Got Milk IdeaSphere Does

September 26, 2003
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IdeaSphere Inc., a local provider of healthy living solutions, has entered into a partnership with the New Zealand-based A2 Corp. to introduce A2 milk into the U.S. market.

The partnership is the second important business move for IdeaSphere in the past few weeks. Earlier this month, the two-plus-year-old firm founded by David Van Andel and BillNicholson revealed that it intends to buy the assets of Twinlab Corp., as soon as the New Jersey maker of vitamins and sports nutrition products is approved for protection under the Chapter 11 bankruptcy law.

What makes A2 milk unique is that it doesn't contain beta-casein A1, a controversial protein that has been linked by New Zealand researchers to the development of coronary heart disease. A2 Corp. holds a patent on the production of its milk product.

"A2 milk is a significant health discovery that's supported by extensive research," said GregGrohoski, chief of research and development at IdeaSphere. "A2 Corp. has created a commercially viable option that allows consumers to avoid a known cause of disease by consuming milk with all the benefits nature intended."

IdeaSphere provides a full range of natural and organic products, including foods, beverages, nutritional supplements, and personal and home care products that are sold through retail and online channels.

"We are continually searching the globe for new products and technologies that will fulfill our mission," said Van Andel, CEO and chairman of IdeaSphere, "and we believe that the breakthrough by Dr. (Corran) McLachlan and the team at A2 Corp. provides a nutrition platform to positively impact millions of people through everyday consumption of products such as milk and ice cream."

  • All the chat is "Who is in the book?"

And DavidLaClaire is not telling who he has selected to be in "Photographic Portraiture," his new book that chronicles 90 years of photographic portrait work done by him and his father, Maurice

Only two copies currently exist. One copy of the book is in Hong Kong for printing and the other is sealed in a vault 800 feet below Grand Rapids in the gypsum mines.

GR's gentleman photographer has worked with many, many people and almost every local VIP, plus many from around the country. So just about everyone has a shot at inclusion.

LaClaire Studios has received several phone calls from some of America's foremost families trying to find out if they were selected to be in "Photographic Portraiture."We have learned that more than 50 books have been ordered for Christmas at $150 for each edition — sight unseen.

For a sneak peek, visit

  • One of the more prominent West Michigan families with a chance at landing in the photography book is the Idemas.

More than 100 descendents of HenryIdema were scheduled to congregate at Camp Henry, in Newaygo, on Saturday for an unprecedented family reunion.

Founder and CEO of Old Kent Bank (now Fifth Third), Henry Doornink Idema was born and raised in Grand Rapids. He and his wife, Annie, raised three sons in the former Edward Lowe Mansion at 103 College Ave. SE, and those sons all raised their families here.

You may have heard of the Idema boys. Walter Idema co-founded Steelcase Inc. Edward Idema formed Manufacturer's Supply Co. Chester Idema was a longtime senior executive at Old Kent.

"It started off as just sort of an idle thought," said Elizabeth Welch Lykins, one of Henry Idema's great-great-grandchildren and who also was elected president of the Women's Lawyers' Association of Michigan's Western Region in 2001. "But the more we talked about the possibility, the more real a possibility it became. So we sent out e-mail 'feelers' to everyone we could think of, and within weeks we had more RSVPs than we ever dreamed."

The evening's genealogical presentation was scheduled to include a few well-known names, too. Lykins said the branches of the Idema family include the Gambles, Crawfords, Pews, Hoekstras, Welches, Paolis, Guikemas and Corls. "The tree depicted promises to be a full one indeed," she said.

  • Hope they brought their hankies.

The Gerontology Network last Thursday honored FredMeijer with its "Spirit Of Aging" award for his embodiment of what it means to age with grace and enthusiasm.

"In a world where age is sometimes mistaken as a liability, Meijer is a shining example of someone who embraces life's experiences and is willing to share what he has learned with others," said Dr. TomHartwig, president of Gerontology Network. "He not only continues to share his wisdom with others, but also fulfills personal lifelong dreams while he gives back to the community."

The keynote speaker for the event was none other than ErnieHarwell, the longtime voice of the Detroit Tigers.

We bet Fred gave Ernie a run for his money in the homespun humor department.

  • Three weeks ago, media pages were blazing with stories about the soaring cost of gasoline. Too, some TV anchors — local and national — were uttering dark hints about oil company collusion and runaway profits. Out on the West Coast, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante tried to get out front of the price controls crowd. But the crowd apparently thought that Sacramento didn't need to do for gasoline what Gov. Gray Davis already had done for electricity rates.

Actually, the media seemed oblivious that the post-blackout fuel price spike began a slow retreat almost immediately. Within a week, locally, the price of unleaded regular had backed off a dime from its high of $1.89.

Well, just to prove that good news is no news, very little coverage appeared in print or on the tube when — on a Friday, of all days — unleaded regular fell to $1.54.9, and, in isolated cases, to $1.49.9.

On Thursday morning last week, Meijer's gasoline station on Walker Road was advertising $1.47.9. In constant dollars, that's actually slightly lower than the 25 cents we paid for a gallon of regular in 1960.     

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