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Archive for the ‘In the News’ Category

WMSA and a coalition of partners recently announced a project to bring 50 electric vehicle charging stations to West Michigan. Details about the effort  can be read in this news release.

There has also been some good media coverage, including FOX  17 and the Muskegon Chronicle.

Some of the coverage has sparked interesting reader comments and questions. What do you think? Will more charging stations help boost use of electric vehicles in the region? Will an infrastructure of charging stations be an economic benefit for the region?

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The Holland Sentinel carried a nice feature about one aspect of our Literacy to Work initiative.

The program was started earlier this year, and the article is about financial literacy classes  held in Holland.

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Another example of regional collaboration was on display in the regional newspapers this weekend. As part of a series of articles about the Chevy Volt, an article in the Grand Rapids Press and Muskegon Chronicle reported how the three major cities in the region–Grand Rapids, Holland, and Muskegon–are working together to receive federal subsidies for 98 charging stations for electric vehicles.

This particular effort is part of WMSA’s Clean Cities Coalition. The initiative is focused on the development local markets for clean vehicle technologies and creating alternative fuel corridors along 196 and I-196 between Grand Rapids, Muskegon and Holland.

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WMSA has named Elaine Sterrett Isely the new project manager of the Green Infrastructure initiative.

You can read more about Elaine in our news release, or an interview from today’s edition of Business Review.

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The West Michigan region continues to gain positive national media attention. Following closely on a February USA Today story about Holland ranking high in quality of life, Grand Rapids has received two positive national stories this week.

First, a Fortune article touted Grand Rapids as a Michigan success story. The article compared the community’s vibrancy to the news of demolishing neighborhoods in Detroit. It’s an important story, because those who are looking for places to do business may overlook the whole state just because of the negative opinion they gather from the east side currently.

The next day, Grand Rapids was named the most sustainable midsize city in the country by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Civic Leadership Center and Siemens Corp. You can read more about that news on MLive.

While it’s exciting to get good publicity, the importance of this national attention can not be overstated. One of the primary reasons WMSA has been encouraging collaboration is that we are stronger together and can compete better as a region in the new global marketplace. While some of the stories have been specifically about Holland or Grand Rapids, such strokes benefit all of West Michigan. Businesses and families don’t only consider one city when pondering a move–they factor in the entire landscape and all the amenities.

We think a lot of the hard work of community leaders throughout West Michigan is only beginning to pay dividends. We won’t be surprised if there’s more positive attention to come to West Michigan in the months and years ahead.

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Since WMSA has always advocated improving and promoting the quality of life in West Michigan, it was exciting to see that one of our region’s cities–Holland–ranked second in a national survey of citizens about their perceived happiness with their community.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, based on interviews with more than 353,000 Americans during 2009, asked individuals to assess their jobs, finances, physical health, emotional state of mind and communities. Holland ranked second, behind Boulder, Colorado, and the only eastern city in the top 10 besides Washington, D.C.

Holland ranked near the top in emotional health, physical health, and basic access to needs for a healthy lifestyle.

More about the study and local reaction can be found in the Holland Sentinel, and a national perspective is in USA Today.

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West Michigan residents often refer to the region as a “best kept secret.” But increasingly the secret is out.

A few years ago, a reporter on the staff of the Boston Globe was in Grand Rapids for a wedding and was so impressed she wrote a glowing review of the city. Other cities and venues in the region from the lakeshore east have received positive national exposure in recent years as well.

The latest positive press for the region came in the Chicago Tribune this week in an article that praises Grand Rapids as a “relaxed urban getaway.” Read it. It will make you glad you live in the region!

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