Sometimes before you look ahead it's useful to look at where you have been. Before we get too far into 2013 we want to take a look back at our readers favorite stories of 2012. From digital currency, to a Borgess doctor who comes from a family of inventors, and a downtown developer our best read stories of the year gone by often asked our favorite question: What's next.
Was the Southwest Michigan's Second Wave story you liked the most in the Top 10? Check to see if it made our list.
1. What can you buy with bitcoins?
Michael Garyet is keeping his eyes on bitcoins--an Internet currency that's getting more and more attention from the media and entrepreneurs who are developing ways to make use of it. "It solves a lot of what could be considered the really big problems of finance," Garyet says. Read on here
2. Roses are blooming big business at Walnut Hill Farm
Approaching Walnut Hill Farm, about two miles south of Bangor at County Road 681, the eye goes first to the walnut tree. It's huge. About 200 feet across in limb span, in fact, and at a height that speaks of more than one century rooted in this land. Then, turning into the drive between two houses, it is the roses that overtake the senses. Not just hundreds of them -- thousands. Joyce Latta and Tom Conklin, business as well as marital partners, grow about 1,500 roses in the soil of Walnut Hill Farm, and another 1,500 or so still in pots, ready for sale. Read on here
3. Doctor, serial entrepreneur, finds better ways to help patients
Dr. Tim Fischell is many things. He is an interventional cardiologist and Medical Director of the Department of Cardiovascular Research at Borgess Medical Center, a professor of medicine at Michigan State University, and he is what many in the business world refer to as a "serial entrepreneur." But looking at his resume does not even tell half the story. He is something else that is hard to define. His colleagues say it is a never-ending drive to improve things, to build something better when he is frustrated with the current state of medical technology. Read on here
4. The beautiful scars of Kinetic Affect bring healing to others
When you see the crowd of 700 rise to their feet in a second ovation at a performance in Washington D.C., or the circle of young attentive faces at Kalamazoo's Lakeside Academy in laser-focus on the stage, the healing effect of Kinetic Affect is obvious. Sold out crowds gather to hear them at school fundraisers, art hops, comedy and improvisational shows, talent shows and theaters. And connecting community service to the spoken word art form, the team of two poets also performs to audiences of those that some might say have been forgotten by society: at-risk youth, single mothers raising children, prison inmates, struggling addicts. Yet the healing isn’t just happening among those in the audience. On stage, the healing touches poets and performers Kirk Latimer and Gabriel Giron as well. Read on here
5. Chefs of Southwest Michigan: Three to Watch
From downtowns to the rural reaches of Southwest Michigan, no matter where you travel, local chefs have something delicious for your dinner plate. Three of those that diners are going out of their way to seek out, can be found in their kitchens in Fennville, Texas Township, and Kalamazoo. They are: Chef Matthew Pietsch, Chef Andy Havey, and Chef Denise Miller. Read on here
6. A Second Round: At Black Owl Cafe coffee will be made to be savored
For most of us, the consumption of coffee is part of a ritual that we go through on a daily basis. From the opening of the bag to the pulsing blades, shredding and grinding the beans, to the rhythmic drip, drip, drip of the coffee machine, each step leads us closer to the end of the methodical task at hand. But Garett Krugh, head roaster for the Kalamazoo Coffee Co. and soon to open Black Owl Cafe hopes to break patrons from the droning rituals that often fog the senses, masking what should be an exhilarating, cognitive experience. Read on here
7. Hear Here puts compassion in print in Kalamazoo
Anne Hensley and Melanie Crow sit across the table from each other, two editors for a new Kalamazoo magazine, Hear Here. They are fishing for a common memory, but not finding it. "Funny thing," says Hensley, "but neither one of us remembers ever meeting. We just … converged." Crow shrugs. "We both have husbands involved in music and teaching, must have been through them." No matter. They met. Sometime, somewhere. The mesh of friendship was a natural and soon inclined toward the literary. Read on here
8. Winter is no time for hibernation for CSA farmers
The two women stand at the top of the ridge and look out over the muddy field. They look into the future -- and the future is lush and green. Amy Newday and Diane Glenn may not be the first image to come to mind when one thinks of Michigan farmers, but that is, they will both admit with a grin, part of the allure. After a couple of years of careful planning, Amy and Diane started their small farm in Shelbyville, a rural area about 25 miles north of Kalamazoo, in 2011. They call it Harvest of Joy Farm, LLC. Read on here
9. The art of the chocolatier
When it comes to being an aphrodisiac, research has yet to show hard evidence of a connection between chocolate and love. Don't tell that to Cherri Emery, who is passionate about chocolate and won't go through a day without a nibble. She is also a chocolatier who takes chocolate-making to an art. Her best ingredient is the love she adds to Cherri's Chocol'art. Read on here
10. A portfolio of change for downtown Kalamazoo
Having long since retired from a successful legal career, Tom Huff, one of Kalamazoo's real estate moguls now has the time and the capital on his hands to continue to reshape the city, his hometown. "I am possessed by this," says Huff, 69, owner of Peregrine Realty. "I just take these buildings and I just do it. It's what I do now." Read on here
Compiled by Kathy Jennings, managing editor of Southwest Michigan's Second Wave.