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Alcoa Howmet – Whitehall, Michigan

Advanced manufacturing providing optimized solutions for improved performance, efficiency and value

Eagle Alloy

Eagle Alloy, Inc. – Part of the Eagle Group of companies - Muskegon, Michigan

Serving a diverse customer base and utilizing lean manufacturing practices; one of the premier steel foundries in the country


Alcoa Howmet – Whitehall, Michigan

A commitment to environmental sustainability; keeping the health and safety of their employees, customers and communities a top priority

Culinary Institute

Muskegon Area First: Helping Local Businesses Flourish

The Culinary Institute of Michigan - Baker College's world-class caliber culinary learning environment


Alcoa Howmet – Whitehall, Michigan since 1951

Leading producer of complex investment-cast turbine components for the aerospace and industrial gas turbine industries

Home » News


Gov. Snyder Talks Port of Muskegon

Gov. Rick Snyder speaks in Muskegon about port development, Detroit's bankruptcy and manufacturing's comeback

MUSKEGON, MI – Muskegon County has placed a lot of its economic development eggs in the Port of Muskegon basket.

The community seems to have Gov. Rick Snyder on board when it comes to the importance of the port in future job creation in the Muskegon area.

The governor was in Muskegon Wednesday, July 24, for a dedication of the ADAC Automotive’s new paint facility in the Port City Industrial Park. He spoke to MLive and The Muskegon Chronicle on several issues including port development, the Detroit bankruptcy situation and Michigan’s manufacturing comeback.

Snyder said the state began to help port communities with low-water issues this spring with an emergency grant program for dredging and will need to follow up on regulatory issues involving ballast water.

GovSnyder.JPGMichigan Gov. Rick Snyder spoke at the dedication of the new ADAC Automotive paint facility in Muskegon.

“We have several ports that are very good opportunities for future growth,” Snyder said after the ADAC event.

“The first step was to do the emergency dredging and I was pleased to get that done in a number of ports around Michigan,” Synder said of funds that are helping dredge several areas of Muskegon Lake. “But if you look at Muskegon longterm, and there are several others, I think there is good economic opportunity.”

Ballast water is an environmental issue for the Great Lakes as ocean-going vessels can introduce invasive species from other parts of the world into the lakes. Such foreign elements as zebra and quagga mussels have the potential for major disruption of the Great Lakes eco-system, scientists have warned.

Michigan has more stringent ballast-water regulations for foreign ships entering the state’s Great Lakes than Canada and other Great Lakes states. Regulatory issues might keep certain ships out of Michigan ports, those in the shipping industry have said.

“One of the things that will hopefully help is to get (the ballast water issue) resolved in the next couple of years in terms of getting one common standard so Michigan ports can be on a more level playing field,” the governor said. “We are doing the right things by the environment but we need to get to a better answer for all of the Great Lakes on that topic.”

The governor also discussed the Detroit bankruptcy and other issues:

Detroit bankruptcy: “It is an opportunity for a fresh start in Detroit. Detroit was going to continue to go downhill. This is our opportunity to stabilize city services, improve city services and deal with the debt question. Detroit otherwise is poised for exciting growth. With exciting things going on in the private sector and the foundation community, you are going to see Detroit comeback …

“The economy is coming back all across Michigan. The issue in Detroit is the crushing debt load and the inability to deliver the services the citizens deserve. This is an opportunity to stabilize that and correct that. You will see good growth in the city of Detroit. Because Southeast Michigan, West Michigan and Northern Michigan are doing well, we are the comeback state … let’s just keep it going.”

How the Detroit bankruptcy could affect communities like Muskegon: “It should not make a major difference. As a practical matter, each jurisdiction will stand on its own. There is a lot of speculation on this topic. It did not make a major impact on other communities where it happened and a community has gone into Chapter 9.”

Michigan’s manufacturing comeback: “Michigan is the best in the world at making things. That is the legacy we have had for the last century or so and we are coming back strong in manufacturing. We are the number one state to add jobs in manufacturing in the past few years. It is because we have all the right elements. We have the talented people; we have the educational resources for additional training; and we have that culture of making the world’s best products.”

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Made in Michigan (Muskegon)

 MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- The products made by a lakeshore plastic manufacturer are sold around the world.

There are hundreds of Port-A-Johns at Heritage Landing for the Coast West Music Festival and all of them were made in Muskegon at KL Industries.

But the company's product lines are much broader than Port-A-Johns. 140 employees at the company take plastic pellets and turns transform them into fishing boats; dinghies, canoes, pedal boats, kayaks, and now stand up paddleboards.

KL Industries started in 1982. Its products are sold under the name Sundolphin and can be found at major retail chains and on the web.

**For video from the story, follow this link - http://www.wzzm13.com/news/article/260394/315/Made-in-Michigan-Plastic-maker-KL-Industries 


Holiday Inn purchase well received

Parkland Development, Jon Rooks Holiday Inn Muskegon Harbor purchase postively received


MUSKEGON, MI – The reaction to last week’s blockbuster news that West Michigan’s Parkland Development Corp.’s has purchased and is now operating the downtown Holiday Inn Muskegon Harbor has been well received.

Parkland’s Jon Rooks made another significant development move in downtown Muskegon with the purchase of Muskegon County’s leading full-service hotel. Parkland and Rooks also own the nearby Shoreline Inn and Conference Center on Muskegon Lake.

The two properties together have 340 rooms and more than 12,000 square feet of meeting space. Rooks said Parkland will operate the two downtown hotels to better attract convention and meeting business to Muskegon County.

RobertLukens.JPGBob Lukens

“I think it is great for the community to have these two hotels under the same management,” said Muskegon County Community Development Director Bob Lukens, who oversees the Muskegon County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Lukens and Rooks both said the hotel ownership and the county tourism marketing effort will be coordinated to reach out to new organizations and businesses who may find Muskegon an attractive meeting destination. Convention and meeting business usually occurs in the off-summer seasons, times the county is looking to increase tourism activity, Lukens said.

“This will be a real advantage in attracting new business to Muskegon for meetings and conferences,” Lukens said. “The new owners will improve this property. Downtown Muskegon is seeing a lot of development this year. It is good to see things happening.”

Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce President Cindy Larsen said that coordination of all of the downtown meeting and conference facilities is needed for Muskegon County to attract more business.

“I hope Jon Rooks will expand or rework the current facilities that he has along with partnerships with the L.C. Walker Arena and Frauenthal Theater,” Larsen said. “He is a very creative owner and I am looking forward to something unique in terms of the interior of the Holiday Inn and service delivery. It is very much needed.”

Larsen said the previous owners were well respected in the hotel industry but that local ownership of the Holiday Inn will be a significant factor. Parkland purchased the Holiday Inn Muskegon Harbor June 19 from an investor group led by Akram Namou of Southfield, Mich., who owns many hotels and motels in Southeast Michigan. A purchase price was not disclosed.

CindyLarsen.jpgCindy Larsen

“Now we will get the extra attention to service and detail when the ownership is local,” Larsen said. “This is another indication of the change, the huge transformation in business ownership and strategy that is ongoing. It is an indicator that the local economy is coming back.”

MLive reader midi13 found the Parkland purchase of the Holiday Inn a positive.

So excited to have local ownership of the Holiday Inn! It was definitely in decline. I think Mr. Rooks will do a fine job of upgrading it, after seeing some of his other projects. Good luck to him, sounds like he has his hands full!

Also supportive of the Parkland move was Muskegon County Commissioner Bob Scolnik, who spoke glowingly of the move and the opportunities it creates on his Facebook page.

Parkland and Rooks not only own the Shoreline Inn and now the Holiday Inn in downtown Muskegon but have three other projects in various stages of development. The Holiday Inn acquisition could redirect Parkland’s downtown strategies, including renewed interest in a Muskegon convention center.

As progress continues on the Terrace Point Landing residential subdivision on Muskegon Lake adjacent to the Shoreline Inn and the redevelopment of the city of Muskegon former central fire station for offices, Rooks and Parkland continue to struggle in developing the former Comerica Bank building into the HighPoint Flats apartments.

Rooks suggested that instead of renovating the 10-story former bank building into market rate apartments, Parkland may tear the old building down and develop a new apartment building. Reconfiguring the 1916 building for apartments might not be practical but he’d like to save the structure if it is feasible, Rooks said.

The bank tower on West Western Avenue was one of five historic structures saved in the central business district with the demolition of the former Muskegon Mall. MLive reader MKGlover’s comments show the controversy that is created when discussing demolition of the bank tower.

Rooks is betraying the community if he plans to tear that building down. In case anyone forgot, a lengthy process was conducted to determine which buildings form the Muskegon Mall had the most potential to be redeveloped. I take issue with how that determination was made, as there were many more with merit, but nonetheless, the five that were saved were saved for a reason. The deal Rooks recieved from the DMDC was based on him rehabilitating that property, not demolishing it. Color me outraged if he tries to pull this over on the community.

What's your reaction to the Holiday Inn sale and direction of downtown Muskegon redevelopment? Leave your comments below.

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Muskegon Co. unemployment rate below state average by more than a half percent


Muskegon County unemployment drops to 8.1 percent for April; seasonal drop lower than analysts expected

Economy_2.JPGIn this file photo, Lilian Dacanay waits to speak with a prospective employer during a career fair.

MUSKEGON, MI – The Muskegon County unemployment rate dropped to 8.1 percent in April, down a fraction of a percentage point from one month ago.

The figures were recently released by the state’s Bureau of Labor Market Information & Strategic Initiatives.

The March jobless rate for the Muskegon Metropolitan Statistical Area – which encompasses Muskegon County – was 8.4 percent in March, and was 8.5 percent 12 months ago, April 2012.

The total number of non-farm jobs in the county increased to 61,800, up several hundred from March 2013, and April 2012, when the number was 60,400.

“That’s actually a little less than we expected,” said Jim Rhein, a labor market analyst for the state. “We didn’t get the seasonal trend we thought we would.”

The bureau’s numbers aren’t adjusted for seasonal work, and are expected to jump in the spring, when warmer weather allows construction work to begin and makes tourism activities more attractive.

Rhein said the numbers may be lagging because poor weather in April which could have delayed the start of seasonal jobs.

“We will see what happens (next),” he said. “Sometimes it is made up for by the next month.”

Muskegon County’s unemployment rate of 8.1 percent compares to a state rate of 8.8 percent and a U.S. rate of 7.6 percent.

Figures for the city of Muskegon were not immediately available.

Local jobless rates come from surveys of households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, and don’t reflect the percentage of people applying for jobless benefits. The jobs numbers are based on a separate bureau survey of the area's employers.

-- Email Stephen Kloosterman, like him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter.

City of Muskegon in Solid Financial Condition

 City of Muskegon defies state perceptions and produces another stable budget for 2014


MUSKEGON, MI – Too many people from across the state of Michigan tend to lump Muskegon in with financially-suffering cities such as Ecorse, Pontiac, Flint, River Rouge and Benton Harbor.

MuskegonCityHall.jpgMuskegon City Hall has 227 full-time employees, down from 309 a decade ago.

Those communities have been forced to accept an emergency financial manager to help pull them out of financial turmoil. Unlike other older cities with significant minority populations, the city of Muskegon not only has kept an emergency financial manager off its doorstep buthas received statewide recognition for financial stability and fiscal accountability.

That solid financial condition is again seen in the city of Muskegon’s proposed fiscal year 2014 budget, which has been presented to the Muskegon City Commission. Commissioners will hear a presentation from City Manager Bryon Mazade and Finance Director Tim Paul at Monday’s commission work session.

“The proposed 2013-14 budget serves as a solid spending plan for the city,” Mazade wrote in his last budget message to the commission. Mazade will retire Oct. 1 after nearly 20 years heading the city.

The budget does not include any major cuts such as past years when curbside recycling services were eliminated, the leisure services department axed, senior transit services cut and city building inspections privatized.

“However, it does not address many city needs and includes operating deficit spending in some funds,” Mazade said. “It should be known that there are several unknown and potential negative factors that could affect this spending plan.”

The city’s proposed general fund is $23.7 million for 2013-14, the fiscal year that begins July 1. That is a $592,000 deficit that would bring the city’s general fund balance down to $4.9 million at the end of the next fiscal year, according to the proposed city budget.

However, city residents would not see a property tax rate increase next fiscal year but would receive a 10-percent increase in water rates while seeing no increase in sewer rates.

The city spending plan eliminates a half dozen positions, all of which remain vacant. That brings the city’s full-time positions to 227 with a continuation of 108 police and fire positions.

Yet, Mazade and Paul see issues such as continued burdens of legacy costs from employee retirement and health care plans, bond obligations for the Harbor 31 (Edison Landing) Smartzone project that will cost the city $160,000 this coming year but more in the future, the uncertainty of state shared revenue, four major union contracts due at the end of the year and continued property tax reductions.

The city’s revenues have stabilized but are still down 7.3 percent from a 2009, the proposed budget shows. The city’s property tax revenues are down 11.9 percent from 2009 mainly due to the declining value of the B.C. Cobb coal power plant, which is anticipated to be shut down in 2015.

But the city’s income tax continues a nice rebound since the Great Recession increasing 2.7 percent since 2009, the city budget shows.

Muskegon is in the envious position of having its legacy costs under control for now. The city will fully fund its pension and retirement accounts in 2013-14 and actually has seen a drop in the cost of retiree health care.

Yet, at this spending rate and with projected future revenues, the city would spend down its current fund balance by 2018 if nothing changes on the expected revenue and spending sides of the budget. Current deficit spending is expected to rise above $1 million a year beginning in 2015.

Other highlights of the budget include:

• The city will receive a one-time $313,000 dividend payment from the Michigan Municipal Risk Authority that provides the city’s insurance. The funds will be used to partially pay for a new $550,000 fire pump truck.

• The city will continue to carry a $1.7 million budget stabilization fund.

• The state’s elimination of the personal property tax would only cost Muskegon $70,000 a year if voters approve a revenue replacement program on the 2014 budget.

• The city continues to support economic development with a $45,600 contribution to Muskegon Area First and a $79,249 contribution to Downtown Muskegon Now.

Following the commission work session on the budget Monday, citizens will have an opportunity to comment on the budget at a public hearing set for Tuesday, June 11 at the commission’s regular meeting. Commissioners meet at 5:30 p.m. in the commission chambers of city hall, 933 Terrace.

The commission must adopt the budget by July 1 and is expected to take a final vote on the 2013-14 spending plan at its June 25 meeting.

Here is a link to a copy of the city's 2013-14 budget. A copy of the budget is on file with the city clerk and at Hackley District Library.

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