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walker

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walker last won the day on May 9 2012

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  1. See that spike on the chart in 1981. That's when we bought our first house. It wasn't that I was dumb, but after years as nomads my wife insisted we buy a house. In practice, bank mortgages were really about 17% if you could find one. Because of the mortgage rates, most sales then as I remember were land contracts. We paid 1% of the original balance per month on a five-year balloon contract. We paid about a third down and paid a jacked up price for the house in order to make up the difference between the contract rate (about 12% per year) and the going bank rate. As the rates came down we refinanced to a regular mortgage once and then again a couple of years later when they were even lower, and three or four years after that just paid the whole thing off. It was pretty scary the first years but our monthly payments were still lower than rent would have been and eventually the house was worth more than we paid for it and it was all ours.
  2. Here's a follow-up story on the proposed Big Rapids battery parts plant after the recent public meetings. No need to sneak through the back door to read this. As I write this, the story is still free for anyone to read: DETROIT NEWS: big-rapids-boards-ok-30-year-tax-break-for-chinese-battery-parts-maker EDIT: I guess you can't get into it now without a subscription. Sorry.
  3. Something bigger may be in the works. But don't tell anyone - it's not a done deal yet: DETNEWS: this may or may not happen
  4. Back in April 2010 the Grand Rapids Historical Society sponsored a tour and history lecture of the Masonic Temple on Fulton Street. It was pretty popular and several urban planeteers attended. Now, twelve years later they are going to do it again this Thursday. If you've ever wanted to see the inside of this building or know what goes on inside, here's your chance. You don't have to be a member of the historical society (or the Masons) to attend, and it's free. grand-rapids-masonic-temple-archives-and-tour 08-09-2022 The announcement in the link doesn't tell you much. So I've cut and pasted a longer article from their newsletter: “An Evening at the Temple” A Masonic History of Grand Rapids, Michigan Thursday, September 8, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. Presented by: Dirk Hughes—Director, Michigan Masonic Museum, and Library Michael Clark—Past Master, Grand Rapids Masonic Lodge #34 F.&A.M. The Grand Rapids Masonic Center 233 Fulton Street East Freemasonry came to Grand Rapids in 1849, prior to Grand Rapids becoming a city, with the petitioning of a group of residents, to the Grand Lodge of Michigan. A charter for Grand River Lodge #34, now Grand Rapids Lodge #34, was issued in 1850, and the Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons began their Masonic journey, now nearing its 175th year. The first meeting was held in an office near what is now the center of Rosa Parks Circle, in a building with the number 2 on the outside of the second floor. Masonry grew steadily and several buildings were used as Masonic Lodges until a building was built in 1894, with its upper floors dedicated strictly to Masonic purposes. That building still stands and the upper floors now house a well-known property development company and still contain one of the two-story lodge rooms, complete with Masonic columns, three-level Dias, polished wood walls, and staircases. The current Grand Rapids Masonic Center has been a Grand Rapids landmark for over 107 years, and in the 1950s housed over 27,500 members. This stately building with its imposing three-story columns is passed daily by hundreds of motorists, not realizing that behind its marble façade is one of the most interesting and unique buildings in Grand Rapids. Twenty-two Mayors of Grand Rapids have been members of the Masonic Fraternity. Hundreds of Grand Rapids businessmen belonged to one of the five Masonic Lodges housed in the building, including such names as George Welsh, Julius Houseman, and Boyd Pantland. Even a well-respected Congressman, who later became President of the United States, received his initiation into Masonry in the Grand Rapids Masonic Temple building. Today this beautiful edifice houses three Masonic Lodges, and over a dozen other Masonic-affiliated organizations. There is rarely an evening when one or more of the organizations aren’t holding members-only meetings, dinners, or degree ritual ceremonies. The building also contains offices for over 40 businesses and non-profit organizations. We have lots more to tell you about the history of Freemasonry in Grand Rapids and the buildings that housed Masonic activities for the past 172 years. Please join us for, “An Evening at the Temple”, Thursday, September 8, 2022, at 7:00 PM in the 5th-floor Amphitheater of the Grand Rapids Masonic Center. We don’t want this event to be kept a “Secret."
  5. Don't know what the status is of the proposals that the county take over Cannonsburg Ski Area and Silver Lake Country Club that we talked about on this thread back in the spring, but it looks like Kent County is about to just about double the size of Townsend Park. Townsend Park is just down the street from the ski area and borders on the Village of Cannonsburg: MLIVE: state-grant-will-nearly-double-acreage-of-kent-county-parkl
  6. Osgood Brewing in Grandville is closing. From what they say, it sounds like the all too common restaurant staffing issues triggered their decision to close: WOODTV: we knew it was time - Osgood brewing closing in Grandville
  7. The agenda is a little vague too. It looks like someone unspecified is going to give introductory remarks somewhere to all the participants together for a half hour then participants have fifteen minutes to disburse somehow (by bus maybe) to various political entities for the tour they've individually signed up for. All tours take place simultaneously. Each tour will last for an hour. Then a half hour is allotted for everyone to return to an unnamed central location for a happy hour. City of Grand Rapids tour will presumably include the Sligh building, agenda I wonder if you are allowed to take photos (to share with those of us that can't make it .) EDIT: reading the site again, maybe the Sligh Building is the central location for the remarks and the happy hour. Not really clear to me though.
  8. Sports bar serving pizza. What will they think of next? WOODTV: royals-in-grand-rapids-reopening-as-pizza-place MIBIZ: royals-to-relaunch-as-pizza-restaurant
  9. So maybe you've driven down South Division lately and noticed this new mural on the side of the Cisneros Tire Service garage: And was puzzled about what it might be about. Turns out it is about a lot of things: the-49507-project-mural Sadly the real chihuahua puppy disappeared the day the mural was completed. Although I don't remember ever seeing it on the wall of a tire store before, the skull/skeleton motif is common in Mexican Folk Art.
  10. It has gone through a couple of owners and a fire since he sold it. I've gone there a couple of times in recent years and it's more a sports bar now. I guess it's OK, but it's not the good German restaurant that it was back in the late seventies and early eighties when I frequented it. Like the Detroit News article in the link below says, "[it was] . . . known as the best place for German food in Michigan during the 1970s and ’80s." DETROIT NEWS: former owner longstanding detroit bar ed jacoby has died
  11. After all these years my adult son and I rode on the people mover Monday for the first time. It was free and we were the only people in our car the whole round trip (the train is a little worn and could use some refreshing.) Anyhow my son spotted the LiftBuild site and pointed out to me the strange building. I just noticed the Free Press link is a subscriber only article (if you read the Detroit forum then you really aught to subscribe to the Free Press and/or the News, since with introductory offers and specials they are really cheap.) Anyway, here are a couple more links about the project for anyone who may be without a subscription: BARTON MALOW: liftbuild-successfully-completes-first-lift-at-exchange-project CREW DETROIT: special-events - 2022-08-17-hard-hats-(no)-heels EDIT - another comment about our visit: this was on Aug 1, a Monday morning. The sky was overcast and it may have sprinkled for a few seconds. We started walking the Riverwalk at the Drydock area headed towards RenCen. Besides the people mover, both the Riverwalk and RenCen were eerily empty. The weather probably explains the lack of people on the Riverwalk. It looks like most people who worked at Renaissance Center before the pandemic are still working from home. We stopped in at the food court looking for a snack and except for a Burger King and a Panera's, all the other food court restaurants were closed and most apparently are out of business. The sky cleared up later and the Riverwalk was busier on the walk back in mid-afternoon.
  12. Thanks Raildude's dad, Armed with your new information I once again tried to find some annexation information by linking my Google search to Mr. Houghton. Couldn't find anything except the Mlive obituary story includes the fact that: "He kept as many as 100 sled dogs at his Grand Rapids home near East Beltline Avenue NE and Knapp Street [the annexed area] before moving to a log cabin in Rothbury in the 1990s". MLIVE: Cecil Houghton Sounds like he was well educated and an adventurer and had an interesting and respectable civic minded life. And not at all what you'd expect from an old tax denier. I remember the travelogues. It's hard to believe now how big that business was back then. They used to regularly fill the old Civic Auditorium with those travelogues. Sorry, RustTown for the topic drift.
  13. I dimly remember that the 1992 annexation was triggered by Spectrum Health when they were considering moving the Blodgett campus to out along the East Beltline and they wanted to have city services. Obviously they later abandoned the idea of moving Blodgett but not before the land was annexed. It seems to me a farmer (or at least someone who was a large land owner) got in trouble for not paying taxes on his capital gains from selling his property (I imagine to Spectrum) and may have gone to prison. His defense was something along the lines that it was unconstitutional for the federal government to tax him. But after a cursory search, I can't find anything verifying either of these stories using Google. So either I'm imagining this which would be kind of strange but not impossible or I'm confusing this with something else or I'm just not using the right key words in my search.
  14. Just an update on the VanderJagt mansion at 2615 Plainfield. As it turned out, the listing realtor bought it and restored it with the idea of making it a bed and breakfast or an event venue. They've even got a website and a Facebook page: thevanderjagt.com facebook.com/thevanderjagt My brother tells me they even had the neighborhood association hold their spring pancake breakfast there, and there was some pushback from the neighbors about noise and parking problems, and if they need some kind of variance to run a business there.
  15. Article in the Detroit Free Press today tells that Greg Williams, the founder and CEO of Acrisure, is a long time fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I guess if you are big enough fan and have got the money, that's something you can do with it, Towards the end the article also mentions his connection to Tulco, the AI firm based in Pittsburgh: FREE PRESS: Greg Williams, Acrisure, and Steelers And here's the press release the Steelers put out about the naming deal: press release
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