Grand Rapids Dunk'd

December 1, 2003
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There is a TV show on now that’s popular with the younger generation called “Punk’d,” starring heartthrob AshtonKutcher. It puts unsuspecting people in the middle of a prank and then films the outcome for MTV Universe to laugh at.

Well, Grand Rapids has its own version; call it “Dunk’d. PaulHense stars in it. He has a heartbeat.

The Grand Rapids chapter of the Coffee Dunkers of America’s annual show is on tap for 7:26 a.m., Monday, Dec. 8, in Grand Valley State University’s Eberhard Center in downtown Grand Rapids. Don’t be late, because you’ll have to pay extra, and the $4.94 required at the door is such a deal, unless you want to buy advance tickets for $11.56 each. Two can get in for the price of three, excluding real estate developers, who must pay full price no matter what their attorneys say.

So who will “star” in this year’s show? Well, as usual, it’s all hush-hush. But here are a few questions you might ask yourself before attending. Will JohnLogie return to his folk-singing roots? Who teaches spelling at the Grand Rapids Press? Will there be any hotel in the city not dispensing Amway shampoo, mouthwash and hand creams?

Yes, these and other pertinent questions may be answered next Monday morning.

Also, warm up those vocal chords, because there will be plenty of sing-alongs. Here’s one that’s sure to rouse the early-risers. Sung to the tune of “The Happy Wanderer,” it’s called “Torma-la.”

“As I go a pandering thru a district of my peers, I stop in every Polish Hall and quaff down several beers. (Chorus) Tormalee, Tormala, vote for me, Torma la ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha …”

Memo to City Commissioner RickTormala: You might want to swing by Monday and defend yourself.

Other subjects of interest are sure to include election hijinks, both local and national, and the never-ending saga of downtown hotels.

But it’s all in good fun, and proceeds will go Home Repair Services, God’s Kitchen, the Salvation Army and Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth. The Dunkers also will make a contribution to the Joel Boyden Scholarship Fund of Grand Rapids Rotary.

  • Up on the rooftop click, click, click ... it’s not St. Nick.

It can be seen near and far and all bets are on the bar. Parkland Properties of West Michigan owner Jonathan L. Rooks, having finished his lakeshore environmentally friendly building frenzy, is now living in and developing downtown Grand Rapids. Rooks, the first cover boy for Grand Rapids Business Journal ancillary publication, West Michigan Commercial Development & Real Estate Quarterly (whew, we call it CQ), now has Monroe Terrace (soon to be in the shadow of the Moch men) and the Peoples Building.

But the rooftop of the Terrace is the source of the intrigue. Some are sure that a rooftop garden may blossom in these days of a Grand Rapids-based U.S. Green Building Council chapter formation. Some have suggested Rooks is selling rooftop solariums to all who own a rooftop to rent. Others are betting on a pool (despite the age of the condo/apartment house), which might cool the tempers of the neighbors in the shadow of the Moch men.

Out the back door of the Business Journal offices (at least before the door is darkened by the M and M) we hear all those bets are off. The air space being sculpted atop the Terrace is Rooks’ solarium-style penthouse, complete with fireplace, unique lighting, an electric, retractable roof and not one, but two hot tubs (if that’s what elegant heated water seating can be called).

Rooks said he’s taking his time to complete the project, giving most of his effort to the Peoples Building renovation, but hopes for a New Year finish.

  • At a recent roundtable put on by The Right Place Inc., Gov. Jennifer Granholm was upfront in asking her audience what to do to upgrade the quality of training by public schools.

It’s a topic near and dear to manufacturers’ hearts and — as we can tell from old editions of the Grand Rapids Business Journal — business leaders here in the past have formed at least three task forces to work with the public education to improve its “product.”

Yet, at least as far as the governor and local manufacturers are concerned, all the energy and money have accomplished bupkis.

Granholm made it clear, by the way, that permitting competition to public education is out of the question.

  • What may help, however, is a new bill introduced by Congressman VernEhlers, R-Grand Rapids.

Ehlers, the chairman of the Environment, Technology and Standards Subcommittee of the House Science Committee, said the legislation, dubbed the Manufacturing Technology Competitiveness Act of 2003 (HR 3598), would provide grants to help develop new manufacturing technologies, establish a fellowship program for manufacturing sciences postdoctoral and senior research fellows and expand the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program to help small and medium-size manufacturers respond to the extraordinary challenges they face from globalization.

  • The advertising/public relations major within Grand Valley State University’s School of Communications takes “clients” in a number of its classes. Professor TimPenning said the school is currently lining up clients for the winter 2004 semester, which begins in January.

Businesses or nonprofits are welcome to be clients, although GVSU prefers organizations vs. sole proprietorships. Depending on the class, students can do a number of projects completed within the semester, including: complete a media contact list and a media kit; complete a communications audit and plan and a variety of written communication tools; provide counsel to management on a particular PR problem/opportunity; complete an ad/PR campaign plan including research, objectives, strategies, and communication tactics.

For more information, contact Penning prior to Dec. 10 at


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