Give Thanks

June 21, 2002
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The season of Thanksgiving is upon us and, despite a pitty economy, terrorist attacks and all-out war, West Michigan has much for which to be thankful.

Not sure that’s true?

Think about some of these:

  • Thanks to PeterWege first for pledging $20 million toward a new art museum, and then stipulating that there be no charge for visiting the new 130,000-square-foot structure during Festival and Celebration on the Grand. That should give some of the common folk a chance to sample the arts at least twice a year.

  • Thanks to Rich and HelenDeVos for putting up $15 million for the new convention center. Even if it ends up not bearing your name, we’ll always remember who got the ball rolling.

  • Thanks to KimberlyScott, the Kentwood woman who showed a little entrepreneurial spunk and tried to spirit away the DeVos name before it could be affixed to the convention center’s front door. She single-handedly kept the town’s media buzzing for three full weeks.

  • Thanks to enterprising Business Journal reporter DavidCzurak, who was the first to break the DeVos Place naming rights flap and who had the good sense to report it fairly and without the hype, leaving the rest of the media to dig for even deeper dirt.

  • Thanks to Kent County Commission Chairman SteveHeacock, who has weathered his share of controversy during his tenure and still stopped short of turning county government into a zoo. And he keeps a smile on his face!

  • Thanks to Kent County Clerk MaryHollinrake for assuaging the fears of business owners everywhere who were worried about having their dba’s yanked out from under their feet.

  • Thanks to GRMAYOR JohnLogie for at least considering a Buick. While it may not be as famous as, say, Gov. JohnEngler’s Oldsmobile, buying American is a real good idea right now. In fact, buying anything is a real good idea right now.

  • Thanks to City Commissioner JimJendrasiak, who puts a lot of thought into everything before he votes. Also thanks for ensuring that there will be almost zero unanimous votes on the City Commission for the foreseeable future.

  • Thanks to Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce President JohnBrown for proving that money doesn’t always buy happiness, or a City Commission seat for that matter.

  • Thanks to the Grand Rapids organizers of the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament and WilliamHawkins, president and CEO of the new Women’s Professional Volleyball League, who gave young girls throughout West Michigan something to shoot for.

  • Thanks to Grand Rapids Griffins owner DanDeVos for having the guts to try a noon game on a weekday, just to see if it worked. More than 6,000 people said it did.

  • Thanks to JohnLoeksJr. for thinking really big when it comes to movie entertainment. Here’s hoping Harry Potter gets formatted for IMAX real soon.

  • Thanks to PeterSecchia for making sure the Gerald R. Ford Museum doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. His family foundation’s $500,00 donation, along with a grant from the state, ensures that the museum’s new education center, which includes a replica of the Cabinet Room at the White House, will be fully funded. Also, thanks for not coming down too hard on Street Talk when you were mistakenly placed on the Grand Rapids Foundation Board, instead of on the Ford Museum Board. That’s also the place where Columbia University President-elect LeeBollinger and Michigan State University President PeterMcPherson get to hobnob with you.

  • Thanks to Congressman VernEhlers for proving that while it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to serve in Congress, it’s nice to have the next best thing representing Michigan as the chairman of the House Science Subcommittee on Environment, Technology and Standards. We’re sure your group will get those voting machine snafus worked out.

  • Thanks to new GVSU President MarkMurray for having the good sense not to fiddle with everything DonLubbers did in his 30-plus years as president. Just keep steering the ship in the right direction.
  • And finally, thanks to JimHackett, MikeVolkema and JerryJohanneson for fighting to save every job they possibly can. Because when this thing gets turned around, we’ll all have something for which to be thankful.

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