As was rumored a few weeks back in Street Talk, Michigan State University trustees voted Friday to purchase a 1.5 acre lot on the northwest corner of Michigan Street and College Avenue for just under $4.3 million. The announcement triggered a media frenzy, leading some to believe that the site will be the location for the actual medical school building. 

    Denise Holmes, assistant dean of government relations and outreach for MSU College of Human Medicine said the site will most likely be used for parking and future expansion needs for the med school and that the site is one of two the university will need to support the MSU West Michigan Medical School here. Trustees are also considering a second location on Michigan Street closer to the Van Andel Institute and Spectrum Health.

    The site purchased Friday includes a 6,000-square-foot medical building and a surface parking lot that are both currently being leased by optometrist Michael Crawford. It was originally planned as a neurosurgical center.

    An old two-story building on the site will be demolished, according to the MSU Board of Trustees. The university intends to finance the purchase through a tax-exempt bond offering with initial funding and debt repayment from the General Fund.

    **In their top two races this year, state Republicans preached a message of change. Gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos and U.S. Senate candidate Mike Bouchard ran on virtually identical platforms: as get-it-done leaders “disappointed” in their opponents’ performance on virtually all issues.

    Like the rest of the nation, Michigan voters by and large agreed it was time for change, but they disagreed with the GOP on what should be changed. Instead of sacking the executive branch, they turned on the legislature, handing over control of the state House of Representatives to the donkeys for the first time this decade.

    “This was a historic win,” said State Rep. Michael Sak, D-Grand Rapids, likely to become House Majority Floor Leader. “No one on either side of the aisle anticipated 58 votes on the democratic side in this election.”

    Democrats had been quietly gunning to split the House at 55 votes, Sak said, and would have been ecstatic with 56; but 58 — that’s a message.

    “This tells me the citizens of Michigan are not content with what’s been going on,” he said. “The people put us in for change.”

    Perhaps state Republicans were victimized this year by nationwide dissent against their party. It’s likely that, in combination with the national sentiment, campaigning on Michigan’s faults backfired on the Grand Old Party, with voters blaming national trends for local problems. Maybe issues such as business taxes and economic development didn’t resonate with the proletariat, most of whom know nothing of the SBT and PPT. Perhaps the bad economy message didn’t stick at all, when, even with the nation’s worst unemployment, 93 out of 100 people still have jobs.

    In any case, Michigan GOP Chair Saul Anuzis may be out of the job, as Kent County elephants refuse to endorse the man they blame for the defeat of Tim Doyle by Democrat Robert Dean for Jerry Kooiman’s House seat in Grand Rapids. Doyle was projected a 10-point winner, but Dean scored “a huge upset” in a district held by Republicans for two decades. Sak captured a margin nearly 20 points ahead of his 54 percent base.

    In the Kent County Commission, Democrats picked up two seats, both in Grand Rapids. Perennial loser Carol Hennessy won on the West Side against Eric Schmidt, son of that district’s city commissioner, Roy Schmidt; and Brandon Dillon defeated Commission Vice Chair Dan Koorndyk with his controversial city-commission-backed campaign focused on ridding the county of Republican cronyism.

    **Jolting java: The Grand Rapids Chapter of the Coffee Dunkers of America will convene its 297th  Annual Roast at Grand Valley’s Eberhard Center next Monday, Nov. 20, promptly at 7:28 or 7:29 a.m.

    Grand Rapids Police Chief Harry Dolan will be inducted to the high office of Grand Exhausted Chief Dripless Dunker by Kent County Treasurer Ken Parrish. The amicable “too-tall” chief has promised an administration filled with stale donuts and staler coffee.

    A source at the region’s most treasured not-so-secret society described this year’s program — dictated by Dolan’s “ethereal and cerebral mantra” — as an “esoteric and classical affair.”

    Whether “Faust The Duane” will prove comedy, tragedy or tragic comedy remains to be seen. The opera-noir broaches all-too-serious issues of land options, dealing with the devil, and Krispy Kreme donuts, featuring the Dunker chorale and soloists, as well as ballerinas from the Chez Redd Barnne and Les Sensations, expertly and gently choreographed by the Italian prima donna, Marcissaka London.

    The opera takes place along the Olde Grand River, near the leaning tower of Mayor George Heartwell. The townsfolk, decorated in blushing West Side chartreuse, are heading for a fire in downtown Wyoming. In Olde Grand Rapids, Wyoming has no fire department, and its reserves have gone to Sparta to pick apples, or perhaps to change their boots.

    Suddenly, buffuno-basso Faust The Duane (the hero), appears, singing in excited tones that he will save the Mayor’s statue and put out the flames on Wyoming’s only tree, provided the city will give him an option to its land.

    The mayor, in wonderful pastoral tenor sighs, proclaims that Faust may have an option, but only if he is a loyal democrat. In the chorus, the mayor explains that this democracy is for democrats, resolutely.

    In the second act, Chinese tycoon Dick DeVos, upon hearing of the soul deal, swigs some Nutralite and jumps into the “mystery hole” the city has peddled to Faust.

    The dunkers have contracted with WOOD TV-8’s Suzanne Geha to play heroine Rosana Rosana, and are in negotiation with former Italian Ambassador Peter Secchia to play the statue.

    Donations of $4.99 will be split between Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth, Silent Observer, Kent County Literacy Council and the Joel Boyden/Rotary Club scholarship program. Advance tickets are available for $12.50, or two for the price of three. Parking is available at the Van Andel Museum Center ramp.

    Now, in all seriousness, if there was ever a dunking worth waking up on a Monday morning for, this is it. A handful of prominent dunkers (like the show’s multi-BILLION-dollar heroine) have made plum fools out of themselves this year, and Monday could be their only opportunity to fire back with some good-natured lampooning.     

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