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The Kelsey Block in downtown Three Rivers to undergo renovation

Bruce Monroe, owner of the Kelsey Block at 39-43 N. Main Street in downtown Three Rivers, will receive design assistance services through the Michigan Main Street Center.

Michigan Main Street Design Specialist Debra Johnson met with Monroe for an on-site consultation and prepared a written report that included paint samples, historic photos, a maintenance schedule and further resources to assist in making improvements to the building.

"While we had a good overview of what our building required in terms of repair, refreshing and otherwise updating in concert with historical rehab guidelines and preferred practices, the Michigan Main Street Center provided insight and direction in very specific detail to guide our restoration process," Monroe says. He adds that he has had experience working on historic buildings in the past, but "the availability of expertise beyond our own experiences was helpful and appreciated.”

The Kelsey Block was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. The building was built in 1854 and is described as a three-story, nine-bay wide, Victorian Italianate block.

Monroe applied for the Design Services this past summer. His application was unanimously approved by the Three Rivers DDA/Main Street Design Committee. It received highest marks on significance, implementation, visibility, appropriateness, and simplicity.

Monroe will be able to apply for funding through the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and the National Park Service.

Monroe says they will use the remainder of the year to finalize renovation plans, and hope to begin work on the building in the spring of 2016. Preliminary plans include re-pointing and masonry work, painting, awning treatments, and interior remodeling.

Monroe is the third and final recipient of the design assistance for the 2015 fiscal year.

Source: Three Rivers Downtown Development Authority

Ta-Nehisi Coates: Writer on social issues, politics, culture to speak Nov. 3

Many people and organizations in Kalamazoo County have been working on racial disparities for decades, says Community Foundation President and CEO Carrie Pickett-Erway. A Nov. 3 appearance by Ta-Nehisi Coates is intended to add momentum to the conversations and work that is ongoing.

“Mr. Coates delivers a powerful historical perspective of the impact that systemic racial discrimination has had on our country,” says Pickett-Erway.

He is the author of the current best-seller "Between the World and Me," a finalist for the National Book Award. He is a national correspondent for The Atlantic magazine, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. In 2014 he authored the cover story for The Atlantic, “The Case for Reparations,” and the October 2015 issue of the magazine features his cover story, “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration.”

He is also Journalist-in-Residence at the School of Journalism at City University of New York. His 2008 memoir, "The Beautiful Struggle," described his childhood in Baltimore, and his recently released "Between the World and Me" takes the form of a letter to his 15-year-old son about growing up as a black man in America. 

According to the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which named him a 2015 recipient of one of its "genius' grant says Coates “is emerging as a leading interpreter of American concerns to a new generation of media-savvy audiences and having a profound impact on the discussion of race and racism in this country.” (See a video of him here.)

"It is the Community Foundation’s hope that, upon hearing his message, people will reflect, and join in these important conversations," says Pickett-Erway. "We cannot be the community we believe we are until discrimination no longer exists and every person has the opportunity to reach full potential."

Sponsored by PNC Bank, his talk also is a part of WMU University Center for the Humanities’ 2015-2016 speaker series, "Reimagining Communities."

Coates will appear at 8 p.m. Nov. 3 at Miller Auditorium on Western Michigan University’s campus. The event is free and open to the public; however, registrations are required at or by calling 269-381-4416. Parking also will be free at the Miller Auditorium ramp.

Source: Kalamazoo Community Foundation

Seven new health care providers join Bronson team

Bronson has recently added these new health care providers:

Beverly Russell, PA-C, RN, EMT-P, has joined the team at Bronson Center for Colon & Rectal Diseases. She has 12 years of experience and was most recently employed with Bronson Internal Medicine Hospital Specialists – Battle Creek. Russell earned her Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from University of Nebraska School of Medicine in Omaha, Neb. Russell will see patients at Bronson Center for Colon & Rectal Diseases located at 3770 Capital Ave. SW, Suite A, in Battle Creek, and at 212 Winston Drive in Marshall.  

Bronson Family Medicine – The Groves has added Geffrey Hammond, MD, to its team. His practice, Gull Crossing Family Medicine, joined Bronson in September. He has special interests in preventive medicine, behavioral medicine and weight management. He is board certified in family medicine and received his medical degree from Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Hammond completed his family medicine internship through the Southwest Michigan Area Health Education Center, which included both Bronson Methodist Hospital and Borgess Hospital. Bronson Family Medicine – The Groves is located at 6938 Elm Valley Drive, Suite 101, in Kalamazoo.  

Misty Miller, PA-C, has joined Bronson Family Practice Oshtemo. She has special interests in pediatric and adolescent health, as well as women’s health. Miller earned her Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. Prior to joining Bronson Family Practice Oshtemo, Miller worked at Bronson Pediatric Referral Services in Kalamazoo. Bronson Family Practice Oshtemo is located at 5629 Stadium Dr., Suite D, in Kalamazoo.

Bronson Internal Medicine Hospital Specialists welcomes Christine Dugan, DO, and Janet Hur, MD, to its team.

Hur will be working as a hospitalist at Bronson Methodist Hospital and Bronson Battle Creek. She is board certified in internal medicine and received her medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit.  She completed her internal medicine residency at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. Bronson Internal Medicine Hospital Specialists – Kalamazoo  is located at 601 John St. Bronson Internal Medicine Hospital Specialists – Battle Creek is located at 300 North Ave.

Dugan will be working as a hospitalist at both Bronson Methodist Hospital and Bronson Battle Creek. She is board eligible in internal medicine and received her medical degree from Michigan State University in East Lansing. She completed her internal medicine residency at Western Michigan University School of Medicine in Kalamazoo. Bronson Internal Medicine Hospital Specialists – Kalamazoo is located at 601 John St. Bronson Internal Medicine Hospital Specialists – Battle Creek is located at 300 North Ave. Bronson Internal Medicine Hospital Specialists – Paw Paw is located at 408 Hazen St.

Stacy Majoras, DO, and Jedediah L. Jensen, DO, have joined the team at Bronson HealthCare Midwest Sports Medicine.

Majoras completed her primary care sports medicine fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic and is board certified in family medicine, with a certificate of added qualifications in sports medicine. She is also a certified athletic trainer. Majoras completed her family practice internship and residency at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center in Mishawaka, Ind. and her medical degree from Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific in Pomona, Calif.

Jensen completed his primary care sports medicine fellowship at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine in Kalamazoo and is board eligible in internal medicine and pediatrics, with a certificate of added qualifications in sports medicine. He completed his internal medicine and pediatrics residency at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, and his medical degree from Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Des Moines, Iowa. Bronson HealthCare Midwest Sports Medicine is located at 315 Turwill Lane in Kalamazoo.

Source: Bronson HealthCare

Borgess Lee Medical Group adds family practitioner

Victor Hugo Benavides, MD, has joined Borgess Lee Medical Group (BLMG) as a family practitioner at the BLMG clinic in the Don Lyons Health Center, located across the street from Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital in Dowagiac.

Dr. Benavides has experience as a medical clerk and family medicine and completed internal medicine residencies for health networks and at medical centers in Michigan and Illinois, as well as in Puerto Rico, Peru and Mexico. He received his education in general medicine from the Universidad de Montemorelos in Mexico. He is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, Peruvian Medical Academy, and the Peruvian Internal Medicine Academy.

Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital offers quality care including leading-edge diagnostic and imaging services, responsive 24/7 emergency care, and outstanding cardiac diagnosis and care to Dowagiac and surrounding areas.

Cindy Gaines, MSN, RN, vice president and chief operating officer, Borgess Medical Group says, “Dr. Benavides "helps ensure our promise to serve regional families as partners in health for their life’s journey.”

Source: Michael Smith, Borgess

WMU readies Heritage Hall for grand re-opening

What once was East Hall has been renovated in a 16-month project and renamed Heritage Hall. The building will reopen to the public in a grand opening event at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23. It  will be the home of the WMU Alumni Center.
The project was designed with two major themes. "The first was restoring the grandeur and legacy of Heritage Hall as the birthplace and touchstone of the University. In essence, we wanted to restore and enhance the original postcard view of 'the Acropolis of Kalamazoo' on Prospect Hill," says Bjorn Green, senior principal with Tower Pinkster.  "The second was a vision to transform the building from the least efficient building on campus to the most efficient building on campus, and pursue a LEED Platinum rating for the project."

The transformation of the now 53,000-square-foot facility from its old presence to the new could not be more dramatic, say those most closely involved in the effort. And it was not easy.

Matthew Brecker, project manager for the Christman Co., the construction firm that has been overseeing the transformation calls it the most difficult project he has worked on.

There was little in the way of original documentation for today's architects and construction firms to work with. The building was built  in 1905, just two years after the University was established, during a period of few building standards and code requirements. It was not square and did not meet even the most minimal of modern load-bearing requirements, Brecker says.

So it was quite a challenge to transform the interior into a building with such new features as conference rooms, a cafe and a ballroom that can accommodate 180 people.

Turning the campus' least-efficient building to the status of most efficient also was an enormous task. The building had no insulation, no central cooling and utilized campus steam for heating. A series of chimneys throughout the building functioned only to permit fresh air to circulate in the building. A significant part of the renovation included asbestos and lead abatement.

During the restoration of Heritage Hall, materials were salvaged from East Campus buildings and restored to be used during construction. Some of these items include marble from the North Hall Library stacks, which is used in countertops throughout the building; the fireplace from North Hall, which is installed in the 1903 Room; stage flooring from the East Hall gymnasium, used in the display case flooring; and much more. Other items are being reused in other campus building and remodeling efforts.

Source: Cheryl Roland, Western Michigan University

Kalamazoo College breaks ground on new fitness center

Kalamazoo College has broken ground on a 30,000-square-foot fitness and wellness center.

In a Sept. 24 ceremony at the building site the college celebrated the beginning of the construction of the center that is expected to cost $9 million. The building is fully funded from the recently completed Campaign for Kalamazoo College that raised $129 million, a record for the school.

The center, will be "a common space in which the entire campus community--faculty, staff, students, and retirees--can develop healthy lifestyles through participation in fitness and wellness programs," says K College President Eileen B. Wilson-Oyelaran.

The college asked for financial support for the fitness and wellness center based on the consideration that nearly half the student body is involved in intercollegiate or intramural sports; there are many student organizations that focus on the body and movement such as Frelon, Cirque du K, the Badminton club, K-Cheer, and a wide variety of physical education courses including various forms of dance,martial arts, fencing, and circus arts.

Previously, the campus fitness facilities consisted of a 2,500-square-foot weight room for students; and a 600-square-foot converted squash court housing exercise equipment for faculty and staff.

The 30,000-square-foot, two-story center will have:

• a weight room and cardio fitness area of sufficient capacity to meet the needs of all students and employees;

• five multi-purpose rooms, as flexible in function as the liberal arts to which they are dedicated;

• two racquetball courts;

• expanded lockers for both the Hornet tennis teams and for general use; and

• an office and health assessment room for the campus wellness director.

The building also has many sustainability features.

"Our building is designed and will be constructed to the high standards of energy efficiency and resource conservation explicit in a LEED silver rating," says Wilson-Oyelaran. “And our efforts in this area will be audited by two students who have been hired and trained in LEED certification."

She adds that  the center reflects the college’s liberal arts mission. "We focus on the whole student; we focus on the balance of mind, spirit and body."

Source: Kalamazoo College

Donation means Pierce Cedar Creek Institute grows by 150 acres

Alice Jones and her late husband Kensinger have long been nature- lovers and conservationists. Now they have donated about 150 acres of their property to Pierce Cedar Creek Institute.

Alice Jones will have a lifetime lease on a portion of the property, which includes her home.

In their earlier years, Kensinger and Alice Jones lived across the globe from Singapore to Sydney to Chicago and, in search of an escape from city life, bought their property in Barry County in 1969. This unique global perspective gave the pair a true appreciation for the natural beauty and ecological diversity of southwest Michigan and instilled an ardent desire to protect it.

The 150-acre property is adjacent to Pierce Cedar Creek Institute and the diverse habitats found on the property will  provide many opportunities to further the Institute’s mission of promoting environmental education, research, preservation, and appreciation and will expand the Institute’s 661 aces to approximately 815 contiguous acres.

The Institute has a number of plans for the property, such as research opportunities on this relatively untouched parcel. Access to the two lakes will increase existing wetland research while new research plots in the grassland and forest habitats will act as control plots to determine the most effective methods for dealing with various invasive plants.

Along with these research opportunities, the Institute’s trail systems will also be expanded.

Jones's home was built over the next few years following their purchase in 1969, and they made the move from Australia in 1972, where Kensinger worked as an advertising executive. In 1995, the Joneses discovered the means to protect their land and placed it under a conservation easement with the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy. As the first to do so in Barry County, they blazed a trail of environmental responsibility in the area.

A conservation easement ensures that a property is preserved in its predominantly natural state. It prohibits commercial or industrial use, as well as placement of any additional structures such as buildings, roads, or parking lots, except those specifically agreed upon in the document.

“We want to teach people to view the world as belonging to everyone,” says Alice Jones.

Kensinger Jones passed away in March 2015 and is survived by his wife, a son, daughter, son in law, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. In July 2015, Alice deeded the entirety of the property to the Institute, achieving one of the couple’s longtime goals, while retaining a life lease on the northern half of the property for her and her children.

Pierce Cedar Creek Institute

Editors Note: Pictures are not of the donated property.


Perrigo Co. hires senior scientist

Juliane Bauer has been hired as a senior scientist in formulation research and development by Perrigo Co. in Allegan.

Bauer will focus on efforts to develop, test and scale-up formulations for commercial production.

She has 30 years experience in formulation and has worked at brand pharmaceutical companies for 27 years. She also spent three years with a contract manufacturing company.

Bauer earned her bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Oakland University. She also has received various industry awards throughout her careers.

Bauer is from Detroit and currently lives in Kalamazoo.   

Source: Perrigo, Co.

Campaign launches to support Lakeside for Children

An 11,500-square-foot multipurpose classroom and fitness center is planned to improve opportunities at Lakeside for Children. A campaign to raise $2.3 million to help pay for the building project got under way Oct. 1 and is called "Sound Mind. Sound Body."

Four new classrooms and a multipurpose space will allow Lakeside to expand its programming. A full-size court will provide fitness space for athletic competition and wellness programming. The new center will take the place of a small, outmoded gym built in the 1960s for elementary school aged children.

The 48-acre Lakeside for Children campus on Oakland Drive in Kalamazoo has been a home for troubled children for more than 100 years. One of the oldest social service agencies in Kalamazoo County, Lakeside currently serves about 120 at-risk boys and girls, ages 12 to 18 in a residential setting.

Youngsters are referred to Lakeside through juvenile justice systems and human service agencies in Michigan and several other states. Students live in family-style cottages and attend year-round school at Lakeside Academy, a strict-discipline charter school sponsored by Kalamazoo Regional Educational Services Agency.

Former Lakeside resident Bob Ezelle (now head of the Boys and Girls Club of Kalamazoo), as well as several current Lakeside students were scheduled to talk about how Lakeside helps them achieve sound minds and sound bodies, many for the first times in their young lives. Kirk Latimer and Gabriel Giron, the inspirational speakers known as “Kinetic Effect” who work regularly with Lakeside students, were to provide a special performance.

Lakeside leaders, including “Sound Mind. Sound Body.” Honorary Campaign Co-chairs Amy Upjohn and Joseph Brogger II, were to join area education, civic, and business leaders at the event in Lakeside’s Todd Cultural Center at Lakeside to announce the public phase of them campaign.

"The project is essential to the success of every Lakeside student,” says Lakeside Board Chair and “Sound Mind. Sound Body.” Campaign Chair A.J. Todd. “Countless studies demonstrate that fitness and wellness combined with quality classroom experiences and counseling greatly helps at-risk students to recover and progress toward a healthy future. Our students will take a big step toward this future with the successful completion of this campaign."

Source: Lakeside for Children

Mountain bikers get to work in Markin Glen

There are some pretty gnarly hills in the woods of Markin Glen Park's west side.

Mountain bikers, hungry for a singletrack ride close to home, have just launched work on a trail through the under-utilized portion of the Kalamazoo park between North Westnedge and Douglas. Volunteers of the Southwest Michigan Mountain Biking Association, along with professional trail builders, should have completed a new spot to ride by next spring/early summer.

For the past five years, "we've been working on trying to get a good trail built somewhere closer to Kalamazoo. So we don't have to commute out to Fort Custer every time we want to ride our bikes," says Travis Bell, SWMMBA president.

Fort Custer Recreation Area has popular trails that see around 40,000 riders a year, but it's past Augusta, a drive for Kalamazooans. Texas Township's Al Sabo Preserve is another popular destination, but its trails, designed by Boy Scouts, often have erosion and maintenance issues, Bell says.

After a five-year process of planning and paperwork with the Kalamazoo County Parks Department and director Dave Rachowicz, SWMMBA members got out rakes and shovels Aug. 29 to clear a trail through the trees. They expected to do about half of the five to six miles of singletrack.

The other half, since it involves "very abrupt, steep hills," will be designed and built by Spectrum Trail Design, who've built star trails around the Midwest. They know how to keep it natural-looking, avoid erosion, and make "a good, flowing, fun ride."

To hire Spectrum, the SMMBA will be raising funds from area businesses and individual donors.

Those who don't mountain bike might wonder, after all the money spent on other non-motorized trails, like the Kal-Haven or the KRVT, why put resources into a narrow and hilly dirt trail?

"Mountain bikers are looking for a little different experience. They want to get out in the woods, a lot of us like the physical exertion of a really hard run--this trail will be a little more challenging," he says.

"This is going to be the after-work trail. You get done with work, you hit that trail, do a couple of laps, and you're going to be really wore-out by the time you're done. And you'll still be home in time for dinner."

Connectivity with downtown was also a factor in the attractiveness of the site. One could "park at Bell's (Brewery), ride the KRVT to Markin Glen..." do your jumps and climbs, ride back, "and have a tasty beverage," he says. "This is truly a trail for the locals."  

Writer: Mark Wedel, Second Wave Media
Source: Travis Bell, Southwest Michigan Mountain Biking Association

Lakeland Health welcomes three new doctors

Three doctors have recently joined Lakeland Health--a foot and ankle specialist, a new family physician, and a rheumatologist.

James Maskill, DPM, is seeing patients at Community Bone & Joint, located within the Health Park Medical Suites, 3950 Hollywood Road, Suite 210, in St. Joseph.

Dr. Maskill earned his medical degree from the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine at Rosalind Franklin University in Chicago, where he graduated summa cum laude. He completed his Foot and Ankle Residency with Kaiser Permanente in the San Francisco Bay Area. He completed fellowship training with the New England Foot and Ankle Specialists in Portland, Maine, where he specialized in complex hindfoot and forefoot reconstruction, total ankle replacements, and foot and ankle trauma.

Dr. Maskill is a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and has been published in the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association.

Adam Mitchell, DO, is seeing patients at Lakeland Family Medicine, Niles, located at 4 Longmeadow Village Drive.  An Alabama native, he earned his medical degree from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg, W.V.

His medical interests include sports medicine and well visits, and he enjoys the variety of patients he sees in Family Medicine practice. He is passionate about community involvement, and hopes to encourage healthy lifestyles outside of the office.

“I chose family medicine as a career because you’re able to build relationships with your patients, and when you have those relationships, you’re able to take better care of them,” says Dr. Mitchell. “I try to provide care to my patients like I would provide to my own family, and that leads to more trust and a better exchange of information for better health outcomes.”

Nina Ramessar, MD, Rheumatologist, is seeing patients alongside Amrit Anand, MD, at Lakeland Rheumatology, located within the Health Park Medical Suites. Dr. Ramessar earned her medical degree from the University of the West Indies, located in St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. She is a member of the American College of Rheumatology and has been published in several peer-reviewed journals.

Dr. Ramessar enjoys participating in clinical research and treating patients with lupus. Prior to joining Lakeland, Dr. Ramessar completed a Rheumatology Fellowship at SUNY (State University New York) Downstate Medical Center located in central Brooklyn, where she also finished her Internal Medicine residency. During her fellowship, Dr. Ramessar served as Rheumatology Chief Fellow.

Source: Lakeland Health


Two local businesses relocate to bigger spaces

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan in Portage and the law offices of Levine & Levine in downtown Kalamazoo have both announced new locations.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, which has had offices in the area for more than 50 years, has relocated to the high visibility location at 950 Trade Centre Way in Portage.

The company which was in its previous Portage location on Creekside Drive for seven years have moved into a 9,000-square-foot office space in the Trade Centre development is located at the northwest corner of I-94 and South Westnedge Avenue.

Three former tenant spaces in the building were combined to create the space to accommodate Blue Cross Blue Shield. The work by AVB took about two months.

The new location enhances Blue Cross Blue Shield's ability to provide   service to  its members says Jeff Connolly, senior vice president, large group business and president, West Michigan.

“Our new facility is conveniently located, provides a customer-friendly office environment and a better and more efficient use of space, which enables our team to enhance our walk-in customer service capabilities for members, including seniors,” says Connolly.

Roger Hinman and Joe Gesmundo purchased the entire 32-acre property off I-94 in 2003. Since then, two office buildings, a Courtyard by Marriott, and Homewood Suites by Hilton have been developed at Trade Centre Way. Plans for the remainder of the development include restaurants and possibly another three-story office building.

Growing law firm decides to relocate

For 28 years the law firm Levine & Levine has worked from the historic Isaac Brown House at 427 S. Burdick Street. Now they are relocating to the 14th floor of the Fifth Third Bank building, 136 E. Michigan Ave.

Randall and Sharan Levine, husband and wife founders of L&L, first opened their practice in the doctor’s office connected to the Isaac Brown House. Over the years, the firm expanded to fill the entire home.

Levine & Levine Attorneys At Law now has seven lawyers and has outgrown the 148-year-old Italianate house on Burdick Street that still has the carriage mounting block out front.

"While we have enjoyed maintaining and caring for the historic Isaac Brown House, it’s time for another owner to care for the home as we did for many years," says Sharan Levine.

The new location in the historical art deco Fifth Third Bank building, will allow for the law firm to grow in a more efficient office setting, its founders say. The firm specializes in criminal defense, family law, business law, appeals and estate planning.

Randall Levine says the move will allow them "to grow our practice and grow the firm’s next generation of leaders."

Sources: The Hinman Co. and Levine & Levine


Community invited to groundbreaking for new Ministry with Community

A new 24,000-square foot building will allow Ministry with Community to offer classrooms, offices for outreach workers, and multipurpose spaces to better serve the 2,000 who seek shelter there each year.

Groundbreaking for the new building at 500 N. Edwards, site of the former Johnson-Howard Lumber yard, will take place at 3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10 and the community is invited to attend.

Rob Oakleaf, Executive Director of Ministry with Community, says that the new facility will not mean an increase in staff, but instead will allow Ministry greater flexibility in working with those it serves.

Currently there are agencies that would like to do more work with those Ministry with Community serves, but there is little space to do so, Oakleaf says. The new building will offer classrooms, offices for outreach workers and multipurpose space to better host partner organizations.

The new building will feature more adequate public areas and dining space, as well.

Ministry with Community is a resource center and daytime shelter for those struggling with homelessness, poverty, unemployment, mental illness and other challenges. Ministry with Community strives to provide the highest quality services to members in a friendly, open and dignified setting.

The $6 million Rebuilding Lives Campaign to fund the new building launched in 2014. The building is expected to open in the summer of 2016. The building currently being used will be put up for sale.

The project received robust support from area foundations, hundreds of individuals, families, businesses and places of worship, Hopkins says. The campaign also got huge momentum from a $1 million challenge grant from the Bill and Julia Van Domelen Challenge that came with a pledge that they would match all future donations for the new facility dollar-for-dollar up to $1 million.

The success of this campaign is a testament to the amazing work that happens every day at Ministry with Community and the community’s recognition of the need for a more efficient and respectful space,” says Jack Huiskamp, co-chair of the campaign along with Patti Huiskamp.

Rob Oakleaf , Ministry with Community

Mno-Bmadsen appoints Dave Felicijan as president of Accu-Mold

Dave Felicijan has joined Accu-Mold, a Portage manufacturer for the medical, consumer, defense, and automotive markets in the United States and abroad.

Felicijan will manage the manufacturer's tooling and production operations and will collaborate with the Accu-Mold team to develop processes and systems to support the strategic business direction and diversification.

He will also lead the implementation of Accu-Mold’s new Rapid Tooling segment. The Rapid Tooling will allow Accu-Mold to deliver injection molded components in hours and days versus weeks and months.

Felicijan previously was a senior team member at Western Diversified Plastic LLC, a Certified Minority Manufacturer in Mattawan, and was part of a startup that achieved "phenomenal growth in an unpredictable economy," according to the company. 

He was responsible for diversified business development and program management that encompassed product design, tooling, production and automated assembly. Prior to that, he was the Sales Manager for Engineered Plastic Components, based in Cologne, Germany.

Accu-Mold, a certified minority business enterprise, is a leader in plastic engineering and tooling manufacturing, offering product design, tool design, rapid tool manufacturing, production tool manufacturing and high/low volume production injection molding and assembly.

Troy Clay, CEO of Mno-Bmadsen, owners of Accu-Mold, says that as owners they are "investing heavily in technology and systems that offer great products and service to our customers, including advanced Computer Aided Design, 3-D printing, and prototype development."

Talent is also a top priority, Clay says and notes that Felicijan has more than 29 years of experience in the plastics and manufacturing industries that make him well positioned to lead this company and the investments Mno-Bmadsen is making in it.

Poverty, homelessness, and employment seen as top social issues locally

As the Kalamazoo Community Foundation works to bring about change in the community it relies in part on information it collects in surveys from area residents, nonprofits, and donors.

In a recent survey, the Community Foundation found that more people are saying that Kalamazoo County has a lot to offer than they were in 2012. When asked what three things they liked about living in Kalamazoo County that they would not want to lose the survey respondents also said they liked area schools and the convenience of the community. The size of the city was also cited as a plus.

Diversity, education, the people, the Kalamazoo Promise, and schools were all cited as strengths of the community.

A number of those surveyed said they liked area parks and trails and the arts. Two said they liked the Alamo Draft House.

The survey also showed that many people are not aware of significant social issues facing many county residents. When asked to name the three most significant social issues facing residents of Kalamazoo County, one-third could name only one.

Those who responded said poverty, homelessness and employment--in that order--are the most significant social issues facing the community.

The survey also looked at local giving. More than three-fourths of respondents (76.8 percent) indicated they had donated to a charitable organization in the past year, with the top recipients being human services (44.4 percent), religious organizations (40.8 percent) and health organizations (31.8 percent). And more than one-third (40.3 percent) gave up to $499 to charitable organizations in the past year, while 14.3 percent  gave more than $2,000.

President/CEO Carrie Pickett-Erway says the Community Foundation will use this information to increase our effectiveness in working with our partners, both donors and nonprofits, to better serve our customer, which is the community.”

The survey gives the Community Foundation an understanding of what the community needs. It also shows that there is an opportunity to increase awareness about significant social issues.

The 29 question survey of 400 people was conducted in March 2015, by Perspectives Consulting Group of Paw Paw.

“As a data-driven organization, we feel it is important for our planning and decision-making to be informed by community input,” says Pickett-Erway.

Source: Tom Vance, Kalamazoo Community Foundation
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