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What do you want to know about East Hall redevelopment?

The community will have its second opportunity to offer input and learn about progress of the plans to turn Western Michigan University's East Hall into an alumni Center. The second of three such meetings will be at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 9 in the Little Theater at the corner of Oakland Drive and Oliver Lane.

Renovation of East Hall is expected to begin in spring 2014. The Jan. 9 session is intended to show how the building will be configured tand the progress made toward a final design. 

The mid-design session will feature professionals from TowerPinkster, the Kalamazoo architectural and engineering firm WMU chose  earlier this year to lead the renovation, and Hopkins Burns Design Studio, an Ann Arbor firm that specializes in historic preservation.

Previously WMU indicated interior spaces will be designed for use as an alumni center and office space for alumni relations officials and feature large gathering spaces for alumni functions as well as such campus and community events as receptions and banquets.

The design elements will be focus on features that can showcase the significance of WMU to its community, state, and the nation.

The 34,000-square-foot core of East Hall was completed in 1905 and is considered the birthplace of WMU.

WMU has borrowed $15 million to transform the 34,000-square-foot core of the building, and has said any amount spent above that figure must come from other sources, such as private donors. The Western Michigan University Alumni Association board has committed $1 million to the project and board members have made personal commitments.

Details of the project are here.

Writer: Kathy Jennings, Second Wave Media
Source: Cheryl Roland, Western Michigan University

 

Local authors in the holiday spotlight at Kazoo Books

Those who like to buy local will have an opportunity to extend their priorities to their book buying at an upcoming event at Kazoo Books.
 
Local Authors Day takes place at the independent bookseller's 2413 Parkview Ave. store on Saturday, Dec. 14.
 
The event got its beginnings four years ago when an author called Kazoo Books owner Gloria Tiller during the holiday season and said she would be available for a booksigning. Tiller was skeptical that anyone would take time out of Christmas shopping to go to a booksigning, but it turned out to be a big success. So Tiller scheduled a second event the following year and it was an even bigger success. That encouraged her to set up the subsequent annual authors' days.
 
Part of what makes the event successful is that authors come out during the day to support their friends. So shoppers may come to see one author and run into another author whose works they like to read.
 
A festive atmosphere takes over the shop with all kinds of refreshments, and all the Christmas titles in the store are on sale, too. 
 
Artisans will be found throughout the shop, including bead jewelry by mentored youth from Beadventure, Ministry with Community's soaps and candles, Linda Kekic's  fused glass jewelry and woodblock prints by Mary Brodbeck.
 
The signings begin at 11 a.m. with author Ruth McNally Barshaw, creator of the Ellie McDoodle series, an intermediate chapter book. Leslie Helakoski, author and illustrator of Dog Gone Feet and Fair Cow, and author of the Big Chicken series as well as Woolbur also will be available to sign books.  Janet Ruth Heller autor of How the Moon Regained Her Shape, a story about bullying for children of all ages, rounds out the 11 a.m. group.
 
From noon to 1:30 p.m. catch the latest by Grace Tiffany, author of several books set in the time of Shakespeare, My Father Had a Daughter and Will. Her new book is called Paint and takes readers back to Elizabethan court. Joan Donaldson, an organic farmer who has written a book about the life of growing and farming in Michigan, Wedded to the Land; Tom Small‘s, whose Using Native Plants to Restore Community has become a regional handbook for protecting the native landscape. and local poet Hedy Habra, author of Tea in Heliopolis and Flying Carpets all will be available. 
 
New Issues Press is at Western Michigan University has recently produced a gift book of regional poetry and art called Poetry in Michigan and several of the authors represented in the book will be available at 1 p.m. Mary Brodbeck, one of the artists in the book also will be here with some of her  art. Judi Rypma  author of Amber Room and Rapunzel’s Hair also will be at the bookstore at 1 p.m.
 
At 2 p.m. meet Jacqueline Carey, local author of the historical fantasy series, Kushiel’s Legacy, The Sundering epic and the new Agent of Hel contemporary fantasy series, Autumn Bones. Sarah Zettel is author of a vampire chef mystery series, the Isavalta fantasy series, and is now writing for young adults. The latest historical novel from the author from the east side of the state is a mystery called Palace of Spies.
 
Joe Heywood is back from the north country to sign books at 3 p.m. His latest is Killing a Cold One and he can talk about his next book, soon to be out. Also on hand will be: D. E. Johnson with his latest mystery, Detroit Shuffle; Mel Starr who continues his medieval mystery adventures with Rest Not in Peace, just released; and Albert Bell, from Grand Rapids whose latest historical mystery is set in Italy shortly after the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.
 
For a complete list of authors and other events, visit here.
 
Writer: Kathy Jennings, Second Wave Media
Source: Gloria Tiller, Kazoo Books
 

Update: Down Dog Yoga Center open in downtown Kalamazoo

Named for a pose that offers a vast number of benefits to the body, Down Dog Yoga Center has now opened in downtown Kalamazoo.

The yoga center in the Peregrine Plaza at the corner of Lovell and the Kalamazoo Mall will be a space for yoga practitioners of all levels.

Owner Kristin Fiore says the 4,000 square feet of space is being divided into two spaces to allow more than one class to be taught simultaneously. For example, a class specializing in yoga for pregnant women could be taught in one space as a class for a more general group of students takes place in another part of the studio.

There will be four treatment rooms for massage and other healing arts. An office space is being created as well. There also will be showers that will allow downtown workers to freshen up after a noontime class or other times during the day before returning to work or heading out for shopping.

In a recent announcement of the center's opening Fiore says: "The vision for Down Dog is based on a commitment to community: creating an inviting community center where we can connect to ourselves and to each other through the practice of yoga and the healing arts.  Where we can get in touch with our beauty, strength, breath, and the flow of prana and energy within all, sharing our experiences in a nurturing and empowering atmosphere.  

"Down Dog Yoga Center is inclusive to all, without bias or discrimination, with a desire to give back to those in need and care for that which sustains us.  It is a place where we gather to foster well-being, healthy living, creativity and love.  Where we can accept what is but not be limited by that; where we are free to learn and grow, dream big, love fully, and reach our highest potential."

Chris Lampen-Crowell, of Gazelle Sports, is a partner in the business and Fiore says his business experience has proven invaluable in getting the yoga center up and running. She currently is in the middle of what she jokingly refers to as the puzzle of creating the schedule of classes. A group of 9 to 10 teachers will be offering classes from the space.  

"We want to offer a nice, well-rounded schedule," Fiore says. Whether someone is interested in daily classes or simply wants to drop in several times a week, Fiore plans to have classes for both.

Among those coming to Down Dog Yoga Center to teach are Judy Huxmann and Cynthia Hoss, who have run Awake and Aware for the past 10 years at the Parkview Hills shopping center. Some of those who worked with Huxman and Huff, such as sound treatment classes with Julie Chase, also plan to make the move downtown.

Fiore is excited that teachers with so much experience will be offering classes at the center.

"The mission of Down Dog Yoga Center is connecting people to healthy living, creativity and community through yoga," Fiore says. Her vision is that Down Dog Yoga Center will be a place for all people and one where they can connect with others who share their interests in a supportive environment.

Source: Kristin Fiore, Down Dog Yoga Center
 

Tolera names Ashleigh Palmer as President, CEO

Tolera Therapeutics, Inc., has named Ashleigh Palmer as President, CEO and Board Director.
 
Palmer had a track record in developing and commercializing biopharma products and working with pioneering therapeutic platforms.
 
He is president of Creative BioVentures, a strategic advisory company serving the biopharma industry. He will continue as president of the company he founded, Creative BioVentures, as he works as CEO of Tolera. 
 
Palmer has undertaken several challenging development-stage and turnaround assignments, including CEO and Chairman of Restoragen, Inc.; CEO of Canfite Biopharma, Ltd.; and CEO of Unigene Laboratories, Inc.
 
Previously, Palmer was Vice President of Business Development at Ohmeda, Inc., where he played an instrumental role in its $1.2 billion sale to a Baxter-led consortium by spinning out Ohmeda's inhaled nitric oxide assets to found INO Therapeutics, Inc.  Under Palmer's leadership, as founding President and CEO, INO Therapeutics developed and commercialized the world's first selective pulmonary vasodilator, INOmax, establishing an orphan drug franchise subsequently acquired by Ikaria for $670 million. 
 
Palmer says Tolera is "now poised to carefully consider its strategic options, evaluate the needs of prospective partners, and advance this novel therapeutic approach towards a market that appears ripe for the entry of an advantageous induction agent. Tolera also has a significant opportunity to advance its broader T-cell targeting therapeutic platform, especially with respect to autoimmune disease and cancer.  Effective partnering will be the key to this endeavor."
 
Tolera is developing a drug that safely suppresses the immune system.
 
The drug is designed for patients who have received organ transplants. The company’s work could also have implications for therapies for autoimmune conditions, diabetes and some cancers. 
 
Tolera has successfully completed clinical testing through Phase 2  and is ready to commence advanced stage clinical testing. The company has received approval through  U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a Phase 3 clinical trial comparing TOL101 to Thymoglobulin. 

Writer: Kathy Jennings, Second Wave Media
Source: Tolera Therapeutics, Inc.

Borgess welcomes William Davis and Stacy Zolp

Borgess recently welcomed two to various parts of the hospital system.

Stacy Zolp, certified physician assistant (PA-C), has joined the staff of Borgess Orthopedics, part of the Borgess Bone & Joint Institute.

Zolp previously was a physician assistant in the Immediate Care Clinic at Borgess at Woodbridge Hills in Portage. There she assisted attending physicians in the care  patients. Stacy also served as a physician assistant in the Emergency and Trauma Center at Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo.

She also has been a physician assistant in the Emergency Department at Henry Ford Health System in West Bloomfield, a patient care assistant in Medical Telemetry at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Clinton Township, and a nursing assistant on the Nursing Resource Team at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak.

Zolp earned a Master of Science in Medicine degree from Wayne State University, with a concentration in physician assistant studies in May 2009. She also received a Bachelor of Science degree in May 2006, with a concentration in medical technology, from Michigan State University.

Zolp is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, and the Michigan Academy of Physician Assistants. She presently serves as an adjunct faculty member in Physician Assistant Studies at Grand Valley State University.

To learn more about Borgess Orthopedics, please visit here

William Davis, nurse practitioner (NP), has joined DeLano Outpatient Clinic, part of Borgess Behavioral Health, and its team of dedicated health professionals.

Davis has extensive experience in the mental health field, and most recently was a psychiatric nurse practitioner with Kalamazoo Community Mental Health.

He holds a Master of Science in Nursing, Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner studies from Wayne State University in Detroit, and a Master of Science in Nursing degree from Norwich University in Northfield, Vt. Davis graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Andrews University in Berrien Springs. He is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, and the Michigan Council of Nurse Practitioners.

For more information on Borgess Behavioral Health, please visit here

Writer: Second Wave Media staff
Source: Michael Smith, Borgess Health

United Way and local corporations to work on social change together

What if instead of donating money to address such social ills as lack of access to good schools corporations tried to find solutions to such problems?

A multi-group effort that includes the United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region is one of only 21 United Way organizations nationwide chosen to participate in a collaboration with Fortune 500 companies to promote corporate responsibility roles in addressing social ills.  

Capital Area United Way, United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region, United Way of Jackson County, and United Way of Southwest Michigan will all be working together in the Corporate Engagement Partnership, a two-year initiative to explore broad-based strategies that tackle social needs.

Consumers Energy, Kellogg Company and Whirlpool Corporation, all Michigan-based, will be working to accelerate strategies that promote corporate social responsibility,  volunteerism by employees, and donor stewardship.

"As state and national economic and social dynamics evolve, our United Ways and these corporate partners have discussed our mutual desire to create deeper engagement--going beyond fundraising to mobilize human and financial resources strategically, consistently and effectively for meaningful, lasting change," says  Ken Toll, President and CEO, United Way of Jackson County.

Michael Larson, President & CEO, United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region points out the needs around education, income and health are not bound by municipal borders, and are in fact intertwined with the interests of our communities and our corporate partners. "We see the potential for our United Way organizations to serve as the primary conduit for these companies to drive their corporate social responsibility strategies through active partnership," Larson says.

"If we do our job well,"  says Teresa Kmetz, President, Capital Area United Way, "all involved will benefit--meaning all children will thrive in the educational setting, all families and individuals will have the means to achieve financial security, and all people will have access to quality health care. Those are real, meaningful measures that demonstrate how United Way and our corporate partners, working together, can advance the common good for all."

Writer: Kathy Jennings, Second Wave Media
Source: Rick Chambers, Rick Chambers Associates

Children create memories at Santa's Workshop

Children living at the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission, Eleanor House and those who participate with the Peace House on Kalamazoo's Eastside, will have an opportunity to make some Christmas memories along with their crafts on Dec. 14.

The City of Kalamazoo Parks and Recreation Department will have a free holiday workshop for the youngsters.

Workshops will take place from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. and youngsters who have been invited are expected to visit the Youth Development Center on Crosstown in two groups so that more youngsters can attend. About 40 are expected all together.

They will take decorate cookies, create snowmen from marshmallows and sip hot chocolate. As a craft activity they may decided to make wrapping paper. Or they may create a gift to take home. Youngsters will have their choice of a number of activities.

They will be able to take home all the things they create in Santa's Workshop.

About eight to 10 volunteers from Jeter's Leaders will be at the event Saturday to assist.

"It's a really great partnership," says Erin Zukis, program assistant for the Parks and Recreation Department.


Some youngsters are coming from Eleanor House, a homelike setting for homeless families that provides a safe haven for them as they prepare to move to independent housing. More than 60 percent of the guests there are children who average nine years of age.

Others are from the Gospel Mission, which also provides temporary housing for the homeless. It reports it has seen the number of children it is serving rise over the past year and often sees as many as 100 children each night.

The Parks and Recreation Department has offered the craft workshop for these children in past years and hopes to spread the holiday spirit to children participating again this year.

Writer: Kathy Jennings, Second Wave Media
Source: Erin Zukis, Kalamazoo Parks and Recreation

Digital marketing powerhouses join forces

For several years Biggs|Gilmore and VML have worked together, sharing clients like Kellogg and Kimberly-Clark. Now the two digital marketing companies are making that relationship formal.

VML has acquired Biggs|Gilmore, which now has offices in Kalamazoo and Chicago.

With 140 employees across its two locations, Biggs|Gilmore’s key clients include Kellogg, Kimberly-Clark, Foster Farms and Stryker. Biggs Gilmore’s unaudited revenue for the previous 12 months ending September 2013 was $21 million.

Biggs|Gilmore is currently led by Jane Tamraz, CEO, and Mike Gerfen, president. Both will assume roles on the executive leadership team as executive directors of VML in Chicago and Kalamazoo, respectively.

"We have a tremendous respect for VML’s work, its people, integrity and culture. That’s what sets VML apart and attracted us to become part of VML," Tamraz said. "It’s a unique opportunity to become part of such a compatible and truly distinct global agency network."

Biggs|Gilmore, a digital creative agency, was named Top Agency in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013 in the Internet Advertising Competition; Top Agency in the 2011 and 2012 WebAwards; and an AdAge Agency of the Year in 2010.

"It’s been a natural connection since the beginning," says Jon Cook, CEO and president at VML.

"This is a unique acquisition that joins two long-tenured companies that are both experiencing major momentum as brands. We’ve been working together for several years on shared clients Kellogg and Kimberly-Clark. It’s been a natural connection since the beginning. It became clear to both VML and Biggs|Gilmore that we could provide an even deeper offering by joining forces," said Jon Cook, CEO and president at VML.

Writer: Kathy Jennings, Second Wave Media
Source:Cathy Staples, VML 


NSF grants to WMU to boost teaching of science

To enhance teaching and help keep students in classes where they learn science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the National Science Foundation has awarded $529,000 Western Michigan University's Science and Mathematics Program Improvement center.

WMU is part of a team of faculty from six universities--Michigan State University is the lead institution--across the country carrying out research intended to assist science, technology, engineering and mathematics faculty so they can better understand and respond to student thinking and misconceptions regarding major concepts covered in their undergraduate coursework.

"A huge percentage of students drop out of science majors after their first year," says Dr. Mary Anne Sydlik, Science and Mathematics Program Improvement director and head of WMU's evaluation team. "STEM undergrads struggle, for a number of reasons, which in turn can lead to low grades and the impulse to transfer into non-STEM majors."

The project has two main goals. One is to continue creating and validating questions for use in introductory biology, chemistry, chemical engineering and statistics courses and to develop a web portal to analyze students' written answers to homework, quizzes and test questions.

Part of the problem is that the multiple-choice tests used in large classes do not always reflect whether a student fully understands the underlying concepts represented in individual questions. Faculty using multiple-choice questions do not get the feedback on student thinking, particularly misconceptions, needed to support students' mastery of the subject.

The NSF-funded initiative is designed to allow faculty to use an automated system that analyzes students' written answers to questions and then provides a report documenting where the class as a whole needs more assistance with difficult topics or concepts.

The second goal is to form discipline-based learning communities for biology, chemistry, statistics and engineering faculty interested in new methods of assessment and using automated analysis to inform their teaching.

The research team will determine the extent to which participation in a faculty learning community brings about a sustained use of the new assessment tools and changes in the way participating faculty address student difficulties and misconceptions.

Writer: Kathy Jennings, Second Wave Media
Source: Mark Schwerin, Western Michigan University

 

Southwestern Medical Clinic welcomes physician and nurse practitioner

A pediatrician and a family medicine nurse practitioner have joined the staff at Southwestern Medical Clinic in Stevensville.

Desire M. Hurst, MD, a pediatrician, is accepting new patients at the Stevensville practice. Dr. Hurst earned her medical degree from the Loma Linda University School of Medicine in California. She went on to complete her pediatric residency at the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Hurst is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

During medical school, she participated in the Global Health Track program which promotes a world view of pediatric care and advocacy with a deeper awareness of culture, language, and society. She enjoys serving patients abroad.

Born in Spokane, Washington, Dr. Hurst grew up and attended school in Southwest Michigan. She earned her undergraduate degree from Andrews University.

Wendy Hays, FNP, is seeing patients in the Walk-in Clinic at the Stevensville office. Hays has served as a registered nurse at Lakeland HealthCare for the past 13 years where she cared for oncology and surgery patients of all ages.

Hays earned her Master of Science degree in the Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner Program, from Goshen College in Indiana. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Indiana-Wesleyan University where she graduated summa cum laude.

Hays is board-certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She is a member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

Source: Laura Bailey, Lakeland HealthCare 
 

Updates from the busy world of Bell's Brewery Inc.

Bell's Brewery, Inc. is the most experienced brewer in a town rapidly adding local pubs that make their own beer. That experience is showing in a string of announcements from Bell's.
 
The most recent involves art work being unveiled at the Comstock Brewery at 5 p.m. Dec. 5. The work, titled “From Seed to the Senses”, is eleven-and-a-half feet tall by four feet wide and weighs approximately 1,400 pounds. 
 
An 80-year-old American Elm that grew at the home of Bell’s President and Founder Larry Bell in Kalamazoo was used in the creation of the wood sculpture. 
 
“Unfortunately, the tree had to be taken down. But this gives it new life and will inspire many more to come,” says Bell.
 
It was commissioned by Bell and created by Rockford-Illinois based artist Salem Barker. A film crew has also been following Barker throughout the process and interviewed Bell for a documentary that will focus on the artist and his creative process.
 
In other news for the brewery: 
 
• Two Hearted Ale and Oberon Ale will debut in cans beginning in late April, 2014. They will be available to purchase in 16-ounce four-packs in all markets to which the brewery currently distributes. Future can offerings will include Bell’s seasonal lineup: Best Brown Ale, Winter White Ale and Smitten Golden Rye Ale to start. “This new option will allow our fans to take our beer to places where glass is not allowed. It opens up a lot of new opportunities to enjoy Bell’s beer and that’s a win for everyone,” says Laura Bell, Bell’s Vice President. The brewery’s new canning line is part of Bell’s most recent expansion which also includes the addition of twelve 800-barrel fermenters to its Comstock Brewery. The filler will have the capacity to fill 500 cans a minute and is from KHS USA Inc. located just outside of Milwaukee, Wisc.
 
• Beginning in March, 2014, Bell’s beer will be available in north central Pennsylvania. Durdach Brothers Inc. have been chosen to represent the Bell’s brand in Bradford, Cameron, Clinton, Columbia, Lycoming, McKean, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union and Wyoming counties. Durdach Bros. Inc. is a family-owned distributor based in Paxinos, Penn., founded in 1938.  "I’m very excited with the opportunity to join the Bell’s distributor family here in Pennsylvania," says Rick Durdach, CEO of Durdach Brothers Inc.
 
•  After a successful rollout in western and upstate New York, Bell’s will be arriving in New York City beginning Feb. 10, 2014. Union Beer Distributors, part of the Sheehan Group, will distribute Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, Amber, Kalamazoo Stout, Midwestern Pale Ale, Porter and Oarsman Ale and its seasonal lineup within the city and on Long Island. “We are excited to round out the state after an overwhelming response for our beer in western and upstate New York,” says Bell’s Vice President Laura Bell.
 
• Bell’s brought home two prestigious medals from this year’s 11th Annual Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beer, which took place in Chicago in mid-November. Le Bretteur, a specialty beer from Bell’s downtown Kalamazoo brewing team, won a gold medal in the Wild/Brett category. The category is designated for beers that are driven by Brettanomyces yeast fermentation but are not sour. The beer was also the judges’ favorite of all gold medal winners across 11 categories and awarded Best of Show.
 
• Beginning Nov. 1, Bell's in Comstock moved to a winter hours schedule for brewery tours. Tours at Bell's brewery in downtown Kalamazoo are unaffected and continue to be offered at 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Saturdays and 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Sundays. For brewery tours in Comstock there are two changes: Public visiting hours during the week will be offered from 2 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; guided public tours will be offered only at 12:30 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month, except on holidays. Private group tours are still an option at the Comstock location on other weekends, and this change will actually allow Bell's to expand the available time window for bus groups and other large tours. For those interested in group tours, please contact Bell's Tour Coordinator
 
Writer: Kathy Jennings, Second Wave Media
Source: Laura Bell, Bell’s Brewery, Inc.

Edison Neighborhood gets in holiday spirit with Holidays in the Square

Holiday shopping, festive music and food, and a chance to influence the future of the Edison Neighborhood -- that's what you can expect at Holidays in the Square.

Local artists, musicians, artisan retailers, bakers, food vendors and a visit from Santa himself will come together at Washington Square in the Edison Neighborhood, 1311 and 1350 Portage Street.

The event begins during Art Hop from 4 to 9 p.m. Dec. 6. It continues from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Dec. 7. Santa is expected from noon to 2 p.m.

Holidays in the Square is a collaboration between the Edison Neighborhood, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and the Kalamazoo County Land Bank designed to explore the possibilities of the vacant spaces on Portage Street.

Attempts to bring back the area have been ongoing for many years, with many organizations such as Downtown Tomorrow Inc., the Kalamazoo Community Foundation and the City of Kalamazoo working together to restore the commercial corridor along Portage Street. In the past 18 months LISC has worked with those in the surrounding area as part of its sustainable neighborhoods initiative to learn what residents hope for.

Neighbors are invited to Holidays in the Square not only come to enjoy the activities taking place but to put their creative juices to work in envisioning what could be in the currently vacant spaces now that residential housing nearby has been upgraded with the completion and sale of all the homes in the Marketplace development and there is the promise of the positive results of the nearby Healthy Living Corridor.

Throughout the event visitors will be invited to record their ideas for the best possibilities for the area.  The area was once home to a pharmacy, an ice cream parlor and more.

In keeping with the festive nature of the event food vendors will participate. They include Andrew Pineda, the Tamale Guy, The Organic Gypsy, Winks BBQ, Juicy Leaf and the Brazilian Oven, among others.

Local artists featured at this event include Taxidermy Robots by Chris Broadbent and jeweler and digital artist Kristie Tellier.

Rock Blues band Elephant Rescue, acoustic folk artists Chuck and Kathy, and a performance by BenJammin on Saturday with his kid-friendly educational music will keep things lively.

"The idea is the bring back the vibrancy and activity of Washington Square," says Kelly Clark of the Kalamazoo County Land Bank.

Writer: Kathy Jennings, Second Wave Media
Source: Kelly Clark, Kalamazoo County Land Bank



Healthy Living Corridor plan gets financial boost

Eight cities across Michigan have been selected to receive assistance for economic development projects that are intended to attract and keep employers. Kalamazoo is one of them.

The funds will help in planning Kalamazoo's healthy living corridor, announced earlier this year. It will connect various parts of the city and include a new campus for Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

Redevelopment of Upjohn Park and the Banks Street farmers market, the cleaning of Portage Creek and new investment in the Edison neighborhood all would be connected by the Healthy Living Cooridor. Plans are to connect these areas with the existing neighborhood fabric and create a distinct place for work, play, and exercise.

Bronson Healthcare has made available three parcels of property for the campus: 8.4 acres along Crosstown Parkway east of the City of Kalamazoo’s Crosstown Center, 3.6 acres between Walnut and Dutton Streets, and 1.3 acres north of Crosstown Parkway and south of Dutton Street.

Initial plans for the campus portion of the project call for three buildings--one for food production and distribution; a second for nursing, allied health and culinary programs; and the third for a new psychiatric clinic for Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, a partner with KVCC and Bronson in the project.

As part of the project, a complete redevelopment of the property is planned. Landscaped walkways and an environmentally sensitive design will support other activities in the area.

Kalamazoo, Cadillac, Detroit, Flint, Holland, Jackson, Marquette, and Midland, are the eight communities chosen to participate in PlacePlans, a joint effort between the Michigan Municipal League and Michigan State University to help communities design and plan for transformative placemaking projects.

The eight cities were selected through a statewide application process. The PlacePlans are done with support from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (
MSHDA) and the state’s MIplace Partnership.

Gary Heidel, Chief Placemaking Officer for MSHDA, says: "What I like best about these projects is that the passion and dedication already exists in these communities. What’s missing is a little bit of a kick-start to turn that potential into reality or to take work that is already under way to the next level. The design and technical assistance being provided through PlacePlans will give them that extra incentive and direction they need."

Writer: Kathy Jennings, Second Wave Media
Source: Matt Bach, Michigan Municipal League



Wind turbine student Corey Luther receives scholarship

Each year a student in the Wind Turbine Technician Academy at Kalamazoo Valley Community College receives a scholarship. This year the award goes to Corey Luther, a firefighter from South Carolina.

The Stoner Schmiege Wind Turbine Technician Academy Scholarship of $7,500 goes to Luther, who has been taking the six-month training while his wife, Caitlin, their seven-month-old son and preschool-aged daughter are at home in South Carolina.

"It’s a huge load off my mind and at the same time, it’s humbling," Luther says of receiving the scholarship."There are a lot of other students who are as deserving as me."

Luther says he discovered Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s Wind Turbine Technician Academy while researching career options online. He was impressed with the program’s solid reputation and the potential for employment that the field offers.

“I’ve always been interested in renewables," he says, "but in the region where I live, it’s hard to find careers that involve renewables. This will get me involved on a large scale because of the growth in the wind industry."

After graduation in December he will return to South Carolina to begin his job search. Luther says he’s excited about his future as a wind turbine technician. Heights have never bothered him, so climbing and working on a wind turbine appeals to him. "It’s kind of exhilarating, really," he says of the view from atop a turbine.

"I got up here (to Kalamazoo) not knowing at all what to expect, but I’m excited to be here and I highly recommend it," he says. Luther said the students and staff in the program are supportive and friendly.

The scholarship was established in 2011 by Janet Stoner and Rick Schmiege in support of Kalamazoo Valley’s Wind Turbine Technology Academy.

Writer: Kathy Jennings, Second Wave Media
Source: Dawn Kemp, Kalamazoo Valley Community College

Drop outs get a second chance with online education program

Kinexus Bridge Academy in Benton Harbor has joined in a collaboration that will let high school dropouts be part of an innovative career online high school program.
 
The Bridge Academy was established in 2010 to provide training and education to young adults who do not have a high-school education. The Bridge Academy offers a high school diploma or GED and teaches trainees the skills needed by area businesses in order to address labor shortages and establish a long-term worker pipeline.
 
Now the academy has joined with ed2go and Smart Horizons Career Online Education to offer  high school diplomas and credentialed career certificates in one of several high-demand employment areas, including retail and food service.
 
Bridge Academy students completing the Career Online High School program will attend supervised learning labs on the Bridge Academy campus, providing a blended learning experience that combines online delivery with onsite computers, resources, and teaching support.
 
The program is known as Career Online High School. It provides career-based online education opportunities for the millions of adults in the United States who lack high school diplomas. 
 
The program is accredited by AdvancEd, which is the unified organization of the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement.
 
"This partnership is a new solution to ensure that all of our residents--even those who are currently unemployed or undereducated--have the opportunity to contribute to the local economy and to ensure that we help develop talent that’s currently being lost," says Kinexus Executive Director Todd Gustafson. 
 
Writer: Kathy Jennings, Second Wave Media
Source:  Todd Gustafson, Kinexus
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