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Cool cities

Express Staff - August 26th, 2004
Ain’t it cool news:
Traverse City found out that it pays to be cool last week when the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) presented a $100,000 grant to the city as part of the state’s Cool Cities program.
The program, designed to “foster the development of vibrant, attractive cities and urban centers,” is part of Governor Granholm’s economic development strategy for Michigan.
The Cool Cities program hopes to transform Michigan’s lackluster towns into hip, desirable destinations in order to attract new businesses in fields such as technology. The ultimate goal is to replace manufacturing jobs that have been lost in the state. Some typically “cool” cities are those with vibrant downtowns and waterfronts, bike paths, lively dining and coffeehouse scenes, and cultural and recreational opportunities.
“The arts enrich our souls, and yet can also bring new economic development and jobs that enrich Michigan communities,” Granholm said in a news release. “With the support of Cool Cities funding, this project will significantly enhance Traverse City’s cultural appeal and attract further development downtown.”
Traverse City will use the Cool Cities funding to launch the Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship at the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce building downtown.
In definitely uncool jargonese, a press release from the MEDC notes that the new Institute “is committed to building the strongest of regional economies by strategically combining the innovative mixture of creative and business resources in the Traverse City area.”
Traverse City was one of 20 finalists for the MEDC grants. A team reviewed 151 project applications from 112 Michigan communities. The winners “demonstrated close partnerships with community organizations and the private sector, and offered the best plans for creating large scale neighborhood or community improvements.”
Other communities which won Cool Cities funding included Alpena, Bay City, Detroit, Ferndale, Flint, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Marquette, Port Huron, Portland, Saginaw, Saugatuck, Sault Ste. Marie, Warren and Ypsilanti.

Bikers for Father Fred
More than 500 motorcyclists turned out in downtown Traverse City last month for the 12th Annual Father Fred Weekend. The event, named for the beloved Catholic priest who started the Father Fred Foundation to help the region’s needy, raised over $11,000.
Sponsored by the Northern Michigan HOG (Harley Owners Group) Chapter, the event included a 50-mile memorial ride out Old Mission Peninsula, honoring the days when Father Fred blessed both bikes and blossoms before his death from cancer in 2000.

The sound of
campaign music
“Hell yeah, we support Bush,” declared a press release from the country trio Trick Pony, who were pleased to warm up the crowd at President Bush’s visit to Traverse City last week. Long-time Bush supporters, Trick Pony currently has a song on the country charts called “The Bride” which offers a video featuring Gene Simmons of KISS, who has also thrown his support behind the President along with the likes of Kid Rock and many Nashville artists.
Locally, Traverse City blues singer Dawn Campbell was thrilled to perform at a John Kerry rally in Grand Rapids several weeks ago, rounding up a number of Northern Michigan musicians on a day’s notice to play for a crowd of 20,000 in the Calder Plaza downtown.
“It was an incredible experience singing in front of that many people,” Campbell says, adding that many were stunned at the high turnout for Kerry in what is considered to be one of Michigan’s most conservative cities.
On the horizon is a massive series of Vote for Change concerts being sponsored by MoveOn.org at cities across Michigan on Oct. 3. The pro-Kerry concerts will feature Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., the Dixie Chicks, John Mellencamp, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor, Babyface, Death Cab for Cutie, Ben Harper, Jurassic 5, My Morning Jacket, Keb’ Mo’ and Bright Eyes. Venues include Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Ann Arbor and Detroit.
To obtain tickets for the historic Vote for Change concerts, see www.MoveOn.org.

Election horserace
A new poll by Strategic Vision, LLC gives the nod to Sen. John Kerry in the upcoming election, based on a survey of 801 likely voters in Michigan.
The poll was conducted on August 13-August 16 and shows Kerry-Edwards leading Bush-Cheney 48% to 42% in a two way race with 10% undecided. In a three way race, the poll shows Kerry-Edwards 46% to 42% for Bush-Cheney with 2% for Nader-Camejo and 10% undecided. The President’s approval rating as of last week was at 45% with those polled.
 
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