West Michigan News

July 23, 2009
A longtime vision of husband and wife optometrists Scott Hieneman and Stacy Davis came true this year when they opened an optometry office in Ada, enabling them to work together in the same practice.

Category: Community, Entrepreneurship, GrandRapids, Healthcare, Innovation, WestMichigan

July 23, 2009
Leaders of Lansing's PM Environmental, Inc., (PME) say that Grand Rapids' recognized leadership in green building makes it the perfect location for the firm's new Sustainability and Energy Division.

PME hired Nate Gillette, an architect formerly with Bazzani Associates Inc. in Grand Rapids, to head up the division, and Bryant LePres, a graduate of Aquinas College's sustainable business degree program. The division will operate from PME's satellite office at 77 Monroe Center.
Category: AlternativeEnergy, Community, GrandRapids, Innovation, Sustainability, Technology, WestMichigan

January 15, 2009
In 2006, Sally Zarafonetis heard a conference speaker say that women arranged 80 percent of all travel plans and that they used the Internet as their primary source for information. Zarafonetis, owner of Grand Rapids-based Sally Zara Public Relations and an avid traveler, never forgot that statistic.


Category: Community, Culture, Entertainment, Food, Innovation, Lakeshore, Technology, WestMichigan

January 15, 2009

A Portage organic grower is the first to heat its greenhouses using a new hybrid solar/geothermal system invented by Holland-based GMB Architects-Engineers. Last summer, GMB installed the solar/geothermal system at Elzinga and Hoeksema Greenhouses. The system incorporates 200 eight-foot by four-foot ground-mounted solar collectors.



Category: AlternativeEnergy, Design, Innovation, Sustainability, Technology, WestMichigan

January 08, 2009

Karisa (pronounced Ka-ree-sa) Wilson’s improvisational, soulful sound has established her as a key player in Grand Rapids’ thriving music scene. In addition to releasing her well-received 2007 debut album, Little Girl, the singer-songwriter has contributed to nearly 20 local albums in the past two years. She also writes a monthly hip-hop culture column for Recoil magazine, shining light on local artists in need of promotion. Preferring camaraderie to competition, she says she’s often inspired by her peers.

“I’ve been heavily influenced by local musicians," Wilson says. "I don’t sit around listening to CDs all the time, but I’ve been to all kinds of shows. I think in my songwriting and playing have been more influenced by people locally than on the radio. There’s a reason to keep our scene [alive], if not to influence the next generation, then other artists.”

Category: Arts&Culture, Community, Entertainment, GrandRapids, Innovation, WestMichigan

November 13, 2008

Fifteen years ago, when Jack Groot founded JP’s Coffee and Espresso Bar in downtown Holland, coffee shops weren’t on every corner in every town, and they didn’t have the aura of “cool” they have now. Groot had a vision to serve great coffee and baked goods, and his entrepreneurial ideas didn’t stop there.


Category: Community, Entrepreneurship, Food, Holland, Innovation, Technology, WestMichigan

October 28, 2008

After 14 months of construction, the $2.3 million Sidock Building has opened its doors in downtown Muskegon, the latest new structure on the former Muskegon Mall site.


“Since Sidock Group is an architectural and engineering firm, we wanted a presence downtown that could show off what we can do with our designs,” says Heather Caputo, Sidock spokesperson. “The company’s owner, Bill Sidock, wanted to invest in downtown Muskegon. He’s from the area and he saw an opportunity with all of these great new buildings going in downtown.”

Category: Design, Innovation, Muskegon, Sustainability, WestMichigan

October 16, 2008

Muskegon’s former Edison Landing, now known as Harbor 31, is 34 acres of Brownfield redevelopment along Muskegon Lake at the end of Terrace Street, with the potential for $100 million to $200 million worth of green, sustainable development. The owner, Grand Rapids-based True North, is marketing that potential nationally and is prepared to wait for the right developers with the right vision—green and self-sustainable.



Category: Community, Innovation, Lakeshore, Muskegon, Sustainability, WestMichigan

August 07, 2008
I don’t own a farm, but I own a share in a local farm’s produce.  I don’t own a goat, but most of the cheese I eat comes from goat milk — care of the Dancing Goat creamery in Byron Center.  Today I washed my hands with soap made from local goat’s milk, and then I removed my swiss chard lasagna (baked in a casserole dish made by a local potter) from the oven with my potholder made from recycled t-shirts, made locally by Pearl Beerhorst. And I ordered a chicken. Yes, a local chicken.

Notice a trend in my day?

Category: Community, Food, GrandRapids, Innovation, WestMichigan

July 31, 2008

Grand Rapids’ Heartside neighborhood west of South Division is fast shaping up as the city’s hippest entertainment district, boasting a variety of pubs, eateries, specialty beer havens, a wine bar, the Van Andel Arena, and live music venues. But it has its challenges—like a lack of parking, no apartments for downtown dwellers, and no destination shopping. “38” could change all that.

Category: Community, Entertainment, Entrepreneurship, GrandRapids, Innovation, WestMichigan
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