March 22, 2010 The Digest



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In addition to his career duties, Foster has put in volunteer time for the Douglass Community Association, Goodwill Industries of Southwest Michigan, the Kalamazoo Human Resources Management Association, the Borgess Medical Center, and the National Society of Black Engineers.

‘Dress for Success’ coming to Whitten Thursday

Students in Valerie Jones’ marketing class at the Arcadia Commons Campus are staging a “Dress for Success” event for their peers at KVCC.

They have been assigned to a variety of teams that are working together to organize and present the program from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday (March 25) in Room 128 of Anna Whitten Hall.

“The objective is to help students understand the importance of proper dress as it relates to interviewing and business situations,” says Student Success Center career adviser Diane Finch, who is helping to organize the initiative.

She cites surveys by the National Association of Colleges and Employers in which 92 percent of those surveyed state that “a candidate’s overall appearance influences an opinion of that candidate. Even if students are very skilled in their field, if they don’t make a good first impression, it could cost them the job.”

“Dress for Success” will include presentations on learning the importance of proper attire, dressing tips for men and women, how to make a good first impression, and interviewing strategies.

Among the presenters will be Brian Parson and Wilma Wilder of the Goodwill Career Academy, while J. C. Penny will be providing clothing for student models.

Finch can be contacted at extension 7864 or dfinch@kvcc.edu for more information.

Kalamazoo’s early hostelries are TV topic

A flashback to the early days of Kalamazoo County’s hospitality industry is the March installment of the Kalamazoo Valley Museum’s TV show.

Tom Dietz, the curator of research at the museum, will talk about the hostelries and inns that welcomed visitors to the community in the 19th and early-20th centuries.

The episode will be aired by the Public Media Network (formerly the Community Access Center) on Channel 22 on the Charter cable system at 7 p.m. on Sundays, 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. on Fridays, and 11 a.m. on Saturdays.

Hotels provided a variety of important services in Kalamazoo during the 19th century. The Kalamazoo House, built in 1832, was a center of fevered activity during the boom days of the western Michigan land speculation of the mid-1830s.

“Anxious buyers crowded every square inch of floor space to sleep while they climbed through windows to buy meals in the hotel’s dining room,” Dietz says.

Other prominent 19th-century hotels included the Exchange Hotel, the American Hotel, and the Burdick House. They hosted travelers, traveling salesmen and physicians peddling their wares and services from a temporary office, and provided meeting places for clubs and organizations.

Dances and other social functions were staged in their ballrooms. Several hotels offered public-bathing facilities for those who lacked full bathrooms in their homes.

Dietz discusses the 19th-century hospitality industry, exploring not only these well-known establishments but lesser known hotels including the International Hotel, Burke’s Hotel, and the Sheridan House. He will talk about the men who owned, built, and operated these facilities as well as the many purposes that the hotels served.

Hotels were often located where travelers would arrive, notably around the several railroad depots. The River House was located near the bridge over the Kalamazoo River, hoping to attract arrivals coming via the old Territorial Road.

The Burdick House, which opened in 1854, stood on Main Street (now Michigan Avenue), where the Radisson Plaza Hotel and Suites now stands, making that block the site of at least one hotel for more than 150 years.

When the Burdick House went up in flames on an arctic-like, bone-chilling evening in 1909, it earned a distinction that remains to this day – one of Kalamazoo’s greatest disasters.

Originally known as the Cosmopolitan Hotel, what burned that night opened its 80 to 100 rooms, which could accommodate up to 150 guests, in the spring of 1853. The contractor was Frank Dennison and he attached bathing salons to the four-floor, brick building that had dimensions of 100-by-70 feet.

Dennison didn’t launch the project. Work was started in August of 1850 by Alexander J. Sheldon, a shaker-and-do’er who is given credit for literally lifting the village out of the mud by installing the first planked walkways.

In June of 1855, the hostelry, built for $12,000, became the Burdick House -- named for Gen. Justus Burdick, an influential early settler.

Known for its “elegant arches,” one was described as “magnificent. . .(sitting) like a majestic queen with her children ranged on either side.” Broad “winding, spirally” stairs took guests to the upper floors.

A 45-foot “elegantly finished” tower on the roof reached for the sky, while the window sills were white marble from Vermont. An arcade of shops eventually filled the ground level. It was heralded as the “largest and best constructed hotel in western Michigan.”

Flames took their first crack at the Burdick House in October of 1855 when wooden buildings in an adjacent block caught fire. While fast work by fire fighters saved the day, the hotel did sustain damage to furnishings because water was thrown into rooms to prevent any kind of ignition.

As the village’s social hotspot and one of the finer inns in the region, the Burdick added stables to serve the transportation medium of most guests. The barn that could house up to 200 horses cost $3,000. Flames consumed it in 1876, but the main structure was again spared.

Not so in December of 1909 when the then half-century-old building was reduced to rubble, looking like the results of a World War II bombing.

Future of Michigan newspapers in the spotlight

With too many newspapers shrinking, going bankrupt, or going digital, a March 27 “Conference on the Future of Michigan Newspapers and Society” in Kalamazoo will open a dialogue about what may be regarded as a crisis for the essence of a democracy.

Slated to be held on that Saturday in the Fetzer Center on the campus of Western Michigan University, the conference will feature a slate of presentations and will begin at 8:30 a.m.

“This conference is probably the first of its kind in the nation,” said Andrew Targowski, the event’s chairman and a staff member of WMU’s Center for Sustainable Business Practices. “We hope it will serve as a model for similar forums at other universities and colleges in the state.”

With a subtitle of “Can an Educated Society be Sustained Solely by Digitalization?” the keynoters and the titles of their presentations are:

• “Credibility, Incredibility, and the Demise of Objectivity, Civility and Wisdom” - Cal Samra, a former Associated Press and newspaper reporter

• “Digital Media and News: Reinventing the Newspaper Future” - Richard Gershon of the WMU School of Communication

• “Saving Paper Papers” - Cheryl Kaechele, president of the National Newspaper Association

• “Can Democracy Survive in the Google Age?” - Thomas Kostrzewa of the WMU Department of Political Science

• “The Future of Reason in the Digital Civilization” - Targowski.

“Newspapers are a national treasure,” Samra said. “A paper paper is the glue that holds a community together. Newspapers survived the Great Depression. They survived radio and television. They survived shoppers. But can they survive the Internet?”

Members of the public, as well as current, former and future journalists, are invited to take part in dialogues that will address such questions as:

• Can paper papers be saved?

• Should newspapers give themselves away free on the Internet, or should they charge for Internet access to their daily or weekly editions?

• Are we entering a new era of digital journalism?

• Is there a place for both paper and digital media?

The conference will also explore ideas aimed at improving editorial and business practices at newspapers, and promote communications between journalists and technologists.

Additional information on the conference and registration are available at http://www.wmich.edu/business/sustainability/newspapers.

The $20 fee includes lunch.

The co-sponsors are the National Newspaper Association, the WMU Haworth College of Business, the WMU Center for Sustainable Business Practices, the WMU College of Arts and Sciences, and the Haenicke Institute for Global Education.

KVCC’s Tom Thinnes has been asked to assist in the staging of the event.

Warning: E-mail can be L-mail, as in libel

Surfing the Internet and the worldwide webs of the planet can be as invigorating for the mind as riding Hawaii's Bonzai Pipeline is for the body, but there is potential for peril in what you communicate.

E-mail is publishing and broadcasting in the broadest definitions of those terms. As such, E-mail is subject to the laws of libel that restrain newspapers and television news. In other words, the E in e-mail can stand for “evidence.”

When you communicate via E-mail, it just doesn't zip out into cyber space and is lost forever. It can be captured, saved, printed, and distributed to somebody who may not like what you are communicating.

Case in point:

When a surfing college professor learned via E-mail that a group of colleagues were bound for London and were looking for reasonable housing while there, he read some of the suggestions coming in from all over the world. He E-mailed his comments, urging them not to stay at a certain hostelry for various reasons. When that hostelry read the assessment, it contacted a law firm that demanded an E-mail apology, or else.

What this all means goes back to what your parents used to advise: If you can't say something nice about somebody or something, don't say anything at all. . .especially via E-mail.

And, if you don’t want to see it in print, don’t keyboard it on to your screen. And finally. . .

A person was driving and saw the flash of a traffic camera.

The driver figured that a photo had been taken for exceeding the limit even though there was no speeding apparent.

Just to be certain, the driver went around the block and passed the same spot, moving even more slowly. Again the camera flashed.

Thinking this was quite funny, the driver retraced the route even slower. Voila! The traffic camera flashed.

What great fun! A fourth and fifth trek at a snail’s pace delivered the same results.

Two weeks later, the driver received five tickets in the mail for driving without a seat belt.

You can't fix stupid.

☻☻☻☻☻☻





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