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walker last won the day on May 9 2012

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  1. walker

    What are Grand Rapids' best assets?

    Over a hundred years ago a branch of my family did the great migration in reverse, going from west to east, from Denver to Detroit. A few years ago, while in Denver I went to find the tombstones of my ancestors in Riverside Cemetery, the oldest active cemetery in Denver. Given that it sits along the South Platte River and riverside is in its name, I was expecting something green like our Riverside Park except with tombstones. I was surprised that even though the river flows alongside it and the river has even been known to flood it, the cemetery was close to being a desert. Out west all the river water is accounted for and the cemetery doesn’t have the water rights. Photo of Riverside Cemetery Denver – borrowed off the interweb:
  2. walker

    What are Grand Rapids' best assets?

    Not true, we have more tall blond women.
  3. walker

    Grand Rapids Airport (GRR) News and Developments

    While the plane they are going to use, an ER175, is a regional jet, keep in mind it isn’t the plane in the random file photo in the Mlive story. That looks like it is either an ER135 or ER145 which are much smaller planes. I’ve been on ER175s several times the last couple of years, admittedly on much shorter flights, and I’ve found the comfort level comparable to bigger planes, maybe better since there are no middle seats. I took a look at the main cabin seating specs for an American ER175 compared to an American 737. The seat pitch (the distance between your seat and the one in front of you) is 30” on a ER175 and 31” on a 737. But the seat width is an inch wider in the ER175 than in the 737. So, I guess which is more comfortable for a long haul depends on whether you need that extra inch of leg room or you need that extra inch of width, or if someone is sitting next to you in the middle seat in the 737, or worse yet if you are sitting in the middle seat. Here’s an accurate ER175 photo (kind of looks like a 737):
  4. walker

    Grand Rapids Airport (GRR) News and Developments

    Rumor is true, still not announced, probably won't be till later this week, but American has loaded the new route into their computer. First flight from Miami is December 19 with the first flight to Miami next morning at 6:05 AM from GRR. I don't think they've got all the real fares posted yet but just some fake place holders at least for December (over $2000 round trip for non-refundable coach ticket.) But here are the times along with a more reasonable fare for random dates I entered for January: EDIT: OK, remember you read it here first - here's the announcement for people who don't read urbanplanet: Mlive: Grand Rapids - Miami
  5. Has anybody actually ate at this restaurant? The ground floor, not the rooftop. How is it? I haven’t heard anything about it since it opened but then I don’t exactly hang with the haute cuisine foie gras crowd. I’m always interested in a good French onion soup though. Fifty years ago, when I started at the post office as a substitute mailman I’d occasionally be assigned to deliver mail here and to the neighboring Milner/Oakway Hotel. They were both skid row residential hotels. Think of the hotel where Jake and Elwood lived in the first Blues Brothers movie. Old men with nothing else to do, presumably residents, would gather in the New Mertens and watch television all day in the lobby which is now the restaurant dining room. The name seemed ironic even back then because the New Mertens Hotel was anything but new.
  6. walker

    Grand Rapids Airport (GRR) News and Developments

    Heard a rumor today but can't verify it that American Airlines is going to start daily service to Miami starting in mid December. Don't know if this will just be seasonal or will be all year. Maybe they don't know yet either.
  7. walker

    Fitzgerald Revitalization Project - Northwest Detroit

    So today John Gallagher, the business editor of the Free Press, writes a piece basically saying what we said, stuff happens in big projects that are not accounted for in timelines. While not specifically about the FitzGerald project, it's interesting that there is a READ MORE link to the FitzGerald article embedded in the story. I wonder if there was any internal discussion at the Free Press about how stupid that FitzGerald article was? I talked briefly with Gallagher once a couple of years ago, seems like a nice guy. GALLAGHER - Here's why Detroit development takes so long
  8. walker

    Fitzgerald Revitalization Project - Northwest Detroit

    Investigative report in the Free Press July 8 says the Fitzgerald project is a year behind schedule. Long article but still sketchy on specific details. As best as I can figure out the main contractor has been slow and the original timeline appears to have been overly optimistic and probably based on assuming everything was going to go right. And the neighborhood residents, at least the ones interviewed, are a bit put out about not being in the loop about what's going on. Not being on the ground, I can't tell if their concerns are legitimate or if these are people who are just generally complainers anyway. While I don't doubt the project is seriously behind the schedule the politicians promised and it sounds like community relations may not be high on the list of the contractor's skill sets, I don't see much of a story here. Stuff happens in big projects. fitzgerald-neighborhood-remake-full-year-behind
  9. I think they should too then there would be a lot less traffic when I drive on them.
  10. walker

    Highway and Road Construction Updates

    I’m only guessing but I’d guess elevating it was easier than running it under the extensive rail yards that existed then just south of downtown and elevating it was also easier than building tunnels under the river. Going north out of downtown you’d also have drainage and flooding problem running it below ground level parallel and about the same level as the river (where would it drain and what would you do about the creeks and storm sewers that emptied into the river – you’d need extensive and very dependable pumps.) May not have been thought of at the time because I-196 came several years later but how would a junction work of an expressway coming down from the top of a valley meeting 131 below the level of the river? Besides, when I was a kid which was around the time it was designed, all the renderings in newspapers and magazines showed the highways in the futuristic cities of tomorrow as being elevated up in the air. The designers likely read the same magazines that we did. Raildude's dad is the civil engineer around here and I think he’s almost as old as me. Maybe he knows.
  11. walker

    Old Detroit Free Press Building

    Looks like Lmichigan last week made an attempt to revive the Detroit forum by making a bunch of posts. I'll do my part by posting this one: Dan Gilbert's Bedrock real estate company has been busy remodeling / restoring the old Free Press building. Above is a recent photo of one of the murals in the small lobby inside the front door. When I worked there around forty years ago people, including me, would hurry through on their way to somewhere else and hardly give a thought to the lobby artwork. Too bad, it was quite ornate and fascinating. Back then the Free Press and the News were locked in a circulation battle to see which paper would be the top dog. Unlike monopoly one-paper towns where the papers were cash cows, neither of the Detroit papers made much money and in fact they often lost money. But the competition made both papers much better journalistically than those monopolistic papers. So today the old nemesis of the Free Press, the News, had an article about the renovation of the old Free Press building at 321 Lafayette including the lobby. I hope they have some kind of open house when it's completed. I'd like to see what my office looks like. I wonder if my old wooden desk that looks to have been left over from the thirties is still around, DETROIT NEWS - renovations underway former detroit free press building
  12. walker

    Grand Rapids Airport (GRR) News and Developments

    I dunno. It was concrete for most of its existence and then it was replaced with asphalt in 2015 according to the attached press releases. I suspect Joe is right in that going forward its use is limited to smaller planes. the original reconstruction announcement And the announcement of the completion and re-opening Don't know the lady but maybe Tara Hernandez, the PR person at the airport, might know. Her e-mail address is at the top of the press releases.
  13. walker

    Grand Rapids Airport (GRR) News and Developments

    Because it is black. It's asphalt.
  14. walker

    People talking about Grand Rapids

    I can't find it but I'd swear that Aaron Renn wrote this same article on his blog, urbanophile, five or six years ago. He's just expanded and updated it a bit here in this recent article in City Journal: city journal - manufacturing comeback
  15. walker

    Grand Rapids Airport (GRR) News and Developments

    Did anyone else notice on the map that all the runway names are going to change and not just the replacement new north runway? So I did a little research to see what's going on. There is a lot of science behind the runway naming convention. Briefly stated runways are numbered based on the magnetic azimuth (compass reading) of their location. The reason for the name changes is because the EARTH'S MAGNETIC FIELD HAS CHANGED!!! If anyone cares, here is a high-level YouTube video explanation of the naming system: runway numbering