Tag Archives: midland

Plymouth Park Fun Zone Renovation [Guest Post]

13 May

Fun Zone

By Stacey Urbani, City of Midland

Big things are happening in Midland and we’re excited to be part of it! After 20 years of children running and playing, the community will come together to renovate the Plymouth Park Fun Zone on June 4-8, 2014. It takes a lot of hands to renovate a playground and we could not do this without the help of volunteers and skilled professionals.

We are looking for volunteers to donate their time to help with the build, or provide food or tools for volunteers during the event. Below you will see a short description of each role that will be filled in order to complete the renovation.
Volunteer Roles

 “Skilled” (MUST BE 18yrs of age, cutting a straight line with a circular saw, familiar with power tools, measuring, cutting)
 “Unskilled” (carrying, assembling, sanding, shoveling, carpenter’s helper)
 Food Service
 Food Donation
 Tool Donation

To wrap up the project and celebrate the Fun Zone we hope you will join us for the ribbon cutting and picnic Sunday June 8 at 5:30pm. To register to fulfill a volunteer role contact Stacey Urbani at urbanis@wmfc.org or call at 989-832-3256 or register online at http://www.midlandfoundation.org/.

Fun Zone Volunteer Flyer



On Tap: Maple Syrup

17 Mar

By Beth Bauer
ZENTX Media Group

Imagine the perfect stack of pancakes with a sweet, velvety maple syrup slowly making its journey across every bite.  These heavenly bites can’t be recreated by some “maple flavored syrup” created in a lab or test kitchen, it only can come from nature, and most likely a tree you have in your very own yard.  The art of making maple syrup has been around for thousands of years and it’s a fun, hands-on activity that you should try at least once in your lifetime.

Maple syrup making has become an annual tradition every February through April for my husband and I since we bought our house in Midland five years ago.  Although, I am by no means an expert (and with full disclosure I rely on my husband to do the brunt of the work, but someone has to taste test, right?), there are eight main steps you need to know in order for you to make your very own maple syrup too.


Step 1: Select Trees & Buy Equipment
Identify and mark your maple trees while the leaves are still in tact before winter begins so that they will be easy to spot in the midst of winter.  Also, obtain the equipment you will need for making maple syrup, which includes: taps (also called spiles), buckets, storage bins, filters, and bottles.

Step 2: Make Sure Timing is Right
February through April are the main months for collecting sap, ideal timing is when temperatures are warm and above freezing during the day and below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit) during the night.

Step 3: Tap Trees & Attach Buckets
Tap your maple trees by drilling a hole on the side of the tree that receives the most sunlight.  An electrical hand drill works the best.  The hole should be the diameter of your tap and should be at a slight downward angle.  Once the tap is in place, also attach your bucket or collection container.

Step 4: Collect Sap
Make sure to check your buckets every few days and transfer whatever sap has collected to your storage container.  Keep collecting sap until the season has ended or you have gathered enough sap.

Step 5: Filter & Boil Sap
Syrup is made by removing the water from the sap, so only the sugar remains.  Sap contains only 2% sugar, so it’s important to boil out all of the water.  But before you begin evaporating the water, you should first filter the sap to ensure any unwanted items like bugs or twigs are removed and discarded.

Step 6: Filter Again & Bottle
Filter the syrup again to ensure you haven’t missed any unwanted items and then poor into your sanitized bottles.

 Step 7: Remove Taps
It’s important to remove the taps from the trees.  There is no need to plug the holes, they will close by themselves.

Step 8: Enjoy!

Making maple syrup is an activity you should definitely add to your bucket list.  But if you want to celebrate the season without all of the work, I recommend checking out The Chippewa Nature Center.  They have numerous fun activities based around making and eating maple syrup made on their premise.  What’s your favorite thing about maple syrup?

Robberies, Fires and Prohibition: The Midland History You’ve Never Heard

12 Mar

midland michigan

Did you know that Detroit was the first city to pave a concrete road? Or did you know that Michigan supplied an estimated 75% of liquor to bootleggers during prohibition– thanks to our helpful Canadian friends? (source) Or what about the fire that almost destroyed parts of Midland? I didn’t think so.

Don’t worry. I haven’t either and I was born and raised in this town. It’s easy to dismiss this quiet, conservative city to be boring and uneventful. That’s not true today and that’s not true of its past.

Midland has contributed a lot to the history of Michigan and there’s a lot more to tell. We’re sitting down for lunch on March 25 with Gary Skory, the Director of the Midland County Historical Society to hear Gary’s stories specifically about Midland County’s rich (and sometimes scandalous) history.

You don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy this stuff.

Gary will share stories you’ve never heard about Midland’s rich history at the next MYPros Luncheon. His presentation has only ever been told to Leadership Midland graduates and now you have a chance to hear from him, too. Gary is smart, witty and engaging. If you think history is boring, you have never heard Gary present.


The presentation “Robberies, Fires and Prohibition” starts at 11:30 am on March 25 and concludes at 1 pm. Questions before registering? Leave a comment. We’ll get back to you.

Things I’ve Learned from My Father

4 Feb


I’ve been a daddy’s girl my entire life – I’m pretty sure I came out of the womb with a fondness for my father.  The other night I was looking through some old photo albums and remembering fun times my dad and I have had together.  Doing so, made me realize that the values my dad taught me, whether intended or not, have impacted who I am both personally and professionally.  Often we forget that we learn the most from those we interact with daily, like our parents and peers and those interactions often shape and influence who we become and the career paths we choose.  Below, are some of my favorite values my dad has instilled into who I am today.

1.  Stay Calm and Think It Through
Staying calm can be hard to do, but somehow my dad has mastered it.  I recall my 10-year-old self, fishing on a small boat with my dad, brother and little cousin and getting “hooked”, which resulted in a minnow slowly making its journey down my back.  I of course freaked out, which I’m pretty sure I’d still do today at 30 but my dad told me if I didn’t stop wailing around I was going to flip the entire boat over and we would face a much bigger problem.  I think that is something we can all relate to, we stress ourselves out thinking about how a problem is going to effect ourselves but we don’t stop to think about how that same problem is affecting others as well, maybe with a greater impact.   So next time a problem arises, stay calm and think it through and if it’s still really bad, then allow yourself to freak out.

2. Don’t Hesitate to Help Others
If you know my dad, most likely he’s helped you in some form or fashion.  That’s just the type of person he is, he’ll gladly help anyone without a single complaint.  He’s always encouraged me to help family, friends, coworkers, and strangers in any way possible, knowing that those sometimes “unpleasant experiences” will lead to more meaningful relationships and some of my fondest memories.  And you know what?  He was right.  There have been many instances where it would have been much easier to say “that’s not my job or problem” but by taking the time to help someone it has benefited me both personally and professionally.  So next time you’re trying to come up with an excuse of why you can’t help someone, make the time to help them out in any way you can.

3.  Find Laughter, Humor, or Joy in Every Situation
How does staining a never-ending fence on a humid 97 degree day sound?  Well right now it might sound tempting being stuck in this polar vortex, but it didn’t seem so great this past summer on day 4 of our staining spree.  But sure enough, I could count on my dad to be whistling away while covered in stain, enjoying the time spent with his favorite (and only) daughter.  We’re often surrounded with so much negativity that we forget to look for any positive aspect of the moment.  So next time you face a difficult or unpleasant situation, take the time to dig up some laughter, humor or joy – trust me, it’s worth it.

These core values that I have learned from my father have greatly impacted who I am today, both personally and professionally.  As a mother of two little boys I’m eager to see what values they’ll learn from my husband and I, but also what I’ll learn from them.  What are some of your favorite values you’ve learned from your parents?

MYPros in 2013: We Didn’t Take This Year Lying Down!

15 Jan


I was going to start off this blog post by saying something like “wow 2013 has come and gone, and… Can you believe it’s already 2014!” But that seems so generic and I tend to try to do things a little differently! So I am going to start by saying that I can’t wait to see what 2014 holds for MYPros. In 2013 we accomplished so much and added a few more layers to this program. If you’re someone who likes to go by the numbers, here’s a breakdown of the 2013 MYPros program.


  • There were 14 total young professional events.
  • MYPros hosted 10 total events for the year and we were hosted by Saginaw and Bay City YPs for four events, two per city.
  • MYPros held four luncheons, four social events (two were regional) and two Pilsners & Politics.
  • There were 527 total young professionals that attended at least one MYPros event.  I have to say that again…that’s 527 individuals!
  • We raised $2,300 to pay for MYPros t-shirts to be given out to YP’s. We raised this money by hosting the “Fury at Currie” golf outing.
  • We started a new giving circle in Midland specifically for young professionals, the 100 Young Professionals Club. The 100 YP Club’s goal is to obtain 100 members; in our first year we have 46 members.
  • The 100 YP Club held two meetings and donated a total of $3,900 in 2013; $1,600 to Midland Area Homes and $2,300 to Creative 360.
  • In 2013, the MYPros Communications Subcommittee created 12 newsletters, one every month.
  • The Communications Subcommittee also unveiled the new MYPros blog in July of 2013. To date we have had 2,146 hits in just six months.
  • The MYPros Marquee was created in 2013 as a resource for young professionals to find out what’s going on in the community and all the fun events happening.
  • 2013 was the last year our wonderful, fearless leader, Karl Ieuter of Ieuter Insurance Group, was Chair of the MYPros Steering Committee.  A special thank you goes out to Karl; he has devoted much of his time to this program and has been a dedicated Chair for the past three years. Thank you Karl!


So after all this you might be asking, what’s next in 2014? Well here’s a peek into the upcoming year…

  • Ben Morlock of The Dow Chemical Company  will be Chair of the MYPros Steering Committee, and Trish Ross of Members First Credit Union will be Chair-Elect.
  • New this year, MYPros will host two orientation sessions for new members of MYPros. This will help new YP’s learn more about the program and how they can get involved. These sessions will be sponsored by Northwood University’s DeVos Graduate School.
  • We will continue with our events, hosting four luncheons, social events and Pilsners & Politics.
  • The 100 YP Club will meet twice this year again and we hope by the end of 2014 we will reach our goal of 100 members!
  • We will continue to grow the MYPros blog and newsletter, as well as the MYPros Marquee.


This is just a sample of what’s to come in 2014! Thank you to all of you who help to make the MYPros program what it is today, either by volunteering on a committee or attending events. Without all of your participation we wouldn’t have this program. So thank you again for making 2013 a success! If you have any comments or suggestions for programming in 2014, please feel free to email me your thoughts at jmaki@macc.org.  I always love to hear new ideas!


Drink Local, Drink Well!

17 Oct


It’s no secret that many of us young professionals would like to see a few more watering holes around Midland.  So it wasn’t a surprise that Midland was eagerly awaiting the opening of WhichCraft Taproom.  When I heard that WhichCraft was going to feature all local Michigan beers and wines I was so excited. Not only do I think Michigan beer and wine is fabulous, but I love that they are on board with WEconomic Power, and supporting Michigan’s economy by drinking local! I was curious to learn more about this unique new taproom in Midland, and I think many others are as well.  So I hope you enjoy our short interview with Richard and Sharon Caldwell, the owners of WhichCraft.

1. What Challenges are you facing right now?
We imagine they are similar to the problems faced by all start-up businesses. We are obviously still learning our systems and making tweaks as necessary. The first few weeks, we kept having to run to the store for food and beg our distributors to bring us more beer!

We have been overwhelmed (in a truly fantastic way) by the response we received from the community. We expected to be busy when we opened, but WOW, we were really busy! There was literally a line down the block on opening day. That was a surprise! Guests had to wait a very long time for their drinks/food those first few nights. But in all honesty, the crowds are wonderful as they forced us to learn our systems on the fly. We hope that people are patient with us (and our staff in particular, who are truly wonderful) as we continue to adjust things to improve customer service. The more we do it, the better we become!

2. How do you foresee WhichCraft shaping the future of Midland’s downtown?
We really hope to be just one of many businesses bringing people to downtown Midland. There are a lot of exciting things happening downtown, and we are happy to be just a small part of it.

3. What type of experience do you hope people will have at your bar, and how are you different from other local bars?
We hope people try something new! With 40 different types of beer, cider, or mead on tap at all times and a constantly rotating menu of draft selections, you will never see the same menu twice! Order a flight; try a style, brewery, or beer you’ve never had. Expand your horizons. Be brave!

We also hope people take a few moments to talk to their server or bartender. Our staff is extremely knowledgeable, and many of them are truly in it for the love of beer!

What sets us apart? First and foremost, it really is all about the beer. More than anything else, we are dedicated to bringing great products (beer, cider, wine, & mead), made right here in Michigan, to downtown Midland. Craft beer (and wine, cider, and mead) is passionately produced by artisans who care about the products they are producing and love the process of producing them. It has flavor; it has texture: it isn’t mass-produced, its artistry. It has a history, a purpose, and a story to tell.

Similarly, the building itself has a story to tell. Built in the late 1800s, it was originally a livery stable and later Glovers Pharmacy and Mashue Printing. It has been owned by the same family for generations. We wanted to preserve the history of the building, which is why we left the original brick walls exposed. You can actually see where windows were once filled in.

Finally, WhichCraft Taproom truly was built by hand. Richard fabricated the intricate tongue-and-groove bar front with wood he found in the basement. He built the bar top and table tops from a reclaimed bowling alley lane and created the community tables with wood from salvaged fallen trees found in the UP. The items Richard didn’t make himself (barstools, brushed metal tapwall, and room dividers) were handmade by Matt Weckesser of FAB Custom designs. From the art on the walls (aluminum overlaid with photography from local artist Ryan Aiman) to the hand-made ceramic Mug Club Mugs (by local artist Julie Tyrrell, through Serendipity 181), we wanted to showcase local talent that was both beautiful and relevant.

4. Where did you come up with the idea for your business?
Honestly, it all started with an article in the Midland Daily News! We read an article talking about the plethora of redevelopment liquor licenses available in the downtown district and started to do some research.

5. How did you get started? What’s your background?
Richard is a fourth-generation native of Midland who earned an MBA and a Law degree from MSU before moving back to Midland to work for Dow Chemical, where he spent four years in the finance department until he left to open WhichCraft Taproom. Sharon is a native of West Michigan with a professional background in marketing and publishing.

6. Following you on Facebook, it looked like there were some hurdles to jump while trying to open. What were the struggles of opening your business?
There are always a few surprises when attempting to renovate a building that is more than 100 years old, but the biggest single hurdle was the installation of the walk-in cooler, part of which was actually lost in transit. The shipping company spent about a week looking for it before we realized that the missing parts would have to be re-made. Then, when it arrived, it was to different dimensions than we expected. We were able to improvise, but we did loose at least a month. In the end, everything works as expected, so we really can’t complain!

More than anything, we just underestimated the amount of time each particular step of the process would take! We really didn’t have any major hurdles, everything just took a little longer than expected.

7. What do you hope for the future of WhichCraft? 
We are interested in developing some house-branded beer.

$49 Million in Change: Midland’s East End Project

4 Oct

ImageOver 140 young professionals packed the Dow Diamond on Thursday, Sept. 26 to hear the latest news about the East End development (a.k.a. “the huge building across from the stadium”). On hand were Midland City Manager Jon Lynch along with Gillespie Group President Pat Gillespie and Caddis Development Group President Kevin McGraw (the project developers) and Spence Brothers President/CEO Herb Spence (responsible for the construction). Here are some of the highlights:

The Tenants

  • Current tenants include Chemical Bank Wealth Management, Warner Norcross & Judd, MidMichigan Medical Center-Midland, and a second-floor fitness center, along with another “major” tenant to be announced soon. The Michigan Baseball Foundation has also announced State & Main Restaurant will be a tenant as well.
  • In total, there are only about 7,000 square feet left to lease (out of over 250,000), and the developers would like 4-5 restaurants to start with. They’re looking for suggestions (see the end of this post for the way to contribute).

The Construction

  • The construction, which has been greatly accelerated, is still even a little ahead of schedule. The “core and shell” work to enclose the building might be done as early as the first week of November. Indoor “fitouts” for the major tenants’ spaces are starting this month.
  • If all goes well, there should be people in the building by sometime next spring.
  • The building is working toward LEED Silver certification to be environmentally friendly.
Conceptual rendering taken from midlandeastend.com

Conceptual rendering taken from the Midland East End website

The Impact

  • About 800 people currently work in Midland’s Downtown. Pat Gillespie predicted the East End project will add another 800 by itself.
  • The development will help fill current vacancies even though it’s adding new space. Gillespie has seen businesses eager to take advantage of new development rent nearby existing space at a lower price point. He predicts that within three years, Downtown Midland will be entirely filled with “stuff you don’t have now.”
  • The project was originally a $33 million investment; today, it’s $49 million. This has raised the taxable value of that property from $800,000 in 2011 to $13 million today.

The Future

  • The East End development is not including residential space – it’s difficult for residents and businesses to share the same elevators and other infrastructure. But the developers and the City are discussing other possible residential development. Since Pat gets “five to ten calls a week” asking if there are apartments available in the East End, he predicted there will eventually be 70-100 apartments in Downtown Midland.
  • In order to have those apartments, though, and to have associated services like taxis, there needs to be enough demand for a private-sector investor to take the projects on. Apartments downtown would probably need be priced between $775 and $1100/month to be viable.

The East End project is exciting by itself, but the impact on Midland and the region will be even bigger. As the project shapes up, the developers encouraged MYPros to have our say in the tenants we’d like to see. Leave a comment on this post and tell us what you think should be in the East End!

So, What’s Being Built Downtown Near the Dow Diamond?

18 Sep


Conceptual image from http://www.midlandeastend.com/.

A lot of people have been asking,” What’s being built downtown?”  I know I am curious about it.  So far, all I know about the development is that it’s been dubbed the “East End” and that there will be offices and restaurants/coffee shops going in that building.  Like many of you, I can’t wait for the upcoming MYPros luncheon on September 26th at the Dow Diamond from 11:30 a.m.- 1:00 p.m. This luncheon is all about the East End, and we have four of the key leaders in this development presenting on a panel for this event. We have Jon Lynch, City Manager of Midland, MI, Kevin McGraw, President of Caddis Development Group, Herb Spence, President & CEO of Spence Brothers and Pat Gillespie, President of Gillespie Group.

I look forward to hearing all about how this development got started, when the project will be complete, what economic impact it will have on Midland and what this means for the future of Midland and our downtown area.  I also can’t wait to hear all about the businesses going in the East End. I know like many of you I would love more local restaurants, bars and of course, shopping!  For more information about the luncheon and to register, Click Here.

Weblin 3

Football, Colorful Leaves, Pumpkins… What’s Your Favorite?

12 Sep

Fall seems to be the most popular season among those in Midland. So we were curious to see what everyone loves the most!