What’s News


? The Traverse Area Association of Realtors (TAAR) was recently honored as “Outstanding Ambassador Association” for its activities locally and in Eastern Europe by the National Association of Realtors and its Council of Certified International Property Specialists.

TAAR was cited for outstanding efforts in sponsoring an international real estate business course in September, and for hosting a Slovak law student and developer. Also, local TAAR representatives have presented business training sessions in Bratislava and in several Siberian cities.

Gary Vidor, currently serving as the NAR President’s Liaison to the Slovak Republic, sees TAAR’s programs as significant contributions to the economic stability of emerging Eastern European economies.

“In the U.S., over 67% of Americans own homes, but in Eastern Europe only about 10% of the population owns real estate,” he said. “In most of the countries in that region, the custom of private property ownership is less than 10 years old. We are working with Slovaks and others to establish a business and legal infrastructure which will facilitate property ownership.”

? Richard Brauer, Producer and Director of the movie, “The Lost Treasure of Sawtooth Island” has been awarded the “Togetherness Award–Silver” by Independent Film Media, sponsor of the Family Favorite Film Festival 2000. Each submission was juried on a “family friendly” basis. Films from across the country were represented.

The movie was shot in the Frankfort area during the summer of 1999 and starred Ernest Borgnine. Brauer, president of Brauer Productions Inc. in Traverse City, reports that the movie has been sold for TV broadcast in Spain, Poland, Portugal, Turkey and Italy.

The film was also recently endorsed by the prestigious Dove Foundation for its family friendly content.

? Institute for Holistic Living in Walloon Lake has been listed in Co-op America’s national Green Pages 2001, an honor roll of socially and environmentally innovative companies.

To address the problem of crime and violence, Institute for Holistic Living is helping individuals, organizations and communities understand how knowledge and responsibility are necessary ingredients to freedom on all levels.

“Few Americans realize the extent to which concerned companies are creating practical solutions to today’s social problems,” says Alisa Gravitz, Co-op America’s Executive Director. “Companies like Institute for Holistic Living are meeting the bottom line as well as playing a key role in creating a better world.”

The Institute is a member of the Co-op America Business Network, the largest association of socially responsible businesses in the world.

? The Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council was recognized as a “Success Story” by the U.S. EPA and Environment Canada for “exceptional and distinguished achievement in Great Lakes ecosystem improvement.” The awards were presented at the recent State of the Lakes Ecosystem conference held in Ontario.

Criteria for selecting Success Stories included showing improvement in the Great Lakes ecosystem; forging linkages among the economy, environment and the community; creating a “win-win” solution; forming strong partnerships; implementing sustainable plans; and encouraging community involvement.


? Baker College’s Surgical Technology Program has received accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

Baker College of Cadillac offers a two-year surgical technology program. A surgical technologist can provide services in the operating room under the supervision and responsibility of the RN supervisor.


? Several premier independent chemical distributors have formed an alliance to provide customers with a single source for chemical supply.

Named Omni-Chem, LLC, the alliance boasts over $1 billion in annual revenue and will be coordinated and administered by TMA, a joint venture of Transitional Management Group, a Traverse City firm, and several other firms.

“As co-founders of TMA, we saw the opportunity to provide comprehensive consulting, technology and marketing services to emerging industry alliance groups,” explained Gavin Brown, president of Transitional Management Group.

TMA provides organizational consulting services, B2B eCommerce capabilities, marketing plans and materials and more to industry alliance groups.


? Wilcox Associates, Inc., a growing engineering firm with corporate headquarters in Cadillac and offices throughout Michigan, has attained ISO 9001 Certification. This means consistency and accuracy in all final products from any WAI office. Design, construction management, and surveying for MDOT, municipalities and private/commercial clients are among their services.


? Farrington Construction and Development of Traverse City was recently awarded the contract to build a $453,171 garage and office building at the Leelanau County Road Commission’s Maple City complex. The garage will replace the county’s more than 50-year-old facility.

“We’re pleased to have been selected for the project,” remarked Bryan Lawton, Farrington Vice President. “This is the type of construction our company specializes in, and we’re doing more of this kind of work throughout Northwestern Michigan.”

Farrington has worked on projects at Interlochen Center for the Arts, Grand Traverse County I.C.E. Arena, and numerous manufacturing facilities in the greater Traverse City area.


? Coldwell Banker Vandenberg of Fremont has merged with Coldwell Banker Schmidt Realtors, based in Traverse City.

Coldwell Banker Vandenberg is the largest real estate company in Newaygo County. It’s been servicing customers in the area since 1980. All the staff members and sales agents will remain with the Fremont office.


? Premier Companies, a customized on-hold message service based in Lansing, recently opened a Traverse City office at 2823 Holiday Pines Rd., Ste. B. The business has been in Michigan for 15 years and has clients throughout the country. They have a large base of voice talents and music to create customized “Hold Plus” productions. For more information, call Jennifer or Dave at 800-379-7787.

? Family Video Movie Club of Springfield, Ill., has opened a 7,000 square-foot Family Video in Blair Township near Chums Corner. Address is 916 U.S. 31 South.


? Shell Exploration & Production Co. donated $5,000 to the River Care initiative administered by the Conservation Resource Alliance. River Care is designed to maintain the ecological economic value of over 20 watersheds in northwest Michigan.

Shell’s donation is the first of a five-year commitment to help support erosion control, fish and wildlife habitat enhancement, recreation access improvement, and road crossing projects on the Big and Little Manistee Rivers.


? Traverse Brewing Company (TBC) of Williamsburg has come up with two new products to add to their line of award winning Ales: Torch Lake Light Ale and Power Island Porter are now available on draft.

Torch Lake Light is a light bodied Ale with a clean-mouth feel. For now it is available in draft only, but plans to bottle Torch Lake light are in the works for this spring.

Power Island Porter is a rich, robust, flavorful Porter. It’s creamy, smooth and full-bodied with a hint of chocolate and a slight smoky flavor. It’s available in draft only.

Traverse Brewing Company, one mile south of Elk Rapids, was founded by long time home-brewers Jack Archiable and John V. Edstrom.

? Western Michigan University in Traverse City will hold an informational meeting regarding the Master of Arts in Counselor Education: School Counseling on Tuesday, Dec. 12 at 5 p.m. at the NMC University Center, Room 5. For additional information or if you wish to attend, call 995-1846 or 995-1788.

Please submit news by Dec. 20 for inclusion in the January issue. E-mail biznews@traverse.com or fax 929-7914. BN