Monday, January 6, 2014

New Year's Best of the Net 12/23-1/5

Happy New Year! A lot of good things happened in Michigan in 2013. Let's hope 2014 is even better for the Great Lakes State. The last week of 2013 and the first days of 2014 saw some good economic news and, of course, Michiganders doing good deeds during the holidays. Here are some of the best stories of the last two weeks.

Michigan Is Gaining Population

For years, Michigan has seen a population decline, but new reports show that migration from Michigan is halting and that the state has grown in population for the second straight year. United Van Lines released its 37th annual migration study showing that the number of inbound and outbound moves to Michigan were essentially equal. Crain's Detroit Business reports that this is the first time in 16 years that Michigan did not have more outbound migration than inbound migration.

Michigan also retained its spot as the ninth most populous state after increasing its population for the second straight year according to the Detroit Free Press. The Free Press cites U.S. Census Bureau data that shows the state had a slight gain of 13,103 residents or 0.1%.

Good Deeds During The Holidays

Although the Jewish and Muslim communities may not celebrate Christmas, nearly 1,000 members of three Jewish congregations and the Michigan Muslim Community Council spent December 25 serving meals at social services agencies throughout Metro Detroit. The Detroit News reported that the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit organized the event, called "Mitzvah Day." For more information about Mitzvah Day, click here.

One Metro Detroit boy decided to help people less fortunate when he was only six years old. The Detroit Free Press tells the story of Caleb White and how seeing a homeless person motivated him to spend each Christmas in Downtown Detroit to pass out presents to the city's homeless population. Caleb, who is eleven years old now, gave 150 care packages to homeless people this Christmas.

Walk Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor makes a lot of "best of" lists, and it now can include itself among the most walkable cities in the United States. Governing magazine ranks Ann Arbor as the fourth most walkable city, as measured by the U.S. Census Bureau. The bureau's statistics show that more than 15% of Ann Arborites walk to work. The list is dominated by towns with large universities, with Cambridge, Mass., Columbia, S.C., and Berkeley, Calif. ranked one through three.

Ideas For Next New Year's Eve

Why travel to New York's Times Square to huddle up with 200,000 people to watch performers badly lip sync songs when Michigan has plenty of New Year's Eve activities of its own? Two publications recently highlighted two of Michigan's ball drops.

The growth of Campus Martius in Detroit now offers Detroiters a ball drop of their own. Crain's Detroit Business recently highlighted the creators of Detroit's New Year's Eve ball, Erik and Israel Nordin, and their company, Detroit Design Center.

If you live near Ludington and want to experience a New Year's ball drop, you are in luck. Yahoo Travel listed Ludington's Mitten Bar as one of eight places to celebrate New Year's Eve that are better than Times Square. Customers can stay in Mitten Bar while watching Ludington's ball drop outside.

Great Lakes, Great Books

The Library of Michigan has released its 2014 list of notable Michigan Books. The list includes 20 books about Michigan people, places and events. The list includes a biography of former Detroit Tiger Mark Fidrych, a history of Chief Pontiac's Rebellion and a collection of poems and stories about the Upper Peninsula.

Grand Rapids Is A Best Buy

The Grand Rapids Business Journal reports that the Grand Rapids housing market is the number 11 best buy city for housing according to Forbes. Forbes determined that Grand Rapids was one of several cities with high job growth and undervalued home prices, making the city a good place to invest in a home. For the Forbes report, click here.

West Michigan Helps Detroit

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has expanded its operations to Detroit, according to a report by the Grand Rapids Business Journal. The Battle Creek-based foundation already supports Detroit financially (with $25 million in grants to Detroit last year alone), but now it has opened an office in Downtown Detroit to better assist the city's children and families. The foundation focuses on creating healthier and better educated children as well as providing resources to raise families above the poverty line.

Michigan State Wins The Rose Bowl

Coach Mark Dantonio's Michigan State Spartans won the Rose Bowl with their signature dominating defense. In the 100th Rose Bowl game, Michigan State proved they deserve mention as one of the nation's elite college football teams with their 24-20 victory over Stanford . The Spartans finished their season 13-1 and were a few plays (and questionable calls from the refs) from finishing their season undefeated. It would have been interesting to see their elite defense line up across from Florida State's explosive offense.

Congratulations to the Spartans on an amazing season!

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