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Everything posted by francishsu

  1. Historically that may have been true, but I think things have improved greatly in recent years. I always do a comparison with South Bend, Kalamazoo and Lansing whenever I book travel and have not found cheaper options. Maybe 5+ years ago I could find a cheaper fare from one of those, but it was very rarely worth the inconvenience. For the tickets I booked to Orange County airport, the GRR fares were certainly competitive (and I believe they were the best).
  2. It's not GRR is always expensive, but there's going to be an overall disadvantage compared to a hub airport like Chicago or Detroit. And even at the hub airports, the low prices at the more popular times of the day tend to fill up rather quickly. If your dates were June 30 - July 5th, you could have gotten $354 a person non-stop GRR -> DEN. At one time, maybe you could have gotten $354 on United departing June 29th, but once a certain number of tickets are booked, then the price goes up. Yesterday, I booked 5 tickets GRR -> SNA for the week before labor day, but within the parameters (dates, time of day, duration of the entire flight, etc) that I wanted, it said there were only 9 tickets available at the $400 price. A few more days of waiting, and that price would likely have gone up for me. My alternative was to do a hotel Park & Fly package out of Chicago.. I would have saved around $50 a person on the ticket cost, but then I have to figure the cost of a night's stay the hotel + gas, 5 hours of driving, and having to drive back late in the evening back from Chicago to GR.
  3. If you enjoy playing table tennis (aka "ping pong"), please consider participating in these upcoming tournaments. This year is a special one for our region and our ability to draw players is the only way to make it possible to secure these tournaments in future years (details below). Feel free to PM me with any questions. May 17-18 - West MI Holland Spring Open Location: Holland Civic Center http://www.hollandtabletennis.com June 20-22 - 80th Annual Michigan State Closed Location: DeVos Place Michigan residents only. In the past, the tournament has been hosted in the eastern half our state, but we got the opportunity to host this year and maybe in subsequent years (only if we can get good participation). Having it in GR allowed us to get it incorporated into the Meijer State Games of Michigan. June 20th is the opening ceremony of the Meijer State Games, with the actual competitive events for table tennis held on the 21st and 22nd. http://www.hollandtabletennis.com http://www.stategamesofmichigan.com/TableTennis July 1-5 - US Open Location: DeVos Place The premiere table tennis tournament in the United States, drawing the best players in North America and even beyond. GR has hosted the US Open in 2010, 2012 and now 2014. A good turnout is required for consideration in future years. http://www.usopengrandrapids.com http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Table-Tennis/Events/2014/July/01/2014-US-Open July 2 and 5 - US Open Novice Location: DeVos Place Held in conjunction with the US Open, this unofficial tournament has a lower cost of entry and includes a spectator pass for the official events. July 2 has the events for individual novice players and July 5 is a 3 person novice team event. http://www.omnipong.com/EntryForms/1020-10.pdf
  4. They chose Charmin instead of the Quilted Northern!? Gosh darn it.. I'm going to have to bring my own roll to ArtPrize AGAIN!
  5. Censored words can't fully express my sentiment on moving that pharmacy section to the other side of the store!!
  6. Missed this update from Novemeber.. Grand Rapids VA Clinic will open new site near Metro Health hospital in 2013 97000+ sq ft building with 550(!) parking spaces. Must be a parking structure? Ground breaking in the spring. Current location is 64000 sq ft with 150 parking spaces. Also, the D&W grocery store is apparently going to be a Family Fare.
  7. What a great development. We'll likely get routes using Chicago Midway now. Currently all the airlines flying to Chicago are using O'Hare. From Midway, Southwest goes to a number of destinations including Los Angeles, which I care about the most.
  8. This document provides good detail about the new M-231 highway. http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdot/MDOT_Preferred_Alt_Map_US-31_278995_7.pdf It's scaled down from what MDOT originally wanted that would have cost over $1B. Personally, I tend to be supportive of bypasses as a way of dealing with congestion. But I can't say I'm supportive about this one. At least it will not be as much of a waste as the original. First, I wonder how much use M-231 will actually get. I like the north end at I-96 at Nunica. But with the south ending at M-45, it feels more like a construction detour. Second, the project still calls for adding lanes to US-31 in Grand Haven by getting rid of the tree-lined median. So my problem is not so much with the concept of a Grand Haven bypass, but with the specific plan. M-6 is an example of one that I do support.
  9. Sadly, I think it would have been voted down regardless of turnout in the election unless you could have somehow dramatically boosted it in GR without boosting it in the surrounding cities. For the past couple of Rapid millage requests, each has gotten less support than the one prior. It seems that the only mass transit project (assuming it requires an increase in taxes) that will pass is one that would require votes from only GR/EGR. The votes in GR/EGR might be enough where you could possibly include Kentwood and still come out with a majority. But once you throw in Wyoming and Walker, it's over.
  10. If it would indeed be less expensive, that sounds great and it should be considered if it hasn't already. The question is whether the same federal and state funds could be obtained for this project. Otherwise, you would have to ask for a substantially larger millage increase for the cities affected.
  11. My argument had nothing to do with whether federal or state deficit should be increased to support this project. It had to do with people using the recession as an argument against this project. If you believe this project is not worthy of federal and state funding, then it still won't be worthy when the economy is better. But as far as the project goes in terms of cost to the people voting, it's a pretty darn good deal when you know that most of the cost will be borne by people outside of the region. And like I said before, if that fed/state money doesn't go to this project, it will go to another project outside of the region.
  12. The difference with this one is that the federal and state gov is chipping in a combined $40 million against the $3.3 million raised by the millage increase. For a local resident, that's extra money you won't see in other typical millage increases. If it's voted down, that federal and state taxpayer money's going to go to some other project that will have no impact on the people voting on this millage increase.
  13. If the Silver Line millage doesn't pass, I don't see how a rail project which would require a larger millage increase would. The loudest opponents seem to be using the recession as cover, plain and simple. If the economy was great, they'd still be against this same project. For $1/month, you should be arguing based on the merits of the project. Maybe you're against it because the route sucks, or that it doesn't make sense to eliminate a lane for car traffic on Division Ave. during rush hour. Maybe you don't think it's going to spur significant economic development. I've no problem with these arguments. But people who are saying we shouldn't fork out $1/month because times are tough are not votes I would count on when times are good.
  14. As long as the BRT is implemented with the dedicated lane with traffic signal priority for virtually the entire route, I don't have a strong opinion compared to LRT. It becomes a problem when you compromise on those aspects and it starts looking more like a typical bus.
  15. Aside from consumer electronics, I've found independent stores to be surprisingly competitive on price. My dishwasher, microwave and lawn mower were all purchased from independents after price shopping against places like Home Depot, Lowes, Sears, Best Buy, etc. One thing the national chains can offer that's rarely matched is the financing offer. For people who would need to carry debt, 0% financing for 12/18/24 months represents a substantial savings. Also, another factor that makes national chains appear to have better pricing is that they offer unestablished or off brands. Granted, there are many examples where an off brand offers a quality product, but I feel it's a more of a crap shoot especially for reliability. Or they might offer an exclusive model of a major brand with some features left out compared to the standard model. That allows them to price the exclusive model lower.
  16. Several years ago for Divx? Try a decade! Time flies, doesn't it? I liked Circuit City better than Best Buy, although I'm not sure why. I don't think Best Buy's prices were much better than CC's, if at all. I know that I always go to Best Buy as a last resort. Unfortunately, Circuit City dying means one less choice, which is not good when it leaves you with the likes of Best Buy and ABC Warehouse (which I never visit).
  17. Wonder if it will have a similar look as depicted in the drawings for the one being built at Knapp's Crossing. Personally, I'm looking forward to it. The specific location they're looking at seems to be on the small side to me. Can you put a 50000 sq. ft. supermarket on 6 acres and have sufficient parking?
  18. There are only two undeveloped properties left in that area (SW corner of Byron and 56th/Gezon), so they got a pretty good result with the zoning they put in place. If drive-through restaurants would have been allowed from the start, there would have been at least four fast food restaurants built in that area. Now it looks like there's going to be just two. So their planning did already achieve a better result, and I think they could have gotten something like a Qdoba and another sit down restaurant with a little more time.
  19. You're being way too harsh on the planning commission. They're looking long term and all they're doing is following the land use plan that they developed and that the city council agreed to. The city council certainly is not smelling like roses to me. For example, there's a developer looking to develop high density apartments around 52nd and Wilson, and which would require a rezoning. Naturally the PC recommended against, and the city council had decided to overrule. But then Granger complains that approving the rezoning would give that developer an unfair advantage, and all of the sudden the council starts becoming cautious and backtracking. As far as Metro Health Villiage goes, that's a unique development for Wyoming and I think the planning commission is being perfectly reasonable in enforcing the special zoning they came up for that development.
  20. The city council has really been going against the planning commission's recommendations this year. And it's not going to be on the north side. It's on the south side of 56th, next to the CVS and bordering the apartment properties. That's why they mentioned the fence/wall requirements on the property line facing the apartments. If it was on the north side, it would be across the street from Bayberry Farms. Now that the KFC is going to be allowed, there's a good chance there's going to be a McDonald's put up on the other vacant property along Byron Center. Another development is that Spartan's interested in building a D&W in Metro Health Village. But they wanted the zoning amended to allow a gas station with it and it looks like the city council is going to support that, also against the planning commission's recommendation. Finally, the ITT building looks like it's almost complete. They got that built pretty quickly.
  21. Sorry if this has been asked before. I'm thinking about going to see Wicked at Wharton Center, but I've never been there before. Are the best seats simply the ones closest to the stage, or are some of the rows too close?
  22. Yeah, I'm not sure why Metro would want to frame it in terms of not having to travel downtown. This is not Chicago or Detroit. I live a mile away from Metro, but I can still get to Spectrum in under 20 minutes.
  23. Looks like the University of Michigan Health System is going to partner with Metro Health for radiation oncology services at Metro's cancer center GR Press: Metro, U-M partnership brings new competition for cancer patients Also, there's going to be a weekly (Thursday 9am-1pm) farmers' market in the village green portion starting next week.
  24. I'm not surprised about LA. I think I remember reading the claim that there are more registered cars in LA than people. People are used to spending a lot of time driving there. I remember being a bit flustered the first time I drove there, with the amount of traffic and how close the cars would be to each other despite going at a relatively high speed. Also, there are some stretches of freeway where they added a couple of lanes without widening it, so the lanes were much more narrow than what I was used to. But the people there are just used to it all, and they are very comfortable driving under those conditions. Now that I've been there more, I do enjoy driving there. It's just great when you have six lanes of freeway to maneuver and no potholes. Public transportation there sucks, but a lot of that is due to how spread out the metro area is.
  25. There's basically only two or three parcels that are vacant outside of all of the ones in MHV itself. So there's no pressure for Wyoming to rezone those for accommodating fast food restaurants, if they think something better is going to come along. Also, the KFC site in particular is the one that where increased traffic could cause problems. As for the ones in the village itself, a fast food restaurant goes against the whole concept of a health village. And they are looking for around 8 or so restaurants to locate in the village. But none of them I think will be fast food drive through. Fast food and gas stations could always go on the south side of M-6. That's up to Byron Township.
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