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Dakota Shayne: From Books and Cookies to Fitness and Urban Growth

Dakota Shayne: From Books and Cookies to Fitness and Urban Growth

By Lauren Folkes

At 25, Dakota Shayne smartly comprehends how to meld a literacy-based non-profit that partners with local businesses and promotes story time, optimal community fitness and his overarching goals of growing Grand Rapids as a model urbanization center.

Aside from philanthropy, his raison d’etre is fitness. He does marketing and public relations, but he’s also an entrepreneur. Shayne moved to Grand Rapids from Phoenix after experiencing the buzzing creative culture of ArtPrize 2009.

“I really like how Grand Rapids is a model city for urbanization. I see my role, in terms of urban renewal, as promoting it on a basic level. We must focus on wellness and community and really include our whole community within the creative culture. I’m an asset to this community because I understand...

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Leadership West Michigan Graduates 27 in December 2011

Leadership West Michigan Graduates 27 in December 2011

The 2011 class of Leadership West Michigan (LWM) graduated on December 15, 2011. The class of 27 participated in 8 day sessions over the past 4 months which included a two day bus tour of the region and culminated in Regional Trustee day and graduation.

Patricia Ackerberg - Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce  
Justin Arnold - WMPS  
Charles Ash, Jr. - Warner Norcross & Judd LLP  
Douglas Bagley - Ottawa Area ISD - MTEC  
Michael Brecht - St. Mary's Health Care  
Marlene Brostrom - Michigan Works Ottawa County  
Cindy Brown - Hello West Michigan  
Frederick Bw'Ombongi - Spectrum Health  
Valerie Byrnes - Barry County Chamber of Commerce  
Kyle Dannenberg - Ottawa Area Intermediate School District  
Lori Duff - TrueNorth Community Services  
Kathy Finkler - Davenport University  
Jeffrey Hoerle - Priority Health  
Ammy Johnson - Harbor Hospice  

Grand Rapids Taxpayers: Do you know how your money is being spent?

Grand Rapids Taxpayers: Do you know how your money is being spent?

In May 2010, Grand Rapids Voters bailed out City Hall by approving a city income tax increase of $7.5 million per year for 5 years. Voters were told by city officials that the money was needed to prevent fire and police layoffs and to give the City Manager time to “turn the ship around.”

City leaders are currently diverting over $5 million a year of this money to a “transformation” fund that pays the health care claims of public employees who retire before age 65. Why? Because the City provided a rich benefit that it failed to fund. These retiree health care claims cost the City $10,979,788 in 2010 and $9,400,197 as of November 7, 2010. (Source: Scott Buhrer, City CFO, November 7, 2010)

The unfunded liability for early retiree health care is $222 million that will likely cause the City serious financial difficulty for the next 35-40 years.

2nd annual “LocalMotion” Awards to take place January 31

2nd annual “LocalMotion” Awards to take place January 31

Local First has announced its second annual Local First LocalMotion Awards to recognize outstanding contributions to the West Michigan economy by local businesses, organizations, individuals and families. In particular, the LocalMotion Awards will honor those whose commitment to local business ownership, sustainability and neighborhood revitalization has had a pronounced impact on West Michigan. Winners will be selected from public nominations by a Local First Awards Committee and announced at the Local First Annual Meeting at the Goei Center on January 31, 2012.

AzulStar solves the wireless mystery for apartment complexes

AzulStar solves the wireless mystery for apartment complexes

By Brian Edwards | MiBiz
bedwards@mibiz.com


GRAND RAPIDS — It seems a mystery: When you stay in a hotel, you can get high-speed wireless Internet in your room for the length of your stay. But move into an apartment or condo building, and you’ll likely need a modem, Ethernet cables and a one-year agreement with a phone or cable company.

Grand Haven’s Tyler van Houwelingen has solved that mystery for a West Michigan owner of several large multi-unit residential properties, including The Loft in downtown Grand Rapids. Together, they’ve started offering a connectivity service at The Loft that works just like the Wi-Fi at many high-end hotels, where they charge you for service rather than give it away.

When you log onto The Loft’s network, a screen pops up and offers...

Outcomes, Not Output: The GR Collective Launches

Outcomes, Not Output: The GR Collective Launches

J. Bennett Rylah 

Maybe you've met Bill and Steve at TedxGrandRapids5x5 Night, ArtPrize or any number of events of which they've been a part. But let's pretend you haven't.

Eastern Floral tests downtown Grand Rapids market with cash and carry florist shop

Eastern Floral tests downtown Grand Rapids market with cash and carry florist shop

Longtime floral design company Eastern Floral has launched a new kind of flower venture in downtown Grand Rapids' Shops at Monroe Center and Division, (MoDiv, 40 Monroe Center NE) -- a cash and carry flower shop designed to fit the needs of downtown dwellers and workers.

The shop, bokay by Eastern Floral, has more of a flower cart kind of feel than a flower shop atmosphere, says Eastern Floral President Jason Goei.

"It's kind of out in the open in the lobby of MoDiv," Goei says. "We want to get people thinking about Eastern Floral in a different way...

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