Good News

January 31, 2005
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Between the Business Journal's Newsmaker of the Year Award on Monday and sister publication Grand Rapids Magazine's Grand Culinary Affair on Tuesday, it was quite a week for Gemini Publications.

But, judging by the varied reactions, it also was quite a week for the community.

On Monday, Saint Mary's LacksCancerCenter and Spectrum's MeijerHeartCenter shared the Newsmaker award, and also shared plenty of goodwill with the rest of the health-care community.

In accepting the award, Saints CEO PhilMcCorkle took great pains to mention Spectrum's heart center during his remarks, while calling his own cancer center a bright star in Grand Rapids' health care constellation. McCorkle pointed out that the cancer center welcomed its first patients the day before the awards ceremony and then turned to the Econ Club gathering and invited them to take tours, specifically mentioning Spectrum by name.

For his part, Spectrum's JimWilson also invited the community to take a look (as Steelcase CEO JimHackett and crew had done earlier that morning), and then turned to McCorkle and personally invited him and the Saints staff.

The Econ Club's KathleenPonitz, who was mistress of ceremonies and overall a most genial host, said later in the week that the event was well received by all who attended and the organization was eager to host the ceremony in coming years.

  • Attendees at GR Magazine's 25th annual Dining Awards, known as A Grand Culinary Affair, had much the same reaction.

This year's theme, Open Kitchen, had guests strolling through five kitchens inside the AppliedTechnologyCenter staffed by members of Grand RapidsCommunity College's Hospitality Education Program, which also is celebrating a quarter-century.

Chowhounds were able to interact with the culinary students while sampling a host of delicacies. Overall, the new format was more than acceptable to all who attended.

For a complete list of winners, see the February edition of Grand Rapids Magazine.

Note to ChristiSteffens of Gordon Food Service, winner of Chef Professional of the Year: Did you get your shoes back on in time to accept the award?

  • Business Journal Publisher JohnZwarensteyn paid tribute to longtime circuit court judge StuartHoffius at the Economics Club Newsmaker of the Year event last Monday.

Grand Rapids lost another icon last week," Zwarensteyn said. "Economics Club member Stuart Hoffius passed away on Jan. 19th. Often referred to as Mr. Chief Justice of West Michigan, Hoffius was a tireless, behind the scenes advocate for the many causes he believed in. The extent of his interests and involvement in the community was staggering. He believed in and supported the arts, social service agencies, cultural and educational institutions, and a government that serves the people. He also believed in individual responsibility, personal integrity and justice for all."

One example of his vision and strength of character can be illustrated by his tireless efforts to bring the Calder stabile to downtown Grand Rapids. He convinced the politicians at both the city and county levels to support the project, against formidable opposition, and went on to secure the necessary funding.

"He was respectful of all people, regardless of their circumstances. He was a tower of strength. This community owes a large debt of gratitude to Stuart Hoffius, and we will sorely miss him," Zwarensteyn said.

A memorial service for Hoffius was held on Monday, Jan. 24, 2005, at FountainStreetChurch

  • Detroit Tigers legends KirkGibson and BillFreehan helped the West Michigan Whitecaps celebrate their 2004 Midwest League championship as well as the Tigers' 1968 and 1984 titles as more than 550 people packed the Pinnacle Center last Monday for the Whitecaps 11th Annual Winter Baseball Banquet. The event, which included a raffle, silent and live auction, raised $30,000 for the Whitecaps Inner-City Youth Baseball and Softball program.

Underwritten by Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt and Howlett, the Winter Baseball Banquet is the main source of funding for the YMCA program. It now has raised more than $240,000 during its 11 years. The program gives underprivileged children the chance to play organized baseball.

The money raised Tuesday night will be used for uniforms, equipment and field supervision.

  • What are the odds of this happening? A new movie expected in April, "The Weather Man" starring NicolasCage, has quite a Grand Rapids connection.

The flick, which is directed by GoreVerbinski ("Pirates of the Caribbean," "The Ring," etc.), apparently has a couple of scenes in which Cage is in need of some archery instruction.

His mentor? None other than partner SteveHilger of the local law firm Rhoades McKee, an accomplished archer and a 2004 Olympic qualifier. Also of great use to the movie is Burr & Co. insurance broker JeffreyDeRegnaucourt, whose arrow aplomb was used to recreate some of the shots in the film. Look for other members of the local archery community to sneak into scenes as extras. GlennMeyers, who coaches archery at RockfordHigh School and GrandValleyStateUniversity, was a trusted technical adviser on the set.   

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