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AP article covers the new reality show "Ice Brigade," featuring Grand Rapids-based Ice Sculptures Ltd. Awesome opportunity for a cool local company to get some additional exposure. Maybe this could help them land more commissions out-of-state. I would think chances are good of seeing some shots of GR locations on the show as well.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-ap-mi-icebrigade-kalama,0,4806149.story

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This is a beer review about a visit to Founders Brewing Co., but the first few paragraphs give a little insight into the perspective of someone who has never been to GR, and spends a little time wandering around downtown.

http://www.midwestbe...o-founders.html

After that, we spent some time wandering around downtown Grand Rapidswhere it became evident that art is a big part of this city’s identity. We saw at least two murals every 3rd or 4th block, and a real eye grabbing piece of art in the heart of downtown (picture of said eye catcher here) that I stared at for 5 minutes (due to both it’s awesomeness and it’s use of rocket/plane engines). In short, Grand Rapids is an art loving town.

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Check out this video profile of professional skater Josh Kalis, professionally shot by DCShoesMedia:

Some cool shots of the city in there.

My favorite part is the Burton & K-zoo segment. He shows off the places where he skated as a kid, including the cement block where he attempted his first trick. There's also a moment that had my wife and I both laughing that I won't give away. The footage at Modern Skate and Surf at the end is pretty cool as well.

Edited by fotoman311
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Check out this video profile of professional skater Josh Kalis, professionally shot by DCShoesMedia:

Some cool shots of the city in there.

My favorite part is the Burton & K-zoo segment. He shows off the places where he skated as a kid, including the cement block where he attempted his first trick. There's also a moment that had my wife and I both laughing that I won't give away. The footage at Modern Skate and Surf at the end is pretty cool as well.

Wow - I didn't know that my church's parking lot had that kind of history. :)

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It is once again a person sitting in an office in Manhattan writing about a city they've never set foot in, which is in a state they"ve never set foot in. They look at spreadsheets and say city x is dying based on population estimates, which are based on tax returns. Census numbers will show a much different story. They didn't include Lansing, which is a city over 100k people, and has lost more residents than GR. Even the precious Ann Arbor has lost people. Not to mention cities in other states, Des Moines, Dayton, 3/4ths of the Pennsylvania steel cities. These things are never scientific, they saw the MI before the 49503 and decided to include it because we are in Michigan. It stings a little, it might create an image problem for us, if people read this and decide not to relocate here. But it's BS. Does anyone remember 10 years ago when 99 population estimates put us at 181k? But when census numbers came out the city was just shy of 200k ? If we gain even one person in the census counts I say we start a national campaign to take it back!

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And this from a 'news' organization that can't earn enough revenue to stay afloat and was sold 2 years ago for $1 to a Hi-Fi company founder. I agree with MJLO. Some dufus looked at a bunch of data and tried to extrapolate information from it, without having any context.

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Absolute rubbish. I'm used to seeing these hack stories on Yahoo or MSN. At least they would have been able to pull together a write-up longer than a sentence, included at least one fact about the city, and maybe even thrown in a generic stock photo. I would have expected some effort at research from these guys.

Did you see the comments sections? It's 99% people defending GR.

Edited by RegalTDP

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If you look at the other 9 cities in the nobody even cares.

So what does that say? They agree (likely not) or are they less sensitive than we are (maybe)?

The article accuses Rochester of suffering because "some of the major corporations based there, like Kodak, have gone out of business or simply moved elsewhere." Kodak may have gone through bankruptcy but they're still located on Rochester and very much in business. What a poorly researched article.

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It is once again a person sitting in an office in Manhattan writing about a city they've never set foot in, which is in a state they"ve never set foot in. They look at spreadsheets and say city x is dying based on population estimates, which are based on tax returns. Census numbers will show a much different story. They didn't include Lansing, which is a city over 100k people, and has lost more residents than GR. Even the precious Ann Arbor has lost people. Not to mention cities in other states, Des Moines, Dayton, 3/4ths of the Pennsylvania steel cities. These things are never scientific, they saw the MI before the 49503 and decided to include it because we are in Michigan. It stings a little, it might create an image problem for us, if people read this and decide not to relocate here. But it's BS. Does anyone remember 10 years ago when 99 population estimates put us at 181k? But when census numbers came out the city was just shy of 200k ? If we gain even one person in the census counts I say we start a national campaign to take it back!

MJLO:

Look at this like as a "glass almost full" opportunity - you gotta love this one! We exist at a time in our history when - as METRO GRAND RAPIDS - we have highrises on a valley bottom reflected in Michigan's longest river, we have burgeoing film, biotech, urban music, transportation and education industries and our infrastructure is being upgraded to meet the growing demands of being Midwest America's hub of innovation and and re-invention. We're the place with urban music legends like Al Green, The DeBarges and Shalamar (group member Jeffrey Daniel from Ottawa Hills was paid by Michael Jackson to teach him his "Backslide" move that the Motown 25 folks dubbed "The Moonwalk"). Agent Scully and a certain gravity-challenged noble-guy President are from here. GR has grown a long and significant shadow for other of Michigan's cities to aspire to. That writer may catch up one day and may feel kind of foolish.

Don't get me wrong, I felt a little bite from that writer's lack of insight - BUT ONLY FOR A MOMENT. I started thinking about the above and well, here you're reading it.

Slap that dude into the JW, drop him at 25 Kitchen on Sundays for SMOOTH JAZZ and them smack 'im (if it's summer, take him out to Kirby's in Grand Haven first). We SOOOOO have nothing to be concerned about on this piece. See you at the casino (and all metro area micro managers go to bed if you don't like it - grown folks know how to go out and have a good time responsibly - Thank You).

Edited by metrogrkid

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The most interesting thing that came out of this was the number of people who came to Grand Rapids' defense. I don't think that would have been the case 5 years ago. But with the advent of social media, ArtPrize, the Rob Bliss events, all the recent downtown development, even the google fiber campaign, I think there's a lot more community pride at work now. 30 people commented on the Grand Rapids page, and only a handful of people commented on the other ones.

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The accolades are good, but seem mostly from prideful townies. It would be good if a few out of towners came to our defense as well. Or if News week would just man up and come see our dying city in person.

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The accolades are good, but seem mostly from prideful townies. It would be good if a few out of towners came to our defense as well. Or if News week would just man up and come see our dying city in person.

Newsweeks's using census data. Oh well.

Fortune Magazine named us a Michigan success story a few months ago after sending actual reporters to visit.

I refuse to be too worried about this Newsweek piece.

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Shhh, keep it a secret! Don't tell the MSU Med School folks, those who built the DeVos Children's Hospital, Priceline.com, Farmers Insurance Group, Amway, Greg Gilmore, The Windcrest Group, Rick DeVos, Rob Bliss, Locus Development, RDV Decelopment, CWD Development, City Flats, The Grand Action folks, Roskam Baking, Kellogg's, Old Orchards Brands, the Van Andel Institute, GE Aviation.... I could go on.

All these folks are investing, bring jobs, and adding to the vitality of "dying" Grand Rapids.

Why didn't the author of the story give any details about Grand Rapids demise like he/she did with the rest of the cities?

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The patient isn't dying, some good things happening to at least partially offset the huge loss in payroll & tax revenues once generated by the likes of GM, Steelcase, Herman Miller, Electrolux, AT&T, etc.

Verdict: off life support and stabilized

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The most interesting thing that came out of this was the number of people who came to Grand Rapids' defense. I don't think that would have been the case 5 years ago. But with the advent of social media, ArtPrize, the Rob Bliss events, all the recent downtown development, even the google fiber campaign, I think there's a lot more community pride at work now. 30 people commented on the Grand Rapids page, and only a handful of people commented on the other ones.

The DowntownGR and Experience Grand Rapids campaigns should use this as an opportunity to do a nice promotional campaign to spite the awesome distinction of "dying city." This is the stuff that rallies the troops.

Pride for home should not stop at the front lawn.

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Does anyone remember 10 years ago when 99 population estimates put us at 181k? But when census numbers came out the city was just shy of 200k ? If we gain even one person in the census counts I say we start a national campaign to take it back!

Very true.

The April 1990 census had Grand Rapids at 189,673.

The July 1999 estimate had Grand Rapids at 185,005. So, supposedly a loss of 4,664.

The April 2000 census had Grand Rapids at 197,800. A gain of 8,127! :yahoo:

And now Newsweek is relying on the April 2000 census and July 2009 estimate to proclaim that Grand Rapids is a dying city? :wacko:

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Ruth Terry has written an interesting opinion piece in the Rapidian which is kind of her reaction to the sometimes over the top reaction from locals to the stupid Newsweek article. She opines that if Tina Brown from Newsweek actually did visit Grand Rapids that she would find us lacking in some important areas. I pretty much agree with her (except about the airport) and I'm not by any means a recent transplant.

opinion link

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Ruth Terry has written an interesting opinion piece in the Rapidian which is kind of her reaction to the sometimes over the top reaction from locals to the stupid Newsweek article. She opines that if Tina Brown from Newsweek actually did visit Grand Rapids that she would find us lacking in some important areas. I pretty much agree with her (except about the airport) and I'm not by any means a recent transplant.

opinion link

Her argument that diversity is needed for a city to be great is off the mark. while I won't argue that grand rapids is diverse, you only need to look to boston to find a city that isn't very diverse yet is world class. Other cities, like chicago are world class yet are highly segregated both racially and socioeconomically.

also, good luck finding a city of grand rapids size that doesn't have a pathetic public transportation system especially when you are talking about going out to a street like 28th street.

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Transit: Terry hits the nail on the head, but in so doing completely defeats her own argument. It takes over an hour to get somewhere by bus that takes 12 minutes by car. Precisely. So why would you take public transit unless it magically transformed itself into Startrekesque teleporters? Transit works in big cities with large populations because the cities are CONGESTED. It takes forever to get somewhere by car or by bus, so people take the bus because you then don't have to worry about finding a parking spot. This could just as well be phrased as "Grand Rapids has ample parking opportunities and uncongested roads which make taking cramped buses with their lack of choice over timetables and stops pointless. Hurray!"

Airport: Boohoo. Cry me a river. What are we supposed to do, build O'Hare or JFK in Grand Rapids even though we are not well located as a transportation hub? This same complaint could be made about any number of cities.

Diversity: I'm going to devote some additional time to this, since Ms. Terry seems particularly disturbed by a perceived lack of diversity. Of course, since Grand Rapids does not inherently lack diversity, the author needs to find something else to whine about. Now, it's apparently a "troubling fact" that blacks and Latinos are under-represented in GR's middle class because their incomes are 51% of those of whites. Well. Perhaps someone should put out a bulletin that middle class blacks and Latinos need to move to Grand Rapids. Of course, this could be somewhat difficult since nationally, as of 2004, blacks had an income that was only 58% of whites. (And what about all of those filthy rich Asians that make far more money than their percentage of the population? Well, let's just agree not to go there, because Asians never count when you're drinking at the diversity fountain).

All cynicism aside, certainly everyone would love to see blacks and Hispanics make more money, but simply whining about Grand Rapids apparently being a cesspit of poor blacks and Hispanics will do nothing to solve the underlying cause of the problem, nor move us down the road to a solution. This is clearly not an issue that is isolated to Grand Rapids--this is an issue everywhere. While the income disparity is marginally greater here, this is presumably explained at least in part by Grand Rapids unfortunate status as an initiate of the "Rust Belt" coterie. In the past, we attracted many people of all colors with the promise of decent paying factory and manufacturing jobs. Bluntly stated, those jobs historically attracted many people who happened to have little education or significant otherwise marketable skills and who also disproportionately happened to be black or Hispanic. Factory jobs beat farm labor, and like they do in China today, the people came to the factories. Now, the jobs are gone, and the income levels of that population subset has plummeted. Adapting is going to be difficult, but we're doing a far better job than, say, Flint or Columbus, Ohio. Blaming Grand Rapids for not having enough wealthy minorities is ridiculous. How about blaming the lefty screwballs with their bright ideas that made it next to impossible to economically run a factory in this country, and turning the entire Midwest into a rotting mess? Factories lifted people out of poverty, and these jerks shut them down, dumping people right back into poverty. Thanks a bunch.

As for the lack of "minority FM radio stations" and Latino headliners at the Van Andel, what ever shall we do? Frankly, it seems rather racist to me that there should even be a "minority" radio station. What, exactly, is this? I frankly don't know. Is the author saying we need more rap stations, or more Spanish language stations? Beats me. Apparently, blacks and Hispanics are so different from the rest of the world that they need their own special stations, whatever those might be. Something about not judging a man by the color of his skin comes to mind here...

In any event, I'm sure that there is plenty for any good New Yorker to hate about Grand Rapids. Unfortunately, we don't have a burgeoning finance industry or government-associated "growth" industry to suck the lifeblood out of the rest of the country in order to artificially prop up our incomes and provide the attendant benefits of huge airports, public transit, and scores of great jobs for underskilled people. We actually have to be innovative and forward-thinking to avoid total disaster. At that, I think we're doing as fine a job as any.

Ruth Terry has written an interesting opinion piece in the Rapidian which is kind of her reaction to the sometimes over the top reaction from locals to the stupid Newsweek article. She opines that if Tina Brown from Newsweek actually did visit Grand Rapids that she would find us lacking in some important areas. I pretty much agree with her (except about the airport) and I'm not by any means a recent transplant.

opinion link

Edited by x99

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I agree that Ruth Terry was off the mark on a couple of fronts. Besides the fact that I could care less if Tina Brown (is that her name?) came to Grand Rapids or not, I highly doubt she would take mass transit. Most people I know who use mass transit DAILY in big cities would love the chance to drive a car once in a while (or be driven around town). There's a little bit of romanticism that goes along with big cities and mass transit that I think is not as prevalent as many think. I know of two family members and 1 friend who rely solely on transit for getting to work (DC and Chicago) and bitch about it constantly on Facebook.

And we are pretty comparable to other cities of our size and their transit systems. Unless someone has an example otherwise. Can you live without a car in Baton Rouge, Louisiana? Or in Akron, Ohio? I doubt it.

Also, I don't think the airport situation is as bad as stated. For one thing, I've found with Frontier and Allegiant flying out of GRR, the prices have plummeted. And you can fly non-stop to a lot more destinations.

And now the Press has an editorial out today about the Newsweek article, which I believe is the 6th or 7th piece by the Press about this stupid article. Can someone please stick a fork in this discussion?

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