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Conor Dugan is an attorney with Warner Norcross & Judd LLP in Grand Rapids, where he lives with his wife and four children. The views expressed here are his own, including his equivocation on a favorite brunch dish: A tie between smoked salmon and waffles. He blogs on the Michigan appellate courts at One Court of Justice. The views and assertions of guest columnists do not necessarily reflect those of Bridge or The Center for Michigan.

Vaccine refusers, and sympathizers, need to remember government’s role

If “freedom isn’t free,” as they say, one payment may be to remember that “promote the general welfare” part of the Constitution.

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This west Michigan conservative pulls the lever for voter participation

Is the system so broken that a principled Catholic conservative can’t be a part of it? This one takes issue with a previous Brunch columnist, and says no.




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Could Michigan provide a third way for young ‘radicals?’

Today’s religious conservative is not the one you might remember from the televangelism days. Therein lies an opportunity for our state.




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In a place they’re dying to get into, a look at our living communities

Cemeteries used to be places one feared to enter. Now they’re a bad business risk. The journey along the way tells us a lot about ourselves, a Grand Rapids author says.




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Visit a few gems on the sunset side before summer sets

A national travel guide spills the beans on its top 10 travel guides, and guess which state made No. 1? A native makes some trip suggestions.




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In decades past, Michigan produced great design; can it again?

A Grand Rapids exhibit of 20th century design born in Michigan shows a way for the state to reclaim its mojo, via art married to commerce.




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A Grand Rapids oasis for tinkerers, dabblers and dreamers

Will ‘makerspaces’ breathe new life into Michigan manufacturing? It’s certainly an idea worth messing around with. Got a screwdriver?




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Children are too precious to be pawns, even to serve a noble cause

We try to support our local communities however we can, but does that extend to sending children to sub-par schools? Even if they’re the ones who would improve it?




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Buried, with boots on: Notes from Michigan’s snowy west

Even in this snowy winter, there’s one place where the drifts are always higher. Our West Michigan Bruncher puts away his shovel long enough to send us a dispatch from Grand Rapids.




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Beer from Michigan, shoes from Zappos – where to draw the ‘local’ line?

I’m sitting at home sipping my locally brewed Founders Backwoods Bastard – the best beer I’ve ever had. I’ve just finished eating a dinner made with locally pastured beef and some of that ubiquitous kale – locally grown, of course. (Did kale […]

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Two words that can fight as often as agree: Conservative Catholic

I chafe when the label “conservative” is applied to me. I am not embarrassed to be called a conservative or associated with its ideas. Rather, I think it reduces who I am to a political category and fails to account for what […]

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On All Souls’ Day, remembering a vivid life, well-lived

Next week brings Halloween, generally seen only from a secular perspective. But for Christians, Halloween is also the Vigil of the Feast of All Saints (Nov. 1), followed by the Feast of All Souls on Nov. 2. The former remembers and commemorates […]

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A year after the big move, Grand Rapids is still the place to be

Just over a year ago, my wife and I moved our family back to Grand Rapids after nearly a decade on the East Coast (most of that time in Washington D.C.). Our move home was unexpected. Though we still considered ourselves Michiganders, […]

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A conservative case against small-town Walmarts

This spring, Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, announced plans to build a Supercenter east of the towns of Whitehall and Montague, just north of Muskegon. This would be the third Walmart within approximately 25 miles of Whitehall-Montague. As Walmart’s plans often do, […]

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To kill the gerrymander, elect better representatives

Rep. Sean McCann, D-Kalamazoo, has proposed legislation that would establish an independent, nonpartisan commission consisting of “regular citizens” to “create legislative district maps that are competitive, geographically compact and contiguous.” McCann contends his bill would “prohibit creating districts that protect incumbents.” More […]

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Technology is altering how we learn, think and live – and not necessarily for the better

I recently had the pleasure of attending a performance of the musical “Annie Jr.” at my daughter’s school. It is a happy memory that will stay with me forever. I am not so sure if the gentleman two rows ahead of me […]

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In Michigan, small things add up to life writ large

Michiganders lament the brain drain that sees some of our best and brightest young people fleeing the state for supposedly bigger and better things on the coasts and in major cities. I was one of those young people (though I am dubious […]

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