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Heartside : West Michigan In The News

353 Heartside Articles | Page: | Show All

GR Chamber marks 10 years of healing racism

Cultural diversity is a key factor in creating a welcoming and attractive environment that draws talented professionals from a variety of backgrounds to West Michigan, and one group is celebrating a decade of promoting cultural growth by breaking down racial barriers.

According to excerpts from the story:

Nearly 10 years ago, Bob Woodrick — the son of Roy Woodrick, who is the “W” of the D&W grocery store chain — was part of a panel that had a question. And in September 1997, the answer to that question, regarding this area’s diversity commitment, led the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce to form the Institute for Healing Racism.

The importance of cultural diversity came “through an awareness from Bob Woodrick,” said Sonya Hughes, vice president of Diversity Initiatives and Programs for the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce.

Read the complete story here.


Grand Rapids Children’s Museum earns national recognition for hands-on learning

With an eye to transforming a child’s environment into a hands-on learning and growth experience, the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum was one of three to garner national attention this month for its innovative programs, bringing home honors and a cash award.

According to excerpts from the story:

The Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) and VSA arts announced the 2008 Universal Design for Learning Awards recipients on April 26 during ACM’s annual meeting,

InterActivity 2008, in Denver. Three children’s museums were recognized for demonstrating learning standards for inclusive hands-on learning experiences.

Grand Rapids Children’s Museum (MI) received a Universal Design for Learning Award for its efforts to create an accessible environment for all children. The museum partners with area organizations and individuals to create Connor’s Friends: An Evening for Children with Autism.

Read the complete story here.


Nonprofits, city unite to strengthen GR neighborhoods hit by foreclosures

Area nonprofit housing developers have invested millions in revitalizing Grand Rapids residential neighborhoods and now they’re stepping up to help the city save hundreds of homes left in the wake of the recent foreclosure epidemic. Getting families who have been uprooted by foreclosure back into those homes is a key goal.

According to excerpts from the story:

In today's crowded real estate market, the house at 936 McReynolds Ave. NW doesn't show very well.

City officials and nonprofit housing developers have a rescue plan for this and about 125 other houses that have been foreclosed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"The objective is to stabilize neighborhoods," said Louis Berra, head of the local HUD office.

Read the complete story here.


Wind turbines a possibility on two Great Lakes

Amid a nationwide movement to harness wind power and reduce greenhouse gases, three Wisconsin developers have launched a feasibility study for establishing wind farms offshore in Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. With one proposal suggesting the construction of 390 wind turbines, could this be the nudge Michigan manufacturers need to launch wide-scale efforts to make mechanical components?

According to excerpts from the story:

Three developers are floating plans to erect hundreds of wind turbines in Lake Michigan as interest in the construction of wind farms surges around the country.

The Lake Michigan plans are all in the preliminary stages, and how they would be financed is unclear, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal reported earlier this week.

Although contemplated from the Michigan side of the lake, plans and studies appear to much further along from the Wisconsin side. The Grand Valley State University's Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center in Muskegon has begun preliminary exploration of Great Lakes wind energy.

Read the complete story here.


Influx of med students expected to boost GR economy

Housing, entertainment, banking, and retail are just some of the industries expecting to reap the benefits of some 400 medical school students who will relocate to Grand Rapids each year to attend the MSU College of Human Medicine. Clinical researchers, hundreds of new healthcare jobs, and med school instructors, many with families in tow, are expected to spur economic development far into the future.

According to excerpts from the story:

As the future home of Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine begins rising in Grand Rapids, Kelley Mattice sees a perfect match for her business.

She's the property manager for Grubb & Ellis|Paramount Commerce who represents Hopson Flats in downtown, which provides housing for college students - including, Mattice hopes, the 50 MSU medical students who begin taking classes in Grand Rapids this fall.

By 2010, up to 400 medical students will take classes annually in Grand Rapids - and each of them, as well as faculty, will need a place to live, eat, shop, entertain themselves and do their banking.

Read the complete story here.


Tourism funding increase may become longterm investment

If a recent allocation of $45 million in tourism promotion monies garners a significant return on investment, the funding boost could become the state’s proving ground that garners the tourism industry longterm funding. The industry brought over $18 billion into the state last year.

According to excerpts from the story:

A major boost in funding for tourism promotion for the next few years provides the industry another test to further prove the business case for a permanent spending increase.

If the return on investment pans out during the period and tracks favorably with data for recent years -- and she fully expects it will -- Gov. Jennifer Granholm says she'll ask lawmakers to sustain the funding increase to promote Michigan nationally as a travel destination.

Research data produced by Longwoods International for Travel Michigan shows that from 2004 to 2007, every $1 spent on tourism generated $40.29 in spending for Michigan businesses and $2.82 for the state in tax revenue.

Read the complete story here.


Med tech firm announces 3,300 new jobs in southwest MI

In the wake of one of the country’s largest pharmaceutical firms leaving the region, the dream of a thriving life sciences corridor in southwest Michigan got a major boost this week with the announcement that thousands of new research and development jobs are to be had. The reuse of vacant Pfizer buildings will contribute significantly to one city’s urban renewal.

According to excerpts from the story:

MPI Research Inc. plans a $330 million expansion in southwestern Michigan, a project expected to create 3,300 new jobs over the next five to seven years.

The privately held clinical research contractor chose to build close to its Mattawan headquarters and nearby Kalamazoo, choosing those locations over competing sites in Pennsylvania and China.

Read the complete story here.

 


Finally, the Michigan House acts to promote energy innovation

Michigan economic leaders cleared their first alternative energy hurdle last week when the House approved a package of bills establishing a renewable energy portfolio standard, touted as the key factor in attracting clean energy manufacturing, investment, and jobs.

According to excerpts from the story:

It might not have been a rolling blackout, but it certainly caught everyone's attention Thursday when the lights went out on a gaggle of lobbyists outside of the Michigan House chambers at the same time lawmakers were in the middle of voting on a package of bills dealing with renewable energy.

While power in the lobby was restored within minutes, the intensity of lobbying efforts throughout the day did not cease on legislation that creates a renewable portfolio standard for Michigan, requires compliance with energy efficiency programs and limits how many customers can go to alternative suppliers for their electricity needs.

After working on the legislation for over a year, the House sent the Senate HB 5524 (78-30), HB 5525 (81-18), HB 5548 (86-21) and HB 5549 (84-21).

Read the complete story here.

 


State film incentives bring stars, economic boost to a city near you

Earlier this month Michigan established a tax incentive package to entice filmmakers to bring what lawmakers hope will be multi-millions of dollars to the state’s economy and create new local jobs in the film industry. Already, one filmmaker is one his way to Grand Rapids.

According to excerpts from the story:

For Michigan's new movie tax incentive, the first taker likely will be "The Fifth."

A gangster drama starring Joe Mantegna dubbed "The Fifth Mafia" is to begin shooting in Grand Rapids this summer, the first to take advantage of a new state bill, signed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm this month, offering a 42 percent refundable business tax credit for movie production costs incurred in Michigan.

Janet Lockwood, head of the Michigan Film Office, confirmed the eventual arrival of "The Fifth Mafia" to Michigan. And it might be the tip of the iceberg -- Lockwood said she has 84 scripts on her desk to be reviewed for potential tax breaks.

Read the complete story here.


High percentage of GVSU grads land Michigan jobs

The horror stories about Michigan’s mass exodus of college grads might leave one wondering if there are any young people left in the state. But GVSU’s record says an amazing 79 percent of its grads are finding jobs right here in West Michigan.

According to excerpts from the story:

Grand Valley State University President Thomas Haas recently uttered some words of comfort for government officials, economic developers, employers and anyone else concerned about the much-touted brain drain that reportedly is costing Michigan its youngest and most promising talent.

Haas recently told city commissioners that a university report revealed that 97 percent of recent GVSU graduates are employed or in graduate school. Now for the capper: Of the grads who are employed, 88 percent work in Michigan, 79 percent in West Michigan.

Read the complete story here.


JA Building gets financial nod from Grand Rapids DDA

With a financial boost from the Grand Rapids DDA, a prime piece of real estate at the gateway to downtown could maximize its historic location with banking services and a much-needed urban grocery.

According to excerpts from the story:

A second project on a corner of Fulton Street and Division Avenue got a financial boost last week from the Downtown Development Authority. But this time the board’s funding focus was on the east side of the intersection.

“There has been a whole series of development plans for this building,” said Jay Fowler, DDA executive director.

Read the complete story here.


MichBio Funding Workshop demystifies funding options for biotech companies

A workshop at the upcoming MichBio conference will walk biotech companies through the maze of government, quasi-government, and private funding options so technology leaders can generate needed capital and keep their companies’ growth on track.

According to excerpts from the story:

MichBio, the state’s life sciences trade association, will be hosting a workshop on April 22 to look at how biotechnology companies can select the best funding sources. The workshop is scheduled in the afternoon just before the MichBio annual meeting.

The workshop is called Capital Formation: Lost in Translation. Industry experts will demystify the benefits, processes and lingo involved in raising money from non-dilutive funding like SBIR and STTR programs, debt sources such as the Michigan Economic Development Corp., and equity sources such as venture capital and corporate investment.

Read the complete story here.


EPA awards $800K to clean up West Michigan brownfields

The federal government has released $74 million to 43 states for cleaning up contaminated and obsolete sites, and for the first time in history Michigan receives a portion of the funding. Recognized as a leader in brownfield redevelopment, West Michigan’s commitment to sustainable principles helped earn the funding for three metropolitan areas.

According to excerpts from the story:

Three West Michigan cities have been awarded $800,000 in brownfield grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – the first time any such funding has come to the region.

Part of a $74 million release of grant funds to communities in 43 states, the money will be used to fund brownfield site assessments in targeted redevelopment areas within Grand Rapids, Wyoming and Kentwood.

Read the complete story here.

 


New York Times prints Michigan's good news

Good, hopeful, uplifting events are happening all around us in Michigan, and one resident, during a trip to New York, says the national opinion of the state isn’t informed by the good stuff because it’s just not getting enough press.

According to excerpts from the story:

The easy litany of things gone wrong in Michigan gets more of a forum than what’s gone right.

Among those young musicians of Michigan at Carnegie Hall, I felt the way supporters say they do at a Barack Obama event — that maybe we are worthy of our better dreams. A symphony orchestra is an exercise in collaboration, in bringing diverse tools and talents to bear on a common purpose.

The worst of times might give way to the best, the winter will at last give way to spring, that out of all the noise and nonsense, blather and racket we might make song and poetry and music.

Read the complete story here.

 


Former Bishop’s furniture site wins Brownfield status

As one developer clears the first hurdle toward securing brownfield credits to demolish an outdated furniture store on Grand Rapids’ northeast side, a second developer scrambles to find financing for the city’s most prominent corner lot. City Commissioners are backing both endeavors as prime developments in two of the city’s gateway neighborhoods.

According to excerpts from the story:

City commissioners unanimously approved a brownfield tax credit last week for Third Coast Development Partners LLC, which plans to put up a new building at 1697 Michigan St. NE.

Commissioners also gave Two West Fulton LLC more time to close on a piece of city-owned property at the southwest corner of Fulton Street and Division Avenue, although not unanimously.

Read the complete story here.

353 Heartside Articles | Page: | Show All
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