Monday, September 30, 2013

Best of the Net 9/23-9/29

Grand Rapids Is Gaining Jobs

CareerBuilder and its subsidiary, Economic Modeling Specialists International, rank the Grand Rapids metro area as the second best metro area in the country for per-capita job growth according to the Grand Rapids Business Journal. The Career Builder study measured job growth since 2010 in the 100 largest metro areas in the U.S. With 513 new jobs per 10,000 people, Grand Rapids trails only Salt Lake City for the most new jobs per-capita.

The study found job increases in various industries in Grand Rapids, including a 16% increase in hospital jobs and "increases in various manufacturing segments such as plastics product (up 35%), motor vehicle parts (up 33%), metalworking machinery (up 30%) and office furniture (up 12%)."

Teach A Kid To Fish, Or Run a Food Business

Hiring a young person to work in a restaurant may teach him or her valuable lessons about hard work, but the Detroit Food Academy has loftier goals for Detroit's high school students. The Academy teaches students about food systems, cooking and food entrepreneurship. The year-round curriculum provides hands on training and concludes with the students launching their own food businesses. The program's mission is:

"To use hands-on experiential learning and real-world application to activate young Detroiters as critical thinkers, conscious consumers, life-long learners, values-based leaders, and community activists."

Michipreneur reports that the program started with students from one Detroit high school and is now operating out of four high schools. The academy's practical approach to food entrepreneurship is not a purely academic endeavor; it also has led to jobs for several students.

Breaking Good In Battle Creek

Breaking Bad aired its final episode last night, but Michigan will be the center of Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan's newest project. The Battle Creek Enquirer and multiple media outlets are reporting that Gilligan has created a police drama set in Battle Creek. The new cop show will air during the 2014-15 season on CBS with a guaranteed thirteen episodes.

Gilligan developed the idea for a show called "Battle Creek" several years ago, and now CBS has picked it up after seeing the overwhelming success of AMC's Breaking Bad. Kalamazoo's WWMT Newschannel 3 reports that film crews will begin begin shooting in Battle Creek next month, but it is unclear at this time how much of the filming will occur in Michigan.

Downtown Detroit From Bust To...Boom??

The Detroit Free Press reports that the demand for office space in downtown Detroit has created a shortage of quality space. The office vacancy rate has dropped from 33% in 2010 to 25% today due to new businesses moving corporate offices downtown and old businesses returning.

This movement is reversing a decades long trend of businesses moving to the Detroit suburbs or out of Michigan altogether. Dan Gilbert of Quicken Loans owns much of the office space in Detroit and has been encouraging businesses to move to Detroit for years, but he cannot keep up with the demand from businesses who want to move downtown. One company, Meridian Health, is taking matters into its own hands by building its own 16-story building at Campus Martius.

Orchards Moving Beyond Apples

Although Michigan orchards have produced an abundance of apples this year, apple growers are not satisfied because of last year's horrible apple harvest when 90% of the apple crop was lost statewide. Orchard owners are diversifying their product lines to avoid the hardships that come with a disastrous harvest like last year's.

Crain's Detroit Business featured several Michigan apple orchards that learned hard lessons in 2012 and that are taking steps to protect against poor yields in the future by offering new products to their costumers. Michigan orchards are trying many new ventures including a winery, hard cider production, producing their own pop (please don't call it soda, Crain's), raising livestock and growing vegetables. Not only will these new products insulate the orchards from the economic effects of poor harvests, but they will also give Michiganders and visitors more reasons to enjoy Michigan orchards.

Detroit Schools Are Getting Creative

The UAW, Ford and the Detroit Public Schools Fund have donated $540,000 to bring back music, art and athletics programs to Detroit elementary and middle schools. Schools will begin fielding teams in football, soccer and basketball in October and will offer additional sports in the winter and spring. The donation also will allow every elementary and middle school to offer art and music programs. Perhaps these programs will inspire the next Stevie Wonder or Albert Kahn.

MSU Fights Global Hunger

Michigan State University operates one of seven labs funded by USAID to explore global food systems, population growth and other factors that lead to global hunger. MSU's long history of agricultural research and Michigan's agricultural diversity and corporate climate make MSU an ideal institution to study global hunger according to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Grape Harvest Time In Northern Michigan

The Traverse City area is a popular tourist destination for both Michiganders and non-Michiganders, and one of the biggest draws to the area is Michigan's wine country. As autumn weather descends onto the vineyards, area wineries are beginning to harvest the fruits of their labor in preparation for their next batches of wine. According to a Traverse City Record-Eagle report, this year should bring an average, yet suitable crop, for producing wine.

Lions Win! Tigers Win! But Detroit Loses A Tiger Legend

The Lions beat the Chicago Bears 40-32 on Sunday to move into first place in the NFC North. The Chicago Bears made it a little scary at the end with a couple of late touchdowns, but the Lions held on for an important win over their division rivals.

The Tigers won their third straight AL Central championship this past week and will face the Oakland A's in the AL Division Series. The series will begin this Friday night in Oakland. This is only the second time in Tigers' history that they have played in three consecutive postseasons. The last time they accomplished this feat was during the 1907-09 seasons, when they lost three consecutive World Series. Here is a video of some of the action from the 1909 World Series between the Tigers and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

On a sad note, Detroit lost Gates Brown this week. Brown was a part of the last two Tigers World Championship Teams. He played for the 1968 World Champion Tigers that beat the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games, and he was the batting coach for the 1984 Tigers that won the World Series in five games over the San Diego Padres.

Brown's name is one of many from that '68 team that younger fans should know. Here is Brown at a 45th reunion of the '68 team from this past May.

And here is his '68 team clinching the World Series in game 7. May he rest in peace.

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