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Kalamazoo


With such a recognizable moniker you'd think Kalamazoo wouldn't need nicknames, but through the years changing names have reflected the city's refusal to stand still. The Zoo, Celery City and Mall City are a few. The innovative thinking that brought downtown Kazoo the nation's first pedestrian mall in 1959 thrives today. Innovations in life sciences, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals combined with the expertise of Kalamazoo's universities - Western Michigan, Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo Valley Community College and Davenport College - make the city a center of research, development and technology. It's all part of an eclectic, vibrant city with a cultural scene that Kalamazooans love to boast about. The Kalamazoo Symphony, Kalamazoo Institute of Art and scrappy local theater companies are a few of the offerings. Locals love their festivals, many at the Arcadia Festival grounds, and their outdoors, whether it's taking to the Kalamazoo River or biking the Kal-Haven trail or golfing at the nationally-acclaimed Milham Park course. The city's sports fans have competitive college teams, minor league baseball and hockey to follow. And it all comes with a Promise. All high school graduates who live in Kalamazoo qualify for scholarships at any public university or community college.
La Vie en Orange owner Kori Jock

Kori Jock's undies business creates a party in your pants

Blend a sassy style with lots of cheekiness, and deeply rooted personal values, especially environmental sustainability, and you have the high-energy Kori Jock's La Vie en Orange, which turns T-shirts into hand-made underwear designed to make you happy. 

Ben Hooper, left, Carol Zombro, and Brishen Miller

The Bard in the park, on wheels, with Fancy Pants

Shakespeare wrote that all the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. Fancy Pants Theater want to make sure all local parks are a stage, if not the world (not yet, anyway). Zinta Aistars checks in with the principals of the theater troupe.

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Corner Records leaves the corner; returns as Satellite Records

Goodbye, Corner Records. Hello, Satellite Records. The shop at the corner of the shopping center on West Main Hill is moving closer to it customer base in the Vine Neighborhoods. 

Jacque Eatmon, Great Start Collaborative coordinator

Dream Big Start Small says 'Your child deserves pre-K'

Because it's critical to reach children as early a possible if they are to be ready for school there is a new initiative called Dream Big, Start Small. Zinta Aistars has the story.

Ben Fleckenstein, Ryan Sylvester, and Trevor Klimek

Michigan mead makers turn simple recipe into complex tastes

An ancient drink is making a modern comeback. In a state that can't get enough craft brew, Mead is finding its own niche. Michigan is now one of the top producers of the drink that depends on bees.

Dawn Soltysiak, resident artist at Khnemue Studio

Farm fresh art and artisan foods in Fennville

An art gallery and specialty grocery store in downtown Fennville, is part of the creative package that Dawn Soltysiak offers. At her farm, her kiln is solar powered and there's more space for other artists' works. Zinta Aistars has the story.

Jen Randall, President of Maestro

Jen Randall directs Maestro through period of steady growth

Maestro started out as an e-learning company and has turned into a custom software company serving the likes of Facebook and Dannon Yogurt. Jen Randall talks to Startup Grind about what that transition was like and where the company may go from here.

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Fear and loathing at Mackinac, or How I learned to stop worrying and love the Policy Conference

Aspiring young leaders learn the art of the deal on Mackinac Island. 

Francois Moyet of Energiestro

The quest for energy that is truly renewable

Solar, wind turbine, fly wheel. The first two are what people usually think of when they think renewable energy. Andre Gennesseaux is going beyond the usual. 

Local Canned Beers

To can or not to can is no longer a craft brew quandry

You can bring cans to the beach, to the golf course, you can take them hiking. Cans can go a lot of places you can’t take bottles. So why do some craft beer lovers resist? Jeremy Martin has the story.
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Local food offerings rise with opening of new bakery

Traditional Irish scones and cakes are just two of the goods that are attracting customers downtown to the new location of the Victorian Bakery, its first retail setting.

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The Solar Project

The largest solar array in Michigan sits in a field in Charleston Township, the result of a DIY project by a father and son and business partner team, whose company, Kalamazoo Solar LLC, sells the power back to Consumers Energy. But their ultimate goal is to manufacture complete solar arrays in Michigan--at a price individual consumers can afford.
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