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Heartside : West Michigan In The News

353 Heartside Articles | Page: | Show All

Cooley Law School continues to grow, draws 600 students to downtown Grand Rapids

Drawing aspiring attorneys and paralegals to downtown Grand Rapids increases the odds of the city retaining these young professionals. That makes Cooley Law School a catalyst for change in the heart of West Michigan.

According to excerpts from the story:

GRAND RAPIDS - The advantages of year-round law classes have helped Thomas M. Cooley Law School steadily grow its Grand Rapids presence. Don LeDuc, president and dean of Cooley Law School, said enrollment is currently at 600 students at the Grand Rapids campus. He expects the independent college’s enrollment will swell to nearly 800 students within two years.

Cooley started offering classes in Grand Rapids in 2003, and the 2009 fall semester will mark the third year for the full law program in downtown Grand Rapids. Three semesters of year-round classes are offered at Cooley so that students can take classes part-time and still graduate in three years, compared to four years going part-time at other universities.

Financially, the college takes in what would be four years of income in three years. Offering classes year round opens up enrollment three times a year — in January for afternoon and weekend classes, in May for evening classes and in September for day classes.

Read the complete story here.


High school students invent innovative prosthetic hand, qualify for national engineering finals

A prosthetic hand designed for typing has garnered national attention for its inventors—a group of inner city high school students. Next it’s off to a national engineering design competition as one of five finalists nationwide.

According to excerpts from the story:

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Mrs. Gasper's engineering students at Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School invented a prosthetic hand that they call the Handy Typer .

It helps with the obvious...typing...but also "it helps in terms of holding mainly because of the rubber coating, so it does grip," said student Kevin Greene. They say the purpose behind the device was to create something they could enter in the National Engineering Design Challenge through JETS (Junior Engineering Technical Society).

The design made it to the finals -- one of five nationwide. Some motivation close to home helped the students focus in on their product.

Read the complete story here.


Grand Rapids entrepreneur credits GROW as catalyst for local business development

One Grand Rapids business development organization helped local entrepreneurs launch dozens of businesses and nearly 100 jobs in the past year. With entrepreneurial training in high demand, this nonprofit continues to raise the bar for standards of excellence.

According to excerpts from the story:

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women, or GROW, is a non-profit developmental organization.

Now in its twentieth year, it continues to positively impact West Michigan's economy by providing education in areas like financing and marketing. Last year, 2,100 people took advantage of GROW's services, 27 businesses were able to open within the Greater Grand Rapids Community, and 77 new jobs were created.

GROW Executive Director Patricia Duthler says, "I firmly believe that GROW is a catalyst for the types of businesses that remain local. The types of products and services that are created cannot be exported. They tend to be recession proof, they tend to be lifestyle, retail, service oriented."

She adds, "We're finding that our client population is changing. It's historically been those underserved populations of minorities, women and so forth that haven't had services to be able to become self-sufficient. But it's also hitting the middle income population now."

Read the complete story here.


Grand Rapids DDA pledges support to $35M in downtown developments

The phrase “building boom” describes Grand Rapids’ past decade, and it seems it’s an apt sentiment for the near future as well. Major developments announced in recent days garnered financial and collaborative support from economic decision makers.

According to excerpts from the story:

GRAND RAPIDS -- The Downtown Development Authority gave three major development projects a financial boost this morning. All told, the incentives and development agreement approved could help spur investments of up to $35 million. The largest deal addressed was the planned $22 million to $26 million Cambria Suites hotel near Van Andel Arena.

The property's owners, who had planned condominiums on the site when they bought it from the DDA, were able to have their development agreement adapted to allow the property to be sold to the hotel's developer. Fort Wayne, Ind.-based GT RIDMG Inc. is planning a 129-room hotel with a full-service restaurant, indoor pool, integrated parking and a potential skywalk link to Van Andel Arena. The lot, 45 Ionia SW, sits in the heart of the city's entertainment district.

Read the complete story here.


Grand Rapids microbreweries nab top honors in lists of America’s best

Grand Rapids microbreweries have attracted more than loyal local enthusiasts—they’ve attracted national attention and a plethora of “thumbs up” votes for quality.

According to excerpts from the story:

GRAND RAPIDS -- Founders Brewing Co. and downtown beer bar HopCat are the toast of the planet in national rankings published in the this month's issue of BeerAdvocate magazine.

The year-old HopCat, 25 Ionia Ave. SW, ranked No. 3 on the "Best Beer Bars on Planet Earth" list. The bustling Founders Brewing Co. landed at No. 13 on the "All-Time Top Breweries on Planet Earth" list with its hearty Breakfast Stout ranked No. 4 among "All-Time Top Beers on Planet Earth."

Read the complete story here.


Plans for Grand Rapids’ 38 Commerce progressing with first office tenant in sight

An innovative public/private partnership between a Grand Rapids development company and the city has inched forward with the promise of the project’s first office tenant and negotiations for a restaurant underway.

According to excerpts from the story:

Locus Development is making progress on Thirty-Eight: a $26 million, mixed-use, two-building project going up at 38 Commerce Ave. SW in partnership with the city of Grand Rapids. The development features 68,000 square feet of office, retail and residential space that will be built into the two structures. Residences will go into the Commerce Avenue building, while offices will go into the one on Weston Street.

Then the two “liner buildings” will come together at the intersection. John Green, who formed Locus Development with Andy Winkle last spring, said they have their first office tenant lined up and should be closing on that lease within a month. The tenant remains anonymous at this time. But Green did confirm that the company will be moving into the building from a suburban address, which will mean new jobs and new income-tax revenue for the city.

Read the complete story here.


Bus Rapid Transit will be one step closer with environmental study

After years of study and the subsequent award of some $36 million in federal transportation funding, the state’s most progressive transit system secured a guarantee of matching funds from the state and has authorized the next step of the project—a required environmental study.

According to excerpts from the story:

The Interurban Transit Partnership board approved the next major step in the bus rapid transit project Wednesday, giving The Rapid staff the go-ahead to negotiate a contract amendment with DJM Harris to do the environmental work for the project, a step required by federal statute.

“Time is of the essence here because the sooner we can get this environmental process done, the sooner we can enter into a project construction agreement,” Varga said

The BRT line will run along Division from 60th Street north to Wealthy Street, through downtown to Michigan Street, and then to Central Station. The corridor runs through Grand Rapids, Wyoming and Kentwood. All in all, the route will be just under 10 miles, with 19 station stops and 10-minute service frequency during peak hours.

Read the complete story here.


Locus Development aims to create new national urban development model

A Grand Rapids development duo is on the cusp of launching what could be the inaugural project for a new national model of public/private partnerships that revolutionize urban design and the financial partnerships that make that happen.

According to excerpts from the story:

GRAND RAPIDS — A unique public-private project by Locus Development aims to shape the look of future urban development.

Developers Andy Winkel and John Green are often asked about financing given the tough commercial real estate conditions, but the pair have the backing of Mercantile Bank for their 38 Commerce project and are currently working with Integrated Architecture and the city of Grand Rapids design team on the final design of the first-of-its-kind building.

Read the complete story here.


Census data shows Grand Rapids gained residents, migration south slows

The sluggish housing market and other economic woes have had a beneficial side effect for Grand Rapids: a population increase, which results in a healthier economy. A recent study points to a number of reasons for the demographic shift, indicating some changes that may be long lasting.

According to excerpts from the story:

Something happened last year in Chicago that hasn't been seen since 2001: Instead of losing residents, the Second City actually gained population.

Chicago isn't the only Midwestern city to reverse its growth trend during the period: St. Paul, Minn., Green Bay, Wis., Kansas City, Kan., Grand Rapids, Mich., and Warren, Mich., also gained residents, said William Frey, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Read the complete story here.

 


Grand Rapids named among top 66 cities nationwide for buying a home

A national study has found that Grand Rapids is one of only 66 major housing markets nationwide where purchasing a home could cost less than renting an apartment and homebuyers could build substantial equity in just 12 years.

According to excerpts from the story:

With house prices falling around the country, many renters are wondering if this is the time to jump in and score a deal.

The answer, of course, depends on where you live. In much of the U.S., you're better off buying despite falling home values, say new data compiled by the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Of the 100 most populous metro areas, 57 have average three-bedroom rental costs higher than the cost of a 6% loan for a typical low-priced house, including Little Rock, Ark., and Akron, Ohio.

Read the complete story here.


$20B Great Lakes cleanup lauded as economic driver by state lawmakers, researchers

Coming on the heels of the signing of the Great Lakes Compact, which safeguards Great Lakes water, state legislators, top researchers, and area business leaders advocated for a 20-year, $20 billion strategy to clean up the Great Lakes; a venture that promises to create jobs and bring billions in statewide tourism and manufacturing.

According to excerpts from the story:

Grand Haven, MI — Regional leaders want to buoy the Great Lakes environment and Michigan’s economy with a $20 billion cleanup effort.

U.S. Reps. Peter Hoekstra, R-Holland, and Vern Ehlers, R-Grand Rapids, and other leaders advocated the plan at Grand Haven’s Ferry Landing on Friday, Aug. 8, as part of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy.

“This is an issue that sells itself,” Hoekstra said. “People here and around the country recognize what an important and valuable asset we have.”

Read the complete story here.


Policy conference to give region a voice for prosperity, jobs

In mid-September, business and civic leaders from all over West Michigan, and lawmakers from all over the state, will gather in Grand Rapids to discuss and dissect economic policies that matter to the region and will set it on a course for prosperity and jobs.

According to excerpts from the story:

Western Michigan has a few ideas that could make Michigan a more prosperous place, in Peter Secchia's view. The Regional Policy Conference, to be held in Grand Rapids Sept. 18 and 19, is a chance to develop some of them.

(Peter) Secchia explained why a western Michigan conference will be undertaken and what he hopes it will accomplish for Michigan.

"We're going to ask western Michigan leadership to voice their opinions (on) what has to be done," Secchia said. "The key to this is to create an atmosphere of discussing these issues -- on education, taxing, right to work, charter schools, competition in the schools, funding of the southeast quadrant versus the western quadrant -- with various viewpoints.

Read the complete story here.


Road Rally sets up finish line in Grand Rapids, 60-plus cars expected

Auto enthusiasts can join the excitement this October as over 60 cars race into Grand Rapids, the finale of a cross-country road rally designed to raise publicity for missing children rescue. The rally also gives West Michigan an end-of-the-season economic boost.

According to excerpts from the story:

GRAND RAPIDS -- The Fireball Run Transcontinental Rally will roll through Grand Rapids this fall, bringing along a slew of exotic cars driven by cunning, strategic thrill seekers.

It remains to be seen if someone will be able to claim home field advantage.

J. Sanchez, the director and founder of the rally, made a pitstop in Grand Rapids Friday, as he continued preparation for the Oct. 3-4 local stop.

The nine-day rally, which begins in Baton Rogue, La., on Sept. 26, and concludes in Grand Rapids, is expected to attract more than 60 cars, featuring drivers from across the nation.

Read the complete story here.


Grand Rapids CVB names new leader

Grand Rapids’ growing reputation as a convention destination brings tens of thousands of people and millions of dollars into the local economy, and with that growth in mind, the Convention and Visitors Bureau has selected a new leader with a proven track record to continue the momentum.

According to excerpts from the story:

GRAND RAPIDS — The Convention and Visitors Bureau has hired Douglas Small as its new president.

Small, with 26 years of experience in the hospitality industry, comes to Grand Rapids from Denver where he is senior vice president of that city's Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, which has an annual budget of $16 million and 63 full-time employees.

Read the complete story here.


Housing bill may save Michigan homeowners from foreclosure

As the West Michigan faces the foreclosure crisis and homeowners fight to keep their families in their homes, a new federal bill could rescue up to 15 percent of those homeowners and help to stabilize a struggling economy.

According to excerpts from the story:

GRAND RAPIDS—No legislation coming out of Washington could give Michigan what it truly needs for an economic recovery -- jobs -- but the housing bill signed by President Bush this week will throw some people a lifeline.

"We're going to be looking at the rescue option under FHA, we're going to be looking at the tax credit for home buyers, we're going to be looking at the higher FHA limits on lending," said Dan Grzywacz, president of Exchange Financial in Kentwood, citing elements that could help.

Read the complete story here.

353 Heartside Articles | Page: | Show All
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