Researchers at Michigan State University say tourism spending in Michigan was strong in 2013 and is poised for another robust year in 2014. Dan McCole and Sarah Nicholls, of MSU’s Department of Community Sustainability presented their annual report today (Monday) at the Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference in Traverse City. The MSU researchers say factors fueling the upswing include an improving economy, several national tourism trends and the success of the state’s Pure Michigan advertising campaign both nationally and internationally. McCole predicts tourism spending, as measured by hotel and motel tax receipts, will increase 4.5 percent in 2014 after experiencing a 4 percent bump in 2013 and 6 percent increase in 2012. Hotel occupancy increased nearly 2 percent last year and car traffic on the state’s international bridges and tunnels was also up. According to Nicholls, awareness of Michigan as a tourism destination continues to rise. She notes that nearly all of the additional $4 million allocated to the state’s Pure Michigan campaign for 2013-14 is being spent on advertising in Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and China. The MSU researchers say tourism spending was strong last year despite the fact temperatures were 9 percent cooler compared to 2012 and visits to the state’s national parks were down. Helping the cause were lower gas prices and positive news coverage such as Mackinaw City ranking as the top tourist town for families and Grand Rapids being voted Beer City USA for 2013. (MRN)
The Home Builders Association of Michigan is confident in its prediction of another good year for residential home construction. There was a 28-percent year-to-year increase for single-family home permits in the state for 2013. And it’s predicted that there will be a 20-percent jump this year when all is said and done. Hillan Homes President Patrick Raye says his business is the best it has ever been, although he says a shortage of qualified contractors could potentially restrain growth. Bob Filka of the Home Builders Association of Michigan says his group has asked lawmakers in Lansing to assist students who want to enter the skilled-trades. The industry estimates that 60-thousand people left the construction field during the last recession and it is pushing for legislation that will help students who are on the skilled-trades track, to graduate. (MRN)
Harvey James Bupp Jr., age 77, of Mendon, died late Saturday March 8, 2014 at Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo. He was born in Sturgis on Feb. 21, 1937 the son of Harvey J. and Irene (Staples) Bupp, and attended Sturgis Schools. After serving in the U.S. Army, Harvey returned to work at Castle Quick Service in Sturgis, and for the City of Sturgis from 1960 to 1970. He then worked for the St. Joseph County Road Commission, retiring in 1991. After retirement he worked in distribution for the Sturgis Journal.
Harvey was a member of the Free and Accepted Masons Lodge 137 in Mendon where he twice served as Master. He was a life member of the Order of Eastern Star chapters in both Mendon (154) and Three Rivers (210) serving as Worthy Master, Grand Representative for Colorado 1996-98, and Grand Publicity Chairman of the Lyene Lenartowicz Grand Family.
Harvey is survived by his wife, Elaine of Mendon; four sisters, Virginia Lough of Sturgis, Gladys Nelson of LaGrange, Lois Wertzwall of Centreville, and Arlene Livingston of Sturgis; several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by sisters, Esther Stewart, Naomi Shotsman, and Waneta Duzon; and by brothers, Kenneth, Claude, and Robert.
Cremation has been conducted. A combined Masonic and Eastern Star memorial service will be 2:00 p.m. Saturday March 15, 2014 at the Eickhoff Funeral Home in Mendon. A private interment of ashes will take place later in Mendon Cemetery. Memorials may be directed to a charity of one’s choice.
Condolences may be left for the family at www.eickhofffuneralhome.com
Charles R. McFaden, age 61, of Marcellus, MI formerly of Shelbyville, TN passed away Saturday, March 6, 2014 at home.
He was born March 6, 1953 in La Crosse, WI, the son of Charles Roland and Frances Mary (Powers) McFaden.
He had moved to Marcellus about five years ago to be near his sister, Vickie Halifax. He formerly worked for Kinkaid Furniture Store as a warehouse manager and was a member of the Shelbyville, TN Moose Lodge No. 2197.
He is survived by his sister, Vickie Halifax of Marcellus; two sons, Michael Banks and Joshua Banks; one daughter, Michelle Schultz; two nieces, Heather & Breanna Halifax of Kalamazoo, MI and five grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and former wife Pam (Wood) McFaden Banks.
Memorials may be directed to the Mater-Ralston Funeral Home, Marcellus, MI to help with expenses.
Arrangements were handled by the Mater-Ralston Funeral Home, Marcellus and online condolences may be left at www.materralstonfuneralhome.com
Cynthia K. (Cindy) Lewis, 57, of White Pigeon, died unexpectedly Friday, March 7, 2014, at the Sturgis Hospital emergency room.
She was born Nov. 14, 1956, in Elkhart, Ind., to Charles and Betty (Flauding) Eger. She lived her early life in Elkhart, later moving to Constantine and White Pigeon. She was a homemaker, babysitter and caregiver. She enjoyed her family, watching her children play sports, being a team mom and volunteer, lake activities, playing cards and the holidays.
On May 28, 1976, she married James D. Lewis at Shavehead Lake. He survives, along with a daughter, Holly Lewis of Sturgis; two sons, Jimi Lewis of Elkhart and Chase Lewis of White Pigeon; three grandchildren, James, Kamrin and Gaven; a sister, Christine (Bruce) Jones of Constantine; a brother, Cliff (Lisa) Eger of White Pigeon; and nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents; and a brother, Charles.
Visitation will take place 5-8 p.m. Wednesday at Farrand Funeral Home in White Pigeon. Services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 13, 2014, at the funeral home, with Mr. Joe Stevenson officiating. Interment will follow in White Pigeon Township Cemetery. Donations may be directed to a charity of one’s choice.
The process of hiring a new superintendent continues tonight for Colon Community Schools.
Four of the seven candidates chosen for first interviews will be on the clock this evening. The remaining three will be interviewed Tuesday.
Set to take place at Colon High School, the interviews start with Gladstone resident Victor Bungi at 6:30. Mattawan’s Mike Campbell is slated for 7:30. Robert Jansen, an elementary school principal from Bloomfield Hills, will interview at 8:30, and the evening’s interviews conclude at 9:30, with Richland’s Drew Bordner.
Board member Deb Bordner, Drew’s mother, has announced she will recuse herself from the 9:30 interview.
Tuesday’s session begins with Eric Kistler, an Osceola, Ind., middle school principal, at 6:30. The 7:30 interview will feature Mike Corey, a superintendent from Mesick, while the final candidate is K-8 principal Pam Duffy, from Grand Rapids. She will take her turn at 8:30.
Board of Education president Ernie Baker said as a quorum of board members will be established, the interviews will be considered a public meeting. Baker, however, said interim Superintendent Jay Newman has indicated public participation in the form of questions to candidates would be more applicable when a trio of finalists is interviewed later this month.