Dumping Grounds

April 4, 2005
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Michigan’s trash situation really stinks. Not only is Canada using our state as a frequent dumping ground, but it looks like Ohio has eyes only for Michigan, too.

And state lawmakers are none too happy about the situation.

The issue came to a head March 23 when a truck from Canada hauling treated human waste made a 31-ton booboo on Telegraph Road in Flat Rock, just outside of Detroit, closing a two-mile stretch of the road during morning rush hour and well into the afternoon.

(P)oops!

Flat Rock Police Chief SteveTallman, who said the cleanup will cost at least $10,000, told the Detroit News: “It smelled unbelievable, like a septic tank. The town’s not happy about all these Canadian trucks.”

Neither, apparently, is the state legislature.

“While other states are increasing their dumping charges to deal with their waste problems, Michigan is alone in offering bargain-basement prices to the waste industry,” said Rep. DianneByrum, D-Onondaga.

It seems that Michigan has a 21-cents-per-ton dumping charge, while nearby states charge as much as $7.25 (Pennsylvania) per ton for the same service. Last week Ohio announced that it was seeking to more than double its per-ton charge to $4.75, from the current $2.

“As long as our charge remains a paltry 21 cents a ton, we’ll always be a magnet for imported garbage,” she said, adding that Ohio dumpers could be next in line at the border.

While the state is searching for every available revenue source, it might want to ponder the price of this one.

  • Entrepreneurs are always amazing, but here’s an amazing story that’s already worked regardless if the business succeeds.

A couple of waitresses at the former Casey Stengel’s Restaurant, 55 28th St. SE, decided to open a family-friendly restaurant when the former eatery closed.

Mary Jo Maleport and Gina Kruisenga grew up together in Greenville and started working at the former Casey Stengel’s in 1990, staying there until it closed in May 2004.

Along the way, the pair made many friends among the restaurant’s regulars, including — amazingly — the men who would become their future husbands.

Al Maleport and Rick Kruisenga eventually teamed with their wives to open the new business.

The name of the new venture? Why, it’s “Friends,” of course.

The women, along with their husbands, said they kept running into former restaurant patrons who really missed the convenient meeting place, so they finally decided to take a chance and reopen a restaurant at the popular site.

“We’re excited about bringing a well-known gathering place back to life,” said Mary Jo Maleport. “We’ve only been open a month, but the initial response from our customers has been great. We’re glad to see so many familiar faces again.”

The new Friends restaurant is just east of U.S. 131, and occupies 3,122 square feet of space in a 9,122-square-foot retail site. “We’re glad to see this neighborhood establishment back in operation,” said JasonMakowski, sales associate with S.J. Wisinski & Co. who worked with the new tenants. “The enthusiasm and commitment of the new owners to this neighborhood and enterprise will help ensure the restaurant’s success.”

They should all get by with a little help from their Friends.

  • A friend of the Business Journal, WGVU’s ShelleyIrwin, is pretty happy right now, too.

Irwin recently picked up a 2005 Gracie Allen Award from the Foundation of American Women in Radio and Television. Her honor was earned for Individual Achievement as Program Host for her work on The WGVU Morning Show.

The Business Journal is a monthly guest on the show, reviewing the top five stories of each month. A new addition to the show is Business Journal Small Business Matters columnist PaulHense, who once a month gets to rant about Lansing on the air.

Irwin was selected from a record-breaking number of entries to receive the honor based on her entry’s superior quality in writing, production and programming. She will be recognized at the Local Market Awards Luncheon of the Gracie Allen Awards on June 23 in New York City. She also earned a Gracie last year.

  • Irwin won’t win a car for her efforts, but one lucky supporter of the Ronald McDonald House of West Michigan will.

Not just any car, either. This one is a 1976 Cadillac El Dorado convertible originally owned by Indy car driver A.J. Foyt. Of course, it is used, but with only 7,000 miles it should still have that new-car smell.

ValLindeman, fundraising chair for the Ronald McDonald House, said the vehicle, a gorgeous deep blue, is on display at her place of business, Harvey Cadillac, 2600 28th St. SE.

The Caddy will be raffled off on April 15 at Noto’s Spring WineFest, between 9-9:30 p.m.

Raffle tickets are $50 each, and only 1,000 will be sold. Tickets to the Noto’s event are separate, but raffle participants need not be present to win.

For a picture of the vehicle and more information, go online to www.wmrmh.org/events.shtml

Tickets also are available at Harvey’s Cadillac Hummer and Lexus stores.

Summer’s on the way and this is definitely the ultimate cruising ride.

  • From Cottage Burgers to the White House? Could be.

DanVerhil, owner of the Cottage Bar and One Trick Pony, has applied for a chef’s position at the White House. He recently received a letter back from Washington saying he was still under consideration for the job.

While Cottage Burgers (and those yummy fries!) have been West Michigan mainstays for years, it should be noted that Verhil opened One Trick Pony, and set up the kitchen himself, so he could expand his culinary horizons.

Bet President George W. Bush, a native Texan, appreciates a good plate of beef when he sees one.    

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