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Posts posted by jbr12

  1. Grand Rapids gets on a list in this article about cities looking to add street cars


    Streetcars are poised for a dramatic comeback

    Up to 22 US cities could be laying track within two years.

    Thanks to the Obama Administration, streetcars may soon be reintroduced into many cities that haven’t had them for more than 50 years.

    Since the middle of last year, the US Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) have largely reversed policies of President George W. Bush that favored bus rapid transit and made it difficult to spend federal funds to build streetcar lines.

  2. Being a recent Michigan Alum, I can speak towards the low numbers in Ann Arbor...

    First, the campus is very nicely interwoven with the city. If you live on central campus, you can easily walk to anything you need. This obviously reduces bus ridership...

    Secondly, and the #1 reason in my book, is nearly all of the students use the blue Michigan buses to get around campus. These buses do not keep ridership tallies.

    I did ride the AATA while living in Ann Arbor and that is because I did not live on or near campus. I was about 3 miles away from North Campus (Where my program was) and when my car wasn't functioning or I didn't want to risk the parking ticket, I would walk to the bus stop and take it in. Not sure how it is now, but a few years ago (2005) your student ID only got you free rides on a very select number of routes (mainly Park N Ride Routes) so that could have an affect on reduced ridership numbers also. (I do believe all AATA routes are free for students now)

  3. http://www.mlive.com/artprize/index.ssf/2010/01/artprize_winning_piece_open_water_no_24_sold_to_devos_foundation_to_remain_at_grand_rapids_art_museu.html

    ArtPrize winning piece 'Open Water no. 24' sold to DeVos Foundation to remain at Grand Rapids Art Museum

    By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk {sodEmoji.|} The GR Press

    January 13, 2010, 12:05PM

    GRAND RAPIDS -- ArtPrize has revealed Dick and Betsy DeVos were the buyers of Ran Ortner's "Open Water no. 24," the grand prize winning piece of art in the inaugural exhibition and competition.

    The Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation provided the funds for the $450,000 in prize money awarded in October in the competition created by their eldest son, Rick DeVos.

    The oil painting that won the $250,000 grand prize in October has been on display at the Grand Rapids Art Museum since the exhibition closed Oct. 10.

    ArtPrize officials announced the 6-foot by 19-foot painting will remain on temporary loan to the Grand Rapids Art Museum in downtown Grand Rapids.

    "The purchase of Ortner's winning piece is the first step toward building and maintaining a permanent ArtPrize collection in Grand Rapids," said Betsy DeVos. "In the coming years, a permanent collection of the ArtPrize top art will become an attraction of its own for the city.

  4. When I was up in Petoskey over the Holidays I saw the window power on the roof up there too. I would be very interested to see what kind of power those thing generate and how much that cuts out of the energy bill for a big box like Meijer

  5. Saw this hilarious 'news' story and figured you folks would enjoy...


    Christmas Day Q & A: Santa considering relocation

    Merry Christmas: North Pole official takes time to discuss rumors

    Sunny Torvaldson, age 212, is executive director of the North Pole Economic and Community Development Office. Since taking the job in 1872, Torvaldson has weathered many a storm, including the blizzard of 1950, which delayed Santa’s departure by three hours.

    In her years of community development, Torvaldson has recruited several small businesses to the Pole and was instrumental in the placement of a Starbucks inside the workshop.

    The most pressing and immediate issue facing Torvaldson and the citizens of the North Pole, according to press reports, is Santa’s pending decision to possibly relocate his headquarters.

    The News Tribune met with Torvaldson earlier this week at her office on Candy Cane Lane.

    So Santa is contemplating moving his operation out of the North Pole?

    Yes, that’s what we have heard. He has not responded directly to our inquiries, but we have heard that he is concerned about competing for and recruiting talent. He has also complained about the lack of parking around the workshop.

    What is the development office doing to ensure the workshop stays here?

    We’re speaking with some local banks and our legislators to build a $23.8 billion incentive package. We’ll build a new workshop where the reindeer stables are now, and we’re prepared to offer a 300-year lease.

    Have you received any response?

    We are confident that our offer will outshine anything Santa might be hearing from Iceland. Granted, that’s a more cosmopolitan locale, what with its swanky ice hotels and parties with Bjork, but please, be real. All their offer really comes down to is nothing more than a bucket of peppermint sticks and a discount on hay for the reindeer.

    One of Santa’s concerns is room to expand the workshop. Are you working on anything that might help?

    One of our local investors, Erivan Haub, has hired designers to develop some land he owns over by the unmarried-elf dormitory. It would either be a new workshop altogether or an adjunct to what we have now. There are several possibilities.

    If Santa does leave, what kind of contingencies do you have in place for the survival of the North Pole as a viable economic center?

    I don’t want to consider that, but if it happened it could be a real opportunity to recruit some new businesses. We have already received several inquiries that I am not at liberty to discuss.

    What kind of businesses? Can you offer any detail?

    Let’s just say we could be the call-center capital of the Northern Hemisphere. In fact, some gnomes have already opened customer-service centers for Expedia, Hewlett-Packard and Fruitcake Emporium.

    Looking ahead, how do you see the recession playing out at the North Pole.

    First, let me assure all of the children of the world that Santa will be making his rounds as usual on Christmas Eve. There is nothing to worry about.

    Still, there have been layoffs and some of the elves have volunteered for furloughs. Unemployment is hovering at 0.2 percent, an all-time high, and I’ve heard that the managers at the workshop have lowered the heat a few degrees to save money.

    How has global warming affected your plans for the future?

    We had a seat at the conference in Copenhagen earlier this month. We were one of the first to sign the Kyoto Accords. There’s no question that we want to keep the ice cap, but worst case – we form a port district and build a container facility.

    Back to the proposed move. I’m wondering if...

    Actually, I don’t mean to correct you, but there is no real proposal that the workshop will be moved. As far as I know, it’s only a rumor.

    Fine. Back to the rumor. Doesn’t it seem a bit odd to you that such a firmly grounded institution would consider leaving the North Pole?

    I’m glad you asked. Santa’s workshop has been headquartered at the Pole for as long as anybody here can remember, and some of the older elves have very long memories. But ever since Hickory Farms made an offer to buy the workshop in 2003, there has been talk. Santa decided than that he didn’t want to become a subsidiary of a cheese factory. I do believe much of his decision, whatever it is, will be based on his respect for tradition and his desire to honor the beliefs of good little girls and boys across the globe.

    Still, I recognize that we live in a changing world. The NPECDO stands ready to assist in any way.

    All the workshop discussion aside, what else is your office working on?

    There’s the sleigh museum – they were supposed to break ground 84 years ago but construction has been delayed. Mrs. Claus is leading the fight to attract a grocery store in the urban core, and all the elves are hoping for a Trader Joe’s. There’s word that McMenamins is interested in developing one of Santa’s old igloos into a resort-hotel. I’m optimistic, whatever the future might actually bring.

    Thanks for taking the time to talk with us.

    Glad to do it, and by the way, Merry Christmas to all.

  6. http://sketchupdate.blogspot.com/2009/12/motor-city-goes-3d.html

    The Motor City goes 3D

    A few of us on the SketchUp team either have roots in Detroit or grew up there, so we're especially happy to announce that Detroit, Michigan as been added in 3D to Google Earth. From sports venues like Joe Louis Arena (home of the Red Wings) and Comerica Park(new home of the Tigers), to great watering holes and eateries, like the The Old Shillelagh and the legendary Lafayette Coney Island - home of the world's best 2am coney dog - they are all there in 3D.

  7. Forget a new market... lets re-purpose something!


    Inventing the Suburban [Or Urban] Farm

    Farming on disused suburban properties such as former shopping malls or big-box stores could help resolve a growing problem, writes the architect and educator Forrest Fulton, of Birmingham, Ala. Suburban farmers could grow container crops in soil and compost on asphalt parking lots. Light poles in parking lots can become solar trees with photovoltaic panels. And the top of a big-box building can be replaced with a greenhouse roof. Fulton arrived at the idea after seeing so many dead retail centers in the suburbs, he says. "What really got my attention were the many empty grocery stores."

  8. http://cgi.ebay.com/Loch-Ness-Monster-Nessie-Artprize-Award-Winner_W0QQitemZ330382144326QQcmdZViewItemQQptZArt_Sculptu

    Nessie is on the Auction Block... Apparently it would be to costly to winterize her. The post from their Facebook site:

    It's getting cold out, and Nessie will need a new home soon before the pond freezes. As much as we'd like her to stay at JB Zoo, and feel it is a good fit for her, she cannot winter there in her current state.

    due to costs to winterize nessie and make her hull more resilient for long term exposure to a water home, we put nessie up for auction. http://bit.ly/64k6FQ

    we would like her to stay in grand rapids but she won't fit in any of our back yards.

  9. GVSU Library Video

    Grand Valley State University students, alumni, and faculty share the need and vision for the university's new Mary Idema Pew Library. A virtual tour explores how this learning and information commons will serve as an incubator for 21st century skills on the Allendale Campus.
  10. LEED certification was not the driving factor in the design by any means. The Double Skin Facade provides numerous advantages in terms of natural ventilation & thermal advantages. I remember seeing a number of thermal, solar and ventilation simulations that were framed along the 'back entrance' the Architecture Building highlighting the various environmental systems throughout the building. Some very cool stuff

    Couple more shots from Golscorer's Flickrstream:




  11. My wife and I just spent the afternoon downtown. Sadly, it was the first time we could get a baby sitter since ArtPrize started. We basically hit up the Top Ten. The BOB had quite a few people milling about and the Blue Bridge was very heavily trafficked. From there we went up to the Old Federal Building and there was a line out the door and along Pearl all the way to Division. Luckily, it moved quickly and we got to check out everything inside. Pretty huge crowd of people inside too. The area around Openwater and the Field of Reeds was nearly impossible to move around. People were getting pictures with Ran Ortner(?), the artist for Open Water. We then went up to UICA and found a very healthy crowd there as well.

    The crowds are still out in force for ArtPrize!

  12. Was wondering if anyone had any info / suggestions / reviews of any of the fall Halloween / corn maze type stuff in the area. Here are a few I have heard of :

    Forest of Fear (Patterson Ave - Caledonia)

    Witch's Walk Haunted Corn Maze (Fruit Ridge, NW GR)

    The Haunt (Not sure where this is)

  13. Progressive to d.Ploi creation at ArtPrize

    When discussing what they wanted to create, they had three goals in mind. First, they wanted their entry to be sustainable. Second, they wanted to demonstrate what they do in the architectural industry -- so they wanted it to not only be artistic, but also relate to "space" in some way. Finally, they wanted to make sure it had a "second life" -- that it could be used after ArtPrize.


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