Living Large

June 27, 2005
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Tour time, but we're not talking the links. Sister publication Grand Rapids Magazine hosted a Parade of Downtown Living June 10 and 11, sponsored by National City Bank, with ticket proceeds donated to

Dwelling Place
. Even after ticket sales closed, close to another 300 people showed up for tours, buying tickets en route — and using the city shuttle service, public transportation, to move from site to site. It would seem the predicted interest in urban housing made a few years ago by city consultants may indeed be a "conservative estimate." Dwelling Place is reportedly happy, but building owners and developers are happier with several sales made during the two-day tour.

Somewhere, former GRMAYOR JohnLogie must be smiling.

  • Dunked, and he'll tell you that, too. The Coffee Dunkers of America, Grand Rapids Chapter, which raises oodles of money for charities in its annual bashing of all that is news or sacred, is changing the date of the annual show. The anticipated and well-attended event has always started at 7:29 a.m. on the second Monday of December. This year the group is stepping things up, to 7:28 a.m., Nov. 21. The Chief Dripless (annual) Complainer of the December date, former U.S. Ambassador Peter Secchia, is likely to rejoice. He's seldom been able to attend in December to personally view his pilloried person.

The date change (to Nov. 21) makes the longest serving Dunker, James Booth Burr Jr., irate. He is protesting the date change, and plans to protest on the day of the event (Nov. 21). Burr is likely to bare his breasts (in some odd tribute to the breastfeeding women of the city who recently nursed their children in the courthouse and on CalderPlaza, to the dismay of Kent County Clerk Mary Hollinrake).

But Burr was out-voted by the crew (once again including Bill Wheadon) and the Dunkers will send the charity groups and sponsors notification of the change (to Nov. 21) next month.

Burr has threatened to mail those same individuals his protest letter and attempt to thwart the date change (to Nov. 21).

When asked of his protest plans, Bad, Bad Burr, in a most serious tone, said, "If this thing goes as planned I plan to move and set up a new Dunkers program in Albuquerque where they have a lot of nice people — like runaway brides — that I would much rather have in the club than these, these toots, who have decided to change the date after all these 247 years of having it the second Monday in December."

Is he serious?

Plan on Nov. 21 (not December).

  • Meanwhile, breastfeeding "incidents" continue to accumulate. Though the "issue" was first launched this spring by Barbara Walters' complaint about a mother nursing during an airline flight, it is now being taken to new comedy heights by Jon Stewart, host of the Daily Show on Comedy Central.

Stewart's opening "news" coverage of various remarks by President George W. Bush led to the fact that U.S. House Democrats had hosted a press conference in regard to Iran and oil prices, led by Michigan Rep. John Conyers. Stewart noted that Conyers actually was not able to host the press conference in the Capitol, but under the Capitol — in the basement. About the time a viewer expected to hear Conyers, or Maxine Waters, testify, the camera panned to a woman behind Waters who was — yes — breastfeeding a baby. Stewart guffawed and called it a "wardrobe malfunction." He's not apparently yet met the "Breast is Best" coalition.

Yuan what army? It could take an army to get members of Congress to back down from slapping trade sanctions on China. As the argument goes, an undervalued Chinese currency — the yuan renmibi — makes Chinese goods cheaper in the states and American goods more expensive in China. That, according to American manufacturers, has cost thousands of Americans their jobs.

But that, according to Fed Chairman AlanGreenspan, is bunk. He and Treasury Secretary JohnSnow last week urged the Senate to refrain from hiking tariffs on Chinese goods and instead to allow that country time to make the adjustment in its currency valuation. They must have read the Journal's June 13 article that suggested investors could stock up on yuan and wait for the 40-percent correction.

  • Cascade Engineering founder, chairman and CEO FredKeller is the subject of a Q&A in the July 1 issue of IndustryWeek magazine.

In the wake of Keller's latest Triple Bottom Line Report, reporter JillJusko asked Keller about his sustainable approach to running a business.

IW: You built your company on a belief that a business should be "sustainable" and focused on achieving worthy goals. What do you mean by that?

Keller: For me, the idea of being in business was not first and foremost, 'How much money can I make,' but 'How much impact can I make.' I don't know that I could have identified that at the beginning, but that's certainly, as I think back, why I wanted to be in business. But you get to the point of saying you can only make an impact if in fact you are successful in the business world. I like the idea that business is for a purpose, and the purpose isn't just maximizing dollar return."

And Keller isn't just saying that. It's a philosophy he follows everyday, and it plays out in his employees and the work they do in the community. That's impact.

  • The price of Detroit Pistons apparel was jumping around worse than stocks in its namesake automotive industry last week. Following the 96-95 overtime loss at Detroit on Sunday, all Deeetroit apparel was red tagged at 50 percent off at the Meijer store on
    Plainfield Avenue
    . A few blocks north, Dunhams knocked off a significant discount as well.

The two-day blowout ended abruptly Wednesday morning following the 95-86 win at San Antonio

Unfortunately, the sales probably were repeated over the weekend following the 81-74 Game 7 loss.    

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