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UPDATE: Housing Resources Inc. exceeds goal to find Homes for the Holidays

It is a big idea: Place 80 families that expected to be homeless over the holidays in permanent, stable housing. It would take $50,000 or $625 per family to do it.

Already, that goal set in October by Housing Resources Inc. has been exceeded, with $88,923 donated so far. To date 35 families have a Home for the Holiday and the effort is on track to find homes for 80 families.

The announcement by Michelle Davis, executive director of Housing Resources Inc., that 80 families will be in housing by year's end came at a reception sponsored by Art Van in conjunction with National Hunger and Homeless Awareness week.

The drive to find funds to house families in time for the holidays got off to a fast start with a $20,000 donation from the charitable organization Women Who Care. Art Van donated $2,500.

"No family should be homeless any time, especially during the holidays," says Davis. "We had 18 children in our family shelter last Christmas. We’re determined to make that number zero this year."

Because the community responded so strongly, Davis says Project Home For The Holidays will expand its scope to serve more people.

Each family’s situation is unique, requiring considerable time and effort by HRI staff to determine a family’s housing options, she says. Despite the challenges, HRI expects to meet that goal.

HRI provides programs and services that ensure safe, permanent housing for the homeless and stabilize housing for vulnerable individuals and families. HRI also works with area landlords and tenants in an attempt to forestall homelessness.
Its assistance includes a shelter for families with children, Eleanor House.

"Our supporters have shown tremendous commitment to our belief that shelters are a process, not a destination. The only solution to homelessness is housing," Davis says. "If the community will continue to support this project, we can place more families in homes of their own and get them out of homelessness in winter." 

Project Home for the Holidays supporters are encouraged to show they've taken action by cutting out a snowflake that reads #KzooHome4Holidays and post it on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites and tag Housing Resources Inc. There will be a modest prize for the first 500 who demonstrate they have posted a snowflake picture by sending by email a link to their post here.  

Donations to Project Home For The Holidays can be made in these ways:

• By check to Housing Resources Inc., 420 E Alcott St, Kalamazoo, MI 49001. Please note "Project Home For The Holidays" on the memo line.

• Online by clicking on "Make a Donation" here.

Source: Rick Chambers, Rick Chambers and Associates

Pictured: Michelle Davis, executive director of HRI, announces progress to date on Project Home For The Holidays during a reception on Nov. 19. With her is Kailynn Mejeur, 8, of Parchment, who raised $101 for the project by selling hand-made paper snowflakes with candy bars.

Perrigo hires two new employees

Carlee Roeber has joined Perrigo Co. as Trade Compliance Analyst for the company's Global Compliance Team and  Sam DeMarco is a new Regulatory Affairs Project Manager for the company. Both will work in Allegan.

Roeber will gather information to file annual reconciliations for Perrigo entities as part of her new responsibilities.

Roeber started at Perrigo in December 2012 as a treasury intern in the finance department. There she generated and analyzed a weekly global liquidity forecast that supported managerial decisions.She also managed some banking and reporting activities for the company and trained the department's new intern.

Roeber majored in accounting and finance and graduated from Grand Valley State University. She is from Shelby Township and currently lives in Grand Rapids.

DeMarco will be responsible for regulatory filings for Abbreviated New Drug Application/New Drug Application products. DeMarco started with Perrigo as a regulatory affairs intern. He went on to work at Perrigo as a regulatory affairs specialist through Manpowe.

DeMarco graduated from Michigan State University in May 2014 with a major in human biology and a minor in economics. He is from Grand Haven and now lives in Holland.

Source: Perrigo Co.
 

Cell Tower Academy is latest offering from KVCC

At Kalamazoo Valley Community College one of their areas of expertise is preparing graduates for jobs in areas where employers have jobs to fill. Cell tower technician is one of those jobs and that training is the ninth and the latest in the school's roster of training academies.

Cell tower technicians climb the face of telecommunications and cellular towers to install, test, maintain, repair and remove a variety of radio frequency and antenna equipment. KVCC says there now is a critical shortage of cell tower technicians and demand is expected to remain high for the next six to 10 years.

“There is a great need for this type of focused, comprehensive and formal training in the cellular tower industry in addition to the individual contractors, manufacturers and industry associations who provide training today," says Mary Carter, development director and co-owner of Newkirk Electric.

The industry is looking for people who have an interest in working at heights, have the ability to travel extensively and are dedicated to a safe working environment.

To help meet that demand, KVCC is launching the Cell Tower Technician Academy, beginning March 10, 2015. The six-week class meets Monday through Friday at the Groves Campus. The $3,200 registration fee includes a tool set valued at $1,400 that graduates will take with them when they leave the program.

Experienced tower technicians earn on average about $20 to $23 per hour and entry-level technicians earn an average of $13 to $16 to start.

Industry employers who are eager to hire graduates, including representatives from Newkirk Electric, an electrical construction and engineering firm headquartered in Muskegon, gave input about the curriculum, Newkirk  also donated a cell tower that will be used for training in the Academy.

A screening process is conducted before trainees are accepted into the academy. To make sure the Academy is a good fit for applicants, they will have a chance to climb a cell tower before being admitted to the course. Applicants also will be required to pass a math assessment before acceptance into the program.

"Skilled tower technicians have excellent job security and are competitively recruited by companies who provide services to the telecom industry," says Elizabeth Lyons, director of career academies for Kalamazoo Valley Community College

Source: Dawn Kemp, Kalamazoo Valley Community College

Kalamazoo Community Foundation's former space now for rent downtown

Office space totaling 129,780 square feet is now for rent on the third floor of the Comerica Building in downtown Kalamazoo.

Until recently, the offices were the home of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, which has moved to 402 E. Michigan Ave.

The offices for lease are right across from Bronson Park and provide easy access to restaurants, retail, hotels, parking and the Kalamazoo County Courthouse.

The Foundation is looking for a tenant to sublease the property so the funds now going to rent can be redirected to the community. 
The property is leasing for $1.17 a square foot or $16,790 per month. The space also can be divided.

The space comes with large conference rooms, several executive offices, a large open area for cubicles or work stations.

Overall, vacancies in office space in downtown Kalamazoo are running at about 20 percent, according to data from 2013.

Those seeking more information regarding the property should contact Karen Vandenboss  or Trent Wieringa.  

The Kalamazoo Community Foundation recently moved into the building donated by John Stryker's Arcus Foundation. It came with a one-time grant of $1 million to cover the cost of renovations and moving.

The former railway passenger and warehouse depot on the corner of East Michigan Avenue and Pitcher Street, was built in 1874. Arcus founder and President Jon Stryker, a Kalamazoo native, purchased it in 2003 and went on to bring about award-winning renovations to the depot, creating 10,000 square feet of offices for the Arcus Foundation and other nonprofit agencies.

The Kalamazoo Foundation has been conducting open houses and tours through the new office since moving into its new space.

Source: Kalamazoo Community Foundation

Mobile dog groomer comes off the road, settles in Stevensville

After 11 years on the road, Diana Cotter was ready for a fixed location for her business. Downtown Pet Grooming opened its doors Nov. 1 at 5720 St. Joseph Ave. in downtown Stevensville.

After earning her grooming certification in 2006, Cotter went into business with a mobile grooming van. As her business grew she was able to buy a better van and expand the region she served. Eleven years later she is ready to settle her business in one place and chose the 450-square-foot space that came with an $8,500.00 investment.

She made the move with the assistance of the Women’s Business Center at Cornerstone Alliance.

She says last year's winter weather and the volatility of gas prices were two of the determining factors in her decision to take her business off the road. She also wants the option of more time with her own four dogs--two mini dachshunds, a black lab mix, and a chocolate lab mix.  

Many of her previous customers now come to her, though those the farthest away are making other arrangements for dog grooming.

Cotter says the fact that she only grooms one dog at a time is something that many dog owners appreciate, especially if their dog might not like crossing the path of another canine.

"I don't take more than one dog at a time like some groomers do," Cotter says. "It's way too chaotic."

A full day for her would be taking in four to five dogs, most getting a full grooming that lasts about 90 minutes. "With my service you get everything," Cotter says. "I don't charge a la carte."

She provides a package of canine grooming that includes nail clipping, haircuts, shampooing and more. And she wants customers to know their dogs will be groomed in a sanitary, safe, and loving environment.

Downtown Pet Grooming is open Tuesday through Saturday by appointment only.

Source: Diana Cotter, Downtown Pet Grooming

Downtown Three Rivers gets ready for Christmas

Three Rivers community members have put in an estimated 250 volunteer hours creating decorations and making preparations for the holiday season in the downtown where they hope families and individuals will create new traditions during four weekends of special events.

“We’ve been working diligently with many of the downtown business owners to make this a warm and inviting experience for families and children, and also encouraging shopping local and supporting downtown Three Rivers this holiday season," says Brian Persky, Downtown Development Authority/Michigan Mainstreet executive director.

They've given the holiday celebration the theme "Miracle on Main Street." The holiday festivities are a collaborative effort by the Three Rivers DDA/Main Street program, City of Three Rivers, and the Three Rivers Merchant Group.

"The Magic Begins" with Christmas Around Town weekend on Friday, Nov. 28 through Sunday, Nov. 30. Festivities start at 6:15 p.m. at the Mural Mall with a tree lighting ceremony. There will be Christmas caroling, a book reading of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” by Mayor Tom Lowry, and hot chocolate provided by Love Your Mother. This year's tree is donated by a disabled American veteran.

And those are just the events of the first weekend. The following week is themed "The Magic Continues," next is "The Magic of Memories" and the season wraps up with "Last Minute Magic." A full schedule of events to draw people to the downtown throughout the holiday season are planned and can be seen here and here.  

Heather Martell, the designated project manager for Christmas Around Town, and member of the Main Street Promotions Committee, says:
"There is truly something for everyone, and every age group over these holiday weekend celebrations. It’s a wonderful time to enjoy the spirit of Christmas, while enjoying and discovering all that downtown has to offer."

Source: Brian Persky, DDA/MMS

Planet Fitness to open by end of the year in Portage

Memberships to the new Planet Fitness in Portage are now on sale. The health club will open its second Kalamazoo area location at 6420 South Westnedge Ave. in Portage at the end of 2014.

Planet Fitness focuses on the needs of occasional or first-time gym users rather than hard-core fitness fanatics.

Those who join the fitness club before it opens will be helping the Boys and Girls Club of greater Kalamazoo. Planet Fitness donate all enrollment fees during this period before the club opens to the Boys and Girls Club. Planet Fitness franchisee Chris Klebba will match the donation as part of the Grand Opening celebration.  

Those that join Planet Fitness now will be able to work out at the Kalamazoo location at 4408 Stadium Drive, just eight miles from the new Portage location.

The new Planet Fitness club will be about 16,000-square-feet. State of the art cardio machines and strength equipment, fully equipped locker rooms with day lockers and showers, and numerous flat screen televisions are among the amenities to be offered. Massage beds, massage chairs, tanning booths and beds for members also will be featured. And members receive fitness training.

The club will be open and staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Each club features the "Lunk Alarm" – a purple and yellow siren on the wall used to gently remind people that grunting, dropping weights, or judging others is not permitted.

New members can join for just $1 down and then $10 a month, and be entered for the chance to win a free membership for a year. Those who decide to join at the $19.90 a month level before the new center opens will have access to the Westnedge center at their convenience. The Portage sales office is currently open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Call 269-459-8899 for more information.

"Planet Fitness has been a part of this community since 2011 when we opened our first location in Kalamazoo, and we look forward to providing more local residents with a high quality, judgment free fitness experience at an extremely affordable cost," says Planet Fitness franchisee Chris Klebba. "We are also very excited to support the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kalamazoo, and help this amazing organization that enhances the quality of life of youth in our community."

Planet Fitness has over 850 locations nationwide.

Source: Chris Klebba, Planet Fitness
 

Two directors, four vice presidents join WKKF

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation expects its programming, strategic operations, investments and its effectiveness as a grantmaker and community partner will benefit from the contributions of two directors and four vice presidents.

The Foundation, which is committed to ensuring all children have opportunities and succeed in school, work and life, recently welcomed the experienced new team members.

"Each of these leaders brings significant passion, knowledge and skills to the foundation and we are confident our partners and the vulnerable children and families we care about will be greatly served," says WKKF President and CEO La June Montgomery Tabron.

The new vice president for program strategy is Joseph (Joe) Scantlebury. He will be responsible for the foundation's place-based work. He will lead, design and implement strategic programming efforts to improve the lives of vulnerable children and families in the foundation's priority places, including: Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans in the United States, and internationally in Haiti and Mexico, beginning Jan. 5. He currently is a senior program officer for U.S. Program Advocacy at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Washington, D.C.

Dianna Langenburg has been named vice president for talent and human resources, effective Nov. 1. Langenburg joined the foundation in 1993 and has been the director of human resources and organizational services since 2012. Prior to that, she held a variety of positions of increasing responsibility.

Cindy Smith has been named vice president for integrated services, effective Nov. 1. Smith was most recently the foundation's director of program services. She joined the foundation in 1993 and has held several roles during her tenure.

Dr. Alandra Washington has been named vice president for quality and organizational effectiveness, beginning Nov. 1. She is responsible for the overall strategic coordination and integration of the foundation's programming and operations efforts.

Carmen Heredia-Lopez has been selected as the foundation's director of investments, reporting to Vice President and Chief Investment Officer Joel Wittenberg, beginning Dec. 1. Her primary responsibility will be for the investments of the foundation's portfolio.

Dr. Huilan Krenn was named director of evaluation for the foundation, as of Sept. 1. She is responsible for leading and managing evaluation-related activities in support of all WKKF programming areas and helping the organization measure and understand the outcomes, impacts and lessons learned from its work. She joined the foundation in August 2002 as an evaluation manager providing leadership and technical assistance to grantmaking efforts in the area of impact assessment and program evaluation. Most recently, she was a program officer for Education and Learning.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. It is based in Battle Creek.

Source: W.K. Kellogg Foundation
 

YMCA expansion gets underway in St. Joseph

Spaces for the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph YMCA preschool program and its Child Watch and School Age Child Care programs will be part of a 9,000-square-foot expansion for which ground recently was broken.

An expanded weight room, larger meeting classrooms, refreshed locker rooms, new family changing locker rooms, an expanded lobby for community gatherings, and an area for parents to observe swim classes are all part of the plan.

As part of the expansion there are plans to extend parking and create an outdoor walking trail, as well.

The Benton Harbor-St. Joseph YMCA is expanding its current building in Royalton Township at the corner of Hollywood and Maiden Lane.

The YMCA is continuing to raise funds for the project. It has raised $2.5 of the $3.8 million needed to complete this project. That includes a $1 million estate gift from Frank and Grace Sink which provided the base of the funds for the campaign. A $250,000 donation from Merlin and Carolyn Hanson also has been received. Ahern expressed his gratitude for both donations.

"This expansion and renovation positions the Y to serve the next generation," says Ahern. "We couldn’t be more excited.'

Donation are being accepted online at RENEWTHEYMCA.org or by contacting Mike Ahern at 269-428-9622. Ahern may also be contacted by email here to make a pledge. All gifts are tax-deductible.

Source: Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce

Waterfront Film Fest hires regional coordinator to add events all year

The Waterfront Film Festival should be more than a June invasion of cinephiles onto the "Middle Coast" beaches of Lake Michigan in In 2015.

Event organizer Cynthia Hagedorn will work to have Waterfront events year-round, and to expand its contact with the wider Southwest Michigan community.

In October the festival hired Hagedorn to its new regional coordinator position. Hagedorn, a Cadillac native and Zeeland resident, is the founding director of Square Peg Events, a company known for organizing art-themed events.

Hagedorn sums up her life's work: "I connect people to fun experiences, and I connect people to people, to help other people benefit with an economic impact."

Founded in 1999, the film festival has been holding Midwest and world premiers of movies large and small, first in Saugatuck, then, for 2013 and 2014, in South Haven. The fest has premiered films from goofy comedies "Napoleon Dynamite" and "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle," to serious documentaries like "Grizzly Man" and "Blackfish."

A film fan with eclectic tastes, Hagedorn didn't hesitate when asked her favorite movie. "This is really silly.... 'Napoleon Dynamite,'" she says. "What a fun movie."

Since the move to South Haven, actors, directors, producers and fans have all poured into the small "middle coast" town for four days in June. This certainly pleases South Haven Mayor Robert Burr.

"People come for the festival and then return for an extended stay to enjoy our numerous amenities," Burr says. "For instance, I was told that last year, a film producer enjoyed the city so much that he returned later in the season with his family. Another film producer who attended the festival last year returned with his crew -- and a New York City taxi -- to film a scene on the beach. While here, they dined and shopped, adding to the local economy."

No economic impact studies have been done on the festival in South Haven, but the last study concluded that Waterfront brought $1.6 million in business to Saugatuck over four days, festival publicist Patric Revere says.

Not every guest from the West or East Coasts returns to the Middle Coast, but there are residents living along Lake Michigan and in inland cities such as Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo who'd be willing to attend film events year-round, festival organizers realized.

Waterfront founders, siblings Hopwood and Dori DePree, "have always envisioned Waterfront Film Festival growing into a year-round organization featuring various events, seminars and screenings throughout the entire year," Hopwood said in a press release. "Bringing Cynthia on, with her vast experience and connections throughout West Michigan, will make it possible for the nonprofit organization to reach out to an expanded audience base, sponsors and corporate support throughout the region."

"It's been a great fit," Hagedorn says. "All around, we're very excited about everything."

"We want to give a broader reach of events," Hagedorn adds. "But there are so many different things we can do.... Right now we're in strategic planning mode, asking people what they're looking for."

She's just begun her new job, and event suggestions have already been coming in, "everything from panels, film showings, street parties, music, children's programing, things along those lines."

Look for announcements of "big events" between now and the festival in June, Hagedorn says.

Writer: Mark Wedel, Second Wave Media


Sources: Cynthia Hagedorn, Robert Burr, and Waterfront Film Festival
 

KalamaTopia embraces all things made in Kalamazoo

Hey Kalamazoo, you've been challenged! Downtown Kalamazoo Inc. is throwing down the gauntlet, and calling every one of you out...outdoors that is.

A new initiative dubbed Unleash the Zoo is a program of mini festivals aimed to get people outside and downtown during some of the colder months when folks may be more apt to hunker down indoors.

Unleash the Zoo aims to "change the way in which citizens interact with their public spaces. It is designed to unleash a new or evolving trend that also provides interaction, involvement from multiple stakeholders, and uses experiential marketing as the way to engage people into the product as it evolves into something that can continue on its own," DKI says in response to questions from Second Wave.

The series offers up its second event Friday, Nov. 21 with an event called KalamaTopia, essentially a cold-weather sidewalk sale and happy hour featuring local vendors, shops, breweries, wine makers and plenty of food and entertainment, all designed to lift your spirits and help ward off the late fall doldrums.

"KalamaTopia is a Friday happy hour of celebrating all things made in Kalamazoo County. Embracing the cold, enjoying the outdoors, and celebrating all things Kalamazoo is the theme of KalamaTopia. It’s about outdoor 'late fall' shopping. It’s about exploring things that are made in Kalamazoo and experiencing it all in one place,” DKI says.

Of course another part of the experience will be braving possibly tumultuous weather patterns, so DKI will be placing heaters all along the KalamaTopia route, which runs up and down the Kalamazoo Mall from Michigan Avenue to South Street.

Unleash the Zoo began this past summer with an Urban Disc Golf event at Arcadia Creek Festival Place. It featured food trucks, live music, local beer and wine and a nine hole mini disc golf course.

Just like the previous event, local adult beverage vendors will be on hand during KalamaTopia, but instead of providing cold, thirst quenching drinks Gonzo's BiggDogg Brewing and Tempo Vino Winery will be serving "sweaters you wear on the inside" and Water Street Coffee Joint, Coffee Rescue and others will be downtown as well, serving non-alcoholic hot drinks.

Other warming beverages available for sale include: mulled cider and hot chocolate with or without added spirits.

Just a few of the nearly 20 confirmed vendors include: Cake's Boutique, Hite House, Juicy Leaf, Sticks and Stones, and Youz Guys Sausage Co.

Unleash the Zoo will be officially hosted by DKA Charities Inc. and financially supported by the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation.

DKI encourages people to: “Wear your longjohns, winter woolies, and a hat...but leave your hands free so you can shop, experience, and taste the pleasure of KalamaTopia.”

The family friendly event begins at 5:30 p.m. and will run until 8 p.m. Details on future events have yet to be revealed.

For more information on Unleash the Zoo and KalamaTopia contact Deb Droppers at 269-388-2830

Writer: Jeremy Martin, Second Wave Media

Source: DKI
 

Kathy Young selected to lead Borgess Health

New leadership has been appointed to Borgess Health.

The new President and CEO is Kathy A. Young. She will step into the position in early 2015. Ascension Health announced the appointment Nov. 4.

Young previously served in Kokomo, Ind., as President of St. Joseph Hospital, a member of St. Vincent Health, which is also part of Ascension Health. She served there since 2008 and is a health care executive with more than 20 years of  experience in acute care hospital and health system leadership roles.

Young has developed a proven track record in operations management, financial and cultural leadership, physician relationship development, program development, and leadership development and coaching. Young has a clinical background, beginning her career as a respiratory therapist, and also has significant experience in performance improvement, LEAN management techniques and leading broad change initiatives.

Young graduated from Marian College with an associate’s degree in Respiratory Therapy Sciences and a bachelor’s degree in Allied Health. She received her master’s degree in Health Services Administration from the University of St. Francis, and is currently participating in the Ascension Leadership Academy. She is an NBRC Registered Respiratory Therapist, a Fellow in the American College of Health Care Executives, and a member of the Indiana Rural Health Association and Executive Women in Healthcare.

Borgess in an important part of Ascension Health's statewide presences and Young's expertise in quality management and financial planning is expected to strengthen the health system's capabilities as a "value-based provider," says Gwen MacKenzie, Senior Vice President, Ascension Health/Michigan Market Leader.

”Kathy has a deep commitment to Ascension’s Mission of serving all persons with special attention to those who are poor and vulnerable,” says Patricia Maryland, Dr.PH, Ascension Health President, Healthcare Operations and Chief Operating Officer. “As Kathy begins her new role, she exemplifies Ascension’s efforts to develop and nurture talented leaders to take on greater responsibilities across our integrated national health ministry.”

Borgess Health  is a 125-year-old health ministry that serves residents of 10 counties. It is one of the area’s largest health care providers and also is one of the largest employers. Michigan Health Ministries of Ascension Health  Together, the health systems employ more than 30,000 associates and are a major economic driver in the state, with $1.5 billion in payroll each year. In fiscal year 2013, the Michigan Health Ministries provided more than $240 million in community benefit and care of the poor.

Source: Lew Tysman, Borgess Health

Air Zoo rolls out the red carpet for world premier of 'Pilot Error'

The Air Zoo may be better known for runways than red carpets, but hosting the world premiere of the screening of Pilot Error means for one night the Aerospace and Science Center gets its glam on. Portage will be the first of 200 screenings of the film to come in 2015.

Pilot Error is inspired by the true story of a French airliner that went missing in the Atlantic in 2009 and the investigative reporter who unravels the mystery of the disappearance of the flight from South America to France that went down with 211 passengers, including a friend of the investigative reporter Nicola Wilson (Kate Thomsen).

On Nov. 8, those who turn out to see the movie, filmed many at locations in Michigan, including the Air Zoo, Wisconsin and in France, will also be treated to an evening of drinks and food. The stars of the movie, including Portage native and Western Michigan University alum Kate Thomsen also will on hand for the festivities.

The movie taps the talent of a number of graduates from WMU grads director Joe Anderson and cast members Larry Herron and Brian Michael Ogden, all of whom graduated from Western’s theatre program. The film’s script, written by  Muskegon-based producer Roger Rapoport and director Joe Anderson, is the culmination of five years of research and interviews and offers a fact-based, insider’s glimpse into the potential consequences of keeping pilots in the dark about failed technology and automation.

“My colleagues and I are extremely proud of Kate, Joe, Larry and Brian,” says professor D. Terry Williams, chairman emeritus of WMU’s theatre department.  “We’re thrilled to see them in this important new film, and delighted with what they have achieved since leaving Western.”  The cast also includes familiar Hollywood actors Robert Cicchini and Richard Riehle, and was scored by Emmy Award winning composer Garth Neustadter.  

The world premiere is presented by the Tyler-Little Family Foundation, the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport, and the Air Zoo. The event at at the Air Zoo, 6151 Portage Road in Portage gets underway at 5 p.m. for VIP admission and 5:30 for general admission. Tickets can be purchased on the Air Zoo’s website, www.AirZoo.org .

VIP tickets are $60 or $105 for couples. They included an open bar VIP reception with the actors and crew before the screening, gift bags, hors d'oeuvres, VIP priority seating and admission to all the evenings events. General admission tickets are $20 and include hors d'oeuvres, admission to the pre-party event, an exclusive screening of the film, and access to a Q & A session with experts following.  A cash bar will be available.

“The Air Zoo is thrilled to be hosting this important cultural touch-point between the scientific, artistic, and educational communities in our region”, says Troy Thrash, President and CEO of the Air Zoo.  “Our guests will have the opportunity to experience the excitement and thrills of a Hollywood-style premier event, and the film itself offers great potential to educate and further enlighten the global aviation community.  It’s going to be an amazing evening on all fronts.”  

Source: Air Zoo 
Aerospace and Science Center

Courtyard Marriott opens in Battle Creek

With 102 rooms with an updated room design a new Courtyard by Marriott has opened its doors in Battle Creek.

The hotel, owned by Battle Creek Hotels LLC and managed by Amerilodge Group LLC is located at 12891 Harper Village Drive. 

Combining innovative technology with style and comfort aimed at pleasing the business traveler, Courtyard by Marriott ’s modern and open lobby provides guests with flexibility to work or relax.

The new room design balances work, relaxation, comfort and sleep.  Comfortably productive rooms and multi-purpose public areas invite and enable enjoyment. 

Standard rooms come with one king or two double beds and pull-out sofa. A separate seating area enables guests to relax and unwind. And a large work desk with bright lighting enhances productivity. It even has an ergonomic chair for comfort.  

The  hotel's free business center with printing service is another feature. The hotel also boasts free wi-fi.

There is a well-equipped fitness center with indoor pool. 

"From day one, Courtyard has prided itself as a brand that listens to business travelers," Janis Milham, senior vice president, Modern Essentials and Extended Stay Brands tells Travel Daily News. "Today’s technology has changed how people travel. Our guests want a room that has purpose and flexibility that enables a seamless transition between relaxing and working. Courtyard is designed to offer them a relaxing and functional space to work the way they want to, when they want to."

Source: Courtyard by Marriott

Jobs for Michigan's Graduates receives $20,000 from AT&T

Six years ago Kinexus' Jobs for Michigan Graduates program started at Benton Harbor High School. To date, 184 participants in the class have finished high school and nearly 65 percent have gone on to post-secondary education or employment.  

The class is offered as an elective during the regular school day. Students experience mentoring, work and college visits. They also receive instruction in 37 employability skills identified by the national Jobs for America’s Graduates curriculum.

Now, AT&T is showing its support for the program. AT&T is investing $20,000 in Kinexus’ Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates program at Benton Harbor High School.  

The funds from AT&T will be used in the 2014-2015 school year to serve more students, provide staff training, and pay for a Benton Harbor High School student to attend the Jobs for America’s Graduates Leadership Conference in Washington D.C.

"AT&T has made it both a national and a Michigan priority to help more students reach the important goal of high school graduation," says Jim Murray, president of AT&T Michigan. "Through mentoring by our employees and support of successful programs like Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates, we hope to give all Michigan students a chance at a good education and a solid foundation for future success."

Kinexus Executive Director Todd Gustafson says the grant demonstrates how connections between the public, private, and nonprofit sectors can support "innovative solutions to address economic challenges and set students up for success in the 21st century workplace."

Benton Harbor Superintendent Dr. Leonard Seawood says the school district appreciates AT&T's generosity and its willingness to help more students realized the importance of high school graduation.

Source: Kinexus
 
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