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Bridge: Borgess Run gets the community moving

Bridge magazine reports: "Borgess Run Camp is now in its 14th year of preparing the out-of-shape, the discouraged and the overweight to do more than they imagined possible."

The story goes on to talk about the ways Run Camp benefits the community and how it is becoming a model for other communities, like Grand Rapids.

Excerpt: "To be sure, the camp encompasses plenty of die-hard participants who have proven their fitness over years of dedicated training. They join in because they love running, and have for years. But what distinguishes it from other training programs is its embrace of novice runners, including those who never laced up a pair of running shoes before. To that end,(Blaine) Lam has cultivated a volunteer network that has mushroomed to 11 coaches and about 125 team leaders. Matched by the pace they can run, participants are assigned to a small group, each with a designated team leader. Within weeks, they are calling each other by first name and cheering each other on."

Read the full story here.

Source: Bridge

Al Jazeera: Police force tackles its racial bias

First came the study results, reports Al Jazeera. Lamberth Consulting, which specializes in racial profiling assessments, examined police stops at 12 different locations in Kalamazoo, a city of 75,000 starting in March 2012, and found that black motorists were more than twice as likely to be stopped as white drivers. And even though whites were more likely to be found with contraband like guns and drugs, far more blacks were searched, handcuffed, and arrested.

Then came the anger, public safety officers offended that the study results made them out to be bad guys. And many Kalamazoo public safety officers reacted to the study by cutting back their traffic stops dramatically. Next Chief Jeff Hadley made racial bias training mandatory for Kalamazoo officers, ordered that they document probable cause for every suspect they search and  set up quotas for interactions with the public meant to build better relations with the community. Hadley says he’ll continue working to build trust between his officers and communities of color.

Excerpt: "I'm not going to sit here and paint some picture like every interaction is going to be Andy and Barney in Mayberry," Hadley said, referring to the classic sitcom "The Andy Griffith Show." “We deal with some complex stuff. We have to listen. We have to pay attention. We have to look ahead, down the road, and see what's the best way we can achieve crime reduction at the same time maintaining the relationship with the community."

See the full story, here.

Source: Al Jazeera

Online Masters: The 50 Most Beautiful Med Schools

Online Masters says “a single glance at the jaw-dropping architecture lets you know that this medical school is special.”

The online publication that ranks different degree programs and explain the strengths that each program offers turned its sights on the architecture of med schools and decided the new Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine is 41 of 50 on its list.

Excerpt: “If you’re looking for a jaw-dropping, stop-you-in-your-tracks display, check out the new Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine. Donated by MPI Research, the structure is a redesigned renovation of an old pharmaceutical research building in downtown Kalamazoo. The new addition, with its curved shape and glass atrium, transformed the existing structure into an ultramodern learning center that aligns with the new medical school’s innovative curriculum, with two team-based learning halls, and more than 24,000 square feet dedicated to medical simulation.”

See the full list here.

Source: Online Masters

Forbes: Kalamazoo one of 10 best for work-life balance

There are lots of lists floating around out there. Here's one from NerdWallet, reported in Forbes magazine, that cities will want to be on. NerdWallet looked at the 536 largest cities across the country, along with commute time, income, and cost of living to determine the cities that offer employees the best and worst chances at healthy work-life balance.


“A lot of these places ended up being places with a low cost of living where there isn’t a huge demand for housing–places where you don’t have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet,” said (NerdWallet analyst Divya) Raghavan, adding that “they’re definitely places with more diverse economies. A lot of these cities have research companies, universities, and the health care industry.”

The full story is here.

Source: Forbes

Azure magazine: K College building one of top 10 in 2014

When Azure magazine rounded up the Top 10 big projects of the year, Kalamazoo College's Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership made the list of "the most mind-bendingly ambitious buildings completed this year." Others in the list included a distillery greenhouse in the south of England (by the always-inventive Thomas Heatherwick) and Jean Nouvel’s skyscraper in Sydney (draped entirely in greenery).

"As a learning and meeting space for students, faculty, and visitors, the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College, Michigan, only needed to provide basic facilities; as the architecture firm’s website points out, “a church basement, a living room, or even a kitchen table” would have sufficed. But Jeanne Gang’s intention was to elevate the pursuit of social justice in both a literal and a poetic sense, by creating a space that evokes harmony and the convergence of ideas in a physical way."

The full story is here.

Source: Azure magazine

Crain's: Greenleaf Trust state's No. 1 cool place to work among medium size companies

When it comes to medium sized companies (50 to 249 employees), Greenleaf Trust is the No. 1 Cool Place to Work in Michigan, says Crain's Detroit Business. The survey and awards program recognizes the best employers in Michigan. Greenleaf Trust has 91 employees.


Greenleaf President Michael Odar also hosts monthly all-staff meetings to provide news on the company, and the CFO gives quarterly updates on the profitability picture. When the company's profitability goals are met, everyone shares in the profits by an amount in proportion to their salary. Those who meet their individual goals are eligible for an additional profitability bonus. The company also gives out spot awards -- money for a specific job well done.

The full story is here.

More on Greenleaf Trust is here.

Crain's Detroit Business

Yes! Magazine says Kalamazoo is compassionate community

In Yes! Magazine's most recent edition, dedicated to the best ideas for eliminating poverty, Kalamazoo has a place on its list of compassionate communities for the Kalamazoo Promise, a scholarship program that pays for college for everyone who attends the city's public schools. The story lists seven communities that are bringing more equality into the lives of those who live there.

The story notes that The Kalamazoo Promise has inspired at least 30 similar scholarship programs across the country.

Except: Since 2005, young families have returned to the city, and enrollment in the school district has increased 24 percent. The number of minority students taking AP courses has increased 300 percent. The city has spent more money on the district than ever before—a lot more. Test scores have improved, and GPAs have increased, most notably among black students.

For the full story, click here.

Source: Yes! Magazine


What's working in local economies

In a story titled See which Michigan regions are growing the fastest, Ted Roelofs and Mike Wilkinson report for Bridge magazine that nine of 15 regions in Michigan posted growth higher than 2 percent GDP gain in 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Excerpt: Overall, the state’s numbers are a grab bag of the promising and the troubling. For example, statewide GDP grew by 2 percent in 2013. On the bright side, that’s above the five-state Midwest average of 1.6 percent, trailing only Indiana at 2.1 percent. To the negative, Michigan's GDP is still 6 percent below its output in its peak year of 2005. That's primarily because the state remains tethered to manufacturing, still its largest economic sector despite a considerable drop in the last 15 years.

The story says Niles-Benton Harbor ranked second in growth among 14 metropolitan regions in Michigan, Kalamazoo ranked 7th, and Battle Creek came in 10th.

Follow the links to find out what's behind the rankings.  See the full story here

NPR: What Benton Harbor knows that Ferguson doesn't

National Public Radio reports that in the aftermath of the violence in Ferguson there are a lot of people saying violence doesn't make a difference. But if you look at what happened 11 years ago in Benton Harbor, violence led to some changes. 

Excerpt: Eleven years ago, Benton Harbor, Mich., was a lot like Ferguson, Mo. It was a small town where racial tension with police reached a boiling point. Afterward there were promises of change for the city.

To hear the report, click here.

Source: National Public Radio

NYT: Stoking a Hearth for Human Rights

Michael Kimmelman of the New York Times recently visited Kalamazoo to learn about the architecture that makes up the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership. He recommends a pilgrimage to the building that embodies the lofty goal of the center on the Kalamazoo College campus. He says, "Mostly the center’s design is laudable simply for being eloquent and humane."


"What makes the building special is partly the novel form, which grows straight out of the center’s ambitions. It’s also the element of handicraft (those cordwood masonry exteriors) when so much marquee architecture leans on high-tech materials and 3-D printing."

For more, please read the entire review here

Source: New York Times

U.S. News & World Report: Check out the beer in Kalamazoo

For those looking beyond the known craft beer world in Denver, Portland, and Dublin there are at least eight other places in the world to visit and U.S. News and World Report says Kalamazoo is one of them. As the story says: "People are fermenting grains all over the world." But not every metropolis is a veritable beer city, overflowing with homegrown breweries, gastro pubs and beer festivals. For this reason, U.S. News selected a few spots where you may not have considered tipping back a pint.

The city's six new microbrews, Bell's Brewery, the West Michigan Beer Tour, January's Kalamazoo Beer Week were all cited as reasons to give the Kalamazoo beer scene a try.

Read the full story here.

Source: U.S. News and World Report

USA Today says Kalamazoo Marathon one of 14 all runners should try

A recent USA Today story points to 14 spring races all runners should try. If you can find a way to train for them during the slippery winter months the story suggests "the reward of an attractive and exciting springtime race will make all of the frozen fingers, runny noses and dark early mornings totally worth it."

Among the 14 it recommends is the Kalamazoo Marathon.

Excerpt: "A unique race that takes place in the heart of the commonly-referenced Michigan city, the Kalamazoo Marathon offers runners an exciting tour through the area's parks, trails, neighborhoods and downtown mall. The biggest draw, though: a chance to 'earn your mittens.' Runners who complete the Wisconsin Marathon on May 3 and then the nearby Kalamazoo Marathon on May 4 are presented with a special "mittens" medal. It may not keep your hands warm but it will sure look good hanging next to your other two newly earned awards. May 4, 2014."

Read about the other 13 races, here

Source: USA Today

Why would you want to move to Kalamazoo?

A Kalamazoo College grad stirred up a bit of -- well, it would be going too far to call it controversy -- but he did stir things up with a list of 30 Things to Know Before You Move to Kalamazoo

Some humorless folks saw none in the list, especially in the way he labled K-College vs. Western Michigan University.

Other folks took issue with some of his choices for reasons to want to move here.

That got us to thinking. Why do you live here? Do you recommend Kalamazoo to others even if you are not a Realtor? 

Did Sam Bertken get it right? What do you think are 30 things someone should know before they move to Kalamazoo?

Bradenton Herald: New baseball team has name

Kalamazoo's new baseball team will be aptly named The Growlers, reports the Bradenton Herald. The name for the team, which makes its debut next year, was picked following an online contest. The Growlers will play at Homer Stryker Field and are part of the Northwoods League, a summer league made up of top college players from North America. Other names considered as part of the contest were the Cabbies, the Clutch, the Kangaroos and the Krakens.
For more, please read the rest of the story.

Source: Bradenton Herald

Al Jazeera: Where students go to college for free

The cost of college is becoming an insurmountable hurdle for many families around the country--but not so for the residents of Kalamazoo, a small, vibrant city of 75,000 in southwestern Michigan, reports Al Jazeera. Since the program’s launch, about 2,800 Kalamazoo Public School graduates have taken advantage of Promise funds, totaling $50 million thus far--all paid by anonymous donors without the aid of an endowment or other fund-raising efforts. And there’s no end in sight for the Promise--it’s guaranteed by the donors to continue in perpetuity.

For more, please read the rest of the story.

Source: Al Jazeera
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