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Crain's: Greenleaf Trust state's No. 1 cool place to work among medium size companies

When it comes to medium sized companies (50 to 249 employees), Greenleaf Trust is the No. 1 Cool Place to Work in Michigan, says Crain's Detroit Business. The survey and awards program recognizes the best employers in Michigan. Greenleaf Trust has 91 employees.

Excerpt:

Greenleaf President Michael Odar also hosts monthly all-staff meetings to provide news on the company, and the CFO gives quarterly updates on the profitability picture. When the company's profitability goals are met, everyone shares in the profits by an amount in proportion to their salary. Those who meet their individual goals are eligible for an additional profitability bonus. The company also gives out spot awards -- money for a specific job well done.

The full story is here.

More on Greenleaf Trust is here.

Crain's Detroit Business

Yes! Magazine says Kalamazoo is compassionate community

In Yes! Magazine's most recent edition, dedicated to the best ideas for eliminating poverty, Kalamazoo has a place on its list of compassionate communities for the Kalamazoo Promise, a scholarship program that pays for college for everyone who attends the city's public schools. The story lists seven communities that are bringing more equality into the lives of those who live there.

The story notes that The Kalamazoo Promise has inspired at least 30 similar scholarship programs across the country.

Except: Since 2005, young families have returned to the city, and enrollment in the school district has increased 24 percent. The number of minority students taking AP courses has increased 300 percent. The city has spent more money on the district than ever before—a lot more. Test scores have improved, and GPAs have increased, most notably among black students.

For the full story, click here.

Source: Yes! Magazine

 

What's working in local economies

In a story titled See which Michigan regions are growing the fastest, Ted Roelofs and Mike Wilkinson report for Bridge magazine that nine of 15 regions in Michigan posted growth higher than 2 percent GDP gain in 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Excerpt: Overall, the state’s numbers are a grab bag of the promising and the troubling. For example, statewide GDP grew by 2 percent in 2013. On the bright side, that’s above the five-state Midwest average of 1.6 percent, trailing only Indiana at 2.1 percent. To the negative, Michigan's GDP is still 6 percent below its output in its peak year of 2005. That's primarily because the state remains tethered to manufacturing, still its largest economic sector despite a considerable drop in the last 15 years.

The story says Niles-Benton Harbor ranked second in growth among 14 metropolitan regions in Michigan, Kalamazoo ranked 7th, and Battle Creek came in 10th.

Follow the links to find out what's behind the rankings.  See the full story here

NPR: What Benton Harbor knows that Ferguson doesn't

National Public Radio reports that in the aftermath of the violence in Ferguson there are a lot of people saying violence doesn't make a difference. But if you look at what happened 11 years ago in Benton Harbor, violence led to some changes. 

Excerpt: Eleven years ago, Benton Harbor, Mich., was a lot like Ferguson, Mo. It was a small town where racial tension with police reached a boiling point. Afterward there were promises of change for the city.

To hear the report, click here.

Source: National Public Radio

NYT: Stoking a Hearth for Human Rights

Michael Kimmelman of the New York Times recently visited Kalamazoo to learn about the architecture that makes up the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership. He recommends a pilgrimage to the building that embodies the lofty goal of the center on the Kalamazoo College campus. He says, "Mostly the center’s design is laudable simply for being eloquent and humane."

Excerpt: 

"What makes the building special is partly the novel form, which grows straight out of the center’s ambitions. It’s also the element of handicraft (those cordwood masonry exteriors) when so much marquee architecture leans on high-tech materials and 3-D printing."

For more, please read the entire review here

Source: New York Times

U.S. News & World Report: Check out the beer in Kalamazoo

For those looking beyond the known craft beer world in Denver, Portland, and Dublin there are at least eight other places in the world to visit and U.S. News and World Report says Kalamazoo is one of them. As the story says: "People are fermenting grains all over the world." But not every metropolis is a veritable beer city, overflowing with homegrown breweries, gastro pubs and beer festivals. For this reason, U.S. News selected a few spots where you may not have considered tipping back a pint.

The city's six new microbrews, Bell's Brewery, the West Michigan Beer Tour, January's Kalamazoo Beer Week were all cited as reasons to give the Kalamazoo beer scene a try.

Read the full story here.


Source: U.S. News and World Report

USA Today says Kalamazoo Marathon one of 14 all runners should try

A recent USA Today story points to 14 spring races all runners should try. If you can find a way to train for them during the slippery winter months the story suggests "the reward of an attractive and exciting springtime race will make all of the frozen fingers, runny noses and dark early mornings totally worth it."

Among the 14 it recommends is the Kalamazoo Marathon.

Excerpt: "A unique race that takes place in the heart of the commonly-referenced Michigan city, the Kalamazoo Marathon offers runners an exciting tour through the area's parks, trails, neighborhoods and downtown mall. The biggest draw, though: a chance to 'earn your mittens.' Runners who complete the Wisconsin Marathon on May 3 and then the nearby Kalamazoo Marathon on May 4 are presented with a special "mittens" medal. It may not keep your hands warm but it will sure look good hanging next to your other two newly earned awards. May 4, 2014."

Read about the other 13 races, here

Source: USA Today
 

Why would you want to move to Kalamazoo?

A Kalamazoo College grad stirred up a bit of -- well, it would be going too far to call it controversy -- but he did stir things up with a list of 30 Things to Know Before You Move to Kalamazoo

Some humorless folks saw none in the list, especially in the way he labled K-College vs. Western Michigan University.

Other folks took issue with some of his choices for reasons to want to move here.

That got us to thinking. Why do you live here? Do you recommend Kalamazoo to others even if you are not a Realtor? 

Did Sam Bertken get it right? What do you think are 30 things someone should know before they move to Kalamazoo?

Bradenton Herald: New baseball team has name

Kalamazoo's new baseball team will be aptly named The Growlers, reports the Bradenton Herald. The name for the team, which makes its debut next year, was picked following an online contest. The Growlers will play at Homer Stryker Field and are part of the Northwoods League, a summer league made up of top college players from North America. Other names considered as part of the contest were the Cabbies, the Clutch, the Kangaroos and the Krakens.
 
For more, please read the rest of the story.

Source: Bradenton Herald

Al Jazeera: Where students go to college for free

The cost of college is becoming an insurmountable hurdle for many families around the country--but not so for the residents of Kalamazoo, a small, vibrant city of 75,000 in southwestern Michigan, reports Al Jazeera. Since the program’s launch, about 2,800 Kalamazoo Public School graduates have taken advantage of Promise funds, totaling $50 million thus far--all paid by anonymous donors without the aid of an endowment or other fund-raising efforts. And there’s no end in sight for the Promise--it’s guaranteed by the donors to continue in perpetuity.

For more, please read the rest of the story.

Source: Al Jazeera

Battle Creek Enquirer: Hope for the homeless

Daniel Jones  had one life that seemed to work but didn’t, and now he has another that does, reports the Battle Creek Enquirer. And he appreciates that in ways few people can imagine.

“This is exactly where I’m supposed to be,” he said. “I can be led. I may need a two-by-four, but I can be led.” And for the last three years he has been led here, to the Haven of Rest, a nonprofit organization that helps Battle Creek’s homeless population, serving perhaps 1,100 people a year.

For more, please read the rest of the story.

Source: Battle Creek Enquirer

Kalamazoo Gazette: Kalamazoo Poetry Festival to be held in April

Long a hub for decorated writers, Kalamazoo will host an inaugural poetry festival to celebrate the best from the region, and invite two acclaimed poets, to share their works, reports the Kalamazoo Gazette. The inaugural Kalamazoo Poetry Festival will be held April 4-5 and will feature readings, discussions, workshops and more, event organizers announced.

For more, please read the rest of the story.

Source: Kalamazoo Gazette

MiBiz: Collaboration in Battle Creek and Kalamazoo

Battle Creek and Kalamazoo are collaborating like never before, reports MiBiz. The reason, economic development leaders say, is that what’s good for the region is most often good for their individual communities in the end.

For a discussion on that collaboration with regional economic development leaders, Southwest Michigan First's CEO Ron Kitchens and Karl Dehn of Battle Creek Unlimited, please visit here.

Source: MiBiz
 

MLive: Community Garden near completion in downtown Kalamazoo

Deb Killarney tells MLive that she feels that downtown Kalamazoo could be more sustainable. She now manages the Central City Community Garden to address that concern. The community garden plot at a corner of Eleanor and Burdick streets was leased to the Downtown Citizens Advisory Council for $1. The idea was initially proposed in 2004 and is finally taking shape.

Excerpt: "We had to really look hard to find space in downtown," Killarney said. "There are not many blank spaces downtown that get sun."

For more, please read the rest of the story.

Source: MLive
 

Sun Times: River kayaking in Berrien County

In the waterside community of Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, a kayak trip is never more than a few moments away, reports the Sun Times. With easy access to the Paw Paw and St. Joseph rivers, which connect to the serene waters of coastal Lake Michigan there are a number of kayaking opportunities for those living or vacationing in Harbor Shores.

For details, please read the rest of the story.

Source: Sun Times
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