeemed 5,000 points for one of the program’s bigger rewards: production of a personalized Brewery Vivant beer.

The Steve-hattan is based on a Manhattan recipe. The beer is aging in a bourbon barrel with Michigan cherries and a vermouth-like concoction of spices to produce flavors that “should meld together very nicely,” Spaulding said.


Read the complete story here.

Grand Rapids' Restaurant Week Moving to August

Grand Rapids' popular Restaurant Week will move to from November to August for its third installment in 2012 to better align with the existing convention schedule. 2011 brought in $20,393 for GRCC's Secchia Institute of Culinary Education.

According to excerpts from MLive:

Convention and visitors bureau organizers announced today that Restaurant Week in Grand Rapids will move from late fall to late summer for its third incarnation.Doug Small, president of Experience Grand Rapids, announced the popular event, where area eateries showcase special course meals, will run Aug. 15 though 25 this year.

Read the full story here.

5x5 Awards $5000 to Entrepreneur's Idea for a Scholarship Donation Website

February's 5x5 gave the entire $5000 prize to Nathan Cahill and his ideas for a micro-lending website enabling people to make scholarship donations to college students.

According to excerpts from MLive:

Cahill, the first to make a pitch at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, has started a Kickstarter-like platform to let family, friends, acquaintances or other benefactors donate money toward college scholarships.
“This basically takes what’s already happening, puts it in one spot where it's easily accessible and available to anyone in the world,” said Cahill, who launched Fund Scholars in January at Startup Weekend with friends Alex Bentz and Nick Woodhams


Read the full story here.

The American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan Honors GVSU for Storm Water Management

The American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan honored Grand Valley State University for their environmentally friendly storm water management practices.

According to excerpts from the Holland Sentinel:

Grand Valley State University was honored for its storm water management practices at the American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan awards ceremony on Feb. 25.

Assistant Vice President for Facilities Planning James Moyer and geology professor Peter Wampler attended the event, where the university received an Honorable Conceptor award and was also awarded the Judge’s Choice for Panel Design.
Moyer said the university has implemented several infrastructure projects to manage storm water, including wetland construction, green roofs and rain gardens installations and storm water collection that is used for campus irrigation.


Read the full story here.

Production of Michigan Hometown Stories Documentary Slated for Spring

Saugatuck and Douglas will be the first in the Michigan Hometown Documentary series produced by WGVU. Production begins in the spring.

According to excerpts from the Holland Sentinel:

When spring blooms in Saugatuck and Douglas, the production of the first Michigan Hometown Stories documentary series on WGVU public television will begin to grow as well.

“It’s an ongoing project. It’s going forward,” said Jon Helmrich on Monday. Helmrich is vice president of the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society, the group partnering with the West Michigan public television station for the upcoming hour-long production.

Read the full story here.

Recycling company expands its service

Holland-based Chef Container has given the residents in Allegan a new option for their recycling and refuse collection service.

According to excerpts from the Holland Sentinel:

Chef Container has expanded its recycling and refuse curbside service to the city of Allegan, as of Feb. 13.

Allegan residents will have a weekly collection of garbage and recycling materials for the first time. Previously, residents were locked into a tax-based recycling program with biweekly collections.

You can read the entire story here.

Holland firm makes old equipment like new again

With companies looking to save money, business is good for a Holland company that refurbishes old equipment and makes it almost like new again.

According to excerpts from the Holland Sentinel:

While giving a tour of his company, Carlton Technologies owner and CEO Ryan Bracken held up two computerized scanners -- the type of device used in warehouses, grocery stores and delivery services everywhere.

One looked beat-up, the other, after being cleaned, re-painted and fitted with a new keyboard, looked nearly brand new.

You can read the entire story here.

Grand Rapids Lip Dub creators beat out NFL and Jeep for first social media Earnie Award

An article in Mlive.com says the creators of the Grand Rapids Lip Dub video have landed top honors in a new social media awards competition by powerhouse PR Newswire.

According to excerpts from the story:

A brand new award for social media campaigns from PR Newswire has recognized Status Creative, a Grand Rapid's based company founded by Jeff Barrett, Rob Bliss, and Scott Erickson, as winner's of this year's Earnie Award for the 'Best Use of Video in Social Media;' an honor received for the Grand Rapids Lip Dub. (see video below) No small feat when going up against videos from the NFL and Jeep.

Read the complete story here.

Huntington Pillar Awards awarded to three West Michigan companies for empowering women

Mlive.com reports that three West Michigan companies will receive recognition awards for empowering women in the workplace.

According to excerpts from the story:

Three West Michigan employers will receive the 2012 Huntington Pillar Award from Women’s Resource Center (WRC) next month for their dedication to empowering women in the workplace.

Aquinas College, Axios Inc., and Herman Miller Inc. will be honored on March 14 at a luncheon the JW Marriott Hotel.

“These employers understand the value women bring to their business, as employees, as leaders, and as customers” said Sharon Caldwell-Newton, executive director of WRC.

Read the complete story here.


Radio executive takes over cigar shop

Long-time customer and cigar aficionado takes the plunge and buys his favorite cigar store.

According to excerpts from MLive:

Mark Renzenbrink has been a customer of Tuttle's Select Cigars almost since the tobacco retailer opened in 1994, as Grand Rapids first cigar smoking lounge.

So when owner Gary Tuttle announced plans to close up shop, Renzenbrink offered to take over the reins. He recently purchased the store, at 3835 28th St. SE, for an undisclosed amount.

You can read the entire story here.


Holland native making waves in fashion

Holland will have a native daughter making a debut on NBC's new reality TV show.

According to excerpts in the Holland Sentinel:

Lessons learned in Holland will be tried out on "Fashion Star," an NBC Entertainment reality TV show set to debut in March.

The show will feature 14 designers who are competing by creating items and selling them on the streets and in stores. Designers who aren't successful will be eliminated.

"In the end, one designer will successfully combine fashion and business to become the next "Fashion Star" and receive $6 million in orders for their designs at major retailers, according to NBC Entertainment.

Enter Holland native Lizzie Parker, an established designer with a business degree from Hope College who was selected as one of the contestants.

You can read the entire story here.


West Michigan's growth in housing starts, construction jobs could continue in 2012

The Grand Rapids Press reports that slow and steady growth in the housing market could mean that construction companies could experience some homebuilding recovery in 2012, along with the creation of direct and indirect jobs.

According to excerpts from the story:

Every home built in West Michigan creates three spinoff jobs, according to the findings of a study commissioned by the National Association Home Builders.

That means the 637 homes built in Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon counties created 1,927 jobs, or an estimated $111.2 million in local income and $11.5 million in taxes, according to the Home Builders Association of Greater Grand Rapids (HBAGGR).

Read the complete story here.


New York Magazine says Grand Rapids' Grove has one of America's 101 most crazy-awesome new desserts

New York Magazine put out the call to food critics to find 101 of the newest desserts around the country, and Grand Rapids' own Grove found itself on a very sweet list.

According to excerpts from the story:

It's time to think seriously about sweets: When Valentine's Day is around the corner, and the doldrums of winter (even one this mild) have taken hold, there's something about dessert that speaks to everyone.

…taken as a whole, the creations on this list represent what's happening in America's pastry world right now. In short, these are 101 desserts made by people working at the top of their collective game — and every one of them is definitely worth saving room for.

Farm-to-table food is practically de rigeur for new restaurants, but one of the most impressively locavore-leaning pastry programs we found was in Michigan's second most-populous city, of all places.

Read the complete story here.



Muskegon job group diversifies advocacy

There is more to local job advocacy than promoting alternative energy in West Michigan. Equally important is creating a vibrant downtown district. 

According the article in MLive:

Supporting Muskegon's new downtown retailers is a lot less political than pitching for wind turbines on Lake Michigan.

The West Michigan Jobs Group cash mob was expected to bring more than 40 shoppers to the Century Club Center in downtown Muskegon Friday evening.

That's why the West Michigan Jobs Group is holding "cash mobs" every other month. The social media group of community activists came together Friday evening at the new Century Club Center to spend some money.

You can read the entire story here.


Collegiate entrepreneur loves the Great Lakes

An idea to create and sell T-shirts celebrating the Great Lakes was compelling enough for the 5X5 Night judges to award a Hope College student $2000.

According to excerpts from the Holland Sentinel: 

Entrepreneurial Hope College student Kylen Blom scored some capital for his web-based startup, My Great Lake, Tuesday night at a 5x5, a monthly business competition in Grand Rapids.
.
At each competition, five presenters with five ideas have five minutes each to present five slides to five judges for the chance to win up to $5,000 in grant money, no strings attached, according to 5x5Night.com. Judges split the money, giving $2,000 to My Great Lake and $3,000 to a Web show called "Hey! Grand Rapids! Let's Eat!!!"


You can read the entire story here.

Michigan farmers get boost from tourist association

Well-run agricultural operations have appeal beyond raising crops and livestock.
 
According to excerpts from the Holland Sentinel:

Local farmers tapped into the agri-tourism industry recently got a boost from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The West Michigan Tourist Association was recently awarded a Specialty Crop Grant from the Department of Agriculture.

You can read the entire story here.

Holland is the home to new barbecue joint

Is this the beginning of smoked food renaissance in West Michigan?  Barbecue enthusiasts can only hope so.

According the story in MLive:

Popular Tulip Time Festival food vendor Brigitte Wooten has parked her barbecue smoker at 1180 South Washington Ave. and opened the restaurant Jus' Ribs & More.

You can read the entire story here.


MSU buys former Grand Rapids Press building for future medical school expansion

The Lansing State Journal released a story saying that Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine has plans to expand to property and five parking lots once owned by The Grand Rapids Press.

According to excerpts from the story:

Michigan State University's Board of Trustees has approved a $12 million deal to acquire the former Grand Rapids Press building and five parking lots north of downtown Grand Rapids for "future" expansion of the College of Human Medicine research programs.

"We don't necessarily intend to occupy or build at the moment but the property became available," said Vice President for Finance and Operations Fred Poston.

The Press building, three blocks from the Grand Rapids campus of MSU's medical school, was put up for sale as part of a companywide restructuring.

Read the complete story here.


Grand Rapids' JW Marriott, Amway Grand make the 2012 AAA 4-Diamond list

The Grand Rapids Press reports that 20 Michigan establishments received 4-Diamond ratings, and two of those are in Grand Rapids.

According to excerpts from the story:

The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel did well on the 2012 AAA 4-Diamond list, receiving the prestigious hospitality ranking in both the lodging category as well for the Cygnus 27 restaurant.

The J.W. Marriott hotel also made the 4-Diamond list for lodging in the automobile association's annual hospitality industry ratings, announced last week.

Read the complete story here.


Growing the wind energy industry in west Michigan

Recognizing there is power in numbers, L3 Combat Propulsion Systems has joined a regional consortium to move the wind energy industry forward.

According to the article in MLive:

L3 Combat Propulsion Systems' move into utility-scale wind turbines would put its magnet-motor technology on steroids

But before any wind energy equipment is produced in the company's Getty Street plant that is the historic home of Continental Motors, L3 has joined a Michigan Wind Energy Consortium to develop the industry in the state.

You can read the complete story here.

Detroit Tigers strengthens their bullpen with Hudsonville Ice Cream

Citing a shared history in the state, the Detroit Tigers and Hudsonville Ice Cream announced a strategic partnership.

According to excerpts from the Holland Sentinel:

Members of the Detroit Tigers were in town Friday during the team’s annual winter caravan to announce a partnership with Holland-based Hudsonville Ice Cream, bringing two of the oldest names in Michigan together a month before pitchers and catchers report for spring training.

The company’s ice cream will be sold in Comerica Park as the official made-in-Michigan ice cream of the Detroit Tigers. It also will partner with the Detroit Tigers Foundation, the team’s official charity.

You can read the complete story here.

Southwest Airlines, AirTran to remain at Gerald Ford International Airport

WZZM-13 reports that Southwest Airline officials have committed to keeping its subsidiary discount airline, AirTran, at Gerald R. Ford International Airport. Leaders from the airport and the Regional Air Alliance of West Michigan applaud the decision, citing increased air travel at the airport as one of the economic benefits for the region.

According to excerpts from the story:

Southwest Airlines executives say they will keep their subsidiary, AirTran, flying into Grand Rapids. AirTran began service to Gerald R. Ford International Airport in May 2010. A few months later, Southwest merged with the smaller discount airline.

The Regional Air Alliance of West Michigan led the recruitment effort to bring AirTran to Ford Airport. On Friday, RAA founder Dick DeVos issued a statement praising Southwest's decision to stay in Grand Rapids.

 "This is a real endorsement that both the Gerald R. Ford International Airport will continue to be a strong regional asset and that West Michigan appreciates and supports quality commercial air service," said DeVos in the statement.

Read the complete story here.






Wind energy developer pulls plans for Lenawee County wind park, eyes Ionia, Gratiot instead

A report in the Ionia Sentinel-Standard says that plans for a proposed wind energy park in Lenawee County have been scratched in favor of creating a similar energy center in Ionia or Gratiot counties.

According to excerpts from the story:

With a looming deadline to complete a wind turbine park by the end of this year, officials with Blissfield Wind Energy LLC filed an amendment to a contract with Consumer’s Energy to relocate the project from Lenawee County to either Ionia or Gratiot counties. The Blissfield Wind Project is a partnership between Great Lakes Wind LLC and Exelon Wind, which is a division of Exelon Power.     

Bob Judge, manager for communications for Exelon Power, said a contract with Consumers Energy states that the wind turbines need to be completed by the end of 2012.     

Read the complete story here.

Get your morning coffee without leaving your car

Entrepreneurs hope that limiting customer choice to drive-through-only will be the ticket to coffee shop success.

According to an excerpt from the article in MLive:

After 15 years operating a coffee kiosk at Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital, a Grand Rapids couple is betting a drive-through-only coffee shop in Kentwood will pay off.

You can read the entire story here.


Foreclosures at five-year low in Holland

For the first time in five years, foreclosures dropped in 2011 as lending institutions appear to be adapting to the recent mortgage issues.

According to an article in the Holland Sentinel:

Foreclosure activity for the greater Holland area dipped during 2011 — the first time in at least five years, according to an industry website.

Data released by RealtyTrac.com this morning showed 1,572 properties in Ottawa County were associated with foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — during 2011. That number peaked at 2,269 in 2010 after increasing each year for at least five years running.

You can read the entire story here.



Heartside's proposed high-tech communications system to point residents to resources in Grand Rapids

The Rapidian reports that Grand Rapids' Heartside residents could soon have a new electronic communications system in the neighborhood that will help them identify resources for food, shelter, classes and events.

According to excerpts from the story:

Heartside residents and visitors may soon experience a technology leap that is intended to help them identify resources in the area. The Heartside-Downtown Electronic Communications System (H-DECS) will be a wireless network of flat screen monitors that scroll announcements about currently available resources like food, shelter, classes and events in the area. Some of the screens will face outward behind storefront windows while others will be in places where residents regularly gather, like Degage and God’s Kitchen.

Read the complete story here.


GVSU's MAREC to help Michigan's growing tech firms qualify for state grants up to $50,000

The Muskegon Chronicle reports that Grand Valley State University's Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center is now part of a statewide program to help fledgling high-tech businesses qualify for business development grants up to $50,000.

According to excerpts from the story:

Grand Valley State University’s Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center in Muskegon has joined a statewide grant program to help growing, high-tech Michigan companies get services designed to encourage business development and job growth. The Business Accelerator Fund, managed by the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center at Grand Valley, will allow MAREC to work with qualified Michigan companies to pursue business development grants of up to $50,000. The program was launched in December with $3.5 million in state funds. MAREC is one of 15 Michigan SmartZones eligible for the program.

Read the complete story here.


Downtown jazz club set to open in Grand Rapids

The downtown Grand Rapids nightlife scene will be swinging to a new beat thanks to the opening of a new jazz club.

According to excerpts from the article in MLive:

...the Ottawa Tavern will freestyle its way through a jazzy new winter music lineup before rebranding as an “upscale cosmopolitan” jazz club this March.

"Our phones have been ringing off the hooks with interest in the new concept," said Greg Gilmore, president of the Gilmore Collection of restaurants, which owns the Ottawa Tavern and Bite, the casual tavern's breakfast and lunch companion in the Waters Building downtown.

You can read the entire story here.

Recycling company opens in Olive Township

A plastics recycling company is moving to an industrial park in Olive Township from Caledonia.

According to a story in the Holland Sentinel:

A green startup company that recycles plastic has moved into an Olive Township industrial facility.

Green Plastics LLC, which had been based in Caledonia, is setting up shop at 13370 Barry St.

"It's kind of in the infant stage at this point in time," said Dan English, president of Green Plastics. "There's a lot of work to get it done."

You can read the entire story here.


Grand Rapids named one of America's top ten gayest cities

Advocate magazine has named Grand Rapids one of the country's top ten gayest cities, alongside places like Portland, OR and Salt Lake City, UT.

According to excerpts from the story:

It’s no secret that megalopolises New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles have robust LGBT life — and we’ve even heard tell of little queer hoods like the Castro and P-Town. This isn’t that list.

There’s the official census with information on same-sex couples as a percentage of the population, then there’s our accounting of the gayest places in the USA — and we know the twain shan’t meet.

Read the complete story here.


Michigan Indian tribes can receive business training from GVSU thanks to $200K grant

The Grand Rapids Press reports that a new $200,000 grant will be used to developed a new program at Grand Valley State University to assist Michigan Indian tribes with business development training and consulting.

According to excerpts from the story:

Michigan Indian tribes will soon be able to access business development training and consulting through a new grant-funded program at Grand Valley State University. The Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center at Grand Valley was awarded a two-year, $200,000 grant to increase business assistance to the 12 federally recognized tribes and their members in Michigan, the university announced.

Read the complete story here.


Timing is everything for Zeeland-based Highpoint Finishing Solutions

Tax abatement serves as catalyst for Zeeland-based Highpoint Finishing Solutions as they plan to add 29 jobs in the next six months.

According to a story in the Holland Sentinel:

James Davis, co-owner of the Zeeland's Highpoint Finishing Solutions credits the right timing for the business expanding, not quite a year after taking over the facility and equipment of a closed operation.

Highpoint -- which processes a bright, high-luster finish for metal fixtures -- plans an investment of $379,000 in new equipment and could create as many as 29 new jobs over the next six months, according to a tax abatement granted to the company by Zeeland City Council on Tuesday.

You can read the complete story here.


Downtown Montague adds some medieval sweetness

Two entrepreneurs in Montague seek to create a destination for mead-lovers.

According to a story in MLive:

A unique business venture built on honey, mead and entertainment may become a hive of activity in downtown Montague when it opens early next year.

Steve and Jan Haystead, the owners and operators of a mead-making business in southern Oceana County, are preparing to open a store in downtown Montague where customers can sample the Haysteads' various flavors of honey wine, buy bottles to take home and, essentially, learn how the unique alcoholic beverage stemming from medieval times is made.

You can read the complete story here.

Holland, Zeeland Chambers of Commerce to merge

The Holland Sentinel reports that two prominent business support groups plan to merge in an effort to improve services to their business communities.

According to excerpts from the story:

The Holland Area Chamber of Commerce and Zeeland Chamber of Commerce plan to rewrite their bylaws, becoming a “united organization” to serve area businesses.

The two business-support organizations on Monday afternoon announced their intent to merge, following two years of talks between the board of directors for each group. A re-written set of bylaws still have to be approved by each board of directors.

“We don’t want to lose that small-town feeling that we have in Zeeland and Holland,” Zeeland chamber President Jim Schoettle said. “But ... we will have a much bigger voice together.”

He said the design and framework of the final organization are still very tentative. “We’ve talked about the (idea), but now we have to talk about what the organization will look like,” he said. For instance, what would each town’s representation be on the new organization’s board?

Read the complete story here.

International expert on strokes appointed medical director of Hauenstein Neuroscience Center

The Grand Rapids Press reports that the appointment of an internationally renowned expert on strokes as medical director of the Hauenstein Neuroscience Center is a big step for establishing new treatments and research capabilities.  

According to excerpts from the story:

The appointment of an internationally renowned expert on strokes as medical director of the Hauenstein Neuroscience Center was praised as a major step in the evolution of treatment and research capabilities in West Michigan. St. Mary's Health Care today announced the appointment Dr. Philip Gorelick, who is head of the department of neurology and rehabilitation at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago.

Gorelick's research includes a focus on stroke risk factors, prevention and treatment. That expertise will benefit patients in West Michigan and will augment research efforts, said Dr. Dave Baumgartner, chief medical officer of Saint Mary's.

Read the complete story here.


Long vacant Grand Rapids historic building gets new life after massive renovation


A Grand Rapids Press article details a massive renovation of the historic Flat Iron Building for new tenants Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge.

According to excerpts from the story:

A historic, but long-empty spot near the center of the central business district is a hive of activity thanks to a multi-million investment by a long-time Grand Rapids law firm and a local development group. Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge cut the ribbon on the 27,000 square foot space, 110-114 Monroe Center, Wednesday after nearly a year of work spanning the building’s four floors and its rooftop, where a deck was installed. The firm moved more than 100 employees from space inside the Calder Plaza Building, 250 Monroe Ave., to the building – one of the city’s oldest commercial structures.

Read the complete story here.


Local entrepreneurs create online reindeer community

Timing is everything. Two area entrepreneurs hope that they have an idea that will enthrall holiday enthusiasts and make a little money at the same time.

According to excerpts from the Holland Sentinel:

You've heard of Donner and Blitzen.

But the most famous reindeer of all may soon be a couple of no-name local farm animals, thanks to ReindeerCAM.com.

The website and video this week began streaming live from the North Pole, located suspiciously close to -- don't tell the kiddies -- Caledonia. The two reindeer, a male and female, featured on the webcam don't yet have names.

"We want to put that up to the public," said Adam Loveless, one of entrepreneurs responsible for the website. "The premise is that Santa's had too many nice kids on his list this year, so he's going to need more manpower -- or reindeer-power, shall we say -- for his sleigh."

You can read the entire story here:

Downtown destination to get facelift

Just in time for the winter skating season, Rosa Parks Circle will be getting a significant overhaul in the upcoming weeks.

According to the story in MLive

An overhaul of downtown's bustling Rosa Parks Circle is expected to make the urban park less maintenance-intensive while preserving the look world-renowned artist Maya Lin intended when she designed it.

You can read the entire story here.


General store opens up in Holland

A new business in downtown Holland is striving for a retro-feel while providing everyday basics.

According to excerpts from the Holland Sentinel:

Downtown Holland has it all -- well, maybe not everything, but now it has a grocer and general store.

The idea of starting a business had been a "spark" in Park Township's Owen family for several years, said patriarch Kelly Owen. When he was laid off from his construction job in August 2010, the family fanned the flames. Kelly's Market opened Friday at 25 W. Ninth St.

The market is open now, with some grocery store staples, including fresh fruits and vegetables, gluten-free food, health and beauty supplies, pet food and general household items such as light bulbs, duct tape and motor oil.

You can read the entire story here.


Five Michigan firms make Forbes' list of largest privately held companies in U.S.

The Grand Rapids Press reports that five Michigan companies made Forbes' list of the largest privately held firms in the United States.

According to excerpts from the story:

Meijer, Amway, Gordon Food Service, Guardian Industries and International Automotive components again made the annual Forbes list of largest privately held companies.

At No. 13, Walker-based superstore operator Meijer Inc. was the top Michigan company on the list, with Forbes estimating revenue of $14.63 billion in 2011. The company had been ranked 15th last year. Founded in Greenville in 1934 by Hendrik Meijer, the company grew into a Midwestern powerhouse under the leadership of his son, Fredrick, who helped define the concept of the modern one-stop-shop superstore. Fredrick Meijer died Friday at age 91. His sons, Doug and Hank, still lead the company.

Read the complete story here.


New owner to renovate Holland's former Fell Junior High Gymnasium into Evergreen Day Center

The Holland Sentinel reports that the final parcel of real estate of the Midtown Center renovation is sold and slated for a major revamp.

According to excerpts from the story:

The final piece of the Midtown Center block has sold and now has a purpose.

The gymnasium annex of the E.E. Fell Junior High School on 16th Street has been sold by the Dwelling Place to Evergreen Day Center LLC, a subsidiary of Evergreen Commons.

The Dwelling Place remodeled the junior high school into the Midtown Village apartments for people 55 and older. Midtown Village opened in October.

The gymnasium will be remodeled to be used by Evergreen Day Center for people with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other physically limiting conditions, said David Knibbe, president and CEO of Evergreen Commons.

Read the complete story here.


Perrigo expanding into 50,000-square-foot new space

The world's largest over-the-counter manufacturer of healthcare products is expanding its offices to accommodate growth.

According to excerpts in the Holland Sentinel:

Perrigo Co. on Monday broke ground on a planned 50,000-square-foot facility near its headquarters in Allegan, providing much-needed office space for the growing company, Perrigo spokesman Arthur Shannon said.

"We've had a lot of new hires over the last couple of years," Shannon said.

Perrigo bills itself to be the world's largest manufacturer of over-the-counter healthcare products sold under store-brand labels.

You can read the complete story here.

Grand Rapids' stormwater management means cleaner rivers, cleaner Great Lakes

An article in Grand Rapids Magazine highlights West Michigan's efforts to minimize, clean up and naturally filter stormwater runoff to lessen the pollutants carried into our streams, rivers and the Great Lakes.

According to excerpts from the story:

Would you want to swim in a pool contaminated with litter, pet waste, pesticides, grass clippings, oil and dirt? Probably not.

The goal of the Community Stormwater Planning Initiative is to provide community-based solutions to manage rainwater where it falls.

At the community level, Grand Rapids adopted a revised stormwater management ordinance that emphasizes the use of low-impact development best management practices to reduce the quantity and improve the quality of stormwater runoff for new development projects. Furthermore, Grand Rapids has implemented stormwater runoff management techniques at Joe Taylor Park in the Baxter neighborhood. If the first one to two inches of rain that falls on a development is contained or slowed, the goal of keeping stormwater farther up the watershed is achieved.

Read the complete story here.


Exported from West Michigan

Several West Michigan manufacturers, especially in niche markets, are finding success through the export market.

According to excerpts from Mlive:

Across West Michigan, manufacturers are pumping out an increasing number of products headed out of the U.S.

It's true: Globalization has cost thousands of jobs as some companies sought to lower labor costs and sell into closed markets such as China.

But it also is creating a much larger customer base for nimble U.S. manufacturers able to capitalize on a much larger playing field -- particularly in niche fields.

You can read the entire article here.


Doggie-daycare the basis of new business in Holland

A new business near the lakeshore caters to dog owners seeking services above and beyond the traditional services offered by a kennel.

According to excerpts from the Holland Sentinel:

What's it called and where is it?
Dogs Bay daycare is at 3675 64th St. in Laketown Township.

What does it do?
Different from a boarding facility or a kennel, doggie day care facilities such as Dogs Bay are about providing dogs with physical exercise and mental stimulation. There are a number of exercise and activities for the dogs throughout the day.

You can read the entire story here.


Grand Rapids businesses among 54 statewide selected for Michigan Business Connect Economic Gardening

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced this week that it has selected 54 Michigan businesses to receive business development support through its Michigan Business Connect Economic Gardening Pilot Program, including two businesses based in Grand Rapids.

According to excerpts from the story:

Fifty-four small and midsize companies from around Michigan have been selected to receive business development support through the Pure Michigan Business Connect Economic Gardening Pilot Program being offered by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, MEDC CEO and President Michael A. Finney announced today.

The program will be administered through the Cassopolis-based Edward Lowe Foundation and will include four areas of support: strategy and management; market research/competitive intelligence; Internet and social media strategy; and geographical information systems to help identify potential customers in other states.  

Read the complete story here.


Hudsonville Ice Cream gets a new strategic partner

Hudsonville is expanding its expertise to frozen yogurt, thanks to a new deal with TCBY.

According to the story in the Holland Sentinel:

Hudsonville has begun producing TCBY's premium hand-scooped frozen yogurt. Financial details of the agreement were not released.

TCBY's main product is a soft serve product that's billed as healthier than most other frozen treats. But it also produces about 18 flavors of a harder, hand-scooped frozen yogurt, with the natural texture and classic presentation of creamy ice cream, according to the company.

You can read the entire story here.


Area employers reach out to recent graduates with a positive message

Finally, good news on the job front for many looking for their first full-time employment opportunity.

According to the story in MLive:

College students and recent graduates looking for jobs and careers were told the words they've been dying to hear Friday: "We want you."

Herman Miller Inc. Vice President Mike Ramirez delivered the message to 150 career seekers during the kickoff of a one-day tour of the Holland-Zeeland area and some of its major industries.

You can read he entire story here.

West Michigan innovators from four companies develop new energy efficient office light

A report in MiBiz says that innovators from four West Michigan companies have created a new type of energy efficient lighting through collaboration.

According to excerpts from the story:

When four West Michigan companies put their collective creative minds together to develop a new product, the results can prove to be illuminating. Herman Miller Inc.’s Flute Personal Light began with designer Tom Newhouse’s idea to use emerging LED technologies for an energy-efficient light for the office environment.

Less than a year later, the simple, sleek task light made its debut at the NeoCon World Trade Fair. The back story of its development serves as a microcosm of West Michigan’s expertise in office furniture design, engineering and manufacturing — and offers a glimpse into how West Michgian companies might collaborate in the future.

Read the complete story here.


Small Business Association lending marks huge upswing in business lending in West Michigan

A Business Review West Michigan report says that SBA lending in 2011 soared compared to 2010 numbers. Statewide, the loans financed businesses in over 430 industries.

According to excerpts from the story:

U.S. Small Business Administration lending posted strong growth during the past year, with Huntington Bank alone more than doubling the volume of government-backed loans it wrote.

Huntington Bank again led Michigan as the top SBA lender for the 2011 fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. The bank wrote 612 for loans during the year for $128.7 million under the SBA’s primary 7(a) program. That compares to 262 7(a) loans for $52.7 million in FY 2010.

Chase Bank was second with 248 loans at $54.2 million.

Read the complete story here.

Zondervan signs book deal with former President Jimmy Carter

It's a match made in heaven. Grand Rapids-based Christian publisher signs book deal with President Carter.

According to excerpts from MLive:

Christian publishing house Zondervan says it has established a publishing partnership with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

Under the deal, Zondervan will release three Christian titles, including a children's book inspired by the nation's 39th president, as well as a trade book title and a Bible title that Carter authored.

You can read the entire story here.

Zeeland's Gentex Corp. reports record financial growth for past 12 months

The Holland Sentinel reports that Zeeland-based Gentex Corp says sales and profits are up over the past 12 months.

According to excerpts from the story:

Zeeland-based Gentex Corp. is again reporting record financial results, this time for both the third quarter and first nine months of 2011.

For the third quarter, the all-time record net sales increased by 30 percent to $269.5 million, compared to $206.8 million in the 2010 third quarter. At the same time, the gross profit margin increased from 35.2 percent in the second quarter to 35.4 percent in the third quarter, the company reported Thursday morning.

Read the complete story here.


Increased sales prices for home sellers on the Lakeshore

Although the number of homes being sold decreased, the average sales price experienced a double digit increase.

According to excerpts from MLive:

Lakeshore home sales from Saugatuck to Muskegon during the month of September were down slightly from a year ago, but the average sale price surged.

Home sales along the Lakeshore dropped 3.3 percent last month from September 2010, but the average sale prices in the three regions rose between 12.2 percent and 20 percent, according to the West Michigan Lakeshore Association of Realtors.

You can read the entire story here.

Grand Haven Harbor Transit lands $607K grant for service expansion

The Grand Haven Tribune reports that a planned service expansion of the Grand Haven Harbor Transit has received over $607,000 from the federal government in support of the project.

According to excerpts from the story:

U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin announced Monday federal support for Grand Haven’s Harbor Transit project.

Harbor Transit received $607,200 from the federal government for service expansion and improved operating efficiencies, and was selected on a competitive basis through the 2011 Bus Livability Program.

Read the complete story here.


Local residents seek to catalyze entrepreneurship through small grants

An East coast, grassroots foundation targeting entrepreneurship launches in Grand Rapids.

According to excerpts from MLive:

The foundation "devoted to forwarding the interest of awesomeness in the universe" operates locally autonomously but was begun in Boston by a group of 10 friends who wanted to give others a shot at success at pursuing an underfunded dream. Each member gives $100 a month and that money is pooled and directed toward an applicant of their choosing.

"We really want people to chase their dreams and do something awesome," Bronkema said. "I've seen young people, artists and talented people with great ideas, but they struggle to get off the ground because of money."

You can read the entire story here.


Spartan Stores adds first electric charging stations

A new fuel station at a Family Fare store will feature electric charging stations. This will be the first for Spartan stores.

According to excerpts from MLive:

Spartan Stores has opened its 26th fuel station, which will eventually be next to a Family Fare grocery store still in development in the Metro Health Village.

The Quick Stop features the grocer's first electric charging stations, used for powering up electric vehicles. The service will be free to customers while they shop.

You can read the entire story here.


CNN Money says Grand Rapids' ArtPrize has lessons for small businesses

CNN Money's interview with ArtPrize founder Rick DeVos reveals some surprises about ArtPrize and business.

According to excerpts from the story:

With a small staff, cell phones' growing reach, and the convenience of his family's foundation money, Amway heir Rick DeVos launched a novel, open-source art competition and festival called ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Mich. in 2009. The event attracted more than 200,000 visitors in its inaugural year, and the group expects that to grow to some 500,000 this year.

The notion of opening up traditionally closed organizations continues to gain relevance, to the point that it has almost become an expectation among consumers. So why not apply it to an art festival?

Read the complete story here.


Grand Rapids home sales, prices up

The Grand Rapids Press reports that the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors says home sales and home prices have increased.

According to excerpts from the story:

Grand Rapids area home sales in September homes continued to outpace the same month last year in both closed sales and purchase agreements. According to data released Monday by the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors, 711 homes were sold last month, up 13 percent from last year's 629. Septembers' average sale price was $121,857, down 5.4 percent from last year's $115,506.

Read the complete story here.


Job fair targets potential managers in growing retail industry

A less than optimal economy still has its share of opportunities. Retailers focusing on the renting and leasing of products are experiencing job growth.

According to excerpts from MLive:

Aaron's says in its job ads that it is looking for manager trainees, a one-year training program for people with management experience or two years of college; and sales managers.

According to GlassDoor.com, both of these jobs pay between $23,000 and $35,000. Store manager positions pay between $40,000 and $50,000, while general managers can make as much as $82,000.

You can read the entire story here.


Imported from West Michigan

Detroit has shared many of its local jewels with the rest of the region over the years, such as Faygo and Vernors. Now West Michigan is reciprocating with its own goodness, Hudsonville Ice Cream.

According to excerpts from the Holland Sentinel:

Creamy, cold Hudsonville Ice Cream became less of a West Michigan secret this summer.

Bruce Kratt, vice president for sales and marketing at the Holland-based creamery and ice cream company, said this week that the brand gained serious attention in Detroit over the summer and was successfully introduced into the Chicago area.

The company doubled its share of the ice cream retail market in Detroit to 8 percent, Kratt said. "That's an indication that the Detroit consumer has picked us as their preferred local brand," he said.

You can read the entire story here.

West Michigan entrepreneurs stir up the local economy

A report in MiBiz says that local entrepreneurs are making a go of it by stepping out on their own and following their dreams.

According to excerpts from the story:

While most of her classmates were busy looking for their first job, Katie Schmidt knew she had one lined up. Schmidt, a 2011 graduate of Grand Valley State University, had a business plan and knew she wanted to be her own boss.

The entrepreneurial spirit might be in Schmidt’s blood, as her grandparents, uncle and mother have owned and operated framing shops and galleries around West Michigan. Her entrée into her eventual business started when her mother asked for help revamping the website of her gallery and framing business, Gallery 293 in Coopersville.

Read the complete story here.


Grand Rapids John Ball Zoo breaks ground on 11-acre forest, funicular expansion

WOOD-TV8 reports that the John Ball Zoo has begun construction on a new section that will include a forest and a tram to take riders up and down a steep incline that connects the expansion with the rest of the zoo.

According to excerpts from the story:

A groundbreaking ceremony took place Thursday morning at John Ball Zoo as construction of the Idema Forest Realm and Funicular project begins. The project will expand the zoo, at 1300 W. Fulton St. NW, by 11 acres on the formerly undeveloped hilltop. Bea Idema and the Bill and Bea Idema Foundation donated $5 million toward the $12-million project.

A funicular -- a tram on a track designed to take steep inclines -- will be located to the right of the zoo entrance. The funicular will wind its way toward Fulton Street and then curve up and behind the children's zoo area to one of the highest points in Grand Rapids. The 900-foot long ride up the hill is expected to take about four minutes, and is expected to open in early summer 2012.

Read the complete story here.


Holland company going strong, entering 30th year

Low-profile Uniform Color Company keeps rolling along after 30 years, hiring and expanding in 2011.

According to the story in the Holland Sentinel:
Uniform Color Company Director of Human Resources Kim Miller admits the company keeps a low profile locally, although it's well-known among other companies that provide custom dyes.

The company, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, continues to grow. With 225 employees in Holland and manufacturing facilities in Mexico and the Czech Republic, the company is building another in Voderady, Slovakia, Miller said. A sign outside the Holland facility advertises that the company is hiring.

Thirty years ago, the company consisted of three employees working in a 35,000-square-foot garage serving only one customer, Miller said.

You can read the entire story here:



Retired executives in Muskegon share their experience with small businesses

The volunteer organization SCORE has a wealth of business experience available for business owners to access. Working together with the Muskegon Chamber of Commerce, the two organizations offer free business reviews.

According to the article in MLive:
Muskegon SCORE and the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce have teamed up to offer small business owners free business reviews and planning sessions. The volunteer experts at SCORE have experience in a wide range of business areas, including: strategic planning, cash flow management, financial assessments, sales forecasting, sales pipeline planning and business mentoring.

You can read the entire story here

Van Andel Research Institute part of team to get $3.5M Susan Komen grant for breast cancer research

An article in Michigan Technology News says Grand Rapids’ Van Andel Research Institute will participate in a multi-million dollar research study involving breast cancer that affects African Americans.

According to excerpts from the story:
Van Andel Research Institute is part of a team of Michigan researchers awarded a $3.5 million grant from Susan G. Komen for the Cure to study cancer stem cells in an aggressive subtype of breast cancer that disproportionately affects African-Americans.

The study is a collaborative effort between several leading research centers in the state utilizing the expertise of oncologists and basic research scientists, and led by teams from University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center in Ann Arbor, the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, and VARI in Grand Rapids.

Studies show 209,060 Americans will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and 40,230 will die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society.

Read the complete story here.


Holland’s Renewable Energy Technologies could produce 8,000 gallons of ethanol by end of year

A report in the Holland Sentinel says that a local Holland technology company is on track to produce its first 8,000 gallons of ethanol yet this year.

According to excerpts from the story:
Renewable Energy Technologies LLC had hoped to produce ethanol in Holland by now, but building issues sent the company back to the market to find a new home.

Now ethanol could be in production by the end of the year.

Earlier this year, the company identified a 95,000-square-foot empty factory on 40th Street to turn sugar and alcohol-based waste into ethanol. When that fell through, a much larger building — with 173,000 square feet — became available at 545 E. 32nd St.

Read the complete story here.


Local farm bureau looks for growth in merger

Seeking opportunities to grow, the Hamilton Farm Bureau merges with national agribusiness giant CHS, Inc.

According to excerpts from the Holland Sentinel:

The Hamilton Farm Bureau has merged with a national agribusiness, hoping for more purchasing power, access to national markets and an open door for expansion.

The completion of a merger between Hamilton Farm Bureau and Fortune 100 company CHS Inc. was announced Thursday. The 1,900 farmers and West Michigan residents who owned stock in Hamilton Farm Bureau now own shares of the NASDAQ-listed CHS Inc

You can read the complete story here:

West Michigan manufacturers projected to grow workforce

The growth of West Michigan's workforce is projected to be within the top five of the nation, according to Manpower. The forecast is being attributed to manufacturing needs.

According to excerpts from MLive:

West Michigan employers expect to expand their workforces in the coming months, making the employment outlook for the region the fifth-best in the nation.

After years of layoffs, the Grand Rapids-Wyoming region has been a leader in job creation for nearly a year, according to a quarterly employment outlook survey by staffing giant Manpower.

You can read the entire story here:

Netech to bring more high tech business, up to 50 technology jobs to West Michigan’s Gaines Township

A Grand Rapids Press article on technology firm Netech says the company expects to bring some 30-50 jobs online in the next year.

Networking technology business at local information technology firm Netech is growing enough that the firm is doing something rare in today’s market. Next week it will break ground on new corporate headquarters.

A 29,000 square-foot $4 million building at East Paris Avenue and the M-6 highway will replace the 11,000 square-foot facility 4595 Broadmoor SE, Suite 190.

“We are totally out of space,” said President and CEO Jim Engen.

Read the full story here.

West Michigan home builders take matters into their own hands

What has traditionally been a time to showcase new homes was at risk until a group of home builders organized their own event.

According to excerpts from MLive:

A group of West Michigan home builders have a story to tell and they weren't going to let the cancellation of the longtime West Michigan Parade of Homes get in the way.

The group of seven home builders working in southern Muskegon County and northwest Ottawa County have quickly put together the West Michigan Lakeshore Tour of Homes. The builders will be showing off 12 homes from Sept. 16-25.

You can read the compete story here:


Grand Rapids' historic Morton House Hotel slated for renovation

The Grand Rapids Press reports that new owners of Grand Rapids' historic Morton House Hotel have plans to transform the massive structure.

According to excerpts from the story:

The DeVos family is expected to join a partnership led by Rockford Construction to buy the recently vacated Morton House, giving the family at least a partial interest in all three of the largest historic hotels downtown.

The last of 214 tenants at the Morton House, which decades ago had been adapted for use as Section 8 housing for low-income residents, moved out Aug. 31.

In May Bingham Farms-based Saperstein Associates announced plans to sell the Morton House after its 40-year contract with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development expired.

The hulking building, 55 Ionia Ave. NW, is 91 years old and once rivaled the Pantlind (now part of the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel) as the city's plushest hotel for business travelers.

Read the complete story here.

Reagan Marketing focuses on sustainable redevelopment of former Grand Rapids print shop

A MiBiz report says sustainability and solid design were driving forces behind redevelopment of an old Wealthy St. print shop into modern offices for Reagan Marketing & Design.

According to excerpts from the story:

Mary Reagan Shapton, principal of Reagan Marketing + Design, figured her company was ready to take a risk and buy its own building back in early 2010, but even she wasn’t quite sure that the inky depths of a long-forgotten, dilapidated print shop could be converted into office space fit for her modern design firm.

Read the complete story here.


West Michigan continues to strengthen its brand as a home to quality microbreweries

With a first place finish at a national beer tasting competition, Saugatuck Brewing Company joins other regional award-winning breweries.

According to a story from the Holland Sentinel

A beer from Saugatuck Brewing Company, 2948 Blue Star Highway in Douglas, earned a first place award at the 17th annual United States Beer Tasting Championship in August.

The brewery's ESB/Amber was named tops in the Bitter/ESB category.

More than 120 beers in 11 categories were entered in this year's competition.

ESB/Amber is a classic medium-bodied British-style Extra Special Bitter with an even balance of six different malts and Goldings, Tettenang and Williamette hops. This beer is one of the brewery's mainstays and is available on tap and in six-packs.

You can read the entire story here:



Ex-GM workers open national automotive franchise in Grand Rapids

It is Michigan's first Christian Brothers Automotive, a Texas-based franchise founded on "honesty and integrity."

According to excerpts from the story in MLive:

Career opportunities with General Motors moved Kurt and Kathy Hein around the country for many years, but they are hoping their latest venture keeps them in their home state of Michigan.

The couple opened Michigan's firstChristian Brothers Automotive last week. It's located just west of the intersection of Kalamazoo Avenue and 28th Street, next to Meijer.


You can read the entire story here:


Holland-based plant looking to add jobs

Holland is posed to benefit from at least 67 new jobs thanks to international firm Benteler Aluminum Systems.

According to the story in the Holland Sentinel

Benteler Aluminum Systems Michigan Inc. is looking to add more jobs in Holland.

The Holland plant, 365 W. 24th St., has filed an application for tax abatement which could create 67 new jobs and retain the 138 existing jobs at the company.

You can read the entire story here:

Grand Rapids' Prosepecto Musical Showcase releases 2011 schedule, adds a soul/funk band

The Grand Rapids Press reports that the Prospecto Musical Showcase, which will run this year in partnership with ArtPrize, has released its 2011 schedule and announced the addition of another band.

According to excerpts from the story:

Organizers of next month's Prospecto Musical Showcase and Sonic Experience have released the official festival schedule for the three venues hosting the three-day event and added New York soul/funk group Lee Fields & the Expressions to the bill. 

The showcase, which takes place Sept. 30-Oct. 2 during ArtPrize at The Intersection, Founders Brewing Co. and The Pyramid Scheme, will feature dozens of bands, led by George Clinton & the Parliament Funkadelic, The Walkmen, The Pharcyde, Trans Am, Gringo Star and others.

Read the complete story here.


Michigan Democrats introduce tax credits to keep battery manufacturing momentum going

A report in the Muskegon Chronicle says Michigan democrats have introduced proposals for tax credits for advanced battery manufacturing and folks who purchase electric vehicles.

According to excerpts from the story:

If Gov. Rick Snyder calls business tax credits “picking winners and losers,” Democratic state legislators say they'll “pick” Michigan's burgeoning advanced battery industry.

At a series of events across the state, Democratic legislators Monday introduced a package of proposals they say will keep the momentum going in the automotive battery industry.

At the heart of the proposals are business tax credits for battery manufacturers and income tax credits for purchasers of electric vehicles built in Michigan. State Rep. Marcia Hovey-Wright, D-Muskegon, outlined the plan at Muskegon Community College, along with state Reps. Brandon Dillon and Roy Schmidt — both Grand Rapids Democrats.

Read the complete story here.


Meijer continues to spend in excess of $60 million buying from Midwestern farms

West Michigan consumers continue to support Meijer's commitment to regional farms.

According to excerpts from MLive:

Meijer stores increased their buying from Midwestern produce farmers by 5 percent last year, and are on track to do so again this year, the retailer said.

The "Home Grown" buying program works with farmers in the five states where Meijer has stores: Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, said Scott Calandra, a produce buyer for Meijer. Meijer launched the program in 2009 and estimates it has spent about $60 million buying from Midwestern farms.


You can read the entire story here

 


Zeeland and Holland chamber of commerces see value in collaboration

Making it clear that collaboration does not mean combining, two neighboring chamber of commerces look for added synergy by working together.

According to excerpts from the Holland Sentinel:

The Holland and Zeeland chambers of commerce are looking for more opportunities to come together but not combine.

For two years, the two boards of directors have reviewed ways to collaborate and surveyed the members of the Holland Area Chamber of Commerce and Zeeland Chamber of Commerce to see the amount of support for collaboration.

"We are collaborating, not combining," Zeeland chamber President Jim Schoettle said. "That word, 'combined‚' gives a lot of different thoughts to a lot of different people. What would a different framework look like? We have to get into these discussions."

You can read the entire story here:

 


Marie Catrib's Sweet Potato & Quinoa Burger Sandwich one of top five vegan sandwiches in nation

PETA has ranked a vegan sandwich from Grand Rapids-based Marie Catrib's restaurant as one of the top five in the United States.

According to excerpts from the story:

As more and more Americans move away from foods that are loaded with unhealthy fat and cholesterol, many are discovering the benefits of fake steak, mock chicken, and other healthy and delicious meat-, egg-, and dairy-free options—especially as sandwich ingredients. August is National Sandwich Month, and to mark the occasion, PETA scoured the country to find the top five vegan sandwiches in America. The Sweet Potato & Quinoa Burger Sandwich from Marie Catrib's in Grand Rapids is first runner-up. Souped up with protein-packed quinoa (KEEN-wah); piled high with onions, cilantro, and almonds; and topped with vegan mayo and ginger-tomato chutney, the Sweet Potato & Quinoa Burger Sandwich bursts with flavor.

Read the complete story here.

 


Grand Rapids' Van Andel Arena named a top venue by Billboard, Pollstar and Venues Today

A report on Mieveningout.com says that Billboard Magazine has ranked Grand Rapids' Van Andel Arena as the top grossing midsized entertainment venue for the first half of 2011.  

According to excerpts from the story:

Based on box office figures during the first half of this year, the SMG-managed Van Andel Arena ranks as a top venue in mid-year charts compiled by entertainment industry publications Billboard, Pollstar, and Venues Today.
 
Van Andel Arena has had a terrific year so far in 2011 (from October 16, 2010 through June 30, 2011) with 36 shows, six of which were sellouts. Sellout events included Trans-Siberian Orchestra (twice), Winter Jam, Lady Gaga, Kid Rock, and Bob Seger. See attached for a list of events for the first half of the year.

Read the complete story here.

 


Good Morning America viewers say Sleeping Bear Dunes is most beautiful place in America

ABC's Good Morning America recently announced the winner of a national contest for the most beautiful place in America, a contest that landed Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in first place.  

According to excerpts from the story:

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, tucked away in the northwest corner of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, won the title of "Good Morning America's" Most Beautiful Place in America.

Tens of thousands of viewers voted online for this Michigan park, which is one of the nation's best-kept secrets. The hidden gem boasts 64 miles of beaches along Lake Michigan, two islands, 26 inland lakes, more than 50,000 acres of land, and the monumental sand dunes from which it gets its name.

Read the complete story here.

 


Locally owned publisher celebrates 100 years

The numbers are hard to believe, but a mere two generations span 100 years in publishing industry. 

According to excerpts from MLive:

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. is in a unique position as it celebrates its 100th anniversary this month: In a century of business, it has had only two presidents.

The first was founder William Bernardus Eerdmans, who led the company for 52 years. His son, Bill Eerdmans Jr., has held the reins for 48 years.

Together, they have created a family-owned, privately held publishing company with close to 1,200 books in print, some first published more than 70 years ago.

You can read the entire story here.

 


Pure Michigan ad campaign responsible for job growth in tourism industry

A recent study points to an increase in tourism jobs due to the success of the Pure Michigan ad campaigns.

According to excerpts from MLive:

The study points out that in 2009 visits to the state rose 23 percent compared to 2006 when the campaign was launched.

 In 2010, despite budget cuts, the ads generated 838,000 visits to the state with each visitor spending $372, providing a state tax return on investment of $3.33 per $1 spent. Best of all, there were 10,000 more jobs in tourism in 2010 than there were in 2009.

You can read the entire story here.


The Windquest Group continues investment in West Michigan companies

A Holland-based manufacturer was the investment target of The Windquest Group.

According to excerpts from the Holland Sentinel:

The Windquest Group, a private investment group headed by Dick and Betsy DeVos, has made an investment in Energetx Composites in Holland, Windquest announced Thursday.

The investment will be used to continue the scale-up of Energetx Composites' manufacturing equipment for the production of utility-scale wind turbine blades, according to a news release from Energetx. Details of the transaction, including the amount of the investment, were not disclosed.

You can read the entire story here.

Land Bank Authority on target to hire its first executive director

Thanks to a positive vote by the Kent County Board of Commissioners. a land bank authority will be in place to help rejuvenate abandoned real estate.

According to excerpts from MLive:

Kent County Land Bank Authority is advertising for an executive director and about to buy its first few vacant homes in an effort to revitalize abandoned real estate.

This week, the county‚Board of Commissioners is expected to purchase up to 12 vacant homes.

You can read the entire story here.

Grand Rapids' signature sandwich decided in Saturday's Grandwich taste-off

An article in the Grand Rapids Press says that the judges' votes are in and the grand winner of Grand Rapids' first "Grandwich" sandwich competition is…

According to excerpts from the story:

The votes and contented belches are in, and the winner of the Grandwich sandwich competition is the G-Wrap, a recipe from Bobarino's in the B.OB. More than 40 local restaurants answered a call to devise new sandwiches and compete for the Grandwich title, and after a tasting event Saturday afternoon at Rosa Parks Circle, top honors went to the G-Wrap, a wrap sandwich on naan bread consisting of pulled pork, andouille sausage and spicy pickle slaw.

B.O.B. executive chef Jared Miller said the sandwich will be a permanent addition to the menu at Bobarino's. "It was great to be a part of it, and we're super excited," Miller said.

Read the complete story here.



Muskegon, Grand Rapids form partnership to develop Muskegon's waterfront

The Muskegon Chronicle reports that economic development leaders from Grand Rapids and Muskegon have joined forces to help stimulate what could be lucrative and longterm investments in Muskegon's waterfront.

According to excerpts from the story:

Grand Rapids and Muskegon economic developers are proposing the two communities join forces on a focused development program that could have historic significance for the future of Muskegon's waterfront.

The Right Place Inc. in Grand Rapids and Muskegon Area First — both economic development agencies — are putting forth a plan for a new West Michigan Economic Partnership. In Muskegon, the partnership could focus on redevelopment of the Muskegon Lake downtown waterfront for a mix of uses from a deep-water port supporting wind turbine manufacturing activities to commercial businesses supporting water recreation and tourism.

Read the complete story here.



Positive changes for airport passengers

The great news for Grand Rapids airport passengers is that Ford International Airport is adding additional lanes for security screening.

According to excerpts from MLive:

The Gerald R. Ford International Airport is adding lanes and changing terminals in order to reduce traffic for passengers.

Expansions on Concourse A, the airport's busiest terminal, are complete. The security area will now have an extra screening checkpoint lane for passengers to reduce lengthy waiting lines during peak travel hours.

You can read the entire story here.


After school arts program in Holland grows

What was once an informal art program now has significant increase in structure added to better serve the community.

According to excerpts from the Holland Sentinel:

For nearly three years, high school art students have gathered on Thursday afternoons at the Holland Area Arts Council to study the arts in an informal setting.

But this year, the group that provides the training, Ambrose, is organizing a formal program to include regular visits from artists and collaborative art projects.

Ambrose Director Adam Weiler co-founded the group with his wife, Jenna, in 2008. There always has been a need for high school students who like to create art to meet with creative professionals and learn about what it takes to be successful, he said.

You can read the entire story here



Grand Rapids' "Grandwich" competition heats up with public taste-off planned

The Grand Rapids Press reports that votes are in, deciding the top 10 restaurants vying for honors as the city's first "Grandwich" signature sandwich creator. A public taste-off will help decide the number one winner.

According to excerpts from the story:

The votes are in, and Grand Rapids is one step closer to having its signature sandwich. Organizers of the Grandwich competition today named the top 10 entries in a contest challenging Grand Rapids restaurants to produce a new sandwich recipe worthy of becoming the city's culinary claim to fame (think Philly cheese steak). Public voting determined which entries advanced to a final round of judging.

On Saturday, a panel of judges will announce which of these sandwiches best meets the contest criteria – use of local ingredients, uniqueness, taste, appearance, representation of Grand Rapids.

Read the complete story here.




Holland's MSU Bioeconomy Institute to aid five new Michigan technology companies

The Holland Sentinel reports that five Michigan new-technology companies have been offered assistance from the MSU Bioeconomy Institute to get their new products to market.

According to excerpts from the story:

Five Michigan-based technology companies have been offered the assistance of the Michigan State University Bioeconomy Institute to overcome the challenges of making their new products market-ready. The companies have been named the winners of this year's "Scale Up Michigan!" competition, sponsored by Lakeshore Advantage, the regional economic development agency, and the Institute. The Michigan Strategic Fund provides the Institute with grant support.

Read the complete story here.




Grand Rapids named in Top 100 Places to Live by RelocateAmerica, public vote to name top 10

RelocateAmerica has named Grand Rapids as one of the 2011 Top 100 Places to Live in the nation. This year, the public may cast votes online to place their favorite locales in contention for the top 10 and, following that, for the coveted first place.

According to excerpts from the story:

Welcome to the 14th annual list of America's "Top 100 Places to Live". Each year RelocateAmerica researches, identifies and shares the best places to live in America. Over several months at the beginning of each year, the research & editorial team begin the process based on site nominations and issues most important to relocating consumers and homeowners for the year ahead.

New for this year is the opportunity for local residents, businesses and others familiar with these Top 100 cities to have their say as to what area is worthy of Top 10 overall consideration and other breakout lists

Read the complete story here.
Vote for your favorite city here.




City of Wyoming could offer more tax incentives as part of Next Michigan Development Corp


The Grand Rapids Press reports that a new state initiative for economic development could bring more tax incentives to local governments to encourage investment and the city of Wyoming is at the top of the favorites list.

According to excerpts from the story:

As city officials work with developers to find a user for the former General Motors plant property on 36th Street SW, they might have an ally in a new state law that brings more tax incentives to the table. Wyoming is among several communities in Kent and Muskegon counties being solicited to form a "Next Michigan Development Corp." The partnership would create a regional board of directors to pursue a broader offering of tax incentives for eligible properties, like the vacant GM plant, with at least 35 acres and access to two modes of transportation: road and rail, for example.

Read the complete story here.





Major improvements planned for the Hart-Montague Trail

Better biking and hiking will result from plans for an improvement project for the popular state park.

According the excerpts from The Muskegon Chronicle:

The 22-mile Hart-Montague Trail State Park has not been repaved since it opened in 1991, and now the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is planning to repave and widen the trail, bringing it up to current standards, said Paul Yauk, the DNR's linear trails program manager.
The project calls for repaving the entire trail, widening it from 8 feet to 10 feet and bringing it up to accessibility standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act. A 2-foot shoulder will also be added. The project is expected to include widening the trestle bridges to accommodate the wider trail, improving crossings to make them safer for trail users and redoing signs, Yauk said.

You can read the entire story here.


Simple invention manufactured in China will now be made in Michigan

A trio of West Michigan businesses have big plans for a small, plastic product that will now be made locally.

According to the article in MLive:

While the product is simple, the potential of String Guards is not. Just ask the group of West Michigan partners who have invested themselves in the product's growth.

The small, plastic clothing accessory can be attached to the strings on hooded sweaters, key chains and golf bags. It's small enough to fit in between sneakers strings, but big enough to be used as a promotional tool. Plus it keeps jogging pant strings from "disappearing or slipping away to hard to reach places."

You can read the entire story here.

Home sales looking brighter on the lakeshore

There appears to be reason for optimism on the real estate front for homeowners on the lakeshore.

According to excerpts from MLive:

The number of homes sold along the Lakeshore in the first half of the year is down from last year, but on the whole the average sale price is on the rise.

The sales drop is not surprising as last year was fueled by federal home buyer tax credits that required purchase agreements by April 30 with an initial closing deadline of June 30. Buyers ended up getting a three-month extension on the close.

Despite the drop, Holland area Realtor Wendy Holstege said she is seeing robust activity. She has been telling people since the first of the year that the bottom has been reached.

You can read the entire article here.

Ford Museum to undergo major upgrades

Officials at the Ford Museum are in the early stages of preparing for a massive makeover.

According to the story in MLive:

As the Gerald R. Ford Museum reopened for business Saturday, museum officials are confirming plans for a major revamping of its permanent exhibits.

"Everything that is in the exhibit now is under scrutiny," said Marty Allen, chairman emeritus of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation.

"The majority of it will be redone."

You can read the entire story here.

U.S. News ranks Spectrum Health as one of America's top 40 hospitals

U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Grand Rapids, MI-based Spectrum Health as one of the top 40 hospitals in diabetes and endocrinology care in the nation and as a high performer in 10 other categories.

According to excerpts from the story:

A place on the Best Hospitals Honor Roll is reserved for medical centers that demonstrate unusually high expertise across multiple specialties, scoring at or near the top in at least six of 16 specialties. Just 17 of the nearly 5,000 hospitals evaluated for the 2011-12 rankings qualified. Hospitals with the highest scores in a given specialty received 2 Honor Roll points; those with slightly lower scores received 1 point. Honor Roll standing was determined by the total number of Honor Roll points across all 16 specialties.

View nationwide rankings here.
View Spectrum Health's rankings here.






GVSU hires advanced battery expert to help lead Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center

The Muskegon Chronicle reports that in its quest to keep its Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center on the cutting edge of developments in the region, Grand Valley State University has brought on an expert in advanced battery technology.

According to excerpts from the story:

After an exhaustive national search, the Grand Valley State University renewable energy center has appointed an associated director. Suresh Mani Suresh Mani has been named the Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center associate director of research and technology. He joined the Muskegon-based energy center last week.

Mani comes to West Michigan at an opportune time considering his expertise and technology interests. He is a chemical engineer with an extensive background in the advanced battery sector while three battery plants are being developed in the region.

Read the complete story here.



Eastown welcomes a sweet addition to its neighborhood

1509 Wealthy St. SE, the former home of Eastown's 76 Coffee, is now the home to a new business adding some sugar and spice to an already vibrant and diverse neighborhood.

According to the article in MLive:

Friday marked the grand opening of Hussein and his wife, Halima's, new business, Eastown Sweet Treats, in leased space at 1509 Wealthy St. SE.
The Husseins and business partner Said Dimptour have invested $60,000 in renovating the former coffeehouse space.

You can read the complete story here:



A great race in Grand Rapids

Organizers and participants were pumped and proud with the inaugural urban adventure race in downtown Grand Rapids.

According to the article in MLive:

"They did a great job organizing," Kevin Randall said. "I know how many hours it takes to pull this off, and they did a great job. It was a very well-run event."

That's just what race director Mark VanTongeren wanted to hear, especially since he said he had the widest spectrum of participants he has seen at an adventure race, from beginners to veteran runners and triathletes.

"The long and hard days and nights of planning have really paid off," VanTongeren said. "We've had a really smooth start to the race. We're excited. It seems like everyone was thrilled to be here and do something so different than what they might usually do for a competitive sporting event."

You can read the entire story here:



Steelcase's "wormhole" robot take technology for doing business into the future

An article in Crain's Detroit Business says that technology developments by Steelcase could propel the office furniture giant into the next age through "telepresence," -- the science of virtually "being there."

According to excerpts from the story:

Steelcase Inc. President and CEO Jim Hackett sees that his colleague David Kelley is gathering things on his desk to run off to a meeting, so he waves his hand to flag Kelley down for a couple of quick questions.

They had talked earlier that morning about the news of the day. Now Hackett wants Kelley's opinion on a new business venture.

"Are you leaving, David?" Hackett asks the founder and chairman of the design firm Ideo. Kelley stops his bustle, sits on the edge of his desk and nods that he has a minute.

The two men talk as if they were six feet from each other -- instead of 2,300 miles and three time zones apart.

Read the complete story here.


Another LipDub video hopes to keep Grand Rapids on the global map

A report on FoxDetroit.com says a new lipdub video filmed in Grand Rapids and produced by Grand Valley State University students could be the world's first lipdub by senior citizens.

According to excerpts from the story:

Residents at the Clark Retirement Community in Grand Rapids are calling their viral video the world's first senior citizen LipDub. The video, posted on YouTube Tuesday, shows seniors performing to Michael Buble's "Feeling Good." According to the video's description, it was produced by graduates and students at Grand Valley State University.

Read the complete story here.



Tough love meets technology

Levering technology for low-cost marketing, local entrepreneur finds success selling bouquets of beef jerky.

According to the article in MLive:

In the four years since Walther, 41, launched her online business, Beef Jerky Bouquet, the freelance writer has used her advertising background to attract customers using no- and low-cost Internet promotions such as Twitter, Facebook ads, email marketing and online coupons.

You can read the entire story here


Lowell flour mill, King Milling Flour Co., expands due to rising sales

King Milling Flour Co., a longtime mainstay in downtown Lowell, continues to grow.

According to excerpts from the article in MLive:

The city this week granted the company a 12-year tax abatement for a planned $11.37 million expansion that will double the square footage -- albeit largely upward -- and allow the company to expand its customer base.

The company plans to spend $2.7 million on a 90-foot tall building expansion and a new animal feed byproduct storage facility, plus $8.67 million on new loadout machinery and equipment that includes six multi-story concrete flour storage bins.

You can read the entire story here:


Mystery Artist chains more brightly painted bikes to two locations in Muskegon's downtown

The Muskegon Chronicle reports that two more brightly painted bicycles have been left in Muskegon's downtown by a Mystery Artist -- perhaps the same person who left similar bikes downtown last fall.

According to excerpts from the story:

With warm weather comes the return of flowers, retirees and — in downtown Muskegon — the mystery bikes that left local residents scratching their heads last year.

Two painted bikes have recently appeared downtown, apparently left by the same anonymous artist who chained similar two-wheelers to street signs and fences last fall. A red bike with one wheel in safety green and one in lavender -- and a frame marked with the stenciled image of an old-fashioned drill, like the one found on the previous bikes -- is sitting at the corner of Fifth Street and Clay Avenue. A blue and gold bike is locked to a fence at Hartshorn Marina on West Western.

Read the complete story here.




Spring Lake Public Schools best practices could earn back $240,000 in state funding

A report from The Grand Haven Tribune says one local school district's best practices could put it in the running to earn back nearly a quarter of a million dollars in state funding.

According to excerpts from the story:

Spring Lake Public Schools could receive an extra $240,000 next year for conforming to what state lawmakers are calling "best practices," said Superintendent Dennis Furton.

Schools across the state should receive a $100-per-pupil funding restoration out of a $470-per-pupil cut if they meet certain cost-cutting criteria -- such as sharing services with other districts and making employees pay more of their health care costs. Legislators are still working out the details, but Furton is almost certain that the Spring Lake district will qualify.

Read the complete story here.




Buried treasures a catalyst for Michigan tourism

The Great Lakes offers many business opportunities for Michigan, but maybe least well known is the world class scuba diving experiences.

According to an article in MLive:

Experienced divers know a little secret about Michigan: it has a corner on the world's scuba diving market. Instead of heading to the Caribbean or the wreck-rich waters off the Carolinas, thousands of divers choose to jump with both flippers into Michigan's Great Lakes waters.

Doug Bell, owner of Traverse City's Scuba North, said Michigan ranks among the top 10 states in the number of certified divers and is considered world class for wrecks

You can read the entire story here.




Local bait shop owner can thank Stephen Tyler

A fashion trend that recently has become popular in west Michigan has had positive benefits for an unlikely industry.

According to excerpts from the article in MLive:

The trendy look of feathers entwined in peoples' hair isn't just boosting business at hair salons. It's generating sales at shops that sell fly fishing gear.

Rooster feathers used for fishing lures can do double duty as the stylish hair accessories.

That's why Shag Trenton is seeing hair stylists in his bait shop, Shag's TBN Outfitters at 736 Bridge St. NW, looking through his supply of colorful feathers.

He's been cleaned out of the "saddle hackles," slender 12- to 24-inch and longer feathers that grow on the back, or saddle, of specially-bred roosters. They are favored by fly tiers who want to produce four or more dry flies of the same size and pattern.

You can read the entire story here.


Grand Rapids' Cherry Park celebrates 100th, seeks historic status

According to a report in the Grand Rapids Press, Cherry Park could be on its way to gaining historic status at a time when the park is once again attracting families who play together.

According to excerpts from MLive:

Darja Duke was full of energy as the Baxter neighborhood girl ran up the slide at Cherry Park, turned at the top and slid down again, giggling the whole time. Standing nearby, Andre Jones, 22, said he often brings his 5-year-old cousin to the park at Cherry Street and Eastern Avenue SE because her grandmother lives nearby and it's a good way to get Darja to "run out of gas."

They were among those enjoying a sunny afternoon in the park, which is celebrating its 100-year anniversary amid an East Hills Council of Neighbors effort to win a historic preservation grant for the park.

"It has certainly been a gathering place," said K.C. Caliendo, a community organizer with the neighborhood council, whose colorful office occupies the park's northeast corner, next to a wading pool that opens for the summer today. The park was born out of the early 20th century parks movement, local historic preservationist Rebecca Smith Hoffman said.

Hoffman said Grand Rapids was a national leader in the playground movement of the time, which encouraged parks development as a way to combat juvenile delinquency and a means to improve children's overall health.

Read the complete story here.




Holland town hall meeting presents ideas for the city's energy sustainability

The Holland Sentinel reports that ideas surrounding energy sustainability for homes in the city to help curb energy consumption and make the city more sustainable overall.

According to excerpts from the Holland Sentinel:

Involving single family homes in the energy process is the trick, said Peter Garforth, of Garforth International.

The Holland Community Sustainability Committee hosted a town hall meeting Monday night with Garforth to discuss the three scenarios he's developed for the city to consider as its future in energy. The city of Holland retained Garforth International earlier this year to develop a sustainable energy plan for the community.

Garforth thinks big.

Just as new cars display how many miles to the gallon they can get, when homes are sold, people can ask for an energy certificate when they buy a home in Holland that shows how efficient a home is. It happens in Europe, he said.

Read the complete story here.





State program to support innovation garners free legal services from Grand Rapids firm

A program developed by Governor Snyder's administration to support innovation received a big boost when Grand Rapids-based legal firm Varnum committed $1 million in free legal services.


According to an excerpt from the Grand Rapids Business Journal:

The Pure Michigan Business Connect program has garnered another financial commitment in its effort to refuel the state's economy.
Varnum has committed $1 million in free legal services associated with starting a business, capital formation and other legal needs. Varnum's contribution adds to $3 billion committed by Huntington Bank, CMS Energy, DTE Energy, Stage 2 Innovations, Automation Alley and the Export Import Bank of the U.S.


You can read the entire story here:


Local incubator hatches $100,000 award winner

A biotech startup based out of a business incubator at GVSU won $100,000 for their business plan at a GLEQ contest.

According to an excerpt from MITechNews:

Syzygy Biotech Solutions, a Grand Rapids biotech company, Thursday night won the $100,000 SmartZone Award at the Great Lakes Entrepreneur's Quest business plan contest at the James B. Henry Center on the Michigan State University campus.

Syzygy produces biological reagents for use in DNA amplification, a fundamental and growing part of all DNA testing, related medical developments and research. The company is based at the West Michigan Science and Technology Initiative, an incubator run by Grand Valley State University. A sales office and product depot is located in the Michigan Life Science and Innovation Center in Plymouth.

You can read the entire story here:


Organic market, "Nourish," opens on Grand Rapids' Wealthy Street


A Grand Rapids Press article says that a new organic market on Wealthy Street stands ready to offer the neighborhood the best in healthy food options.

According to excerpts from the story:

Sheri Rop was addicted to flour and sugar for most of her adult life. Then she started eating organic food about five years ago, and she noticed an eye-opening change. She felt her obsessions with sweets and carbs diminish and felt more normal about eating after filling up on chemical-free foods. She's been trying to raise awareness about organic foods ever since. Her endeavors have led her to open Nourish Organic Market, 634 Wealthy St. SE in Grand Rapids, which will offer organic items such as fruits and vegetables and grass-fed meat and dairy products. Its soft opening is set for June 29.

"When I started eating real food, just astoundingly I suddenly had a normal relationship with food," said Rop, 63. "I said, 'Well, maybe there's a business here to help people get access to all these products.'"

Read the complete story here.




Holland's Johnson Controls keeps supply chain in-state with provider of lithium-ion battery element

Crain's Detroit Business reports that a Holland manufacturer of high-tech lithium-ion car batteries has signed an agreement with Michigan-based supplier Soulbrain for a key ingredient to produce what could be billions of dollars' worth of product.

According to excerpts from the story:

The electrification of Michigan's auto industry is no longer static as electric cars, Chevrolet Volts and Nissan Leafs, are in customer garages and on city streets. That's good news for the companies along each aspect of the supply chain -- down to the chemicals for the lithium-ion batteries.

Johnson Controls Inc., LG Chem and A123 Systems Inc. all have lithium-ion battery plants in operation or under construction in the state. Local suppliers to this new automotive technology are cropping up as a result, including the state's only supplier of electrolyte, Soulbrain MI Inc.

Read the complete story here.



It's a home buyer's market in West Michigan

It's a good time to buy a house in West Michgan and depending on where you live, it's not a bad time to sell either.

According to an excerpt from the Detroit Free Press:

Julie Dykstra, a recently divorced mother of two, was ecstatic to get a deal on her new house in Grand Rapids since she lost big on the sale of her marital home.

Dykstra, an attorney for Meijer, traded down from a 3,500-square-foot, five-bedroom home in the Grand Rapids area. She found a 1,914-square-foot house with four bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms built late last year. She paid $219,900 for the house in December. It was first listed at $224,900.

You can read the entire article here

Zeeland-based venture turns dirty water clean

Dirty and contaminated water from construction sites is a big problem. And now, a new business based in Zeeland has a big solution.

According to the article in MLive:

An environmental startup company is turning dirty and contaminated water at construction sites into clean water that it says won’t hurt Michigan lakes and streams.

Founded in 2010, Interface H2O LLC has designed a boxcar-sized water cleaning unit called WaterMatrix which can treat up to 900,000 gallons of water a day, filtering out sediment and suspended solids.

You can read the entire article here:

Grand Rapids LipDub Video goes viral, kudos from film critic Roger Ebert, comedian Dennis Miller

A Washington Examiner blog entry reports that national news outlets and celebrities are touting the achievement of the Grand Rapids LipDub Video in getting Grand Rapids noticed as a "living city," in contrast to an earlier report by Newsweek that the city was dying.

According to excerpts from the story:

No one picks on Grand Rapids, Michigan, and gets away with it, at least, not while Rob Bliss is around. With his "Grand Rapids LipDub" music video going viral on YouTube -- almost three million hits worldwide since its release a week ago -- Grand Rapids, and Bliss, are hits themselves. The 22-year-old pulled together a massive effort to counter a report earlier this year in Newsweek that listed Grand Rapids as one of the top ten dying cities in America.

With help from 5,000 volunteer participants from the city, local businesses, local politicians including the mayor, the TV meteorologist, and a $40,000 budget, Bliss has now put Grand Rapids on the map in a way that was beyond his wildest dreams. Movie critic Robert Ebert called it the greatest music video ever made.

Filmed in one continuous take, the nine-minute lip-dub of Don McLean's "American Pie" is perfectly choreographed as it includes the smiling faces of the community -- fire and police departments, American flag-waving pedestrians, cart-wheeling gymnasts, a band of pillow fighters (which was a nod to an earlier Bliss video), a bride and groom exiting their wedding with bridesmaids and groomsmen singing in sync, a concert, joggers, musicians of all kinds.

Read the complete story here.





Kentwood Global Tech program a blueprint for proposed Kent Innovation High School

The Grand Rapids Press reports that a new technology program at East Kentwood High School challenges students to apply technology in real-world situations to solve social and business problems. The learning method is the blueprint for a new high school that targets technology and innovation learning.

According to excerpts from the story:

East Kentwood freshman Gabriella Mynda searched for a way to describe her school's Global Tech program, a departure from traditional high school learning.

"It's fun, but it's hard fun," she said, as classmates nodded in agreement. Kentwood's program is one of two in the region based on the New Tech Network's philosophy of project-based learning, where students use multiple subjects as they create presentations, often working to solve problems suggested by local businesses and organizations.

The programs are serving as a blueprint for the Kent Innovation High School, a countywide effort planned to open in the fall on the campus of the Kent Intermediate School District. Both Kentwood's Global Tech program and Holland's New Tech High are wrapping up their first year with enthusiastic support from students and educators. While they stress it's still early to measure the academic impact, administrators said scores on standardized tests for Global Tech students were higher than average.

Read the complete story here.




Second generation Amway leaders recognized for their work

Following in a father's footsteps is never easy, especially for the scions of a legendary businessman.

According to the story in Mlive:

Two men who emerged from their fathers' long shadows to help lead direct sales giant Amway to become a global powerhouse will be inducted into the Junior Achievement West Michigan Business Hall of Fame on Tuesday.

Doug DeVos and Steve Van Andel, the sons of Amway co-founders Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel, have steered Amway into China and India, among other markets, helping grow revenue to $9.2 billion in 2010.

You can read the entire story here:



New online guide helps entrepreneurs set up shop in Grand Rapids

A Grand Rapids Press article reports that the City of Grand Rapids has released a new online guide to help entrepreneurs set up a new business in the city, choose a location and get help from other resources.

According to excerpts from the story:

The city has launched a new online guide designed to make it a little bit easier for entrepreneurs to find help and navigate the bureaucracy they could face as they prepare to set-up shop. The guide, created at the request of the Grand Rapids City Commission and city manager, outlines some of the steps needed to prepare to open a business and directs potential business owners to resources geared to help them choose a location, comply with codes and find incentives.

Read the complete story here.





Fremont builds first large-scale co-digester in Michigan to convert community waste into electricity

Biomass Magazine reports that Fremont has broken ground on one of the nation's first community co-digesters that will reduce the amount of organic waste sent to landfills by converting organic and agricultural waste produced by area food processors and industries into electricity, liquid fertilizer and compost.

According to excerpts from the story:

One of the first large-scale anaerobic digesters using co-digestion in the U.S. has secured its funding and is scheduled to be operational in the summer of 2012. The $22 million Fremont Community Digester project in the western Michigan town of Fremont is owned by entrepreneurial firm Novi Energy LLC and Indus Energy LLC, an investment group in Bingham Farms, Mich. Construction has begun on the facility, which will digest about 100,000 tons per year of both organic and agricultural waste.

Feedstock supply contracts are in place with Fremont-based Gerber Products Co., a baby food and baby products company, and several other regional food processers and agricultural operations, according to Novi. The biogas produced at the plant will be used to generate 3 megawatts (MW) of electricity, which will be sold to Michigan utility Consumers Energy under a long-term agreement, according to Novi.

Read the complete story here.



West Michigan foundry Eagle Alloy making a comeback

It is a much happier celebration this year during manufacturing month for Eagle Alloy as they climb back from difficult times in 2008 and 2009.


According to excerpts from MLive:

Eagle Alloy has hired back 137 workers since December to reach a group total of 400 employees, and is in the process of hiring another 50, co-owners Mark Fazakerley and John Workman said. The company at 5142 Evanston is planning a $14 million expansion in the second half of this year and can be expected to hire another 150 workers.

You can read the complete story here.



Mercy Health Partners adds more physicians

Consolidation continues in the regional health care industry as a cardiology group in Muskegon is purchased by Mercy Health Partners.

According to the story in MLive:

Mercy Health Partners has purchased the cardiology physician group that  provides what has become a signature service for the consolidated hospital system.


Mercy Health Partners now owns West Shore Cardiology, a heart practice that includes eight cardiologists, two physician assistants and 46 employees.
The price of the purchase was not announced, but the economic advantages of the acquisition will pay for the deal within several years, hospital officials said.


You can read the compete story here.


Hill Machinery remains relevant after 100 years

A former blacksmith shop is optimistic about the next 100 years.

According to excerpts from MLive:

 In 1911, when Hill Machinery first opened its doors in Grand Rapids near the corner of Lafayette Avenue and Michigan Street NE, some of its customers came from the nascent automotive industry.
Its founder, James Corbett, named the company for its location on what is now Heritage Hill.

You can read the entire story here.


Grand Rapids' Festival of the Arts announces new partners, new activities for 2011

WZZM 13 reports that Grand Rapids' Festival of the Arts has new partnerships with the Grand Rapids Art Museum and other organizations that will expand the number and variety of arts-related activities for the early June event.

According to excerpts from the story:

Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts announced several new partnerships and events Tuesday morning, previewing the June festival. Festival of the Arts, the largest volunteer organized arts festival in the country, runs June 3rd - 5th in downtown Grand Rapids.

New this year: The Grand Rapids Art Museum is partnering with the festival, expanding the variety of exhibits and activities in and around the museum. The museum will host the Festival 2011 Regional Arts Exhibition, the Indoor Classical concerts, the Festival 2011 Film Competition, and family activities on Wege Plaza by the GRAM Education Department.

Read the complete story here.




Detroit Free Press touts Grand Rapids' Medical Mile as a catalyst of transformation

A report from the Detroit Free Press recognizes the development of Grand Rapids' Medical Mile as a catalyst for the transformation of the city into a medical Mecca.

According to excerpts from the story:

The city once renowned for furniture construction has transformed itself into one dedicated to building healthier lives, showing how a thoughtful revitalization plan can be achieved over time. Fifteen years ago, community leaders in Michigan's second-largest city embarked on a grand vision to build up its medical community.

Today, after $1 billion in public and private investment, there are 14,500 jobs and a thriving medical community that has helped prevent an aging manufacturing base from backsliding, according to local development and industry experts. The stretch along downtown's Michigan Street -- officially called Medical Mile, but nicknamed Pill Hill -- continues to expand, boasting an ever-growing array of hospitals, laboratories, bio-med companies and related schools.

Read the complete story here.



The quiet success of GFS Marketplace

GFS Marketplace is proving to be a winning concept in the very competitive retail grocery sector.

According to an article in MLive:

The Wyoming-based chain has made a success of being a niche player in the highly competitive food retail market.
That was not the intention in 1979 when the then-82-year-old Gordon Food Service opened its first Cash and Carry store in an unused portion of its Wyoming distribution center.

You can read the entire story here:


Spotlight on family-owned businesses

Some of the biggest names in the West Michigan business scene shared their insights on the tricky dynamics of family-owned businesses.

According to excerpts from MLive:

The scions of some of West Michigan's biggest family-owned businesses gathered Friday to share some of their secrets with scholars from around the world.
The international Family Enterprise Research Conference was sponsored by the Family Owned Business Institute in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University. The organization aims to provide a resource to family-owned businesses.

You can read the entire story here:

Plans moving ahead for fishing pier, walkway along Lake Macatawa north shore to Holland State Park

The Holland Sentinel says years of planning for a walkway that connects five parks called the Historic Ottawa Beach Parks along Lake Macatawa's north shore is moving forward steadily.

According to excerpts from the story:

Imagine a walkway meandering along Lake Macatawa's northern shore, past fishing piers, lines of boats and a tidy little museum, eventually funneling into Holland State Park. Slowly but surely, that's the vision now becoming a reality for the end of Ottawa Beach Road, one of the busiest summer destinations in the state.

Momentum has been steadily growing for the Historic Ottawa Beach Parks, with all five parts of the project now in some phase of development. By 2013, it all could be a reality. The Black Lake Boardwalk is done, and the Holland Harbor Fishing Access Project is nearly there. The other three pieces — the connecting walkway, the Ottawa Beach Pumphouse Museum and the marina — are still years away.

Read the complete story here.



NOVO 1 seeks second call center site in West Michigan, could mean more jobs

An article on Mlive.com says that based on the success of its Holland call center, NOVO 1 could be considering a second call center in West Michigan.

According to excerpts from the story:

NOVO 1 CEO Mary Murcott said the Dallas-based customer contact company is looking for a site for a second call center in West Michigan. In Holland to speak at a Chamber of Commerce meeting this morning, Murcott said the Holland NOVO 1 call center at 1351 Waverly Rd. opened in 2010 is "performing well beyond first year expectations" and receiving high marks from clients.

Read the complete story here.




Greenville hospital getting a $9.6M facelift

Hospital expansion in Greenville to upgrade nearly 13,000 square feet through new construction and renovations.

According to excerpts from MLive:

A new emergency room is part of a $9.6 million expansion and renovation planned at Spectrum Health's United Hospital in Greenville, United President Paul Bonis announced.

You can read the complete story here

Buy local campaign targets West Side of Grand Rapids

West Side merchants are confident that a hyperlocal "buy West Side" campaign will boost exposure for many of their retailers.

According to excerpts from MLive:

They are launching LiveWest, an effort to encourage people to spend as many as their dollars as possible on the West Side in the month of May.

If Kyle Van Strien needs an appliance, he'll head to Nawara Bros. on West Fulton Street. For his groceries? Ralph's Market, Parkside Foods and Duthler's should have what he needs, not to mention the specialty meat shops or Mexican grocers.

You can read the complete story here.

Greater Grand Rapids' 2011 Restaurant Week to be even bigger, better than last year

GRgrub.com says last year's Restaurant Week stimulated some $1.2M in spending by local foodies and families enjoying some of Greater Grand Rapids' best culinary. This year, organizers say the eats and treats will tip the scales even further.
According to excerpts from the story:

For Doug Small, Restaurant Week Grand Rapids 2010 was only the beginning. During an announcement Thursday for the encore event, the Experience Grand Rapids president announced not only the 2011 dates, but also an additional day for the event and an avenue for more restaurants to participate. Running Nov. 3-13 this year, Restaurant Week Grand Rapids is designed to bring higher awareness of quality restaurants in Grand Rapids by offering three-course meals for $25. During the announcement at Secchia Institute for Culinary Education at Grand Rapids Community College, Small jokingly said a week is more than seven days when he's planning — this year's event is 11 days.

Read the complete story here.





Grand Rapids' Gerald Ford honored with bronze statue in U.S. Capitol Rotunda

The Grand Rapids Press reports that a life size statue of President Gerald R. Ford was unveiled in the Capitol Rotunda this week.

According to excerpts from the story:

Some four years after he laid in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, former President Gerald R. Ford returned to the Capitol today. Congressional leaders and members of the Ford family unveiled the bronze likeness of the late president that now will become one of two statues representing Michigan in the Capitol's National Statuary Hall Collection.

"The House and Senate and the people of Michigan welcome dad back to the Capitol," said Susan Ford Bales, Ford's only daughter. "Today the people of Michigan and Dad's beloved House of Representatives have spoken to future generations."

Read the complete story here.




Local man buys into healthy vending franchise

Caledonia resident Jim Rabourn buys into fast-growing franchise of vending machines that provide healthier alternatives to traditional machines.

According to excerpts in MLive:

San Diego-based franchisor Fresh Healthy Vending started last year and has been on a tear around the country. They claim to be on track to sell an additional 100 franchises in 2011 and even more in 2012.

The machines are distinctive, colored in green and orange. They stand apart from the standard brown and black vending machines found in cafeterias and break rooms.


You can read the complete story here.

Growing Community Leaders

Believing that strong leadership is critical to healthy communities, the Center for Community Leadership announces a series of programs designed to train community-minded individuals.

According to an excerpt from WZZM13:

'Center for Community Leadership is holding three programs to enhance community leaders: "Leadership Grand Rapids," "Inside Grand Rapids," and "Emerging Leaders."

"With the variety of programs and experiences and by connecting to other individuals who have that same passion," says Kevin Stotts, Vice President of Community Leadership. "We really think it helps to keep people here and attract people here because it really has been about decades of outstanding community leadership that has gotten this community to this point in time."

"Leadership Grand Rapids" is a nine-month commitment to enhance one's role as a community trustee.
The program will examine public safety, social services, quality education, philanthropy as well as many more important topics.

You can read the complete story here:

MSU College of Human Medicine's Secchia Center awarded LEED Gold

An article on the World Interior Design Network website reports that Grand Rapids' Secchia Center, a $90M state-of-the-art building for MSU's College of Human Medicine, has achieved LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

According to excerpts from the story:

The Secchia Center, headquarters for Michigan State University's (MSU) College of Human Medicine in downtown Grand Rapids, U.S., has been awarded the LEED Gold certification from the US Green Building Council. Designed by the architect Dick Temple of URS Corp, the centre was unveiled in late 2010. It has incorporated many eco-friendly features including energy-saving measures which reduce utility costs by 34%.

Read the complete story here.



Two Grand Rapids schools named to The Princeton Review's 2011 Guide to Green Colleges

Two Grand Rapids colleges are among a handful of Michigan campuses identified by The Princeton Review as the most sustainable campuses in the nation.

According to excerpts from the story:

For three consecutive years, The Princeton Review has been researching issues of sustainability as they pertain to college. In April 2011 we partnered with the U.S. Green Building Council to produce The Princeton Review's Guide to 311 Green Colleges. And every year we publish our Green Ratings in The Best Colleges. The Princeton Review's third annual Green Rating evaluates colleges and universities on their environmentally-related policies, practices and academic offerings. The result is a numerical score on a scale of 60-99. You will find each college's (703 of them) Green Rating on the Campus Life / Facilities tab of their profile. We salute 18 schools for their commitment to sustainability. These schools received our highest Green Rating of 99 and a place on The Princeton Review'sGreen Honor Roll.

Read the complete story here.
View the list of colleges by state here.



Meeting of the minds at TEDxGrandRapids

Speakers for the upcoming TED conference in Grand Rapids have been announced by organizers.

According to excerpts from MLive:

Local organizers have so far secured 14 speakers for the day-long event, each of whom will have no more than 15 minutes to relate their expertise to the topic of the day: Innovate X, "where 'x' is an undefined variable."

You can read the entire story here:


Grand Rapids DDA approves subsidized retail incubators for downtown, location under study

A report on WZZM13 says that the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority has approved a proposal to attract more downtown retail businesses by subsidizing retail incubators in downtown storefronts.

According to excerpts from the story:

The Downtown Development Authority on Wednesday approved, in concept, the creation of retail incubators in downtown Grand Rapids. The next step will be for the DDA to consider specific areas for retail incubator zones. There are already two proposals under consideration: the Trade Center building at 50 Lewis and a block of buildings on South Division near Wealthy. The DDA would help retailers by subsidizing the rent for a certain period of time.

Read the complete story here.





City of Grand Rapids, Local First launch points reward program for recyclers

WZZM13 reports that the City of Grand Rapids and Local First launched this week a new program to reward city residents for recycling by offering discounts and giveaways through local businesses.

According to excerpts from the story:

The City of Grand Rapids and Local First have formally launched myGRcitypoints.com , a rewards program for residents for recycling. The program was first announced in August by City Manager Greg Sundstrom. Residents can register online to receive points based on the amount of recycling they place in their city-issued single stream recycling bins. 61 local businesses have signed onto the program to reward residents for their points.

Read the complete story here.





Cans becoming more commonplace for microbrews

Drinking craft beer from a can is not a common practice, but more small brewers are finding several good reasons to explore the option.

According to excerpts in MLive:

The long-held belief that craft beer only belongs in bottles is slowly disappearing as canning equipment is more readily available to small breweries and the financial and environmental benefits are causing beermakers to take notice. Getting customers accustomed to grabbing cans may be the biggest hurdle as they start appearing on store shelves, some industry officials said.

You can read the entire story here.


So far, so good for Muskegon solar installations

As long as you can get the financing and some sunshine, it appears that solar power can be a good long-term investment.

According to the story in MLive:

One of the largest solar installations in Michigan went up on the Muskegon sailboat business' storage building roof last summer, and so far the results are positive, Torresen and the solar project's officials say.

"We learned a lot from the project," said Torresen co-owner Brian Torresen. "We have definitely found it feasible. If you can get financing, it's a no brainer."

The 150-kilowatt array of solar panels on Torresen's roof is financed and owned by Chart House Energy of Chicago. Chart House leases the roof from Torresen and used Inovateus Solar of South Bend, Ind., as a supplier of Scheuten Solar panels made in Germany.

You can read the entire story here.


Knape & Vogt to create 100 new jobs in Grand Rapids

A report on WOOD TV8 says that a tax break approved by the City of Grand Rapids will help a local manufacturer create 100 new jobs.

According to excerpts from the story:

Grand Rapids city commissioners approved a tax break for Knape & Vogt that will help the company create 100 new jobs. The manufacturer , which produces storage related components for the furniture and other industries was granted an Industrial Facilities Exemption Certificate. That means the city won't collect personal property taxes on $3.5 million of new equipment the company is buying. The exemption will save the company over $7,400 in yearly city taxes.

Read the complete story here.



West Michigan agencies support new statewide coalition to reform transportation policies

A report in MiBiz.com says several West Michigan nonprofits are part of a new statewide coalition whose goal is to improve local economies through transportation policy reform and smart investments in roads and bridges.

According to excerpts from the story:

Making Michigan's towns and economies more robust through transportation policy reform and smart investments in roads and bridges is the ambition behind Transportation For Michigan (Trans4M). The new coalition was announced today during a statewide telephone press conference.

"This coalition is dedicated to establishing public policies that enable more frequent, reliable and affordable transportation options and smart, effective prioritization of upkeep for our existing roads and bridges," said Dan Gilmartin, executive director of the Michigan Municipal League. "To be competitive, Michigan must recognize the vital role that these services play in our economy and our quality of life."

Read the complete story here.




Niche marketing plus innovation a key to success for Display Pack

Finding the right niche and always focusing on innovation in an extremely competitive industry has been one key to success for Grand Rapids-based manufacturer, Display Pack.

According to excerpts in the story from the Grand Rapids Business Journal,

Display Pack, a family-owned and managed manufacturing business that was launched single-handedly by Roger Hansen in a Grand Rapids garage in 1967, is an integral part of the process that puts a lot of hot consumer products on shelves across the country, from corporations such as GE, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, DeWalt Tools... the list goes on and on.

Display Pack, located on Monroe Avenue on the north side of Grand Rapids, has been growing its expertise in innovation along with its quick response time to its customers, and that apparently has everything to do with its success today.

You can read the complete story here.

Hopeful coffeehouse entrepreneur tries again for West Side rezoning

Making his second attempt at starting a coffee shop near the downtown campus of Grand Valley State University, Aaron Baker continues to learn life lessons from the school of hard knocks.

According to the story in MLive

A young entrepreneur whose rezoning request for a new coffee shop on the city's near West Side was denied in February is back.

This time, Aaron Baker is asking the city to re-zone the former Metrol Controls building at 600 Lake Michigan Drive NW from residential to a "traditional business district" designation.

You can read the complete story here.

101 West Michigan companies recognized as the 2011 "Best and Brightest" to work for

A report found on WLOX.com announces that 101 innovative, progressive companies have made the list of West Michigan's Best and Brightest companies to work for.

According to excerpts from the story:

It takes a clear commitment to quality human resources initiatives for a company to be named one of "West Michigan's 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For." These select companies will be honored by the Michigan Business and Professional Association (MBPA) on Thursday, May 5 at the Pinnacle Center in the Grand Rapids area.

This year's winners practice innovative strategies and represent best practices in human resources in industries as diverse as automotive, insurance, hospitality, communications and nonprofit organizations.

Read the complete story here.





Corp! Magazine readers name six West Michigan businesses to Michigan's Best in Business 2011

Corp! Magazine readers have voted and elected six West Michigan companies to the coveted Michigan's Best in Business 2011 list. The companies represent varied industries from technology and green solutions to specialized manufacturing.

According to excerpts from the story:

Competition always brings out the best in contestants. In this case, Michigan businesses are proving once again that our state has the right economic climate for businesses to succeed. It hasn't been an easy journey though, but the proof of their grit and determination is in the pudding. Included in our awards list are businesses that have heard from their customers and taken action. They're learning that consumers are price shopping, and looking for companies who will treat them as important guests.

Most importantly, it's high business ethics that the buying public is searching for. Competing business may look the same on the surface, but consumers are doing all they can to find the very best ones.

Read the complete story here.





Otsego firm a leader in magnet power

Taking advantage of advanced manufacturing technologies and the emerging market for electronic and hybrid vehicles, an Otsego-based company is thriving.

According to excerpts in MLive:

A small motor helps operate a pump inside the engine of Nissan's new Leaf electric-powered vehicle.

The motor pushes fluids used to cool batteries and electronics. Polymer-coated magnets, made by Tengam Engineering Inc. at its 545 Washington St. plant in Otsego, help that motor operate.

You can read the complete story here.


Census data shows population of West Michigan townships have double-digit increases

An article by The Grand Rapids Press says townships surrounding Grand Rapids have seen significant population growth since the 2000 census.

According to excerpts from the story:

Townships east of Grand Rapids chalked up solid gains in population, especially Ada Township, where its 33 percent growth trumped its 30.4 percent pace in the 1990s, according to U.S. Census data released this week. The townships of Grand Rapids (up 19 percent), Lowell (up 14 percent) and Vergennes (up 16 percent) also got bigger, while the city of Lowell reverted back to a level near its 1980 population.

Read the complete story here.





Some West Michigan builders mark an increase in demand for new construction homes

A report from WOOD-TV8 says that although housing starts are down nationwide, some West Michigan builders have seen double-digit growth in demand.

According to excerpts from the story:

Last week, the U.S. Commerce department reported a 17% drop in new home sales nationwide, but some West Michigan builders said that's not the case for several local communities. Total housing permits for the Grand Rapids market are up 16% from one year ago; which may be surprising, considering the inventory of existing homes. One builder said the boom is happening in a very narrow segment of the market -- communities where buyers are not finding what they want in the $300,000 to $500,000 range. "They're finding the homes, but needing a lot of work," said Matt McCollum, a builder for Forest Hills Homes. "And I think these people don't want to spend ($30,000) to $50,000 to update the kitchen and flooring, so they are considering building."

Read the complete story here.





Mega-fans help farmers prevent frost damage

A unique solution to frost-related crop damage is taking hold on many area farms.

According to excerpts from MLive:

Towering high above orchards throughout the area, these mega-fans --  originally spawned from airplane propellers in the 1960s -- can blow your hat off 150 feet away.

More relevantly, a single fan on a cold spring night can keep frost off trees in a 10-acre circle, preventing crop failure by pulling warmer air from up high.

You can read the entire story here.


Pilot project targets a slimmer Division Avenue

City planners and local business owners are hoping that a redesigned Division Avenue will serve as a catalyst for revitalization.

According to excerpts from MLive:

Division Avenue would be a happier, more pleasant street, if it went on a road diet, according to city planners and property owners along downtown's north-south thoroughfare.

They are proposing a one-year pilot project that would slim the five-lane street down to three lanes between Michigan Street on the north to Wealthy Street on the south. With three traffic lanes, the street would get bicycle lanes, on-street parking spaces or wider traffic lanes.


You can read the entire story here:

Wolverine World Wide has billion dollar expectations for their new brand

According to WWW executives, barefoot running is more than a fad. As a result, WW has announced new brand for their Merrell line of outdoor products.

According to excerpts from MLive

Wolverine World Wide Inc. is betting a shoe that mimics going barefoot will be a runaway hit for its outdoor brand, Merrell.

"Merrell Barefoot is going to be important for helping Merrell become our first billion-dollar brand," Chief Executive Blake Krueger said.

The Rockford footwear company recently introduced the Barefoot Collection -- lightweight high-tech shoes with such style names as Trail Glove, Pace Glove and Pure Glove -- created with the intent to be the go-to brand in the barefoot outdoor shoe category.

You can read the entire article here.

Muskegon regional planners seek funding for industrial projects that provide jobs

A report in the Muskegon Chronicle indicates that regional planners are working toward securing federal and state funding for a number of industrial development projects that will bring jobs to the region.

According to excerpts from the story:

Cross-lake ferry service? Check. Small-scale industrial parks? Check. Water resources institute? Check. The Muskegon area has had several high-priced projects on its checklist over the years that were aided by funding from the federal government. Now regional planners are adding to that list or submitting old project ideas in hopes of getting funding for them this time around. Two of the projects on the wish list could give a big boost to Muskegon's employment outlook.

Read the complete story here.





Gilda's LaughFest comedians and businesses want in on next year's event

After a 10-day festival filled with laughter, the Grand Rapids Press reports that LaughFest's participating businesses and Gilda's Club leaders report bigger than expected crowds and enthusiasm for next year's event.

According to excerpts from the story:

Nearly 300 LaughFest staff, volunteers and attendees raised yellow and black placards above their heads into rainy conditions Sunday afternoon on Calder Plaza to create one giant LaughFest-logo smile -- and with good reason.

The first-year event, a 10-day laughter-focused fundraiser and celebration of Gilda's Club Grand Rapids' 10-year anniversary, has a lot to smile about having been both "seriously funny" and seriously successful for participants, local businesses and its comedians. LaughFest attracted 55,000 attendees from 25 states and Canada with many throwing around the adjective "world-class" in describing the event.

Read the complete story here.





Local pizza impresario enters prime time

With access to a commercial kitchen and with a strong reputation, Willy Olund is on the verge of a major commercial breakthrough by introducing his gluten-free product to a much bigger audience.

According to excerpts from MLive

Willy Olund, co-owner of Willy O's Pizza & Grille of South Haven, is taking his international award-winning, gluten-free pizzas into mass production at a commercial kitchen in Holland.

You can read the entire article here.

Website is making a difference in retaining and recruiting talent in West Michigan

Quaeris, a website designed to promote West Michigan as a region to live and work, is making an impact according to area employers.

According to excerpts in MLive,

Launched a year ago, the site is part of a broader, collaborative effort by a group of employers to promote and brand West Michigan as a destination for talent, which in turn can lure business investments, especially coming out of the recession.

The website, Jim D'Amico says, is a valuable resource on those occasions when the Walker-based Bissell Homecare is talking to someone from outside the region.

You can read the entire story here.


Grand Rapids shoe store Premier gets national mention for its chic sneakers

In its quest to find candidates for its Fab Five sneaker stores Complex.com makes a stop at a distinctive shop in Grand Rapids' Heartside shopping district.

According to excerpts from the story:

Half of the sneaker game is knowing what kicks are out when, and which shops have them.

As we continue our mission of bringing you the insides of the best sneaker spots from around the U.S., we found ourselves and potential Fab Five spot by stopping in at Premier, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Read the complete story here.





Holland packaging manufacturer says proposed expansion includes 180 new jobs

The Holland Sentinel reports that a growing West Michigan company plans an expansion to accommodate growth and 180 new employees over the next four years.

According to excerpts from the story:

Multi Packaging Solutions plans to expand its Holland facility by up to 180 jobs with a four-year tax credit from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The estimated value of the credit that was approved today is $865,119. The company currently has 94 employees in Holland out of 865 Michigan staff. Multi Packaging Solutions is experiencing growth in selling pharmaceutical cartons.

Read the complete story here.





Healthcare via smart phone

Mobile technology is poised to become increasingly mainstream within the medical industry as federal approval opens the door for expanded use.

According to excerpts  the article in MLive:

Local experts say recent first-time federal approval of a mobile app for doctors to view radiology scans and diagnose serious medical problems is yet another catalyst further igniting the rapidly expanding world of mobile medical technology.

You can read the complete article here:


Schuler Books is working hard to stay relevant in a rapidly changing industry

Remaining competitive in the 21st century is challenging for any business, in any industry. This is especially true for Grand Rapids-based bookseller, Schuler Books.

According to excerpts from MLive:

Adapting and diversifying the 29-year-old business is one strategy that’s helping the five-store Grand Rapids-based chain stay healthy at a time when Ann Arbor-based Borders is in bankruptcy and Barnes & Noble has been put up for sale.

"It's almost impossible to tell what the bookstore will look like in five years," said Cecile Fehsenfeld, who co-founded Schuler with her husband, Bill. "I would like to think we are building a new model for what the next kind of bookstore might look like."

You can read the complete story here:



Live entertainment, "Dating Game," and Creole food enliven new downtown Muskegon bistro

A Muskegon Chronicle article reports that a new bistro on the lower level of Muskegon's Frauenthal Center focuses on live entertainment, DJs and other performance fun to attract patrons.

According to excerpts from the story:

When Paul and Lisa Broussard opened the 411 Bistro-Lounge in the lower level of the Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts, they knew they would need more than just a good menu if they were to succeed. The Broussards have taken over the restaurant space that was once the City Cafe but have taken it in a new direction.

They say the want to be true to the "performing" center and are offering a growing selection of live entertainment in the lounge.

Read the complete story here.





TV's "This Old House" names Grand Rapids' Heritage Hill a 2011 Best Old House Neighborhood

ThisOldHouse.com touts Grand Rapids' historic Heritage Hill neighborhood as one of the top 12 "old house neighborhoods" in the country for sustaining a sense of place in a storied residential area.

According to excerpts from the story:

For the fourth year in a row, we've tracked down North America's most timeless neighborhoods—places where lovingly crafted old houses have extraordinary pasts and unarguably promising futures. With help from our friends at Portland, Oregon-based PreservationDirectory.com—who distributed our nomination forms to more than 14,000 historical societies, neighborhood groups, and preservation nonprofits—we've assembled our biggest-ever list of off-the-beaten-path places that are worth eyeing for a great old home.

Heritage Hill, Grand Rapids, Michigan: This neighborhood is a mecca for people who love historic American architecture. Not only are the homes storied, the fact that they stand is significant to preservation societies across the U.S. Urban-renewal plans for Grand Rapids during the 1960s had doomed this treasure trove of old houses, but the community fought to protect them. In winning the landmark case, members of the Heritage Hill Association set a precedent: Federal planning agencies are now required to consider their projects' effects on historic properties.

Read the complete story here.



Wellness program worth its weight in savings

After three years of operation, Amway's corporate wellness program is paying dividends in terms of savings for health care costs and higher fitness levels.

According to an excerpt from the story in MLive:

"For every $1 we spend, we get $2 back in savings," said Tom Boehr, manager of Amway's corporate wellness program Optimal You. In 2010, data show the three-year-old program came out ahead for the first time.

The fact that the program is having positive results so soon is impressive, Boehr said. He expects the savings related to the program to continue to grow as more employees take part, and eventually outpace costs.

You can read the entire story here:



Area inventor develops a tool to capture wasted energy in the mining and construction industries

The Dean Energy Harvester, a new invention by Dean Rosendall, has the potential to make an impact on sustainability efforts in several sectors.

According to the article in MLive:
Dean Rosendall felt there was a need to reclaim wasted energy from certain processes, and no one seemed to be filling that need.

So he invented the Dean Energy Harvester, DEH for short, which utilizes wasted process energy in mining and similar industries.

You can read the complete story here.


New Grand Rapids Chamber CEO brings rail transit, business tax experience with him

A report by WJRW says that the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce has selected a new president and CEO who will bring with him first-hand experience in establishing a Chicago-area commuter rail system and a record of defeating new business taxes.

According to excerpts from the story:

The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce will have a new President & CEO as of April 4. Rick Baker, an executive with more than 23 years of chamber experience, has been chosen to succeed Jeanne Englehart, who will wrap up her seven-year tenure at the Chamber next month.

Baker is currently President and COO of the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce in Moline, IL and Davenport, IA, an organization with 1,800 member businesses, 34 professional staff and a $4.6 million budget. It covers an Illinois and Iowa business community of multiple municipalities in a bi-state metro

Read the complete story here.





West Michigan Golf Show Founder, designer of Egypt Valley golf course named to MI Golf Hall of Fame

Cybergolf.com reports that the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame has elected four new honorees to be inducted in May. Among them are two golfers who have influenced golf in West Michigan for many years.

According to excerpts from the story:

Public links veteran Jim Briegel, golf course architect Arthur Hills, journalist Terry Moore and Don Perne, co-founder of the PGA of America's Professional Golf Management at Ferris State University have been elected to the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame.

Hills was captain of the Michigan State University golf team while working toward a degree in Agronomy, and Lansing native Perne was a teammate and served three years prior to Hills as captain. Hills designed 16 courses in Michigan, including the Arthur Hills Course at Boyne Highlands, Bay Harbor in Petoskey, Egypt Valley in Ada, Hawkshead in South Haven, Shepherd's Hollow and Pine Trace in metropolitan Detroit, and Red Hawk in Tawas.

Read the complete story here.



Launch of West Michigan E-merge entrepreneur network puts resources at innovators' fingertips

A news report in the White Lake Beacon states that a new West Michigan entrepreneur network will gather and coordinate resources, programs and services all in one place for innovators looking to start or grow their own businesses.

According to excerpts from the story:

Current business entrepreneurs or those considering starting their own company can now access resources through the newly announced "e-merge" entrepreneur network on Michigan's West Coast. A press conference was held last Wednesday morning on the Frauenthal Center stage to publicly kick off the effort which will coordinate current resources for entrepreneurs, organize new programs, promote entrepreneurial services and promote the benefits of entrepreneurship to the community..

Read the complete story here.





Holland to host Canada's Cup yacht race U.S. trials, final competition

WHTC reports that Holland, Mich. will be the site of the 2011 Canada's Cup U.S. trials and finals competition, only the second time in the race's 115-year history that the competition will be on Lake Michigan waters.

According to excerpts from the story:

It's not the America's Cup, but it could be the closest thing to it that the Lakeshore will ever see. Officials of the Macatawa Bay Yacht Club announced yesterday that it will be the host site for the US trials and the final competition in the Canada's Cup race late this summer. The honor came via having Bob Hughes win the trophy at the helm of the Heritage four years ago, and both he and Amway heir Doug DeVos are representing the local team in its efforts to successfully defend the 115-year-old prize.

Read the complete story here.





Crain's Detroit Business recognizes Grand Rapids attractions

Grand Rapids has three cultural attractions that were in the top 10 most visited destinations in the state in 2010.

According to excerpts from MLive:

Three area attractions were recognized this week as being among Michigan's largest cultural institutions, based on attendance figures from 2010.

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park and the John Ball Zoological Garden ranked third and fourth on the Crain's Detroit Business' list. The Grand Rapids Art Museum earned eighth place.


You can read the complete story here.


Peopledesign co-owner recognized

Yang Kim is being recognized for her contributions to design and advertising.

According to excerpts from MLive:

Kim will receive the Silver Medal Award, the highest honor given by American Advertising Federation chapters, at the West Michigan Addy Awards on Thursday at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

You can read the complete story here.


Arnie's getting ready to return to West Side

Arnie's, an iconic Grand Rapids bakery and restaurant is getting ready to start construction on their new building after the devastating fire in 2007.

According to excerpts from MLive:

Plans call for beginning construction on the $500,000 project as early as April and completing it in the summer.

The company's former two-story headquarters on the site will be incorporated into the new restaurant. That old headquarters will be expanded with a 4,100 square-foot addition, creating a 7,600-square-foot restaurant and bakery.

The new Arnie's will be about the same size as the previous 150-seat restaurant, Erik Fahlen, the Fahlen's brother and the Arnie's Inc.‚ vice-president.
Rebuilding on the original 1.5 acre site is a reversal of plans announced last summer when the company made a deal with a pair of Chicago businessmen to redevelop the acreage with a mix of retail and offices. At that time, the family planned to add on to its bakery plant farther down Leonard, where its corporate offices are now located.

You can read the entire story here.



Energy awareness program nets big savings for Zeeland Public Schools

Zeeland Public Schools knew they could save some money, but were pleasantly surprised when the total savings from an energy awareness campaign exceeded $200,000.

According to excerpts from MyZeeland.com:

The district was hoping to save about $100,000 during the first year of the project, but was pleasantly surprised to realize that when the final numbers were tallied, Zeeland saved about $237,000.

You can read the complete story here.



Grand Rapids' LaughFest signs The Verve Pipe for Super Saturday

Along with dozens of comedy stars, WZZM-13 reports that LaughFest has signed the internationally renowned homeboys, The Verve Pipe, for musical entertainment on what the event has dubbed Super Saturday.

According to excerpts from the story:

The Verve Pipe, featuring local musician Brian VanderArk, will be playing at LaughFest this spring, according to festival organizers.
The band will be playing during the March 19 Super Saturdays event at Ford Fieldhouse.
Gilda's LaughFest runs from March 10 - March 20 at dozens of locations around Grand Rapids. Along with several regular comedy shows, there will be more than 100 free events during the ten-day event that benefits Gilda's Club of Grand Rapids.

Read the complete story here.





Grand Rapids Bike Week receives city commission's blessing, plans move ahead

It's been an uphill ride, but WOOD-TV8 reports that the proposed motorcycle bike week will take place this summer thanks to a compromise between the organizers and the Grand Rapids city commission.

According to excerpts from the story:

Grand Rapids city commissioners have given their own version of the Blessing of the Bikes. After two months of debate and a week's worth of talk and compromise between promoters and commissioners with concerns, the full commission allowed the city manager's office to move forward with lining up the needed approvals for Bike Week to come to the city. Promoters brought a number of concessions to commissioners to sell the plan.

Read the complete story here.





Rebranding downtown Muskegon

In continuing efforts to revitalize downtown Muskegon, a local organization goes through a rebranding process.

According the story in MLive:

A downtown organization has a new name, logo, executive and direction as efforts continue in promoting Muskegon's central business district.

The former Muskegon Main Street group has emerged as Downtown Muskegon Now under the direction of Andrew Haan. With a logo featuring the Third Street and West Western Avenue sculpture "Muskegon, Together Rising," the group is ready to promote and continue to develop the downtown area.

You can read the entire story here.


Kids play, parent relaxes

Combining a coffee shop with a children's play area, local entrepreneurs hope to find a winning combination.

According the story in Mlive:

A new place offers Mom or Dad a chance to relax with a latte, peruse e-mails or read while their kids jump, crawl and wind their way through a four-level play structure.

Or Mom and Dad can kick off their shoes and join the fun.
Laura and Matt Greene plan to open Java Gym between Feb. 26 and March 2 at 2211 East Beltline Ave. NE, Suite C, just north of Knapp's Corner.

You can read the entire story here.


Kent County hotels have record-setting year; room revenues top $103 million

A report in MiBiz says Kent County hotels achieved the highest hotel room revenue in the county's history, topping several national percentages by comparison.

According to excerpts from the story:

Experience Grand Rapids announced that Kent County achieved the highest hotel room revenue in the county's history in 2010, breaking the 2007 record for best overall hotel performance. Hotel occupancy, revenue per available room and total room revenue for Kent County hotels were also significantly higher than the annual national growth average from 2009 to 2010.

Nashville-based Smith Travel Research, a leading provider of hotel performance data, reports that Grand Rapids hotels earned $103,228,314 in room revenue in 2010 as compared to 2007 earnings of $100,777,493. Kent County hotels increased occupancy and revenue per available hotel room by a record 11 percent, compared to national growth averages of 5.7 percent in occupancy, 5.5 percent in revenue per available room and 7.6 percent in total room revenue.

Read the complete story here.



Twisted Rooster restaurant finds new roost in Holland's O'Charley's

The Holland Sentinel reports that a Grand Rapids company will transform its O'Charley's restaurant into a Twisted Rooster, the company's new proprietary brand of casual eateries.

According to excerpts from the story:

The Holland restaurant at 12389 James St., at U.S. 31, is slated to be one of four Michigan O'Charley's franchises to be transformed into the new Twister Rooster brand with a menu described as "classic American with dynamic twists."
The quirky menu includes "Twisted Greens" salads, burgers and sandwiches, and "Everything Else" that ranges from salmon to sirloin. The Holland location is slated to close in late April and reopen in late May, manager Kevin Norlander said.

Read the complete story here.




The customers talked, Meijer listened

Meijer recently announced the launch of an e-commerce website which will allow the sale of their products throughout the world.

According to excerpts from MLive:

Meijer Inc., the biggest retailer based in Michigan, announced today it is going global. The chain's online site now will send non-bulk groceries anywhere in the world.

The website,MeijerDoorstepGrocer.com, marks the first foray into international sales by the Walker-based company.

You can read the entire story here.



Wolverine World Wide looks to global markets

A new international group will give Wolverine Worldwide brands access and exposure to new markets.

According to excerpts from MLive:

The Rockford-based company, which sells Hush Puppies, Merrell and Chaco shoes, is creating an international group to market its 12 brands outside North America.

Longtime Wolverine executive Bill Brown will lead the new international unit. He previously oversaw the Heritage Brand Group.

You can read the entire story here:


Michigan SBTDC gets $1.6M grant to help small businesses create jobs

A Business Review West Michigan report states that the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Centers will use a $1.6 million federal grant to spur job creation within the state.

According to excerpts from the story:

$1.6 million in federal money will enable Michigan's Small Business and Technology Development Centers to boost their ability to aid small businesses.

The two-year grant will go to hire nine financial and strategy consultants to work with SBTDC clients around the state to sharpen their financial management and strategic planning.

Consultants will work with small businesses that are in a growth mode and want to diversify, and need some assistance identifying the future and how to get there, said Teresa Sickles, a manufacturing and financing tools specialists with the Michigan SBTDC.

Read the complete story here.





Troy developer wants to convert three vacant Grand Rapids schools to apartments

A report on WZZM-13 says three Grand Rapids Public Schools could become apartment buildings pending final negotions with an interested Troy, Mich. developer.

According to excerpts from the story:

Three former Grand Rapids schools may become new apartment buildings. A developer based in Troy, wants to buy Oakdale, Lexington and Eastern Elementary schools and turn them into rental properties. The developer has offered $1.6 million for the three buildings which were listed for a combines $2.1 million. School officials say the offer is in the early stages but it is a valid proposal.

Read the complete story here.





Niche travel company seeks adventurers

Differentiation from existing travel services is one reason why one company decides to focus on the more adventurous of travelers.

According to excerpts from the story in MLive:

Unusual trips are the niche for their travel company, Blue Monkey Adventure, which they began developing out of Oard's Alger Heights home last year. They recently started advertising the first three adventure trips.

You can read the entire article here.


Battery industry fueling job growth

A variety of manufacturing plants from around the state are being energized. In Holland, one plant is expecting to grow its workforce to 100.

According to excerpts from the story in Freep.com:

JCI Saft in Holland is making lithium-ion battery packs with 30 salaried and 15 production people. Plant manager Bill Delaney said production will begin by the end of March on batteries for the Ford Transit Connect. In addition, battery cells now produced by another JCI Saft plant in France will be made in Holland beginning this fall.

"By the end of the year, we should have a little over 100 people," said Delaney.

You can read the entire article here:


SiTE:LAB to bring latest site-specific art installation to downtown Grand Rapids' vacant JA Building

A Grand Rapids Press article announces that SiTE:LAB will transform a dilapidated downtown Grand Rapids building with its April site-specific, one-night art installation by Kendall College of Art and Design students.

According to excerpts from the story:

Paint is peeling. Graffiti covers the peeling paint. The cement bones of the old Junior Achievement Building are the only things that really remain at 2 E. Fulton St., and Paul Amenta is salivating. The Kendall College of Art and Design professor and founder of SiTE:LAB – a group of local artists and art enthusiasts who create one-night, site-specific art installations – has secured the 25,000-square-foot abandoned building as the next SiTE:LAB location on April 15. SiTE:LAB will take place in conjunction with "Art.Downtown," which is a citywide studio/gallery/shop hop featuring hundreds of all-local artists at multiple downtown locations.

Read the complete story here.

Muskegon's free land for businesses generates a lot of inquiries on former $30K/acre industrial site

Muskegon's economic development office is busy fielding inquiries regarding the city's offer of free acreage in the Seaway Industrial Park, formerly priced at $30,000 per acre.

According to excerpts from the story:

There's nothing like "free" to get someone's attention. And that's been the case with the city of Muskegon's aggressive economic development program called "Muskegon 25."

Announced six months ago, the offer is for free land in one of two area industrial parks if business developers promise to create jobs. Muskegon 25 has gotten plenty of attention but as of yet not a single deal. The media has been all over Muskegon 25 since it was published in The Muskegon Chronicle in mid-August. News stories have appeared in the Detroit Free Press and on Michigan Public Radio, along with online media AOL.com, Yahoo.com and CNBC.com.

"Every time Muskegon 25 gets some more media attention, we get calls," said Cathy Brubaker-Clarke, the city's economic development and planning director. "The most promising inquiries have been people and businesses with a prior history with Muskegon or West Michigan. They were people who have left and are looking to bring their business back to town."

Read the complete story here.

Geeks get a creative space

A new venue will provide plenty of room for area schools, community organizations and entrepreneurs to create, build and collaborate on a variety of projects.

According to excerpts from Mlive:

The center will house workshop and classroom space, equipment, computer labs and video production -- 43,000 square feet dedicated to projects and ideas for schools, communities and entrepreneurs. Hands-on experience will be encouraged.

"We are not a museum and this is not about earning a degree," said Chris Boden, 27, a Coopersville native, Geek Group founder and self-professed "super geek."

You can read the entire story here.

G.R.O.W. to expand support for women entrepreneurs

Women entrepreneurs will have another alternative to fund their enterprises thanks to support from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

According to excerpts from Mlive:

A new pilot program will give micro loans to about a half-dozen women-owned businesses in the Grand Rapids area. Similar programs are being formed for Michigan women.

The local program is through the Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women, one of three certified Women Business Centers in the state that works in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration.


You can read the entire story here.

Detroit-area company to develop former Wyoming GM plant for advanced manufacturing

An Associated Press report on Bloomberg.com says that a southeast Michigan development firm has agreed to purchase and redevelop a massive abandoned General Motors metal stamping plant in Wyoming, Mi.

According to excerpts from the story:

A former General Motors metal-stamping plant in western Michigan that closed in 2009 is expected to be demolished and the site redeveloped for advanced manufacturing, food processing or other industrial use under plans announced Thursday. West Bloomfield-based Lormax Stern Development Co. has agreed to purchase the 92-acre site and the 2 million-square-foot plant, and will work with the Grand Rapids suburb of Wyoming to redevelop the property, city officials and the development company said. Financial details weren't immediately released. Work at the site is set to begin in April, with demolition and cleanup expected to take up to 18 months.

Read the complete story here.

Amway to sink $20M in Ada manufacturing expansion, could create 74 jobs

Area Development Online reports that Amway will move the manufacturing of some nutritional products from California to Michigan after investing $20 million to upgrade an Ada facility. The change could create over 70 Michigan jobs.

According to excerpts from the story:

Amway is investing $20 million in an expansion of a manufacturing facility in Ada Township, Michigan, the Grand Rapids Press reports. Township trustees have already approved a primary step in tax abatements towards the project.

The company will invest in a 55-foot high addition for protein drink powder equipment. It will also convert some existing warehouse space to manufacturing use. Amway will also create 74 jobs at the plant when it moves operations from a California facility to Ada Township.

Read the complete story here.

Film credits to be reviewed by new administration

Michigan's film credits will be among the first tax incentives to be reviewed by Governor Snyder's administration.

According to excerpts from MLive"
Michigan's new economic development chief plans to examine the state's present array of tax incentives used to lure business investments.

Michigan Economic Development Corp. CEO Mike Finney says his goal is to "do a very thorough review" and forward recommendations for changes to new Gov. Rick Snyder and the Legislature within a few months.

You can read the complete story here.



Health care sector to play pivotal role in growing jobs

Health care and medical research are posed to be dynamic forces in creating jobs within West Michigan.

According to excerpts from MLive:

Heath care and medical research will continue to grow jobs in the Grand Rapids area during the decade, as the industry becomes a greater economic force, according to a Grand Valley State University analysis.

Two keys areas are nursing and physician assistants -- professions that will experience shortages as the growing demand outpaces the supply of new talent coming out of college.

You can read the complete story here.

Proposed $1.2M Olympic-style archery center on track for Rockford

The Rockford Independent reports that a proposed Olympic-style archery center has received funding from multiple sources and looks to break ground soon.

According to excerpts from the story:

Youth and adults in archery programs through the Rockford Sportsman's Club soon may have access to a four-season, Olympic-style training facility. Club members hope as early as this summer.

The sportsman's club recently received a $500,000 grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) through Algoma Township.

The township applied for the funding on behalf of the club, which will construct the nearly $1.2 million archery center on its existing property at 11115 Northland Drive. The property will be leased to Algoma for $1 to become a public park by name, however the site will continue to be maintained and operated by the sportsman's club.

Read the complete story here.

Study says Grand Rapids' downtown, riverbanks ready for more economic development

The Grand Rapids Press reports that a new study by Grand Rapids' Downtown Development Authority confirms the area is ripe for new development focused on economy, environment and experience.

According to excerpts from the story:

The next wave of large-scale investments downtown might be two to three years away, a lull that presents an opportunity to set the stage to support that investment. That was one of the central conclusions of a plan commissioned by the Downtown Development Authority that is being finalized over the next month. The study, a draft of which was provided to The Press, calls for the creation of retail incubators, a venture fund to support new businesses and other efforts geared toward promoting living, working and shopping downtown.

Read the complete story here.

Michigan becoming national leader in rail-to-trail development

Progressing from only 78 miles in rail trails sixteen years ago, Michigan is now home to almost 2500 mlles.

According to excerpts from The Grand Rapids Press:

Michigan recently became No. 1 in the nation with 2,478 miles on the ground and open. Those are the figures shown by the national Rails to Trails Conservancy. Minnesota is a close second with 2,309 open miles of trail. Wisconsin is third with 1,788 miles. Wyoming and Utah are at the bottom of the list. Each has 1 mile.

You can read the entire story here.


Services expected to lead the way in job growth in 2011

Many companies with employment needs will continue to rely on temporary positions and job-placement companies, according economist George Erickcek.

According to excerpts in the story in Business Review West Michigan:

Some job growth will return in Grand Rapids during 2011 via the services sector, though economist George Erickcek sees a further, small decline in permanent production jobs.

Any new jobs that do come at companies in the goods-producing sector will largely occur through temporary positions with job-placement companies, as manufacturers use temp workers to handle increasing volumes.

You can read the entire story here:


Whitehall Tannery lakeside development begins, years of contamination on its way out

The Muskegon Chronicle reports that excavation of decades-worth of contaminated soil has begun at the site of the former Whitehall Leather Tannery. Could the promised multi-million-dollar lakeside residential development actually be on its way?

According to excerpts from the story:

Heavy-duty excavating equipment is digging up contaminated soils at the site of the former Whitehall Leather Co. tannery — raising hopes a long-awaited redevelopment is finally near. The ongoing transformation of the tannery site — now clear of the buildings that used to house a high-employment industry and community gathering place — is in the environmental cleanup stage.

The next step, likely 2012 at the earliest, would be construction of a residential development. Cleanup activities started in October, and Whitehall City Manager Scott Huebler said the plan is to have as much as possible of the contaminated soils removed from the site this year.

Read the complete story here.




Rockford Sportsman's Club targets development of Olympic-style archery, air gun facility

The Grand Rapids Press reports that a $500,000 state grant will spur development of an Olympic-style archery and air gun facility in Algoma Township.

According to excerpts from the story:

Rockford Sportsman's Club members anticipate hitting the bull's-eye in 2011.

The club recently was notified of a recommendation by the state's Natural Resources Trust Fund board to give Algoma Township a $500,000 grant to help build a 9,500-square-foot Olympic-style archery and air gun facility on land donated by the club.

"We are geeked," said Josh Zuiderveen, whose company, Streamworks LLC, has been facilitating the project. Zuiderveen said the project could break ground as early as the summer of 2011, assuming the Michigan Legislature approves the recommendations in January.

Read the complete story here.



No more tough sledding in Muskegon

The Muskegon Sports Council has received $18,000 in new equipment from the DNR to help prepare the popular winter sports complex.

According to excerpts from the story in MLive:
Jim Rudicil, executive director of the Muskegon Sports Council, which runs the winter sports complex, said it has new trail-grooming equipment. Uneven surfaces that sometimes resulted from using the old equipment will no longer be a problem, he said.

Skiers "will see the trails groomed much quicker after a snowfall," he said. "We'll be much more consistent in our trail conditions."

You can read the complete article here.



Man buys railroad trestle, makes it part of $1.4M bike trail project on Grand Rapids' West Side

The Grand Rapids Press reports that a local Christian missionary finds himself the owner of an abandoned railroad bridge that will give cyclists a scenic ride across the Grand River, part of a $1.4 million urban bike trail connector.

According to excerpts from the story:

Bob Cunningham remembers his wife's reaction when he came home from a 1993 bankruptcy auction for the assets of the Penn Central Railroad.

"You bought a what?" she asked when Cunningham announced he was the winning bidder for an old railroad bridge that spanned the Grand River and Market Avenue SW on the city's Southwest Side. Cunningham did not have a plan for the structure — it was just too cheap to pass up. But he is proud of the way his impulse purchase has turned out.

Today, the old bridge has new life as part of a 1-mile bicycle and pedestrian trail connecting the Black Hills Neighborhood and Roberto Clemente Park to the city's lower West Side and the Kent Trails to the south to Millennium Park and eventually Byron Center.

Read the complete story here.




Food Network's new Ice Brigade TV show features Grand Rapids ice sculptors

The Chicago Tribune reports that a new Food Network television series will feature a Grand Rapids ice sculpting company, giving viewers a chance to see daily life of these artists and their art.

According to excerpts from the story:

A piano carved from ice is heading to a west Michigan hotel as part of a new TV show featuring a Grand Rapids company.

The Kalamazoo Gazette says the Food Network's new "Ice Brigade" show will deliver the sculpture to the Radisson Plaza Hotel & Suites in Kalamazoo on Friday afternoon.

"Ice Brigade" will feature Grand Rapids-based Ice Sculptures Ltd., and travel to Niles and Detroit.

Story producer Bradley Scott says the new show that's in its first of seven weeks of filming allows viewers to peek inside the daily rituals of ice carvers throughout Michigan.

Scott said the piano will be assembled in the Radisson's lobby and is expected to be finished by 5 p.m. Friday for the beginning of Art Hop.


Read the complete story here.




Gentex in position to profit from new safety rules

Gentex stocks rose after new proposed safety rules require rear camera technology in mirrors beginning in 2014.

Accoding to excerpts in the story from Mlive:

Rear camera technology could be mandatory in U.S. vehicles by 2014, a move that fits perfectly with systems developed by Gentex Corp.

In safety regulations proposed Friday, the U.S. Department of Transportation said the rear-mounted cameras, with a video display inside the vehicle, is the best system to show the blind spot behind vehicles. The rule is called the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007.

You can read the complete story here.



Kellogg Co. hoping to add over 40 high-paying jobs in Grand Rapids to its Keebler Plant

Adding new equipment to their existing facility in exchange for future tax breaks, Kellogg is looking to add over 40 jobs paying an average of $23/hour.

According to excerpts from the article in Mlive:
Kellogg Co. plans to add $18 million in new equipment for a baked bar production line that is being moved from an existing facility in Illinois. Kellogg already employs 443 workers in the Grand Rapids area.

Kellogg officials are asking the city to grant tax breaks that will kick in after the bakery's tax-free Renaissance Zone expires in 2017.

You can read the complete story here.



Carlton Technologies of Holland is expecting a 30% increase in sales in 2010

After downsizing in 2008, Carlton Technologies has been experiencing robust growth for two years.

According to excerpts from the story in Mlive:

Unlike for many companies, 2009 was a good year for Carlton Technologies Inc., which repairs and services bar code scanners and data collection devices for the food and retail industries.

The company improved its bottom line by 21 percent last year and is projecting a 2010 sales increase of 30 percent, according to company President Ryan Bracken.


You can read the entire story here:


Zeeland Hospital, Spectrum Health to merge for continued healthcare along lakeshore

The Grand Haven Tribune reports that Zeeland Hospital will become part of the Spectrum Health system on Jan. 1. Officials state that the merger will guarantee continued healthcare service to the surrounding communities.

According to excerpts from the story:

The boards of directors for Zeeland Community Hospital and the Grand Rapids-based Spectrum Health System have each approved resolutions that would merge the two health care systems.

Based on the resolutions, the Zeeland hospital will become a Spectrum Health System hospital, effective Jan. 1. Specific terms of the agreement are being kept confidential.

"Spectrum Health has had a long-standing relationship with Zeeland Community Hospital for more than a decade," said Matt Van Vranken, executive vice president of Spectrum Health and president of Spectrum Health Hospital Group. "This agreement takes that relationship to a new level by integrating Zeeland into Spectrum Health and will enable us to provide a broader, more coordinated array of services to the region."

Read the complete story here.

Open Doors Report ranks Calvin College second nationally for number of students studying abroad

WZZM13 News reports that Calvin College has 421 students studying abroad, including studies in 30 countries on six continents. That participation has garnered the institution the number two spot on the national ranking by the Institute of International Education.

According to excerpts from the story:

The 2010 Open Doors report ranks Calvin second nationally among baccal.aureate institutions for the total number of students who participate in a short-term duration study abroad. The school ranks sixth in that same category for number of international students studying on campus. According to the 2010 report, which recounts data from the previous school year, Calvin ranks second in its category with 421 students studying abroad in semester programs, interims and other programs.

Read the complete story here.





Grand Rapids thought leaders invited to greening conference hosted by Robert Redford

Grand Rapids' Mayor Heartwell and GRPS School Superintendent Bernard Taylor recently got to "hang out" with leaders from nine other cities after being invited to attend a conference hosted by Robert Redford in Sundance, Utah.  Grand Rapids was one of a handful of cities chosen because of its work with LEED-certified school buildings.

According to experts to excerpts from the story in Mlive;

Grand Rapids Schools Superintendent Bernard Taylor and Mayor George Heartwell hung out with movie legend Robert Redford last week at the "Greening of America's School Summit" in Sundance, Utah. Taylor and Heartwell were among leaders from 10 U.S. cities invited to the 2-day event hosted by Redford, a noted environmentalist. Grand Rapids LEED-certified school buildings were well-regarded at the conference, Taylor said.

You can read the entire story here.


Latino traditions to be preserved at new Catholic Academy

Plans were unveiled for a new school to serve the growing Catholic Latino population. The school will serve kindergarten through eighth grade.

According to excerpts from the story from WZZM:

The Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids is serving West Michigan's growing Latino population with a new school. Diocese officials today unveiled plans for a kindergarten through eighth grade Catholic academy. San Juan Diego Academy will be located at the current site of Holy Name of Jesus School on Godfrey SW in Wyoming.  The curriculum will be taught in English, but teachers will be intent on preserving Latino traditions.


You can read the entire story here.


I-196 $40M construction completed, ramps opened to downtown Grand Rapids

WZZM13 reports that eight months of road construction that has hampered Grand Rapids commuters has wrapped up one day ahead of the deadline.

According to excerpts from the story:

Eight months of driving frustration is finally over for drivers in West Michigan. All the ramp closures, detours and construction on Interstate 196 has caused nothing but headaches. But now, the $40 million "Fix" is finally over. Sunday was the deadline for crews to wrap up the project. As you drive on highways near I-196, you'll see street signs telling drivers that on-ramps to I-196 are now open. That's eye-candy to West Michigan commuters.

"The fix on I-196 is all wrapped up, " says John Richard, spokesperson for MDOT. "All things had to be wrapped up today; all things were actually wrapped up yesterday, so they made it [deadline] by a day. Had they not met Sunday's deadline, they would have lost out on $250,000 worth of incentives."

Read the complete story here.




New music web site, blog sets Grand Rapids' music scene on the worldwide stage

An article in The Grand Rapids Press reports that a new music web site and blog in Grand Rapids has been picked up by music blogs worldwide in its efforts to change the perception of the music scene in Grand Rapids.

According to excerpts from the story:

This venture has no budget, no employees, no carefully constructed business plan -- just a heartfelt desire to bolster Grand Rapids' music scene. Still, in just eight months of existence, the volunteer-driven Halfway House Music website and music blog has attracted international attention, getting nods from National Public Radio, Pitchfork Media and others.

"We're actually kind of surprised by the way things have taken off," says Chris Ziebarth, of Grand Rapids, a bartender and passionate music fan in his early '30s who launched the website. "Music blogs all over the world have picked it up. It was cool that something we created here is being viewed in Australia, Iceland and Saudi Arabia."

Read the complete story here.




Local manufacturer Biosolutions recognized for leadership in green chemistry

The non-toxic cleaners made by Biosolutions, LLC have earned the company a  prestigious award. The Michigan Green Chemistry Governor's Award highlights the firm's leadership and innovation within the industrial and institutional cleaning industry.

According to excerpts from the article in MiBiz.com:

Biosolutions LLC, a manufacturer and distributor of biodegradable cleaners and industrial coolants has been honored with the Michigan Green Chemistry Governor's Award. The award recognizes Biosolutions' innovation and leadership in green chemistry through its Clean & Green line of industrial and institutional cleaning products.

For more information you can read the complete article here.

Governor-elect Rick Snyder chooses Meijer president for transition team position

Rick Snyder has selected Mark Murray, current president of Meijer, as part of his transition team as he prepares to become Michigan's next Governor.

According to the story in the Detroit News:

Governor-elect Rick Snyder is dipping into the business community to help in his transition after the sweeping Republican win in Michigan, tapping former state economic development director and current Business Leaders for Michigan President and CEO Doug Rothwell to run his transition team.

Rothwell will be assisted by former Gov. John Engler Chief of Staff Sharon Rothwell, who besides working as vice president for corporate affairs at Masco Corp. in Taylor is Rothwell's wife. Rounding out the team is former budget director and state treasurer Mark Murray, now president of the Meijer Corp. in Grand Rapids.

You can read the complete story here.

Grand Rapids' proposed Amtrak station could cut commute times, aid connections to other transit

A report in the Grand Rapids Press indicates that a proposed new station for Amtrak would improve accessibility, commute times and help riders connect to other modes of transportation.

According to excerpts from the story:

A long-awaited new Amtrak station that could cut commute times and open the door to future service expansion may finally come down the track. On Wednesday, the city's Downtown Development Authority is expected to consider a request for $850,000 to buy land and build a new station and platform on land south of The Rapid Central Station in southwestern downtown.

The money would help The Rapid and Michigan Department of Transportation leverage a $3.8 million grant from the Federal Railroad Administration earmarked for building a new 1,700-foot long spur to service the station. If all goes according to plan, the station could be in service by late 2011 or mid-2012.

Read the complete story here.


Proposed Muskegon County tribal casino releases site plans

The Muskegon Chronicle reports the push is on to garner public support for a proposed tribal casino at the former Great Lakes Downs racetrack. Last week, proponents launched a new website and released site plans.

According to excerpts from the story:

On Tuesday, the people spoke at the ballot box. Now, backers of a local American Indian casino proposal are asking the people to speak out again. After weeks of inactivity because of the election, the push is back on in support of the proposed large-scale casino development on the former site of the Great Lakes Downs racetrack. The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians on Friday launched a new website,http://muskegonjobsnow.org, in an effort to provide details of the tribe's casino proposal in Muskegon County and drum up public pressure to help generate action by the state House of Representatives.

The legislation that would allow for the off-reservation casino has featured committee hearings, including one in Muskegon County, and several delays since Gov. Jennifer Granholm and tribal Ogema Larry Romanelli signed a compact amendment in March.

Read the complete story here.

Grand Rapids Community College, Lawrence Tech team up to offer architectural degree

The Business Review West Michigan reports that students from Grand Rapids Community College will soon have an opportunity to complete an architectural degree at Southfield's Lawrence Technological University.

According to excerpts from the story:

Grand Rapids Community College plans to announce a joint relationship that will expand options for students wishing to pursue a career in architecture, according to a statement. Through the partnership with Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, students graduating with an associate degree in architectural design from GRCC will be able to transfer to LTU to complete a Bachelor of Science in architecture.

"It's our vision, as a college of distinction, to inspire students to meet the needs of our communities and world," GRCC President Steven Ender said in the statement. "This partnership is another proven success story laying the foundation toward a new career."

Read the complete story here.





Despite tough economy, new home construction is on the rise in Muskegon County

The Muskegon Chronicle reports that the construction of new homes in Muskegon County is on the rise and the construction companies that have weathered the storm could benefit.

According to excerpts from the story:

Amid the gloomy economic news, many might be surprised to learn that new houses are under construction in Muskegon and northwest Ottawa counties. It appears local new home construction has bottomed out and is beginning to rebound.

The surviving West Michigan home builders have restructured while others have gone bankrupt, out of business or both. No company tells the survival story in the new home construction industry better than Eastbrook Homes of Grand Rapids.

Read the complete story here.

Detroit leaders learn about West Michigan's approach to economic development

Business and policy leaders from both the west and east side of the state gathered to compare and contrast various approaches to economic development within Michigan.

According to excerpts from the article in Crain's Detroit Business

West Michigan leaders said they've been able to make economic development strides in the Grand Rapids area by thinking regionally and funding projects privately before taking them to the public sector.

Grand Rapids business leaders, who are leading much of the change there, have "really cut across any of the territorial boundaries‚ (which) allowed us to look past any of the arbitrary lines to what's best for the community," said former gubernatorial candidate Richard DeVos.

Read the complete article here:
http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20101029/FREE/101029821/-1#

Holland-based manufacturer gets significant tax breaks to produce wind turbine blades

Governor Granholm states that Energetx Composites has the potential to be a major player in the wind turbine industry.  

According to excerpts in the story from The Grand Rapids Press:

Wind turbine blade production at Energetx Composites will grow free of state and local taxes for the next 15 years, after the company won designation as a renewable energy renaissance zone on Friday.

A new $6.5 million plant will make utility-scale wind turbine blades, each 150 feet long and weighing up to 28 tons. The company, a spin-off of yacht builder S2 Yachts, said it is also looking at ways to expand into the electric vehicle sector.

Read the complete story here:

http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2010/10/holland_wind_turbine_maker_ene.html

CityFlats Hotel groundbreaking in downtown Grand Rapids, project to bring boutique concept to city

The Grand Rapids Press reports that the proposed CityFlats Hotel in downtown Grand Rapids broke ground this week. Hotel owners say they'll bring their boutique hotel design concept to the city on the heels of their success with CityFlats in Holland.

According to excerpts from the story:

Sledgehammer in hand, Mayor George Heartwell on Wednesday is expected to "break ground" on a building renovation that will create a 28-room boutique hotel inside what had become a downtown eyesore.

The $3 million to $4 million project to create the CityFlats Hotel inside the five-story former Fox Jewelers building, 83-85 Monroe Center, is on track to be completed by May, said Chuck Reid, president of developer Charter House Innovations. CityFlats' uniquely designed rooms are expected to include environmentally friendly features while embracing the historic nature of the building.

Read the complete story here.



Proposed Fred Meijer/Berry Junction Bike Trail is back on track

The White Lake Beacon reports that a grant for the proposed multi-million-dollar Fred Meijer/Berry Junction Bike Trail could fund construction for the first five miles of the trail.

According to excerpts from the story:

The on-again, off-again Fred Meijer/Berry Junction Bike Trail projects appears to be once again a go.

The bike trail, which planners hope will take bikers and trail users from White Lake Drive, at Blank Road, through Fruitland, Dalton and Muskegon townships, where the plan is to link it up with the Lakeshore at the Causeway, near the Consumers Power plant, seemed to be on track in early 2008 when the trail committee received a $400,000 grant from the Comstock Park-based West Michigan Trails and Greenways Coalition.

The Fred Meijer Foundation was to provide a matching grant as well. Alas, that plan died on the vine as the necessary funding match dried up before the project could get off the ground. Now the trail has new life, said Meijer/Berry Junction Bike Trail Committee chairperson and Dalton Township Supervisor, Chris Hall.

Read the complete story here.



Local colleges look to fill pipeline with medical students.

West Michigan colleges will play a key role in the growth of the MSU medical school in Grand Rapids.

According to excerpts from the story from WoodTV.com:

The Michigan State University College of Human Medicine is partnering with Aquinas, Calvin and Hope colleges to grow a statewide pipeline of medical students. These are the first private institutions in West Michigan to establish an early assurance program with MSU.

Read the complete story here.
http://www.woodtv.com/dpp/news/local/grand_rapids/MSU-medical-school-deal-with-West-Michigan-colleges


West Michigan continues to lead in supporting electric and hybrid vehicles

Anticipating a demand for charging stations and leveraging our automotive and battery manufacturing infrastructure, local leaders plan to help alleviate "range anxiety"  by working together.

According to excerpts from the story in www.Mlive.com:
A coalition of groups in Grand Rapids, Holland and Muskegon has applied for 98 vehicle charging stations via a federally subsidized program to provide Coulomb Technologies' Chargepoint systems out of California.‚

Read the complete story here:
http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2010/10/muskegon_applying_for_charging.html

Grand Rapids nonprofit gets $4M boost to help kids stay in school and graduate

The Grand Rapids Press reports that a Grand Rapids nonprofit dedicated to encouraging kids to stay in school through graduation received a $4 million grant from a Michigan foundation.

According to excerpts from the story:

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is giving $4 million to support a grassroots initiative to improve graduation rates in four Grand Rapids neighborhoods, which are home to some 15,000 children. The Student Advancement Foundation, a nonprofit group that links community resources with needs of Grand Rapids Public Schools, on Monday announced the grant to fund "Believe 2 Become," a program that encourages children to achieve their dreams by continuing their education.

"We're grateful for this grant, which will provide support for a child's formative years and through key educational transitions such as third, seventh and ninth grades," said Lynn Afendoulis, SAF board president. "This initiative is about helping parents help their kids."

Read the complete story here.



Dematic says it could add 500 jobs if City of Grand Rapids approves tax break

WOOD TV8 reports that Dematic proposes to invest $11 million in expansion in Grand Rapids and could add some 500 jobs if the city sees fit to approve a tax break.

According to excerpts from the story:

The Dematic Corporation has asked the city of Grand Rapids for a tax break that would allow it to expand, adding 505 jobs.

The business is located on Grand Rapids' northeast side and specializes in making conveyor systems.

The city estimates the new jobs would bring $228,987 in new income taxes each year. In exchange, Dematic is asking for a five-year personal property exemption that would mean about $44,387 in taxes that the city would not receive each year after the expansion.

Read the complete story here.



GM introduces the Chevy Volt

Holland's $304 million battery plant has been identified as one the key pieces to the success of the 2011 Chevrolet Volt. Consumers were given a glimpse as to what to expect from this vehicle before it hits the market later this year.

According to excerpts from the story in the Detroit News:
In addition to revealing new details about the Volt, GM also said today it has invested more than $700 million in eight Michigan plants to manufacture the car and its components. The automaker will begin building Volts for the retail market in mid November.

Included in those investments: $336 million at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant where GM will assemble the Volt $43 million at Brownstown Battery Assembly, where it will make battery packs for the car $202 million at Flint Engine South where it will build the Volt's 1.4L engine and a 1.4L turbocharged engine for the Chevrolet Cruze.

Additionally, GM's battery cell supplier LG Chem and subsidiary Compact Power, have begun construction on a $304-million battery plant in Holland, Mich.

Read the complete story here:
http://www.detnews.com/article/20101010/AUTO01/10100301/1149/AUTO03/Chevy%E2%80%99s-Volt-meets-the-press#ixzz123wIRtJC

Holland facility offers therapeutic horse riding for special needs children and adults

The Renew Therapeutic Riding Center in Holland recently opened its doors for children and adults with special needs.  The program utilizes a five-step process to teach students about riding and caring for horses.  This type of therapy helps in building balance and confidence.

According to excerpts from the story in the Chicago Tribune:
A west Michigan facility has begun offering special needs children and adults the chance to take part in therapeutic horse riding sessions with professional trainers by their side.

Read the complete story here:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-ap-mi-helpfulhorses-hol,0,3720862.story


Grand Rapids law firm among state’s top workplaces

Warner Norcross & Judd LLP is one of over 100 companies being recognized as a top workplace in 2010. The top five businesses in different categories will be recognized at a special event in November.

According to excerpts from the story from The Detroit Free Press: The Detroit Free Press is honoring Michigan employers as part of its 2010 Top Workplaces competition. This year, we recognize 105 companies from across the state in large, midsize and small categories?

Read the complete story here.


Holland based scientists receive major grant for computer development

Hope College scientists received a major grant from the National Science Foundation to expand their work on the development of a computer assembled from off-the-shelf parts. Once finished, the computer will be housed at Hope, but will be accessible to other scientists from throughout the country.

According to excerpts from the story from The Holland Sentinel:
A group of scientists including Hope College chemistry professors Brent Krueger and William Polik recently received a major National Science Foundation grant to expand what's known as a "commodity supercomputer," assembled from high-end, but off-the-shelf, parts.

Read the complete story here:


Grand Rapids City High Middle School receives prestigious international baccalaureate designation

WOOD TV8 reports that a Grand Rapids Public Schools middle school is now an international baccalaureate school, a prestigious designation that ensures that students will be prepared to live and work in a world of global influences and opportunities.

According to excerpts from the story:

Some students in Grand Rapids Public Schools are getting a chance to improve their education. School board members announced Monday that City High Middle School is now considered an international baccalaureate school. The designation means the school prepares students to live and work in an international world. The curriculum at the school is different, but the principal told 24 Hour News 8 it brings the school to a new level.

Read the complete story here.



Despite tough economy, Muskegon's downtown high-rise condos still a "go"

The Muskegon Chronicle writes that despite the housing market crash and other horror stories brought about by the tough economic times, the renovation of a former bank in downtown Muskegon into high-rise condominiums is still planned.

According to excerpts from the story:

Nearly everything changed in the commercial development world with the economic meltdown in September 2008. But plans for a high-rise condominium in downtown Muskegon survived. Parkland Properties of Michigan's plans for the reclamation of the historic Comerica Bank tower at 285 W. Western have changed since the $10.5 million residential project was unveiled in mid-2008.

But Parkland President Jon Rooks' resolve to complete the 48-unit bank tower project hasn't faltered. If sales and financing fall into place as Rooks suspects with the ongoing economic recovery, construction of High Point Flats could begin next spring and the building could be occupied by 2012.

Read the complete story here.

ArtPrize technology as impressive as the art

Not only is the art and the cash prize a big deal, but how technology is integrated into the experience has the media taking notice.
According to excerpts from the story in Freep.com

Led by the smartphone app SCVNGR (pronounced scavenger), Andrew Goode, 26, Angela Eick, 22, and Nicholas Dean, 23, all of Grand Rapids, worked through a series of challenges last week, amassing points at each stop for completing tasks such as taking a photo with a specific piece of art.

In the coming days, tens of thousands will enjoy the fine art at ArtPrize, the innovative, tech-driven competition that has blanketed Grand Rapids streets with more than 1,700 pieces of art with prizes for winners.
Read the complete story here.

http://www.freep.com/article/20100928/NEWS09/9280366/1322/At-ArtPrize-tech-propels-explorers

Local brewers guild to receive grant to expand hop production

Federal grant money is to be awarded to a local brewers guild to help promote local hop production.  Guild organizers feel Michigan has an opportunity to supply breweries throughout the region with high-quality hops.

According to excerpts from the story in the Kalamazoo Gazette:

The Michigan Brewers Guild will receive $74,000 in federal dollars to help promote Michigan-grown hops.

Guild president Scott Graham said he learned Thursday his organization, which represents more than 60 breweries around the state, would get the funding. The MBG is one of 21 projects selected by the 
Michigan Department of Agriculture to share$1.4 million in grants to create, enhance or expand agriculture development ventures across the state.

Read the complete story here:

http://www.mlive.com/kalamabrew/index.ssf/2010/09/michigan_brewers_guild_receive.html

Muskegon business leaders say $100M in development planned, jobs to follow

The Muskegon Chronicle reports that five Muskegon businesses plan some $100 million in developments and expansions that will create new technology and other jobs in the region.

According to excerpts from the story:

Five local business leaders stepped forward Friday to remind the community that investments in Muskegon continue even in the midst of the worst economy since the Great Depression. The five businesses -- from the largest employer in Muskegon County to a small real estate development company -- outlined local investments of $100 million this year. They told the Muskegon Area Chamber of Commerce's Business for Breakfast gathering that Muskegon has been a good place in which to invest.

"We are absolutely thrilled to be in Michigan and particularly in Muskegon," said Robert Pero, area general manager for Frontier Communications, which purchased the local telephone company from Verizon Communications earlier this year. Frontier has made Muskegon its Michigan headquarters. "We are here and will be expanding," Pero said of the national company with $6 billion in annual revenues serving mainly rural America. "We chose Muskegon for our state office because it is a great place to live and it will be attractive for our technical workers."

Read the complete story here.



Michigan art magazine showcases Grand Rapids as an arts, cuisine destination

An article in Art Showcase Magazine brags up Grand Rapids as one of the premier art and cuisine destinations in the Midwest.

According to excerpts from the story:

Hop in your car, point it west and in a couple of hours you'll be in one of the most progressive and welcoming cities in the Midwest—a city bursting with galleries and avant-garde outdoor art, shaded parks and some of the most impressive farm-to-plate restaurants found anywhere.

The city? Grand Rapids, Michigan—a thriving, walkable destination of 192,000 on the banks of the Grand River; a river crisscrossed with bridges connecting downtown in European style.

Read the complete story here.



ArtPrize 2010 promises new adventures in art, music with exhibition centers, concerts and technology

The Grand Rapids Press reports that the growth of ArtPrize since its inaugural year in 2009 promises new thrills in addition to more art and more artists. Free music concerts, new phone technologies for voting and tracking viewers, and neighborhood exhibition centers are some of the exciting changes in store for festival-goers.

According to excerpts from the story:

A year ago, a 27-year-old entrepreneur invited Grand Rapids to get creative with an open-format, international art competition.

At the time, ArtPrize founder Rick DeVos couldn't say how the experiment in creating a giant conversation about art would go, except it would be "a little crazy," but "a ton of fun."

ArtPrize 2010 open(ed) Wednesday, and DeVos expects the excitement and atmosphere will be a new experience.

"There's a totally different feel when you know what's going to happen, at least in some way, more than we did last year," he said.

Organizers believe what made last year successful — being an "intentionally simple, intentionally under-engineered event — not burdened with a lot of rules and regulation" — is helping to shape 2010.

Read the complete story here.



Statewide forum on high-speed rail coming to Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Holland

A report from Press & Guide states that 16 Michigan cities will host public forums on the future of high-speed rail in the state for passenger and freight systems. Grand Rapids, Muskegon and Holland are on the list for hosting three of those gatherings.

According to excerpts from the story:

Mayor Jack O'Reilly and other city officials took part in a public forum on Michigan's passenger rail transportation future Wednesday on the University of Michigan-Dearborn campus.

"I've been in and out of issues with transit since 1980 when I was working with the Senate Transportation Committee," O'Reilly said. "We've had a lot of false starts, but no real progress in any kinds of mass transit and there's got to be a starting point. If we can get the momentum going, we can begin to explore this."

Recent federal support has put Michigan in a great position to build a modern rail transit system that is clean, fast and convenient, according to John Langdon of the Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers.

Wednesday's forum was part of a series of 16 taking place throughout the state to engage citizens on a vision for the future and forward the ideas to state and federal policymakers.

According to Landon, similar forums have drawn hundreds of residents and civic leaders…

Others are planned for cities including Grand Rapids, Holland, Muskegon, Detroit, Kalamazoo, Flint, Monroe, and Ann Arbor.

Read the complete story here.

Meijer continues to innovate

Meijer will be introducing a scoring system to help consumers understand nutritional value.

According to excerpts from the story in the Toledo Blade,

The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based grocery chain is rolling out a nutritional-scoring system that rates items from 1, signaling little value, to 100. 

Called NuVal, it takes into account more than 30 nutrients and other factors including fiber, trans fats, sugar, and fat, sodium, and vitamin content.

It was developed by nutrition and public-health experts, the grocery chain said.

Read the complete story here.

http://toledoblade.com/article/20100919/BUSINESS03/100919577/0/images


Saving money through design

Using a design-build model, the city of East Grand Rapids has found a way to both save money and reduce construction time.

According to excerpts from the story in MiBiz.com:

In a time of strained budgets and dwindling state revenue sharing heading to local governments, design-build capability is proving a means of conserving valuable financial resources while reducing the timeline for building projects for the city of East Grand Rapids.

The city started work on a $1.3 million expansion of its Department of Public Works this summer, its first using the design-build model, said Ken Feldt, director of city services.

 

Read the complete story here:

http://www.mibiz.com/news/design-build/16352-design-build-cutting-construction-timeline-for-egr.html


Grand Rapids Public Schools' Burton Elementary wins national design award

Business Review West Michigan reports that Grand Rapids Public Schools has won a national architectural design award for its new design geared to improving education and student life on campus.

According to excerpts from the story:

Later this month, Burton Elementary and Middle School in Grand Rapids will receive national recognition for its design. The Richard Riley Award — Schools as Centers of Community for the 21st Century honors schools that "illustrate both community collaboration and school design excellence."

The American Architectural Foundationand KnowledgeWorks Foundation will present the award to Burton around the end of September or beginning of October, said Genaro Bravo, president of Ada-based Bravo Architects Inc., which worked on the renovation.

"It's a national award," Bravo said. "That doesn't happen every day." Burton reopened for the 2008-2009 school year after a major renovation of the school, which was built in 1925.

Read the complete story here.





Grand Valley, MSU launch initiatives to spur life sciences development in Grand Rapids

An article in Business Review West Michigan announces the launch of two new life sciences programs that educators hope will fill the need for advanced studies, as well as attract and retain talent.

According to excerpts from the story:

Two new partnerships between Michigan State University and Grand Valley State Universityplay into the growing life sciences and medical sector in Grand Rapids.

The universities plan to partner on a joint online graduate certificate in clinical research and drug-trial management that would begin in the fall of 2011.

The certification comes as Grand Rapids seeks to become a destination for clinical drug trials.

"This will create talent and retain that talent," GVSU President Tom Haas said. "What we basically are doing is taking our intellectual assets and putting them to work for Michigan."

Read the complete story here.




ArtPrize featured in Buffalo, N.Y. news

BuffaloNews.com features ArtPrize 2010 as a destination vacation, following up on the successful 2009 festival and anticipating an even greater event.

According to excerpts from the article:
ArtPrize, the Grand Rapids art show and competition that surprised locals by drawing tens of thousands of visitors when it debuted in 2009, is back for a second year. And it's expected to be even bigger this time. The southwestern Michigan city's vibrant arts scene will get an infusion of energy from 1,713 artists displaying their works for 19 days in 192 venues, from plazas, hotels and museums, to restaurants, coffee shops and parks.

Read the complete story here.

Digital studio in Grand Rapids gets California partner

The Grand Rapids Press reports that a local digital studio has formed a strategic partnership with a California based technology and special effects firm to take advantage of the growing film industry.
According to excerpts from the story:

Michigan filmmakers now have a direct line to Hollywood-caliber 3-D technology and the special effects talent behind movies such as the original "Star Wars" trilogy, "Pirates of the Caribbean," the "Indiana Jones" series and "Star Trek."
The Kerner Group, based in San Rafael, Calif., formed a strategic partnership with Digital Design Village, a local digital studio at 800 Bond Ave. NW
.
Read the complete story here: http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2010/09/local_digital_studio_partners.html

Stanton firm to add 150 technology jobs

The Daily News reports that a Stanton firm will receive $26 million in federal funds that will ultimately lead to the creation of 150 technology jobs.  Applications are now being accepted.

According to excerpts from the story
Casair Inc. may not receive $26 million in grant funds until November, but applications for dozens of jobs are being accepted right now.??The Stanton computer business currently employs 20 people and is looking to hire 33 direct hires and 150 total hires, including subcontractors, for a major project. All levels of employees will be hired, including administration project management and technicians of all calibers.
??
Read the complete story here.
http://www.thedailynews.cc/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=11&ArticleID=35833


Convention and Visitors Bureau gets name-lift

The Grand Rapids Press reports that the Grand Rapids/Kent County Convention and Visitors Bureau will be getting a new name:  Experience Grand Rapids.  The new name better reflects it's services and is much more social media friendly.

According to excerpts from the story:
The group that markets Grand Rapids is jazzing up its own image.
Experience Grand Rapids will be the new moniker of the Grand Rapids/Kent County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the 83-year-old non-profit organization announced Tuesday. The rebranding better reflects the group's mission, says Doug Small, Experience Grand Rapids president.

Read the complete story here. http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2010/09/group_marketing_grand_rapids_g.html

Rapid Growth Media's parent company ranked 1672 on Inc. 5000 list

Inc. Magazine's 2010 Inc. 5000 lists Issue Media Group, the parent company of Rapid Growth Media and 14 other regional web magazines, as one of the nation's fastest growing private companies. Issue Media Group develops web magazines about local communities that report on development, creative people and businesses, vibrant neighborhoods, and popular places to live, eat, shop, work, and play.

According to excerpts from the story:

What is it about years ending in zero that prompts us to look both forward and back. We'll start with back. Vinyl-bound volumes of Inc. from 1990 to 2000 stretch across my desk. Year 2000 is a real doorstopper, obese with ads from tech companies and luxury manufacturers courting readers still blissfully unaware that the track they are climbing is part of a roller coaster. On that year's Inc. 500, the No. 1 company, Parson Group, provided financial, mergers and acquisitions, and risk management consulting to blue-chippers.

Read the complete story here.






West Michigan businesses recognized with Corp! Magazine's diversity awards

Several West Michigan businesses were recognized by Corp! Magazine as champions in the areas of cultural and ethnic diversity. The list includes the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce and Meijer.

According to excerpts from the story:

Diversity is nothing new to Michigan businesses, especially in the Detroit region and in the multicultural work forces of automotive factories. In 1914, for example, 71 percent of Ford Motor Co.'s employees were foreign-born from 22 different nationalities. The man who led America's "Arsenal of Democracy" production efforts during World War II— the late General Motors President and former Ford executive William S. Knudsen (whose Danish birth name was Signius Wilhelm Poul Knudsen)— once humorously said that he learned to shout "hurry up" in 15 different languages to workers on the line.

Read the complete story here.




Open house might open doors to emerging industries

A Holland Sentinel report says a Grand Rapids Community College job training opportunity for composite manufacturing has not attracted enough applicants for the jobs that are available.

According to excerpts from the story:

Grand Rapids Community College is looking for 40 people who want to invest in a future clean energy job. The college is starting another composite technician training class Sept. 13 and is having a hard time finding takers.

"We're having a huge problem getting people to sign up for this training," said Elly Bainbridge, of the GRCC workforce training department. "These are jobs that start at $12.50 an hour plus benefits."

Read the complete story here.


Inc. Magazine's Inc. 5000 highlights West Michigan's growing companies

Inc. Magazine has named several West Michigan companies to its 2010 Inc. 5000 list. Companies must be privately held, growing, and generating annual revenue of at least $2 million.

According to excerpts from the story:

It will probably come as no surprise to savvyInc. readers that it's not as easy to find growing companies as it was a couple years ago. In 2008, the second year of Inc.'s expanded list of 5,000 growing privately-held companies, there was much enthusiasm as firms across the country showed eagerness to be part of our list. The three-year growth rate of the company at the No. 5,000 rank doubled from 20 percent in 2007 to 40 percent in 2008. This year, the enthusiasm was still there, but very often, the growth was not.

Read the complete story here.


Kent County recycling building sports region's first Honeywell wind turbine

The Muskegon Chronicle reports that Kent County's new recycling center will generate a portion of its own power with the area's first beta unit of a Honeywell wind turbine developed by WindTronics of Muskegon.

According to excerpts from the story:

Looking more like a 6-foot bike wheel with fins, the first Honeywell Wind Turbine in the area now generates electricity at the Kent County Recycling Center. Its developers, WindTronics of Muskegon, claim that the new turbine -- soon to be on the residential market -- is more efficient than others of its size, costing less per kilowatt than any other turbine. "We're pretty optimistic about it," said Kevin Sturtevant, operations manager for West Shore Service in Allendale, which worked with WindTronics for a year as a dealer. "It's a great concept. We're getting great news from all the beta units so far. And we're getting a lot of interest in it. Folks are calling and e-mailing about it, though we've done little advertising."

Read the complete story here.



Strong winds make Muskegon wastewater site prime spot for turbines

The Muskegon Chronicle reports the wastewater site might be a perfect fit for wind-energy developers.

According to excerpts from the story:

 Muskegon County officials are preparing to seek proposals from wind-energy developers interested in erecting large, commercial wind turbines on the county's 11,000-acre wastewater site.

Citing the strong winds that blow across the property in Egelston and Moorland townships and its lack of nearby neighbors, officials have said they believe it is a prime spot for turbines. A mobile wind-test unit, purchased by the county, has gathered wind-speed data on the site, and the early findings show favorable winds for turbines.

Read the complete story here.



Many West Michigan colleges, universities make the grade for Forbes' Best Colleges list

Forbes Magazine reports that America's Best Colleges are determined by the students who attend them. Several West Michigan colleges and universities made the grade.

According to excerpts from the story:

Forbes' list of public and private colleges and universities ranks the best schools--from the students' point of view.

The best college in America isn't in Cambridge or Princeton, West Point or Annapolis. It's nestled in the Berkshire Mountains. Williams College, a 217-year-old private liberal arts school, tops our third annual ranking of America's Best Colleges. Our list of more than 600 undergraduate institutions is based on the quality of the education they provide, the experiences of the students and how much they achieve.

Read the complete story here.




Giant waterslide event in Grand Rapids draws media attention from New York Times

The New York Times writes that last weekend's giant waterslide delivered thousands of people to downtown Grand Rapids via a 100-foot drop, some vinyl and a bit of water.

According to excerpts from the story:

If only the commute downtown could always be this much fun. This weekend thousands of people — provided they are at least 48 inches tall — are expected to descend into the low-lying center of Grand Rapids, Mich., on what promoters of the event believe is the world's longest inflatable water slide.

The puffy blue and yellow slide is about 500 feet long, stretching about three city blocks down the Lyon Street hill. It will carry participants — or, rather, sliders — on an elevation drop estimated at 100 feet. Water from a fire hydrant will slick the vinyl track.

Read the complete story here.




Sparta man named Apple Man of the Year for efforts promoting industry sales

The Grand Rapids Press reports that Don Armock of Sparta, co-owner of Riveridge Produce Marketing, Inc., was named the national Apple Man of the Year by The Packer, a produce industry newspaper.

His promotion of exports and leadership in packing house technology and food safety earned him the national spotlight.

According to excerpts from the story:

Denise Donohue, director of the Michigan Apple Committee, said Armock's business was the first to sell Michigan apples to Russia in 2008-09 and earlier this year sold to Singapore and India.

Read the complete story here.

 


Ottawa County launches new website to help kayakers navigate their adventures

The Holland Sentinel reports that kayakers will find their adventures on the water easier to navigate when they check out the new Grand River Heritage Water Trail website that includes maps of access points, suggested routes and notable sights along the river.

According to excerpts from the story:

The new website — www.miottawa.org/parksvi/watertrail — shows 17 river access points, 33 notable natural features and 28 historic sites along the 30 miles of the Grand River within the county's border.

Read the complete story here:

 


Feel the Zee campaign to bring more retail shops to Zeeland is working

The Grand Rapids Business Journal reports the City of Zeeland's efforts to lure more retail businesses to its Main Street shopping district are working. While a sit-down restaurant with a liquor license, a possibility ever since residents voted in 2006 to end the near-century-long ban on the sale of liquor, remains absent, other shops have warmed to the "Feel the Zee" campaign.

According to excerpts from the story:

Feel the Zee is the name of the marketing campaign the city set up in 2007 with the help of The Image Group, a Holland marketing firm, and Abby deRoo, who was hired as city marketing director. Since the campaign began, she said, about 10 retail businesses have set up shop in the two-block business district of downtown Main Street.

Read the complete story here:

 


GRPS accepts two donations totaling almost $1MM for "effort-based" learning program and new laptops

WOOD-TV8 reported the Grand Rapids Public Schools has accepted donations from two foundations totaling almost $1 million. The Doug and Maria DeVos Foundation donated $445,000 to continue the district's relationship with the University of Pittsburgh's Institute for Learning for an "effort-based" learning program. Another donation of $462,400 from the Student Advancement Foundation will be used to purchase laptop computers.

According to excerpts from the story:

The "effort-based" learning program is about "the belief that children are not born smart -- that they can become smart through effort, through setting clear expectations, setting high expectations and working with instructors, with students," GRPS spokesman John Helmholdt said. "And they're speaking the same language."

Read the complete story here:

 


Brownfield tax credits could help two Grand Rapids companies create 185 jobs, save 50

Mlive.com reports that two Grand Rapids companies expect to create 185 jobs and retain 50 existing jobs thanks to millions in brownfield development tax credits awarded by the State of Michigan.

According to excerpts from the story:

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced that the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is helping nine companies grow in Michigan and backing two brownfield redevelopment projects.

Gordon Food Service – State brownfield tax credits will support the consolidation of the company's Canadian operations and restructure its Wyoming, Michigan, campus to increase efficiency and provide space for future growth. New jobs: 173, Retained jobs: 50 jobs. (State brownfield tax credits valued at approximately $6 million)

City of Grand Rapids – State and local tax capture valued at $561,700 will support a brownfield project to redevelop property at 248 Williams that will allow the Founders Brewing Company to expand its existing facilities. New jobs: 15

Read the complete story here.




Movie shot in West Michigan set for international premiere at Toronto Film Festival

A Hollywood Reporter article says a new film drama shot in West Michigan and produced by Holland's TicTock Studios will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

According to excerpts from the story:

The Toronto International Film Festival turned up the star wattage Tuesday with bookings for the latest work by Clint Eastwood, Danny Boyle and John Carpenter.

A long-awaited theatrical release date for Miramax's "Last Night" may also be at hand with Toronto giving a plum Roy Thomson Hall slot to the Keira Knightley and Eva Mendes-starring romancer from director Massy Tadjedjin.

There's also festival berths for "I'm Still Here," Casey Affleck's directorial debut and portrayal of one year in the life of actor Joaquin Phoenix as he transitions to becoming a hip hop musician, Matt Reeves' "Let Me In," starring Chloe Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee, and "What's Wrong With Virginia," the Dustin Lance Black drama that stars Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris and Emma Roberts.

Read the complete story here.




NBC's "Today Show" to feature energy-efficient Grand Haven home in its weekly segment

The Muskegon Chronicle reports the Grand Haven home of Frans and Karen Jungslager, highly rated for its energy efficiency, will appear in the national spotlight Friday morning, Aug. 13 when it's featured on NBC's "Today Show." The unique "green" home nestled in the woodland dunes of Mulligan's Hollow is now on the market, and will be highlighted in the program's weekly segment on real estate bargains throughout the nation.

According to excerpts from the story:

As a retired engineer, Frans Jungslager had a vision to design an environmentally friendly and energy-efficient home. He succeeded and his home was given a five star-plus energy rating -- the highest available. The Energy Star rating guidelines include properly installed insulation, high performance windows, energy-efficient cooling and heating systems, and Energy Star qualified appliances, lighting, and water heaters.

Read the complete story here.


GVSU's monthly survey shows local industrial economy remains strong but moderating

GVNOW reports that Grand Valley State University's monthly survey shows the greater Grand Rapids industrial economy remains strong, but growth has slowed based on data collected in the last two weeks of July.

Brian G. Long, GVSU's director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business, reports that new orders remained almost the same while production and purchases eased up. Hiring moderated slightly after setting a six-year record.

According to excerpts from the story:

Long said with 43 percent of firms reporting adding staff, the employment rate in the greater Grand Rapids area remains high. "Many firms are hiring, but some of them are being very quiet about it to avoid a long line at the door," said Long. "The catch is that almost all of the new hires require some kind of skill, such as computer analysis, CNC operation, electronics repair, or medical skills.

Read the complete story here.


Grand Rapids makes Outside magazine's 25 Best Towns 2010 – for mountain biking

Outside magazine lists Grand Rapids as the best town in the nation for mountain biking, and the city's new mountain bike park helped hammer it into lead position.

According to excerpts from the story:

Michigan's second-largest city will surprise you. For starters, the regional economy is both more diverse and more robust than Detroit's—and includes everything from furniture (Herman Miller and Steelcase) to health and beauty (Amway) to footwear (Wolverine Worldwide). Plus, despite the state's overall woes and high unemployment, G.R. is, dare we say, thriving.

In 2004, the last year they issued report cards, the International Mountain Biking Association gave Michigan a B+, the same grade as New Mexico, Washington, and Alaska. The in-town mountain-bike park has a pump track (think rollers and berms), a skills area, and a new three-mile loop of singletrack in the works.

Read the complete story here.



New Grand Rapids venture capital group receives $6M from state to fund young companies

Business Review West Michigan reports that the state has awarded $6 million in seed money to a new Grand Rapids venture capital fund. The group plans to invest $10 million in Michigan startups that will create jobs.

According to excerpts from the story:

A Grand Rapids investment group, backed with $6 million in seed money from the state, plans to launch a $10 million venture capital fund that will target young companies in Michigan.

Michigan Accelerator Fund I was one of two new groups to receive funding on Monday from the Michigan Strategic Economic Investment & Commercialization Board. The panel hopes to leverage its investment to spur creation of new home-grown investors who back Michigan-based startups that can create jobs and diversify the state's economy.

Read the complete story here.



Graduates of Ferris State University's digital animation and game design program landing jobs

The Grand Rapids Business Journal reports that students earning a degree in digital animation and game design from Ferris State University in Big Rapids are landing jobs, despite the slow economy.

According to excerpts from the story:

David Baker, program director at Ferris State University of digital animation and game design, says, "There are actually jobs in this business." There are about 150 people are enrolled in the program, many of them hoping to land a career in the $20 billion digital gaming industry, according to Baker. So far, about 50 people have earned the degree since the first classes were offered in 2004.

Read the complete story here


Muskegon economic leaders push to attract more business start-ups to Muskegon County

An article in the Muskegon Chronicle says that the chamber of commerce coalition is behind a new push to attract business start-ups to the region.

According to excerpts from the story:

Those who knew Jennifer Cross in 1997 at Mona Shores High School aren't surprised. Classmates who saw her single-minded focus with the school's D.E.C.A. Club understand the risk and hard work she has expended to open Continuity at 1115 Third. Her "antique, vintage and renewed goods" retail outlet in a developing urban neighborhood south of the Muskegon's downtown business district has been open for a month.

Cross is a perfect example of what the Muskegon Area Chamber of Commerce is preaching with its "entrepreneur-driven economy" initiative. In fact, Cross left the chamber earlier this year to start her own business and remains a promoter of Muskegon and its small business community.

Read the complete story here.




Grand Valley State University students do the math on ArtPrize

A report by MiBiz says recent study commissioned by the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority calculates the economic impact of the 2009 ArtPrize competition in the multi-millions.

According to excerpts from the story:

Two groups of senior economics students at Grand Valley State University, under the guidance of economics professor Paul Isely, studied the economic impact of last year's ArtPrize on Kent County at the request of the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority. The students found that the estimated 150,000-200,000 visitors to Grand Rapids generated between $5 million and $7.6 million during the contest's inaugural run.

This year's ArtPrize competition runs Sept. 22-Oct. 10.

Read the complete story here.




New York Times touts West Michigan's, state's growing clean energy industry

A New York Times report touts Michigan's burgeoning clean energy industry, citing the industry's growth in Holland with the promised electric-vehicle battery manufacturing.

According to excerpts from the story:

In February 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which among other things, provided $2.4 billion to encourage the development of a domestic industry to make lighter, more energy-dense lithium ion batteries to power electric vehicles.

Two weeks ago, on July 15, the president flew to this small city on the shore of Lake Michigan to attend the ground-breaking for a $303 million, 650,000 square-foot battery plant operated by Compact Power, a subsidiary of Korean company LG Chem, and to see other evidence of the stimulus bill's influence in Michigan.

He did not have to travel far. There are 17 new plants in production, under construction or approaching ground-breaking in Michigan's nascent electric-vehicle battery sector, according to the state Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth. Two of them, representing an investment of $523 million, are in Holland, a city of 34,000.

Read the complete story here.




ArtPrize is looking for volunteers to help with the three-week event

WOOD-TV reports that ArtPrize, the wildly successful participatory art contest in Grand Rapids launched last year, is looking for volunteers to help with everything from running the gift shop to guiding tours. The competition runs from Sept. 22 to Oct. 10.

According to excerpts from the story:

You can register online, and ArtPrize officials will be at Celebration Cinema South from 5 to 9 p.m. Aug. 7 and 1 to 5 p.m. Aug. 8.

Read the complete story here.

 


West Michigan students score better than state average on ACT tests

The Grand Rapids Press reports that students in most schools in West Michigan have scored better than the state average in the latest round of the American College Tests administered as part of the Michigan Merit Exam.

Among the highest average scores were students attending Forest Hills Public Schools, Grand Rapids City High School, Grand Rapids Catholic Central, Spring Lake High School and several Grand Rapids Christian schools.

According to excerpts from the story:

"Overall, I'm pleased with our scores, but it's one of many indicators of students' growth in learning," said Dan Behm, superintendent at Forest Hills, where scores at all three high schools ranked among the area's best. "Our purpose is to foster deep learning, not simply do well on tests."

Read the complete story here.

 


Holland BPW allocates $500,000 for wind energy development

A news report by WHTC says that Holland's Board of Public Works has allocated $500,000 to explore the feasibility of erecting a wind farm in Allegan County.

According to excerpts from the story:

The sight of numerous wind turbines on the Lakeshore could become a reality soon. Last night, the Holland City Council concurred with a recommendation from the Board of the Holland Board of Public Works and approved allocating 500 thousand dollars from the utility's renewable energy capital fund. The money would go to SWMI Wind Energy Development to explore the possibility of establishing a wind farm on around three thousand acres of land in Allegan County, mostly in Ganges Township.

Read the complete story here.




New Jersey wind developer enters fray over Lake Michigan wind farms

The Muskegon Chronicle reports that another wind developer has entered the fray surrounding development of wind farms in Lake Michigan, saying it's waiting to move ahead on specific plans until after the state develops regulatory rules.

According to excerpts from the story:

There's more than one offshore wind developer interested in West Michigan. Scandia Offshore Wind -- a joint U.S.-Norwegian development company -- has generated controversy with its plans for wind turbines in Lake Michigan off Grand Haven and Pentwater.

But Scandia isn't alone in planning for wind farms in Lake Michigan.

NRG Bluewater Wind also is interested. Bluewater is owned by New Jersey-based NRG Energy, an energy producer with $9.5 billion in annual revenues. Bluewater is developing wind farms on the East Coast but has been actively involved in Michigan's exploration of Great Lakes wind farms since early 2009. Bluewater Great Lakes Director Mike O'Brien introduced his company to West Michigan officials at an offshore wind briefing this week for business and industry at Grand Valley State University's Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center in Muskegon. O'Brien said his company has a different "methodology" than Scandia, which has been pushing a specific West Michigan wind development plan since December.

Read the complete story here.



Mexican Coca-Cola develops a cult-like following for its unique flavor

The Grand Rapids Press reports that a growing number of West Michigan grocery stores are now offering customers the latest big-selling drink: Mexican Coco-Cola. Fans are willing to pay a premium for the soda they say is less sweeter than regular Coke.

According to excerpts from the story:

Some fans chalk it up to drinking from a cold glass bottle. Others credit the cane sugar that sweetens it, in contrast to high fructose corn syrup used in U.S. production since the 1970s. Whatever it is, Mexican Coke has developed a cult following.A Facebook page dedicated to the drink has thousands of fans claiming allegiance to Mexicokes.

Read the complete story here.

 


Township in Montcalm County passes wind energy ordinance

The Greenville Daily News reports the Home Township Planning Commission in Montcalm County has approved an ordinance creating guidelines for wind energy systems.

After working on the ordinance for more than two years, Home Township Supervisor Calvin Beach says he and fellow board members hope it will inspire local residents and businesses to consider tapping into wind energy instead of conventional sources.

According to excerpts from the story:

"To the best of my knowledge this is the first local unit of government to take any action to adopt a wind ordinance," said (Commissioner John) Johansen, who also serves on the Montcalm County Planning Commission. "The Planning Commission is very interested in potential wind energy projects for the good of economic development."

Read the complete story here.

 


New Grand Rapids wine bar to offer 102 wines by the glass

A Grand Rapids Press report says customers at the planned Reserve wine bar can select from hundreds of wines by the glass and by the bottle, and enjoy them in a upscale atmosphere in the heart of the convention and hotel district.

According to excerpts from the story:

At Reserve, a downtown wine bar aiming to open in September, customers will be able to choose from 102 different wines by the glass. That's a lot of popped corks. But Martha's Vineyard owner Kameel Chamelly, who owns the new venture in partnership with the Windquest Group, is not worried about maintaining the quality of the open wine.

The bar features a custom-made, 102-bottle cruvinet -- a temperature controlled wine dispensing system that uses nitrogen to keep the wine fresh for up to six months. Chamelly said the system will allow customers to sample high-end wines they would never consider ordering by the bottle.

Read the complete story here.




Grand Rapids Whitewater receives $50K to hire engineering firm, secure $25K from DDA

The Grand Rapids Press reports that thanks to a $50,000 donation from a local brewery, Grand Rapids Whitewater can move forward with its plans to create a world class kayaking and fisherman's destination in the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids.

According to excerpts from the story:

Efforts to transform the Grand River downtown into a world-class kayaking and fisherman's paradise are expected to take a big step forward this week. Founders Brewing Co. plans to formally announce a gift that will enable Grand Rapids Whitewater, a nonprofit group developing the proposed whitewater course, to move forward with engineering and marketing. If all goes according to plan, a portion of the river south of the Fourth Street dam would become a challenging kayak course that also improves the fish habitat in the area.

"This is something (co-founder) Dave Engbers and I and our whole group at Founders support," said Mike Stevens, president and co-founder of the brewery at 235 Grandville Ave. SW.

Read the complete story here.




Van Andel Institute and Calvin College named as two of the top ten academic workplaces

WOOD-TV 8 reports that a scientific journal has ranked the Van Andel Institute and Calvin College as among the top 10 best academic workplaces in the nation. Both are in Grand Rapids.

In its July issue, Scientist's placed the VAI as third and Calvin College eighth in its rankings, putting them ahead of East Lansing's Michigan State University (14th) and Detroit's Wayne State University (37th), who both placed in the top 40.

According to excerpts from the story:

"While other industries in Michigan may not be faring well, its research sector is booming," the magazine's Lauren Urban wrote.

Read the complete story here.

 


Obama to visit Holland to help break ground on new lithium-ion battery plant

The Holland Sentinel reports that President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Holland this afternoon to help break ground for a $303 million lithium-ion battery plant, a company expected to help transform the area into a leading battery supplier for the emerging electric car industry.

Located on the southside of Holland, the LG Chem/Compact Power plant is projected to produce automotive battery cells by early 2012 and grow its employment level to 400 by 2013.

According to excerpts from the story:

"This is fantastic news for Holland to have the president of the United State coming to our community Mayor Kurt Dykstra said, noting that the president visit shows his administration's continued commitment to the lithium-ion battery technology.

Read the complete story here.

 


Grand Rapids-based GE Aviation wants to hire 200 engineers

24 Hour News 8 reports that Cascade Township's GE Aviation looks to hire 200 engineers to manufacture components for new aircraft being manufactured by China-based Commercial Aircraft Corporation.

According to excerpts from the story:

GE Aviation Systems is looking to hire 200 engineers, mainly in West Michigan a spokeswoman told 24 Hour News 8, after its partnership with a Chinese company won a contract to build components for a new aircraft. The Cascade Township-based GE division is partnering with AVIC Systems to provide processing, display and maintenance systems for Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China's new 150-passenger C919.

Read the complete story here.




Prestige Products in Grand Rapids adds 90 employees, makes booms to help clean up Gulf oil spill

A Business Review West Michigan report says nearly 90 new employees at a once-vacant Grand Rapids manufacturing facility are helping workers in the Gulf of Mexico clean up the BP oil spill.

According to excerpts from the story:

Few things are moving as fast as the 11-week oil spill across the Gulf of Mexico. It is spreading at the rate of 60,000 barrels a day. But nearly 90 new employees are giving chase at Prestige Products LLC Boom Division. They are working around the clock to create long booms to protect critical areas along the threatened coastline from encroaching oil.

Just two months ago, the plant at 2685 North Ridge Drive NW was a vacant 100,000-square-foot warehouse, and most of the people now working there were unemployed. When BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling platform exploded April 20, a pipe 5,000 feet below sea level started spewing a gigantic plume of oil and gas into the Gulf.

Read the complete story here.




Three West Michigan public schools ranked in the top five among 3,000 statewide

WOOD-TV reports that three West Michigan public schools eligible for state aid were among the top five performing schools in the state as ranked by the Michigan Department of Education. The ranking was based on academic data from 2007 through 2009 that combined proficiency scores in math and English/language arts with the rate of improvement in those scores over time.

According to excerpts from the report:

Forest Hills Public Schools' Eastern Middle School took the number one spot statewide among 3,000 schools ranked. Grand Rapids Public Schools' City Middle/High School came in fourth and FHPS' Northern Hills Middle School is ranked fifth.

Read the complete story here:

 


The Convention and Visitors Bureau launches new diversity initiative

Grand Rapids Business Journal reports the Convention and Visitors Bureau has unveiled a new diversity initiative to help the Grand Rapids community become more multiculturally minded and accepting of other races and ethnicities. The bureau hopes the effort will help build a national image of Grand Rapids as a multicultural city and ultimately achieve its primary goal of filling hotel rooms.

According to excerpts from the story:

SMG, the firm that manages the convention center and arena, and the downtown hotels have joined the bureau in the effort. The Convention and Arena Authority and the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce also are involved.

Read the complete story here:

 


Holland advanced battery manufacturing site designated Renaissance Zone, expected to create 400 jobs

An article on GlobeSt.com reports that the state of Michigan has designated a tax-free Renewable Energy Renaissance Zone at the 120-acre Holland site of a proposed advanced battery manufacturing facility.

According to excerpts from the story:

The state-run Michigan Economic Development Corp. has designated the 120-acre site here, planned for a new $303 million advanced battery plant, as a Renewable Energy Renaissance Zone. The 15-year designation was created by the state for the company, LG Chem-Compact Power Inc.

The zone will allow the company to operate free of virtually all state and local taxes. The firm expects to produce 15 million battery cells per year when the 650,000-square-foot plant is at full capacity.

Read the complete story here.




Spectrum Health named one of top 10 health systems in the U.S.

Crain's Detroit Business reports that a new report of Thomson Reuters Top 100 Hospitals names Grand Rapids-based Spectrum Health in the top 10 nationwide.

According to excerpts from the story:

Grand Rapids-based Spectrum Health has been named one of the nation's top 10 health systems in the Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals: Health Systems Benchmarks study. The second annual study, published in the June 21 edition of Modern Healthcare, assesses clinical performance across the entire health system, measuring mortality rates, complications rates, patient safety, readmission rates and average length of stay. Spectrum Health, formed in 1997, includes Spectrum Health United in Greenville, Spectrum Health Hospitals in Grand Rapids, Kelsey Memorial Hospital in Lakeview and Spectrum Health Reed City Campus in Reed City.

Read the complete story here.




Fire-damaged grocery store in Alger Heights to reopen as Ken's Fruit Market

According to WZZM 13, a Grand Rapids neighborhood grocery store in Alger Heights heavily damaged by fire in 2006 will be reopening as Ken's Fruit Market, bringing new life to the area.

According to excerpts from the story:

Alger Heights Foods, located on Eastern Avenue SE, closed nearly three years ago. Neighbors say they're pleased to see more business return to their community. "It's been sitting empty for way too long," says Carol Peters, who has lived in Alger Heights for 37 years. "So now we're excited about anything that would come in here, but fruits and vegetables would be great."

Read the complete story here.

 

 


Grand Rapids Community Foundation awards $1.5 million in grants

According to MiBiz, the Grand Rapids Community Foundation has awarded $1.5 million in grants to nine Grand Rapids area organizations, including one that supports the development of the Grand Rapids Urban Market.

According to excerpts from the story:

Included in those funds was $150,000 to the Grand Action Foundation to support the predevelopment for Grand Rapids Urban Market, including architecture and engineering services, tax credit planning and syndication, legal fees and project management.

Read the complete story here.

 


Inaugural Meijer State Games start next weekend in Grand Rapids

According to The Grand Rapids Press, the inaugural Meijer State Games of Michigan that starts Friday is expected to attract 3,500 athletes from across the state for the Olympic-style sporting competition. The weekend event includes competition in basketball, racquetball and bowling at more than two dozen West Michigan venues.

According to excerpts from the story:

All those athletes and their families will pump money into the West Michigan economy, from filling beds at hotels to tables at restaurants. The economic impact is expected to be more than $700,000 in direct spending. Each athlete usually translates to $125 in hotel, meals, attractions and shopping per day, said Mike Guswiler, executive director of the West Michigan Sports Commission.

Read the complete story here.

 


Wastewater plant in Saugatuck Township to run some of its equipment with solar panels

According to the Holland Sentinel, the wastewater lagoons at Saugatuck Township have been relying on 20 aerators to add oxygen to the ponds for its treatment of water. The aerators will soon be replaced with solar-powered ones, bringing a savings to the township and creating a greener process at the same time.

According to excerpts from the story:

The authority now has 20 aerators — 16 in one lagoon and four in the other. Not all run at the same time. Usually, five run in the larger pond and two in the other to handle the million gallon wastewater capacity. Their power comes from the grid, just like other businesses and homes.

The authority will only need two SolarBee solar-powered aerators to do the work of the current 20. And these will be powered by the sun, meaning electrical use — and bills — will be cut.

Read the complete storyhere.

 


ArtPrize holding informational meeting for those interested in hosting out-of-town artists

According to The Grand Rapids Press, ArtPrize will be holding an informational meeting tonight, June 24, for residents interested in hosting out-of-town contestants during this fall's art competition.

The meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Byrneboehm Gallery, 959 Lake Drive SE. Last year, 85 local residents offered to open their homes to artists, but only 48 contestants took advantage of the opportunity.

According to excerpts from the story:

So far this year, 24 artists from as far away as England and Taiwan have asked for a home stay, and 29 local residents have signed up to host a visitor during this fall's second ArtPrize competition.

Read the complete story here.

 


Compass Film Academy in Grand Rapids wins certification for financial aid

As reported in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, Compass Film Academy, a private vocational school in Northwest Grand Rapids, is no longer flying under the radar for students, government and university officials. The 10-year-old academy won certification last month to grant Title IV financial aid to its 26 college students, boasting its profile again as a specialized movie production school.

According to excerpts from the story:

Last fall, Compass became the only vocational school in Michigan that is focused solely on movie production to be certified by the national Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, and sometime within the next few months, it will formally become Compass College of Cinematic Arts, according to Compass president Keri Lowe.

"We just got preliminary approval from the state" of Michigan to operate as a college, she said. Compass is also now in discussion with some four-year universities in Michigan, regarding "articulation agreements," which relate to the transfer of credits between schools.

Read the complete story here:



 


Urban gardens flourishing in West Michigan

According to The Grand Rapids Press, the local food movement has captured the attention and imagination of many West Michigan city dwellers as they turn vacant lots into community gardens, feeding themselves with fresh produce and saving money in the process.

According to excerpts from the story:

At the Fourth Street garden, initiated by parents of children who attend the nearby Grand Rapids Child Discovery Center, the work is decidedly anti-capitalist.

"It's a communal garden," said Chrysta Coronado, who is working at the garden west of Stocking Avenue NW. "This food doesn't belong to any one person. This food is all of ours." It's also about creating an oasis in what some claim has become an urban food desert.

Read the complete story here.

 


$4.1 million in brownfield tax credits approved for renovation of Grand Rapids' Old Federal Building

WOOD TV-8 reports that this week the Michigan Economic Growth Authority board approved brownfield tax credits of $4.1 million for the redevelopment of the Old Federal Building by Kendall College of Art & Design.

According to excerpts from the story:

Brownfield credit approved Tuesday

A state board approved $4.1 million in tax credits Tuesday to redevelop the old Grand Rapids federal building into classrooms, offices and exhibit space for Ferris State University and the Kendall School of Art and Design.

The Michigan Economic Growth Authority board approved the credits for Christman Company subsidiary Federal Building Partners LLC, which is undertaking the $28.5 million renovation of the nearly 100-year-old city-owned building.

Read the complete story here.




Muskegon kidney disease treatment center proposes $3.37 million expansion

The Muskegon Chronicle reports that Muskegon County commissioners approved the use of $2.4 million in Recovery Zone Facility Bonds as partial funding for an expansion of a renal disease treatment center.

According to excerpts from the story:

A new medical building focused on treating kidney disease is in the works, and Muskegon County's little-used portion of a federal government bond program for facility construction is providing some assistance.

West Michigan Renal Properties is set to move forward with construction of a 30,000-square-foot medical office building at 1300 Mercy Drive to house the West Michigan Nephrology Physician Practice, a dialysis unit and space for two additional office suites.

Read the complete story here.




Richmond, Briggs and King public pools to open July 5 in Grand Rapids, thanks to private donations


According to WOOD-TV, three public swimming pools plan to open in Grand Rapids July 5 for seven weeks, thanks to private donations. Businessman Bob Sullivan pledged to fund operations at Richmond Pool on the city's Northwest Side, while a whirlwind grassroots campaign by the Friends of Grand Rapids Parks raised more than $177,000 to ensure the opening of Briggs Pool on the city's Northeast Side and Martin Luther King Jr. Pool on the city's Southeast Side.

According to excerpts from the story:

"What we did here was really put together a campaign that brought both the grassroots and the grass tops together," said Steve Faber, the director of Friends of Grand Rapids Parks. "And I think that's symbolic of Grand Rapids. It's how we work as a community -- how we come together."

Read the complete story here:


Grand Haven puts new emphasis on displaying artwork in public places

According to the Grand Haven Tribune, the city's Central Park and an area along the Grand River channel are among the public sites city leaders are eyeing to display artwork on a regular basis. This greater emphasis on promoting artwork helps create a greater "sense of place" in the community, they say.

According to excerpts from the story:

City officials say they hope to tie into that "sense of place" with happenings like ArtWalk, a three-week event scheduled for late September and early October.

"We hope this is a long-term opportunity that gives us great exposure," said Steve Loftis, owner of several downtown Grand Haven restaurants and an organizer of ArtWalk.

Read the complete story here.

 


Middle school girls to learn engineering, technology at Grand Valley State University camp

A GVnow report explores some of the opportunities middle school girls will have to learn about careers in engineering, CAD design, CNC milling and other technologies at Grand Valley State University's annual Science, Technology and Engineering Preview Day Camp.

According to excerpts from the story:

Area middle school girls will see what it takes to become an engineer at the Science, Technology and Engineering Preview Summer Day Camp (STEPS) at Grand Valley. Girls from all over West Michigan will make and fly radio-controlled electric airplanes. The planes will fly with the latest lithium-ion-battery technology in electric radio-controlled flight.

Throughout the week-long camp, girls will be introduced to computer-aided design (CAD), CNC milling, and visit Alcoa Howmet in Whitehall, Mich., to participate in plant tours and view laboratory operations.

Read the complete story here.





U.S. Green Building Council showcases West Michigan's leadership in LEED construction

The Business Review West Michigan reports that the U.S. Green Building Council plans to showcase West Michigan's leadership in LEED-certified and green buildings with a new book of LEED building performance case studies and a fall tour of some of the featured structures.

According to excerpts from the story:

It's no secret there are many LEED-certified buildings in Grand Rapids — and the number is growing in West Michigan. The U.S. Green Building Council of West Michigan now is working on an effort to use that leadership as a showcase for city successes and the benefits of LEED. The project, Green Buildings of West Michigan, will pull together LEED-building-performance case studies that will result in a book and a tour in September featuring participating buildings.

The chapter had wanted to undertake such a project for some time, said USGBC West Michigan Chair Renae Hesselink. When LEED first came out, there were no requirements to demonstrate the ongoing benefits of LEED certification. "That had been bugging us," Hesselink said. "We had been wanting to prove that, yes, LEED buildings do perform better."

Read the complete story here.




Momentum's second year of supporting Web-based technological start-ups adds flexibility

According to The Grand Rapids Business Journal, Momentum, a local venture firm that began last year hand-picking and supporting area Web-based technological start-ups, is fine-tuning its 12-week program, becoming more flexible and more effective in the process.

Momentum is focusing its attention this year to four fledging companies: Jai Place and Varsinet, both from Grand Rapids, e-Simulations of Holland and TerraParks of Ann Arbor. Last year, it selected three Web-based local companies.

According to excerpts from the story:

"We learned so much from working with the three companies last year — what programming works. We shook a lot of creative people out of the trees to sign up for mentor gigs and providing different resources, which has been really fantastic," said Bill Holsinger-Robinson, executive director of Momentum.

Read the complete story here.

 


West Michigan Compounding in Rockford looking to expand recycling business in Greenville

According to The Greenville Daily News, a Rockford-based company is looking to expand its recycling operation into new digs in Greenville, with plans to become operational this September and to hire 17 workers in three years.

West Michigan Compounding already leases space in the former Electrolux shipping warehouse in Greenville to house raw materials used to recycle nearly 20 pounds of thermoplastics a year.

According to excerpts from the story:

In 2005, Scott Barnard saw an opportunity in what he perceived was a need in the Midwest for recycled thermoplastics, which can be used by the auto industry and large injection molders.

He began working with Johnson Controls and Summit Polymers to develop a way for these companies to reuse their plastic scraps within their own operations.

Read the complete story here.

 


Grand Rapids' Medical Mile attracts top researchers, puts city on medical map

MiBiz.com reports that the growth and influence of Grand Rapids' Medical Mile and surrounding universities is attracting top researchers to the city, and with them come research dollars and professional contacts in a chain reaction of influence and expertise.

According to excerpts from the story:

The Medical Mile might not yet be a Mecca of healthcare and medical research like the Mayo Clinic or the Cleveland Clinic are, but those institutions had to start somewhere. But with developments like the completion of the second phase of Van Andel Institute and massive infrastructure and personnel investments from area hospitals coupled with the critical mass of university programs taking shape in and around downtown, Grand Rapids is increasingly getting on the map.

Each researcher that opts to locate at Van Andel Institute or the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine — or every high-level doctor that gets hired at one of the local hospitals — brings with him or her a wealth of contacts to similarly situated professionals across the country and beyond. One move could create a chain reaction of other events drawing an even broader critical mass to the region, and that's a movement that's already started to some extent.

Read the complete story here.




Proposed nationwide US-35 bike trail to run length of West Michigan lakeshore

A Muskegon Chronicle report says that more bicycling tourists could see the West Michigan lakeshore via two wheels when existing bike trails become part of a planned nationwide bicycle roadway network.

According to excerpts from the story:

Muskegon may be visited by more two-wheeled, pedal-pushing tourists in the future because it falls along the planned "U.S. 35" bicycle route. The route, which is part of a nationwide bicycle roadway network being planned by the Adventure Cycling Association, will run from south of Jackson, Miss., to Sault Ste. Marie. Plans call for it to connect with other routes that crisscross the country. It would be one of six in the state, according to the association.

Joshua DeBruyn, bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for the Michigan Department of Transportation, said the route will be determined by local governments, based on guidelines laid out by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. The route will use existing infrastructure, including roads and bicycle paths, he said.

Read the complete story here.




SEED Network releases national standard that measures social impact of construction projects

As reported by Business Review West Michigan, a national group has released a groundbreaking social-impact standard for designers that measures the social impact of construction projects.

According to excerpts from the story:

For many advocates of sustainability, the triple bottom line — environment, economics and social equity — is the guiding principle of sustainability.

But for construction projects, there haven't been many ways to measure social impact. Now a national group has launched a "social-impact standard" for project designers — Social Economic Environmental Design.

The SEED Network's mission is to "advance the right of every person to live in a socially, economically and environmentally healthy community."

"What I like about the SEED certification is it kind of bundles (the triple bottom line) and makes it easier to understand," said Greg Metz, past president of the American Institute of Architects Grand Valley chapter and a principal at Lott3Metz Architecture in Grand Rapids.

Metz believes West Michigan will understand the goals of SEED more than many other areas of the country, but he said the social aspect is the one most people still struggle to incorporate.

Read the complete story here.




Whitehall tannery owners, Muskegon County leaders closer to environmental cleanup plan

A Muskegon Chronicle report indicates that after years of controversy, the push by Muskegon County leaders for a more extensive environmental cleanup of the former Whitehall Leather Co. tannery site draws closer to victory.

According to excerpts from the story:

An environmental cleanup plan for one of Muskegon County's most contaminated sites is on the verge of being finalized, potentially bringing to end years of negotiations. It also would signify a victory for local leaders and residents who pushed for a more extensive cleanup than the site's owner had earlier proposed.

Genesco, the former owner of the Whitehall Leather Co. tannery, has proposed a consent judgment outlining the scope of a cleanup of the 33-acre site, including removal of contaminated sediments in the site's former lagoons. The company is being held financially responsible for cleanup of the White Lake shoreline site contaminated by more than a century of leather-tanning operations.

Read the complete story here.



Employee wellness organization names GVSU one of the nation's top 30 Healthiest Companies

Grand Valley State University says that Interactive Health Solutions, an employee wellness organization, has named the university one of the 30 "Healthiest Companies in America" primarily because of its high employee participation in wellness programs.

According to excerpts from GVSU's announcement:

The rankings were based on evaluations of key health indicators such as heart disease, diabetes, smoking and other measures of health status that are partially controlled by individuals. The companies listed by IHS vary and include government entities, insurance groups, banks and school districts. Grand Valley was the only Michigan employer to be listed. For the complete list, visit www.healthiestcompanies.com.

Read the complete announcement here.

 


Metro Grand Rapids leaders at Texas conference to attract wind energy development

As reported by WZZM-TV, a group of West Michigan business leaders are at the largest wind conference in the world this week in Texas in an attempt to convince developers to bring wind energy jobs to the Grand Rapids area. The American Wind Energy Association Conference in Dallas drew more than 1,300 exhibitors.

According to excerpts from the story:

"We have some of the best wind in the country along our lakes," says Birgit Klohs, president and CEO of The Right Place. "Particularly Lake Michigan and Saginaw Bay."  Klohs wants Michigan to take advantage of its wind potential to create jobs.

Read the complete story here.

 


ConAgra Foods Inc.'s acquisition of Kentwood's Elan Nutrition may create 205 jobs in next five years

As reported by the Grand Rapids Press, ConAgra Foods Inc.'s recent acquisition of the Elan Nutrition plant in Kentwood could bring up to 205 new jobs over five years, each paying a weekly wage of $607, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

ConAgra plans to invest $73 million in the plant which produces snack and nutrition bars with a 230,000-square-foot expansion that could create 75 jobs in the first year, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

According to excerpts from the story:

The Michigan Economic Growth Authority was expected today to grant a tax credit to the Omaha, Neb.-based ConAgra Foods, which acquired Elan Nutrition in April from Sun Capital Partners to grow its snack bar business through new manufacturing capacity and product development capabilities.

Read the complete story here.


Interest in Grand Rapids community garden hits all-time high

As reported by Examiner.com, Grand Rapids has some 45 community gardens sprouting up around the city, and the longest-running of those has a record number of gardeners on a waiting list this year. That trend coincides with a national greening movement taking root in urban areas across the country.

According to excerpts from the story:

It was 9:00 p.m. before Norma Jansma, the volunteer coordinator for Hillcrest Community Gardens, had a moment to sit down and talk about the gardens this week. She and a handful of others from the garden committee had just finished the tedious job of marking 100+ garden plots with stakes and string. And, did I mention, she has a full-time day job too?

Jansma, has played a key role in the year-to-year operations of the volunteer-based community garden for the past 8+ years. "It has become a lot more popular, says Jansma, "and Grand Rapids has taken an interest in organics and the environment. We have fifty people on the waiting list this year. Last year it was thirty. Three or four years ago you could have called me now and still gotten a plot."

Read the complete story here.




Michigan port officials praise Muskegon Lake's new role as a clean waterway for all

As reported in the Muskegon Chronicle, the cleanup and transformation of deep water port Muskegon Lake from industrial cesspool to a clean waterway had drawn praise from Michigan's port officials.

According to excerpts from the story:

Muskegon Lake is the largest deep-water port on the western coast of Michigan. Today the lake once likened by many to an industrial cesspool back in the 1960s and early '70s is being touted as a shining example of how a port can be transformed. The port on Muskegon Lake is now multipurpose. The deep-water access from Lake Michigan to Muskegon Lake allows for sailboat races, coal deliveries to the B.C. Cobb plant, charter fishing trips into the Big Lake and arrivals of the Lake Express ferry with passengers and vehicles arriving daily from Milwaukee.

Just a generation or two ago, Muskegon's port was mainly an industrial center with a paper mill, several foundries, an engine manufacturing plant and a coal-burning power plant. Back then, Muskegon Lake waters were in no condition to support a sport fishing industry. The shoreline was disfigured from decades of lumbering and heavy industrial use and certainly was no place for residential housing.

Today, all of that has changed.

Read the complete story here.




Meijer's to hire up to 90 additional employees at Grand Rapids store

As reported by WZZM-TV, Meijer Inc., the Grand Rapids-based superstore retailer, will be holding open interviews this week to hire additional employees to operate its expanded store at the southwest corner of 28th Street and Kalamazoo Avenue when the project is completed this summer.

According to excerpts from the story:

After crews finish work on a Grand Rapids Meijer, the store says it will need to fill up to 90 new jobs. The store on 28th Street and Kalamazoo is expanding. It was Meijer's first super-center and had not had a renovation since the 1970s.The store will hold an unveiling later this summer. Meijer says because of the larger store, it needs to bring in the extra employees. The company will hold open interviews starting Wednesday afternoon at the store on Kalamazoo and 28th Street.

Read the complete story here.

 


Thai restaurants are growing in number in the West Michigan dining scene

As reported in The Grand Rapids Press, Thai restaurants in West Michigan are relatively new to the area, but they are thriving with their lighter, fresher and potentially very spicy dishes. Among them are Thai Fusion which opened last month at 3097 Broadmoor Ave. SE in Kentwood, Erb Thai, set to open soon at 1117 Wealthy St. SE, Thai Cuisine, slated to open in downtown Grand Rapids this July at 48 W. Fulton St, and Rak Thai Bistro which opened about a year ago at 5260 Northland Drive NE.

According to excerpts from the story:

While popular dishes like Pad Thai and Masaman Curry were tough to come by a few years ago, there are now more than a dozen places offering Thai food in Kent and Ottawa counties, with more on the way.

"Before I came here, the reason I chose Grand Rapids is there were almost no Thai restaurants here," said Yang Hang, an ethnic Hmong who was born in Thailand, immigrated to the U.S. as a child and attended Michigan State University.

Read the complete story here.


New Orders Index hits 16-year high, Grand Rapids economy shows strong growth

As reported by MiBiz.com, a monthly survey conducted by the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University indicates that Grand Rapids' economy is strong and growing.

According to excerpts from the story:

The greater Grand Rapids economy is experiencing strong growth, according to the results of a monthly survey compiled by Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University. The survey results are based on data collected in the last two weeks of April. The new orders index, which tracks business improvement, shot up to a 16-year high of +51, building on last month's +20.

"For the first time in the 21-year history of the survey, not a single firm reported business conditions to be weaker than the previous month," said Long. In other measures, the production index rose to +44, up from +30. The purchasing index climbed to +39 from +17. The employment rose to +22 from +17, but Long noted that the area economy has not returned to the output and employment levels of 2005.

Read the complete story here.


Study says transportation projects are vital to Michigan's economic turnaround

As reported by MiBiz.com, a recent report on the state of transportation in Michigan identified nine projects in Kent and Allegan counties as key to the economic turnaround of the region. The I-196 improvement project ranked sixth most important statewide.

According to excerpts from the story:

Nine transportation projects in Kent and Allegan counties are vital for Michigan's economic turnaround, a report released today says. Chief among them is the reconstruction and widening of a stretch of I-196 in the Grand Rapids area, according to the report, "Top 50 Surface Transportation Projects to Stimulate Michigan's Economic Recovery." The I-196 improvement was the sixth-highest priority project on the list.

The report was issued by TRIP, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization that promotes transportation policies to improve safety, protect the environment and enhance economic productivity. It said moving forward on the 50 transportation projects around the state could propel Michigan's economic turnaround. The projects carry a combined price tag of nearly $12 billion.

Read the complete story here.





CNN hails Grand Rapids as a "Michigan Success Story"

In a lengthy feature story this week, CNN highlights the success Grand Rapids has had in engineering new urban growth in the past two decades with the collaboration among those leaders dedicated to making the city prosper. As old-economy industries faltered throughout the 1990s, the city began redirecting its vision and efforts, offering lessons to other cities such as Detroit looking for a new redevelopment plan.

According to excerpts from the story:

That this plan has taken hold in, of all places, the Rustbelt of Michigan makes it all the more remarkable. Two decades ago the city could have been headed the way of Flint, Pontiac, and, yes, Detroit. But instead its fortunes have steadily improved, thanks to a remarkable combination of business leadership, public-private cooperation, and the deep pockets of local philanthropists.

Read the complete story here.


 


West Michigan's regionalism applauded, touted as model for the nation

Collaborating on a regional level appears to be much more common in West Michigan than other areas of the United States. That's why a Washington, D.C. organization touted efforts by the West Michigan Strategic Alliance as a model for regional leadership for the rest of the nation.

According to excerpts from the story: