Street Talk

Street Talk: The iceman cometh

Wear your beer.

April 14, 2017
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Turns out very few people are studying hockey in United States, but a Calvin College professor aims to change that.

Bruce Berglund, a history professor at the 4,000-student Christian liberal arts college in Grand Rapids, has received a Fulbright Global Scholar Award to research the history of hockey in the U.S. and around the world.

Beginning in 2018, Berglund will spend five months doing oral history and archival research in Canada, the Czech Republic and South Korea.

“There’s been plenty written about the history of hockey, but much of this work is written from a Canadian perspective and focuses on hockey in Canada,” Berglund said. “There’s surprisingly little research on hockey in the United States, let alone on hockey as a global sport.”

Berglund will turn his research into a book that will be published by the University of California Press.

He already has interviewed a number of former players and executives, including Michael Eisner, former CEO of Walt Disney, who was at the helm of the company when it established the NHL’s Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 1993.

One of Berglund’s sources for understanding Korean hockey is Jim Paek, the head of the Korean national hockey organization. Paek was the first Korean-born hockey player to win a Stanley Cup (he won two with the Pittsburgh Penguins), and he was a longtime assistant coach for the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Since 2005, Calvin College has received 16 Faculty Fulbright Awards and 10 Student Fulbright Awards. In 2015, Calvin College was recognized as one of the top-producing bachelor’s institutions for Fulbright Awards.

Call forwarding

As the traditional landline fades into the history books and cell phone prevalence multiplies daily, the Kent County Dispatch Authority is coming up with a way to enhance the effectiveness of emergency services responses.

KCDA last week adopted the Smart911 technology, a nationwide service that allows individuals to create an online safety profile for the household that provides key information to 911 call takers during an emergency.

The information enables faster and more effective emergency response by law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services. When citizens who have signed up with Smart911 make 911 calls, their safety profile is automatically displayed to 911, providing dispatchers with an enhanced level of information that can assist in assigning the correct public safety responders.

The free service is available for the first time to Kent County residents who can create individual and household profiles at Users can add photos, detailed medical information, pets, cell phones, vehicle descriptions and other information that can be critical during an emergency situation.

“Smart911saves critical time in an emergency and has proven to save lives nationwide,” said Curtis Holt, chairman of KCDA. “The additional information provided in a Smart911 safety profile can save critical minutes in an emergency and help responders offer better services. Smart911 allows residents to link both home and work addresses to mobile phones, which can be passed on to responders in the field for a more detailed, rapid response. All information is optional, and each citizen has the ability to choose what they would like to include.”

Smart911 is available in 40 states and more than 1,500 municipalities across the country. The service has been credited with positively impacting emergency outcomes, including the recovery of a missing child, whose photo and physical description were immediately available to law enforcement units, as well as a heart attack victim, whose address and medical notes allowed responders to be dispatched to his location and provide timely medical assistance.

“The benefits of having detailed information on a 911 call from a cell phone are immeasurable,” Holt said. “Mobile phones do not provide an address to the 911 call taker. In situations like a weather emergency, seconds matter, and the additional information in a safety profile allows help to arrive better prepared.”

Signing up for the service takes approximately 10 minutes. The secure online form is stored in the confidential Smart911 database and all information is kept private and protected and is only available to 911.

Making connections

On the back of a successful first-year run, the Muskegon Business Resource Team and Michigan Economic Development Corporation once again are bringing back its Business Resource Connect event.

The April 25 morning networking event will bring 18 business support organizations from the local, regional and state levels that serve Muskegon County and offer attendees an opportunity to learn more about the resources on hand to help with their talent needs. Talent 2025 President Kevin Stotts will be the keynote speaker for the event at Muskegon Country Club, 2801 Lakeshore Drive.

Stotts is expected to discuss the current state of talent recruitment and retention in the region, followed by breakout sessions featuring MBRT's partners, which will cover topics in business expansion support, entrepreneur and startup assistance, workforce development, finance and capital resources, to name a few. An executive leadership breakout session reserved for senior level company management also is available.

In addition to the Resource Team and MEDC, partners on hand will include the U.S. Small Business Association, West Michigan Works!, the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, Start Garden, Muskegon Area First and more.

Admission and breakfast are free with limited seating. Attendees are asked to register at

Home, sweet home

The housing market continues to go bonkers in West Michigan.

Nationally, home prices were up 7.5 percent in March compared to March 2016, according to national real estate brokerage Redfin’s Market Tracker.

Inventories are low and buyers are willing to pay more to get in a house, especially here in Grand Rapids.

Prices were up locally by 16.3 percent in the same March-to-March time period, according to Redfin, with a whopping 31.9 percent of homes selling above asking price. According to the data, cities with housing markets comparable to Grand Rapids, in terms of appreciation, were: Orlando, Florida; Santa Rosa, California; Seattle, Washington; and Tampa, Florida.

The Redfin report also indicated the median sale price of homes in Grand Rapids is at its highest since 2009, reaching $162,750.

Brewed in Detroit

The guys at The Mitten State are at it again.

Scott Zubrickas, Will Bransdorfer and crew released a new T-shirt for Stroh’s last week, bringing the total products for the once Detroit-based brewery up to seven.

The designs are to celebrate the return of Stroh’s beer production to Detroit at the steam-powered Brew Detroit contract brewing facility. Stroh’s also is hosting a 5K run next month, where finishers get a frothy glass of the classic pilsner.

The company might not be based in Detroit anymore, but Stroh’s owner, Pabst, must like something about Michigan. Not only has it brought production of some of the Motor City’s finest brews back to town, it also has partnered with Brett VanderKamp and New Holland Brewing Co. to push Dragon’s Milk and other beers to more people across the country.

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