Freeze Play

July 19, 2004
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We can’t call it a world premiere, but that’s what it is. The first time a general audience will get a chance to see the film adaptation of Grand Rapids native ChrisVanAllsburg’s 1985 Caldecott Award-winning picture book, “The Polar Express,” won’t be in New York or L.A. It will be right here in GR.

But don’t let anyone in L.A. hear you say that. The Nov. 5 event — a fundraiser for Hospice of Michigan — is being billed as a “preview screening” or “Midwest premiere.”

The “world premiere” billing has been reserved for the Nov. 6 L.A. premiere.

Hospice went straight to the top to get the date approved. It took a phone call from the author’s wife, LisaVanAllsburg, to Oscar-winning director (“Forrest Gump,” 1994) RobertZemeckis to green-light the Grand Rapids date.

Christmas really does come early to West Michigan.

  • Easy come, easy go.

StephenWard, vice president of community development for Huntington Bank, dropped a note to say “so long,” as he’s leaving town at the end of the month.

“Actually, I’m leaving the country, too!”

Say what? Ward, who has spent the last two years at Huntington and the eight before that at Grand Valley State University, can’t seem to get higher education out of his system.

“So I’ve decided to accept an opportunity to return to a university. Not just any university — it’s the University of the South Pacific, in Fiji, where I’ll take up duties as head of marketing and communications in August.”

The Ward family will be spending the next three years in the South Pacific at a university that serves a dozen island nations and is planning to do more with Australia and New Zealand in the coming years.

Huntington President JimDunlap would be wise to keep in touch. It gets mighty cold here in the winter.

  • Is that the sound of a rumbling stomach, or a rumbling Fatboy?

The two actually will be intertwined Saturday when Rockford Construction’s fifth annual Rally For Hope & Hunger, a benefit for God’s Kitchen and Van Andel Institute, rolls out of Cannonsburg Ski Lodge on its way to the Ionia Hunting & Fishing Club.

The motorcycle rally, which gets plenty of support (and participation) from Rockford’s JohnWheeler and MikeVanGessel, raises funds for charity with a $20 per bike registration fee and the sale of raffle tickets, also costing $20, for a chance to win a 2004 Harley Davidson Fatboy, valued at $20,000.

The rumbling gets going with registration at 9 a.m., followed by an 11 a.m. mass departure. To take part in this somewhat unusual fundraiser, call Rockford Construction at 866-6933.

  • Look who’s coming to dinner.

The footwear industry will gather with surprise celebrity guests for the Two Ten Footwear Foundation’s annual dinner party and benefit auction on Dec. 7, at the Grand Hyatt New York, Empire State Ballroom, and Wolverine World Wide’s TimothyO’Donovan will be one of the honorees.

O’Donovan, president and CEO of Wolverine World Wide, will accept the T. Kenyon Holly Memorial Award, Two Ten’s highest honor for outstanding humanitarian achievement. O’Donovan is active with the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan; Grand Rapids Symphony; Economic Club of Grand Rapids; Alumni Association of Michigan State University; Spartan Stores Inc.; Foundation for Scholarships at Michigan State and United Way. At Two Ten, O’Donovan is vice chairman of the board of directors; a member of executive committee; and chairman of the social services committee. A former A.A. Bloom Award winner in 1995, he also previously served on Two Ten’s endowment committee and Corporate Fund Drive committee, and established the Joseph A. O’Donovan Human Resource Center in 1996.

“Tim’s impact upon organizations — ranging from Two Ten to major entities in Michigan — has been marked with personal concern, deep commitment for community, and high regard for philanthropic good,” said PeggyKimMeill, president of Two Ten, which serves the footwear community through social services and educational programs.

  • In keeping with the theme of sartorial splendor, here’s more news in the world of fashion.

Menswear Retailing magazine announced in its July issue the top 25 most exciting menswear retailers in the United States as chosen by industry executives and editors. A.K. Rikk’s, in downtown Grand Rapids, is one of the stores to be honored, along with other stores like Stanley Korshak, Wilkes Bashford, Mario’s, Gary’s and Bloomingdales, at a special dinner hosted by Menswear Retailing, Cargo Magazine and ENK productions.

For those of you still living in the Leisure Suit Age, know that this is quite an accomplishment for little old GR.

“To be in the company of such great retailers is quite an honor and accomplishment for us. We only hope and trust that with our new remodel, to be finished in the fall of this year, we can continue to provide the excitement that the industry and our clients recognize that we offer,” said DavidAbbott, general manager of A.K. Rikk’s.

Abbott’s customers have been walking around the “rubble” with big plans to party in September.

All the guys shop there — SamCummings, the DeVos men (all), the Meijer men (but not Fred; he goes to his own store).

Abbott also said the top 25 list will run in September in Cargo magazine, in alphabetical order. Guess who’s on top? That should be exciting.

The dinner will be on Monday, July 19, with an after party on the Intrepid. That should be exciting, too.

  • RickAdamy, president of the Pen Club, called to set the record straight. There is no deal (not yet) for the Pennies to sell the club to RDV Corp. Of course, it’s understandable that some might think otherwise, with negotiations having gone on for more than a year.

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