Rather Did, Rather You Didn’t


    No news? Print a speculative story. It’s likely to spur competing news businesses to pick it up, and broadcast media, with no time to check it out, will “lift” it to make sure they’re “covered.”

    Case in point: The speculative Lansing news reports last week regarding release of the Deloitte and Touche economic impact study of the potential move of the MichiganStateUniversity medical school to Grand Rapids. It was a rush for preemptive headlines prior to the report’s expected release. Anyone who wants to know likes the speculative story in the absence of information, and that spurs reader purchases.

    The presumption, last week, however, was that the report would be released. The fact that the study release was delayed was the real news. What happens when sources are not checked? Reporters and anchors get “Ratherized” (as in Dan @ CBS).

    The Deloitte Touche study will not be released for another two to three weeks “because the scope and complexity are greater than anticipated,” according to Grand Action, which commissioned the project in cooperation with Mayor George Heartwell

    Does that mean the scope of the cost of a med school or the scope of the anticipated economic dominoes? You could speculate.

    Heartwell said told the Business Journal the study shows a “huge” economic impact associated with the move. “The numbers that we’re going to see are going to blow our hair back. It’ll have the potential to be enormous for the community.” (See the story on page 1.)

    Speculating, however, isn’t difficult given the greater Grand Rapids medical community’s penchant for fighting. Blodgett docs and Butterworth docs still have not stopped territorial claims, though Spectrum’s merger and ownership of both has long passed. And back when the medical school idea was first announced, the language of assumptions made by players in the move certainly gave Saint Mary’s staff more than a few grievances.

    It is said that any number of individuals in the medical business would be quick to jump on or exaggerate attendant cost issues, as a way to prevent additional medical competition (presumably from the school’s medical faculty).

    MSU President Peter McPherson, who has been to Iraq and back, has seen no fight like this.

    • Politics? Business Journal readers might ask what this town is coming to. Brewer at Wealthy Street Theatre, Cate at GVSU, Moore at Ferris …

    City Democrats have been holding court at the Wealthy Street Theatre since Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry’s visit in August. That’s where Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer was found last Thursday during the first in a series of Presidential debates.

    Vice Presidential nominee JohnEdwards’ eldest daughter, Cate Edwards, made appearances at both GVSU and WesternMichiganUniversity on Debate Day, to “discuss how young people are confronted with the consequences of foreign policy decisions as they study and travel abroad, confront terrorism at home, and watch thousands of their peers die in Iraq or return home seriously injured.” No word on the legislation written by a Democrat to re-institute the draft. But she did talk about escalating tuition rates.

    FerrisStateUniversity played host to “Fahrenheit 911” filmmaker Michael Moore earlier in the week.

    How do you count the electoral votes in Michigan

    • Now hear this: Students at Grand Rapids Community College/Ferris State University’s AppliedTechnologyCenter were given front row seats to a debate between the Gun Lake Indian Tribe and the 23 Is Enough political action committee on the impact of the tribe-proposed casino in Wayland.

    The 23 Is Enough PAC was represented by former Perrigo President, CEO and Chairman Michael Jandernoa, who also serves on the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce PAC opposing the casino.

    The nature of the opposition (and looming court battle) is well known in Grand Rapids but the subject is beginning to roil in Kalamazoo, too. The AlleganCounty and Kalamazoo chambers of commerce have supported the casino, and cried foul in regard to RiverCity’s involvement in their neck of the woods.

    Now comes the Southwest Michigan First economic development group, headed by Kalamazoo’s downtown Radisson owner Bill Johnston. The group, likened to Grand Action, has turned up the heat on the Kalamazoo chamber board to reverse its opinion and support casino opposition. Press releases may be issued as soon as this week, at which time Gov. Jennifer Granholm also is expected to receive a letter outlining the PAC’s economic study of the issue.

    But it doesn’t stop there. The Right Place Inc. President Birgit Klohs also will receive a letter encouraging its board to become proactive in opposing the casino.

    • The ATHENA Award packed the FrederikMeijerGardens banquet space last week to honor Huntington’s Sharron Reynolds, who also announced her pending retirement.

    The audience was called to prayer by the Rev. Dr. Linda Hollies, WomanSpace, who incorporated words about the award’s name of Athena and women as goddesses into her message. She also asked attendees to look at the woman sitting next to them, hold her hand and tell her “you see the goddess” in her.

    That worked for most of the group except unsuspecting Business Journal reporter Dan Schoonmaker, who was seated for the luncheon. Barely ably to repeat the story for his seniors in the newsroom, his face was the color of his hair. It’s an assignment he says he won’t forget.

    Nominees for the award were Doris Drain (United Bank), Rhoda Kreuzer (Partners in Action), Christine Gornik (The Behler-Young Co.), Shelley Irwin (WGVU), Laurel Pruski (National Worksurface), Marilyn Talsma (The Campbell Group), Susan Tunnecliffe (Crowne Plaza), Janice Richardson (Coopersville Chamber of Commerce), Margery Vander Ploeg (Women’s City Club), Linda Kennedy (WGVU), Dixie Anderson (World Affairs Council Western Michigan), Jayne Schwartz (SCORE), Pat Vredevoogd (AJS Realty) and Deb Lyzenga (Ross Learning Inc.).

    The 2004 ATHENA Scholarship recipients were Leoncie Mukarurinda (GrandValleyStateUniversity), Jill Noble (CornerstoneUniversity), Marla Posey (AquinasCollege), Tara Lynn Thornton (Aquinas) and Amy Yonkers (Reformed Bible College).    

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